SAW [Week 48 - "Madvillainy"]

Take a walk in Tin Pan Alley, the area's most famous music district.

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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1351

Post by G-Man » Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:41 pm

A City Dressed in Dynamite

I've said most of what I have to say about this album in bits and pieces already. It's very diverse and eclectic, which (for me) makes this band a niche product because of the genres is splices together. The uptempo songs were more fun but some of the slower tunes seemed to falter. I think it was due to their down-trodden tone, almost like wallowing a little in the gritty gloom of the storytelling.

The opener, "Damn Door," serves as a solid opener. It greets you right away with the kind of irreverence and kookiness that plays out over the whole album. It sets the expectation of not knowing what to expect. "Wintergreen" followed it up nicely but some of the language turned me off (personal thing, sorry). "Rob the Prez-O-Dent" is amusing but perhaps it's the politically-tumultuous times that we live in that kept me from embracing this song as a standout.

My three favorite tracks were "Damn Door," "Viva Discordia," and ""Squares." I've already touched on the first of my choices. I enjoyed the swing-meets-hip hop vibe of "Viva Discordia" and it was a nice pick-me-up after a few slower, less zany tracks. "Squares" hits a couple of marks for me. It has the quirky, retro anti-drugs propaganda film sample, and a fun fusion of hip hop spitting and hard-hitting rock guitar. That track alone stands as a nice summation of what this album offers.

I can't say that this is an album that I'd consistently turn to if offered but it is an album that grew on me with each listen. As someone who has little exposure to the world of drugs, street crime, and poverty, perhaps it would take a little more time for me to appreciate the lyrics. I don't typically focus on the lyrics but some tracks stand out as better storytelling than others. Perhaps I just haven't had enough time to take it all in yet.

Overall, it was a unique and interesting experience. I feel like I say that too often for the albums you folks nominate. Perhaps that means my music tastes are too conventional, boring, and/or pedestrian. We'll see.

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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1352

Post by JaggedJimmyJay » Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:47 pm

Also y'all should submit those albums for the next block. Everyone NOT listed below is eligible this time:

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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1353

Post by speedchuck » Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:50 pm

Fish out of Water was about what I expected. Soothing but interesting yes tunes, a bit more emphasis on the bass. I wasn't blown away, but do I have to be? I enjoyed this immensely, though it's more like music that I would listen to while driving, working, editing, and so on than music I would use to hype me up or music that I would listen to on it's own. That's just me I guess.

Definitely toe-tapping (yes, even to lucky seven. I'm a drummer, I can toe tap to anything.)

I give it 4 stars.
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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1354

Post by dunya » Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:42 pm

I would like to nominate Drake - Take Care

(yes, I did)

The full album exists on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... UZYYlJLyZi

and Spotify.

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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1355

Post by nutella » Mon Nov 13, 2017 5:10 pm

Really enjoying Fish Out Of Water. I don't have a lot of fancy review words to use, but despite not getting a ton out of my first listen I'm loving every minute of the second listen. Rather indifferent to his voice, but all the different instrumental flourishes hold my interest. (I'm also a sucker for 7/4 time, haha) Very cool listen.
I'm having a hard time sorting out my ratings for the last three albums. They're all leaning toward 4.0 but it's hard to say for sure if they all deserve that, in relation to how I've previously used my ratings. I use 3.5s a lot but it tends to span a wide range. So I'm just gonna give these all 4s because of how much they grew on me with each listen, making me excited to go back to them later (I think Timber Timbre edges out the others by a fair bit and it definitely deserves a 4, but I've been looking forward to revisiting THD as well since it was so interesting)

A City Dressed in Dynamite - 4.0
Creep On Creepin' On - 4.0
Fish Out Of Water - 4.0


I'm really looking forward to Joanna Newsom!
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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1356

Post by G-Man » Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:16 pm

Next week is Thanksgiving, which means that I will allow myself to listen to Christmas music come Black Friday. I'd like to take advantage of the Christmas season and nominate what is quite possibly the only jazz album I own:


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A Charlie Brown Christmas
Vince Guaraldi Trio
1965
11 Tracks (though most playlists feature bonus tracks)
40:25

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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1357

Post by dunya » Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:27 am

^ I love that album. Nice choice and perfect timing for it. :-)

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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1358

Post by G-Man » Tue Nov 14, 2017 2:03 pm

Creep On Creepin' On

I still don't see how this album is labeled as folk. INH tried to explain it but I still don't hear it. Perhaps that's because I don't have a firm working knowledge of folk music in general. Perhaps I'm just too cynical about weird genre names like freak folk. Whatever the case, the genre doesn't fit the album for me and the album didn't fit my tastes much either.

