Janet Jackson – janet.

25 08 2010

Listened: Thursday August 5

Janet was one of the first CDs I ever had, when I was about 14. The songs were huge at that time, all over the radio. I also had Janet’s prior album Rhythm Nation 1814 on cassette, which was the soundtrack of much middle school tomfoolery. Soon after starting high school though, I started to lean in a much more rock-oriented direction, so I really haven’t listened to this album much since.

Listening to it now, as a much more experienced adult, I’m a bit shocked at how pretty much every song is relatively sexually oriented. I don’t remember really absorbing that at the time, though I did know Throb was about sex; I wasn’t that clueless.

I do remember really enjoying the songs (and how annoying the skits/interludes are; I still can’t abide by that style of making albums). I discovered that the songs are still really good; I love all the musical styles and samples.

When I’m listening to all my albums in my library back to back, often when I leave one album and go to the first song on the next album, there’s quite a shock as the wildly differing styles exchange. I have that experience just listening to this album; I keep thinking the album must be over and I’m hearing the next album, but no, it’s still Janet, experimenting with some other style. That’s pretty cool and a rare thing.

Noise Addict – it was never about the audience

25 08 2010

Listened: Thursday August 5

It was never about the audience was a free download from Ben Lee, and I really wasn’t expecting much, since I haven’t really loved his music for a while. I didn’t even listen to it until this project.

While I have to say that it’s still a little bit too much “famous musician navel gazing” in points, it’s actually pretty catchy. It helps that the songs are quite short; you don’t have a chance to get too down in the weeds. I like the intimate home recording aspect of it, and the experimental feeling of the music.

I don’t think I’ll listen to this on my own much, but I’m glad I heard it and cut Ben a little slack.

Lily Allen – It’s Not Me, It’s You

25 08 2010

Listened: Thursday August 5

Even though Lily Allen’s first album was pretty strong, I wasn’t expecting much from her second. Apparently I should have been.

It’s Not Me, It’s You is full of even more family portraits (her sister, mom, and dad this time instead of her brother Alfie and nan), cultural commentary (drugs, George W. Bush, women’s roles in society, God, and, of course, sex),  hilarious boyfriend beatdowns (the first time I heard “Not Fair” – on NPR’s All Songs Considered no less – I laughed my ass off), and touching breakups.

Not to mention, the musical styles – dance, jazz, pseudo-country, piano ballads. Definitely impressive. I love that I can actually hear her smiling on some songs; I didn’t realize how rare that is to hear until I heard it!

She’s now pregnant with her first child and supposedly doesn’t want to do music anymore. Still I wonder what she would have to say about being a mother; I hope she puts out at least one more album so I can find out.