Nada Mucho

Best of the 00s: Bruce Springsteen, Clinic & Crystal Castles

Posted by September 20th, 2010 No Comments »

Best of the 00s: Gabe Joins the 21st Century
Part 9: Bruce Springsteen, Clinic & Crystal Castles

Nada Co-founders Matt and Gabe are listening to 197 of the music press’s picks for “best albums of the 00s” for a series called Gabe Joins the 21st Century.

Bruce Springsteen – The Rising
Rolling Stone’s #15

Gabe:  The Rising was Springsteen‘s response to 9/11, and all the expected adjectives apply. It’s a thoughtful, even noble work from an elder statesmen who takes his role as a spokesman for a generation very seriously. The Rising mourns the dead and looks for salvation in sex and music, while being very careful not to point fingers. What that adds up to is one boring album. The songs only occasionally rock, and the lyrics can’t compare with Springsteen’s best either. It’s like he was going for universal but ended up generic. None of the foregoing applies to “Empty Sky,” which tells the whole story in just 3:34. Grade: DNL

Matt: This is just the kind of perfectly harmless, competent “soft rock” I’ve come to associate with this elderly gentlemen they call “The Boss.” By the second song I’m convinced that The Rising is a commercial for a Christian pop compilation. Did Bruce run some sort of competition for youth group pastors? Winner gets their song performed on the next album type of a deal? “May your strength give us strength/May your faith give us faith/May your hope give us hope/May your love give us love.” The third track, “Waiting on a Sunny Day,” actually does give The Rising a bit of hope, because it’s one of the few songs that’s not totally horrible. Unfortunately, it’s also the highlight. The rest of the album is filled with more sappy, saccharine garbage like “Worlds Apart,” which, with its computerized drum sounds and African chanting, sounds like Sting fronting a late-era U2. Grade: DNL

I don't have anything even remotely amusing or clever to say about this particular album coverClinic – Internal Wrangler
A.V. Club’s #35

Matt: A remarkable debut that employs guitars, drum, bass and organ to create something unlike anything that’s come before it – a feat that sometimes no longer feels possible. That isn’t to say Internal Wrangler doesn’t have some familiar reference points. The overall vibe is akin to modern psychedelic classicists like the Black Angels and singer Ade Blackburn adds mystery with his slightly nasally, Thom Yorke style inflection, but the African drum sound that starts the album sends the message that it’s also a highly rhythmic affair. All 14 tracks are excellent and none sound too much alike, veering from noisy rockers to methodical spy scores to creepy ballads (my favorite is “Sister Came to Bake Me.”) It’s rare that a band creates such a rich, unique aesthetic while simultaneously delivering great song after great song. Grade: LOVE

Gabe: Clinic’s 2000 debut album is a nice, brisk 31 minute slice of indie rock goodness. It’s a bit surprising that they hail from Liverpool, considering Internal Wrangler is chock full of  noisy/melodic New Yorkyness a la Velvet Underground and Sonic Youth. On the other hand, “Second Line” struts and staggers like prime T Rex, and the skewed ballads like “Distortions” and “Goodnight Georgie” aren’t easy to fit in any pigeonhole. Nicely done.  Grade: LIKE

Hey, what the hell is that on my shoes?Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles
#39 on NME’s List

Gabe: It is my distinct pleasure to advise that I finally enjoyed one of these albums of electronic music the kids these days are listening to on their iTunes. That dancey music may not so bad after all. At least when the songs are jampacked with distorted synth noises wrenched from the kind of audio chips used in classic arcade games like Donkey Kong and Pac-Man, plus female vocals that sound like they’ve been ripped from the throat of a chick being chased by a Germanic Ted Bundy. Extra bonus points for the kindler, gentler tracks reminiscent of New Order. Grade: LIKE

Matt: This lauded 2008 debut is to Matt Ashworth as square peg is to round hole. Concise electronic oeuvres that still manage to be boring and unmemorable, these songs don’t itch that small part of me that wants to shake my booty to really good electronic music nor do they provide an enjoyable mood or atmosphere. “Crimewave” and “Vanish” seem like perfectly passable electro-pop singles, but many of the other tracks border on nails-on-chalkboard status. The distorted female vocals on a handful of tracks (like the unfortunately-titled “Xxxxcuzzme” ) are shrill and inelegant. In fact, the whole thing lacks sophistication of any kind, save for the pretty closing track “Tell Me What to Swallow,” which features a pretty, lightly strummed guitar and is a thankful departure from the 15 tracks that precede it.

Oh, and to top it all off, they let someone hang out in the studio playing Frogger on full blast while they were recording. Grade: DNL

More in this series:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright © 2017 Nada Mucho