Posts tagged ‘Bjork’

April 2, 2010

Björk talking about her TV.

She finds out the “scientifical truth” and her conclusion is priceless. She’s precious.

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July 7, 2009

Bjork – “Earth Intruders” from Voltaic

Bjork dancing. The cutest, most beautiful thing. She looks so happy. And look how she commands the stage. She’s a goddess and she’ll never die.

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April 23, 2009

Everything Is Music

I haven’t posted anything much at all in this blog for the past month. Life has felt entirely too much. But, I plan on posting an entry soon discussing how excellent the first four months of 2009 has been for music. Music is everything, all the more so when it’s what is keeping you going when things are strained.

Leave it to Bjork, even in parody, to inspire depth of meaning:

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January 28, 2009

Melodies And Desires

Everytime I listen to this song it breaks my fucking heart. Sometimes, like tonight, it makes me cry. Cry in the way Vespertine does. I cannot define love in words, only play representations in sound.

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December 3, 2007

Top 15 Of 2007

Top 15 Of 2007
This year was the strongest year for music I can remember since 1997, frankly. I own at least 60 albums released this year, and wish to hear more. As always, these are my favorite albums, not the “best”. I’m not about to insist I listen to the “best” music. Anyhow, here is my lengthly discussion of my

15. Field Music – Tones Of Town: British baroque pop at it’s best. What makes this album stand out for me, and be so listenable, is the inventive song writing. It’s not just that they have strings and pianos, it’s how they’re employed. The strings are often the main part of the melody, not just embellishment, like in “A Gap Has Appeared” or “Kingston”. But, then they can turn around with a song like “Closer At Hand” which is a great guitar-based song. The thing I love the most about this album is the percussion. Lots of interesting bells, tambourine, drum patterns, cymbals, etc. “Sit Tight” is the perfect example, even incorporating beatboxing at the end of the song. The songs are complex, despite constantly clocking in at around three minutes or less. A couple times, like with “A House Is Not A Home” where the song segues seamlessly into “Kingston”, lending the album a unifying progression that is clearly deliberate. And, I must mention the lovely vocals which remind me of the Beach Boys, Crosby, Stills, & Nash or maybe a little Steely Dan.

14. Grinderman – Grinderman: Savage, brutal, and funny. Not 20 seconds goes by in the first song “Get It On” before “motherfucker” is said. “Get It On” primes you for the rest of the album, electric guitar, bongos, and piano with the lyrics creating a lowdown character with “words of wisdom” of “get it on”, drinking panther piss and “fucked the girls you’re probably married to”. This is really a guy’s album, and “No Pussy Blues” is a song only a guy can really understand and it’s one of the best songs Nick Cave has ever written. The verses detail everything he tried to win over a girl. Then the song explodes into a blistering chorus yelling “damn” and “woo” in a way that most guys who have felt frustrated and a little emasculated in life will recognize. Nick Cave knows he’s one of the most charismatic singers in rock, calling “all right, come on Grinderman” during the pulsing outro of “I Don’t Need You (To Set Me Free)”. He uses his ability to tell an engaging story to full effect creating the myth of “Electric Alice” or “Depth Charge Ethel”. There’s balls out garage rock like “Honey Bee (Lets Fly To Mars)” and “Love Bomb” and slow sinister songs like “Grinderman” that use sparse jagged guitar. It all creates a mood of dirty, macho, wild fun. Yet in a serious way this album is Cave’s musical portrayal of the struggles of masculinity.

13. Peter Bjorn & John – Writer’s Block: The first of three Scandinavian artists on my list. “Young Folks” is a classic single. Everyone I know who has heard it loves it. It’s warm and romantic in the very best way. A man and a woman who are deciding to trust each other despite being hurt in the past. Who can deny that whistle? They are able to write irresistable pop melodies like “Let’s Call It Off” using hand claps and steel drums over a funky drumbeat. PB&J balance this with the kind of forlorn lyrics about unsuccessful love which makes people fall in love with great pop songs. “Objects Of My Affection” is a jangling rocker that is a kiss off to a former lover. But things are not that simple, as while the singer will “laugh more often now, cries more often now, I am more me” he will on ” some days, lie around and hardly exist”. The song “Up Against The Wall” with a slightly muted slow rock build has further complexity in the lyrics, saying “maybe we could make it work” but feels “almost that I wish we hadn’t met at all.” Clearly, the lyrics often express a sad mature look at love. You might think the whole affair would sound depressing. Yet, the album is not at all depressing. The inventive song writing makes sure of that: the soaring bongo enhanced chorus to “Young Folks”, the whistling in “Objects Of My Affection”, or the pretty acoustic guitar plucking of “Paris 2004”.

