Anyone Who Speaks Can Say the Same Truth

Some of my co-workers and I have been sharing some of our favorite music, rating them, reviewing them and sharing those reviews with one another. I thought I’d share my thoughts on their suggestions (and their thoughts on mine) with you here.

Here’s how I rate things. If I give something one star, it means I don’t think it qualifies as music. Five stars mean I wish I wrote the thing. Most music for me is a three.

Wye Oak – Shriek (2014)

Chris shared this album because as the year draws to a close, he’s decided it was his favorite album of the year. And I was the first person to know.

This band is similar to Beach House. Woman vocalist, a male band mate, and whatever the two can pull off in the studio. Spacey and melodic. Not as psychedelic as Beach House, and that’s OK.

The whole album was a lot of the same and was kinda hard to listen to and actually focus on for 40 minutes straight. But, opposite from what you’d expect, I actually liked it more as it went on. Not because of the sameness. I can’t say why exactly.

Especially as Glory went on, I felt like I was on the phone. On hold. And then someone’s keytar solo started going a little weird. School of Eyes had a little of that same weirdness, but it didn’t go on as long and didn’t get as weird. Glory‘s ending? It came a little late. I’m not sure the last 30 or so seconds added much to the experience.

When other songs just started to get repetitive, they’d change to a chorus or bridge, but Sick Talk didn’t change much. I loved the melody. I liked the chorus on its own. I just feel like the verses weren’t anything really special. They were just filler between the choruses.

And I Know the Law was just a little boring.

But this is a good album, especially if you just want something chill. 3/5

311 – Don’t Tread on Me (2005)

I know it’s not what most people think of first when they think 311, but this album has a lot of memories for me. I was working at the local university’s radio station when this album came out. And it was one of the three most listened to CDs as I drove from my parents’ to jam with my band (who were all going to school in a different city) or to a show somewhere.

And then, when my relationship with my girlfriend was … nebulous, there was no song that stuck in my head when I thought of her more than Waiting. Part of it was because she was often with me on those drives when I’d listen to this album.

I got into 311 when I was in 9th-ish grade. I specifically remember riding my bike to the mall to buy their new CD. I was never really a fan of their early rap-rock stuff. While I liked a song or two (usually the radio singles) from their first four or so albums, I’ve liked almost everything they put out between 2000 and 2010. I think the only artist I have more of in my iTunes is The Beatles. And of everything I have from 311, this album is my overall favorite.

“I’m not a big fan of this album, and I have never given 311 a full listen before today. The music just seems a bit self-indulgent. I think though my feelings toward the album are more related to the style overall, than the actual band if that makes sense. I’m just not a big fan of this type of music overall, as I find it highly repetitive with no lineal story. The more we have done this music sharing activity, I’ve found that music that tells a story, or acts in a pseudo three-act play, is more attractive to me. While music that just meanders along a path, or seems stuck on a treadmill without an intended destination, just doesn’t satisfy the problem solver in my mind that is trying to anticipate a conclusion. So maybe two stars isn’t fair for the album given my assessment…maybe it is relatively good for the style…it just doesn’t appeal to me personally very much.” 2/5 -Tim

Let me know how you liked 311 or Wye Oak in the comments below.


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