CD Reviews

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Jan 252006
 
Authors: Hailey McDonald

Having grown up in Small Town, U.S.A., I'd like to think I have built a tolerance -nay, even an appreciation-for horrible, horrible music.

When your hometown still blasts "Achy Breaky Heart" at summer fairs and people actually paint their vehicles to resemble the cover of an Insane Clown Posse album, you realize at a young age to make the best of any music you get to listen to.

"Achy Breaky Heart?" – no problem. I can listen to any Billy Ray Cyrus song as long as I imagine him swinging his sexy mullet in the air while pouring his soul out in every lyric.

However, you know you have popped in a CD that could make any "Worst 100" list when the first track is titled "Unicorns in Space." This is Magicyclops.

So I did a little self-reflection and realized the last time I heard a synthesizer was when I was rocking out to the 80's hit "I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight" by the Cutting Crew. I think we can all agree they knew how to work the synthesizer like Billy Ray worked his mullet. Not the same for Magicyclops.

His new album, "Best of Synthesizer Hits," not only desecrates the entire reputation of Indie music, but also is one of the only albums I have ever listened to that makes me want to disembowel myself.

Now, now… I don't want to be a negative Nancy, so I want to mention a few things. If you are a person who has grown to love and cherish the sweet, yet tangy sound of the magical instrument we call the synthesizer, then this CD is just the ticket for your listening enjoyment. The album would also be pretty cool under the influence of some kind of illegal substance. Although, we all know substance abuse is never cool. If anything, the track titles on "The Best of Synthesizer Hits" are good for a quality laugh. Some of the various titles include: "Gnomes Gone Wild," "The Diabolical Mr. Pickles," "Wrath of (Chaka) Kahn" and "Rainbow of Pain."

You can pick up the album for sheer entertainment or check out one of Magicyclops' local performances at the Starlight.

Nellie McKay jazzes up the music scene

"My cat died today and I quickly poured myself some gin. Did she die from old age or was if for my sins." WHAT?! This is one of the endless, outrageous lyrics from Nellie McKay. This young woman, only 19 years old, has taken the music industry by storm with her brilliant lyrics and antiquated voice.

If you found Fiona Apple's "Extraordinary Machine" unique, look up Nellie McKay. Her 2004 album "Get Away From Me" vomits creativity and innovation. From her catchy tunes to her smooth ballads, you will skip away from this musical experience with feelings of pure delight and numerous songs stuck in your head.

McKay creates an immaculate concoction of words, melodies and beats perfect for any occasion. While her voice is absolutely beautiful, she chooses to take on a sing-songy rap tone for several tracks on the CD. In other reviews she has been compared to Eminem for her not-so-surface-level lyrics. Whether she raps about defying the "man" or her passionate commitment to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), there is no question that Nellie McKay is not your typical hip-hop artist.

She distinguishes herself unlike many of America's young musicians. We are so used to seeing young girls with talent sell themselves rather than their skills. However this is not the case with McKay. Before listening to the album, I doubted there was a genre of sophisticated music that could be fun as well. The album is perfect for those who are coming to terms with their intellectual capability rather than being hand-fed every source of media via MTV.

If you dig Tori Amos, Frank Sinatra, Fiona Apple, Ella Fitzgerald or Jamie Cullum, check out "Get Away From Me." Songs to download: "The Dog Song" and "Sari."

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