csberry: (pumaman)
2016-06-15 07:11 pm

132 - Various Artists - Original Soundtrack for Saturday Night Fever



It is a shame that this isn't a proper album for The Bee Gees, but a soundtrack of various artists instead. About half of the songs on this collection were written and/or sung by The Bee Gees. It sold more than any of The Bee Gees' proper albums, and so there is a level of credit and money which the group misses out on because of the release's circumstances. It's a shame. If you remove the Brothers Gibb from this soundtrack, it would be a nice time capsule, but it wouldn't be the source of adoration or inspiration which it is.

It starts off with four Bee Gees tracks, wanders through other artists such as Kool & the Gang, KC & the Sunshine Band, Yvonne Elliman, and The Trammps. There are some instrumentals such as "A Fifth of Beethoven" and "Night on Disco Mountain" that combine classical with disco. This album really is a historical snapshot of a time and place; one good enough to inspire much of the general public in the late 70's to revive the already declining disco movement.

Songs I Knew I Liked: “Stayin' Alive”, “How Deep Is Your Love”, “Night Fever”, “More Than a Woman” (both versions), “If I Can't Have You”, “Manhattan Skyline”, “Night on Disco Mountain”, “Open Sesame”, “Jive Talkin'”, “You Should Be Dancing”, “K-Jee”, and “Disco Inferno”

Songs I Now Like: Nothing new

Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: None
csberry: (pumaman)
2016-06-15 02:50 pm

133 - Bruce Springsteen - The Wild, The Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle



I think I'm willing to say that this is the first Bruce Springsteen album I didn't dread. I wouldn't want to listen to it a lot, but when it would come time to listen to The Wild, the Innocent, & the E Street Shuffle, I actually chose to give this album repeat listens rather than taking either of the next two albums in the list (Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack and Black Sabbath's Paranoid) a spin since “it's actually not painful.”

Sorry, but this big band style of rock may have Meatloaf to blame, but that's what I am constantly thinking of during so many of the 70's rock band-Springsteen songs. It is tainted as cheesy and a bit over the top in my mind. I think part of what I like about WI&ESS is that Bruce demonstrates a good sense of humor in several of the songs. Maybe that permission for me to laugh at the song and not to have to take it seriously allows me to relax a bit about it?

Taste preferences aside, the performances on this album are done by an enthusiastic and tight musical unit. There is a raw, bar band, jam-based energy that makes this album glow. Some really jazzy elements permeate tracks such as “Kitty's Back”. When wanting to analyze why I enjoy the “E Street Shuffle”, I start noticing all of the disco in the song - with the wah-wah pedal, a Meters-inspired bass, the keyboard choices, and the Latino percussion breakdown at the tail end. It sounds as if the band is having a blast during so many moments on WI&ESS and I think I found it contagious on occasion.

Songs I Knew I Liked: None

Songs I Now Like: “The E Street Shuffle” and “Kitty's Back”

Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: None
csberry: (pumaman)
2016-06-15 02:44 pm

134 - The Notorious B.I.G. - Ready to Die



Ready to Die gets praise for me with its autobiographical “concept”. I understand that the recording was done in two sessions and that Biggie tweaked his style a little between the two sessions. That may be part of the reason why I don't have a consistent opinion on his rapping. I like his occasional dense rhyming but there are times he gets aggressive and he loses his calm “coolness” to me and seems kinda lame.

The sampling is interesting. It seems more transitional from the gangster rap template put together by Dr Dre to the larger pop sampling Puffy was evolving towards. There are times the samples reiterate a documentary feel. The standard of having a female singer as an angel juxtaposed with the rapper as a devil just doing the best he can in the hell he's in is used a good bit here.

