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started off as a music blog hence the name. but, it is now my any and everything blog.
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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Julian Casablancas - Phrazes For The Young

I’ve got a cold – aaaaargh!
I thought I had conquered my colds. I tend to get them a lot, but haven’t had one in a year! I didn’t even get swine flu when it was all over the place. So imagine my shock when I work up this morning sneezing with one eye (yes, one eye) running, puffy and red. It’s like the cold virus was waiting for me to finally have a good night’s sleep. Luckily I have 4 days off so I can sleep it off and get high on Benylin.

Before I get into the review, I have a confession to make . . . I started listening to The Strokes because of a guy I had a crush on. He was a big fan and my naive little heart thought he would like me back and see me as a potential girlfriend if he sees that I like the same stuff that he likes. Years later, there have been messy rejections (which included him hitting on my friend in front of me) and awkward reunions. I look back at that moment and wonder ‘What the f**k was I thinking?’ I don’t see him anymore, but I still love The Strokes. I love them so much, I bought Albert Hammond jr.’s Solo albums (The second one wasn’t so good) and I’ve got Julian Casablancas’ latest offering.

I had no real expectation of the album. I listen to so much music that following my favourite musicians and bands would be a full time job (dream come true!). Unless they are regularly in the tabloids or there are posts about them on ONTD, I really won’t know what is happening with them and I tend to miss album release dates.

If I had paid more attention to fan sites, myspace and wherever else people find information about musicians and albums, I would have found out that Phrazes for the Young is heavily influenced by Synthpop . . . I hate Synthpop! It reminds me of the awful things about the 80s, garish sweaters, big hair and terrible pop music. Somehow, Julian has made me like Synthpop, but I’m not sure how he managed it. Maybe because he dishes it out in small doses?! Or I like him so much I’m willing to endure the Synth?!

Either way, I think Julian has produced a well put together album. His ability to weave meaningful lyrics into ‘11th Dimension’ is proof positive of this. It makes the song and the album more than the average Synth pop party album.

My favourite song on the album is '4 Chords of the Apocalypse', there is something so grand about it. Every time it comes on my MP3 player, I have to listen twice. The wave of pain, sadness and eventual acceptance in it is so beautiful and there is a something about the order and chaos in the backing track that just works.

'Ludlow Street' carries on where '4 Chords' leaves off. While not as grand as '4 Chords', it still has the Julian touch and his ability to almost physically transport you to the situation he is describing. Julian shows that it is possible to write and perform an emotionally charged song without Whitney Houston/Mary J Blige's vocal ability or vocal acrobatics. And it doesn't have to be mellow, folksy or R'n'B.

On the other side of all that is 'River of Brakelights' which makes me think of nights when I've had too much to drink and I'm on the dance floor with no inhibitions. Hilariously (to me anyway), the chorus of this song features the line 'Timing is everything, Timing is everything’, when I listen to this song timing is the last thing on my mind. I just want to dance like I did when I was kid with no concept of timing or rhythm.

I think Phrazes for the Young is a must have because it is such a fun album. And it is different from the albums by The Strokes so those that don't consider themselves fans can give it chance.

Myspace: www.myspace.com/juliancasablancas