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The Bargain Bin by jason
April 24, 2010, 1:36 pm
Filed under: Bargain Bin | Tags: , , ,

The end of this semester (you know…that thing I keep rambling on about) has been completely insane. Like, nightmare-inducing, existential-terror-filled insane. Watch-your-back, everyone’s-out-to-get-you insane.

I’m under a little bit of stress is what I’m trying to tell you.

Because of this, I went to the Bargain Bin with the idea that I wanted to relax and feel good. I wasn’t looking for music that challenges the listener; I just wanted to either a) Relax, or B) Party.

To evaluate these CDs, I’m using the jaynova Bargain Bin Algorithm ™, which weighs the price of the album against how mush enjoyment I get from it, divided by number of breaths it takes me to get to my happy place. So close your eyes, think of a meadow, and let’s go.

Kaki King-Somebody Loves You. Velour Recordings, 2003

As I’ve said in my review of King’s newest album, Junior, King is at her best when she is not trying to write catchy pop songs. That is to say, she writes pop songs well enough, but her real skill is playing a guitar like it is equal parts guitar, bass guitar, and drum kit.

That’s what this album is. There are no vocals (except on the bonus track), just Kaki killing that poor guitar. And kill it, she does. However, this is where I’m torn. See, her playing is amazing. Really it is. And it’s certainly more skillful than her newest pop-song incarnation, which relies on both her skill and the skills of a producer. But, like, this is the kind of album I would put on as background music, or as part of my writing mix. If I try to give it a close listen, I have trouble telling one track from the next. But if I’m looking to sit down and LISTEN to music, I’m going with her newer stuff.

That said, this really is an amazing album, and it will get a lot of use from me. So, thinking about how bad this semester is, I close my eyes and breathe and the Algorithm does its thing, and I get a 7.5 out of 10 on the happy place index.

Here she is, live, playing “Close Your Eyes & You’ll Burst into Flames.”

Andrew WK-The Wolf. Island Records, 2003.

Andrew WK is an artist that baffles me. When his first album, I Get Wet came out, I didn’t care about him at all. In fact, his next album, The Wolf came out, I didn’t even notice. I just didn’t like his stuff.

Recently, though, Jayson started following Mr. WK on our Twitter page (and Mr. WK reciprocated), ad you know what? I realized I had to give Andrew another try. That guy is OK with me.

To be honest, I wanted to get his first album, but the only one they had in the bargain bin was The Wolf so I settled for it.

This is a good album. My problem wit it is, well, at times, it sounds a little too much like Def Leppard, especially in the song “Tear it Up” I can’t get behind Def Leppard. But I’ll try not to hold that against Andrew WK.

Anyway, I really like the opening song, “Victory Strikes Again,” as well as “Long Live the Party,” “Never Let Down,” and “Totally Stupid.” These are songs that I normally wouldn’t have given a chance, but I’m glad I did.

No matter what I think of Andrew WK’s music, however, by reading his Tweets, I can say without reservation that I can get behind him as a human being. Party hard, bro.

Surprisingly, after taking some deep breaths and plugging this one into the Algorithm, I found that I am not relaxed at all, but I’m happy. And I want to party. Hard. I’ll give it 8 out of 10.

Here he is playing “Never Let Down.” Word.



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