Songs I Knew I Liked: None

Songs I Now Like: None

Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: None
csberry: (pumaman)
2016-06-15 12:04 pm

135 - Pavement - Slanted and Enchanted



I never got into Pavement when they first came out. For me, the low-fi production was appropriate for their style but low-fi was not a sound I really enjoyed much (other than Steve Albini's production on PJ Harvey's Rid of Me). Pavement was one of those bands that my friends enjoyed and I listened to when around them. I'm listening to the album for a second time now and I am surprised with how little this music does for me. It just isn't clicking with me. There are moments like “Conduit for Sale!” where they remind me of The Minutemen or sound very iconic (knowing the album predates the songs I know which sound familiar). But I can't get into Slanted and Enchanted for some reason.

Maybe it is the disaffected vocal delivery of so many of the songs... Maybe it is the low-fi production... Maybe it is the slack and loose playing where everyone seems just a partial beat off from everyone else... I dunno. The Replacements were sloppy and I enjoyed it. What is the difference between my liking that and not enjoying this? Maybe it is because The Replacements seemed like they were aiming for a rocking performance and just did a sloppy job. Pavement isn't sloppy just in the performance, the whole process of song creation has a slacker take. The Replacements' not caring vs Pavement's intentional off-kilter – maybe that's the difference in how I'm reacting.

The closest I came to liking a song was “Two States” and its marching rhythm.

Songs I Knew I Liked: None

Songs I Now Like: None

Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: “No Life Singed Her” and “Fame Throwa”
csberry: (pumaman)
2016-03-10 11:29 am

136 - Elton John - Greatest Hits (1974)



Ugh, a greatest hits album. I guess I can only protest so much because this is the only Elton John CD I own. However, I've already stated that I'm no longer going to review greatest hits albums and won't change that stance for this.
csberry: (pumaman)
2016-03-10 11:26 am

137 - The Replacements - Tim



I've had respect for The Replacements since college, but I've never been all that hooked on their songs. That has changed some after listening to Tim. When I listened to Let It Be, I heard a ragged band which just seemed to be having fun. That group of rowdy guys are still on this album, but there is more diversity in song styles on here. My first impression after my first listen was that the bar cover band got drunk after their set and started making up shit...and that shit ended up actually being really listenable and enjoyable. There are folk songs, ballads, rockabilly-like stompers, and what could be said are 80's college rock templates copied many times over. While they covered KISS's “Black Diamond” elsewhere, “Dose of Thunder” could have easily have been by most any other hard rock band.

Part of the charm also is on the somewhat low-fi production. It doesn't sound like Paul was isolated in a booth when he sang the songs. And, if he was, they mixed his vocals into of the instruments instead of on top. It is like the best live club recording ever, but lackluster by studio standards.

Songs I Knew I Liked: I thought I knew “Left of the Dial” but it didn't sound familiar once I heard it.

Songs I Now Like: “Hold My Life”, “Kiss Me On the Bus”, “Swingin Party”, “Bastards of Young”, “Left of the Dial” and...well, “Lay It Down” kinda grew on me with its honky tonk sloppiness.

Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: None
csberry: (pumaman)
2016-03-10 11:22 am

138 - Dr Dre - The Chronic



Damn, it was tough getting a copy of this to review. Dr Dre did a remix in 2000s and that is all over the place, but the original version of The Chronic isn't on Spotify or YouTube.

The Chronic was one of the few gangsta rap albums of the 90's that had songs I liked. Otherwise, I was annoyed with how gangsta rap overran hip hop and shoved acts like De La Soul and Digable Planets off the scene. One of what I enjoy about many of these tracks is the laid back delivery by Dre and Snoop. My brother had this CD and played it a ton over the summer of '93. Of the rap CDs he had, this was the one I kept asking for him to put into the player.

Hearing it in the entirety today, what jumped out to me were the shrill sampled keyboards and how similar this felt to when I listened to Kool Moe Dee and other Old School rappers who used the new genre to boast all about themselves. The Chronic is a mix of that Old School braggadocio with the "rap as news" approach of Public Enemy and such. The samples poke and prod at the listener - whether we are talking about instruments or movie/TV/other clips - keeping you a bit jittery and definitely not at ease. The album is really tight with many tracks either running into the next or there not being any space between songs. This is a constant barage to the listener; no rest.

