The Album Review Club - Week #38 (page 433) - Sule Skerry

Saddleworth2

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Not at all. Everybody is free to give an honest opinion. At the same time, I would hope that everybody is free to offer counter points when people mark an album so low (or high).

Much as a I enjoyed “Stacey’s Mom” - which is a pure slice of pop - if the rest of the album would have been like the first three songs, I would have been marking it a lot lower. But for sheer variety - most of it played exceptionally well, I’m surprised that people would mark it so low.
I’m surprised that folk are marking it as high. It’s light likeable stuff but bloody hell 8 out of 10?
that kind of score should be reserved for unbelievably good pop albums like er, like.....bat out of hell ;-)
 

Bill Walker

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I’m surprised that folk are marking it as high. It’s light likeable stuff but bloody hell 8 out of 10?
that kind of score should be reserved for unbelievably good pop albums like er, like.....bat out of hell ;-)
Yeah I too I'm surprised at the high scores, its ok music but it doesn't seem to mean a lot and is seemingly derivative ...a bit like bubblegum music whatever that is.
I could have it as background music, but it's not something I could sit down and listen too with my headphones on.
I just know it's going to score more than King Crimson.
 

FogBlueInSanFran

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I’m surprised that folk are marking it as high. It’s light likeable stuff but bloody hell 8 out of 10?
that kind of score should be reserved for unbelievably good pop albums like er, like.....bat out of hell ;-)
If it’s likeable, why shouldn’t it be an 8?

I’m enjoying these conversations because they underscore a theme I’ve brought up before in the prog discussions — good music doesn’t have to be important or complicated. In fact a lot of now-considered-great pop music isn’t either of those things. That’s what I think, at any rate.

I like this in part BECAUSE it’s uncomplicated, eminently listenable across nearly every song, cheerful and witty, and completely unconcerned with its own importance.
 
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Saddleworth2

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If it’s likeable, why shouldn’t it be an 8?

I’m enjoying these conversations because they underscore a theme I’ve brought up before in the prog discussions — good music doesn’t have to be important or complicated. In fact a lot of now-considered-great pop music isn’t either of those things. That’s what I think, at any rate.

I like this in part BECAUSE it’s uncomplicated, eminently listenable across nearly every song, cheerful and witty, and completely unconcerned with its own importance.
Me too mate, I would still only score it 5 or 6 though. The problem is scoring. as soon as you try that you run into all sorts of conflicts.
my thought process kind of goes - what genre is this music fit best? - what groups typically Make music in this genre? - what music did those groups make and how does this compare? - what’s 10 in this genre? Where does this music compare? Allocate score.

I enjoyed the album, found it just as you said but in comparison with my impression of the best music in that genre written by say, Brian Wilson, Paddy McAloon or a raft of others, it’s a 5.
you may have an entirely different way of rating it and I’m sure it is just as valid. I was simply giving a counter view to the one Rob gave.
 

RobMCFC

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I’m surprised that folk are marking it as high. It’s light likeable stuff but bloody hell 8 out of 10?
that kind of score should be reserved for unbelievably good pop albums like er, like.....bat out of hell ;-)
Yes fair point. I surprised myself giving it an 8 and here's my thought process.

I'd only heard the one song before and liked it without feeling I ever had to hear it again. When I heard the first three songs, I though, right, this is 5-6 territory - nice enough but, like you said nothing like the best in the genre.
But what followed really surprised me - one minute I think I'm listening to the American version of Busted and then they roll out these slower more interesting songs with some nice jangly guitars plus harmony vocals. So now I'm thinking, I might give this a 7.

But that was before the last few songs, and I think most of us agree it's like listening to an Oasis tribute band. But to be fair, those songs are as good as a lot of the Oasis songs. Just to be clear, I like Oasis' first two (I mean three - thanks to BH for making me listen to The Masterplan) albums, but they are no way near my top 20. Oasis would probably just about make my top 50 artists. But on this album, "Bought for a Song", "Supercollider" and "Elevator Up" had me wanting to listen to them again.