Track 1 ("Bad Ritual") opens with the kind of beat you might hear sampled on a hip-hop album. I dig the piano and drums combo, as well as the muted, understated tone. The sound of the vocals is deliberately eerie. If the song did more than just verse-chorus-verse-chorus, then I might have liked it more though. Track 2 ("Obelisk") was a tense and fascinating instrumental piece. I'd have liked to see more of that kind of music variety seep into other tracks. Track 3 ("Creep On Creepin' On") sounded similar to several other songs on the album but it got bonus points for the added instrumentation on the intro and sprinkled here and there throughout the track.

I think my main gripe with this album is that half the songs are structured too similarly. Tracks 1, 3, 4, 6, and 8 are all rooted in the plink-plink-plink of the high keys and minimalist drumbeats. Some tracks have more to them than others but the overall sparse instrumentation really made the plink-plink-plink stand out to me. I don't want to say that I was bored but I wasn't really feeling it for most of the album.

My top three include "Creep On Creepin' On" for its musical variety, "Obelisk" for being the most interesting sound on the album, and "Too Old to Die Young" for drawing me back into the second half of the album with a non-plink-plink-plink foundation. I could see this being an interesting album to listen to when you're stoned or drinking (absinthe especially) but my conventional ears were left wanting more. Still, the band set out to evoke a mood and I think they succeeded.

I can appreciate a minimalist approach but I felt like there was too much repetitiveness in the foundations. I docked it a sliver extra for the over-reliance on the plink-plink-plink but I still enjoyed enough of it to avoid indifference. I think this might mean that I'm just not indie enough for bands like this.

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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1359

Post by MovingPictures07 » Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:29 pm

I'll nominate Cosmogramma by Flying Lotus.
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I'll be most likely able to provide my thoughts on the last two and this week's submissions sometime this evening.

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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1360

Post by MovingPictures07 » Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:36 pm

Timber Timbre was boring to me -- the very definition of disengaging. I'm not a huge fan of TT's clear influences to begin with (Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, etc.), and I like this less. It's alright I guess though; all of that said, I didn't really feel anything remotely negative about it, but I don't think I'd care if I never heard it again either. 2.5 stars.

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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1361

Post by nutella » Tue Nov 14, 2017 7:59 pm

G-Man wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:16 pm
Next week is Thanksgiving, which means that I will allow myself to listen to Christmas music come Black Friday. I'd like to take advantage of the Christmas season and nominate what is quite possibly the only jazz album I own:


Image

A Charlie Brown Christmas
Vince Guaraldi Trio
1965
11 Tracks (though most playlists feature bonus tracks)
40:25

Available on YouTube and Spotify
nice one!! a staple in my family's Christmas season album rotation
triangles are my favorite shape
three points where two lines meet


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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1362

Post by MovingPictures07 » Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:22 pm

Chris Squire's FOoW is an album I'm familiar with, but hadn't heard in ages until today. For some reason it never did a ton for me; I sometimes used to find myself wondering why I am not just listening to a Yes album instead when giving it a spin. My opinion hasn't really changed in that regard.

That said, it was cool to revisit it after so long. It's a solid album, but Squire's vocals aren't as good when he's a lead, and although the compositions are generally pretty engaging and intriguing, my enjoyment can shift a bit throughout the listen. The album is also mood-dependent in that I still just can't imagine reaching for it too often. Overall though the album is good and it's an easy 3.0 stars.

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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1363

Post by MovingPictures07 » Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:23 pm

Oh boy... Joanna Newsom's Ys. I have a long history of trying to crack enjoyment out of this album only to fail every time. It's been at least a few years since I've tried though. Well, here goes.

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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1364

Post by nutella » Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:25 pm

There's something about Joanna's voice quality/articulation/enunciation style that I don't really like, but otherwise everything about Ys so far is near musical perfection. I'm only about halfway through but loving the intricate melodies and varied string timbres (the plinky bits in track 3 are heavenly)
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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1365

Post by MovingPictures07 » Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:28 pm

nutella wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:25 pm
There's something about Joanna's voice quality/articulation/enunciation style that I don't really like, but otherwise everything about Ys so far is near musical perfection. I'm only about halfway through but loving the intricate melodies and varied string timbres (the plinky bits in track 3 are heavenly)
I've always had that problem too. The problem is that the music historically hasn't reached me either. But I feel like I'm the one missing something. Hopefully I can get it this time.

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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1366

Post by MovingPictures07 » Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:36 pm

I'm already bored out of my mind.

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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1367

Post by Epignosis » Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:12 pm

MovingPictures07 wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:22 pm
Chris Squire's FOoW is an album I'm familiar with, but hadn't heard in ages until today. For some reason it never did a ton for me; I sometimes used to find myself wondering why I am not just listening to a Yes album instead when giving it a spin. My opinion hasn't really changed in that regard.

