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?
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.
“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.
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.
The Arcade Fire
(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.