Tag Archives: albums

My Un-Scientific Indigo Girls Albums Ranking

3 Feb

To be differentiated between the quantitative ranking by song. I listened to every song on the album. Then listened to something completely different to cleanse the palate, so to speak. Then I listened a 2nd time. If I ranked any songs differently between the 1st and 2nd listen, I gave them a 3rd listen. Then I worked out the percentages of awesome, good, OK, meh, and skips. From those calculations, I put the albums in order from the most liked songs to least. So it was a big process. But this is just my feeling. Which I guess is more judging the vibe of each album.

I’ll give you 3 words I think of when I see these albums:

1 Staring Down the Brilliant Dream

featuring, southern-reconciliation, concerned

2 Become You

sentimental, lonely, quietly-righteous

3 Nomads Indians and Saints

raw, dark, novel

4 Holly Happy Days

diverse, inclusive, interesting

5 Despite Our Differences

angry, real, personal is political

6 Poseidon and the Bitter Bug

concerts, introspective, hooks

7 Self-Titled

staples, grammy, #1 song all time

8 Come On Now Social

rabble-rousing, political, call-to-action

9. 1200 Curfews

romantical, covers, sing-alongs

10 Beauty Queen Sister

compassion, retro, punk-vibes

11 Look Long

country, children, looking back

12 All That We Let In

George W Bush, community, hopeful

13 Shaming of the Sun

race, grass roots, immigrants

14 One Lost Day

travel, memories, geography

15 Strange Fire

repeats, before my time, yearning

16 Swamp Ophelia

gay, covers, slow

17 Rites of Passage

rural, history, classical

Taylor Swift’s Evermore as Amalgamation: Willow Analysis

30 Dec

I am immediately relieved to hear the instruments.  It’s automatically more alive and warm than folklore.  I also like when she sings at a higher octave, and the faster cadence of the chorus.

I didn’t really want to write an analysis of this song, because after seeing the video it seemed like Taylor really doubled-down on the boyfriend narrative.  And I honestly don’t think that’s her truth, so the whole thing didn’t interest me.  But I was listening to the song for a different reason today (I’m trying to rank every song in her catalogue) and noticed something about the scars line.  And when I looked at the written lyrics I noticed something…

[Verse 1]

I’m like the water when your ship rolled in that night

Rough on the surface, but you cut through like a knife

Taylor Songs with “knife” in the lyrics:

You, with your words like knives/And swords and weapons that you use against me (Mean)

My castle crumbled overnight/I brought a knife to a gunfight/They took the crown but it’s alright/All the liars are calling me one (Call it What You Want)

So cut the headlights, summer’s a knife/I’m always waiting for you just to cut to the bone (Cruel Summer)

Like the war of words I shouted in my sleep/And you passed right by/I was in the alley, surrounded on all sides/The knife cuts both ways (Long Story Short)

My only one/My smoking gun/My eclipsed sun/This has broken me down/My twisted knife/My sleepless night/My win-less fight (Hoax)

Taylor/the water in this metaphor is rough on the surface.  She’s emotional, and has all this inner turmoil about being who she is vs. keeping up the brand.  But the person she’s talking to in the song cuts through all that and gets to the inner Taylor.  

And I think the Long Story Short lyrics describe how this person passes her by but Taylor’s in this figurative alley surrounded on all sides (by her team, audience, demands, PR–all the people Taylor tries to appease all the time according to “Mirrorball” (folklore)).  The knife cuts both ways tells us listeners that yeah, Taylor’s feelings are hurt (alla Hoax) but also, Taylor is doing her own share of hurting the other person by constantly trying to please all these outside forces that surround her.  

Hoax shares that this person is Taylor’s true love.  But also Taylor’s true love is simultaneously her smoking gun, bc being with HER makes evident Taylor’s sexuality.  Being with “the only one” outs Taylor.  The following line says eclipsed sun.  So Karlie (all things gold and sunshiny) is (temporarily) hidden and gone, bc Taylor chose to appease those surrounding her by continuing to hide who she really is.  But this fight has made Taylor sleepless and ultimately unhappy.  It’s a win-less fight.  Both bc Taylor lost the sun (Karlie) to Jo$h, and because nobody is winning when they’re closeted–even if people believe the straight-boyfriend-narrative.

And if it was an open-shut case

Open-and-shut:  Easily decided or solved because the facts are very clear. 

I never would’ve known from that look on your face

The face Taylor is talking to in the song is full of ambiguity.  If the facts are clear, the look on this person’s face obscures that.  The situation is complicated and confusing.

Lost in your current like a priceless wine

[Chorus]

The more that you say, the less I know

This person is a fancy-talker, using double-speak, or obfuscating what they say.

Wherever you stray, I follow

Definition of stray intransitive verb

: WANDER: such as

A : to wander from company, restraint, or proper limits

B : to roam about without fixed direction or purpose

C : to move in a winding course : MEANDER

D : to move without conscious or intentional effort

E : to become distracted from an argument or train of thought

F : to wander accidentally from a fixed or chosen route

G : ERR, SIN

Stray is deviating from norms.  So Taylor uses a negative word to mean either this person is being intentionally evil (cheating on a husband?) or this person is flaky and wandering away from the target.  But whichever is the case, Taylor wants to go with this person off the beaten path (norms of straight marriage?), away from the target (she’s also rejecting heteronormativity).