That said, it was cool to revisit it after so long. It's a solid album, but Squire's vocals aren't as good when he's a lead, and although the compositions are generally pretty engaging and intriguing, my enjoyment can shift a bit throughout the listen. The album is also mood-dependent in that I still just can't imagine reaching for it too often. Overall though the album is good and it's an easy 3.0 stars.
Lies. Squire is my favorite vocalist from Yes (yours is probably Howe :rolleyes: ). "Does it Really Happen?" and "Can You Imagine" (huh, two questions) are a couple of Squire's vocal highlights for me. Granted, they came later on, after his male voice had a chance to mature I suppose.

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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1368

Post by MovingPictures07 » Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:14 pm

Epignosis wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:12 pm
MovingPictures07 wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:22 pm
Chris Squire's FOoW is an album I'm familiar with, but hadn't heard in ages until today. For some reason it never did a ton for me; I sometimes used to find myself wondering why I am not just listening to a Yes album instead when giving it a spin. My opinion hasn't really changed in that regard.

That said, it was cool to revisit it after so long. It's a solid album, but Squire's vocals aren't as good when he's a lead, and although the compositions are generally pretty engaging and intriguing, my enjoyment can shift a bit throughout the listen. The album is also mood-dependent in that I still just can't imagine reaching for it too often. Overall though the album is good and it's an easy 3.0 stars.
Lies. Squire is my favorite vocalist from Yes (yours is probably Howe :rolleyes: ). "Does it Really Happen?" and "Can You Imagine" (huh, two questions) are a couple of Squire's vocal highlights for me. Granted, they came later on, after his male voice had a chance to mature I suppose.
Yeah, those songs are quite good, and I do think his vocal delivery is better on those than on FOoW, but in comparison to Anderson -- it's always an easy choice for me. I'm a Jon Anderson man. :noble:

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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1369

Post by Epignosis » Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:17 pm

MovingPictures07 wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:14 pm
Epignosis wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:12 pm
MovingPictures07 wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:22 pm
Chris Squire's FOoW is an album I'm familiar with, but hadn't heard in ages until today. For some reason it never did a ton for me; I sometimes used to find myself wondering why I am not just listening to a Yes album instead when giving it a spin. My opinion hasn't really changed in that regard.

That said, it was cool to revisit it after so long. It's a solid album, but Squire's vocals aren't as good when he's a lead, and although the compositions are generally pretty engaging and intriguing, my enjoyment can shift a bit throughout the listen. The album is also mood-dependent in that I still just can't imagine reaching for it too often. Overall though the album is good and it's an easy 3.0 stars.
Lies. Squire is my favorite vocalist from Yes (yours is probably Howe :rolleyes: ). "Does it Really Happen?" and "Can You Imagine" (huh, two questions) are a couple of Squire's vocal highlights for me. Granted, they came later on, after his male voice had a chance to mature I suppose.
Yeah, those songs are quite good, and I do think his vocal delivery is better on those than on FOoW, but in comparison to Anderson -- it's always an easy choice for me. I'm a Jon Anderson man. :noble:
I think Anderson's voice is unique and is critical to the sound of Yes. I've just always liked Squire's a little more. Something about his delivery- a nice, powerful, choir-boy contrast to Anderson's airiness (and maybe because he so rarely got solo spots). Now that neither are in the band... :disappoint:

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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1370

Post by MovingPictures07 » Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:19 pm

Epignosis wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:17 pm
MovingPictures07 wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:14 pm
Epignosis wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:12 pm
MovingPictures07 wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:22 pm
Chris Squire's FOoW is an album I'm familiar with, but hadn't heard in ages until today. For some reason it never did a ton for me; I sometimes used to find myself wondering why I am not just listening to a Yes album instead when giving it a spin. My opinion hasn't really changed in that regard.

That said, it was cool to revisit it after so long. It's a solid album, but Squire's vocals aren't as good when he's a lead, and although the compositions are generally pretty engaging and intriguing, my enjoyment can shift a bit throughout the listen. The album is also mood-dependent in that I still just can't imagine reaching for it too often. Overall though the album is good and it's an easy 3.0 stars.
Lies. Squire is my favorite vocalist from Yes (yours is probably Howe :rolleyes: ). "Does it Really Happen?" and "Can You Imagine" (huh, two questions) are a couple of Squire's vocal highlights for me. Granted, they came later on, after his male voice had a chance to mature I suppose.
Yeah, those songs are quite good, and I do think his vocal delivery is better on those than on FOoW, but in comparison to Anderson -- it's always an easy choice for me. I'm a Jon Anderson man. :noble:
I think Anderson's voice is unique and is critical to the sound of Yes. I've just always liked Squire's a little more. Something about his delivery- a nice, powerful, choir-boy contrast to Anderson's airiness (and maybe because he so rarely got solo spots). Now that neither are in the band... :disappoint:
I actually think Yes's vocals are best (and sometimes even transcendent) at the precise harmonic moments when Anderson is lead and Squire is backing partially for the reasons you present here. Your perspective is understandable though.

