Half Year Retrospective 2006

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22. Aug. 2006, 21:20

As per MrModernRock, I present to you all my perspective regarding the music of the first half of 2006. However, and possibly much to the annoyance of some of you, I’ll be taking a few liberties with the format:

Firstly, I’ve always had a problem with the numerical assignment of scores for album reviewing, not so much with others doing it, but more so with empirically justifying the logic of how I arrived at slapping on a 5.4 or an 83% rating on a record, solely based on subjective notions and personal final impressions. I’m sure one or two of you have noticed by now, but that’s mainly why I tend to avoid tacking on any sort of rating at the end of my reviews (although I’m currently reconsidering the notion). So, at least for this first installment until the end of the year rolls around, there won’t be any scores appearing in this entry.

Second of all, in order to preserve some sort of element of surprise in what records I view as particular standouts or train wrecks until December (y’know, because you all care), I’ll disregard rank completely and just arrange each album I’ve heard this year roughly in order of their respective month of release.

Finally, as a peace offering for no numerical ratings, what you all receive instead is a (short) descriptor about how I feel about the album – I like to think that I’m at least versed well enough in the English language to convey and approximate my sentiments on a record accurately enough without the stone-cold, left-field absolutism of actual numbers. Incidentally, this will serve as a helpful companion when I need to reference a template thought in picking up the slack on some reviews I’ve missed out on this year.

Without further ado, let’s get to it.

JANUARY

1. The CardigansSuper Extra Gravity [REVIEW]
My first (import) purchase of the year. I actually snagged a torrent of it when it was prevalently floating around on mIRC channels late last year during its European release, but I feel that such a great, underrated album (and band) like this deserves additional mention again this year, especially now that it’s finally being slated for a stateside release in September.

2. SiaColour the Small One
This record actually saw a 2004 release in Australia and gradually made its way to parts of Europe; it wasn’t until after the season finale of HBO’s acclaimed drama, Six Feet Under (where her single “Breathe” was prominently featured) in 2005 that Sia started garnering hard-earned attention. The US release saw the addition of two pleasantly surprising bomb-ass B-sides and “Breathe” remixes. Another favorite of the year.

3. Tina DicoIn the Red
She shot her way into my heart with her captivating, self-assured delivery on “Home” with Zero 7, and her sparse, beautifully-under-produced Notes EP was, at the time, one of the greatest pieces of ear candy I’d heard in a long while. Cue acclaimed Richard Ashcroft producer Chris Potter to come in and fuck everything up to help Dico turn a vanilla, by-the-numbers feature debut. *shakes head*

4. The StrokesFirst Impressions of Earth
This was my first serious entry with The Strokes – I probably should have started from the beginning. Production on this beast is more often murder for the record than not.

5. The ElectedSun, Sun, Sun
I find it an utter travesty that Blake Sennett’s latest record only got a fraction of the fanfare it deserved in the midst of being released on same day as Rilo Kiley cohort Jenny Lewis’ solo outing. This is, by far, the superior record of the two and one of this year’s sunniest.

6. Jenny Lewis with The Watson TwinsRabbit Fur Coat [REVIEW]
I think most people know how I feel about this record: not terrible enough to pan completely, but not good enough to be more than almost middling.

7. Cat PowerThe Greatest
This is indubitably Chan Marshall’s most consistent and compelling body of work.

8. MozezSo Still
Another predominately electronic vocalist who accumulated exposure in Zero 7… it’s a better effort than former co-singer Tina Dico, but that’s not really saying too terribly much.

9. The TemptationsReflections
I was really about this record, I really was. Then it got worse and worse; first I found out it was a covers album, then I heard it and found it was a terrible covers album…

10. Nellie McKayPretty Little Head
The most disappointing thing about this record is that I probably won’t be able to technically include it in my top ten records for the end of this year in the foreseeable future. Not until it gets an official release. *sigh*

FEBRUARY

11. Belle and SebastianThe Life Pursuit [REVIEW]
I don’t care what anyone says; this is my favorite album in the entire B&S repertoire. Deez nutz.

12. Artic MonkeysWhatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not
At times lyrically brilliant but musically simplistic, this was “that” record to keep on the radar for the longest time. Unfortunately, a lot of critical emphasis has been placed on their admittedly derivative style as opposed to their actually solid musicianship. Still, it’s a good debut wounded substantially by a freakishly obscene amount of hype and woefully little amount of originality.

13. Beth OrtonComfort of Strangers
I quite enjoy this stripped back version of Ms. Orton a great deal, to be honest.

14. KT TunstallEye to the Telescope
Although one of the better singer-songwriters to make a splash with near-instant mainstream success, I find her delivery lacking versatility and the ridiculous amount of prominence placed on her ability to multi-track herself during live performances to be a tad bit gimmicky. That, and most the left-field Dido comparisons are just blatantly asinine.

