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  • How varied is your musical taste?

    Abr 22 2007, 10h10

    Okay. Another survey/meme to clog up your recommendations page and waste both my time and yours. Anyway.

    First, make a list of your top-20 artists overall. Then, for each of these artists, add the 8 most similar artists to your list. Delete any duplicates, count up the number of entries on your list and this will give you some idea of how eclectic your listening habits are. A score of 9 represents an extremely unvaried musical taste while a 160 represents an extremely varied one.

    Top 20
    1. Emilie Autumn
    2. Sarah Brightman
    3. Regina Spektor
    4. Nerina Pallot
    5. Tori Amos
    6. Emiliana Torrini
    7. Franz Ferdinand
    8. The Dresden Dolls
    9. Sir Edward Elgar
    10. Ani DiFranco
    11. Karen Matheson
    12. Gustav Mahler
    13. Sarah Chang
    14. 8mm
    15. Sia
    16. Poe
    17. Thea Gilmore
    18. Kronos Quartet
    19. Imogen Heap
    20. Dar Williams

    Similar Artists
    1. The Birthday Massacre
    2. Hannah Fury
    3. Dope Stars Inc.
    4. Rasputina
    5. L'Âme Immortelle
    6. Collide
    7. The Cruxshadows
    8. Ayria
    9. Enya
    10. Enigma
    11. Céline Dion
    12. Sarah McLachlan
    13. Loreena McKennitt
    14. Madonna
    15. Dido
    16. Delerium
    17. Sufjan Stevens
    18. Rilo Kiley
    19. Cat Power
    20. The Shins
    21. Bright Eyes
    22. The Decemberists
    23. Belle and Sebastian
    24. Death Cab For Cutie
    25. Sandi Thom
    26. The Feeling
    27. Sugababes
    28. KT Tunstall
    29. Girls Aloud
    30. James Morrison
    31. Jamelia
    32. Amy Studt
    33. Bjork
    34. Fiona Apple
    35. Alanis Morrisette
    36. PJ Harvey
    37. Garbage
    38. Ani DiFranco
    39. Portishead (Wtf? How is Portishead similar to Tori Amos?)
    40. Air
    41. Goldfrapp
    42. Zero 7
    43. Feist
    44. The Strokes
    45. The Killers
    46. The White Stripes
    47. Arctic Monkeys
    48. Coldplay
    49. Kaiser Chiefs
    50. Bloc Party
    51. Radiohead
    52. Yeah Yeah Yeahs
    53. The Cure
    54. Placebo
    55. Gabriel Fauré
    56. Antonín Dvořák
    57. Ralph Vaughan Williams
    58. Felix Mendelssohn
    59. Edvard Grieg
    60. Gioacchino Rossini
    61. Georg Friedrich Händel
    62. Georgez Bizet
    63. Indigo Girls
    64. Tegan and Sara
    65. Capercaillie
    66. Steve Howe & Annie Haslam
    67. Jeff Johnson & Brian Dunning
    68. William Coulter
    69. Lisa Lynne
    70. Fiona Joyce
    71. Nicci Berry
    72. Anúna
    73. Johannes Brahms
    74. Dmitri Shostakovich
    75. Anton Bruckner
    76. Franz Schubert
    77. Igor Stravinsky
    78. Johann Sebastian Bach
    79. Hector Berlioz
    80. Hilary Hahn
    81. Joshua Bell
    82. Jascha Heifetz
    83. Itzhak Perlman
    84. Anne-Sophie Mutter
    85. Nathan Milstein
    86. Gil Shaham
    87. Isaac Stern
    88. Frou Frou
    89. Daughter Darling
    90. Hooverphonic
    91. Sneaker Pimps
    92. Massive Attack
    93. Mandalay
    94. Roisin Murphy
    95. Damien Rice
    96. Jem
    97. Liz Phair
    98. Vienna Teng
    99. Rachael Sage
    100. Charlotte Martin
    101. Emm Gryner
    102. Heather Nova
    103. Beth Orton
    104. Philip Glass
    105. Steve Reich
    106. Arvo Pärt
    107. Clint Mansell
    108. John Cage
    109. John Zorn
    110. Terry Riley
    111. The Postal Service
    112. Snow Patrol
    113. The Shins
    114. Catie Curtis
    115. Melissa Ferrick
    116. Girlyman
    117. Lucy Kaplansky
    118. Patty Griffin

