ಗುರುವಾರ, ಮಾರ್ಚ್ 31, 2005

In my CD-Collection blog I have tried to make a "desert island" selection of 20 albums. Not that many surprises in there I guess, when you take my music taste in general into consideration? Needless to say, making a selection like this is a rather "painful" experience, because obviously there are a lot of great friends that you cannot bring with you.
So what criteria should you use when picking? I mean since you're stuck on a desert island with nothing but these 20 albums and probably haven't got anything better to do (except maybe searching for food) than spending your time listening to them, chances are that you will be getting tired of them rather quickly. So should you pick the ones you really like right now, your favorites from the past or those with a high (expected) longevity? Could it be a good idea to pick a couple of jazz classics, because you know that it will take at least 50 listens getting into them? Or maybe choosing a Wagner Opera would be an idea? Picking The Ring of the Nibelungen would give you 14 CDs worth of music on one album - but would you listen to it more than once?
Anyway - in my case I decide to pick 10 of my all time favorites and 10 rather new favorites or albums I expect have a good chance of becoming favorites someday. But my 20 picks are most likely "the flavor of the month", so there is a great chance of them being revised over and over again in the future.
Finally (of course) there is the burning question regarding electricity on a desert island, but I assume that whoever it was who invented this "picking music for desert islands" has a solution for that problem! Maybe access to some long-lasting batteries?

At rateyourmusic.com there is a discussion thread called "Top 10 Favorite Songs at the moment". Looking at the top 10 posted by the person who started the thread, the songs don't necessarily have to be new ones.
So I took a look at my play count, scanned my memory for songs played at home and tried to remember what songs I've been listening to while driving. The result was that I picked this mixed bag of 13 songs (simply too difficult just picking 10) as my current favorites:

Kent: 400 slag
Interpol: Take You On a Cruise
The Dresden Dolls: The Jeep Song
The Smiths: There Is a Light That Never Goes Out
Fans of Kate: Tape 23
The Stone Roses: I Wanna Be Adored
Bright Eyes: Another Travelin' Song
The Arcade Fire: Rebellion (Lies)
Wilco: Kamera
Grandaddy: Now It's On
Pink Floyd: Poles Apart
Prefab Sprout: When Love Breaks Down
Coldplay: Talk

Afterwards while going through the songs I had picked, I realized that making these kind of lists isn't that easy. I definitely forgot the following songs:

Badly Drawn Boy: You Were Right
The Radio Dept.: Where Damage Isn't Already Done
Cocteau Twins: Heaven or Las Vegas

My current favorite album (or at least the one that refuses to leave the CD player in the car) is the debut by The Stone Roses. I've just recently bought it (the UK version, but have ordered the US version as well), but I can't help asking myself what I was doing back in 1989 when it was released. Well I do recall buying The Seeds of Love by Tears For Fears and listening to She Drives Me Crazy by Fine Young Cannibals, but apart from that I don't remember all that much. Can anybody enlighten me?

ಮಂಗಳವಾರ, ಮಾರ್ಚ್ 29, 2005

ಸೋಮವಾರ, ಮಾರ್ಚ್ 28, 2005

My total at Audioscrobbler has surpassed 3000 tracks. So time to take a look at what has happened since the last update on 7 March.

Totally I've played 3061 (+1019) songs by 234 (+100) artists, which is an average slightly above 10 songs per artist (I know Audioscrobbler claims that I've played 3512 songs, but when asking for a more detailed specification I only get 3061 songs).

99 artists are represented by just 1 song, and 69 artists have had tracks played 10 times or more.

1) Kent (+4 positions ; +219 tracks played)
2) Doves (-1 ; + 23)
3) Bright Eyes (New Entry ; +108)
4) Interpol (-2 ; +19)
5) Thirteen Senses (-1 ; +31)
6) The Arcade Fire (-3 ; +18)
7) The Radio Dept. (+14 ; +57)
8) Pink Floyd (-2 ; +19)
9) The Jesus and Mary Chain (+5 ; +37)
10) Saybia (+35 ; +47)

As expected Kent took over the position as no. 1 with a total of 277 plays.

4 new entries in the Top 10, which means Adios to The Stone Roses, Ian Broudie, Neil Young and Bloc Party.

