It always really sucks to hear about someone passing away long before it made any sense. This past Friday, Avicii died at the age of 28. While I may not have known him at all, his passing stuck with me as both a complete shock and a retrospect over his work. I feel like I’ve never really appreciated what he’s done. So for today, I’m going to temporarily break my rules and look back on the Avicii work that I’m familiar with and how important it was then and now.
It is unbelievably easy to be a fan of CHVRCHES (pronounced cha-ver-chiz) partly because they’ve spent the past decade making the same song over and over again. Was this a very rude statement? Yes, but it was said out of pure love. I think CHVRCHES has a very specific style of synth-pop that they’ve perfected to such an extent that they’ve made a career out of it. Once again, this isn’t a criticism. I am personally amazed at their consistency and how each song is so subtly different that you can’t fully replace one with the other. And to their credit, rather than stagnating, I think they’ve been getting better.
…Now, you may be asking yourselves why wasn’t there a post on Friday. Well, this is Friday’s post. Why is it on a Monday?
Let’s talk about U.S. Girls!
U.S. Girls made nine albums. NINE ALBUMS! I’ve just heard about Meg Remy, the head of the project, a couple of months ago, how long was she around? The answer is 2008. It took ten years to even listen to a single thing she has done. I just started high school in 2008! She doesn’t even live in the U.S. anymore, but if you’ve been using the band name for that long, you might as well keep it. In all seriousness, there are quite a few people who have made many albums before they reached any sort of attention outside of their respective niches, and I will possibly talk about one of them in the near future. In any case, I do hope she gets more attention as her latest album, In a Poem Unlimited, is fantastic. It’s a combination of a lot of different sounds ranging from noise-pop, art rock, art pop, art art, I don’t know. It’s a fascinating style that she uses…it’s a shame that the song that I fell in love with is not actually all that drastically unusual.
Jack White? Why do I keep coming back to you? We had our fling and it was good. With your solo debut, you took me to the world of bluesy folk rock and it was my jam. I listened to Blunderbuss for months on end. Then I tried listening to your White Stripes backlog and..didn’t work for me. Then Lazaretto came out and I thought it was average. It felt like an attempt at reliving Blunderbuss but without the same passion and, at the same time, Jack White was trying to step back into White Stripes territory. It just felt unsatisfying for me so I felt convinced that as much as I consider White to be a talented musician, there was no way that I would be entranced by him again. But here I am with-
OVER AND OVER
Goodness me, this song has a guitar riff that will live in your ears for years. Over and Over and Over is Jack White at his best. He’s got his guitar, a range of backing vocalist who seem absolutely thrilled to be here, and the occasional asides to play distorted sounds that I couldn’t possibly identify. Yes, it’s nowhere near the folk rock that I fell in love with, but it doesn’t matter to me. Jack White didn’t need to make music from a genre I liked. He just needed to make music that was made up of the passion and skill that he’s known for.
Twentytwo in Blue is comfort food for my soul, an album so difficult for me to dislike and so easy for me to listen to that I can keep playing the album non-stop and never feel tired of it. For my listening pleasure, that’s great. For a blog about specific songs, it’s not so great. It’s hard to talk about one song from Sunflower Bean’s sophomore album without talking about the rest. So, without further delay, let’s talk about the album as a whole before I recommend any specific song.
Their album is a clear love letter to rock music of the past but how far in the past really depends on the song. Most of the time, Sunflower Bean resembles Fleetwood Mac but occasionally jumps to garage rock and more modern sounds. I don’t use the connection to Fleetwood Mac lightly. “I Was a Fool” feels designed to have Stevie Nicks interrupt the lyrics and talk about how thunder only happens when it’s raining. Fortunately, I actually quite like Fleetwood Mac.
Prospects of preparing new content for this site has been hit or miss. Mostly miss, because it’s been 3 months and nothing has been posted. Fear not! We do have many plans in mind, but most of them will take a while.
That being said, I’ve missed talking about music. I have listened to so much these past few months and the only pleasure I had of talking about it was with my fellow Colorful Monsters cohorts. I think it’s unfair to keep all our thoughts to ourselves so I’m bringing back written posts to Colorful Monsters. These won’t be reviews – I’m actually not a huge fan of critiquing music, especially if it’s from bands that are working to build themselves up. Instead, I want to talk about music that I like and love, with posts scheduled for Mondays and Fridays until I run out of music to talk about. This will be highly unlikely as the only limit to my song recommendations is that they have to be songs I’ve listened to this year, with original release dates being less important.
An LGBT indie folk rock singer whose previous touring experience includes opening for Laura Marling? Marika Hackman’s resume is enticing, to say the least, as the combination is incredibly unexpected and I am thoroughly pleased to have the opportunity to dive in and see what she has to offer. Thankfully, her new album I’m Not Your Man, mostly succeeds in matching the expectations made simply by the premise. It’s a fun, incredibly witty expedition into the mindset of Hackman and her unconventional take on life.