Tuesday, May 22, 2007

"Young Folks" (Single) - Peter Bjorn and John - Almost Gold (2007)

I have yet to hear the full album from this 3 piece outfit based in Stockholm, Sweden; however I cannot get enough of the lead single "Young Folks" off their new album entitled "Writer's Block". This breezy, catchy song (also referred to as the "Whistle Song" by certain hipsters; not to be confused with the Ying Yang Twins' slimy crunk anthem "Whisper Song") is as infectious a summer single as there is. Although this album was released on North American shores in February 2007; so far this is the quintessential summer tune right now.

The song kicks off with some simple whistling which combines with some steady 60's influenced drumming and wistful lyrics sung by a young man hoping that a young girl that he likes, likes someone like him. Sound simple enough? Well it is. There is no need to look further into the lyrics. Just sit back, relax and doze off daydreaming about that special someone you have your eye on. Who knows, maybe that person is looking for someone just like you!

The song structure and melody bring to mind the lazy, hazy days of summer during the 60's when everyone from the Mamas and the Papas and Simon and Garfunkel were ruling the airwaves while war raged on in other parts of the world. Something so simple as a basic pop song with a great melody can make someone forget about all of their troubles and enjoy a few minutes of pure musical bliss.

Unfortunately, there are still problems all across the globe, in our cities, towns and our own backyards. Thankfully, simple throwback pop music like "Young Folks" is just the type of song we need to make us forget about everything else going on around us and allow us a haven to retreat to ponder other important things that require our immediate attention....like whether or not that person that we long for would want to be with someone like ourself.

Monday, May 7, 2007

The Weirdness - The Stooges - Virgin Records (2006)

You know that awful taste you have in your mouth when you wake up? Similar to your tongue feeling like the lining of the bottom of a birdcage? Awful isn't it? Well let's just say that The Stooges' (featuring 3/4 of the original lineup) new album "The Weirdness" is the aural equivalent of that. It leaves a bad taste in your mouth, but one that is strangely enjoyable.

Everybody's favorite cracked-out grandpa-lookalike Iggy Pop and Asheton brothers Ron (guitar) and Scott (drums) have reunited in 2007 (with the addition of grizzled punk vet, bassist Mike Watt) after a 34 year hiatus to remind us all what punk rock really is: dirty, grimy brief songs that leave you reaching for a bar of soap. The Stooges left a dirty skidmark on rock and roll's underwear during their brief time together from the late 1960s until they flamed out in 1973. This album sees them return to their familiar sonic snarl with the help of famed rock producer Steve Albini (Nirvana, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Jesus Lizard).

"The Weirdness" combines old, grimy, 70s-style punk rock with some rockabilly and British garage rock flavour to create one of the most enjoyable punk rock albums in recent memory.
With song titles like "Trollin", "My Idea Of Fun" and "She Took My Money", it is easily understood that Iggy and the boys don't want us to listen to diatribes on government corruption and and world peace. They want us to know that no matter your age (Iggy Pop turned 60 recently!?) cruising the streets looking for trouble and women, randomly harming people for amusement and complaining about being taken advantage of by an evil woman while inebriated; are all things that any red-blooded man should enjoy revelling in. When Iggy shouts the chorus of "My idea of fun/Is killing everyone" on the track "My Idea Of Fun", it almost makes you want to get out your seat and get outside and join Iggy in "a bit of the old ultra-violence".

If you're looking for a 40 minute escape from the mundane and aren't afraid to feel dirty all over, then the new release by The Stooges "The Weirdness" is just what you need. As Iggy reaches retirement age, let's hope that he doesn't lose that bitter edge that he's had for over 4 decades. Hey, wait a minute....isn't the food supposed to be horrible at retirement homes? That should piss Iggy off enough for at least another album's worth of material shouldn't it?

Rating: 3.5/5