For almost a year now, some of my friends and I have been sharing an album with one another, partly for exposure to new music and partly to give us something to listen to while we work, etc. We’re supposed to review it, rate it, and share those reviews/ratings with one another as well, but that doesn’t always happen.
This week is a little different. Instead of us sharing an album with one another, our wives are picking the albums. Unlike the week when we shared stuff our parents introduced us to, what I shared isn’t a band either my wife or I introduced to the other. And while it does have a little significance in our relationship, it’s mostly just a band we both love. Before I get to what my wife shared, Chris got his wife to participate:
Radiohead – The King of Limbs (2011)
Why am I not surprised Chris’ wife shared Radiohead? I’ve only met her a couple of times, and while I know couples don’t always have similar tastes in music, it seems like spouses have a big influence on one another’s tastes. My wife and I have a big overlap, and it’s getting bigger, but there’s still stuff that one of us likes that the other doesn’t exactly care for.
I’ve come to accept that bands like Radiohead are either loved or hated, and aren’t many people who feel something in between. I definitely think their older stuff is better than their newer. This album was a wonderful blend of textures and atmosphere, but I have a hard time calling a lot of this, in a broad sense, pop rock music. It’s definitely not traditional music. It feels more like a soundtrack than an album. Although what kind of movie would have a score like this, I’m not sure.
I didn’t hate any of it. It’s just that only one song really stood out to me: Codex. The piano and his voice just felt sincere. Not that anything else on this album wasn’t, but it doesn’t always come across that way, you know?
Well, I gave Give Up the Ghost a second chance because both Chris and his wife called it their favorite song on the album. I was surprised how much it felt like a Zeppelin tune. Thom Yorke’s voice even sounded like Robert Plant’s. It was a little eerie. A lot of the album was a little eerie, but usually in a different sense. Give Up the Ghost sounded like one of the best Led Zeppelin tribute songs I’ve ever heard, and I’m not sure that’s what they were going for.
After a couple of listens (because nobody else recommended anything to me this week), those two songs are the only tracks I wanted to go back and listen to again. I like this more than In Rainbows, but I still like The Bends better. 2/5
Rooney – Calling the World (2007)
From my wife:
I’ll start off this review by being honest in admitting why I took interest in the band Rooney. I was 15, boy crazy, and liked listening to music not a lot of other people had heard about (like most teenagers). I watched The Princess Diaries and not only thought the guy who Anne Hathaway’s character ends up with in the end was attractive, I also liked that he was musician. Doing a little research, I found out his name was Robert Schwartzman, and that he was indeed the frontman of a band called Rooney. I noticed that their first album had just come out, so the next time I was at the CD store, I bought a copy. I bought it right before my family went on a camping trip because I remember sitting in the back of our suburban with my discman, listening to their first album, and loving it.
Even then, I loved how their sound was just … different. I’m not one to really get into critiquing music, so I might just leave it at that, but I really love his voice. I love the original content of his songs. A lot of the songs seemed to portray him as a jerk, and it was funny to me. There aren’t that many love songs by Rooney, and I’m ok with that. It keeps them original to me.
I didn’t follow them close enough to buy their next album, Calling the World, because I was off at college and busy, I guess. But I do remember seeing a flyer in a frozen yogurt place in downtown Salt Lake saying Rooney was going to be playing in the parking lot of a brand new store opening up in Provo. Admission was $3. I called up a couple of friends who lived down there (and who I had introduced to Rooney) and plans were made. It was the cheapest concert I had ever been to, and it turned out to be one of the very best. Rooney was entertaining and sounded excellent live. We wiggled our way up towards the front and stayed right in front of a speaker the whole night. I had ringing in my ears for days after that and I’m sure I’ll go deaf in my left ear.
Then Rooney slipped from my mind again for a few years, until one night up in Logan, I was at a friend’s apartment and I was wearing my tee from that concert. I didn’t think anything of it, until a shaggy haired, bearded guy in glasses made a comment:
“Hey, you’re wearing a Rooney shirt. I love Rooney.”
Surprised that I met someone who knew this band (and I was even wearing a jacket over the shirt, so only part of it was visible), and that this someone was cute, we started to talk.
And what do you know, I married that guy.
All because of Rooney? No. But it definitely helped that I knew right off that this guy had some good taste in music.
Ironically, I discovered Rooney because I walked into a CD store looking for the Phantom Planet album with California on it. That’s ironic because Robert’s brother Jason drummed for Phantom Planet at the time and wrote California. While I don’t remember why exactly I didn’t walk out of the store with the album I meant to buy, I do remember learning they were brothers years later. I’ve had these guys on my list to share since Chris shared Phoenix and the Lost in Translation soundtrack.
I like these guys because you can hear their ’60s pop rock influences, plus their own alt. rock power. It’s not trying to be in-your-face awesome. It’s content to just be kinda quirky and fun.
Enjoy, but be aware: if you listen on Spotify, they’ve listed these guys and another band called Rooney as the same band. Let me know what you thought in the comments below. Here’s what Chris had to say:
“It’s been a while since I’ve heard Rooney. You mentioned the connection to Phantom Planet’s Jason Schwartzman but neither you or your wife brought up that it’s the Jason Schwartzman – actor, musician, cousin to Nicolas Cage and Sophia Coppola, and nephew of Francis Ford Coppola. Did you not realize that was him, or just decide not to make a big deal about it? Or maybe you simply don’t know who he is and don’t care, I suppose. ANYWAY, that’s actually how I first heard of Rooney. “Hey, Jason Schwartzman’s little brother has a band too? Sweet!” which was followed by “Oh, he’s the kid in Princess Diaries?”
I did know, I had just thought we had already gone through all that when we talked about Lost in Translation. Back to Chris…
“As for the album, it brings back quite a bit of memories. I had completely forgotten about a couple of these tunes, my favorite being I Should’ve Been After You. Totally forgot about that gem! I think the only song of theirs I actually have on my iPod is When Did Your Heart Go Missing, so I’ve heard that one on occasion over the years. That’s a great one too. I don’t really remember the rest as much, but aside from those I think All in Your Head is my next favorite. Sounds very ’80s in a good way, in a style the rest of the album never quite matches. For some reason What For reminded me of The Wallflowers. As I listened I couldn’t decide why other than the slide guitar. But I liked the sound of that one, too.
I’d probably take brother Jason’s bands (Phantom Planet and Coconut Records) over Rooney, but this is an album of very capable pop rock. In fact, it holds up a lot better than I remember. Overall, a fun listen. I’m not sure it’s an album I need to hear a lot, but it does carry some nostalgia that is fun to revisit. Thanks for the suggestion, Tara!” 7/10