liz_marcs (liz_marcs) wrote,
liz_marcs
liz_marcs

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Music from the Cube: What Am I Listening to Today?

Oooooo. Some hopefully entertaining evil reviews. Some revelations of my dorkiness. *plots to get back against bastardsnow for making fun of people who like Dancing Queen*

And a belated birthday to several people on FList who had them. *winces*

Damn. How do people keep track of these things? I barely remember *my* birthday half the time.


DOWNLOADS ARE GOOD FOR 7 DAYS:



Afro Celt Sound System Rating=$$$$
[Support the Artist]
How I Got This CD: Freebie from my Bordersverse Daze. Still can't believe that I managed to score this one after a bare-knuckled winner-take-all contest against another employee.

Volume 3: Further in Time is most famous for the track, When You're Falling by Peter Gabriel, and the fact that said track was temporarily removed from the radio rotation of all ClearChannel stations following 9-11. Both of those facts are a shame. It's a nice CD with loads of good, danceable, sometimes trance-y songs on it. The blending of different genres from world music to create pop is a wonderful thing to listen to and shouldn't be missed. Also, it's damn fine cube music. Entertaining without being distracting. Plus, some of the tunes insinuate themselves into your subconscious and put you in a good mood. In fact, one song from this album is on my as-yet unpublished (i.e., LJ-published) Africander Soundtrack. And no, the Afro Celt song that made the soundtrack is not the sample song offered below. Fun trivia fact alert: This CD is the last CD bearing the Afro Celt Sound System name. Starting with the CD Seed, the band started going by the name 'Afrocelts'
Sample Song Download: Lagan



Paul Abdul Rating=$
[Support the Artist]
How I Got This CD: Bought new. When it first came out. (SHADDUP!)

I look at Forever Your Girl and wonder what the hell I was thinking. I can only argue in my defense that I was 1) young; 2) musically ignorant; 3) stupid. The fact that almost every song on this CD was a top-40 hit I can only attribute to the desolation of the pop music scene at the time, an attack of bad taste amongst the music-buying populace, or the government dumping hallucinogens in the nation's water supply. Heavy video rotations on MTV probably helped. Good for walking down memory lane, utterly forgettable, and easy to tune out. If that's your thing, then it's cube-worthy. As for me? This is getting sold off to the first sucker used record store I can find. If Paula could actually sing without the help of ProTools, this might've been worth keeping.
Sample Song Download: Forever Your Girl (This one is from YouShareIt because YouSendIt positively refused accept this MP3 on its server. See? Even computer servers refuse to accept that Paula is for real! Hah!)



Brooke Allison Rating=NONE
[Support the Artist]
How I Got This CD: Freebie demo from my Bordersverse Daze. It was sitting alone in the box.

Brooke Allison's self-titled CD tries too damn hard. It tries too hard to be cool. It tries too hard to be too cool for cool. It tries too hard to be pop. It tries to hard to be too cool for pop. Are you seeing a theme? The tracks of Allison talking with random people and pretending to be OMG bestest friends with them would be funny if it wasn't so damn earnest and annoying. Maybe she was trying to tell a story using the music? If that's the case, then let the damn music speak, 'kay? Despite that, there are a couple of danceable tunes on this CD, but don't bother bringing it to the cube. If the talk-y meat bits don't pull you right out of the zen zone, then the STUPIDEST! LYRICS! EVAH! will inspire such a giggling fit that you'll disturb your co-workers. Allison can somewhat sing, although I'm not 100% sure that it's all Allison or Allison doing a duet with ProTools. As for a sample download...so many stupid songs, so little time. So hard to choose one. I got it! How about a break-up song that uses AOL e-mail as its central conceit? Doesn't get any dumber than that.
Sample Song Download: The Kiss-Off (Good-bye)


Now, for a break in the style, since the remaining CDs are by the same artist.

ABBA
[Support the Artist]


Super Trooper Rating=$$$$
How I Got This CD: Bought it on 40% off on "employee day" during my Bordersverse Daze.

Super Trooper is best known (in the U.S. anyway) for The Winner Takes It All, aka, theme song for People Getting Divorced Everywhere. Considering that just about every member of ABBA was going through rough times, this CD is better than it has any right to be with a high ratio of decent tunes making up the track list (certainly better than The Winner Takes It All). Bonus, Universal has re-released it with bonus tracks, some of which had appeared on B-sides on 45s back when singles were released on vinyl and dinosaurs ruled the earth, and they're both really good additions to the CD. The linear notes are hilarious and make you want to shout, "Dude, it's ABBA! Pop music, yes. Curing cancer? Not so much." Still, this CD is a gem that shouldn't be missed if you're an ABBA fan. I dub this one more than cube-worthy.
Sample Song Download: The Piper



The Visitors Rating=$$$$
How I Got This CD: Bought it on 40% off on "employee day" during my Bordersverse Daze.

The Visitors is the last hurrah for ABBA and the last studio album they ever released. The first time I heard this, I had checked the LP (a very large vinyl platter for you whippersnappers) out of the library and was absolutely entranced. On and off over the years I looked for this one, but to no avail since it disappeared almost as quickly as it appeared in the U.S. market. Happily, Universal decided to re-release it with bonus tracks. This album is an undiscovered gem that's slightly more atmospheric than you'd usually find in an ABBA CD. You can already see Benny and Bjorn getting ready to assault musical theater with this one. The one U.S. hit off this was When All Is Said and Done, may be the most perfect good-bye song any band has given to its fans. I also used the title track, The Visitors, for my Water Hold Me Down soundtrack. A cube-worthy CD that keeps you motivated. Once more, the bonus tracks are B-sides, like the bonus track I'm offering here.
Sample Song Download: Cassandra



ABBA Gold Rating=$$$$
How I Got This CD: Bought it used six years ago when I bought More ABBA Gold.

ABBA Gold is an ABBA-lovers wet dream since there are so many monster hits on this one. Really, nothing more to say other than that. If you're a fan, you've already got this. If you like ABBA but are ashamed to admit it, seriously consider just giving in, feeding the beast, and making the investment. While I certainly don't love every track, there's enough here to keep me tapping my feet in my cube while I write my heart out.
Sample Song Download: Knowing Me, Knowing You



More ABBA Gold Rating=$$$
How I Got This CD: Bought it used six years ago when I bought ABBA Gold.

More ABBA Gold is really just more of the same, only the hits on this one are slightly more modest or are songs that only showed up on the B-sides. The perfect companion piece to ABBA Gold and just as worthy of the cube. I like fewer songs on this one, but there are some gems that make this worth the investment for me.
Sample Song Download: I Am the City


***

Read the index for previous thumbnail reviews.
***


Rating system:
None = Avoid at all cost. Worth cutting your ears off to avoid if someone threatens to play it for you. When faced with even the threat of its cellophane-wrapped presence, your best option is to RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!

$= If you stumble across it for cheap in a used bin, it might, maybe, perhaps could be worth the buy, but only if you need a cheap coaster for your cold drinks or a cool-looking frisbee.

$$= You might want to give this CD/artist a try, but only if the sample track tickles your fancy. Don't bother buying this one new because the good tunes you'd get out of this one ain't worth that kind of money.

$$$ = Worth looking for on a casual basis and maybe even buying new, but no big rush.

$$$$ = Definitely worth having in the ol' CD collection and definitely worth buying new, but don't re-arrange your personal "must have" list to get your hands on it.

$$$$$ = Why haven't you bought this CD yet? Go. This is a "Want. Take. Have." situation because you so want this.
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