Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen, your next screensaver

This image seem familiar? If so, you're clearly an '80s music nut! Okay, time for Pop Music SATs: Just as Songs from the Big Chair is considered Tears for Fears' first album, so is the status of The Raw & The Cooked from the Fine Young Cannibals (get it?). Albeit they did have that Tears for Fears 3-album set ever so briefly; I didn't have the presence of mind at the time to buy it. Besides, I'm tired of buying stuff all the time. The whole Costco culture, snap it up right now as it comes out. Can't afford to keep up, and yet, can't afford not to keep up.
But I digress. It's time to review another album because I do albums too, for what that's worth. Now I know it's not cool these days to admit to liking any songs, but I must say that The Raw and The Cooked is much more than just the original delivery device of FYC's hit that they'll eternally be remembered for: She Drives Me Crazy. There's something about the ultra-simplistic lyrics, sorta reminiscent of George Harrison's lyrics in his later solo work, and all those pseudo-dance beats; there is an ANSI-standard club dance beat that most songs adhere to these days, and track 8, Don't Let It Get You Down comes closest to it. About a third of the album is a love letter to 50s music, and is featured in the soundtrack to Barry Levinson's film Tin Men, a soundtrack that is way too cluttered with pop hits. I saw part of it when it originally came out on home video - this was when Levinson's camera style was first taking off; how to describe it? Neo-home movies style? Something like that. Finally! 2nd Unit work was getting the attention it deserved. A lot of down time in between the major plot points.
What to say about it, really? There's something about Roland Gift's vocals that remind me of Eric Roberts, but in a good way. Hard to say what songs I like best, but this album is now the one I must play constantly on my computer for the next couple months. I think I like "It's OK (It's Alright)" probably the best. "Don't Let it Get You Down" and "She Drives Me Crazy" are of course a slap in the face to Prince's "Kiss". I mentioned before that the lyrics are ultra-simplistic. Not necessarily a bad thing. Perhaps efficient is a better way to describe them; Ernest Hemingway would appreciate them. There's the part in 'Don't Let it Get You Down' that goes "There's a club / I can't get in ... it's my skin / they don't like." I feel for ya, brutha. I used to identify with "I'm not the man I used to be" when I was in high school! What's that all about? Gotta like "I'm not satisfied"; it's probably the best example of that Eric Roberts vibe I mentioned earlier. "Tell me what" is their most straightforward 50s homage. Good backup vocals. "Don't look back" is my least favourite of the tracks; interesting music video, though. I think they filmed it the same day they did the "She drives me crazy" video, but with the whole out-of-focus motif. "As Hard as it is" is the other 50s homage, but no one ever sang like that back then, I tell you what. And finally, "Ever fallen in love" could easily be converted by Eiffel 65 and made into the latest rave at the rave, I swear it.
Well, guess that's about all I can say about that. I gotta go, got an album to listen to some more. :)

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