I own and enjoy the album, “Ode to Sunshine.” I was discussing this band with a co-worker and decided to see what they’ve been up to.
Maybe I wasn’t in the right mood for this album when I listened to it. It’s by no means bad. I think they are great musicians, and good song writers. But for me, I got bored. I like music that makes me think. Not necessarily about lyrics, but about rhythms, melodies, vocal inflections, arrangements, etc. Actually you know what? Let’s try something here.
This is how the album feels to me…
Beautiful and majestic in it’s own right.
Here’s what I personally like to hear historically…
Does that make sense?
The point is that when I would pay attention to the music, I could tell that it was well thought out, and good. But after listening to the whole album, I couldn’t tell you one lyric that stood out, couldn’t whistle one guitar lick, and couldn’t air drum one drum part.
Grade: I’m really proud of my picture analogy. That pretty much explains it
Stand Out Track: “Otherside” - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5WKlsX6LhQ
Have you ever said, “This sounds like so and so had sex with so and so and had a baby, and this is the baby?” Well Bad Books is exactly that. Indie/Folk singer-songwriter Kevin Devine and Manchester Orchestra lead singer Andy Hull got together, had sex (I can’t confirm the sex, but at the very least it’s musical sex), and had a baby, and named it Bad Books.
To me this sounds like they got together and worked on songs that weren’t chosen for their other projects. One song will sound like a Manchester song, the next will sound like a Kevin Devine album. Overall the album isn’t ground breaking. It serves as a way for fans of both to get more materiel.
I must also mention that Spotify has this feature for certain albums where the artists sit down and do a commentary track about each song and it’s origins. It’s awesome to hear which songs are about personal issues, which are stories from other perspectives, or which are just cool lyrics that don’t really mean much of anything.
Grade: I like buying Shampoo+Conditioner (2 in 1) from time to time.
Does the album art look like a Koosh ball that was torn apart to anyone else?
Muse, Muse, Muse. I could make an argument that Muse is the best alternative/rock/whatever genre you want, band in the world. Their sound has been evolving from day one, and always sounding like them. No other band out there is doing what they are doing. Pushing their creativeness to the limit, yet staying on top 40 radio. Their songs sometimes feel “out there,” yet very organized at the same time.
This album was a lot of fun for me. One of the first notes I wrote down was the theatricality of the album. There is a larger than life aspect to the tunes, much like Queen (“Panic Station,” “Survival”), U2 (“Big Freeze”), and Led Zeppelin (“Supremacy”). The next note I had comes from the point of view of a drummer. I noticed that as they have progressed over the years they have embraced electronic drum sounds and loops. Which can be a bad thing because you lose the rhythmic signature the band used to have (ex. Maroon 5 and No Doubt). Muse on the other hand have crafted their drum parts, electronic or otherwise, to fit within the style of their drummer, Dominic Howard. Showing they put in multiple levels of thought when coming up with the rhythms for these tunes.
Love these guys and love this album. Since it is debate season here in America, I would love to debate anyone who says they are not at least in the top 5 rock ‘n’ roll acts on the planet. Bring it on!
Grade: A friends says, “I saw a pretty kick ass local band last night!” I reply with, “Really? How good were they on a scale of 1 to Muse?”
I was thinking today how the majority of my reviews have been positive overall. Then I listened to this album.
I have been a No Doubt fan from back in the MTV Spring Break days. I remember seeing Gwen for the first time at age 11 or 12 and falling in love instantly. Tragic Kingdom was real and inspiring. Return to Saturn took their “full band” sound to its limit. Rock Steady was ahead of it’s time. I didn’t like that album at the time, but as time went on, I understood it better and why it’s a good album.
This album? Uninspiring is the best word I can find. It sounds like a crappy Gwen Stefani album. Maybe I’m being hard on them because they were such an influence on my early music consuming life, but I can’t help it when at one point they write a song like “Spiderwebs” then to one day write a song like “Looking Hot.” Here is a sample of some lyrics from that particular song…
“I know you wanna stare
You can’t help it and I don’t care
So look at me
‘Cause that’s what I want
Do you think I’m looking hot?
Do you think this hits the spot?
How is this looking on me, looking on me?”
I must be missing the point, not reading between the lines or something. Anyway, I just felt like there wasn’t much substance to the album as a whole.
Grade: Wow, this milk expired in 2003!
Stand Out Track: “Sparkle” - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8I5f5G2CNFw
Finding this was a result of social networking, well, working. A friend posted this on another friend’s Facebook wall, both of whom I respect their musical tastes. Another friend also mentioned this to me the old fashioned way, word of mouth. Between the two, I had no choice but to check it out.
At first I thought it was your run of the mill indie, psychedelic, space rock. Then when you get three or four songs in you realize there is something special about this. Maybe it’s their old school, Beatles-esque vocal melodies and harmonies. Or maybe it’s the drum parts that feel like they were made up on the spot. I can’t quite put my finger on it but they definitely have something. Something that took me through the whole album again before writing this review.
Grade: The girl next door. More like Emma Stone, less like Kirsten Dunst.
This snuck up on me. I used to plan around when bands released albums, but now I find myself saying, “Sweet! I forgot about that, let’s throw it on!” Kind of a nice surprise. Not sure which is better, the building excitement, or the out of nowhere revelation.
This definitely felt like Mumford. I have figured out what they do the best. They are able to build a song from nothing, to a huge Super Bowl like moment. Not only through the music, but with emotions. They’re lyrics are very romantic, but also Marcus Mumford has a way with words and articulation. He is one of the few that can get a hard working, man’s man to well up with tears. I know because I myself happen to be a “man’s man,” and I can speak for the likes of me and let’s say, Ray Lewis.
My only gripe is that it felt like a continuation of their first album. I think you play this mixed in with the first album, the casual fan would have a hard time distinguishing which album some songs came from. I was looking forward to see what happened when they turned their creative knob to at least past 8. At the end of the day, I’m not complaining. The world is better for having bands like Mumford & Sons in it.
Grade: This isn’t exactly what I ordered, but then again I’ve never had Pad Thai I didn’t like.
Stand Out Track: “Babel” - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uc4NvjzdHZ8
This felt like Muse and The Postal Service had a kid. I’m not too familiar with Radiohead (I need to do more of their stuff on here), so I can’t comment too much on how this is any different from that. I enjoyed it. Good mood music. The main thing I took away from this was the rhythms. Very innovative and creative. Some beat boxing here, African rhythms there, with plenty of electronic beats to keep you busy. This didn’t change my life or anything, but it helped my understanding of a creator that the world agrees is pretty cool.
The Avett Brothers belong to a small, elite group of bands. They have the distinction of calling themselves one of my favorite bands of all time! They are joined with Yes, and Goldfinger.
I actually waited 2 weeks before listening to this out of fear. I love the bros! They are the first band that were able to put my feelings into lyrics, and back up those lyrics with the exact tone of music necessary. I have seen them live 6 times! They are also my girlfriend’s favorite band for God’s sake!!! I have a lot invested in them. What if this album sucked? What if they sold out? I didn’t want my relationship with them to end.
Luckily, the album didn’t suck. It was exactly the album they needed to make. I had a conversation with a friend at work who is also a big Avett Bros fan. She didn’t like the new album. She missed the old days of banjo, acoustic, and bass. I get it. However I think it was a throwback album. If you are at all familiar with their discography, I think you’ll agree. I And Love And You was a heavy album, thick with topics like love, politics, heartbreak, fear, and marriage. The Carpenter feels lighter. Maybe it has to do with the album cover being brighter, but it feels lighter, the songs flow well together (before you know it, you’re 10 songs in). Are there less memorable songs? Yes. Is the heart and honesty still there? Of course! This album for me means they have found their sound. They know what they are and they will continue to be that. Also they finally figured out what the drums should sound like. I feel like the drum parts have always been after thoughts, now it feels like the drums parts were written much earlier in the process. Baby steps people, baby steps.
Grade: They are still my favorite band. How’s that for a grade?
I wanted some good early 90s hip hop, and I remembered that there was a group that shared the name of my favorite television program, Arrested Development.
I got just what I wanted. Awesome beats. Very awesome rhythms! Then I started listening to the lyrics and found my issue. The lyrics are lame. They are almost like hip hop hippies. Songs telling children to play with the Earth. Songs that promote God and spirituality. Also, rain sound effects. I guess it just feels odd, odd that hip hop has this message. I guess I’m used to anger and bluntness in hip hop, not nature and positive feelings. So with that being said, I support the “lame” lyrics. Maybe they aren’t lame, maybe they are brilliant. Maybe they prove that the genre isn’t a one trick pony, and that there are many interpretations.
Grade: Did you know Fred Durst directed a kids movie? Didn’t see that coming did you?
Here’s another pick inspired by the Classic Albums series.
I saw this as Phil Collins definitive piece of art. He is a drummer first and foremost. I would argue that he is a better drummer than anything else he does. Therefore that understanding of rhythm finds its way into the songs in various forms. The melodies are catchy, moving, emotional, original, and fun. The accompanying instruments are all well arranged and utilized. I guess I felt that this since this was his first solo effort, he had no choice but to put himself into every track, from top to bottom, and it shows. Also, this installment of Classic Albums is one of the better ones. There is a moment where he plays a song left off the album, a piano ballad, where he gets choked up by the words. Probably for the fact that he hasn’t played the song in years, and the words hit a spot not touched in years. Quite an awesome moment to catch on film.
Grade: Will always respect Phil Collins after this listen and watch.