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Old 06-30-2011, 04:38 AM   #1
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Write sentimental/long-winded posts about music you love

Since overwrought, gushing 3 AM posts tend to get ignored in Random, I thought it would be nice for people like Cobbler to have a place to rant on about what he thinks makes Outkast so special when he feels the need, or GAF about any fun artist on any given evening.

The point of this thread is to be positive and upbeat about the shit that we love, so if you feel like ranting about how much of a tool Chris Martin is or how Thom Yorke's eye just isn't trying anymore, take it elsewhere. Feel free to discuss whatever, but try to keep this from being a downer of a thread. Besides, when it comes to recommendations, more detail is better than less, so maybe we'll be convinced to hear new shit, or see old albums differently? I don't know. I don't expect this to be a massively busy thread, I just think it'll be a nice thread to bump whenever it's required.
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Old 06-30-2011, 04:38 AM   #2
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I'll start, I suppose. I want to talk about The Mountain Goats' Tallahassee. Somehow, I feel like I've gone on about it in the past, and I'm fairly certain that most here know that I love it, but I just took a long walk with it on the most crisp, beautiful summer night - shooting stars and everything - and I really took the time to reflect on what the album means to me and why it's so damn good.

It's a pretty traditional record on the surface. You have a guy, and his girl is bumming him out. The guy goes on about the girl for 45 minutes over acoustic guitars and a few hints of other instrumentation. Yawn, right? Well, it's all in the details, and the details of the record feel especially pronounced to me because I associate with the subject matter so closely. You see, the man and woman are actually married, the "alpha couple," and the two remind me very, very strongly of my own parents. The two are alcoholic on the album, and folks aren't, but they did meet at AA, so there's that. The couple move to Tallahassee in order to jump-start their relationship, and they find that they feel as trapped as ever.

The house in the story, according to one song, apparently drips blood; this is a reference to the mental state of a building's inhabitants being reflected in the building itself in films such as Repulsion and Barton Fink, among others, but I know it to be true to life also. When a family is full of homebodies the way mine was, the house becomes an extension of themselves, and it starts to fall apart if things aren't going well. And things most certainly aren't going well for the couple of Tallahassee; their alcoholism has begun to eat them alive, and each others' flaws are magnified because they apparently never do anything but watch game shows and drink. The truth is though, they are both the polar opposite of what the other needs while being the very thing that keeps them going. I've seen this happen in my own life...two people constantly at each others' throats, yet too damaged for anyone else, carrying on for years and years when it really appears that an end needs to be considered. It's heartwrenching for me to watch these characters eat each other alive over the course of the record for those reasons, and the album is so dead on that it even remembers to include those good days in which everything seems OK before the cycle of shit loops all over again. It's remarkable.

Though it takes place in summer, I sort of see Tallahassee as the ultimate autumn record. I suppose that's because my most vivid memory of it is walking with in on one of those really warm autumn days where the skies are totally clear, yet everything is dying so it feels kind of hollow. The trees were just starting to go bare, but the colors were still vivid and beautiful. It's the very picture of opportunism, you know? Summer isn't like that: it feels permanent while you're in it, and you don't realize the transitions you're constantly in. In autumn, on the other hand, you're positive that the beauty will end soon, so you get the fuck out there and enjoy it while you can. I hear Tallahassee and I hear the dry, sorrowful production, punctuated by sporadic, spare bursts of piano, marimba and other instruments and I instantly picture dying landscapes painted with fiery strokes. The lyrics also feel opportunistic: in spite of how shitty the circumstances are, there is genuine love to be felt in spots, and in those spots you really want the characters to indulge in it before things get awful again. It's a cycle of death and rebirth, new chances given and wasted. It's fucking sad, but it's life as I know it, and I never feel closer to an album than I do when I'm listening to Tallahassee.

Part of the reason for that is John Darnielle's vocals and delivery, which are so simple and understated, never straying from that everyman vibe he needs to be one half of the alpha couple. As generic as that sounds, it's the above details, along with his matter-of-fact, heartfelt delivery that really makes the album hit as hard as it does. It makes you feel as if your very best friend is withering in front of you. If I ever get a chance to meet Darnielle, I fully intend to give him a big hug and thank him for writing an album that has comforted me in my darkest times and made me really feel the subject matter in a way that I dread to at this point but ultimately need to confront.

