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U2 – October

11 11 2010

Listened: Monday October 11

I’ve heard October referred to as U2’s weakest album, the inevitable sophomore slump.  Bono’s notebooks full of lyrics were stolen right before recording, but I really think they made lemonade out of those lemons.

Gloria is a very underrated song in the U2 canon. According to Wikipedia, neither the song nor the video is included on any of their compilations. I don’t really understand why; it’s probably their first really anthemic song, if a little odd, given the Latin lyrics.

This album seems to be the most piano-heavy of all U2 albums. I actually kind of like the simple piano tones juxtaposed with The Edge’s signature guitar sound.

I guess I have to agree that if I was forced to rank U2 albums from top to bottom this one would be in the bottom half. But the competition is so fierce, I’m not sure that’s fair! Any run of the mill band would be thrilled to have an album this good.

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Underworld – Oblivion With Bells

11 11 2010

Listened: Monday October 11

Underworld have mellowed in their old age, and it suits them just fine. This album isn’t anthemic, but each song bubbles with life and makes me think of driving fast down a straight road at night.

I’m normally not a big fan of robo-voices in songs, but I love it when Underworld does it as a backing vocal to a lyric like “People are squinting to block out the sun, complaining or soaking it up, praying for rain the next minute for a scorched earth. What’s it worth, enough is never enough, let’s have a little moan. Put the world to right, sit back and watch it all slide by, it’s a view from a train…”





Damien Rice – O

11 11 2010

Listened: Monday October 11

O is a lovely album, but I don’t know that I own too many other universally painful albums. Longing and strife is apparent in each and every song. I have to be careful to listen to it only at appropriate times, or it makes me want to end it all.

I had been hearing about Damien Rice for some time, and then I saw Closer, which uses his music, particularly The Blower’s Daughter, to fabulous effect, given that the film is also full of pain and complication. I decided I needed to see what else he had to offer, and bought the album.

As much as I enjoy it, because of the deep emotional challenges of it, it doesn’t elicit the feeling of “Wow, I need to own his next album.” Who knows though – maybe he became Mr. Upbeat on his followup!





Various – Nude Dimensions Vol 3

11 11 2010

Listened: Monday October 11

Apparently I love deep house and downtempo, since I love Nude Dimensions and Wikipedia says that’s what you would call it. I don’t even remember how I ended up with this CD, I think it was back at the very end of college or just after. They’re locally based, so maybe that’s why I wanted to check them out.

It’s great work music and could be great “getting ready to go out” music too. It’s not super-chill music – it has interesting beats and jazzy touches and it really helps move momentum along. It’s one of those CDs that flows along so well that it’s over before you even absorb that it started. They also don’t run with a groove for too long like some similarly-oriented music. It stays interesting and moves on to the next thing when it’s time.

The woman on the cover reminds me of Mrs Robinson (the hairstyle and the streak in it). That’s kind of disturbing.





Ash – Nu-Clear Sounds

11 11 2010

Listened: Friday October 8

I get the impression that Ash really hit their stride with this album. 1977 was awesome, but here it sounds like they’re really basking in the glow of being young rock stars. The energy level is really high and full of “woohoohoo”s and crunchy guitars. I can hear the Weezer influence clearly on this album.





Andrew Bird – Noble Beast

11 11 2010

Listened: Friday October 8

Noble Beast is a very pretty and mellow album. Andrew Bird sings like Jeff Buckley and is musically similar to Jose Gonzales plus whistling and tons of strings (he’s a classically trained violinist).

I really enjoy this album, but I don’t think I’m enough of a classical music geek to really get into it. I think people with experience in that area would be able to appreciate it more than I do.