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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Black Friday grab bag

    With Thanksgiving dinner officially out of America’s system, one thing to do: go buy stuff! Last week, a plethora of new albums, ranging from Paramore to Paul McCartney, Trace Adkins to Tom Jones, were released in the spirit of the season of consumption. Take a look at some of these representative tracks and decide for yourself which artists will become your 2008 designated stocking-stuffers.

    Day & Age by The Killers
    It’s the Killers. It’s all the same. It’s fine.
    Tracks to Download:
    “”Losing Touch”” – The style here is reminiscent of Of Montreal in its ethereal cheer, but with just enough power chords to ground it in alternative rock reality.
    “”Goodnight, Travel Well”” – Of all the songs on this album that strive to be epic, this one comes closest to success. A long, somber lead-in to the cymbal and horn-ridden finale provides a musical diversity that begs to be played at the end of a mediocre independent film.

    “”Happy”” in Galoshes by Scott Weiland
    Over the last two decades, Scott Weiland’s voice has become the most indispensable instrument in the work of Velvet Revolver and Stone Temple Pilots, solidifying his infamy in grunge-rock lore. His second solo album “”Happy”” in Galoshes is a compilation of 12 potential top-40 pop singles, drastically deviating from the hard-rockin’ efforts of Revolver and STP but keeping Weiland’s versatile vocal style in the forefront where it belongs. A few of Scott’s slower ballads are too formulaic to be tolerable, but the unexpected ragtime horns of “”Beautiful Day”” make up for the clichés.
    Tracks to Download:
    “”Fame”” – An album of indisputably poppy tracks is not complete without a David Bowie cover. Weiland pulls off an excellent impression of everyone’s favorite Starman, and the backing beat by DJ Paul Oakenfold brings a new-age groove to this funky standard.
    “”Pictures and Computers”” – Perhaps not the best example of Weiland’s grunge-rock grit, but the off-the-wall novelty of vaudevillian horns playing behind a biting guitar solo provides a priceless diversity to an album of predominantly generic pop-rock.

    808s & Heartbreak by Kanye West
    Clearly Kanye has been spending too much time around those no-good troublemakers Daft Punk: The electronic influence in his newest album, 808s & Heartbreak, is more present than anything he’s released to date. Serving as a musical response to the death of Kanye’s mother and the break-up with his fiancée, the album is an emotional piece of pop art that replaces traditional hip-hop lyrics with distorted ballads and electronic beats. The end result is a bit of a downer, but a welcome surprise to those who are tired of one-note, mainstream hip-hop.
    Tracks to Download:
    “”Paranoid”” feat. Mr. Hudson – Choral harmonizing and a hint of ’80s synth makes this perhaps the most singable and danceable track on the entire album. Put it on your party mix post-haste.
    “”Love Lockdown”” – A groovy, sensual single that writes the musical equation representative of the whole album: Passionate lyrics plus unstoppable techno beats equals endless replay value.

    Electric Arguments by The Fireman
    If John Lennon was the Walrus, you’d think that Paul McCartney would be the Carpenter. Since 1993, however, Sir Paul has most associated with The Fireman, an experimental duo formed by the wayward Beatle along with music producer Martin “”Youth”” Glover. The project’s newest album, Electric Arguments, combines foot-stompin’, distortion-heavy blues with cheery freak-folk acoustics, musically falling somewhere between Beck and the Black Keys. Listeners who are not expecting the Beatles will not be disappointed with this silly symphonic synthesis of folk, blues and a dash of gospel.
    Tracks to Download:
    “”Highway”” – Slide-guitar, vocal distortion, electric harmonica and McCartney’s own wholesome acoustic goodness meld in this peppy rock number about rock’s most timeless muse: the open road.
    “”Sun is Shining”” – Shades of Abbey Road pop up in yet another acoustic-driven song about the sun, reminding us all of why we love McCartney and his cheeky British optimism.

    Prospekt’s March EP by Coldplay
    Coldplay is as Coldplay does, and what it does is make inoffensive alternative rock that is consistently bearable. Not six months after the release of the album Viva La Vida comes the Prospekt’s March EP, eight new tracks from Coldplay that are, as stated before, consistently bearable. There are not many stylistic differences between the EP and Viva – in fact the opening track on the EP is “”Life in Technicolor ii,”” a reprise of the opening track on Viva – and provides the same melodic guitar and tribal rhythms that are nice and shiny, but mostly unimpressive.
    Tracks to Download:
    “”Lost+ (with Jay-Z)”” – Though it begins with innocent Pink Floyd-esque synth organs, this track goes off the hook when for some reason Jay-Z starts rapping over a lulling guitar riff.
    “”Lovers in Japan”” (Osaka Sun mix) – Trilling piano and tribal hooting provide an energy and excitement on this track that is lacking from a few too many Coldplay songs these days.

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