Archive for August, 2012

August 31, 2012

Album 0104: Franz Ferdinand – Eleanor Put Your Boots On

Release Date: 2006
Genre: Alternative Rock

Tracklisting:

1. Eleanor Put Your Boots On (single version) (03:13)
2. Ghost In A Ditch (03:45)
3. Fade Together (Avalanches remix) (03:51)
4. Sound And Vision (03:08)

Total Length: 13:56

Eleanor Put Your Boots On actually does differ from the album version, but with the exception of bridge I much prefer the album version. Ghost In A Ditch is a new track, mostly acoustic. It has some neat ideas but it doesn’t really have any of the charm that I love about Franz Ferdinand. Fade Together is remixed, and I don’t really like it honestly. Too much added crap that’s unnecessary (like the vinyl static) and by making the vocals so much more spread out, they lose all the power they had in the original. Really this single is only useful to me in that I still like the single version of the title track.

Edit (10/01/2013): I added the track Sound And Vision. It’s from a compilation but I’m picky and don’t want to do the whole compilation, and this single is the closest timeframe for it. I doubt anyone reading this will really get mad at me for it. The track is a David Bowie cover, and it’s really nice though I feel that the intro is a bit long, and the song feels like it ends right when it gets going.

Final Rating: 5.5/10

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August 30, 2012

Album 0103: Forest Of Fog – Rabenflug

Release Date: 2004
Genre: Black Metal

Tracklisting:

1. Intro (01:34)
2. Scwertes Blut (06:01)
3. Das Licht Erlosch (06:04)
4. Walking The Endless Path (05:04)
5. Nebelleben (05:29)
6. Rabenflug (05:11)

Total Length: 29:22

The Intro is just piano and some atmospheric sounds. It sure sounds nice but it has no real use to the rest of the album and is pretty unnecessary. Schwertes Blut has some cool riffs and the production is pretty good for a demo. All of the tracks on here are instrumental as well, so it’s a pretty good starter black metal record for someone who is especially not a fan of harsh vocals.

Das Licht Erlosch is more of the same, and honestly these songs, while sounding very similar to each other, work better without vocals. You still get the emotions that is being put forth. Walking The Endless Path is again very similar. I really can’t differentiate these songs in my head for whatever reason, I just enjoy them while they are playing. Nebelleben is just like the others.

Rabenflug is good as well, and the ending does throw back to the intro. In the end this is a neat little demo that is fun from time to time. But that’s all it is really, just a neat recording.

Final Rating: 8/10

August 29, 2012

Album 0102: Transatlantic – SMPT:e

Release Date: 2000
Genre: Progressive Rock

Tracklisting:

1. All Of The Above

    I. Full Moon Rising
    II. October Winds
    III. Camouflaged In Blue
    IV. Half Alive
    V. Undying Love
    VI. Full Moon Rising (Reprise) (30:59)

2. We All Need Some Light (05:45)
3. Mystery Train (06:52)
4. My New World (16:16)
5. In Held (‘Twas) In I
    I. Glimpses Of Nirvana
    II. In The Autumn Of My Madness
    III. Look To Your Soul
    IV. Grand Finale (17:21)

Total Length: 01:17:12

All Of The Above has a pretty good 4-minute intro before really going into the first section. It’s pretty lighthearted and catchy, using all of the fun and wacky parts of prog rock exclusively so far. Things of course slow down after a point, and the use of 70s-ish keyboard sounds is appreciated. Basically this whole big track is just a big old fun way to waste time. It’s light and kind of poppy and I don’t mind it a bit.

We All Need Some Light is a fairly standard Neal Morse ballad, if you’ve ever heard one. They are very much not my favorite thing, but they are over quickly enough. It just sounds so preachy. Mystery Train is a funky little track. Well, ‘little’ is subjective here because when compared with 20-30 minute tracks on the same album, 7 minutes doesn’t seem all that long. It’s a lot more fun than the previous track, but by the end of it I wonder why it exists.

