Tag Archives: Recollection

Recollection Volume 41 – Original Music From The Motion Picture “The Such”

Recollection is a project to review my record collection. I will listen to an album I own and review it. The album will be chosen randomly by computron 2.0. Today computron chooses…

Album: Original Music From The Motion Picture “The Such”
Artist: Elevator Through
Released: 1998
Format(s) I own it on: CD

After the break up of Eric’s Trip, Rick White began some home recordings under the name Elevator To Hell, eventually adding Eric’s Trip drummer Mark Gaudet, and Orange Glass alumnus and White’s then-wife, Tara White. Elevator To Hell eventually became Elevator Through who later became Elevator.

Elevator was one of the best psychedelic bands in Canada during the 1990s and 2000s. This is in no small part due to the fantastic rhythm section provided by Mark Gaudet and Tara White. Gaudet’s drumming style is uniquely his own, he plays with a heavy emphasis on the cymbals. Gaudet doesn’t have a light touch, one of the times I saw Elevator live, Gaudet broke his snare’s skin. The band was performing without any breaks in the music, so the Whites jammed while Gaudet fixed the drum.

Tara White’s bass playing is an attack. She knows where to go to move the song. Her bass playing is melodic where you don’t expect it to be. She’s damn good.

I first heard Elevator Through, specifically “The Pick-Up” on a cassette I received from someone I knew on IRC, the #sloan channel. It took me about 15 years before I finally purchased The Such. I still have this cassette, and the contents of that cassette live in a playlist in iTunes. I have no idea if the tape still plays, but sometimes I still expect it to transition between songs like that cassette, going from Belle & Sebastian’s “A Summer Wasting” to Beck’s “Halo of Gold” rather than the more expected “Seymour Stein.”

The Such is the soundtrack to a film that I only just saw. It’s on Vimeo, embedded below. It’s less a film, and more a long-form music video. There are definite pieces that stand out as being from a soundtrack, including the title track, which starts with wind chimes. I first put this record on for reviewing while lying in bed with the gusts of wind blowing through my open window. The chimes brought me into this record. The chimes return throughout the record.

Highlights

My favourite is “The Pick-Up” which I was my entry to Elevator’s music. It’s also the most melodic of the album. Though my partner referred to it as “that album you’ve been listening to that sounds like Doctor Who.” I think that’s a compliment, Delia Derbyshire’s realization of the original Doctor Who theme is an amazing feat.

“The Wink” comes in a close second. I feel it starts off poorly, but once the song gets going, it delivers.

Lowlights

“The Such” is windchimes. It’s going to go here, as lovely as it was that one time, it won’t be when it comes on randomly in my car.1

“Sleep Experiment No. 3” does nothing for me.

Men 33.295 (81%) | Women 7.705 (19%)
CD: 24 (59%) | Vinyl: 13 (32%) | Digital: 0 (0%) | 7″: 2 (5%) | Box: 1 (2%)
1960s: 5 (12%) | 1970s: 3 (7%) | 1980s: 1 (2%) | 1990s: 12 (29%) | 2000s: 17 (41%) | 2010s: 3 (7%)
Canada 13.8 (34%) | USA 17.2 (42%) | UK 8 (20%) | NZ 1 (2%) | FR 1 (2%)
Ontario 5 (36%) | Quebec 1 (7%) | Nova Scotia 4 (29%) | New Brunswick 2 (14%) | Manitoba 0 (0%) | British Columbia 1 (7%) | Prince Edward Island 0 (0%)
Saskatchewan 0 (0%) | Alberta 0 (0%) | Newfoundland and Labrador 1 (7%) | Northwest Territories 0 (0%) | Yukon 0 (0%) | Nunavut 0 (0%)
  1. Fun Story Time™: I have a two room setup with Sonos, was in my bedroom as I was finishing up this article. Pressed play, had two people in my living room yelling, “ADAM! What’s going on?” Apparently I was playing the wind chimes in the wrong room. I forgot about the footnotes part of my blog, I used to have fun with that, I should bring them back. []

Recollection Volume 40 – On The Beach

Recollection is a project to review my record collection. I will listen to an album I own and review it. The album will be chosen randomly by computron. Today computron chooses…

Album: On The Beach
Artist: Neil Young
Released: 1974
Format(s) I own it on: CD

On_the_Beach_-_Neil_YoungThis is the final selection by Computron 1.0. It was a FileMaker database, that somehow went missing. I don’t know where the file ended up. As I unpacked from my move, I recreated Computron as a Google Sheet. The next entry will be generated from that.