Anyway, go listen to Tallahassee. It's a beautiful and harrowing portrait and has some pretty great lyrics. One day, I was driving my mother around and she chucked at them numerous times. Considering how much I associate them with her and my father, I was understandably pissed off at the time, but I must admit that they are humorous in their unyielding hate, and she does love the record now, so there's that.
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Old 06-30-2011, 04:54 AM   #3
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Ohhhhhhhh there is a fucking mammoth post coming from me tomorrow and I will be sure to read and comment on everyone else's posts.

Sorry tpsreports2424, but this is the best thread ever.
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Old 07-01-2011, 12:19 AM   #4
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My favorite suite in popular and/or indie music is Pink Floyd's "Shine On You Crazy Diamond." Throughout, each band member is at his finest: Waters' lyrics are touching yet razor-sharp, and his bass adapts beautifully to the mood of each movement; Gilmour alternates between tasteful restraint and soaring magnificence as needed; Rick shows the full range of his jazz sensibilities, complemented beautifully by Dick Parry's saxophone; and Nick holds the entire thing together with impeccable precision.

Particularly striking to me is the interplay between Dave and Rick throughout the first five movements. The two show a tremendous amount of respect for each others' abilities and knowledge of each others' playing styles; I love how Dave uses space above Rick's organ work, adding light but sharp flourishes whenever the organ is holding a note or breathing for a moment. Dave's reentry just before the first verse never fails to take me aback - the precision of the notes is impeccable, striking just as the organ has faded out entirely.

In the latter half of the suite, the mood darkens and the edge sharpens, displaying Floyd's ability to rock with the best of them. Waters retains his affecting juxtaposition of detachment and yearning in the vocals, almost as though he is fighting to suppress his sense of guilt at having pushed Barrett - the founding member turned psychiatric patient about whom the song and its constituent album are written - out of the band. Legend has it that a nearly unrecognizable Barrett wandered into the studio during the recording of the track, claimed that he had been eating a lot of pork chops, and abruptly left; true or not, Waters sounds as though he is attempting to process the event, which must have been traumatic for him, through a combination of grotesque amusement and genuine empathy.

The track fades out as delicately as it began, providing the perfect bookend for a nearly flawless album. Ultimately, we can all relate to the basic sentiment: "we'll bask in the shadow of yesterday's triumph." Sometimes looking to the past is more soothing than confronting the present.
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Old 07-01-2011, 12:28 AM   #5
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Great thread, already enjoyed reading both entries. Perhaps I shall contribute...but it's gonna be more visceral, emotional, etc....I don't do well describing the music, just describing how the music makes me feel.
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Old 07-01-2011, 12:32 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by No spoken words
Great thread, already enjoyed reading both entries. Perhaps I shall contribute...but it's gonna be more visceral, emotional, etc....I don't do well describing the music, just describing how the music makes me feel.
That's totally fine. In fact, that's largely what I want the thread to function as. However, long-form, analytical pieces are great too. Anything to dig deeper into why we love the music that we do.
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Old 07-01-2011, 12:34 AM   #7
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Cool then.

I'll probably roll with The Unforgettable Fire and how a few tracks make me feel now....and how they made me feel when I was a kid......
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Old 07-01-2011, 12:39 AM   #8
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I expect a hell of a ton of U2 in this thread, which is great, because I like the occasional reminder that we all love the band.

Yup: nice, very nice. What I love about WYWH as a whole is the integration of soul and emotion into the skill and dexterity of their music up to that point. Crazy Diamond in particular carries great emotional weight, and it makes that haunting four-note intro riff feel elegiac yet apocalyptic. I mean, it's the fucking Taps of rock. Beautiful stuff.
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Old 07-01-2011, 02:21 AM   #9
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Maybe we can get a mod to rename this thread "tl;dr"?
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Old 07-01-2011, 02:55 AM   #10
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Old 07-01-2011, 04:38 AM   #11
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I will definitely give Tallahassee a listen based on that LM

I agree with you iYup, whenever I listen to Shine On (specifically parts I – V, I don’t care as much for VI – IX, great though it is) I find it hard to argue that it isn’t the greatest song ever. It’s certainly a remarkable achievement, and you being the jazz aficionado would it be fair to say it’s one of rock music’s absolute best examples of musicianship, a trait more frequently reserved for jazz ensembles? I also love the fingers on the glasses, the remnants of the abandoned Household Objects idea. I wrote a 2,000 word review of Wish You Were Here for creative non-fiction class last year, and got a good mark for it. I’ll be sure to post it.

NSW I eagerly await your post!

