12 Days of RCMas: 9: *NSYNC

RC: *NSYNC – Home For Christmas

 

 

 

Preconceptions:
Alright. I’ve never actually listened to an *NSYNC album in it’s entirety, but that Timberlake was pretty funny with D**k in a Box (and subsequent songs with Andy Samberg) so this may be bearable.

 

After Listening:
They’re no New Kids on the Block (I typed that and laughed at the same time), but it’s pretty predictable in boyband harmony and song composition. It’s pretty amazing how that guys hair looks like one of those fiberoptic lamps I got one Christmas. I bet it hurt when pieces of his hair embedded in your skin too.

 

Oh man. Most of this is new music… and none of it is balls out amazing. That’s what happens when I judge a d**k by the box it’s wrapped in.

 

I know it sounds ridiculous to say as it’s a CHRISTMAS album, but this was very Christianity centric. I didn’t know that I was getting into a very religious group of songs. I assumed it was going to be winter-centric, but there was a lot of the JC up in this Bethlahizzle.

 

Favorite track/tracks:
O Holy Night (A Cappella) – I completely adore a capella music. Though the build up to the beginning could have been shorter.

 

Least favorite track/tracks:
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays

 

Overall (1-5 stars):   1

 

 

RC: Neko Case – Middle Cyclone

 

Record Club: Neko Case – Middle Cyclone

 

Preconceptions:

Is this that R&B dude whose CD I won from 101.3 because I entertained one of the DJs for about a half an hour? Ugh. I think I ended up not even listening to any of that five pack. What a waste of an afternoon… driving down 15 to just pick up a rubber-banded stack of uninteresting.

 

After Listening:

Okay I was way off. That’s Ne-Yo. This singer sounds a bit like Shirley Manson if she were Florence from Florence and the Machine with a tint of throwing away vibrato-less tone like Missy Higgins. It has a Dogs Die in Hot Cars feel and I really enjoy the use of strings in The Next Time You Say “Forever”. She sounds a little like Natalie Merchant in I’m An Animal. The playlist progresses into various styles of “white folk singers that want to be rock stars”. It feels like a few songs might be added to my massive playlist for moving across country.

 

Favorite track/tracks:

Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth – Okay, I will admit that I didn’t actually pay attention when I was initially listening to it and immediately snapped my head towards the speaker when I thought I heard “Never turn your back on Middle Earth”. I was all “YEAH! HOBBITS!” Turns out I’m slightly braindead today.

Magpie To The Morning – It’s such a lazy song with interesting melody. If there was a film of me gardening, I would like this to be its underscore. But I don’t garden. I get weirded out by dirt.   

Prison Girls – I didn’t think I would like this song by the title alone, but I really dig the creepy instrumental and the warbling Jefferson Airplane vocals in it. I couldn’t care less about the lyrics.

 

Least favorite track/tracks:

Middle Cyclone – It is VERY rare that I enjoy the sound of a Jack-In-The-Box. This was not one of the positive times. It brought me back to the time I was sleeping over a friend’s house and her music box sounded like it and she had a My Buddy doll AND a Kid Sister doll which looks very much like a Chucky doll.

Marais La Nuit – You want to know what my music doesn’t need? 30 minutes of environs chirping their hearts out. It is completely self indulgent bull where someone goes “I want to sound artsy”. While I understand that my taste in art itself contradicts this statement as I completely adore Abramovic’s work because it is so weird, it’s heaps different than having a bunch of high pitched squeaks invade my ears. With Abramovic I can look away. If this is playing in an Anthropologie when I am in it I guarantee you I will stab someone with a doorknob.

 

Overall (1-5 stars):  2.75

While I enjoyed most of it while listening to it, it’s not something that I think I’ll listen to again. I think I might pull some songs to my playlist.

 

To read more opinions on albums like these, please visit listenatwork.wordpress.com

 

 

12 Days of RCMas: 10: She & Him

RC: She & Him – A Very She & Him Christmas

 

Preconceptions:

I’ve heard this group before. Zooey’s voice is kind of touch and go with me. At some points in her songs, she gets a little goose honk song that grates my ears.

 

After Listening:

Yep. Still some honking, but for the most part enjoyable. I absolutely love the guitar in this album. It has such a lovely sound to it. Part of it has to do with the surf rockabilly wah wah love bending the strings and the pick work.