ಸೋಮವಾರ, ಮಾರ್ಚ್ 21, 2005


Got tickets for Kent in Vega on 22 April. Sold out in 15 minutes!
I downloaded the brilliant new (and very Kraftwerk "inspired") song Talk by Coldplay Friday evening. I then started searching for the lyrics, which I DID find, but I also found the following message on coldplaying.com:

'Talk' is the first track to be heard from Coldplay's X&Y era - it was leaked via Peer 2 Peer filesharing in March 2005, before Coldplay had the chance to mix it fully. Subsequently, it won't be on Coldplay's 3rd album and is likely to be a B-side to the single 'Speed Of Sound'.

Just like everyone else I'm very eager to hear any new material from my favourite bands as quickly as possible. And normally I don't have any guilty conscience about downloading the songs prior to their releases, because I will buy the albums as soon as they hit the shops anyway. I know the artists don't agree on this, because they want to be the ones who decide when their songs become public. This is obviously not that difficult to understand, but I think they have themselves (or the record companies) to blame.

In the case of Coldplay the talk about the new album X&Y has already begun, even though it won't be released until 6th June 2005! Two weeks before that the new single Speed of Sound is released, which by then probably has been played for a month or even more on various radio stations.

Sorry guys. When I hear a song on the radio I want to be able to buy it - NOW. I'm not satisfied knowing that it can be mine maybe 5 weeks from now.
I fully understand the mechanisms in work here, where the record companies are trying to create a demand for the single and the album. But for hardcore fans of the band and music in general it's just an unnecessary and pointless period of wasted time they (we!) have to go through. So if anyone is prepared to share or (even better) leak the single/album, don't expect that anyone of us will try to stop it, because we really want to hear it!

So I think the artists should stop fooling around making tons of interviews months before an album is released, claiming that "this is a groundbreaking album" or "this is our best album yet!" etc. Just get the damn thing released, so we can buy it and hear for ourselves.

However this time I think it's a great shame that a song was leaked, because apparently it happened prematurely (the song wasn't fully mixed) thus (unfortunately) forcing Coldplay to exclude it from X&Y.
Without knowing a single other song from that album I find it hard to believe that they have written 10-12 songs better than this. If (and this is a very big IF) they have, X&Y is definitely going to be a fantastic album!

ಶುಕ್ರವಾರ, ಮಾರ್ಚ್ 18, 2005

I've just recently started to use Windows Media Player at home, so here's my first domestic Top 10 "play count":

1) The Radio Dept.: Where Damage Isn't Already Done
2) Badly Drawn Boy: You Were Right
3) The Radio Dept.: Lost and Found
4) Cocteau Twins: Heaven or Las Vegas
5) Vega 4: When The Love Breaks Down
6) The Dresden Dolls: The Jeep Song
7) The Crystal Method: Born Too Slow
8) Richard Hawley: Run For Me
9) Morrissey: Everyday Is Like Sunday
10) Grandaddy: Now It's On
How much do lyrics mean when you're listening to a song?

I'm currently listening to Heaven or Las Vegas by Cocteau Twins, where you have a very good case discussing the importance of the lyrics. (To me) it's absolutely impossible to understand what Liz Fraser is singing, but this doesn't change the fact that I think it's a fantastic song, which basically means that I don't think that the lyrics are all that important.

The lyrics to the song can be found here - check out for yourself if you agree that this is what she's really singing!
Kent: 400 slag

According to the WMP play count I've listened to the opening track of Du & Jag Döden 30 times! Obviously this does not include the number of times I've listened to it in the car and at home. It's a great song when played on the computer, but absolutely fantastic when played very, very loud on the stereo at home or in the car.

Critics are of course pointing their fingers towards the song (and several other songs on the album) claiming that it sounds exactly like New Order, The Cure, The Mission and other bands did in the 80's. And indeed it's pretty obvious where the inspiration for this song came from, but should I really care as long as I like it?

And the total play count for the rest of the album is 215 so far!

I guess it will be a good idea to listen to some Saybia songs this afternoon, because I'm going to see them in concert tomorrow. Saw them play 2 brilliant concerts 3 years ago, so hopefully there's another great gig to be looking forward to?

ಗುರುವಾರ, ಮಾರ್ಚ್ 17, 2005

I wasn't able to log on to www.blogger.com yesterday. So this is a mix of what I intended to post yesterday and a couple of new thoughts (yep - I DO actually think every now and then)!