    118/160 x 100% = 73.75%

    Of course, we all know that the 'similar artists' column is, in a lot of cases, very misleading. I mean, how is Bach's music similar to Mahler's? And Madonna is totally not comparable to Sarah Brightman.
  • Clearing my listening data

    Abr 5 2007, 11h12

    Okay. After slightly more than 1 year and four months, I'm finally clearing my listening data. A couple of simple reasons.

    1. Honestly, after 25,085 plays it's getting more and more difficult to care about your charts.
    2. I'm listening to much more new music now, and the music I listen to on a daily basis is very different from what I used to have on heavy repeat a year ago.
    3. This might be fun.

    So for the sake of remembering what my old charts, here's a screenshot of my top 50 overall artists on last.fm on 5th April 2007:

  • Recent discoveries in music

    Fev 16 2007, 13h32

    I finally convinced myself I should write a new entry. Okay. Here it goes: I've been listening to quite a fair bit of new music lately, and I need to say something about them... right?

    Massive Attack
    House introduced me to "Teardrop", which in turn introduced me to Massive Attack. I went to get Mezzanine and I couldn't stop playing the album for an entire week. Their music really has this wonderful mixture of sweetness, darkness and claustrophobia. Favourites so far include "Angel", "A Prayer For England", "Group Four" and, of course, "Teardrop".

    Zero 7
    House also introduced me to "In the Waiting Line", which in turn introduced me to Zero 7. What I cannot fathom is why they're called the British Air; true, some of Zero 7's instrumentals do put you in mind of Air, but most of the time they sound completely different! Zero 7's sound is more organic, for a start. So far I'm loving almost all of the vocal tracks on Simple Things.

    Vienna Teng
    Am I alone in thinking that Warm Strangers is better than Waking Hour? Actually I'm quite surprised that it took me so long before I started listening to Vienna Teng's music, given that lots of people who recommend her say she's similar to Tori Amos. Actually, I find Teng extremely similar to Corrinne May - same kind of soothing, acoustic music. Generally pleasant and easy listening anyway.

    Kaiser Chiefs
    A bit overrated, a bit like Franz Ferdinand (except they're not as good), but extremely fun anyway. Maybe I should have paid more attention when my friends said that Kaiser Chiefs sounded a lot like Franz.

    Frou Frou
    I didn't really like Frou Frou at first. I don't know why, actually. Because after listening to Details a couple of times I think it's much better than Imogen Heap's Speak For Yourself. Don't get me wrong; I think Speak For Yourself is quite a fine album, but it's rather unmemorable save for a couple of songs, like "Hide and Seek" and "The Walk". Details, on the other hand, has lots more highlights. But at the end of the day, neither can compare to I Megaphone. :)
  • What shall we do with Charlotte Church?

    Dez 2 2006, 13h08

    This post is about our favourite crossover diva, Charlotte Church.

    Oops. I mean, our favourite crossover little girl, Charlotte Church.

    In case you haven't heard of what Church's been up to, she has done everything from calling the Pope a "Nazi" to releasing a bubblegum pop album called Tissues and Issues. Yes, I know, this is really old news, but I love old news.

    Crazy Chick

    Believe me, the first thing I did when I heard this song was to check the 30-second sample on Amazon to make sure I wasn't listening to Lindsay Lohan by mistake. Oh my god, what happened to Charlotte Church? You know, that pretty little girl with the most angelic voice in the world?

    Make no mistake: I hated Charlotte Church when she was trying to sing opera. She. Cannot. Sing. Opera. To. Save. Her. Life. All the subtleties and nuances of opera, gone. Yes, she has a lovely voice, but her interpretations are nonexistent. I mean, look, she sings the "Habanera" from <i>Carmen</i> like it was some kind of new age relaxation piece.

    Call My Name

    Oh, and yes, cynics were also laughing at the fact that Church can't possibly pull off an opera aria because she was only a kid. Then again, her rendition of "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" was also hopelessly bland.

