Posts Tagged ‘album reviews’

The King of Limbs: Review

Your first reaction to the latest Radiohead album will be based almost entirely on what you expected from it. This is true to some extent for every album (and every movie, television show, novel, meal, etc.), but it’s particularly the case for Radiohead. The band has built a reputation as the most daring and innovative band on the planet, and it has now gone over three years between albums twice in a row. In other words, these guys have a lot to live up to.

I suspect that Radiohead knows this, and that it at least partially motivated the quick release of The King of Limbs. Just over a week ago, the album had no official name or release date; then last Monday the band announced not only that the album was complete, but that it would be released in five days. To top all that off, the band released the album on Friday, a day before they had initially planned.

The general effect of this was both to preempt any long, anticipatory buildup to the album, as well as to shift focus from The King of Limbs itself to the manner of its release (something Radiohead has done before).

Not that fans need or ought to be “distracted” from The King of Limbs: The album is quite good. Continue reading


The Suburbs: Review

“Sometimes I wonder if the world is so small that we can never get away from the sprawl…” —Arcade Fire, “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)”

“I used to think I was not like them, but I’m beginning to have my doubts…” —Arcade Fire, “City With No Children”

When I was 17, I saw Arcade Fire in what remains the best live performance I have ever seen. It was February 2, 2005, and even though the band’s first album, Funeral, had only been out for a little over four months, it seemed like Arcade Fire had been around forever. By the time the concert rolled around, the band was big enough to bring David Byrne on stage to perform an encore for an audience that included, among others, David Bowie.

In fact, Funeral had had so much buzz prior to its release that it seemed destined to underwhelm. I, for one, was ready to play contrarian and bash it, if only because “Arcade Fire” is a really stupid name for a band. The only problem, though, was that the album was legitimately awesome. From the opening track, “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels),” I loved it, and I was happy, for once, to completely understand what all the fuss was about.

Of course, with such a hyped and successful debut, there come questions of whether or not those fortunes can be duplicated. And while I really like their second album, and I really enjoyed them the next time I saw them in concert, I had started to think that Funeral was the kind of lightning-in-a-bottle success story that only happens to a band once.

The release of The Suburbs, though, has changed that. Continue reading

This Is Happening: Review

In some ways, it feels kind of pointless to add to the reviews of LCD Soundsystem’s new album. This Is Happening only officially came out two weeks ago, but we live in an age of Internet leaks, so two weeks after an album’s release date is practically an eternity—it’s more than enough time for the world to reach a consensus. The consensus for this album seems to be: It’s great. The Wikipedia entry for the album already says that it received “universal acclaim,” so I guess any further words are irrelevant.

It’s not like I disagree—This Is Happening is a great album that should satisfy the many LCD Soundsystem fans who anxiously awaited it. And if, as James Murphy has said, this is the last LCD Soundsystem album we ever get, then fans don’t have any right to complain: Few acts would have had a more successful career.

The worst thing I can really say about This Is Happening is that it peaks too early: The first track, “Dance Yrself Clean,” is the best one on the album. Continue reading