I’m begging for you to take my hand

In marriage?

Wreck my plans, that’s my man

When I heard this line before seeing it, I took it as, there’s my man, he’s my man, I love my man kind of stuff.  When I saw how it was written I noticed it’s on the same line.  She doesn’t say, “wreck my plans/that’s my man” as separate thoughts.  She says, “wreck my plans, that’s my man” as in further describing the plans.  I feel the distinction is wreck my plans, [which are] ‘that’s my man’.  Another way of saying it is: Code name “That’s my man” are the plans being described, and the person Taylor is talking to in the song is wrecking the “that’s my man” plan. 

Like the plan is:  Here’s my long term straight relationship, I’m in love with a man.  That narrative is what’s wrecked by this person Taylor is addressing in the song.  She’s not talking to her man or about her man in the song.  [It’s really confusing to write out, I hope you get what I’m trying to put out there, dear reader]

The amalgamation of this song is the “that’s my man” line, which is easily misrepresented as an I love my boyfriend!

[Verse 2]

Life was a willow and it bent right to your wind

Head on the pillow, I could feel you sneakin’ in

Sneaking [ snee-king ]adjective

acting in a furtive or underhand way.

deceitfully underhand, as actions; contemptible.

secret; not generally avowed, as a feeling, notion, suspicion, etc.

“Sneaking isn’t a positive word either.  Taylor is already in bed and this person enters after her.  Why would Joe come in after Taylor has gone to bed?  Is he up to something?  Cheating on her?  I think this part is similar to the story of “Illicit Affairs” (folklore) where the person Taylor wants to be with (Karlie?) is cheating on her husband.  It could mean Karlie is surreptitiously seeing Taylor even though she’s supposed to be in a committed relationship with Jo$h.

As if you were a mythical thing

And it seems like this sneaking person is mythical because they are here, then they disappear.  Also, it’s like a dream (in the sense it’s what Taylor wishes for, and also in a ‘wake up and this person is gone’ way) whenever this person comes around.

Like you were a trophy or a champion ring

This line talks about competition.  Taylor is competing with Jo$h to “win” Karlie.  She talks about trophy, ring, then prize to compare the outcome of beating someone to get something shiny.

And there was one prize I’d cheat to win

And again “cheat” references Illicit Affairs.  Taylor will play dirty and be ‘the other woman’ to beat the competition (Jo$h) and win this prize (Karlie).

[Chorus]

The more that you say, the less I know

Wherever you stray, I follow

I’m begging for you to take my hand

Wreck my plans, that’s my man

You know that my train could take you home

I wonder if Taylor is talking to the same person she was talking to in the “Champagne Problems” song?  The one who “booked the night train for a reason” (I think Karlie, but could be Joe).  

One for the money, two for the show/I never was ready so I watch you go/Sometimes you just don’t know the answer/’Til someone’s on their knees and asks you/“She would’ve made such a lovely bride/What a shame she’s fucked in the head,” they said/But you’ll find the real thing instead

Those lyrics talk about Karlie’s two weddings.  And say Taylor was never ready to come out of the closet, so she watched Karlie go back to Jo$h.  Karlie didn’t know who to pick between Jo$h and Taylor, so she was ambivalent about future marriage plans with him.  The person proposing on their knees is jo$h proposing to Karlie!  “But she WOULD have made such a lovely bride” shows neither wedding was legitimate.  And she’s fucked in the head says why–Karlie isn’t into it  bc she loves Taylor.  And now this song confirms, you’ll find the REAL thing instead.  Taylor says MY train could take you HOME.  We know how important home has been to Taylor.  She wants Karlie to come with her.

Anywhere else is hollow

Karlie’s existence with Jo$h is shallow and for all the wrong reasons.  Taylor is offering Karlie substance.

I’m begging for you to take my hand

Wreck my plans, that’s my man

Taylor sings to Karlie, I’m begging you to be with ME, wreck my plans [OF] that’s my man [bearding charade].  

[Bridge]

Life was a willow and it bent right to your wind

They count me out time and time again

All the haters hate, no matter what Taylor Swift does.

Life was a willow and it bent right to your wind

A theory is that the word “willow” is derived from a Celtic language, sal meaning ‘near’ and lis meaning ‘water’.  They are used for streambank stabilisation (bioengineering), slope stabilisation, soil erosion control, shelterbelt and windbreak, and wildlife habitat. And Willows are often planted on the borders of streams so their interlacing roots may protect the bank against the action of the water. Frequently, the roots are much larger than the stem which grows from them (Wikipedia).

But I come back stronger than a ’90s trend

Taylor is persistent and proves the haters wrong with her successes every time. And also she will be persistent in trying to win Karlie back from Jo$h.

[Verse 3]

Wait for the signal, and I’ll meet you after dark

Show me the places where the others gave you scars

Who has the scars?  You drew stars around my scars says Taylor in “Cardigan” (folklore).  And in “Hoax” (folklore) she sings, “You knew it still hurts underneath my scars/From when they pulled me apart.”  Taylor is the one with the scars.  This other person in the song tells Taylor to wait for the signal and they can meet at night.  And asks Taylor to see where OTHERS gave her scars.

