Posted in Music

Making a Door Less Open (Car Seat Headrest) Album Review

Making a Door Less Open | Car Seat Headrest

Happy Saturday, everyone!

Those of you who’ve been following this blog for a while know how much I love Car Seat Headrest. Ever since…oh, maybe 7th grade (?), their songs have never failed to enchant me and pull me in. So naturally, I was absolutely over-the-moon when I found out that they were releasing a new album in the form of Making a Door Less Open. After a few listens, however, I’m not quite disappointed, but I think I set my expectations too high. That isn’t to say that it isn’t a decent album, but I think they released all the good singles first.

Anyway, let’s get on with the review, shall we?

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TRACK 1: “Weightlifters”–8.5/10

WOW. 

Now that is what I can an AMAZING start to an album. With the slow-burn effects, combined with Will Toledo’s signature, introspective lyrics, this is an absolute stunner of a first track. Probably my favorite of the songs that weren’t released as singles beforehand.

TRACK 2: “Can’t Cool Me Down”–10/10

This was the first single that was released, back in…March, I believe. A vastly new direction for Car Seat Headrest, but one that I enjoy thoroughly. Well-written and eternally catchy. Definitely the highlight of the album for me.

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TRACK 3: “Deadlines (Hostile)”–8/10

This feels like something straight off of Teens of Denial, and if we’re talking about that album, it’s always a compliment. Lyrically poignant and musically pleasing, this one 100% contributes to the album’s strong start.

TRACK 4: “Hollywood”–8.5/10

Here we veer into a briefly punchy and screamy direction for CSH, and it’s in no way a bad thing. I’m interested to see that Andrew Katz (drummer & producer of this album, correct me if I’m wrong on the latter) is starting to contribute vocals, and though I didn’t care for it as much at first, but it meshes well with the overall feel with the song

IT’S KINDA GROOVY

TRACK 5: “Hymn (Remix)”–5/10 

Eh…this is where the album starts to go downhill for me. It’s like they were trying to go more in the synthy direction of “Can’t Cool Me Down,” but it…didn’t work. Not much in the lyrics department, and a wholly unnecessary slathering of autotune and weirdness that ultimately sullies Will Toledo’s gorgeous voice.

God, I know I sound snooty, but personally, this is the worst song on the album…

TRACK 6: “Martin”–8.5/10

(First off, thank you to Will Toledo/Trait for retaining clean habits during these uncertain times…)

Such a sweet love song, with Toledo’s signature, beautiful lyrics. Catchy and unusually bright, considering most of the subject matter of…a good 75% of the rest of their discography.

TRACK 7: “Deadlines (Thoughtful)”–7.5/10

I feel like this is the weaker of the two “Deadlines,” but that’s not to say that I don’t like it. Though some of the effects don’t bug me, the a capella ending (starting at about 5:37) really manages to tug at my heartstrings.

TRACK 8: “What’s With You Lately”–7.5/10

Short and sweet just as depressing as you’d expect any CSH song to be. A tender meditation on creativity and seeing other people imitate your work. Also, we haven’t really heard Ethan Ives (guitar) contribute any other vocals other than backing vocals, so it’s cool to see him doing lead vocals on a song.

TRACK 9: “Life Worth Missing”–7/10

Certainly a decent song, and wonderful lyrically, but musically, it’s bordering on…spineless? With a song like this, it kind of needs punchy guitars throughout, and it almost gets there in the second half, but not quite enough to be potent.

TRACK 10: “There Must Be More Than Blood”–8.5/10

Another strong point on the album, this feels reminiscent of some of their older, longer songs, especially ones like “Famous Prophets (Stars)” and “Cosmic Hero”. Potent and tender, this one’s definitely one of the more memorable songs off of this album.

TRACK 11: “Famous”–6/10

Afer such a beautiful song as “There Must Be More Than Blood,” “Famous” feels like a letdown of an album closing. If not for the effects layered on the vocals, I probably would have liked it a lot better–the lyrics are incredible, but they almost get lost in all the discordant autotune layered over them. Eh.

