Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Top Ten Songs On Elbo.Ws Reviewed In 50 Words or Less: 9/01/08--9/15/08

(Jenny Lewis)

Just a quick note: I've decided to review Justice's "Plainisphere" as one whole song, rather than the four separate parts. So if you're confused regarding the order of this edition, that's why.

1. Jenny Lewis - "Acid Tongue"

Download: Jenny Lewis - "Acid Tongue"

On the title track of her second solo album, the Rilo Kiley songstress harkens back to folk-and-country-influenced songwriters of the 70s, not only musically, but by eschewing modern-day production techniques. The narrative is somewhat trite, but the multi-tracked harmonies will still breaking hearts after multiple listens. Heck, after multiple years.

Grade: A-

2. Deerhoof - "Offend Maggie"

Download: Deerhoof - "Offend Maggie"

Speaking of title tracks, "Offend Maggie" shows that Deerhoof are just about to hit a creative plateau, with an offering that's not quite as spastic as their past work, but still showcases the deft instrumental interplay for which the art-pop trio are known. An abrupt end leaves the listener wanting more, and wondering why they didn't get it.

Grade: B-

3. Kanye West - "Love Lockdown"

Download: Kanye West - "Love Lockdown"

A departure from his past three educationally-themed albums, "Love Lockdown" is the most straightforward R&B song that Chicago-rapper West has written. It's also his darkest, with lyrics depicting conflicting, borderline possessive (think stalker), lyrics about relationships, and a dim heartbeat of an electronic beat keeping the pulse. A unusual change of pace, one that has potential to grow greatly on listeners.

Grade: B+

4, 5, 9, 10. Justice - "Planisphere"

Download: Justice - "Planisphere"

An epic, extended dance track created for the Dior Homme fashion show, this four-part dance symphony from the French duo introduces many different motifs, ranging from neo-classical to old-fashioned metal (dig the not-quite lightning fingers guitar solo) while still keeping a steady beat. Justice introduce enough ideas to keep listeners engaged throughout, but enough to blow their minds.

Grade: B

6. The Kooks - "Kids" (MGMT Cover)

Download: The Kooks - Kids (MGMT Cover)

The British rock quartet offer an acoustic take on the electro-pop group's standard anthemic tracks. Cue song being used to soundtrack a prom scene quarrel in three, two, one...

Grade: C

7. Annuals - "Confessor"

Download: Annuals - "Confessor"

The first representation of the North Carolina-based blog-buzz band's sophomore release, "Confessor" has the requisite multi-part harmonies that evoke the most sun-filled day, and reverb-heavy production characteristics that define the band's past work. A brisk tempo should work to the band's advantage, but instead ensures that the song suffers from an anti-climatic end.

Grade: B-

8. Chad VanGaalen - "Willow Tree"

Download: Chad VanGaalen - "Willow Tree"

Like Neil Young, this Canadian singer-songwriter has an affecting tenor that suggests both defiance and resignation in swinging, banjo-accented folk music. Despite a pleasant melody, VanGaalen adds nothing new to suggest that listeners should listen to his music instead of Young's.

Grade: C+

(Jonathan Graef)

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