East Bay View (a blog about several things)

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Top ten: Don't bore us, get to the thesaurus

1. Alphabeat, "Fascination": The "word is on your lips" bridge is so thrilling that it's disappointing that the word in question is the title. Why not "wangle"? "Wangle"'s an awesome word.

2. Nellie McKay, "Identity Theft"/"Mother of Pearl": She nimbly skips from one Broadway-flavoured genre to another: who says formalists don't have a sense of humour? It's all part of her plan to create an unstealable identity. She won't limit identity to data, or even actions: she rages against subversion of characteristics we use to define ourselves, poor Pluto, while making sure she's not so easily pigeonholed. Along the way she might borrow your identity for a bit: it's not stealing if you return it before anyone realises it's gone, right? Very actressy of her, which ought to mean people capable of dealing with irony in real life can nut her out. Maybe. Here's a video with a laugh track, just in case.

3. Blow Up, "John Travolta": Hey now, now: homodance for frat boys.

4. Erykah Badu, "The Cell": The funk is approachably avant without being that hard, something it achieves through sheer weirdness. Then when the accompaniment drops out, she reminds you what a singular singer she is.

5. The Mountain Goats, "So Desperate": Not much of an actor, which means he sounds autobiographical no matter how many swamp creatures he writes about. His feelings feel like fact: he's been around as long as that.

6. Les Amazones de Guinee, "Deni Wana"/"Wamato": The stop-on-a-dime arrangements showcase a crack band, especially lead guitarist Yaya Kouyate. "Wamato" is a posse cut that gives the saxes some. "Deni Wana" is a rumba that Kouyate takes home.

7. Gwen Stefani ft. Akon, "The Sweet Escape": Yeah, turns out this is a good song, and I'm willing to give Akon all the credit. Note, though, that minimising the number of dictionary words Akon writes and sings is crucial.

8. James McMurtry, "Ruins of the Realm": America, year zero.

9. The Roots ft. Wale & Chrisette Michele, "Rising Up": I can't work out why this Roots albums is supposed to be better than all the others, but I hope they do get paper like John Travolta hey now now.

10. Robert Forster, "Let Your Light In, Babe": Victorian hanky-panky set on Silius Farm, which isn't a farm.

Fifteen more: Les Amazones de Guinee, "Meilleurs Voeux"; Apparat, "Birds"; Andrew Bird, "Imitosis"; Mariah Carey, "Touch My Body"; Hayes Carll, "She Left Me for Jesus"; Imperial Teen, "Everything"; Bola Johnson & His Easy Life Top Beats, "Buroda Mase"; The Juan MacLean, "Happy House"; James McMurtry, "Fire Line Road"; The Mountain Goats, "Autoclave"; My Chemical Romance, "Teenagers"; The Roots ft. Mos Def & Styles P, "Rising Down"; Tinariwen, "Imidiwan Winakalin"; Celstine Ukwu & His Philosphers National, "Okwukwe Na Nchekwube"; Albert van Veenendaal/Meinrad Kneer/Yonga Sun, "Posthume Verleumdung".

Good but not that good: The Field, "From Here We Go Sublime"; Girls Aloud, "Call the Shots"; Glen Hansard, "Falling Slowly"; Klaxons, "Golden Skans"; Maximo Park, "Our Velocity"; Roisin Murphy, "Overpowered"; Brad Paisley, "Ticks"; R.E.M., "Houston"; Sally Shapiro, "He Keeps Me Alive"; Rufus Wainwright, "Nobody's Off the Hook".

Must try harder: Editors, "Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors"; Foo Fighters, "The Pretender"; Manic Street Preachers ft. Nina Persson, "Your Love Alone Is Not Enough".

Trying too hard: Patrick Wolf, "The Magic Position".



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