As someone is absolutely not a fan of synthpop, this works better, as expected. Read More
Full disclosure: I did not want to listen to this. I don’t love The Beach Boys and have generally been annoyed by the Brian Wilson-worship that has bubbled to the surface over the last few decades. Of all the likely listeners of this record, one would expect me to be among the least fair. Read More
Though I haven’t heard the couple previous albums to this one, this still feels like a pretty big stylistic left turn for Costello. The production and arrangements are both noticeably different from the first Attractions record (or his first few solo albums). It’s a brave move (if it is indeed a move) as he could easily have just put out a new set of songs without deliberate messing with his style. Read More
1972, Americana, Art Pop, Cabaret, Cabaret Rock, Music, Show Tunes, and Singer Songwriter.
Ackles has a really idiosyncratic style, combining the confessional storytelling of other songwriters of his era with a huge does of musical theatre, particularly cabaret and American musicals, with borderline novelistic lyrics. It’s a weird amalgam that mostly doesn’t just work but wows. Read More
I found myself being pleasantly surprised by Joe Jackson, a man I knew nothing about aside from “Is she really going out with him?” Read More
I prefer the original, bonkers Roxy Music. That’s much more my cup of tea. In fact, you might say I love that version of the band. And so I was expecting to hate this, without really knowing what it sounded like. Read More
I kind of dreaded listening to this record; I don’t love “She Blinded Me with Science” and always thought it was a gimmicky novelty number. So maybe it’s because my expectations were so damn low as to why I really like this. Read More
1984, Art Pop, Music, New Wave, Prog, Prog Rock, Progressive New Wave, and Progressive Rock.
Listening to this record, it’s no wonder they broke up for nearly a decade. I can hear the strain. Read More
Yes, this is second wave New Wave, and it sure sounds like a lot of other bands and musicians. (The guitar lead on “Swimming” is so wannabe Robert Fripp it’s not even funny. A bunch of tracks sound like Eno-lite.) But this is a strong set of songs with good lyrics and a commitment to New Wave in a way that many of these later New Wave bands were unable to match. (I mean, it’s still quirky.) Also, I am a sucker for any song that gently mocks anything I know, so the song about Ontario Cottage Country hits home Read More
Despite deciding I was going to get into ELO when I was 16 or 17, I never actually did. So I have no idea how this to compares to any of their other records.I believe this is supposed to be their best, or at least their most popular. Anyway… Read More
This album got bad reviews when it was released. However, time has been kind to it and some people now view it as one of his best. I can see both sides. I understand what people are saying when they view it as “the first indie pop album” (in content, not in concept, as McCartney, the best selling artist in history, is the last person who could ever release an indie album…). I prefer to think of it as the first “bedroom” pop album, only McCartney was that record, and this one has a band. The problem is that it Read More
Phil Collins has had one of the weirder careers, starting out as a prog rock / art rock drummer (who even played jazz fusion, at times) and becoming a massive pop star. It’s an unusual arc to be sure, and this is the record that began the shift from the one to the other. And because of my fondness for prog and art rock, and because of my dislike of much mainstream pop rock, I was worried this album was going to suck and suck hard. Well, it doesn’t. Sure, there’s the big hit, which even I must acknowledge is Read More
I only know one Roxy Music album, For Your Pleasure. I like it, I don’t love it. But one of the things I like about – perhaps the thing I like about it most – is the artiness of it, provided primarily by Eno and Manzanera (to my ears). I assumed that when Eno left the artiness did too, but according to reviews, it didn’t leave just yet. Not until this album. And that makes me sad. This is certainly as mainstream as art rock gets without ceasing to be art rock. It’s accessible (as these things go), its often Read More
On December 31, 2008, I wrote the following: This may sound stupid, but this sounds little too much like 1980. They had a good thing going, those Genesis guys…and while I know that version of the band could never have topped The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, neither Gabriel nor the rest of the band ever demonstrated that kind of creativity again. That being said, this record is fine. There are some fine moments. However, the “world music” feels almost flown in compared to everything else. Both Bowie and the Discipline version of Crimson do aspects of this better. I Read More
It’s kind of absurd to come at such an established performer for the first time through his latest record, but then it wasn’t on purpose. I didn’t try to do this. It’s just how it happened. Folds has a strong knack of melody and his lyrics are well above-average. But I got to say that the idiosyncratic nature of the title track mostly disappears from the rest of the album. Most of this is just straight ahead power pop. It’s great that someone is trying to keep “piano rock” alive but whether or not you like Folds depends on whether Read More
When I was young, I had a problem with interpretive music; for my idealistic self it suggested a lack of creativity, a lack of artistic will, or something like that. (I definitely had a bit of an obsession with the idea of The Artist as a True Individual or some shit.) Over the years my position has markedly changed, but I do know why I felt that way: too many covers in pop rock are ‘straight-up’, i.e. the songs are clearly recognizable as as the originals and the artist has re-used the original arrangement, tempo, production etc. One of the Read More
2011, Art Pop, Art Rock, Chamber Pop, Chamber Rock, Music, Pop Rock, and Singer Songwriter.
I have always struggled with getting into post-Genesis Gabriel because his music has often struck me as over-produced. I finally feel like his songwriting has received the the proper, appropriate arranging and production here. This is a great way at looking back at one’s career. Some of the new versions are really radical – some of them not so much – and almost all are interesting, many improving greatly on the originals (“Solsbury Hill” is probably the only one I’m ‘meh’ on at the moment.) It’s a shame more of the artists who insist on reviving old music don’t do Read More
I haven’t gotten into solo Gabriel yet really, this is only the third album of his that I’ve heard. But back when I was a Gabriel-era Genesis obsessive I listened to a lot of Gabriel-fronted music. I have always been a little wary of his solo music in part because it is so clearly different from his music with Genesis, even the earlier albums. That being said, I don’t mind his late ’70s stuff, at least that which I’ve heard. But I have some real qualms about this album: it is a very clear attempt to sell more records. That Read More
I don’t know Dirty Projectors. I’m not even sure where I heard about them. Anyway, I wrote down the name and here we are. In the little I’ve read since first listening to this album I must say I’m considerably more intrigued. Apparently this is the band (or, really, the artist) gone commercial. The that this album is less weird than previous albums makes me very interested in said previous albums. There is a little too much in the way of “pop” for me to love this. But I can’t help but respect and admire it. I do feel that Read More
So apparently this is the original album, which was rejected by their label and then re-recorded and released as the appropriate name. Then the original was released in the early 80s, or something like that. I haven’t heard the polished second version so I cannot judge whether or not it was the right decision by the record company but my personal bias would say ‘probably not’. What we have hear is catchy but odd-enough pop rock with utterly unique vocals and enough quirks to keep things interesting. It’s hard to know what a record company would have been expecting from Read More