Eels-Shootenanny! (2003)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 28%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 73%

Average Rating: 67% (C+)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. All In A Day’s Work
  2. Saturday Morning
  3. The Good Old Days
  4. Love Of The Loveless
  5. Dirty Girl
  6. Agony
  7. Rock Hard Times
  8. Restraining Order Blues
  9. Lone Wolf
  10. Wrong About Bobby
  11. Numbered Days
  12. Fashion Awards
  13. Somebody Loves You

Record Label:

Dreamworks

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Not really sure on what genre you’re currently in the mood for.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Reminds me of early Blues covers, nothing special, but kind of cool.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yes!

Final Thoughts:

I went to college in Saskatchewan, a province that gets so cold that doors are frozen in the morning, and it was there that I discovered Eels. Maybe it was something about the dark utterly miserable conditions where I lived, or maybe it was being in a transitory part of my life, but Eels made a lot of sense to me. I loved the vulnerability in the lyrics, the openness to be sad and not try to cover up, but then following up with songs about how excited he is for Saturday is a really odd mix, but one that I really like. Shootenanny! flows from genre to genre, and to some these may work against Eels, but for me it kept the experience entertaining, if not a little jumbled.

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Evidence-The Layover E.P. (2008)

My Rating: 85% (B++)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 85% (B++)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. The Layover
  2. For Whom The Bell Tolls feat. Phonte, Blu & will.i.am
  3. So Fresh (Step Brothers)
  4. Solitary Confinement ft. Krondon
  5. Don’t Hate ft. Defari
  6. My Favorite Part of Traveling (Interlude)
  7. Far Left ft. The Alchemist & Fashawn
  8. Rain or Shine
  9. To Be Determned ft. Elzhi and Aloe Blacc
  10. The Cold Weather

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Walking downtown at night.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s pretty neutral, fits the tone.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Absolutely!

Final Thoughts:

I love that a ten track album is called an E.P., if I had it my way, ten tracks would be the limit to the amount of songs you could have on an album, why? Because it distills the artist down in a more cohesive way. That’s what Evidence offers on The Layover E.P. a good sense of his flow, beats, and impressive production all around. Ev is actually most impressive as a producer, I loved his choices when putting together this album and how tightly each song flows into the next, he definitely has a love for the album and that shows in the very fact that he called it an E.P. instead of just releasing it as a “full album”. Whenever I hear Ev is involved in a project my mind is eased, I know he does his due diligence and that anything he attaches his name to will be creative and well thought out.

Elliott Smith-Figure 8 (2000)

My Rating: 88% (A-)

Pitchfork Rating: 69%

Rolling Stone Rating: 70%

Metacritic Rating: 81%

Average Rating: 77% (B)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Son of Sam
  2. Somebody That I Used To Know
  3. Junk Bond Trader
  4. Everything Reminds Me of Her
  5. Everything Means Nothing to Me
  6. L.A.
  7. In The Lost And Found (Honky Bach)
  8. Stupidity Tries
  9. Easy Way Out
  10. Wouldn’t Mama Be Proud
  11. Color Bars
  12. Happiness
  13. Pretty Mary K
  14. I Better Be Quiet Now
  15. Can’t Make a Sound
  16. Bye

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Sad.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It really fits the tone of the album.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Of course.

Final Thoughts:

A lot of fans really love to hate this album because he quote unquote sold out. I guess the full band really threw fans off, I personally like the bigger sound on Figure 8. Is it Elliott’s best? No, but it’s not bad by any stretch of the imagination. Whenever an artist changes sounds, even just slightly, it’s a risk and they’re bound to lose some of their fan-base over it. But this is not a sell out album. A sell out album is when an artist makes an album for radio play and gives the middle finger to their fans, and I don’t see Figure 8 that way. It’s more just an Elliott Smith album with a bigger sound, almost like a remix album, but is it selling out? No. Smith may have pissed fans off with Figure 8, but I like to think that he was just trying something new.

EMA-Exile In the Outer Ring (2017)

My Rating: 73% (B-)

Pitchfork Rating: 80%

Rolling Stone Rating: 70%

Metacritic Rating: 80%

Average Rating: 76%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. 7 Years
  2. Breathalyzer
  3. I Wanna Destroy
  4. Blood and Chalk
  5. Down and Out
  6. Fire Water Air LSD
  7. Aryan Nation
  8. 33 Nihilistic and Female
  9. Receive Love
  10. Always Bleeds
  11. Where the Darkness Began

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

In a dark place of disillusionment.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s alright.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

I do, bought it at the live show.

Final Thoughts:

I have such mixed feelings both about this artist and this album. With EMA I have a little bit of a block on her now after seeing her live, not only were her openers absolute unlistenable garbage (looking at you The Blow, yes that’s not music) she was also kinda rude to the sound guys and that never sits right with me. She seemed to have this too cool for school air about her…there were maybe 30 people at her show…maybe. With Exile In the Outer Ring though, she continues to show that she does have some incredibly amazing musical talent. It’s no The Future’s Void, but it’s definitely a solid album. So, does she have the mad genius syndrome? Is she just a bit of a jerk? Or did I catch her on the wrong day? I guess I won’t know, but damn, this music is still really interesting, in a good way.