15. Ray DaviesOther People’s Lives
Yeah, I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who picked up this really solid record by ex-Kinks frontman.

16. GoldfrappSupernature
A fun and entertaining, if occasionally spotty, electronic dance record by one of my favorite sexy voices in the biz. Hoooot damn.

17. MogwaiMr. Beast
This was my first blind purchase of the year, and remains my only one. I should’ve been able to realize that this album had “Post Rock Snooze Fest 2K6” written all over it, solely based on the cover. This one got sold straight back to Hastings.

18. Bela Fleck & the FlecktonesHidden Land
I never thought I would say this, but these guys desperately need to retire if they can’t establish a new, fresh musical direction by next album. Their style has not aged very well at all, and their bluegrass/electronic/jazz fusion just sounds campy as fuck these days.

19. DestroyerDestroyer’s Rubies
I don’t like Dan Bejar’s voice, but this is surprisingly okay.

20. CascadaEverytime We Touch
Goodbyyyyyye, electronic music – say hello to the death of vocal trance.

MARCH

21. Prince3121
I lied – this was also a blind buy, and one that I also sincerely regretted. I love Prince too.

22. Dilated Peoples20/20
I guess when compared to their stellar debut, I can understand why people think these guys have fallen off their rocker. But y’know what? – I actually quite like the record. The general disconnect of the album in-between songs is somewhat detrimental, though.

23. Neko CaseFox Confessor Brings the Flood [REVIEW]
It’s still clenching on to dear life for the #1 spot of my favorite record this year. Just barely. *smile*

24. Men Women & ChildrenMen Women & Children
Lead single “Dance in My Blood” was fetching enough, only to be offset by post-disco punk rock catastrophe. All flash and no substance; I really don’t see these guys going anywhere after their record fades from consciousness.

25. Ben HarperTwo Sides of the Gun
Fuck double-disc records. Really. A handful of solid tracks scattershot throughout a generally boring and exhaustive listen.

26. Band of HorsesEverything All the Time
I don’t remember giving so much as two shits about Carissa’s Weird, and I certainly can’t help but not give these guys the time of day, either. The lead singer voice grates like a motherfucker, and I really just can’t get over how emo all ten tracks feel.

27. Yeah Yeah YeahsShow Your Bones
It wasn’t until this record that I started to cozy up slightly to Karen O’s histrionic vocals – mostly because they were almost entirely absent this go. *smile* Not a bad effort; it sounds leaner and more refined than their debut, by far, although that may have put off some of the band’s core fanbase. But what do I know?

28. Ghostface KillaFishscale
It sounds petty, but the album is murdered by the sheer number of tracks on here. It’s not necessarily a long listen so much as there’s very little room to be able to step back and take a breather without Ghostface trying to shove his chaotic, anxiety-inducing flow down your throat. Lots of notably great tracks overwrought by aimless skits trying to cleverly reference (esoteric) pop culture.

29. T.I.King
I still stand by this as, so far, the best rap album of the year. T.I.’s got solid beats being pounded out for him, irrevocable mic presence, and he has an elastic, well-enunciated flow. At sixteen tracks there are absolutely nothing but mostly muscular, rock-awesome songs and zero bullshit skits.

30. Mates of StateBring it Back
Ooh, boy, the fanbase were up in arms over this one. So what if they added guitars and a bass line on this record? I can’t imagine them sounding very much more compelling as the drums-and-keyboards duo they were originally touted as, especially against the appalling bad harmonization on the end of that guy in the group. I mean, seriously, what the fuck?

APRIL

31. The Flaming LipsAt War With the Mystics
It’s hard to live in Oklahoma and tell people that you hate The Flaming Lips. It’s not even remotely forgivable that that sentiment was mostly catalyzed by this record, which was laughably atrocious.

32. IslandsReturn to the Sea
A sometimes curiously engaging debut, but it’s mostly forgettable. I fucking hated The Unicorns, if you were wondering.

33. PinkI’m Not Dead
Girl, there were so many things you did wrong on this record, I don’t even know where to begin. Lead singles based around exaggerated pop culture satires were birthed, refined, perfected, and ritualistically cannibalized by Eminem; in other words, the format is yesterday’s news, I don’t blame anyone for considering “Stupid Girls” a borderline career killer for you, at least here in the states.

34. Ani DiFrancoCarnegie Hall 4.6.02
I think this is pretty much her best live entry ever.

35. Massive AttackCollected
One of the more convincingly-crafted greatest hits compilations put together in recent memory.

