Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Tuesday Tunes Tastings


So, last week there were quite a few albums dropped that I, personally, didn't want to listen to.  I tried, but I couldn't do it and so, at the end of the day, I've only got reviews for four albums.

Sad, I know.

The saddest part is that I didn't really love any of the four.  I liked a few, hated one, but never really loved anything.  Alas, it was bound to happen eventually.

[NOTE: I did try and listen to Kanye's new album.  In fact, I was going to purchase it off of his website, but when I went there the screen was black and I had to listen to some senseless rambling from the artist formally known as Mos Def and after ten minutes of him talking and no possible way to navigate away from the screen, I gave up.]

Here we go.


EVOL [Future]


You know when a hilarious supporting player in a beloved TV show gets their own spin-off and you realize that they’re hilarious in small doses but annoying as f*ck when you have to watch them and only them for 30 minutes?  That’s kind of how I feel about Future.  When he pops up for a chorus on some track or sings a verse and I’m like, “I like this guy’s flow” but when I had to listen to the whole of EVOL, I found myself bored to tears.  There is just no depth to Future’s style.  He has a very languid sound, but over time (actually, by track three) it starts to feel soulless and extremely basic.  These beats are hollow, the lyrics are borderline stupid and eventually, Future just puts the listener to sleep.  Thank God for The Weeknd, who swoops in to save the day on the track Low Life.  Sadly, it’s way too little too late, since it’s the second to last song.  What it proves, though, is that Future works as a supporting player, because his vocal chemistry with someone as smooth as The Weeknd actually adds color to the track, making it feel three dimensional, which is something the rest of this album lacks.

Grade:  
1 1/2 Miley Tongues
Why?  The whole thing just feels rather cheap, which is a shame but can’t be ignored. 

Possible Mouthi Contender?
Best Collaborative Vocal:  Low Life (feat. The Weeknd)
Best Urban Contemporary Song:  Low Life (feat. The Weeknd)

Good Advice [Basia Bulat]


From the opening track, La La Lie, Basia Bulat’s blend of jazz, folk and Motown makes itself extremely evident, and that uniquely engaging blend bleeds into each track of this pop album.  Sounding at times like a more rock-based Zooey Deschanel, Basia’s vocals find the right notes throughout to make for a very pleasing and personal experience.  There is something special about the way that Basia is able to take songs that, in all respects sound very dated and make them feel oddly new and relevant.  Where she falters is in her softer, more ballad-esque tracks.  The tone of her voice, while carrying a nice sharpness and life in her bouncier, more lively tracks, doesn’t quite have the power to carry a ballad and thus she winds up feels a little one-note on those songs.  The near R&B flourishes in Infamous, the bouncy pop rock of Long Goodbye and the Motown aspects of In the Name Of all make for delightful musical experiences, though, and add enough variety to this album to make it a must listen!

Grade:  
4 Miley Tongues
Why?  It has flaws, but the direction is solid and the ambition and talent is there, so I’m happy to give this album a few more spins .

Possible Mouthi Contender?
Pop Album of the Year:  Good Advice
Best Pop Song:  Long Goodbye

My Wild West [Lissie]


I recently got turned onto Lissie’s cover EP just last week, so color me surprised when I saw that she had a new album out this week.  I, obviously, pounced on it.  For the most part, I’m happy with this album.  It’s got a very distinct sound, but in all honesty the sound may be a touch too familiar.  I’ve already reviewed Emma Pollock’s album last month, and her sound is very similar to that of Lissie’s.  The difference between the two, and the reason that I praised Pollock’s album, is that Pollock understood how to give dimension and life to her sound.  She found ways to color outside the lines, to produce an album that had tonal shifts while still dwelling within the ‘folk rock’ genre.  Lissie’s album is extremely straightforward, and while songs like Hero and Daughters haunt and Together or Apart lingers, the whole of the album feels almost stale upon reflection because it doesn’t really go anywhere.  It sits in a very comfortable pocket, and while Lissie is, indeed, comfortable in that pocket, I find myself not thinking much about the album as a whole, which is sad.  She has a beautiful voice and the potential to be great, but she needs to do more than give us what we’ve already heard many times before.

