Tuesday, 1 January 2013

November 2012 - Popular Music

Tori Amos
  • Boys for Pele
  • Midwinter Graces
  • Night of Hunters
  • Gold Dust
Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel…
Sheryl Crow – The Globe Sessions
Bryan Duncan – Mercy
Gomez – Liquid Skin
Gomez – In Our Gun
Gotye – Making Mirrors
Patty Griffin – Flaming Red
Ray LaMontagne – Til the Sun Turns Black
Joni Mitchell – Dog Eat Dog
Nichole Nordeman – Woven & Spun
Radiohead – Kid A
Radiohead – The King of Limbs
Something for Kate – The Official Fiction
Tears for Fears – The Seeds of Love
Rachael Yamagata – Elephants… Teeth Sinking Into Heart

Production of this post was delayed due to technical difficulties. And now that I've copied November's list across, I've been struggling with getting the formatting to its normal state and I still don't think it's quite right...

...which is a way of delaying for a few lines the realisation that I'm not entirely sure what to say about this particular collection of music that I listened to.

One thought is that The King of Limbs still hasn't grabbed me the way that a Radiohead album should, or normally does.  It seems rather insubstantial. And that's not simply a function of length, although it's easier for a brief 8-track album to feel insubstantial than a sprawling 20-track one. It's also a result of several of those tracks not yet convincing me that they live up to the usual standards of Radiohead.

Having completed my Joni odyssey, I promptly went back and listened to Dog Eat Dog again. One of the main reasons for that was my enjoyment the first time around. Despite it's poor reputation, it seems to me to be a fairly good album. It's certainly not a happy one, lyrically, which I suspect is one of the reasons it's disliked.  But while it is somewhat heavy-handed, it actually comes across as far less miserable than the more recent album Shine - and yes, I do realise that's a comparison that no-one in the 1980s was in a position to make.

And rounding out the commentary on albums that are either underappreciated by me or underappreciated by others is Patty Griffin's Flaming Red.  A music blogger that I highly respected really disliked this album, Patty's second, for being so unlike her debut. While I understand where he was coming from, and agree there are some missteps that 'aren't really Patty', hindsight has shown that Patty does sometimes like to head into rock territory, and some of the noisiest songs on Flaming Red are among the best. The wild squall of the title track doesn't sound so out of place now as it did when I first heard it, and neither does the sleazy sound of 'Wiggley Fingers'.  But it's the longest song, 'Mary', that is also one of the most quintessential Patty Griffin songs in her catalogue.  This is what she brings so often, the aching gap between heavenly aspirations and earthbound realities, but this time the lyrics make it explicit.

Hope you like it.

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