Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Adult Contemporary Essentials 02.11.09

Weezer seemed so set for legendary status – their oh-so-knowing wit, melody and crunching rock were the perfect pop punk mixture, and they even managed in their earliest days
to amass an indie cred. They progressively frittered all of those things away in more recent years with a collection of so-so records that would only be simple retreads of their earlier, better work. Raditude continues that slide, with a collection of songs that would sound about right from McFly. The music, unfortunately, aims at teen angst, and sounds plain weird from a bunch of middle aged men. The ti
ght Weezer sound underpins every song, but there is nothing in Raditude that isn’t bettered by the superior OK Go. Raditude does manage to achieve cringe, though, in Love Is The Answer, which is as awful a song as you will ever hear. Raditude is best avoided. Listen instead to the Blue album, Pinkerton or the Green album and remember them the way they used to be.

ACE rating 4/10

Molina and Johnson
Molina and Johnson
Secretly Canadian
Jason Molina is a cult indie folk/ blues singer known for his bands Magnolia Electric Co, and Songs Ohia; Will Johnson is the remarkable front man for Centro-matic and South San Gabriel, as well as a solo artist (and currently part of the Monsters of Folk). This collaboration has been a long time in the making, and has been well worth the wait.
The two singers complement each other perfectly – Johnson’s grittier voice blending with Molina’s higher plaintive vocals (and on one amazing piece, Sarah Jaffe duets with Johnson on a track that should be in the next Coen Brothers film). The album feels like a Will Johnson album with additional beauty, added harmony, elevated poetry, which makes it just about perfect. This album defines what is best about Americana – the openness, the sense of space, relaxed reverie, land
scape and travel. When Johnson says ‘our record was made in the late February sun’, that feels just so right.

ACE rating 9/10

Foo Fighters
Greatest Hits
Whisper it, but Foo Fighters are really a singles band – when they’re great, they’re a phenomenal rock band, but the albums can come across as main show plus filler. That’s not true here, of course, in a Greatest Hits collection that does a p
retty good job of pulling out the obvious singles (the ones with the great videos). It does declare its interest – it’s a Greatest Hits as opposed to a Best Of – right up front on the cover. The Deluxe edition combines a DVD with the videos (and a few tracks which rightly should have been on the single CD version, such as DOA). As such, it isn’t a record for real fans, despite the three new tracks. What it is is a fantastic introduction to a remarkable band for a casual Foos listener. The assault presented by this band’s most listenable songs will turn any rock fan’s head. And, with the Foo Fighters, there is no real worry about your indie cred going out of the window – they have retained their cool way longer than most bands have a right to.

ACE rating 8/10

Adult Contemporary Essentials rating
9-10 Essential purchase
7-8 Good, definite buy if you've liked this artist in the past
5-6 OK only, don't say I didn't warn you
3-4 Poor, even for this artist
1-2 Awful

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