Thursday, February 12, 2009

A fly in amber

Being downtown again means that I'm smack dab in the heart of Toronto's consumerist culture. Mostly, I've been avoiding the temptation to SPEND SPEND SPEND, but one thing I have difficulty with not purchasing are albums. Certainly, I could go the cost-*cough*questionably-legal*cough*free option for getting my music, but I'm rather firmly of the belief that supporting the arts is a worthy cause. So, if I know that an artist I "follow" has released a new album, or that I'm otherwise virtually-guaranteed to love a particular artistic effort, I'll "splurge" during a two-fer deal at whichever media store I choose to browse in.

All of this rigamarole is to explain that on a recent excursion to the HMV near work, I picked up Jem's Down to Earth, MGMT's Oracular Spectacular and Green Day's American Idiot.

I had highest hopes for MGMT's effort, as I'm a huge fan of Kids. I was also really looking forward to giving Jem's effort a listen, as I found the entire Finally Woken album was one of the most resonant albums for me in the past five years.

I'd heard many good things about American Idiot, of course, as it was reputed to be Green Day's coming-of-age album, a conceptual effort that commented on much of the emotional-fallout in the post-9/11 world. So, I guess it should come as no surprise that it's hands-down my favourite of the lot. I've been listening to it at least weekly since getting it and am still processing it all. It's definitely worth the repeated listenings. I'm sorry to be coming at it this late in the game, but I'm glad that I have gotten to it.

A lot of the themes in the album are still relevant, but the pervasive anxiety, I'm pleased to say, is far more a reflection of the time in which the album was recorded than it is now. American Idiot is a damn fine, stong narrative, of a more fearful and claustrophobic era. I highly recommend it as a window into the world as we were worried it would become.



At Sat Feb 14, 09:33:00 pm GMT-5, Blogger Stacy said...

I still love American Idiot, and I got it when it first came out. It's so rare to have an entire album that not only fits together thematically, but actually holds together musically as well. Have you ever heard of Antiflag? They're another punk band whose most recent album was really political, yet still really catchy.

At Tue Feb 17, 01:20:00 pm GMT-5, Blogger ghanima said...

Of course, now that I've become addicted to American Idiot, I'm really interested in listening to Dean Gray's American Edit (an American Idiot mash-up) all over again.

Antiflag, you say? I'm going to have to look into that. Your comment made me think to post the video above, as well. Very good stuff.


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