Friday, 29 July 2016

Listening Project: July

So I'm supposed to listen to this little lot:

  • Green Day - American Idiot
  • Scissor Sisters - Scissor Sisters
  • The Killers - Hot Fuss
  • The Chemical Brothers - Push the Button
  • Athlete - Tourist
  • Keane - Hopes and Fears
  • Scissor Sisters - Scissor Sisters
  • Doves - Some Cities
  • G4 - G4
  • 50 Cent - The Massacre
  • Stereophonics - Language. Sex. Violence. Other?
  • Tony Christie - Definitive Collection
  • Natalie Imbruglia - Counting Down the Days
  • Basement Jaxx - Basement Jaxx: The Singles
  • Akon - Trouble
  • Bruce Springsteen - Devils & Dust
  • Akon - Trouble
  • Steve Brookstein - Heart and Soul
  • Faithless - Forever Faithless – The Greatest Hits
  • Gorillaz - Demon Days
  • Oasis - Don't Believe the Truth
  • Coldplay - X&Y
  • James Blunt - Back to Bedlam
  • McFly - Wonderland
  • James Blunt - Back to Bedlam
  • David Gray - Life in Slow Motion
  • Katie Melua - Piece by Piece
  • Franz Ferdinand - You Could Have It So Much Better
  • Sugababes - Taller in More Ways
  • The Prodigy - Their Law: The Singles 1990–2005
  • Robbie Williams - Intensive Care
  • Westlife - Face to Face
  • Il Divo - Ancora
  • Madonna - Confessions on a Dance Floor
  • Eminem - Curtain Call: The Hits

June opining

The Killers - Hot Fuss is fine, perfectly servicable rocky sort of stuff, but doesn't grab me somehow.

The Chemical Brothers - Push the Button is okay to have on in the background, but pretty dull.

Athlete - Tourist feels very nondescript to me. I'm not sold.

Doves - Some Cities is weird and experimental and I don't like it much.

G4 - G4 was too hard to find. All I got was a cover of The Circle of Life and I mean, that's a good song, but you're not getting credit for it.

50 Cent - The Massacre starts off with a profanity-ridden song about how 50 Cent is amazingly hard and sells drugs and waves guns around and doesn't care what anyone thinks. Happily it turns out I don't care what he thinks, so that works out nicely and I save a lot of time (I did try another couple of tracks, equally pointless).

Stereophonics - Language. Sex. Violence. Other? is pretty hard to hear, but the music is at least pretty pacey and moderately varied. I do generally like being able to actually hear the lyrics though.

Tony Christie - Definitive Collection is unavailable.

Natalie Imbruglia - Counting Down the Days is a little repetitive, but I find I really like her voice and it's quite nice relaxing stuff to have on as I write.

Basement Jaxx - Basement Jaxx: The Singles isn't uncatchy musically, but it's staggeringly repetitive.

Akon - Trouble has a logo written in unconvincing fake blood, so that's not promising. The actual music isn't particularly like that as far as I can tell. It's kind of okay? I can't really make out the lyrics in half of the songs. Lonely seems okay, a little repetitive but at least it's a bit different. Journey I genuinely enjoy, although it's one of those songs that seems to demand a bit of attention - it's not a running song. In general I think the second half of this CD works better for me than the first. I Won't is also decent.

Bruce Springsteen - Devils & Dust is very samey. It's fine to have on in the background, and I can nod my head along to the songs well enough. I'd have to listen to this more carefully to pick much out, because I think Springsteen is very word-focused, and I don't really have time for that right now.

Steve Brookstein - Heart and Soul is kind of hard to track down, and appears to just be a load of covers. His voice is okay.

Faithless - Forever Faithless – The Greatest Hits counts as a compilation album, and I'm skipping those.

Gorillaz - Demon Days again has at least one singer who seems intent on making it as difficult as physically possible to make out anything he's saying. They seem musically interesting although the lyrics of each song seem rather repetitive. It's sort of vaguely fun but I definitely won't be going out singing any of these because I've no idea what's happening.

Oasis - Don't Believe the Truth I find much better than some of their earlier stuff; it's still pretty odd lyrically, but it's an enjoyable set of tracks with some solid melodies.

Coldplay - X&Y was a decent album that I didn't especially register because I was writing.

James Blunt - Back to Bedlam was an album I thoroughly expected to hate, because man James Blunt came in for a lot of stick and didn't impress me at the time, but I actually quite liked this and now I'm wondering whether there was ever anything wrong or it was just fashionable to dig at him? Was it simply the relatively high voice - in which case Scissor Sisters and the like have eclipsed him? Sheer overexposure? I did a bit of research and also found suggestions that his music seems a bit more aimed at the female market, which historically does get people a lot of stick because society (see: musicians that mums like are for rolling eyes at, musicians that dads like are simply out-of-date).

