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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Props

A while back, my brother Paul sent me a couple of CDs in the mail as a gift for some occasion or another -- HOT FUSS and SAM'S TOWN, by some band I'd only vaguely heard of known as The Killers. Paul's taste in music and mine don't overlap in many areas, so I tossed them somewhere and largely forgot about them, although the two older Super Kids got some use out of them.

At my current job, we're allowed to listen to CDs on our PC's D drive if we bring in headphones, so I did, and looking through the CDs that I had in my little travelcase, I was bemused to see one I didn't recognize. There was no writing on it to identify it, just a picture of a ram's head. Having gone through all the other CDs in the case in a day or so, I decided, what the hell, I'd throw it in and see what it was.

Turns out it was SAM'S TOWN, and, more than that, it was really, really awesome.

Not that I fully appreciated it the first time I listened to it; the odd melodies and goddam weird lyrics are something of an acquired taste. I'd already learned to like "When You Were Young" due to Super Drama Teen and Super Dependable Teen playing it over and over again while playing GUITAR HERO on our Wii, so I enjoyed that when it came up, but the first time through, I just found the rest of the tracks on the CD... strange. But haunting.

I listened again, and found myself enjoying a few other tracks quite a bit -- "For Reasons Unknown", I think, and "This River Is Wild". I wasn't sure I really liked much else on the CD, but...

...I listened to it again...

Okay, well, "Sam's Town" was definitely pretty cool, and "Bones" (a song I originally mistakenly believed must be titled "Come With Me", which, given its subject matter, was a pretty filthy double entendre) just blew the goddam doors off when all those horns came in like howitzers during the chorus, but some of the rest of it still seemed a bit dodgy to me.

But I listened to it again...

And it's all just fucking great. It's just fucking GREAT.

I've tried HOT FUSS a few times since then, and it's not hooking me the way SAM'S TOWN did. I like the first four songs okay. After that it kinda tapers off for me.

Still, I owe my baby brother Paul a big vote of thanks. So, thanks, Paul.

I still don't understand why Rob Thomas and Matchbox Twenty are bullshit stupid pop garbage and Counting Crows is transcendent, though. And I'm never going to understand what you hear in Ben Fold's Five.

2 Comments:

At 9:55 AM , Anonymous Always Esteemed Scott said...

I still don't understand why Rob Thomas and Matchbox Twenty are bullshit stupid pop garbage and Counting Crows is transcendent

Okay, I know this question wasn't aimed at me, but
Adam Duritz is a waaaaayyyy better songwriter (specifically, lyricist) than Rob Thomas. That's about it really.

And speaking as a Ben Folds Five fan (sorry), I will admit that Ben Folds is not a great songwriter either, but I'm a sucker for acoustic piano. Sue me.

 
At 6:46 AM , Blogger Doc Nebula said...

Okay, I know this question wasn't aimed at me, but Adam Duritz is a waaaaayyyy better songwriter (specifically, lyricist) than Rob Thomas. That's about it really.

Duritz has a plaintive earnestness to his glib, smooth, evocative, often times overall incoherent lyrics that Thomas usually doesn't seem to try to match. Both write on much the same subject matter, both have their near sublime moments (the first verse or two of "Hey, Mrs. Potter", "She Don't Want Nobody Near", "Smooth", "Little Wonders", "Unwell") and both fuck the dog too (the rest of "Hey, Mrs. Potter", "If You're Gone").

The only real daylight I see between the two is that Duritz has somehow managed to posture his way into some kind of pop culture King of Pain "oh gawd I'm so EEEEEEMO I must be a brilliant artist" status, while Rob Thomas is good looking, clean cut, and not known for being a whiney little pissy pants onstage or off. Counting Crows, despite their massive mainstream success, has managed to somehow give the impression of remaining a little known underground band, the Sex Pistols of the late 20th Century, despite multiple platinum sales. Matchbox 20 and Rob Thomas have always seemed less embarrassed about their own success, and less pretentious with it, and due to that, I guess, they've earned the contempt of all those millions of rebellious non-conformists out there who all wear their hats backwards, or something.

Now, if you want to talk about Ed Robertson and Steven Page, or Curtis Riddell and Brad Roberts, being waaaaaaaaay better lyricists than Rob Thomas, that's a discussion I can get behind, but Adam Duritz is a fucking poser. A talented one, I grant you, but how much goddam "oh please love me" whining can you take from a guy who has sold a few billion copies of his music?

 

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