Two things seem obvious when it comes to Vegas born Killers. One: They’ve made fun, thoughtful, rock and roll with minimal electronic aspects mostly brilliantly over the course of their fifteen plus year career. The second thing, at least upon my observations, is that a ton, and i mean a lot of people, hate this band. There seems to be little in between, but from my point of view, the Killers represent a band that produced a debut album that everyone loved, and from, there continued to make worthwhile music consistently( though not perfectly continuous), and have managed to become one of the few bands that has been able to say that they went from being one of the lower billed bands at festivals, to headlining them with ease. Here’s what I consider the Top Ten songs by the Brandon Flowers led Killers. Some are super obvious, but there’s more than one non-hit in this grouping, so there’s something here for casual fans and people that soak up all things The Killers. Enjoy!
10. Spaceman, Day & Age
Day & Age is probably the first album where people thought the band took a misstep, but there’s still a good amount of enjoyable music found on the record. On “Spaceman” the band veers more towards the pop side that they brought us on their debut, while managing to have better results on the mixing side of things then the band had in their early days. The song itself though, is a upbeat, classic Killers soundscape, with a glossy chorus that features Flowers quickly touching on “dream makers” and other fantastical elements. Not their crowning achievement for sure, but it’s quality enough to crack the top ten as we begin our countdown.
9. Andy, You’re a Star, Hot Fuss
The crunchy, yet rusty sounding guitar by David Keuning start the track on a lonely, moonlit road as the song unfolds. It’s a slow burn of a number, and it’s something I honestly wish they did more often. When Flower’s wonderfully melodic voice beckons to Andy, to inform his he’s a star, the song has reached further than most of the band's catalogue since. Musically the song isn’t the boisterous stadium killer the band has come to trademark, but on an album as brightly orchestrated and executed as “Hot Fuss,” “Andy, You’re a star” shines in stark contrast to the rest of the album, which is why it works so well in the first place.
8. My List, Sam’s Town
This is a tough one for me to write about honestly. For my ex and i, this was one of the first songs we ever experienced together, and it stayed a favorite of ours for the years that followed. “My List” fills a more sorrowful void then nearly any other song in the Killers catalogue, but that’s why it’s such an impressive song. Flowers crooning in regards to his love, his regret, and his optimism of the potential future make this song something truly special. The over reaching elements of the song are blatantly clear. This is a man desperate for the ability to do the right thing for his partner, while still staying true to himself. The chorus and crescendo at the end set it even higher up in terms of emotion, and it’s a tool the band uses to amazing effect on our number eight pick, “My List.”
7. On Top, Hot Fuss
Number seven on our list, “On Top,” always feels to me like it should be used in a montage in some 80’s driven action movie, but that’s neither here nor there. The keyboard beats on the song are laid down in a powerful but subtle way, in order to give the band, and Flowers especially, the room to really make the song an impactful one. It’s a song that feels just as comfortable in a dark bar dancing as it does at a mid day cook out as the sun begins to set. It’s relatively upbeat until the doors fly open more immediately as the track concludes, but there’s no denying this song, along with the majority of the songs on “Hot Fuss,” are reasons that the Killers have come as far as they have in the last decade.
6. This River is Wild, Sam’s Town
One thing this band will always do well is managing to write songs that leave the opportunity for huge sing alongs and even bigger vocal choruses. To me “Sam’s Town” will remain their best work, and it’s a selection like “This River is Wild” that serves as an example of why it’s aged so well. Flowers vocalizes how hard it is to stay on the straight and narrow,but he’s also able to explain his own faults in a way that seem both blunt and timid. He’s not happy about the choices he’s made, but he understands that on the road “trying to do what’s right,” there will be twists and turns. After all, the song is called “This River is Wild,” so yeah it shouldn’t be surprising how much the song is able to portray in terms of uncertainty.
5. Runaways, Battleborn
Basically this whole list is an after effect of me jamming out incessantly to this song for the last week. As an album, “Battle Born” is easily their least accomplished album, but that says very little about the song in general. Brandon’s vocals are soaringly visible and can easily fill a giant open field with thousands singing his words back to him. Also, I know drumming isn’t a thing the band is mentioned often in regards to, but Vannucci’s skills on “Runaways” nearly steals the show from the vocalist, though they don’t quite get there. Lastly, “Runaways” might be regarded as their best song on their worst album, but it’s an unbelievably strong track, and it ends up at number five on the Top Ten Killers songs.
4.Read My Mind, Sam’s Town
To me “Sam’s Town” was a move done to exemplify their desire to grow beyond how they were perceived during the first album cycle, but there’s way more to it. “Read My Mind” represents the Killers successfully going the route of Springsteen. A track like this has so much to offer. Everything from the Americana aspect prevalent through the song, to the nervous energy of a person going on a date. It’s also a song about regrets, and how little you actually know about what lurks in the brains of the people closest to you. It’s a song that exemplies middle america without even trying, and with this ability to put themselves in a vulnerable mind frame, the song is made that much stronger.
3. Jenny was a Friend of Mine, Hot Fuss
For years I sung these lyrics innocently enough. I don’t know why, but it always seemed to me like a lovelorn song about the end of a relationship,and in many ways that remains true. That is, until you realize the song is more than likely about taking someone’s life. The musical aspects are whirling, bright and darkly optimistic, but the under belly of the song hints at a much darker band than fans bargained for with some of the more pop friendly tracks. It’s an early reminder of how well the band can blur lines to convince you a song is about one thing when it’s not even remotely about that, and while “Jenny” in the song met her demise by someone she trusted, we are gifted a wonderful, bombastic song that opened up an album that brought the band to places they never thought possible.
2. When You Were Young. Sam’s Town
One of the band’s biggest hits finds us at Number two on the countdown. “When You were Young” details the lessons you learn through hard and good times alike. The music is immediate in a way but balanced enough to still leave room for vocalist Flowers to work his magic. What will tomorrow bring, and how will we handle it is also a topic discussed on the song, but it’s the presentation by the band, who all co-wrote this song, that makes it all the more important. The song always has a great juxtaposition regarding growing up. When we’re young we believe all these things, and we’re able to trust more people, but as we grow older, our bodies and souls are forced to confront the tough facts. There’s not always going to be a wonderful man to swoop you off your feet. It’s actually a really somber track in the way it takes our innocent childhood thoughts and forces those thoughts to come to terms with all the loss, sadness and humility a person learns as they get older and navigate this often cruel, misunderstood world.
