Sunday, December 17, 2006

Musical discourse of Mid December. Plus Damien Rice show review!

The new Menomena album is GREAT. Really great. Highly recommended. Every song is sonically pleasing because it's a little off-kilter, they are using a lot of unorthodox sounds on the songs, it's really lovely. Lot of faraway piano, good vocals. This review is extremely stream-of-consciousness so hopefully you will forgive me for the sentence fragments.

Lately, I have been listening to a lot of Otis Redding and Al Green due to the fact that at Lou's it's hard to find good current music in the jukebox, so I have to go to the classics and so I am revisiting a lot of old favorites. I've developed some new favorite songs. I always kind of liked Otis Redding more than Al Green but now that I have been listening to both of those guys a lot lately, I have realized they are not even really comparable, they have different ways of singing, and Al definitely has more of a focus on instrumentation and the melody than Otis. Otis is kind of ALLLLL voice. And holy lord is that voice VELVET or what??? I never really liked Al Green's 'Tired of Being Alone' and 'Belle' until recently. Now, if someone asked me what my favorite Al Green songs were I would spit out those two right off the bat.

My friend, Moe, and I have been discussing recently what songs we will play at our weddings. He claims that he is going to have Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are." Personally, I think this is a terrible choice. There are so many songs in the world, and you're going to pick BILLY JOEL? He's out of his mind. This is the part in my internal dialogue about music with myself and nonexistent sentient beings on the interweb where I discuss the notion of Billy Joel being absolutely HORRIBLE. Why do people go to his concerts? Hasn't he sold out like one million shows in the US or something like that? What is his talent? I don't even think he writes good cheesy pop songs? Why don't I like Billy Joel at all? Is there something wrong with me? It proves difficult for me to wrap my head around Billy Joel's raging popularity. When we wanna talk about Piano-men who write good pop songs, aren't you going to mention Elton John before Billy Joel? Elton John=talented, Billy Joel=a hack. Maybe it's just me being snotty about tunes again, but Elton John is almost as popular but I don't hate him, so it must be something about Billy Joel. I still remember going to some religious retreat in high school and this one girl, Carissa, she was on her high horse because no one knew the words to "Piano Man," as if loving Billy Joel and knowing the words to one of the most popular songs of all time put her in some sort of higher class as far as being hip goes. If you're going to be in high school and get uppity about your musical tastes, don't put all your money on Billy Joel. He is terrible. At least try to claim you love the Beatles even if you have never even heard the white Album in its entirety. The point is, Moe is crazy. Billy Joel is a bad choice for wedding songs, especially because 1000 other scumbags before you have probably picked Billy Joel to play at their weddings. At this current date, I think my wedding song could very well be 'Belle' by Al Green. It's so nice to dance to and the lyrics aren't even really........ They don't even really apply to .... your beloved, but it doesn't matter, the mood of the song says I love you and you're the best and I'm glad I met you. Even if the words aren't saying exactly that. The way you hold your lady when you're dancing to it is enough to communicate that. There's just something about the way you have to sway to the beat and the melody, it's just sexy.

So anyway.

I like some pretty traditionally terrible music, sometimes. And I feel like it's okay because I like so much other traditionally GOOD music that it cancels out all my bad choices. I like some old Beasties Boys but it's okay cause I like Lords of the Underground and Cypress Hill. I have just been doing a lot of different things musically lately and I listen to Bargain Music and Sublime and don't have to always feel like a white-ass college idiot.

