Musical Francophobia

The last borrowed item from the radio station was Sunny Day Real Estate’s The Rising Tide (their newest), which has been somewhat panned by critics, who have complained that the band moved too far towards progressive rock, away from their punk/emo roots. This is true, and while I liked the band in their punk/emo phase, I also like their new sound. Sure, it’s a bit overproduced in places, but I feel like the compositions are consistently solid, whereas all three of their other studio albums have been a bit spotty. More thoughts later… after I’ve bought the album and listened to it more.

Staying here with friends at Duke; I dug up Air’s Moon Safari, which is pretty neat. Some duff tracks. I’ve heard it before but now I’m giving it a closer listen… if The Virgin Suicides is far superior, as I’ve heard it is, I’ll probably have to track it down. Here’s a piece of drek from re the band; emphasis is theirs:

In 1992 the French newspaper Le Figaro ran a headline that read: “Thirty Years of French Rock’n'Roll And Still Not One Good Song”. Since the article’s appearance, however, a host of Gallic musicians have emerged to make the bad taste of Johnny Hallyday, Magma and Indochine distant memories. While the French may still be incapable of making a decent rock record, the influx of dance music and hip-hop into France in recent years has meant that French music is no longer simply a parade of jailbait nymphets singing Eurovision cannon fodder or kitsch hymns to the latest tropical dance craze. The latest in a long line of post-hip-hop artists, Air mix the traditional Gallic virtues of Fran├žoise Hardy-style breathiness, Serge Gainsbourg-style seediness and Jacques Brel-style melancholia with an almost-British religious devotion to pure pop and a deep affection for ancient American analogue electronics.

I’ve never really walked around with headphones on, but today I walked around the Duke campus listening to a mix I made. Conclusions: post-rock music makes the best walking soundtrack. Salient moment: watching people get on cross-campus buses just before sunset while listening to A Silver Mt. Zion’s “13 angels standing guard ’round the side of your bed”. Simply beautiful.

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