Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dusty Likes Chick Rock

Regina Spektor - Far

I like Regina Spektor a great deal. At this point, she has the whole "quirky female musician" thing down pat. And, after the success of Begin to Hope, there would be a lot more people listening to this album. While that's good news for her, it had the potential to be bad news for us. There have been a ton of artists recently who went from virtually unknown to massive seller in a short time. The track record of those artists putting out a great album following their first popular one has not been great. I was excited for this album, but I was also a little hesitant. Would her sound be watered down? Would her voice be toned down for the public? Those were the questions that I was asking before this album released.
Now that it has been released (and I have listened to it a number of times), I should've known that all my worries were for naught. Of course they couldn't change Regina. How could I have ever entertained such thoughts?
As it turns out, this is currently my favorite album of hers. While her past albums were great, they also had a couple of songs that I wasn't crazy about. On this album, every song is dynamite ("Machine" seems a bit out of place, but I still like it). Her voice is in top form, and the piano sounds better than ever. I'm not sure why that is, but there seems to be an extra measure of beauty emanating from the piano on this album. The songs range from stories about birds, to returning a lost wallet, to God, to folding chairs, and so on. No matter the subject matter, Regina pours her heart, soul, and voice into these songs. And it paid off in a big way.
If you like Regina Spektor, listen to this album. If you don't like Regina Spektor, give this album a try. If you have never heard Regina Spektor, pick this one up. In short...listen to this album.

Rating: 5/5

Favorite Song: "Eet"

Florence & The Machine - Lungs

I had heard rumblings about this album. Really, all I knew going in was, "this girl has a great voice."
And she does.
But that's not the entire reason why this album is great.
The instrumentation is great. There is a ton of stuff going on in every song. The stellar percussion really drives the majority of these songs. Big, booming drums thundering through the entire album. That kind of thing is a rarity, which is a real shame. Florence shows how to use a great percussion section on this album, and more artists should sit up and take notice.
Were it not for the strength of her voice, the music would threaten to drown her out. Yet she is able to overcome the bombast of sound without screaming.
When firing on all cylinders, it really is something to behold; a symphony of noise melded into perfection.
However, there are a couple of songs I'm not crazy about ("I'm Not Calling You a Liar" being the main culprit). They're not bad songs (in fact, I still like them), but they don't have the same energy and greatness that the others do. If that's the worst thing I can say about an album, I'd say that's pretty good.
This is a fantastic debut album. It's definitely worth your time to check out.

Rating: 4.5/5

Favorite Song: "Girl With One Eye"

All in all, this is a great year for female artists. If the year were to end today (which I don't foresee happening), these artists would be in my top 10:
St. Vincent, Neko Case, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Bat for Lashes, Florence & The Machine, Regina Spektor and The Dead Weather. That's not too shabby.

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