Though it was apparently “recorded using legendary audio equipment from Abbey Road and Capitol Records,” Luxury Eviction’s Master of None would have sounded great even recorded on 4-track in someone’s closet. Blair B’s vocals are just that powerful. Her songs could almost be described as avant garde, alternative, and ultimately more substantive versions of James Bond film theme songs like For Your Eyes Only and All Time High. The tracks on this album just have a very epic, symphonic feel to them, but with some edgier, brooding undertones. The songs are very meticulously put together and well crafted. Though they were recorded on top notch (analog?) gear, there isn’t a bunch of processing or post-production tinkering with the sound. It’s mostly left in its fresh and undisturbed form, accented with traditional reverb and delay. My favorite track on this album is probably Dragonflies in Hurricanes, which features some radically retro synths.
A while back I reviewed the lead single for SEDA’s then upcoming EP, Wonderchild. Well, the anticipation is over, and now the full EP has been released. The songs often feature medium paced hypnotic and ambient background music, occasionally spiced up with samples and string synths. The sound has a minimalist vibe, basically singing over light instrumentals, though the tone and nature of the instruments displays some variation over the course of the release. Aside from the opening single, my favorite track on this album is probably Crush, a number which can best be described as what would happen if someone were to combine vaporwave with R&B / pop vocals. Another stand out song is Brave, which pleasantly surprises with bright and poppy guitars. It has a great hook and is the kind of warm and fuzzy track you’d hear during a romantic jewelry commercial.
Wonderchild shows versatility both musically and emotionally. The songs take a humble approach to the subject of love, touching on themes ranging from from initial infatuation and curiosity to regret, perseverance and admiration. SEDA’s dynamic vocals get the job done well enough, but just as importantly the listener comes away with the impression that when SEDA sings these lyrics, he actually means every word of them.
[Fran and Stephen are observing from the roof of the mall]
Francine Parker: What are they doing? Why do they come here?
Stephen: Some kind of instinct. Memory of what they used to do. This was an important place in their lives.
– Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Hard to believe it’s been 20 years since Barenaked Ladies’ One Week was a popular, chart topping hit. I remember driving around Tempe in the fall of 1998 listening to The Edge 106.3 FM, and it seemed like this song was on the radio every 5 minutes…sometime between songs such as Harvey Danger’s Flagpole Sitta and Third Eye Blind’s How’s It Gonna Be? These songs were heard many times on trips to and from Blockbuster Video (as well as Hollywood Video) to rent and return erotic thrillers, midnight outings to Denny’s, lonely drives to North Phoenix, my job at Abercrombie and all the rest.
One Week was one of those cheesy songs that I would have never admitted to liking but knew the words to and would secretly enjoy when it came on. It wasn’t passionately hated enough for me to like ironically, the way I later did with boy bands and Vitamin C, it was at least preferable to rapcore, a genre which I loathe to this day. In 1998, I would have complained about all the music on the radio sucking except the oldies station. This seems laughable in the context of today, when nearly every pop song is processed gibberish. In hindsight, we didn’t know how good we had it!One Week has the feel of a relic from a much more innocent and carefree era. It might as well be 100 years ago and a different country. The plethora of pop culture references in the lyrics are characteristic of Generation X works made at what Bret Easton Ellis refers to as the “height of the empire.”
Watchin X-Files with no lights on,
We’re dans la maison
I hope the Smoking Man’s in this one
Like Harrison Ford I’m getting Frantic
Like Sting I’m Tantric
Like Snickers, guaranteed to satisfy
I remember thinking these lyrics were so dumb, but not because I was opposed to the idea of cheesy pop culture references in songs. It’s just that the particular items referenced weren’t things that I personally was into. I did after all, write a song about Michael from Melrose Place. To revisit and paraphrase that memorable line from 1978′s Dawn of the Dead, such things had an important place in our lives.
I felt as though I owed it to Barenaked Ladies to write something about One Week, given how much enjoyment this jam gave me in 1998. 20 years later I can finally admit it.
Guys with this placement LOVE to go shopping. This probably doesn’t sound like a bad thing to some people. Ok, most people. I’m a Capricorn, so I’m practically allergic to mindlessly spending my hard-earned cash on anything that isn’t a necessity.
A guy with a Moon in Taurus wants to shop to achieve a certain ~*aesthetic*~ though. What’s fascinating is that they try to achieve this at the most affordable price, which I kind of admire. This makes sense because Taurus is ruled by Venus, the planet of aesthetics and beauty.
They’re very loyal.
I tend to be flighty because my moon is in Gemini. If you have a similar placement in your chart, then you’ll find a Moon in Taurus a very reassuring presence that anchors you. They love stability and commitment. They’re not prone to erratic behavior.
They love routine.
A guy with this placement enjoys doing the same thing every day.
The same thing. Every day.
If your chart favors this, then you’re in luck. If it doesn’t, then you might find yourself restless and bored at the suggestion to go to the same four places every day. This placement loves the familiar and comfortable, so fire and air signs beware.
A Lost Ark, in a Palace of Cedar, Burning Eternal Flame,
All these things were taught to me,
Passed down, Treasured Names,
I learned of the True Boy who Lived,
The Sheppard who faced A Nimrod,
A Lizard loving Dragon
Anointed after God’s own heart.
Then I thought.
Am I Saul or Solomon?
A Worse King or a Cursed King?
Did I kill Uriah a hundred times in sleep?
Did I betray the dread Lord of Legend?
Gold and Desire.
A child can kill a Lion,
A son of Jesse can conquer the world,
And build a Pyramid in ever heart,
Make every heart his sword.
Is my soul a wastelast or is it full?
If it is full, is it full for you my Lord?
Enemies are against me.
Where are my weapons?
Can stones speak?
I do not hear them.
Can I win the unwon day,
And make the Sun Stand Still,
Or will I break like the Law at Sinai?
Will I be chained like Samson?
Wailing for Death.
Are there Prophets to help me?
Is there a Dragon to give me half his heart?
Or am I alone, without the greatest King?
All Night is a follow up single to an EP released earlier this year (at only age 17) by Grayson Word, a “soul/pop singer & multi-instrumentalist based in Nashville.” The verses in All Night delight with a loungy, funky pop sort of quality, but where the track really shines is the chorus. Out of nowhere, Word’s voice casually reaches unexpected highs with considerable ease. This dynamic quality is reminiscent of songs like Billy Joel’s The Stranger. It’s evident from listening to even one Grayson Word track is that this kid is no poser. There are tons of aspiring young pop stars out there with recordings which are gummed up with autotune and horrible effects processing to mask deficiencies in skill. All Night doesn’t have any of that and Grayson’s musical chops are confidently displayed in full force. These recordings cut through the BS that infects much of contemporary pop music. On top of all that, this guy is only a teenager and probably hasn’t even reached his full potential yet. The only thing standing in the way of All Night being played in nearly every department store is a lack of industry connections. Hopefully, that will change as the “Word” gets out.