At the same time, there is a casual and laid-back aspect to much of the rapping. Dre and Snoop show their appreciation of movie baddies who could scare you with a detached air. While there are guests popping up here and there being loud and violent, IMO a big strength of this album is the too-cool-to-care rapping style which does occupy much of The Chronic.

Upon repeat listens, I found myself really enjoying the first chunk of the album and then lost interest for the most part as the album progressed.

Songs I Knew I Liked: "Fuck Wit Dre Day", "Let Me Ride", "Nuthin' But A "G" Thing", and "Rat-Tat-Tat-Tat"

Songs I Now Like: "The Day the Niggaz Took Over"

Songs I Don't Want to Hear Again: "The $20 Sack Pyramid", "Lyrical Gangbang", "The Doctor's Office"
csberry: (pumaman)
2016-01-28 09:59 am

139 – The Meters – Rejuvenation


Compared to the other album of theirs I've heard, Look-Ka Py Py, Rejuvenation is still funk, but a distinctly different sound. This gets more into the area of funk I'd more closely envision Parliament/Funkadelic doing. There are moments of soul in here too. It is kind of a sloppy album with its eclectic influences and shifting sounds from song to song. The production is loose and instruments are varied.

Songs I Knew I Liked: “Africa”

Songs I Now Like: “What 'cha Say” and “Loving You is On My Mind”

Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: None
csberry: (pumaman)
2015-12-07 12:07 pm

140 - Blondie - Parallel Lines



Blondie comes out speeding along with the first two tracks on Parallel Lines, playing angular New Wave. But after that, they follow a similar path of the Ramones of taking classic rock and roll sounds from 60's girl groups and doing their own take. “Pretty Baby” is probably the most blatant song in that mold.

I must confess I was really disappointed with this album. It isn't as quirky as the B-52's. It's not as raw as the Ramones. What it has going for it is Top 40 accessibility and a diverse sound over the course of the album, while still all fitting inside of New Wave.

Songs I Knew I Liked: “One Way or Another” and “Heart of Glass”

Songs I Now Like: “Will Anything Happen”

Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: “I Know But I Don't Know” annoys me as a strange combo of B-52's and Rush.
csberry: (pumaman)
2015-12-07 12:05 pm

141 - BB King - Live at the Regal



I was really pleased with this live performance time capsule. It sounds great, the vocals and guitar are sublime, the band sounds tight, and BB's interaction with the crowd should be studied by people wanting to be the frontman for their band.

The songs contain a great amount of energy. Whether it is the enthusiasm of the band, the passion of BB's performance, or the screaming of the crowd, even slow blues numbers kept my attention and had me bouncing.

Songs I Knew I Liked: Wasn't familiar with these specific live versions, but knew some of the tunes.

Songs I Now Like: None of the songs stood out in particular. This is a work as a whole for me.

Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: None I feel compelled to skip.
csberry: (pumaman)
2015-10-06 10:03 am

142 - Phil Spector/Various Artists - A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector



Phil Spector had a sound. With A Christmas Gift For You, he demonstrated how his production skills can be used for other genres...as long as they can fit into his Wall of Sound. While he does have some quiet moments of spoken word with light accompaniment, this is quite the antithesis of Perry Como's or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas albums because of the raucous new arrangements and production. Many of these Christmas classics saw their tempo sped up a bit. While “Silent Night” is basically a string version behind Phil's message, its presence on the album made me wonder if he would have given that song also the Wall of Sound treatment if he did a proper full version or could he have otherwise made the song angelic.

The album uses four of Spector's musical groups/artists to embody his vision for these mostly secular songs. One of my issues when listening to this is how ubiquitous some of these songs are nowadays. It is hard for me to see the impact this album had in the Christmas music landscape. I will say that if I see this album for sale, I will buy it and add it to my box of Christmas CDs I pull out each Black Friday when the Christmas decorations come out each year.