My New World is probably my favorite Transatlantic song. The intro is relatively short and sweet, and the first verse just works extremely well for me. I don’t really like the main vocals being pushed to the side like that, even for a short period. I just love whenever bands throw in bells, though. I can easily see an argument being made over shortening a bit, but I’ve never really gotten tired of it.

In Held (‘Twas) In I is a cover of a Procol Harum track, arguably the first prog rock ‘epic’. The intro is okay, the nice backing music saves the cheesy speech. The blues influence here is fantastic. I really enjoy this song, and it’s a good showing of where they get a lot (read: all) of their ideas from. I highly enjoy the majority of this album, but based on simple math it almost feels as I don’t really like 40% of it. It’s weird how that works out.

Final Rating: 8/10

August 28, 2012

Album 0101: Altar Of Plauges – White Tomb

Release Date: 2009
Genre: Black Metal/Post Metal

Tracklisting:

1. Earth I – As A Womb (12:03)
2. Earth II – As A Furnace (15:00)
3. Through The Collapse III – Watchers Restrained (09:48)
4. Through The Collapse IV – Gentian Truth (13:10)

Total Length: 50:00

Earth I – As A Womb fades in and sets a creepy atmosphere. The tension that is building is pretty phenomenal. The fast metal kicks in and doesn’t feel out of place at all. It evokes the same feelings as the intro, just in a different manner. I know I repeat this a lot, but I really do love getting entranced by this type of music. You just kind of get into its sway and it has you in its grips.

Of course the track leads directly into Earth II – As A Furnace which continues in the same style. When the black metal section reemerges, I don’t really feel that the higher pitched vocals are the best idea, but they work well enough. The extreme tremolo about halfway through the track is really neat. The rest of it past that point isn’t entirely worth talking about. I’m just not much for the way the vocals were handled.

Through The Collapse III – Watchers Restrained starts off heavy as crap though, and frankly is brilliant. Even with the slightly shorter track time it still feels like more was said and felt than the last track. Through The Collapse IV – Gentian Truth is more of a slow fizz. I don’t mind at all, as it’s very relaxing and the atmosphere is fantastic. I do feel like these last two tracks could have been swapped around. As good as this album is, the ending isn’t much of one. Despite that, this album is fantastic when I’m in the right mood. Sitting back when it’s raining on a lazy afternoon: perfect. Staying late at work and distracting myself with music: not so perfect.

Final Rating: 9/10

August 27, 2012

1-100 Retrospective

So I’ve gotten through 100 albums. I figured I’d do a special post regarding them. It took a while to get through them (as I did nothing for the entire month of April, for shame) but once I got on a roll it was pretty smooth sailing. To give you some quick stats, here’s the tallies on everything here.

Number of artists in first 100 albums: 79 artists. That’s a bit more repeats than I would have expected.
Number of tracks: 1193
Total length of albums: Here’s the biggie. The total length of everything I listened to in these first 100 albums (and this is just listening through once, let alone how many times I listened to the stuff I really liked) is 88 hours, 25 minutes, and 32 seconds. Or labeled more simply as 88:25:32. That is certainly more than I expected. It’s honestly a bit of a staggering number.

The main focus of this is not to list off some stats though, I really wanted to go through everything again, listening to bits here and there and focus on what I considered the best of these albums. Of course my first thought was a simple top 10, but considering the random nature of how I listened to the albums (I don’t know if I’ve specified before, but I literally put a big list of albums into a randomizer to choose what to listen to next) that wouldn’t be fair because the randomizer could pick nothing but good albums or only the crappy ones. So it’ll just be a “Top However Many I End Up Listing”. Let’s begin shall we. And I figure we will make things simple and go alphabetical.

1. Angra – Aurora Consurgens

This album really surprised me. I was a little familiar with Angra, I’d liked a few of their songs but had never really gotten too deep into them. I also had heard through the grapevine over the years that compared to the album that came before this one, this Aurora Consurgens was a disappointment. I went in with low expectations and came out having heard a pretty stunning power metal album, mixing some different styles while never quite straying from the band’s unique sounds. The melodies are catchy and stick with you, and it never really bores at any point.

