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Sunday, August 13, 2006

Millenium Project: Day Six (Albums 50-41)

50. Pet Shop Boys - Fundamental (2006)
Perhaps the best PSB album since Very, Fundamental soundtracked much of my time while I worked abroad this past spring. Cut neatly between uptempo songs and slower pieces, the album flows rather well. The uptempos (The Sodom & Gomorrah Show, Integral, Minimal) are, of course, the highlights, but there are also some great ballads. I Made My Excuses And Left and Indefinite Leave To Remain are instant PSB classics.

Pet Shop Boys - The Sodom And Gomorrah Show

49. Whyte Seeds - Bold As Love (2006)
I wasn’t inordinately impressed with the first single from this album (the title track). It was a very pretty ballad, but nothing else really. I bought the cd because they were the support act for the Ark and I wondered what the rest of their stuff sounded like. Even on first listen, I realized that this was damn near the perfect pop album. There are echoes of the Beatles, Beach Boys, synth pop, stadium rock, psychedelic… everything. Opener Hungry has one of the most catchy guitar riffs around and Back In Town is pure pop bliss.

Whyte Seeds - Back In Town

48. Prozzak - Saturday People (2000)
I really shouldn’t like this band. They’re cartoons, for god sakes! But, their music is so gloriously catchy, Their debut was alright, but they followed it up with the brilliant Saturday People, a story-song-suite loosely based upon weekend nightlife. The songs themselves are gloriously conceived and would be good no matter what the genre (this genre just happens to be novelty-dance-rock). Be As is inspiring in its simplicity, It’s Not Me It’s You sounds like a Christmas song, and the title track is simply epic. Best of all is Monday Morning, which belies its sadness with a catchy uptempo melody.

Prozzak - Monday Morning

47. Kaiser Chiefs - Employment (2005)
Kaiser Chiefs have something that most of their new-wave peers lack: variety. Listening to their debut for the first time was a constant surprise, wondering what kind of song was going to come around next. It opens brilliantly (are there two more energetic songs than Everyday I Love You Less And Less and I Predict A Riot?). But, after that, you have the mod swing of Modern Way, the piano-pounding Na Na Na Na Na, the dramatic Born To Be A Dancer, and the sixties throwback Saturday Night. They are rightfully major stars.

Kaiser Chiefs - Saturday Night

46. Pepper’s Ghost - Shake The Hand That Shook The World (2005)
A throwback almost through and through, Pepper’s Ghost at times sound like Queen (Heavy Body Bag), the Beatles (All I Know), Toto (Rosalina) and more modern contemporaries Gavin Degraw & Maroon 5 (Everything & Anything). One thing is never lacking, and that’s energy. It’s also a superior, consistent pop album. There’s no reason that this shouldn’t have been an absolute smash last year.

Pepper’s Ghost - Heavy Body Bag

45. Muse - Absolution (2004)
I’m a sucker for concept albums. I love rock musicals/operas, and the intertwining of story and song can be stunning. I bought this album not even knowing much about Muse (hey, they’re not all that popular over here in the States), and (as with all Muse albums) it took me about a week to get into it. At that point it got quite addictive. Rock and roll coupled with lyrics about the apocalypse really meshes together here. And, it’s not even depressing! Although all the songs really flow well together, the best of the bunch are singles Time Is Running Out and the massive (although not super massive :) Hysteria. Thoughts Of A Dying Atheist is also worth a mention for being as good as its title promises.

Muse - Hysteria

44. Kelly Clarkson - Breakaway (2004)
A string of 2004 releases here (it was a good year in music!). I loved Kelly on the first season of Idol, but I thought her debut was a little lame. Luckily, she took control and released this brilliant (and massive) sophomore effort. Radio unfortunately has ruined much of the appeal of the singles, but on this album every track is worthy of being a hit. I’m not normally a fan of this brand of pop, but this album is a milestone.

Kelly Clarkson - Since U Been Gone

43. Of Montreal - Satanic Panic In The Attic (2004)
Once and awhile, something really odd strikes me and I fall in love with it. This album is definitely really odd, incorporating classic rock and folk songwriting with gentle synths and harmonies. The songs are such that they will stick in your head after one listen, even though you have no idea what in the hell they’re about. The opening number, the new-wave inspired Disconnect The Dots is followed by the ELO-ish romp of Lysergic Bliss (which will make even a manic depressive happy…I swear).

Of Montreal - Disconnect The Dots

42. Maroon 5 - Songs About Jane (2002)
This is a strange album, because I was listening to it a full year and a half before radio started playing it. So, by the time I was ready to move onto a new album, the world got obsessed with this one. Basically, this added exposure gave me the chance to become really sick of the singles. I’ll give it a few years detox before listening to it too much, but Songs About Jane is a deserved hit. It’s funky, fun and presents a new (without really being anything groundbreaking) sound. The singles are of course fantastic, as is the funky Not Coming Home and Through With You. And, Secret is an absolutely gorgeous slow jam.

Maroon 5 - Through With You

41. Sophie Ellis-Bextor - Read My Lips (2002)
A real crash course in sophisticated dance-pop, Ellis-Bextor’s debut was near perfect. Murder On The Dancefloor is an absolutely flawless club track, while there is plenty of diversity on this album as well. From the pure pop of Get Over You, The Universe Is You and Take Me Home (a Cher cover) to the dense and theatrical Move This Mountain and Leave The Others Alone. She gave Kylie a run for her money with this album, that’s for sure.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor - The Universe Is You

(Music is for evaluation purposes only. Buy these fabulous albums here.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Universe Is You is an awesome song. But my favorite track from that album is "Get Over You"

6:06 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Yeah, I love that song. I was also going to post Murder on the Dancefloor, but thought I'd go with something that was a little less known.

7:59 PM  

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