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|Written by Mike Cullen|
|Monday, 07 November 2011 00:00|
Blink-182 -- Neighbourhoods
After an eight year hiatus, Blink-182 returns with an album that sounds as though they never split in the first place. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I've been a fan of the band since I was an early teen, when they were barely known and . . . well, completely immature. Their sound, and their music, has matured over the years, as have I (arguably), but I can't help but feel that they are essentially in the same place as they were when they split. Not that I want them to be aging pop-punk rockers who lack total edge or credibility (I'm looking at you, Green Day), but, after listening to the album, I have a feeling of, "So, what was the point?"
The album itself is excellent (my last statement may not actually reflect that idea, but it's true). They sound as good as ever, and, lyrically, the content on this album is quite possibly the best. Maybe it's my expectations? I wanted something more, but perhaps they don't have anything more or anything new to say. Maybe I've even outgrown them as a fan. Don't let this discourage you from giving the album a listen though; it has a lot of great music, and it's a great trip down memory lane having them back, but it may be time for me to move onto other music.
Recommended Tracks: "Ghost on the Dance Floor," "Love is Dangerous," & "Wishing Well"
Feist -- Metals
People expecting Metals to be just a carbon copy of The Reminder are going to be disappointed and then be pleasantly surprised with just how good this album is. With such large gaps between releases, she's one of the few artists out there that I actually get excited about when I hear about the upcoming release of new material. My expectations for this album were high. The Reminder was near perfection of an album, and the two times I saw her in support of that album were live performance highlights for me.
Thankfully, Metals does not disappoint. It's a more . . . intimate, less immediate, and definitely less mainstream than The Reminder. It's just the sort of thing you would expect her to release after reaching worldwide critical acclaim. This album is practically quiet and reflective by comparison, and that is a very, very good thing. Whether it's "The Bad in Each Other," the opening track that builds without quite hitting that so anticipated crescendo, or quiet contemplation of "The Circle Married the Line," a song that reminded me of, well, The Reminder, this album has a little something in it for everyone. This album had better be under every mother's Christmas tree this year because she's going to love it.
Recommended Tracks: "How Come You Never Go There," "The Bad in Each Other," & "The Circle Married the Line"
Jack's Mannequin -- People & Things
I'm going to write a half-correction. In my review of Library Voices' debut album last month, I wrote that I was experiencing indie music fatigue. I should clarify that; I'm experiencing fatigue with new artists and bands. My old mainstays continue to impress me and fill that musical void.
On his third solo album away from Something Corporate, Andrew McMahon, with Jack's Mannequin, has created an album about relationships. But isn't that what most pop and indie music is about? Regardless of content matter, it seems that everyone is writing about love (or lack thereof) this year: Adele, Beyoncé, Jack's Mannequin, and Darren Hayes' new albums are all about relationships. Does McMahon with Jack's Mannequin add anything to the topic? Not really, but that doesn't mean this isn't a really enjoyable album.
In fact, this is the most cohesive album that Jack's Mannequin has released in terms of theme and quality. It may not be as catchy as Everything in Transit or even as introspective as The Glass Passenger, but People & Things is a very satisfying album, one that I've been listening to frequently since it came out.
Recommended Tracks: "Amy, I," "Hey Hey Hey (We're All Gonna Die)," & "My Racing Thoughts"
Phattal ft. Novie - "Badge of Life"
This song wasn't quite what I expected. What did I expect? I expected a rap, and, with Canadian R&B/pop artist Novie thrown in the mix, I expected it to be saucy and spunky. Novie does an exemplary job on her vocal contributions, especially her staccato bridge that really reminded me of Suzanne Vega's "Tom's Diner." While Phattal is definitely capable of rhyming, his commentary runs the risk of sounding dated in six months time (or maybe not if producers don't start leaving the AutoTune alone). The song will do well in large urban centers that have a strong population who listens to R&B/rap; it does have enough cross-over appeal that it could get major top 40 play as well, but, by the end of the song, it kind of feels like it's missing an important piece. That piece may have made it a huge hit.
An Ottawa native, Mike is a public servant by day and a self-professed music and comic book junkie the rest of the time. He also contributes to the Local Tourist Ottawa blog and his random music, comic book, and culture musings can be read on /scribbles.
Tags: a noun is a person place or thing, average, blink 182, feist, indie fatigue, jacks mannequin, metals, movie, music, people&things, review, still a thing