Grade:  
3 Miley Tongues
Why?  If she doesn’t find some way to make herself standout, she’ll be forgotten before she’s remembered.

Possible Mouthi Contender?
Best Country Song:  Together or Apart

Synthia [The Jezabels]


I’m not going to lie; when I first saw this album available for a listen, I initially thought it was The Veronicas.  I’ve never heard of The Jezabels.  If I hadn’t registered the difference in name shortly after hitting play, I probably wouldn’t have ever recognized the difference.  I’m not sure if that’s a knock on The Veronicas (for kind of melding into a forgettable act) or The Jezabels (for not really asserting themselves as something unique) but either way I guess it’s safe to say that this album isn’t all that memorable, despite having some nice moments.  As I listened I found myself detaching from the album and wandering off in thought and getting up to do other things and never feeling overly compelled to listen more intently.  It’s muted rock with pop synth overlays and generically woven harmonies.  Everything kind of meshes together to create an album that isn’t really definable as anything.  And then the closing track happens and it’s effing glorious and theatrical while still intimate and so dramatic and organic and honest and soulful and it made me hate the rest of the album even more because they OBVIOUSLY have the ability to create something special; and they just didn’t.

Grade:  
3 Miley Tongues
Why?  It’s never anything offensive yet (almost) never anything special…but that closer is a massive doozy of a final impression to leave.

Possible Mouthi Contender?
Favorite Song of the Year:  Stamina
Best Songwriting:  Stamina
Best Female Vocal:  Stamina
Best Alternative Song:  Stamina

10 comments:

  1. Can't say I will be rushing out to listen to any of these. Possibly the Basia album.

    Any thoughts on the Grammys?

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    1. Yeah, this was an underwhelming week.

      I'm all about Ed Sheeran's Grammy wins! I wish that Kendrick had pulled off AOTY, but the Taylor win isn't anything to balk at. 1989 was a pitch perfect pop album and was such a massive commercial and critical success that it's win feels justified...even if Lamar's album was better.

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  2. Kanye's new album was also on Tidal. I listened to it and I must say, I give it 3 messes out of 5. It has some good songs (Real Friends, No More Parties in L.A., FML, Wolves, Ultralight Beam, I Love Kanye), but it's Kanye's worst album to date BY A MILE. At least Yeezus and 808s & Heartbreak had a concept, at least MBDTF had stellar production. At least there were some great songs attached to this horrid cover arts. This album has some bad artists, Kid Cudi, Post Malone, Ty Dolla $ign, Chris Brown, French Montana, Young Thug, though they do their job well enough, but completely wastes the talent of ANDRE 3000. And what a mess this album is. Don't think I recommend it to you, unless the curiosity is killing you or you're a die-hard Kanye fan, and I'm serious here. I, as a Kanye fan, who loves almost every project of his, did have a problems with the album overall.

    P.S.: You should know better what you get when you're getting into a Future project. Every album feels kinda one note but that one note is stretched onto all his albums. Same every time.

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    Replies
    1. I'll probably give it a listen, but I'm one who admires Kanye's talent but also considers him often defeated by his own ambition...and arrogance. MBDTF was a perfect album. The rest have merit, but don't quite reach that level.

      I'll probably avoid any future Future albums.

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  3. Don't care about the Grammys. Lady Gaga was alright but I think Duncan Jones said it all. I rest my case.

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    Replies
    1. I didn't watch them, because I never do. His comments are pretty hilarious, though.

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    2. BTW, are you doing Iggy Pop's upcoming album? If you are and haven't heard anything else he did. Here's what I would recommend:

      The Stooges' self-titled debut, Fun House, and Raw Power. From his solo work, The Idiot, Lust for Life, New Values, and Brick by Brick. As for Queens of the Stone Age who are part of Iggy's upcoming (and maybe last) album. Rated R, Songs for the Deaf, Era Vulgaris, and ...Like Clockwork. Always ask me something if you're planning to do older artists you might've not have heard of.

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    3. I love Queens of the Stoneage, and I've heard all those albums...but I'll check out some of Iggy Pop's older stuff before his new album comes out. Thanks for the heads up.

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  4. I'll check out Kanye's new album soon, but I doubt I'll give any of these a listen. I might check out a few of the Mouthi song contenders though.

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