Posts Tagged ‘review’

Sorry about the title, I couldn’t help it. I think it’s rather humorous.

To the delight/lament of music fans everywhere, Coldplay released their 4th album this week, with the Ricky Martin-inspired title, Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends.

Maybe it was just me keeping myself less exposed to it, but it seemed like there was not nearly as much hype and build-up as there was for their previous album, X&Y. I count that as a good thing. X&Y was doomed from the beginning by all the ridiculous hype and expectations. (I do think they definitely took a few steps forward on that album though.)

When they released their first single from Viva La Vida, “Violet Hill,” it was pretty obvious they were going in a different direction, much of which can be attributed to first-time Coldplay producer, Brian Eno. There was a darker tone to the music along with some added depth. And a guitar solo. I was going to be pretty excited about the album regardless, but “Violet Hill” really drove up expectations.

I listened to the entire album online a few weeks ago when the band released it for streaming, so I’ve been able to enjoy it for some time already.

And man…it is a great listen.

All right, on with the review. This will go like the post for Radiohead’s “In Rainbows.” I’ll list the title of each track and my favorite part of each song, with a blurb of thoughts for each. Then I’ll give some wrap-up thoughts on the album as a whole afterwords.


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“I sometimes get this strange and sort of uncontrollable urge to want to go home.

-Georg Hólm, member of the band Sigur Rós

Majestic, grand, expansive, surreal, breath-taking, stunning, arresting, inspiring, beautiful, staggering, personal…and I’m already out of words to describe the fairly recently released film by the Icelandic band, Sigur Rós. (Okay, it was released back in December of ’07. I just hadn’t gotten around to checking it out until a couple weeks ago.)

Sigur Rós is a band that has been making their other-worldly, alien, and powerfully intimate music for close to a decade. They sing in Icelandic and a lyrical non-language that is roughly translated from the Icelandic name for it as “Hopelandic.” It is not a Tolkien-like “language” per se, as its “words” mean nothing in a literal sense but, in many ways, it serves some of the same purposes as language. I don’t happen to be fluent in Icelandic, so I can’t tell the difference between the two anyway — and it doesn’t matter. Each album they’ve released has found them making music that breaks beyond the barriers of language to get as close to communicating feelings and emotions that language can only hope to convey, or struggle to give an idea of.

Yet for most of their careers, the band members themselves have remained enigmatic and closed-off, buffered from the world by their ethereal music. Heima, which means “at home” or “homeland,” takes us beyond that barrier and uses the music to immerse us in the things that make them who they are, where they come from, what their “home” is.


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ipod ad

My trendy, hip, relatively poor quality ipod earbuds totally broke down a month ago. I have some good Sony DJ-ing cans that I use at home and when I’m stationary, but I had nothing portable. So I had been using these cheapo, ugly earbuds made by poor Chinese kids and sold by poor Mexican kids that I got while vacationing in Puerto Vallarta a few years ago when I forgot my ipod earbuds at home. (That sentence itself is worthy of a blog post or two.)

So yeah…I needed a replacement. Christmas came and went and I decided to put some good, portable headphones on my shopping list for myself (I do shopping for myself after Christmas…a short list of stuff I really want/need and could get through the comforts of the internet). Now I could’ve gotten some regular, everyday 30 dollar earbuds (like the Apple earbuds), but I decided my Christmas pretty much sucked and I should splurge a little. “Splurge” meaning I collected all my change from my car, pockets, desk, bed, and sidewalks, took it all to a Coinstar machine and printed out a nice $42.74 gift certificate to Amazon. That is more than enough right? Well, I then used that to buy a $200 (msrp) pair of Shure E3 ear-BUDS!

Update: Shure recently replaced the E3 with the current model…which is the exact same thing in all aspects, except the name. They changed it to the Shure SCL3.

I guess I did splurge…with the help of American Express. But being the savvy consumer that I am, I found a merchant selling them for $99 (no longer available), so I really paid around 60 bucks, since change-money is basically the closest we can get to magical, grown-on-tree money — comes out of nowhere and doesn’t really count.

But yes, you read right. $200 Ear-buds. Not a surround-sound mini home stereo system. Not a crazy pair of studio monitoring headphones. I bought little, small earbuds, which are probably smaller than the ipod earbuds they replace. And they’re a very plain charcoal-grey, not the pristine Apple-white that everyone wants. (The white model was about 40 bucks more expensive. Damn viral Apple marketing. Infecting every brand in sight.) But don’t be fooled by the class, size, or color of the product (you classist, size-ist, racist bigots). (more…)

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