Tuesday, February 10, 2009

50 albums that i enjoy - #50

so recently i decided i would put together a list of my 50 favourite albums. this was easier said than done, but honestly, it still wasn't too hard. however, the list i put together seemed both inexcusably short on some critical albums but at the same time seemed so right that i couldn't argue with it. it contains very few albums older than the year 2000. as much as i love all contemporary and classical music, i have a very difficult time comparing my enjoyment of an older record with that of a newer one. the older one i cannot get around its "classic" status. the newer one i find too much linked to my emotional states as i first heard them. this is not a list of 50 albums i consider the greatest of all time, nor is it explicitly my favourite albums. this is simply 50 albums, that, when pressed to name albums i consistently enjoy and feel critical to how i view music, i would name.

one other notable emission: there are no albums by the mountain goats on this list. i found it very difficult to view them album by album instead of either song by song or by their entire discography.

i'll probably post a few albums per day or something. i'll do them as i have time to i guess.

50. School Girl Distortional Addict by Number Girl

The Japanese schoolgirl might represent the island nation's entire culture better to the western world than any other symbol. Uniform, numerous, unwavering and intimidating, but at the same time, cute, peppy and innocent. But most of all, they're elite. A schoolgirl can easily compute complex algorithms in her head. A schoolgirl can effortlessly dominate in any social situation. And, if my Japanese animes are to be believed, they frequently pilot giant mecha to fight for the fate of the world. It goes without saying that if a school girl wanted to play guitar, she would be Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Eric Clapton all rolled into a sailor suit.

Number Girl is only 25% girl, and she's far from school-aged. Nevertheless, the group identifies itself again and again with the image. Why shouldn't it? If there's one quick sentence that can summarize the band, it would be that a bunch of schoolgirls met up in a garage to mess around on guitars and found out they were really good at it. I guess that isn't too quick, but it is fairly accurate. The effort put forth on this album cannot be qualified. The drums, the guitars, the vocals - they're all amazingly tight, but the whole thing comes together with such effortless grace that some songs feel like improvisations.

And if there's one word to summarize this whole album, it's earnestness. From the opening shouts on "Touch" to the undeniably catchy riffs on the closer, "Eight Beater", the album reflects the passion of a band just having fun but staying determined to make sure you have fun too. Their major influences are easy to spot. The loud-quiet-loud variations and howl of the Pixies circa [i]Doolittle[/i] are here, as is the rabidly infectious post-punk prowess of Husker Du. Fitting, then, their tribute to both bands on the song "Pixie Du". More subtle is the profound effect seventies-era classic rock and metal has had on the members. You begin to wonder after they alter a line from The Who's "5:15" and name a song after it, but when the power chords kick in on "Tenkouski", you can feel the same spirit echoing that first made itself heard some forty years ago.

This album seems like a foreign object, lost in the transfer of both time and space. It has a distinctly Japanese feel that extends well past the broken English and moonspeak howls, but the unmistakable rebellious attitude and simmering rage would feel right at home in New York or Liverpool. Weighing in at barely over a half-hour, this is no essay or story written by the Japanese about rock music overseas. This is a love letter, written in a broken cross-breed of both languages, and left for us to enjoy at face value.

i'll probably do the next one in a few minutes idk i'll see.

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