2. Arcturus – The Sham Mirrors

This album is a perfect showing of just how great wacky music be. It flies in the face of what you would expect at all times while still having a unifying feeling of cold and space. It’s kind of like a rediscovery when I remember that this album exists, it’s just a lot of fun.

3. Black Sabbath – Paranoid

Usually the idea of listening to a classic like this is daunting. It’s extremely hard to listen to an album like this and take it on its own merits. Not only had I heard some of the songs plenty of times before, and multiple versions of them, but the entire aura around the album that gave it universal acclaim almost certainly filtered how I first took the album. What I took on my own after a few listens was the sounds of a band doing something very much unique and discovering their own sound. The songs on here, even at their worst, ooze with effort and creativity. Completely deserving of the word ‘classic’.

4. Blind Guardian – Imaginations From The Other Side

This however is an album that did not take multiple listens to figure out or understand. It does however get better with listens, as all the brilliance of the arrangements and layering show forth past the simple joy of the songs. I absolutely can’t resist singing along with Hansi, and the riffs are impeccable. Literally a near perfect album.

5. Bomb The Music Industry! – Scrambles

I sadly ignored this album for a few years for some odd reason. I was huge into BTMI! their first few years, tracking when a new album was gonna come out and becoming very excited when it was announced that they were using a real drummer on a next album, etc. For some reason they just dropped off my radar. I didn’t dislike them, I just didn’t listen to them. This album does not deserve to be ignored though, it has so much love and creativity and the emotions the band can evoke are fantastic. There are still some issues, like the hardcore songs that have never done anything for me, but pretty much any time Jeff uses some synths is magical.

6. Devin Townsend – Ziltoid The Omniscient

This album is simply a wonder to me. It has so much variety and great moments in it, and I still can’t believe how it was made. The idea that Devin essentially locked himself in his studio for a few months, performing every vocal and instrument (well, and a drum machine) and producing and mixing it himself is incredible. I can’t imagine doing anything like this on my own and churning out something this good. You are doing yourself a disservice if you have never heard this album, or Devin Townsend in general.

7. Dream Theater – A Dramatic Turn Of Events

There are a couple rough spots on this record, I admit it, but when the band is good and on, it’s damn good. The longer tracks honestly match some of their earlier work, and I’ll freely admit that I’m pretty much a sucker for almost everything Dream Theater. I won’t say that these guys can do no wrong, but even when they are playing it safe it still feels refreshing to me. This album in particular, they had a new air to them and they rectified some of the complaints from their previous albums, like having too few songs, not being able to hear the bass, and falling victim to the loudness wars.

8. Fuck Buttons – Tarot Sport

I had no idea what to expect going into this album, and came out extremely surprised and happy. The amount of emotions and style here is pretty surprising. From making me reminisce about 80s movies to feeling like I can do anything this album is great. I believe I mentioned it during the review, but just like some more atmospheric black metal (Drudkh for example) I get the exact same trance type effect of getting lost in the music.

9. Ghost – Opus Eponymous

Here’s a mother of an album. A bunch of friends kept going on and on and on about this album, and I didn’t think it could live up to that kind of praise. It completely does. Whenever I think of any part of any song off this album I suddenly want to listen to the whole thing. It’s so absurdly good that it makes me afraid how much I am going to hype up Ghost’s upcoming second album.

10. Helloween – Rabbit Don’t Come Easy

I kind of put this album in the same line of thought as Drudkh. My opinion on it wavers from time to time and I wasn’t sure if I really wanted it included in a ‘best of’ list. Then to test it out I went back and listened to some of the album and my god is it catchy. A song or two may not be great, but man does this album make me feel good.

