The Mountain Goats' All Hail West Texas fulfills this mantra with emphatic honesty. Lyrics craftily engineered by front man John Darnielle encompass the emotions, lifestyles and ever-present sentiment of nothingness that permeates the warm, empty expanse of otherworldliness that is West Texas. While this concept album follows the lives of West Texas residents, it never reveals the absolute truth behind their stories, leaving a Brewster County-sized gap for the listener to reflect on.
Released in early 2001, All Hail West Texas was the last lo-fi album recorded on Darnielle's legendary Panasonic RX-FT500 boombox. For those unfamiliar with The Mountain Goats' work, Darnielle literally huddles around a boombox and records albums such as All Hails West Texas and The Hound Chronicles in real time.
All Hail West Texas is best defined as a loose concept album. While the cover of the album states "fourteen songs about seven people, two houses, a motorcycle, and a locked treatment facility for adolescent boys." a true dialectical pathway is difficult to identify and follow.
Beside the West Texas geographical setting, the album also touches on the realities of life commonly found among West Texas residents, including depression, alcohol dependency and hopelessness. "Fault Lines" exposes the superficial existence of the young couple that seem to be the lead characters of the album as they find themselves with "the house, the jewels, the italian race car/but they don't make us feel better about who we are."
A key theme of All Hail West Texas is the quasi-freedom of youthful rebellion. William Stanaforth Donahue discovers the monetary allure of dealing drugs after his former glory as a football star is squashed after his knee buckles during an out of town game, only to end up facing federal drug charges. Jenny and her lover roar throughout lonely West Texas highways when she "points her head lamp towards the horizon/we were the one thing in the galaxy god didn't have his eye on" however they fail to find purpose in life and in each other, and slowly fall out of love. Jeff and Cyrus manifest ambitions of becoming the next stars of metal, using satanism and shock value as a springboard, only to have their dreams stifled by teachers and administrators from a school where they told Cyrus "he'd never be famous." The corrosive emptiness of the West Texas environment only packs on to the feelings of despair the characters in All Hail West Texas feel as they struggle with the harshness of life.
The lo-fi acoustics of All Hail West Texas is a perfect medium for the hopeless desolation present in Darnielle's lyrics. The soft treble and whispery static feedback makes the album feel like it is being transmitted through a distant FM radio station, perhaps the meaning behind the track titled "Distant Stations." The acoustics perfectly fit the lyrics, which perfectly fit the music, which perfectly fits the concept. All Hail West Texas strikes a chord with a sublime majesty that tumbles through crisp summer winds outside of Stockdale, Texas and creeps up to the New Mexican border, culminating in a big, orange sun that lights up magnificent silhouettes and brings night time to Texas.
"The Mess Inside"
"Chillin", the first single from the album, has already seen considerable play time on pop radio stations, a sure-fire byproduct of having the ever-controversial Lady Gaga on background vocals. Sampling "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" by Steam, Cool & Dre cooked up a catchy beat that fits the dynamic of Wale's flow and Lady Gaga's serene voice.
Wale is at his best on the most up-tempo songs on Attention Deficit. His go-go roots and subtle South African accent lend themselves to crafting a nifty hook on tracks like "TV on the Radio" and "Mirrors." While most artists use tiring gimmicks to make their music catchy, Wale's songs never come off as manufactured or soulless.
As a self-professed J. Cole fan, it comes as no surprise that "Beautiful Bliss" has quickly become my favorite track on Attention Deficit. According to his Twitter account, Wale wrote the song on the DC metro after he signed the mortgage to buy his first house. Composed around the uplifting vocals of Melanie Fiona, "Beautiful Bliss" radiates both Wale and J.Cole's passion for hip hop and personal expression. These two, along with former Degrassi star Drake, have been heralded as the "future of hip hop" for some time now, and this track may make many skeptics believers. J. Cole's verse is one of the best of 2009 as he ferociously spits "kick back and watch the sun set/kick back and know your son set/forever I ain't run yet/and never will/Nas told me life's a bitch/Pac told me fuck the world/And I ain't cum yet/You up yet?/My punchlines like gut-checks/I'm raw dog/I'm rough sex/I'm on deck/I'm up next/I'm God-blessed/I'm success/so fuck stress/You can get the fuck from round me/And if you're listening I know you're wondering where the fuck they found me/I'm from the Ville boy"
While the album does contain an endearing catchiness, there are several underwhelming songs on Attention Deficit. "Prescription" is an inherently boring listen, saved only by a Common-esque spoken word performance at the end of the track. "Shades" lacks the cunning play on words usually present in Wale tracks, consequently losing quite a bit of charm in the process. When I first found out Wale's first break out hit, "W.A.L.E.D.A.N.C.E." was not going to be included on Attention Deficit I wasn't too upset, however since several of the songs on the album are relatively disappointing, it's a shame that Wale's most recognizable song is missing on the track list.
