Now and again an album grabs me as a complete body of music. One will come along and make me sit up and take notice, that demands my attention and captivates me.
Embarassingly the last one to do this was Lily Allen's "Alright, Still", one which I thought would stand the test of time for me, but it just gets the odd spin on my iTunes these days, and that's only a few of the songs at that. Muse's "Black Holes and Revelations" came and is still hanging around. It's been in my car solidly for about the last ten months and will stay there as a fallback for some time to come. But it's got a few duff tracks on it, like the slow whiney one and the very first one.
A few weeks ago I bought the Foo Fighters latest offering. The Foos are a band I've been just a little bit mad on since they first appeared on the scene. You're probably aware that I'm a drummer so it won't surprise you that I can love a band that has not one, but two of my favourite drummers of all time in it.
But their last couple of albums disappointed me, I thought they'd got a little bit formulaic, that they had found something that works, albeit with commercial success most bands would kill for, and they were using the formula to keep on creating more of the same. Of course I bought the albums anyway.
I nearly didn't buy the newest one, " Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace", I'd previewed a few of the tracks on iTunes and hadn't been that impressed. In fact the snippets I had listened to just backed up my whole theory about the formulaic thing. But I'm a music fan and some years ago I made one of those silly vows to myself, the sort we all make but never tell anyone about. This one was that I'd always err on the side of buying an album if I was doubtful. It's an expensive silly vow, but it's one that has uncovered many a secret and previously hidden joy for me. It has also meant that, over the years, I've spent a load of money on buying some total pieces of crap albums, but I've enjoyed finding out they were crap.
And there I was a week or so ago, on a plane to Singapore with two new albums sitting on my iTunes library to listen to. The first was the new one by Orson. Now I can't really pass judgement on this yet, what I've heard sounds pleasant enough in a very poppy way, but I need to listen to some more before I give or make an opinion. The second was this one, the Foos finest hour I think.
It would be churlish for me to attempt to describe each track and to try to give you a feel for them. Music is subjective and my descriptions would be largely drum based, aka fuck all use to anyone other than a drummer. The thing that caught my attention most was the way that each track sounds like a complete song, many of their songs in the past have sounded a bit half baked to me. Some have had great choruses, some had had verses to die for, some have had a middle eight that makes me want to poo, but only a few of them feel like the finished article.
This album is different. The Foos have come of age. Each song feels like a self contained unit but, once strung together, Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace is a modern day symphony. Unlike so many albums it doesn't tail off towards the end, it doesn't use up the good stuff and then have a few "not quite ready but we can use them at the end of the next album" songs. I can start it from any point and I seriously like what I hear. There are no songs that I skip.
As I write this, I find myself wondering who, out of the people who read this and I know, would like the album. Lady Luck would, but she likes anything that's Foo Fighter related. Theena may well do too as I know he's a Grohl fan. Java, nope, I strongly suspect it's not his bag of cheese. I'd put money on Confab liking it but my jury's out on the opinion of the respected Mr Cerno.
Take my advice, if you only buy one album this year, you really should buy more.