I haven’t been able to put down On The Beach, it’s one of Neil Young’s best records. I’ve had this record on loop since I finished writing the Another Side edition of Recollection.

Contributions from Ben Keith, Graham Nash, David Crosby, Levon Helm, Rick Danko and many more make this one an all-star lineup for a bit of a strange record.

Neil Young is no stranger to strange, and this won’t be his furthest departure, but this, his fifth record, is the beginning, or perhaps the end of the classic Neil Young. Depends on your perspective. He had his self-titled record under his belt, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (his first with Crazy Horse), and the brilliant After The Gold Rush and Harvest. Young would spend the rest of the decade creating with a quality of valleys and peaks. However, On The Beach is as much a child of Harvest as it’s the parent of Tonight’s The Night. This record is unique in its own right.

But is it good? Hell yes.

Highlights

The opening two tracks, “Walk On” and “See The Sky ABout To Rain” are amongst the best of Young’s output. I would put those on any best of compiled for Young’s career. When the original line up of The Byrds reunited they took the spots usually reserved for Dylan covers and provided them to Young and Joni Mitchell. They performed “Cowgirl In The Sand” and “See The Sky About To Rain.” While the former isn’t much to write home about, Gene Clark’s vocals on “See The Sky About To Rain” are divine. It doesn’t compare to the Neil Young original, which in turn doesn’t compare to the version on his Massey Hall album.

Lowlights

It’s hard to pick a lowlight, as the record is solid. There’s nothing I would remove, but I think “Vampire Blues” would be my least favourite.

Men 32.625 (82%) | Women 7.375 (18%)
CD: 24 (60%) | Vinyl: 13 (33%) | Digital: 0 (0%) | 7″: 2 (5%) | Box: 1 (3%)
1960s: 5 (13%) | 1970s: 3 (8%) | 1980s: 1 (3%) | 1990s: 11 (28%) | 2000s: 17 (43%) | 2010s: 3 (8%)
Canada 12.8 (32%) | USA 17.2 (43%) | UK 8 (20%) | NZ 1 (3%) | FR 1 (3%)
Ontario 5 (38%) | Quebec 1 (8%) | Nova Scotia 4 (31%) | New Brunswick 1 (8%) | Manitoba 0 (0%) | British Columbia 1 (8%) | Prince Edward Island 0 (0%)
Saskatchewan 0 (0%) | Alberta 0 (0%) | Newfoundland and Labrador 1 (8%) | Northwest Territories 0 (0%) | Yukon 0 (0%) | Nunavut 0 (0%)

Recollection Volume 39 – Another Side Of Bob Dylan

Recollection is a project to review my record collection. I will listen to an album I own and review it. The album will be chosen randomly by computron. Today computron chooses…

Album: Another Side Of Bob Dylan
Artist: Bob Dylan
Released: 1964
Format(s) I own it on: CD/Vinyl

Bob_Dylan_-_Another_Side_of_Bob_Dylan

I was excited for this one. I don’t listen to Bob Dylan much these days, but still like his music. Back in the high school days, this was one of my favourites. Something changed. I don’t know exactly what it was, but here I am, nearly three years after having started this post, and I’m only just getting back to it. It didn’t help that the FileMaker database I had catalogued everything in has gone missing.

I had so much problems with this record, because I used to love it, but now I don’t love it, and I don’t dislike it. There’s definitely some cringe moments on this records. I’m often listening and unsure about so much of the record.

Like the title suggests, this record is meant to show Bob Dylan in a new light. He’s no longer the protester, he’s singing love songs.

At times, Dylan’s lyricism can be generously described at pedestrian, but other times, we see the genius that everyone seems to always talk about.

Highlights

“Chimes of Freedom” is a song I loved from this album during my teenage years, and still do.

His nasal voice pouring out “Ballad in Plain D” might be one of Dylan’s greatest accomplishments. The song is so perfect, I cannot imagine any cover ever doing it justice.

Lowlights

I hate “Motorpsycho Nitemare” and “Black Crow Blues.”

