If you are even remotely familiar with this site, you will know that I absolutely love both the White Stripes and Coldplay, so it’s a bit of an understatement to say that I’m utterly psyched that both of their albums are coming out on the same day, June 7th. I will probably talk about these two albums for the majority of all next week. I just read Rob Sheffield’s review of Get Behind Me Satan and I love that he loves the White Stripes.
But believe it or not, there is time in my day to listen and talk about other things besides the White Stripes, Coldplay, and Michael Pitt. I’ve been in the possession of some really great music and I’ve neglected to tell you about, so here goes:
JONI MITCHELL, Blue
I’ve never really listened to Joni Mitchell ever in my life. The only knowledge of her I had up until last week was the song “River,” but only because Travis used to do a cover of it during their live shows. It’s a monumentally beautiful song and one day last month I decided to order a bunch of old CDs and try listening to musicians I know I should be more familiar with. (The other albums I ordered were the Greatest Hits of Janis Joplin and…Heart. Sorry, I love that song “Alone.” It’s really great for karaoke.)
Anyway, I didn’t get to listen to Blue until this week, and holy crap! It’s an amazing album. My favorite song on it is “A Case of You,” which likens her lover to a wine she could “drink a case” of and “still be on [her] feet.” Most of the songs on the album are love songs of sorts–albeit even the happiest of the songs contain a bit of melancholy. It’s an album devoted to describing the feelings of being in love–but with an element of longing. It’s such a beautiful album, I’m ashamed I’ve never listened to it before now.
GORILLAZ, Demon Days
I’m sure by now you’ve seen the iPod on rollerskates commercial that features the single from this album, “Feel Good Inc.” I think it’s a pretty fun song, and it’s probably one of the more danceable song on the album.
I have to say, I was a little bummed that this album wasn’t more upbeat having been a big fan of songs like “Clint Eastwood” and “5/4” from the first Gorillaz album. Maybe our little cartoon character friends haven’t gotten the memo that all the kids wanna do is dance (see Franz Ferdinand and The Killers).
A lot of the hip hop vibe and grit that first album producer Dan the Automator brought to the Gorillaz sound has been replaced with a more subdued tempo and slightly new wave synth sound courtesy of designated knob-turner Danger Mouse (apparently they got the memo that kids like the 80s). I kinda wish this album had a great, ridiculously infectious song like Daft Punk‘s “Technologic” or just a lot more rhymes and less Damon Albarn’s out-takes from Blur‘s Think Tank.
The best songs on the album are the ones where they funk it up (“All Alone” ft. Roots Manuva), get trippy (“Dare” ft. The Happy Mondays’s Shaun Ryder), and when they have a great beat (“Fire Coming Out of the Monkey’s Head” ft. Dennis Hopper reading a story about monkeys). I do have to say, I’m a bit embarrassed there is a song called “Dirty Harry.” Unfortunately it sounds nothing like “Clint Eastwood.” I really wanted them to hit one out of the park with this album, but so much of it seems phoned in and a by-product of Damon Albarn’s hubris. At least they have really cute action figures.
SHOUT OUT LOUDS, Howl Howl Gaff Gaff
Being the connoisseur of Nordic music that I am, how could I not like the Shout Out Louds? They sound like Conor Oberst on a happy day meets The Concretes meets The Shins. Their album Howl Howl… is just one beautiful pop song after another. Aurally, they’re dreamy, catchy, uplifting, and earnest. I’ll admit, when I first heard their EP, I wasn’t too impressed, but then I saw them live at the Bowery Ballroom and was totally thrown by how good they were. Now when I listen to the LP I hear all of the beauty that I must’ve been zoning out on now that I know that they are such a great live band.
Speaking of SOL live, you can catch them opening up for The Coral on Thursday at Bowery Ballroom, at Tribeca Grand doing an acoustic set on Friday (e-mail rsvp @ svenskapop.com to get in for free), and opening for The Dears on Saturday at the Bowery. I urge you to get your butt to one of these shows, they’re definitely worth checking out.