Songs I Knew I Liked: “Sleigh Ride” and “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” by The Ronnettes, “Winter Wonderland” by Darlene Love

Songs I Now Like: “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” by Darlene Love (knew the U2 version, but now love this one)

Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: None, although I was usually bored with “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers” by The Crystals
csberry: (pumaman)
2015-10-06 10:00 am

143 - Dr. John - Gris-Gris



Gris-Gris is an album that transport you to another time and place. Sure, there are lots of albums I’ve listened to on the Rolling Stone Top 500 Albums list that transported me back to the period when they were recorded. But, Gris-Gris also could be said to have transported listeners when this was released in 1968 to another place and time. Dr. John has created a world that is a mystical, psychedelic version of New Orleans which consists of a musical gumbo of African beats, jazz, Caribbean chanting, reverbed production, half-spoken/half-sung lyrics, some blues, and soul.

As soon as the sound comes out of the speakers with “Gris-Gris Gumbo Ya Ya,” the listener knows this is something very different. I wish I knew about “Danse Kalinda Ba Doom” when I was really interested in world music in the 90s. Add to this world music feel, the strange brew of “Croker Courtbullion” which features harpsichord, woodwinds, and psychedelic guitar noodling with occasional playground-like chants from the chorus. But in the midst of the otherworldly songs, there are some that seem to have some mainstream appeal such as “Jump Sturdy” and “Mama Roux” - which shares the kind of rhythmic shuffle that WAR would make a staple of their music.

Songs I Knew I Liked: None

Songs I Now Like: For me, I love this more as a whole album than particular songs driving my interest. Songs that did get me hooked include “Mama Roux”, “Danse Fambeaux”, “Croker Courtbullion”, and “I Walk On Guildied Splinters”.

Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: None in particular, but “Jump Sturdy” was definitely my least favorite track.
csberry: (pumaman)
2015-09-14 09:06 pm

144 - N.W.A. - Straight Outta Compton



In the late 80's, I loved De La Soul and enjoyed the whole New Jack Swing movement. I wasn't a fan of edgier rappers like Too $hort and what would become known as gangsta rap. I liked Public Enemy, but N.W.A. didn't do anything for me. A good part of it is my general dislike of rappers who yell. My listening to Straight Outta Compton was to discover how the music hit me now compared to my earlier disinterest. Nostalgia has increased my appreciation of the old school rap I've already listened to on the Rolling Stone Top 500 Albums list. Would N.W.A. get some credit from Cory now?

While the truthfulness of the “reality” N.W.A. claimed for their raps have been questioned through the years, the fact that young black men wanted to fantasize or boast these lyrics as real can not be disputed. How much of the misogyny, crime, and brutality is bravado and how much was the kind of documentation which PE claimed for their lyrics? The more I listen, the more I see the album as posturing more than reporting.

I was caught offguard on this listening of how old school the sampling sounded. Dre didn't go for the density of sampling which was more in vogue at the time. The sampling cliches of James Brown and repeating popular samples from other songs is still strong here. There is a funkiness here which would explode with the G-Funk sound a few years later.

I think my biggest reaction to listening to this album is how indifferent I felt when listening. As I prepared myself to add songs to the list below, I found myself having to give the album another skim. As far as I’m concerned, I’m grateful Ice Cube and Dre went their own directions and ditched this Easy E project.

Songs I Knew I Liked: Knew a couple, but didn't “like” them.

Songs I Now Like: None, really. If feeling generous, maybe “Express Yourself.”

Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: Most any time Easy E wraps, so “8 Ball” should probably be here.
csberry: (pumaman)
2015-08-24 04:37 pm

145 - Steely Dan - Aja



Depending on the day, Aja is my favorite album of all time or in the top 3. So, I, of course, was annoyed to see it here at 145 and not in the top 100 on the list. I love this album with my whole being. It encapsulates a world which I started creating in my childhood in the late 70s. This life of a bachelor spending his sunsets with the sun reflecting off the ocean, driving fast cars on tight roads, and having sophisticated drinks with his social scene. I fell in love with the singles from this album which I heard on the radio. I know of no one from my childhood who owned or played this album around me. It wasn't until after college, when visiting a friend (Danny Walker), that I found out who the band was that did “Black Cow,” “Deacon Blues,” “Peg” (I thought it was Doobie Bros because of the Michael McDonald), and “Josie”.

