Review Revue

The AP’s Soul Patrol | July 22, 2008

This came across my RSS Feeder just this afternoon. I’ve been rueing the day that I ever started subscribing to the AP’s Entertainment headlines through Yahoo. I can’t tell if it was written on a deadline or the author, Jake Coyle, is just a lazy hack. Here’s how it begins:

The first half of 2008 has already seen some great albums. There has been the majestic (Sigur Ros’ sunny new opus), the super hip (Vampire Weekend’s much-anticipated debut), the ultra current (Girl Talk’s sample-mad “Feed the Animals”) and the chart-topping classic (Death Cab for Cutie with “Narrow Stairs”).

But many of the best rock discs of the year so far have been defined by a strong connection to older, natural forms of folk, country and blues. For the listener unsatisfied by a music landscape that seems to offer two roads — broad pop this way, cultish hipsterism that way — these acts offer a refreshing and unpretentious third option.

I don’t know how “ultra current” Girl Talk can be considering how much it relies on samples from 2005 or anyone else who would consider Death Cab’s Narrow Stairs a “classic”. I’m also not sure about how “super hip” Vampire Weekend are, but that’s another topic for another day.

That second paragraph is what bugs me, though. The #1 record in the country right now is Nas’ Untitled– is that “broad pop” or “cultish hipsterism”? What about Erykah Badu’s phenomenal New Amerykah: Part One? 

Coyle rhetorically asks – and then answers – “You want soul? Here’s soul.” He lists six records he’s digging right now (all, like the ones previously mentioned, by white people): Fleet Foxes, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, The Black Keys, The Constantines, Dr. Dog and Firewater.

When Coyle mercifully ends his piece I wonder if he threw his thesaurus across the room before getting around to coming up with something for Firewater. He might have just run out of adjectives or didn’t have time to contact a publicist and find something to plagiarize but he closes up by, yes, quoting Firewater’s MySpace page to sum up their sound: “music from the … heart, words that say SOMETHING.”

I guess that is an improvement over “I’m Rick James, bitch.”


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