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RED Reviews

by Brent Sallay
[Warning: The following review contains excessive quotations, the sudden use of italics, an umlaut, and other sharply-pointed letters. Expectant mothers, and, in particular, wives of music critics are advised not to read.]

 
 

Anniemal
Annie
679 Recordings

Oh man, will you just look at her. The stone-washed overalls. That sandy blonde hair. Mock-wiping her nose on that perfectly pressed, faux-lower-middle-class rag of a sleeve. Posturing coyly in some unfinished basement, more than likely within 12 feet of a fold-up ping pong table. Is this not every 16-year old Utah male's dream?

Generally when a music review starts off with a thorough, unnecessarily verbose description of the album cover, in this case Annie’s Anniemal, it means that the reviewer is sort of a git and/or has not listened to the album. This is different, though. I'm in love.

And generally when a music reviewer falls madly in love with a particular artist purely by virtue of a single candid pose, um, without even having heard the artist's music, it can bias the reviewer to look over certain, let's say, glaring faults.

But come on guys, you know me better than that. Maybe if I don't mention any faults, well, it's because there aren't any. Have you ever thought about that? Is that such a stretch?

But this is all beside the point. In an attempt to regain some of my credibility, I'm going to sacrifice my dignity and live out my fantasy right here in the open, so you can see and judge for yourself. Guts and all. So as Annie says herself, let's start the record, shall we?

[Two minutes later…]

Oh hey, Annie, well look at you. So your first song uses bubble gum as an analogy for how fast you chew through a man. “I don't want to settle down/I just wanna have fun/I don't want to settle down/I just wanna chew gum.” Annie, Annie. This does not bode well. I was sincere. If I'm going to “be your man,” you're going to have to treat me a little better than that. At the very least, if you're going to say something like that, say it in your native Norwegian so it'll still sound hot.

“I'm never gonna stop and I'm sure gonna be your girl.” Hello. What's this song called? “Me Plus One”? Ha! That's sort of a veiled math reference, isn't it? How'd you know I was into that? Nice beat too.

“Feel my heartbeat/Let the melody conceive.” Oh Annie, really? I was a big fan of Röyksopp's lovely chill-out album Melody A.M. That was sweet of you to bring them out for me…

Just a second Annie. I'm a little hungry. I'm gonna go grab a sandwich.

[Twenty minutes later…]

“There is no easy love/The one I'm thinking of/I miss you every day.” Oh Annie, seriously? That's kind of sweet. But, um, I was only gone like five minutes. You're being a little clingy. I'm not so sure about this. I am married, you know.

[Editor's Note: He was gone 20 minutes.]

“I'm happy without you.” Woah. That's kind of hard. You're a strong, resilient woman, aren't you? I like that. Maybe I was wrong. Let's spin the last three songs, all right?

“Come on baby, you're my greatest hit.” Hey Annie, right back at ya.

“Keep on smiling/The sun is shining/And you feel the light/Come together.” Yeah, okay, um, is this all you ever talk about? Did you vote? There is a war going on, you know. Do you have an opinion on that?

“My best friend/Where are you?/Can't seem to find you anywhere.” Yeah, um, I left after all that “sun is shining” crap. Don't get me wrong. We had some good times. But I've realized something. I've realized that there's more for me at home. But I'll always remember…the beats. Those were some pretty tight beats. Good bye, Annie. It's over.

- BS


Funeral
The Arcade Fire
Merge
(out of 5)

[sound of someone waking up after very long nap]

Oh, hey guys, what's up? Wha'd I miss? How long was I out? What have you all been listening to lately? The Arcade Fire? Oh yeah, they're pretty good. I was going to write about them like two months ago, but, ah, I just didn't get around to it. I got things going on, you know?

OK, seriously though, unless you've been living with your arm trapped under a rock that doesn't have a dial-up connection for the past month (in which case, I'm glad you've made it out alive, and that you've chosen to read RED right away instead of going to the hospital), you've surely heard a little bit of the praise being thrown around for this album. In fact, you're probably sick of it by now. But here's a little recap for scrappy little Johnny, who's currently cradling his half-arm in the small of his chest and using a used gum wrapper as a tourniquet.

“...one of the best albums of the year, hands down...” --Tiny Mix Tapes
“...a resounding success...” --cokemachineglow
“...one of the most engaging and thrilling pop statements of 2004...” --Delusions of Adequacy
“...a debut record that simply refuses to be ignored...” --Junk Media

But wait, where does RED stand on the matter? Are they not on the ball anymore? Is Jeremy Mathews really as sexy as everybody says he is? And why aren't there more pictures of him on this site?

Well, I can't answer all your questions, but I can tell you this. Oh sure, it would have been really easy to review this album the same time that everybody else did, not knowing how they were going to review it, having no benchmark as to how much or little to praise it, fearing desperately that my review might not go along with the flow of the others, and that I might forever be stripped of my credibility as a music critic. That's the route most people took.

But the hard thing to do, the really hard thing, is to wait three weeks, wait until all the other votes have been tallied, and then completely ignore them, search deep within your soul for your own opinion, and then, wait to see if the album truly stands the test of time--that being, once again, about three weeks.

In that regard, Funeral really does take you back to mid-September 2004 in a way that few albums could, to a more innocent time when we still didn't know who would win Big Brother or the Amazing Race 5. A time when we were still sizing up Joey, and crossing our fingers for an HBO sweep at the Emmys. Yes, it was a magical time, but that time is gone now, and one of the only things that has survived intact is, you've guessed it, The Arcade Fire.

Basically what I'm trying to say is that, yes, the album is still as good as everyone's been saying it is, and also, if you already figured that out for yourself, then congratulations, you are very smart, but if you haven't, it is not too late, it is never too late, as I have hopefully proven with this review, and also, please keep reading RED. We'll try to be more on the ball next time.
- BS

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