The New Why? Album

Disconnected notes below.

This has been a strange period in my music-listening life. I’m consuming less music than is normally the case, in part because I’m using very awkward headphones. Also, I’ve reluctantly concluded that the music I enjoy dancing to isn’t the music others enjoy dancing too. And as a social animal, this means that I have to cede at least some control over my sonic environment. My sense is that I’ll come out of my musical slump soon.

I was expecting to be disappointed by the new Why? record because it is apparently fairly hip-hop-free. But then I listened to “Eskimo Snow,” the title track, and I’m sold. Have already purchased my tickets to their 9/26 show.

I’ve also been listening to the Bike for Three! album, a collaboration between Canadian rapper Buck 65 and a Belgian electronica virtuoso. Note that Canada and Belgium are both famously fragile multinational states. Surely this has some deeper significance.

While walking to my office this morning, I accidentally played a few tracks from the new YACHT album. I like it! But I still think YACHT should have stayed part of THE BLOW. The YACHT remix of “Hock It” is better than the singles from both of the YACHT albums I own. Mikhaela of THE BLOW (sorry about the capitalization — I feel compelled) is apparently an extraordinary figure. A friend of mine lived in Seattle for a couple of years after graduating from Wesleyan, and she told me that Mikhaela was what Hall & Oates might call “a man-eater,” the female equivalent of a “lady-killer.” Though Mikhaela is not conventionally smooth, as evidenced by her spastic (and quite charming) dance moves, this makes sense to me. Jona might have felt overshadowed by her charisma, which is not crazy. And I assumed he wanted access to a wider sonic palette. Fair enough. But he had a good thing going. In this uncertain moment, is it reasonable to ask for more? (Yes, it is.) The beats on “So Post All ‘Em,” the first track from I Believe In You. Your Magic Is Real. are excellent: sounds like a combination of tabla and bubbles popping. You know what would’ve improved the song? Mikhaela’s vocals. Now I’m belaboring the point.

I saw Me Without You for the second time roughly eight years after I saw it the first time. It was as good as I had remembered, and it prompted me to start listening to more Depeche Mode. “Just Can’t Get Enough” features prominently in the soundtrack. It’s an excellent song, but I think I prefer “Enjoy the Silence,” which has a pleasantly morbid quality.

I’m really hoping to hear a new song I like as much as Barr’s 2006 single “The Song Is the Single.”

I also love Barr’s “Half of Two Times Two.”

When the heck is this man going to record a new album? I narrowly missed seeing him in L.A. because I was giving a talk — truly one of my great regrets.

Summary is really one of the best albums I’ve ever heard.