Wednesday, May 16, 2007
So I realized that when I talk about music, understanding what I'm saying is entirely contingent upon having heard the album and also some sort of infantile brain damage. I really feel that the solution to this is for everyone to immediately buy any album i talk about, rather than slightly modify my methods. This will give the added benefit of having Cloud Cult's mission statement, a sort of eco-friendly approach to album production that ends up in quite aesthetic packaging, become inextricably tied to their music. It has happened already, in that any review mentions Minowa's ideologies as much as his musical vacillations but asking him to engage in a high demand capitalism would tax his natural inclinations to release CDs made of used condoms and diapers.
Of course, The Meaning of 8 is the result of a singular opinion, the sort of album that tries and fails on the merits of one man alone, and eventually succeeds because of this. I don't think anything Minowa says, persay, is intrinsically interesting, but the fact that he so believes his lyrics lends them a sort of importance within the music. So what I'm saying is the analogy looks like this - reviews of Cloud Cult : environmental politics :: Cloud Cult : Minowa. This seems reductionist to say the least, and something Buccigross has been doing for years on Sportscenter (as Belle is to & Sebastian so too is Andruw Jones to the Braves) but what separates an effective cult and one that gets disbanded after no one can decide on what kind of robes to wear is the unified message. It doesn't matter if it's Herff Applewhite, the dude from Polyphonic Spree or even Dr. Jaques A. Bailly, you need to know exactly what you're saying, and sometimes the language of origin.
End of Year Rank for Meaning of 8: 7
Posted by Froggy at 9:28 AM
Monday, May 14, 2007
For some reason, I see similarities between Andrew Bird's Armchair Apocrypha and The National's Boxer. The problem is that this comparison isn't favorable for either. The National have an immediacy and an urgency that makes their album seem better, while Bird is much more aloof, affecting a disinterest the way ill-advised guys think the surest way to impress a girl is not to show any inclination toward them. "Fake Empires" is Boxer's masterpiece, and a song that stands as one of the year's best (that brings the count to two, more to come). However, because "Fake Empires" is so transcendent, the common songs which serve as its profane context lose much of their luster. If this album were sequenced any other way, perhaps the more than serviceable "Slow Show" would rise to the top, but as it is, "Fake Empires" is the one. "Scythian Empires", on the other hand, is buried at the end of an album that is a very logical and seamless (I'd say "seemless" as a play on words, but that seems like the worst affront to Saussure I can envision) extension of Mysterious production of Eggs. Despite the musicianship, it is essentially one hour long yawn...infectious sure, but just to the point of more of the same kind. To take the metaphor to its overplayed length, Bird feels that the only way to circumvent (the old reacharound) the yawn is to acknowledge it through songs such as "Plasticities", a smirking nod to the alternate pronunciations to mean "things make of plastic" or "fake cities".
So what I'm left with is two albums that play like Interstate 86. Roughshod, in need of a lot of work, but beautiful regardless. One sings about "Fake Empires" in a much more "real way", and the other sings about real empires, all the while knowing that they may just be shadows on a cave wall (I mean, just look at the song titles associated with disbelief: "Dark Matter", "Heretics", "Imitosis"). Since we've been interviewing recently at work, and I've readopted my unfounded, biased, illogical ranking system, I will make the following projections:
End of Year Rank for Boxer: 12
End of Year Rank for Armchair Apocrypha: 10
Posted by Froggy at 8:38 AM