Aren’t CDs a great invention?
I know some purists would argue that nothing can beat the sound of vinyl (and I can find a lot of reasoning in that argument, as I do feel that way about certain records and try to support the vinyl industry as much as I can), but as someone who has a two and a half hour drive between her college and her home town, I have to say CDs are an excellent way of discovering new tunes/what your favourite artists have been up to.
Over the past year or so I’ve accumulated a modest collection of albums in my car. Here is part one of a brief rundown of what they are, why I got them and my general thoughts on the music.
1.) “Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit” by Courtney Barnett
This is a solid collection of fun little songs about the ironies and quirks of life, so as a writer, I can appreciate Barnett doing what my professor would call “making the small moments large.” Sometimes the lyrics can get a bit repetitive (like on “Nobody Really Cares if you don’t go to the Party” or “An Illustration of Loneliness (Sleepless in New York)) and “Depreston” is way overplayed on the radio, but I love Barnett’s attempt to capture the minute details of life. Also, her guitar playing is killer, especially on the neurotic single “Pedestrian at Best.” And it’s pretty neat she got nominated for a Grammy here in the U.S.A. Eager to see what she does next.
2.) “Pagans in Vegas” by Metric
Hmm. My feelings on this record, which clocks in at just over 49 minutes, remain fairly mixed. While I really do enjoy moments on the front half such as “The Shade,” “Lie Lie Lie” (which has some excellent scathing lyrics about the world’s mass media system) and “Too Bad, So Sad,” after that the synth and keyboard pop just gets old. It’s an interesting record for a while that unfortunately loses its touch instrumentally. Which really is too bad, because I do like listening to Metric. But if you’re into more dancey, electronic based music, I’d definitely recommend it.
3.) “Currents” by Tame Impala
This record got huge when it was released last summer, so I’ll keep my comments to a minimum. The front half is a supremely fun venture into swirly synth-based soundscapes and I love the pulsating beats. “Yes I’m Changing” and “Eventually” are lyrically beautiful. The back half and the strange little interludes are lukewarm at best, but if you remove “Past Life” from the track listing (I can’t stand the strange distorted spoken word lyrics), it’s such a fun gem of psychedelic indie.
4.) “b’lieve i’m going down…” by Kurt Vile
You have to really be feeling like hearing some slow folky lo-fi when you put on this record, but it definitely does deliver. Vile’s meandering vocals pair well with his lyrics about losing touch with your identity, feeling cast out and disconnected from your peers, struggling to not buy into peer pressure and just trying to live life, maaaan. I respect how genuine this record feels. It’s not trying to be the next biggest folk rock album or an independent rock magnum opus. It seems like every time Kurt Vile sets out to make a record, he doesn’t really pay attention to what his contemporaries are up to. He’s fine with being himself and creating the music he feels the most comfortable with, and it shines through on his albums in the best way.
5.) “Lost in the Dream” by The War on Drugs
This is the perfect record for near-dusk and night driving, or if not in a car, then for calming background music while studying for journalism (It sounds beautiful through a good pair of headphones). The layering and production on this just-over-an-hour-long record explodes with ambience and a less noisy, more melodic shoegazing sound. I’m not much of an Americana fan, and I still came to love “Suffering” and the title track after a few listens. The repetition of instrumentation on songs like “Eyes to the Wind,” “Under the Pressure” and “Red Eyes” works perfectly without getting too redundant. And while I know “Under the Pressure” and “Red Eyes” were the two singles that got huge after the release, I think “An Ocean in Between the Waves” is just as great (if not better) for how much is happening guitar-wise.
What were your thoughts on these records? Let me know in the comments. Stay tuned for my next CD post, which will focus more on the alternative rock/alternapop side of the spectrum.
As always, thanks for reading, and God bless.