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December 07, 2007

Takk - Sigur Ros

Takk Sigur Ros

This album is as beautiful as it is calming. The wordless drones of this Icelandic duo flow perfectly from song to song. Meaning may be entirely subjective, but that's part of the beauty. The band leaves it up to the listener to decide.

The songs are entirely composed of strings and the "lyrics" of a made-up language, giving the album an even more abstract feel. Musically, the album is pure gold. "Glosoli", the single from the album, builds to an explosion point easily four or five times before ever actually releasing. This tension is even further realized in the video, a strong point for the band as a whole.

The video's of the band provide insight into their possible meanings, yet never seem too insistent on their meanings being "the meaning". Always abstract, yet poignant, the video focus on everything from flying children's bands in the Icelandic country side to young gay soccer players. Everyone seems to build to the happiest of moments, much like the songs, only to die off slowly. By mirroring the video itself to the songs, we find a beautiful play between the abstration of song and the images.

Posted by burkema at 11:50 PM | Comments (0)

December 06, 2007

Rilo Kiley - More Adventurous

Rilo Kiley - More Adventurous

I'll admit, I wasn't entirely sure when I started this blog as to exactly what I would be writing on. I knew that I could talk endlessly about music, but that seems far too broad to be the topic here. I realized as I went on that I was seemingly focusing on only a single genre, or at least leaning in that direction. Every album I reviewed and discussed were all Americana, folk, or alt-country, most a mixture of all of these. So I thought, what is my favorie album that fit this characterization. I came up with this one.

I'm not going to claim that this album is the best in the genre, or maybe not even the best of the band's. Yet, this album seemed by far the most consistent and most readily relateable. The oddest part of this statement is that neither of these statements relate in any way to the first song of the album. "It's a Hit" was probably their worst song to date (that was, until the most recent album). It's political statement seemed juvinile, killing any catchiness that it may possess.

From here, however, the album goes into it's best track. "Does He Love You?", a long time fan favorite, describes the dilemma not of being cheated on, but being the third wheel of this type of situation. It remains to be the band's closing song, a spot reserved generally for their biggest crowd pleaser, and it lives up to this spot. Following this, however, is their most well-known song, due to its "Grey's Anatomy" fame, "Portions for Foxes".

The album continues like this, with fan favorite ballad followed by radio-ready pop hit, followed by a radio-ready ballad, etc. The album just never lets up. Of note, the amazing "Absence of God" has some of the most touching, uplifting lyrics in modern pop. Overall, this album is a perfect entry place for new fans, as well as a longtime favorite of regular listeners.

Posted by burkema at 05:14 PM | Comments (0)

December 04, 2007

The Weepies - Happiness

The Weepies - Happiness

Given the name of the band and their genre, I would have figured I would have stayed away from listening to this band. The Weepies could not sound anymore depressing. Add to that the name of their first album, Happiness, and the whole package couldn't sound any sappier. Americana folk-songs about being so happy that you cry? I'll pass.

However, it was late and I was bored. This ended up being a wonderful decision. This is not to say that I was wrong in my assumptions though. The music is sappy enough to sing the line "Deer might fly / Why not? I met you" with a straight face. Yet it is sung with such a quiet conviction that is manages to sound "child-like" without sounding "childish".

This line comes from the album's standout track "All That I Want", an epitomal Christmas-time love song, overflowing with optimism and happiness. The lead singer's voice has perfect, yet subtle inflections as she warbles over the album. This is accompanied by the harmonies of a male counterpart, which leave the truthfully sparse album feeling much more full than one would expect. This is definately recommended for a quiet night at home, especially around the holidays.

Posted by burkema at 03:05 PM | Comments (0)