 

Favorite track/tracks:

Blue Christmas – She has a very Country sounding vibrato that works so well with this song.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside – Fantastic twist on the classic and at a faster pace it makes it a little bit funnier and a lot less date rapey.

Silver Bells – Ukulele!

 

Least favorite track/tracks:

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Her pausing during some of the lyrics was offputting. This is a beautiful song and it was a miss for me.

 

Overall (1-5 stars):   3.5

12 Days of RCMas: 12 & 11: Muppets/Brian Setzer

Yesterday I had every intention of posting an album about holidaytimes, but I had just gotten back from a very fun mini vacation to NYC to see Addams Family and the Rockettes (Not at the same time… THOUGH I WOULD TOTALLY SEE A LINE OF KICKING PUGSLEYS!)

Each day before Christmas, I was planning to post a review of Christmas Albums you may not know of and what I think of them. If you really want a buttload of Christmas all up in your ears, the entire list is posted on Grooveshark, but each day I’m planning to post one. Today, however, you get two!

RC: John Denver & The Muppets – A Christmas Together

 

 

 

 

 

Preconceptions:

 

This is the one Christmas album that has made it through every move, the switch to cassette, the switch to CD, the downloading of MP3s. This IS Christmas for me. Listening to this while decorating a tree, or making cookies with this on constant loop is my fondest memories of my time with my family during the holiday seasons.

 

 

 

After Listening:

 

Still love it. I cannot wait to listen to it with my parents.

 

 

 

Favorite track/tracks:

 

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – I have such a fondness for Rowlf and the rasp of his voice. It’s such a great combination of John Denver’s soft tone and Rowlf’s sandpaper.

 

When The River Meets The Sea

 

Little Saint Nick – Animal screaming “RUN RUN REINDEER!” makes me laugh hysterically each time.

 

Noel: Christmas Eve, 1913 – Absolutely beautiful melody.

 

 

 

Least favorite track/tracks:

 

There aren’t any that I dislike enough to skip over.

 

 

 

Overall (1-5 stars):   5

 

RC: Brian Setzer Orchestra – Boogie Woogie Christmas

 

 

Preconceptions:

I’ve liked Setzer since the Stray Cats, so I’m pretty sure I know what I’m in for. Rockabilly with Big Band backup.

 

After Listening:

I love the album. It’s got a few songs that are rarely visited on a lot of mainstream holiday albums without being so obscure that you can’t sing along with a few of them. It’s old style swing and rock applied to old songs. I want to make sex to it.

 

Favorite track/tracks:

Boogie Woogie Santa Claus – It’s got a rhythm that makes me want to dance to it. I don’t have an old childhood attachment to it. It’s just fresh, friendly and fun.

The Nutcracker Suite – I adore the change in tempo and tackling this orchestral piece with an electric guitar is no easy feat. Setzer can pick like a friggin demon.

 

Least favorite track/tracks:

Winter Wonderland – I don’t particularly like the song, so it’s nothing personal. The lyrics are just dumb.

 

Overall (1-5 stars):   5

 

 

RC: Charles Mingus – Blues & Roots

 

Record Club: Charles Mingus – Blues & Roots

 

Preconceptions:

Mingus is one of my faves, though I tend to veer more towards Blues than Jazz. I would spend a lot of time at the Iron Horse in NoHo whenever Blues musicians go Hey Seth, did I ever tell you about the time I was propositioned by Bo Diddley? … I was in highschool. At that point, he was part jerky. May he rest in peace.

Back to Mingus. I’ve heard this album before. I’m thinking it’s not one of his best.

 

After Listening:

Well I’m pretty sure I’ve gone insane. I’m blaming lack of sleep and frenetic jazz. I’m seeing everything in grayscale right now.

 

Favorite track/tracks:

Cryin’ Blues – I had to look up to see who was playing the piano because it was amazing. Horace Parlan, you… are… my… hero. Also, I have always been a fan when the people in the band are so floored but what the featured instrument is doing that they can’t help but comment.

Moanin’ – If they ever make a film noir about me becoming a detective, I want this to be my song. And I demand fishnet stockings, Louboutin stilettos and a grey ladies trench that has been hemmed to just slightly above the pin-stripe pencil skirt and tailored Doris top and I AM THINKING ABOUT BECOMING A DETECTIVE YOU GUYS!

My Jelly Roll Soul – I’m very curious if this was an homage to Jelly Roll Morton.

 

Least favorite track/tracks:

Stop yourself.

