Thursday, May 29, 2003

Album Recommendation of the Week:

The Cardigans

If Led Zeppelin had written "Rock And Roll" today, the lyrics would have probably been "it actually hasn't been such a long time since I rocked and rolled..." Because really, with the recent influx of garage rock bands, we are pretty much always rocking. We are living in the State of Rock and we do not have the cash to pay the toll and leave. And whether its on the radio, watching TV or just reading a "relevant" music magazine, the amps are annoyingly cranked to 11. In fact, I would even suggest if one really wanted to rock, he would have to turn it up to about 16 or at least, 14. Turning it up to only11 is so last year.
Therefore, because of my poor victimized and shell-shocked ears, I have found a great source of comfort in the new Cardigans album, LONG GONE BEFORE DAYLIGHT. It's the respite from the constant barrage of cannibalistic guitars who want to eat me whole and leave nothing over. The collection of 11 songs are peaceful, memorable, pretty and sexy. It is not deep or poetic but that doesn't detract from its value because after all, it's the beauty we're sometimes after. We don't need a deep conversation, we just want something stunning to look at. In other words, the album is Swedish.
From the heartbreaking opener, "Communication" to the sunny-day real statement of "You Live And Learn," this is what the critics call "a mature masterpiece." Lead singer, Nina Perrson has almost definitively the best voice in music, aside, of course, from Xtinna...wait, was I thinking about voices or was it butts? And unlike Ms. Aguilera, the Cardigans have not dyed their hair freakish colors and will not be in a video co-starring a swarm of moths anytime soon.
Instead, they will give us an album that feels like randomly running into an old high school friend we were quite fond of but just lost touch with and hadn't seen in a long time. We're so happy the chance meeting happened that we walk away from the encounter with a glowing positive feeling. Then we call our mom to tell her about it.
So, if you're feeling a bit too rawked out these days, much like I am, here is your understated beauty. Here is what Robert Plant could never pull off. Because it's intentionally soft and delicate, not bombastic and in-your-face (or for that matter, involving any sort of caterwauling). Yes, it's been fairly recent since you rocked and rolled but hasn't it been a long time since you were gently cradled?


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