    On the bright side, at least Charlotte Church sounds nice singing bubblegum pop. She's got a voice nicer than Britney Spears' and she sounds convincing when she's telling the whole world that she's a crazy chick. It might be a waste of talent, of course, but she wasn't exactly making full use of it when she decided to just focus on the crossover market in the first place. Besides, Charlotte Church clearly has issues, and we all know the best way for a singer to thrash out issues is to make an album full of songs that tell the world how terrible your life is.

    And hey, slick production and marketing always makes everything better, no?

    *sighs*

    Okay, okay. It's not that I have anything against crossover artists in general. If you look at my charts you will find artists like Sarah Brightman and Vanessa-Mae in my Top 5. It's just that I have something against music labels marketing crossover acts as "classical", which is seriously misleading and it's even worse when people believe that artists like Church and Brightman are the best things classical music can come up with.
  • Happy birthday to... my last.fm account?

    Nov 27 2006, 1h35

    Oh dear, how could I have forgotten! Yesterday was 26th November, which happened to be my last.fm account's birthday. *sings "Happy Birthday"*

    I must say that my musical tastes have changed drastically over the past year or so. Want proof? Just compare my overall charts with my rolling three-months charts.

    Overall Charts
    1. Tori Amos
    2. Sarah Brightman
    3. Delerium
    4. Vanessa-Mae
    5. Franz Ferdinand
    6. Itzhak Perlman
    7. Secret Garden
    8. Gustav Mahler
    9. Evanescence
    10. Enya

    Rolling 3-Months Charts
    1. Gustav Mahler
    2. Evanescence
    3. Nigel Kennedy
    4. Magdalena Kožená
    5. Itzhak Perlman
    6. Delerium
    7. Sir Edward Elgar
    8. Tori Amos
    9. Vanessa-Mae
    10. Carl Orff

    My 3-Months Charts, if you notice, is almost wholly dominated by classical artists. Go classical music.

    But since this journal entry is about my last.fm account's birthday and not my recent likes and faves, I'm going to have to analyse my overall charts.

    1. Tori Amos - 887 plays
    I think I stopped listening to Tori so much when I realised that she had registered so many plays on my charts. And I didn't like The Beekeeper so much and it took a really long time for Boys for Pele to sink into my head. From a Choirgirl Hotle remains my favourite album by Tori, and I will still continue to like a lot of her songs. It's just that I'm not going to play her music so often since I'm still discovering more music as I go along.

    2. Sarah Brightman - 874 plays
    Like Tori, I haven't been listening to Sarah Brightman a lot. This is very simple: I gave up on much of Sarah Brightman's music when I discovered opera. Her voice is lovely, yes, and her songs are nice, but she doesn't have a lot of control over her voice. And besides, a lot of the singing on Harem was pretty awful. I still like Eden quite a lot, but I overplayed that album sometime at the beginning of this year. She charts so high on my account based on the fact that I own all her albums from Fly onwards.

    3. Vanessa-Mae - 822 plays
    I may be a huge Vanessa-Mae fan, but I really can't figure out why some of her fanatics believe that she is the greatest violinist ever. I mean, hello, have you listened to her tone on her classical albums? She claims that she idolises Jascha Heifetz... The least she could do is learn from him and brush up on her tone. I like Vanessa-Mae for her contemporary/pop stuff, primarily the material from Subject to Change and Choreography (because Storm is such a mixed bag) and I really look forward to her new album. Then again, she has recently announced that her new album is going to draw inspiration primarily from famous opera and ballet themes, I wonder if she's going to end up playing encore albums for the rest of her life. That'll be really sad because, well, that's usually what mediocre classical artists do when they can't tackle the main repertoire.

    4. Delerium - 819 plays
    All right, all right. I'm going to come clean: I don't like Nuages du Monde. It's a very clean, atmospheric album, but I didn't finish listening to the CD thinking, "Hey, those are really great songs. Let's play them again." While none of the songs were as terrible as the ones on Chimera, at least Chimera had some really great songs on it. Like "Truly" or "After All". I still like Delerium an awful lot, because I think that similar acts like Conjure One and Balligomingo still can't compare to their music. And the joys of Karma and Poem are enough to right all their recent wrongs anyway.