36. LL Cool JTodd Smith
Really – Todd who? Talk about becoming culturally irrelevant.

37. Built to SpillYou in Reverse
I was never a considerable fan of theirs, but I really do appreciate the raw, organic energy bouncing around the record, especially during the highly kinetic and listenable first half.

38. Daniel PowterDaniel Powter
This one was purely for shits ‘n giggles. And yeah, it’s as categorically bad as you all might have assumed.

39. CalexicoGarden Ruins
Attention all Calexico Super Fans – yes, I think this was a good album. See ya!

40. Gotan ProjectLunatico
Hands down, the most cohesive, ethnically-tinged electronic album this year. Not a beat is wasted on the record’s generally colorful and flourishing production.

41. Josh RitterAnimal Years
I’m not sure how I would place this good record in my head, mostly because I’ve only listened to it once. Get back to me on this.

42. Tom ZeEstudando o Pagode
Sweet Jesus; when did dirty Portuguese rock taste so good?

43. Fiery FurnacesBitter Tea
Makes few strides in purging the putrid aftertaste left behind by the offensively unlistenable Rehearse My Choir.

44. The StreetsThe Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living
*sigh* Only three good songs before Mike Skinner jumps off a cliff.

45. Secret MachinesTen Silver Drops
It hurt so bad to watch this one flop the fuck out.

46. Bubba SparxxxThe Charm
The biggest shame about Bubba Sparxxx is that all three of his albums have been rather good. The only downside to that is that being “rather good” has nowhere near enough of a sway to distinguish him from his other white rapper peers, and “New Ms. Booty”, for as catchy and grind-worthy that it is, isn’t going to set him straight on the path to any sort of immediate stardom.

47. Bruce SpringsteenWe Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions
I’ve always had lukewarm thoughts about this man until this album. Springsteen has always had a substantial fanbase, even throughout a time period where he was vehemently pegged as nothing more than a second-rate Dylan imitator – with this record, I can see why. Springsteen delivers one of the most musically elastic albums of the year, and I’m more than happy with being able to get my foot in the door with his discography with The Seeger Sessions.

48. BabyshamblesDown in Albion
It only becomes more obvious just how much of an acquired taste Pete Doherty is. The Libertines were, eh, okay, sans their one-sided subject matter, and Doherty doesn’t really demonstrate much in the way of lyrical litheness out on his own either.

MAY

49. GomezHow We Operate
The semi-consistent panning that this album received was a little head-scratching to me, at best; to me it was a perfectly catchy and acceptable rock album. Of course, I guess when that type of musical direction is stacked up against their previous bodies of work which more or less featured strong strains of experimentalism, focusing on things like hooks and sing-alongable choruses is critically frowned upon. Fuck you, guys.

50. Pearl JamPearl Jam
I don’t ever remember any Pearl Jam album being run through the publicity hype machine as much as this one was. A very decent, although straightforward, effort to exemplify that they’re quite far from being as washed up as most may have previously thought. Unfortunately, whether or not that re-validates their place in cultural relevance in the current scheme of things remain to be seen.

51. JewelGoodbye Alice in Wonderland
Her best record since her debut.

52. Tool10,000 Days
Perhaps my ear isn’t as intuitive as I think, but I swear to God this record was horrible.

53. Paul SimonSurprise
Very literally a surprise favorite record of the year for me. Brian Eno polishes the album up a bit with a distinct electronic feel, a la David Gray’s White Ladder, and boy, it’s good.

54. Gnarls BarkleySt. Elsewhere
I’m sorry, no, I just don’t buy into this. Danger Mouse is dangerously overrated, and the eccentric-for-the-sake-of-eccentricity production on this album does little to convince me otherwise.

55. Jagged EdgeJagged Edge
Methinks it’s time to either break up or carve out a new musical niche, ‘cause this pretty boy shit doesn’t cut it in this day in age.

56. Red Hot Chili PeppersStadium Arcadium
It was nothing short of a nightmare to comb through this record. The worst part is that there are some really great songs on here too. Yet another instance where a particular band’s popular signature sound shows that it doesn’t age very well.

57. Snow PatrolEyes Open
Contrary to popular belief, Mr. Lightbody, your indie credibility is not boosted by name-dropping last year’s Indie Music Hero, nor does that allow your band to take steps to leave the category of “The Poor Man’s Coldplay” that you got shoehorned into years earlier. An absolute pop disaster.

58. Art BrutBang Bang Rock & Roll
Occasionally amusing lyricism doesn’t make trying to absorb these guys’ talk-sing style any easier.