Overall, Attention Deficit is a unique, creative expression of self and society, firmly influenced by the artist's roots. I'm personally looking forward to a prolific Wale career. Wale is currently on tour with Jay-Z, N.E.R.D., and J.Cole.
Review Score: 7.1/10
"Mirrors ft. Bun B"
I should stop pointing fingers; reserve my judgment of all those public action figures, the cowboy presidents. So loud behind the bullhorn so proud they can't admit when they've made a mistake. While poison ink spews from a speechwriter's pen, he knows he don't have to say it, so it, it don't bother him. "Honesty" "Accuracy" is just "Popular Opinion." And the approval rating is high, and so someone's gonna die. Well, ABC, NBC, CBS: Bullshit. They give us fact or fiction? I guess an even split. And each new act of war is tonight's entertainment. We're still the pawns in their game. As they take eye for an eye until no one can see, we must stumble blindly forward, repeating history. Well, I guess we all fit into your slogan on that fast food marquee: Red blooded, White skinned oh and the Blues.
"Lover I Don't Have to Love"
Cities soaring success can be contributed to its sparkling polish. Every note on the album was careful recorded, and producer Aaron Sprinkle did an excellent job molding Anberlin's sound to lead singer Stephen Christian's progressively introspective lyrics. In comparison to the band's sophomore release, Never Take Friendship Personal, the sound on Cities is bigger, distinct, and more full. Drummer Nathan Young provides strong, driving beats that allow the songs on Cities to retain the catchiness of Anberlin's previous releases, while abandoning the light hearted pop style of BPFTBM and NTFP.
Highlights from Cities include the anthem-esque "Godspeed." Led by blazing guitar riffs, Christian's vocal performance is top-notch as he hauntingly whispers "they lied when they said that the good die young" in the bridge between choruses.
Cities is an album that should not be praised for its vision or creativity, but rather for the pure excellence of its recording. Every track is distinct and powerful, wrapped in a neat package that pays perfect tribute to Anberlin's strengths. Stephen Christian's lyrics and vocal performance on Cities are among the best of the decade in alternative rock.
One drawback to digital media is the decrease in audio quality. Modern recording studios compose tracks in huge, lossless files that are then burned to physical CDs. No drop in audio quality occurs in this process, however as soon as the CD is deposited into a computer to rip the music into .mp3 files there is a huge drop in quality as the analog data on the CD is converted to bytes of 1's and 0's. This drop is only amplified once the .mp3 files are dumped on to an iPod and listened to through low grade ear buds. This decrease in quality is hardly noticed by the average listener and definitely is not a drastic enough shortcoming to threaten digital music's throne in the industry.
As I stated on my first entry in this series on the decade in music, the music industry finds itself at a crossroad in 2009. Certainly digital media provides music consumers with many advantages, however the industry needs to solidify its stances. Should physical recordings be abandoned? Should the music industry continue its vicious crusade on piracy? Do record label CEOs even care to address these issues as they witness record profits? As the questions pile up, it is apparent that the next decade of music will be just as controversial as the last.
This decade has been a transitional period for music. Fueled by the advancement of technology and social networking, the inner workings of the music industry have been fundamentally shifted. New inventions like the 808 drum machine, auto tune vocal processing and computer-controlled synthesizers have musicians struggling to find a balance between the ease and financial advantage of composing their music electronically while juggling with the authenticity needed to keep artists' work justifiable in regards to artistic integrity. In the 70's Bob Dylan was ripped for moving from acoustic to electronic guitar. This decade saw similar controversies arise in countless scenarios such as hip hop artist experimenting with "techno" beats, automated drum machines in recording studios, and exponentially active producers injecting layer upon layer of samplings into tracks.
Please note that the albums that I will be featuring in this series are NOT ranked in any way, shape or form. They all deserve equal respect in their own fashion due to their intrinsic quality and the impact they left on the music scene. These albums will NOT be graded on a scale.
