Monday, November 30, 2009

1023 - Mojo 2. Peggy Lee - Black Coffee (1953)

















Track Listing

1. Black Coffee
2. I've Got You Under My Skin
3. Easy Living
4. My Heart Belongs To Daddy
5. A Woman Alone With The Blues
6. I Didn't Know What Time It Was
7. When The World Was Young
8. Love Me Or Leave Me


Review

A much better quality recording than Sinatra's which just goes to show how fast the medium developed since 1946. This is a really cool album, cool in the 1950s sense of the word. Full of trumpets and a fast swing, it's some great stuff.

Peggy Lee has got a really great voice which suits the songs chosen for this recording really well, slightly mischievous, slightly world-weary and very heartfelt, her voice works wonders on these themes.

The version in this recording of My Heart Belongs to Daddy is a definitive one with less of the annoying or creepy themes coming to mind and more of a Moll feel to it. So another great album on the Mojo list, starting very well.

Track Highlights

1. My Heart Belongs to Daddy
2. Love Me Or Leave Me
3. Black Coffee
4. Easy Living

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

On October 26, 2004, the album was reissued as part of the Verve Records Master Edition series, Verve and Decca now both units within the giant Universal Music Group conglomerate. The track sequence followed that of the 1956 twelve-inch reissue. No original producer is listed, although Milt Gabler is mentioned in the reissue credits as Decca A&R.

My Heart Belongs to Daddy:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

1022. Mojo 1 - Frank Sinatra - The Voice of Frank Sinatra (1946)














Track Listing

1. You Go To My Head
2. Someone To Watch Over Me
3. These Foolish Things (Remind Me Of You)
4. Why Shouldn't I?
5. I Don't Know Why (I Just Do)
6. Try A Little Tenderness
7. (I Don't Stand) A Ghost Of A Chance
8. Paradise

Review


And now for something completely different! Now we start the Mojo Collection... as you see up there the posts will be keeping their numbering with the added "Mojo #" next to them. A lot of the albums here I've already listened to and will not go through again, as such I will mark those I skip in the following post, directing you to my earlier review, and the Mojo number will reflect them.

Some have asked about me doing some statistics on the albums I've listened to, such as figuring out which is the best year etc. etc. I'd really like to do that at some point, and it will be something I'll work on and post eventually, So more music for you.

We start here with what is the very first album. Columbia opted to put these 4 78 Rpms together into a 10" almost-LP, and you get the very first of the Sinatra recordings in one handy plate.

This music actually feels pretty appropriate for the time of the year with December knocking on the door, scratchy Sinatra always seems to have a kind of Christmassy mood.

He sounds pretty young here, his voice is higher than at later dates, but the voice is clear as a bell even with such an old recording, it ends up being pretty lovely stuff in such a short collection clocking at just over 20 minutes. I might be getting sentimental or its just the effect of some oldies after such modernity but I really am enjoying going back to the 50s.

Track Highlights


1. You Go To My Head
2. Paradise
3. These Foolish Things
4. A Ghost of a Chance

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

It was first issued as a set of four 78 rpm records totaling eight songs, and went to #1 on the fledgling Billboard chart. It stayed at the top for seven weeks in 1946, spending a total of eighteen weeks on the charts. The album chart consisted of just a Top Five until August 1948.

It also holds the distinction of being the first pop album catalogue item at 33⅓ rpm, when Columbia premiered long-playing vinyl records in 1948, ten-inch and twelve-inch format for classical music, ten-inch only for pop. The Voice was reissued as a 10" LP, catalogue number CL 6001 in 1948. It was also later issued as two 45 rpm EPs in 1952, a 12" LP with a changed running order including only five of the original tracks in 1955, and a compact disc with extra tracks in 2003.

You Go To My Head:

To celebrate my end of the previous list here's a video of a track that wasn't on the list but really should be and that reminds me of the whole thing.

