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Ben Lee – Breathing Tornados

2 06 2010

Listened: Tuesday June 1

I remember being home from college for the summer at my parents’ house in 1999, reading the Ben Lee email digest every day and waiting for Breathing Tornados to come out. People who had heard him perform live kept reviewing and analyzing songs he previewed, teasing us all with their inside knowledge. Even then, the amount of data about such things that you could get over the internet was pretty limited and less immediate than it is now.

This is another “career evolution” type album that diehard fans disliked, but I loved (see also Kid A). Actually, at their core level, these songs are very similar to Ben’s earlier albums in storytelling and style, but he really went nuts with the sampling and electronic instruments. I think it still sounds good, if a bit dated by now but hopefully just “of an era” if I’m being generous.

I hadn’t listened to this for quite a few years, so I haven’t grown with it. When I heard it again, it really took me back to an earlier time. And I wish Ben wrote such good songs these days, but again I’m getting ahead of myself.

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Belle and Sebastian – The Boy with the Arab Strap

2 06 2010

Listened: Tuesday June 1

The Boy with the Arab Strap is one of those touchstone albums in my past. People who like this album are my people and I am their people. This is the soundtrack for procrastinating in college, falling in love, doubting yourself, shopping for music, pondering the meaning of life… all set to pretty, catchy songs

It took me forever to notice that the guy on the cover is evidently being impaled on some implement. And apparently an arab strap is some kind of cock ring. Ooooookay.