12. Helloween – Unarmed – Best Of 25th Anniversary

Honestly this Helloween album has the same issue, but like Gogol Bordello the few ‘excellent’ songs validate its place on the list. I still think this is an insanely cool idea for a band’s anniversary album as well. Instead of simply reissuing the same songs we’ve heard before, they did something genuinely new and different with the songs, and in the case of at least a couple of them I prefer these newer versions.

13. Kamelot – The Black Halo

Definitely an odd case here for me. In a reversal of the last couple ones on the list, I actually like the individual songs on their own a lot better rather than thinking of this as a whole album. It’s hard to describe what I mean, but basically I know this album has great songs, but I can’t really think of it as an amazing album at the end. Before anyone cuts my head off, I certainly don’t consider it a bad album but for some reason listening to a whole Kamelot album just rubs me the wrong way, despite liking the songs.

14/15. Less Than Jake – Greetings From Less Than Jake / TV/EP

I’m just going to save a bit of time and combine these two, mostly because of their length. They are fantastic little EPs, and the change in direction Less Than Jake has undergone since leaving their major label is amazing. In 2006 I would have said the band is out of creative juice, but these two little slices are absolutely fantastic.

16. Moonsorrow – Verisäkeet

Moonsorrow is good any day of the year. This is a band I’m not afraid to throw out the word ‘epic’ when describing. Their compositions are of course lengthy and well worth investing in, but their productions are pretty absurdly layered and there is always something new to listen for.

17. Nevermore – This Godless Endeavor

This album is full of great riffs and choruses, but by far the highlight is Sentient 6. This is one of those types of songs that I can see myself still listening to 20 years from now and really should have gotten them more recognition.

18. Oingo Boingo – Good For Your Soul

There’s no surprise here and in the next couple of albums. Boingo is by far my favorite band and I keep coming back to them and somehow there is always something new they are offering me, even in songs I’ve heard dozens and hundreds of times before. Good For Your Soul is sort of the end of a certain era of Boingo, the fast angry Boingo. Not my favorite album of theirs in a sense, but my god the songs on here are all just so brilliant.

19. Oingo Boingo – Nothing To Fear

Nothing To Fear is still this same type of Boingo, but they were really starting to experiment a bit at this point. Some songs were a bit more subdued, and the arrangements even somehow managed to improve. Almost certainly one of my favorite albums of all time. Seriously.

20. Oingo Boingo – Only A Lad

Only A Lad still can blow my mind like Ziltoid can. The production quality here for their first album is pretty astounding, and the band is completely on point. I literally cannot understand why these guys were only popular in southern california. These may not be the most technically proficient songs and playing, and the lyrics may not be the most poetic or politically charged, but there is a magic here than I can’t fathom.

21. Oingo Boingo/Danny Elfman – So-Lo

Same idea here. As I said in the previous post, I have no idea how none of these songs were enormous hits. Most bands I’ve ever heard struggle to write a song as good as Cool City. Just unbelievably brilliant, and like I said this band is always, always good to me.

22. Pain Of Salvation – Remedy Lane

What a damn good album to start this whole escapade on. The music challenges you, and each listen of the album ingratiates you more and more until the album is a part of you. It’s kind of like playing a video game that seems way too tough at first: once it clicks it feels really damn great.

23. Queen – A Day At The Races

Just like Black Sabbath, this album and band are absolutely deserving of being called timeless classics. This is definitely a pure album experience. Sure, you can find a few faults with a song here or there, but you listen to the album through and you’re better for it. And it’s worth noting that yes, some of the songs still get me pretty friggin’ close to tears.

24. Radiohead – OK Computer

A few days or weeks ago I didn’t think this album was going to end up on this list. I would have noted it at the bottom of this post, but I wasn’t going to list it as one of the best. It clicked with me though. I don’t quite yet considering it a life-changing record (which is a leftover of that little issue of outside perception I mentioned with Sabbath) but it definitely resonates with me.

25. Rx Bandits – Mandala

Yet another that I can describe as a great album experience. This one definitely took me a few listens to really get, as it was yet another slight change of style and tone for the band. I absolutely love it though and don’t find myself bored at all.

