Sunday, May 31, 2009
Q: Is this my third post in the last month about something involving Conor Oberst? A: Yes.
Q: Is he really that good? A: Yes.
Q: Do we get the point? A: Yes.
In the past week or two I've been looking to spend time again with one of Bright Eye's discs. Arbitrarily, I closed my eyes and clicked on one of their albums in my library and so began my most recent summer fling: one part of Bright Eye's 2005 double-disc release I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning.
The record begins with Conor Oberst narrating a story of an old man and young girl flying over the ocean on a plane when it ultimately begins to fall from the sky before flowing into "At The Bottom of Everything", a three-cord folk song which remains steadfastly sarcastic whilst commenting on American ideals. A theme that emerges throughout is loneliness, but not necessarily in the saddest of ways. Oberst's lyrics in "Lua" "We Are Nowhere and It's Now" display a sort of solace found in learning to be fine with being alone which, in a abstract way, is a very positive message. "Landlocked Blues", my personal favorite, showcases everything that makes Oberst so great. Featuring dreamy vocals from Emmylou Harris, Oberst is playful, moving, and passionate while touching on love, politics, and morality.
From start to finish I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning is a masterpiece and quickly making it's way up the ladder into my Top 5 albums of all time. You clap, stomp, and sing along ("Another Travelin' Song"), you cry ("Lua" "We Are Nowhere and It's Now"), you remember falling in love ("First Day of My Life") and, most importantly, you think ("Landlocked Blues, "Train Underwater" "At The Bottom of Everything")
Q: Should you buy this? A: Absolutely.
At The Bottom Of Everything (Album Version) - Bright Eyes
Land Locked Blues (Album Version) - Bright Eyes
"We made love on the living room floor
with the noise in the background from a televised war
And in the deafening pleasure I thought I heard someone say
"If we walk away,they’ll walk away"
But greed is a bottomless pit
And our freedom's a joke we're just taking a piss
And the whole world must watch the sad comic display
If you're still free start runnin' away
'cause we're comin' for ya!"
Friday, May 29, 2009
Big Sean has been making noise off Kanye's GOOD Music Label. Got a fun, party vibe somewhere between Kanye himself and Kid Cudi. "Rollin'" definitely a key track off it, with Sean spitting in a stream-of-consciousness name-dropping Outkast, Mario, and Valentine's Day and a killer hook ripped from Rich Boy. Speaking of Cudi, check the remix. "Paper Chaser" is another hot track with a Rihanna-looped sample that hasn't be used this well since Charles Hamilton's "Psycho Bitch" (still circulating daily for me) . Stay on Big Sean with UKNOWBIGSEAN and keep your eyes open for him. I can see him blowing up like the Death Star in a couple years.
Rollin_.mp3 - Big Sean
Paper Chaser ft. Jay K - Big Sean
"...we ain't slept in weeks"
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Makes sense that Conor Oberst was named the year's best songwriter by Rolling Stone in 2008. Dude can just straight up put together a song. The most impressive thing about him is the fact he's able to communicate his unique perspective on the world around him and do it in a way that I don't think anyone else could put it. Very few artist can actually do that (Bob Dylan anyone?). "Let's Not Shit Ourselves (To Love and To Be Loved)", the closing track on Bright Eye's 2002 record Lifted Or The Story Is In The Soil, Keep Your Ear To The Ground is a perfect example of his ability. Check it out and nag every and anything Conor Oberst has been associated with, you won't be disappointed.
Lets Not Shit Ourselves (To Love and To Be Loved) - Bright Eyes
"Now a mother takes loans out, sends her kids off to colleges.
Her family's reduced to names on a shopping list.
While, a coroner kneels beneath a great, wooden crucifix.
He knows there's worse things than being alone.
And so I've learned to retreat at the first sign of danger.
I mean, why wait around, if it's just to surrender?
An ambition, I've found, can lead only to failure.
I do not read the reviews.
No, I am not singing for you."
Saturday, May 16, 2009
No denying every summer needs a couple records that are mindless fun. You need something loud with catchy choruses and the occasional generic dance beat. With their new disc, Self-Titled (good one, right?), The Audition fill the first slot for this summer. These dudes from the Windy City progress on their dance-pop first displayed on 2008's Champion, toning down the over-the-top vocals acrobatics and thumping synth into well-crafted gems with more hooks than a scene from the Saw movies. Sure there isn't amazing musicianship (although the drumming is definitely above average) and a lot of songs borrow from crosstown acts (singer Danny Stevens pulls a Patrick Stumph or two), but who cares. Oh, and did I throw out that "Los Angeles" is as close to perfect as pop songs get? Done. Shhhh listen.
Love With A Motive - The Audition
Los Angeles - The Audition
"She said, 'I'm jealous of Los Angeles. She gets to keep you for a month or two..."
Friday, May 8, 2009
Some photos I took of summertime emerging in Brookline. Summertime has also finally emerged for me as well. All sorts of positive energy and a new chapter of sorts ahead. I recently read an interview in Rolling Stone with Bob Dylan in which he criticizes people who use the phrase, "it's all good". He claims that it's irresponsible to claim that things are "all good" when so much evil is being done in the world. I think the only response is that phrase is not said as a way of turning an ignorant eye to all the negative things in the world, but rather a display of faith in that all will turn out well in the end. So in that vein: "it's all good". Got some thoughts on new tunes, but I'll save that until tomorrow. Tonight is all about welcoming in summer and celebrating all the intangibles that come with it.
"Summertime and the living's easy..."
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
In Pineapple Express, there is a scene where Sal pulls out his best weed and explains to Dale that this new Pineapple Express is like: "if that Blue Oyster shit met that Afghan Kush I had - and they had a baby. And then, meanwhile, that crazy Northern Light stuff I had and the Super Red Espresso Snowflake met and had a baby. And by some miracle, those two babies met and fucked - this would the shit that they birthed."
If you can stay with me, Adult Nights, the debut album from New Hampshire's Wild Lights lives by the same principal. Except it's like if R.E.M. met The Smiths and they had a baby, while at the same time, The Beach Boys and Coldplay met and they had a baby. You know where this is going. But seriously, you would never imagine that sunshiny surf pop could flow in such an aqueously smooth manner over 80s Brit-pop and it could work so well together. Match that up with first track "California On My Mind", where Jordan Alexander politely tells San Francisco (and then the whole state of California) to go fuck itself, followed immediately by a whining harmonica that zooms across the track like a bumblebee zipping around your front yard. Your left not really sure what to make of this "baby", but I'm fucking digging it right now. Go.
California On My Mind - Wild Light
Lawless River - Wild Light
"Give me a lake that I can dive into, bury my head in the shit at the bottom. Fuck today, fuck San Francisco. Fuck California."