Friday, August 11, 2006

My summer '06 soundtrack

Mmmh... two of the best albums created these past few years released on the samed day (in the US), a coincidence? Probably, but a good one as I was desperately looking for my summer '06 soundtrack. Two great albums to listen to at different times of the day ("The Eraser" works better in the middle of the night when I can't seem to find sleep).

"The Eraser" is the first "solo" project from Radiohead leader Thom Yorke. "Solo" because most of the sample sounds and bits of electronic he used on it come from the Radiohead library that his regular bandmates created during the "Kid A" and "Amnesiac" sessions, kind of "Kid B" when you come to think of it. For once, Thom's voice is at the foreground, pure and beautiful as usual and sings of his usual demons and fears: "the fences that you cannot climb/the sentences that do not rhyme/in all that you can ever change/the one you're looking for/it gets you down" (Analyse). Harrowdown Hill in Oxfordshire is notable for being the place where the body of Dr David Kelly, a british weapon expert who opposed the Iraq war, was found in 2003. Apparently a suicide. Apparently. Yorke said that Harrowdown Hill is "the most angry song I've ever written in my life. [it] was kicking around during Hail to the Thief, but there was no way that was going to work with the band." Those expecting a Radiohead album might be disappointed. Instead, Thom invites us inside his personal bubble, a sometime nice, sometime scarry place.
Favorite tracks: Analyse, The Clock, Black Swan, Harrodown Hill and Cymbal Rush


"Black Holes & Revelations" is Muse's fourth album. Where the first three album were "pure" rock, Muse succesfully incorporates some electronic bits here and there, kind of their own "Kid B" in fact ;-p So, passed the first surprise, from the very political opening song Take a bow ("Corrupt, You're corrupt, Bring corruption to all that you touch/Hold, You behold, And beholden for all that you've done/And spin, Cast a spell, Cast a spell on the country you run/And risk, You will risk, You will risk all their lives and their souls" hmmm, I'm wondering who he's talking about... S or G?) to the very Prince-like Supermassive Blackhole, the inspiring Invicible, the western-like Knights of Cydonia and the radio-friendly Starlight, Matthew Bellamy (please stop the comparisons with Thom Yorke or Jeff Buckley, Muse's leader has definitely earned the right to not being compared to other people) covers a lot of different musical styles with his sometime powerful sometime touching voice and weaves once again a very epic in scope tapestry, an heroic rock album (heroic rock? heroick? I have to copyright that!). It's refreshing to see a band evolve as they do. I saw them live for their first concert in Paris back in 99 (they were really young and totally unknown at the time) but they totally rocked da house. Fast forward 7 years and four albums later on the other side of the Atlantic: last week in Hammerstein Ballroom in New York, a little bit less young, more experienced but still the same amazing energy on both old and new material (Butterfly and Hurricane is still one of the best piece of opera rock ever written and watching it live is a pure joy).
Favorite tracks: all!! (with a special mention for Map of the Problematique and Invincible)

Both albums need to be played a few times. After that, it gets really difficult to listen to something else... (hopefully not until my Summer '07 Soundtrack).