December 8, 2005

On Music: Paranoid Times Indeed

B000A2APW6.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpgI'll be completely honest with you - I can't figure out what is so great about Our Lady Peace. It's not as if they're doing something new, blazing trails through new musical territories, creating something completely different. No, they're taking equal parts 90's grunge, alternative rock, a pinch of metal and emo and blending them into a hard-driving stew that, somehow, is greater than the sum of its parts. Of course, Raine Maida's voice is, quite obviously, unusual. But the anthem-like feel of the music isn't that much different than Live or U2 or (forgive me) Creed. OLP, however, outclasses all of them (with the possible exception of U2) by miles. Especially Creed. In that instance, it's light years.

1999's Happiness Is Not A Fish That You Can Catch has long been my favorite OLP album. It was chock full of musical goodness that's never gotten old. Unfortunately it was followed by 2001's Spiritual Machines which, while having some good songs, lost me with the whole conceptual thing they tried unsuccessfully to pull off. 2002's Gravity followed and it was worse. It seemed as though the guys decided a year had passed so it was time to knock out an album. I wasn't impressed. So, I was conflicted about buying their latest, Healthy in Paranoid Times. But I eventually did. And it turns out it was a good call. It's been in almost constant rotation on the iPod.

The album opens with the initially delicate then driving Angels/Losing/Sleep which segues into the equally angry Will The Future Blame Us. Picture, one of the album's highlight, starts innocently enough but culminates in a simple yet elegant guitar solo I haven't yet gotten tired of. Where Are You continues the intensity and Wipe That Smile Off Your Face is another angry song yet it manages to have a hook that, like most of the album, never seems to let go. Several other tunes are strong but largely inconsequential (Love and Trust, The World On A String) but don't rise to the level of filler. Boy proves to be interesting as it's undoubtedly an homage to U2 - not only should the song's title be familiar to U2 fans but the guitar work is distinctly reminiscent of The Edge. The album closes with a very short, very quiet piece Al Genina (Leave The Light On) which is in stark contrast to the rest of the album. Yet it works.

I've recently skimmed lots of Healthy reviews and they're not all positive. It seems a lot of die-hard fans loathe the album. But it also appears they're taking it too seriously. Healthy in Paranoid Times won't change the world nor does it alter the face of modern music. It's just a good, solid album.

New this week (and last since I slacked)...Tori Amos fans without iTunes will be happy as this week marks the release of The Original Bootlegs, a box set of live recordings previously only available online...Howie Day's Live sees the light of day as does 2005 sensation Ray LaMontagne's Live from Bonnaroo EP...The Darkness releases sophomore album One Way Ticket to Hell...and Back...and INXS resurrects itself with its reality TV-chosen lead singer.

On DVD...You can witness Ben Folds Live In Perth or Depeche Mode live One Night In Paris or catch Prince Live At The Aladdin, Las Vegas...Dave Matthews and his crew release Weekend at Red Rocks, two DVDs and one CD.

Yep...slow release week...

Posted by Chris at December 8, 2005 8:51 AM

I really appreciate your music reviews. Often I lose track of what's out there and it's nice of you to remind me!

Posted by: Heather at December 8, 2005 8:57 AM

I've been torn about getting the new album for the exact reasons you state... now I know it probably won't be a waste of money.

Posted by: amber at December 8, 2005 8:58 AM

Not a big fan of OLP. Although I really liked Superman's Dead. And that "We are all innocent..." made me want to hurl. But yeah, they have good craftsmanship. I know a lot of people who really love them, but not my speed. To polished perhaps.. (Like U2 or Live isn't -- I know.. it makes no sense.)

Anyway Raine and his wife Chantal Kreviasuk (sp?) worked on Avril Lavigne's second disk. (IN fact if you listen to Chantal then listen Avril you can hear the coaching... I totally forget the Avril track now, as traumatic as it was) *shrug*

Posted by: Nat at December 8, 2005 9:30 AM

I've seen Ben Folds live many times, and my I just say what a fantastic musical talent he is? I watched a show where it was literally just him, a piano, and a mic and I was completely blown away. The man is a freak of awesome proportions, and I am PISSED that he's living in Australia now so so far away from me and fanaticism.

Posted by: melati at December 8, 2005 11:10 AM

Ok, I am about to reveal my extreme nerdiness here, but I have never heard of any of the musicians you mention. Aside from Prince and INXS that is, but even then I can only vaguely remember what their music sounds like. Aaa! How did I become such a geek? First thing to do after I finish my thesis: listen to more itunes, lol.

Posted by: Kestrel at December 8, 2005 11:24 AM

I *love* HINAFTYCC.. Gravity does kind of suck. I"ll have to check out the new album, though. thanks for the review!

Posted by: Manda at December 8, 2005 11:31 AM

Nice, thanks for the heads up on Ben Folds. I'll have to go get this. I'll have to agree with melati, BF is one of the best live performers I have ever seen, and he's so down to earth and fan-friendly. I'll have to check out Our Lady Peace's new material, havent heard from them in awhile.

Cactus, where do you get your source for weekly new release material? I can never seem to find a good legit site that tells me where my money should be spent!

Posted by: E at December 8, 2005 11:55 AM

I love OLP. Love them. And I pre-ordered the DMB set through their Warehouse. Did I tell you I just got back from flying clear across country to see them in Toronto and it was one of the best live shows I've ever seen of them and I love them dearly?

OLP is growing up. The cd is a classic and I love the fact your review of their cd was a good one since they're good ole Canadian boys.

Posted by: Grace at December 8, 2005 12:17 PM

I'll have to check out OLP's stuff, honestly I don't think I've ever heard of them, you'll have to forgive my ignorance, but I'm from Mexico and you can't find much here, but these reviews give me an idea of what to look for (or what to download.. yes I can finally download music!!)
Thanks :)

Posted by: ava at December 8, 2005 12:32 PM

I have to give a big round of applause for the Tori bootlegs. Much of her music I've thought whatthehellisshepossiblyon! but they are really good. My honey is an avid fan, so she ordered them when they were first available on the Tori site.

Posted by: Bayou at December 8, 2005 1:17 PM

Yay for Depeche Mode. I love those guys.

Posted by: VirgoJen at December 8, 2005 1:32 PM

I love OLP and have for a long time. I will have to get this new CD.

Posted by: Adi at December 8, 2005 5:33 PM

yay for OLP (and yay for mentioning a canadian band!)! did you like 'Naveed'? for some reason, that is the only album of theirs that i own, i will have to check out the new one sometime (harder though as i am in Paris and they aren't big here!)

same with ben folds!

Posted by: Priscilla at December 9, 2005 4:54 AM

i have to say, while i enjoyed 'happiness is not a fish you can catch', i thought 'clumsy' was the better album.

Posted by: steph at December 9, 2005 1:16 PM

Check out "clumsy" and "naveed" by OLP too. Both are worth a listen.

First time commenting. I like the blog and will be back.


Posted by: JackassJimmy at December 9, 2005 11:21 PM