 

Overall (1-5 stars):   5

 

To read more opinions on albums like these, please visit listenatwork.wordpress.com

 

RC: Nas – Illmatic

 

Record Club: Nas – Illmatic

 

Preconceptions:

I think he did a song with Lauren Hill in the nineties… But to be fair… Everyone did. Try not to fall in love with her dulcet tones. Oh wait… You wanted to know about Nas. I think it was “If I ruled the world”. I could be wrong but I remember very little of his part. I think he is in the rap genre? Si?

 

After Listening:

I forget how much I really can enjoy rap, and it was disappointing that the album only set to remind me that there are much better albums out there. I’m a bit upset that I didn’t recommend a Mos Def album. I enjoy the percussive aspect of the human voice. Some rap artists are beautiful wordsmiths. Yes, most of the lyrics aren’t that amazing, but the way that they are delivered it’s possible to be pulled in. Nas fails to keep me interested. He seems to think that profanity, “No’Whaaam sayyyin” and “what up son” are all you need. I’m guessing that since this isn’t his only album, there are people that get pulled in and don’t mind. 

 

Favorite track/tracks:

The Genesis – This totally songs like it belonged in a clunky silver boombox ontop of some cardboard during one of my solo adventures in Jamaica Plain when I was seven.

 

Least favorite track/tracks:

Life’s a B**** – I really cannot stand the tag line for the song. It doesn’t help that it’s a part of the chorus and the rest of the words are strung together pointlessly. Also? Adding a trumpet doesn’t make everything fly. I learned that from this song.

Halftime – The buildup for the first 20 seconds led me to believe that there was going to be a crazy string of lyrical wonderment. After all, you don’t need to catch your breath for mediocrity, right? … Oh… Nevermind.

 

Overall (1-5 stars):  0.5

Since there were ten songs and I only really liked the first one… I’m going to give points based on that.

 

To read more opinions on albums like these, please visit listenatwork.wordpress.com

 

 

RC: Queen – Queen II

I am thoroughly disappointed that Freddie isn't sporting a stache in this cover.

 

Record Club: Queen – Queen II

*Please note: I assumed Freddie Mercury had been born with a permanent mustache so I was shocked when I pulled up the cover art. Obviously, I did that after I wrote the review.*

 

Preconceptions:

I don’t own a Queen album, but I think Freddie Mercury’s mustache should have had its own band. Also I know a lot of their top hits. I’m interested to see which ones are on this album.

 

After Listening:

Oh. There aren’t any top hits on this album. Actually, I love this album. It’s supposed to feel like a rock opera, right? I LOVE ROCK OPERAS!!!! (If you ever wondered why Marissa and I are buddies, here’s one reason. We both love musicals.) Did they make a movie out of this? I think if they did, it should have starred the dude that played Jesus in the movie adaptation of Jesus Christ Superstar. Also, it needs to have muppets. OH MY GOD! MAKE THE ENTIRE THING A PUPPET MOVIE! … and bring me a hookah.

 

I need to stop writing these when I’m exhausted.

 

I really like Freddie Mercury’s voice. I’m going to attribute it to the mustache. I think it’s a natural filter that only lets pure melody through.

 

Favorite track/tracks:

White Queen – I really dig the high pitched four part harmony. I have a theory that naked boys singing won’t sing Queen songs because you can probably see the high notes in the genitals.

* If you want to kick me out of the Record Club, this is the moment where I wouldn’t blame you.

The Loser in the End – I really like how Freddy uses his words like a master storyteller in EVERY song he sings. I think I like this a little too much because it sounds likeBowie to me. And I really likeBowie. 

Ogre Battle – I’m pretty sure this is how my buddy Patrick and I sing at each other. But we sing random things that don’t matter.

 

Least favorite track/tracks:

Father to Son – I’m not a big fan of the three minute “everybody solo” mentality. For true. I cannot listen to Iron Butterfly without wanting to brain someone with flailing fists.

 

Overall (1-5 stars):   4.5

I’m not giving it a full five because they never made the movie. In my head, this movie is brilliant. So I’m carrying a grudge. It’s only a 0.5 grudge. It could’ve been worse.

 

Random Thought:

If the Black Queen was using her March as her theme as she blasted in to battle, she would have major hip problems. The tempo doesn’t just change, it turns on a friggin dime.

