Listening: Quick Record Reviews

Belle and Sebastian’s Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance

It’s been a while since I listened to Belle and Sebastian, and even though it’s hinted at in the title, I wasn’t expecting a dance record.  Now, they didn’t go full EDM, more like good ABBA.  (Yes, there is such a thing).  “Nobody’s Empire” strikes really close to home with it’s explanation of what life is like with chronic fatigue. There are some songs that fit the classic archetype of Belle and Sebastian, but the truly memorable songs are the dance songs.

Sleater-Kinney’s No Cities to Love

I graduated from college in 1995.  That marks the beginning of a long period in which I didn’t listen to new music. The only time I went to the record store was if The Cure, Radiohead, or Paul Westerberg were releasing something.  I completely missed Sleater-Kinney.  In fact, the first time I heard of them was around the release of The Wood.  I made up of my lack of exposure by going on a Sleater-Kinney binge before the release of No Cities to Love.  I realized that I missed out completely.  No Cities to Love, to me anyway, sounds like they never took a break.  “No Cities to Love” and “A New Wave” should be songs that radio stations wear out from overplaying.  However, the socially-aware “Price Tag” is the best song here.

Mark Ronson’s Uptown Special

“Uptown Funk” is the kind of song that hipsters to grandparents bop their head to. You pretty much have to hate life to hate that song.  It makes the rest of the album hard to live up to and most of the time it doesn’t.  However, it’s still a good album. Stevie Wonder’s presence will make you want to get out his old albums. Yet, as good as “Uptown Funk” is “Feel Right” is even better, because anything with Mystikal is better.

Panda Bear’s Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper

I really wanted to like this album.  Again, this is an artist who I had always heard of but never actually heard. Some of the songs, such as “Mr. Noah” and “Tropic of Cancer” are great songs. Yet, I can’t get into as a whole no matter how much I try.  It’s fine when you are doing something else like cleaning your desk or washing dishes.  Yet, if you are giving it your full attention it just comes off as boring.  Not bad, just boring which is probably worse.

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