59. Ane BrunA Temporary Dive
Another talented entry in the severely lacking realm of killer female singer-songwriters, although the often times overtly boring nature of half her record will cause some difficulty in allowing her to turn heads, at least here in the states.

60. The RaconteursBroken Boy Soldier
I think I like this album okay, but I haven’t quite resolved how I feel about The Raconteurs indefinitely, since I’m still trying to sort out how I feel about The White Stripes in general…

61. DMCChecks Thugs and Rock & Roll
Not even worth seeking out a leak.

62. The WreckersStand Still, Look Pretty
I like Michelle Branch and there is very, very little anyone can do anything about that fact.

63. The WalkmenA Hundred Miles Off
I don’t feel particularly compelled to explain why I find this album to be stale as fuck.

64. PhoenixIt’s Never Been Like That
Without a doubt the group’s brightest pop record yet. It’s a completely solid summer jaunt for a lean half-hour plus.

65. Dixie ChicksTaking the Long Way
Rick Rubin needs to be assassinated for becoming the most worthless contemporary American producer on the planet. Not to mention this album was no bueno.

66. Asobi SeksuCitrus
I’m no considerable fan of shoegaze, but there’s something endearing about English lyrics with Japanese-inflected accents. A pleasant blind-buy.

67. Johnny CashPersonal Files
What more is there to say? – for as immense as Cash’s catalogue is, I can testify that most it seems to be straight quality listening. Even the shit he never intended for public release.

JUNE

68. Zero 7The Garden
Electronic music really is dying.

69. Laura Michelle KellyThe Storm Inside
She might be the product of pure pop manufacture – what with her clean-cut image and ear-candy vocals – but she turns in some killer covers on Sia, The Cardigans and Nick Drake, and has a couple of standout original songs. I feel obliged to keep a lookout for her.

70. PsappThe Only Thing I Ever Wanted
This isn’t too unlike Imogen Heap’s Speak for Yourself in that it’s a harmless, generally accessible exposure into the world of pop-based electronica.

71. Katie MeluaPiece By Piece
I still think the Norah Jones comparisons are pretty unfounded at best, but this was a pretty decent follow-up to her head-turning debut.

72. Camera ObscuraLet’s Get Out of This Country
I saw them in concert over a month ago, and I still don’t find their somber, slow-burning brand of indie pop very appealing.

73. Regina SpektorBegin to Hope
To me it seems like Spektor tried so hard to demonstrate versatility that she sacrificed every facet of album consistency to realize that intent. What you end up here is an almost appallingly schizophrenic record that invariably alienates the fanbase. I’d even take Jenny Lewis over this mess.

74. Sonic YouthRather Ripped
I swear every goddamn track sounds the same.

75. Busta RhymesThe Big Bang
It sucked. I’m getting really tired of this.

76. Nelly FurtadoLoose
I’ll save this for a review when I get around to it.

77. Utada HikaruUltra Blue
Definitely her worst entry so far. At around thirteen or fourteen tracks with 5 of them being completely new songs, this blatant attempt at trying to cash in on previously-released J-Pop chart-busters fails to impress. The record lacks the cohesion of her previous three.

78. India.ArieTestimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationships
Anyone who says that no one even remember who India.Arie is a filthy liar; her first-week sales managed to move over 100,000 units to snag that #1 slot, even though she’s maintained a considerably low profile, not to mention the promotion for the record was minimal at best. It’s not too drastically different from your typical India.Arie tunes, but middling Arie is still better than much of the current output of this year.

79. Diana RossBlue
I’m overjoyed someone managed to dig this up out of those Motown vaults so that this superb album could see the light of day of release. Doo wop Ross is great, but jazz and blues-inflected Diana is a whole different ballpark.

80. Allison MoorerGetting Somewhere
Hooray for good country music.

81. EamonLove & Pain
I’m not gonna lie; I didn’t even bother to search for this one like I thought I wanted to.

82. LeAnn RimesWhatever We Wanna
A fanfare-less release of a Japan-only record? Uhhhh…

I quit.

Kommentare

  • johnnytwotone

    Couldn't agree more about that Sonic Youth record. It was all the same goddamned song. A pretty good song, not gonna lie, but the same goddamned song. Fuck Mogwai. They (along with Radiohead) are the definition of over-fucking-rated. Explosions in the Sky, Sigur Ros, and A Silver Mount Zion rape them. Yeah, you shoulda started with the first Strokes record. How did *you*, of all the pop-culture-savvy people I know miss that? Even [b]I[/b] own that record. :) I think the good tracks on Jenny Lewis' records save it for me. And not gonna lie, I fucking love the Watson Twins' harmonies. Neko Case. 'Nuff said. I'd never listen to the Streets before, but I agree about the new record having about 3 good songs. They're fucking good songs though. Never gave the Tool record a full listen. Just bombastic soundscapes and occasionally rumbling bass does not a great album make. Gnarls and RHCP = mediocre. At best. Johnny Cash is one of my latest finds (I'm not sure he qualifies as a find given his fame, but whatever). I could try a bit more Regina Spektor after having heard her previous record [i]Soviet Kitsch[/i]. India.Arie...I want to like her, but I find her somewhat tepid.