McFly - Wonderland is perfectly tolerable.

David Gray - Life in Slow Motion grates on me - for some reason I find his voice really annoying here and I have to move on.

Katie Melua - Piece by Piece is a nice chilled album with songs that are pleasant to listen to, and I might even end up singing along to with a couple more listens. I intend to find out.

Franz Ferdinand - You Could Have It So Much Better doesn't really strike me as particularly interesting. The song sound quite similar to each other, even down to the beats.

Sugababes - Taller in More Ways is that one with Push the Button, which I have heard approximately 89 billion times. This does not make it bad, just overexposed. It's still catchy. It's a decent album on the whole, the songs seem both catchy and moderately interesting in topic and lyrics.

The Prodigy - Their Law: The Singles 1990–2005... I don't really get it. It's okay, but a bit all over the place?

Robbie Williams - Intensive Care sounds entirely 100% like Robbie Williams, but in one of his more generic moods.

Westlife - Face to Face sounds like Westlife should. It has You Raise Me Up too. This is fine. It's not life-changing or anything, but I enjoy it.

Il Divo - Ancora is classical music and therefore excluded.

Madonna - Confessions on a Dance Floor just wasn't really interesting somehow. It was very repetitive-beat-y and lacked interesting melodic or lyrical patterns. Not her best work, I think.

Eminem - Curtain Call: The Hits has a couple of decent songs, but it's a hits album so that's expected. A lot of it's just not interesting.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Yn Scaa Harrish Innsmouth: Y Raad Yiarn

Sleetçh mee stiagh ayns halley yn ‘astee treigit aym, as cur tastey jeean da caslys-balley y yilley groseyragh lesh y lostan poagey. She roshtyn y shenn raad yiarn va’n cront preaysagh aym nish. Cha by vie lhiam goll erash tessen goal foshlit Washington, chamoo shooyl my heear er South Street, as ish ny straid lhean agglagh gyn fastee. Heill mee dy beagh eh sauçhey goll roym dys Babson Street, as eisht my heear cour Lafayette. Veagh eh orrym goll mygeayrt boayl feayn elley—agh cha nhegin dou goll tessen eh—as eisht my heear as my hwoaie reesht er linney camstram trooid straiddyn Lafayette, Bates, Adams as Bank, bentyn rish clash ny h-awin ‘sy fer s’jerree, derrey roshym y stashoon treigit tholtanagh honnick mee voish yn uinniag.

Hie mee magh reesht, as goll tessen dys çheu yesh ny straiddey son dy skeetal stiagh ayns Babson gyn vaght my dod mee. Cheayll mee kiaullane ayns Federal Street foast, as lesh cur shilley bieau m’oi, er lhiam dy vaik mee falleays faggys da’n thie haink mee ny hrooid. Va mee gimney scapail Washington Street nish, as ghow mee toshiaght lieh-roie dy kiune, croghey er aigh nagh duittagh sooill arreydagh erbee orrym. Rish corneil Babson Street, ghow mee aggle lesh fakin dy row cummaltee foast ayns thie dy row, rere ny curtanyn ‘syn uinniag; agh cha row sollys erbee aynsyn, as hie mee shaghey gyn cragh.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Listening Project: June

The leftover May playlist

  • Avril Lavigne - Let Go
  • Justin Timberlake - Justified
  • Kelly Rowland - Simply Deep
  • Massive Attack - 100th Window
  • Norah Jones - Come Away with Me
  • Linkin Park - Meteora
  • The White Stripes - Elephant
  • Madonna - American Life
  • Blur - Think Tank
  • Stereophonics - You Gotta Go There to Come Back
  • Radiohead - Hail to the Thief
  • Evanescence - Fallen
  • Beyoncé - Dangerously in Love
  • The Coral - Magic and Medicine
  • Eva Cassidy - American Tune
  • The Darkness - Permission to Land
  • Muse - Absolution
  • Dido - Life for Rent
  • R.E.M. - In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988–2003
  • Blue - Guilty
  • Michael Jackson - Number Ones
  • Westlife - Turnaround
  • Will Young - Friday's Child

Actual June stuff!