I'm losing my edge:

Saturday, November 28, 2009

1021. Klaxons - Myths of the Near Future (2007)

















Track Listing

1. Two Receivers
2. Atlantis To Interzone
3. Golden Skans
4. Totem On The Timeline
5. As Above So Below
6. Isle Of Her
7. Gravity's Rainbow
8. Forgotten Works
9. Magick
10. It's Not Over Yet
11. Four Horsemen of 2012

Review

While I really like this album I can't stop but think how much they sound like a mix of The Coral and The Liars... and they sound a bit too much like both, particularly The Liars for comfort. What I hear here is a lighter version of The Liars.

That being said the album has a much wider appeal and a much more immediate impact than The Liars do... and it is chock-full of great references from J.G. Ballard to Burroughs to Aleister Crowley.

So I liked it but it is too derivative for its own good. More importantly than any of this, however, is that this is the last of the update albums! The list is now finally over! It will keep going though with a different list. Tomorrow starts the Mojo Collection list, I'll skip albums already done and do all the other ones, including special one-offs on Jamaican Music, Film Soundtracks and the Best of Best Ofs.

See You soon!

Track Highlights

1. Magick
2. Golden Skans
3. It's Not Over Yet
4. Atlantis to Interzone

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia


From Wikipedia:

Upon the week of its release, "Golden Skans" climbed to number seven in the UK Top 40 charts. The album was given a largely enthusiastic review by NME, although it received more mixed reviews from other critics. In the UK, the album was released with an unnamed instrumental at 17:17 of the track "Four Horsemen of 2012". Myths of the Near Future won the Mercury Prize in 2007.

Magick:

Friday, November 27, 2009

1020. Justice - † (2007)

















Track Listing


1. Genesis
2. Let There Be Light
3. DANCE
4. Newjack
5. Phantom
6. Phantom
7. Valentine
8. Tthhee Ppaarrttyy
9. DVNO
10. Stress
11. Waters Of Nazareth
12. One Minute To Midnight


Review

This is a truly great dance album, but it is also one of those which takes its time settling into your brain. First time I heard it it sounded much too dark, however repeated listening show much more nuanced colours to the whole thing.

The music is pretty infectious throughout, mixing rock, funk, prog and electro to make some great noises indeed. This is one of those albums that you might grow to really treasure even after difficult first-impressions.

Tracks like DANCE, Tthhee Ppaarrttyy or DVNO are really happy stuff while the instrumental tracks possess a dark undertone which makes them cool and fascinating while danceable. Hard stuff to manage indeed.

Track Highlights

1. Stress
2. Tthhee Ppaarrttyy
3. DANCE
4. Let There Be Light

Final Grade


9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The concept for † was to be an "opera-disco" album. Xavier de Rosnay stated about the opera disco concept:

We stuck to our original idea to make a 2007 opera-disco album, even if we are conscious that some tracks don't sound like proper disco at first listen. The best example is the song “Waters of Nazareth,” which does not sound like disco when you listen to it for the first time. But if you forget that everything is distorted, the bass lines are just really basic disco patterns.

DANCE:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

1019. M.I.A. - Kala (2007)

















Track Listing

1. Bamboo Banga
2. Bird Flu
3. Boyz
4. Jimmy
5. Hussel
6. Mango Pickle Down River
7. 20 Dollar
8. World Town
9. Turn
10. XR2
11. Paper Planes
12. Come Around

Review

Another M.I.A. album and another great one. M.I.A. continues what she started in Arular and develops into a full blown world-rave, party music with a message. Her references range from the Modern Lovers to Bollywood and everywhere in between.

So she starts off the album quoting from Roadrunner by the Modern Lovers and even quotes the Pixies in 20 Dollar, throughout she samples from Bollywood, African music, Aboriginal music etc, etc.

It is interesting to not that the tracks she did herself are actually the best ones here. Timbaland's contribution to the last track is actually pretty poor in comparison to her stuff. So yeah, looking forward to her next works.

Track Highlights


1. Paper Planes
2. Bamboo Banga
3. Jimmy
4. World Town

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

M.I.A. named the album after her mother, in contrast to her first album Arular, which was named after her father, and stated that her mother's struggles in life are a major theme of the recording. Tracks for the album were recorded during 2006 and 2007 in various locations around the world, including India and Trinidad. Planned sessions in the United States failed to occur after M.I.A. was refused a visa to re-enter the country.