Now this is an open-shut case

I guess I should’ve known from the look on your face

This person (Karlie) looks at Taylor’s face and sees something definitive, there’s no mystery. Taylor is now resolute about being with Karlie despite it being the smoking gun of her sexuality.

Every bait-and-switch was a work of art

“Bait and switch” isn’t a matter of making a mistake or having a change of heart.  It’s intentional manipulation.  Someone makes a promise to do something in order get what s/he wants at that point in time–knowing all the while that s/he will never honor that promise (http://psychotherapist-nyc.blogspot.com/2018/03/bait-and-switch-as-form-of-manipulation.html).  

Sounds to me like Karlie “marrying” Jo$h.  But she really didn’t, or she didn’t do it intending to stay and be faithful to him, bc “she’s fucked in the head” and in love with Taylor.  The work of art will be when Karlie leaves Jo$h and Kaylor is happily together.

[Chorus]

The more that you say, the less I know

Wherever you stray, I follow

I’m begging for you to take my hand

Wreck my plans, that’s my man

You know that my train could take you home

Anywhere else is hollow

I’m begging for you to take my hand

Wreck my plans, that’s my man

The more that you say, the less I know

Wherever you stray, I follow

I’m begging for you to take my hand

Wreck my plans, that’s my man

You know that my train could take you home

Anywhere else is hollow

I’m begging for you to take my hand

Wreck my plans, that’s my man

It’s a happy Kaylor ending.  Karlie left Jo$h on the Taylor train, because it was a marriage for shallow reasons.  And Taylor asks Karlie to be with her, wreck her plan of bearding.  Kaylor shaves the beards and ends up together-yay!

Indigo Girls: Look Long Album Review

16 Dec

Shit Kickin’: Awesome!  It’s really catchy, and the background sounds choral, which is nice.  Amy tells a detailed story of growing up.  I like her grit–she conquers horses and carburetors alike.  And it is really cool, and I think rare in the South, that her family saw she was a bit different but let her be.

Look Long:  OK.  It’s a slow, lyrically centered around current political anxieties.  

Howl At the Moon:  Awesome!  It has a sort of African tribal chant, it’s upbeat and features banjo–all things I like!  Later, the penny-whistle(?) gives it an Australian vibe.  There are many elements that make this song interesting.  

When We Were Writers:  OK.  I like the song structure, the harmonizing echo (especially!), the instrumentation.  I don’t really care for the lyrics, I guess.  It’s not that relatable to me.

Change My Heart:  Good.  I’m not sure about all this erection talk Emily is writing about lately–even as a metaphor for the patriarchy and toxic masculinity, it is just YUCK.  But the guitar, and orchestral backing is amazing, and really the star of the song for me.

K.C. Girl:  Good.  Jazzed up baseline is exciting.  And a real too cool for school vibe–very alternative.

Country Radio:  OK.  A song that reminds us that the gays are in rural areas also.  And about that feeling of not belonging as a gay kid even though mostly you’re like everyone else, enjoying country songs.  The orchestral touches really shine in this one.

Muster:  Good.  The bridge when the tone becomes more insistent is the best part of this song.  

Feel This Way Again:  Good.  This one is about how you feel as a kid *and how you feel as a parent watching your child grow up.  Some great lines:  “I know you wanna, hurry through your homework, Youth is a hungry beast, I know you wanna, rise in the West and set in the East.”  The importance of going through all the stages, and how that’s valid.  And about how people miss their childhoods.

Favorite Flavor:  Awesome.  This one reminds me of Green Day, musically.  Just a touch of pop-punk.  And that is perfect, because lyrically it’s about a fiercely independent child.  A bit strong-minded and rebellious just like Amy, herself.  And about how “to let [her] light shine” rather than trying to reign that in.  I love letting little gals be their spunky selves!  

Sorrow And Joy:  Awesome.  I love that the Indigo Girls remind the listener that without sorrow, there would be no joy.  People have to have down times to appreciate good things.  And that opposition is the most natural thing–we shouldn’t try to avoid pain.  And we should appreciate all the good.  This features the harmonies the Girls are most famous for, and of course it’s to good effect.

Fiona Apple: Fetch the Bolt Cutters Album Review

14 Dec

I Want You to Love Me:  Beautiful, swirling piano.  The notes are held so long they become discordant.  Singing slowly transitions from sweet to rough.  The song breaks down at the end with piano fluttering and dolphin vocalizations.  It feels weird, but must be symbolic?

Shameika:  Unlike the last song, this song sounds good right away.  The piano playing elevates all of the songs, and you can tell the vocals are very intellectual.  There is so much going on in the song (production-wise, instrumentally, and lyrically), you have to listen several times to pick up what Apple is putting down.