 

To read more opinions on albums like these, please visit listenatwork.wordpress.com

 

RC: Belle & Sebastian – If You’re Feeling Sinister

 

Record Club: Belle & Sebastian – If You’re Feeling Sinister

 

Preconceptions:

I’m sure Zach Braff owns every album. Actually, I think I’ve heard many songs from this group before. It’s like Magnetic Fields, but without an album that is 172 minutes, right?

 

After Listening:

Yeah… I’ve heard the songs before in some Indie film (or wanna be Indie film)… Also, I used to have a weird playlist on Pandora when I was playing WoW and partaking in quite a bit of herb. I’m pretty sure I’ve raided while Seeing Other People was playing in the background. Ultimately, it’s background noise for the sake of being background noise. I need a thousand things happening at the same time when I’m doing things.

 

It sounds a little like Bon Iver, the singer from ofMontreal, and Scroeder from Peanuts got together to form a sleepy Traveling Wilburys group.

 

Favorite track/tracks:

If You’re Feeling Sinister – Frankly a title as malevolent as this starting out with children playing in a park makes me scream “YOU GET IT B&S! Kids are CREEPY!” Then they start singin .    

 

Least favorite track/tracks:

Most of them seem to just twist into each other. The lyrics are really hard to hold on to in my brainpan.

 

Overall (1-5 stars):  3.14

It’s good to play in the background when you need to focus on something else. I’m pretty sure if I were to go to their concert it would be the most expensive nap I have ever taken.

 

To read more opinions on albums like these, please visit listenatwork.wordpress.com

 

 

RC: Guns N’ Roses – Appetite For Destruction

 

Record Club: Guns N’ Roses – Appetite For Destruction

 

Preconceptions:

FEATHER MY HAIR!

I’m sure I’m supposed to talk about my musical preconceptions, but there really can’t be one. I’ve used this album more than I use my corkscrew, and Seth and Marissa can confirm that baby gets exercise.

 

After Listening:

Okay… Okay… We get it. Slash can shred. Axel has a vibrato. The licks are amazing but since I was old enough to realize that Axel was too much douche for a bag, I find it really hard to listen to him sing. I forgot how many of these songs existed that never reached the airwaves. Also, I should call my friend. This is pulling me into my high school years where he and I would battle over which song was playing on the speakers. Because we are so awesome, EVERYONE WON!

 

Favorite track/tracks:

Nightrain – Nothing is more entertaining to me than nonsensical lyrics and a steady cowbell. The only thing that would be better is Walken screaming at them in the background.

Mr. Brownstone – I cannot listen to this song without picturing a friend (prior to her crazy disappearance) doing the Axel wibble while we waited for a T during my 21st birthday weekend. There was a dude playing this on a lap guitar. Fun times.

 

Least favorite track/tracks:

Sweet Child O’ Mine – It’s a beautiful song, I’m just done with Axel’s voice. I would listen to it if it were covered by practically anyone else.

 

Overall (1-5 stars): 4

It was a fun trip back to the not so glorious days of highschool. At least I can remember listening to the entire album this time.

 

To read more opinions on albums like these, please visit listenatwork.wordpress.com

 

 

RC: Dinosaur Jr – Where You Been

 

Record Club: Dinosaur Jr – Where You Been

 

Preconceptions:
 YES! I’m going to get to listen to Bang a Gong!

 

After Listening:
 Okay well that was not what I thought it was going to be. Apparently, T.Rex and Dinosaur Jr are extremely different.

The Dino Jr singer kind of sounds like what would happen if Eddie Vedder and the dude from Counting Crows had a baby and the baby wanted to be a tortured artist.

 

Favorite track/tracks:
What Else is New The orchestral addition made it very cinematic sounding. I could picture it in a romantic comedy set in Tribeca.

Not the Same – I’ll probably lose a lot of cred, but I really enjoyed Radiohead’s first few albums (and I was nice enough not to pick them for RC so you should add a point in my favor as well) and this song felt a little bit like that mixed with the vocals from Gorillaz.

 

Least favorite track/tracks:

Get Me – The vocals were hard to understand, much like a shaky elder going into diabetic shock.

 

Overall (1-5 stars) : 3.5

Despite my desire to listen to T. Rex, this was a welcome return to the less produced music of the nineties that I used to drive around listening to during … cigar (ish) runs.

 

 

Mini Music Review (one song)

Band:Crystal Stilts

Song: Through the Floor

Why I liked it: It’s like Jerry Only decided to wear a sailor uniform and lead a beach blanket band at a Crab shack somewhere

 

To read more opinions on albums like these, please visit listenatwork.wordpress.com