Tuesday 3 new albums were added to my CD-collection:
Kent: Du & Jag Döden
Idlewild: Warnings/Promises
Stereophonics: Language. Sex. Violence. Other?

Listened to Kent 10 (ten!) times yesterday. Still far to early to post any "review" or final verdict of the album, because I think the album definitely deserves the chance of growing. Especially since my expectations were extremely (unrealistically) high.
However I'm probably not revealing too much when writing that my first impression was something like "it's OK, but somehow I think they could do better"? But first impressions are, well, first impressions and not always to be trusted. So at this point I'm ready to make an upgrade from OK to Good, though I cannot help being of the opinion that the album doesn't fully match the potential of the band. Then again - I probably listened to Hagnesta Hill 30 times before "getting it"!
More comments on this album will follow!

Check out these reviews of the album:
help the aged (in English)
björnolsson.blog (in Swedish)
gaffa (in Danish)
dr.dk (in Danish)

Poor Idlewild and Stereophonics, because it will probably take quite some time, before I will give there albums proper listens.

ಮಂಗಳವಾರ, ಮಾರ್ಚ್ 15, 2005

Before the new music starts floating in during the next couple of days I thought it might be appropriate to make a few comments on the albums that have been on heavy rotation (or what do you call it when the music is played on the computer?) the past few weeks.

Doves: Some Cities
This band is only trailing Kent on my personal "Best band in the world"-list. So it was with great interest I awaited the release of the new album. Would it be anywhere near as good as the two first albums? Would I still be able to entitle them the "second best band in the world"?
The album has received great reviews and they indeed deserve it, because this album is so much better than most stuff released today. But after maybe 15 listens I'm still trying to convince myself that Some Cities is just as great as Lost Souls and The Last Broadcast. Unfortunately I cannot say it is because in the finest moments on the album the band sound like they are copying (or at least are VERY inspired by) themselves. So if this was my first Doves experience I wouldn't hesitate to call it a fantastic album. However with my expectations in mind (logically they were based on my previous Doves experiences) I will have to settle for a "very good album" verdict. But no doubt in my mind that they are indeed still "the second best band in the world"!
Best songs:
1) Walk in Fire
2) Almost Forgot Myself
3) Some Cities

Bright Eyes: I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning
I bought the album entirely from reviews and recommendations without knowing (or even listening to) a single song. The album wasn't an instant winner and I had to listen to it a couple of times before realizing what a great album it is. A little bit of country, a twist of Paul Simon, a squeeze of Neil Young, the magic of Emmylou Harris, some ingredients I'm not able to identify and a large chunk of Conor Oberst mixed together gives us this wonderful cocktail. I'm still working on getting familiar with Digital Ash in a Digital Urn, which probably is just as great. But two albums at the same time from the same artist is in my opinion a very large "dose".
Best songs:
1) Another Travelin' Song
2) Land Locked Blues
3) At the Bottom of Everything

Thirteen Senses: The Invitation
So far it hasn't been possible to get my own copy of this album. And since it won't be officially released in Denmark until some time in April, I did something I normally won't do. I asked a friend (located somewhere, where you can actually BUY the album), to mail me the songs as MP3 files. But I've pre-ordered the album, so once I get it, I will hopefully be forgiven for this isolated case of breaking the law?
Thirteen Senses is not the most original band in the world (this description actually fits a lot of bands), because they do sound like a mix between Keane, Coldplay and Travis. But their song writing skills can easily be compared to the bands mentioned, so the album is a compilation of 12 very nice songs. Unfortunately it looks as if the world doesn't need anymore bands like this, because the album only had a very short stay in the UK album chart. This fact shouldn't really prevent anyone from checking this band out though, because they are worth it.
Best songs:
1) Into The Fire
2) Do No Wrong
3) The Salt Wound Routine

ಸೋಮವಾರ, ಮಾರ್ಚ್ 14, 2005

I posted the following at blogcritics.org today:

10 most embarrassing albums in my CD-collection

After all I now belong to "A sinister cabal of superior bloggers", so I guess it's about time to show that I have mean side too?