26. The Aquabats! – Hi-Five Soup!

I bare no remorse for adding this album on here. It’s super incredibly catchy and fun, and by god if I don’t love listening to it every change I get. It just blows my mind how much I love this.

27. The Dear Hunter – Act I: The Lake South, The River North

This band is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Just a brilliant mix of styles, and it’s got enough elements of avant-garde music to keep it interesting the first few listens, and then the power of the melodies and vocals keep you hooked for pretty much forever.

28. The Phenomenauts – For All Mankind

Same idea as The Aquabats!. I’m surprised how much I like this album. It’s so incredibly catchy and their mix of modern lyrics and rockabilly stylings is so absurdly cool.

29/30. Therion – Lemuria / Sirius B

Just a brilliant set of albums, and Therion are by far the kings of operatic metal. I’ll point out that again these are great album experiences, as a lot of the songs can’t be fully enjoyed out of context in all honesty.

31. Týr – By The Light Of The Northern Star

I can’t say enough good things about Týr or this album. TO some they may seem simplistic, but there’s a certain melodiousness to them that just completely and utterly appeals to me.

32. Týr – The Lay Of Thrym

Same thing here, I can’t get enough of this band. They are a band that truly live up to the title of folk metal, and not because they throw in corny instruments, but because most of their basis is in songs that would be sung at a bar or by a campfire put to metal. Just brilliant.

Whew, that got a bit bigger than I expected. And now I can say that if I had tried to pick ten of those only then this post wouldn’t have been completed for at least a week. To put into perspective how much this concept of one album per day has helped me, half of those top 32 albums I had either ignored or just never even tried listening to before. And of those 15, definitely a few rank in my top albums ever. Definitely been a huge benefit to me. However, some people may get annoyed at certain things I left off, so let’s quickly go through the

Honorable Mentions

1. Atheist – Unquestionable Presence

This is an album I pretty much have to talk about for a few minutes simply because of the influence it has had. I really do enjoy it, but I don’t consider it a favorite.

2. Candlemass – Nightfall

Kind of the same idea as Atheist here. This album has left a huge mark on metal, and I highly enjoy some songs but it hasn’t quite struck me and been life changing.

3. Disillusion – Three Neuron Kings

This is pretty much a perfect EP, but because of its length I neglected to include it on the main list. You should still absolutely go listen to it right now.

4. Dream Theater – Falling Into Infinity / Demos

While I can’t list either of these as amazing albums, I wanted to include as a what could have been. The finished album sounds great but leaves me wanting, while the demos could have been an amazing double album but the unfinished quality of it makes me not necessarily want to sit down and really listen to it too often.

5. Drudkh – Autumn Aurora

There are some great tracks here and I love getting lost in those few songs, but something about that I can’t quite describe keeps me from listing it as an absolute top album.

6. Gogol Bordello – Super Taranta!

When I first heard this album right around the time it first came out I was obsessed with it. I played it over and over. My appreciation for it has waned a bit, but there are some extremely great songs on here not worth missing.

7. Rhapsody Of Fire – Triumph Or Agony

I just can’t bear to put this on the main list. It’s a good album experience, and the big track is brilliant but there are just too many flaws to ignore.

8. Sonata Arctica – The Days Of Grays

I really wanted to flat out love this album, but I just can’t. It just feels like too much, but there are some amazing songs on here.

9. Stephen Lynch – Superhero

Being more of a comedy record than an album, I didn’t quite feel right including it in the main list, but it is still fantastic.

10. Summoning – Let Mortal Heroes Sing Your Fame

I absolutely love the sound only Summoning does but this album, despite being rated pretty highly, doesn’t quite strike me enough to be on the main list.

11. The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

I’m sure someone eventually would have smacked me for not including this. Once again the influence it has had is undeniable, and I recognize that it is a good album, but it’s not quite for me.