    5. Franz Ferdinand - 581 plays
    Oh, Franz! Thanks to Franz Ferdinand, I would never forget whose death caused the outbreak of World War I. Thanks to Franz Ferdinand, I found one of my favourite songs of 2006 - "Michael". They're absolutely fun, catchy, quirky, and... Well, I'm not going to listen to them so much until they release a new album. You can only listen to 2 albums so many times before you get irreversibly sick of them. (Yes, there's the b-sides, but they're becoming really overplayed too)

    6. Itzhak Perlman - 559 plays
    I discovered Perlman from the soundtrack to Schindler's List. I started out by listening to Perlman's Cinema Serenade, which is really a collection of hits from film scores arranged for solo violin and orchestra. Then I branched out and started listening to Perlman playing the core violin repertoire, and he's now my favourite violinist. Well, one of my favourite violinists, anyway. I also like Sarah Chang and Nigel Kennedy quite a lot. I really like his recording of Felix Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor (the live recording with Daniel Barenboim and the Chicago Symphony) as well as that of Samuel Barber's Violin Concerto on The American Album. His tone is just pure bliss, even if he does tend to pour too much syrup on his Bach.

    7. Secret Garden - 489 plays
    I really loved Secret Garden back in 2004-5. Then came Earthsongs, which was totally unimpressive. And then I got sick and tired of their music and I rarely played their music. While I enjoyed Once in a Red Moon, I still find Secret Garden too pretentious for my liking. I mean, their liner notes really make Evanescence's lyrics far less lame. If they could be a little more like Karl Jenkins...

    8. Gustav Mahler - 463 plays
    I discovered the joys of Mahler through his tenth symphony. I know it's the worst place to start because strictly speaking, it's not really Mahler because he didn't finish writing it. But later I fell in love with Mahler's second and fifth symphonies and since then Mahler's become my favourite classical composer. I think the best thing about Mahler is that there are so many recordings of his music (thanks to Leonard Bernstein's work) and so many interpretations exist. Now, only if people were more receptive towards the performing versions of the tenth symphony... (Come on, no one ever argues when it comes to performing Mozart's Requiem)

    9. Evanescence - 460 plays
    I used to like Evanescence a lot back when I was 13. And then I continually played stuff from The Open Door and Evanescence began to climb up my charts once more. Yes, I know, it's really angsty and silly but who cares? I don't listen to Evanescence for their lyrics. Not really, anyway. I like Evanescence for their tunes and Amy Lee's singing. In terms of songwriting, I think I still like their earlier stuff better, but since that's all gone and past, who cares?

    10. Enya - 446 plays
    Has anyone actually listened to Amarantine? From what I've gathered, few people actually realise that Enya released a new album last year, and she's now got a Christmas CD too. Amarantine is something like Delerium's Nuages du Monde: on the whole, better than the last album, but at the expense of creating a CD that's completely unmemorable. Furthermore, Enya's music gets really boring after a while because they all sound the same. It's a nice sound, but too much of it is a bit pointless. Looks set to drop out of my top 10 very, very soon.
  • Loreena McKennitt - An Ancient Muse

    Nov 24 2006, 12h53

    Finally got down to listening to Loreena McKennitt's new album. Her first studio album in... 9 years?

    Okay. I've fallen in love with McKennitt's music all over again. There used to be a time when I listened to nothing but Loreena McKennitt. Then I stopped listening to her songs because I got a little sick of them. But since there's a nwe album now, there's new music!

    I must say that Loreena McKennitt's musical style hasn't changed much in 9 years. So while the standard of her music hasn't dropped, it hasn't improved much either. But I think her voice still sounds very beautiful, and the songwriting is marginally better than on The Book of Secrets. At least the songs on the album don't sound the same.

    1. Incantation
    Instrumental track. Think of "Prologue" from Book of Secrets, but better. Nothing too special about this song, but it serves as a good introduction.

    2. The Gates of Istanbul
    I like the accompanying instruments, but I was expecting this song to be another "The Mummers' Dance" or "The Mystic's Dream" when I first listened to the sample. It's a nice song, but not extremely memorable.