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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1371

Post by MovingPictures07 » Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:22 pm

I legit LOL'ed when reading "yours is probably Howe" though, so props for that. Now there's a Yesman who never should open his mouth to sing. Incredible musician though.

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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1372

Post by Epignosis » Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:25 pm

MovingPictures07 wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:22 pm
I legit LOL'ed when reading "yours is probably Howe" though, so props for that. Now there's a Yesman who never should open his mouth to sing. Incredible musician though.
Ironically, you have to have Howe in there. He sucks alone, but singing below Anderson and Squire...you just don't get Yes quality vocals without Steve.

If you don't believe me, look up the isolated vocal track to "The Remembering." Here, I've done it for you:

https://vimeo.com/187566634

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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1373

Post by MovingPictures07 » Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:28 pm

Epignosis wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:25 pm
MovingPictures07 wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:22 pm
I legit LOL'ed when reading "yours is probably Howe" though, so props for that. Now there's a Yesman who never should open his mouth to sing. Incredible musician though.
Ironically, you have to have Howe in there. He sucks alone, but singing below Anderson and Squire...you just don't get Yes quality vocals without Steve.

If you don't believe me, look up the isolated vocal track to "The Remembering." Here, I've done it for you:

https://vimeo.com/187566634
Fuck me, I guess you're right. I should clarify that obviously he shouldn't sing unless others are already singing. :p

Cool shit, thanks for sharing. Makes me want to listen to TFTO.

I should share my thoughts on Ys now though, since it ended a little bit ago.

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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1374

Post by MovingPictures07 » Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:36 pm

Alright. So regarding Ys, here we go.

I'm surely going to get tomatoes thrown at me for this because the music community at large loves Joanna Newsom, and Ys in particular, but I still don't like this album and worse yet it's super tedious for me to sit through. Sigh.

I've tried to truly enjoy this album multiple times over the years, and out of respect of others' opinions I hold in esteem I keep trying, just waiting for sheer enjoyment to come, but to no avail. Despite this, in the past I have even recommended this album to others because I know how well-acclaimed it is and genuinely thought those people would enjoy it. They did.

I personally have a hard time with some folky stuff to begin with, as you all may already know, though it can on occasion really connect with me (Tim Buckley's Starsailor and Nick Drake's Pink Moon being the two most notable examples, the former of which is just fucking incredible in every way and the latter of which is sublime depression in musical form).

Yet again this album doesn't prove to be an exception of a recurring criticism I have with similar releases; the instrumentation is too sparse and too often disengaging for me. The best thought I've had at any point during the entire album re: the harp specifically is "that sounds kind of cool, I guess", but I feel completely emotionally detached from everything. IMO it's like when I hear people complain about electronic music (such as Autechre) being cold and emotionless, which continuously baffles me. But that's exactly how I feel about this album. The music fails to connect on literally any level with me.

The album also feels entirely way too long. I sat looking at the album duration a ridiculous amount of times even within the first half of the album.

The instrumentation is also too medieval-esque for my liking, and although I tried yet again to appreciate the complex arrangements I don't really get anything out of them, and at times I was annoyed. The worst aspect of this experience is her voice, which I still can't crack in any way whatsoever. The vocal delivery ranges from boring to actively irritating.

This is one of those cases where I feel like everyone else in the universe is hearing a different album. I am flabbergasted.

Sorry, folks. This has always been an incredibly frustrating album for me and it seems that won't ever change. I throw my hands up in the air. I appreciated another opportunity to try to get this album, but unless something spectacular changes it'll be my last at this point. At the very least I'll hit up another album or two of hers when I get there in my discography run, I suppose.

I end this unnecessary rant by giving Ys a weak 2.0 stars, I guess.

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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1375

Post by JaggedJimmyJay » Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:38 pm

There are no wrong answers, MP, and I can understand how each perspective you've shared can exist. I don't struggle to imagine how this album can be heard the way you describe hearing it. I think that if there's any hope of it improving, it would have to come through the lyrics (something I don't believe you mentioned). I feel they are Joanna Newsom's greatest talent, and any emotional connection to the music would tend to come through the words.

If you did track along with the lyrics and still couldn't feel anything, then that's just the way it goes. Music tastes are arbitrary. My favorite lyrical verse from the whole album comes from 'Emily':

"We could stand for a century
Staring
With our heads cocked
In the broad daylight at this thing
Joy
Landlocked
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Until we don't be"
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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1376

Post by Epignosis » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:16 am

Either way, I really want to hear this album.

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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1377

Post by JaggedJimmyJay » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:24 am

Submissions so far:

dunya - Drake - Take Care / 2011 / Pop rap / 17 tracks / 80:23
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MovingPictures07 - Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma / 2010 / Intelligent dance music / 17 tracks / 45:47
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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1378

Post by MovingPictures07 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:19 pm

JaggedJimmyJay wrote:
Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:38 pm
There are no wrong answers, MP, and I can understand how each perspective you've shared can exist. I don't struggle to imagine how this album can be heard the way you describe hearing it. I think that if there's any hope of it improving, it would have to come through the lyrics (something I don't believe you mentioned). I feel they are Joanna Newsom's greatest talent, and any emotional connection to the music would tend to come through the words.

