Said The Whale-As Long As Your Eyes Are Wide (2017)

My Rating: 45% (D-)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 45%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Step into the Darkness
  2. More Than Ever
  3. Heaven
  4. I Will Follow You
  5. Realize Real Eyes
  6. Confidence
  7. Miscarriage
  8. Beautiful Morning
  9. Emily Rose
  10. Lilac and Willow

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Just need to add a couple more Said The Whale songs to your playlist.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Probably the best part of this album.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not in the least.

Final Thoughts:

Said The Whale has always been a good pick-me-up band for me, singing about Vancouver and Canadian lifestyle in general is an easy way to my heart, but they strayed too far from their core sound on As Long As Your Eyes Are Wide and the result is this disastrous album. First off every song sounds the damn same. Secondly it’s desperately trying to get radio-play, it’s typical mall music without the catchiness of mall music. And the biggest offender is the repetitiveness of the whole thing, good lord sit down and write some lyrics out. As Long As Your Eyes Are Wide is the worst Said The Whale album I’ve heard, I usually like these guys but this was just so miscalculated.

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San Cisco-Gracetown (2015)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 100%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Run
  2. Too Much Time Together
  3. Magic
  4. Snow
  5. Wash It All Away
  6. Bitter Winter
  7. Jealousy
  8. Super Slow
  9. Mistakes
  10. About You
  11. Skool
  12. Just For A Minute

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Needing some happy music.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

I actually love these guys’ covers, they always look super artsy and cool.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yes.

Final Thoughts:

When it comes to bouncy stupid pop music, San Cisco is my go to. They’re the embodiment of the rule “keep it simple stupid”. Their albums are exactly what I want pop to be: fun, happy, catchy, not too repetitive, not too experimental. They aim for their mark and they hit it on Gracetown. The album is a great example of what pop should be, a genre you can put on in a mall or restaurant without offending anyone. Is Gracetown going to go down in history as an influential album? Absolutely not. But there’s something to be said about making an album that aims for a genre and gets it 100% correct, no need to get fancy with the spices, this is pure pop.

Spoon-Telephono (1996)

My Rating: 50% (D)

Pitchfork Rating: 75%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 63%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Don’t Buy The Realistic
  2. Not Turning Off
  3. All The Negatives Have Been Destroyed
  4. Cvantez
  5. Nefarious
  6. Claws Tracking
  7. Dismember
  8. Idiot Driver
  9. Towner
  10. Wanted To Be Your
  11. Theme To Wendel Stivers
  12. Primary
  13. The Government Darling
  14. Plastic Mylar

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for unedited garage rock.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s pretty meh, doesn’t do a lot for me.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not in the least.

Final Thoughts:

Spoon has always been an intriguing band to me since I heard their song I Turn My Camera On, I never really checked out their discography, but have decided that I would dig in through this site. Telephono is their first release, and it is a growing pains album, it’s almost unlistenable at moments, and doesn’t reflect their later style that made them catch my attention. The album sounds like a watered down Sex Pistols mixed with a watered down Sonic Youth, if that sounds like something you want to hear than maybe check Telephono out, but if you, like me, like their later radio hits then start at a later album.

Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly & James McAlister-Planetarium (2017)

My Rating: 50% (D)

Pitchfork Rating: 60%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 72%

Average Rating: 61%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Neptune
  2. Jupiter
  3. Halley’s Comet
  4. Venus
  5. Uranus
  6. Mars
  7. Black Energy
  8. Sun
  9. Tides
  10. Moon
  11. Pluto
  12. Kuiper Belt
  13. Black Hole
  14. Saturn
  15. In The Beginning
  16. Earth
  17. Mercury

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking to brush up on the solar system, I guess.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Reminds me of something from the 80’s, it’s neat.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not in the least.

Final Thoughts:

Sufjan Stevens Planetarium is a swing and a miss. He continues to try to flirt with electronic music, and it is not so great this time. The concept album is all too familiar without being very memorable, seriously there have been too many albums that explore space like this. The few songs that do stick out are good, but they’re not even close to comparable to B-Sides from Sufjan’s better albums. This album seems like it was a lot of fun to make, but it’s really not that fun to listen to. It’s just a big yawn, when it should be a lot of fun. Overused concept. Mediocre songs. Skip this Sufjan.

The Shins-Oh, Inverted World (2001)

My Rating: 77% (B)

Pitchfork Rating: 80%

Rolling Stone Rating: 70%

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 76%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Caring Is Creepy
  2. One By One All Day
  3. Weird Divide
  4. Know Your Onion!
  5. Girl Inform Me
  6. New Slang
  7. The Celibate Life
  8. Girl On The Wing
  9. Your Algebra
  10. Pressed In A Book
  11. The Past And Pending

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for a really different/unique sounding alt album.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Super unique, I like.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not this Shin’s release.

