All Day by Girl Talk
I enjoyed this. Maybe even more than other Girl Talk albums. Although I do feel like it is significantly less complex than “Feed the Animals” was with regards to transitions and layering of songs. I think when it comes to Girl Talk, the only criteria that really seems to matter is whether or not he samples songs that I like/make me laugh. Some of my fave samples were “Mr. Bluesky” by ELO, “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel, and “Can I Get A” by Jay-Z.
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All day: 3 out of 5
Here Lies Love By David Byrne and Fatboy Slim
This is easily the most bizarre/compelling collaboration of the last few years. A two disc 22 song concept album about Imelda Marcos, the former first lady of the Philippines, brought to you by an 80’s genius and one of music’s most entertaining/goofy producers, along with a slew of special guests, including Sharon Jones, Steve Earle, Cyndi Lauper, and Florence Welch, just to name a few. The two most shocking things about this beast are, 1: no mention of Imelda’s legendary shoe collection, which by all accounts is really all she’s known for. 2: The fact that it is neither incredibly horrible nor astonishingly great. I find it really hard to believe that this album is just ‘ok’. But it is. “Here Lies Love” kind of plays like a pseudo musical. You can kind of picture a large scale dance/choral arrangement for most of the songs. However, only a few of the songs are really over the top and ridiculous enough to be great in that format. Most all of the songs have a kind of disco(y) type feel since that was apparently what Imelda and Marcos jammed to back in the day. It’s fun but it kind of gets a little old after 22 songs. “How Are You” featuring Nellie Mckay is one of my favorites. It’s got a fun antiquated and stereotypical tropical beat that you could imagine coming from some beat up old jukebox in a tacky tiki bar. The lyrics are playful and McKay nails the less than flattering part of a young and naive Imelda falling for Ferdinand Marcos. The duet of St. Vincent and Candie Payne is one of the more theatrical numbers. It changes pace quite a few times, has just the right amount of cheese factor and just the right amount of xylophone. The show stopper though might just be the most surprising; Steve Earle absolutely kills it as Ferdinand Marcos in “A Perfect Hand”. Earle growls over some of the most ridiculously over the top patriotic/chivalrous lyrics ever written. It kind of sounds like a Bruce Springsteen musical and is simultaneously hilarious and powerful. This is what the album should have been like. Unfortunately a lot of it seemed under inspired and less than unique. If you are gonna write an album about Imelda Marcos I want more history tidbits thrown in for context. With the exception of “Order 1081” and a few mentions of president Nixon, a lot of these songs could have been about anyone.
How Are You (Ft. Nellie McKay)
A Perfect Hand (ft. Steve Earle)
Here Lies Love (ft. Florence Welch)
Here Lies Love: 3 out of 5
Broken Dreams Club by Girls
“Girls” has always been too depressing for me. And I like depressing music. But there last release “Album”, wasn’t a mature depressing. I can accept depressing if it is from the calloused baritone of someone like Matt Berringer and the National whose songs are about serious ‘grown up’ sounding problems, but “Girls” was always the kind of depressed sound that I had a hard time feeling sorry for. They just have always sounded pathetic and whiny. “Alright I get it you broke up with some girl move on….”. But Dreams Club was a step in the right direction for the San Franciscans in my opinion. It had a similar subject matter as “Album” but for the most part it was livened up. It kind of walks that fine line between sad and lighthearted in the same way that Best Coast often does. Even if it is only melancholy, I’ll definitely take it. “Thee Oh So Protective One” is pretty terrific. It has a doo-wop crooner sound that does a great job of mellowing out the whiny nature of the band. Although the ep still has a few “feel sorry for meeeeeee” moments, I actually really liked “Broken Dreams Club”.
Broken Dreams Club: 4 out of 5