    3. Caravanserai
    I love the singing on this song, and the lyrics are also very pretty. Nice melody as well. Reminds me of "The Dark Night of the Soul", for some reason.

    4. The English Ladye and the Knight
    Well, it's a ballad. As in, the kind that tells a story. But if we're going to talk about the music it's definitely not as memorable as "The Lady of Shalott" or "The Highwayman". And as a setting of Sir Walter Scott's poem it somehow isn't as epic as the text suggests it should be.

    4. Kecharitomene
    Another instrumental. The melody is very similar to "Prologue". So it's something like a cross between "Marco Polo" and "Prologue". I like this song. It's one of Loreena McKennitt's better instrumentals.

    5. Penelope's Song
    Slow song with beautiful, soulful singing, a la "Dante's Prayer". I love this song.

    6. Sacred Shabbat
    Another instrumental. This should be the most exotic-sounding instrumental on the disc, but I feel that it pales in comparison to "Kecharitomene" and "Incantation". Well, it's still quite a good song.

    7. Beneath a Phrygian Sky
    Longest song on the CD. Nice lyrics, nice tune, very memorable despite its simplicity. Oh, and the introduction is very good. Reminds me of "The Two Trees".

    8. Never-Ending Road (Amhrán Duit)
    And this album ends with a slow, quiet song. Like "Dante's Prayer".
  • Lyrics Game

    Nov 19 2006, 12h50

    Hey, this game's pointless, but fun. :) First lines from 30 random songs in my iTunes. If you've got it right, I'll strike out the lyrics. Let's go.

    1. You can cry a million tears, you can wait a million years
    2. As I took a step number four into the close of your tenement
    What You Meant

    3. Don't let those precious moments fool you, happiness is getting you down
    4. I love you like a whisper, I love you all alone
    5. I used to put my faith in worship, but then my chance to get to heaven slipped
    6. Please, please forgive me, but I won't be home again
    Missing

    7. Inflammation of the foreskin reminds me of your smile
    Medical Love Song

    8. Been the crawl of a mountain, been the link in a chain
    Empire State

    9. You'll never see the courage I know, its colors' richness won't appear within your view
    Never Is a Promise

    10. And I long to go, love started here, shoot your stars, pure like a star
    11. I wake up and the day feels broken, I tilt my head, I'm trying to get an angle
    12. So I ran faster, but it caught me here
    Precious Things

    13. See myself in the pouring home, see the light come over now
    14. I said I'm sorry to change my mind, it was a little cold that night
    15. The daylight's fading slowly, but time with you is standing still
    Breathless

    16. I know good things, I know bad as well
    Truly

    17. After school, walking home, fresh dirt under my fingernails
    The Sun

    18. It's dark in here and visions are flashing into my head as I reminisce
    Come Here Boy

    19. Heaven bend to take my hand and lead me through the fire
    Fallen

    20. My mother spent 10 years sitting by a window, scared if she spoke she would die of a heart attack
    21. Time, time, time, see what's become of me
    Hazy Shade of Winter

    22. Two weeks away it feels like the whole world should've changed
    Sand in My Shoes

    23. Nothing unusual, nothing's strange, close to nothing at all
    Amie

    24. It's all coming back to me now, that strange and almost endless dream
    25. There used to be a greying tower alone on the sea
    Kiss from a Rose

    26. In the back of a car on a road in the dark
    27. So you don't want to hear about my good song?
    Good Day

    28. When the dark wood fell before me, and all the paths were overgrown
    Dante's Prayer

    29. I'm a high school lover, and you're my favourite flavour
    Playground Love

    30. Turn around and smell what you don't see

    Franz Ferdinand
    Poe
    Sarah McLachlan
    Moby
    Nerina Pallot
    Tori Amos
    Damien Rice
    Delerium
    Bjork
    Thea Gilmore
    Simon & Garfunkel
    Monty Python
    Madeleine Peyroux
    Seal
    Loreena McKennitt
    The Corrs
    Fiona Apple
    Air
    Goldfrapp
    Imogen Heap
    Enigma
    Evanescence
    Guster
    Metric
    Dido
    Conjure One
    Maroon 5
    Jamiroquai
    The Dresden Dolls
    Scissor Sisters
  • I haven't done the Weekly Top Ten thing in a million years.

