Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Guest Review of Countdown Tracks (Episode 7)

 When my daughter was about to be born, I had a problem. How was I going to keep the podcast going? She was coming 5 weeks sooner than expected and it was in the first year of the podcast, so the idea of having a pretaped episode hadn't occurred to me (although, now that I think about it, I had done that Memorial Day episode, so perhaps I just wasn't thinking because her birth took us by surprise). So anyways, I asked my friend Andy if he could listen to the current songs on the chart and send me a review of them that I could publish. And that's what happened. And now every so often, I get someone to listen to the tracks that I have compiled into a CD-length mix and give their honest (often VERY honest) reviews of them. My sister is that guest this time. You've heard her before on podcasts both bonus and regular.

She didn't have a tracklist to start, so you'll see that a lot of her reviews are based on her not knowing who it is. That's really how I prefer it. Everything you read after this that isn't italicized is hers. The italicized stuff is mine. Because sometimes it's fun to add my own commentary.

Songs reviewed in this post appeared on episodes published between 3/1/14 and 5/16/15 (Which I think is roughly Episodes 187-246. Quite the span.)


Track 1 (alt-j - Left Hand Free):
Ahhh, the new Alt-J.  I was really into their last album a few years ago and actually saw them in Boston with my good friend Greg.  I love Boston and that night was really fun so I always have positive associations with Alt-J. I’ve been seeing things online making fun of their sometimes nasally harmonies but I think it’s just their fun, unique sound and this song reflects this sound well.    

Track 2 (Arctic Monkeys - Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High):
I definitely have limited experience with the Arctic Monkeys.  I think I’m so instantly turned off by their name that I’ve never taken the time to listen which is probably a little ridiculous on my part.  I think they’re a little overrated but probably going to be remembered 50 years from now--there’s definitely a big enough cult following.  This song’s kind of fun.  If it came on the radio I probably wouldn’t switch it off. (It *is* a ridiculous name. I'm trying to think if you would like the rest of their stuff. I think it's possible if you were in a certain mood.)

Track 3 (Bastille - Bad Blood):
I know that once I look it up, I’m gonna kick myself for not being able to come up with the band. Yup. Fuckin Bastille. I’m super into this song! It’d be cool to come up with a mash-up of this Bad Blood with Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood. (I would be very interested to see how that turned out. I'm almost universally FOR mashups with Taylor Swift)  His voice is beautiful!   

Track 4 (Bastille - Flaws):
This song is kind of catchy? Is this Bastille again? They sound the same but with different electronic stuff.  Oh.  Hah.  It is Bastille again. Huh. Welp. This song is pretty cool too.  I liked the other song better though.  

Track 5 (Bear Hands - Giants):
I know it’s called I’m Loving You More but I can’t remember the band.  Is it like the Bleachers or something? It’s kind of catchy but also everything about it is sort of generically “alt”.  I have literally never heard of the band Bear Hands and the song is called Giants.  Huh. Well that song is alright.  

Track 6 (Big Data featuring Joywave - Dangerous):
Killer bass riff.  I like this song a lot! I’ve never heard it, but I like it.  I have never heard of the band Big Data. 10/10 would listen again. I like the steel drums--or whatever drums they are.  

Track 7 (Black Keys - Fever):
The electronic riff is very 1st wave alternative like Oingo Boingo or B-52s which is kind of fun but everything else is kind of generic.  I’ve never heard of this song but I feel like I’ve heard the vocals before.  Oh it’s the Black Keys.  I’ve never been wild about them.  This song is okay.  They’re another band with a really big, cult-like fan base that are intensely into the Black Keys.

Track 8 (Black Keys - Gotta Get Away):
This has a mid-late Beatles vibe which is probably a very grand statement but oh well.  The solo is fun and very classic. I like this song! I’ve never heard it! The chorus is really catchy.  Lol. It’s the fuckin Black Keys *eats words* (Ha ha. Made you say something nice about them.)

Track 9 (Bleachers - I Wanna Get Better):
I WANNA GET BETTER! The Bleachers!!!! I am super into this song.  It never gets old.  Some of the feelings conveyed are definitely relatable to a certain degree.

Track 10 (Coldplay - Magic):
I’m gonna say Jamie XX has something to do with this.  That guitar is all too familiar.  I don’t know this song isn’t bad.  I don’t love it but I don’t hate.  Oh weird! Coldplay? I didn’t even know they had a new album coming out. Huh. I thought I recognized the vocals.  Still, it has a sound similar to The XX.  I was really into Coldplay in like 8th grade.  They came to my hometown and this girl from a group of acquaintances I hung out with invited everyone else in the group but I wasn’t invited.

Track 11 (Coldplay - A Sky Full of Stars):
Jk I forgot that this song was a thing. Of course Coldplay released a new album.  I like this song a lot! I admire Chris Martin’s attempts to stay relevant in the music world after all these years.  

Track 12 (Dirty Heads - My Sweet Summer):
I don’t like this song but I do appreciate the ambiguousness of Summer, a girl, and summer, a season.  But yeah, I’m not a fan of Dirty Heads and this song just reinforces my distaste.

Track 13 (Fall Out Boy - Centuries):
FOB! I don’t like this song but I can see how others would like it.  The chorus is annoying.  I like Uma Thurman from the new album better.  The only music video I have on my iPod is This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race.               

Track 14 (Fitz & the Tantrums - The Walker):
This song is in every commercial on TV I feel like.  I don’t like this song.  It’s annoying.  Nothing about is really original but then again I’ve never written a song so who am I to judge.  Idk.  Something about this song is really off-putting. I don’t even care who it is. (This is one of your niece's favorite songs. So, I don't know how you feel about that, but it is the case. It went on her 2014 Christmas Mix)

Track 15 (Hozier - Take Me to Church):
TAKE ME TO CHURCH! UGHHHHHH this is a great song. His voice is beautiful.  It’s such an intimate song.  I can’t wait to see what else Hozier comes out with. (You and me both. I get excited by this kind of up and coming musician)

Track 16 (Jack White - Lazaretto):
The first band I thought of was RHCP. But I doubt it’s them.  Whoops. It’s Jack White.  Never been a huuuuge fan but this song is pretty cool!  The middle part is fun n trippy.  Interesting usage of violins/violas.  There’s a lot going on in this song.

Track 17 (Kings of Leon - Wait For Me):
The intro sounded like the intro to Twin Peaks a little bit...like maybe if you had an ear infection or something.  I know the vocals… oh yeah Kings of Leon.  Idk.  This song is ok I guess.  Kinda pretty.

Track 18 (KONGOS - Come With Me Now):
NOOOO I can’t stand this song. It’s so obnoxious. It’s also on every TV commercial for like beer or like ice hockey or something now. Ughhhhhhh. I would instantly switch the station if this came on the radio. (Right but you have to understand what a breath of fresh air this song was when it came on the countdown. And then advertisers discovered it, too)

Track 19 (Milky Chance - Stolen Dance):
The chorus ruins it but everything else about this song is kind of fun.  I like the parts when there are no vocals...I feel like I’m at a bleak, minimalist disco. I’ve never heard of the band Milky Chance.   

Track 20 (Vance Joy - Riptide):
Damnit. Everything about Riptide is super catchy. It’s a very solid song.  I’m eager to see what else Passenger comes up with. (I totally get how you made this mistake. I don't hold it against you one bit.)

Track 21 (Weezer - Back to the Shack):
Duh. This song rocks. Long live Weezer. (Amen sister. Amen.)

Thanks to my sister for doing this. It's always awesome to pick the brain of someone as into music as I am, hearing these songs with new ears!

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