Men 31.625 (81%) | Women 7.375 (19%)
CD: 23 (59%) | Vinyl: 13 (33%) | Digital: 0 (0%) | 7″: 2 (5%) | Box: 1 (3%)
1960s: 5 (13%) | 1970s: 2 (5%) | 1980s: 1 (3%) | 1990s: 11 (28%) | 2000s: 17 (44%) | 2010s: 3 (8%)
Canada 11.8 (30%) | USA 17.2 (44%) | UK 8 (21%) | NZ 1 (3%) | FR 1 (3%)
Ontario 4 (33%) | Quebec 1 (8%) | Nova Scotia 4 (33%) | New Brunswick 1 (8%) | Manitoba 0 (0%) | British Columbia 1 (8%) | Prince Edward Island 0 (0%)
Saskatchewan 0 (0%) | Alberta 0 (0%) | Newfoundland and Labrador 1 (8%) | Northwest Territories 0 (0%) | Yukon 0 (0%) | Nunavut 0 (0%)

Recollection Volume 38 – Sun Wizard

Recollection is a project to review my record collection. I will listen to an album I own and review it. The album will be chosen randomly by computron. Today computron chooses…

Album: Sun Wizard
Artist: Sun Wizard
Released: 2010
Format(s) I own it on: CD

SunWizard-Comp2In 2010, I went to Vancouver and had a great time. While I was there I went into a record store, talked to a clerk and asked him to suggest some awesome local Vancouver bands I might not have heard of. He set me up with a CD player and gave me a listen to a few records. Amongst them was this one. If I recall correctly, he was in the band.

It’s a five track EP in the vein of Wilco’s Summerteeth days. In other words, poptastic with a splash of alt-country. Sun Wizard’s instrumentation is in fine form and vocals are great.

I don’t quite understand the “Compact Disc” logo on the front, seeing as it was released in 2010, not 1988, but I do love the plaid shirt. Who doesn’t love plaid? My nationality might be shining through.

This is an EP I’d suggest to nearly anyone.

Highlights

“Day In Day Out” is one of those rock and roll songs you want to move to. Would have fit well in the 1990s alt country scene, or the 1970s.

The hand claps on “You Had The Answer!” I could see them opening for ’90s-era Sloan with this song.

Lowlights

A pretty solid EP, not going to put anything here.

Men 30.625 (81%) | Women 7.375 (19%)
CD: 22.5 (59%) | Vinyl: 12.5 (33%) | Digital: 0 (0%) | 7″: 2 (5%) | Box: 1 (3%)
1960s: 4 (11%) | 1970s: 2 (5%) | 1980s: 1 (3%) | 1990s: 11 (29%) | 2000s: 17 (45%) | 2010s: 3 (8%)
Canada 11.8 (31%) | USA 16.2 (43%) | UK 8 (21%) | NZ 1 (3%) | FR 1 (3%)
Ontario 4 (33%) | Quebec 1 (8%) | Nova Scotia 4 (33%) | New Brunswick 1 (8%) | Manitoba 0 (0%) | British Columbia 1 (8%) | Prince Edward Island 0 (0%)
Saskatchewan 0 (0%) | Alberta 0 (0%) | Newfoundland and Labrador 1 (8%) | Northwest Territories 0 (0%) | Yukon 0 (0%) | Nunavut 0 (0%)

Recollection Volume 37 – From A Lover To A Friend

Recollection is a project to review my record collection. I will listen to an album I own and review it. The album will be chosen randomly by computron. Today computron chooses…

Album: From A Lover To A Friend
Artist: Paul McCartney
Released: 2001
Format(s) I own it on: CD

28a5e83I believe I bought this CD single when I bought my copy of Driving Rain. I assume I never heard the single before purchasing it as I never recall liking this terrible, terrible song.

Fortunately, I own a CD with not one, but three versions of this song. So let’s listen again…

I think a lot of what makes me hate this song so much is that it seems to start out of nowhere. I think it might have to do with starting a song with the word “and.” It’s much how I feel about his more popular hit “My Love.” And yet as the song plays, I sing along. It does have a catchy chorus and melody, but that’s McCartney’s trademark.

It’s strange, I like the bass line and the melody, and McCartney’s vocals are somewhat weak, as if he’s in pain to sing it. It’s almost beautiful, but yet it doesn’t form into a cohesive song.

The other two tracks on the CD are remixes. The first places McCartney’s vocals in the forefront, keeps the instrumentation sparse. While the bass is preserved, the piano which drives the song is missing. I can’t say I’ve listened to this version of the song more than once, and I don’t see any reason to listen to it again.