12. Faithless – To All New Arrivals: They are really the most consistent electronica act currently recording. Look at how poor the output of The Prodigy, Chemical Brothers, Underworld, Fatboy Slim, etc has become. Every album by Faithless has been well done and enjoyable from start to finish. They’re able to create politically minded music and emotional music without sounding preachy or detracting from being enjoyable and dancable. This album, a concept album about children, is no exception. “Bombs” is lyrically very political, yet a tremendous sounding dance song. Listen to the title track or “I Hope”, and you’ll hear a great song to dance to with lyrics of concern, hope, and love for children that come from their hearts. That is a rare feat, in my mind. “Bombs”, which starts the album, seems to be their take on the state of the world, putting the rest of the album in context. They’re concerned about what future the world is leaving our children. The song “Music Matters” might just be their mission statement, and there’s nothing cuter than the little kid featured right before it. Last track “Emergency” seems designed to remind you they can still throw down a trance rave-up like few else.

11. Nellie McKay – Obligatory Villagers: I’m waiting for McKay’s full fledged Broadway musical. She is that talented, and she truly shows it here. Her last album, Pretty Little Head was good but did feel too bloated at 21 tracks. This album has 9 tracks at is barely 30 minutes, which is perfect. This album is clearly (the start of) her political commentary on the state of America. We are the villagers who have been obliging the president the past 7 years. “Zombie” is a fun bluesy number with actual grunting zombies. Nellie clearly is blaming the South for putting Bush in office for 8 years, especially in the outro with lines like “torture isn’t that bad” and “they hate our freedom”. The first song, “Mother Of Pearl”, where McKay lists criticisms of feminists, seems to confuse people as to what her intent was. I read one review written by a man that said she is literally making fun of feminists. I think it’s shortsighted to take the song literally, especially given McKay’s flat vocal. I think she wants to make you laugh at how ludicrous the whole situation is, saying “feminists have a tumor in their funny bone” balanced with a man comically saying responses to her lines like “take it off”. Nellie ends the song with an amusing “I am Dennis Kucinich, and I approve this message”. The whole album is filled with complex lyrics where Nellie McKay is expressing her political point of view, and it’ll take many listens to get a complete sense of what she is saying here. I could spend a long time discussing each track. It’s the venue she expresses herself, in the style of Broadway musical, that will keep you listening over and over. And the album quite proudly states “all songs written, arranged and orchestrated by Nellie McKay”

10. Klaxons – Myths Of The Near Future: It’s nice when hype pays off, and this mostly happened with Klaxons. Though, they were hyped as nu-rave, and having listened to rave for 15 years, I can say little on this album is even close to rave. Other than the shouts of “DJ!” and the klaxons in “Atlantis To Interzone” and the bridge of “Forgotten Works”, you need to turn to the remixes like Erol Alkan’s gorgeous remix of “Golden Skans” for the rave. The hype did pay off in that clearly Klaxons are very talented at crafting music that recalls 70’s art punk, 80’s new wave, 90’s electronica, yet retain a sound that is Klaxons and very of the present. As I said, “Atlantis To Interzone” has elements of rave, but when it kicks into the blistering chorus there’s no mistaking that this is a band influenced by Gang Of Four. They even turn 90’s house hit “Not Over Yet” by Grace into a art punk track with new wave vocals. “Golden Skans” takes all this new wave nostalgia and actually does something with it creating an exciting modern version of new wave that betters most classic new wave. The hyper breakbeats in “Magick” are far more fun in an art punk setting. All the mythology and literary references to Allen Ginsberg and Alister Crowley in the lyrics is kind of dorky, but also kind of endearing and it’s nice to hear a band who clearly has a brain. The majority of time when a band is hyped the final product is underwhelming. I actually think Klaxons’ first album is better than the hype suggested it would be. Instead of “nu-rave” you get 11 songs that are each different and exciting to listen to. I’ve read they want to go prog next, and I can’t wait.

