2 new c.d.s for me this week

I got 2 c.d.s this week.  The Suburbs by Arcade Fire and Death to False Metal by Weezer.  Here’s my thoughts:

First off, these are 2 very different albums as far as quality and what they’re aiming for.

I mentioned in a previous blog what I thought about Arcade Fire.  Mostly that I like them a lot but don’t love them as seems the only holy hipster thing to do these days.  But I’ll probably have to go back and edit that post sometime soon.  I like The Suburbs more  every time I listen to it.  It’s made me think of something.  See, every record in existence should be judged on it’s own merit and for what it’s aiming to be.  It’s like how when Roger Ebert reviews slasher movies.  He doesn’t judge them compared to stylized dramas or big summer popcorn movies.  A slasher movie is a slasher movie and truly only deserves to be judged for what it claims to be and for how it executes whatever it is that it is aiming to be.  Make sense?

The Suburbs is an epic album about… well, growing up in the suburbs as far as I can tell.  It’s long.  15 songs.  And the first couple times I listened to the record I thought the length was a weakness but the fact of the matter here is that it’s 15 quality songs.  And I guess it should be okay for a record to be nearly an hour long if it’s as good as this.  I have found that it’s tough to sit and listen to all the way straight through… but you can stick an intermission in there about half way through and it’s like having 2 whole records to listen to.  Not bad.

When I originally came to the record I guess my thoughts on Arcade Fire were that they are always aiming for some kind of  rock and roll revival or something.  And I can understand the appeal of that but if you’re not buying into it it just looks like a bunch of darkly and BeJeweledly-dressed young people flailing rhythmically to some inside joke of a serious feeling.  In other words, it’s easy to feel like you’re missing the point of it.

But listening through to the record you really have to give them more credit than that.  They are singing about real things.  They are saying valuable things.  Things that could very well cause a person to flail about as if they’re on some sort of fascinating drugs.   So yeah, maybe the songs are simply… what’s the word?  Moving.  The songs are spacious.  They take their time.  This record is in no hurry.  It seems to flow in and out of your head as it’s playing.  And it’s incredibly rewarding after you’ve decided to go out and meet it where it is.  I’m looking forward to many future listens.

(On a side tangential note, I had a dream last night where I sat next to Win Butler at the end of a long conference room table.  He was picking my brain about what concepts he should address on the next album.  I offered some advice but the discussion was interrupted by Death Eaters.  This is all really it’s own story..)

And moving on to the band that has probably ruined me for music appreciating and might be the reason I’m so flaky about the obviously great Arcade Fire…. the mysteriously legendary band Weezer.

I shouldn’t get into my long and tumultuous obsessive Weezer fandom history.   It’s a story that echos through the ages..

Anyway, they recently released a c.d. called Death to False Metal.  I’ve read that Rivers Cuomo considers this the band’s 9th album but I don’t know what that even means.  It’s not a proper album exactly.  What it is is a collection of songs that for whatever reason didn’t make it onto any of their previous albums.  They aren’t even B-sides necessarily.   Just leftovers that didn’t fit.  So I guess they picked the songs back up and did some new recording on them.  Something like that.

Now, I don’t think anybody knows what to expect from a “new” Weezer record these days.  It’s confusing.  Like, I get so excited when a new Weezer album comes out but I’m no fool.  I know I probably won’t really like it.  I know that I’ll buy it and listen to it a million times and just think about how much I don’t like it.  That’s what my experience is anyway.   And it’s taken me a long time to come to an honesty with myself to admit this.  They satisfy the mind but not the soul and definitely not the heart anymore.

This is what this album feels like to me.  Imagine if you went to Goodwill to find some cool old clothes and you decided to blindfold yourself and buy whatever 10 things your hands could find.  And then you go home and open the bag and realize that you would never wear 8 of the items.  And the 2 you might wear you’d probably only wear late at night when you’re by yourself at your house.

Sometimes I wish this band never made Pinkerton.  ‘Cuz I still can’t get over that one.  I want to get over it.  I need to get over it.  I really should move on here.  But I can’t.  I know that I will buy everything this band puts out just so I can hope and wonder.  I did realize this:  the trip in the car on the way to Best Buy before buying a new Weezer album is about the best being a music fan gets for me.  It’s that hopeful anticipation that anything can and might just happen.  Like, the stereo might actually explode and Rivers Cuomo might say something that makes him sound like a human being instead of a selfmade rock star puppet person drooling over teenage girls and the past.

I just think it would be so cool if Weezer made a record that sounded like it was made by guys in their 40s who know things all of us “party people” don’t.  I mean, I remember back when I thought Rivers Cuomo was probably our generation’s William Shakespeare.  I remember not just thinking that but believing it.

I don’t know I don’t know I don’t know.  I don’t know anything I guess.  I know that even though I feel this way I’ll still listen to this record way more than I should and I won’t become a better person or anything like that.

I’d like to say it ain’t so but… sadly, it is… it is so.

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