Speaking white-ass college idiots, I was surrounded by them at the Damien Rice show the other night at the Tower Theatre. That's okay, I don't make assumptions. People are generally really nice, especially white-asses, they tend to be very non-committal and glancingly friendly. But The Music! Damien Rice was really really good. I really don't like some of the songs when he just turns on the rock and distorts his voice with that effect pedal attached to his microphone. He is much better at the quieter stuff, I'm sure he knows that. And sometimes, the loud endings to songs are effective. Like on 'Elephant' and 'Eskimo.' Those two songs crescendo into some affecting sounds. And live they really tore out the audience's collective heart. That woman has one of the most beautiful voices on the planet. Moe had never heard of Damien Rice before I asked him to go to the show with me. (Personal sidebar: I bought the tickets a really long time ago, I had expected to go with my ex-boyfriend, he was a huge huge fan, we both were, I had thought it would be a nice Xmas present for him..... so I had to take a non-Damien Rice fan because you normally don't meet many people who are in-the-know about that sort of stuff. Anyway, Moe is the type of person who will check out anything musically. His tastes are far-ranging but being from an older crowd, I guess he normally doesn't collect the 'newmusic' tips that often come along to the younger, more internet-savvy generation. But the point was, even though he never heard Damien Rice before that night, he immediately picked up on the notion that I started mentioning to him after the show that yes, the woman has a very nice voice but she is used appropriately. Fans love those parts in the songs when she sings because she sings so beautifully, and you always have to wonder to yourself 'Why doesn't she do solo work, she has a glorious voice?' and then you sort of realize that she is used with restraint because you almost want to think that if she was all over everything and doing solo work, it wouldn't have the same sort of effect. The conflict of Damien's voice and hers is what really makes the songs special. 'The Blower's Daughter' is a perfect example of that as well as '9 Crimes.' So, in conclusion, I think the fact that Moe realized that same thing that I did proves that it's not just a theory, the use of the girl is appropriate and perfect in Damien's songs and anything more would be overkill) 'The Animals Were Gone' was another big highlight, Damien has a fabulous voice, obviously it's the thing that really makes you want to write home about him.

The coolest part was something unique to the Philadelphia show because at one point, Damien introduced a guy that worked at the Tower Theatre, Derek! He was apparently listening in on the soundcheck earlier that day while the cellist was rehearsing, and Derek thought it would be cool if he beatboxed in conjunction with her cello-playing. They threw a little number together that involved Derek beatboxing while she played the cello and did a little rap. It was amazing in it's organic formation. The magic of an non-professional from Philly completely falling in line with a professional cellist of a totally different creed was amazing. Derek was nervous and wasn't sure exactly how to work with the microphone and things like that, they were all sort of wondering how it was gonna work out, and it worked out beautifully. The rap was funny and sounded so cute coming from this little Irish girl and the beatbox sounded great over the cello. It wasn't the best beatboxing in the world but the circumstances in how it all came together so quickly is what made it so entertaining. It was my favorite part of the show by far.

Anyway, end result: it was a good show. Damien Rice is a talented dude, I was not thrilled with the new album at first and I still am not, I think parts of it are really weak and I think the first part is amazing and the second part really dies off. I sometimes think that about 'O' too. Some of the songs are genius while others are barely a blip on the radar. I find it amazing that I always regard 'O' as a "classic" album yet there are songs on there that I skip always! I really don't like Volcano, I really don't like Cannonball. And I sometimes don't like 'Amie' ... but I think that's because it's so direct at one person. I normally don't like 'name' songs like that because they cancel out 99% of the population because you're not named Amie.

The farther I go with this analysis, the less sense I make, and the more my grammar fails, so I'm going to quit while I'm ahead and tell ya'll to stay velvet and pick up the new Menomena album. It probably isn't out yet. But you all know of ways to hear this stuff before it drops. Pigs Pigs Pigs! Seeking of Souls! You know it.

Comment here if you are feeling the new Damien Rice album or if you were at the concert or if you heard the Menomena or any general comments like how awesome today's Eagles game was!


Tom said...

Your entries on this are always so all over the place. I don't know where to start.


1) Write more often.

2) Menomena are some ass-kicking fellas. I am in disbelief that I don't have their new album yet. I really dropped the ball on that one.

3) I fail to see any significant difference between Elton John and Billy Joel, other than that Joel's lyrics are slightly more unbearably cheesy and John's are way more obtuse, but their lyrics are both ridiculous, and that has more to do with Bernie Taupin than Elton John anyway. Besides that, they're both dudes with two first names who play unabashedly smarmy piano pop. I happen to love both of them.

4) But then again, what do I know, because I generally am nauseated by Damien Rice. But you know, to each their own, etc.

