Few albums can top The Reminder in musicianship and instrumentation. These qualities are as important to a songwriter and canvas and brushes are to a painter. These up tempo gems highlight the arrival of a very promising and brilliant women. Who would have thought that the highlight of her career wouldn’t have been being a member of Broken Social Scene?
The Raveonettes Lust Lust Lust
On Lust Lust Lust, The Ravonettes manage to settle comfortably into a sound that most people never find the courage to attempt; simple straight forward rock. This band sees no reason for hiding behind bullshit, letting their surf rock meets new wave riffs speak of themselves on a cut that would make even The Pixies proud. Dead Sound alone is worth the cost of this disc. A Ramones influenced guitar progression bleeds into a brilliant new wave vocal pattern. Beautiful chime piano, which personally reminds me of something E from the Eels might write, creates a very charming chorus, before switching back into the top heavy verses.
It is important that we use the word “new” very loosely when discussing the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s newest EP Is Is. The song which appear on this five song collection were all written during the band’s 2004 American tour to promote the full length album, Fever to Tell. Four of these five songs have appeared in the band’s DVD Tell Me What Rockers to Swallow. However, it has never been implied here that to be good you must also be obscure.
While Karen O and her boy toys have seemed to have mellowed a touch on IsIs, there remains plenty of amped up clinched fist women’s rock to go around. It is safe to say that Karen O still has bigger balls than most male lead singers in the business. If IsIs was reviling secrets as to what the next Yeah Yeah Yeah’s full length will represent, you can shove me on the waiting list now.
Theoretically I shouldn’t like Sigur Rós. This is because musically I tend to rely on an artist’s lyrical strengths to determine how influential their works are on my life. That being said, we have a problem. I simply don’t speak Icelandic or whatever made up language that this band is singing in. Honestly, that proves something doesn’t it? The fact that Sigur Rós’s new album Hvarf/Heim doesn’t leave my car CD player makes it very apparent that emotion bridges the gap of language barriers. There is no need to know the exact wordings of the stories to sense the perceptual picture of what Jon Por Jonsi Briggison is painting.
If nothing else, Stacy Clark wins the award for being the most charming of the artist PopWreck has stumbled across in 2007. Clark, who speaks on behalf of agencies like Music Saves Lives, has a heart as big as her voice. That passion and emotion carries through on her album, Apples and Oranges. Clark brings to the table the impressiveness of Regina Spektor’s vocal range with the creativity of Imogen Heap’s riff progressions. An underlying composition seems to borrow pages from the Death Cab for Cutie/Postal Service styling that feature somewhat passive and breathtaking songs featuring depressing heartbreaking lyrics over comforting and positive orchestration. The albums final track, “Strange,” is a prime example of this. Clark focuses lyrically on pulling the pieces of her life together, and the haunting feelings surround the act of doing so. As she’s letting go of busted parts of her past, background riffs seem to highlight the happiness waiting in her near future. Stacy’s voice is tailored for the radio; the album’s first track, “Matter of Time,” fits the general radio format, full of catchy head-nodding compositions. Apples and Oranges is just different enough from typical Clear Channel albums to lend Clark her well deserved street-cred. The highlight of the album for example, “Empty Bottles,” borrows Copeland’s unique vocal sound, as Aaron Marsh lends backing vocals to the heartbreaking duet. Marsh blends with Clark flawlessly without stepping on her toes and adds a haunting feel to an already depressing song about drinking away the hardest days life can offer. The mixing of Clark’s perfect pitch with Marsh’s signature vibrato makes for a strong enough to push its lyrical meaning, the emotions to make it cling to you, and the staying power to help you never forget it was made. These factors contribute to Stacy Clark’s ability to make one of the best albums of 2007.
And no amount of production could overshadow that.