Fetch the Bolt Cutters:  More spoken word, which reminds me of when Jewel used to strip down to poetry.  And the singing remains “off” and intentionally displeasing to the ear.  “I grew up in the shoes I was told I could fill.”  There are many gems of lines in the song.  It’s about filling expectations, then later, realizing what you want to do, and who you want to be.  She is fetching the bolt cutters to remove these chains society has placed upon her. There’s barking and heavy breathing at the end.  Maybe a symbolic, being chased and pursued, for going your own way.  Fear, but defiance in spite of it.

Under the Table:  Apple, won’t be silenced.  Not for society.  Not for her partner.  “Kick me under the table all you want, I won’t shut up.”  The piano steps up, and Apple goes into more of a singing shout to show her passion about the subject.  There is more off-key shout-barely singing, and the piano does a lot of the work.

Relay:  The beat is consistent with the last songs, moving effortlessly through the album’s theme.  A lot of production.  Many repetitions of the phrase.  Fiona presents herself strong here, not a victim, or soft or helpless.  “Evil is a relay sport when the one who’s burned turns to pass the torch.”  And “Presenting your life like a fucking proaganda brochure” is such a great line.  “. . .  If I hate you for hating me I will have entered the endless race” is the key to the meaning of this song.  Pitting women against each other is our patriarchy’s way to hold us all back.  There are some wailing sounds that I don’t understand.  Is there a cello in here?  

Rack of His:  The initial notes and background sound like that popular Matt & Kim song.  More rough singing to tell a story, which was cerebral to the extent I had to listen several times before I picked it up.  She loved this person so much, and they were only with her to avoid boredom.

Newspaper:  More barking.  An incest song?  It’s difficult to listen to details of grooming and manipulation of an incestuous father.  But it’s a good, and an important song, to put out in the world.  The singing is rough again.  Seeing this sister(?) being abused in the same manner makes Apple feel close to her.  Though the father is manipulating them to dislike and distrust each other.  She does vibrato at the end.  Closes with random thumping.

Ladies:  Repeats, “ladies ladies ladies” four times in harsh, displeasing tones before starting to really sing.  “Yet another woman to whom I won’t get through”  The ex wife of another ex of mine, but the dress at many degrees of separation.  Apple is part of the social puzzle that has women policing other female behavior to reinforce patriarchy.  She emphasizes, whether we play along, enforce, or rebel, we’re all still part of that system.

Heavy balloon:  A lot more repetition–Apple really wants to stress her message to the listener.  There are many thoughtful lines.  “I spread like strawberries” “I’ve been sucking it in so long, I’m bustin’ at the seams.”  “The bottom feels like the only safe place that you know.”

Cosmonauts:  Apple is startlingly smart.  She has lines like, “Your face ignites a fuse to my patience…  Be good to me before you’re gone.”  And “Way more gravity than when we started off” to tell us this relationship has gotten burdensome and heavy.  It’s good imagery.  There are chaotic rounds near the middle of the song.  “Started off” is repeated, then shouted.  It emphasizes the difference from where the relationship began to where it has ended up. Ending with Apple whispering.

For Her:  A group of female voices.  “Treating his wife like less than a guest”  “Trying to act like the other girl acts”  The lyrics get fast.  It nearly sounds like a sports chant.  Beat.  A fun sounding verse.  “Like you know you should know when I came to bed, like you don’t know what you did.”  A pretty big musical break– to show a different day?  It almost sounds like the next song.  “You raped me in the same bed your daughter was born in.”  A chorus, but it gets increasingly sharp(?) and displeasing which ends the song.  I think it imitates how things went sour in her life?

Drumset:  She doesn’t understand why the subject of the song, didn’t want to try, and took it all away.  The drumset is gone.  This person won’t take calls, won’t talk at all.  The song ends on “aaannnd” maybe the next song will continue the story.

Oh I Go:  Sung in lower tones, like stage whispering at some parts.  Many levels of voice.  Choppy phrases of woodwind(?) end the song.


I initially was happy to see Fiona Apple releasing music again, because it’s been a long drought, and she’s historically an artist I like.  And on first listen to the album, I could see there was a lot going on and it should be good.  But Apple doesn’t just hand it to you.  You have to work to understand and appreciate Fetch the Bolt Cutters.  And it’s also intentionally not that sweet and pretty and pleasing to the ear.  Apple has made known she can sing beautifully, and play piano with virtuosity, but here she chooses not to.  So it’s a little work to listen.  But also a cerebral masterpiece.  Smartest work of 2020–and that’s saying a lot with folklore on the scene.

The Good: 2020 Albums Countdown (30-14)

11 Dec

#28

Eminem (2 amazing 9 good 2 alfred talking(3 tot); and hated 4 of 17  =

11.8% awesome; 

52.9% good songs; 

Awesome good avg = 32.35%

23.5% hated = 

Awesome – hated = neg%

Good – hated = 29.4% good

Awesome good avg – hated = 8.85%

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/11/30/eminem-music-to-be-murdered-by-album-review/

I had to deliberate long and hard to decide where to place the album on the list.  It contains probably the best rap song of all time (yup, I said it) and also a really powerful song, that’s ne of the best of anybody this year.  Unfortunately, it also contains that Eminem-brand misogyny, violence, and toxic masculinity, as well as a denial of white privilege.  I used to overlook those things a lot because I was younger, and I could think of the guy’s real life upbringing and struggles and somewhat justify all that toxicity.  Rap is a historical record of racial politics and socio-economic struggle.  But also, it’s 2020, and these issues are at the forefront, and Marshall Mathers has had plenty of time to get counseling, perspective, and education.  So I could not bring myself to rate it in the Awesome grouping for those reasons.

