New Music 9.30.14 – The One “Hit” Wonder


Lykke Li came to town this past weekend. It was significant in that it is the closest I will ever be to a woman on my “List.”

I love her.

Other than that, it was a fantastic show and a tolerable crowd. Shout out to Mapei for putting on one of the best opening live acts I have ever seen.

Now, after having been on vacation the past month, here are some new music rundowns:

Tove Lo – Queen of the Clouds

Rating: Pain > Sex + Love

“Habits (Stay High)” has been and will be on my Best of 2014 playlist for the foreseeable future. Great song, hence the “one ‘hit’ wonder” pun. After that, you realize that Queen of the Clouds just kind of another watered down pop outfit.

This is a shame because Tove Nilsson actually writes her own stuff. That’s hard to find from pop stars. I wanted to like this album. I tried, twice. The unimaginative radio-flavored pop fest fits right into today’s hits, so it’s a major detriment (see: “Timebomb”).

In general, the bad-girl image is only good in small doses, which is why the “Habits” song was wise to approach me one-on-one. If this album was my introduction to the song, I might have never listened to it again.

You’ll notice in the interludes that the album is separated into three parts: Sex, Love and Pain. That’s what 90 percent of music is anyway so it didn’t really need labeling, but OK. I like the Pain section best. That’s when things get real, at least for a short time.

Then the album lingers on with remixes and bonus tracks. The human race will colonize Mars by the time you finish.

Marmozets – The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets

Rating: The most fun album I’ve heard in weeks.

There is a myth that says baby snakes are more dangerous than adults because they can’t control the amount of venom they inject into their victims. Even though this theory is widely disproven, the analogy still works. This band goes all in without knowing any better.

The Marmozets are five kids from the UK, made up of two sets of siblings.  Though they are still learning how to make grungy rock music, they are completely unbound. The first song on the album, “Born Young and Free,” tells you everything you need to know about them. It’s messy, thrashy and, in some moments, quite moving.

“Why Do You Hate Me?” and “Hit the Wave” do a nice job of bringing the heat without letting the flames get out of control. It did spread onto other tracks, unfortunately, and your ears might burn off before you finish the album. That just comes with the inexperience and restraint is something that can be learned in time.

The ballads “Captivate You” and “Cry” show that this band is multidimensional and it has a lot of growth ahead of it. I’m optimistic.

Gerard Way – Hesitant Alien

Rating: This guys was in My Chemical Romance?

I don’t know what I expected. I fell off the MCR bandwagon early on, then kind of got back on at the end of their run with Danger Days. They went through a dramatic shift, content-wise. I was intrigued when Gerard Way said he was making something of a Britpop album, which is cool even though he’s from Jersey. Hey, go for whatever inspires you.

Maybe since I wasn’t bathed in glam pop growing up, I have a hard time figuring when I should listen to Hesitant Alien. It’s too rickety to simply vibe to and it isn’t poppy enough to dance to. But when you take the individual tracks, “Millions” and “Action Cat” are alright. “Drugstore Perfume” and “How’s It Going to Be” are personal favorites.

Otherwise, this was a hard one to digest.

Updated Best of 2014 playlist:

Jesus, Fall Out Boy. They refuse to be mediocre. They had an incredible comeback last year and they just keep launching thunder bombs.

Also, I highly recommend that Mike Oldfield song. Incredible.

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