I find myself increasingly in this position, while I listen to things outside my comfort zone for my podcast: I am not the target demographic for this music and I have a really hard time putting myself in the shoes of the target demographic. Read More
1982, Art Pop, Avant Pop, Experimental Rock, Pop, Progressive Pop, and Singer Songwriter.
Where has this been all my life? Read More
1967, Art Pop, Baroque Pop, Experimental, Experimental Pop, Music, Pop, Progressive Pop, and Psychedelic Pop.
If you read a lot of music criticism about the ’60s, like I used to, you have heard about Smile ad nauseum. If you read a lot of indiependent music criticism at the turn of the century, like I used to, you have also heard about Smile ad nauseum. You’ve heard about Smile to the point that, whatever it was supposed to sound like, your expectations have been permanently set either to view it as an unfinished (later finished!) masterpiece, or the manifestation of a bunch of silly pop critic dreams for something “even greater than Pet Sounds” that couldn’t Read More
1987, Contemporary R and B, Dance Pop, Funk, Music, Pop, Pop Rock, Pop Soul, and Synth Funk.
I grew up with “Fat” and have a hard time separating the real song, the title track of this record, from its parody. But I haven’t listened to “Fat” in so long. Listening to Bad for the first time (and to the remaster, no less), I can’t help but wonder, “does “Fat” sound this terrible too?” Read More
I am listening to this for my podcast. (Well, not exactly this album, but close. I’ll get into that.) But I don’t know what to do with it for a number of reasons. I don’t like pop music like this and I don’t spend time listening to it. Here are some reasons why: 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
It’s hard to know what to do with this weird pseudo “duet” album which, in many ways, set standards for duet albums going forward. 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
Elvis’s third album, which functions in part as the soundtrack to his first major film, is fraught with the same issues as his second record, it feels like an attempt to capitalize on Elvis’ stardom while pleasing as many people as possible. Read More
1997, Alternative, Alternative Dance, Alternative Hip Hop, Alternative Pop, Alternative Rock, Contemporary R and B, Electronic, Hip Hop, Music, Pop, and Trip Hop.
I love genre-bending. A number of my most favourite bands are bands that can play a wide variety of genres well, and make these genres sound like their own (or, alternatively, convince you they are an entirely different band). So I should like this. I should like this even though it is based in music I don’t personally love (electronic, hip hop). Read More
I am generally opposed to albums dominated by “modern” (read: contemporary) instrumentation. I hate bad 80s (and 90s!) synthesizers and generally do not like music that is made primarily by these instruments. Things that sound modern once do not normally sound modern later and that is a huge issue with so much of the pop music that was made between the late 70s and early 90s. Read More
This record generally seems to be regarded pretty well, as an improvement on his incredible debut. I agree that Elvis himself sounds more confident on the crooning side of things but, on the whole, I find this pretty disappointing in relation. Read More
In my quest to hear the sources of nearly everything, sometimes I stumble upon stuff that I really shouldn’t have, music that is just not for me. This twofer is one of those things; it’s a compilation that pairs a compilation (seriously) with what appears to be a release for orchestra. Read More
2016, Ballad, Chamber Folk, Hot Docs, Music, Music Video, Pop, Short Film, and Singer Songwriter.
I saw this music video posing as a short film at Hot Docs last night. It’s an animated film about Alan Kurdi. It includes pictures drawn but refugees but most of it was professionally animated (even though it is given the look of a child’s picture). This is a manipulative video and a manipulative song that shows a real lack of knowledge about contemporary events in Canada – given that, by the time Higgins released the song, Canada had taken in 2.5 times as many Syrian refugees as Australian (Higgins is Australian) – and in Australia. (The “film” aired prior Read More
First off: this is not my kind of music at all – the songs, the instrumentation and arrangements both not my thing. That being said, the band is good for what it is and there are lots of star guest appearances (if Mitchell and Taylor were stars at the time) that blend into the background. King’s songs are certainly decent, though I’ve never been a fan. But for me, the thing that makes this listenable is King herself, who certainly appears to be living/feeling these songs in a way in which most “soft rock” performers absolutely do not. This may 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 have rarely ever sat down and listened to synthpop. Really, the only album I’ve ever listened to is Violator. And listening to Dare, I really want to go back and downgrade my rating of that Depeche Mode album because, though I think the songs are better, it’s rather shocking how little the genre progressed in 8 and a half years. Shocking. I don’t like synthpop. I don’t really get its appeal. And a number of the synthpop bands began as less competent British post punk bands. Like so many other things, synthpop emerged as a dumber, poppier version of Read More
1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1993, Music, Pop, Rock and roll, and Rockabilly.