1. All These Things that I’ve Done, Hot Fuss
Years ago, during a torrentially bad time for me, “All These Things that I’ve Done” was a liftboat for me. There’s no other way to say this. Talk shit all you want, but this song saved me and reminded me that we all need assistance from time to time. The song opens with a soft piano, ambient background noise, and of course, the trademark voice of swooner Brandon Flowers. During this dark period for myself, I was stubborn, resistant, and in way over my head in terms of how I was dealing with depression, fucked up decisions, and various other things I’ve managed to forget over the course of years. When you’re at that point in your life, and you hear this song, you feel as though the band is speaking to you. It was a perfectly sobering experience to be able to relate to the line “You know you gotta help me out,” and feel as though the song itself was actually playing a part in the betterment of my mental health. For that reason, as well as all the others i’ve named. “All These Things that I’ve Done,” tops the list of the Top Ten Killers songs. Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed!
Songs about relationships, good and bad, are nothing new to music fans all over. They bring up moments of doubt, uncertainty of the future, and perhaps, memories of a past life. They can be detailed in personal experiences, or even pre-conceived notions of what should or should not happen in a relationship. This is where Kevin Parker’s Tame Impala comes into play.
Over the course of of three excellent records, Parker has managed to not only bring us some of the best alternative music of the last decade, but he’s also been able to find a niche in his creativity that doesn’t hobble him based on subject matter. While no official word has ever been given on how much Parker pulls from his personal life and past relationships in order to reach his fullest potential, many of his songs appear deeply experiential. Today we’ll be talking about Impala’s music, the way it helped me to overcome difficult breakups, and what this says about music as a whole. I hope you enjoy.
Even from the first track of Tame Impala’s debut album “Innerspeaker,” (which very well could be a metaphor for pouring out the turmoil and regrets that fill all of us from time to time) Parker is able to paint a vivid picture of a lovelorn man meandering contently “sitting around smoking weed.” The she in question on this song, titled “It is Not Meant to Be,” doesn’t appreciate Parker’s approach to life, and the song is a construct of the many things that could go wrong once you realize that the shoes of a particular relationship no longer are able to fit the feet of the participants. Mutterings of this nature are abound on many of these songs, but it is this first track that let’s us know that Tame Impala, and really Parker solely, are able to go there and bring this type of music to a place where few ever dared to stray. Part of why this works so well for Parker is that it comes off as genuine. Songs work best for mass audiences when you’re able to connect to experiences that the listener has also been through, and throughout many of his songs, Parker is able to do that with ease.
As you go further into his works though, influences and romantic nuances are trickled through many of the songs. This helped to make those first two albums so powerful in terms of emotions stemming from previous experiences. On Parker’s sophomore release, “Lonerism,” the themes of lost loves and regrettable moments sneak a little bit more into the forefront. On a track like “Why Don’t You Make Up Your Mind” from the first record “Innerspeaker,” the message is more narrow in terms of a typical person incapable of being decisive in regards to what they want, but Parker expands on that greatly on “Lonerism.”
Tame as an entity continually straddles the line between normally routine things in psych rock (i.e. visions of the future or of the end of the world), but what they add in grandiose imagery is only as good as the lyrics being presented, and this is where Parker kills it. Even a song like “Apocalypse Dreams,” seems like a letter from a person struggling to understand what is happening in his sphere of existence. The song is more about the monotonous nature of life and how nothing ever truly changes. Whether or not this is in regards to a former partner or not, it’s plays to the idea of the ability to romanticize anything, from a breakup that was always supposed to happen, or to the eventual death of our world. For every song whose meaning is indeterminate and abstract though, there’s a song like number four on “Lonerism,” “Mind Mischief.” The song and video alike are both built to perfect effect and fully burrow into the concept of unrequited love. When Parker belts out “She remembers my name,” you know the thrill of someone you feel connected to actually knowing who you are. This might seem strange for some, but as a person who’s had feelings for someone I barely knew, or who I was convinced had no idea I even existed, this concept is enthralling and exciting at the same time.
Above all else though, the song that most clearly speaks to heartbreak on the second album is without question “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards.” Many people have felt this way (I know I certainly have), but the pain involved in any long term relationship can have a crippling effect on the participants. This song works so well because it’s relatable, human, and the listener can quickly find themselves in the headspace of the musician sending out his signals of heartbreak, uncertainty and misdirection. I know the pain, specifically because I’ve lived through it. I’ve been at those points where I can recall a time where I heard a former partner's voice calling out to me, and I’ve felt stagnant in a position where there was no easy way out. The song’s brilliance and triumph are ones made from the blood, sweat and tears of it’s composer. On the third record though, all nodes or nuanced statements are essentially blown away for something much more literal, and in your face with the pain and openness exhibited.
The first obvious sign of this direction on the album comes to us during the song “Yes I’m Changing.” The record all in all is a mix between a typical psych-rock record with sweeping beats that pulsate, but there’s a very clear indication that this is a R&B classic breakup record simply done in the way that Parker had refined on the first two albums. Now while Parker has gone on record and said this is not a breakup album, it’s hard to see his logic when discussing it’s most personally profound tracks. That’s why “I’m Changing” is such a stark contrast to what had come before. I know the pain behind the song because, while I was still getting to know this record, a detachment from my ex-wife was taking place and enveloping every fiber of my being. This song became my pick me up and make me understand song, even though all the keys I needed to make sense of this terrible event were already in my head, waiting to be worked out.
In that track, you don’t get the impression of a good guy or a bad guy. Breakups are incredibly hard, and the more time you spend trying to make it work, the worse you feel when it ultimately ends. No one comes out the victor, just two more people with a little less trust and hope in their hearts. Over and over again on “Currents” you are thrust into that breakup mentality. Songs like “Eventually” drill the notion home that mistakes happen and that everyone will “Eventually” make their way through the downsides of failed love. When Parker croons “But I know that I'll be happier and I know you will too,” you feel the relief of knowing that even though it sucks at this moment, it does eventually become better. I, for one, can fully understand the concept of moving on is easier if I never knew a person, but with all that hard work, you’re able to grow and set out on a new path with your remade self to attempt to make something work in this toxic, never good enough world. Halfway through “Currents” we meet a song filled with classical romantic moments of regret, and of witnessing the person you want giving their attention to someone that isn’t you. That song “The Less I know the Better,” isn’t only the best track on the album, it seems to be the most rational and realistic. We’ve all felt how Parker feels when he explains how he “was doing fine without ya, ‘til I saw your face, now I can’t erase.” This section is a huge bomb of truth dropped, simply because we all know what the feelings and emotions running through you are like when these moments come up, usually as a relationship deteriorates and all sense of what is supposed to work and not work suddenly become a thing you can’t separate.
Songs like the one’s mentioned, as well as tracks further down the tracklist of the album (“Cause I’m a Man,” or album closer “New Person, Same Old Mistakes”) further build the notion that while “Currents” may not be an autobiography of a breakup in Parker’s life, at the very least it has an overarching theme of heartbreak, suffering and the resolve of a person trying to learn from their fuck ups and unfortunate circumstances, and how that pain can truly be a catalyst for change.
