Ever wonder what Bruce Springsteen bottoming out looks like? Here it is ladies and gentleman. “High Hopes”, the lead single from Springsteen’s album of the same name, is an abomination for a number of reasons. But before taking The Boss to task, let me give you a little background on the upcoming album. High Hopes, the album, is essentially a b-sides collection of material re-recorded with various members of The E Street Band, along with Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine fame taking the place of LxL favorite Steven Van Zandt on eight of the twelve tracks. Other artists have worked this formula fairly well, but if “High Hopes” is any indication, Springsteen is going to have far less success with a common formula.
In September of 2011, Wes, Austin, and I took a Facebook thread that we used to vent and express our opinions on current music to each other, and transferred it to this music blog. For some reason, people decided to read what we wrote. Now two years later we are still doing it. Typing out our thoughts on albums, describing our favorite songs as of recent, and making these lists on a weekly basis has become a part of our lively routine. So we thank all of you that are actually reading these posts of mindless musical dribble for making our opinions seem as if they actually matter. Now, as is tradition, we will celebrate with a list. In our debut list, we gave you our favorite debut albums. Approaching our second year, we made the sophomore albums list. Now as we approach our third year, we present to you this week’s list: our favorite albums of the third kind. Simply put, this is a list of what we consider to be the best third album put out by any band or artist. Thanks for your continued support, and we hope you enjoy:
10. Modest Mouse – The Moon & Antarctica
Every year around this time of year, I find myself listening to country and country-inspired tunes. Why this is, I don’t know, but traditionally I haven’t been much for country music. I find much of it sappy and sentimental, and praising of a life I don’t identify with. However, about four years ago, I started getting really into classic country music like Hank Williams and The Carter Family, as well as 90’s alt-country bands like Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy’s Uncle Tupelo and Ryan Adam’s Whiskeytown. I’m growing to appreciate country of all types and appreciate the heart and storytelling behind much of it. So here are five country or country-ish tunesI’ve been listening to.
The Metro, Chicago, IL
May 4th 2013
Last year, we wrote extensively about the career of Titus Andronicus, an anthemic, progressive punk rock band from New Jersey that finds their roots in equal parts patriotic rock hero Bruce Springsteen and anti-establishment punk acts like Minor Threat and the Clash. The band delivered a brilliant concept album based around the Civil War that toed the line about as well as any album I can think of showcasing a conflicted relationship with your country, and followed that with the decent but still disappointing Local Business, which we listed as one of our biggest disappointments of last year. So going into Saturday’s show, I had tempered enthusiasm seeing a band whose last album I wasn’t crazy about, but a band I have seen whip a crowd into a frenzy a few years ago at the Pitchfork Music Festival. What Titus Andronicus delivered was far beyond what I expected, in one of the wildest shows I have been to in quite some time.
Super Bowl halftime shows have had a pretty wide range over the years; starting out with mostly college marching bands and currently sometimes ending up in huge controversy (like the above or M.I.A. last year). For the past twenty years or so, though, the halftime show has settled into two categories for the most part: aging rock star or in-the-moment pop sensations. There just hasn’t been a lot of imagination. I truly believe, and so do Todd and Wes deep down even though they won’t admit it, the combination of Aerosmith, N’Sync, and Nelly was pretty electric, and a legitimate combination of current and aging talents. Alas, they didn’t make the list. Neither did The Who (decrepit), Madonna (mummified), or the Shania Twain, No Doubt, Sting combination (puzzling). In fact, this list is not nearly as strong as we would have expected, so I ripped to some degree on several acts. Enjoy, and as always let us know what you think in the comments.
10. 2006 – The Rolling Stones
After the 2004 Janet Jackson debacle (blessing?), the NFL decided to trot out a lot of very “safe” acts for some time. Hence, a bunch of old bags of bones (stones?) took the stage in 2006 and sounded much smaller than the event demands. As a consolation, the stage is phenomenal, and Keith Richards puppet-master continues to get paid for his superb work.