12. The Bridges – Limits Of The Sky

I’m including this one simply because of the surprise it gave me. I didn’t think I could ever enjoy an album in this style, and yet here we are. It really makes me believe that I could probably like any style of music assuming it’s done well.

13. The Vandals – Oi To The World!

And we’ll end it here. This isn’t too brilliant of an album, but I really do honestly enjoy most of the songs and it’s a good, surprising Christmas album.

August 26, 2012

Album 0100: Oingo Boingo – So-Lo

Release Date: 1984
Genre: New Wave/Pop/Rock

Tracklisting:

1. Gratitude (05:14)
2. Cool City (03:28)
3. Go Away (04:02)
4. Sucker For Mystery (05:19)
5. It Only Makes Me Laugh (04:06)
6. The Last Time (04:13)
7. Tough As Nails (04:39)
8. Lightning (03:46)
9. Everybody Needs (03:50)

Total Length: 38:38

Okay, first things first: technically, this is a Danny Elfman solo album. However, 2 of the songs were demoed for the band’s previous album, and another 3 or 4 of the tracks were performed by the band live and so I consider it a band album. Anyway, Gratitude is a fantastic song. Really evocative lyrics and it’s catchy as crap. Just great. Cool City is flat out amazing though. The atmosphere on this track is just dripping, it really feels like a big, dirty city and the lyrics are amazing.

Speaking of atmosphere, Go Away has possibly the best arrangement for a pop song ever. The tons of different sounds going on in this melancholic piece is amazing. It wows me every time I hear it. Sucker For Mystery is decidedly weaker than the previous tracks, but oh man is it still good. More fantastic atmosphere, and the descriptions of someone obsessed with mystery (novels or movies). It just maybes goes on a touch long. It Only Makes Me Laugh is a complete change in direction, with a ska song based on Schadenfreude. Words can’t describe how much I love this song.

The Last Time is more of a ballad, and it’s not my favorite song but I never regret listening to it. Danny gives a fine performance. Tough As Nails is the first song that was demoed for Good For Your Soul. It’s a funky song about machismo people. Pretty scathing, honestly. My only real complaint about the song is the weird dolphin sample they use two or three times. The bridge though is a 20-year precursor to how Danny does the Oompa Loompa voices.

Lightning was also tried out for the previous album. It’s a song I’ve never really been able to get into, but I don’t mind. Danny has some great vocal moments in it as well. Everybody Needs is pretty cool, but definitely isn’t up to par with some of the other songs. Still has some good moments though. The highlight of this album is for sure the first couple of songs, but I really do just love this album. It’s such an odd slice in the history of the band and I struggle to figure out how none of these songs were big singles.

Final Rating: 9/10

August 23, 2012

Album 0099: Iced Earth – Horror Show

Release Date: 2001
Genre: Heavy/Power Metal

Tracklisting:

1. Wolf (05:20)
2. Damien (09:12)
3. Jack (04:15)
4. Ghost Of Freedom (05:12)
5. Im-Ho-Tep (Pharaoh’s Curse) (04:46)
6. Jekyll & Hyde (04:40)
7. Dragon’s Child (04:22)
8. Frankenstein (03:5)
9. Dracula (05:54)
10. The Phantom Opera Ghost (08:42)
11. Transylvania (04:30)

Total Length: 01:00:40

Note: There is also about 70 minutes of tracks consisting of an interview with Jon Schaffer. Combined the total length is 02:10:08. The interview talks about the making of this album, the history of Iced Earth, one of Jon’s side projects, and various other aspects of Jon Schaffer.

Wolf is pretty much one of the best metal tracks ever. The opening is spooky and sets the mood, and that scream is legendary. Then the main riff kicks in even harder with Matt Barlow’s awesome vocals. What a brilliant song. Damien is a song based on The Omen series of movies. It starts off with a really cool choir intro, before going into a nice acoustic section. The metal riffs come out of nowhere and are awesome. Pretty cool song overall, and the length doesn’t bother me.

