Thursday, August 31, 2006

Deliver Us From Free Will

Song: Deliver Us From Free Will
Artist: The Ark
Album: State of the Ark

You know music is a funny thing. Often there will be music that hits me right away, that I love off the bat, and other times it's a slow process of multiple listens before I get to like something. One band for me that consistently every new record I got was a very slow process of getting to like was 10,000 Maniacs. I was late to the game (so late in fact that "Our Time In Eden" the first record I got of theirs turned out to be their last... with Natalie Merchant anyhow.) I really liked that record and worked my way backward through their catalog from there. From "Blind Man's Zoo" to "In My Tribe" the first couple listens got a big "Ugh, this is boring" the first few times but then the melodies slowly creeped out and I ended up liking them all quite a bit.

When I first hear Radiohead's "O.K. Computer" I remember also thinking it was so slow and boring. I listen to that record now and honestly can't understand what I was thinking. That is a rock record through and through and at this point if someone told me they thought it was boring I would take it as sacrilege.

Nirvana's "In Utero" was an out of the box delight to me. I listened to it non-stop and just really thought it was great from the first listen. I can't say that I listen to it much now, and if I am going to listen to Nirvana I'll put on "Nevermind." I still think it's a good record, but I never feel like listening to it.

Anyhow, I thought I'd go back to some of the stuff that I had posted and let you know what has really stuck with me and what hasn't so much.

First off is The Ark. I decided for this I would post another of their songs from the album "State of the Ark" as it has become an absolute favorite of mine. "One of Us is Gonna Die Young" has become one of my favorite new songs in a long long time. According to my iTunes I have listened to it over seventy times which is pretty wild and sort of a lot scary. But it made its way onto my walk-to-work playlist every morning since I got it basically and slowly the album has really grown on me. It's pretty diverse but a complete whole and I honestly like the entire thing. I will admit that nothing has the spark and oomph of "Die Young" but it has a lot of gems. So I give to you "Deliver Us From Free Will," another great song with very funny lyrics. I highly recommend this record. It's great.

I can't think of two albums I am looking more forward to that the sophomore albums from the Scissor Sisters and The Killers. The Scissor Sisters was pretty much a given as I have been eager for music for a while and I really just was looking forward to ANYTHING new. I did like "I Don't Feel Like Dancing," their latest single first couple of times I heard it live and did like the studio version when I first got it. I don't know if my expectations were just out of control or what, but only within the last two weeks or so it occurred to me that it was not only good but great. They can officially do no wrong for me.

The Killers were a bit different because as much as I liked their debut, I sort of wrote them off as a little fluffy. Some of the lyrics on "Hot Fuss" were down right embarrassing but the killer tune in which they lived elevated everything to an INXS level of pop anthem quality. Based on the exploding ego of lead singer Brandon Flowers, part of me wanted to call their new single "When You Were Young" a failure. At this point, it's not only the best song I have yet to hear from them, but one of the best songs I've heard this year. It is SO Springsteen and has that leave you in the dust cross-country idealism in which young lovers leave hurt behind on a quest for a great positive future. It's a 100% anthem and I venture to say that in twenty years could be considered a rock classic.

Of the songs from artist I didn't really know but have really enjoyed their records since posting, Lily Allen and Under The Influence of Giants really take the prize. Lily's CD is a fun mix of London girl sass, not in a Spice Girl kind of way though, it's a bit more perverse than that. But here is a record where you don't expect the songs to be as diverse and good as they are. I also realized that what I fist heard and sent was a demo of the song "LDN." The album version has a few more bells and whistles.

Under The Influence of Giants self titled debut has been a big surprise. I called them the next Maroon 5 (snore)but they are in fact way more interesting. There are a ton of great fun songs on the record. It is still growing on me but I can say that I have at least four songs on heavy rotation that I really think are great. "Mama's Room" is finally getting more airplay, so this may in fact be a break out band. And funny, here is a case where the single is by far not the best thing on there. Check it out.

ultimately, but probably not surprisingly, the Christina Aguilera Record has left me cold. Like I though, it would have much much been better as a single disc. The thin concept doesn't really hold up and those that get tired of her runs and over singing will want to climb the walls by the time it's ready for disc two. There are some songs that have grown on me but ultimately I have been skipping over it.

I've been surprised at how little I feel toward the new Beck song. I've listened to it several times but it just isn't grabbing me. I do not doubt that Mr. Hanson has some tricks up his sleeves so I am still eagerly awaiting his record come October as I have will all of his past releases since the debut.

I also think I jumped the gun and was way too harsh with Pete Yorn. I have been listening to it a lot and have been enjoying it more and more. There are currently about three or four songs that I am listening to repeatedly and I'm finding more rock in there than I had previously heard. Very much like the 10,000 Maniac's thing.

It's still a bit early but I must say that I am enjoying the Timberlake CD. It's not the outrageous absolutely new sounding record that had been rumored, but it is still pretty good for a pop star of his caliber. He's gone very Prince with this album and while lyrically it's not really groundbreaking, it proves that he is an artist to watch. Might just be here for the long haul.

So there you go, sometimes things need to sit for you a while!

RESULTS: Love It or Hate It: The Levee's Gonna Break by Bob Dylan

In the end, after the votes were tallied, Bob Dylan got a HATE IT from all the readers! Sorry Bob, the majority isn't feeling it. It was close though and I wanted to post some of the comments I received because they were so good:

"Dylan is like Shakespeare - a sacred cow that nobody is allowed to say they don't like and / or don't get. I think he's a great songwriter, and love his songs when sung by other people. But other than "Like A Rolling Stone," I think he's a joke as a performer. The emperor has no clothes on."

"No brainer. Absolutely love it. Dylan is a genius and at the young age of 65 his genius continues to shine. This song is great but there are even better songs on the record. By far the best album of the year and a safe bet that little if anything else released the rest of the year will come close."

"I like it! I like how it's very bluesy and raspy. Put me down for "love it" (Though it's not my favorite song by any means!)"

"He's boring, so I'm indifferent on the song, which I guess means I'm leaning towards hate it? Who am I to put down Bob Dylan seems sacrilegious to do so."

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