Peter, Bjorn and John and Maybe Mary But Definitely Not Paul
I have exactly one problem with the Peter, Bjorn and John album and it doesn't have to do with the album's sonic quality. It has more to do with the fact that the band's name sounds like a description of a weird Swedish orgy, rather than the name of a group that produced one of the finest albums of 2006. This is why a few weeks back when someone thankfully put this album up on the good ol' Stylus message board, I was skeptical. Even if Peter, Bjorn and John isn't some the title of some sort of twisted Swedish skin flick, at the very least the name sounds like the low-budget Swedish equivalent of Peter, Paul and Mary, except that each member should be 6'4 and look as though they just stepped out of an Ikea ad. Schmergen! (or not)
The point is that despite their woefully bizzare name, this album is the closest thing you'll find to a perfect pop album in 2006. It was described on the message board as 1 tbsp Arcade Fire
1/2 cup Camera Obscura, 2 pinches Beatles,1 pinch Belle & Sebastian, 1 tsp British Sea Power
and 1 tsp Cure and a whole lotta Sweden, and I couldn't have put it better myself.
Brimming with obscenely catchy melodies, whistled hooks, warm harmonies and icy synths, Writer's Bloc is that rare album that is almost impossible to dislike. People whose musical tastes run no edgier than Justin Timberlake will find comfort in the band's prodigious talent for writing foot-tapping pop confections. More discerning listeners will find solace in the deceptively complex song structures and the frozen layers of shoegaze noise that give the songs a richer and more lush sound.
The lyrics might not be the stuff of legend, but they're good, particularly considering they tend to hew to one topic: love. But despite this one-dimensionality, the band seems to have a knack for grounding listeners in a scene. For instance, on "Paris 2004," the song's opening lyrics begin: "Sunday morning/on the bed having fruit and croissants." It might not be Rimbaud, but god damn if that isn't one of the best openers I've heard in a while. Is it possible not to love lying in bed on a Sunday having fruit and croissants? Maybe. But if you don't love such a thing, you're probably a Communist. Or at the very least a Godsmack fan.
As much as I liked Belle and Sebastian's The Life Pursuit, the Peter, Bjorn and John album almost feels like what I would've guessed if someone had asked me to predict B&S' future following If You're Feeling Sinister. I could go on and hyping this album, but I won't. If you're interested in reading more about it, then check Stylus' A- review or go over to the evil empire and read their review, which awarded the album an 8.5 and Best New Music honors.
Also Rewriteable Content posted two tracks from the album the other day (i.e. different ones than what I'm about to post), so go over there and get them.
Peter, Bjorn and John: "Paris 2004" (right-click, save as)
Peter, Bjorn and John: "Let's Call It Off" (right-click, save as)
Buy the album here
Passion of the Weiss Rating: 8.9
Young Jeezy: Just Like Biggie Smalls Except Without Talent, Charisma or the Ability to RapSo the other day I was surfing these Internets (as Dubya likes to say) and came across this nugget of information. According to this article, Young Jeezy has recorded 114 songs for his new album. Now I might not be a rocket scientist but something tells me that it's practically impossible to write 114 songs for one album alone. I mean Joy Division are regarded as one of the greatest bands of all-time and Ian Curtis only wrote 30 songs or so. So all this feat does is demonstrate Jeezy's phenomenal lack of talent. In order to write that many lyrics, you basically have to treat them as something disposable and absolutely devoid of any art. Or purchase the How-To-Write Rap Lyrics/Madlibs from Jadakiss.
Inevitably, I'm sure that most, if not all, of Jeezy's 114 verses deal with three themes: 1) He's a hustler (wow...I'm so impressed) 2. He likes cocaine (yeah...so does most of the population of Los Angeles...I wouldn't give any of them a record deal either) and 3. He's a great rapper.
Clearly, this is what the world needs,another rapper proficient at rapping about how good he is at rapping. Listening to all 114 songs at once might actually make you a dumber person. No, scratch that. It will make you a dumber person.
And Sometimes The Jokes Just Write ThemselvesSpeaking of dumb, will someone at Island Def Jam please buy a clue and tell Brandon Flowers to shut the fuck up. I know that he's become convinced that he's an artiste because Hot Fuss sold 5 million copies, but somebody needs to tell him that he's an answer to the question what would the Cars sound like if they really really sucked. The Killers' initial success was a complete fluke., one of Barenaked Ladies proportion. Yeah, I know Sam's Town sold a lot of copies in its first week, but it's sinking like a stone. It'll be a miracle if it goes platinum. And I only guarantee that by comparison, the band's third album will actually make Sam's Town seem like Born to Run.
It's bad enough that the album's second single "Bones" has a hook with the cringe-inducing line "Don't You Want to Feel My Bones" (uh...no dude...maybe you should leave those sentiments off the album next time), but now Flowers has taken it upon himself to attack...I kid you not...Green Day (thanks to Crime Notes for putting me onto this one)
In this article in the NME, Flowers declares that "You have Green Day and 'American Idiot'. Where do they film their DVD? In England. A bunch of kids screaming 'I don't want to be an American idiot' I saw it as a very negative thing towards Americans. It really lit a fire in me."
Okay, forgetting the fact that a) Green Day are also heinous and b) they haven't been relevant since 1994, what makes Flowers think he has the right to criticize their anti-Americanism. I don't even care that he's right, (which truth be told, he probably is), dude needs to stop picking beefs with people. Honestly, I can't believe that no one has beaten the shit out of him yet. Oh yeah, that's right. He hasn't picked a fight with a band that doesn't wear make-up. Notice a pattern here: The Bravery, Panic at the Disco!, Green Day? I'd love to see him start some shit with Jack White and end up like the dude in the Von Bondies. That'll show him.
Brandon Flowers Meet Jack White's FistsAnd with that grotesque image, I bid thee farewell.