Jack is based on Jack the Ripper, and it has a cool main riff and cooler chorus, but doesn’t quite live up to the standard set by the first two songs. Ghost Of Freedom is the only original song on here not based off of a horror story. It’s more of a ballad but not a very good one. The only part I really like is when the backing vocals come in for the chanted “don’t tread on me” line. Im-Ho-Tep (Pharaoh’s Curse) is simply okay, there’s not too much I really like about the song.

Jekyll & Hyde has a fairly cool riff, solo section, and chorus, but the rest doesn’t entirely appeal to me. Dragon’s Child has some really neat moments, but again just isn’t entirely memorable to me. Frankenstein is probably the most bland song on here, it’s not bad but just… average. Dracula is pretty good. Nothing too bad to say about it.

The Phantom Opera Ghost gets us back on the spectacular level of the first two songs. Just incredibly beautiful, the mixture of hard and soft parts and the addition of a female vocalist makes it even better. I hardly even notice its length, and honestly the song consistently amazes me. Transylvania is an Iron Maiden cover, and an instrumental track and the band does it exceptionally well. In the interview, it was discussed that Horror Show was originally conceived as an EP. Honestly, I almost rather it had stayed that way. There’s just a couple songs on here that don’t do much for me, or blend together in my head. If this had been an EP consisting of only, say, Wolf, Damien, Dragon’s Child, Phantom Opera Ghost, and some other track I would have rated it much higher.

Final Rating: 7/10

August 22, 2012

Album 0098: Save Ferris – Modified

Release Date: 1999
Genre: Ska/Punk/Pop

Tracklisting:

1. Turn It Up (03:03)
2. The Only Way To Be (03:18)
3. I’m Not Cryin’ For You (04:03)
4. Your Friend (03:42)
5. No Love (04:49)
6. Angry Situation (03:38)
7. What You See Is What You Get (03:19)
8. One More Try (01:06)
9. Mistaken (03:24)
10. Holding On (03:26)
11. Let Me In/Modified (12:03)

Total Length: 45:50

Turn It Up is a pretty fantastic song with a memorable, short intro and extremely catchy vocals. The Only Way To Be however kind of falls flat on its face. It tries to be interesting but the verse is just plain boring, and the chorus can’t save it. The vocal effects in the last verse is also incredibly cliche and overdone. I’m Not Cryin’ For You has a cheesy intro, and really has nothing redeeming to it.

Your Friend is wholly unremarkable. No Love has some good moments. Her vocals are pretty good here, and the little percussion/marimba in the background is by far the highlight of the whole song. I do feel that it goes on a bit too long, and is again too cheesy. Angry Situation is actually mostly good, except for the bridge. What You See Is What You Get remains pretty fun throughout, especially the horn line.

One More Try is a weird little interlude track with a bunch of synth stuff. I don’t understand the purpose. Mistaken is a fairly average punk song. Holding On is okay, it has some neat moments but kind of feels too poppy. That can obviously work, but it really doesn’t mesh with this band. Let Me In is another good example of this. It’s a synth-heavy, dramatic song. She sings it well, it’s performed well and yet something just feels ‘off’ about it. It’s also way long for very little payoff at 6 minutes for this type of song.

Modified starts after a few minutes of silence, and is a decent track. It’s not wacky enough or sounds rough enough to be hidden. I really have no idea why it is, it would have been a better track than more than a few others on here. This album can be summed up as ‘disappointment’ simply because the first track is just that good.

Final Rating: 4/10

August 21, 2012

Album 0097: The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – Let’s Face It

Release Date: 1997
Genre: Ska/Punk

Tracklisting:

1. Noise Brigade (02:14)
2. The Rascal King (02:46)
3. Royal Oil (02:39)
4. The Impression That I Get (03:15)
5. Let’s Face It (02:33)
6. That Bug Bit Me (02:07)
7. Another Drinkin’ Song (03:49)
8. Numbered Days (03:11)
9. Break So Easily (02:45)
10. Nevermind Me (03:23)
11. Desensitized (02:05)
12. 1-2-8 (02:39)

Total Length: 33:25

Noise Brigade is just a whole lot of fun with some wonderful hooks and vocal lines. Dicky Barrett’s voice is a bit toned down in this record, usually being placed with a couple other vocals/backing tracks. The Rascal King is fairly good. I’m not too hot on the chorus but it’s still a fun track. Royal Oil is fantastic, adding some emotion into their usual blend and just plain catchy as hell.

