Score: 10/10 ~ 8/10
For this review, I decided to do something a little different: I put both albums on a Spotify playlist and put it on shuffle, and just prattled out my opinions of the songs in the random order that the Spotify deity didst decide. Why? Eh, there are a lot of reasons, one being that in my experience people don’t really listen to full albums DIGITALLY, so it becomes a case where the album EXPERIENCE is based on this subjective, haphazard splicing. I’ve never personally witnessed someone playing a vinyl record in my life other than my mom — the records of which Neil Young – Decade sounded awesome and Beatles – Abbey Road sounded like it had been recorded by Ronald McDonald. Anyway, I’m also a bar fly and more and more I’m sort of cashing in on awesome SINGLES I used to like getting airplay (also every band in the world has turned poppy especially Pearl Jam), though there are still certain others I’m waiting to hear roll in (Animal Collective – “Recycling”; tUnE-yArDs – “Coast to Coast”). This being said, the N.E.R.D. album does work on the whole. But I want to examine something innards before its outer shell, just to say I did before I die, I guess.
Another thing I started doing this year is just indexing every important album that comes out, whether it’s good or bad, on one page, with complete artist, title and tracklisting. One reason why I like this project is that it’s objective and I don’t have to use any opinions or big words in order to do it. I really hate opinions and big words. So I’ll try to avoid at least one of them here, although the other one is sort of inevitable. Anyway, I started falling in love with the Moby song titles even before I heard the album.
To be honest, I haven’t really kept up with Moby, well, ever, least of all in the last 14 years, following sessions as a collegiate freshman whereupon songs like “Flower” and “Natural Blues” would more or less trigger my pubescent ejaculatory functioning whilist I sat at my computer domicile. I mean, it’s electronica, right? The stuff’s easy to make and easy to forget about. Everybody knows that. But dag nabbit it’s fun.
My first impressions of the Breeders song titles were that they were wack. First of all, I’m sick of everybody complaining about skinheads. Like, Dayton, Ohio is not a racist place. I mean if you’re gonna be a white male in the south and actually take a jab at racists, then I’d say you have balls. All these people though complaining about Donald Trump being “racist” are completely full of sh**… this one girl on Facebook even tried to like look up his tenant renting records from 2002 and furnish that as evidence that he was a racist president. It’s like, why don’t you just say he’s a bad president because he’s deliberately oafish and belligerent, he has no political experience and he’s a failing casino tycoon whose ostensible BACKUP GIG is being president of the United States. That’s not chic enough. Well, I could just vomit up my pancreas. But I’ll save it for later.
Um, “MetaGoth” is one of the best songs I’ve ever heard in my life. And it’s a delicate thing too. Well, ok, it’s not better than “When the Levee Breaks.” I just heard that in the bar the other night. God da** is that a bluesy tune.
But one of the victories of “MetaGoth” is its astonishingly un-’90s tinge. Obviously, the early ’90s were a great time in music during which Last Splash was sort of of MEDIAN importance, extrapolated now within today’s context and standard as an undeniable classic and benchmark of songwriting and sonic achievement with the garage rock format.
“MetaGoth” starts in sort of just big, dumb and tacky — some wailing drums, loud, Weezer-ish bass (circa the Maladroit tour/Scott Shriner’s early days), and that same old lazy, obstinately slothful electric guitar with some sort of pedal thinner treatment (which to their credit I can’t exactly name). Then comes the vocal and this is undeniably the kicker. Think, like, Annie Lennox after listening to Killing Joke for like seven weeks straight (so quintessentially ‘80s, in other words).
Even though The Breeders are from Ohio, which is God’s country, they’re the type of band that definitely gets put under a hipster microscope, having won a certain celebrity upon their notoriety in the 2000s incarnation of the website Pitchfork (which at that time wasn’t owned by Conde Nast), with both The Pod and Last Splash making their “Top 100 Albums of the 1990s” list. Now, I don’t know exactly what it’s like being a girl and making rock music (I’ve heard stories of sexism, not racism, emanating from Dayton from Kim Deal herself), but either way, The Breeders, though somehow sidestepping 1990s simplism better than they ever have in their career, do not sound like a band that’s self-conscious or self-effacing — “MetaGoth” is a song that’s fully unfurled and comfortable in its sonic skin, both vibrating physically and conveying an undeniable feeling of spookiness and poignance, with words like “No one’s here / No one’s here to stay”. It’s quintessentially Pixes with spare, half-developed and alien guitar riffs speckled throughout, made dark and un-humorous in a Pearl Jam – “Of the Girl” sort of way but still with a coy, faux-British vocal, as if downright flaunting the amount of inspiration its got rolled up its sleeve.
The great Spotify wheel in the sky then dealt me an “All Nerve” title track, which I was sort of skeptical about at first with that sort of glib, deliberately vulnerable little-girl vocal of Deal’s but then grew to appreciate with just the sheer persistence with which she pursues her subject matter: “You don’t know how much I missed you”. It’s a statement in favor of simplicity and bareness when you feel an undeniable splotch on your heart. Actually, she sounds exactly like Isaac Brock, although the feminineness is actually appropriate in her case since she’s a girl.
For some reason Spotify kept playing The Breeders over and over (it must be ‘cause they’re from God’s country), so I kept skipping until the first Moby cut which ended up being “The Waste of Suns.” “The Waste of Suns” contains a dual vocal and some drum/bass interplay which is almost too rhythmic to even parse. Still, it’s never garish or showy and “The Waste of Suns” has a pop appeal in the spirit of Massive Attack, way more so that is to say than John Talabot whom I used to ardently tout on this website.
Now I got to “The Sorrow Tree” and… ope… I feel like maybe I’m invading in rapaciously on Moby’s precious, heartfelt concept album here. “The Sorrow Tree” is placed in the album’s second half within all these wistful song themes, that is, and features a long house-y intro that actually at first makes you think that the song is going to be entirely instrumental. To be honest, and this is getting overwhelming: every single song I’ve heard so far except “All Nerve” has featured a vocalist I can’t name. That “MetaGoth” girl I heard like I said sounded like Annie Lennox (I don’t feel like looking up personnel at this point… I’d rather just not know), and here again Moby is utilizing a female vocalist for this spot, who’s got a great voice but almost in an annoying, American Idol type way which makes me long for that awkward humanness of Kim Deal all over again.