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I buy a lot of CDs. And I live under the misconception that people care about my opinions. And I like to catalog things. Therefore I've decided to keep track of all the CDs I buy and what I think of them.

Wednesday, March 31, 2004 :::

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind : Soundtrack

Why I bought it: Because Jon Brion is the key contributor.

What I think about it: Jon Brion is one of my favorite musicians. He's worked with Aimee Mann, Fiona Apple, Badly Drawn Boy, Elliott Smith, and many others in my CD collection, and he also released an under-appreciated solo album a few years back entitled Meaningless, which I believe to be one of the finest pop records to come out in the last decade. I've been anxiously awaiting a follow-up ever since, but all I get is the occassional soundtrack work or collaboration effort. He's got one new song on this soundtrack, and he also composed the music for the film, so that alone warranted a purchase. But as a bonus, you get a new Beck song (and a darned good one), Mr. Blue Sky by ELO (an oldie, but goodie), and Light & Day by the Polyphonic Spree (which has been featured in iPod commercials, and which I have nearly bought on many occassions even though I wasn't impressed with the rest of their CD). I'm generally not a fan of soundtracks, just because I prefer the cohesiveness of a proper album, and because it's like listening to someone else's mix CD: there are inevitably a few duds. But this CD had more than enough going for it to surpass those misgivings.

Song(s) worth a listen: Strings That Tie To You ; Light & Day ; Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime ; Mr. Blue Sky

Listen at amazon.

::: posted by dan at 5:08 PM :: #

Sunday, March 28, 2004 :::

Winning Days : The Vines

Why I bought it: I dunno. Because it was $8.99 at Best Buy?

What I think about it: I have no idea why I bought this, considering I bought their last CD and never listen to it. Actually, I really enjoyed their Highly Evolved album, but it just isn't the kind of music that I get excited to listen to, and this album sounds remarkably like their last album. Maybe a little TOO similar. A little more evolution from this highly evolved band may have been better. It's got good energy, though. It sounds like it would be good background summer music for driving with the windows down, but nothing that will win any planetdan annual awards. I think you need to be a 15-year-old boy to really admire this CD. Oh, and the cover art belongs in a highschool art class garbage bin.

Song(s) worth a listen: Ride ; TV Pro

Listen at amazon.

::: posted by dan at 5:44 PM :: #

Wednesday, March 24, 2004 :::

Seven Swans : Sufjan Stevens

Why I bought it: Because I liked his last CD, which I just bought last month (see review below).

What I think about it: I really dug it at first listen. Quiet but tuneful, and the banjo, as an instrument of melancholy, is really starting to grow on me. But then I read the lyrics and discovered that they are very religious in nature. I think he even uses the word Lord a few times and there are references about the holy ghost and being nailed to a tree. One chorus actually repeats the word Halleluiah. I tend to be a little anti-organized-religion, so that got me all confused about whether I should like it or not. So then I had this strange dramatic battle in my own head, but I could not for the life of me come up with a good reason for why I shouldn't like a good song just because it's got a reference to Jesus in it. Conclusion: despite all I learned in catholic school, there CAN be good churchy songs. And really, it's up to me if I want to take the lyrics literally or not. Plus, this is a good lesson to all you bible-beaters out there: if I can bend, so can you.

Song(s) worth a listen: He Woke Me Up Again ; To Be Alone With You ; Size Too Small

Learn more about it.

::: posted by dan at 12:22 AM :: #

Friday, March 19, 2004 :::

Two Way Monologue : Sondre Lerche

Why I bought it: Because I liked his last CD. Just wish I knew how to pronounce his name.

What I think about it: It's very good. Definitely grows on you. Some good sing-a-long hooks when you're in the mood for some happy-go-lucky pop music from Norway, which is at least bi-weekly in my case.

Song(s) worth a listen: Wet Ground ; Stupid Memory ; Days That Are Over

Listen at amazon.

::: posted by dan at 10:59 AM :: #

Sunday, March 07, 2004 :::

Spoon : Kill The Moonlight

Why I bought it: I had heard about them a couple years ago and downloaded a few songs from the internet which somehow made it on to my workout tape and I subsequently became a little addicted to them.

What I think about it: Kind of like minimalist rock: a keyboard, an electronic drumbeat, and some occasional sonic guitar feedback. But the songs are catchy, if maybe a bit too short and simple, and energetic. Good stuff for working out, but nothing I would ever get obsessed with.