Paper Planes:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

1018. Radiohead - In Rainbows (2007)


















Track Listing

1. 15 Step
2. Bodysnatchers
3. Nude
4. Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
5. All I Need
6. Faust Arp
7. Reckoner
8. House Of Cards
9. Jigsaw Falling Into Place
10. Videotape

Review

I expect so much from Radiohead by now that this album came as a bit of a disappointment. I always hope they are going to push the envelope further on strange music, but here it seems like they took a small step back.

The album feels like it is a continuation of their previous work, many of the sounds here would not have appeared if not for their earlier work. In that sense there is a very natural evolution that leads to this album.

However, the step back is taken in making their music more easily approachable, as such it doesn't really surprise that much. If Hail to the Thief was a return to a more traditional song structure after the great experiments of Kid A and Amnesiac, In Rainbows takes that further but it also conforms to more mainstream music. However, this is still a great album, don't get me wrong, still better than 99% of the stuff out there, just that my expectations are very high.

Track Highlights

1. Jigsaw Falling Into Place
2. Bodysnatchers
3. House of Cards
4. Nude

Final Grade


8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Days after announcing the album's completion, Radiohead released In Rainbows as a digital download that customers could order for whatever price they saw fit. Upon its retail release, In Rainbows entered the UK Album Chart and the U.S. Billboard 200 at number one; by October 2008, it had sold more than three million copies worldwide in both digital and physical formats. The album earned widespread critical acclaim, and was ranked as one of the best albums of 2007 by several publications. In 2009, the record won two Grammy Awards for Best Alternative Music Album and Best Special Limited Edition Package.

Jigsaw Falling into Place:

1017. LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver (2007)


















Track Listing


1. Get Innocuous!
2. Time To Get Away
3. North American Scum
4. Someone Great
5. All My Friends
6. Us V Them
7. Watch The Tapes
8. Sound Of Silver
9. New York, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down

Review

Let's get this straight, LCD Soundsystem are (is) beyond great. That being said I can now start gushing. How can what sounds like such a modern album be so unrepentantly retro and manage to do it all so well?

You can really tell that this guy loves his music. You could already tell it in his earlier release (unfortunately not present in this list) with a track like Losing My Edge, name checking great bands in a non-annoying way. But here he does more than name check, he builds whole tracks around great music from an earlier age.

There are tracks here which channel Kraftwerk and David Bowie from the Eno years (Get Innocuous!), 80s disaffected synth-pop (Sound of Silver), Modern Lovers (North American Scum), Joy Division (All My Friends) and so on and so forth, and all is done perfectly without ever losing originality even while being full of little tributes. A great, great album.

Track Highlights

1. All My Friends
2. Sound of Silver
3. Get Innocuous!
4. North American Scum

Final Grade


10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

In 2009 Pitchfork Media named the track "All My Friends", the second best song of the decade, and a week later, Sound of Silver was ranked at #17 in the 200s albums of the decade list.

All My Friends:


2.

Monday, November 23, 2009

1016. The Good, The Bad and the Queen - The Good, the Bad and the Queen (2007)


















Track Listing

1. History Song
2. 80s Life
3. Northern Whale
4. Kingdom Of Doom
5. Herculean
6. Behind The Sun
7. The Bunting Song
8. Nature Springs
9. A Soldier's Tale
10. Three Changes
11. Green Fields
12. The Good, The Bad And The Queen

Review

Damon Albarn is a Jack of All Trades and master of some. This project is not, however, one of the most masterful that he has been in. It owes too much to past artists such as The Specials to be truly original and doesn't really astound like that band did.

The music is expertly done as are the bleak lyrics, and it is very good indeed, but not particularly astounding. This might have something to do with a big level of expectation not only from Albarn but also from his collaborators in this project, coming from such diverse backgrounds as Suede, Fela Kuti's band or The Clash.

So again the album is very good, but it is nowhere near as good as could be expected from this set-up. It ends up being not particularly original or exciting while being definitely more than competent and actually quite good.

