Chairlift Something Review

Something is Chairlift’s second album. While I hadn’t heard of this synth pop group from Brooklyn before this album, I did check out some of their older singles. From what I can tell, the departure of one of their members had a major impact on their sound.

Chairlift Something

Something starts out with a new wave, 80s synth-pop sound. The first single, “Amanaemonesia” gives you a taste of this sound. The second single, “Met Before” – which in my opinion is the best song on the album – is a departure from the rest of the album.

Something takes a hard shift in sound for its second half, slowing the pacing down and putting the focus on the lead singer. Other than the singles, none of these tracks stood out.  These indistinguishable tracks will  likely be ignored in favor of the few gems.

As I mentioned before, my favorite track from Something is “Met Before.” Compared to the rest of the songs,  it adds a faster paced and stronger drum beat to the synth pop mix, has vocals that remind me a bit of Emily Haines of Metric, and it is probably the most radio friendly (i.e. catchy) song on the album. This song was my introduction to Chairlift, and I was a little disappointed not to hear more like it.

Party goer opinions

The first track on the album, “Sidewalk Safari” was pretty much universally disliked by all of the party goers. This makes me wonder why Chairlift decided to lead the album with this song. However, after getting past this track, people thought the album was ok and even liked a few of the songs. Two of my friends, entirely independent of each other, told “Sidewalk Safari” made them think of the Saturday Night Live skit Sprockets, which featured Mike Meyers as disaffected German new wave talk show host dancing/voguing to bad electronic music.

Tim: “The first tracks reminded me of a happier Nico, combined with The Shins. Then it got real 80s, real quick. It sounded like there were lasers going off in the background. It was a weird shift. I didn’t like this sound.”

Adam: “I hated the first track, it reminded me of [the SNL skit] Sprockets. I liked the cheesy 80s sound. It reminded me of New Order. It was smooth, I don’t like abrasive things.”

Lauren: “‘Met Before’ is clearly the star of the show. ‘Frigid Spring’ sounded psychedelic. All in all, I thought it was a cohesive album. It sounded similar enough that you could tell it was part of one work, but it had enough differences between songs to keep me interested.”

Verdict: It was a mixed bag without a consensus. People each had different parts of the album they liked. “Met Before” seemed to be the most liked song on the album. I recommend checking out the singles from Something, but can’t recommend the rest of the album.

While not touched on in the review, if you liked Chairlift’s previous work, you might not be into this album because it sounds vastly different. Proceed with caution.

Stand out track: “Met Before”

Music Videos from Something

Chairlift
“Amanaemonesia”
Something

Chairlift
“Met Before”
Something

Crystal Castles Suffocation Video

Crystal Castles released a “fashion video” for their track “Suffocation,” hosted exclusively on the Vs. Magazine website.

From the perspective of a blogger trying to bring your attention to something I consider worthy of your time,  not allowing embedding on a blog or viewing on Facebook is really annoying.  These limitations prevent people from  sharing the video, ultimately reducing the number of people who see it.

But enough of my griping. I think Crystal Castles are one of the best artists out there at the moment and “Suffocation” remains a great song.  As for the video, I could take it or leave it.

Check out the video here>

I’m looking forward to whatever Crystal Castles do next!

Gotye Making Mirrors Review

Making Mirrors is Gotye’s third album, the Belgian artist’s first in nearly six years.

Gotye Making Mirrors

Up until a few months ago, this artist remained in relative obscurity. Although I don’t know the full extent of his international renown, I believe he is somewhat popular in Europe. Since the single “Somebody I Used to Know” was released, Gotye has started to receive Stateside attention.  In the last few months a cover of “Somebody I Used to Know” became a viral YouTube hit that went on to be featured on Ellen; Gotye performed on Late Night with Jimmy Kimmel; and his US tour has sold out in many cities.  Apparently Making Mirrors is making waves in the United States.

Making Mirrors is hard to put into any one category of music. The album spans several genres, changing its sound from track to track. People wanting to hear more things like “Somebody I Used to Know” will be disappointed. None of the other songs on the album mimic this sound.  To some degree, this is too bad. “Somebody I Used to Know” is a great song that showcases Gotye’s vocal abilities and is really catchy. I was hoping for more of the same, but ended up with what feels like a sample platter that serves up things as different as a peanut butter and caviar.

