There’s some hype surrounding this record. And of course, I wouldn’t have heard about it without the hype. But I have to say this is my favorite record in a long, long time. It has everything! It’s got really tight, fun catchy songs…some as short as 2 minutes. It has wonderfully pretentious lyrics, and outrageous instruments, like the mellotron and harpsichord. And yet somehow, it manages to avoid all manner of pretension. Rather, it’s just catchy as all get out.
I can’t even pick a favorite song, as they are all great in their own way. I’ve heard that this album is compared to Paul Simon and that it’s being described as AfroPop. I only see the Simon comparison on one song, and I’m not sure what AfroPop is exactly, so I can’t address that. But I will say that it reminds me of many different genres as the record speeds by. There’s even a retro ska feel to a couple of songs, and I do loves me some ska! No song overstays its welcome, and it all seems so effortless and joyful. I finally got to listen to it in the car on a warm night and it was absolutely perfect.
Yet despite all the simplicity and brevity, the album has a lot going on underneath it. The rhythms are fairly complex, the basslines are fantastic–not show offy, just busy–and yet they perfectly propel the songs along. And, since I love smart lyrics, I love these guys for their great couplets. The songs are smart, without being cute and even though they do boil down to basic love/lost love themes, the words within are original and wonderful.
I absolutely love this album.
[READ: April 10, 2008] The Lunatic at Large
This book is from 1899 and was reissued by McSweeney’s in 2007. I bought this book without knowing…anything about it. I’d certainly never heard of it before. I had put it aside with low expectations.
The introduction indicated that this book is a missing link between the humor of Oscar Wilde and P.G. Wodehouse. That was a promising idea, and I’m delighted to say that it is quite true.