Thursday, January 17, 2008

Casual Listening 1-18-08

Casual Listening


January 18, 2008

“Once” for best picture (folk) soundtrack released 5-07

I heard the music before I saw the movie, and on first listen, I wasn’t particularly affected by it. Fragile, heart-on-your-sleeve songwriting with meticulous harmonies and lyrics that could refer to anything or nothing – a decent listen, no more, no less.

Then I saw the movie. Now I can’t stop singing these songs.

Once is a magically beautiful film. The love that comes from communicating musically with someone comes through palpably. It’s also refreshingly free of Hollywood embellishment – you’re left with a story that is what it is. I still think the same set of songs could have been written for any number of movies, but the fact that they lived in this one means that I’ll always well up with joy whenever I hear them.

Saul Williams for rock superstar

The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust! (rock) released 11-07

I didn’t hear of this album until the critics on Sound Opinions admitted they missed it when it was first released. Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, whose dense production on the album is fabulous, put out a press release complaining that after a Radiohead-style pay-what-you-will online release, no one was paying. So now it’s $5, and five of the best dollars you’ll spend on music this year. This is aggressive music that falls in the cracks between rock, rap, and industrial music, revealing impressionistic visions of a tragic Black artist. Drop a fin and do your part to rescue this excellent piece from obscurity.

A review of Niggy Tardust and an interview with the musicians behind Once is available at

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