9. Amy Winehouse – Back To Black: What has happened to Amy Winehouse is really a shame, because there is no denying her voice, her talent at singing and honest lyric writing. I listened to this album because someone was doubting the authenticity of her lyrics, and I became intrigued. I don’t think any doubt can remain of whether the lyrics in “Rehab”, “You Know I’m No Good”, or “Love Is A Losing Game” are authentic. The title song is an instant classic and about as powerfully emotional as music gets. The song can stand proudly next to classic soul songs of the 50s and 60s. It’s heartbreaking, and anyone who has been heartbroken in a complicated relationship knows Winehouse means every word. I honestly feel there is little else original to say about this album. Musically, the live instrumentation coupled with modern beats breathes new life into classic soul music. Winehouse’s vocals and lyrics aside, it’s a great sounding album and very enjoyable start to finish. Winehouse adds the charisma that makes the music so wonderful.

8. The Raveonettes – Lust Lust Lust: I think they have recorded their perfect album. Romantic, sexy, sad, and beautiful. For example, a song titled “Lust” has lyrics like “nothing much to say” and “everywhere I roam life is one big lie”. They proved with their last album, Pretty In Black, they don’t need feedback. Here they prove they’re worthy of following the tradition started by My Bloody Valentine and Jesus & Mary Chain of making feedback beautiful, as almost every song is awash in it. The production is very specific, with guitars usually playing a surf rock melody up front, their pretty harmonized girl-group vocals somewhere in the middle, and the feedback all around, and a drum machine and bass underneath it all. This causes Lust Lust Lust to be their most cohesive sounding album since the Whip It On Ep. The Raveonettes wear their influences on their sleeve. Their name is half a title of a Buddy Holly song thus creating a bastardization of the name The Ronettes. I think the word bastardization is key, as that is what The Raveonettes do. They mash these styles with the guitar feedback of My Bloody Valentine and dark lyrics about love, lust, and loss. I think with Lust Lust Lust there is no question that they have solidified into a band with their own unique sound. I think one listen to “Aly, Walk With Me” or “Dead Sound” will convince you of that. “You Want The Candy” is a girl-group song on which is added reverb, feedback and lyrics about candy, lollipops and asking for a “dirty treat” and talks of “hearts not meant to last”. There you go.

7. Bat For Lashes – Fur & Gold: While I do like current female songwriters like Feist and Regina Spektor, I can’t help but compare them to Joni Mitchell or Tori Amos and the like. I think Natasha Khan, who is Bat For Lashes, has a witchiness that can be compared to Bjork or Kate Bush. But, I think she has a sound and style all her own. Probably you can tell from her chosen name, there’s a lot of gothic mysticism and a enchanted quality to her sound. Even the faster paced songs like “Horse And I” or “Prescilla” have a particular sparseness to them. Much of the album, with it’s harpsichord, hand claps, and songs about “The Wizard” asking you to “drink his blood and he’s our leader”, evoke Renaissance folk. The throbbing “Trophy” tells of a trophy she made that “everyone who touched it found a heaven on Earth” and how it fell into the wrong hands. Khan’s voice can be beautiful and expressive, as in the quiet harpsichord driven “Tahiti”, or powerful as in the slowly building “I Saw The Light”. In “What’s A Girl To Do?” she takes the classic drum pattern of “Be My Baby” and loosens it up a bit. Lyrically, the song looks down the line of a relationship asking what she’s to do when her “heart grows colder with each day” and her “dreams are on a train to trainwreck town”.Quiet piano ballads like “Sad Eyes” or “Seal Jubilee” lull you into a dream like state. She even makes a Bruce Springsteen song, “I’m On Fire” sound like a Bat For Lashes song. And that tells me Bat For Lashes are already on the road to becoming very much their own artist.

6. !!! – Myth Takes: This is the album they’ve been promising us since they first started. The first five songs are unstoppable. I’ve never heard another album that has a stronger first half. The swagger of “Myth Takes”, the hectic art punk of “All Our Heroes Are Weirdos”, the hedonistic dance party “Must Be The Moon”, the slinky disco “A New Name”, and the epic funk of “Heart Of Hearts”. This is a band who loves to play, dance and have fun, and the whole album is infectious in its enthusiasm. Sixth song, “Sweet Life” is an all right song, but kills the momentum for me. “Yadnus” brings the funk back with galloping drums reminiscent of “Rock And Roll Pt. 2” by Gary Glitter (think about it) and that awesome synthy guitar riff that starts things off. “Bend Over Beethoven” is a classic !!! eight minute punk funk workout in the vein of “Intensify” or “Shit Scheisse Merde”. Few bands have !!!’s charisma and the ability to put a big goofy smile on your face. They can write great tunes like “Must Be The Moon” and “Heart Of Hearts”, yet they are capable of big electronic breakdowns like at the end of those songs. I guess !!! feel a need to give you a break with songs like “Sweet Life” and the ending comedown “Infinifold”, but when the rest is the most fun you’ve ever had listening to music…

