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Totally. Hour of the Bewilderbeast was-and-is-the real deal! And the About a Boy sdtk is very nice. But after that he just sort of lost his grip on what he was doing.
To be a grouchypants about this, it needs to be noted that Harry Nilsson was great because he was a genius interpreter and arranger and great writer with a voice as powerful as anyone had ever heard. Not because he had strings and a horn section. Randy Newman was great because he wrote lyrics that cut to the bone with melodies and arrangements that felt both spookily timeless and utterly original. Not because he played a piano and sang funny. Nick Drake performed his music with absolute honest integrity, and played his guitar in a method completely unique to him, that people are still trying to figure out today. He wasn’t just a sad guy who sang quietly. All these Tobias Jessos and Natalie Prasses might be picking and choosing some aesthetic or another, and it might be pleasant, maybe a breath of fresh air after a few years of endless synth washes and drum machines, but that doesn’t make them great artists. But it’s possible! I think Joanna Newsom is one of the best songwriters and composers of this generation. Her work (especially newer) has Joni Mitchell and Randy Newman all over it, but she has a point of view and a voice that is so powerful, it cuts through the comparisons. Belle and Sebastian was doing Nick Drake and Nico from the start, but they have a point of view and a voice that is 100% without equal. I don’t want the next guy who plays music like Harry Nilsson or Nick Drake… I want the next guy who approaches his music with the genius and care and talent of Harry Nilsson or Nick Drake, whatever kind of music that is.
Beautiful. I could stand for an entire Mount Eerie album to be given this kind of treatment.
Every time I listen to War on Drugs’ “An Ocean Between the Waves,” I can’t help but imagine the band up on stage performing as skeletons. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCYbRmSlW-M
So ready the 80s synth pop thing to die already. Wet drums. Synth washes. 808 handclaps. Breathy, reverbed, nondescript female vocals singing Janet Jackson melodies with Cocteau Twins detachment. Slap a cyan-magenta gradient somewhere on the cover, call it “Look At Me Too!” and become SoundCloud’s most popular artist for an hour or two, sell a couple downloads on Bandcamp, get the rest of it illegally torrented, and sell a song to Forever 21 to pay for your textbooks for a semester. Music is easy!
Not to mention Mechanical Forces of Love in 2003. Even if that was sort of an oddball Medicine album.
I hope the FCC destroys net neutrality, simply so ISPs around the world can blacklist any Miles Davis album ranking blog posts that attempt to place anything above Kind of Blue.
Let’s all settle down everyone. This is just B&S getting back to their roots. Don’t you remember “Electric Renaissance?” Oh, you’ve been trying to forget it? Oops.