    Nov 13 2006, 8h44

    My weekly top ten charts are getting more and more interesting by the week. And more neurotic, perhaps.

    8. Gustav Mahler
    Oh, Mahler. I've rediscovered a new love for his 4th Symphony, as well as for Das Lied Von Erde. Sadly, though, you can listen to a lot of Mahler on your computer and yet your playcounts for his music still remains low because his symphonies are so long.

    8. Itzhak Perlman
    I've recently listened to Perlman's recording of Sergei Prokofiev's 2nd Violin Concerto in G minor. It's the live recording with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Daniel Barenboim. I really, really like it, although I think I still like Kyung Wha Chung's version better.

    8. Sarah Brightman
    I haven't listened to Sarah Brightman's music in a very long time. Partly because her vocals in Harem really disappointed me, and I really overplayed her music earlier on this year. I still like the way she used her voice in Eden and La Luna, though. Just that I don't love her music as much as I did last year.

    7. Karol Szymanowski
    Szymanowski is quite rarely heard these days; in fact, I discovered his music through my strange obsession with Simon Rattle. I think that his setting of the Stabat Mater is really good, and I highly recommend his music to fans of late Romantic/early twentieth-century classical music. Some of his music is somewhat influenced by Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy, so if you like those two you might want to check Szymanowski out as well.

    6. Bjork
    Like what I've said in my previous journal, I re-listened to Vespertine again and discovered that I actually like a lot of the songs in there. True, it's not as good as Homogenic, but it's certainly more accessible than Bjork's more recent efforts. Such as Drawing Restraint 9. And Vespertine does have several good songs on it.

    4. The Like
    I found out about The Like from AllMusic a year ago, but I've only got their whole album recently. Currently, I really like "Falling Away", "What I Say And What I Mean" and "You Bring Me Down". Certainly recommended for fans of alternative rock with female vocals.

    4. Damien Rice
    I love 9. Most of my friends said they were rather disappointed by O because they really preferred his B-Sides. But that's besides the point. I think 9 is a tighter album in terms of its songs and concepts, and it's more consistent than O. Enough said.

    2. Evanescence
    No matter how much I try, I still can't get Evanescence out of my Top 10. *laughs* Difference is, I've been playing less of The Open Door this week and listening to more of Fallen. You know, nostalgia. I really loved Evanescence when I was 13. Funny thing is, I've never liked Evanescence for their angsty or emotional lyrics. I just thought Amy Lee had a really wonderful voice and the lyrics were well-written. I mean, I didn't like all the angst, but some of them were really well-crafted. Oh, and the songs were nice. I used to loop "Going Under" like nobody's business back then.

    1. Magdalena Kožená
    Oh yes. Magdalena Kožená is my greatest discovery in the past few months. She's a really amazing mezzo-soprano who changed my perception of classical songs completely. In the past, I didn't really like listening to opera or classical art songs because I thought classical singing was shrill and unpleasant. But Kožená's voice is really rich, expressive and warm. Her voice is comparable to Cecilia Bartoli, although it's actually quite hard to do a real comparison because of the differences in their ages. Her latest album of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's opera arias is highly recommended.
  • When your tastes change.

    Nov 11 2006, 1h54

    Oh dear, I've just realised I haven't written anything on last.fm in almost 3 months!

    I just listened to Bjork's Vespertine again this morning, after something like 3 months since I last listened to the whole album. When I first heard the CD, I didn't really think much of it. Somehow, it didn't make that same kind of emotional effect that Homogenic had on me. But I think I've changed my mind about a lot of the songs on the album, like "Hidden Place", "Undo". And I still like "Pagan Poetry" a lot.

    I know everyone has said a lot about Evanescence's The Open Door. I must say that I thought it was much better than Fallen when I first heard it. For me, the songs were more instantly likeable and I fell in love with "Sweet Sacrifice" when I first heard it. Of course, now that I've had the CD for over a month, I must say that as an album, The Open Door doesn't have the same kind of impact as Fallen. Amy Lee's voice certainly sounds better now, but the songs aren't as unique or special. They're good songs, but nothing on the CD is going to next "Bring Me To Life" or "My Immortal". Or "Going Under".