If you did track along with the lyrics and still couldn't feel anything, then that's just the way it goes. Music tastes are arbitrary. My favorite lyrical verse from the whole album comes from 'Emily':

"We could stand for a century
Staring
With our heads cocked
In the broad daylight at this thing
Joy
Landlocked
In bodies that don't keep
Dumbstruck with the sweetness of being
Until we don't be"
I'll be honest, I almost never read the lyrics when I'm listening to anything. There are even long-time favorite albums of mine where I don't know every single lyric. If I do pick up on the lyrics, it's only through incredibly repeated listens or rare instances where they stick out at me with urgency (either in a positive or negative way). That's just a function of my perspective and how I place the burden on the music itself to convey 99% of the emotion, and perhaps that's led me to my evaluation of this album (and others) in large part (and also why I gravitate towards instrumental music more than your average music nerd).

I'll check the lyrics out though, even if I don't listen to the album again. I'll see if I'm willing to give it another go though; perhaps I can expose Annie to it and see if it's something she would dig or not.

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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1379

Post by MovingPictures07 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:25 pm

Random musings re: how many times is the right number of times to give an album a chance before giving up on it?

On the one hand, this wouldn't be the first time I tried to crack an album 5+ times and still somehow find myself enjoying it in the future (I certainly didn't fall in love with extreme metal or hip hop at first listen, and back in my days of prog rock snobbery there are albums such as Yes's Relayer that are still beloved by today-MP that took a while to grow on me), so even though I say this'll be my last attempt, I'm sure it probably won't be. On the other hand, there's just so much music out there, especially well-acclaimed and/or intriguing stuff, and as I've grown out of my prog rock days I've also somewhat grown out of giving albums multiple tries to grab my attention. My attitude has evolved somewhat to if I really don't get anything out of it, I shouldn't feel any obligation to try it a second time, let alone five or more times, even if it's a canon album. That doesn't mean I always abide by that though, and despite my low score for this album, I've always felt like it's my loss; there are other albums (like Deerhunter's Microcastle/Weird Era Continued) that I gave a similar score (strong 1.5) that I have zero desire to revisit because I just really didn't like it flat out. I'm not entirely sure what it is that keeps me coming back to trying some albums that fall 2.5 or lower but not others. I suppose part of it is due to the fact that, perhaps unfairly, I'm much more willing to give a canon or very widely acclaimed album in some way an extra listen or more than a non-canon album (and Ys sits right at #193 on RYM's overall charts and has been recommended to me glowingly by many people over the years). I've been trying to change that perspective because maybe it is a stupid one; there are plenty of non-canon albums out there that deserve more attention as it is and could produce a diamond in the rough. I don't know. It's just always frustrating to me to try a canon album and feel like I'm missing something that so many other music enthusiasts love about it.

Curious what you all think about this.

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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1380

Post by JaggedJimmyJay » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:44 pm

There is never an obligation to force music down your own throat. If you don't like it, you don't like it. It's all subjective anyway, right? There is going to be, by natural law of human cognition, variance in the ways people judge the aesthetic of any sounds. I have tried to deal with The Velvet Underground and Nico (aka the Banana Album) numerous times and it continues to just annoy me more than anything else. That's one of the most revered albums in all of rock music. I don't care. I don't like it. Oh well.

That isn't to say though that you should never give things additional chances. It all depends upon the specific nature of your disdain and how you feel about it. The first ten times I listened to ( ) by Sigur Rós, I found it incredibly boring and pointless. It drove me crazy, because I could tell that there was just something not clicking in my head that could click. I knew I needed to explore further because there was something tangible in my own negative reaction to the album that I knew wasn't fully grounded. I never felt that way about The Velvet Underground and Nico. That one just never worked at all period, and I felt no urgency to return to it. It inspired no curiosity. ( ) did, even though I hated it perhaps even more than the banana album. It turned out that with repetition I ended up finding the appeal in ( ) that I had been missing, and my efforts were rewarded.

So in your case, I think you have to decide which of my parallels is a more accurate depiction of Ys. Is it ( ) or is it the banana album?
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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1381

Post by MovingPictures07 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:50 pm

JaggedJimmyJay wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:44 pm
There is never an obligation to force music down your own throat. If you don't like it, you don't like it. It's all subjective anyway, right? There is going to be, by natural law of human cognition, variance in the ways people judge the aesthetic of any sounds. I have tried to deal with The Velvet Underground and Nico (aka the Banana Album) numerous times and it continues to just annoy me more than anything else. That's one of the most revered albums in all of rock music. I don't care. I don't like it. Oh well.