The fullness of time might show I've been a bit giddy giving Fountains of Wayne an 8, but it's an absolute rock-solid 7 at worst. The fact that I didn't expect to like it so much really helped, which is where the additional point came from. Despite the fact that I try not to, I can't help but have pre-conceived notions about whether I'm going to like or dislike every single album that is nominated on here. I liked the Micheal Stearns album a lot more than I thought I would but conversely, the Drive-By Truckers should be right up my street, but I found Southern Rock Opera was way too long and didn't have enough great songs - yet I rated both those two albums a 7.

Relative scoring is a difficult balance but I've played Welcome Interstate Managers through three times and listened to a few more a fourth and fifth time. If that's not worth an 8 then I don't know what is. I think this is an unbelievably good pop album without qualifying for a 9 or 10.
 

FogBlueInSanFran

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Me too mate, I would still only score it 5 or 6 though. The problem is scoring. as soon as you try that you run into all sorts of conflicts.
my thought process kind of goes - what genre is this music fit best? - what groups typically Make music in this genre? - what music did those groups make and how does this compare? - what’s 10 in this genre? Where does this music compare? Allocate score.

I enjoyed the album, found it just as you said but in comparison with my impression of the best music in that genre written by say, Brian Wilson, Paddy McAloon or a raft of others, it’s a 5.
you may have an entirely different way of rating it and I’m sure it is just as valid. I was simply giving a counter view to the one Rob gave.
To me that’s grading on a curve. The genre here is pop music. Don’t understand why we’d draw a genre distinction between this and King Crimson. I do understand why we’d draw a distinction between this and Pantera or Bob Marley and the Wailers or Wu-Tang Clan or Kraftwerk.
 

RobMCFC

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To me that’s grading on a curve. The genre here is pop music. Don’t understand why we’d draw a genre distinction between this and King Crimson. I do understand why we’d draw a distinction between this and Pantera or Bob Marley and the Wailers or Wu-Tang Clan or Kraftwerk.
Although I liked SOME of King Crimson (and Genesis), I enjoyed this Fountains of Wayne album a lot more.
 

Saddleworth2

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Yes fair point. I surprised myself giving it an 8 and here's my thought process.

I'd only heard the one song before and liked it without feeling I ever had to hear it again. When I heard the first three songs, I though, right, this is 5-6 territory - nice enough but, like you said nothing like the best in the genre.
But what followed really surprised me - one minute I think I'm listening to the American version of Busted and then they roll out these slower more interesting songs with some nice jangly guitars plus harmony vocals. So now I'm thinking, I might give this a 7.

But that was before the last few songs, and I think most of us agree it's like listening to an Oasis tribute band. But to be fair, those songs are as good as a lot of the Oasis songs. Just to be clear, I like Oasis' first two (I mean three - thanks to BH for making me listen to The Masterplan) albums, but they are no way near my top 20. Oasis would probably just about make my top 50 artists. But on this album, "Bought for a Song", "Supercollider" and "Elevator Up" had me wanting to listen to them again.

The fullness of time might show I've been a bit giddy giving Fountains of Wayne an 8, but it's an absolute rock-solid 7 at worst. The fact that I didn't expect to like it so much really helped, which is where the additional point came from. Despite the fact that I try not to, I can't help but have pre-conceived notions about whether I'm going to like or dislike every single album that is nominated on here. I liked the Micheal Stearns album a lot more than I thought I would but conversely, the Drive-By Truckers should be right up my street, but I found Southern Rock Opera was way too long and didn't have enough great songs - yet I rated both those two albums a 7.

Relative scoring is a difficult balance but I've played Welcome Interstate Managers through three times and listened to a few more a fourth and fifth time. If that's not worth an 8 then I don't know what is. I think this is an unbelievably good pop album without qualifying for a 9 or 10.
You make the point well. We are all subjective and different. For me to Score an album 8 it would have to compare favourably to ones I would place in my top 100 or so. This album, whilst pleasant, wouldn’t come close to that.
 

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