I had a bitty panic after announcing I’d essentially review the cds I bought blind from cdbaby.com. I’m in a place where I’d rather rave about the things I really like rather than spend time ranting about things I don’t (Crystal Skull is an important exception). So I thought, “What if I don’t like one of these cds, what am I going to do?” And purchasing four cds in a very random way seemed to pretty much guarantee I’d dislike at least one.
And I’m not exactly qualified to review cds in any way that pretends to be objective and technically informed (Dave tries, but I just like what I like, despite how great the production quality is). I mean, keep in mind that you’re about to read reviews by a person who tends to dislike one word song titles. Not necessarily the songs themselves. But one word song titles annoy me. They remind me of when I was writing poetry and when a title didn’t come naturally, I’d just slap one word on it that seemed evocative or, even worse, “Untitled.”
Luckily, I liked all of them (despite a plethora of one word titles). Some more than others, granted. But I don’t regret purchasing a single one. In the order I listed them before (i.e. alphabetical), drumroll please:
Aquaboy The World Still Turns Without You – I’m only just now, as I’m looking up links, realizing that Derek Buckner and Aquaboy are one and the same. I purchased TWSTWY because it was recommended if you like Beck, Wilco, Pavement and Air. And I do like all those folks. The title track is my favorite and also Mediocre Man. One customer likened them to the Beatles. Not really seeing that one, but I’ll vouch for the Wilco and Pavement.
Derek Buckner Symptoms – I saw Lucinda Williams in the recommended if you like and I was all in. This was an okay cd for me. Nothing, after repeated listens, has really stood out, but it was an excellent soundtrack for part of my recent road trip.
Sarah Burton Love Is For Pussies – This is recommended if you like Alanis Morissette, Sheryl Crow and Feist. While I like the first two ladies, I’m a big Feist fan so it was that and the title that struck me. Sarah Burton is probably a compulsive self-Googler (important for an indie musician, in my opinion) because she contacted me the same day I posted about the experiment. On the previously referenced road trip, I was writing the review for her cd in my head. I really like Sarah’s voice, but I’m left hungry by this c.d. It’s not a full meal, but rather an appetizer. In the best sense, it whets your appetite for more and I’ll definitely follow whatever she does next. I think she can ditch the first version of Barcelona because it felt a bit jerky and loose to me whereas the extended flamenco version settled those issues very nicely. Also liked I Hate You quite a lot. Every time I’ve listened to this EP, I’ve liked it more and more, heard something new each time.
Tiffany Randol Kiss Me Kiss Me – Recommended if you like The Cardigans, Regina Spektor and Feist. Then compared to June Carter and Kate Bush. The cover art is a tad reminiscent of my favorite Suzanne Vega cd, Nine Objects of Desire and I wouldn’t say it’s inappropriate to compare Randol to Vega. If I had to pick a favorite of the four, this would be it. Loved every second of this too-short EP. I would recommend it enthusiastically.
So cdbaby – let’s do this again. If you ever need someone to test whether your “recommended if you like”s work, please feel free to send me cds. Or if you’re dying for some really random, entirely subjective reviews…
Now, in other music thoughts.
So, I’ve been really struck by those great Liberty Mutual ads, especially the music. I took a sec to try to find out about the songs in the ads and I’m a bit embarrassed because all of the songs are already in my iTunes. They’re all the work of Hem, a band that Dave turned me onto a while back. Then, I found this really wonderful piece where Mary Chapin Carpenter talks about the ads and Hem for The Washington Times.
And it probably goes without saying that I’m pretty devastated that Alexis Grace got booted off. I have to say that I don’t think that her performances of Jolene proved that she should’ve been given the judges’ save. The entirety of what she’s done on the show does. Part of me keeps hoping that it’s not too late and they’ll change their minds and save her. Why not? This season’s been incredibly wacky anyway. Regardless, I look forward to seeing what she does next.
I felt like Randy Travis was rather wasted in that duet with Carrie Underwood, but I was in love with it anyway. Her voice when she belted out “I told you so.” Wow. It was incredibly cute the way Randy Travis kept looking at her adoringly while she sang. If you don’t believe me, watch this. Didn’t know this song existed before and now it’s in regular rotation – and I still get chills every time.