As per today (14 March 2005) my CD-collection contains 971 Albums. The few albums aside that my wife brought into our marriage and the few ones I've received as gifts, all of them have been bought by me. This means that I must have (or rather should have) been through the typical pattern of purchasing behavior thus having a plausible reason for buying each and every one of them.

Why is it then that I often feel embarrassed when scrolling through the list? Why does it include so many albums that I wouldn't miss a single second if they disappeared forever? Of course I know that your taste in music changes as time goes by. I mean - I DID honestly like Nik Kershaw and Howard Jones way back then in the 80's, and I do occasionally listen to them today for nostalgic reasons. And Kenny G did serve a purpose back in the days of dating, which is why I won't bash any of his albums.

But despite this confession I know for a fact that there are several albums in my collection that I've never liked. Not even when I bought them! So God only knows why I did buy them in the first place, though I have a few qualified guesses of my own:
- My girlfriend liked it.
- One of the songs brought back nice memories of a party, holiday etc.
- I wanted my collection to look "hip".
- Whatever played on the radio or hitting the charts had to be great.
- Great reviews meant great albums.

So it's time for a nasty round of torture by going through the collection and publicly admitting what albums make me feel embarrassed:

Britney Spears: Baby One More Time
I'm probably not the only one who hopes that this CD will somehow disappear from your collection. I was in NY in the summer of 1999 and back then it felt just right as a memory from that trip. How wrong could I be?

Shania Twain: Come On Over
Just see the lame Britney Spears excuse above. Hopefully no one notices this album, when going through my CD's? That NY trip really looks like a disaster from a CD buying point of view. Doesn't it?

Ace of Base: Happy Nation
They very really huge in Denmark back then, so I thought it would look "good" in my collection. Still asking at the record store if I somehow can get my money back!

Snow: 12 Inches of Snow
How can anyone ever take me seriously with an album like this in my collection. But Informer was really popular, so I probably thought that I'd be popular too if I owned this horrible piece of garbage.

Alanis Morissette: Jagged Little Pill
I know this album sold zillions and billions of copies. But by having this in my collection I'm just afraid that some might think that I actually like it. I will never, NEVER, understand why this album became so popular, because it was its popularity that manipulated me into buying it.

Aqua: Aquarium
I bought the album on a market in Italy. This is definitely not an original album, so at least the band didn't earn any money from this stupid purchase (I really think copying is a bad thing, but just this once I approve). To be fair; Turn Back Time is a fairly decent song, but it can't save the rest of this dreadful album. I know they came from Denmark (just like me), but it doesn't really make me proud at all!

Andrea Bocelli: Romanza
I was standing in Mallorca Airport and the record shop played "time to say goodbye" (or whatever it is called). So I spent my last pesetas (this was long before the days of the EURO) buying this sugarcoated stuff. The money would have been better spent on a bottle of vodka!

Eros Ramazzotti: Tuttie Storie
Another Italian singer. Maybe I just believed that if I bought enough CD's by Italians the women would eventually believe that I was Italian too?

Mariah Carey: Merry Christmas
Honestly - I can't recall why I bought this. But I must have been madly in love with someone extremely beautiful making me completely irresponsible or just unbelievable hung-over from the Christmas parties.

Technotronic: Pump Up the Jam
This is probably just another album I bought while remembering a fantastic party Saturday night. Hopefully I was still drunk while buying it?

I'll happily admit that I own a few other albums that I think are just as bad as those listed above. But they don't meet the embarrassment criteria, because they were made by great (or at least decent) artists. And artists of a certain caliber should be allowed the privileged of misfiring.

ಭಾನುವಾರ, ಮಾರ್ಚ್ 13, 2005

I posted the following at blogcritics.org yesterday:

Soundtrack to a positive life

The other day I looked at my top songs and artists at audioscrobbler and realized that there weren't that many songs or artists included that would make me laugh or even smile.

So I decided that I should make a CD or at least a playlist (in my Media Player) that I could call "Soundtrack to a positive life". The only (but indeed rather demanding) criteria was that after listening to the songs I should be able to see the light and the end of even the darkest of tunnels.

With that in mind I started searching, but I quickly had to realize that it really wasn't that easy finding songs matching my criteria. Of course I could pick some novelty songs (e.g. Monty Python) or inferior, but happy sing-a-long dance tunes, but this wasn't really what I was looking for. Instead I wanted a list of songs by some of my favorite artists, which wasn't about the usual broken hearts, the unfairness of the world etc., but with a far more (unusual?) positive view upon life.