The Impression That I Get is their big single from the album, and rightly so. It’s a heck of a song that just sticks in your head for a long time to come. Let’s Face It is very catchy with some pretty great lyrics. It still feels odd to me that tolerance and unity is an idea that has to be learned. Just baffling. That Bug Bit Me is kind of a nice punk song.

Another Drinkin’ Song really doesn’t do much for me. Kind of a let down after the last few songs. Numbered Days has a cool chorus but the rest is just okay. Break So Easily similarly has an incredibly great chorus, but this time the remaining parts of the song are emotionally pleasing as well. Nevermind Me has some cheesy 90s moments in the production, but the core of the song is very enjoyable.

Desensitized is fairly good, I can’t really say anything too fantastic about it. 1-2-8 has an interesting chorus but the rest isn’t great. This album is short enough to listen through and not really be bored by any points, and when it is good it is really good. I can’t entirely say I love it though, as always with this band I feel like a bit more polish could have helped tremendously.

Final Rating: 7.5/10

August 20, 2012

Album 0096: Radiohead – OK Computer

Release Date: 1997
Genre: Alternative Rock

Tracklisting:

1. Airbag (04:44)
2. Paranoid Android (06:23)
3. Subterranean Homesick Alien (04:28)
4. Exit Music (For A Film) (04:25)
5. Let Down (04:59)
6. Karma Police (04:22)
7. Fitter Happier (01:57)
8. Electioneering (03:51)
9. Climbing Up The Walls (04:45)
10. No Surprises (03:49)
11. Lucky (04:20)
12. The Tourist (05:25)

Total Length: 53:27

Airbag is a pretty cool song. I like the atmosphere it conveys, and Thom Yorke’s voice works on it. Paranoid Android has touches of really good and just alright. I like the beginning and the harder sections, but I suppose it’s that third section that doesn’t do much for me. Subterranean Homesick Alien almost feels like more of a traditional song, but not in a bad way. I really like the atmosphere on it.

Exit Music (For A Film) just doesn’t interest me. Low key, vocal heavy songs can work but I’m really just not feeling it here. Let Down is a lot better though, the melodies and feelings it evokes are really good, though the synths at the end are pretty cheesy. Speaking of cheese, here comes Karma Police. I still like this song, but the chorus really just grates on me, especially that little piano bit following the vocal. I’m not sure what it is. I still recognize that it is a good track, but something just puts me off. I do really enjoy the sampled backing vocals in the last minute though, really adds a cool air to it.

Fitter Happier is an odd little track with a Microsoft Sam voice or whatever. I have to ask, was this a thing back then? Was Radiohead the first to do it, because listening to it these days just sounds cheesy and overdone, and I’m just thankful that it’s a short track. Electioneering is a lot more of a ‘rock’ song than anything else so far, and it’s a welcome change of pace. Very cool track. Climbing Up The Walls has some neat melodies, but its buried in a song that just keeps going and going for no reason.

No Surprises starts off really well, but I’m not entirely fond of the chorus. Lucky is a very good track, combining some of the better parts and moods from the rest of the album into a culmination of the ‘happiest’ song. I actually enjoy Thom’s vocals here. The Tourist is pretty good, it honestly has just the tiniest bit of post-rock in it, the buildup is pretty good. Despite some negative comments or misgivings I’ve said so far, I do enjoy this album. It’s not something I’ll put on when I’m wanting to have a fantastic, happy time, but it’s a good album and I can respect that.

Final Rating: 8/10