Yes, I understand how some people don't like how much the pair spent in the studio; how songs were re-recorded over and over in various alternative takes trying to find just the right sound. Yes, this is the strongest that jazz had played in Steely Dan's sound and it was a softer jazz. There is no denying that this album belongs in the category of “yacht rock”. But, most of those above reasons are why I love Aja. Donald and Walter's efforts to create a perfect idyllic album fits perfectly into my own soundtrack for my childhood idyllic adulthood.

But before we get the whole jazz thing blown too much out of proportion, one cannot deny the funkiness of “Peg” and the rhythm section of nearly every song. It is no wonder that “Peg” is but one of several Steely Dan songs which have been repeatedly sampled in hip-hop since De La Soul's Three Fee High and Rising. As a bass-loving guy, I am grateful with how high in the mix the bass gets in most of the songs. The groove laid down stutters, stops, slips, slaps, and swaggers out of the speakers. The drumming/percussion on Aja is and should be studied and copied by those learning to drum. Between the syncopated jazzy flourishes and the funky thumping, the percussionists get to demonstrate their chops with some style.

COMPLETELY TANGENTIAL ANECDOTE:
When Nigel was a baby and had difficulty sleeping, I would throw him into the back of my car. As I pulled out of the driveway, Aja went into the CD player. I would make my way to the Parkway, where the street lights shining in would add to the soothing music and vibration of the ride. I would make my way out to the Huntsville International Airport, do the loop through the drop-off area, and then head right back home. That trip and Aja is about 45 minutes long and so the CD finished as I returned home on my street (although there were two times it ended as I got onto my driveway).

Songs I Knew I Liked: EVERYTHING

Songs I Now Like: Nothing new

Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: None
csberry: (pumaman)
2015-08-24 04:26 pm

146 - Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow



And this is where the music love ended. A month ago, I had Santana's debut, CSNY's Deja Vu, and then this album on my Spotify playlist. After grooving along with the first two albums, Jefferson Airplane jolted my enjoyment. I found myself constantly rolling my eyes during Surrealistic Pillow because of how cheesy-folk it sounded to me. That impression now dominates my feelings on Surrealistic Pillow; I don't like it because it seems too poppy folk and...lame.

So, this album has been an ignored collection of songs at the end of my “Current Rolling Stone Albums” playlist on Spotify. “Oh, it's Jefferson Airplane, I need to go back to the top of the playlist for Santana again.” Now that I've finally posted reviews of the three previous albums on that playlist, I am only focusing on Surrealist Pillow. With this new spotlight on the album, I decided to read up on some reviews to see what it is about the album that I had been missing with my cold listens. It seems the album is praised as bringing psychedelic folk-pop to the mainstream and that it was “groundbreaking.” I am absolutely willing to vouch that this album has enough pop sheen on it to sell records. Maybe I just gotta chalk my feelings on this album along with my general disinterest in late 60's folk of The Mamas & Papas, The Byrds, et al. CSN(Y) have been able to separate themselves from their contemporaries thanks to my listening to the Rolling Stone Top 500 Albums list, but Jefferson Airplane isn't going to distinguish themselves with this album other than the breadth of styles is certainly wider on this album than I recall from their peers.

You get plenty of folk harmonies with acoustic guitars, you have the two popular rockers with Grace on vocals, there's an instrumental, and then there's whatever comedic folk thing “Plastic Fantastic Lover” is. I look at the list of songs I liked and now like below and liking 6 of 11 songs is pretty good. But when there are 3 songs I just plain want to skip over, it seems to pull the whole album down for me. I rather enjoy listening to just those 6 songs better than I do the full 11.

