I always said I wasn’t going to be one of those “old” people who wasn’t in touch with new music, but, here I am, and I’m that person. I realized the other day I haven’t bought or even really listened to music from a band that’s come out in the last decade. Sure I’ve listened to new music, but from old bands. Ugh. And I hate to say new bands suck, but…nothing that I *have* heard on the occasions that I’ve listened to the radio has caught my fancy. So I’ll just put in my decades old music (god, how is it possible that I can even say that!?!), or new music from decades old bands, and enjoy.
Which brings me to this week. New music from one of my fav bands, The Tea Party. Their first in a decade! I was excited and scared all at the same time, as their last album Seven Circles was mediocre, and their live release from last year, or the year before was pretty freaking terrible (the mixing not the performance). But holy crap this record is pretty good. I borrowed it from the internet last week, but crossed over to Canada the other day to pick it up from HMV since American amazon wasn’t offering it. Of course like any record, a few songs I could leave, like yet another Daniel Lanois cover (The Maker), a throw away hidden instrumental at the end, and one I’m not sure of (Black Roses) but over all, the songs go back to their roots, covering all the different sounds they’ve had over the years – zepplin-esque, eastern influenced rock. Thankfully they lost the Tom Morello guitar tone from Seven Circles and went back to the style Jeff Martin is best at. I wasn’t impressed with the initial single, Water’s On Fire, because it’s a ballad, and I thought a poor choice for a first single in a decade, but it’s grown on me and it’s not that bad. Brazil has great rock guitar in it, that we expect from them, Submission sounds like a Gary Numan cover (specifically Cars, and I guess it was intentional) and thus is cool, and the “required” long song The Ocean At The End is reminiscent of Correspondences, and really very nice. I’m very happy with it and excited to see them live again – AS LONG AS THEY PLAY A DIFFERENT DAMNED SETLIST! In looking through my blog archives in search for a date for one of their shows from 05, I discovered Eric and I bitching about them playing the same setlist ALL THE WAY BACK THEN!
And then came the surprise. U2 released their album with no fanfare or build up on itunes as part of Apple’s iphone 6 press conference, for free. Called “Songs of Innocence” it’s been 5 years in the making and is rumored to be only one of several releases coming up. Dave Fanning, friend of U2 and radio guy (?) suspects it’s one of 3 coming releases chronicling U2 decade by decade as this one is all about the 1970s and the band themselves have claimed to have more material ready to be released. My first impression is…we’ve heard this all before. It’s the same sound, same style, same…thing. Even though Eno and Lanois had nothing to do with it, it’s just….U2 I guess. I hate to say it, I’ve been denying it for years, but I don’t want U2 to sound like U2. I like 90s U2 when they did something different and ground breaking, and didn’t just repeat themselves ad nauseum. I was excited when they were working with new people on new music, but in the end, it’s just them. Still. There is nothing exciting on this record, nothing catchy, nothing fun. I hesitate to say it’s depressing, it’s just not exciting. The first song The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone) held potential that very quickly went away, devolving into the usual, what I like to call “Miracle Drug”ing of the album. It has the same vibe as How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb and Electrical Storm. It is rather minimal, with no weird random out of place Eno-esque organs or horns, which is fine by me, but there isn’t anything else there either. (I just looked at a review of the album when looking for the track titles and it said that the album sounds like U2 ripping off all the bands that rip off U2 which reminded me that I had the thought that the album sounded like Coldplay LOL)
So that was my first impression. After listening a few times, I will say the 2nd half of the album is much better than the first because it sounds different! There is some “weirdness”, or well weird for U2. There is strong bass lines that remind you Adam exists, there are female vocals from someone, there is interesting guitar work from Edge, and slow synthy stuff. While there aren’t any lyrics that stand out as cringe worthy, like “people get squashed crossing the tracks” from Bomb, the lyrics aren’t good either. Bono used to be a poet, wtf happened to him? And while there aren’t any songs I out right despise like Moment of Surrender or Yahweh to name a few, there aren’t any at this point that I can say I like either. And that’s sad. I could easily never listen to this again and not miss it. Susan had listened to it before me, since she has itunes, and had said it was edgier than their last one. I’m not sure what she was listening to LOL.
But I will keep listening until I know every word, as I have a history of not liking U2 albums at first listen – yes even Achtung Baby, the greatest album ever made, I didn’t appreciate at first. I’m sure it will grow on me some, but a classic or brilliant album it is definitely not.
In other news. I’ve been struggling with my head big time. Since July my headaches have become intolerable. I finally went to see neurologists again, and they gave me a nerve block in my head which was a failure. So now I’ve been put on another preventative rx, topamax. Starting week 2, I’m not sure of it’s efficacy yet. I can up the dosage 2 more times, so we’ll see. I’m not sure I’ll be able to handle the side effects if they get worse with the increased dosage though, as it makes my hands and face tingle, a bit of dizziness and stupidness lol. I’ve started taking dice class, finally after 11 years, so tingling hands and stupidness isn’t really good for that hah. Failing that, I already qualify for botox treatments, as I have a 30 year history of failed treatments, but that also takes time to start working so it’s best to have them under control before starting botox to bridge the gap. I just know I need something to work, and soon, cuz I can’t handle it anymore.