Car Seat Headrest — Radio 1190

I averaged out all of the song ratings, and it narrowed down to about a 7.7/10. I’d say that’s accurate–it’s certainly not a bad album, but it’s not nearly as mind-blowingly good as Teens of Denial or Twin Fantasy (Face to Face). There’s certainly a multitude of strong points (“Can’t Cool Me Down,” etc.), but the more mediocre tracks only serve to weight it down. A daring exploration into a new kind of sound for Car Seat Headrest, but one that had its highs and lows.

Since this post was an album review, you can…pretty much just consider the whole album for “Today’s song”.

That’s it for this album review! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

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Posted in Music

My 5 Favorite Songs of 2018 (so far)

Hi, everyone! I hope you’re all having a good Monday! (Well, as good as a Monday can get. Hopefully that’s better than my standards for Mondays.)

Let me just start off by saying that boy, this has been a pretty fantastic year for music.

I’ve already reviewed two albums that came out this year (See Twin Fantasy Re-Release and Lush), but now, there’s even more awesomeness out there to listen to! Also, I did end up seeing BOTH of the artists whose albums I’ve reviewed this year (Snail Mail and Car Seat Headrest. Best nights of my life. I met Lindsey Jordan, who was incredibly sweet, and Will Toledo said that we were the best crowd he’d seen on this tour 😭), which has further increased my appreciation for those bands. Some of my opinions have stayed the same, but others have grown on me since I first listened to them. But I’ll get to that later; here are my five favorite songs so far!

 

1. “Bodys”, Car Seat Headrest 

Nobody can match Will’s moves. Really.

 

My original rating for this song was about a 7/10. But it has grown on my a significant amount, not only from increased listening, but from this performance as well. That, and the fact that I found out that the “need-to-know-basis” thing at the end was Andrew Katz. Hysterical. 

This is my go to feel good song, one that you can bop to no matter what mood you’re in. And I won’t deny that when Car Seat Headrest played this when I saw them, I danced so much that I feared that my new glasses would fall right of my nose and plummet from the balcony. I sang myself hoarse, too. But it was totally, 100% worth it. ❤

 

2. “Heat Wave”, Snail Mail 

After watching this video, there’s basically no need for an explanation. 10/10. Five stars. ALWAYS YES. Also, this was the first song that they played when I saw them, and THEY ABSOLUTELY NAILED IT. I WAS SO HAPPY!!!

 

3. “Everybody Thinks They Know (But No One Really Knows)”, Naked Giants

(The video’s just as weird and fun as the song. Trust me.)

I first got introduced to Naked Giants through Car Seat Headrest. They opened about an hour before CSH, and they were INSANELY TALENTED. Spectacular job.

We bought a few of their songs a few weeks after that performance, and this is the one I fell in love with the most. The perfect balance between light, dancey pop and alt-rock, that isn’t so cringey that you immediately switch the station. (Also, I’ll admit to listening to it on repeat in the first week of high school to remind myself that the other freshmen were just as confused as I was.)

 

4. “No Going Back”, Yuno

(Cute little video as well. Simple, but somehow perfect for the song.)

I first heard this song through Sirius XMU, and even though the DJ made a terrible pun about the artist in question, I couldn’t get the song out of my head. Kind of like #3, where it struck the perfect balance between pop and rock. A bit like the child of Tame Impala and…something I can’t quite place. Either way, such a fantastic little song. 🙂

 

5. “Valley of the Dolls”, Santigold 

I swear, Santigold has become the ultimate “blast-this-song-out-the-car-window-at-full-volume” artist. No matter what, her music has the uncanny ability to make you dance, no matter what mood you’re in. (Or, at the very least, nod your head or tap your foot.) “Valley of the Dolls” was no exception. Out of I Don’t Want: The Gold Fire Sessions, this was my favorite. The perfect balance, the goldilocks. Also, it just brings back this funny memory of my family talking about a completely different, really depressing album (Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, if you’re dying to know 👌), and this happened to be playing in the background.

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Well, I hope I exposed you to some new music through this post! Enjoy the rest of your day, and stay tuned for the next BRT tomorrow!

Posted in Music

Twin Fantasy (2018 Re-release) album review

Yep, that’s right, everyone! Here is your promised Car Seat Headrest album review!

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Let me just start this off by saying…

There is not a single bad song on this album. 

