Monday, March 24, 2008

Top Ten Songs on Elbo.Ws Chart Reviewed In 50 Words or Less: 3/1/08-3/16/08

(The Notwist)

When not heavily ensconced in the search for employment (things are looking up, gang!), MFR likes to assign a grade, on a bi-monthly basis (ha!), to the top ten tracks on music blog aggregator Here are the top ten tracks for the first 15 days of March. Expect the next batch of reviews by the 31st. I promise. Please hold me accountable. Seriously.

1. The Notwist - "Good Lies"

Download: The Notwist - "Good Lies"

Despite the fact that this decade has proved otherwise*, The Notwist concoct escapist electro-pop that slowly, but surely, builds to the subtly climatic refrain (“Let’s just imitate the real/until we find a better one”). Not a bad idea in theory, but The Notwist should probably be a tad more persuasive about such a demand.

Grade: B

2. Tokyo Police Club - "In The Cave"

Download: Tokyo Police Club - "In A Cave"

Upon first listen, this TPC track hits hard. However, upon multiple listens, "In A Cave" strikes one as sounding like a Death Cab For Cutie song that hits just a little harder. Still, considering that DCfC wants to be Yo La Tengo these days, maybe that's not such a bad thing after all.

Grade: B

3. The Breeders - "Bang On"

Download: The Breeders - "Bang On"

The minimalist, futuristic new-wave groove suggests Missy Elliot remixing The B52s, but the result sounds like the band was so blown away, in its stoned state, by the beat that they forgot to write a proper song around it. What a waste of a perfectly good white girl's idea of funk.

Grade: C

4. Colin Meloy - "We Both Go Down Together"

Download: Colin Meloy - "We Both Go Down Together"

For me, this Picaresque track has been the Pepsi to "Losing My Religion"'s Coke, but considering how high the standards were set by the latter, "We Both Go Down Together", even in a live, solo, acoustic setting, still measures up. And it's the choice of a new generation!

Grade: B+

5. The Gutter Twins - "Idle Hands"

Download: The Gutter Twins - "Idle Hands"

I'm not sure how, but between "Idle Hands"'s sepulchral beginning and its Zepplin-esque romper-stomper end, I managed to consume an entire jug of moonshine. I'm not pointing fingers--Lanegan!--but even just listening to this song makes my liver ache. I just wish it had some kind of tangible effect on the rest of me.

Grade: B-

6. The Ruby Suns - "Tane Muhata"

Download: The Ruby Suns - "Tane Mahuta"

The sunny "Tane Muhata" has the ability to lift one's spirits with its Afro-Cuban influenced chanting, horns, percussion and nylon-string guitar solos. New Zealand may be known as the land of the long white cloud, but "Tane Muhata" certainly demonstrates, via this song, that Australia isn't too shabby either.

Grade: B

7. The Oaks - "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter"

Download: The Oaks - "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter"

The horn-heavy, syncopated guitar line music party continues with this epic, 8-minute ballad which shares a title with the Carson McCullers novel. Unlike "Tame Muhata", though, "Hunter" swells to a heart-stopping crescendo, then breathes, with a jazz-influenced coda to help the listener digest the heavy emotions. Simply put, the overall result is simply stunning.

Grade: A-

8. Stephen Malkmus - "Cold Son"

Download: Stephen Malkmus - "Cold Son"

One of the more compact, concise tracks from the extendo-jam-heavy Real Emotional Trash, "Cold Son" contains Malkmus' trademark lassie-faire vibe, but the emotions surrounding the song are more bittersweet and genuine. But just before you think things are too serious, the goof-ball finish lets you know that there's a little bit of same old smart-aleck Malkmus left.

Grade: B

9. French Kicks - "Abandon"

Download: French Kicks - "Abandon"

A chiming, ringing guitar line kicks off this track from the New York quartet, who then settle into a pleasing, fluid track of synth-flavored indie-pop. There's certainly something immediately warm and welcoming about the Kicks' harmonious vocals, but everything else behind it sounds all-too-familiar to anyone listening to indie-pop in the past decade.

Grade: B-

10. Mr. Gnome - "Pirates"

Download: Mr. Gnome - "Pirates"

This sounds like TV on The Radio switched the dial during a Celebration of some kind.

Grade: C

(Jonathan Graef)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nicely done, but I'd give the Gutter Twins track a higher grade.

11:54 AM  
Blogger MPLSFR said...

Anon -
Thanks. Maybe if the GT track sticks around on the charts, it'll grow on me more. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

12:29 PM  

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