5. Menomena – Friend And Foe: This album makes me glad I am alive. Three band members who play a wide variety of instruments, record various parts with each instrument, and digitally assemble them into a finished song. Each song is a sound college, yet the album never sounds a mess. The layers of instrumental elements don’t bury each other, instead they are building blocks that create a whole song. In fact, this is album is clearly a cohesive artistic statement. Many of the songs lyrically deal with struggling in relationships and with identity, lending meaning to the title Friend And Foe. Evil Bee talks of “oh to be a machine, oh to be wanted, to be useful”. The soaring epic “My My”, with it’s slashing guitar riff and gorgeous piano asks “what if all my enemies were dead, and I could forget everything they said, could I be then who I really am?’ At times, especially with “Air Aid” the band approach Philip Glass territory with it’s repetitive baritone sax riffs. I won’t really say much more about the music, except to say there are piano, xylophones, horns, organ, bass, drums all cut up and put together. There are seemingly millions of musical ideas started and stopped and yet it never sounds overstuffed. You’re just left with the exciting feeling that original art balanced with emotion is something still possible in music even in the year 2007. Speaking of art, the album cover is simply gorgeous and must be seen.

4. Long Blondes – Someone To Drive You Home: A female Pulp. That I am not saying the Long Blondes “sound like Pulp” says everything I need to about this album. I never thought someone could compare to Jarvis Cocker, but Kate Jackson and the lyrics she sings stands almost shoulder to shoulder with him. So rarely can I find a band or artist who writes songs about relationships whom I can relate to as an adult. This album is almost a concept album of Kate Jackson telling younger women she “knows how it feels to be your age” as she says in “Once And Never Again”. Elsewhere he relates her own stories as a single adult looking for love, often finding herself passed by for boring women, such as in “Giddy Stratospheres”. There’s a weariness that comes with age, such as when she says she “won’t kid myself about happy endings, I’m too old for that now” in the epic “You Could Have Both”. Meanwhile the music not only stands up, but betters the Brit-rock and Post-post punk of the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Arctic Monkeys, Art Brut, etc. Listen to the gallop that starts “You Could Have Both”, and then they dial it down immediately coasting on Jackson’s lovely worldless vocal. By the end it turns into a pounding expression of romantic frustration. Songs like “Lust In The Movies and “Separated By Motorways” have a fun punky flair. Others like “Giddy Stratospheres” and “Weekend Without Makeup” bounce along thanks to a fantastic melodic rhythm section. I could spend a lot of time quoting this album. There’s a great deal of wit. I relate to songs like “Madame Ray” and “Only Lovers Left Alive”, songs about being put on the back burner while your love interest pursues people clearly wrong for them. It’s why I fell in love with it.

3. M.I.A. – Kala: Everyone made such a big fuss over Kanye’s new album because it used more synths and whatever else. To them, I point to M.I.A. She makes anyone else currently making hip hop look lazy and behind the times. Like Arular, this album is the driving album of this year. The beat in “Boys” is absolutely punishing. The synth stabs in “Hussel” are dirty and cool as fuck. The beat on “Paper Planes” built on gunshots, hammer click, and cash register (blam blam blam, click, ch-ching) might be fun to blast but literally might be dangerous in the wrong neighborhood. Though lets face it, we learned on Arular that M.I.A. creates beats on a completely higher level than most out there. On Arular she incorporated styles from all over the world, African, Asian, Brazilian, etc. and she does so again on Kala. On “Bamboo Banga” she samples a Bollywood song. Then later she betters a Bollywood song by covering and rewriting the lyrics on “Jimmy” from the 70’s movie Disco Dancer. On “Jimmy” we also find out she can actually sing and has a nice voice! She uses actual aborigine Australian children on a quiet hip hop song about fishing called “Mango Pickle Down River”. It says a lot that the least radical song might be “Come Around”, the only song produced by Timbaland. Some may say M.I.A. depends on producers, but while Diplo did all of Arular, he only produced three songs on this album. Switch did much of the rest. Yet it sounds like a natural extension of Arular, which tells me M.I.A. is in artistic control.

