09 February 2007

Top Five: The Shins edition

I know, I know, I am slacking in the music review portion of the blog. I think I promised this a while ago, but I am glad I waited as long as I did to do my review of the VERY EAGERLY ANTICIPATED Shins album, Wincing the Night Away. The first two listen-throughs, I really thought nothing could beat Chutes Too Narrow. That has a perma-spot on my jukebox of life. I won’t say this is better, but I do think they are too different to compare. Anyway, both are formidable efforts and I pretty much have Wincing the Night Away on constant loop now, for the time being. Also, I like numbering and ranking things, (one) because I think order is very important and (two) most of the time there is some reason some thoughts should be separated form others by distinction of a bullet point or other identifying label (a number, for example). With that said, here’s my top 5 tracks on The Shins’ stunna, Wincing the Night Away:

1. Sleeping Lessons [begins very dreamy/trancelike/tranquil…kicks it into high f-ing gear—I refer to it as the REM cycle of the song—about ½- way through. This is my new wake-up song, cause I need to be eased into my mornings. But 90 seconds into the song I am ready to kick ass. It’s that good. Download now.]

2. Girl Sailor [I liked this song before I ever paid attention to the lyrics. I probably never would have paid attention to the lyrics until Rachel claimed this song was about her. She’s a lyrics advocate. I am a melody advocate. I think the mark of a good song is one that can convey the emotion or meaning of the song without having to understand or interpret the words. If you can move me to feel a certain emotion through musical notes or voice inflection, you are a good musician. If you can move me to feel a certain way through verse or words, you are a poet. Anyway. This song fucking rules on both fronts, so download it.]

3. Split Needles (Album Version) [Discussion in item #4]

4. Split Needles (Alternate Version)- [I actually heard the alternate version first. The two versions are completely different songs in my book—BUT with the same lyrics! Every time I listen to one, I think that is my favorite. But then I listen to the other and I think that is my favorite. It’s a vicious cycle. If you can figure out how to break it, let me know. But that would require you downloading both songs. Something I would suggest you do nonetheless. The Alternate Version is a fast-paced, dancey, headboppy tune. The Album version is a sad but mellow and soothing tune. You have a version for every mood. Man! The Shins think of everything! They are musical superheroes.]

5. Turn on Me [I’m totally a hypocrite because I think I like this song more after listening to the lyrics. The chorus is catchy, though too. It will get stuck in your head for days. If you don’t like catchy music, though, maybe you should stay away from downloading this one.]

Pretty much every time I listen to the CD, I consider replacing #5 with another track. (If you like songs that say the word "La la la la la" a lot, like I do, download "Australia"). I was going to do an “honorable” mention section here for great songs that didn’t make my top 5, but that would be THE REST OF THE ALBUM.


thestark said...

So are you saying you recommend the Shins record?

Rachel said...

My mom likes the shins. just thought i'd put that out there.

also While a tune hooks me, its the lyrics that keep me. I think its important to have both inorder for a song to be great. thats my vote

thestark said...

So yeah, I bought this, due in part to your recommendation, and I have listened to it once. My favorites at this time are "Turn on Me", "Sealegs", and "Spilt Needles" (I'll have to look for the alt. version). And I like the single, even though it's become the unofficial theme music for WRNR, and I've heard it approximately 50 times on that station.

Also, I'm with you on melody. I couldn't have said that better myself.