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Showing posts from August, 2004

49. Lisa Loeb - The Way It Really Is (2004)

Two things:

1) The title of this album is odd, seeing as how the opening song on her last album, Cake And Pie, had the exact same name. For me, it harkens back to the Doors and Led Zeppelin. The Doors' third album was called Waiting For The Sun, but the actual song appeared on their fifth album, Morrison Hotel. Houses Of The Holy was Led Zeppelin's fifth album, but the song with the same title was on Physical Graffiti, two albums later. In my limited knowledge, Ms.Loeb is the first artist to name a record of all new material after a song on a previous album.

2) I love those little stickers record companies put on the front of CDs to sell them. If they aren't already affixed to the actual CD case, I'll try to take them off the plastic and put them there. Usually these stickers say things like "the new album from..." or "features the hit singles..." or they have quotes from reviews. The Way It Really Is contains a non-attributed snippet that describes t…

Dreams So Real

In the latest issue of Spin (September 2004; Pixies on the cover), my pal Chuck Klosterman issues a challenge. The challenge is to build your ideal rock band within these limitations: 1) You must have a singer, guitarist, bassist, drummer, and wild card, 2) You can only have one person who's currently active in a band, and 3) You can't pick Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, John Bonham, or Animal from the Muppet show for your band.

Klosterman's ideal band would be called Doomed Honeymoon, and have the following line-up:

Guitar: Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath)
Bass: Bootsy Collins (Parliament-Funkadelic)
Drums: Tommy Lee (Motley Crue)
Wild-card: Prince
Lead Singer: Karen Carpenter

Damn him for picking those last two!

Of course I found this to be an extremely fun exercise, so I started making my own list. I used Klosterman's rules, but also added that everyone should still be alive, just so the idea that this band could actually get together is not as far-fetched. A…

'83 Going On '87

I watched the movie 13 Going On 30 last night. In case you don't know, the premise is this: On her 13th birthday, a girl named Jenna wishes she was 30, and it magically happens. The movie starts out in 1987 and makes use of several '80s songs for key plot points.

While I'm not in the business of reviewing movies for this site, I will say that I enjoyed this movie for two reasons: 1) I am in love with Jennifer Garner, and 2) for a supposedly escapist "girl movie" the film has a message that many people could use (namely, looking at your current life choices through the eyes of childhood might not be such a bad thing).

What I did not enjoy was the use of '80s songs! While none of them are bad, or anachronistic (meaning they didn't use anything from post-'87), the songs are surprisingly out of touch. Check out these four songs that play important roles in the movie: 1) Jenna is obsessed with Rick Springfield and his song Jessie's Girl (1980); 2) Jenna …

The Shins - "Gone For Good"

I keep pulling The Shins' album Chutes Too Narrow out and listening, and that's strange because my feelings about it have been so ambivalent. I think the reasons I keep getting drawn back in are: 1) the outstanding package design, and 2) other people like them so much (critics, friends, Natalie Portman in Garden State). For awhile I was afraid the album would become one of those things I enjoy in theory more than in actuality, like Woody Allen movies and the Notorious B.I.G. But it's growing on me, and this song is one of the main reasons.

The ten songs on Chutes Too Narrow are varied in style but all share a dense lyrical barrage that takes time and will to penetrate. Gone For Good is the odd-man-out in the album because it is this short of being a straightforward country song. The pedal steel rings out loud and clear, and the lyrics, while still clever and metaphoric, are not a puzzle. It's a break-up song, plain and simple.

In a creative writing class I took in colle…

48. Brandy - Afrodisiac (2004)

Reviews are a relative thing. A praiseful review is only as effective if the reader is receptive to it. If you absolutely despise an artist or a genre nothing is going to convince you to give it a chance. For example, the Blood Vultures of F**king could put out "the best death speed metal album ever" but I could care less. That's like someone saying to me: "This is the best mushroom you'll ever taste."

Modern R & B is a genre that I usually find little connection in, especially when the artist is male. Usually I find it too generic and processed. But I'm not outright opposed, and thus I can sometimes be swayed by critical praise, or a single that gets caught in my head. This explains the presence of Aaliyah, Mary J. Blige, and Beyonce records in my collection.

Moesha's new CD is the latest addition to that list. I bought Afrodisiac for both reasons: critical praise and the catchy first single Talk About Our Love (which boasts a super-smooth classi…