Archive for music
The recent spate of music posts was undoubtedly inspired by this week’s release of Radiohead’s new album, In Rainbows. It’s funny how anticipation can creep into the fabric of your conscience and influence your being. Amidst a busy season at work and between a couple of midterms, I got excited about music and decided to start checking some new stuff out. Before making any decisions about an album I purchase I commit to listening to it three times through. After three times through In Rainbows, I can say that it is undeniably Radiohead. The oddly coherent mix of sounds and instruments coupled with Thom Yorke’s unmistakable vocals make for an enjoyable listen.
One of the first comments this blog ever received was in response to my post about Corinne Bailey Rae’s self-titled album. Katie said “…my more recent love in a slightly more rock genre is Regina Spektor. she’s got a smoky tone like Corrine, but rocks with it more akin to Fiona Apple.” I had never heard of Spektor at the time. Then I saw she was listed as one of my brother’s favorite artists on his facebook profile. I didn’t act; anyone who knows anything knows it takes three things to force action. This week I heard a Dashboard Confessional cover album and one of the standout tracks on it is Better; after learning that it was a Regina Spektor song I became convinced that it was my destiny to check this lady out.
Radiohead’s new album In Rainbows will be available October 10. In a not entirely surprising move, unconventional Radiohead decided to let fans decide what to pay for its new album. Partially in response to Radiohead’s announcement, Tech Crunch founder Michael Arrington blogged about the Inevitable March of Recorded Music Towards Free based on economic theory. I’m no Econ scholar (one per family is probably one too many) so I’ll leave that discussion there, but the argument is compelling.
A discussion I’ve had with friends that’s more interesting to me started with the question, how much would you pay for your favorite album? or if it’s a Radiohead album, your favourite album?
I started listening to Dashboard Confessional (DC) my junior year at the University of Kentucky. The quick-fire, clever, somewhat adolescent lyrics and acoustic guitar-driven songs struck a chord with me. My life wasn’t perfect either and I had my share of issues with the ladies. It’s been five years since I graduated and while I like to think I’ve evolved to the good, good or bad, DC is making the same semi-sad music. I still don’t know what emo is but I’m pretty sure I’m not and DC is.
Even so I still really enjoy listening to this album that has just one song longer than 3 minutes. It seems a little gimmicky at times; when Kanye West hears about the first track, Where’s There’s Gold…(which is followed by ‘there’s a gold-digger’), something may go down. Fever Dreams is a classic, mesmerizing DC song that really highlights Chris Carrabba’s vocal talents. The rest of the album will not disappoint any fans of The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most or A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar. As for me, I will listen to this album while longing for the day that Chris finds faith and a nice girl and writes a sunny album about the beauty of this mortal coil.
I was late in jumping on the White Stripes’ bandwagon. I never really got into the songs played on the radio. After Jack Johnson covered We’re Going to Be Friends during a concert I downloaded from archive.org ,I decided to check out what all the buzz was about. I’ve been a big fan of The White Stripes ever since. For my money, the best attribute of The White Stripes is their diversity. From the instruments and voices Jack and Meg use to the musical genres they cross, there is no doubting the creativity and originality of The White Stripes. On the latest album there is a decidedly more bluesy feeling, but not just blues as bagpipes are heard on one of the songs. An early favorite song is You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You’re Told). Like the albums preceding it, Icky Thump will endure due to its quality and diversity.
In college, Lifehouse’s album No Name Face got more play on my sweet Aiwa stereo than just about any other album. The ambiguously Christian lyrics were fitting. I still enjoy that album more than those that followed. The new album probably won’t change that because of the phenomenon that attaches music to place and time, but it will come the closest. Who We Are’s songs are distinctively Lifehouse: a slow build-up, breathy lyrics, then a thumping drum with a catchy chorus. Lifehouse isn’t breaking any new ground, but I don’t mind.
I bought this album a couple of months ago because the album’s title is a play on the title of David Gray’s latest album, Life in Slow Motion, which is one of my favorite albums of the last two years and it showed up in the “recommended” section of my itunes store. A stupid reason to buy an album, I know. Before making the purchase, I did read enough about Mika to be intrigued by his background (Lebanon-born, London-based) and I previewed his tracks for the gracious 30 seconds itunes allows. What I like about the album is that Mika uses his voice interestingly: not always good, but almost always interesting. It is almost like another instrument. I’m a big fan of interesting vocals: Raine Meida (Our Lady Peace) and Thom Yorke (Radiohead) come to mind. The lyrics sometimes get silly and sometimes Mika sounds a little too much like Freddie Mercury, but the tunes are very catchy and the album has a fun tone: I’m glad I bought it.
The Travis I know and love is back with its best album since The Man Who. Selfish Jean is a standout track: with lyrics like
With a perfect combination of good etiquette and charm, You keep the chocolate biscuits wired to a car alarm
who can resist smiling while singing along to the catchy tunes?
I bought Corinne Bailey Rae’s self-titled album on my sister Sara’s recommendation. After one listen I regretted the purchase. After a couple more, I’m undecided. CBR has a silky voice and the mix of upbeat and slow jazz and blues music is just about right. Not quite as smooth as a Norah Jones album, not quite as clever as a Dido album, Rae’s is still a good album worth listening to.