Wednesday, December 21, 2011


The short version:
Various Artists—Breaking Dawn Part 1: 5/10
Mutemath—Odd Soul: 5/10
Coldplay—Mylo Xyloto: 7/10

I haven't been listening to a lot of new stuff recently, but the Breaking Dawn Part 1 soundtrack album came out and Bruno Mars' It Will Rain is good enough that it was worth a preorder.  Beyond that, there's a lot of whiny nonsense on this CD... more than one track makes me want to dive for the Skip button.  Barring some unlikely situation in which I turn into a moody teenage girl I do not anticipate there being any future time in which I'll be in the mood to actually listen to this whole thing from start to finish again.  Anyway, that said, beyond the amazing and fantastic It Will Rain, Theophilus London's Neighbors and Northern Lights by Cider Sky are both pretty good.  But I'd generally recommend you just get an MP3 of It Will Rain and call it good, and save yourself the travesty of accidentally hearing Turning Page because you couldn't click Next Track in time.

I rather like Mutemath.  I don't rather like their newest CD, Odd Soul.  It seems as if they set out with the goal of making a rock album that sounds as warm and exaggerated and huge and unfocused as they could.  In their past albums I was impressed with the clockwork precision of their drummer and the crazy things he was capable of.  And he's still there.  But he's in the background, drowned out by amped GUITAAAAAARRRWWRRRRRRRRRR and wailing.  Just about every aspect of this album seems to be a big step backward from their previous body of work and it's unnerving.  The band is still recognizable, certainly, but I'm wary of what I'll be hearing a year from now.  Quarantine, Odd Soul, and Prytania are the best tracks, but none of them are nearly as good as some of the best stuff from their earlier CDs.  Not much really stands out.

Finally, I picked up Coldplay's latest, Mylo Xyloto.  It's not as good as Viva la Vida, but their last CD was pretty excellent and I suppose it would be pretty difficult for any new album to not be a little disappointing after that one.  Paradise, my favorite song, is simple and catchy but sort of embarrassingly cheesy.  The chorus is little more than the two-note word "paradise" repeated over and over and some very Coldplay "oohhhh-ohh-ohhhs" thrown in.  But it sounds great, and I'll still take that over something with a little more creative integrity that's painful to listen to.  Hurts like Heaven is rather good too, and not quite as embarrassing.  Third favorite is probably Princess of China, featuring Rihanna.  The style is nearly identical to Viva la Vida, with a little more electronic influence thrown in, though it's used pretty subtly.

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