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Friday, November 10, 2006

The beat goes on...

Adam Hussain's Truth and Slander - Goldie Lookin Chain
Adore - Smashing Pumpkins
After All (CDS) - The Frank and Walters
After The Goldrush - Neil Young
Afterglow - Dot Allison

Suitable Friday listening? You tell me. Adore is far too long though, I know that much. It followed me around for most of the morning until Billy Corgan's whine started to feel like tinnitus. It's surely no coincidence that a large number of the albums that are consistently considered to be 'classics' are relatively short - Revolver, Rubber Soul, Pet Sounds, Definitely Maybe, Dark Side of the Moon - then again, given that classic status is often conferred by middle-aged white men who think that Cream were a good idea, perhaps I shouldn't pay too much attention to that. Anyway, the point is that when bands were restricted by the forty-odd minutes that two sides of vinyl offered them they got up, made their point, and buggered off. Only when they felt they really had something to say that just couldn't be done in that short space of time did they stray into the territory of the double album.

CDs offer space for 80 minutes of music and too many bands labour under the grossly mistaken idea that they have something so profound, so earth-shattering to communicate to their fellow humans, that they need to utilise every available second to do this. Adore is simply one of many albums that overstays its welcome like a depressed drunk at the end of a party - add to that list Mother Love Bone's eponymous 'opus' (death does wonderful things for a band's reputation), R.E.M's recent releases (especially when compared with the nun's chuff tightness of the albums they put out in their early days), and pretty much most of Pink Floyd's post-Syd output, among many others. The Smashing Pumpkins are a one-band example of diminishing returns through increasing length - Gish was shortish and full of great tunes; admittedly, Siamese Dream is far from being a twenty minute hardcore punk thrash, but at that point they had enough to say and more than enough talent to justify the length of the album - unfortunately the albums got longer and the songs got shiter, reaching the nadir with the sprawling mess of punnery and ego that is Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. So, simple advice - unless you've got fourteen or fifteen songs that you really have to get out your system in one go (and have got enough to keep you going through subsequent albums), keep it short unless you want to be one of those bores that keeps droning on when people clearly aren't listening anymore... Oh.

For the umpteenth post people are probably wondering what any of this has to do with 'Tokyo Music'. That's the name of the blog, isn't it? Why aren't you writing about Japanese bands? Why aren't you telling me about the group of four cross-dressing salarymen from Hokkaido called Fish Paste Monkey Stew is Coming Over the Mountain (Soon), who sound like a cross between Tom Waits and Westlife? Firstly, as far as I know, FPMSICOTM(S) haven't been invented yet; and secondly, this is Tokyo Music - this is the music I listen to in Tokyo. Hah. Got you there, haven't I?