After a lengthy period of searching I was able to find the songs listed below, which indeed all make me happy or at least in a very positive mood (though I was forced to have a very flexible attitude towards my novelty and favorite artists "rule"). Not everyone might agree with the songs on the list, so I've tried to include a short motivation for why I have picked each of the 10 songs. Anyway - Here we go:

Badly Drawn Boy: You Were Right
This song is the work of a genius. The whole part about turning Madonna down is wonderful and when I'm old I expect to sing this to my wife: "And the kids were all grown up, but I had to turn her down, 'cos I was still in love with you."

Grandaddy: Now It's On
"Bust the lock off the front door - Once you're outside you won't want to hide anymore". Listen to it and then repeat this over and over. Then you should be ready to face whatever challenge awaits you out there.

Stereophonics: Have a Nice Day
This song is probably not meant to be classified as positive. But if you forget the lyrics, start to hum the melody and then shout "have a nice day" when you reach the chorus, how on earth can you stay depressed?

Fountains of Wayne: Stacy's Mom
I'm 36 years old and really don't think it is funny getting older. But this song reminds me (in a very humorous way) that it wasn't always that fun being a teenager either. "And I know that you think it's just a fantasy. But since your dad walked out your mom could use a guy like me." Didn't we all have fantasies like that?

Ballou: The Bare Necessities
Don't we all know it? No money left on the bank account, meaning no new clothes, CD's, books, meals at restaurants etc. "Look for the bare necessities. The simple bare necessities. Forget about your worries and your strife". Life really doesn't have to be that complicated. Does it?

The Proclaimers: I'm On My Way
Probably remembered by a lot of people for it's inclusion in the first Shrek movie. I positively believe (hope is probably more accurate) that if you sing the line "I'm on my way to what I want from this world" when you're going to a job interview, on a date or to a meeting with your bank, everything will turn out just fine!

Duncan Sheik: On a High
Sometimes it's just a little too easy getting depressed. All you need is some stupid excuse and you're prepared to announce that the world is so unfair. But why spending your time being down, when it's so much more fun being on a high? "And there are so many reasons I could give you why I should be down......but it's a lie it's a lie - don't you believe it." Listen and learn!

Moi Caprice: Artboy Meets Artgirl
Unfortunately this is a song that only a very limited number of people know. A Danish band that did get some airplay on the radio, but never really had a decent breakthrough. The lyrics can be found here. A song that make you believe that love and happiness will prevail!

The Boo Radleys: Wake Up Boo
"Wake up it's a beautiful morning." The first line of the chorus sums it up perfectly. And yes even if it's raining there is always plenty of beautiful things out there to discover. But you have to wake up to see it!

Billy Joel: An Innocent Man
Not exactly the first song that jumps to mind, when you think of a happy song. But if you listen to the lyrics this song probably explain what I'm trying to say better than any other song. "Some people hope for a miracle cure. Some people just accept the world as it is. But I'm not willing to lay down and die. Because I am an innocent man."

ಶುಕ್ರವಾರ, ಮಾರ್ಚ್ 11, 2005

Next week is going to be crazy. If everything works out as planned (meaning: if my orders are delivered to the local CD "pusher") I'm going to add albums by the following artists to my CD-collection:

- Honestly - I can hardly wait for this one.
- Cannot be any worse than the previous album and "Dakota" is a damn fine song!
- I like this guy and am very much looking forward to this one!
- Not expecting to much, but the two songs I've heard so far are really good.
- First single from the new album is fantastic. My expectations are high.
The Stone Roses
- Their debut album is definitely a missing piece in my CD-collection.

ಗುರುವಾರ, ಮಾರ್ಚ್ 10, 2005

The Radio Dept.: Lesser Matters
The debut album by this Swedish band and what a surprisingly brilliant one it is.

Maybe not the most original band in the world (hello 1980's?), but they sure know how to write great music! However it's not your music for a romantic evening at home, because the inspiration sure comes from some of the noisier bands 20 years ago - this without being a copy at all.

So more the kind of music to accompany the sound of beating rain on the window!

