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The Whitest Boy Alive – Rules

25 02 2011

Listened: Friday February 4

Rules is The Whitest Boy Alive’s follow-up to Dreams. It’s a lovely, jazzy, chill out or background music album. It’s one of those albums that makes me feel bad that I can’t say anything insightful or overly praiseworthy about it. I know it’s good, but it’s hard to say why. Basically, it puts me in a positive mood and begs me to sing along and tap my feet. Sometimes that’s all it takes!

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The Beatles – Rubber Soul

25 02 2011

Listened: Wednesday February 2

Rubber Soul is another Beatles album I remember listening to as I got ready for high school in the morning. To me, Rubber Soul and Revolver are two halves of one long album. They’re both albums where the Beatles are starting to really play around with themes, harmonies, and sounds. Like Revolver, the album starts with a funky number (Drive My Car, Taxman) and proceeds to a well crafted story song (Norwegian Wood, Eleanor Rigby).

And finally, like Revolver, it has a song that makes me slightly uncomfortable because it makes me think of OJ Simpson. That might sound a little odd, but that was the time period in which I was introduced to these albums. Let me explain – Run for Your Life is a pretty unpleasant song (I believe later John said it was pretty tasteless on his part and evidence of his immaturity at the time) about the narrator possibly killing his girlfriend if he catches her with another man. Self-explanatory. And I Want To Tell You from Revolver is the name of OJ Simpson’s book he wrote to raise money for his defense. Kind of interesting both of those things came together at the right time to make a lasting association.

Until I read commentary on it, I didn’t think about how it seems the narrator in Eleanor Rigby might have burned the house down because he his offer of sex was turned down. Naively I thought he just used the fireplace. But after someone mentioned it, I thought that probably seemed reasonable. After all, isn’t it at least the pop psychology that arsonists are sexually frustrated or repressed individuals?

The song Girl always makes me laugh both appreciatively and warily; it has a very lecherous vibe without actually articulating such in the lyrics. The teeth sucking sound is done very well by John. I get the idea that girl described in the song is driving him nuts, but he puts up with it because she’s good in the sack.

Finally, as a John Lennon person, how could I not love In My Life. It’s the perfect example of a pop song.





ballboy – The Royal Theatre

25 02 2011

Listened: Wednesday February 2

How could I not like an album with a song called “I Don’t Have Time To Stand Here With You Fighting About The Size Of My Dick”? An album that can simultaneously have a song on it (We Are Past Our Dancing Days) that makes someone walk into my office and say “Oh, this is a nice song. Who is it?”

That’s why I love ballboy – a heaping spoonful of snark coupled with pleasant and/or righteous music.

 





Lucky Dube – The Rough Guide to Lucky Dube

25 02 2011

Listened: Thursday January 27

I don’t remember why I decided to buy this album. I think I wanted to hear what reggae from Africa sounded like.

What I do remember is that one morning, not too long afterward, when my alarm went off and I was lying in bed listening to NPR, I heard the horrible news that he had been shot and killed in front of his children by carjackers in South Africa. It’s one of the more jarring morning news radio moments I’ve had.

After that, I started to listen to this album in earnest. The line “Crime does not pay” from Prisoner was depressingly appropriate.

I have to admit some of the production isn’t that great, and the songs aren’t super-different from each other (but I guess this could be said for most reggae) but I love the sunny tone of the music. This is the perfect music for a big happy concert on a summer day.





Basement Jaxx – Rooty

25 02 2011

Listened: Thursday January 27

I was a Basement Jaxx fan before going on my trip to England and Wales, so when their new song Romeo was one of those ubiquitous songs during the trip, that was pretty cool. I imagine it was probably before the album had been released in the US as well. And I love getting the jump on new music!

I still love Remedy the most, but I do appreciate how tight the Basement Jaxx songs and albums get as they go along. They really get into perfecting their craft. Also impressive is how many guests they get on their albums, starting with Kish Kash.

The albino gorilla on the cover is just random. I can’t decide if it’s risky or brilliant.





Roots of Orchis – Roots of Orchis EP

25 02 2011

Listened: Wednesday January 26

Even though Roots of Orchis is only an EP, I love it. I wish it was longer. It’s a fabulously moody instrumental trip through time and space. Beautiful guitars and interesting rhythms abound.

The EP is somewhere between the more straightforward rock of Red House, and the very electronic Crooked Ceilings. It seems like this EP is hard to find though – good luck with that!





John Vanderslice – Romanian Names

25 02 2011

Listened: Wednesday January 26

John Vanderslice’s Romanian Names is one of those wonderful random discoveries. It was for sale on Amazon, so I took a chance and I’m glad I did. It’s a well crafted modern singer-songwriter album. Just like the title and the cover photo, it reminds me of traveling in Europe. He even gives a shout-out to vacationing in Serbia.