Track Highlights

1. Herculean
2. Nature Springs
3. The Good, the Bad and the Queen
4. History Song

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Damon Albarn talked to NME in early March 2007 and discussed the band's future plans, which included a recording session in early September intended to produce a release not long after that: "We're going to do another whole recording session in early September. It will be totally different, more funky. We'll try to get it out in early autumn."

Herculean (someone needs to tell Simonon that he's no longer in the Clash and can therefore jump about a bit less):

Saturday, November 21, 2009

1015. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible (2007)
















Track Listing

1. Black Mirror
2. Keep The Car Running
3. Neon Bible
4. Intervention
5. Black Wave/Bad Vibrations
6. Ocean Of Noise
7. The Well And The Lighthouse
8. (Antichrist Television Blues)
9. Windowsill
10. No Cars Go
11. My Body Is A Cage

Review

Arcade Fire do it again! Against all odds they manage to make an album which lives up to their début and then some. It is in fact hard to tell if it is better or worse than their first album, but it is different which is good enough for me.

Clearly drawing not only from their own sound but from people like Bruce Springsteen (just listen to Antichrist Television Blues), they manage to inject the album with a different feel from Funeral while resolutely remaining themselves.

Interestingly the best track in the album is an old one, No Cars Go is a track all the way back from their first EP, but it is remade to fit the album in an explosion of epicness. However there is no a single less than great track throughout. Highly recommended.

Track Highlights

1. No Cars Go
2. Keep The Car Running
3. Intervention
4. My Body is a Cage

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Following the release of Funeral, which had been recorded in an attic studio known as Hotel 2 Tango, Arcade Fire decided a permanent recording location was necessary. Following their tour in support of Funeral, the band bought the Petite Église in Farnham, Quebec. Being used as a café at the time of purchase, the Petite Église had once been a church and a Masonic temple. Once renovation of the church was complete, the band spent the latter half of 2006 recording a majority of the album there. They additionally recorded in Budapest, where a Hungarian orchestra and a military men's choir were used. Other sessions included one in New York, where the band recorded along the Hudson River to be near water.

Arcade Fire in Lisbon with No Cars Go:

1014. Joanna Newsom - Ys (2006)

















Track Listing

1. Emily
2. Monkey & Bear
3. Sawdust & Diamonds
4. Only Skin
5. Cosmia

Review

While not the best album since the invention of the potato chip, no matter what they've told you, Ys is indeed a very great album. Consisting of only 5 tracks there is still a lot of variety to be had here, of course it is variety within a minimalist folk-harp style, but it never gets boring.

Newsom constructs ever shifting musical suites with some great lyric writing and non-traditional song-structures... there's not a chorus, bridge or guitar solo to be had here, but do not let that put you off... in fact that is exactly what should turn you on.

She definitely has a distinct vocal style, somewhat reminiscing of Björk without the silly accent or schizophrenia but with a drawl. All in all this is one of the great albums of new folk music, a very rewarding musical style indeed full of complexities and which rewards repeated listenings.

Track Highlights

1. Monkey and Bear
2. Only Skin

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The album, particularly the length of the songs and orchestral arrangements, was inspired by the 1971 Roy Harper album Stormcock.

Monkey and Bear:


Friday, November 20, 2009

1013. Christina Aguilera - Back to Basics (2006)

















Track Listing


Disc: 1

1. Intro (Back to Basics)
2. Makes Me Wanna Pray featuring Steve Winwood
3. Back In The Day
4. Ain't No Other Man
5. Understand
6. Slow Down Baby
7. Oh Mother
8. F.U.S.S.
9. On Our Way
10. Without You
11. Still Dirrty
12. Here to Stay
13. Thank You (Dedication to Fans...)

Disc: 2

1. Enter the Circus
2. Welcome
3. Candyman
4. Nasty Naughty Boy
5. I Got Trouble
6. Hurt
7. Mercy on Me
8. Save Me from Myself
9. The Right Man

Review

Doubtlessly the best Aguilera album up until now it shows great musical growth since Stripped, which already showed a big evolution from her self-titled work. That being said it is still mostly tween pop without much to teach.