What lies next for Parker under the Tame Impala moniker remains to be seen, but if the fourth album is as big of a step in an unknown direction like “Currents” was, we could hopefully be in for more giant, experimental rock beats with introspective lyrics that are able to help ease the pain of creator and listener alike. Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed!
In 1996, I was a metal head hating my life as I was moved to a very small town outside of Lafayette. For a kid from New Orleans, the backwards thinking, minimally entertaining atmosphere had me going crazy in terms of figuring out how I’d eventually get out of there. That year, over twenty years ago, also happens to be the year a lady from New Zealand would be born. Much like my world at the time, Lorde dreamt of getting out and making something of herself.
Jump ahead twenty years, and we currently live in a world where the music industry has a newish, shining star. Obviously I’m talking about Lorde. She’s been celebrated by Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters as the future of alternative music, parodied by the creators of South Park in a glorious non-offensive way(It’s not normally like that when Parker and Stone sets their sights on someone), and she’s become a very public figure who hangs out with the current queen of Straightforward Pop, Taylor Swift. All of those things are great, amazing and exciting, but it does little to actually explain why she’s become such a powerful musical force, even if she only has one album out and another one that was just recently released, in all it’s darkly, forwardly pop thinking mindframe
Her 2013 debut. “Pure Heroine,” was a nearly instantly well known record that resonated with “music snobs” like myself, but also with a wide audience who very well may be entrenched in traditional pop offerings. From the opening beats of the record, you can tell it’s something different than the glossy everyday ho-hum of her counterparts. Opening track “Tennis Court” weaves in and out, like a distant light coming full focus under the cover of darkness. Multiple tracks on the debut reinforce Lorde’s unique style of pop music, if you want to call it that.
Take a song like the infectiously playable “Royals.” The song is honest in a way that most music isn’t. On the track, Lorde pierces the cliches of modern music, while at the same time lamenting about how she’ll never be be just another pretty face. This serves her purpose in a more palpable and permanent way. Remember Kesha, or any of the other blantaly played down pop of the last few years. More than likely is the chance that while you may recognize songs from time to time, these artists aren’t meant to stay around. It’s a flavor of the month thing meant to be easily digestible and regurgitated quickly to turn profits for the business who run the record companies.
I mention that because Lorde has managed to ground herself quite favorably in that world, but where other fall on the backs of their one successful song, she presides over thinking man’s pop and turns it into something else entirely. She takes herself seriously as an artist, of course, but anyone who listens to her tracks should be able to see that while she may be known as a “pop music queen,” the concepts of normal pop music barely interest her, beyond the obvious digs at the cliched notions of your run of the mill radio music.
So what do you do after you’ve become a household name with songs that are the antithesis of modern music like “Team?” For Lorde, you go away for a little while, build your sound even more in the direction of dark synth pop than your previous record. Released in the last few weeks, Lorde’s second album “Melodrama,” has all the bite of the first album, but it’s influences are more varied than the theme of a young woman discovering her surroundings, both in the music industry and the outside world as a whole.
Opening the album with the incessantly danceable “Green Light,” it’s clear she’s evolved majorly from the girl whose brain often dreamed of seeing the world and getting out of her hometown. The record is focused and displays mature growth, in both its musicality, as well as sincerity. Not to imply at all that “Pure Heroine” wasn’t honest, but her outlook and perception of the world has changed in drastic ways over the last few years. This is most obvious on a song like “Writer in the Dark.” It’s my favorite song on the record, and mostly it’s because of how much she pushes herself during it’s three minute and thirty-seven seconds. The piano tapping notes slowly, but purposefully ways, it creates Lorde’s first ballad of sorts. The emotion is palpable, and it’s used to brilliant effect. Her voice soars as she expresses regret, sadness and poignancy in ways she simply wasn’t capable of in her early days. It’s a beautifully sad song, and one that proves that she wasn’t just a one trick pony(not like the rest of the album doesn’t also help to drill this point home).
While in the overarching narrative of musical stars and entertainers alike, Lorde as an artist has shown that not only is she album to fill voids with a variance of soundscapes and emotions, but her genuinely kind, patient nature has made audiences far and wide swoon over how someone seemingly as down to earth and honest can survive in the treacherous music industry. Perhaps it's all an act, or perhaps she is the artist that is most likely to succeed beyond traditional wavelengths. If she can keep delivering stellar albums and songs that make everyone want to sing, she just might grow to be as big as Queen B and Swift, although hopefully she’ll keep writing her own songs. That’s where her success is most vital. Stay true to yourself and write about what moves you, and you’ll never be blind in the dark.
So Bon Jovi was without a doubt one of the biggest bands of the 80’s. They were nearly untouchable, and hit after hit was sung by many a blue jean clad lady from the United States to the impoverished Ukraine. Today we’re going to discuss their music video for “ Always.” I’ve always liked the song, but I purposely haven’t watched to video before writing this so I’ll be surprised. Hopefully it’s not too bad, but this should be fun either way.
For some reason they open this one with a street fair on a little back yard that appears to be in South America, and while it has nothing to do with the song, now I want mexican food. Anyway the camera pans up and inward to an apartment with a very nice looking man with no shirt on laying in bed and he’s holding a picture. Now you don’t see the picture, but you know that’s some forlorn foreshadowing. The video has this weird thing going where it cuts back and forth to the band playing in a proper live setting, than to the band playing in a vacant warehouse, then back to the overall plot of the video. It’s really dumb.
So back to the main plot. The main guy character is played by the same guy who played Justin in another 90’s gem, the horror film Event Horizon. He’s in a room that’s very much the room a girl who likes Aerosmith would live in. The female in the video is Carla Gugino, who we all know from Spy Kids, Sin City, and Entourage. She’s dancing around in some sexy clothes, and he’s filming her, but the way it’s happening is so creepy it’s not even nice to watch. He has this disgusting porn star smirk on his face, and I think after I get my mexican food, I’ll need a shower. Also the camera is the size of my laptop. That’s how you know it’s dated.
Next is when it gets complicated. Keri Russell, of all people, is sleeping in the couch when those two “adults” come barging in all hopped up or whatever, and Carla is wearing a overgrown Dr. Seuss hat. Seriously the good ole’ Seuss would be rolling in his grave if he saw that. How is it that they can manage to a get a cat in the hat hat in this tar pit of a video but we can’t get another live action Seuss movie? Thanks again Mike Myers for ruining it for everyone. So this bitch is sleeping, but she wakes up and puts the Tv on to find the video you saw the couple making earlier, even though there’s no VCR anywhere in sight. Apparently Bon Jovi discovered the cloud 20 years before everyone else.
