30 Songs I Liked in 2016

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I know this is extremely late, but better late than never, right? Here are my top 30 songs of 2016, listed in alphabetical order by artist, with a limit of one per artist. More

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My Favourite Albums of 2016

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I’m aware that I’m a bit late to the party, but better late than never. It’s time for my favourite albums of 2016. More

My Favourite Albums of 2013

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The end of the year is approaching, which means it’s list-making time! Huzzah!

2013 was a great year for music. I listened to a lot albums, and while I didn’t hear any stone-cold classics, I heard a lot of great ones. So many, in fact, that instead of doing a top 5, which I did last year, I’m doing a top 20. More

Album Review: Jimmy Eat World – Damage

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Jimmy Eat World’s previous effort, Invented was the first album I ever reviewed at this blog. Though it was an excellent record, I did point out that it was perhaps a little on the safe side. After all, the album was produced by Mark Trombino, who had helped shaped their signature sound through consecutive albums Static Prevails, Clarity, and Bleed American. So I was excited to hear that the band would be working with a new producer on Damage, Alain Johannes, believing that he would inject some much-needed freshness into their music.

How very wrong I was. More

5 Awesome Songs: Vol. 14, “Earthy” Songs

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You know the kind of songs I’m talking about: songs with deep guitars; vaguely bluesy or folksy songs; songs that sound like they were built from the earth. But rather than featuring a list full of Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young songs, here are 5 “earthy” songs by bands that don’t typically dabble in such music. More

The 2010 Refrigerator Rants Random Awards

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The last few weeks of December are filled with “best of” lists of everything from fashion to food to news to sports. Rather than merely adding to that jumble, I’ve compiled a list of random awards. (If you want to know what the best TV show of the year was, just ask someone who actually watches Mad Men. That won’t stop me from listing my favourites, though.) Some of these awards are good, some of them are bad, and some are just plain, well, random. The awards mainly deal with television, but some also deal with music, the Internet, print media, and movies. I’ve included runners-up for some of the awards. Read on for the winners, the losers, and the, um, “randomers.” More

Album Review: Jimmy Eat World – Invented

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Generally, once a band has six studio albums under their belt, they start to play things safe. In fact, by that time, the band has usually been playing things safe for a while. Jimmy Eat World is a little different. Their self-titled debut was a garage rock record. Their sophomore effort, Static Prevails, was heavily influenced by emocore. Their next album, Clarity, was a breathtaking work of indie pop. Bleed American veered into pop-punk territory. Futures took on a dark alt-rock feel. Chase This Light was a pure pop album.

That brings us to Invented. Jimmy Eat World’s seventh studio album marks the return of producer Mark Trombino, who produced all of the band’s albums from Static Prevails to Bleed American. Trombino has an ear for getting exactly the correct timbres required to create the proper feel for each song; Clarity often gives the impression that Jimmy Eat World went to a music store, bought every instrument they found, and then had fun with their purchases in the studio. A lot of the band’s fans would welcome a return to that approach. However, Jimmy Eat World has released three albums since then, both of which stray far away from their previous work, adopting a more traditional approach to instrumentation.

With six studio albums under their belt, Jimmy Eat World had a lot of options for this album. They could go back to their old approach or stick with their new one. They could pick any one of their albums and essentially write a sequel to it, or they could pick an entirely different sound. What the band chose to do is interesting: they played it safe. They stayed with traditional rock instrumentation, but they brought back the programmed beats and mallet percussion that form part of Trombino’s signature sound. Instead of picking a single sound, they chose to combine their sounds from Clarity, Bleed American, Futures, and Chase This Light. The result is an album that, while somewhat predictable, is an excellent listen from start to finish and is easily my favourite album of the year so far. More

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