The Diesel Powered Audio Combustion Device
Song - Artist - Album
Living Room - Grouper - The Man Who Died In His Boat
So as you may be aware from my last post I'm back on campus and able to do more music reviews finally, so I have something to put in my blog. Now for the review.
I was sitting at the new music review board table, as the albums were passed around, waiting for some really good ones. I got a few that looked pretty promising by the end of the night (but we'll get to those in a later blog), one of which was an EP from Meghan Elliott. It had been a while since I got an album with strong female vocals, the last being Sambassadeur's kickass new album European, so I was really excited when I found this one. It's the first of my stack that I decided to review, and I was eager when I got it put into my disc drive.
The first track labeled write me off started off with a pretty standard drum pick up followed by 8 measures of pretty decent guitar but still nothing spectacular. Then it slowed down and the vocals came in. At this point I realized that I was listening to everything I hate about modern music. Everything from the instruments to the vocals was sterile, perfectly executed in the way a midi file is. There was no apparent dynamic variation or phrasing, or anything that makes up the expressive elements of music. This was truly empty and hollow garbage. People will probably disagree with me here, but music is a form of expression and if you take that out you lose the music.
The lyrics were a bunch of cliché crap, mostly just about relationships. This isn't bad, but it's not really interesting. Yes I get it, you're a young girl, you grew up on fairytales about the perfect guy and Disney fed you the same story over and over where the girl isn't happy until she finds the prince, but I think it's time for us all to mature and realize that this is a fantasy and relationships are not like this. Anyway, back to the music. There is nothing wrong with the music as it is written and you could probably make a pretty decent album with it. I’m not saying they did, but you hypothetically could perform the music well if you had musicians with a certain flair, a certain ability that would make this whole thing work, talent if you will.
There are ways that both Meghan Elliott and other modern musicians can achieve the goal of being more than another footnote in the long line of mediocrity and banality that fills the modern industry. First, don’t use auto tune on your voice, sing it right and it will sound better. Secondly, remember that you are not a machine and that you can put expression into this. I’m not saying take all the electronic elements away, just use them right. Herbie Hancock used tons of electronic music, but he did it well. In fact, if you want to use electronics in your music, you should be required to listen to some Herbie Hancock first. Thirdly, try writing lyrics that actually say something. Neil Peart is very well known as the drummer for the band Rush, but few know that he also writes the lyrics for the band and they are incredible. Actually, here’s a list of artists with good lyrics to check out*. Finally, listen to a lot of music, learn music history, and learn to play expressively. Get inspiration from people who don’t suck. Also, this is just a personal preference thing, but music sounds better when the entire band records at the same time.
In conclusion, Meghan Elliott’s EP did not impress me. You can listen to it if you want, if you have no taste I guess. But everything she’s doing is already being done by tons of other people, and it sucks when they do it too.
Oh and PS. I went to her myspace music page to read up on her music. The word "raw" is used twice in the first paragraph while describing her music. That wasn't really an issue, just annoying because there's nothing "raw" about it. Then it listed her influences. I can't really comment on her family, but the next group is unsurprisingly full of mediocre hacks that make me cringe every time I hear them..."Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and Hayley Williams of Paramore". It then goes on to talk about her career and her "catchy" covers of other songs that pollute the airwaves like herpes and finally we get to the last paragraph. This part opens with a huge quote attributing her talent to God, in a way that makes me cringe. I could go into religion here, but this blog is for me to talk about Meghan Elliott and why her EP should be erased from existence, so I'll leave it at that.
Cage the Elephant
Creedence Clearwater Revival
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
The Rolling Stones
Simon & Garfunkel