Monday, September 27, 2004
No pictures today...
Because Photobucket is down (or at least my album is at the moment).
I’ve been listening to OK Computer compulsively for the last few days. What is this about? I’ve never really paid it much mind before – yes it’s beautifully put together, yes it’s a staggering achievement, no it’s never really moved me, and I’m not sure if it’s moving me now either. Maybe “Let Down” is when it becomes heady and tumescent. So what is it? The percussion in “Paranoid Android”? The guitar that strafes and dreams and wavers and batters its way through every track (“Fitter Happier” excepted)? The reader (listener?) reviews on Amazon are interesting – far too many five-star-best-album-EVAH spurts of fanboy love. And yet the naysayers are pathetic and pointless – any voice against the flow of traffic is so limp and redundant that the fanboys seem almost reasonable. “This album is depressing and dreary”. “This album is derivative and dull”. The former is like criticising the Mona Lisa for not smiling enough; she’s not meant to be smiling enough. And the latter? Well, the “derivative” critique is the calling card of the idiot. Unless you can isolate exact points of derivation (the piano melody lifted straight from “Sexy Sadie” in “Karma Police”, maybe) it is a pointless argument because it says “I am smarter that you because I can see influences and theft where you cannot – in fact I am so much smarter than you and hold you in such contempt that I will not even tell you where they are”. And besides, do you think they don’t know that they ripped off “Sexy Sadie”? Or “Taxman” on “Electioneering”? They said they wanted to make a record that sounded like DJ Shadow producing The Beatles, for heaven’s sake. Were I of a certain age and a certain mind when OK Computer had been released then I think I (like many Q readers out there, seemingly) could almost have seen it as a finishing line, as the last word in how to make a ‘rock’ album. But I refuse that. I deny it. Has anyone else ever made an album that sounded like it? Elbow and Doves appear to have tried. Radiohead tried not to. Hmmm…
The A List Part Two
But now back to business. No one cares what I think about Radiohead, people just want another list.
Justin Timberlake – Justified
In which the frizzy-haired Britney-shagger gets The Neptunes to help him do Jacko and Timbaland to help him do, well, “Cry Me A River”, which is still one of the best singles of the century and doesn’t really sound like anything else even though you could write a list of things it does sound like.
Elbow – Cast of Thousands
How did this get so high? I don’t know. The debut probably has two or three songs that are better than anything on this, but this is more consistent. I’ve described them as the meeting point between Pulp and Talk Talk. Ned Raggett does not agree.
The Clientele – The Violet Hour
Likewise this; what’s it doing all the way up here? Well, it is lovely, in a reserved, crepuscular, drizzling way. I’d have included the compilation, but it’s a compilation. Plus “The House Always Wins”!
Fennesz – Venice
There seems, to me, to be more going on, more melody, more momentum here than on Endless Summer (which is only just behind if you cast your eyes downwards).
Badly Drawn Boy – Hour of the Bewilderbeast
Of course he could never follow it up, could he? Because these songs are broken and stuck back together again in the wrong order, recorded underwater by a man with no idea, and blessed with strange, beguiling arrangements. After this he had a budget. I remember saying not long after it came out that I didn’t think he’d ever follow it up – he’d taken so long putting it together, how could he?
The Necks – Drive By
60 minutes, one idea. Brilliant.
PJ Harvey – Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea
Wrote about it at length on Stylus. I know hardcore Peej fans dislike it, think it’s too Pretenders, too positive, whatever. To me it sounds like someone who has been through the mill and come out smiling at the other side, and I guess that’s what I want music to do; triumph through adversity. It’s the emotional lift that matters.
Radiohead – Kid A
No emotional lift here. Sounds, occasionally, like a masterpiece to me, and at other times like a load of crap. Still unsure how I feel about OK Computer and Radiohead in general.
Idlewild – 100 Broken Windows
It’s not a secret chord people are looking for; it’s a harmony, and Idlewild found it on “Idea Track”. That the rest of this album is great (again, it’s the emotional lift that matters) seals it.
Basement Jaxx – Kish Kash
Loses it in the final quarter, but until then… Well, it’s messy and stupid, but in a good way. Still not as good as various ILM faces say it is, though. Why is it so high? I said the order was arbitrary,
Mogwai – Rock Action
Their best record by a country mile – the follow up was EXACTLY the same record, but lacked the definition of sound that Friddman brings to this.
Fennesz – Endless Summer
Listen to while watching Stan Brakhage films.
D’Angelo – Voodoo
Hot and sweaty. It sounds very weird now I don’t live in the centre of a large (well, medium) conurbation. What is it? Ambition overweighing tunes, maybe, but it’s not about tunes, or emotional lift either. It’s about beheading chickens and sex.
Akufen – My Way
Microhouse? I wouldn’t know, but this is fascinating and enjoyable. I always wanted someone to cut up samples of everyday noises into tiny pieces and turn it into (pop) music. Disco Inferno did it better, but ironically you can dance to this more.
Bubba Sparxxx – Deliverance
All in the fiddles. And the beats. And Bubba, really, it’s all in the man himself. Timbaland devours his entire repertoire and then regurgitates it in the middle of some fucked-up country hoedown, and luckily Bubba is there to make it sound incredible rather than messy.
Ricardo Villalobos – Alcachofa
Todd says it’s great and I love Todd so it must be.
Ghostface Killah – Supreme Clientele
I don’t understand a word (I don’t listen to them, do I?).
Dizzee Rascal – Boy in Da Corner
I don’t understand a word (I don’t listen to them, do I?).
Boredoms – Vision Creation Newsun
In one sense this is like The Necks with ADHD, loaded on PCP and swinging a half-brick in a sock around their heads. In a sense it’s not, though. An actual dance album, in that it makes me actually dance.
Sugababes – Angels with Dirty Faces
Why is Three further up then this? I dunno. Arbitrary, isn’t it? More great pop music.
N*E*R*D – In Search Of
Choose your version. I like both. The Neptunes have still not managed to put out a decent compilation (despite attempts), so this will have to suffice. The DFA can do it.
Junior Boys – Last Exit
“Teach Me How To Fight”.
Phoenix – Alphabetical
This does exactly what Junior Boys do only more French and with guitars, right? I mean, right?
Interpol – Turn on the Bright Lights
Turn this off after the first five songs.
Daft Punk – Discovery
I picked this entirely to try and preserve some shreds of ILM-cred. Or did I? Not as good as Simon Reynolds says. BUT WHAT DOES HE KNOW, EH?
9/27/2004 11:14:00 am