Scott Creney reviews Deerhunter – Monomania

I think this with a lot of albums.

Here’s the thing. With every single Deerhunter/Atlas record, there’s been something that grabbed me, a song or two that sounded superfine and made me get excited. But every album — and we’re talking EVERY SINGLE FUCKING ALBUM — usually ends up boring me. I give it a couple listens. And then a couple more because I’m sure I must be missing something, that if I just give it enough time it will grow on me. Then it doesn’t and it gets filed away with a shrug.

But then I’ll hear a song pop up on my iPod while it’s doing the shuffle thing. I’ll wonder what it is because it sounds pretty cool and I don’t remember it, and surely I’d remember something that sounds so cool. So I go over and look, and lo and behold it’s Deerhunter. Well that’s it, I figure. Obviously I need to go back and listen to this album (this has happened with pretty much all of them). But when I listen I end up getting bored all over again.

“Are 140-Character Reviews The Future Of Music Criticism?” by Jacob Ganz / Ann Powers

I generally don’t want to read long music reviews and I don’t see how a review can offer deep introspection when an album is still fresh. The music reviews I get the most out of, that tell me whether I should check something out or not, are about a paragraph or two.1

I don’t need a seven paragraph review that tells me the new Coldplay album is “meh.”

  1. EQ has a format like this with no number scores. It’s how I learned about Kurt Elling’s album with covers of Matte Kudasai and Steppin’ Out. Contrast that with Pitchfork who published a seven paragraph review of Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto and rated it a 7 at the top. 

Double Dragon II Arranged

Double Dragon 2 Arranged

I played a lot of Double Dragon II when I was a kid. I don’t think I would have if the music hadn’t been decent.1

These arranged versions of themes from Double Dragon II are heavy on synth and guitar and should sound comfortable to anybody who had a Nintendo growing up — if they can get past the J-Pop vocals on some tracks.

Check out Low Pursuit, which I believe to be an arrangement heavily influenced by Phil Collins’s Easy Lover, and Advancing Towards Sunset.

So 80s.

Track Title Rating
1 Dead or Alive (Vocal Version) ★★
2 Unleashing the Ogre (Mission 1) ★★★
3 Low Pursuit (Mission 2) ★★★★★
4 Night Sky Tension (Mission 3) ★★★
5 Advancing Towards Sunset (Mission 4) ★★★★★
6 Escape To The Forest (Mission 5) ★★★★
7 Wicked God (Mission 6 ★★
8 Breaking The Barrier (Mission 7) ★★★★
9 Entering The Enemy Base ★★★
10 Roar of the Double Dragon (Final Boss) ★★★★
11 Miracle of the Double Dragon (Reunion) ★★★★
12 Rising Desire (Ending Theme) ★★★
13 Dead Or Alive (Edit Version) ★★
Album Rating ★★★

  1. My hypothesis is that games like Double Dragon and Mega Man intentionally used catchy music to discourage players from giving up, but games aren’t that difficult these days so we don’t need to do that anymore

Phantogram — Eyelid Movies

Eyelid Movies

Much has been written about Phantogram’s 2010 release, so if you want to read more about it it’s pretty easy to find a proper review. They run pretty close to what Mogi Grumbles tweeted.

One thing that’s bugged me about the write-ups is how reviewers focus on their Upstate NY origin, stating things like “HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN WAY UP THERE WHERE THERE ARE COWS?!” It’s not like Saratoga is out in the boonies and devoid of cultural backbone.

I suppose it makes for good PR though.

Track # Title Rating
1 Mouthful of Diamonds ★★★
2 When I’m Small ★★★★★
3 Turn It Off ★★★★
4 Running From The Cops ★★★★
5 All Dried Up ★★★★
6 As Far As I Can See ★★★★
7 You Are The Ocean ★★★
8 Bloody Palms ★★★★★
9 Futuristic Casket ★★★★
10 Let Me Go ★★★★
11 10,000 Claps ★★★
Album Rating ★★★★

Music and Internet Porn

Steven Hyden writes about reviewing Radiohead’s King Of Limbs and how opinions on music change over time:

Your opinions as a music fan tend to be instinctual and emotional—in contrast to the self-conscious, intellectual aesthetics of the critic—and you’re under no obligations to justify them beyond your own whims. Besides, there’s a lot of music out there; it can seem like a chore to spend extra time with something that seems unappealing at first contact when there are so many other choices. But one of the many great things about being a music fan is that you have an open invitation to revisit any artist whenever you feel like it; somebody that didn’t strike your fancy today might end up being a new obsession a year from now.

This is something I’ve been thinking of lately. When I was young I didn’t have so much music available to me. I bought maybe a CD or two each month, so I’d listen to albums over and over again and naturally grow fond of them over time even if I disliked them the first time around. But today there are millions and millions of tracks readily available to everybody — it’s tough to rediscover what you love, or find something to love about something you previously disliked, when there’s always something new enticing you.

It’s almost like what John Mayer said about pornography:

PLAYBOY: What’s your point about porn and relationships?

MAYER: Internet pornography has absolutely changed my generation’s expectations. How could you be constantly synthesizing an orgasm based on dozens of shots? You’re looking for the one photo out of 100 you swear is going to be the one you finish to, and you still don’t finish. Twenty seconds ago you thought that photo was the hottest thing you ever saw, but you throw it back and continue your shot hunt and continue to make yourself late for work. How does that not affect the psychology of having a relationship with somebody? It’s got to.

I think the same thing to music is happening in music.