Music: Phoenix

3 07 2010

This post will feature a few reviews:

United (2000), Phoenix

In 2000, alt-rockers Phoenix *fully* entered the music scene with ‘United’. In comparison to their newer works, this album shows it’s, young, age – it’s genre is quite varied, reaching the indifferent alternative of the 90’s to the dance-jazz-disco feel of the 70’s. While United lacks a general consensus, it’s amorphous nature is what makes it a solid entry. If you’ve seen Lost in Translation or Shallow Hal, you’ve probably heard ‘Too Young’ – the most known (early) song by Phoenix. When I first heard this song, my foot started taping and my head bobbing… well, if I was in public it was probably internally. Too Young features a great hook of a bass-line and mild lyrics to get lost in the atmosphere of the track. Their second most noted song from this album is ‘If I Ever Feel Better’, which touts a similar dance-like feel that Too Young has. I only recently paid attention to the (wealth) of lyrics contained in this song and I was amazed that these guys packed as much… deliberation?… soul?… into the song. Another notable tune is ‘Funky Squaredance (Part 1/2/3) (Medley)’, which is not only an excellent title but an amusing take on funk – they also incorporate some auto-tuned-robotized vocals into it. Yes, it’s awesome.

For: Fans of electronic, dance, or alternative. Yeah, general things but this baby is like a pie chart of 90-00’s music.

Rating/Worth It: 9.0/10; The only reason it’s not worth (buying) a whole lot is due to the simple fact there are only 10 tracks. It’s well worth hearing at least once, though. [Amazon has it on sale!]

Alphabetical (2004), Phoenix

I’m going to come right out and say I’m most partial to this album. For whatever reason it was the first I found by Phoenix and I never did the digging into their past to enjoy United… at least until recently. Although their aren’t standout tracks, which I consider better than the rest of the album – Alphabetical is another awesome alt-elec-dance album. I think I love this album because most of the songs are quite similar, which is strikingly opposite of their previous album (and, coincidentally, a harbinger of things to come… but I’m getting ahead of myself). For that reason, I’m not going to in-depth about songs but rather the feeling of this album. It’s definitely got a ‘cruising’/’chilling’ vibe to it; there are a decent amount of slower paced tunes, but they still keep up a suave, cool feeling that you might feel in a trendy club. This album does tend to blend together, which is it’s major downfall. This is especially disorienting because when actively listening (you know, sitting down with the intent to listen the nuances of music rather than to just have a backing track) these tracks all feature quirky beats, interesting instrument usage, and a varied range of tempo, timbre, and general feel – while feeling connected at the same time.

For: Phoenix fans. Some might find the use of more dance/electronic bits more interesting in contrast to Phoenix’s other endeavors.

Rating/Worth It: 8.0/10; Unless you really dig these guys, you can probably miss this one. [Amazon has it as well, on some sorta sale…]

I’m skipping over It’s Never Been Like That (2006), because this post is long enough. Check out ‘Consolation Prizes’, which has been used for ads and has the energy and tone of early-Phoenix. [Amazon]

Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (2009), Phoenix

While WAP is considered Phoenix’s best album to date (Hell, it earned em’ a flippin’ Grammy.), it’s my least favorite by the band. I do love ‘1901’ and ‘Lisztomania’, but that’s about as far as my interest goes. I reach a certain point after those tracks (and “Love Like a Sunset Part I”) where I’ve heard these songs before. I often have to look at my mp3 player to check and make sure it’s not set on repeat (one track). Honestly, it’s a great album. Unless you’re actively listening in on things, they blend together fairly easily. This is a trend I’ve seen with Phoenix though, especially everything after United. My next step is listening to some of the remix tracks, which might alleviate some of my issues with this album.

For: Anyone who was alive in 2009.

Rating/Worth It: 8.0/10; Still a great album, not my cup of tea (I’ve bumped it up from what I’d call a 7.0). If you liked 1901, Lisztomania, or any commercials that used either of those, you’d enjoy the rest of the album. [Oh yeah, Amazon.]



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