Audio Pops

I send songs to my Dad to review and post his exact words. [My notes in brackets.]

BEST COAST - UP ALL NIGHT

I love the simplicity of this song. There are times when it is appropriate and even necessary to make a really complex song adding layers and letting the song decide which direction to take. I am really glad she didn’t do that.

A monoemotional (to coin a term) song only needs a set path, steady tempo, light instrumentals and a good artist who “feels” the song.

“Up All Night” delivers on everything exceptionally well. I hope to hear a lot more from this artist…I’ll have to have someone add it to my I-pod [sic].

 Dadfork Rating: 5/5

FIONA APPLE - EVERY SINGLE NIGHT

[I transcribed a phone conversation with Dad as he was watching the video. Here’s Dad’s side of the conversation:]

She has an octopus on her head.

*laughs*

Look at the giant octopus and the giant snail.

*laughs*

I’d have to listen to this a couple times because I’m so distracted by the video.

*laughs*

I don’t know what she’s trying to do.

I like her voice. It’s weird she has an octopus on her head again. It’s sucking her brains out. And now she’s holding her brain. And there’s the giant octopus again. 

I would not …

*stops laughing*

How old is she? She looks like a teenager. [Dad, I think she’s like 35] No way. 

I just, I’m so distracted by the video because there’s no way to make sense of it and the song. 

[Video ends]

This was a really hard one. 

I think there’s meaning to her video…but I’m not sure if the viewer can ever decipher it. Sometimes you listen to poetry or watch videos, and the song and video match literally? An example of a song would be Michael Jackson’s Thriller. It’s just straightforward. But if [Fiona] has a message in the video it’s not getting out of her mind. I don’t know if you can interpret it. But there’s so many recurring themes - like octopus on her head, and the giant octopus, and lying in a garden of snails - you would think it means something to her. It doesn’t mean there’s an interpretation [on our end].

It doesn’t seem like it’s about normal loneliness. It’s a scary video. The last time I saw something like that was Tommy. It’s like raw. It’s really raw. I think what really troubles me is she’s probably trying to put what she’s really struggling with in a poetic way. But that’s just not normal artistic weirdness, I mean that’s disturbing. You know the one Beatle [I’m pretty sure John Lennon] who said he was always struggling, but no one ever asked to help [definitely John Lennon]. Someone needs to talk to her and ask if there’s anything they can do for her. [I asked Dad about her laugh at the end. I saw it as breaking, like she realized it was a ridiculous video.] It seems like a nervous laugh, like she let out more than she wanted to.

Her voice is good though, and her songwriting ability is amazing. But I put a lot of stock in the words of songs. 

REGINA SPEKTOR - SMALL TOWN MOON

Hidey Ho Folks! It’s been awhile, since Ol’ Audio Pops has posted but what a song to come back to!

I almost didn’t review this song or was going to give it really bad marks.

Wait, wait let me tell you what happened…When I went to open the link, nothing happened, so I clicked it two more times for good measure. Then the song popped up and started playing. All I heard was this incredibly annoying noise and garbled vocals. I thought, “Great, another Indie Band experimenting so much there is nothing left to the music.” I actually was going to write comments like, “I would rather listen to three cats fighting over chicken scraps in a metal garbage can!” and other stuff like that.

But BUT then I realized that a song actually opened for every one of my mouse clicks.  The audio was overlapping and offset by about a half a second each.  This is the type of fun you have when you get to be my age.

Anyway, I closed everything but one of the sound tracks and heard this incredible song that everyone will really enjoy.  Regina Spektor is nothing like listening to fighting cats.

I was really digging the part between 1:38 and 1:56.  I wish she would have used it often as a chorus.  It’s one of those beats and melodies that could easily get stuck in your head, in the best way possible.

A personal note to Regina and anyone else with her question: “How do I leave without hurting everyone that made me who I am?”

The answer is quite simple:  You cannot.  But, if they know you are leaving for all the right reasons, and you really do understand that they truly did help to make you who you are, then it is a bittersweet hurt and there is happiness in the hurt.  The people who love you want you to be who you are. They just want to be remembered, also.

Sweet song.

DADFORK RATING: 6.23/5

THE AVALANCHES - FRONTIER PSYCHIATRIST

People, you are on your own with this one. My official review for this strange video is “No comment.”

[I’m going to try to get Dad to listen to it again after I give him some background.]

Dadfork Rating: refused to rate

SUFJAN STEVENS, NICO MUHLY, AND BRYCE DESSNER - JUPITER

I have said over and over how much I enjoy these reviews for Audio Pops because I get exposed to music I would have NEVER found on my own. If you read my reviews I have given negative scores and no scores to songs I disliked and have given scores that I have attached multipliers to because they were extraordinary. But my absolutely most favorite part of Audio Pops is when something that is good, AND totally unique, comes along.