#27

Alanis Moressette (3 awesome; 3 good; OK; 1 meh; 2 dislike OF 11 = 

27.3% awesome; 

27.3% good; 

9.1% meh; 

18.2% dislike

Awesome – dislike =

9.1% awesome

Good-dislike =

9.1% good

Awesome good avg – dislike = 

18.2%

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/11/alanis-morissette-such-pretty-forks-in-the-road-album-review/

I feel like half of this album is my favorite.  It’s a more mature version of Morissette, though she’s still got that edge I’ve always loved.  She is honest and emotional, independant, yet in this album, there’s more vulnerability then I remember on prior works.

But then half of the songs fall into the “trite” category.  Maybe a little too saccharine for my liking.

#26

T.I. (3 awesome; 9 good; 3 ok; 2 meh; 2 dislike of  20 = 

15% awesome; 

45% good; 

Awesome good avg = 30%

15% meh; 

10% dislike

Awesome – dislike = 5% awesome

Good – dislike = 35% good

Awesome good avg – dislike =

30%)

Taylor Swift

Evermore (1 awesome; 10 good; 3 ok; meh; 1 dislike of 15 (so far)

6.7% awesome; 

66.7% good

Awesome good avg = 36.7%

93.3% OK & up

6.7% dislike

Awesome – dislike = 0

Good – dislike = 60%

Awesome good avg – dislike 30%)

DON’T FREAK OUT THESE ARE FIRST IMPRESSIONS & SOME ALBUMS TAKE MANY LISTENS TO APPRECIATE

#25

Kelsie Ballerini (11 of 13 good; 1 strongly dislike message = 

84.6% good 

– 7.7% dislike = 

76.9% good)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/14/kelsea-ballerini-kelsea-album-review/

I have this little theory that Taylor Swift went around and did some (uncredited) featured work on all her friends’ albums.  Like just for fun and because she can.  I talked about it on the Selena album and on Katy Perry, and I thought I heard some contenders in this album too.  I heard her on those other 2 albums, then made my theory, then listened  for it on this album.  Song candidates:

1) The Other Girl- the parts where it says, “They know about me” and also “red dress” line.

2)  and/or Love and Hate

3)  and/or Hole in the Bottle (the layered voice could easily be TS, and that last laugh?  If that’s not Taylor, then it sounds identical.  

#24

Smashing Pumpkins (awesome; 3 good; 1 ok; 6 meh; dislike of 10= 

30% good; 

40% Ok & up)

I mean, they haven’t given me all that much to say about the album.  It’s Ok, nothing really stands out except for the progressive track title spellings.  Not bad, could be more noteworthy next time around.

#23

Nada surf ( AWESOME 6 GOOD 1 OK MEH of 9 = 

66.7% good; 

77.8% ok and up )

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/04/nada-surf-never-not-together-album-review/

Not the “Popular” sound at all!  Far from it.  It’s actually more of a Death Cab for Cutie sound.  I was surprised this one ranked above my honorable mentions list.  It’s mellow, but not boring, and they gave me just a taste of their 1990s sound, but mostly had a new vibe.

#22

John Legend ( 4 good 3 ok of 16 =

25% good; 

44.8% ok & up)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/11/28/john-leg

end-bigger-love-album-review/

There were many songs on this album that I didn’t like something about.  But each of those disliked songs had at least one redeeming factor, or this entire album would have been ranked lower.

#21

Katy Perry (5 good 7 OK of 12 = 

41.7% good

100% OK & up)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/11/25/katy-perry-smile-review/

#20

Bon Jovi (2 awesome; 6 ok; 4 meh of 13 = 

15.4% awesome; 

46% ok; 

Aweseome + good avg=

30.7% good)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/10/bon-jovi-2020-album-review/

Bon Jovi wins easiest, most genuine segway into current events.  He does a seamless job of staying true to his own sound, and having an album that discusses all of today’s issues.  He hits on:  Political ugliness, the division in the country, war, racial justice, covid, and I applaud him for taking it on, and doing it well.  Every artist has a responsibility to do that right now.

#19

Rufus Wainwright (2 awesome; 3 good; 3 ok; 4 meh; dislike of  12= 

16.7% awesome;

25% good; 

Awesome good avg = 20.87%

66.7% ok & up)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/11/29/rufus-wainwright-unfollow-the-rules-album-review/

#18

The Strokes (1 AWESOME 5 GOOD 3 ok of 9 = 

11% awesome; 

55.6% good; 

Awesome good avg = 33%

100% ok & up)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/02/the-strokes-the-new-abnormal-album-review/

This is one of those albums that just might be too cool for anyone listening to it.  I’m glad to hear some more true alternative genre, but some of the experimental sounds are just too much.