So Justin from Event Horizon and Felicity are on the couch, and he turns and looks at her, and it’s the goddamn creepiest look I’ve ever seen anyone give another human being in my life. It’s almost as if he’s marking his territory and telling her with his eyes “Where do you want me?” Ugh. Then we go back to another video of Jon Bon Jovi singing. Also what’s annoying is how in ever live playing segment, Jon’s hair is completely different. Like I know it’s a music video, but c’mon guys, you couldn’t have planned this a little better? This video has a more shake my head moments than fucking Norbit did.
After all of this Carla comes home and is stuck by the future when she sees Justin and Felicity doing the sexy, yet again on the fucking video tape. What is this guy thinking? And where is there always a video playing in his house. How can you rewind this fast?! SOMEONE EXPLAIN THIS TO ME! How can you rewind this fast!? After the discovery (Shall we say, an Event on the horizon?) Carla leaves the house and decides she wants to walk down the street with no shoes on. That road looks rough though, so hopefully she has some hobbit feet going so she’s not in agonizing pain as she walks away.
Naturally she finds a new guy, and goes to his apartment, and the place is the epitome of 90’s cool. He has a bed that's on risers, and sitting under a steel pyramid, so you know he’s awesome. They end up hooking up, and he paints her like Jack painting Kate in the Titanic. After that awesome night though Carla reconsiders after seeing the painting he drew of her and calls Justin to come to her, and this stranger's apartment they reconnect and make up. It’s short lived however, when Justin finds the painting and goes all ape shit crazy and starts trashing this dude’s place. Seriously though, how is it ok for him to do the sexy with Felicity but his hurt girlfriend isn’t allowed some guilt free fun?
After that Justin sets this poor guys loft on fire and leaves. The last thing you see is Justin sitting holding the picture, feeling like a douche, and he thinks he sees Carla, but it’s just a mirage. For some reason I thought she died in some tragic way, but no, that’s how this crapfest ends. Justin with no shirt on, and he’s crying to a Bon Jovi song. That was terrible, but that’s why the 90’s had to exist. So everyone would never forget.
Never Forget. This video exists. And also Mexican food.
If you’re a movie fan, chances are good you’ve seen at least one of the following films. Starting with Alien 3 and improving himself constantly over a storied filmography, Fincher is unmatched in his skill of creating ominous overtones, dark corners, and provocative stories that pull you in. Today we changed it up a little bit and present his top five films. Beware though, These contain spoilers to all of the films on the countdown. Enjoy!
5. ZODIAC, 2007
One of the most captivating and chilling times in the Bay Area is documented in this cold, distant and shadowy film. Jake Gyllenhaal and Robert Downey Jr. move the pieces every direction possible in their search for the foreboding Zodiac killer. Now while I can’t accurately describe what it was like to live through the fear presiding in the area, the tension moments in the movie, and the slow, deliberate pace pushed forth by Fincher do nothing to calm your fears of encroaching doom. Much like the actual killer, the movie relies on misdirection and nuance, and it’s a thriller that would make Hitchcock proud.
4. GONE GIRL, 2014
The movie and book are both highly entertaining, but the performances by Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck help to separate the film in distinct ways from the book. A man comes home to find his wife gone, and he’s not a clue as to what happened to her. Slowly but surely though he recognizes that he’s not only being played tremendously, but the whole country has unanimously turned against him. Pike’s performance as a calm, brilliantly calculating villain is a thrill to watch, and Affleck’s unlikability in terms of being a bad husband make you wonder if he’s actually capable of what he’s accused of doing. A pitch perfect performance by both, and a story that unravels in unexpected ways, Gone girl is a movie worth watching and enjoying, but don’t go in thinking these people are likeable. They aren’t, and while Affleck goes through the wringer more than any person should ever, he’s not solely innocent.
3. THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, 2011
Easily my favorite movie of 2011. What Fincher, Craig and especially Rooney Mara accomplish is amazing. The books had been filmed as Swedish films years before, but I myself prefer this retelling. The intensity is prevalent all around, and Mara as Lisbeth Salander is a furious wonder to watch. The great things about Fincher’s movies is that much of what takes place is in the grey area. Even the people you’re rooting for aren’t the best people, but rather anti-heroes doing things they feel compelled to it. The movie is full of rapes, massive violence, and a few heartwarming moments, but in it’s nearly three hour runtime it’s very much a detective story as you follow the various leads that end up helping to close this case in the cold of the brutal Swedish winter. Also the score, brilliantly done by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross creates an underlying sense of dread as the various characters stumble towards the truth, kicking and screaming, both literally and figuratively.
2. SE7EN, 1995
In high school, my mom dropped me off to see this movie while she ran errands. I was late to the movie. The theater, black as the night, and the screen not helping in anyway to give light, set the stage. While the movie is methodical, technical and terrifying all in one, something else happened to me that day that set it apart from other movies. You see, the theater was so dark i literally sat next to a stranger, although i didn’t know it for a considerable period of time. It wasn’t until I covered my mouth at the horror of the Sloth victim that I felt my elbow brush up against this person, prompting me to scare myself to death and run to find another seat. Obviously after I moved I checked the seats next to me to make sure I wasn’t yet again next to some weirdo. All in all though, it’s one of the great modern horror films of all time, and everything from the opening, the thrilling chase scene, to the heartbreaking, gut wrenching finale have stayed in my head since that fateful day at the theater.
1. FIGHT CLUB, 1999
Many of these films are classics, but for me Fight Club remains one of the most powerful films I’ve ever seen. Featuring stellar performances from Norton, Pitt and Bonham- Carter make this movie what it is, even if all three of them are wildly out of their mind(s). I saw it in high school, before I even knew there was a book, so the massive reveal showcasing Norton as just another crazy person left me with my jaw firmly agape. It’s so well executed, that you never see it coming. The book is great and thrilling, but even the author, Chuck Palahniuk said adamantly that the movie is better, so who am I to argue. In Pitt and Norton, Fincher found his Jack and Tyler, and as they crash course through societies constructs and institutions, you finally understand that not all men are created equal. The movie also brilliantly adds a more appropriate ending, and for once, the little guys prove that with enough knowledge, patience, and loyalty from like minded people celebrating their cause, you truly can change the narrative of a world designed to keep us obedient.
Thanks for reading!
WRITERS NOTE: This was written for Jazzfest, but ended up not being used. Either way i hope you enjoy.
The year is 1992, and an album by a doctor was sweeping the nation. Song after song blew the hip hop game open, that’s not the entire story though. The album, “The Chronic,” released by Dr. Dre was memorable in many ways, but the most memorable moments on the album came from an unknown who stole tracks all over the album. This act, quickly discovered as Snoop Doggy Dogg wasn’t meant to only be a feature on someone else’s album, but rather a huge name in the rap world. This all turned out to be true.
