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October 2005 Music Reviews

I haven’t done any reviews for a while so here goes.

Alicia Keys – Unplugged: 5 of 5 stars
What a way to mark the return of the MTV Unplugged series. One of my favorite compilation albums is definitely the Best of Unplugged. It’s like having all your favorite artists all in the same room, playing live just for you and a few guests. The way this CD is compiled and the way the way her band and background singers all work together with her is truly symphonic.

Fiona Apple – Extraordinary Machines: 1.5 of 5 stars
The other day, I mentioned to my friend Dave that although I knew who Fiona Apple was, for the life of me, I couldn’t really put my finger on her style or even recall it. So I listened to her latest release (after a lengthy break) and I realized why it was so forgettable. I was not impressed at all. It was more talking than singing. Later, probably due to her new release, XM was playing her older music and again, same thing. I just was left unimpressed and annoyed.

Sheryl Crow – Wildflower: 4 of 5 stars
She took a break for a while, but she was never out of the spotlight. As Lance Armstrong’s constant companion through training and on the tour, and now his fiance, Sheryl Crow’s name is always on our minds. I remember watching her music video, that showed her in the diner, on MTV when I was just a kid. It seemed like an enternity ago. Now the artist that never seems to go away, is back with a brand new invention. Wildflowers is an admirable comeback. All the things you love about Crow are here. Great listening and worth a purchase.

Franz Ferdinand – You Could Have It So Much Better
: 3.5 of 5 stars
I have never been a big Franz Ferdinand fan. I don’t like them or dislike them. I was indifferent. But this new album is nice and catchy and upbeat. All elements that boosted their ratings. I like the voice of the lead singer. It’s different but not annoying like many of the frontmen today.

Nickelback – All The Right Reasons: 3 of 5 stars
Admit it. The appeal of the lead singer’s corse cowboy voice is mostly gone, but it’s still very recognizable and still pretty cool. There is not much progress in this album. Their style is still the same. I might say they have matured a tiny bit musically, but that’s it. A 3 is a respectable score, don’t get me wrong, but not something you need to go out and get right now.

Nickel Creek – Why Shouldn’t The Fire Die?: 3.5 of 5 stars
Described as bluegrass pop, I was drawn in by this album. This is the first time the band released an album that was not produced by Alison Krauss and I think they did just fine. I have increasingly become a fan of bluegrass over the last few years. It probably started with “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” soundtrack and was revived by Tony Furtado recently. Nickel Creek is a worthy addition to the small but influential list.

Broken Social Scene – Broken Social Scene: 2.5 of stars
A hodgepodge stew of over a dozen musicians thrown together into a big melting pot. Imagine the scene: 17 people from different backgrounds and genres all answer a Craigslist ad to meet at a small studio and form a band. And for the next two hours, they all play at the same time and call it music. That’s what Broken Social Scene is. They call it “layering.” I call it unimpressive. Then again, some call cow dung thrown on a canvas art. I still call it shit.

Casting Crowns – Lifesong: 4 of 5 stars
In case you can’t figure it out, Casting Crowns is a Christian band. I love Christian music. I don’t even care about their message. What I am impressed with is their ability to secretly spread a message of faith through hip and very listenable music. P.O.D., Switchfoot, Reliant K. Most people listening don’t even realize they are listening to Christian band. Casting Crowns is definitely not as pop or trendy as the aforementioned groups, but they are still very effective. They are talented musically and vocally. I like this album.

David Gray – Life in Slow Motion: 4 of 5 stars
A very mature and tortured sounding voice conveys all sorts of emotions. A varied and seemingly well thoughtout album. This is apparently his 7th album. I probably have heard only one other so I definitely am not a “fan” but I may become one soon. Good job.

Fischerspooner – Odyssey: 3.5 of 5 stars
Computer synth-pop styled music are the forte of Fischerspooner who are supposed leaders of this emerging arena. Obviously very fun to listen to. They are being compared to The Postal Service which I barely like. I think their music might be slightly catchier but also a little less mature. Hard for me to rate this one.

H.I.M. – Dark Light
: 4.5 of 5 stars
How do they do it? Why do some foreign bands make it and some don’t? Well, I’ll tell you the secret. One way is to do hard metal, maybe even industrial but make it tame enough and Americans will embrace it. Take Rammstein, Hammerfall, and Nightwish. Finland’s His Infernal Majesty pulls this off very well. Get this album and rock out.

Jamie Cullum – Catching Tales: 4.0 of 5 stars
Very Michael Buble, Harry Connick Jr-like. Jamie Cullum’s music is jazzy and poppy and small swing band sounding. It’s the culumination of all good and fun music that you’d enjoy seeing live while sipping on a sophisticated drink.

Kaiser Chiefs – Employment
: 4.5 of 5 stars
Brit-Pop at it’s best. With a sound that is so popular nowadays (Franz Ferdinand, anyone?), their music is catchy and impressive. You’ll recognize “I Predict A Riot” as the hit single off this album. Pop this in your car’s cd player and you’ll be bobbing your head all the way to your destination.

That’s it for now. I am tired. Check back, I may (probably) add more.

6 Responses to “October 2005 Music Reviews”

  • Alicia Keys is hot. Not into her type of music, but I could listen to her because she’s definitely better of genre.

    Sheryl Crow grates on me with some of her stuff. She seems to put out two to three decent songs an album and the rest is fluff. I’ve never been able to listen to any of her albums through the whole album.

    David Gray’s all right. I only heard one album and it had two or three good songs and the rest I skipped.

    I have some of Him’s demos. Like Nightwish and Hammerfall, so maybe I’ll give this one a listen.

  • woah. alicia keys unplugged! i got all excited, loaded my ftp program, and tried to connect to the best ftp server in the world, but to my dismay, the site was down.

    in the words of the hall of fame rocker, tom petty, “don’t do me like that.”

  • sheryl crow’s a dirty home wrecker. boycott is officially in effect.

  • I’ve been actually boycotting Crow long before this. She’s been very actively trying to get my guns banned.

    But Dave, details?

  • Lance Armstrong left his wife for Sheryl Crow.

  • …supposedly. That’s what people assume.

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