Monday, April 12, 2010

Music Monday #1

My goal for Music Mondays is to take a week and devour as much as I can of an album by one of my favorite artists or an artist I haven't taken the time to become better acquainted with or an artist that has been recommended by a trusted friend.  It's basically an excuse to listen to an album over and over again.  How sad that I have to formalize that...

Music Monday #1- Built to Spill's "Perfect from Now On"

Monday, 4-5-10, 22:31

Instrumentally, this album has such an ethereal feel to it.  Album opener "Randy Described Eternity" feels like time stretching into infinity.  Feedback upon guitar solos upon drum licks and a steady beat and a constant bassline.  The sparse lyrics punctuate the instruments as the tempo steadily increases.  Never rushed.  Always with a purpose.  Each transitionary phrase building upon the last. 

"Every thousand years this metal sphere ten times the size of jupiter floats just a few yards past the earth.  You climb on your roof and take a swipe at it with a single feather.  Hit it once every thousand years till you worn it down to the size of a pea." 

Sways back and forth between relaxation and urgency.  A description of heaven or hell or limbo.  A sense of longing.  A recognition of the need to better yourself.   I could spend the whole week on this song.  And now I want to play guitar.  So I will...

Thursday, 4-8-10, 23:56

This album is musically breathtaking.  The soundscape takes you on a rollercoaster of dynamics.  But it's more than a rollercoaster; it's more like a tram tour that spontaneously turns into a boat jaunt that morphs into a skydiving adventure.  The orchestration on "I Would Hurt a Fly" is beautifully haunting.  The cello lends an air of longing.  And the breakdown at 4:07 is the perfect climax to an already powerful cut.  "There's a mean bone in my body.  It's connected to the problems that I won't take for an answer and I won't take that from you because I would hurt a fly..."

I will pull out my Gibson after listening to this album for a bit...

I love when drums are so on point that they feel complicated even though they're completely simple.  The perfect backbone to these driving songs.

The first three tracks of this album raised the bar for the indie rock genre.  Threads of jam band and classical... equal parts testosterone and estrogen.  Shy but in your face... Aggressively passive.  Brilliant and stark and authentic.  "You don't tell me anything.  It's not a dream.  It's not a big lie.  You're not going anywhere.  And you don't care.  You think it's fine." (listening to this album, I'm guessing Rogue Wave loves Built to Spill)...

Sunday, 4-11-10, 22:34

This album makes me realize how difficult it is to actually arrange music.  I do just fine with melodies and harmonies and root chords underneath played in straight time with what I'm singing.  But when it comes to actually "filling the aural space"... I've got so much to learn.  Everything feels so full on this album.  Music that complements and stands alone and stands in contradiction to and feels completely in accordance with and paints a picture and recites a poem...  All of the music on this album is dramatic.  But it hits on so many levels, too.  Built from the ground up, these songs stand up straight and look you right in the eye, daring you to blink, but you won't, can't, shouldn't... because you're afraid you'll miss something important.

Songs on the longer side (the shortest clocks in at 4:56), but every song is the length it has to be.  There aren't any wasted moments.  Each phrase has a purpose, every note is placed for a reason.

And listening to this album is affecting my writing.  I just recorded a few chords, wrote down some lyrics, and saved it under "Built to spill rip off"...


  1. An amazing review. I wish you had covered every song on the album, because I am interested in hearing what you think of it.

  2. Music Critic?????Hmmmm