Monday, July 16, 2007


Today's post features another installment using the wondrous shuffle feature of my new (and growing increasingly comfortable & familiar) pod.

1. Let's Get Lifted Again - John Legend (from Get Lifted). Ye gods, I love this album. I love, love, love it. When Once Again came out I was obsessed with it, and I still think it's beautiful, but recently my love for his first album has been resurrected. His voice is extraordinary, and the production, as one would expect from a Kanye album, is extremely good. I think my favourite track is I Can Change (the one with Snoop), but honestly, it's all incredible. This is a beautiful, short interlude where his gently scratchy voice swoops over light guitars and finger clicks. Grand. I love him so much I am even considering getting up at 4.30 in the morning on August 3rd to see him play for free early in the morning. Considering. But not going to, obviously.

2. Psychotic Feeling - Of Montreal (from the Promo EP). This track really reminds me of a mixture of Clor, who in turn reminds me of the Buggles, and I think the Shins - not necessarily a bad combo. I got this recommendation from Scuttsy, and I haven't taken to it quite as much as I thought, but it's certainly enjoyable, probably a grower. It's that kind of quirky tune that I just don't reach for when scrolling my music collection, but when it comes on shuffle I'm reminded that I might quite like it. Yet I will not play it again until random rules come around again, in all probability. Shame...

3. Pick a Sound - Selah Collins (from Watch How the People Dancing). Dub from a collection KTB gave me after her phenomenal trip to Antigua Carnival. I'm still jealous. Dub is another of those genres that I love when it comes on, and particularly at Carnival time, but I forget about it. Although I don't think I could handle an entire night of it, but with it thrown into a general dance night I'd go absolutely nuts.

4. Army of Me - Bjork (from Post). I have mixed feelings towards Bjork, that fluctuate within even the course of a song: I can find her phrasing irritating, particularly where she does the naif / ingenue thing (It's Oh So Quiet particularly gets my goat), which annoys me given she is a strong, creative and passionate woman - why do the little girl thing? Which is probably why I love this song so much - she's just giving someone a smackdown, as I fully suspect her of doing on a regular basis when someone peeves her, and as many a photographer has found to his cost. Nonetheless, she remains one of the most innovative and unusual artists around, and I really, really, really must get her new album, Volta, which I know is rated by a lot of peeps I would usually admire.

5. Tear Out My Eyes - Tricky (from Angels with Dirty Faces). Hahahahaha, how utterly bloody perfect. I was going to make some crack about admiring Bjork's ability to go out with talented nutters (Goldie, Tricky) and then thought better of it; next comes this rather... tuneless and paranoid track from one of Tricky's most paranoid and tuneless albums. One night this album got stuck on repeat on my CD player and gave me nightmares, seriously. It was terrifying. But it still has my favourite Tricky track of all time, Broken Homes, on which PJ Harvey hams it up and a beautifully dischordant gospel choir never fails to raise the hairs on the back of my neck - it's glorious. It's such a shame that he's nuts, because his first three albums (Maxinquaye, Nearly God, and Pre-Millennium Tension) I think are genuinely brilliant.

6. Mental Alchemy - The Nextmen (from Amongst the Madness). And another beautiful segue from the nutter Tricky into a track from Amongst the Madness - do you see? The Nextmen are one of my other half's most listened-to artists, although they've slipped a bit down the top twenty. This is quality UK hip hop. Sadly, I don't listen to as much hip hop as I should, due to fears of not being able to work to it. Yet this works perfectly - I resolve to listen to them more.

7. The Love I Never Had - Mary J. Blige (from Mary). What I love about MJB is that with every album, this one is the cathartic one, the true expression of herself; she said it for this album, for No More Drama, for the latest one (name of which I can't remember, but it features the unbelievably great Baggage and then lots of other songs confronting bad men from her past). But I still have a serious weakness for her, simply because her voice is glorious, and she puts so much energy and emotion into her expression without being waily, in my opinion, a la Aguilera / Carey / Dreamgirls. For her, it never seems an exercise in stretching her voice, in showing off her range, but a necessary extension of herself, she cannot stop herself... Which may still not be to everyone's tastes, but it makes a genuine difference to my listening.

8. High and Dry - Radiohead (from The Bends). This remains one of my favourite albums of all time, and this song is one of the best off it - it was the one that made me fall in love with the album. I never did quite understand the "radiohead make you depressed, they're just so depressing" brigade. They sang, at least at their peak, exquisitely crafted songs, and Thom Yorke's voice is glorious - it soars, it snarls, it pleads, and is another spinetingler. A friend didn't think his solo album was great, because it was just quite like Radiohead; for me, that's why I rate it.

9. Knowing - Big Boi (from Speakerboxxx). This whole double-album thing, along with The Love Below, was one that everyone rated, and yet I never really felt the motivation to listen to the whole way. Other than a few choice tracks - I Like The Way You Move, Roses, Hey Ya! - it was all a bit... dull. Maybe I'd like it more now. I think it was that everyone was so desperate for a new Prince that they seized upon The Love Below. However, listening to it now, I am reminded that I liked Speakerboxxx better, to be contrary for a change. Having Pharrell sing over the top is never a bad thing, mind.

10. Royksopp's Night Out - Royksopp (from Melody A.M.). I really, really like Royksopp. It's not the band's fault that it created such a boppable first album that every advertising agency in the known universe wanted to use its tunes - Geico, T-mobile, come on down (at least it's better than Catherine Zeta Jones). The second album is surprisingly dancey. I bet live they're a bit like Thievery Corporation, whose albums sound loungey, yet when you see them sound utterly amazing and make you want to throw some shapes.

11. Cantaloop - US3. Now this is lounging music. Biddebiddebop.

12. Got Fucked Up Along The Way - David Holmes (from This Films Crap Lets Slash the Seats). I love David Holmes, but seriously - what's he done lately other than the Ocean's 11 Soundtrack, which was years ago? Let's Get Killed was the soundtrack to TOH & my first trip to NYC many years ago... He's the sheikh!

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