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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    CD Reviews

    CD Reviews

    Some People Have Real Problems
    Sia – Hear Music

    The vocals of Australian pop singer Sia are often incomprehensible. It’s an aspect of her style that has been praised and criticized. While it has worked to her advantage in the past (Colour the Small One’s “”Breathe Me””), the lack of audibility in her latest release, Some People Have Real Problems, plagues the songs and doesn’t allow for the songstress’ musical creativity to flourish.

    “”Little Black Sandals”” opens the album, and unfortunately Sia opts for a more polished sound instead of utilizing her creeky voice. Sounding more like a song off a Joss Stone release, it is easy to envision the track featured in a romantic comedy, right around the part where the female protagonist learns to love herself.

    The second track, “”Lentil,”” should have opened Problems. Originally performed on her live album, Lady Croissant, the ups and downs of the notes she sings relate to the lyrics, as she muses “”You would lick the tears from my eyes when I cry/ How I missed you when I was gone.””

    “”The Girl You Lost to Cocaine”” should serve as testament on how to lose the interest of the listener. Although the random intricacy of the chorus tries to pull the listener in, the redundancy of each stanza is only emphasized by Sia’s mumbling over the backing instruments.

    The album closes with the nine-minute “”Lullaby,”” and rightfully so. Although Sia’s enunciation (or lack thereof) makes the lyrics hard to decipher, the mellow mood of the song provides a feeling of hope and hope lost to the listener: “”Place your past into a book/ Put in everything you ever took/ Place your past into a book/ Burn the pages, let them cook.””

    Maybe Some People Have Real Problems just lacks an inspiration for Sia’s warbling vocals to shine. While her vocals seemed fitting in Colour the Small One (inspired by the death of her first love), they come across as awkward and unrefined throughout Problems.

    – Jamie Ross


    Distortion
    Magnetic Fields – Nonesuch

    Save yourself a pounding headache and treat yourself to a better album than Distortion. Much like the band’s name, The Magnetic Fields, suggests, the tracks on Distortion sound grainy and poorly produced, as if the album was recorded at a low-budget studio. Often, this raw aspect in production can strengthen a group and lend them an edgy impression, but this factor is one of the countless weaknesses of Distortion.

    With monotone vocals from Stephin Merritt and sleepy, blank vocals by Claudia Gonson, The Magnetic Fields conjure up one resounding theme: blasé. The group, with its unchanging tracks and lack of instrumental talent, seems to carry on in a bored fashion, completely devoid of passion.

    Tracks such as “”California”” and “”Zombie Boy”” prompt a hasty change of song by the listener because the lyrics are downright annoying and it would be near torture to hear the entire song out.

    “”Drive on Driver”” actually shows some promise, with an industrial backdrop, a catchy enough chorus and bursts of talent from guitarist John Woo. The song, however, doesn’t last long enough to take off.

    The best track on the album is “”Three Way,”” sadly, because of its lack of vocals. The song is empty of vocals save for exaggerated shouts of “”Three Way!”” sprinkled throughout the song. The thudding, driving drums, pounding piano, synth backdrop and hot guitar cuts are enough to be repeated over in slight increasing intensity.

    The remaining tracks on Distortion are simply forgettable. The airy instrumentation suggests a complete lack of substance while the cliché, bored lyrics annoy and drone on.

    The Magnetic Fields’ Distortion, like the body of its tracks, will slip effortlessly from memory and put a dent in your bottle of Tylenol.

    – Kelli Hart

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