2. Jens Lekman – Night Falls Over Kortedala: Perfection. On this album Jens Lekman does no wrong. You rarely find a songwriter that can combine sadness, humor, honesty, sweetness, and romance all into one song like he does in “A Postcard To Nina”. He can go from the epic grandeur of “And I Remember Every Kiss” to the naked heartbreak of “I’m Leaving You Because I Don’t Love You” to the sweet dedication to a hairdresser “Sharin”. Lekman can do fun dance pop songs like “Sipping On The Sweet Nectar” or sweet songs like “Your Arms Around Me”. He works mostly on a laptop, and isn’t afraid to show it off. He bends and manipulates the samples he uses. He even samples himself singing when he was a child in “It Was A Strange Time In My Life”, which is really sweet and fun. I should stress that I am discussing sampling with an artist who performs chamber pop music. Not hip hop or dance. Sometimes you can’t tell at first if he’s using real instrumentation or a sample, then he cuts it up like at the end of “Kanske Ar Jag Kar I Dig” . But make no mistake, “The Opposite Of Hallelujah” or “Your Arms Around Me” demonstrate he can write for actual strings. The details he puts into his lyrics are so unique and lends a constant feeling of honesty to his songwriting. He can talk about small town Swedish life in “Friday Night At The Drive-In Bingo” or cutting avocados in the kitchen in “Your Arms Around Me”. In every which way, Jens Lekman is a musical genius and a joy to listen to.

1. LCD Soundsystem – Sound Of Silver: Perfection again. There isn’t a bad song. In fact, there isn’t song that is not worthy of being on a mix CD. Maybe James Murphy, music nerd that he is, wants it that way. Much can be and has been said about how he employs drum machines, live drums, bass, cowbell, etc.. The album’s pacing is perfect, “Get Innocuous!” explodes out of the gate, combining the synth line from Kraftwerk’s “The Robots” and a Bowiesque vocal. Then, he takes it down a peg with funky “Time To Get Away”. The dancefloor filler mid-section of “All My Friends”, “Us V Them”, and “Watch The Tapes” is euphoric and exhilarating. The comedown of the quieter yet still dancable “Sound Of Silver” and the ballad “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down” is the right way to end the album. It was a lovely, unique experience to hear the instrumental version of “Someone Great” in the 45:33 album (my #4 album last year), and then to hear this album for the first time and recognize it. But, I never would have guessed Murphy would use it to put a complex emotional lyric to. Of course, his social commentary in “North American Scum” and “New York…” is always intelligent and mature, and always welcome. There is not a false note on the entire album. There is a meticulous craft involved in the making of this album, and every layer and detail sounds thought out. This album sounds like James Murphy is beginning to put himself in the same category as the great artists like Bowie, David Byrne, Brian Eno, Mark E. Smith, and the others he so admires.

Look, Radiohead and Bjork Released Albums: In Rainbows and Volta
I do really enjoy both of these albums, but I’m always left with a feeling like nothing will compare to The Bends, OK Computer, Post, and Vespertine…

Best Album You Haven’t Heard: Kathy Diamond – Miss Diamond To You
Modern, classy disco at it’s best, produced by Maurice Fulton. This album has the clearest production I think I’ve ever heard. Somehow he’s able to make the record sound stark yet lush, best shown off in the song “Over”. I had to order it directly from the German label.

Over-rated: Justice / Simian Mobile Disco
I’ve been listening to all forms of dance music since I was 12. I do not get what the fuss is about. We already have a crappy Daft Punk. They’re called Daft Punk. I guarantee the same hipsters listening to Justice and SMD laughed at Fatboy Slim, despite it all sounding like his remix of “I See You Baby” by Groove Armada. I heard “D.A.N.C.E.” spun at a club, and it still wasn’t good to me.