However the big surprise here comes in the second disc, where a Jazz meets Moulin Rouge ambience works very well indeed. In fact she would be a much more respected singer if she had put out the second disc alone.

Not that there aren't good things in the first one, but the second is clearly superior and self-contained as well as less self-obsessed, in the end the whole thing is too long and sometimes a bit dull, but it shows Aguielra as the best of all the female popstresses, which in such a crap field is a mixed compliment.

Track Highlights

1. Welcome
2. I Got Trouble
3. Candyman
4. Ain't no Other Man

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Critically, the album was a success with a rating of 69/100 (generally positive reviews) on the website MetaCritic and is Aguilera's best reviewed album to date, receiving more praise than her second studio album Stripped which scored a 55/100 on MetaCritic. Entertainment Weekly published in their June issue a list of the 100 best albums of the last 25 years and Back to Basics is listed at number 80. As of November 2008, RCA Records announced Back to Basics has sold over 5 million copies worldwide.The album won Best International Album at the 2007 Brit Awards.

I Got Trouble:


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

1012. Ghostface Killah - Fishscale (2006)


















Track Listing

1. The Return Of Clyde Smith (Skit)
2. Shakey Dog
3. Kilo
4. The Champ
5. Major Operation (Skit)
6. 9 Milli Bros
7. Beauty Jackson
8. Heart Street Directions (Skit)
9. Columbus Exchange (Skit)
10. R.A.G.U.
11. Bad Mouth Kid (Skit)
12. Whip You With A Strap
13. Back Like That
14. Be Easy
15. Clipse of Doom
16. Jellyfish
17. Dogs Of War
18. Barbershop
19. Ms. Sweetwater (Skit)
20. Big Girl

Review

And now for what will be the last hip-hop album for a long, long, long, long time. It could have been better but it could also have been much worse. There is plenty to like here but nothing to really amaze.

Ghostface Killah, of Wu-Tang fame, gives us a heavily soul-sampling hip-hop album. And it is in the way soul music is so well sampled here that the album is interesting. The lyrics are often a bit crass (Heart street Directions being a particular example), but the music is often very smartly done.

So it isn't amazing but it is good enough not to give a sour taste for the last hip-hop album on this list. Definitely though hip-hop is past its 90s prime although at the height of its popularity, which is something that seems to happen to all musical genres.

Track Highlights

1. Kilo
2. The Champ
3. Be Easy
4. Beauty Jackson

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

In January 2006, a sampler was released, containing full versions of "Be Easy", "Back Like That", and "Kilo", as well as shortened versions of "Big Girl" and "Charlie Brown". It also included an alternate version of "The Champ". Charlie Brown, which was produced by MF DOOM, contained a sample from Caetano Veloso's "Alfomega" that did not ultimately receive clearance, and the song did not appear on the final album. Similarly, "The Champ" was not cleared and an altered version found its way onto the album.

Kilo:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

1011. Lupe Fiasco - Food & Liquor (2006)


















Track Listing


1. Intro
2. Real Featuring Sarah Green for 1st & 15th Productions, Inc
3. Just Might Be OK Featuring Gemini for 1st & 15th Productions, Inc
4. Kick, Push
5. I Gotcha
6. Instrumental Featuring Jonah Matranga
7. He Say She Say Featuring Gemini and Sarah for 1st & 15th Productions,
8. Sunshine
9. Daydreamin' Featuring Jill Scott
10. Cool
11. Hurt Me Soul
12. Pressure Featuring Jay-Z
13. American Terrorist Featuring Matthew Santos
14. Emperor's Soundtracks
15. Kick, Push II
16. Outro

Review

One of the best debut hip-hop albums of the last years, Fiasco's Food & Liquor is exciting, fun and smart. Lupe has some great sampling and lyrics as well as some truly innovative music.

In a time where all good hip.hop things seem to be coming from the south Lupe shows us some great West Coast (Chicago) hip-hop, and gives us what will for a long time probably be the best skating hip-hop track with Kick, Push. A really catchy and quite brilliant track.

So finally a hip-hop album which harks back to an earlier time of great West Coast hip-hop and manages to do something new at the same time. I really like this and am definitely adding it to my iPod.