Today is a good day.  Jupiter, from my understanding, is part of a series of songs about the planets, but I’m not sure if it is in album form [we can only pray, Dad].  Anyway, I did listen to Jupiter and Venus, and Earth, but then I had a choice of writing something for this review or starting work.  Audio Pops won.  What an amazing concept to give the Solar system an identity through music!  Wow!  AND to have it so well done!

Here is an open plea, no, let’s call it what it is, shamelessly begging.  Please, Please, PLEASE Sufjan, call a planetarium in NYC and have a live concert there with pictures of the planets swirling around as you perform each namesake. Then invite me to be your personal guest.  PLEASE!!  I also know this Media artist going for her Master’s degree at The New School [that’s me].  She could document the whole thing properly, and for free (!), rather than the poor quality shown on YouTube.

Thank you in advance Sufjan, you can leave a message here at Audio Pops and my tickets at “Will Call”.

Dadfork Rating: 9.35/5

DIRTY PROJECTORS - GUN HAS NO TRIGGER

Generally speaking, “dark” songs will get a lower rating from me than any other type.  They just put my mind in a place where I’m not feeling very generous with style points. Plus, if my emotions get dampened by a song, why would I want other people to experience it. Example:  You walk up to a friend, “Hey, you are looking exceptionally cheerful today!  I got a song that will wipe the smile right off your face!”

See what I mean.

OK, the song is dark; let’s get over that little detail.  The style is reminiscent of the older James Bond theme songs, ala “The Man with the Golden Gun”, or “Diamonds are Forever”.  If the band were around back then, they could have easily scored a soundtrack deal.  It is always interesting to find out the musical influences that contribute to an artist’s creative process.  This time I’d bet they spent Saturday afternoons growing up watching spy movies.

Once you let all of that go, we get down to the performance itself, which was really well done.  Not the “Well Done” that ruins a steak, but the “Well Done” that means these are a group of really talented people.  Unique vocals and great playing all around make this a good song with a somber attitude. If you ever find yourself smiling too much, or need to start a little cloak-and-dagger work put this little tune on your favorite listening device and set the volume to medium low.

Dadfork Rating: 3.5/5

BEACH HOUSE - MYTH

I know I have made complicated reviews, sometimes to prove a point and sometimes just to have fun and stretch my creative energies. This is not going to be one of those.

The Beach House’s Myth is just a really enjoyable song, one that can be listened to once, twice or several times without losing its flavor. Go ahead, put it on your I-pod [sic], crank down the windows and turn up the radio or shoot it out over the picnic blanket. However you most enjoy listening to music, listen to this in that way.

Dadfork Rating: 4.4/5

ANIMAL COLLECTIVE [ODDSAC] 

THE SHINS - SIMPLE SONG

Wow, I’m exhausted, you don’t just listen to, or just watch this video… it is an experience that demands you focus all your energy into understanding what is going on.  My first reaction was NOT to review it because I thought it was dark and depressing.  If you think this video is about a dysfunctional family, try again….and try harder.

Ok, I have to break this down. First, the filming of the video is, quite simply, brilliant.  It mixes present and past images flawlessly dragging the viewer into the story.  Even the lighting so well thought out that if it weren’t the way it was then the video would defiantly lack the impact.

Second, the screen play for the video could be used as a springboard for a motion picture.  If anyone does do a motion picture…I get credit for the idea.

Third, the instrumentals and vocals are great, some of the best I have heard.  Not only are they good but enjoyable as well.  Yes, I have heard well played music that was NOT enjoyable, the most extreme example would be listening to someone playing musical scales very well (i.e. NOT enjoyable!!)

Fourth, and I saved the biggest surprise for last, is that the lyrics are extremely good.  But it is not that they are good that is the surprise.  It is that they are not what you expect when you see the video.  When you know what the lyrics are saying, and THEN watch the video, that is when you are treated to the surprise.  Because the lyrics change the video…everything is different, and your interpretation and your emotions change with it.

This was one of the most complex music videos that I have reviewed so far, I had to work to get to the heart of it and it left me exhausted.  But exhausted in the best possible way, because once I stopped plowing and digging through this whole thing….I realized I found a diamond.

Dadfork Rating: 10/5 (yes, this means it is as good as two 5/5 rated music videos!)

ZAMMUTO - TOO LATE TO TOPOLOGIZE

Not my favorite song by a long shot. I was not even sure what was going on with this song; but then I had this great idea!

I played the song BACKWARDS and guess what?

It is actually a really cool cover of Neil Sedaka’s greatest hits.

Dadfork Rating:

1/5 played forward

4.5/5 played BACKWARD

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