Biggest Disappointments: Arcade Fire – Neon Bible / Air – Pocket Symphony
– Air finally delivered on all the potential they’ve hinted at since their first EP: the potential to be boring. Somehow they made Jarvis Cocker boring. That’s a feat. There are some nice songs, but nothing to stand up to anything in the past.
– The Arcade Fire added a church organ to their bombast and left out actual tunes. I don’t care how much people gush over this album, except for “Keep The Car Running” not one song stands out to me.
LCD

April 30, 2007

Coachella, or how to overdose on live music.

It would take a long time to tell what kind of experience I’ve had the past 5 days. I’ll say that Los Angeles is fucking disgusting and the highway system is hellish. I’ll also say my opinion on camping has been reversed, I kinda like it now. There are no words for Bjork. Rage Against The Machine is the most powerful band I’ve ever seen. !!! are the most fun you’ll ever have at a show. Lily Allen is adorable (despite forgetting her lyrics). Shaun Ryder (Happy Mondays) put a huge smile on my face. Tilly And The Wall are precious. I’ll list the bands I saw at Coachella. All sets were 45 minutes to over an hour long. Pics will be forthcoming.

Noisettes
Tokyo Police Club
Tilly And The Wall
Arctic Monkeys
Jesus And Mary Chain (guest appearance by Scarlett Johansson)
Interpol
Bjork
Fountains Of Wayne
Regina Spektor
Peter Bjorn & John
!!!
LCD Soundsystem
Anathallo
Explosions In The Sky
CSS
Klaxons
Lily Allen
Happy Mondays
Rage Against The Machine

I saw parts of:
Silversun Pickups
Pharoahe Monch
Lupe Fiasco
The Roots

The Arcade Fire was dinner music on Saturday night, but we didn’t go up to watch them, just listened.

January 2, 2007

My Top 100 Favorite Songs

This was my December project. It took roughly 3 weeks. In order…

100. Death In Vegas – Aisha
Black Leotard Front – Casual Friday
The Pipettes – Dirty Mind
The Ronettes – Is This What I Get For Loving You?
Tricky – Suffocated Love
Nick Drake – River Man
Slayer – Raining Blood
Faithless – Salva Mea
The KLF – 3 A.M. Eternal
Depeche Mode – Enjoy The Silence
90. Portishead – All Mine
The Raveonettes – You Say You Lie
Dresden Dolls – Coin-Operated Boy
Ladytron – Soft Power
Mercury Rev – Tonite It Shows
Belle And Sebastian – Lazy Line Painter Jane
Clinic – Harmony
Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood – Some Velvet Morning
The Beatles – Tomorrow Never Knows
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Date With The Night
80. Wire – I Should Have Known Better
!!! – Pardon My Freedom
Goldenboy w/ Miss Kittin – Rippin Kittin
The Prodigy – Smack My Bitch Up
The Divine Comedy – National Express
The Postal Service – Clark Gable
The Verve – Bitter Sweet Symphony
Ben Folds Five – Mess
The Dandy Warhols – Every Day Should Be A Holiday
The Happy Mondays – Loose Fit
70. Martha Wainwright – Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole
Ladytron – Black Plastic
Air – All I Need
The Chemical Brothers – Out Of Control
Annie – Come Together
Lamb – Gorecki
Goldfrapp – Utopia
Ollano – Latitudes
Belle And Sebastian – Stars Of Track And Field
Grandaddy – He’s Simple, He’s Dumb, He’s The Pilot
60. Tears For Fears – Sowing The Seeds Of Love
Scott Walker – Jackie
Bjork – I Go Humble
The Cardigans – And Then You Kissed Me
Felix Da Housecat – Madame Hollywood / Silver Screen Shower Scene
The Knife – Silent Shout
UNKLE – Lonely Soul
Interpol – Untitled
Bjork – Sun In My Mouth
The Divine Comedy – The Happy Goth