Making Mirror’s disparate sound makes the album feel unfocused. “Easy Way Out” sounds like Beck, “Save Me” channels Peter Gabriel, and if I didn’t know better I would swear Cee-lo was singing on “I Feel Better.” “State of the Art” just takes things as far from “Somebody I Used to Know” as possible, with its experimental electronica mixed with spoken word Da-daism.

And this is my one complaint. While I liked most of what I heard, I couldn’t find a single theme or concept that pulled it all together. It’s more like a soundtrack than a cohesive album.  Because of this, many people will pick up Making Mirrors thinking they are getting an album that sounds like whatever Gotye song they first heard (likely to be “Somebody I Used to Know”), only to feel like they’ve been swindled into something completely different.

Despite Making Mirror‘s identity issues, I like a lot of the songs on the album. Variety, after all, is the spice of life. With this album, Gotye proved he isn’t to be pigeon-holed in one musical genre and has capably shown his musical depth. However, the sound of “Somebody I Used to Know” drew me to the album and is what I really wanted more of.

Party-goers opinions

Tim: “I’m shocked that one person, from one track to another, can sound like Beck, Cee-lo, or Peter Gabriel. At one point there was a space-agey, chill, Tron-type thing. It is probably the most eclectic album I’ve heard in a long time.”

Lauren: “I like ‘Somebody I Used to Know’ a lot, but I wasn’t really into the rest of the album.”

Verdict: It really depends on what you wanted from Making Mirrors. You’ll either be pleasantly surprised at Gotye’s musical aptitude, or disappointed you’re not getting the one sound you wanted. Most of the songs are great, but somehow they don’t seem to belong together. Overall, this is definitely worth listening to.

I recommend you check out the music videos for Making Mirrors below.  Some of them are really cool.

Standout tracks: “Easy Way Out,” “Somebody I Used to Know,” “Eyes Wide Open”

Videos from the Making Mirrors

Gotye
“Easy Way Out”
Making Mirrors

Gotye
“Somebody That I Used to Know”
Making Mirrors

Gotye
“Eyes Wide Open”
Making Mirrors

Gotye
“State of the Art”
Making Mirrors

Gotye
“Bronte”
Making Mirrors

Lana Del Rey Born to Die Review

Lana Del Rey stormed the music world a few months ago with a blitz of interviews and singles. After it had been established this was an artist that Interscope Records wanted us to know about, her album Born to Die was released.

Usually I take in an album several times before I review it, but I had a hard time getting through Born to Die once. The sound of the album isn’t bad, it’s sort of a sultry pop album. There’s no doubt that Del Rey can sing. Her sultry voice is easy on the ear.  But it’s what she sings about that is such a turn off. The songs are mostly about men – ones she’s dated, ones who ignored her, and how much she needs them for better or for worse. She talks about bad relationships she can’t escape in “Off to the Races,” doing things solely for her man in “Video Games,” and then talks about knowing what boys wants on “Lolita.” Feminists everywhere are rolling their eyes.

Born to Die doesn’t do much to stand out from other female vocalists with similar sounds. See: Kate Earl (who is better and a little more electronic), Feist (also better and little more folksy) and Adele (probably better, but I don’t have any interest in finding out).

For me, Lana Del Rey’s Born to Die comes up short on interest and intelligence.  I don’t have any interest in hearing about this lady’s relationship problems, but that’s probably because I’m an adult and realize that the world has much bigger issues to be dealt with.

It’s best played when you don’t have to give it any attention. When having to focus on the album, I often found my mind wandering and looking for other things to do. The songs on the album clock in at around 4 minutes each and seem unnecessarily repetitive. If they were shortened by a minute or so, they would be much more tolerable. Also, the album’s title reminded me a Leftover Crack song of the same name. Take that for whatever it’s worth.

Party Goer Opinions

Tim: “I like some of it, but some of things she does really bother me. She does this ‘Bettie Boop’ thing I hate [in reference to “Off to the Races”].”

Lauren: “I like some of the songs, but she’s trying too hard.”

Verdict: It’s a mixed bag. People liked some of the songs, but overall there didn’t seem to be enough positives to overcome the negatives. The singles off of the Born to Die are all worth listening to, but don’t delve any deeper or you’ll regret it.

Video from the album:
Lana Del Rey
“Born to Die”
Born to Die