The second remix begins with sparse piano. It kind of picks up my soul and gives me faith in the song. The vocals are buried and have too much reverb happening, but it seems David Kahne’s second remix is much better at finding the beauty in this song.

There’s something magical in this song that just isn’t shining in any of these recordings or mixes. It truly could be something spectacular, but falls flat. A man who lost his wife to cancer pleading “let me love again.”

Now I want to listen to Driving Rain, which is a good record.

Men 29.625 (80%) | Women 7.375 (20%)
CD: 21.5 (58%) | Vinyl: 12.5 (34%) | Digital: 0 (0%) | 7″: 2 (5%) | Box: 1 (3%)
1960s: 4 (11%) | 1970s: 2 (5%) | 1980s: 1 (3%) | 1990s: 11 (30%) | 2000s: 17 (46%) | 2010s: 2 (3%)
Canada 10.8 (29%) | USA 16.2 (44%) | UK 8 (22%) | NZ 1 (3%) | FR 1 (3%)
Ontario 4 (36%) | Quebec 1 (9%) | Nova Scotia 4 (36%) | New Brunswick 1 (9%) | Manitoba 0 (0%) | British Columbia 0 (0%) | Prince Edward Island 0 (0%)
Saskatchewan 0 (0%) | Alberta 0 (0%) | Newfoundland and Labrador 1 (9%) | Northwest Territories 0 (0%) | Yukon 0 (0%) | Nunavut 0 (0%)

Recollection Volume 36 – Love At The Bottom Of The Sea

Recollection is a project to review my record collection. I will listen to an album I own and review it. The album will be chosen randomly by computron. Today computron chooses…

Album: Love At The Bottom Of The Sea
Artist: The Magnetic Fields
Released: 2012
Format(s) I own it on: Vinyl

Latbots_largeSomeone once described modern Magnetic Fields as a parody of Stephin Merritt’s songwriting style. This might be accurate. However, this doesn’t sum up the records completely. Love At The Bottom Of The Sea has some really good songs on it, and though it might be a bit over the top compared to 69 Love Songs, they’re worth the price of admission.

Much like most of Merritt’s work, Love At The Bottom Of The Sea is filled with love songs. As usual they’re not the most traditional love songs. Songs of mariticide, frustrating love triangles, unfaithfulness, one’s inability to be tied down, being trapped in a swinger’s party, and many more topics.

The album is sung mostly by Shirley Simms, with Merritt and Claudia Gonson. I don’t know if it was done with purpose, but it seems Simms sings the best songs on the record. Simms has a natural country twang with shows through in “Goin’ Back to the Country.” She would have been a huge asset on the earlier album The Charm of the Highway Strip.

Highlights

Merritt begins the record with “God Wants Us To Wait,” a brief song about waiting until marriage. I assume it’s sung tongue-in-cheek, I take it that way, but you can really read whatever you wish to in it. Shirley Simms sings the song rather earnestly.

What rhymes with “drag?” Merritt answers that question with “Andrew In Drag” by using as many rhymes for drag as he can in one song. Bag, brag, fag, gag, jag, shag, stag, wag. It’s a fun song, but it’s also really sad. “Andrew In Drag” is about a man falling in love with his best friend in drag… sadly he only did it as a gag. He’ll never know love again, now that he’s met Andrew in drag.

“Quick” is probably my favourite song on the album. Another song sung by Simms, this time about giving someone one last chance before heading out the door. It’s one of Merritt’s best.

Lowlights

“I’ve Run Away to Join the Fairies” is terrible. Combined with the dreadful melody and the frequent bursts of electronic noise that jolts the listener out of the song. The song would be better suited to a Gothic Archies record.

Speaking of another Merritt band, The Gothic Archies, “All She Cares About Is Mariachi” feels more like it would fit into a third Merritt band, Future Bible Heroes. Sadly it’s a rather boring song.

