Mostly New CD Review

WRITTEN BY MAX
 
So, I am finally getting around to reviewing some CDs that came out this year, and as most of the time I am behind the times, from now on our CD Reviews will be Mostly New.  I’ve seen album sales this year, it’s not like any of you have bought any anyway.  I’ve also created a new rating system, at least new to us at INAW, that of the Danzig.  All albums will be ranked on a possible score of 5 Danzigs. 
 
Wasting Light
Foo Fighters
2011
RCA Records
Producer: Butch Vig

5 out of 5 Danzigs

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Wasting Light, the seventh Foo Fighter’s album, is their best.  I remember when I bought The Colour and the Shape.  I remember what that album smelled like as I opened the package.  I remember thinking, “this is so awesome, and I can’t stop listening to this CD” as I played it on repeat in whatever CD player I could find.  For years, that album had been my gold standard for how an album should be put together.  I never really got into the next three releases for one reason or another.  Then, in March of this year, I started listening to Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace.  I couldn’t believe that record had slipped under my radar for so long.  After repeated listening I felt like it was maybe pushing The Colour and the Shape out of the picture, but then I got a copy of Wasting Light.
 
 
This album is everything you want in a rock record.  It’s ballsy.  And by that I don’t mean it’s aggressive, I mean they took chances on doing things that no other band can get away.  For starters, there is a drum solo in Rope, the first radio release.  How many bands can get away with a drum solo in a radio release?  Nearly every lyric is a cliché.  But this is a good thing, as Dave Grohl has crafted everyday sayings into meaningful observations filled with emotion.  Miss the Misery, the track the album gets its name from (“you’re wastin’ light”), has two different time signatures.  The band also used a lot of tape rather than digital recording techniques while recording most of it in Grohl’s garage.  All of these things have combined to form something you don’t see very often, and that is a rock album with mass commercial appeal while still holding on to the integrity of the notion of ‘not selling out’.  I highly recommend this album, giving it five out of five Danzigs.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Neighborhoods
Blink 182
2011
DGC Records
Producer: Blink 182, Chris Holmes and Critter

4 out of 5 Danzigs

 
 
 
 
 
 
There are some things about Neighborhoods that I don’t care for, but the things I don’t care for do not include the songwriting or Tom Delonge’s vocals.  In fact, while the biggest complaint I heard about this album from friends was that Tom’s vocals were “too Angels & Airwaves”, I felt just the opposite, that Tom’s vocals are a perfect complement and fit perfectly with the music and Mark Hoppus’ voice. 
 
The biggest complaint I have for this album is that it is poorly mixed in spots.  I’ve listening to it in a 2003 Toyota Camary, on a Dell D600 laptop, on a little jam box from Wal-Mart, through a Pioneer CD player through two 500 watt JBLs, and on my little record player CD thing in my living room.  Surprisingly, the little record player/CD combo in my living room had the best sound on the album, but there were still spots where the vocals are overpowered by drums and bass.  And what a good metaphor for this band.  Sometimes an ego or two tries to overpower the other one(s). 
 
I had the benefit of hearing five of these songs live right before the album came out, and they all sound great live, and the band still puts on a great performance.  This disc, while still attempting to play to a teenage sensibility (as gathered by watching their videos), in reality has even more mature themes than the self titled Blink 182.  Any of the actors in the videos for these songs could easily be replaced by someone in their mid-thirties or forties and beyond. 
 
The other exception I take with this album is that sometimes, I get the feeling they jack with the beat just to say they can.  Like, sometimes a simpler beat would have been sufficient and even the stronger choice, but instead drummer Travis Barker threw in some of his signature sounding breaks, and in some instances it pulls your focus away from the fact that Blink 182 still writes great pop-punk songs.  The album is at it’s best when the band plays fast and simple.  That has always been Blink 182’s strength, and appears to still be the case.  I really enjoy this album, and I gave it 4 out of 5 Danzigs.
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~ by maxaverage on October 24, 2011.

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