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Showing posts from January, 2005

Queensryche - "Silent Lucidity"

I have two distinct associations with this song. When it was a #5 hit back in 1990, I was 13 years old and also happened to be reading The Hobbit for the 17th or 18th time. If Peter Jackson does indeed make The Hobbit into a movie, I would strongly encourage him to use this song on the soundtrack. That acoustic guitar intro always makes me think of Dwarves turning poor Bilbo's cozy little home upside down, eating his food and singing their songs.

In college, friend / roommate Tim and I found we had a shared admiration for the song. One night, after several Dr.Peppers each, we called every radio station in the Quad Cities and requested it. We were met with a lot of stony resistance and one "oh that's a good song but I can't play it." It was a fun effort despite the failure.

The song itself is a six minute epic about dreams and nightmares. In fact, sometimes I like to consider it a cousin of Dream Police by Cheap Trick. Anyway, along with the spooky guitar line, th…

2004: Re-Vision Of Love

Here are two more albums that I enjoyed in 2004:

U2 - How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb

I have an up and down relationship with U2. While I admire them greatly as a band, I think they are not served by the ubiquitiousness of their hit songs, which have become so familiar as to be as much admired as the wallpaper. So when I heard Vertigo approximately 679 times as part of the iPod advertisement, things didn't look good for thier new CD. But, strangely, I still haven't tired of Vertigo or any other song on the CD. For me, it's their most complete album ever. Yeah, I said it.

Green Day - American Idiot

For whatever reason I initially resisted putting this in the top 10, but now I've corrected that mistake. There's no lack of appreciation in me for the accomplishment that this album is, both commercially and (more importantly) artistically.

And you might remember the rest...

Brian Wilson - Smile
Olympic Hopefuls - The Fuses Refuse To Burn
Danger Mouse - The Grey A…

Exaggerated Reports

The other night, some friends and I discussed our favorite 2004 albums over dinner. Someone brought up The Postal Service's Give Up. After anally pointing out that it was actually a 2003 release, I explained that, while I thought the CD had some wonderful moments, it didn't hold together as an album, especially at the end. She responded, simply and directly: "I don't care." Instead of appalling or offending me, the comment made me think. If there are people who don't care if an album works as a cohesive experience, then am I wasting my time thinking of them in that way?

I've always been an entire-experience sort of fellow. I like to see movies from beginning to end, uninterrupted. I can't read one book in a series; I've got to read them all. And that yearly top 10 CD list I always make such a big deal of? Almost every criterion for that list is based on the album in its entirety. A CD that's too long, or with an unfortunate reggae experiment,…

67. Kelly Clarkson - Breakaway (2004)

With American Idol soon to return to the airwaves, what better time to take a look at the first champion's new release?

Out of the three A.I. winners so far, I feel the most affinity for Kelly. This is not only because I rooted for her, but because she just seems genuine. That quality allowed her first album to be enjoyable despite its completely marketed nature. The same can be said for her second effort.

That's not to say that the records are especially similar. Whereas Thankful used R & B for its base sound, Breakaway adopts more of a rock mindset, and this suits Kelly well. She's taken a page from Avril Lavigne, using many of the same songwriters and even Avril herself (who co-wrote the title track), and if she chooses to continue in this direction, she could well become a Pat Benatar for our times (and yes, that's a compliment).

The thing that strikes me immediately about this record is how every song is completely down on romance. At least three songs are …

66. Talib Kweli - The Beautiful Struggle (2004)

I get frustrated by friends who don't like rap.

I mean, here are intelligent, well-educated, open-minded people who will dismiss an entire genre of music with a couple of words, words like "annoying" or "trashy." Yes, some rap music is annoying and / or trashy. But so is some rock, pop, country, jazz, classical and world music. Like any subset of music, rap is large, it contains multitudes.

Talib Kweli is one of those artists who deserves more attention for bringing something different to the game. Though commercially unknown, he's nonetheless highly respected for his verbal skills. On Get 'Em High from The College Dropout (considered by many the best album of 2004) Kanye West uses him to try to entice a woman, to which Talib responds "quit twistin' my arm / I'll assist with the charm."

Jay-Z, considered by himself (and others, but mostly himself) to be the best MC in the game, gave us this lyrical tidbit on The Black Album's Moment O…