Track Highlights

1. Kick, Push
2. American Terrorist
3. Hurt me Soul
4. Daydremin'

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The album features production from The Neptunes, Kanye West, Mike Shinoda, Craig Kallman, Prolyfic, Needlz, Soundtrakk, and Brandon Howard. Jay-Z, Chill, and Fiasco himself are credited as the executive producers for the album.

Kick, Push:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

1010. Amy Winehouse - Back to Black (2006)



















Track Listing


1. Rehab
2. You Know I'm No Good
3. Me & Mr Jones
4. Just Friends
5. Back To Black
6. Love Is A Losing Game
7. Tears Dry On Their Own
8. Wake Up Alone
9. Some Unholy War
10. He Can Only Hold Her

Review

Of all these swingy singers which have been so popular in the last few years Amy Winehouse is my favourite by far. Not in spite of her being a wreck but because she is a wreck. This makes her the most interesting of the whole lot including Adeles and Duffies.

The fact that she has a life rich in crap, drugs and alcohol makes her interesting in lyrical terms and sometimes in ways that deeply contrast with the music itself. She has something to say at least. Still... maybe she should have gone to rehab.

So she's a very good writer, and her music here has a beat to it that kind of sets it apart from her endless imitators and clones. That being said it is still not interesting enough to be amazing but good enough not to be annoying.

Track Highlights


1. Rehab
2. Back To Black
3. You Know I'm No Good
4. Tears Dry on Their Own

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

It has appeared on numerous year-end Top Ten Lists produced by The Austin Chronicle (number four), Billboard Magazine (number three), Blender Magazine (number eight), Slant Magazine (number four), Entertainment Weekly (number two), The New York Times (number three) and Time Magazine (number one).

Rehab:

1009. Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not (2006)



















Track Listing

1. The View From The Afternoon
2. I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor
3. Fake Tales Of San Francisco
4. Dancing Shoe
5. You Probably Couldn't See For The Lights But You Were Looking Straight At Me
6. Still Take You Home
7. Riot Van
8. Red Light Indicates Doors Are Secured
9. Mardy Bum
10. Perhaps Vampires Is A Bit Strong But?
11. When The Sun Goes Down
12. From The Ritz To The Rubble
13. A Certain Romance

Review

It's not that the Arctic Monkeys are terrible, because they aren't, not because they don't have good tracks, because they do. It is because they sound like nothing more than the Strokes and the Libertines put together, there is nothing particularly new or amazing here and yet the hype around them was one of the greatest ones in the last years.

Why? There really is little explanation for it, in such a way that they already sound kind of dated only 3 years later! So they are good, but they are also one of the most overrated bands ever, the UK often seems to have one of these phenomena... a bit like Primal Scream and Oasis, I just don't get it.

The album isn't particularly smart but it is fun and I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor is most definitely one of the greatest tracks of the year. But as they said when they won the Mercury Prize "Richard Hawley was robbed".

Track Highlights

1. I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor
2. Perhaps Vampires Is A Bit Strong But?
3. From The Ritz To The Rubble
4. The View From The Afternoon

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The album became the UK's fastest selling debut album, shifting over 360,000 copies in its first week, and remains the fastest selling debut album by a band. It has since gone quadruple platinum in the UK, and won the 2006 Mercury Prize.

I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor:

Saturday, November 14, 2009

1008. Muse - Black Holes and Revelations (2006)
















Track Listing

1. Take A Bow
2. Starlight
3. Supermassive Black Hole
4. Map Of The Problematique
5. Soldier's Poem
6. Invincible
7. Assassin
8. Exopolitics
9. City Of Delusion
10. Hoodoo
11. Knights Of Cydonia

Review

I must admit I was once guilty on not disliking Muse. But this album is just shit. At least they don't sound like they are trying to be Radiohead anymore, in fact the music is so generally bad that all comparisons are uncalled for.

But it does get in such a way that at times you are nodding to it as if you were listening to some pretty fun prog-metal piece of crap. It is appropriate music for the soundtrack of Twilight for which it was used.

