I’m familiar with exactly two Radiohead albums, “The Bends” (1995) and “OK Computer” (1997). I quite enjoy both of the albums, and decided that reviewing one would be good for my soul, after the disappointment that was Snoop Dogg, and the struggle that was Michael Bolton. I figure I’d go and review the better of the two albums, “OK Computer” seeing as it has one of my favorite songs of all time on it – “Paranoid Android.”
I could probably write an entire piece about “Paranoid Android”; critically analyze the lyrics, dive into how it’s tempo and mood swings make me feel, but what about the album as a whole? Not every song on “OK Computer” blows me away like “Paranoid Android” but every song doesn’t need to. “Subterranean Homesick Alien” lulls me into an awe-inspired daydream with guitar and keyboard harmonies, “No Surprises” is just a downright beautiful song with a moving xylophone part; almost every song on “OK Computer” is pleasant to listen to at some point or another thanks to thoughtful instrumental composition and the delivery of emotion through Thom Yorke’s voice. I say almost every as “Electioneering”; with it’s rocking cowbell banger attitude, doesn’t sound like it belongs and doesn’t match the tone of “OK Computer” and its larger motifs.
One of the last things I have to say about “OK Computer” is that I find it emotionally flexible; which may have more to do with myself and how I interpret and feel out the songs, but nonetheless I felt like ending this piece by mentioning this. I don’t feel like Radiohead forces any single emotion throughout the album, or even in a single song. Everything is complex enough that given the right conditions any song could make me feel one thing, and then another the next time I listened to it. Whatever mood you’re in, Radiohead’s “OK Computer” has you covered.
Remind me never to accept music review suggestions based on pure dare and absurdity. Sure, reviewing two Michael Bolton albums as a tribute to Game of Thrones sounds funny until you’re actually doing it. That being said, lets dig into Bolton’s 1993 release, “The One Thing.”
I cannot review an album in a vacuum, all past musical experience heavily impacts the way I think about what I’m listening to in the present. Having only listened to Michael Bolton’s “Time, Love & Tenderness” (1991) two days ago, listening to “The One Thing” (1993) is just insufferable. I don’t care about how nice Bolton’s voice is, not as long as I’m just listening to more of the same. A song from “The One Thing” is only distinguishable from a song on “Time, Love & Tenderness” in that you might notice that there’s more guitar, or you don’t hear those really cheesy keyboard presets. And there are songs on “The One Thing” that sound exactly like songs that Bolton released two years prior.
I could forgive the musical similarities between the albums if only there was some sort of lyrical/thematic evolution in Bolton’s songs; but there isn’t. “The One Thing” highlights an apparent problem with Bolton and the “adult-contemporary/love-song” genre, for me at least: if the one thing you do well is sing love songs or pseudo-inspirational garbage, then I’m going to stop noticing or caring about your talent and tune out. Like Bolton, I’m not made of steel – and I can only endure so much before I crumble. Like “Time, Love & Tenderness” it’s hard to say that “The One Thing” isn’t okay, but after consuming two hours worth of Bolton I can say without a doubt that I can’t stand it anymore – and that’s not okay.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Oh my, if that game isn’t the most pleasant, care-free thing ever. No wonder the local Gamestop and Best Buy were sold out: this game could probably be enjoyed by just about anybody with a soul. It’s been less than 24 hours since Mayor Sandwich arrived in the town of New Deli, but it’s been a really good time so far. I caught lots of cicadas, one fruit beetle, and one butterfly. I dug up some fossils, and shook trees to collect cherries. Really the things I’m doing should be boring, should feel like a waste of time, should feel trivial – but I love every minute of the game so far, and every little step in Animal Crossing feels rewarding.
In other news: I was technically a day late with the Michael Bolton review I suppose. I published it at 9 PM EST but WordPress follows Greenwich Mean Time so, my music review was published on a Wednesday instead of a Tuesday – totally screwing up the Tuesday/Thursday music review schedule and…. who really cares? Nobodies itching to read more about Michael Bolton, and I’m really not looking forward to hearing more Michael Bolton – but I must press on.
That’s it for today really. Animal Crossing is good, life is good in general, going to a party in about an hour – and I have to subject myself to the aural exercise that is listening to a Michael Bolton album.
I never thought that Christiane Amanpour would be the one to introduce me to new music I would enjoy, but that’s exactly what she did when she had Nicolas Sarkozy’s wife Carla Bruni on to discuss her musical life and the duties of a First Lady. I’m listening to Carla Bruni’s 2013 release “Little French Songs” and I’m thoroughly enjoying it so far, it’s been a pleasant and catchy listen. A far departure from my only previous experience with French solo artists; Charlotte Gainsbourg, Carla Bruni sings light, carefree songs – a welcome reminder that the French language isn’t just for dour songs.
I don’t want to spend too much time writing about how great it is to be back home, but last night’s shenanigans deserve to be written about in some capacity. Just being with friends I haven’t seen in a long, long time, having great long discussions and getting things off our chests – just relaxing as much as humanly possible, it’s what I need. Thanks to all for coming, hosting is its own reward.
Finally, I’m happy to announce that a full year after I started writing 1990’s music reviews I will come back full-time from my hiatus. The Jade Decade is back and every Tuesday and Thursday I’m going to be writing reviews of 1990’s albums, with the intention of exploring a decade of music – not mining nostalgia and writing about albums I listened to while growing up. This week in honor of Game of Thrones Season Three: I’m doing a double dose of House Bolton. That’s right, I’m reviewing Michael Bolton’s 1991 release “Time, Love & Tenderness” followed by his 1993 release “The One Thing” in honor of the house with the sharpest blades, House Bolton.