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 Post subject: Re: Top vs Spiro - 100 Album Challenge
PostPosted: April 4th, 2017, 1:02 am 
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Day 88
Jan Lisiecki – Chopin Etudes


I’m going to go out on a limb and predict... solo piano.

Pros:
- Impressive pianist playing impressive compositions.
- Pleasant to play in the background while focusing on other things, or to really focus on specific pieces.

Cons:
- Solo instrument work I find very difficult to focus on for long periods of time, and well... there’s an hour of it.

Highlight: Perhaps I have a flair for the dramatic, but “Etude in B Minor” (track 22) caught my ear with its immediacy and energy.

Perhaps my biggest gripe here is this feels more music to be studied than anything that would really elicit an emotional reaction in me. It’s definitely good and impressive though.

Overall Score: 7/10

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 Post subject: Re: Top vs Spiro - 100 Album Challenge
PostPosted: April 4th, 2017, 10:48 pm 
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Day 88
John Prine's - John Prine


Top let me substitute this album for the long compilation by the same artist that he had on his chart.
Name's familiar. Can't recall any songs, though.

Pros:
- Palatable Folk that leans toward an older Country sound. I can't stand newer Country, but this reminds me of Willie Nelson, who I don't mind.
- I liked the fiddle peppered in here and there.
- John's got a decent voice.

Cons:
- Nothing really jumped out at me musically or lyrically. It was all pretty boring.
- No real drum presence. A simple beat here and there.

Highlight - "Pretty Good" was pretty good. Reminded me of Neil Young. Great keys, guitar lead, drums, vocals. This was the one standout song of the lot.

Overall Score: 5/10


Coming up next...
Day 89
Former Thieves' The Language That We Speak and Simon and Garfunkel's Sound of Silence

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 Post subject: Re: Top vs Spiro - 100 Album Challenge
PostPosted: April 5th, 2017, 3:39 am 
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Day 89
Former Thieves – The Language That We Speak

???

Pros:
- High energy, constantly pounding rhythm section
- The guitar riffing on some of the tracks was pretty cool
- Short and sweet.

Cons:
- The screaming vocals got pretty monotonous, and just had an annoying ‘peaked microphone’ sound to them.
- Every track kind of seemed like a variation on the same shtick, even across the short runtime I got tired of it pretty fast.

Highlight: “Pacemaker Trendsetter”

It was alright. Not really doing anything that’s personally too exciting.

Overall Score: 4/10

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 Post subject: Re: Top vs Spiro - 100 Album Challenge
PostPosted: April 30th, 2017, 5:42 pm 
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Day 89
Simon & Garfunkel's - Sound of Silence


Have heard. Long ago. Fond memories and such.

Pros:
- The feeeel man. Oddly minor feeling major keys (although there a few minor keyed songs. Probably due to the fantastically unique harmonization coupled with the simple (save technical tracks like "Anji") but dynamic guitar.
- Exploitive instruments. They sort of do their own thing, making this feel like a not...pop album.
- Great classic feel, closer to The Beatles circa late '50s/early '60s than The Stones.
- Really no complaints with the song writing other than one thing. Songs were all musically and lyrically solid....except for...

Cons:
- The endings were garbage. Why would you case out....ever. ESPECIALLY on such a short pop-format song.

Highlight - "The Sound of Silence" has always been a fav of mine whilst listening to oldies stations. ("Somewhere They Can't Find Me" is a close second, though....man was that a great song.)

Overall Score: 8/10


Coming up next...
Day 90
Flea's Helen Burns and Flobots The Circle in the Square

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 Post subject: Re: Top vs Spiro - 100 Album Challenge
PostPosted: April 30th, 2017, 6:28 pm 
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Day 90
Flea's Helen Burns and Flobots The Circle in the Square
Circle Gets the Square: A Hollywood Squares Story

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 Post subject: Re: Top vs Spiro - 100 Album Challenge
PostPosted: April 30th, 2017, 8:04 pm 
(soothzayer)
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:P Moving across the country and then 1st week of work was crazy, Jaron. Back to a normal schedule now. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Top vs Spiro - 100 Album Challenge
PostPosted: May 2nd, 2017, 12:37 pm 
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Day 90
Flea – Helen Burns


The bass player from RHCP? Some sort of funk then?

Pros:
- “333” completely caught me off guard, I was kind of flabbergasted the whole way through. “THIS is Flea?”
- “Pedestal of Infamy” is a neat psychedelic flute jam.
- “A Little Bit Of Sanity” centers around some sweet bass and keyboard arpeggios
- “333 Revisited” builds from a dramatic trumpet intro into downright electronica. The last few minutes get really eerie.
- “Lovelovelove” is kind of ambient for its first half before a choir (possibly of children?) comes in and a powerful drum beat carries the album out.

Cons:
- “Helen Burns” was kind of... normal considering what surrounds it. And yet it’s the title track... it wasn’t bad but it’s just a random piano ballad that doesn’t really go anywhere. Maybe I’m missing the point.
- Some of the ideas could have been more developed. I’m finding myself quite disappointed this is Flea’s only solo release.

Highlight: “333” had the element of surprise going for it, but it’s actually Fuzzy Bunny cool. The way it opens with an extended Crimson-esque bass and trumpet noodling section while a very quiet beat progressively accelerates, before giving away to a synth and... (what I think is guitar but could very well be like a distorted trumpet) freakout for the rest of the track. Cool outro too.

