The Watchmakers Make Music Less Misanthropic, More Catchy

The Watchmakers latest release, The Misanthrope, is a cordial piece of pop-rock as scatterbrained as it is instrumentally- catchy. This isn’t a bad thing, necessarily.

The very first track, “Re: Split My Side,” front-loads the entire affair with the albums best track. It’s a catchy, sharp song with hooks to spare and every member on-point and tight. The album remains tight up to about the halfway mark when you can feel the band loosening up. For some bands this could be a good thing; but in this instance them getting loose means they start getting a bit sloppy.

Instrumentation is still tight, but you get the feeling that this would have made a better EP than a full-album. The whole middle of the album feels like filler between an excellent front and book-end.

But good news for you is the album is FREE to download over at Bandcamp, so even if you like one song, The Watchmakers win.


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The Songs Of The Muppets Should Stay The Muppets’ Songs

You know that feeling where completely irrational partisanship takes over and you almost don’t even give a remake or, in this case, a collection of cover songs, a chance? This is an album that almost falls into that category.

It’s not that the band’s they’ve gotten together to contribute Muppet covers are all bad, per se (though some can definitely argue that), it’s that most, if not all, of these songs serve no purpose above [insert band] covering [insert song]. Most times that would be exactly what you want from an album of covers, but here it comes off as odd because, as much as I’m breaking every rule of being fair, I find myself going “this just doesn’t have the charm of a felt puppet with a weird voice singing it.”

Take the opening track, a cover of the theme from The Muppet Show by OK GO. It’s interesting; but It’s kind-of played too-dark and off-putting for a Muppet song. Or the misguided Weezer/Hayley Williams cover of Rainbow Connection, over-produced to the point of missing the mark; there was no need for a second vocalist and the autotune is dripping of both of them.

Again, I’m not saying you can’t enjoy these covers for what they are, but I’m saying not to expect anything that either blows you away or adds anything new and exciting to the Muppet music canon.

Stream the whole album over at NPR.


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Watch The Throne Delivers Nothing More, Nothing Less Than Advertised

With the physical release of the Kanye West/Jay-Z collaboration LP Watch The Throne this week, a week after the digital release, I’ve had a whole seven days to let this album sit on me and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s exactly what it says it is. Nothing more, nothing less.

If you’ve ever wanted a full album of Jay-Z and Kanye West collabs than this is it. If you were expecting a game-changing album brought to you by two of the biggest personalities in hip-hop or a mono-a-mono face-off of technical skill ala Bad Meets Evil, than this is not the album you’ve been waiting for; but then, you should have never expected this album to be that.

What this album is though is a giant, celebratory victory lap from two men who have more money than you will probably ever see, let alone be in possession of, flaunting their wealth and success in a particularly down economy.

If you want to hear tracks about Jay-Z going to Mars and how Beyonce is his “bitch,” then this album will give that to you.

But few moment get real, like “Murder To Excellence”,  which goes into the topic of murder and genocide, but comes off completely out of place with a track like “Who Gon Stop Me?” preceding it, where Kanye casually raps about having sex with a waitress and then name-checking the Holocaust.

It’s a messy affair to be sure, but the production on tracks like “That’s My Bitch,” “No Church In The Wild” and accompanying guest stars like Elle Jackson, Beyonce, and Frank Ocean help to prop up the album with strong hooks (they would need someone as good as Beyonce to make “Lift Off” work).

As Kanye raps on the expensive-sampling “Otis,” “I pulled up in my other, other Benz.” That’s cool; hey, I’m gonna go cash this $200 paycheck, but you have fun with your car(s).


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