Final Thoughts:

The Shins were one of the first alt bands that I got into, I must’ve listened to Caring Is Creepy over 100 times now. This album has a nostalgic hold on me, the artwork will always remind me of my teen years, walking through the high school feeling like nobody understood me (the real me, y’know?) The album itself has a few highlights (New Slang being the other big standout for me) but is kind of boring overall. I don’t know if it was a pioneering album that didn’t age well or if it was just one of those albums I always assumed I loved until I listened from start to finish. At any rate, this is a well regarded album that is not lazy or grating by any sense, just not as wonderful as I remember it being.

San Cisco-The Water (2017)

My Rating: 90%

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 90%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Kids are Cool
  2. Sunrise
  3. That Boy
  4. The Distance
  5. Hey, Did I Do You Wrong?
  6. Waiting For The Weekend
  7. SloMo
  8. The Water
  9. Did You Get What You Came For
  10. Make Me Electrify

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting a fun pop album.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

I actually like the cover a lot, it’s really reminiscent of early electric music.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not really one I think that would be that great as a record.

Final Thoughts:

San Cisco is fun music, really easy to put on and have anyone generally enjoy it. They’re good at what they do: making poppy bouncy music. The Water is really dance-able, consistently enjoyable, and not at all thought provoking, just the kind of tunes you need when throwing a summer pool party, or for those long days when you need something mindless to lift up your spirits. The music is really solid, not like a lot of the bands who are similar, and thank the sweet lord it’s not too repetitive. A fun summer listen.

Smashing Pumpkins-Siamese Dream (1993)

Record Review Requested By: Richard Sandlin

My Rating: 92% (A)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: 70%

Metacritic Rating: 96%

Average Rating: 86%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Quiet
  2. Today
  3. Hummer
  4. Rocket
  5. Disarm
  6. Soma
  7. Geek U.S.A.
  8. Mayonnaise
  9. Spaceboy
  10. Silverfuck
  11. Sweet Sweet
  12. Luna

Favourite Song on Album:


Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for a mellow grunge album.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s pretty meh to me, cool colours but nothing special.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Absolutely!

Final Thoughts:

Siamese Dream is one of those albums I’ve had in my library for years but never really gotten around to listening to, thanks to Richard Sandlin I was forced to. I really enjoyed it, I can see bands like Thee Oh Sees and Autolux being heavily influenced by this album. It’s a good mix of hard hitting rock and ballad sounding tracks. Today, Soma, and Space Boy have got to be my favourite tracks. Smashing Pumpkins have flown under the radar for me for too long, I’m excited to dig into their discography.

Sonic Youth-Sister (1987)

Record Review Requested By: Richard Sandlin

My Rating: 73% (B-)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 73%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Schizophrenia
  2. (I Got A) Catholic Block
  3. Beauty Lies in the Eye
  4. Stereo Sanctity
  5. Pipeline / Kill Time
  6. Tuff Gnarl
  7. Pacific Coast Highway
  8. Hot Wire My Heart
  9. Cotton Crown
  10. White Cross
  11. Master-Dik

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for a noise rock band that can also be very melodic and also includes two great vocalists at the top of their game.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It fits their genre well, but I’m not writing home about it or anything.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yeah it’d be great on vinyl.

Final Thoughts:

Sister is one of those albums that suffers based on its number of tracks that are preludes to really great tracks, for example Pacific Coast Highway is not a bad song, but would be nothing if not followed up by Hot Wire My Heart. It’s a great noise album, one that I’m sure has influenced a lot of my favourite artists. But it’s just that: noise. It doesn’t always make for the best experience. A great album to have spinning on the record player, not an amazing one for driving to work.

Sufjan Stevens-Carrie & Lowell (2015)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 93%

Rolling Stone Rating: 80%

Metacritic Rating: 90%

Average Rating: 90.8%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Death With Dignity
  2. Should Have Known Better
  3. All of Me Wants All of You
  4. Drawn to the Blood
  5. Eugene
  6. Fourth of July
  7. The Only Thing
  8. Carrie & Lowell
  9. John My Beloved
  10. No Shade in The Shadow of the Cross
  11. Blue Bucket of Gold

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Really sad, or about to fall asleep and won’t be super depressed by the gloominess of this album.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s really eerie, just like the entire album, it’s a good fit and I’m a fan.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Oh yeah!

Final Thoughts:

This is Sufjan Stevens at his darkest and most vulnerable, I’ve never heard the artist talk about some of the subjects that he does on Carrie & Lowell it’s a beautiful, sad, incredible album that every music fans collection should include.

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