Friday, June 2, 2006

Whitest Boy Alive vs. Eraser

This week, two albums leaked that have some serious similarities. Both were recorded by sort of scruffy-haired front men for big UK acts who look way too much like Clay Aitken (especially Thom). Both will have people who love the record, and hate the record for the exact same reasons other people love it – kind of like that Kobe Bryant (hate my swagger, hate the fact I’m a veteran, hate the fact I raped a chick, hate the fact I’m loved for the exact same reasons). Both will be downloaded, linked and tucked away before the release date for the album is here. But that is where the similarities end.

The two artists, Erlend Oye (Kings of Convenience) and Thom Yorke (Radiohead) both released side-projects records. One will explode and be the talk of the music industry until the next Radiohead album comes out, the other will toil in obscurity; despite the fact it is probably a more enjoyable album. This is not attempt to say that Erlend Oye and KoC are a better band than Radiohead; it’s simply trying to give him some credit for the new Whitest Boy Alive record, Dreams.

I’m a big Radiohead fan, but like a lot of people, I feel their work has slipped a lot since Kid A. Eraser comes off like a flat version of Radiohead b-sides. Does this mean I won’t be all over the upcoming Radiohead album? Hell no; but Thom’s solo stuff disappoints me. It comes back to the question, is an album that takes you 6 months of listening to get into really something you are really into? After all the excitement of this record coming out, the insanity of people paying like $500 for tix for Radiohead’s show, after two listens, I took this off my Ipod.

To me, a lot of RH stuff of late (and especially this solo album) is more a few good songs stuffed with filler. If any other artist (granted Radiohead is good enough you should try to keep listening) put out an album that you hated the first 20 listens, you wouldn’t force yourself to keep listening. You wouldn’t assume you were missing something.

Kings of Convenience are on the opposite side of the coin. They have fans, but their quality releases get no love from the general public. Songs like I’d Rather Dance with You should have topped charts over here, but never did. While Radiohead is moving farther away from standard instrumentation, Erlend and crew are moving away from looping and computers and using only instruments these days. The result – especially with the Whitest Boy Alive record – is a great collection of funky tracks, built on bass lines and drums that make you want to move. You don’t have to try to appreciate it. It’s fun and accessible without trying.

MP3:: Whitest Boy Alive - Dead End

Posted at 6:10 PM by ack :: 1 comments

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At 9:22 AM, Anonymous Mr Flood did sayeth:

Hi man! I'm from Argentina and just found your blog. I really liked this post. I can't agree with you more. I've been listening both "Eraser" and "Dreams" CDs, and since the first listen of both albums, WBA blowed my mind so much that made impossible stop listening to it. I love the atypical structure of each song. They remind me some of the greatest moments of "Joshua Tree" but with a touch of funk and pop. WBA sounds like the project where Erlend feels more confortably. A great mix between KoC and his solo album.
On the other hand, after listening to The Eraser album, i found Thom to be disoriented on his music search. With the exception of the track "Black Swan" wich i really liked, i feel i have to force myself to listen to the rest of the album to get used to it. It gives me a lot of work to find it interesting or not to skip some of the tracks. I`m 30 years old so i really love Radiohead from the very begining. But this cd is maybe too much for me. I don't know.


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