Saturday, August 30, 2008

Gnarls Barkley's The Odd Couple

1. Charity Case: 5/5
Great opening track. The drums and bass start the song off and it sounds great. Really great tune.

2. Who's Gonna Save My Soul Now: 5/5
Really great as well. The acoustic guitar sounds really great. The drums are crisp sounding, very well produced.

3. Going On: 5/5
Wow! This on is really great. Cee-Lo's vocals are really great as well as the backing vocals. Really catchy.

4. Run (I'm A Natural Disaster): 5/5
Another great tune. This one's pretty fast paced. Yet another catchy tune off "The Odd Couple."

5. Would Be Killer: 4/5
A pretty interesting track. The instruments are a bit strange and there is this backward cymbal throughout the whole song.

6. Open Book: 3/5
Pretty Mediocre. This one has a drum machine in it and Cee-Lo sorta screams throughout all of it. His vocals also have an echo effect on it.

7. Whatever: 5/5
This sounds a lot like 60's pop music. the guitar effects make it sound that way. The whole beat of the song makes it that way too. Cee-Lo's vocals are pretty distorted.

8. Surprise: 5/5
Another 60's sounding track. The handclaps, female backing vocals, and the drum beat make it 60's sounding.

9. No Time Soon: 4/5
The drums on this one are interesting. They are distorted but crisp at the same time. Very different from Gnarls tracks.

10. She Knows: 5/5
Yet another retro sounding track. The handclaps add to it a lot. A really cool song overall.

11. Blind Mary: 5/5
The Beginning of this track sounds like an old jingle for some product in the 60's, which comes back throughout the song. For someone new to Gnarls this is a great example of Cee-Lo's great lyrical song writing.

12. Neighbors: 5/5
This track is really well produced. It sounds really full and big. The drums are great.

13. A Little Better: 5/5
A jazzy and retro sounding song. The bass sounds great. Nice album closer. Also its co-produced by Nigel Godrich.

Best: Who's Gonna Save My Soul
Favorite: Blind Mary
Weakest: Open Book
Next Single: Blind Mary (I hope)
Songs for someone new to Gnarls Barkley besides "Crazy:" A Little Better, She Knows, and Surprise

Gnarls Barley are:
Cee-Lo Green (Vocals)
Danger Mouse (Piano, Organ, Keyboard, Percussion at times and Producer)
(and other various musicians not credited)

Album grade: A

Death Cab For Cutie's Narrow Stairs

1. Bixby Canyon Bridge: 5/5
Great. Almost progressive sounding. The lyrics reference Jack Keroac. The guitars are great, big and loud sounding.

2. I Will Possess Your Heart: 5/5
Great again. These guys can’t write a bad song. The bass is great as well as the drums.

3. No Sunlight: 5/5
Nice, short and to the point. A nice pop/rock tune from Death Cab. Nick's bass is great.

4. Cath…: 5/5
Great again! These guitar parts are amazing. WOW.

5. Taking Bird: 3/5
eh. This one’s sorta boring, the weakest track on the album. In and interview Ben Gibbard said it sounds like Neil Young. Whatever. The tamborine is a bit too much.

6. You Can Do Better Then Me: 4/5
Interesting. The organ is strange. Sounds like a holiday song. The drums are cool. It’s one of the shortest tracks in Death Cab history.

7. Grapevine Fires: 5/5
One of the highlights on the album. Everything fits nicely. The drums are fantastic.

8. Your New Twin-Sized Bed: 5/5
Another fantastic track. The guitar parts go together well. Clever lyrics too.

9. Long Division: 5/5
Another great tune. Nice guitar. One of the only Death Cab songs with a solo.

10. Pity And Fear: 4/5
Very eerie sounding. The drum sample sounds like Indian drums.

11. The Ice Is Getting Thinner: 4/5
Pretty good. The lyrics are great but its really mellow and doesn’t have any drums.

Best Track: Cath…
Favorite: Grapevine Fires
Weakest: Talking Bird
Next Single: dunno. Hmm…
Song for someone new to DCFC besides "I Will Follow You...:" Long Division, Your New Twin-Sized Bed and Grapevine Fires

Death Cab For Cutie is: Ben Gibbard, (vocals, guitar, keys) Chris Walla, (guitar, vocals, keys producer) Nick Harmer, (bass, vocals on I Will Possess... and Jason Mcgerr (drums and percussion)

Album grade: A

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Hold Steady's Stay Positive

This is my favorite album of the year so far. A MUST have. the rating system goes by stars with songs (e.g 3/5) and letter grades for the overall album.

1. Constructive Summer: 5/5
Nice song to start the album. The first thing you hear is Tad’s punk sounding guitar and then you know it’s going to be amazing. The nod to Joe Strummer is cool: “Raise a toast to Saint Joe Strummer /I think he might be our only decent teacher.”

2.Sequestered In Memphis: 5/5
Another solid track from HS. It’s obviously the hit and the first single. Just great.

3.One For The Cutters: 3/5
Not the best track. It’s pretty boring. Craig’s lyrics seem to lack something. The end is better then the beginning. Too much Harpsichord.

4. Navy Sheets: 4/5
Another quality track. The keyboards really add to the song. It wouldn’t be good without it.

5. Lord, I’m Discouraged: 5/5
This could be The Drive-By Truckers. Craig’s vocals sound a bit like Patterson Hood. It’s one of his more religious sounding tracks. It’s pretty long as far as most HS songs go. Tad’s solo is amazing. Totally classic rock sounding.

6. Yeah Sapphire: 5/5
This is one of the highlights on the album. Everything works. Guitars, keys, vox, drums and bass. Everything. It all comes together nice. Nice reference to St.Paul.

7. Both Crosses: 2/5
Very eerie sounding. More religious references. Pretty lame lyrics. This song doesn’t work with the rest of the album. In an interview with Craig he said it was a studio experiment that worked. Well, it didn’t. J.Mascis from Dinosaur Jr. plays banjo.

8. Stay Positive: 5/5
The title track is great. A bit like the Hold Steady’s first rap song but not really. The backing vocals are great by Tad and Franz.

9. Magazines: 5/5
Another highlight. Such a great song. Sort of a contemporary of “Yeah Sapphire.” This is the first and only time where you hear just Tad singing.

10. Joke About Jamaica: 3/5
An only ok track. It has some Led Zep references, which is strange and interesting at the same time. You can hear the piano a lot more on this tune. The solo is great as well as the talk box.

11. Slapped Actress: 5/5
Really great ending song. Another 5 minute-er as usual at the end of the album. Classic rock sounding. Really huge sounding. Really great as well.

Best song: Sequestered In Memphis
Personal Favorite: Magazines
Weakest: Both Crosses
Next Single: Magazines or Yeah Sapphire hopefully.

Album grade: A+

Bonus Tracks:

12 A. Ask For Her Adderall: 4/5
Sounds like song that would be on Boys and Girls In America. Really fast paced. Just keeps going.

12 B. Cheyenne Sunrise: 4/5
Really mellow sounding. Maybe it’s a continuation of “Yeah Sapphire.” The lyrics are similar. Sounds like Billy Bragg but the lyrics mention Al Green and Barry White.

12 C. Two Handed Handshake: 4/5
Sounds like a more rockier version of the previous track although it has some horns and female vocals.

Bonus Tracks grade: A-