current music obsessions

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Sunday, December 7th, 2008

current music obsessions

as usual, i have a few music obsessions right now. there’s basically been three albums that have been in habitual rotation in my house, car and office for the last week or so.

every so often, i get beyond the point of obsessed with a specific song or album. here’s some that have carried that distinction in the recent past: brandi carlile’s downpour (still obsessed after well over a year), jenny lewis’ acid tongue, ray lamontagne/damien rice’s to love somebody, don chaffer’s leave me alone, barenaked ladies’ brian wilson, and now, cory chisel and the wandering sons’ home in the woods (thanks to paste’s latest music sampler…where i discover at least one or two new artists each month).
i had never heard of these guys before getting the sampler, but this has instantly become a song that i put on “repeat track” in my car. i can listen to it over and over and uncover a new layer or lyrical gem or tone each time. it’s mesmerizing and beautiful. cory chisel is a little reminiscent of ray lamontagne in terms of songwriting and delivery, but lacks the raspy tone of lamontagne’s voice. the album is amazing (though it’s just an ep) and i’m looking forward to the full length album. you can listen to home in the woods here or listen to the entire album at by clicking here.

ok, this next album is painful for me to even put on here, but the fact is, kanye west’s new album, 808’s & heartbreaks…is…amazing.
yes, the ultimate douchebag, kanye west, continues to make me love his music. while 2007’s graduation, in mine and others’ opinion, was a step back for him, 808’s is a leap far into the future. while some have been critical of the auto-tune (which is basically the technical centerpiece of the entire album) and kanye’s singing, it’s the lyrical depth and rawness that is most compelling. whereas kanye, on his past albums, spent 45 minutes of music reminding you of how great he is, on this album, he is vulnerable and honest about his life, including the death of his mother and a failed engagement (congratulations to you, the ex-fiancee of kanye west…your life is forever enriched by the dissolution of your relationship…). for example, in welcome to heartbreak, kanye sings, “my friend showed me pictures of his kids/and all I could show him were pictures of my cribs.” that’s pretty introspective and deep for a guy who has previously rapped that “you can’t tell me nothin'” and provided thoughtful gems like drunk and hot girls.
don’t get me wrong, kanye still can’t get it all right and keep himself from botching things a little. please, kanye, drop lil’ wayne from your studio sessions. his duo, see you in my nightmares, is, of course, popular with a lot of people (along with the rest of the heaping pile of lil’ wayne’s other music…), but it’s just embarrassing and is extremely out of place on the album. overall, though, great stuff.
finally, i thought i should mention coldplay’s new ep, prospekt’s march. as with all of coldplay’s stuff, it’s great and almost makes me overlook it because it’s so routine for their stuff to be great. on this, they revisit some of the songs from viva la vida and add some new twists. for example, the opening track, life in technicolor ii, is the same as the “original,” but this time, with lyrics (as opposed to strictly an instrumental). also, lost! is brought back, sounding the same, but with the (very good) jay-z rap added at the end. again, there’s not too much to say because it’s just your standard really good coldplay stuff. i guess i wouldn’t quite say this is on the obsession level, but it’s definitely borderline (and will probably quickly attain that status once i retire the other two albums from itunes).