Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Listening Notes: Beastie Boys, The Mountain Goats, REM

Beastie Boys - Hot Sauce Committee Part Two

I'm glad they're still making rap albums, although this is only the second in the last 13 years. They've got skills, talent and, dare I say, charm. Always did, even when they played young reprobates. I give them a pass about rapping about how they're still in the game because isn't that what old rappers who stick to themes rap about?

The Mountain Goats - All Eternals Deck

When John Darnielle sings "Damn These Vampires", he's not reaching for a metaphor. He really means damn these vampires. The lyrical content of his songs depends on what he's reading, and I assume there's a vampire novel on his reading list. The album's title is taken from a tarot deck. The titles of the song include Charles Bronson and Liza Minelli, a gas mask and a scorpion squadron. Darnielle's a fine singer, but I don't think he can save all this.

REM - Life's Rich Pageant

The 25th anniversary packaging is excessive, the demos disc is an unremarkable bunch of demos, but the original album smokes. Twenty five years ago, I wanted the album to signify because I loved the band. Now that I haven't loved the band in fifteen years, I'm free to hear the album as content free hard rock. Like John Mellancamp, whose producer they used, only better. Maybe much better. Or maybe I'm overreacting because of their albums of the last fifteen years.