If you enjoy getting down to rap, the chances are slim you’ve never heard of Dogg. Since the Chronic was lit in the early 90’s, he’s been one of the most trustworthy in the game. He continually releases album and tours big venues, and when he’s not doing that, you likely hear him guesting on various other artists’ records. “Drop it like it’s Hot” was a huge smash hit, as was “Beautiful,” both featuring the acclaimed hit maker Pharrell Williams.
The other thing you might know about Snoop is his insatiable love of Mary Jane. I mean, of course the guy we meet from the chronic will be end up being a pothead. I mention this only because as his image has gotten bigger, his acknowledgement and support of the green plant has become just another thing you can use to discuss his art. At the end of the day, I believe all of those things contribute to how solidly he’s viewed not only in the Rap world, but the general music industry also.
Back to the songs themselves though. From the debut “Doggystyle,” in 1993, he’s had tremendous skill in his ability to make gangster rap songs alongside more easily accessible tracks. His evolution is also important. Early Dogg was in your face animosity, much like the early days of N.W.A. and the others that came from it’s death.
Like much of the rap coming out of southern California around that time, tensions between minorities and police were used as a launching pad for ordinary local people to get their frustrations and thoughts out to a common cause. Snoop Dogg doesn’t do that exclusively. While he has serious, crime related songs(“Murder was the Case”) he also has songs like “Who Am I(What’s My Name).”
This has served him well. In 24 short years he’s gone from a guest on an album, to having a huge career for himself, and in the last few years his brand has steadily expanded. Aside from just being a rap star, he’s appeared in “Training Day” with Denzel, as well as the unexpected announcement that not only was he friends with Martha Stewart, but they have their own cooking show. Yes, it’s actually a real thing, seek it out and see what you think.
Since i started writing I’ve been chronicling the best moments in twelve month increments. Over the years I’ve picked many albums, some are still awesome, but on the other hand some have been known to fade in quality over time. Today we’re going to discuss my last five Number 1 albums of the years, and speculate and ultimately determine whether these were actually the best albums from that year, or if they simply found me at the right moment in time. Enjoy!
ALBUM OF THE YEAR: BON IVER, BON IVER
RUNNER UP:LYKKE LI, WOUNDED RHYMES
Back in 2011, I was already in love with Vernon’s first release as Bon Iver. When the second album hit though, it took over my life and was eventually named my album of the year. The album is poignant, heartbreaking and sobering, all of which Vernon does very well. At the time of the year end countdown, this was a pretty obvious number one for me. Sometimes you just know when you hear a record for the first time that it’s going to be an amazing influence in your life, and that was the case for the second Bon Iver record. However, the second place record, Wounded Rhymes by Swedish songstress Lykke Li was still a very important record. The loneliness and wounded nature of the album had a strong presence in my listening habits that year.
DID I MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE?: Both albums are still very good and worth checking out, but sometimes an album finds you at the right time, and I believe that that’s the reason Bon Iver was selected as number one, and why it remains the correct choice.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR: PASSION PIT, GOSSAMER
RUNNER(s) UP: BAT FOR LASHES/ THE HAUNTED MAN, EL-P/ CANCER FOR CURE
Lets just put this down as quick as we can. That Passion Pit record was less about how good the record was, and more about the behind the scenes of my life at the time. I was struggling to graduate, plan a wedding, and grieve the loss of my grandmother, who was the person closest to me in my life. All of those things drove me to “Gossamer,” with it’s shining brightly instrumentals and hauntingly sad lyrics about the struggles of Michael Angelakos. Looking back though, this was very clearly not the record of the year. While I still enjoy the record on a minimal basis, the third Bat for Lashes record, and even more importantly, the third El-P album are way better in retrospect. “Cancer for Cure,” especially should’ve likely ended up as the Record of the Year. It’a jarring and confrontational hip hop album that showcases everything that is real and human about El-P, and it helped set the stage for the future of hip hop with the emergence of Run the Jewels.
DID I MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE: Simply put, no. El-P or Bat for Lashes have both aged better.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR: QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, ...LIKE CLOCKWORK
RUNNER UP: CHVRCHES, THE BONES OF WHAT YOU BELIEVE
I remember this being not particularly hard to determine in regards to the number one slot, but i do recall the order following that was difficult. Queens of the Stone Age, returning after more than five years with a new, excellent, career defining record was an obvious choice for number one, but the top three was rounded out by the debut Chvrches record, which is still an electro-pop masterpiece, and Kanye West’s frenzied, in your face, anti-establishment “Yeezus.” All three records are still wonderful in various ways, and while any of them could have easily been number one, I think the only change I would make it putting West at number two.
DID I MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE: ...Like Clockwork has only gotten better in the years since it’s release, and while the other two records are still powerful, there wasn’t a record in 2013 that could’ve met the expectations for me like the way Joshua Homme and company managed to deliver with ..LC
ALBUM OF THE YEAR: BECK, MORNING PHASE
RUNNER UP: LYKKE LI, I NEVER LEARN
I remember this being a decision I went back and forth with for weeks before I finally settled on “Morning Phase.” Both of these records are exquisite and unraveling in emotional responses, to the point where I was even considering having a tie for the number one spot, Alas though, I chose Beck, but I’m still not even sure if i made the right choice. Beck’s record was a sort of return to form in the vein of his earlier masterpiece “Sea Change,” with it’s mellower atmospheres and expert instrumentation that we have come to expect from Mr. Hansen.
Lykke Li’s “I Never Learn,” though, soared in the same way as the first two parts in her trilogy of broken love songs and personal growth, resulting in another second place album of the year.
Like i said both records are still full of worthwhile moments. I’d say quite possibly that Beck’s album and Li’s album are both reminders of personal struggle and growth from that same struggle( Those themes are obvious on both records), and that’s why I was so connected to them.
DID I MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE: Maybe, but i can’t be sure. These two records are still albums that both are easily qualifiable as Albums of the year, but i guess it sorta depends on what your personal styles are.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR: CHVRCHES, EVERY EYE OPEN
RUNNER UP: TAME IMPALA, CURRENTS
And finally we come to my choices from two years ago. My reactions to both of these albums were instant and satisfactory, which made the choosing even more difficult. Chvrches for me was a great second record that was largely ignored by other websites in regards to accolades, but there are many, many things that still hold weight two years later. It’s high energy record that (to me) proves they weren’t a one record fluke, and the production value, not to mention the classic nature of the new synth pop classic “Clearest Blue,” still stand tall among some of my favorite records.
The Tame Impala record though, is a very different record overall. It maintains Parker's gorgeously layered psychedelic stylings, while essentially being an R&B record that may or may not be a concept record about a breakup. It’s an excellent record still today, and like “Every Eye Open,” it still resonates with me.
