March Music Challenge 2020

Week 9 – Milky Chance – Sadnecessary

Why do we demonize one-hit wonders? I am not sure I do, but it seemed to be a common sentiment with some people I knew. We do this across the board (I knew I have done this with some movie directors, for instance), but it is making less and less sense to me.

I listened to this album on the strength of only one song, Stolen Dance. I was working at a shitty pizza place when I heard that song, and I thought it was fantastic. So did all of my coworkers, but none of them seemed to be in a rush out and see what the hell else these guys were doing. That song was good enough.

I, on the other hand, was curious. And yet, I never got around to it till now. Getting me to sit down and listen to music is hard.

But I am reasonably happy that I did. I liked this album. I liked it enough that I have moved Milky Chance out of the ‘one hit wonder’ category. I found myself wanting to hear songs that I had never heard before. Maybe now they are a three hit wonder. Still, better than nothing.

Still, the ultimate question is always whether or not I will continue to listen to this going on into the future. I have no idea if I will. I think I will still be listening to those few songs I know I like though.


Week 10 – Massive Attack – Protection

Back in high school I had an English teacher who did not give the first singular fuck about anything. Don’t get me wrong, he wasn’t a bad teacher, and as a matter of fact he is about one of two or three high school teachers I actually remember now, but he wasn’t playing by the regular high school teacher play book. He was a recent grad school grad, and likely just doing the high school thing till he got a job he really wanted. He made fun of students (but judiciously enough that he wouldn’t get in trouble for it), he had a ‘if you fail, you fail’ attitude towards his class, and he clearly played favorites. If anyone was actually doing something to gear us up towards real life, it was this man. For some god damned reason, he seemed to really like me, despite my phoning it in constantly for his class. He couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t prep for the SAT’s, and when I ultimately came back with some middle of the road scores, he pointed to a student he disliked who came back with a similar score after months of prep and said “See, can’t you imagine what you would have gotten if you had prepared?”

I ran into him a handful of years after high school in a book store. He didn’t seem to care much. It was in keeping with his attitude, and I wasn’t all that let down. If he even recognized me, he didn’t let that on.

At some point in our leisurely course through the curriculum we ended up talking about music. I couldn’t tell you what I actually talked about at that point, but I was pretty heavy into stoner chick at that point. He looked at me at some point and said “You should really get into Trip-Hop. I think you would really dig it.”

Just after ‘not fucking ol’ what’s her name’, not heading this advice is pretty much my biggest regret from high school.

At some point I discovered Tricky, which in terms of music blew my mind. From there I got Massive Attack’s Mezzanine, which is a fantastic album. The key song on it is Risingson, which for me sounds like a horror movie in music form. Even sober, the song still gets to me. Massive Attack, going from that album alone, really manages to put that something into their music, where they are able to connote sentiments and emotions in a very indirect way. I have no idea how they pull it off.

And I have no idea why I didn’t really look beyond that album.

But here is the rub. Mezzanine is an exceptional album. It’s exceptionally good. It ticks off a lot of boxes for me. It seems to have a theme that is consistent throughout the whole album, most of the song are excellent (there’s one I don’t love, but wouldn’t change it if it came on). It is hard to compete with, and I will of course hold any Massive Attack album I listen to against it.

Tough road ahead, Protection.

Meh. It was ok.

I do feel like the songs on Protection are very good, but I just am not feeling the theme of this album. The cohesion I feel on Mezzanine just isn’t there, or at least not to the same extent. If I had to explain what trip-hop was to someone I doubt I could explain it very well. I am not sure what it is exactly, but from all of it that I have heard I think it definitely has a lot to do with a mood. It’s mood music. It puts you in a place. I can really feel the place Mezzanine takes you to. I can describe it to you. I am not sure exactly where Protection takes you to.  I think that is what makes the one better than the other.


Week 11 – Electric Light Orchestra – Light Years

I am reasonably sure that the first time I ever heard an Electric Light Orchestra song was in a porno. Not sure why I am admitting to that here. Years later at a job, a co-worker puts the same song on, and so I asked what it was called and who it was by (this was well before the shazam era). I thought it was a great song. After that, very gradually, I started to hear ELO nominated with increasing frequency, which was strange considering that it was a band that not only already had many years behind them, but was much older than me.

One description of ELO that I remember hearing is that they were attempting to be a continuation of the Beatles after they kicked off. That should do much to make skeptical, because I’ve never really enjoyed the Beatles all that much (although my appreciation for their later career is greater than that of the schlep they did in their early career).

But the recommendation for ELO got stronger and stronger, and ultimately I decided to see what they were about.

Maybe I have been influenced, but in some of the songs you really hear that late Beatles influence. Some songs sound like they are picking up right where Sgt. Pepper left off, and ELO isn’t really making any attempts at hiding it. Other songs seems to have their own thing going on.

But a lot of this just wasn’t for me. Again, it wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t something I could see myself getting behind. It may be a good album to keep on a hard drive somewhere, but I don’t see myself dusting it off too often.


Week 12 – The Eagles – Hotel California

The first time I ever heard of The Eagles was when they started their massive reunion tour, famously called ‘Hell freezes over’ because of the initial unlikelihood that they would ever do such a thing in light of the band’s internal animosity. I thought this was a pretty cute joke when I learned about it. But I remember being a kid when I heard about the reunion tour, and not really getting what the big deal was. The commercials I was seeing for the tour weren’t really speaking my language.

But as the years marched on more and more people mentioned the band, and it slowly started to dawn on me that whether I liked what I heard or not, this band apparently was a big fucking deal for a lot of people.

Well, no time to conform like the present!

…this, this really did nothing for me. Just not my type of music. Yup, not sure what the big deal is.


13 – The Knife – Silent Shout

I feel like having this on here was cheating. I already know I like The Knife. I like them a lot. But that really was going on the strength of one album. And after doing this music challenge thing as long as I have, I wanted a sure bet. This album had two songs I knew to be great, so I put it on the list.

It didn’t disappoint. But it wasn’t as fantastic as I hoped. This isn’t to say that I disliked it – in fact I think I enjoyed every song. But it didn’t get my enthusiasm going.

Still, I’m going to keep this one on my phone. The knife is just kind of my thing. Let’s see how frequently I play the whole album.

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