#17

Haim (4 awesome; 5 good; 7 ok;  meh; dislike of 16 = 

25% awesome;

31.3% good; 

Awesome good avg = 28.15%;

100% OK & up)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/05/haim-women-in-music-part-iii-album-review/

I tried to listen to Haim before, because I heard a lot about them.  But I just didn’t really connect.  But some of their stuff was good on this album, and it made me want to listen to more of their catalogue again.

#16

Chris Stapleton (3 awesome; 6 good; 1 ok; meh; dislike of 14 = 

21.4% awesome; 

42.9% good; 

Awesome good avg = 32.15%

71.4% ok & up)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/01/chris-stapleton-starting-over-album-review/

#15

Miley Cyrus (3 awesome; 8 good; 4 ok; meh; dislike of  15 = 

20% awesome; 

53.3% good;

Awesome good avg = 36.65%

100% OK & up)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/14/miley-cyrus-plastic-hearts-album-review/

This album is awesome–but not really because of Miley herself.  She pairs with standouts and covers some favorites.  But whenever it’s Miley, by herself on her own track–it doesn’t really hold up.

#14

Lauren Alaina 

Getting Over Him

(2 awesome; 4 good  of  6 = 

33.3% awesome; 

66.7% good)

https://kit10phish.wordpress.com/2020/12/12/lauren-alaina-road-less-traveled-album-review/

Overall, I was disappointed.  If your EP is made of a few really great songs, put it out.  But if the songs are not perfect, either edit til they are better, or add some stunners and make a full album.  Also, the two things I liked best about her past album, was Alaina’s positivity and good messaging, and her vocal strength.  This EP showcased neither.

Yet, here it is at the top of the ‘Good’ list, because it’s out of 6 songs.  So maybe it’s the smartest way after all…

I didn’t realize Alaina had put out two EPs until (embarrassingly late) the day before I was ready to publish the finalized list.  Why not just make them 1 album?  So to all the people I said edit and put out an EP if you need to–never mind on that.  Spotify made it a complete pain in the ass!  It was hard to see them.  Hey Spotify developers, if you’re reading this–puh-leeze make all kinds of music chronological.

How I Formed My 2020 Album Countdown

8 Dec

I try to do a yearly top albums of the year countdown. And usually I uses the Wiki albums (for that year) page to see what’s dropping. I make sue to listen to my historical favorite artists, and if I still have time I’ll check out albums of genres I’m a fan of, then big names. And I usually just go by my own opinions–nothing academic, nothing fancy. I simply rate the albums as I like them.

This year I decided to try a more quantitative approach. Which is why my descriptions of songs and albums, might not match up all that well with the album’s placement on my list. I judged songs on a scale of awesome, good, OK, meh, and dislike this year. OK means neutral. No complaints, but no excitement either. meh, ment to me that it was boring, or I tuned it out, or the song didn’t make an impact on me. Awesome songs instantly made me enthusiastic. It is a rank based on my own reactions, and what gets me going. So obviously–awesome isn’t objective. It’s geared toward what I like. Good were the songs that were above neutral, but that didn’t make me excited. They were solid songs, but didn’t have that it factor. And dislikes were things that offended me, things I thought were thrown together without a bunch of thought, things that made me angry. It takes a LOT for me not to like a song!

Then to formulate the list from worst to best, I mathematically quantified the number of each type of song against the number of songs on the album. And this definitely favored artists with less tracks. But a theme this year, was edit. Which, when I was first getting into music was entirely different. Back when you had to pay $12, then $17, and sometimes $22 for an album–it sucked when that album was short. What a waste of money. Those albums with 8 songs or something were an awful value. But also it sucked to buy a whole ass album, just for 1 song. And the rest of the songs sucked. I’m talking to you Billy Joel, River of Dreams. Don’t just put songs on an album to fill it out. Now that streaming is primary, nobody needs or wants filler material. I suggested that artists only put out there BEST work. Also, I really weighted disliked songs heavily. Just because I like most things. It really has to be awful for me to dislike it.

What came out was a list of albums that surprised me. It would have been different if the rankings weren’t based on percentage. But I can tell you the albums represent how much I like and dislike the tracks. So I might not do it this same way next year, but it’s totally accurate to the songs I like and dislike for this year.

Honorable Mentions: Artists to Watch

4 Dec

Mandy Moore

I forgot at first what album I was checking out.  Because Moore sounds adult.  There is zero bubble-gum teeny bopper pop here anymore.  Still catchy though, with a definite maturity.  Good piano work also.  I think it reminds me of Amy Grant?  Is that who I’m thinking of?  Very adult contemporary, easy listening.  And that’s not criticism–just accurate.

Fifteen:  It’s interesting to hear the perspective of a grown-up former teen pop star. Her descriptive language really sets the scene and takes the listener back to that time.  Also, Moore talks about the milestones she had to miss for her singing career, which people forget about.  Fame is cool and neat, especially for a teen, but it also sucks and steals your childhood.  “Still a part of me” drives the point of the song home.

Forgiveness:  One of the strongest songs on her album.  Lyrically driven but catchy.  “Will I forgive you?  You don’t get to know.” Also, a little more melancholy and assertive than we’re used to seeing Moore.