  • Katie Melua - Call Off the Search
  • Norah Jones - Feels like Home
  • George Michael - Patience
  • Usher - Confessions
  • Anastacia - Anastacia
  • Guns N' Roses - Greatest Hits
  • D12 - D12 World
  • Keane - Hopes and Fears
  • Avril Lavigne - Under My Skin
  • Faithless - No Roots
  • The Streets - A Grand Don't Come for Free
  • Scissor Sisters - Scissor Sisters
  • McFly - Room on the 3rd Floor
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers - Live in Hyde Park
  • Anastacia - Anastacia
  • Maroon 5 - Songs About Jane
  • The Prodigy - Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned
  • The Libertines - The Libertines
  • Natasha Bedingfield - Unwritten
  • Embrace - Out of Nothing
  • Green Day - American Idiot
  • Joss Stone - Mind Body & Soul
  • R.E.M. - Around the Sun
  • Ronan Keating - 10 Years of Hits
  • Robbie Williams - Greatest Hits
  • Il Divo - Il Divo
  • Eminem - Encore
  • U2 - How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb

May Opining

Avril Lavigne - Let Go is pretty fun. It does feel curiously dated, perhaps because in my head Lavigne is intimately tied up with the brief surge of skate-themed subculture towards the end of my secondary school days. Still enjoyable though.

Justin Timberlake - Justified isn't especially working for me. I find his voice a bit annoying, and his lyrics rather cliched (not that it can't be said of plenty of the others). The music seems repetitive.

Kelly Rowland - Simply Deep is a mixed success. She's a good singer with a pleasant voice, in a style I'm not familiar with, but I don't especially like the actual songs either lyricswise or musically. Perfectly tolerable album on the whole.

Massive Attack - 100th Window is probably the kind of thing you'd really like if you are into experimental meditative stuff, but I am not really. I tune it out very quickly and realise I have missed it all.

Norah Jones - Come Away with Me didn't grab me initially, but after a while I warmed to its fairly chilled style and soothing vocals. Not something I'd sing along to though because I just can't sing in that looser style.

Linkin Park - Meteora is not a huge departure from the sort of music I like, but it's just too shouty. I can't really hear what they're singing and I'm not about to try singing along to it (my voice gets knackered easily).  The less shouty bits are okay.

The White Stripes - Elephant. I don't entirely know what to make of this. It doesn't stick firmly to anything that I recognise as a specific genre. It's decent, but not my favourite thing. I could probably get into it with enough time though. I'm realising that one of the issues with liking newer music (yes, I appreciate this is from 2013!) is simply exposure. You get into things as a teenager because you tend to hear the same songs a lot - your social group plays them, and often you've bought just a few albums so you listen to them repeatedly, and in my case I was listening to rather repetitive local radio. Even things you don't particularly care for to begin with, or are at best ambivalent about, will grow familiar and comfortable. As an adult you tend to have less time for that, and I'm going to be listening to most of these exactly once, so there'll be no time to mellow to them.

Madonna - American Life feels surprisingly unassuming for a singer I think of as relatively brash. I actually quite like this one; it seems at times like it's blurring the lines between pop and indie.

Blur - Think Tank isn't really doing anything for me.

Stereophonics - You Gotta Go There to Come Back makes literally zero impression on me. I listened to it all and now I can't remember a single thing about it.

Radiohead - Hail to the Thief is tedious.

Evanescence - Fallen on the other hand seems like very much my thing. I have heard a bit of this before, but it's got the strong guitar rhythms and compelling vocal flow that I find perfect for running and so forth. There's some nice more melodic sections as well. It is a bit repetitive at times, but still, I should probably buy this.

Beyoncé - Dangerously in Love is a pretty accomplished display of singing, but I find the music repetitive and the lyrics rather uninspiring. It doesn't seem much of a change from what people were singing 20 years earlier - not that the content of music has fundamentaly changed, but it surprised me a bit given how famous she is for having changed stuff, I thought? Maybe this album isn't representative? Or maybe it's just about being more confident and explicit? I dunno.

The Coral - Magic and Medicine feels a bit dreary, although musically it's not bad. I quite liked Bill McCai despite it being quite depressing. Pass it On is sort of catchy. Rest is basically just okay.

Eva Cassidy - American Tune is reasonable croony stuff, but not easy to find online. I have to be in a particular mood for this sort of thing.

The Darkness - Permission to Land is very silly (especially the videos, which are just splendid) but has that driving quality that I prize in my rock. I remember I believe in a thing called love but not the others. One due another look when this is over.

Muse - Absolution is better than I remember Muse being; I listened to them a bit as a teenager but grew to find them too dissonant and unmelodic. This was decent, although not especially memorable.

R.E.M. - In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988–2003. Gosh, there's a lot of these collected works of established artists on here... it's not helping me much in discovering newer music! That being said, although I do recognise some of these songs, I'm favourably impressed by the album. It feels creative linguistically and musically, and is a pretty compelling listen.

Blue - Guilty seems perfectly tolerable, even pleasant, but few of the songs make any impace. It's flowed over me without me noticing it much. That's a mark of quality to some extent - it's not annoying - but talk about damning with faint praise. That being said, Where You Want Me attracts my attention for some reason.

