Thursday, September 27, 2007

So Just How Weird Are You? - Luna's "Penthouse"

I bought Luna’s “Penthouse” and liked it right away - so much so that I immediately lent it to a co-worker. (By the way, don’t ever lend anything to anyone.). This young lady (twenty-Cover of Cover of Penthousesomething) scoffed at it, and pointed out everything that was “wrong” with it. The spaced out, almost shell shocked vocals, the weird lyrics, and maybe the occasional extended instrumentals that she felt had no point.

What? Now it’s got to have a point? If that’s the requirement, it’s time to get rid of the stereo (Remember those?) altogether. Point! I’m not even sure if I have one…

Anyway, I realized that, despite my thinking otherwise, there was stuff that I found perfectly normal that others found weird. That’s okay for me, but a problem when I’m recommending stuff to people.

For instance, I seem to have no problem with weird voices (Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction or Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips, even Freedy Johnston), but I just seem to accept it as part of a package. Indeed, sometimes it’s the essence of the package.

When I read a negative review for an album I like, I’m often amused to find that the supposed flaws are the very things that I consider to be the record’s defining characteristics. In fact, they’re the things I like the most about it, or, at the very least, the very things that makes the album unique.

I mean, what’s more fun? Abiding by the rules or breaking them? In fact, the flaw would appear to be the …point. If the record has nothing unique about it, what is its reason for even existing?

And getting back to Luna (remember Luna?), I found those shell shocked vocals to be quiet appropriate for the times – I bought it right before 9/11. And yes, some of the lyrics were strange (especially the “Meows” at the end of my favorite song), but the guitars were right up my alley. So those instrumental breaks were wonderful

I LIKE the fact that Big Star’s original of “September Gurls” (greatest pop song ever?) ends with a missed beat. The Beatlesque cover by the Bangles is smooth as silk, and thus, merely excellent. Alex Chilton’s guitar solo in the original, is practically absent of technique – but thrilling, while the fancy break in the cover version is technically perfect, but only…nice.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing at all wrong with something that’s smooth and well executed. There’s nothing wrong with balance and harmony. But songs are like friends. After a while the perfect ones get on your nerves. It’s the imperfect ones that are more endearing, and leave the more lasting impression.

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