Vanessa Carlton

All of it is very stripped down, like a new artist singing alone in a school gym. Yes, complete with the echo of the gym.  I was disappointed all the strings of the last album were absent, and when there’s any instrumentation, it’s soft piano.  Turns into background music readily.  It would be good study music, because it’s not distracting or overpowering in any way.  It’s also not super memorable either, except for:  Back to Life, The Only Way to Love, Salesman, and Miner’s Canary.

Mt. Joy 

Very mellow.  After “Come With Me” the album improves.  The latter half of the album starts to give me something to listen to.  The choruses become more catchy, the instrumentation a little harder and intricate, and some beat.  More emotion and excitement are in the latter half.  I’m going to name this year’s album collection (all of them) something about editing your work.

CeLo Green

Lead Me:  I like how it sounds like Sunday morning.  And I think that it’s hopeful.

I Wonder How Love Feels:  I like the waltz for Green.  It’s his brand, but new and interesting too.

Down with the Sun:  The falsetto salvaged this tune.  It’s a little vanilla save for that.

The Way:  This song kind of reminds me of an old Western, with the sort of bell tolling sounds.  And deep, voice telling a story.  It’s an unexpected for Green to wander, which makes it all the more exciting to the listener.

What I like is the extra funk flavor  put in many of the songs.  It’s almost a disco feel.  And the falsetto singing.  And the excitement some of the tracks generate.  What i do not like is:  Too many superficial topics, such as People Watching.  Also, I have a difficult time buying heterosexual songs from flamboyant (probably internally homophobic) Green.  I suspect he’s what I call a ‘dick in a wall’ playing straight, but then going to a truckstop/porn-store bathroom and well you know the rest.

So that’s not the way I wanted to end the post, so instead I’ll talk up giving a variety of music a listen.

Hoax: Analysis of Taylor Swift’s folklore (from larger post) Addition Added: The Lakes

31 Aug

This is a more digestible portion of my album analysis:

 

Here, I have tried to analyze what and who each track of Folklore is about.  Which is complex because it’s not in a linear order.  Names are obscured.  Facts may be reality or story.  The narrator is unreliable.  And this whole thing is going to be from a Kaylor perspective, because that’s how the songs, and Taylor Swifts catalog as a whole makes the best sense to me.  I’ll show you what I mean.

 

16. Hoax.

This song is difficult for me to listen to.  It’s just so bleak.  And I can’t believe Swift ended this album on such a hopeless note (and no final voice memo or anything).  Maybe The Lakes will be lighter–I haven’t received my merch yet.

“My only one”  The first song, The One told us Taylor was looking back at her choices.  now she says the subject of this last song is “my ONLY one”.  I think even more than being about 1 person this song is the bookend that shows bittersweet of what her life DID turn out as after all these choices, endings, breakups… This is the conclusion to the album.

“Smoking gun” is the clue that unlocks a mystery.  When Taylor is with Karlie, it’s impossible NOT to see their love.  And they got caught kissing.  Karlie outs Taylor because their love is evident.

“My eclipsed Sun.”  The sun again symbolizes Karlie, but also Daylight where Taylor can come out and be openly queer.  Taylor is saying that she is still in shade, because she’s afraid to come out of the closet.  And also Karlie is eclipsed under the shadow of the fake Kushner marriage, and is also partially in the shadows since Kaylor has a hidden, closeted relationship.

“Your faithless loves the only hoax I believe in.” Faithless, because Karlie is cheating on her “husband”. “Your sleight of hand” is Karlie acting like her marriage to a man is real–when it isn’t.

“My best laid plan” is Taylor’s Lover era where she was going to come out. But circumstances prevented it.

She’s also telling that her situation is bittersweet because to be authentic to herself, Taylor has some hard choices that she must follow through with.

“Don’t want no other shade of blue but you, no other sadness in the world would do.”  Taylor, despite all the sadness and complication of all the bearding and closeting and being gay.  She would choose Karlie because it’s authentic and true, but it has taken a toll.

Such a bummer.  And really lends credence to the Kaylor breakup theories.  The only thing that tells me they’re still together are Karlie’s spoiler/promo pics 13 days prior to the secret album release.  She HAD to know, know.  We’ll see what follows in real life.

 

+++Addition+++

I finally got The Lakes, and as such needed to add my analysis to the main post. And you really can’t without discussing Hoax too. They’re companion songs, yin and yang, can’t have one without the other.

Hoax:  I’m glad Taylor released an additional song, because I think this one is too negative and depressing to end an album.  It is melancholy and Taylor sounds a little defeated in it.  She basically says she’s sad, but nothing else will work, she is going to live with the sadness because her heart is taken with this person.  It’s a little bit, ‘victim of domestic abuse’ a mentality.  “This has frozen my ground”–pay attention, this becomes important later.  The piano and strings are beautiful, but the lyrics are just so dreary.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good song–I just wish Taylor was happy, and the subject was not hurting her.

The Lakes:  The first sounds remind me of when a movie shows a record player.  A litter antiquated and slightly degraded.  I think this song is chock full of poetry references, but let me be honest–that is not where my interests lie, so I didn’t take the time to do a true analysis.  The musical backing sounds much more optimistic than the prior couple of songs on the album (Peace and Hoax).  And Taylor makes sure to indicate she wants to leave her life for this dreamscape–but not without her muse.  “A red rose grew up out of ice frozen grounds…” is a good symbol for the barren loneliness and horribleness that Taylor’s relationship with her lover grew out of.  Things were bad and cold and icy, but from that stemmed (pun!) a beautiful red flower (glitch rose, Klossy?). 

