I am on the verge of commencing formal work on a major project, the results of which will appear on this site. But in the meantime, I have a few observations about what I've been listening to lately.
- As much as I enjoy Welcome Interstate Managers, I think song-for-song, Utopia Parkway is Fountains of Wayne's best album. WIM has plenty of highlights and probably has my 5-6 favorite FoW songs (hell, 5-6 of my favorite songs ever) but it really gets to be too long at points; I find myself actually skipping songs. They may be decent songs, but I often times skip past "Halley's Waitress" and "Hung Up on You." Utopia Parkway is much more consistent. There's fewer songs that jump out, grab you by the throat, and say "this is awesome!" but is far more solid. By definition, it means the album may not be as colorful, but Utopia is certainly a critic's album. That said, I'd still recommend WIM as a FoW starting point 99 times out of 100.
- In honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: the Rattle and Hum version of "Pride" wipes the album version off the map. It's really not even close.
- The Strokes' new album is my favorite of their career so far. It has a handful of complete duds ("Killing Lies" and "Fear of Sleep" in particular), but its highlights more than make up for it. I liked their first two albums, but I can't bring myself to listen to them very often. I admire the craftsmanship of Is This It and the atmosphere of Room on Fire, but there's only been a handful of individual songs that I would consider my favorites; probably "Soma" and "Take It or Leave It" from the debut and "Automatic Stop," "Between Love & Hate," "12:51" and "Under Control" (which has really grown on me lately). First Impressions of Earth immediately doubled that total. Critics be damned, I really like the band's sound on this album. I like the edge, I like the atmosphere, I like the fact that it seems like Julian Casablancas is singing about stuff other than looking for hookups in dank alleys. The only thing that's bugging me is how my 3 favorite songs from the album are all DNP's, so I wouldn't be able to play them during daytime hours on KUMM. For the record, the songs are "Vision of Division," "Heart in a Cage," and the epic "15 Minutes," which is the Strokes' "City of Blinding Lights."
- I could listen to "Under Pressure" for hours on end.
- It may not exactly be hip or indie or KUMM-friendly, but for sheer escapist entertainment, Billy Joel is tough to beat. Sometimes I wonder why I was such a fan during my senior year of high school, but I listened to a bunch of his stuff today and I suddenly remembered. Hits aside, it's tough to deny one thing: "Until the Night" may be the most bombastic, melodramatic, overwrought ballad of the 1970s. It's also amazingly good, too. Even if you hate on Billy Joel for the remaining 99% of his material, it's tough to deny that on "Until the Night," he pulls off the remarkable feat of managing to do the Righteous Brothers better than the Righteous Brothers. How limp ballads like "Just the Way You Are" and "Don't Ask Me Why" continue to get radio play, while this masterpiece remains buried deep on the second side of 52nd Street is a true injustice. Just wait, it'll show up on American Idol this season and I'll be saying I told you so.
That's all for tonight.