Really disappointing crap that should have no place on the list. Ridiculous.

Track Highlights

1. Supermassive Black Hole
2. Knights of Cydonia
3. Starlight
4. Take a Bow

Final Grade

4/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Pitchfork's Sam Ubl was amongst the most critical reviewers and gave the album a very poor 4.2 rating, citing the lack of progression the band had made in 4 albums, and their reliance on "tired sounds and genres, saying that Muse, "always loveably lame [...] managed to take a turn for the lamer."

Supermassive black hole:

Friday, November 13, 2009

1007. Ali Farka Touré - Savane (2006)


















Track Listing

1. Erdi
2. Yer Bounda Fara
3. Beto
4. Savane
5. Soya
6. Penda Yoro
7. Machengoidi
8. Ledi Coumbe
9. Hanana
10. Soko Yhinka
11. Gambari Didi
12. Banga
13. N'Jarou

Review

First things first. This is a great album, there is no doubt about that, by a truly great musician which is unfortunately no longer alive. Ali Farka Touré is one of the great bluesmen, on either side of the Atlantic. This album is also among his best.

This being said I have some problems with the way that this album has become the be all and end all of Touré's music. How it is on number 6 of Metacritic etc. I think this happens for two main reasons, the fact that it is a posthumous album which always draws on the heartstrings and that before this most were not aware of him and so it became a revelation. Although it is obviously not a revelation, it only got a bump in marketing because of its associated tragedy.

This being said Touré keeps drawing his amazing parallels between the music of Mali and the Blues in a way that is fresh and beautiful. The sound of the album is intimate and rich as are the instrumentations. Touré is at the top of his game, but the album is just about as good as Talking Timbuktu 12 years earlier.

Track Highlights

1. Savane
2. Soya
3. Erdi
4. Soko

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Mr Touré, who was suffering from cancer and anticipating the inevitable end to his life, wanted to remain in Mali. So a temporary studio was set up on the top floor of the thatched roof Hotel Mandé in Bamako, where the wide windows offered panoramas of life along the Niger River. The unusual studio setup has produced a resonating spaciness and intimacy in the sound quality of Mr. Toure's final album.

"All you can see is river and grasslands and villages and people in pirogues and canoes and boats," Nick Gold said in a recent interview. "It's just beautiful."

Machengoidi:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

1006. Sufjan Stevens - (Come On Feel The) Illinoise (2005)

















Track Listing

1. Concerning the UFO sighting near Highland, Illinois

2. The Black Hawk War, or, How To Demolish An Entire Civilization and Still Feel Good About Yourself in the Morning, or, We Apologize for the Inconvenience But You're Going To Have To Leave Now, or, "I have fought the Big Knives and will continue to fight them till they are off our lands!"

3. Come On! Feel the Illinoise! / Part I: The World's Columbian Exposition / Part II: Carl Sandburg Visits Me In A Dream

4. John Wayne Gacy, Jr.

5. Jacksonville

6. A short reprise for Mary Todd, who went insane, but for very good reasons

7. Decatur, or, Round of Applause for Your Step-Mother!

8. One last "Whoo-hoo!" for the Pullman

9. Chicago

10. Casimir Pulaski Day

11. To The Workers of The Rock River Valley Region, I have an idea concerning your predicament, and it involves an inner tube, bath mats, and 21 able-bodied men

12. The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts

13. Prairie Fire That Wanders About

14. A conjunction of drones simulating the way in which Sufjan Stevens has an existential crisis in the Great Godfrey Maze

15. The Predatory Wasp of The Palisades Is Out To Get Us

16. They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back From the Dead!! Ahhhh!

17. Let's hear that string part again, because I don’t think they heard it all the way out in Bushnell

18. In This Temple As in The Hearts of Man For Whom He Saved The Earth

19. The Seer's Tower

20. The Tallest Man, the Broadest Shoulders / Part I: The Great Frontier / Part II: Come to Me Only With Playthings Now

21. Riffs and Variations on a single note for Jelly Roll, Earl Hines, Louis Armstrong, Baby Dodds, and the King of Swing, to name a few

22. Out of Egypt, into the Great Laugh of Mankind, and I shake the dirt from my sandals as I run

Review

Another pretty nifty album, Come On Feel The Illinoise is epic indie at its best. A concept album about Illinois it really stands on its own as a great piece of music irrespective of the conceptual idea behind it.