Both a commercial and critical success, Dropout made Kanye West a house hold name, standing right alongside the heavy weights of the rap game such as Jay-Z, Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur. Most notably, Dropout solidified West's position as the most creative producer in hip hop, a consensus that began to form after his work on Jay-Z's The Blueprint album.
Dropout spawned many hits, including "Jesus Walks" (11 on U.S. Billboard) "All Falls Down" feat. Syleena Johnson (7 on U.S. Billboard) "Through the Wire" (15 on U.S. Billboard) and "Slow Jamz" feat. Twista, Jamie Foxx (1 on U.S. Billboard.)
College Dropout is a hip hop classic not because of the hit singles it contains, but rather the pure quality of the album. Well produced, well written, and well marketed, Kanye West single handedly took on the hip hop industry with his first release and consequently altered the previously accepted notions of a genre that was slipping into stagnation.
"Napalm & Nitrogen" runs at 31 minutes, with 11 songs about an aging punk rocker bitching and whining about how the world has left him behind. Attica! Attica! consist of Aaron Scott (formerly of De La Hoya and Marathon) and a couple of washed up punk rockers he could scrounge up to accompany him on tour for a week or two.
Aaron's songs are very catchy and sing along friendly, however the lyrics are elementary and off putting. Countless music aficionados accuse younger folk song writers like Conor Oberst of being "too whiney, bordering on emo," but when an older guy like Aaron relates the popularity of the President among songwriters to "the death of art" without being scolded forces me to raise the hypocrisy card.
Without exaggerating, every single track on "Napalm & Nitrogen" somehow relates to Aaron's depression, loneliness, or angst for happy teenagers. It's repetitive, annoying, and overall frustrating.
Don’t bother with TV
The networks never show the Broncos, it’s regional coverage
They do it to spite me
Why go out to the street? I hate the neighbors
How am I supposed to act like Elway if they won’t let me play QB
Review Score: 5.1/10
Download "Napalm & Nitrogen" here- http://atticaattica.org/download/
That being said, I am extremely impressed with The xx. This quartet of 20 year old Brits' debut album, xx, is reminiscent of Depeche Mode in their prime, harrowing back to the fledgling synth-pop scene of the 80's. The music is very low key; xx is a perfect album to throw on the iPod for late night writing sessions or some sensual love making. The album's composition is very smooth and settling, a dire contrast to the displacing "noise" movement that is currently sweeping indie pop with reckless abandon.
Co-vocalists Oliver Sim and Romy Madley lead the band with their harmonic, healing voices, elevating the music to a near supernatural aura. Since the band's emphasis is definitely focused on the vocals, the slow paced electronic beats on xx could not be more appropriate.
xx has been received phenomenally well by music critics world wide since its August 17th release on Turk Records (October 20th in the states). The xx is amassing hype like the first snowball of winter, and have begin planning their first North America tour, which will assuredly feature performances on late night television shows. xx is a great album, from a young band with no where to go but up. There is a lot of opportunity to burst to stardom in indie pop, and I believe The xx will ride the coat tails of electro-centric bands like She Wants Revenge and The Postal Service to mainstream success.
Review score: 7.8 out of 10
Here's the music video for "Crystalised."
Why?- "The Vowels Pt. 2"
This experimental hip-hop is disturbing, nasty, dark, catchy and oh-so-good. Check it out.
Dear and the Headlights- "Bad News"
Vampire Weekend- "Horchata"
From their upcoming release, "Contra," this single displays Vampire Weekend's growth. I am personally hyped for "Contra" and I was NOT a fan of their first album.
Sleepercar- "West Texas"
Sleepercar is Jim Ward's alt-country experiment band. "West Texas" captured the atmosphere of the region Ward grew up in, which is something I love seeing from artists. I've been listening to this song this week, trying to lull myself to sleep.
Wale- "Chillin' ft. Lady Gaga"
Wale and Lady Gage. Does it get better? I think not.
Frank Turner- "I Knew Prufrock Before He Got Famous"
One of my favorite British song writers.
Anyone sitting on a multi-million dollar record deal and still taking college classes garners my respect. Mike Posner is an emerging songwriter and hip hop artist from Michigan. A born musician, Posner was primed for success at a young age. Despite signing to J Records (Mario, Jamie Foxx, Pitbull) in August, Mike chose to enroll at Duke University for his final senior semester to receive his bachelors degree in both business as well as sociology.
This March, Posner released his first mixtape, "A Matter of Time" receiving widespread acclaim throughout underground hip hop circles. Another excellent production from Don Cannon and DJ Benzi, "A Matter of Time" has been a huge success for Posner. Evident of his widespread appeal, the mixtape soared to the #1 spot on iTunesU free download section.