Men 28.625 (80%) | Women 7.375 (20%)
CD: 20.5 (57%) | Vinyl: 12.5 (35%) | Digital: 0 (0%) | 7″: 2 (6%) | Box: 1 (3%)
1960s: 4 (11%) | 1970s: 2 (6%) | 1980s: 1 (3%) | 1990s: 11 (31%) | 2000s: 16 (44%) | 2010s: 2 (3%)
Canada 10.8 (30%) | USA 16.2 (45%) | UK 7 (19%) | NZ 1 (3%) | FR 1 (3%)
Ontario 4 (36%) | Quebec 1 (9%) | Nova Scotia 4 (36%) | New Brunswick 1 (9%) | Manitoba 0 (0%) | British Columbia 0 (0%) | Prince Edward Island 0 (0%)
Saskatchewan 0 (0%) | Alberta 0 (0%) | Newfoundland and Labrador 1 (9%) | Northwest Territories 0 (0%) | Yukon 0 (0%) | Nunavut 0 (0%)

Recollection Volume 35 – Work Cut Out

Recollection is a project to review my record collection. I will listen to an album I own and review it. The album will be chosen randomly by computron. Today computron chooses…

Album: Work Cut Out
Artist: Sloan
Released: 1998
Format(s) I own it on: CD

Chris Murphy’s “Work Cut Out” was released on a CD to come free with Chart Magazine. To celebrate the release of Sloan’s Navy BluesChart released four separate covers, each featuring a different member of Sloan.

The song itself is definitely the worst from the Navy Blues session. It never really made it beyond demo quality, but Sloan felt it was a good song to throw to Chart.

The song is repetitive, and a tad annoying, but it’s also really catchy. Murphy has a talent for writing catchy songs, and this was during his high point.

Men 27.625 (79%) | Women 7.375 (21%)
CD: 20.5 (59%) | Vinyl: 11.5 (33%) | Digital: 0 (0%) | 7″: 2 (6%) | Box: 1 (9%)
1960s: 4 (11%) | 1970s: 2 (6%) | 1980s: 1 (3%) | 1990s: 11 (31%) | 2000s: 16 (46%) | 2010s: 1 (3%)
Canada 10.8 (31%) | USA 15.2 (43%) | UK 7 (20%) | NZ 1 (3%) | FR 1 (3%)
Ontario 4 (36%) | Quebec 1 (9%) | Nova Scotia 4 (36%) | New Brunswick 1 (9%) | Manitoba 0 (0%) | British Columbia 0 (0%) | Prince Edward Island 0 (0%)
Saskatchewan 0 (0%) | Alberta 0 (0%) | Newfoundland and Labrador 1 (9%) | Northwest Territories 0 (0%) | Yukon 0 (0%) | Nunavut 0 (0%)

Recollection Volume 34 – Californication

Recollection is a project to review my record collection. I will listen to an album I own and review it. The album will be chosen randomly by computron. Today computron chooses…

Album: Californication
Artist: Red Hot Chili Peppers
Released: 1999
Format(s) I own it on: CD

RedHotChiliPeppersCalifornicationI’m not a Red Hot Chili Peppers fan. I do remember when Californication came out, and a number of the songs were huge hits. I liked the title track and “Scar Tissue” but not enough to actually purchase the album. This album made its way into my collection, as it was sitting in my apartment building’s book exchange. I figured free was a good price for two decent songs. Beyond those two songs, this is the first time I’ve listened to the record.

Californication almost seems like a pop-parody of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ sound. If I were a fan of the band, I would probably be disappointed with this album’s sound, but as someone who knows their hits and ignores the rest, meh, it’s okay.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers sound is kind of painful. It’s all attack, at all times. They often forget the melody in favour of a pounding bass and drum, which is strange for songs so poppy.

It’s actually a hard album to sit through. All the good songs are on the first side, and most of them aren’t THAT good.

Highlights

I still have no idea what Anthony Kiedis sings in “Scar Tissue,” but I don’t think it matters. The melody is pretty, and it’s a catchy song to mumble along to.  Oh, Google tells me it’s, “With the birds I’ll share this lonely view.” I guess that makes sense. *shrugs*

Lowlights

“Get On Top” is terrible. Absolutely terrible.

I think it I was a Red Hot Chili Peppers fan, I might enjoy “Around The World,” but no. It’s terrible.

“Emit Remmus” sounds like it could be a Mighty Boosh song.