Originally released in 2003 (re-released in Denmark in February 2005) so it has taken it's time to reach my (as well as others) ears. Luckily it did, though it feels strange that it had to take so long, because the band has potential written all over them.

This album is indeed a highly recommendable one!

Best tracks:
1) Where Damage Isn't Already Done
2) Keen On Boys
3) Lost and Found

I'm also "heavily" listening to Thirteen Senses, Doves, The Arcade Fire and my recent purchases by Bright Eyes. And songs by Angie Aparo, Kent, The Stone Roses and Interpol are constantly sneaking their way into my play list these days!

Top 10 "play count" in my Windows Media Player (at work):
1) Interpol: Take You On a Cruise
2) The Smiths: There Is a Light That Never Goes Out
3) Grandaddy: Now It's On
4) OMD: Of All The Things We've Made
5) The Dresden Dolls: The Jeep Song
6) Interpol: Evil
7) Kent: Max 500
8) Fans Of Kate: Tape 23
9) Wilco: Kamera
10) The Stone Roses: Made Of Stone

New albums added to my CD-collection (a list of CD's purchased in 2005):
Beck: Odelay
Bright Eyes: Digital Ash in a Digital Urn
Bright Eyes: I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning
also bought:
Kent: Max 500 (EP)

ಮಂಗಳವಾರ, ಮಾರ್ಚ್ 8, 2005

ಸೋಮವಾರ, ಮಾರ್ಚ್ 7, 2005

Today my total at Audioscrobbler has surpassed 2000 tracks. So time to take a look at what has happened since 24 February.

Totally I've played 2048 (+839) songs by 234 (+100) artists, which is an average slightly below 9 songs per artist. 79 artists are only represented by 1 song, but 60 artists have had tracks played 10 times or more.

1) Doves (+0 positions ; +27 tracks played)
2) Interpol (+0 ; + 18)
3) The Arcade Fire (+37 ; +57)
4) Thirteen Senses (New Entry ; +64)
5) Kent (-1 ; +15)
6) Pink Floyd (-3 ; +2)
7) Neil Young (-1 ; +18)
8) The Stone Roses (+31 ; +39)
9) Bloc Party (-4 ; +1)
10) Ian Broudie (-3 ; +11)

3 new entries in the Top 10, so goodbyeeee to The Jesus and Mary Chain, Semisonic and The Beach Boys.

Bubbling outside the Top 10 are The Smiths, Wilco and OMD. And don't be surprised to see The Radio Dept. as a new entry when the list is updated. This will happen when the number of tracks played reaches 3000.
The Dresden Dolls: The Jeep Song

I've listened to this song at least 15 times the past 24 hours. It's just fantastic! Their album went straight to no. 1 on my "wishlist-chart"!

Check out this review of "Funeral" by The Arcade Fire.

New albums added to my CD-collection:
The Radio Dept.: Lesser Matters
Wilco: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

ಬುಧವಾರ, ಮಾರ್ಚ್ 2, 2005

The Arcade Fire: Funeral

Since buying this album a week ago I've probably listened to it 10 times. At rateyourmusic and acclaimedmusic the album ranks among the very best of 2004 (1st respectively 5th place). So I've been really anxious to find out if The Arcade Fire is just another over-hyped band or if the album is really that great.

Is it the best album of 2004 then? I don't know, because I haven't heard every single release (and never will) of last year. But it's definitely a very, very good album. What's there not to like about the album? Some find the singers voice annoying, but it suits the music nicely. The songs are of great variety and none of them leave you disappointed. Realizing that this is a debut album it leaves you pretty amazed.

Without a doubt an album I will play over and over again (there's so much to discover) for a long time!

Best songs:
1) Rebellion (Lies)
2) Neighborhood #2 (Laika)
3) Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)

ಮಂಗಳವಾರ, ಮಾರ್ಚ್ 1, 2005

The Stone Roses: The Complete

Originally I bought this album, because I wanted to listen to "Fools Gold", which had been voted the tenth (or ninth?) best single of all time by the Q magazine readers in 1998. After a few listens it was put on the shelf and I forgot all about it.

However a while back I ripped the album on to my computer (because a friend recommended the band) and the past few days I've started to listen to a few of the other songs from the compilation. Still have to work my way through the entire album, but these are my current favourites:
1) Made of Stone
2) I Wanna be Adored
3) She Bangs the Drum