Sunday, October 7, 2012

Alanis, Elbow, Darkness and Nickelback

Here's a review of 4 CDs all in one go. This is because I bought these CDs just a few days apart, but using two different methods.

The first two were impulse purchases, pure and simple. I'd gone down town with the firm intention of treating myself to a Samsung Galaxy SIII mobile phone, on contract. But suddenly it all fell apart when I did the maths of just exactly how much a £99 purchase price, plus £27 plus £6 insurance per month for two years actually added up to. So, no phone - I know... I'll buy some music, cheer myself up.

I chose the latest by Nickelback - "Here and Now" and The Darkness -"Hot Cakes". This seemed like a good bet, as I absolutely love both bands. I've got all the albums by Nickelback since their breakthrough single and they're great, and ditto the Darkness, their first album is excellent, their second almost as good. So... safe choices then.

Oh dear. I mean, they're not exactly rubbish, but they are both very disappointing. On both albums there is the odd good track, but really it's the same old same old... especially for Nickelback. I think when he was younger, Chad got get away with this salacious lyrical style, but now it just sounds a bit desperate somehow. I think he needs to mature a little, and get a grip of the music too, no killer rifs here. As for the Darkness, well the lyrics are amusing in some case, though again maybe deliberate bad language doesn't reflect so well now they're a bit older. I'd like to be able to share this music with my young son, it's just annoying to have unnecessarily explicit lyrics stop that. I like a good swear as much as the next chap, but this just seems juvenile. Oh I dunno, maybe I'm getting old... well I am getting old... but neither of these albums stir anything in me at all. Sad really.

Okay, so the other albums. More consideration taken, no spontaneity. These were bought after having listened to both using the excellent Spotify first, so no element of surprise here. Therefore, happy as Larry. Lesson learned.

The first is "Dead in the Boot" by Elbow. It took me a while to cotton on to Elbow. Specifically it took Peter Gabriel to cover one of their songs, a man for who I have infinite respect - the penny dropped, they are fantastic. This is a collection of 'B' sides and rarities, a concept due to die a death in this digital age I'm sure. I suppose to be fair you'd have to admit that they do maybe over-do the plonk plonk plonk single note thing a bit, but the lyrics are always interesting, singing great, playing excellent.

And the second is "Havoc and Bright Lights" by Alanis Morissette, the 'deluxe' version that has a second CD of live performances. Now I would admit that you really do have to be an Alanis fan to find this stuff enjoyable, but I am - so I do. Well up to recent form, and in fact the live CD is if anything more enjoyable, containing as it does some old songs reinterpreted. Again, to be fair to Nickelback and the Darkness, it might be said that she's dragging out her younger shtick into middle age, there's talk of girlfriends and so on, but I forgive her. The tunes are good, the lyrics thoughtful, she is class.

From Amazon : Alanis, Elbow, Darkness and Nickelback

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