A track-by-track review. Well, friends, here we are. For the second time this year, Taylor Swift has surprise-released an album. Conceived as “folklore‘s sister record,” evermore—Swift’s ninth studio album—comes from…
The National’s most recent album, Sleep Well Beast, released September 8, 2017, is characterized by a tracklist that can be compared to a morning commute. “Guilty Party” resembles the melancholy of waking before the sun has risen, a sheet of morning dew still covering the hood of your car. But the sun does rise and the gloom quickly turns into anger and frustration. “Turtleneck” embodies the morning drive itself — the agonizing slow burn of exit after exit, when you begin to tailgate cars just to feel like you’re making progress. Unlike previous albums, where each track transitions from one to the next like the tranquil flow and ebb of a stream, Sleep Well Beast is a complete mishmash.
It’s hard to put my finger on it, but something’s just not quite right with EL VY’s debut, Return to the Moon. A side project of Brent Knopf of Menomena and Matt Berninger of the National, EL VY carries quite a heavy set of expectations. While I’m not familiar with the work of Knopf, The National has long been one of my favorite bands, in large part thanks to Berninger’s dry, imagist lyrics and dolorous vocal delivery. And while it’s perhaps unfair to compare the two bands, it is nonetheless telling that the moments where this collaboration works best are when EL VY sounds the most like The National.
Like a fine wine or high-quality bourbon, some albums just seem to get better and better–some get better with multiple listens, some get better because they were too ahead of their time, and some get better because they exist completely outside of time. Here are a few albums that, if you haven’t heard them in a while, should be given another few listens.
Sometimes I don’t know why I love the things I love. I was sitting in my room and doing homework this weekend while blasting through Interpol’s 2004 album Antics, singing along to the track “Length of Love”. It’s a great track, starting around a sinister guitar part before it shifts into the kind of ersatz-punk-disco that Interpol is known for. Naturally I’m singing along, but when I get to the chorus I stop and ask myself, “What in the world did I just sing?” See, I had to ask this question because the chorus is just a three word motif sung in Paul Banks’ ALL CAPS monotone. The words? (And I’m not making this up) “COMBAT SALACIOUS REMOVAL”.
2014 is over a month old now, the Grammys have finally aired, and it’s high time for me to compose this before the moment passes and 2014’s release schedule starts to heat up as the year pushes into spring. And what better time is there to catch up on music than a rainy Nashville February?