Aug 14 2011

Sunday Night Videos 8/14/11 – For Sheldon

Jul 5 2011

The Top 50 Albums of the 2000s – Because of the Times

Today I continue a series of posts dedicated to the best albums of the last decade, posting analysis of one album at a time.

38. Kings of Leon – Because of the Times

Nobody likes Kings of Leon anymore, and there’s a reason for that – Only By the Night, their breakthrough album, was disappointing as a whole, and Come Around Sundown was almost complete garbage. The group has all but reinvented themselves as a schlock, stadium-filling, Southern rock answer to U2. I suppose you could blame Because of the Times for all of that – they never really looked back after melodramatic, grandiose productions like “Knocked Up” and “On Call.” But the group’s third album, an obvious musical departure from the rowdy Youth and Young Manhood and the incredible Aha Shake Heartbreak, for temporarily better (and ultimately worse) showed a band growing into strong songwriters.

The refried Southern tinge is still present, though more subdued; this is a band undergoing a sharp transformation.  The aforementioned “Knocked Up,” arguably the album’s most memorable tune, is a 7-minute tale of the aftermath of an accidental pregnancy.  We still get the “Strokes in overalls” vibe, yes, but the melodies have shifted from dirgy rock pieces to more pop-influenced movements, reminiscent of some of the bands Kings opened for while writing this album – bands like Pearl Jam and, yes, U2.  There is more melodic romanticism – the captivating “True Love Way” and the simply sweet “Ragoo.”  And yet, the dirty rock is still here, just before it all but disappeared, and it is stronger than ever.  The screech of “Charmer” alongside rockers like “McFearless” and “Black Thumbnail” do not disappoint.

Many mark this album as the beginning of the end for Kings of Leon as a relevant band, and I am not one to argue.  But even if their output from here on out was less than satisfactory, to downright Weezer-esque atrocious, this was one hell of a last hurrah.

Kings of Leon – Knocked Up

Kings of Leon – Charmer

Kings of Leon – True Love Way

Apr 27 2011

My Top 300 Songs of the 2000s – 30-21

Today I continue my ongoing feature showcasing my personal picks for the best songs of the past decade, posting ten songs at a time.

30. Johnny Cash – Hurt

Some artists are so talented they have the capability to make a cover song sound like their very own creation.  The Beatles, Tom Waits, and, most recently, Lissie, come to mind.  But no one did it like the Man In Black.  Johnny took Soundgarden’s grunge-ridden “Rusty Cage” and made it a Wild West, gun slinging, outlaw affair.  And then he took Nine Inch Nails’ haunting, spooky “Hurt” and turned it into a somber deathbed lamentation.

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Jan 1 2011

Quarterly Review – October-December 2010

Once every three months I list the best of what I heard in albums/songs/remixes for the quarter. I do this to personally keep up with all the awesome music I hear, as it ultimately helps me at the end of the year when I do my overall listing for the previous twelve months. I also do it to introduce you cool cats to tunes you may have missed independently.

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Dec 11 2010

My Top 300 Songs of the 2000s – 90-81

Today I continue my ongoing feature showcasing my personal picks for the best songs of the past decade, posting ten songs at a time.

90. AC Newman – Drink to Me Babe Then

The head writer for the New Pornographers had an impressive first solo outing – The Slow Wonder combines the melodic superiority with a mellow, easygoing feel.  “Drink to Me Babe Then,” introduced to me by my dear friend Kim way back when we were still on college radio, is a gem and the highlight from the album.  Adding an acoustic sway to the sweet pop Newman is known for, the song easily peaks with a sweet whistling interlude.

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Sep 12 2010

Sunday Night Videos 9/12/10

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Jul 20 2010

My Top 300 Songs of the 2000s – 210-201

Today I continue my ongoing feature showcasing my personal picks for the best songs of the past decade, posting ten songs at a time.

210. The Go! Team – Universal Speech

Cheerleader chanting, party-inducing raps, and cheeky melodies made the Go! Team an indie rock sensation right around the time I entered college in 2005.  This rarely-referenced album track from the sophomore effort Proof of Youth is one of my personal favorites.  I’m pretty sure it’s that infectious drum beat at the beginning and the way it glides along with that piano line.  It’s a surefire way to get sampled in hip-hop in the future, that’s for sure.

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