Song(s) worth a listen: The Way We Get By ; Stay Don't Go ; Paper Tiger

Listen at amazon.

::: posted by dan at 3:34 PM :: #

Sufjan Stevens : Greetings From Michigan The Great Lake State

Why I bought it: Because, which I have begun to trust again, said that I would like it since I like Elliott Smith.

What I think about it: I can't tell if the lyrics are supposed to be ironic or sincere, or so post-modern that they are somehow both, but some of the songs on this CD, which mostly deals with working-class Michigan, actually made me shed a tear, and the instrumentation is interesting as well. Doesn't sound like Elliott Smith at all, besides his breathy voice, but it definitely sounds unique. That's probably why it took me a few listens before I truely appreciated it.

Song(s) worth a listen: Romulus ; Flint ; Detroit, Life Up Your Weary Head!

Listen at amazon.

::: posted by dan at 3:29 PM :: #

Sondre Lerche : Faces Down

Why I bought it: Because told me I would like it if I liked Rufus Wainwright, which I do. Plus, a couple people recommended it to me.

What I think about it: Amazon was right. Apparently he is kind of considered a teen pop star in whatever country he hails from, but in comparison to American pop idols, it's almost embarassing. Kind of makes America look bad. Anyway, it sounds like Rufus Wainwright without the influence of opera. I'm definitely going to buy his new CD that comes out in a couple weeks.

Song(s) worth a listen: Dead Passengers ; Sleep on Needles ; No One's Gonna Come

Listen at amazon.

::: posted by dan at 3:23 PM :: #

The Fruit Bats : Mouthfuls

Why I bought it: For some reason thought I would like this CD because I like The Decemberists, which is one of my current favorite bands. So I downloaded a song and it sounded alright...

What I think about it: ...but really it's just boring folk music with lots of nice, peaceful sounding harmonies. And it doesn't even remotely sound like The Decemberists. It's not really bad, but I can't imagine every putting it in my CD player and listening to it. Or singing along with it. Or putting it on a mix CD. Or even remembering it exists. So I will probably sell it to The Fetus.

Song(s) worth a listen: Rainbow Sign ; The Little Acorn

Listen at amazon.

::: posted by dan at 3:12 PM :: #

The Honeydogs : 10,000 Years

Why I bought it: Because Aimee Mann recommended it in Entertainment Weekly and then I heard the single on Drive 105.

What I think about it: As I wrote in my blog, it sounds like Aimee Mann and The Beatles mated and then made a concept album like Ok Computer, and when you mix Aimee Mann, The Beatles, and Radiohead together, it makes Dan wet his pants. It's just good pop music with sing-along hooks and interesting lyrics and it totally redeems the Honeydogs for "I Miss You." It's actually 4 1/2 stars. I don't really like to give out 5's, because as my boss says at my performance reviews, there is always room for improvement.

Song(s) worth a listen: Panhandler's Serenade ; The Rake's Progress ; 23rd Chromosome

Listen at amazon.

::: posted by dan at 3:12 PM :: #

The Pernice Brothers : Yours, Mine, & Ours

Why I bought it: Because told me I would like it if I like The Shins, which I do. But I'm beginning not to trust anymore.

What I think about it: It's mediocre but mostly consistent, with two really good songs. I will keep it because it's good as background music and because it's a bit maudlin, which I tend to like. Never really grew on me, even after repeated listens, but I can't say it's altogether bad either.

Song(s) worth a listen: Water Ban ; Baby in Two

Listen at amazon.

::: posted by dan at 3:07 PM :: #

South : With the Tides

Why I bought it: Because recommended it to me saying it was similar to Doves and The Shins.

What I think about it: It's boring. I really tried to like it but it never got better. It's listenable, but underwhemling. It will be sold to Electric Fetus.

Song(s) worth a listen: None.

Listen at amazon.

::: posted by dan at 3:01 PM :: #

Air : Talkie Walkie

Why I bought it: Because I like Air and I anticipated its release, and because Nigel Godrich produced it.

What I think about it: Definitely better than their last proper album, but not as good as Moon Safari on a whole. The lightened up a bit at least. They are definitely a good band worth seeing live, but their next tour is going to the State Theater and I can't imagine sitting in a stodgy theater listening to electronic music. It should be at a bar like First Avenue, as it was last time they were in town, with hip drinks and places to move around.

Song(s) worth a listen: Venus ; Alpha Beta Gaga

Listen at amazon.

::: posted by dan at 2:15 PM :: #


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