Monday, February 21, 2005

Recent additions to our CD library

We've been busy music shoppers in the past few weeks. Here's a quick rundown of our new purchases.

Coldplay -- Parachutes and A Rush of Blood to the Head

I can't believe I didn't discover Coldplay until the latter half of 2004. I had heard some of their songs before, like "Clocks," but I wasn't really aware of how great their music was until "Don't Panic" appeared on the soundtrack to Garden State. Liz played the soundtrack a few times for me and I borrowed the CDs to give their entire repertoire a try. When "The Scientist" started up, four songs into Rush, I was hooked. Their music is mellow, plaintive, yet melodic and colorful. I'm still shocked that I like them so much -- while I will always love classical music both bombastic and relaxing, I'm a hard rock guy at heart. Coldplay is a long way from hard rock, but I love it anyway.

Green Day -- American Idiot

I haven't bought a Green Day album since Dookie ten years ago. But we were intrigued when this album got so many excellent reviews, many of them comparing it favorably with Tommy. When you make a claim like that, you've got my attention. I've listened to the album twice and I still don't have any idea what the rock opera is about, but the music is fantastic. Green Day still rock like it's 1994, and in their case that's a good thing. I wouldn't have thought a punk band was capable of musical storytelling of this magnitude, and I'm pleasantly surprised to be wrong.

Scissor Sisters -- Scissor Sisters

Liz bought this album, not me, but I'm quickly becoming a fan of this band too. When I first heard "Take Your Momma Out," Liz said they were way too new and hip for old folks like us. Then they appeared on "Saturday Night Live" a few months back, and while we weren't any more impressed with that song on the show, they wowed us both with their disco/Bee Gees cover of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb." As many others have noted, they sound much like early Elton John, but they play a variety of styles on their debut album. I'm not sure how to classify them. I'd like to call them pop, but there's some rock and dance in there too. I listen to the album, thinking that I'm not going to like most of the songs, but more and more of them are growing on me.

George Gershwin -- Rhapsody in Blue, An American in Paris, Piano Concerto

We were in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn a few weeks ago for an afternoon and evening of gallery hopping and dinner with friends. After dinner a few of us stopped by an indie CD store on the recommendation of one of our friends. Since my tastes run toward the mainstream, I don't usually expect to find much music I'd pay for. They had a small selection of classical CDs, which I perused just out of habit. So I was pleased to find the three Gershwin pieces on one CD, performed by Michael Tilson Thomas, Garrick Ohlsson, and the San Francisco Symphony. I've been looking for years for a recording of these three works all on one CD; usually I'd find two but not all three. I especially like the Rhapsody in Blue on this disc. The liner notes point out that many recordings of the Rhapsody treat it like a Rachmaninoff concerto, full of late Romantic influences, with a giant orchestra and a pianist pounding out the chords like he's fighting with the instrument. This version cuts back on the musicians and restores the jazzy feeling of the piece. Even though I like giant Romantic recordings, this one is a refreshing, spirited change of pace.

At the same store I also found a used copy of Led Zeppelin III, which isn't their best album, but I needed it to fill out my collection. Although I do like "Since I've Been Loving You" and "That's the Way."

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