For a couple of years some of my friends and I have been sharing music. We’re supposed to review/rate what gets shared with us, and share those reviews with the group, but that doesn’t always happen.
Last week, we just listened to one album (because we tried doing this as a podcast). But for that week, we each suggested something and as a group decided what we were going to listen to. That left some albums un-heard. So I decided to take up Spencer’s suggestion as something to listen to this week.
Panic! at the Disco – Pretty. Odd. (2008)
Panic! at the Disco is a band that has been at the edge of my radar for longer than I’d care to admit. I have played in two different bands who, before I joined, opened for Panic when they were still just a hot local band in Vegas and recommended them to me – I even met them once. And I have a friend who when to school with Brendon Urie and would tell me to check out Panic when they were just starting to make a name for themselves.
But I never did until now. Maybe it’s because the vocals just seem kind of generic pop punk rock. Maybe because they were getting popular I didn’t want to seem like I was just jumping on the latest bandwagon.
I don’t know if it’s just that the guitar (especially on Nine in the Afternoon) reminded me of The Beatles’ Abbey Road, but I started hearing their influence all over the place on this record.
Not to say that was the only influence I heard. The Piano Knows Something I Don’t Know also had a some ’60s influences. And wouldn’t you know it, they recorded at Abbey Road Studios. Not that it means everything recorded there comes off as Beatle-y, but it can’t hurt, right?
I think the singles were well chosen and were some of the strongest tunes on the album. Northern Downpour was probably my favorite, simple because of the change of mood, without being too jarring (I’m looking at you, Folkin’ Around through From a Mountain in the Middle of the Cabins which definitely put the “Odd.” in the album title) or letting the album sag. The opener (as short as it was), I Have Friends in Holy Places, and When the Day Met the Night were also really good.
I do think that putting the intro to Northern Downpour at the end of I Have Friends in Holy Spaces was the wrong choice. I get that it was probably done to make Northern Downpour more radio friendly, but there are other ways to get around that. And from my limited experience as a DJ on a college radio station, I liked those long intros, because I could fade it in while I’m announcing the next few songs, you know?
Pas de Cheval didn’t quite live up to how great it could have been. It could have been the best rocker on the album, but instead comes in at another one of the really good songs. I think the biggest disappointments (although not necessarily least favorites – again, I’m looking at you, Folkin’ Around through From a Mountain in the Middle of the Cabins) were Do You Know What I’m Seeing? and Behind the Sea. They had some great elements, which were then muddled by some other ideas. It’s hard to separate the good from the bad, but the end result was me wanting to hear someone cover those songs “right,” if that makes sense.
This pretty good. Or should that be “Pretty. Good.”? I think I was missing out not listening to this album before. Understandable though – apparently, it is a departure from their first album, and their third album went back toward their first album. They aren’t really in the spotlight anymore, but they’re still making music. Really, this makes me want to listen to The Hush Sound‘s Like Vines. 3.3/5
Creedence Clearwater Revivial – Cosmo’s Factory (1970)
The original idea for the podcast was to talk about an album and then (to make the podcast unique) write an original song influenced by that album. As it turned out, trying to coordinate songwriting (and especially recording) via Google hangouts is hard enough to be considered impractical. If we ever do a podcast episode in person, then maybe we’ll incorporate an original composition.
Since the music I’ve been in the mood to write recently would be complemented by something deliberately influenced by this record, I suggested my favorite CCR album.
Here’s what my friends had to say:
“I’m clearly biased toward CCR, having been a fan since my youth. But man, I can’t believe how many hits they cram onto one album. They’re masters of the short and sweet 2:30 song, then they stretch out the extended solos on Heard it Through the Grapevine. My favorites are probably first “Long as I can See the Light” just because I think its beautiful song and its a nice slow closer, and I’ve always loved the hook of “Who’ll Stop the Rain.” The raucous party pace of travelin band, the heavy groove of run through the jungle, the upbeat Lookin’ out my Back Door, how could this get anything other than 5/5?” – Spencer
Feel free to share your own reviews down in the comments section.