My year with Baroque Pop

Posted: January 7, 2013 in music, Song Clip, Uncategorized, vinyl
Tags: , , , ,

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I listen to a lot of music. A lot of different music…a lot. That’s why it’s is strange to see the numbers from itunes the other day. My most played music(by far) has mostly been albums by female baroque pop artists like the two pictured above, as well as Fiona Apple, Cat Power, Blonds and her highness, Regina Spektor. Of the 80,000+ songs on my hard drives(both laptop and the ipod, the true work horse), the “most played” filter on itunes shows a lot of 1’s, 2’s and 3’s. many, but less 4’s-8’s and then the top 100 are 9’s through 12’s. Then there is a huge gap leading up to 30’s-40’s and a couple 50’s. With the exception of some Sigur Ros, some classical and opera(study playlist) and Sleigh Bells, these top spots are owned by the women mentioned above. I never realized how disproportionately I listened to this kind of music.

Regina Spektor: What We Saw From The Cheap Seats

Regina Spektor’s album is probably my favorite of the year(even though it doesn’t have the highest play count, I only listen to it when I can listen to the whole thing straight through). She continues to write incredibly soulful lyrics on deep subject matter with a totally original (to song writing anyway…I always compare her writing to the magical realism of Gabriel Garcia-Marquez) approach. Her arrangements and instrumentation are both baroque in the truest sense. She will also dance between using lush string arrangements at one moment and then beatbox drum sounds with her mouth. Since the virtual disappearance of Bjork, Regina is the one I look to in intelligent pop music to push the boundaries.

Ellie Goulding: Halcyon

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Ellie Goulding’s album was not what I expected. I knew her “lights” song and I thought this would be a pop/club album(she was dating Skrillex). What I got was an album that had everything from Kate Bush and Enya to Joy Division and Martika…very nice. Her lyrics had a fragility and hopeful strength to them that served as a nice counterpoint to whatever musical arrangement they were partnered with…plus, she can write a stadium ready, anthemic chorus like nobody’s business.

Then things get a little darker, but in that “it’s darkest before the dawn” way. Literally(or should I say musically), the next few artists’ music has a pre-dawn, ear’s-still-ringing-from-the-club-but-now-the-silence-is-deafening feel to it. Blonds, Lana Del Rey and Cat Power tracks all fall under the “Sad-Core” sub-genre of baroque pop. It is a very cinematic and melodramatic style of music. They all seem to evoke boozy, late nights coming to an end, loaded with regret. The songs are almost dirge-like and all seem to deal with real downer subject matter(for a big Morrissey/Cure fan, it’s perfect).

Lana Del Rey: Born To Die

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Born too Die is an album that splits to house. People either love her or think she is horrible. I like that in and of itself. Her album is loaded with songs that each play like little films…little film noirs actually. There are broken hearts, jilted lovers, lurid sex, mistakes made, violence, deception and through it all a femme fatale pulls the strings. Incredible (or terrible, depending on which side of the fence you’re on) stuff. It also sounds/feels 10X’s better listening on vinyl, late night. Oh yes.

I am not going to review each album here, I will let the songs do the work for me.  I will just say that I love this Sad-Core thing. Great mopey fun.

Blonds: The Bad Ones

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Cat Power: Sun

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Fiona Apple: The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do

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Fiona Apple fits neatly in the middle of the two, with a mix of interesting arrangements and frowning delivery. This new album is also almost all percussion and that adds to it’s almost uncomfortable feel.

There is no resolve to this review/article…just like the songs in the Sad-Core part of Baroque Pop. That will have to do for now. Enjoy the albums though. Hazaa

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