    22. Aug. 2006, 22:00
  • oliverpattison

    I agree about Bela Fleck -- pretty horrid album. I don't think electronic music is dead so much as Zero 7 sucks. They were pretty crap a few years ago, too. The Flaming Lips are much better than [i]At War With the Mystics[/i] which is the only terrible thing I have heard from them (but of course I haven't checked out their 80s records which I assume aren't worth the time). From the early ninties until 2002, the Flaming Lips were great.

    22. Aug. 2006, 23:55
  • MrModernRock

    [b]The Cardigans[/b] - What kind of music is this? [b]Ghostface[/b] - I agree its a long listen, but not for the reasons you said. Killah's flow doesn't become a burden and the album isn't long because it, but rather because the tracks after Clipse of Doom, with the exception of Underwater are flat-out boring. [b]Neko Case[/b] - #2 for me. The Derek Trucks Band holds my top spot 8^) [b]The Flaming Lips[/b] - Far from atrocious for me; however, its a good album at best. The beginning and end of the album is wonderful and up to par with their tracks on [b]Yoshimi[/b], but the middle really drags through and becomes a chore to get through. [b]The Boss[/b] - I don't have any Springsteen albums, but for some reason his debut has been stuck in my head. I need to pick up his new album before the year is out though. [b]Gnarls Barkley[/b] - Its a fun-for-the-sake-of-being-fun album. Dangermouse is one of my favorite producers as well. *shrugs* [b]OutKast[/b] - Can't say I'm disappointed because I wasn't really that hyped for an album that had been pushed by 10 times, but the album is entirely too long.

    23. Aug. 2006, 1:03
  • schtef

    I can't believe I read through that. It was like a bite sized chocolate, nowhere near satisfying enough. I agree with your RHCP and Arctic Monkeys review (epecially after seeing the latter) but I do like Gnarls Barkley - it's pure fun. If anything, I have some records to pick up :)

    23. Aug. 2006, 1:40
  • Le_THieN

    [quote]i think u over analyse too much m8,to me good music is just that.no more needs to be said.[/quote] Sweet, I think I just met someone with absolutely [i]zero[/i] capacity to produce any sort of critical thought whatsoever! I thought I'd have to literally shit a brick before I ever met anyone like that, but fortunately, I just dropped the biggest deuce in my life, [i]and[/i] you just happened to comment! When you have that epiphany where you realize how silly you sounded, drop me a line and maybe we'll have a meaningful conversation.

    23. Aug. 2006, 3:47
  • Le_THieN

    no m8 u not mah br0 so u fo' chizz1e u suk me > j00

    23. Aug. 2006, 4:02
  • roundthewheel

    I liked a fair chunk of the stuff from At War with the Mystics (my favorites were Mr. Ambulance Driver and The Wizard Turns On...), but there's no way on earth that it could even hold a candle to Yoshimi or Soft Bulletin. No way at all. That's all I'm really qualified to comment on here ..... I'm always way behind the curve on new music. (Although I will be getting The Crane Wife for my birthday, make no mistake about it.) I think at the end of the year I'll just do quick paragraphs on all the albums I bought, since I buy a lot of music - just not music from 2006.

    23. Aug. 2006, 5:45
  • talking_animal

    Hanso, thanks again for another helping of your well-reasoned, entertaining comments. I notice you didn't list the Rhymefest disc; I thought it was all-around good, with a minimum of stupid skits and some nice samples. It does have a tinge of Kanye West's self-congratulationistic exposure on it, but if that's the price for the solid production job he did, I think it was worth it. I've got to check out the T.I. release based on your reco. [size=9]And smooth sailing with the digestive system, man![/size]

    23. Aug. 2006, 15:04
  • xcdudesquad

    i haven't heard of much but i loved the rhcp cd im not saying their older stuff isn't better it was i just loved the cd!!! i agree with the arctic monkeys they are good but where over hyped

    23. Aug. 2006, 20:46
  • Passioneer

    Neko's is definitely right up there in my 2006 favorites as well, though I have to disagree with you on Regina. I wasn't too impressed upon first listen, but it has definitely grown on me... though I will say it's not as good as her previous stuff. I am guilty of jumping to hear Jenny Lewis' solo release as soon as it came out, but not giving Blake's a chance until recently. Now I can totally agree that [i]Sun, Sun, Sun[/i] is the better of the two. I do like Jenny's a great deal more than you do, though.

