Just as I was thinking that Nada Surf had dropped off the face of the earth, I discovered that they were releasing Lucky. Lucky continues Nada Surf’s fantastic output of beautiful melodies and poppy, almost folky songs. I hate to make it sound like Nada Surf have mellowed, but they certainly have. Nevertheless, their song craft has risen to even newer heights. The first three songs are some of the best singles you’ll hear (and you may have heard “Whose Authority” which got some airplay…. If you liked that then you’ll love the rest of the album.)
There are obvious precedents for who Nada Surf now sound like, but it’s not an aping of sounds where you say, oh they sound just like Matthew Sweet or Semisonic or something, but they have that kind of vibe. If the jangly alternapop of the late nineties were still popular, Nada Surf would be leading the pack. As it is, they don’t sound retro in any way, the songs just exist, almost timelessly.
The middle songs culminate with “I Like What You Say.” There’s no reason this song shouldn’t be a huge hit. The lyrics are slightly hard to sing along to (which usually makes for the kind of song that people like to learn) “You say, I like what you say, I like what you say, you say,” but the chorus of “Baby, I only want to make you happy” lifts your spirits. All eleven tracks are solid, and there’s enough diversity, even within the limited palette to keep you interested. There’s even a short oom-pah-pah at the end of “Ice on the Wing.” I’m not sure why it’s there, but it adds a nice bit of texture to the album.
This disc came with a bonus EP (something Nada Surf seems to like doing) which comes with acoustic versions of two of the songs from the album, and two new songs. The last one, “Everyone’s on Tour” shows a rare glimpse of Nada Surf really rocking out. It’s something of a throwaway song, but it shows off an interesting side of the band, just in case you were afraid they were getting too mellow.
[READ: Fall 2007] To Kill a Mockingbird.
There was some impetus that made me want to read this book and watch the movie. I think it’s because Sarah likes to repeat her favorite line from the movie (see below) and I wanted to see it myself. I wasn’t entirely sure what it was even about. I think it was simply that I knew so many cultural references to this book without knowing the original. It made me say, okay, time to read this thing. (Similarly, if you’ve never actually seen 2001, A Space Odyssey, you are missing hundreds of cultural reference points every day).
And I am so glad I did. Now, obviously, its a Pulitzer Prize winning story, and everyone is supposed to read it in school (why didn’t I?), so I’m not the only one to think it’s good. But in addition to being Substantial and Substantive, it was also a really enjoyable read. I admit that some of the classics are difficult to get through, but this one was so great I practically rushed through to the end.
So, of course, this is where Boo Radley comes from. It’s also where Atticus Finch comes from. It’s also a story about race, rape and a lawyer who is willing to stand up for what’s right even in the face of violence. That’s a lot to pack into a small book. (more…)