Apr. 17th, 2015

csberry: (pumaman)

As B-52's begins, otherwordly bleeps and bloops slowly emerge from the silence. A fan of B-movies might immediately anticipate a voiceover from some male authority figure setting up the premise of the movie. What follows, however, is a mish-mash of nostalgic touchstones of early 1960s youth with a heavy emphasis on science fiction. The B-52's put together a blend of surf rock, sci-fi movie soundtracks and lyrics, and punk with their cheesy 50s/60s nostalgia to create a party band unlike any before. Most of the songs have sci-fi or surrealist lyrics. But those songs seem perfectly in place next to the songs of romance and partying. This is a very inclusive party.

I have loved this album since hearing it in high school. Yes, I fully admit that Fred's speak-singing is a love-it-or-hate-it quality. For me and my childhood enjoyment of Paul Lynde, Charles Nelson Reilly, and other “flamboyant” TV personalities, Fred fits into that niche. But it is hard to disparage the harmonized vocals of Cindy and Kate, especially on “52 Girls” and “6060-842”. Ricky's guitar choices are spare, choppy, and necessary despite how infrequently he dominates a song. He is constantly there but never thrusting himself in front of the others.

Songs I Knew I Liked: “Planet Claire,” “Dance This Mess Around,” and “Rock Lobster”

Songs I Now Like: “52 Girls” and “Hero Worship” got a boost in my interest this time around for some reason.

Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: None
csberry: (pumaman)

Arcade Fire came along when I wasn't paying much attention to “alternative” music. I knew what the lead singer looked like more than I was familiar with the band's music before listening to Funeral the past few weeks. They became my default image of what I saw (heard?) as a wave of overly precious, epic music with folk instrumentation. I came to this album both curious to see if my generalizations had any credibility or were way off.

My vague impressions weren't way off. While their songs may not be as anthemic as U2's, there is certainly a push for epic drama and songs to thrust your fist to. I came into this expecting to hear a bunch of modern folk rock. I was off there. This rocks more than what I expected.

The female vocalist sounds just like Bjork on “In the Backseat” and I get a bit of a thrill. But then, the instrumentation strikes me as very un-Bjork in its lack of quirk (rhythmic quirk, use of technological manipulation, choice of quirky instruments) and I get glum. It all balances out to feeling unimpressed.

While I liked the album more than I expected to, it did more to make me want to listen to Bjork, Modest Mouse, Polyphonic Spree, and other artists I heard in these songs than to listen to more Arcade Fire. I can see why a person would really like Funeral, but it just isn't my thing.

Songs I Knew I Liked: None

Songs I Now Like: “Rebellion (Lies)”

Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: None I would actively avoid.
csberry: (pumaman)

Man, I gotta say that the segue from Arcade Fire's Funeral to The Boss's Darkness on the Edge of Town was rather smooth...and somewhat painful. Both albums could serve as a soundtrack for a musical. There is no shortage of drama in these two albums.

If you are familiar with his music, there isn't anything shocking here. Darkness... contains the full range of The Boss's roots rock opera style. The production doesn't sound quite as elaborate as it has been on other albums. There is also a weariness in Bruce's voice on this album (especially “Badlands”) that add a sense of sadness to the anthems and tragedy to the ballads. Considering how feisty he is on so many of the songs, his ranting seems to have run him ragged.

Songs I Knew I Liked: None

Songs I Now Like: I'll say it. I truly like “Prove It All Night”. I now like two of Bruce's songs (“Glory Days”).

Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: “Adam Raised a Cain” gets this designation mostly because the bellowed chorus and tedious lead guitar.

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Cory Berry

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