50. BT – Remember
Queens Of The Stone Age – Better Living Through Chemistry
2 Unlimited – Get Ready For This (Orchestral Mix)
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Love Burns
Radiohead – Exit Music (For A Film)
Massive Attack – Teardrop
Pulp – I Want You
Jeff Buckley – So Real
Tears For Fears – Head Over Heels
Bjork – New World
40. Tori Amos – Flying Dutchman
Fiona Apple – Red Red Red
Gorillaz – Dare
Madonna – Bedtime Story
Kate Bush – Wuthering Heights
The Stone Roses – I Am The Resurrection
Underworld – Cowgirl
Spiritualized – I Think I’m In Love
LCD Soundsystem – Yeah (Crass Version)
Hybrid – If I Survive
30. Underworld – Dark Train
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Heart + Soul
The Shins – Girl Inform Me
The Dandy Warhols – It’s A Fast Driving Rave-up With The Dandy Warhols Sixteen Minutes
Fluke – Bullet (Bitten Mix)
Beta Band – Al Sharp
Bran Van 3000 – Go Shoppin’ / More Shopping
Catatonia – Bulimic Beats
Saint Etienne – Cool Kids Of Death (Underworld Remix)
Bedrock – For What You Dream Of
20. Massive Attack – What Your Soul Sings
Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Relax
Belle And Sebastian – If You’re Feeling Sinister
Neko Case – Things That Scare Me
R.E.M. – Find The River
Leftfield – Song Of Life
The Verve – History
The Smiths – There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
Pulp – Babies
UNKLE – In A State

10. The Beatles – A Day In The Life
Donna Summer – I Feel Love
Nine Inch Nails – Gave Up
Radiohead – Street Spirit (Fade Out)
Chris Isaak – Wicked Game
Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart
Tori Amos – Silent All These Years
Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy
Bjork – Isobel
The Smiths – How Soon Is Now?

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October 26, 2005

A look into how I think about and appreciate music.

Are there any albums that you liked more over time because you’d get hooked on some of the songs individually? What I mean is, 10,000 Hz Legend by Air was a disappointment. On my first listens, I was only really into “Radian” and “Don’t Be Light”. But, over time I grew to love “Electronic Performers”. And, now I’m really into “Lucky And Unhappy”. Slowly I’m appreciating the entire album.

Have you ever had a song stuck in your head and when you finally listen to it the song sounds even better than you remembered? I recently had that experience with “Scarecrow” from the recent Beck album. Great song.

Sometimes an album takes the right moment for it to hit me. Bjork’s Vespertine is the key example for me. The first few times I listened to it, I wasn’t all that thrilled. One warm morning I put the CD on. I was completely alone in the house. I had the windows open, and it was quiet and still outside. The music hit me like few pieces have ever. I teared up a lot during it. And, it wasn’t out of sadness. Bjork so clearly found this beautiful love and it was all right there in her music. I was single at the time, and it filled me with hope. Other than Automatic For The People it’s my favorite album.

One of the things I most love about music is that one moment in a great song that makes the song great. Here are but six examples:
–There’s a moment 4:30 minutes into “Yr City’s A Sucker” by LCD Soundystem where James Murphy multitracks a wailing vocal.
–The moment 2:15 minutes into “To Hell With Poverty” by Gang Of Four where the song stops and stutters into staccato notes.
–The part 1:35 minutes into “40 Versions” by Wire where the words “Niagara Falls” sounds more sinister then I ever thought they could.
–The disco break about 2:33 minutes into “Greatest Hit” by Annie, especially the little breathing you can hear Annie doing in the background.
–There’s a part of “The Private Psychedelic Reel” by the Chemical Brothers about 3:35 into it where the song literally swallows itself.
–Clinic getting all Beach Boys on you on “2nd Foot Stomp” about 1:26 minutes in.