Okay WOW that was not at all what I was expecting and actually pretty good. I’m not even really sure how to classify this other than ‘experimental’. Really cool.

Overall Score: 7.5/10

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 Post subject: Re: Top vs Spiro - 100 Album Challenge
PostPosted: May 2nd, 2017, 9:05 pm 
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Day 90
Flobots' - The Circle In the Square


I've heard these dude's music at some point. I don't remember when or why...

Pros:
- Assuming there is a black vocalist and a white vocalist (and I'll refer to them as such henceforth), the black dude had a decent flow.
- The music was dece...in a hippie jam band turned hip hop sort of way.

Cons:
- Leftist whining throughout. All complaints... No solutions, other than vague hooks stating "peace in the middle east". Really, really, really did not like what these dudes had to say.
- I really don't like white rappers, I think. Eminem is great, but other than that, they usually annoy me. The White dude sounded like a less whiny Fred Durst.
- Eventually the music became pretty bland. Nothing I hadn't heard from the hippie jam band bar scene back in the day. There was lots of copy cat-raquel stuff. Stuff that reminded me of 311, Bob Marley, Limp Bizkit, Local H, Saul Williams and such.

Overall Score: 3/10

The lyrical content is the most useless guttertripe I have ever heard. These dudes think they are so enlightened and cool. Unfortunately for them, those can't co-exist....

Coming up next...
Day 91
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross' The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Soundtrack From the Motion Picture) and Nine Inch Nails' The Downward Spiral

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 Post subject: Re: Top vs Spiro - 100 Album Challenge
PostPosted: May 3rd, 2017, 5:03 am 
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Day 91
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross - The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Motion Picture Soundtrack)


I watched the film a couple weeks back in preparation for this. It was very good but I couldn't really focus on the soundtrack all that much due to the gripping visuals and story. I do remember a masterful use of tension.

Pros:
- Wonderfully subtle and creepy with gradual builds into nightmarish NIN-style freakouts. Listening to this in one sitting is like a recurring nightmare with no end in sight.
- The ambient parts are a bonechilling night, filled with pianos and melodic percussion.
- The dramatic parts are synth porn with terrifying industrial beats.
- Supports the film extremely well and subtly.

Cons:
- My absolute biggest gripe with this is I don't really think it was worth listening to it on its own without the movie. It's very good, there's no denying that, but it was composed to support the movie and does it so subtly that you almost don't even notice it for most of the runtime. I guess I'm saying I would rather re-watch the movie than ever listen to this on its own.
- With the above in mind, the length is absolutely paralyzing. Putting this soundtrack on is a COMMITMENT. Eventually it wears thin, not from a lack of quality, but from overexposure. The build from tension into terror is way less effective when I've already experienced it ten times over the past couple hours.

Highlight: Difficult to pick a highlight since I (understandably) only gave this a once-thru. "Oraculum" was a track that stuck out though, the repeating frantic percussion, piano, violin.... I was on edge for the whole length.

I'm rating this only on its own merits, without regard for how it supports the movie.

The ultimate prognosis is good; but I'd rather just watch the movie.

Overall Score: 6/10

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 Post subject: Re: Top vs Spiro - 100 Album Challenge
PostPosted: May 7th, 2017, 5:44 pm 
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Day 91
Nine Inch Nails' - The Downward Spiral


Second fav NIN album. Second to The Fragile.

Pros:
- This album has the aggressiveness of Broken toward the beginning, but later on foreshadows the intricate layering of future work.
- This is what I consider Trent's most industrial work.
- Favs are "March of the Pigs" (so aggressive), "Ruiner" has that fantastically distorted guitar solo, "A Warm Place" foreshadows the beautiful composition of TF (and is the perfect lead in to my fav track). "The Downward Spiral" is a great 180 halfway through type of track. The singles are classics and great, too.
- Trent has a way with writing such simple lyrics.

Cons:
- Not a fan of "Heresy". Wasn't ever, really. The tongue-in-cheek delivery doesn't really soften the blow of the lyrics.


Highlight: "Eraser" continues to be my favorite NIN track to this day. It is sooooo industrial, yet so palatable. It is so atmospheric, but the drums keep it tangible. It's so simple in lyrics and format but so deep and layered, too. This is, in my ears, a perfect song.

Overall Score: 8.5/10

Trent is genius status, and this album is proof.

Coming up next...
Day 92
Periphery's Periphery (Instrumental) and Weezer's Weezer (Blue)

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 Post subject: Re: Top vs Spiro - 100 Album Challenge
PostPosted: May 10th, 2017, 9:41 pm 
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Day 92
Periphery – Periphery (Instrumental)


Okay this cover SCREAMS progressive metal.

Pros:
- It’s like a Dream Theater solo that goes on for the entire album.
- Impressive technical skill on display.
- Some cool IDM-influenced moments like the track “Jetpacks Was Yes”
- Ambient moments to give a breather from the heavier and more technical stuff.

Cons:
- It’s like a Dream Theater solo that goes on for the entire album.
- Sometimes the uh.... djenting got a little headache inducing, like on “Letter Experiment”
- At some point it stops being impressive and just becomes monotonous. Listening to this gradually became a chore across the runtime.

Highlight: “Jetpacks Was Yes”

This feels like music made for the people who play this type of music.

Overall Score: 4.5/10

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