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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.

Sunday, September 11, 2005 :::

Oh No by the OK Go

Why I bought it: Sometimes I really like OK Go.

What I think about it: Oh No is surprisingly unevolved. It almost seems like a slight step backwards for the band. I guess I was hoping for something a little more mature, even though to be fair I had no good reason to expect as much. The Ok Go write guitary pop-songs that would probably fair better in a progressive frat house than in my CD collection. Maybe I just feel too old to like this kind of music, but I still contend that they have something that most other bands don't. I'm not sure what that is, and I don't think this CD represents it very well, but I stand by my claims nonetheless. Someday this band will break up and the individual members will make some really good solo CDs. I just know it. As it stands, there are a lot of mediocre tracks on this CD that try to overcompensate by being loud or over-produced. But then a song like "Oh Lately It's So Quiet" kicks in and I remember why I thought I absolutely had to buy the CD in the first place. Oh No definitely ends better than it starts off (except for the blank 30 minute "hidden track" at the end), but it's not a CD I'll be able to listen to all at once. Bits and piece is all I'll need. Oh, and the video for "A Million Ways" is awesome, if you can catch it.

Song(s) worth a listen: Oh Lately It's So Quiet ; A Million Ways ; No Sign of Life ; Let It Rain ;

Listen at amazon.

::: posted by dan at 10:55 PM :: #

I Am A Bird Now by Anthony and the Johnsons

Why I bought it: It keeps getting recommended to me on Amazon, and then it had to go and win the prestigious Mercury Prize for Music.

What I think about it: Even without the presence of Rufus Wainwright and the crossdressing transgenderism, I Am A Bird Now would STILL sound really gay cabaret-ish. And the dude's voice takes a LOT of getting used to, to say the least. But somehow the beauty and the drama of the songs transcends all of my misgivings. It's incredibly odd and not quite consistent, but I've never heard anything like it before, and it's capable of drawing you in if you let it. Somehow Amazon likes to pair this CD with The Decemberists, but don't fall for that; they have absolutely nothing in common, except for some of the melodramatic theatrics, maybe. I'm shocked this won such a prestigious award as the Mercury Prize. It is so amazingly far off the beaten path and so perpendicular to what is popular right now that I'm surprised it even got released. This CD probably represents best why people hate my taste in music, but I can't help it. Anything that dares to be this original without any fear of public reaction deserves some attention.

Song(s) worth a listen: Hope There's Someone ; My Lady Story ; What Can I Do ; Bird Guhrl

Listen at amazon.

::: posted by dan at 10:37 PM :: #

Twin Cinema by The New Pornographers

Why I bought it: I couldn't help it.

What I think about it: I wasn't going to buy this CD. I really really wasn't. But after A.C. Newman hooked me with his solo CD last year, and after having downloaded and fallen in love with one of the best pop songs ever recorded - "Sing Me Spanish Techno" - I just couldn't justify not giving them some monetary support. Sure, they are over-hyped, and sure, their wall-of-sound production style can still give me a major headache, and sure, not every song on this CD is up to par, but jesus, just listen to the chorus of "Sing Me Spanish Techno"! How are you not singing along already? Holy crap is that catchy! Anyway, "Sing Me Spanish Techno" will probably top my favorite songs of the year list, and admittedly, this whole CD will really grow on you if you give it a chance. I'm starting to forget why I've been so against this band for so long.

Song(s) worth a listen: Twin Cinema ; The Bleeding Heart Show ; Jessica Numbers ; Sing Me Spanish Techno ; Three or Four

Listen at amazon.

::: posted by dan at 10:20 PM :: #

Mr. Hollywood Jr., 1947 by Michael Penn vs. The Forgotten Arm by Aimee Mann
Rating: and , respectively

Why I bought them: I love both of them.

What I think about it: Maybe it's not fair to judge these CDs against each other, but since Michael and Aimee are an item, and since they play on each other's songs, and since they have similar songwriting styles, and since they both decided to record concept albums (presumably after hearing the Honeydog's brilliant 10,000 Years album that they've both praised publicly), it seems like there is no way around it. The unlikely verdict: Michael kicks Aimee's ass. I used to think Aimee Mann couldn't write a bad song, but The Forgotten Arm is pretty boring, overly maudlin, and anti-catchy. There really isn't a stand out track on the whole album. It's not a bad CD, exactly. It's just forgettable, like the title prophetically implies. Mr. Hollywood, Jr., on the other hand, is jam-packed with amazing pop songs. Except for an unfortunate dead patch of noisy interlude tracks and an old-time waltz that have been plopped right in the middle of this CD, every single one of the songs on here is memorable and brilliant. The lyrics are intelligent, the hooks are sharp, and the sing-along quotient is high. I suspect he's been spending a lot of time with mutual friend Jon Brion lately. Aimee, on the other hand, needs to start from scratch. And take some uppers. Stat.

That being said, her Bachelor #2 album (from almost a decade ago!) is one of the best CDs on the 1990s, while Michael Penn hasn't really ever recorded a consistently good CD - until now. Ebbs and flows.

Song(s) worth a listen: Walter Reed ; Denton Road ; Room 217 ; A Bad Sign

Listen at amazon.

::: posted by dan at 9:59 PM :: #


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