Sufjan is clearly influenced by a common musical scene of people like the Arcade Fire but he brings to his music a good knowledge of modern compositional techniques making his stuff remind you of Steve Reich or Phillip Glass while remaining firmly in a pop/rock context.

More than anything, however, the album is a really enjoyable listen. The songs often sprawl to great effect and sometimes are concise, focus and also great as that. Just compare the title track to John Wayne Gacy Jr. Great album.

Track Highlights

1. John Wayne Gacy Jr.
2. Come on Feel the Illinoise
3. Chicago
4. Casimir Pulaski Day

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The album is often referred to as Illinoise, due to the cover's listing of the extended title Sufjan Stevens invites you to: Come on feel the Illinoise.

John Wayne Gacy Jr:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

1005. Antony and the Johnsons - I Am a Bird Now (2005)

















Track Listing

1. Hope There's Someone
2. My Lady Story
3. For Today I Am A Boy
4. Man Is The Baby
5. You Are My Sister
6. What Can I Do?
7. Fistful Of Love
8. Spiralling
9. Free At Last
10. Bird Gehrl

Review

I first knew of Antony when watching the Mercury Award broadcast, when this album was nominated and he played the first track live on TV. After that I immediately got the album, and listened to it repeatedly. So this is one of those I really love.

My wife finds his voice a bit too freaky and strange, but if you can get over that and appreciate the quality of the whole thing, both lyrically, vocally and in terms of arrangements it will be something which will stay with you for a long time.

Antony's music is strange indeed but that does not stop it from being truly beautiful and often haunting stuff. Sometimes the album has a problem with being a bit all over the place, some tracks such as the otherwise great Boy George collaboration do not fit the album's mood completely. This is, however, nitpicking in what is a truly great album.

Track Highlights

1. Man is the Baby
2. Hope There's Someone
3. Fistful of Love
4. Spiralling

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

he album features guest appearances by Rufus Wainwright ("What Can I Do?"), Devendra Banhart, Joan Wasser and by lead singer Antony Hegarty's childhood heroes Boy George and Lou Reed. The cover is a photograph by Peter Hujar of Warhol Superstar Candy Darling on her deathbed (aptly titled "Candy Darling on Her Deathbed").

Man is the Baby:

Monday, November 09, 2009

1004. Richard Hawley - Coles Corner (2005)

















Track Listing

1. Coles Corner
2. Just Like The Rain
3. Hotel Room
4. Darlin' Wait For Me
5. The Ocean
6. Born Under A Bad Sign
7. I Sleep Alone
8. Tonight
9. (Wading Through) The Waters Of My Time
10. Who's Going To Shoe Your Pretty Feet
11. Last Orders

Review

Richard Hawley's croon clearly owes something to both Scott Walker and The Divine Comedy, but in a style that he makes his own. There is none of the sarcasm of The Divine Comedy or Walker's Brellian obsession. In fact the other major influence here is from country music, inspiration from stuff like Ray Price is immediately apparent.

Yes, country music, from Sheffield. There is a heart-warming honesty which is quite self-consciously indebted to country music, just listen to "Who's Going To Shoe Your Pretty Feet". The album ends up being a beautiful collection of songs, mostly love ones, as Coles' Corner is a traditional place for lovers to meet in Sheffield.

The main reaction from the album is a quite relaxing one, both the arrangements and Hawley's voice put you at ease almost immediately when listening to the album, and you get to appreciate both his poetry and what he is doing musically in a great state of mind. Beautiful, heartfelt stuff.

Track Highlights

1. Coles Corner
2. Who's Going To Shoe Your Pretty Feet
3. Just Like The Rain
4. Born Under a Bad Sign

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The title track immortalizes the legendary Sheffield landmark Coles Corner, a popular meeting place of old and new lovers. The album was nominated for the 2006 Mercury Music Prize for best album.

Coles Corner: