28 November 2008

regarding my post on 7 nov, i have another song to add to the category i established therein: "let it rock" by kevin rudolf ft. lil' wayne. this time, the thing i enjoy about it is how it sounds like "blue monday" or, b/c i've been reading genette lately, how it sounds as if it is a text whose paratext is actually "blue monday" released b/w "the beach" by new order as fac 73 on 7 march 1983.

20 November 2008

songs to download & sing:
the new sins, "feelings (have changed)," feelings (have changed) 12".
britney spears, "blur," circus lp.
kanye west feat. mr. hudson, "paranoid," 808s & heartbreak lp.
guns n' roses, "shackler's revenge," chinese democracy lp.
the brighton port authority feat. emmy the great, "seattle," seattle cds.
mumford & sons, "feel the tide," love your ground ep.
jazmine sullivan, "dream big," fearless lp.
liechtenstein, "security by design," apathy 12".
amadou & mariam, "sabali," welcome to mali lp.
toddla t feat. serocee, "manabadman," manabadman 7".
guns n' roses are finally releasing chinese democracy on sunday.

your assessment of the album will likely hinge on the response to that statement. if the many years have been suffused w/ countless tears, if you found yourself getting he-motional over it--disillusionment may be in the cards. on the other hand, if you're like me and were just deeply curious then you'll find some things on it to enjoy.

i have to admit to being much more curious than i had imagined: i opted to listen to chinese democracy before circus.

after listening to the first six tracks, i really thought that axl had done it, that he had managed the inconceivable, releasing a really great record.

--at this point, i should mention that the 15 years involved in making the record did nothing, i think so at least, to color my reception of the record. indeed, it only came to mind twice
01 "enjoy" was such an odd word for me to employ above, b/c listening to c.d. one realizes that the last 15 years have not been a lot of fun for axl.
02 it seemed to take 15 years to move from track seven to track ten. while listening to "sorry," it occurred to me that the track had been on for three minutes--and that there were three more minutes still to go. it was at that point i switched to circus.

"there was a time" justifies its length; "prostitute" is great, epic unhappy axl (as opposed to the flat-out sad axl of "sorry" and "this i love"; "street of dreams" is basically a radio edit of "november rain" w/ axl at the piano & full-on guitar heroics; "shackler's revenge" is an ideal song for rock band 2, sounding as if it was actually written w/ the game in mind.

speaking of rock bands, one thing that limits my enjoyment of the album is my inability to visualize guns n' roses in 2008. or, rather, that my vision of guns n' roses is dreadlocked, stocky axl in a hockey jersey. forget about writing songs for rock band: guns n' roses *was* rock band, from their muppet-like appearance to the way each instrument established its unique part of the whole (recall the openings to "paradise city" and "sweet child o' mine"). there's a great solo in "street of dreams," but in 2008 we know there will be no equivalent of the crane shot of slash playing outside the church.

the album is good, there's nothing to be ashamed of. part of me feels, though, that it either needed to be greatest album ever or complete failure; being neither, i can imagine most people shrugging their shoulders and going about their business, far fewer holding their breath for the alleged trilogy of albums on the way.

12 November 2008

let me say a word about wild beasts, who have likely made my favorite album of the year.

they're good.

i haven't always thought so. they were receiving hype based on some early singles, including "brave bulging buoyant clairvoyants." you can hear the original version here, at last.fm; you can hear the album version here, at their myspace profile.

there isn't a huge difference, but it makes all the difference in the world to my ears. the latter version thumps instead of clangs; the vocal, taken up an octave or so, soars instead of scrapes. (hayden thorpe's vocals are, admittedly, an acquired taste, but he has improved. early on, listening to him was like the equivalent of the doctor taking a throat culture from you for three-minutes-plus.)

i think the best compliment i've been giving to bands of late is that they wouldn't sound out of place on the wanna buy a bridge? compilation.

further influences: early associates; a less tidy cocteau twins; late-period talking heads; meat is murder.

but, to paraphrase elvis, they don't sound like nobody. which is a hell of a thing in these times.

the album was v. quietly released domestically by domino last week. i think you should buy it.

07 November 2008

i listen to music exclusively on my ipod these days.

whenever i add something news itunes, it gets put in a folder called "to listen," which, given the intransitive quality of that verb, should technically be called "to listen to" but i don't like the repetition. (v. likely it will henceforth be called "to hear.")

there are songs that i keep; there are songs i remove; and then there are songs that remain in "to listen" limbo, e.g. novastar's "because." (n.-fucking-b. dmca fellow: the link goes to his myspace page, where one may hear the song.)

i suppose i should feel a little guilt that i still have his "b/c" on my ipod and not john lennon's.

(but i don't.)

what is to be done w/ this song? it's a bit coldplay going a-ha (but not the a-ha going coldplay of the former's last album), singer joost zweeger's voice full of i-can't-believe-it's-not-scandinavian-melancholy--he's belgian!--and the guitars responding in kind w/ plangency.

actually, if you go to the song's last.fm page, you hear the best part, the chorus. when the song plays in my head, not on my ipod, this is the part that i extend, that i loop, that i make into the whole, cutting it off right before the chorus ends w/ a falsetto swoon that is reminiscent of nothing so much as a minor key version of rod stewart's version of "some guys have all the luck."

i wonder if this is the same thought that went through the heads of the original samplers, who heard what was best in a song in five-to-ten second glimpses rather than in a whole.

a final thought: "b/c" might be the pop single equivalent of 2001: a space odyssey and, as my students tell me, waiting for godot, i.e. a work that is more appealing in the reflections of idle moments rather than while one is experiencing it.

none of this, however, helps me determine the song's fate.