fiona apple - fetch the bolt cutters

Fiona Apple: Fetch the Bolt Cutters (2020)

We’re in the second half of the #mayvinylchallenge and today is Best Quarantine Album. You can interpret that in a myriad of ways: is it the album that got me through quarantine? Is it the best album released during quarantine? Are the two mutually exclusive? A lot of music helped me to survive 2020, but only a handful of albums served that purpose for my entire family. I don’t know if you’re tired about hearing how “Shameika said I had potential,” but that refrain from Fiona Apple off her long awaited fifth album Fetch the Bolt Cutters gave so much life and energy to my family I really couldn’t pick anything else.

Continue reading “Fiona Apple: Fetch the Bolt Cutters (2020)”
ben folds - rocking the suburbs

Ben Folds: Rockin’ the Suburbs (2001)

There’s no way for me to be impartial when it comes to Ben Folds, and specifically his first solo album Rockin’ the Suburbs.  Sorry if that makes me bourgeois or vanilla or uncool.  Ben Folds Five was a huge deal for me finding a way through a lot of feelings of depression and anxiety during my 20s, and the way the songs on this album mirrored so many moments of my inner life was scary.  It’s a huge musical touchpoint for my life, one I can’t listen to without getting emotional. Continue reading “Ben Folds: Rockin’ the Suburbs (2001)”

arctic monkeys - am

Arctic Monkeys: AM (2013)

What is AM, specifically in the context of the fifth Arctic Monkeys album?  Is it Ante Meridian?  Amplitude Modulation?  or is it, in the words of frequent collaborator Josh Homme simply sexy music for After Midnight?  It doesn’t matter; the Arctic Monkeys have crafted a dark velvety album of late night tunes that merge the murk of Humbug and the pop of Suck It And See into a far more cohesive and engaging listen. Continue reading “Arctic Monkeys: AM (2013)”

arctic monkeys - suck it and see

Arctic Monkeys: Suck It And See (2011)

Moving away from the heavier doom of Humbug, 2011 finds the Arctic Monkeys embracing the lessons of simpler arrangements and more straightforward songwriting.  Pop-infused like opener “She’s Thunderstorms” and “Black Treacle” chart the course for the tongue-in-cheek Suck It And See.  It’s the first time the band sounds like something other than completely themselves, and despite the strong collection of songs here it’s this album where I start to fins myself wandering a bit in attention. Continue reading “Arctic Monkeys: Suck It And See (2011)”

arcade fire - reflektor

Arcade Fire: Reflektor (2013)

Put aside for the moment the pretension and Pitchfork accolades.  Forget the fact that Reflektor, the follow-up to Arcade Fire’s Grammy winning The Suburbs, was premiered by streaming it in its entirety set to Marcel Camus’s 1959 film Black Orpheus.  Forget all that, listen to the first two tracks and then think about this:

What if those songs came out in 1980, and Joe Strummer was singing them?  Continue reading “Arcade Fire: Reflektor (2013)”

arcade fire - the suburbs

Arcade Fire: The Suburbs (2010)

Sometimes you get a lot, and sometimes you get little.  Arcade Fire was all the rage about a decade ago, and I fell into the hype, trying to convince myself I could see the things in The Suburbs that others saw, or felt.  I don’t think I every actually got through the album in its entirety back then, and it was through the skin of my teeth I did so this time. Continue reading “Arcade Fire: The Suburbs (2010)”