Deerhunter: Halcyon Digest (4AD)
Smart young people have been telling me about this band since 2007, and I've been shrugging just as long. Give their big breakthrouygh a few plays and, unless you're the right kind of smart young person, you'll shrug too. Though you'll notice some tunes and also toward the end some committed tenor sax, and though there are those who praise its OK lyrics, it's still an arty indie-rock texturama. Only then give it more time than seems altogether fair and you'll find that this texturama has sufficient structure to assure that eventually the tunes and then the saxophone and then even the sound effects will signify and lift you up. Conceive it as DJ electronica that makes its point, starting all partial and halting before gathering itself to a properly modest climax. Except that it's played by a live band. And has OK lyrics. Smart, nothing‑-pretty darned intelligent. A MINUS
Best Coast: Crazy for You (Mexican Summer)
Bethany Cosentino believes romance is a myth‑-not a lie, a myth, like Sisyphus. That's why she decks her deliberately simple tunes in echo effects that also obscure the specificity of her already multi-tracked singing voice, why "weed" is damn near the only concrete noun on the entire record unless that burning ball of gas in the sky counts. Musically, the idea is to recreate the Beach Boys' aura 50 years later. Thematically, it's to prove that she's a postmodern girl who knows better. The catch is that through all her generalizations it soon becomes clear that she needs that guy much more than a postmodern girl is supposed to. Too bad she can't pin it down and also can't pin him down. I blame the weed. A MINUS
Joey: I think you and Joe Levy (Christgau too) are saying the same thing -- dig deeper and the meaning eventually comes clear. That's frequently the make or break issue with artists so we'll see how it plays out for me here. No faux-listening for me!!!
And BTW, I'm not so arrogant as to think that my solo opinion of LCD Soundsystem actually means anything in the greater scheme of things. As much as anything, it just bugs me when I don't get what other people get.
You'll hear more when I surface finally.
Joey/Mark/Joe: Having spent more on LCD Soundsystem in the last 24 hours than in the previous days of my life combined, now all I have to do is find the time to digest it. Something in Mark's comment about the "live" London Sessions sent me there first, so wish me luck.
And Joe especially, that is exactly the kind of feedback I was hoping for. If I'm missing something then I'd like to know exactly what to look for. Since "insincere sounding" is potentially much different from truly insincere, I'll concentrate there.
And I also did like I always do and went back to Christgau's assessments. These sentences are helpful too, "So I gave the lyrics some time and got somewhere with them. . . . But I reserve my love for Murphy's post-cynicism--romantic regrets and longings . . . , he reaccesses the humanist inside him as if that's every hipster's right--which it pretty much is."
"project-wannabe" = One who wishes he/she was low-rent housing?
(maybe the project-wannabe's papa is a rodeo and their mama is a rock and roll band?)
Duke - just wait till some hipster ****-heads/project-wannabes (who can afford a computer in the projects, let alone pay for internet - zing!) Google 'Christgau sucks' and find this..! :/ :p
I dunno. Sincerity isn't a standard I'd want applied to the Stones, or Bowie, or Pavement, or the Ramones, or Seinfeld.
Walter: The "96 Tears" reference is too much to ignore. Because for me, it went from exactly that to "Gloria" to "Brown Eyed Girl" (with "Here Comes The Night" in there also) to Astral Weeks. At which point the visceral kick was multiplied by an emotional connection that a) expanded the visceral kick into previously uncharted territory, and b) has never left. Moondance cinched it and life was never the same.
Oh, lol - I just got your ticket joke..! ¬.¬ :p
4 stars for Station to Station. Admired for quality yet stays untouched on the shelf for long periods of time.
Joey -- Thanks for the effort. I'll keep trying as well.
"faux-listening" = they're pretending to be listening but they're really not? Or they're listening ironically? Or not listening in the correct, approved manner?
Gmort - I agree, I am not much of a Bowie fan - the albums I do like tend to be very spacey so not easy listening, for me (and, thanks for the thumbs up! ;p).
Joey, again - I don't think that people find him insincere - it's more that he's not, actually, as smart as he thinks he is - nor is he as smart as so many faux-listening music critics and art teachers think he is! It's like people liking Radiohead because they are 'deep' *shudder. Of course, 'North American Scum' is a superb song - I think Hot Chip are better though - just for song-writing skill (not by much, though).
Tom Walker - for me, it's nothing to do with image association with Kanye and, almost, everything to do with GaGa. With Kanye his personality saturates the music, with GaGa, to much extent, does not. I like both albums - Kanye's more, obviously, but they both still weren't really my kinds of albums. For me, great albums are either warm (think Al Green's 'Call Me', even Rolling Stone's 'Exile on Main Street' - although, only just) or (this is annoying - I can't think of the word!), for lack of a better word, bright (think Television's 'Marquee Moon', 'Layla', Sugar's 'File Under: Easy Listening'). Yes, I get the association with the use of guitars! Although, I think I could find some guitar heavy albums which I would consider warm ('Too Much Too Soon' is quite warm? How about, 'Pretzel Logic'?)! Both Kanye's and GaGa's albums don't seem to fall into either - 'Maya' is a warm album - they both, especially Kanye's, tend to feel a little dudish - if it wasn't for the brilliant music! Lol - I'm not really explaining myself here, am I?! Let's leave it at, for Kanye, no image association and with GaGa more than some!
Oh, and thanks Someone for the words of encouragement - after receiving 12 thumbs down on an earlier post I was starting to think some people in here were douche-bags, at the least, if not idiots.
Joey: What is it you like about Sound of Silver, or LCD Soundsystem in general? It might help you to know that with the exception of Ziggy Stardust and "Life on Mars" I was never much of Bowie fan. And my Ziggy Stardust affection is much more about Mick Ronson.
Murphy is just so freaking insincere sounding he turns me off completely.
Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
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.