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A Burning Desire

Ever since I’ve come home, I’ve had a burning desire to write about something. Anything. Unfortunately, my life has come to the point where I no longer have anything interesting to say. My primary conversation piece (on LiveJournal anyway) is professional wrestling.

But then I remembered, OH SHIT, Arcade Fire review! PREPARE FOR A REVIEW THAT’S ANYTHING BUT CRITICAL OR A REVIEW!

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The Arcade Fire – “Neon Bible”
I must admit a folly of mine going into this album, and I don’t think I’m alone in this one – I really, really wanted another “Funeral” in the worst way. It’s something I really don’t care to admit. I’m one of those people who demand a band’s follow-up album show some sort of growth and/or expansion, and get much more excited when a band goes completely off the deep-end than when they simply tweak their sound. It’s the main reason why I enjoyed The Decemberists’ “The Crane Wife” much more than I enjoyed Death Cab for Cutie’s “Plans.” Both were major label ‘debuts’, however I admired The Decemberists effort much more, in that I felt they made a conscious effort to come up with something fresh and be a little brave, whereas with “Plans” I felt it was exactly what you would expect Death Cab to sound like on a major label. That’s not to knock their effort, since I enjoyed it quite a bit. It’s one of those pretentious aspects of my taste and personality that prevents me from enjoying anything at face value.

Getting that out of the way, “Funeral” was such a breath of fresh air that I was very thankful for vinyl being a thing of the past, because I probably would’ve gone through four copies of that damn album due to wearing each one out. When I first heard about three weeks ago (don’t ever accuse me of having my pulse on the music scene) that The Arcade Fire was releasing a follow-up album I nearly shit my pants with glee. I totally “marked out” to borrow a professional wrestling term, simply because this meant I could hear more “Funeral” tracks. Imagine the foolishment in my disappointment upon hearing the first thirty seconds of “Black Mirror.” I was crushed, then ashamed, then angry, then depressed, and about two minutes into the track I finally accepted it for what it was. I gave it a casual multi-tasking listen and liked enough to give it a second spin. Then a third, and a fourth, and a fifth, and pretty soon I was recharging my iPod at least once a day, if not more. So much for the convenience of digital music.

For those who have compared them in the past to Echo and the Bunnymen, boy, does this album ever inch closer and closer to that comparison. Some tracks in particular, for example “Black Mirror,” sound like Echo covers. But…fuck, who cares? What an amazing album. In an age where most indie bands are apeing what they think an indy sound should be, “Neon Bible” does what many other albums aspire to be but very rarely are: it provides an absolutely unique and beautiful experience on its own terms. It comes at you from every angle, daring you to think of an adequate comparison that holds up through the entirety of a track, then grabs you by the chest and takes you wherever it wants you to go with little regard to your preference.

Trust me when I tell you that you absolutely NEED to listen to this album with headphones.

For those looking for “Funeral,” you’re still going to find it, even if it’s not readily apparent upon first listen. “The Well and the Lighthouse” brings the frantic bounciness heard in “Rebellion (Lies)”, and the second half of “Black Wave / Bad Vibrations” and “No Cars Go” both have the chill-inducing reverberating “oooo”s found in “Wake Up” that make you want to go to one of the band’s concerts just so you can sway along and make the same nonsensical noise. In short – wow. What a fantastic album.
Highlights: “Keep the Car Running”, “Intervention”, “Black Wave / Bad Vibrations”, “The Well and the Lighthouse”, “No Cars Go”
Sounds Like: A supergroup consisting of Bruce Springsteen, Echo & The Bunnymen, a chamber orchestra, and Jesus on bells.
Rating: 9.5/10

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I was looking through entries with the “music” tag before posting this, and I came across an entry where I promised a rant about Dylan reviews. I think I had something half written, and I may still have it somewhere, but I’m too lazy to look for it. In short, I get really annoyed when I read critical reviews of Bob Dylan albums and over a quarter of the text consists of the author quoting song lyrics. It just strikes me as so…I guess the word is lazy. I’m pretty sure Rolling Stone had a review that fit that criteria at the time “Modern Times” was released, and that might’ve been the one that set me off, though that could also be my faulty memory playing tricks on me again.

I bet you thought I was going somewhere else with that, but I wasn’t! SUCKERS!

Other than the TNA pay-per-view, I really didn’t do a whole lot this weekend. Although Friday Sally (svexsal) and I went out to dinner at Ichiban, and there was a moment that made me laugh and laugh and laugh. Just the way it went down was utterly hilarious. I won’t share what it is, because I think Sally would feel embarrassed, even though she has absolutely no reason to. And you people will NEVER know what it is. Again, you’re all SUCKERS! Every last one of you! In all seriousness, I’m sure you all find it very enticing, but if I were to tell you it’d come as a great disappointment. It really isn’t all that interesting nor does it even resemble something provocative. It just made me giggle.

I’m getting real sick of DeGrassi’s “BTW”s. I want new episodes, damnit! Since when did cable channels start caring enough to strech an entire season from October to April? Christ. I blame the CBC. Damn Canadians. Socialize THIS, bastard children of France!

TWO OPEN CALLS:
* I’m doing another open call for recent music recommendations. You people did not disappoint the last time around. Don’t do it again, or we’re going for a little walk to the Learning Tree (a la Undertaker when he was a biker for some reason).
* There’s still plenty of room for teams in my fantasy baseball league on Yahoo (Major League Balco). You know the drill – reply, PM, IM, or e-mail me with your e-mail address.

More later…

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  1. March 14, 2007 at 2:03 am

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
    we totalleez have an inzide joke!

    amos lee
    andy stochansky

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