Wednesday, May 14, 2003

- I imagine that the future will be different from the present.

- On the way into work today, I realized that Winona Ryder has got to be one shallow girl.

- Just a few moments ago, someone referred to me as "cocoa puffs." As in: what's up, cocoa puffs? Now, I am completely uncertain whether that nickname was meant as a compliment or not. Do I resemble a cocoa puff at all? Why not a Rice Krispie? I'm white, weak, but slightly crunchy.

The Postal Service
-Give Up-

I can't remember the last time I danced and cried at the same time. Not to say that that has actually ever happened or could ever happen--and have you seen me dance? But if there ever was an album that could put you in such a mood, it is the Postal Service's new album, Give Up.

The music produced on this record is being referred to as "emotronica," a combination of emo; the musical equivalent of the heart worn out on the sleeve of a tight thrift shop shirt, and electronica; music that tries to be more "sophisticated" than typical dance music. It's the sound of an ectasy-ridden CentroFly Saturday night after it went to Harvard.

What makes this collection of 11 songs so much more accomplished than most great records is that the Postal Service is a side project. This is what these guys do in their down-time. Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie (weird name, accessible songs) teamed up with ethereal laptop DJ, Jimmy Tomborello, to create products of poignancy, all made with the cold, emotionless instruments of technology.

The first single, the retro sounding song, "Such Great Heights" would have been the biggest hit had it still been 1986. The duet, "Nothing Better" with Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley, is the Human League's "Don't You Want Me" of our day. Song after song, the album has the consistent sound of nostalgia and futurism, living in tight harmony. And mind you, the nostalgia is neither ironic nor winking, it's real like braces in elementary school. Like Members Only wind breakers, when you didn't think it was cool to wear them. And the futuristic aspect never overwhelms or challenges. It's a promising future, where everyone flies, food comes in a pill; not like all the futures you saw in the Schwarzenegger movies.
Give Up is a seriously brilliant accomplishment. Pick it up. Put it on. And dance through the tears. Just like Molly Ringwald did.


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