Posner's music can be described as hip pop: vocal-centric, radio friendly, and appealing to a wide range of demographics. Posner's talent is lucidly apparent on "A Matter of Time." To get an idea of how skilled Posener is, "Still Not Over You feat. Eric Holljes" samples The Fray's hit "Over My Head". Mike sings verses that are, for a lack of a better explanation, not quite hip hop, and not quite pop. Other songs on the mixtape include "Drug Dealer Girl" and sleeper-hit "Smoke & Drive feat. Big Sean."
To wrap things up, Mike Posner is a name music fans need to familiarize with. It won't be long until Posner begins to dominate the air waves, in fact, it's only a matter of time.
Click Here to Download "A Matter of Time"
Can anyone think of a band that fulfills their name as well as fun. does? This electric trio makes indie pop music with one goal in mind: Have fun! Led by Nate Ruess, formerly of The Format, fun. released their debut album named "Aim and Ignite" on August 25, 2009. This album is a real charmer. While fairly light in content, "Aim and Ignite" is capable of lifting spirits and putting a smile on faces.
fun. is an extremely unique, yet talented group. Musical comparisons can span from 70's pop to swing to Weezer, proving the band with an extremely specified sound. What differentiates fun. from other indie pop bands (Miniature Tigers, Phoenix) is their sheer instrumental skill.Their music is outstandingly well composed and feels fresh, innovative and inspired. It would be negligent to not praise Ruess' vocal performance on the album. While his voice is notably high, he possesses astonishing range which lends itself well to his soulful presentation.
Although "Aim and Ignite" is a very exciting release, it is not without flaws. While the musical composition is superb, the album's production fails to provide the instrumentation with its proper due, instead focusing on Ruess' similarly impressive vocal performance. The only problem with this seemingly permissible flaw is that it is fun.'s music that provides it flair and style, not Ruess' singing.
While every track on the album is worth a listen, "Aim and Ignite" feels more like a glorified EP than a truly fleshed out album.
Review Score: 6.5 out of 10
It is my pleasure to introduce you to Joe Pug. Joe is a man as weathered as his raspy voice, with lyrics that shine a beacon of enlightenment, emancipating human emotions from the souls of both artist and audience.
Pug was born in North Carolina, where we would attend the University of North Carolina while working on a stage production dubbed "Austin Fish." Upon the advent of his senior year, Joe decided he was desperately unhappy in North Carolina and abruptly moved to Chicago. Perhaps seeking purpose, Pug began to play guitar again, a hobby he had not practiced in years.
As Pug's interest in producing his play dampened, he began to construct songs around the play's content. What little cash Joe had at the time went towards impromptu studio sessions. Pug's simplistic approach allowed him to complete a seven song EP in just a few weeks.
Featuring little more than an acoustic guitar, harmonica, and Pug himself, Nation of Heat seems nearly counterculture in an era that embraces complicated production and high tech audio engineering. This promising release has already caught the ear of music critics across the country, paving the way for Pug to perform at numerous music festivals including Lollapalooza, South by Southwest and Bonnaroo.
The universal appeal of Joe Pug derives from his simplicity, honesty, and the brutality of his disturbingly truthful lyrics. Nation of Heat represents a strong leap backwards. Pug courageously steps away from modern music and echoes the style of Bob Dylan while incorporating themes and motifs exclusive to the 21st century. While Pug's music may echo the past, his lyrics are ahead of their time.
Joe Pug's Website
Excellent fan-produced music video for Nation of Heat
Last week I was convinced that hip hop needed a drastic revamp. Some emcee needed to come along with something new. Hip hop fans worldwide were desperate for a colossal breath of fresh air.
September 15th changed the face of hip hop indefinitely. Rather than basking in the quick “ringtone cash” that artists such as Soulja Boy are reveling in, a young man named Scott Mescudi from Cleveland, Ohio choose another route. Better known by his stage name, Kid CuDi, Mescudi took a genre void of originality and turned it upon its head.
Kid CuDi’s debut album, “Man on the Moon: The End of Days” is a riveting, refreshing release from an artist burdened with ceiling high expectations. The brilliance of MOTM is very easy to explain. While most emcees are more than comfortable with employing producers that spit out cliché boom bap beats (Yes Timbaland, I’m looking at you) Kid CuDi challenges himself to mold his lyrics and flow to excellent beats, rather than forcing generic beats to compliment his vocal performance. Featuring a symphonic sound, CuDi’s songs float and glide through 58 minutes and 31 seconds of raw emotion.