    Speaking of which, why does everyone seem to think that "Lithium" is this CD's "My Immortal"? Other than the fact that both songs have a slow tempo and rely on a piano accompaniment, I can't see what else makes both songs similar. Besides, "My Immortal" has much better lyrics. Much, much better.

    Have also recently acqured Damien Rice's 9 and Josh Groban's Awake. Love the Damien Rice album, still don't think much of Josh Groban's new CD.
  • Nitpicking my top artists?

    Ago 19 2006, 11h59

    I got this idea from this journal here. So much kudos to the guy who thought this up.

    Basically, you take 5 of your Top 10 artists (or all 10 of them if you want, which is exactly what I'm going to do) and write about what you don't like about them. What irritates you, basically.

    I'll be referring to my rolling 3-month charts here, because I took a look at my Top 10 and realised how much of it didn't make sense.

    10. Secret Garden
    The most annoying thing about Secret Garden is that they seem to alternate between producing really good albums and really horrible ones. I mean, Songs from a Secret Garden and White Stones were pretty good, but Dawn of a New Century was just full of pretentious, new age rubbish; Once in a Red Moon was brilliant, although Earthsongs was just plain boring. Otherwise, their music is pretty good (although I don't really like them as much nowadays).

    9. Iain Ballamy
    I can't really comment much on him because, well, my only encounter with his music is the soundtrack to Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean's Mirrormask. It's a surprisingly good soundtrack without any particularly bad numbers, and it really suits the atmosphere of the movie. My only gripe with it is that while a lot of the tunes are good, they fail to stick in your head.

    8. Carl Orff
    You see, Carl Orff's Carmina Burana is the perfect example of a one-hit wonder. Even so, the only thing most people have heard from Carmina Burana is the 'O Fortuna' chorus or 'In Trutina'. Er... My complaint about his music is that it's really simple - although that could be a brave thing, considering that every other German composer in the early twentieth century strove to make their music as complex as possible. I also have serious issues with his orchestration, but that's about it.

    7. Gustav Mahler
    Mahler was a brilliant symphonist; almost all of his symphonies are brilliant and dramatic - and he's really good at developing his melodies and ideas. The problem is, I consider 'Titan' (Symphony No. 1) an embarrassment - half the material is ripped off from somewhere else, for crying out loud. And only if he died after completing his Tenth.

    5. Franz Ferdinand
    Franz is good, really good. But if their first album is so good, why is their second so... bland? You Could Have It So Much Better tends towards mellow, emo lyrics (come on, the buildings will fall down?) - and it simply wasn't as quirky as their debut album. That said, they're still a good band and let's hope their next album will be better.

    5. Bjork
    Medulla was experimental, but at least it had several good songs on it (she needs to realise that certain songs just don't suit her voice). I thought Drawing Restraint 9 was plain embarassing - I don't mind strange and bizarre, but you can be strange and bizarre without being boring.

    4. Vanessa-Mae
    I hated The Violin Player, I hate about half of Storm. And Vanessa-Mae cannot play classical music to save her life, no matter what her die-hard fans say. Don't misunderstand me; I love Vanessa-Mae and her music, but she's just not the greatest violinist on earth. If I wanted to hear a stunning interpretation of The Four Seasons, I'd have stuck to Nigel Kennedy.

    3. Sarah Brightman
    My complaint about Sarah Brightman is that her music too-often lacks personality; she has a great voice and her covers are often very good, but her albums tend to lack... emotion, I suppose. And she needs to learn to control her voice when singing classical arias.

    2. Delerium
    Chimera is an extremely horrible album. End of story. -pauses- Oh well, it did have some rather good songs on it, like 'After All' and 'Truly' and 'Run For It' - but let's face it, it doesn't measure up to their earlier stuff.

    1. Tori Amos
    What happened to Tori? She made really great music when she started out, and she continued to make great music until... Scarlet's Walk? She started to put lesser emotion into her music and the tunes started sounding like some feel-good easy-listening smooth alternative pop. And The Beekeeper was just ridiculous.