The music year in review: the fun, the ugly, the cleverly titled
The latest installment of my year-end music project, with podcast.
bloggedy blog's most fun album
Musicians have their serious side, to be sure. But sometimes I need a break from all that earnestness. That's when I long for fun stuff -- the campiness of the B-52s, absurd humor of Ramones, even some foot-tapping surf music a la Dick Dale or the Beach Boys. This past year brought us enough depressing news. Didn't we deserve to laugh a little? These performers must have thought so.
The winner in the category of "most fun album of 2006" is:
Art Brut, Bang Bang Rock and Roll From the opening chops of track 1, "Formed a Band," to the final track's assurance that "everything's gonna be alright," Art Brut -- the name comes from a critic's definition of "outsider art" -- pokes fun at all the things the artsy fartsy take so seriously: the music business, pop culture, rock and roll, love lives, modern art. Art Brut's wry, cynical glance at the absurdity of life comes through loud and clear. Art Brut is the B-52s with a British accent and a good does of Dada absurdity and Monty Python toss in.
Now, before one of you astute readers points out that this album is technically a 2005 release, let me point out that even though you're technically correct, the album didn't make it to the USA until 2006. So that's why it makes it into this year's list.
The Pipettes: We Are the Pipettes A charming girl group, this trio of perkies is a throwback to an earlier, simpler time -- a time of Phil Spector's wall of sound, the Shirelles, the Supremes, and mod London, baby. Their smooth sound and '60s style bring a smile to my face.
Tapes 'n Tapes: The Loon Tapes 'n Tapes' CD wasn't laugh out loud funny or even ha-ha funny. But the varied, layered musical style of songs like "Crazy Eights" and "Jakovis Suite" make this a fun album to listen to over and over.
The year in review: ugliest album art
Cover art just ain't what it used to be. Will there ever again be anything as beautiful as Electric Ladyland or even Sgt. Peppers? Probably not. At least this year's offerings weren't too hideous. The ugliest among them, though, was pretty darn ugly:
Pinky Tuscadero: Look Your Best Lovely hands, no? My mechanic has prettier hands. Fortunately for Pinky, the music on this five-song release is better than the cover art -- if only slightly.
Camera Obscura: Let's Get Out of This Country Camera Obscura lead singer Tracyanne Campbell adorns the cover of this fine album, and her lilting vocals are pleasant enough throughout. But a cover girl, she is not. Not that she's bad looking. This photo is just weirdly unflattering.
Paul Simon: Surprise Listen, I like cute babies just as much as the next guy. But don't you think this is a bit much?