It has been a while since I did a blog thing that is a list of stuff that I like or fits well into list form. So how about this. Evan’s top 5 albums as of this current moment of me writing thing. I guess there are in some sort of order, though I’m not sure what it is. The order that came to mind first? That sounds about right. So anyways, I guess this is just stuff about me, Evan. I guess the comment sections is for critiques, criticisms, compliments, or whatever. Usually Russian spam.
1. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, by The Flaming Lips
Much like the robots, this album makes me feel feelings. The opening salvo of Fight Test is like an anthem for we slackers who, after trying for so long and working so hard, decided to play it cool and stop caring as much, only to realize that if you want things in life, one actually has to fight for them.
But do the things we care for even matter? Where do these deep emotions come from? But for a switch in a brain, do we hate instead of love? Why do we do anything? What is the difference between legitimately feeling a way and having a hypnotist trick result in the same feeling. And how do The Flaming Lips make that awesome woo-ing ghost singing sound? Alas the concerns of the modern human experience.
Also, girls who fight robots with karate.
I first heard the Flaming Lips, at least recognizing who it was, when I saw them live at Houston Free Press SummerFest. Giant hands with lasers and human size hamster balls and everyone singing along to Do You Realize??
Admittedly, Do You Realize?? could stand to be about 2-5x longer, but I assume that live versions take care of that. And speaking of live versions…
2. If You’re Feeling Sinister (Live), by Belle and Sebastian
I first heard of Belle and Sebastian when a weird fey-sexual guy in high school asked me if I had ever heard of them, and thus I downloaded This Is Just A Modern Rock Song, and it was fantastic. My appreciation of the band has peaked with the live version of If You’re Feeling Sinister.
Apparently Belle and Sebastian didn’t like the original production of If You’re Feeling Sinister, and that is somewhat understandable. Some of the songs fall a little flat, especially in comparison to the live versions. Notably, Me and the Major. Admittedly, the namesake song If You’re Feeling Sinister is a bit better on the original album, but the rest of the live version is distinctly superior. The wavering live voice of the bedroom confessions unveils poetic stories about the follies of youth and love. I could listen to a never ending repeat of Stars of Track and Field, and I’m still not entirely sure what is it about.
3. Abbey Road, by The Beatles
Without realizing it, I’ve rated every song on Abbey Road five stars in iTunes. The buildup of the lovely and somewhat whimsical late Beatles staples from side one transition through the song version of a transdimensional worm hole that is I Want You (She’s So Heavy). The terrifying, soul shredding reverb at the end destroys this world, only to wakening to life reborn in some magical fantasy world with Here Comes The Sun. The narrative of the second half is like a drug that creates a personal internal stormswell, resonating with whatever frequency is late night, early adulthood malaise, causing it to explode in an emotional fireworks of 100 million screaming teen girls distilled through a few short years of artistic development that made the Beatles the greatest band of all time. Plus, they added Her Majesty at the end to show that they weren’t taking it all too seriously.
(Also this album has emotional relatioship connotations for me comma Evan).
4. Here Come The Warm Jets, by Brian Eno
This, you call music? Absolutely yes. The focus point between early Roxy Music and later David Bowie, this was Eno’s grand accomplishment. (Anyone who says Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) is a joker). Some of Eno’s avant garde musical stylings, including instruments like the “snake guitar”, “simplistic piano” and “electric larynx,” may land like a punch in the ear, but one cannot deny that they actually have an impact. Which is more than I can so for a vast majority of music in existence. Much like Abbey Road, the second half is a more of a soothing lullaby to the danceable first half, but with the garish Blank Frank interrupting On Some Faraway Beach and Dead Finks Don’t Talk, no one is going to fall asleep to this.
Plus, it was referenced in The Venture Brothers.
This may be a bit of a cheat, considering it is a dual album with a total of about 50 songs, but it is a proper basis of Mathletes songs. The transitions in Songs I Wrote About Girls are so subtle is it as if it is just one long song rather than individual tracks. I guess the underlying message is that guys who can’t sing can still write songs and then sing them and record them and then put them on a CD and they’ll be good because the songs are honest even if at times cliche. Because things become cliche because they are so ubiquitous. What may seem like great personal revelations or discoveries are always prone to the cry of “We all feel like that all the time and you don’t see us gassing on about it!”
Well, Joe Mathlete doesn’t hesitate to gas on about it, and I like how the gas sounds. And coming from another Houstonian, it sounds all the more real.
Other albums about which I should have written:
2112, by Rush
The Yes Album, by Yes
Funeral, by Arcade Fire
Bang Bang Rock & Roll, by Art Brut
Flood, by They Might Be Giants
Changes, by David Bowie (I am such a poser)
Stop Making Sense, by The Talking Heads