Dido - Life for Rent I've owned for years and am fond of, so I don't need to listen to it here.

Michael Jackson - Number Ones is okay; a lot of the songs I've already heard, and the others are a bit nondescript. I confess to not listening to the whole thing, because a) it's a bit monotonous and b) it's really freaking long.

Westlife - Turnaround is another compelling album. I think What do they know is the most striking track here; it feels weirdly ambiguous, with what I read as an unreliable narrator to the realities of the relationship involved.

Will Young - Friday's Child is fine, perfectly decent, pleasant to listen to.

June Opining

Katie Melua - Call Off the Search is a fun listen, with nice chilled-but-catchy rhythms and a very pleasing voice that harmonises nicely with the jazzy melodies.

Norah Jones - Feels like Home is chilled and easy to listen to, although I feel like it would be intrustive if I had company over - I find this sort of music often irritates me in cafes for that reason. For this, though, it's pretty solid.

George Michael - Patience doesn't do very much for me. I don't find the music very interesting and it seems quite a repetitive album (ironically, I am losing patience with it).

Usher - Confessions seems repetitive (it's not very easy to tell when songs change over) and not very musically interesting either. That being said, I do like his voice. It all seems to be about being awesome and rich and sexually dominant? Save it for your mates in the bar, I mean, y'know?

Anastacia - Anastacia is quite fun - slightly generic rock, yes, but I'm finding it very swayable-along-to which is an important consideration for me.

Guns N' Roses - Greatest Hits is as good as you'd expect. I'm not especially knowledgeable about the group, but they're a popular hard rock group for a reason, and these are some of their best songs, and I like rock. Of course I like it.

D12 - D12 World. I have trouble with this one because I can't really make out the lyrics in many songs, which is (to my ears) the main point of this sort of music. There's just a beat and some muffled muttering. This is partly because I can't turn music up very loud because the neighbours complain, and there's some background noise here too, but the audio itself isn't great. The lyrics I can hear seem to be about sexual violence. I decide to abandon this album.

Keane - Hopes and Fears is a pretty good album. It reminds me of Coldplay to some extent but a little more accessible.

Avril Lavigne - Under My Skin is another solid offering with some decent rocky stuff, although there's a surprising range of music in here within that broad category.

Keane - Hopes and Fears turns out to be lots of stuff I've heard without any idea who it was. I quite like it, to the point where I might buy it.

Faithless - No Roots has at least one decent track on it - the first - but I couldn't find the others.

The Streets - A Grand Don't Come for Free is depressing and musically uninteresting. It's almost exactly like being on a bus next to a couple of lads chatting about their Friday night and playing with ringtones.

Scissor Sisters - Scissor Sisters is good stuff. Incomprehensible, but somehow head-noddingly catchy.

McFly - Room on the 3rd Floor is a sort of mix of generic boyband pop and a slightly rougher, more indie edge. Although I remember them being cause for contempt in my youth, they're better than I remember. There's a little bit more going on in the music than there needs to be for generic pop, and also (intentionally, I'm sure) they do give off an air of actually enjoying themselves, which is quite refreshing.

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Live in Hyde Park is decent, but somehow I never quite got into the RHCPs. I mean, they're fine, and some of their songs are fairly catchy, but I think either they're a little too impenetrable for me, or too repetitive despite the playing around the guitarists do.

Maroon 5 - Songs About Jane is another one of those albums that makes me go oh, THAT's who that song was. It's okay.

The Prodigy - Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned isn't recognisable to me as music.

The Libertines - The Libertines isn't particularly interesting to me for some reason.

Natasha Bedingfield - Unwritten is reasonably fun.

Embrace - Out of Nothing is a pleasant and fairly listenable album, though some of the later tracks are a bit noisy.

Green Day - American Idiot is solid good stuff by a band that generally offers reliable cynical rock that's good to run to. I should buy this.

Joss Stone - Mind Body & Soul is okay? I find her style of singing rather intrusive, it's got that almost-shouting vocal quality. It varies by song whether or not this bothers me. It's otherwise reasonable enough.

R.E.M. - Around the Sun is okay, pleasant to listen to.

Ronan Keating - 10 Years of Hits is actually getting ignored under a new rule: the point of this project is to listen to new stuff, so albums of music from the past are not especially constructive.

Robbie Williams - Greatest Hits ditto.

Il Divo - Il Divo is getting skipped because it's classical music. I don't care why it's in the charts.

Eminem - Encore didn't particularly impress me - the songs felt more self-indulgent somehow and less... important? I dunno.

U2 - How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb is a steady album from the group; sounds very much like a U2 album (you might say a little unimaginative?) but relatively thoughtful somehow.