    24. Aug. 2006, 2:02
  • martyrme

    Cheers to that assessment of Men, Women, and Children; that single is precisely the reason I bought the album, and every time I've listened to it since then, I've lamented the fact that I could have dropped a mere 99 cents on one song rather than blow substantially more on a totally uninteresting album. (Sometimes even worse than uninteresting - how terrible is [b]Monkey Monkee Men[/b]?!) Spot on again with Snow Patrol. My ears felt nothing short of [i]violated[/i] after I wasted the time it took to get through this album. Gotta say, though, I'm not too into Neko Case. Not sure why, but I it doesn't grab me. Thoughts on the new Christina Aguilera?

    24. Aug. 2006, 4:05
  • dove95

    Hey hey! I have to disagree with a couple of the ones I'm familiar with. Ani Difranco: I think [i]Living in Clip[/i] is her best live album. Ever. One of the best live albums in general. Does [i]Carnegie Hall[/i] really top that? Did you pick up [i]Reprieve[/i]? It's a nice companion to [i]Knuckledown[/i]. Dixie Chicks: I think [i]Taking the Long Way[/i] is probably the most mature album they've put out. Of course, it's not as fun as the other ones, but I'm just thrilled that they've finally got the confidence to write a whole album. Goldfrapp's new one is good, but definitely not at the level of goodness that [i]Black Cherry[/i] is. With the variety you have listed, I'm surprised Thom Yorke not here. Okay, in agreement/like: Yay for Katie Melua (she's better than Norah Jones, IMO) and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

    25. Aug. 2006, 2:28
  • Le_THieN

    [quote]How did *you*, of all the pop-culture-savvy people I know miss that?[/quote] *shrug* I'm known to miss a few beats every now and then. =) [quote]The Cardigans - What kind of music is this?[/quote] Well...in the case that you're actually serious (I can't really tell), they're the band behind the infamous Lovefool from the [i]Romeo + Juliet[/i] soundtrack. They're a pop rock act out of Sweden, and have been around for 15-ish years. [quote]Ghostface - I agree its a long listen, but not for the reasons you said.[/quote] I don't think the record is terrible by any means. It's definitely one of the best rap releases this year, but I just happen to enjoy T.I. immensely in comparison. [quote]Gnarls Barkley - Its a fun-for-the-sake-of-being-fun album. Dangermouse is one of my favorite producers as well. *shrugs*[/quote] Yeah, my dislike for Gnarls Barkley is pretty aesthetic, besides the fact that I just don't like them as a duo. [quote]OutKast - Can't say I'm disappointed because I wasn't really that hyped for an album that had been pushed by 10 times, but the album is entirely too long.[/quote] I'm not gonna lie - now that my excitement for the record's subsided, I don't like it nearly as much as I remembered. Really great in areas, but you're right, it is a beast of a record to get through. [quote]What's your take on Cat Power's Moon Pix?[/quote] *sigh* I'm really troubled by this record - I tend to go back and forth on it a lot. I recognize it for its sheer complexity, but I don't tend to be an internally conflicted individual by nature, so it's hard for me to absorb that very nature of the record at times. It's an evocative but really difficult listen. talking_animal: I'm pretty sure Rhymefest's latest was slated for a second half release, which is why I didn't include it in this update. [quote]Now I can totally agree that Sun, Sun, Sun is the better of the two. I do like Jenny's a great deal more than you do, though.[/quote] Haha, now I just need to get around to reviewing [i]Sun, Sun, Sun[/i] to show all the other Jenny Lewis fans the error of their ways. [quote](Sometimes even worse than uninteresting - how terrible is Monkey Monkee Men?!)[/quote] Yeeeeah, that one's fucking awful. [quote]Thoughts on the new Christina Aguilera? [/quote] Gots a review comin' atcha soon! [quote]Ani Difranco: I think Living in Clip is her best live album. Ever. One of the best live albums in general. Does Carnegie Hall really top that? Did you pick up Reprieve? It's a nice companion to Knuckledown.[/quote] I'm a pretty big fan of [i]Living in Clip[/i] as well, although I value [i]Carnegie Hall[/i] mostly because it's a considerably shorter, more impacting listen. [quote]With the variety you have listed, I'm surprised Thom Yorke not here.[/quote] [i]The Eraser[/i] was a July release.

