Wednesday, January 24, 2007

136. Sloan - Never Hear The End Of It (2007)

There are 30 songs on Sloan's new album, so here are 30 reasons you should give a listen:

1. Canada. They can use our love and support.
2. The album's title is the second line of the song.
3. The artificially-colored band portrait on the cover; every one of their 8 albums has featured some sort of depiction of the band.
4. The pink background on the cover. Who says it's for girls?
5. The non-stop programming, a la side 2 of Abbey Road.
6. Every time you use a urinal made by the Sloan company, you'll have songs to hum.
7. All four band members write songs (though they are all credited to the band), switching vocal and instrumental duties. If you listen enough, the individual composing styles begin to emerge.
8. The harmonies in Listen To The Radio and Right Or Wrong.
9. For those of you who believe cheapness is indeed a sense, the album is a great bargain at 76 minutes of quality at the price you might pay for an album half that long.
10. The Dylan sneer in Who Taught You To Live Like That. For some reason it's ten times more charming when singers OTHER than Dylan do it.
11. The mini rock opera of Fading Into Obscurity, which packs 4 separate musical movements into 4 minutes.
12. Husker Du and Gremlins 2 both have shout-outs in Someone I Can Be True With.
13. The fact that Ana Lucia has nothing to do with the annoying Lost character played by Michelle Rodriguez.
14. Can't You Figure It Out?, the Sloan sound summarized in 2 and one half minutes: chugging guitar, aching soft-rock vocal, tinkling piano and ohhh-ohhh's.
15. Set In Motion, a story song on the universal theme of dealing with having to play yourself in the movie version of your life.
16. The way Love Is All Around appropriates Edwyn Collins' underappreciated 1994 hit A Girl Like You.
17. Ill-Placed Trust sounds like it could have come straight off 2004's excellent foot-stomping album Action Pact.
18. The harmonies on Before The End Of The Race and I Understand.
19. There's a twisty premise in Last Time In Love, wherein the narrator laments that now he has found someone to spend the rest of his life with, he'll "never get to fall in love again." Way to find the cloud in the silver lining!
20. Rarely have the seasons been so well-used as a metaphor for a failed relationship as on It's Not The End Of The World. The song is gentle, subtle and effective.
21. The way It's Not The End Of The World transitions into the boppy Light Years.
22. With 30 songs in 76 minutes it's a necessity to have some short songs. It's a credit to the band that these short songs don't seem truncated but instead serve almost as segues between the longer tunes.
23. Be thankful that the album's worst song, the short, punky HFXNSHC is not any longer than it is.
24. The glockenspiel that mimics the guitar line in Another Way I Could Do It.
25. How the different singers have distinct voices but not distinct enough that you can always tell the difference, just like The Beatles or Teenage Fanclub.
26. Did I mention Canada?
27. The way Right Or Wrong and Something's Wrong were placed next to each other. Similarly, I Know You and People Think They Know Me share spots adjacent.
28. The harmonies on Will I Belong and Live The Life You're Dreaming Of.
29. When you buy the album, there are two additional songs available to download through the Yep Roc website, the gorgeous Even Though and the fuzzy The Best Part Of Your Life.
And, finally...
30. Sloan held off the release the album in the U.S. until January 7th, so it could be the first great record of 2007!

Grade: A-
Fave Song: Can't You Figure It Out?
Fave Line: "Remember I already told them once / I don't do nude scenes or my own stunts / the speech is a failure on all fronts." (from Set In Motion)

Monday, January 01, 2007

And now for something completely different...

For several years now I've been producing one panel comic strips for my own amusement. Today, as a new year dawns, they enter the digital age.

Check it out: Brain Clouds