5) That's an interesting thought about "name" songs. Maybe it's different for me because I'm a guy and 99% of those songs are written by guys for gals. But I have no problem with them, and when Brian Wilson laments Caroline's lost innocence, it doesn't make me any less sad just because I don't know anybody named Caroline.

6) I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT DAMN EAGLES GAME. The fact that they have a legitimate chance to win 10 games this year boggles my mind. Also, Jeremy Shockey can suck my dick and Brian Dawkins is God. Also, a brief moment of silence for the passing of your boy Freddy Meyer's Flyers career. *silent*

Lauren said...

Hahaha. Yeah, I really enjoy writing here, I don't know why I don't write more often. It is so much fun to get all my thoughts out, as jumbled and messy as they so often tend to be. I was an English major, I really do know how to write properly it's just that human thoughts aren't meant to be so ordered most of the time. And since this is informal, I will allow my sentence fragments and ridiculous puncutation. The point of grammar rules is so that everyone can get on the same page. Made up punctuation doesn't always say the same thing to everybody. "--" means 'pause extra long' to me but to others maybe it means the same thing as a comma. I don't know.
Menomena! Like I said, it's possible their album has not even been released yet. I think it may be coming out in January. I, of course, got it from the interweb. But I like it so much I definitely think it will be a for real purchase when it gets released. Let me find out the actual date of release on that. It's called 'Friend and Foe.' is telling me it will be released January 23rd, 2007. Of course if you cannot wait, I would be happy to burn it for you or pass it along in another digital way.

Billy Joel and Elton John. I think it is really just me. I must have some sort of inborned hatred of Billy Joel, maybe because he's so entrenched in that whole 'New York' thing. I hate everything New York. I hate New York, the place, I hate New York sports teams, I hate New Yorkers, I hate people that live in New York and think that automatically makes them cool. I think Philadelphia is ten times cooler as a city. There are plenty of nice restaurants, bars, and tourist attractions here and you don't have to go out of your mind waiting for things. ALTHOUGH, I did find myself a half-hour late for a hair appointment the other day because the salon was at 17th and Locust and traffic around there was sick in the head. But those kind of things can happen in any city. So anyway, yes, Billy Joel and elton John both write unbearably cheesy pop songs. I guess I always got down with Elton moreso than Billy because he was all 'Philadelphia Freedom' and Billy Joel was all 'New York STate of Mind' and I was like EFF YOU BILLY JOEL NEW YORK SUCKS! Agh!

And, exactly. To each they're own with music because I get down with Damien Rice yet can see how some people would not like him. (Sometimes he does this highpitched thing with his voice that I think is completely stupid. Plus, I think he has so much unrealized potential. He keeps going in this rockier direction and I think it's stupid. Keep things simple with these cute little simplistic songs and I'll keep listening. If you're gonna go crazy and think you're some kind of rock star, I'm not down anymore.)

And. Name songs. It's weird when I said that about name songs I had two in mind. 'Amie' and 'Michelle' by the Beatles. I'm not a huge fan of 'Michelle' even though it's a very popular Beatles song. I just don't like it. It could be the name thing, it could be the whole French thing, anything french in my mind has a negative connotation. Because! There's another Beatles 'name song' that is one of my favorite songs of all time: 'Dear Prudence' so. Maybe my reasons for hating name songs are flawed. Maybe 'Amie' and 'Michelle' are just plain poor songs.

I AM SO SAD ABOUT FREDDY!!!!! I thought he was one of the bright spots of our young talent. He was not always the best, he made mistakes, but he made some great plays, and he was exactly the king of offensive defenseman that would fit right into the NEW NHL. This is definitely a transition year for the Flyers and I really see them being really amazing this year. I think we can say this year is pretty much crap unless they can pull a 'Philadelphia Eagles' and surprise everyone and string together some wins where they were never supposed to win more than 1.

That Eagles game was so freaking exciting. I haven't enjoyed watching a game so much since we beat Dallas earlier this season. We shall definitely see what happens on Christmas.

Let's just be cliche right now and say I think everyone in Philadelphia could ask for nothing better for Christmas than the Eagles beating Dallas on Christmas Day.