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Monday, September 20, 2004
More Music to Torment Customers and Coworkers With
Donovan's Greatest Hits: We'll ignore the potential geek over-load of listening to "Sunshine Superman" in a comic-book store, shall we? The music if fairly melodic and catchy and is perfectly reasonable for background noise. And if you stop and listen, Donovan's usual method of "talking" a song at you works fairly well with his lyrics.
Voltaire: Boo Hoo: The only Goth with a sense of humor, as far as I can tell. He takes himself a little too seriously on a few tracks (he is a Goth after all), which is kind of surprising, because you'd think by now he'd know that his primary audience isn't particularly interested in mediocre songs about the ennui of the universe and the bleak despair of existence, but would rather just listen to some darkly funny songs, but there you go.
New Amsterdams: Worse for the Wear: I wasn't paying attention when I bought this album and mistakenly thought that this was the one where they cover an Afghan Whigs song. It's not, but I liked it anyway. It's college/alternative rock/pop. Nice melodies and lyrics, but somewhat self-important at times. Oh, and the CD case is a cardboard sleeve. Remember when CDs just came in jewel-boxes and nobody was trying to impress anyone with their increasingly obtuse ways to put CDs into sleeves?
Tom Jones: Reload: Everyone's favorite Welsh singer in duets covering rock songs. I mean, the high concept alone marks it out as a work of pure genius. Add to that a cover of "Are You Going To Go My Way" with Robbie Williams and there should have been little doubt in anyone's mind that I was going to have to own this.
Jeffrey Altergott: Runt: One of the joys of the internet is that it makes it really easy to find quality music you've never heard before. One guy with a great voice and a guitar singing. It's something we've seen before, but it's been years since a singer/songwriter with this much immediate talent came around. And you can buy his albums before everyone else finds out about him and then you get to be able to say you were an early fan of his music. Pete's the music expert, and he absolutely loved this as well. He was a bit scandalized that Jeff's not famous, to be honest.
The Rocky Horror Show: The New Broadway Cast Recording: I've actually had this one for awhile, but I've been playing it quite a bit lately. Apparently I have Rocky Horror on my mind. Can't imagine why. It's been several years now since I was in a cast in any capacity. I've always liked this music though, and despite the fact that Lea Delaria can't sing a note to save her life, this is a really good version of the music. I really wish I'd been able to see this production. Tom Hewitt is fantastic as Frank. He plays homage to Tim Curry, but he still makes the character his own, which is quite an achievement. Having seen the LA production with David Arquette as Frank, I know just how bad a poor performance as Frank can be, and Hewitt's got a great voice and he just rocks out in the role.
We Will Rock You: The Rock Theatrical: Ben Elton, the man behind Young Ones and Blackadder, turns the music of Freddie Mercury into a marvelously campy and overdone rock opera. I've not seen this show yet either, but by God, next time I'm in Vegas I'm going to give it a damned good try to take a look at it. This album has a great vocal cast, and it's a fun way to approach the task of covering Queen's music.
Martina Topley-Bird: Anything: I bought this on a whim and I don't regret it one bit. She's got a very romantic, bluesy voice backed by dreamy electronica musical tones. It's more good background music, very calming and smooth. It helps to take the edge off of a stressful day.
The Polyphonic Spree: Together We're Heavy: The follow-up album is usually the make-it-or-break-it project for bands. This is a similar beast to their first album. If you liked The Beginning Stages of... you'll probably like this. And if you didn't, well, you won't like this, probably. The Spree wisely decided to make more music in the style that their audience obviously craves, rather than try any risky experimental moves. Overall, I'd say that this album is probably better than the first one, and holds together better overall. There are no break-out songs like "Soldier Girl" or "Sun" this time around, but the album feels more designed as an organic whole, rather than a collection of songs. It's great, happy, joyful music.
Scissor Sisters: I got a bit ahead of the curve on this one. I found a remix of "Comfortably Numb" online, did some digging, found an import copy of this album, and then a month later they're all over the music press and VH-1 to support this official US release of the album (with two songs excised...hee-hee!). It's the return of glam, Jake Shears is the bastard child of Elton John and David Bowie, and all the hype is deserved. Fantastic songs and music utterly unlike anything anyone else is doing right now. Smart, funny and catchy. And the fact that half of the hot guys in the band are gay is just a bonus as far as I can tell.