The structure of the album is simply genius. While many artists narrate their albums, very few rappers have the confidence to allow the narration to encompass the album, much less direct the album’s very existence and direction. Kid CuDi could not have chosen a better narrator. Common, with a voice ripe with intelligence and wisdom, speaks to the audience about Scott Mescudi’s life perils, pains and pleasures through five theatrical acts containing a total of 15 scenes.
Act I: “The End of Day” details CuDi’s maturation and abandonment of childhood. “In My Dreams (Cudder Anthem)” is one of the more mellow tracks on the album in which Mescudi seems to enter one of his many dream like states. As the track ends and the beat fades into the ether, Common begins his first narration, an extremely epic one at that.
“Long before we know ourselves, our paths are already set in stone. Some may never figure out their purpose in life, and some will. There are a lot of us who are caught up in this hell we all live in, Contempt with being blinded by rules and judgment. We live in a world where it’s more okay to follow than to lead, in this world being a leader is trouble for the system we are all accustomed to, being a leader in this day and age is being a threat. Not many people stood up against the system we all call life, but towards the end of our first ten years into the millennium, We heard a voice, a voice who was speaking to us from the underground for some time, a voice who spoke of vulnerabilities and other human emotions and issues never before heard so vividly and honest. This is the story of a young man who not only believed in himself but his dreams too. This is the story of the man on the moon.”
This harrowing epilogue sets the tone for the duration of the album; a young man fighting against every sentiment that fame, pressure and drugs can implant in a man’s mind. The next song in Act I, “Soundtrack to my Life” tells the story of Mescudi’s adolescence, namely hopping in and out of poverty, his father passing away at a young age, and failing to instill connections with women. One of the top songs on the album, “Soundtrack to My Life” highlights CuDi’s ability to weave simple lyrics with complex emotions. The final song in Act I is “Simple As”. Produced by Plain Pat, CuDi spits his monotone flow over a sampling that belongs in a children’s book, not a rap track. The irony is outstanding, as the production on this song is extremely advanced, yet samples an elementary recitation to spawn an insanely catchy beat. The end of the song dawns the advent of Act II: “The Rise of the Night Terrors”.
Act II signifies Mescudi’s entrance into a new life of responsibility. Unable to cope with his faults and fallacies, CuDi delves into a world of depression and anguish. “Solo Dolo (Nightmare)” is, honestly, a painful song to listen to. CuDi’s lyrics raise questions that demand introspection from his listeners. Second in Act II is “Heart of a Lion (Kid CuDi Theme Music)” I have no doubt that this song will be used by the NFL or NBA in an advertisement series due to its high tempo and lifting lyrics- “at the end of the day I’m walking with the heart of a lion.” The final song of Act II adopts the same style of “In My Dreams.” Billy Cravens provides the bridge on the track with his chilling echo of “I told you so, this will be my world.”
As Mescudi leaves listeners feel cold and abandoned, Act II suddenly melts into Act III as “Day and Night” begins to hypnotize with his whirling beat. Act III is entitled “Taking a Trip” and revolves around Mescudi’s attempt to combat his sorrows and insecurities through drug use. There is no need for me to discuss Day and Night, as it has been whored over the air waves for half a year now, and remixed by every wannabe rapper on Myspace, which speaks volumes to CuDi’s weight in the rap game. The next scene in Act III is “Sky Might Fall”, produced by Kanye West. Of all the tracks on the album that address profound feelings, I believe “Sky Might Fall” surpasses them all. Mescudi’s desolation is apparent and West’s production couldn’t have fit the mood of the album any better. Following “Sky Might Fall” is “Enter Galactic (Love Connection Pt 1)”. With its spastic beat and flirtatious lyrics, “Enter Galactic” should be a hit in the clubs.
