We weren’t really prepared for the amount of time we spent in the rental car going from town to town. I. had burned a couple discs and figured we’d pick up some blank CD-R’s in Europe–but blank CD-R’s were elusive in the small towns were we were most of the time. As a result, we listened to these three albums over and over again, which in and of itself was an strange (occasionally tiring) experience (save for our time in Guethary–the house playlist there was CSN demos mostly, but Le Madrid had an amazing and very diverse rotation). Here they are:
1. Dirty Projectors Bitte Orca
All I really knew of Dirty Projectors was “Stillness is the Move.” I’d listened to the album a little, but had by no means gotten hooked. After three weeks of constant listening, I LOVE this album. It’s just totally insane. Half the time it sounds like they’re making up the lyrics on the spot (Longstreth at least) but what they are playing and saying is so good I just don’t care. Lines about living in the basement and washing the dishes? Led Zeppelin references mixed with out of this world female diva sopranos? It’s just too much fun. Winding through the tiny country roads of the Luberon, this sounded like the perfect vacation record.
2. Phoenix Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
OK, brace yourselves. I’m about to make a seriously unpopular statement. There are about three tracks on this album that are really fun, but the rest of it is completely unlistenable. Actually, there was a bit of arguing in the car every time we got past the first couple of tracks. I’d start making fun of the lyrics, “So sentimental, not sentimental no!” And the title of this album? Yeah, I get it, it’s “ironic.” When is irony going to go out of style? It’s so tired. Yes, fun, but fleeting. Nothing I can listen to for three weeks straight.
3. Wilco Wilco (the album)
Again a potentially unpopular statement, I’m not the biggest Wilco fan. I like them. I think they make good music. I’ve listened to their albums quite a bit, but they aren’t really “me.” I’m not their audience. But this most recent album is possibly my favorite ever. There is a great stylistic range to the songs, which is essential to any album you plan on listening to everyday for three weeks. While Bitte Orca was an instant favorite, and Phoenix’s “Lisztomania” goes down saccharine-sweet the first time, Wilco (the album) is more of a creeper. I love the rock and the ballads. And with a track featuring Feist I couldn’t resist.