DID I MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE: I don’t think so. Like I said both albums are still very good, but “Currents” has aged better in more little ways than the Chvrches record. It also helps it’s case that I was struggling with the aftermath of a divorce, and if you’ve listened to Currents ever in your life, you’re well aware that Parker's regrets, torments and sense of closure are bleeding through every note over the course of the record.
Thanks for reading!
During his extremely varied career, Beck Hansen has been many things. He’s covered punk rock, latin music, ballads, ambient soundscapes, booty shaking music for the sunshine, and multiple other genres. Over the course of his twelve records he’s redefined himself, never once repeating the sounds he’d previously explored, all the while growing and showing us more layers than a musician these days should be comfortable showing. His chameleon like nature has helped shepherd a loyal fanbase willing to go to unknown areas and learn to grow alongside his music. If you want a true musician’s musician, Beck is the man for you. Today we discuss his Top Ten Best tracks. Seven albums span this list, so enjoy and dig in!
10. E-Pro, Guero
One of the best things about this song is how surprising it was when it came out. It was Beck in a more in your face style than we had been accustomed to. Coming after the elegance and loneliness of Sea Change, it altered yet again the perception of what he was capable of as an entertainer. The “Na na na” throughout the track is a jolly sing along, while the bass and drum heavy beats escalate the song into a full on dance fest you and your friends are able to lose yourself in.
9. Modern Guilt, Modern Guilt
When you sit down and look at the numbers, it becomes apparent that Hansen is a freak of nature in terms of how many songs are instantly recognizable. At number nine we have the title track from his 2008 album “Modern Guilt.” Lyrically the song is desperate and in need of help, while the instrumental aspects of the track are reminiscent of a futuristic dust bin where cowboys wander the world along with their state of the art farms where they can contemplate their experiences and thoughts.
8. Morning, Morning Phase
After a long hiatus, it’s natural to be unsure of what may come next, but with 2014’s “Morning Phase,” Beck brought us back to the style he perfected on Sea Change. While not a straight sequel, it very much continues the layered work he began on SC. Morning, the second song on the record, has everything you want from a relaxed Beck song. Hansen’s voice is pure and all encompassing, while the weary guitar and soundscapes enable the listener to easily picture a world where all the wrongs are put right, and you can wake up and begin anew with a beautiful new “Morning.”
7. Gamma Ray, Modern Guilt
Like a scene from a 60’s spy movie, Gamma Ray explodes with energy as the spy survey’s his target. Really though this is just how I interpreted the song. It’s a wild mix of elements throughout. The vocals are multifaceted, the jingle throughout the track is consistently engaging, and the overall base of the song is as catchy as anything Beck has done before or since. It’s not as straightforward as some of his other tracks, but it’s sure to make you want to move your hips and enjoy the nostalgic feelings it releases in you.
6. Loser, Mellow Gold
Without this track, there’s a pretty good chance we wouldn’t have ever even heard of Beck. Released in 1994 and quickly becoming his staple and signature song, “Loser” is a breathe of fresh hair that entangles itself in a brilliant stream of consciousness in terms of lyrics that, while being completely non-linear and nonsensical, are easy as hell to sing and play around with. This was the moment when Beck become Beck and his music entered the musical atmosphere and left an indelible imprint on alternative music that still stands to this day.
5. Wave, Morning Phase
Perhaps not a song you expected to be part of this list, but it’s one of his strangest, sincerely dark tracks. “Wave” starts with ominous orchestral backing, like you’re walking into a literal wave to cleanse yourself of all the wrong committed. It’s a slow and eerily haunting track, which is why it makes the list at number five. The vocals are gorgeously apprehensive, not knowing what the right direction to head is. The minimal lyrics also do an exceptional job of putting the music first, during a track that’s mostly elevated through instrumentals. As the song nears its climax though, you realize that while you were listening, Beck was wrapping you up in his own little tumble of waves and that you’d never be fully whole again.
Truth be told, i didn’t know this was Beck for months, until that is, I saw him perform the track live and was completely dumbfounded. You see, I heard the opening and thought it was lame, so i never got past the first vocal entry. What you get when you listen though, is a song firmly entrenched in something Beck had never done before, Gold standard pop music, done better than nearly anyone who actually provides pop music. The song puts you on a beach during a beautiful day, more than likely with some fancy bright drink with fruit in it. It’s a fun song that shows yet again what Beck is capable of, while also reminding you that Beck can beat you with attacks you never expected to be deployed by this particular artist.
3. Sexx Laws, Midnight Vultures
One of the strangest, more upbeats songs to come out of his discography, “Sexx Laws” hits us at number three on the top ten Beck songs. The song lyrically bounces back and forth between the absurd and sincere, all the while still maintaining the complex nature of who Beck is as an artist. One of the things Hansen does best is his ability to pair words that don’t fully form a narrative, yet allow for an easy to follow way that fans can gladly sing along to. It’s a weird song from a weird artist, but it’s one of his best.
2. Waking Light, Morning PhasePerhaps the most open and honest track on the list, the closing moments of “Morning Phase” find us at number two. Much like the rest of the record, “Waking Light” is a more heartfelt track that wears it’s sadness and regret in equal measure. To me the whole album is gesture in humility, and the way “Light” manages to shine through and finish up the record is a poignant moment most artists will never be able to pull off. If the album as a whole is meant to inspire change and to undo the wrongs that have transpired, “Waking Light” is the reminder that everything comes and goes, and when the “Morning comes to meet you,” all will be forgiven and you can start off on a brand new journey that will bring you redemption, and ultimately peace of mind.
1. Devils Haircut, Odelay
And finally we have number one. This whole list was a tough thing to put together, not only because of how genuinely talented Hansen is, but also because of the sheer amount of popular songs he’s been able to put on display for the better part of three decades. “The Devils Haircut,” from the masterfully complex Odelay, not only is one of his biggest hits, but it’s his best track, at least in my opinion. It has a beat boxing exit during the closing moments, but that’s not what draws you in initially. The opening moments are like a siren going off in your bedroom, and once again Hansen’s ability to relay lyrics that transcend normal songwriting techniques, while still establishing a drastic departure in sound that stood in stark contrast to the alternative music that was coming out around that time. It’s a testament to the brilliance of who Hansen is, and it’s the number one song of his wildly eclectic career. Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed!
What can you say about Radiohead that is as original as they are? For as long as I can remember they’ve been heralded as one of the best bands of all time, and it’s not hard to see why. Some people aren’t super impressed by that, and I know everyone has their own opinions, but people who don’t enjoy them have wrong opinions. It’s just the way it is. Anyway, today we’re going to run through the band's best songs. Some of these might be expected, others not so much, but I tried to not only pick my top ten but also some of their most varied tracks. Hopefully I succeeded in both. Enjoy!