Act IV: “Stuck” finds CuDi at a particular time in his growth. After inhabitating his new substance supported home, Mescudi finds himself simply “Alive”, the first track of Act IV. Subtitled “Nightmare”, CuDi’s life is improving, yet he still feels trapped by his work and struggle. CuDi’s lyrics tell of his lonely travels into the night, alone in the city and intoxicated. This is the only time he experiences the feelings of happiness and self acceptance that have hid from him his entire life. Following Mescudi’s discovery of these foreign sentiments, he engages in a crusade to stay in his “CuDi Zone”. In this new state Scott worships his new mental phase in which he soars through life, high not only on drugs but also intoxicated by his own positive feelings. Third in Act IV is “Make Her Say”, featuring Kanye West and Common. Produced by West, “Make Her Say” samples Lady Gaga’s hit single “Poker Face”. Integrated with old school scratching and catchy “oh’s” from the Gaga sample, this track’s beat is one of the best of the year. Furthermore, Kanye’s verse is simply outstanding. Flush with sexual innuendos, West somehow managed to use sexual jokes to display his striking intelligence. The final song in Act IV is the album’s next inherent hit, “Pursuit of Happiness”. Accompanying Kid CuDi on this track is RATATAT and indie rock superstars MGMT. Glazed over with harmonious electric guitar riffs and reverberating bells, “Pursuit of Happiness” achieves an otherworldly aura of bliss. I admittedly get goose bumps when MGMT and CuDi sing in harmony “everything that shines ain’t always gonna be gold. I’ll be fine when I get it, yeah, I’ll be good”. “Pursuit of Happiness” is the most ambitious song on the album, most definitely a lofty statement. Collaborating with an indie rock group is simply unheard of for a rap artist, yet Kid CuDi took a chance and produced what may be the top single of 2009. This success will lead other hip hop artists to experiment with cross genre projects without fearing mainstream rejection.
The final act of the album, Act V:"A New Beginning” embarks with “Hyyerr” an extremely slow paced bone thug-esque blazing anthem. “Hyyerr” does not gel with the rest of the album in the least bit. I would have much preferred Mescudi chose one of his songs from the mix tape “A Kid Named CuDi” to fill this spot in the track list, perhaps “Man on the Moon” or “Down and Out”. Rounding out the album is “Up Up and Away (The Wake and Bake Song)”. Following sharply in the artistic direction of “Pursuit of Happiness”, “Up Up and Away” is a breezy song that provides the album with the same sense of completion that Mescudi must have felt once he completed writing “The Man on the Moon”. CuDi’s lyrics hit his newfound carefree attitude spot on with the line “I be up up and away, up up and away, cuz they gonna judge me anyway, so whatever”. As the lifting buzz of the song dims, Common returns once again with a soliloquy to valiantly end the theatrical performance, as well as the album.
The impact of this mutinous release on the rap game remains to be seen. Whether or not Kid CuDi managed to alter the way hip hop artists operate in the next millennium will not be realized for months, however; when one looks at the risks Kid CuDi took in creating this album, one cannot help but hope he has challenged fellow artists to reexamine the music that they are making and what the definition of “hip hop” is in the year 2009.
Review score: 10 out of 10
Just in case you missed the memo, Manchester Orchestra front man Andy Hull is the most promising artist in indie rock today. Mean Everything to Nothing is a powerful, moving follow up to Manchester Orchestra's rookie release, I'm Like a Virgin Losing a Child. Featuring 11 tracks, this LP ranges from poppy, feel-good rock to harrowing acoustic tales of lost love and jaded soul searching.
Hate country music? Yeah me too. But don’t write the genre off just yet. The past month I have been habitually listening to this jewel of an album from Justin Townes Earle, son of the notorious musician and political activist Steve Townes Earle. Justin shuns the Happy Meal daddy time, rhinestone cowboy dress up, CMT bullshit that has polluted the country genre that Johnny Cash refined. Townes packs his songs with folk twang rhythms and honest-to-God lyrics that seem priceless in the 21st century. After hearing “Someday I’ll Be Forgiven for This” (and giving myself a few minutes to bawl) for the first time, I bought the CD. Townes Earle’s lyrics pack an emotional punch that will choke you up. There isn’t much I can do to sell this album to you other than ensure you that this is real, legit, grown man country music. Check out the title track, “Midnight at the Movies” as well as “Mama’s Eyes” if you don’t believe me.`
Review Score: 9 out of 10
What the hell happened here?
Released on February 17th, 2009, "It's Great to Be Alive" has already solidified it's spot as one of the top indie rock Cd's of the year. This organically beautiful album is the sophomore release of Naples, FL based Fake Problems. The follow up to the critically acclaimed "How Far Our Bodies Go", ITGTBA is a representation of the band's maturation. With a new found, subtle edge, Chris Farren now tackles issues such as frilly materialism in women, spirituality struggles, abusive relationships, and the human race's condition of inflated ego - "pretend your something more than you, but your not."