 

Okay, that’s probably a teensy bit biased, but that’s what I’ve truly come to believe. I had bought a few songs off the original album, and they blew me away, but this re-release truly blew it out of the water. Don’t believe me? Here’s my review!

 

TRACK 1: “My Boy (Twin Fantasy)”-8/10

Though it’s only around two and a half minutes long, this song is a beautiful mix of simultaneous hope and poignancy, with consistancy and slowy building vocals and instrumentals. *sad smile* Aww, Will…

 

TRACK 2: “Beach Life-In-Death”-7.5/10

Normally, my patience for songs runs out at about eight minutes. “Beach Life-In-Death” clocks in at about thirteen. But the good thing about this song is that it’s like three different songs. The first five minutes or so have lyrics that reflect a sense of boredom and redundancy. Then, it changes to melancholy and regret, then slowly transitions back into fast-paced instruments similar to the first third of the song. Me gusta.

 

TRACK 3: “Stop Smoking (We Love You)”-8.5/10

 

 

This was one of the songs I initially bought off the original version of the album. A beautiful, pleading melody with a great message to top it all off. This new version backs up the instrumentals in the background a lot, making the song almost more powerful and meaningful, in some strange way.

 

TRACK 4: “Sober to Death”-10/10

 

This was the second song I bought off the original album. And OH MY GOD, Car Seat Headrest blew it out of the water EVEN MORE with the new version of this song! I loved the original the second I heard it, but this version makes me want to jump out of my chair and scream, cry, and dance. It really stirs up my soul and makes it want to burst at the very seams with pure joy. I swear I’m not overexaggerating-THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST SONGS IN RECORDED HISTORY. PERIOD.

 

TRACK 5: “Nervous Young Inhumans”-9/10

(This is the greatest music video ever. I gotta learn Will Toledo’s little dance.)

This song was the other one that I bought off the original album. Though I miss Will Toledo’s little rant about galvanism and Frankenstein and whatnot, I loooooooove the new version of this song. The lyrics (slightly changed) are easier to understand now, and their cleverness and wit truly shines through with this track.

 

TRACK 6: “Bodys”-7/10

Not the best track on the album, but a fun, catchy, and at times a bit hilarious song.

Okay, I’ll admit, the first time I heard Will Toledo say “Is it the chorus yet?
No. It’s just a building of the verse…” I cracked up. No joke. It’s almost like he wanted the song to end…God, I love Will so much.

 

TRACK 7: “Cute Thing”-9/10

 

Aaaaaah! Lovelovelovelove! Such a beautiful, quirky, song-something about it feels like a sort of anthem. An Indie-Rock love anthem. Also, kudos for the They Might Be Giants references.

 

TRACK 8: “High to Death”-7/10

This song moves about like a lazy river, foggy and misty, almost like a kind of wistful dream. Almost beautifully melancholy, and in the slightest sense, almost dirge-like. The lyrics of “Stop Smoking (We Love You)” are hidden in there too, but they’ve been twisted a bit, which I thought was interesting.  I didn’t like the random samples and looped vocals for the last two or so minutes of the song.

 

TRACK 9: “Famous Prophets (Stars)”-7/10

 

Like the track prior, “Famous Prophets (Stars)” has a dream-like quality, albeit a 16-minute long dream. It’s a pretty song, but after about around ten minutes, you kind of get the feeling like, “Jesus CHRIST, is this song ever going to end?” Like “High to Death”, there were some odd samples, and more lyrics from other songs (this time, slowed down lyrics to “My Boy (Twin Fantasy)”.

 

TRACK 10-“Twin Fantasy (Those Boys)”-7/10

With some lyrics borrowed from one of their older songs (“Sunburned Shirts”), more looped vocals, more brief Will Toledo musings, and an air of melancholy, regret, and almost jealousy, “Twin Fantasy (Those Boys)” makes for an interesting track. I like it about the same as I did “Bodys”. A sweet, wistful kind of song.

 

Just like I did with MASSEDUCTION, I averaged all of my scores for each song, and came out with a solid 8. Overall, pretty dang close to a masterpiece as far as albums go. An amalgam of melancholy, angst, hope, and poignancy that I doubt I’ll get tired of in the near future.

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I hope you enjoyed my album review, and have a great rest of your day!