    26. Aug. 2006, 1:43
  • Le_THieN

    [quote]I was sort of suprised you thought the Greatest was more consistent and compelling than some of her earlier albums. I do agree it is really good, I have it as the second best this year, but what seperates it from her other albums? Is it the production? Maybe just the style? Just curious.[/quote] I actually think that the quasi-conceptual nature of [i]The Greatest[/i] (the loose chronicle of an up-and-coming boxer) really does the record wonders in at least creating the illusion of increased focus over Marshall's previous releases. And whilst she tends to be another one of those singer-songwriters who channels every shade of melancholy on under the sun, I find this latest entry to be most compelling because the crux of the country-inflected sounds on the record are far cries from the amelodic compositions of [i]Moon Pix[/i].

    26. Aug. 2006, 2:30
  • neutered

    I probably know only 20 percent of the albums you've reviewed. I only have one or two tracks of the artists that you've mentioned (i.e. Tina Dico, Neko Case, Regina Spektor, and thanks to the LJ communities). Sigh, I really would like to hear all of Tina Dico's album -- I haven't seen it in record stores here. As for The Cardigans, I love them and you're right, they're underrated. Long Gone Before Daylight is one of my favorite albums of all time. Thanks to your reviews, at least I can sift through LJ communities more efficiently without having to download loads of music, heh.

    27. Aug. 2006, 16:06
  • MrModernRock

    [quote]I don't think the record is terrible by any means. It's definitely one of the best rap releases this year, but I just happen to enjoy T.I. immensely in comparison.[/quote] Perhaps I was too harsh in describing the last half of [b]Fishscale[/b] as flat-out boring, because in reality it isn't a bad album at all; infact, its a very good album, my second favorite hip-hop album as well (behind Murs' album). The thing it suffers from, like most mainstream hip-hop albums are the interludes. Then of course the album seems to be a bit too long, mainly because the first half is truly amazing and while the second half isn't anything less than good (with the exception of the BIG track), its not on the same level as the first half. [quote]Yeah, my dislike for Gnarls Barkley is pretty aesthetic, besides the fact that I just don't like them as a duo.[/quote] Out of the Dangermouse projects, Gnarls Barkley is my least favorite. [b]Demon Days[/b] and [b]The Mouse and the Mask[/b] are both on a completely different level compared to [b]St. Elsewhere[/b]. [quote]I'm not gonna lie - now that my excitement for the record's subsided, I don't like it nearly as much as I remembered. Really great in areas, but you're right, it is a beast of a record to get through.[/quote] [b]Idlewild[/b], like [b]Fishscale[/b], suffers from two downfalls. The minor one being the interludes. The major one is its simply too long. It wouldn't have been so bad if they had camouflaged that fact, but by waving a compeltey useless 9-minute closing track in the face of the listeners, OutKast essentially admits the album is too long and almost half of the album is filler. If the album had been 14 tracks, the album would be the best hip-hop album of 2006. Since its an inflated 25 tracks, the album ends up feeling like I'm sifting through a jungle without a machete. Speaking of OutKast, I got [b]Aquemini[/b] on Friday. Awesome album. Its great being able to listen to a completely focused effort from Andre and Big Boi. Have you checked out Murs yet?

    27. Aug. 2006, 22:21
  • MrModernRock

    I forgot to ask, when is your [b]Idlewild[/b] review going to be posted?