That isn't to say though that you should never give things additional chances. It all depends upon the specific nature of your disdain and how you feel about it. The first ten times I listened to ( ) by Sigur Rós, I found it incredibly boring and pointless. It drove me crazy, because I could tell that there was just something not clicking in my head that could click. I knew I needed to explore further because there was something tangible in my own negative reaction to the album that I knew wasn't fully grounded. I never felt that way about The Velvet Underground and Nico. That one just never worked at all period, and I felt no urgency to return to it. It inspired no curiosity. ( ) did, even though I hated it perhaps even more than the banana album. It turned out that with repetition I ended up finding the appeal in ( ) that I had been missing, and my efforts were rewarded.

So in your case, I think you have to decide which of my parallels is a more accurate depiction of Ys. Is it ( ) or is it the banana album?
Probably ( ), so... I'll be trying it again. :p :beer:

I'm not confident it'll ever be a favorite, but I do feel like there's something to be gained from it that I'm just not hearing. I haven't really felt that way about any other albums that we've tried out so far in this listening group that I gave a 2.5 or similar.

Interestingly, you note you felt worse about ( ) than the banana album. I'm not sure whether this theory holds any weight, but I almost feel like 2.5-level albums are unlikely to get this treatment from me precisely because of the fact that I'm indifferent to them, whereas an album that hits 2.0 or 3.0 has room to grow. 1.5 might be too much of a hated reaction to grow, but I suppose that's theoretically possible as well. Not sure if this applies to anyone else's experiences either, but just an interesting point I wanted to share.

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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1382

Post by MovingPictures07 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:52 pm

And shame you feel that way about the banana album, I absolutely love that album. I know what you mean though. I'm sure Ys isn't the only album I feel negatively about that's canon (The Rolling Stones and The Doors discographies at large immediately come to mind), but it's distinctly different in that I've struggled with it but because I've felt there's potentially something there. I can't recall really many other albums at the moment that I'm currently struggling with quite like this one.

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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1383

Post by JaggedJimmyJay » Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:55 pm

MovingPictures07 wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:50 pm
Interestingly, you note you felt worse about ( ) than the banana album. I'm not sure whether this theory holds any weight, but I almost feel like 2.5-level albums are unlikely to get this treatment from me precisely because of the fact that I'm indifferent to them, whereas an album that hits 2.0 or 3.0 has room to grow. 1.5 might be too much of a hated reaction to grow, but I suppose that's theoretically possible as well. Not sure if this applies to anyone else's experiences either, but just an interesting point I wanted to share.
That could well be, because the banana album has been in 2.5 purgatory for the entire duration of time since my first exposure. ( ) started at 2.0 and stayed there for some time before I finally started to find nuggets of interest (with help from the much easier time I had with Ágætis byrjun) and it took off. I think it's a 4 now, and it remains the only album that has ever made such a considerable jump upwards for me. I think a few have gone the other direction. :p
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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1384

Post by MovingPictures07 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:43 pm

JaggedJimmyJay wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:55 pm
MovingPictures07 wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:50 pm
Interestingly, you note you felt worse about ( ) than the banana album. I'm not sure whether this theory holds any weight, but I almost feel like 2.5-level albums are unlikely to get this treatment from me precisely because of the fact that I'm indifferent to them, whereas an album that hits 2.0 or 3.0 has room to grow. 1.5 might be too much of a hated reaction to grow, but I suppose that's theoretically possible as well. Not sure if this applies to anyone else's experiences either, but just an interesting point I wanted to share.
That could well be, because the banana album has been in 2.5 purgatory for the entire duration of time since my first exposure. ( ) started at 2.0 and stayed there for some time before I finally started to find nuggets of interest (with help from the much easier time I had with Ágætis byrjun) and it took off. I think it's a 4 now, and it remains the only album that has ever made such a considerable jump upwards for me. I think a few have gone the other direction. :p
I haven't been rating long enough to compare, but I know I've had a few similar experiences of albums going the opposite direction as well (coughDreamTheatercough). Lol.

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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1385

Post by nutella » Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:30 pm

JaggedJimmyJay wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:55 am

Lyrics by track:

Emily
Monkey & Bear
Sawdust and Diamonds
Only Skin
Cosmia
Quoting these links because I am now strongly seconding Jay's recommendation to follow along with the lyrics and the analysis/annotations on Genius. I am extremely impressed by her poetic capabilities -- the multiple meanings, stories, metaphors, multiple literary references, intensely personal experiences, and emotional expression behind all the lyrics, as well as the poetic sound structure and wordsmithing (rhymes, alliteration, assonance, etc).... all of this shows outstanding talent, not to mention the musical skill and vocal delivery (I'm still not a huge fan of her vocal style, but I can still appreciate the strength of her delivery along with her other multiple talents). The lyrics are clearly extraordinarily intellectual and multi-layered and emotionally wrenching.... reading all these annotations I'm totally overwhelmed by everything she's crammed in here.