Men 26.625 (78%) | Women 7.375 (22%)
CD: 19.5 (57%) | Vinyl: 11.5 (34%) | Digital: 0 (0%) | 7″: 2 (6%) | Box: 1 (9%)
1960s: 4 (12%) | 1970s: 2 (6%) | 1980s: 1 (3%) | 1990s: 10 (29%) | 2000s: 16 (47%) | 2010s: 1 (3%)
Canada 9.8 (29%) | USA 15.2 (45%) | UK 7 (21%) | NZ 1 (3%) | FR 1 (3%)
Ontario 4 (40%) | Quebec 1 (10%) | Nova Scotia 3 (30%) | New Brunswick 1 (10%) | Manitoba 0 (0%) | British Columbia 0 (0%) | Prince Edward Island 0 (0%)
Saskatchewan 0 (0%) | Alberta 0 (0%) | Newfoundland and Labrador 1 (10%) | Northwest Territories 0 (0%) | Yukon 0 (0%) | Nunavut 0 (0%)

Recollection Volume 33 – Real Love

Recollection is a project to review my record collection. I will listen to an album I own and review it. The album will be chosen randomly by computron. Today computron chooses…

Album: Real Love
Artist: The Beatles
Released: 1996
Format(s) I own it on: CD

Real-love1This four song CD single was released in 1996 along-side The Beatles’ collection of bootlegs and rarities. The Anthology project was huge. My family watched the documentary as it aired on ABC, I bought the VHS box set and watched it over and over and over again. I bought all three double-disc Anthology CD sets. When I was in Vancouver, I saw a record store selling both the CD single for Free As A Bird and Real Love.

Those two songs were recorded from demos made by John Lennon. These unfinished songs were handed to the surviving Beatles by Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono. After Lennon’s murder on December 8, 1980, there was no hope The Beatles could ever reunite. There’s absolutely no way The Beatles could exist without John Lennon. The Beatles were John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr and without one of them, it wouldn’t be The Beatles.

This was the next best thing. A home recording of John Lennon’s which surviving The Beatles could clean up and overdub onto. The final result was… okay. It’s a good song. It’s not brilliant, but it’s a good song. Is it as good as the output that made the band legendary, probably not, but it’s enjoyable.

The three B-sides on the record are a live rendition of “Baby’s In Black” which is often overwhelmed by the screaming of teenage girls, a remix of “Yellow Submarine,” and a basic track of “Here, There and Everywhere.”

“Baby’s In Black” was recorded at Hollywood Bowl in 1965, but that song wasn’t included on the American released Live At The Hollywood Bowl. Lennon introduces the song in a very John Lennon fashion.

The remix of “Yellow Submarine” puts the sound effects more prominent. It’s not anything you’d want to listen to when you have the proper release of the song.

“Here, There And Everywhere” is a stripped down recording. Paul McCartney’s guiding vocals really illustrate how sweet his voice is. There’s a few bum notes on the recording, but you can really see what makes McCartney one of the great songwriters and singers. Near the end of the song, the Beatle harmonies come in and prove just how good those Beatles really were.

Men 25.625 (78%) | Women 7.375 (22%)
CD: 18.5 (56%) | Vinyl: 11.5 (35%) | Digital: 0 (0%) | 7″: 2 (6%) | Box: 1 (3%)
1960s: 4 (12%) | 1970s: 2 (6%) | 1980s: 1 (3%) | 1990s: 9 (27%) | 2000s: 16 (48%) | 2010s: 1 (3%)
Canada 9.8 (30%) | USA 14.2 (43%) | UK 7 (21%) | NZ 1 (3%) | FR 1 (3%)
Ontario 4 (40%) | Quebec 1 (10%) | Nova Scotia 3 (30%) | New Brunswick 1 (10%) | Manitoba 0 (0%) | British Columbia 0 (0%) | Prince Edward Island 0 (0%)
Saskatchewan 0 (0%) | Alberta 0 (0%) | Newfoundland and Labrador 1 (10%) | Northwest Territories 0 (0%) | Yukon 0 (0%) | Nunavut 0 (0%)

Recollection Volume 32 – The Life Pursuit

Recollection is a project to review my record collection. I will listen to an album I own and review it. The album will be chosen randomly by computron. Today computron chooses…

Album: The Life Pursuit
Artist: Belle & Sebastian
Released: 2006
Format(s) I own it on: CD

ThelifepursuitcoverBelle & Sebastian’s 2006 album The Life Pursuit was well into their career. It was over a decade since Stuart Murdoch had put the band together and masterminded Tigermilk, and album that can be best described at “perfect.”