    27. Aug. 2006, 22:21
  • Le_THieN

    [quote]Sigh, I really would like to hear all of Tina Dico's album -- I haven't seen it in record stores here.[/quote] You'd be wasting your time - compared to [i]Notes[/i], it's bludgeoning, overproduced trash. And honestly, I'm not sure that Southeast Asian area will ever see a domestic release of [i]In the Red[/i]. I had to special order that bitch even though it was released domestically stateside, mostly because it was such an obscure release. Alternatively, I'd be happy to hook you up with [i]Notes[/i] if you like. [quote]As for The Cardigans, I love them and you're right, they're underrated. Long Gone Before Daylight is one of my favorite albums of all time.[/quote] [i]Super Extra Gravity[/i] warrants a listen, then. And Then You Kissed Me II is a heart-shattering companion to [i]Long Gone Before Daylight[/i]'s original, if I do say so myself. [quote]Out of the Dangermouse projects, Gnarls Barkley is my least favorite. Demon Days and The Mouse and the Mask are both on a completely different level compared to St. Elsewhere.[/quote] I have to admit that ever since [i]The Grey Album[/i], Danger Mouse has severely failed to impress me on any poignant level. I personally feel the man is ridiculously overhyped, and it has nothing to do with whatever indie cred he's got backing him. [quote]If the album had been 14 tracks, the album would be the best hip-hop album of 2006. Since its an inflated 25 tracks, the album ends up feeling like I'm sifting through a jungle without a machete.[/quote] The length tends to be problematic, but I still feel that it's an all around decent effort. By talking about the album's filler, most people are usually referencing 'Dré's solo tracks, most of which I actually liked. I [i]am[/i] pretty troubled by the distinct duality drummed up by 'Dré and Big Boi's individual efforts, and 'Dré's tracks do tend to be weaker outside of production, most because he's by no means either a phenomenal vocalist or as good as a rapper as Boi. It's a glaring inconsistency. [quote]Have you checked out Murs yet?[/quote] Add that to my list with The Derek Trucks Band. *smile* [quote]I forgot to ask, when is your Idlewild review going to be posted?[/quote] Not for awhile, I'm afraid; I've got a Christina Aguilera, Nelly Furtado, Jim Noir and one undetermined favorite records of all time review in queue before I get around to [i]Idlewild[/i]. I've been maintaining a semi-decent pace though, so hopefully it won't be too long. And just for the record - not that anyone around here cares but me - but I've done a complete 180° turn on Jagged Edge's recent self-titled album. At the party I threw last night, the murderously beautiful ballad, Season's Change featuring John Legend came on during a shuffle before my party, and that prompted me to re-listen to the rest of the album today. I'm tempted to say it's one of their best records to date. Right now, I'm just trying to figure out what made me hate the album so much intially - maybe an indiscriminate loathing of anything and everything Jermaine Dupri. *shrug*

    28. Aug. 2006, 1:04
  • MrModernRock

    [quote]I have to admit that ever since The Grey Album, Danger Mouse has severely failed to impress me on any poignant level. I personally feel the man is ridiculously overhyped, and it has nothing to do with whatever indie cred he's got backing him.[/quote] I still have not listened to [b]The Grey Album[/b] and I probably never will, but apart from the hype Danger garnered due to mixing Jay-Z and the Beatles, hasn't carried him to the hype-level of other hip-hop producers. You are probably fully aware, but there are producers who I've heard hyped a lot more than I've heard Dangermouse's name dropped. The main ones being Kayne West and 9th Wonder and recently MF DOOM thanks to his work on Ghostface's latest album. Sure, Danger isn't the greatest producer of all time, but he's one of my favorites because I think he's an exceptional producer. I haven't heard any of the hype surrounding Danger, other than his work on the Grey Album and that doesn't really interest me anymore. From the beats I have heard from Danger, however, he seems to be able to create a perfect beat for any type of song and is able to create a dark, moody beat and then make a 180 and produce a totally poppin, light-hearted beat.

    28. Aug. 2006, 3:08
  • Le_THieN

    [quote]You are probably fully aware, but there are producers who I've heard hyped a lot more than I've heard Dangermouse's name dropped. The main ones being Kayne West and 9th Wonder and recently MF DOOM thanks to his work on Ghostface's latest album.[/quote] Honestly, that really just depends on which spheres a person traverses through the most. Being both something of a avid music fan who tries his damndest to keep up with underground pacings, I've had my fair share of bridges burned by the DJ Danger Mouse Hype Machine. It may not be quite on the magnitude of more publicly visual producers such as, say, Timbaland or Pharrell, but that point's kind of moot for the sheer fact that that type of hype/exposure (at least in terms of Last.FM) relative. Don't interpret this to mean I find Danger Mouse completely disagreeable and unenjoyable; there are a few ditties he writes that occasionally turns my head. On the whole though, Danger Mouse - through a combination of his actual soundboard compositions, presentation and word-of-mouth praise - just isn't a producer of choice for me. Pee Es: Were you or were you not serious about that Cardigans comment? *smile*

    28. Aug. 2006, 3:42
  • MrModernRock

    [quote]Pee Es: Were you or were you not serious about that Cardigans comment?[/quote] I was just curious to what they sounded like since they recieved such high praise from you and I've never heard them before. I'm not familiar with the soundtrack to Romeo & Juliet either.

    28. Aug. 2006, 3:50
  • neutered

    Hey Hanson. :) I downloaded a couple of [i]In The Red[/i] tracks and it was okay. A number of people seem thrilled with this release so I thought it was worth checking out. But if you could hook me up with [i]Notes[/i], that would be cool. I bought [i]Super Extra Gravity[/i] when it was first released here and was actually pleased and a little surprised that the record stores are carrying it. It's different from [i]Long Gone Before Daylight[/i] (or any of their previous albums, I'll say) but equally satisfying. I wonder why this band isn't getting any mainstream attention or critical acclaim in the US... or maybe they just prefer Sweden? Heh.

    28. Aug. 2006, 16:12
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