I enjoyed the album on a musical basis on the first listen, but reading the lyrics made me understand why this is considered a masterpiece.
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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1386

Post by JaggedJimmyJay » Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:39 pm

At this point I have 90% of the lyrics memorized. Perhaps the most astounding thing about this album is that Joanna does cram (as nutella aptly observed) an immense amount of lyrical content into these tracks over a unique, personal sonic structure -- and somehow it ends up being catchy. :eek:
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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1387

Post by JaggedJimmyJay » Fri Nov 17, 2017 6:36 pm

I love her voice. It is incredibly expressive.

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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1388

Post by G-Man » Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:52 pm

I should be able to post my Chris Squire review later tonight. I hear ability but it just didn't resonate with me.

Same goes with Joanna Newsom. The first two tracks were interesting enough but the novelty wore off with track 3. It was only my first listen though.
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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1389

Post by G-Man » Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:28 am

Fish Out of Water

I grew up with very limited exposure to prog because my dad was a product of the 70s punk and new wave scene. Punk was, in part, a reaction against the rising popularity of prog (among many, many other things), which explains why I didn't hear much prog except for what I heard on classic rock radio until I got to college. Even then, my ventures were limited- mostly psychedelic prog like Pink Floyd. I don't know Yes (unless "Owner of a Lonely Heart" counts for anything), so I can't say it surprises me that I didn't (and still don't) know just how I feel about this album.

The problem I ran into with judging these tracks is that there were elements of each track that stood out but none of the tracks stood out as a total package. "Hold Out Your Hand" has the organ going for it, "You By My Side" has the Sgt. Pepper's-esque horn sections, the bass jamming on "Silently Falling" reminded me of Ben Folds Five, "Lucky Seven" has the nice saxophone parts, and "Safe (Canon Song)" has that nice bass part at 5:00 which repeats later and the final two minutes of organ remind me of the Interstellar soundtrack. The vocals never grabbed me.

The closest track to achieving more than a 'pretty good' rating is "Lucky Seven" but the pace and beat never changes, leaving it to feel like more of a smooth jam with a hint of attitude. That's where I land with the whole album really. I hear the talent but none of it excites me. Does that make sense?

Picking three tracks is hard for me because they all elicited similar responses from me. I would go with "Hold Out Your Hand" for standing out with its organ, "Lucky Seven" for vibe, and "Silently Falling" for its bass jamming. "You By My Side" is a little too lightweight for me and "Safe (Canon Song)" drags on for a little too long.

This is the first album we've listened to where I've been this neutral across the board. I think I will have to revisit it later down the road after I've listened to more prog.

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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1390

Post by MovingPictures07 » Sun Nov 19, 2017 2:42 pm

G-Man, you need to hear Close to the Edge pronto. That's a perfect introduction to Yes and just prog rock in general, IMO, and stands nearly alone completely as the best of the genre.

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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1391

Post by Epignosis » Sun Nov 19, 2017 3:41 pm

MovingPictures07 wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 2:42 pm
G-Man, you need to hear Close to the Edge pronto. That's a perfect introduction to Yes and just prog rock in general, IMO, and stands nearly alone completely as the best of the genre.
For the longest time, the first three minutes of "Close to the Edge" turned me off big time. Were I listening to the album back then, I probably would have turned it off after two.

However, my first real Yes experience wasn't on any album: It was live. So I had no choice but to hear the entire song (and I didn't even know what it was called). It was the "I get up, I get down" part that hooked me, and I had to find out what song it was. The refrain from "Starship Trooper" also caught my ear. Even still, it took me a while before I could appreciate the introduction to "Close to the Edge."

I would say that, for someone new to Yes, the best starting point is The Yes Album, which is still complex but easier to digest. Here's "Starship Trooper," for anyone who wants to hear it:
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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1392

Post by dunya » Sun Nov 19, 2017 7:43 pm

I'll submit my review of Ys tomorrow :)

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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1393

Post by MovingPictures07 » Sun Nov 19, 2017 8:10 pm

Epignosis wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 3:41 pm
MovingPictures07 wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 2:42 pm
G-Man, you need to hear Close to the Edge pronto. That's a perfect introduction to Yes and just prog rock in general, IMO, and stands nearly alone completely as the best of the genre.
For the longest time, the first three minutes of "Close to the Edge" turned me off big time. Were I listening to the album back then, I probably would have turned it off after two.

However, my first real Yes experience wasn't on any album: It was live. So I had no choice but to hear the entire song (and I didn't even know what it was called). It was the "I get up, I get down" part that hooked me, and I had to find out what song it was. The refrain from "Starship Trooper" also caught my ear. Even still, it took me a while before I could appreciate the introduction to "Close to the Edge."

