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Wednesday, February 11, 2004  

Music On My Mind
Been thinking about/dealing with music a lot this week, and I was going to post some random thoughts on the subject. But I instead decided to just give a couple nano-reviews of three albums from 2003 that I've recently gotten my hands on that have blown me away.

First off, I got a copy of A Perfect Circle's "13th Step" from my mom a few months ago but never really gave it a chance; a couple of weeks ago something happened and now I can't stop listening to it. The single, "Weak and Powerless" has shot to the top of my "Top 40" iTunes playlist and the rest of the album is steadily burrowing into my psyche. I've loved Tool since the first LP and their blending of prog-rock and postpunk-artrock is a sweet confection. A Perfect Circle is like pop-Tool: both more melodic and more accessible. But it is by no means light, and the song writing of Billy Howerdel has a Hefty emotional impact.

Elephunk from the Black Eyed Peas is just as good as every has been saying, even if it moves away from the hard-hitting rap-vibe of "Bridging the Gap." The BEPs cover some serious territory on the disc, from Latin-inspired jams to thumpin' club-fare to thick Reggae and Dance-Hall grooves. Will.I.Am has some serious lyrical punch and the flow to match, and the addition of the honey-voiced Fergie to the 'Pea's line-up gives the album a softer side. So far I'm digging it even more that the much lauded "Spekerboxx/LoveBelow" (which doesn't even have a guest appearance by JT!)

And finally we come to The Shin's "Chutes Too Narrow." I'm sorry to say that had never heard of The Shins until this album started dominating critic's year-end top-10-lists; I then caught the wonderfully irreverent video for "So Says I" (the one with the animated penguins v/s walrusses) on MTV2 and knew I needed to get the album. It is a pretty phenomenal disc, one of those "every song is a tiny masterpiece" albums. The Shins sound is firmly planted in the IndieRock/Lo-Fi genre but their songwriting transcend the often simple compositions of the genre. It is an album filled with lines that you just want to scribble on the cover of your algebra book. My only complaint is the leaves-you-wanting-more 34 minute length of the album as it makes is too easy to listen to twice through and this is an album that I don't want to burn out on.

Any of those three albums (all available on iTunes) will not disappoint, and I highly recommend all of them. Now, I haven't yet listened to "Chutes Too Narrow" today so if you'll excuse me... Stay tuned tomorrow for "Why John is forced to write about music instead of actually MAKE music."

posted by JMV | 2/11/2004 10:56:00 AM
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