At the time of its release, this was, apparently, the closest thing a to “complete” edition of Holly’s work as existed. (So I have read.) So that alone makes it pretty good. Holly managed to bridge the gap between rock and roll and rockabilly on the one hand and respectable pop music on the other better than perhaps any other performer of his era. He brought a more sensitive side to rock and roll lyrics (befitting his spectacles, I guess) that was hugely influential – his influence on John Lennon in particular is immense – and wrote a number of Read More
1935, 1937, 1939, 1942, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1954, 1956, 1958, 2008, Blues Pop, Compilation, Crossover Jazz, Music, Pop, and Vocal Jazz.
Full disclosure: I do not like vocal jazz (as you know). This is a compilation of 22 tracks over the course of Holiday’s career. I have no idea how definitive it actually is, as I do not know her at all (beyond her reputation as one of the great singers of the century, and “Strange Fruit”). I also have no plans on listening to her entire oeuvre (and, given when she recorded, curation is necessary anyway, because much of her music was recorded pre-album). 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
2012, Alt Country, Alternative Singer Songwriter, Indie Pop, Indie Rock, Live Music, Music, Pop, Pop Rock, and Wolfe Island Music Festival.
This is my second year attending the Wolfe Island Music Festival, the 14th edition. Just like last year, I attended even though it is not really full of bands I would normally seek out. I like the vibe (how it is completely different from seeing something in Toronto, for example) and I have always liked Wolfe Island. And really, I am always interested in seeing new music, even if much of it might not be up my alley. What follows is my assessment of this year’s music. For the festival itself I cannot say enough. I thoroughly enjoy the small Read More
I have a real problem rating these guys. You see, I saw them live before I ever heard their music. And well, if you like live music, I’m not sure you want to see Stars. Read More
Sometimes I encounter a band where I can’t even bring myself to give them their deserved three listens. Such a band is the Elwins (supposedly very highly buzzed about, but I wouldn’t know, it’s not like I googled them or anything). It must make other musicians crazy to see a band like this get buzz. They are catchy. They are competent. And that is it. There are thousands of these bands on the planet right now and probably have been tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands throughout rock history. What exactly makes these guys special? When did we Read More
Costello seems to be attempting a similar project to Dylan at this stage, but unlike Dylan Costello is writing his own songs instead of reinventing old ones and pretending they’re his own. It’s not as raw as Dylan’s stuff, obviously, but it still involves sort of a genre cherry pick of traditional American music styles. Automatically this appeals to me more than Costello’s career-making music. And I find his songs to be particularly effective this time out, even if they are less obviously acerbic than what he used to write (and that makes sense since he is no longer young Read More
Where do I begin? I had really high expectations because this is a Wilco side project. Even though I dislike Sansone’s on-stage arena rock posturing, I appreciate what he contributes to the group in studio. And Stirratt has always played a part in the band; his one song I really like. So I figured I would find something to like here. The songs are mediocre at best, which is the thing I guess I noticed the most. But this is because everything else doesn’t work either. Yes, the musicianship is competent but, as my friend would say, even Nickleback are competent. The Read More
It’s hard to know what to make of this. On the one hand, there is some music that sounds like an overproduced version of Plastic Ono Band, but a little less personal and certainly attempting to be more fun. Then there’s the other tracks: ballads galore with strings galore. I don’t really know what to make of it. At one point he is singing about how great communism would be if we all would just recognize it, and then later he is basically saying McCartney is horrible tool (which certainly hurts the whole “Paul broke up the Beatles thing” because Read More
1974, Blues Rock, British Blues, Latin Rock, Movies, Music, Pop, Pop Rock, Revenge, Road Movie, and Western.
In the CD player: Live at the BBC by (Peter Green’s) Fleetwood Mac. People only seem to know the famous, crappy Fleetwood Mac. It’s a shame since they were originally a fantastic band. It’s good to hear them live. I wish Canadian radio featured live or recorded live performances. It would be cool. They’re pretty eclectic on this set, though it does collect performances over the course of three or four years. I watched Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia yesterday. This is a film that many people have said is shit while Ebert has maintained it as a Read More