I would say that, for someone new to Yes, the best starting point is The Yes Album, which is still complex but easier to digest. Here's "Starship Trooper," for anyone who wants to hear it:
Spoiler: show
[vimeo]
[/vimeo]
Weird, I had the exact opposite response (instantaneously loved the opening minutes to CTTE and was hooked). I could understand the case for TYA being a better introduction, but that one actually had to grow on me.

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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1394

Post by MovingPictures07 » Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:24 pm

Well, I tried Ys again, following along with the Genius lyrics. I can at least say I appreciate the poetic lyrical content, but I can't say it changed my opinion on the album. Here's the thing. I'm listening to music, not reading poetry, and I honestly didn't feel like digging into the lyrics simultaneously to listening to the album increased my enjoyment of the music. It increased my appreciation for Joanna's lyrical ability and the album's overall artistic content, sure, but not my enjoyment of the total package, despite how much I wanted it to. It is what it is, I suppose. Obviously this is just my opinion and it is partially an inevitable product of the way I view the relationship between music and lyrical content. This will just have to land as one of those albums that I personally can't seem to enjoy yet I can at least fathom why others do.

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Re: SAW [Week 35 - "Ys"]

#1395

Post by JaggedJimmyJay » Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:32 am

I've been busy and forgot to continue promoting album submissions for this. We had few enough though that a poll isn't necessary. If it continues to move this slowly I may just revoke the "no consecutive entries" rule.
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Re: SAW [Week 36 - "Take Care"]

#1396

Post by JaggedJimmyJay » Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:39 am

Week 36: Drake - Take Care

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Re: SAW [Week 36 - "Take Care"]

#1397

Post by G-Man » Mon Nov 20, 2017 1:47 pm

Oh man, I didn't notice that there weren't any other nominees. Oh well, at least we'll be listening to A Charlie Brown Christmas during the first sliver of December. I was hoping it might fall closer to Christmas. Too fast on the trigger I guess.
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Re: SAW [Week 36 - "Take Care"]

#1398

Post by dunya » Mon Nov 20, 2017 1:58 pm

Joanna Newsom - Ys

I remember the first time I listened to Ys, it was rather wordy, pretentious, and most notably unrelateable to my current mood. Her vocals were also almost child-like and didn't reflect a mature woman: the kind of vocals I usually lean towards. I put it aside then listed to it a couple years later and oh boy. There were tears involved, it moved me in a different kind of way.

I'm going to echo what everyone says, I think you want to read the lyrics at least a few times as you listen. Newsom is a lyric master and probably the best person to create music that sounds and tastes "beautiful". Did I mention her lyrics are incredible once you grasp them? Only Skin is maybe the most beautiful song ever recorded by a female artist. It's a magical album and one of my favorites so easy 5/5. I listened to it before sleeping last night again. Perfect <3

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Re: SAW [Week 36 - "Take Care"]

#1399

Post by speedchuck » Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:27 pm

JaggedJimmyJay wrote:
Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:32 am
I've been busy and forgot to continue promoting album submissions for this. We had few enough though that a poll isn't necessary. If it continues to move this slowly I may just revoke the "no consecutive entries" rule.
I mean, I've always got more.

If my workstation gets set up tomorrow, I'll be listening to the new album.
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Speedchuck wins the "Jack Torrance Has Always Been The Caretaker" award.
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Re: SAW [Week 36 - "Take Care"]

#1400

Post by G-Man » Tue Nov 21, 2017 1:38 pm

Ys

Here is another case of hearing talent that does nothing for me. I watched a few YouTube videos of harpists, which gave me a significant appreciation for how awkward and intricate an instrument it is, so I can objectively say that Joanna Newsom has skill with her instrument. Her voice left me in a kind of limbo. Her voice totally suits the kind of music she makes but it's not a sound that I'm dying to hear more often. It is my theory that nobody naturally sings like that, and that her vocals represent a very deliberate and intentional product.

The first three tracks were fine enough for me. Originally, indifference seeped in on track 3 but after a few listens with the headphones on, I like the rapid harp strings on "Sawdust and Diamonds." Track 4 didn't survive the indifference test for me though, as it went on and on far too long without anything that stood out to me with wow factor. Track 5's intro reminded me of a Smashing Pumpkins song circa Mellon Collie but it didn't build into anything I would call a standout.

If I had to pick three tracks, I would take "Sawdust and Diamond" first. I think it might be the album's best track (in my opinion). After that, I 'd go with the opening and closing tracks. "Emily" sets the tone and serves as a decent (albeit long-ish) introduction to the artist. "Cosmia" closes on a relatively strong note with a consistent tune that serves as the backbone of the track.

Perhaps I'm just too nice a person, because I always feel bad when I struggle to find superlatives for albums other people nominate. I want to like these albums as much as you do and I don't want anyone to feel let down when I don't. The most I can say for Newsom is that she is talented in ways that don't fall into my orbit. I found her quaint at worst and pleasant at best.

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