November Music Challenge 2020

Week 45 – The Coup – Sorry to bother you

If you’ve actually the previous posts in this series then there are two thing I should say up front. One, this is not a repeat. I had reviewed the album ‘Sorry to Bother you’ by The Coup and the tUnE-yArDs, which was the soundtrack to the movie. This is an album of the same name by the Coup.

Two,  I really laid it in to Rage Against the Machine not to long ago. I was likely a lot harsher than I needed to be, but I let a little of my annoyance take over me while I was writing this. Truth be told, I don’t dislike RATM  as much as I dislike how overly serious the fan base treats it. I can also say this about so many different fan bases.

That’s the advantage The Coup has. I don’t know any fans of The Coup, but I am sure they would be as rapidly sycophantic as an other fan base. I am sure if I met them, I wouldn’t like them. But in my ignorance, I can listen to this album without considering any of that. Lucky me.

And this album was also a lot better than the RATM one I listened to. So…. yeah.

Boots Riley for President, 20241

Week 46 – Vinicio Capossela – Marinai, Profeti e Balene

Capossela is a great in my book. He wrote song after song and album after album that I liked. He has written some of my favorite songs of all time. He ticks of fa lot of boxes on the category of things that I like – his focus on narratives and story-telling, his ability to create interesting themes and keep to them in one album. It’s my kind of music.

But I guess you can’t always knock it out of the park. I can’t say exactly why I didn’t love this album, but something about it felt weaker than his others. Some of the tracks felt a little recycled from his previous work. The theme here was an odd combination of a little boring and a little too on the nose.

Yea. I didn’t like this album from one of my favorite musicians. I guess I can relax. I am not a sycophant after all.

Not enjoying something and being happy about your not enjoying it is a very weird sensation.

Week 47 – The Midnight – Nocturnal

I have met a number of people who make the same cognitive mistake (and I am one of these people). We all can’t shake the idea that the 1980’s was twenty years ago. It isn’t. It was forty years ago. That seems like a stupid and inconsequential thing to put down to words, but it makes a difference. Nostalgia-zing2 something from twenty years ago feels like valuing yesterdays, while something from forty years ago seems like history. This might be my bias at work, as when I was a kid the 60’s were forty years ago, and the grainy black and white footage I saw of it gave it a historicized feel. What I am trying to figure out is whether or not the 1980’s has the feel.

Yes, it does. This album would be the proof.

I have another slight problem with the 1980s, and that is the feeling I have that is has been nostalgized for the entirety of my life. When were we not holding it in high esteem?

Blah. A friend of mine recommended this album to me, and I gave it a whirl in good faith. It has some great elements to it. 80’s music had a cinematic feel that I think this gets right. It also has that ‘bright lights, big city’ feel that a lot of people in my generation really hung our hopes to. It even reminded me of the ‘Katana Zero’ soundtrack, which I really liked. But I found myself really disliking the album whenever the lyrics kicked in. The romantic track towards the end also did little for me. I can also say that excepting for the work of Dana Colley, I don’t think anyone did the saxophone well in modern music. But those bitchings aside, this album was pretty cool. I just would have preferred it an an instrumental. The instrumental tracks from this album were all really good.

I have reached an interesting point in the Ship of Theseus thought experiment. The Ship of Theseus if a favorite philosophical tidbit of mine, and I highly recommend everyone familiarize themselves with is. I have reached the point of recognition of change.  I am looking back to see the ship built by all our discarded parts, and recognizing it as not being the ship I am currently on, but when I look back at the trip as a whole, I really don’t recall when the transition happened. That, of course, IS the point of the thought experiment. And that is when this thought experiment has done to me, and I guess this album too.

Week 48 – tUnE-yArDs – BiRd-BrAiNs

I feel like this album didn’t have a chance. If you are going to sit down and read a truly difficult novel, you need to give it a degree of attention that the latest pulp just doesn’t warrant. When you are going to listen to a challenging album, much of the same things apply. I didn’t have it in me to really sit down and give this album a fair shake this year. I did try, but it was just too much. I had too many other things going on this year.

Meh, it was good enough, I think. I like what these guys do, stylistically. But again, I was busy as fuck this month.

I’ve got the discography. I can try again. Likely in 2022.


1 This is a joke. In a blog posts whose theme seems to by ‘sycophancy’, I should point out that I don’t think all that highly of Boots Riley. I am sure he’s an alright guy, and I’d vote for him over Kanye. But after being told that Bernie Sanders was ‘too extreme’ for about 6 years now, my answer to that is now always, “If you thought my supporting Bernie was extreme, what are you going to say about my supporting Boots Riley?”

I don’t think he is, or plans to, run. If he does, it is news to me.

2 Christ almighty. Apparently this isn’t a word. A lot of things aren’t, thanks to Firefox’s onboard direction. Nostalgia – Nostalgize – Nostalgized – Nostaligizing. Fuck off and death to all perscriptivists.

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