Historical Alienation Reconsidered
Mekons: Ancient & Modern: 1911-2011 (Sin)
I had to play this two dozen times on faith before it came clear‑-too many, don't you think? What kept me on it was the ingrained musicality of a bunch of jokers who've evolved into a sonic organism even though they never see each other anymore, defined by "afar and forlorn" Welshman-for-life Tom Greenhalgh, who three decades in is a singer you love or you don't. Having given up on changing the world and without much hope of comprehending it before it kills them, they convene here to record 11 obscure, fraught, forlorn songs written, near as one can tell, from the POV of middle-to-ruling class Britons negotiating the political turmoil before World War I. There will be victories for a working class that's called by its rightful name. But they won't be enough. They never are. Near as one can tell. A MINUS
Destroyer: Kaputt (Merge)
With Daniel Bejar's latest band sound already compared to everything from Aja and Avalon to late New Order, I'll take, um‑-Pet Shop Boys! Forgoing the rock expressionism he lacks the heart or chops for, Bejar bends Neil Tennant's bemused calm toward an acerbic subtlety suitable for deflecting one's historical anomie. Mix in a smoove groove suitable for deflecting others' disinterest in one's historical anomie and you have intelligent lounge music for 21st-century depressives. The X factor is trumpeter JP Carter, who no one will mistake for Chuck Mangione because he's there not for jazz cred but to stick it to the guitars Bejar lacks the heart and chops to stand up against. This is how the pleasure principle feels to an alienated unbeliever resigned to engaging the world on his own perverse terms. B PLUS
I'm having a hard time coming up with one for 2011, actually. Most of what I've heard from the Dean's List (which is not very much) sounds dandy, and even the stuff I've heard by Wussy (who up to this point seemed on their way to some sort of Lifetime Achievement award in that department) sounds reasonably memorable.
EDIT: as for Legendary Hearts itself, there's nothing wrong with it that a few tunes of the caliber of "Satellite of Love" or "Oh Jim" or "Coney Island Baby" or "Street Hassle" can't fix.
you should look back at past lists and see how many records got one mention.I tried, but unfortunately the Voice's online archive only goes back to 2008, which won't help us much. Perhaps Hull has access to older poll results?
'According to Needlebase stats., my P&J ballot was closer to matching consensus than that of any other voter.'
Wow! That's actually pretty cool, Joey!
Wow, I knew that Joey was gaining influence in the rockcrit world, but I didn't think he had that much clout.
'This year, Pazz & Jop published another comment by me.'
That said, I like her rather passive voice. It's a loud mumble, if that makes any sense and she seemed lost during that performance. Stomach upset kept me fitfully sleeping last night and "Video Games" was in my head every time I woke up. Those lyrics are pretty bruising for a girl out for a good time in bar.
I love "Video Games," but I'm not prepared to love or hate the forthcoming Lana del Rey record either way. Anyone can make a great hit single. Very few people can make a great album. Most likely "Video Games" was one of those weird happy accidents when the stars align perfectly. Hope she proves me/us wrong.
more to do with the hype machine that is overselling her as-yet-to-be-determined talents to an eager public.
perfectly well put. thumbs up.
P.P.P.S.: I dread dread dread the day when we all start talking about Lana Del Rey.
I think that most EW regulars are, to their credit, not the type to get too worked up about Del Rey either way.
(I'm still not clear as to why I'm supposed to hate her, but I have a hunch that it is related to why I'm supposed to despise Vampire Weekend)
about the blogger
Starting in 1967, Robert Christgau has covered popular music for The Village Voice, Esquire, Blender, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and many other publications. He teaches in New York University's Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music, maintains a comprehensive website at robertchristgau.com, and has published five books based on his journalism. He has written for MSN Music since 2006.