7.22.2007

Explaining my last post

These things "so rule right now" because they're awesome! Here is a brief justification of that lofty claim.


The Fiery Furnaces - Widow City
I loved Blueberry Boat, and I hated everything else these guys have done since. I "picked this one up" primarily because I was praying for something similar to the other album, with the same exciting sense of rapid movement that their musical schizophrenia creates when they're in top form. Secondarily because it was all over OiNK and downloading has removed the risk in music consumption. Smooth transitions, minute changes in the rhythm and lyrical motifs have always been sort of the band's trademark, giving their songs a sort of literary quality, like I'm listening to the most high-budget audiobook ever. The most enjoyable aspect here is the complete lack of self-referencing; the band is totally serious and believable. Eleanor's stream-of-conscious Gertrude Stein-esque vocals, in which half the time she is just talking with rhythm, repeating fragments of phrases, help the feeling like she is maybe thinking this, or confiding to her diary. This album may help The Fiery Furnaces escape the kind of pigeonholing they've had before in their career, but Widow City establishes that they have something weirdly in common with bands like Man Man and the Arcade Fire who, in envisioning their own worlds, seem to forget the fact that they are just one of many bands making music.

Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam
Strawberry Jam is quickly overtaking Sung Tongs as my favorite Animal Collective album. I was less than excited to download this one because I was afraid they would try to pull a fast one on us like they did with the criminally overrated Feels. Feels, despite its position as the most popular Animal Collective album, is an enormous failure because it tried too hard to be beautiful (it's their "love album") and ended up with no substance. A greater influence on lyrics has established this is their "dark" album, but that classification just means that this album is more substantial than anything the band has done to date. As they gain substance, they enhance their individuality with new influences such as a definite Terry Riley on "#1". The lyrics are still more evocative than anything else, but at least songs like "For Reverend Green" are indicative of a band that is smarter and more observant ("From one moment to the next/A thousand wasted bookmarkers all depressed/The ins and outs of something's chest/He'll only be a friend if he touches your breast") rather than a bunch of naive kids making a retarded song like "The Purple Bottle" (Lyrics unnecessary).

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