Eels-End Times (2010)

My Rating: 86% (B++)

Pitchfork Rating: 39%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 71%

Average Rating: 65%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. The Beginning
  2. Gone Man
  3. Mansions Of Los Feliz
  4. In My Younger Days
  5. A Line In The Dirt
  6. End Times
  7. Apple Trees
  8. Paradise Blues
  9. Nowadays
  10. Unhinged
  11. High And Lonesome
  12. I Need A Mother
  13. Little Bird
  14. On My Feet

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Sad and/or lonely.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It must be from a graphic novelist that I know but I’m too lazy to look it up, it’s aces though.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yeah it’d be beautiful on vinyl.

Final Thoughts:

Okay, I’m a little pissy at Pitchfork at this moment so let me get that out of the way, we sometimes really disagree with each other, but never has it been so apparent than this album, 3.9? 3.9? Are you high? You can not like the lyrics, but I mean it’s still well made music. 3.9 should be reserved for something extra bad, not a routine album from a reliable artist. Anywhozits. End Times is a really chill album from Eels, it’s a great album to listen to before bed or while winding down. I’ve always enjoyed the way Eels can get at the heart of loneliness and I think this is one of the most lonely sounding albums he’s made yet. There are a few up-beat tracks that I think a wide audience can enjoy (Gone Man, Paradise Blues), but they’ll always be at their best at the really mellow tunes (Line in the Dirt, On My Feet, I Need A Mother).

Electric Guest-Plural (2017)

My Rating: 82% (B+)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 82%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Zero
  2. Glorious Warrior
  3. Back & Forth
  4. Dear To Me
  5. Oh Devil
  6. Back For Me
  7. See The Light
  8. Over
  9. My Omen
  10. Sarah
  11. Bound To Lose

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting a pop/electric album that’s fairly straightforward.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s rad, reminds me a bit of The Human League’s album covers.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not really.

Final Thoughts:

Electric Guest has been on my watch list since their incredibly catchy song This Head I Hold. I’ve expected these guys to make more waves but very few people seem to be tuning into their stuff. I can understand that, the lead vocalists can be a little whiny sounding at times (ex. Back & Fourth) but when he doesn’t try those really high notes his voice is great. Plural is a great album in the sense that it will add nicely to my shuffle, but it’s not about to be an album that I’d go searching for on vinyl. The problem is that it’s just a little too simplistic and for a band that has only made two albums that can be a problem. Nothing wrong to sticking to the plan, but these guys need to work on their plan a little more. There are some incredibly catchy tunes on this album, though, and it can be a lot of fun at times, I just don’t think they’ve hit their stride quite yet.

Elbow-Little Fictions (2017)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 71%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 80%

Average Rating: 84%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Magnificent (She Says)
  2. Gentle Storm
  3. Trust the Sun
  4. All Disco
  5. Head for Supplies
  6. Firebrand & Angel
  7. K2
  8. Montparnasse
  9. Little Fictions
  10. Kindling

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for big sound out of a typically quiet indie band.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

I REALLY LOVE THIS ALBUM COVER!

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

So badly.

Final Thoughts:

There’s a scene on Peep Show, a famous UK comedy, where one of the main characters is failing at charades and thinks to himself something along the lines as “I don’t want to know these bands! I don’t want to listen to shitty bands like Elbow.” It’s a really funny quote, and at the risk of sounding like a typical millennial dirt bag, I love Elbow. I love how they offer such diversity with each album all while staying true to some familiar vibe (ugh I used the word vibe). With Little Fictions we’re given the big band treatment and it sounds so epic and beautiful. This is a serious contender for best album of the year.

Empire Of The Sun-Two Vines (2016)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 66%

Average Rating: 83%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Before
  2. High and Low
  3. Two Vines
  4. Friends
  5. There’s No Need
  6. Way To Go
  7. Ride
  8. Digital Life
  9. First Crush
  10. ZZZ
  11. To Her Door
  12. Keystone
  13. Lend Me Some Light
  14. Welcome To My Life

Favourite Song on Album:


Listen to This Album When You’re:

On the search for poppy fun music to turn your brain off to.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s trippy and weird and consistent with their other covers.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yes, absolutely!

Final Thoughts:

Empire of the Sun was one of the first dream pop bands that I got into, and I feel like I kind of owe them for helping me get into bands like Blonde Redhead and Beach House (Well, them and Richard Sandlin), this album is consistently entertaining brain candy. It’s nothing new, let’s get that straight, but it is really fun and really easy to turn your brain off to. It’s interesting to see the response to this band (mostly negative) after the release of their single Walking on a Dream, people are expecting them to reinvent the wheel, but these guys just wanna make funky music, and they’ve never failed at that.

Elliott Smith-Either/Or (1997)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 100%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 100%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Speed Trials
  2. Alameda
  3. Ballad Of Big Nothing
  4. Between The Bars
  5. Pictures Of Me
  6. No Name No. 5
  7. Rose Parade
  8. Punch And Judy
  9. Angeles
  10. Cupid’s Trick
  11. 2:45 am
  12. Say Yes

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Sad.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Yeah it’s a classic looking album cover, nothing wrong, nothing great.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yesssssssss.

Final Thoughts:

Elliott Smith is THE sad artist, everything else pales in comparison. Not only is his music extremely sensitive, emotional, and brilliant, the ending of his life was both poetic and tragic. Named as one of the 1001 albums to listen to before you die Either/Or shows off his incredible talent when it comes to songwriting. Honestly, every song is so different while still giving the listener a general feeling of loss and despair. Connor Oberst is the next step from Elliott Smith, but he wouldn’t even dare call himself as on the same level. Elliott Smith will always be the best sad artist, and if you disagree then you’re wrong, and if that makes you sad, well listen to Either/Or.

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