I guess my Outkast obsession began with Ms Jackson. I was either 9 or 10 years old, and at the time I got up early on Saturday mornings to watch the top 50 countdown, because back then good music still charted and it was worth watching. Even at that age I was entranced by the off-kilter, slanted beat and I could tell that the lyrics were about something a bit deeper than your usual mainstream hip-hop fare (which is one of the many reasons the ‘Kast are my favourites now). It was a massive hit in Australia. Dre’s hook is catchy as fuck and all the verses are a blast to sing along to despite the deeper subject matter and darker tone – it’s a long way from Hey Ya! I always intended to buy Stankonia, I looked at it a lot in Kmart and Target and the like, but it was tough for young kids to buy albums with the language warning stickers on the front, so I never did.

In 2003, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below came out. The Way You Move was the first single and I loved its big 808 sound, Sleepy Brown’s hook (little did I know this man had been responsible for so much good) and the horns too. I didn’t exactly understand the release. Of course, everyone very quickly fell in love with The Love Below, as Hey Ya!, Roses and Prototype were all released as singles and did very well, and I don’t recall anything else being released from Speakerboxxx. I was 12 or 13 when the album came out and somehow managed to buy a copy of the album, and I fell head over heels in love with it. Seriously, it must be one of my most-listened-to albums ever. I poured over the liner notes (another thing that makes them great – only Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, ATLiens and the-one-that-shall-not-be-named don’t have lyrics, and ATLiens has got a whole fucking comic book in lieu of words, which is a fair trade-off. Though it is perhaps the best Outkast album lyrically), studied the pictures, laughed at the skits (they’re really good! Big Boi’s then-two-year-old son Bamboo raps The Whole World on one, Dre prays to God for a “sweet bitch” and then does “the fiddler on the fucking roof” on another), tried to learn the verses… I actually made a thread way back that said “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below is the greatest hip-hop album ever” which I now realise is completely wrong, it’s not even close, but it’s still very good. It was a good time in life. I remember one day I had it blasting and I was putting party pies in the microwave to eat and then I bit into one of them and was shocked, there was no meat inside. It was just inflated pastry.

That was the only Outkast album I had for a very long time. Then last year, I competed in DI7 and LM used Da Art of Storytellin’, pt. 1 on his list, and I dug it. And then I dug it some more. And came back to it every so often. Its sly, late, late-night beat (sorry, I’m not good at describing how music sounds) was enthralling. We did that in I think May/June, and we took off for America on the 20th June. It was during one of my two trips to Amoeba that I bought a whole bunch of CDs, among them, Stankonia and Aquemini. I think I listened to Aquemini first. I loved it pretty much immediately. Same with Stankonia. Soon I had ordered Southernplaya, ATLiens and Idlewild.

Aquemini is my favourite hip-hop album ever, and probably slides into my top 10 all-time. It’s just so diverse. It has everything I love about Outkast rolled into one. It’s got groovy, old-school p-funk (Slump, West Savannah, SpottieOttieDopalicious), cerebral, thought-provoking, deep bass (Aquemini, Da Art of Storytellin, pt. 1, Liberation), party songs (Skew it on the Bar-B, Rosa Parks – which has a South harmonica break for fuck’s sake), and that’s only half the record. The past 12 months, not many days have gone by where I haven’t listened to at least one Outkast song, or had another in my head. There are four tracks on Aquemini that have frequented my brain more than most – the title track, Da Art of Storytellin pt 1, Slump and SpottieOttie. There’s not a lot of hip-hop around like this. You’ve got Dre and Big Boi simply bustin’ flows in apartments, reflecting on life. The lyrics. It was the beats that attracted me at first, but the lyrics are what have kept me obsessed. So many people complain that hip-hop is all guns n bitches, hoes n money, drugs n booze. The genre certainly doesn’t shy away from that – but Outkast take it so much deeper. Take Dre’s verse in Storytellin’:

Now Suzie Screw had a partner named Sasha Thumper
I remember her number like the summer
When her and Suzie yeah they threw a slumber party
But you cannot call it that cos it was slummer
Well it was more like the spend the night
Three in the morning yawning dancing under streetlights
We chillin like a villain and nigga feelin right
In the middle of the ghetto on the curb when in spite
All of the bullshit we on our backs staring at the stars above
Talking bout what we gonna be when we grow up
I said what you wanna be she said alive
It made me think for a minute then looked in her eyes
I coulda died, time went on, I got thrown, rhyme got strong, mind got blown, I came back home
To find lil’ Sasha was gone
Her Mumma said she with a nigga that be treating her wrong
I kept on singing my song and hoping at a show
That I would one day see her standing in the front row
But two weeks later she got the found at the back of school
With a needle in her arm baby two months due
Sasha Thumper


That’s incredible. But I can’t ever play this with mates, or even express love for it, because to them, the only purpose hip hop serves is partying, so it’s only ever Hey Ya, Roses, Ms Jackson and B.O.B. (though they are four of the band’s best songs).

