Sunday, June 04, 2006

Snakes on a Plane Update

I think there's one man who won't be seeing Snakes on a Plane, because once you've lived it, what's the point? Meet Monty Coles.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Skipping: Not That There's Anything Wrong with That

Matt Linebarger made a good point not too long ago: it's hard to find an album that's wholly listenable. An artist or band might put 10, 12, or even 20 songs on a CD, but rarely can one listen to an entire disc without skipping a track or two, sometimes more. Even U2 has songs that should be skipped, says he, and for a Linebarger, this is a statement akin to "3 John should not be a part of the canon". Anyway, I happen to think there are quite a few CDs out there that are 100% enjoyable.

For starters:

The Gotee Brothers: Erace
The instrumentation on this disc is a feast for the ears--a Southern feast, the kind with fried chicken and grits. In other words it's not exactly haute musique, but it makes you feel good deep down inside. The lyrics are great, too, dismantling racism ("colors don't hate") and celebrating the simple life ("nothing like a fat cup, sweet tea and ice").

Fleming and John: Delusions of Grandeur
Fleming and John's style was like nothing I'd ever heard when it first tickled my ears back in '97, and there's still nothing quite like hearing Fleming's voice soar and swoop over John's eccentric rock backgrounds (he plays all the instruments, alone it would still be something worth hearing).

Johnny Cash: American Recordings
The first of five collaborations between Cash and legendary producer Rick Rubin, the first American Recordings is still the best. There's nothing here but Johnny's guitar and his voice, cracked and weathered, carrying the weight of the world, but still somehow finding enough strength and conviction to carry an album.

There are a plethora of records out there that require no skipping: Radiohead - OK Computer, The Postal Service - Give Up, The Pixies - Surfer Rosa, Rage Against the Machine - The Battle of Los Angeles, Ben Folds - Songs for Silverman, Dave Matthews Band - Crash, and Counting Crows - August and Everything After.

But I think an album can still be great, even if there's just one song you have to skip. One song doesn't diminish these: The White Stripes - Get Behind Me Satan, Jurassic 5 - Power in Numbers, Brainwash Projects - The Rise and Fall, Soulfood 76 - Original Soundtrack, and Medeski, Martin, and Wood - The Dropper. The Dropper is particularly noteworthy; even though Martin's percussion-only "Illinization" is awful, the rest of the disc is pure improvisational genius. It's like a great puzzle that your mind unlocks after a few listens, and inside is a brand-new, joyful paradigm.

Have I missed anything? (I mean, besides the whole U2 and BeeGees catalogues.)

More after the jump.