40 Songs I Liked in 2015

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A couple of weeks ago, I ran down my favourite albums of 2015. Today, I’m going to talk about my 40 favourite songs of the year. Why 40? Because I did 35 last year, and I wanted to do more this year. Why did I do 35 last year? STOP ASKING QUESTIONS. More

Releasing Songs Before an Album Drops

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It’s time for my irregularly scheduled weekly blog post. I don’t know when I became a guy who blogged only weekly (not counting What I’ve Been Reading), but this schedule – if you want to call it that – is what fits into my life at the moment. Ideally, I’d let the ideas I’m writing about in this entry stew for a little while longer in my brain, but I wanted to post something this week, and I’m not confident that further cogitation would allow me to synthesize these ideas into a coherent thesis.

Earlier this week, pop-punk band The Wonder Years released a song, “Passing Through a Screen Door,” from their upcoming album, The Greatest Generation. It’s a catchy, fun song, dealing with topics that have come to be known as the band’s bread and butter: existential angst and the pains of growing up. It wouldn’t have sounded out of place on the band’s previous effort, Suburbia I’ve Given You All and Now I’m Nothing, which I named one of my favourite albums of 2011. In fact, it sounded like it could have been a Suburbia outtake. It seemed odd to me that The Wonder Years would choose to preview their album with a song that could have easily been mistaken for a lost b-side. Perhaps the band doesn’t want to scare off its fans with anything too out there, but don’t they want to signal that they’re moving forward even a little bit?

That got me thinking: album previews can have a significant influence on listeners’ pre-release impressions of upcoming albums. Artists and record company execs aren’t stupid. I think they recognize this influence. With that in mind, I can identify some of the ways in which they used the tracks they chose to release to promote then-upcoming records in order to influence the pre-release conversation. More

Album Review: Incubus – If Not Now, When?

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To be honest, I don’t really want to write this review. I’d rather write a review of, say, Dairy Queen’s Triple Chocolate Blizzard. At least then I could complain about how it was way too sweet, how it melted too fast, and how it tasted like a cheap carnival treat.1 Basically, I’d be able to piss and moan and whine like a prissy little bitch. It would be cathartic, liberating even, to write a violently negative review of that disgusting abomination of soft-serve ice cream and dollar-store-quality chocolate.

There would be no such catharsis in writing a similar review of If Not Now, When? An outright negative review would in fact be disingenuous. There’s nothing horrible about it. It’s too innocuous to be bad. The music is just sort of…there…and it’s okay, I guess. I mean, it’s not great or anything, but… You know what? Screw the intro. Let’s talk about the songs. More

5 Awesome Songs, Vol. 5: Weird Songs

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In this edition of 5 Awesome Songs, we take a leap into the wonderful world of weird songs. Read on to find out about 5 songs that are unique or strange in their own way. More

5 Awesome Songs, Vol. 3: Acoustic Songs

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In this edition of 5 Awesome Songs, we unplug our amplifiers and synthesizers and go for a more stripped-down approach. We take a look at 5 great acoustic tunes after the jump.

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