Havoc & Bright Lights
For some reason 2012 has become the year of the powerful female singer-songwriter releasing an album after a long hiatus (Fiona Apple, Cat Power, Sinead O’Connor) or trying to come back from a disappointing effort (Regina Spektor, Norah Jones). Alanis Morissette is trying to capitalize on this trend with her first album in five years, Havoc and Bright Lights, and I fully expect Natalie Merchant and Sarah McLachlan to pile on as well. In all seriousness, I haven’t listened to an Alanis record since Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie (her sophomore album), and was shocked to learn she has released three albums in the interim between Junkie and Havoc. Alanis recent work has literally been more of a part of my consciousness through her appearance on a couple of seasons of Weeds, than she has been through me listening to any of her recent music.
This is strange, because I’m not sure Alanis ever did anything to lose me as a fan. I still revisit Jagged Little Pill, and the magnificent “Uninvited” quite often. I think more than anything, her past three albums have not gotten any singles press, and she just kind of faded out of my view. That is all about to change, and I am going to lift my blinders to Alanis Morissette for better or for worse.
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The Idler Wheel…
Some people just have a knack for things. For New York alt-songstress Fiona Apple, it’s a flair for provocative music videos (see “Criminal” and the new “Every Single Night”), exhaustively long album titles (with her latest ‘The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do’ only being the second longest album title of her four album career with the longest being 1999’s ‘When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts He Thinks Like a King What He Knows Throws the Blows When He Goes to the Fight and He’ll Win the Whole Thing ‘Fore He Enters the Ring There’s No Body to Batter When Your Mind Is Your Might So When You Go Solo, You Hold Your Own Hand and Remember That Depth Is the Greatest of Heights and If You Know Where You Stand, Then You Know Where to Land and If You Fall It Won’t Matter, Cuz You’ll Know That You’re Right’), and above all else, brilliant pop records once a blue moon – only four albums in a 16 year career. The latest and her best to date is The Idler Wheel…, which is Apple’s first from a seven-year hiatus, and finds Apple only ripening with age, savoring up seven years of love, bitterness, and melodies for one of the best albums of 2012.
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What We Saw From the Cheap Seats
I don’t know if female singer-songwriter is really a particular genre of music because female singer-songwriters can span many genres. Either way, I really have a thing for female singer-songwriters. A few, like Cat Power, Joanna Newsom, Fiona Apple, and Jenny Lewis have never done anything to substantially turn me off throughout their careers. Regina Spektor, on the other hand, released Far as her follow-up to the wonderful 2006’s Begin to Hope. Far managed to temper a lot of the anticipation I may have had for her fourth major release, What We Saw From the Cheap Seats.
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I admittedly didn’t give Chairlift much of a fair shake upon their initial breakthrough from what’s becoming a more and more ordinary form of breaking out, being featured on a commercial. Not just any ordinary commercial, but the Colorado electro-pop duo’s “Bruises” was featured on the much envied Apple commercial, which has helped break open such bands as Feist, Jet, Grouplove, CSS, and more. I had heard Chairlift’s debut album, Does You Inspire You, once upon its release and admittedly brushed it off as standard cutesy girl-pop in the realm of Ingrid Michaelson and Regina Spektor.
Continue reading “Chairlift Review: Something”