10. There There(The Boney King of Nowhere), Hail to the Thief
This album usually ends up on the bottom end of fans’ favorite albums, but while it’s not a masterstroke like some of the others, “Hail to the Thief” still has plenty of solid moments. One of these is first single “There There.” The multiple drums that encapsulate the song are important to the track, not only because of how cool they sound, but of how seamlessly they bring everything else full circle. Yorke’s voice, and the playing by the Greenwoods also make the song valuable and worth listening to. The tail end of the Top Ten Radiohead songs, “There There” starts us off at number ten.
9. True Love Waits, A Moon Shaped Pool
At number nine, we have what very well might be the saddest song created by Yorke and company thus far in their career. A long coveted B side that finally made it to an official album, “True Love Waits” is indeed a heartbreaker of a track. Finishing up a emotionally brutal and messy album, it lingers in your bones as Yorke recalls “I’m Not living, I’m just killing time.” The song can mean many things for many people, but the extent to which the band conveys general sadness with just a voice and a solemn piano layered background is testament to the energy of the group. It’s heartbreaking to think about, but the message is an overwhelming positive one, you just have to get through the pain of losing your true love, in whatever way you can.
8. Burn the Witch, A Moon Shaped Pool
Before the official drop of the album, this was our first taste. Somewhat immediate in it’s delivery, “Burn the Witch” stands as another solid reason why this band is so revered. The drumming by Selway, the murmurings of Yorke, and the various other things introduced by the Greenwood’s and O’Brien really help to start the record off on a good, solid foot. It’s thumpy and ethereal at the same time, and Yorke’s meandering vocals surrounded by both beats and strings only add to the undermining doom bubbling up from the surface of the mix.
7. Weird Fishes/ Arpeggi, In Rainbows
The drum sets the groove, sexy tone right away, but this song isn't sexy at all. Perhaps the feel and vibe of the song are, but the lyrics are pretty fucking sad and thought provoking. Thom Yorke is one of those singers who can make you feel anything he wants when he wants. The background vocals as the music picks up get to me everytime. These dudes know how to perfectly mix a song. " Everybody leaves if they get the chance," is a punch to the stomach that struggles with the realization that life isn't always going to be good, but somehow you have to keep going, keep trying to figure out the puzzle.
6. How to Disappear Completely, Kid A
The opening line "That there, that's not me," has always struck me as a pretty funny line, but the underlying tone of the song is anything but humorous. This person appears as though he's thrilled that no one notices him, but is that the case? He could potentially be faking it. Maybe the years of isolation have turned him into a person who loves not being recognized, or even acknowledged. Who could live this way though? That's why the song is so upsetting to me. In the end though, the instruments do as much for the overall dreadful, upsetting vibe as the lyrics do. It just seems like this person has no hold over his own life, and that might be the saddest thing of all. A haunting song that sees Radiohead at their most somber, and their best.
5. Paranoid Android, OK Computer
This could very easily be their best known song, and if you’ve been living under a rock for nearly twenty years, please do yourself a favor and seek out the animated video. I had of course heard of the band before, but this was when they knocked the wind out me. The craziness of the song and the places it goes, as well as the sheer genius of the musicianship set it apart from every other band out there at that moment, and for the most part, it still does. When the song takes a cray turn, you the listener are right there prepared to hold on for dear life, and for me, that's where the realness and amazing qualities of the song truly burst out.
4. Idioteque, Kid A
This song, but the whole album especially was the first time I think most people realized that not only could electronic music make it in the mainstream, but it could also be intelligent and thought provoking. Sure, people have always loved electronic music, but obviously Aphex Twin and the Chemical Brothers weren't selling out stadiums left and right, at least not in the States. This song also proved that as a band, Radiohead could do anything and pull it off. If “OK Computer” is the best album of the 1990's, then surely this album, which is better, and probably the best they've done, is the best album of the 2000's.
3. Nude, In Rainbows
One of the prettiest songs ever heard from the band, until of course you start to listen to the lyrics. That’s one of the many things Radiohead does as a band. The music, while often sublime, and even uplifting, is always able to get the listener to open their eyes to the whole truth surrounding any particular songs. “Nude” does this brilliantly. It’s a song that seems confident and strong, but the underlying gloom of the song makes it more palpable in terms of fear and desperation. Among all of that though, it still somehow manages to come across and a sultry and provocative song that is as much about anger and it is passion. When Yorke sings the words “You’ll go to hell for what You’re dirty mind is thinking,” you can sense the frustration and unhappiness surrounding whatever issue is happening in the narrative of the song.
2. Fake Plastic Trees, the Bends
Always a favorite of mine. Its tenderness and compassion always had a lasting effect on me. Everything for me changed though when I saw them at Lollapalooza. The end of the set was nearing, and the song started. Behind them however, very light, soft fireworks built up (We found out later the fireworks were from a Cubs game). As the song progressed, the explosions got more intense and by the time the big ending hit, we were singing, and marveling at the unprepared perfection of the situation. There's not a lot in the world that beats crying in a field, singing a song you've loved for years and being surrounded by 100,00 people who feel the same.
1. Pyramid Song, Amnesiac
Never have I been so captivated by a music video before, or since. It's calming, majestic and haunting. Everything the song ultimately is. It’s a rare thing for something in space and time to sync up so vividly and ambiently wonderful, but this song does so with ease. I mean, when you watch this clip, and you see the lone diver visiting subterranean worlds enveloped by liquid, you can’t take your eyes off it. But, let’s also mention this otherworldly track. When the album first came out, this song instantly struck a chord with me. For years upbeat was the name of the game for me, but this song did, and still does fill me with joy, and a sense of knowledge that human beings are capable of amazing things. The textural components work well with Selway’s casually precise drumming, and Yorke’s wandering, unsure voice provide even more depth to this new world. It’s eye catching, in every sort of way, and that’s why I love it.
Welcome to Radiohead Week. Next week, the band comes to New Orleans for their third date on the Moon Shaped Pool tour, and since they’re one of the most exciting bands of our generation, i thought a few posts regarding their greatness deserved to be shared. Here’s a review of my favorite album of all time, Kid A. Enjoy!
I remember the day well. I quietly and humbly asked my mom for money to go and purchase this album. Years earlier I had been captivated with brilliant new ideas about what music could be by “OK Computer,” and since hearing the first “single” “Optimistic,” I knew this was going to be an album I needed to have. I say “single” in speaking of “Optimistic” because this was around the time that the band started doing exclusively what they wanted. Instead of going the traditional route and putting an advance song out, Radiohead simply allowed radio stations(or radio head's I guess if you think about it) to pick which song they wanted to showcase. I've heard of a few tracks being used, but “Optimistic” was the one most gravitated to. And that's not a bad thing at all. “Optimistic” has a sort of immediate chanty thing going on. While it isn't instantly recognizable as the band's song, it doesn't take long.