December 31, 2004

My Top 10 albums of 2004

10: Bjork – Medulla
I think this album elevated Bjork to an artist outside of the typical musical realm. She did a entire album with only vocals, and made sound like Bjork, only with vocals. She proved that instruments at this point are truly meaningless if you have the right amount of genius and creativity. Here experimentation with music makes her no longer just a musician. She is an artist in the painter/sculptor/writer sense of the word.
9. The Fiery Furnaces – Blueberry Boat
Another album that demonstrates music as art, not just something to listen to. This album plays like a book. Each song is a story. And, that is a cliche thing to say in music, but if you heard this CD you’d know what I truly mean. People gushed over that new Green Day album because Green Day decided to do a couple multi-part songs. The Fiery Furnaces created a whole album of multi-part songs. And, when you listen, you hear in the structure and in the lyrics this album is more like a music book. I think the first song has about 10 parts to it. And, I have such respect for this group because they obviously could give a shit about album sales. They just care about their art.
8. The Von Bondies – Pawn Shoppe Heart
I love this group to death. They feed my urge for music that rawks, pure and simple. Listen to “Been Swank” and try and show me a song that rocks harder. And, you gotta love a rock group that is 2 guys and 2 girls, and I love the songs with the male-female vocal interplay. Great lyrics too.
7. !!! – Louden Up Now
This album definitely lived up to the promise of “Me & Giuliani Down By The School Yard”. They have a truly unique sound, even if admittedly they are in the punk funk vein. They kick the shit out of Franz Ferdinand. This album would be on my list for “Pardon My Freedom” alone. It’s rare you hear such glee in music. They’re fun, and you can dance to it.
6. UNKLE – Never, Never, Land
Electronic dance music is pretty much on haitus right now. James Lavelle is one of the only people to both still create and DJ dance music that still sounds new and interesting. It’s a really beautiful, moving album. It’s rare dance music can pull at my heart strings like the song “In A State” does. And, who would think Josh Homme of Queens Of The Stone Age would sing on a dance album? He fits in perfectly with the darkness that this album is engulfed in. Easily better than UNKLE’s first album. More coherant.
5. Scissor Sisters – Scissor Sisters
I disregarded them because it seemed like a novelty act to me. But, I heard the single Take Your Mama, and I was amazed because it is pure Elton John… good Elton John. So, I gave in, and bought the album. The song writing is extraordinary. They sound like the Bee Gees, Elton John, all of that, but not like a rip off. They sound like a cohesive group though, and that is due to the songwriting. It rises them above their obvious influences. The dance songs are fun, but what amazes me is the couple ballads are not annoying or cheesy. The songwriting on the ballads is just as strong. This CD is just good music, plain and simple.
4. Death From Above 1979 – You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine
I get off on two member bands. This band is a bassist and a drummer. I just love the sound they have. Angry metal with a bit of funk thrown. It’s catchy and fun and makes me wanna play air bass and dance around.
3. Arcade Fire – Funeral
I bought this album because the publications gushed over it oh so much. Pitchforkmedia.com made it their album of the year. It almost pisses me off when I find an album like that is truly that good. I think this album has the most modern sound in music right now. It really somehow encompasses everything that is going on. The artistry, songwriting, scope of insrtumentation, and vision are all there.
2. Interpol – Antics
Their first album had one shade, black. This album’s ten songs are so colorful and varied. it almost really is like a new group. I saw them live, and the songs are just so good! With songwriting like this after only two albums, they could really have an amazing career. I do believe their singer has one of the best voices in music. It’s unique and strong.
1. Blanche – If You Can’t Trust The Doctors…
I think you can see a pattern for me. I love good songwriting. Interesting, varied, unique songs. This album is one of the best albums I have ever heard. It’s certainly the best country album I have ever heard. No group’s debut album should sound this good. It’s all there. The writing, playing ability, instrumentation, lyrics, singing. All perfect in my ears. The lyrics especially.

Honorable Mention: Gwen Stefani – Love. Angel. Music. Baby.
Where the true heir to Madonna’s pop throne is revealed. This is the music snob’s guilty pleasure. Best pure pop album I have heard in a long time, maybe since the Spice Girls’ first album. And wow, does “Rich Girl” show Dr. Dre still has it.

June 22, 2004

“These wounds, they will not heal.”

So, I have sold a lot of my CDs on eBay. And, much of what I have sold is stuff I listened to as a teenager. Metal, punk, industrial. Loud angsty stuff. I feel entirely too old to be listening to that shit anymore. I look at MTV and so much of it is geared towards teenagers and kids. Which is fine. But, see, I work at Borders in the music section. And, I see people too old to listen to that stuff buying it. I just can’t relate to the lyrics anymore, or the angst, anger, etc. I’m not depressed, or insecure, or anything like I was when I was 15 or whatever. I’ve discussed a few times lyrics that move me, and I feel they’re appropriately adult in nature. And, ironically, I feel lots of cursing, like in rap or some punk or metal, is very juvenile. Bjork, my favorite musical artist, has cursed once in her career, in the song Alarm Call. She says “I’m no fucking Buddhist, but this is enlighenment.” That strikes me as her really meaning it! The lyric makes a huge impression on me. I’m completely rambling right now, but I guess my point is I feel like some people are stuck in their teens, and it’s reflected in the music they listen to. I mean, how can you be 21 and listen to a song like Blink 182 where they sing “Here we are our very first date… I’m so nervous… can I hold your hand…”, or whatever they say? How can you relate anymore?

Yes, the title for this blog entry is a quotation of Linkin Park.

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