It’s hard to feel bad whenever Slump is on. It has a deliciously funky beat, backed by some oooh ooh oohs and two ridiculously good verses from Dungeon Family associates Backbone and Cool Breeze to back up Big Boi. Again, it’s about life, and dope dealing, and fried chicken, and holding up your family, and frankly it sounds fun as all hell. Whenever I get in a really good mood I jump in the car and just drive around, and this is usually the first song I play.

SpottieOttieDopalicious is the most ambitious hip-hop track I’ve ever heard, maybe on a par with B.O.B. Seven minutes the studio version goes for, and, like Funky Ride on Southernplaya, it’s a bit of anomaly compared to the tracks that surround it, but it’s a mesmerising journey. It’s got these soulful, slightly dejected horns, on top of one of the funkiest, slinkiest beats you’re ever likely to hear. And there’s no rapping in sight despite the three verses. Sleepy Brown opens with an impossibly soulful, scene-setting verse, and then Dre talks us through a night at one Atlanta’s nightclubs. At first, it’s as great as always, great drinks, great music – while the DJ sweats out all the problems and troubles of the day – great girls, but at about 3am a fight breaks out and ruins the night as people are taken to hospital. Then Big Boi brings it all home, summarising young adulthood in about a minute.

Funny how shit come together sometimes, you dig
One minute you frequent the booty clubs, the next four years you and somebody’s daughter raising your own young’un
Now that’s a beautiful thing
That’s if you on top of your game and man enough to handle real-life situations, that is
Can’t gamble feeding the baby on that dope money, might not always be sufficient
But the United Parcel Service and the people at the post office didn’t call you back because you had cloudy piss
So now you stuck in the trap, just that, trapped.
Go and marinate on that for a minute


It’s not my favourite Outkast song, maybe not even top 10, but it probably best encapsulates everything the band is to me. Don’t put a whole genre in a box (that’s not an attack on anyone in this forum).

Seriously, I could go on for much longer. I’ll just mention briefly what I love about ATLiens.

GAF was surprised I hadn’t heard this record until earlier this year. It’s his second favourite Outkast record and he assured me I’d love it and I needed to get on that shit quickly. And he was so right. It’s a fucking remarkable record, unlike any other hip-hop record I’ve ever heard. It’s not something you can blast through your speakers, and you can’t even dance to it, not really. It’s what I imagine a late-night ride through Atlanta after a shit day would be like. Dre’s lyric in the title track probably sums it up best – no drugs or alcohol so I can get the signal clear – you should probably put out your blunts too. If you haven’t heard this album, and you are normally averse to hip-hop because of its lyrics or doofdoofdoof/oontsoontsoonts then this is a record I recommend. Even probably its most famous track – Elevators (Me & You) is a slow song. The beat is hypnotic, the hook is reserved and it is just, quite simply, Dre and Big Boi rapping to an empty room about their lives at that point. And aside from Two Dope Boyz (In a Cadillac) and the title track, the rest of the album follows that pattern. Mainstream is another highlight, and then you’ve got 13th Floor/Growing Old, which was enough to move me to tears the first time I heard it. Big Rube, Dre and Big Boi just discussing life over piano. Perfect.


I hope this thread can stick around.
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Old 07-01-2011, 04:43 AM   #12
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God it feels good to finally post some of that. I'm sure I'll end up with many posts in this thread.

I just wish Australians would give American hip hop a chance, instead listening to the complete utter fucking rubbish that is Australian hip hop.
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Old 07-01-2011, 06:13 AM   #13
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Balls.
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Old 07-01-2011, 08:13 AM   #14
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This is a good thread, and I will be contributing. As soon as my thoughts are formed; that'll take a day at least...
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Old 07-01-2011, 08:29 AM   #15
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I really like these thoughts so far, though I'm too tired to write something long right now, so add me to the in-waiting list.

Travis, Tallahassee is such a great album. I first heard it in '09 and I think it was either you or Ashley who got me onto it, but I had no idea how personal your feelings of the record were. I greatly enjoyed reading your post. Thank you. Good luck. I need sleep.
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