By now we all know Thom Yorke's familiar vocal pattern, but back than modern radio was still getting to know and love it. The beat is pretty intact most of the time, and the guitar parts and Selway's drumming tie the song together in a seamless way. The lyrics, bringing thoughts of the “three little piggies” are also in line with Yorke's all over the place style. Some songs are exacting and linear, but others, like “Optimistic” are all over the place. Having said that, this was for many the first taste of what would end up becoming not only my favorite album, but among many others, the best album of the aughts.
Back to that early October fall day of 2000, I purchased the compact disc and immediately sat in my car and listened to it. Driving around for hours, the album soaked into my bones. The somber, piano driven tone of “Everything in it's Right Place” starts the album in an unusual quiet manner. For years I didn't really enjoy it as an opening song, if I'm being honest. For me at the time, and maybe even now, i'm a firm believer of things having to start strong and powerful, and while I LOVED the song, it didn't seem like an opening number. Seeing the song live though, was an eye opener. It's quite beautiful, and you'll never in your life imagine a site like watching eighty thousand people sing along to a song about “sucking on lemons.”
The whole album is an experiment about not doing the same thing twice. So many of this band's efforts come across as being done by a completely different band, but “Kid A,” both album and track were big deviations at the time. The title track doesn't sound even remotely close to anything on the band's previous albums. It's a big departure, but this is a band known for big departures and drastically changing sounds. “Kid A” the song has this weird fuzz, loop effect happening that weaves all over the place. Yorke's vocals are clearly heard, but good luck putting together everything he's saying. By track three, the more upbeat rhythmic “The National Anthem,” we start to hear a little bit of what we're used to from Radiohead. Not much, but a little. The funky dropping bassline from Colin Greenwood instantly forces your hips to move, and the sound effects are used to excellent accompaniment. Now it's time for me to put my headphones on and get full sound. You can hear the murmurings of a madman in the background, but the drum beat and bass lines are all you're interested in. The addition of the horns halfway through are a real happy surprise, and the song spirals out in a haze of dancing and late night activity. When promoting the album the band played many smaller places, and seeing some videos of this song being played in little jazz clubs, complete with full horn sections, really helped to bring the song to life in a different way. Just seeing the song live period was a cool as fuck moment, but I would've given a lot to see the club shows. Oh well though.
From one of the most upbeat songs on the album we transition to one of the saddest songs the band has ever released. “How to Disappear Completely” is a whirlwind of emotions, and the somber tone is heightened by the pain in Thom's voice, as well as the gorgeous acoustic guitar being strung right behind him. When I hear this song, I imagine a man so downtrodden with the world that his physical self is literally disappearing. Hands are vanishing as door knobs are turned, and greetings to loved ones are evaporating in the air after exiting his mouth. The orchestral sections of this song are equally powerful. This song just does all the right things to convey a state of desperation, loneliness, and solitude. Although it's quite sad, the majestic nature of the track is what makes it so valuable, important, and puts it as one of the band's best songs, period. This leads straight to the ambient background that sort of breaks apart the album and gives the listener not only a breather, but also paints a picture of a nice, clear day full of love and want. That song is the extremely overlooked song “Treefingers.”
After the powerful and previously mentioned “Optimistic,” we move right along to the glowing dream like visuals of “In Limbo.” Now if there's a better name for this song, I'd love to hear it. This is one of the times where a song's name goes excellently with the visuals being painted by the song. Losing your way, being “Lost at Sea,” and being told “You're living in a Fantasy” are all subject matters here, but somehow it's going to be alright. The instrumentation is dense and vibrant, and you can't really make out on instrument in particular. Sure you can hear bits and pieces, but they use the sound textures and waves much in the same way My Bloody Valentine had previously done in their music. It's a lush arrangement for sure, but it also points to yet another thing this band of modern artists are amazing at.
From there we're treated to the ever growing perfectness that is the modern masterpiece known as “Idioteque.” Now this song is so impossibly badass that it's difficult to pinpoint one thing in particular that is better than another thing, but quite simply, I just love it, and even after 14 years of hearing it, I still can't get enough. The opening treats us to a heavy electronic dance thump, and breaks out in waves of sound and color. Yorke's voice is also more crisp here than on most of the other songs. Never in your life have you ever been so happy to sing and dance to songs about “Ice Age coming” and “woman and children first.” It's a frantic song lyrically, but the beat and atmosphere set here are hard to pull yourself away from. Among many fans favorite tracks, it might be the most oddly well known song in the band's canon, but I guess when discussing Radiohead, there's no normal. That's a good thing though!
“Morning Bell” is next, and it's another well placed song and the tempo is very even. During the recording of this album, the band found itself with too much good material, and because of this, a sort of companion album, titled “Amnesiac(which is also brilliant if I may say so) came out about a year later. I only mention this because there's sibling to “Morning Bell” on the album. It's called “Amnesiac/Morning Bell” and it's well worth a listen if you haven't before. Getting back though, the song is both tinged darkly and hopeful at the same time. The guitar and drums become brighter throughout, until the sun forces its way through and until suddenly, we're back to even more depressing, sadistic things while we talk about how to “Cut the kids in Half.” Charming stuff don't ya think?
I considered talking about both “Kid A” and “Amnesiac” in one full review, but seeing as the band thought it best to release them separately and not as a double album it seemed silly. Having said that though, don't miss a chance to check out “Amnesiac.” It's brilliant in the same ways this album can be, and when listening to it you can clearly seeing how the albums are kindred spirits.
The finale to this powerful life changing album comes to us in the form of “ Motion Picture Soundtrack.” The organs used here are immaculate, and the stubborn vocals are an added touch. The chimes and background effects are used to an almost god like level here, and it sets the album off to sail in the vast ocean of songs in a way that few songs are capable of doing. “Motion Picture Soundtrack” is the supreme icing on the cake of the best listening cake you've ever heard.
In happy times, “Motion Picture Soundtrack” is used for hopefulness and gratitude to the people you love and cherish, and in times of sadness it can be used to remind us that everything has a way to it, and that overcoming obstacles is a part of life. This band is a perfect example. They were dismissed as a one hit wonder, and shoved aside, but they chose to keep going, and given the right state the mind, they eventually became a band that is not only regarded as one of the most influential bands of all time, but also as a band who hold, at least in my eyes, the distinction of making not only the best album of the 90's(OK Computer), but also the best album of the 2000's(Kid A). This is band that will keep improving not only their sound, but also the lives of everyone who is lucky enough to come into contact with their music. Thank for you reading, and I hope you continue on this awesome path with me. Have a good night.
Landon Murray is a published writer and an avid lover of music, books and films. He's also a lover of the New Orleans Saints. He was born in 1982 and has a chainsaw tattoo on his arm.
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