The Greatest Band That Ever Lived (for tonight at least)
You guys, I am seriously in one of those music-devouring phases again (yes know, hard to believe, but they really are phases, it's not a constant thing) and the devouring has come from two sources, one of them fairly unlikely.
The real source was a recent Sound Opinions episode, during which they covered their Best of 2008 (so far). This kind of thing always charges me up, and I love listening to Kot and Dero because I typically get turned on to a few things that I want to check out (and also vehemently disagree with them on a few things).
Well, this time around, Dero decided to defend the Red Album.
Yes, that Red Album.
Weezer seemed to have gone from brilliant to totally gone to exciting to bleh, earning themselves one of my favorite music reviews of all time in the process. I had given up on them doing anything worth hearing based on second-hand snobbery from that review (and I will now come clean: I do actually like that "Beverly Hills Song)(though seriously, "We Are All On Drugs?" I am pretty sure that Cuomo singing one of his Harvard papers would have been more interesting), and so it was weird to hear Derogatis gushing about Weezer. Prog-rock and Rush-leanings aside, Dero rarely gushes about stuff that isn't worth at least checking out.
He started to talk about a song called "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn)" and I thought, "oh here we go, pretension disguised as fun, please," but then he played it and I was like, "who the hell is this?" It starts off sounding like a Modest Mouse song and then goes through about four different versions of the song, including an intro that has about 9 different power chords palm muted in a seemingly random way and a Beach Boys style a capella section and...well, as Dero pointed out, this was a band that used to make complicated songs out of disparate parts, and here they were doing it again.
It's fucking great.
Another song that he mentioned is called "Heartsongs," and although that one has one verse too many (the last verse is a bit TOO much), it's an ode to music that they love that will probably inspire another post 'round these parts. Oh, and did I mention that it sticks in your brain? Seriously, I would have to start another twitter feed called "Weezer earworms" for this one.
Is the whole album great? It seems like maybe not, though actually, I don't know. It seems like there are some standouts, definitely, but the thing is, those songs are so great that I haven't really delved into the rest of the album much.
I'm really happy to know that I don't need to write them off any more though. I always sort of forget about Weezer, but you better believe that nearly every time I spot the Blue Album on a jukebox, I play "In the Garage" or "Surf Wax America."
Enjoy my first nomination for song of the summer.
"The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn)," Weezer
I'm not really sure how much John Darnielle might enjoy hearing it (though I suspect that he wouldn't mind, since he's another of those wonderful hi/low culture is bunk people that I adore), but it totally makes sense, in my head, anyway, that a direct line can be drawn from "A Long December" by the Counting Crows to The Mountain Goats' "This Year."
White Tooth Man vs. Resurrection Fern
Anyway, here's a quick post that will hopefully spawn some discussion.
I've been thinking a lot about the most recent Iron & Wine album, the Shepherd's Dog, for two reasons, really:
- Erin likes it, which means that she picks it when it is her record player turn; this has made me pay attention to it more, and
- I've been wondering why it was just sort of overlooked by me since I bought it. Why didn't I check this one out much?
At any rate, today I realized that the song that she likes most (as she would say, Her Jam) and the one that (so far) I enjoy hearing most couldn't be more different as far old Iron & Wine's formula goes. I then figured, what's better than asking the internet something?
So here you go! Let's compare these two tracks, and discuss a)which one you like better and b)why. Hate 'em both? Mention that, too! In a future post I'll talk about my own take on differing tastes here.
Exhibit A: White Tooth Man
Exhibit B: Resurrection Fern
P. S. I&W's record label mispelled the album as "the Shepard's Dog" on the downloadable-cuz-I-got-vinyl tracks. Funny, that.