By this point, the band had a pretty loyal following, they were sure who they were, and found a way to incorporate the other members in leading roles. Violinist Sarah Martin and guitarist Stevie Jackson take their turn with songwriting. The three of them harmonize together to create a lush sound.

The Life Pursuit can best be described as pop. “Sugary sweet” would be pretty apt. Though Murdoch isn’t the only songwriter in the band at this point, he is the band leader for a reason. His songs are the standouts.

The three singles, “Funny Little Frog,” “The Blues Are Still Blue,” and “White Collar Boy” are pop mastery. These songs have such catchy melodies that would dare any ass not to move to the rhythm.

While I love this record, it is not without its faults. Jackson’s songwriting ability seems to slip, and the album goes on a bit too long, fizzling out at the end.

Highlights… this is gonna be long.

“Funny Little Frog” is undoubtably the best song on this record. Murdoch sings about the how wonderful unrequited love can be. There’s no expectation that can be let down, as Murdoch describes a perfect relationship with someone he’s never even met.

A love story between two convicts from different backgrounds, “White Collar Boy” is an insanely well craft pop song. The call and answer structure to the song has been done many times before, but they do this well.

“The Blues Are Still Blues” is just damn good. Singalong, trust me, it’s worth it. Even if you can’t sing, like me, singalong. You’ll have a good time. This is probably the best song ever written about laundry.

How can you not love “Sukie In The Graveyard?” Once again, Murdoch is singing about an outsider. The entire band comes together almost perfectly. With Mick Cooke’s trumpet playing and orchestration, Murdoch’s vocals, Bobby Kildea’s fabulous bass line, and Richard Colburn’s great drumming… but what is with that horrible guitar solo from Stevie Jackson?

“Dress Up In You” is the tale of a woman who feels alienated by her friend who was more successful than her. They had expected the make it big together, but instead the protagonist sings about her jealousy, disappointment, and anger. Murdoch takes lead vocals on this song, rather than passing them to Sarah Martin. Martin, who does provide backing vocals often doubles Murdoch’s vocals. Her very high voice fills out the soundscape nicely.

Did you ever want to hear three-part harmonies singing “the ref are giving us fuck all?” Then you’re in luck, as “Another Sunny Day” delivers. This song is a perfect highlight of Stuart Murdoch’s beautiful, but slightly strange vocals, complimenting it is a catchy riff played masterfully by Jackson. We do have to address the elephant in the room. “Eskimo” is not an appropriate term for the Inuit. Also, that you “heard the [Inuit] remove obstructions with tones” is an oddly strange stereotype. From what I understand, Inuit generally remove the implied snow obstructions with shovels. They probably buy the shovels from Canadian Tire.

Lowlights

Stevie. No. Please no. What were you thinking? “To Be Myself Completely” is horrible, and perhaps the worst Stevie Jackson song.

“For The Price Of A Cup Of Tea,” however, is not horrible. It’s a decent song. It’s just middling and put at the point in the album where it should have ended already. “Act of the Apostle II” should have been the end of the record.

“Mornington Crescent” is about a disused tube station in London. Apparently Murdoch like to fantasize about what’s outside of that station. London’s version of “Bessarian,” I guess. It’s actually a really pretty song, but it’s so slow, and doesn’t move at all, while I enjoy the song, within the first minute I’ll often be so tired of the song that I’ll just move on to another album.

Men 24.625 (77%) | Women 7.375 (23%)
CD: 17.5 (55%) | Vinyl: 11.5 (36%) | Digital: 0 (0%) | 7″: 2 (6%) | Box: 1 (3%)
1960s: 4 (13%) | 1970s: 2 (6%) | 1980s: 1 (3%) | 1990s: 8 (25%) | 2000s: 16 (50%) | 2010s: 1 (3%)
Canada 9.8 (31%) | USA 14.2 (44%) | UK 6 (19%) | NZ 1 (3%) | FR 1 (3%)
Ontario 4 (40%) | Quebec 1 (10%) | Nova Scotia 3 (30%) | New Brunswick 1 (10%) | Manitoba 0 (0%) | British Columbia 0 (0%) | Prince Edward Island 0 (0%)
Saskatchewan 0 (0%) | Alberta 0 (0%) | Newfoundland and Labrador 1 (10%) | Northwest Territories 0 (0%) | Yukon 0 (0%) | Nunavut 0 (0%)