Since it follows the depression of hoax, it shows Taylor has come through all of that negativity, that’s not where the story ends (a break up and toxicity) afterall.  It’s a more optimistic closer–thank goodness.  Also, Taylor is known to start the next album from the last song of the previous so this gives the listener a hint maybe the next album will be from some English chateaux where Taylor is holed up with her lover, doing what she does best–writing.

Peace: Analysis of Taylor Swift’s folklore (from larger post)

30 Aug

This is a more digestible portion of my album analysis:

 

Here, I have tried to analyze what and who each track of Folklore is about.  Which is complex because it’s not in a linear order.  Names are obscured.  Facts may be reality or story.  The narrator is unreliable.  And this whole thing is going to be from a Kaylor perspective, because that’s how the songs, and Taylor Swifts catalog as a whole makes the best sense to me.  I’ll show you what I mean.

 

15. Peace.

From perspective of Karlie Kloss. “I’m a fire…” Remember she’s a Leo, a fire sign. And she goes on to say she’ll keep Taylor’s heart warm. “People think loves for show, but I’d die for you in secret.” Is this Karlie acknowledging the fans on social media who troll her for trying to ‘use Taylor ‘s career to succeed’? Who accuse her of queer-baiting Kaylors to get fans? When, in fact, Karlie deeply loves Taylor in private. In the song, Karlie remembers how Taylor had the butterfly angel wing (that look a lot like ones Karlie walked in one time at a show) mural commissioned in the Lover Era, by saying “you paint dreamscapes on the wall.” It might also mean The Lover music video and Taylor’s art in general, which often (secretly) portrays their love. “Family I chose” is a very gay line, “Now that I see your brother as my brother.” Taylor has a brother, who would be newly related to Karlie if there was a marriage.

The “robbers in the East” might be talking about the Kushners she’s tied to. And the white house that stopped their coming out plans in the Lover Era. And “Clowns to the West” might be Scott B. and Scooter giving Taylor so much trouble with her music catalog. And of course KimYe in LA, who are constantly stirring up trouble for Taylor.

But Karlie emphasizes “I’d give you my sunshine.” That Leo sun again. “The Devils in the details.” Makes me think of DWOHT a kiss gate song where they were outed by someone “grinnin’ like a devil.” It was at that point, Karlie and Taylor hid safely in the closet, ramped up the bearding, and each complicated her individual life, and their relationship. The details she speaks of might be ending the bearding contracts and being together for real without violating any non-disclosure agreements or creating political enemies.

This song is Karlie assuring the audience that she’s suffering also, but she is genuine and she wants to have a real, meaningful, authentic, loving relationship with Taylor.  And it’s going to come back out in the public as soon as those details get sorted out.

Betty: Analysis of Taylor Swift’s folklore (from larger post)

29 Aug

This is a more digestible portion of my album analysis:

 

Here, I have tried to analyze what and who each track of Folklore is about.  Which is complex because it’s not in a linear order.  Names are obscured.  Facts may be reality or story.  The narrator is unreliable.  And this whole thing is going to be from a Kaylor perspective, because that’s how the songs, and Taylor Swifts catalog as a whole makes the best sense to me.  I’ll show you what I mean.

 

14. Betty.

This is the song that unlocks the ‘high school love triangle’ angle of the album.  This is also the song that made most listeners stop and go, “hmmm, this song doesn’t seem super-straight…”  It’s from James’ perspective, and we know that because the person telling this song is invited into a car by name.

But I spy inconsistencies.  “Betty, one time I was riding my skateboard when I passed your house it’s like I can’t breathe.”  This might sound like a stereotype, and I apologize.  But I’ve known teenage guys, and the ones I have had contact with don’t have the emotional maturity to go breathless about a girl.  The ones I know might think a girl is cute, or have a crush, or want sex, but I’ve never known them at a teen age to get like, no breath about it.  That seems very female to me.  But I’m female, so it’s difficult to go outside my own perspective–just as it was probably difficult for Taylor.  And at the end, James put on Betty’s cardigan.  Does a guy wear his girlfriend’s sweater?

Taylor was named after James Taylor.  And Karlie Elizabeth (Betty is a nickname for Elizabeth) Kloss is the other female in this story, Betty.  And Taylor mentions the cobblestones, streetlight, and also the garden of the romantic Lover album.  Hello, “Cruel Summer” fame “sneaking through your garden gate just to seal my fate” then in real life Karlie Kloss sells her condo, and featured in the real estate ad is a garden?  And there’s pictures of Taylor going in and out of a garden gate in that same neighborhood.

So yeah, there’s some high school kids mixed in this song.  And age of 17.  A gym and a school dance.  But that’s just the unreliable narrator again.  Taylor even confirms that she’s James in the “Cardigan” music video–she puts on that cardigan at the end.  And has a knowing look.  Yup, I’m James.