New Music’s Always Nice

Really brief post today, simply because I’ve been wracking my brain for topics, and all I can think is that I got some new music this week, and all I really want to do is listen to it over and over (my approach to music typically consists of completely immersing myself in whatever the latest thing is that I’ve decided I like enough to own, and then I listen to only that ad nauseum for weeks or months on end) instead of thinking about other things that might be interesting to discuss on the interwebz.  “But Jason, why don’t you just write about the music you’re listening to?” you probably didn’t ask.  Well, I’ve done that in the past, on a couple of occasions, but they were instances where the music was tied into a particular idea I was mulling over.  The first time was about the defunct band 19 Action News, and that was because they have a concept album that tells the story of a near-future Earth where a meteor’s about to hit the planet; it’s a really good album that explores a lot of facets of the human experience when faced with an extinction event (also, it’s a pretty wry liberal fairy tale where all the rich people who could afford to buy passage off of Earth end up colliding with the meteor on their way to Mars, breaking the meteor up into small enough chunks that will disintegrate on entry and leaving the rest of humanity perfectly safe).  The second time was about my rather feverish preoccupation with Mumford & Sons’ first album Sigh No More, which I listened to exclusively for over a month straight back when I was wrestling with all my hangups about white evangelical Christianity (Mumford & Sons, being a band that enjoys lots of literary allusion in their lyrics, is rife with imagery that evokes both ideas about faith and failed romance; there’s a reason I called it my breakup album for evangelicalism).

The other important thing about both of those posts was that I was also coming to them after spending a lot of time with their respective playlists.  Songs are way more compact than other narratives that I like to think about, and they typically demand multiple exposures before I’m able to form any coherent thoughts about them beyond “Dur, I like the way this sounds.”  That’s the case with my current musical fascination, since I’ve only been listening to it for a week.

Cover of Ceremonials. (Image credit: Wikipedia)

Therefore, please excuse any incoherence.

Anyway, let’s get to the gushy part.  I bought Florence + The Machine’s second album Ceremonials, and aside from the occasional podcast, it’s all I’ve been listening to for about four days now.  This wasn’t a totally blind purchase; like with Mumford & Sons, I discovered this band after spending much time on Pandora listening to a channel built around Of Monsters & Men.  Being the proud owner of a shiny new iPod after Christmas (thanks Mom and Dad!) and armed with a bit of iTunes credit, I decided that I did like their sound enough to invest in an album.

I think it was a pretty good choice.

My early impressions of the album go something like this: the instrumentation’s incredibly lush (it reminds me a little of Death Cab for Cutie at their most decadent, but every song is infused with a kind of urgency that I don’t always get from Death Cab), Florence Welch’s vocals are remarkably rich, and the lyrics are suitably complex.  Also, the album’s single biggest recurring motif (to me, anyway) is the conflation between romance and faith, which tickles all my intellectual buttons.  I can’t say much more than that about the individual songs themselves since I’m still getting to know them (except for “Bedroom Hymns,” both the shortest track and the most intense in the set, which is, as you might guess, about sex being a religious experience; it’s not necessarily an original idea, but it’s a really good song, and its theme really resonates with all the thinking I’ve been doing about Saga lately), but I hope I can give some more in depth thoughts in the future once I’ve gotten to know the lyrics in and out.

So yeah, that’s what I’m listening to right now.  I suppose I might have been able to say all that in a bit less than seven hundred words, but you know how it goes; you set out to write something short, and it blows up, and when you want to write a really long piece you can’t get a hundred words.

What’s everyone else listening to at the moment?


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