Top critical review
Competent, neither good or bad, mellow soft rock that fails to excite
on 19 August 2013
This review comes from an internet game. You buy an album you've never heard of from a shop. Then you write your impression of it before and after listening to it for the first time.
---BEFORE LISTENING TO IT---
WHY DID YOU SELECT THIS ONE? I think this is the album that gets a big plug as life changing music in Zach Braff's Garden State (2004) film. Nothing particularly interests me about it. I just feel it should be a safe bet as a mildly enjoyable piece of mellow music. It's worth a listen if nothing else. Also it's on the Sub Pop label so that's a hint that it might have some sort of substance to it. Worst case: I know one or two people who would like it if the Garden State connection is accurate.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE COVER? It's some sort of outdoor grassy water park. The different pages of the booklet appear to have fancy cutaways, almost like in a child's pop-up book or something. It's okay. I can't get excited about it (that phrase will probably be used again and again in my review).
WHAT TYPE OF MUSIC ARE YOU REALISTICALLY EXPECTING? Mellow, mostly acoustic music with harmonised male vocals. Probably lots of lyrics about being love sick. Music to get into girls' underwear without being too obvious and aggressive about it.
BEST CASE SCENARIO IT WILL SOUND LIKE? Mellow but with some balls in order to give it some punch and impact.
WORST CASE SCENARIO IT WILL SOUND LIKE? Twee and lyrically unimaginative.
HIGH, LOW OR MIDDLING EXPECTATIONS? Fairly low.
---AFTER LISTENING TO IT---
WHAT DID IT SOUND LIKE? Fairly mellow soft rock by sensitive people for sensitive people. It's not too wishy-washy and hazy in sound or songwriting. The production is clean with good clarity so it's not a musical fog. There was some backing vocals (or is it double tracking?) but I wouldn't go as far as to describe them as harmonies.
DID YOU LIKE IT? Not really. I'm very indifferent towards it. It reminds me of my opinion of Lawrence of Arabia (1962). If someone wants to loudly proclaim it the greatest film ever made, then I'm not going to disagree. I can clearly see it's a great movie and I understand why people go nuts over it. It's just for me personally I can't get excited about it. I accept its considerable merits, but on a purely personal level I don't particularly care one way or the other.
This album is well enough crafted and competently done. The songs just aren't very interesting and the sound inspires nothing but a vague indifference in me. If someone wants to big it up then I wouldn't waste my time saying otherwise, but for me I'm not feeling anything for it. I see no reason to bother my iPod with it as I have no desire to hear it again (I've heard it one and half times). I might give it another once over and select four of the best tracks to make an EP out of it?
DID IT SATISFY, SURPASS OR FAIL YOUR EXPECTATIONS? Pretty much met them.
WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? So Says I (the most rockiest track), Pink Bullets and Turn a Square.
WHAT ARE THE WEAKEST SONGS? Nothing stood out as being outright bad.
WOULD YOU RECOMMEND IT TO OTHERS? Only if you really like this type of music. Otherwise there is nothing here for you.
PLEASE DESCRIBE AND SUM IT UP IN ONE SENTENCE. Competent, neither good or bad, mellow soft rock that fails to excite.
ANY OTHER COMMENTS? The film Garden State used music from their previous album.
The album is 33 minutes long.
---TWO MONTHS LATER---
HOW MANY TIMES DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE PLAYED IT? Probably only one a half times as an album and a few times on shuffle.
HAS THE ALBUM IMPROVED OR WORSENED WITH TIME? Stayed the same.
ANY PREVIOUSLY UNNOTICED SONGS NOW A NEW FAVOURITE? No.
ANY OTHER COMMENTS? I really don't care for it. Also the singer's voice is starting to grate on me. A lot of people seem to think it's the perfect low-key alternative pop album. I just don't think the songs are strong or the music that pretty. A few tracks are mildly tuneful, such as Turn a Square, but overall it does nothing for me. I think I'm going to reduce it to about three or four tracks next time I cut the bloat from my iPod.
NOTE 4/2/14: Today I deleted all of it from my iPod.