Songs I Knew I Liked: “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit”

Songs I Now Like: “Today,” “D.C.B.A.-25,” “How Do You Feel,” and “Embryonic Journey”

Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: “My Best Friend,” “Comin' Back to Me” (epic folk song about Hobbits in love, I think), and “Plastic Fantastic Lover”
csberry: (pumaman)
2015-06-24 10:54 am

147 - Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young - Deja Vu



I have completely fallen in love with this album. I haven't been a big fan of “Teach Your Children” or “Our House” in the past. I respected them, but would typically skip or ignore them when I hear 'em. In context of Deja Vu, I never felt a need to skip to the next song. I will confess that just a few months ago, I downloaded Weird Al's most recent album. One of my favorite tracks from that album is the CSNY-inspired “Mission Statement”. I listened to that song on repeat often, so when I clicked play on Deja Vu and “Carry On” sounded very much like “Mission Statement”, I was instantly put in a good mood.

Over the course of the album, each member of the group pulls gets a chance to highlight his sound, but the harmonies help tie the varying sounds together. This is another one of the group albums where each songwriter has such a different approach that the album has a loose compilation feel to it. While there have been times where I felt the song sequence may have been adjusted to lessen some of the jumps in sound, it's not like I felt any of the songs didn't belong with the others.

Deja Vu will continue to get listens from me on Spotify and a purchase of the CD is going to happen before 2015 comes to a close.

Songs I Knew I Liked: “Teach Your Children” and “Our House”

Songs I Now Like: “Carry On,” “Woodstock” (I skipped this song so much growing up that when listening to it on this album, it felt like a new song to me), “Deja Vu,” and “Country Girl (suite)”

Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: None
csberry: (pumaman)
2015-06-24 09:59 am

148 - Led Zeppelin - Houses of the Holy



Well, the first thing I learned when I did my initial listen: I know lots of Led Zeppelin songs without knowing their titles...and many of those songs are on Houses of the Holy. Sure, I recognized titles such as “Over the Hills and Far Away” and “Dancing Days,” but I hadn't the foggiest idea what songs they were. And then when I listened, I kept having “OH, this is that song!” moments. Such repeat experiences made this seem like a volume 2 greatest hits for Zeppelin; admittedly because most of my familiarity is via the first four albums.

There is an intriguing diversity in song styles. “The Crunge” with its James Brown funk is a particular standout for me. I can see how older fans may have felt a little put off by the experimentation the band does on Houses of the Holy, but I find the shift as interesting.

Songs I Knew I Liked: “The Song Remains the Same,” “The Rain Song,” “Over the Hills and Far Away”, “Dancing Days,” “D'yer Mak'er”, “The Ocean”

Songs I Now Like: Other than identifying unknown Zepp songs I've liked, I can't say there is a new "like".

Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: None
csberry: (pumaman)
2015-06-24 09:44 am

149 - Santana - (eponymous)



I kinda stalled out with the Rolling Stone Top 500 Albums because I hit a patch of albums which I enjoy. The first of which is the self-titled Santana album. It is a beautiful melding of rock, blues, Latino-influences, and jazz. Sure, “Evil Ways” grabbed my attention and stood out, but the album has consistently slipped into an accompaniment to my day; a very enjoyable partner for my ears, though. I have done a lot of work over the past couple of months with Santana as my soundtrack. I really don't want my use of the music as background to lessen the greatness that I hear. This is an outstanding collection of a jam band sounding like a jam band and not one forced to record soundbites of lengthy compositions they do live. I feel like I got a complete feel for what the band was like during that period.

Songs I Knew I Liked: “Evil Ways”

Songs I Now Like: “Shades of Time”

Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: None
csberry: (pumaman)
2015-04-17 02:40 pm

150 - Bruce Springsteen - Darkness on the Edge of Town



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.
csberry: (pumaman)
2015-04-17 02:28 pm

151 - Arcade Fire - Funeral



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.