Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Album Quest, Part 1

Alright, so having recently acquired quite a lot of new music, I decided to stop acquiring new music and instead go through my music library alphabetically and listen to every album I had never listened to the whole way through. This started a few days ago, and so far I have gone through Arcade Fire's Funeral and Neon Bible, Arctic Monkeys' Humbug and Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, The Black Keys' Attack & Release and Brothers, and finally Black Sun Empire's Cruel and Unusual and Driving Insane. What I've realized is that all this is amazing music, so I thank all the people who have suggested I get such and such an artist's such and such album. You guys have really helped me build up my music collection. Obviously, it's not done, but I'm taking a hiatus until I've gone through all these albums. After that, I think I'm going to take more time when I get new music and listen to every album I download at least once through before getting new stuff. Anyways, here's a little report of The Album Quest, Part 1.

1. Arcade Fire

a.) Funeral

Funeral is a very interesting album. It's one of those albums that you don't really get into until you really start appreciating the composition and songwriting behind it. That's simply because it doesn't really have any tracks that hook you in right off the bat, nothing truly "catchy". However, I realized upon completion of the album, that is an amazing quality for an album to possess. It means it forces the listener to delve into the music and truly understand what's going on in there. And although it might alienate some listeners and not be too commercially successful, it must not be underrated.

b.) Neon Bible

This is similar to Funeral in some senses, because many songs are not very catchy and force you to really listen, but it is a lot closer to Arcade Fire's new awesome album The Suburbs in that many songs hook you in and also force you to listen. The problem with being slightly catchier is that you can more easily listen to the album only on the surface without ever needing to delve headfirst into the atmospheres of the pieces. However, it is still a very artistically successful album, albeit just a little less that Funeral or The Suburbs, even though I  think I enjoyed it just a touch more than Funeral.

2. Arctic Monkeys

a.) Humbug

Everything I've ever read about this album has told me it was a huge disappointment and that everyone thinks the Arctic Monkeys should never do anything like it ever again. I had it in my library, though, so I had to give it a spin. And lo and behold, everything I'd ever read about it was dead wrong. This is not a disappointment, and the Monkeys should pursue this direction if it pleases them. Although it is not as awesome as Favorite Worst Nightmare, the record is a very refreshing and creative blend of the Arctic Monkey's trademark Brit-garage sound and more complex arrangement and songwriting that creates a sound unlike any I'd heard (someone perhaps might prove me wrong, but in the roughly 7000 songs in my library, I can't think of any that matches this genre). I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this album and discovering a facet to the Arctic Monkeys that I had never bothered looking for.

b.) Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not

Ah, the Arctic Monkeys' debut album which I had never bothered to listen to all the way through. Well, now I can definitely understand where Favorite Worst Nightmare comes from and how it is so awesome. Because when a band such as the Monkeys builds on a debut such as theirs, the second album has got to be fantastic. Whatever People Say I Am is a true debut album, with the band exploring a bunch of directions but definitely maintaining a constant sound. I enjoyed, yet probably not quite as much as Humbug, funnily enough. Perhaps it's just a bit too rough and rugged. Still, bloody brilliant.

3. The Black Keys

a.) Attack & Release

The Black Keys are awesome, let me just make that clear. Attack & Release is as well. Rough sounds carefully arranged into complex pieces that just sweep you off your feet is their trademark, and I have to say it's a good one to have. Attack & Release does just as its name suggests - it dives into your mind, spins in around and through its tracks, and releases you with the last notes of Things Ain't Like They Used to Be. There's not much more to say other than the fact that this is one solid record.

b.) Brothers

Okay, I know I make Attack & Release sound godly, but it in fact gets shadowed by the quality of Brothers, if that is possibl.)e. And it is, because Brothers is Attack & Release, but better. The sounds are still rough but now they are warmer, and the pieces are arranged even better than in Attack & Release. The Black Keys is all about how all those sounds play together, and with Brothers they've found almost the perfect mix.

4. Black Sun Empire

a.) Cruel and Unusual

I don't know much about Black Sun Empire - in fact, I've only started listening to their music. This is the first time I listen to their albums straight through. But my, what at experience going through Cruel and Unusual is. Another fitting album title, really. Drum n' bass unlike any other drum and bass I've heard, sort of a mix between Pendulum and The Prodigy with influences from a whole whack of other electronic artists. The only things that bring this album down in places are the vocalists, but I guess everyone's doing that these days.

b.) Driving Insane

Well, I just finished this one and it's like Black Sun Empire heard or read what I have just written above - even more polished than Cruel and Unusual, Driving Insane is the awesome BSE drum n' bass without the vocalists, just pure electro to pump through your mind while you're working away on something. Great, great stuff.

Well, that's it for now, but another update will come when I've gone through another four artists I guess. If anyone has any good music to suggest to me, please feel free, I'm always on the lookout. Especially if they're tiny little underground or alternative bands no one has heard of - yet.



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