Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Zero 7 - The Garden (2006)


I love pop music, but it's often hard to find new pop music that I enjoy. I don't really want to listen to Disney TV stars that are over-produced and couldn't sing without the help of autotune. But Zero 7, the lo-fi, sub-pop, retro group from England, released this pop gem which I bought on the strength of their 2004 CD, When It Falls. IMHO, it's the duo's best album to date. It's a little more upbeat, with definite roots in the music of the '60s, '70s, and '80s. There seems to be an unusually high number of 3/4 songs, which some listeners might have trouble with because they are so accustomed to 4/4 pop songs. Vocalist José González has mushmouth, but that seems to suit the music. In their review, Pitchfork said this album sounds like "A warmed-over stew of scrubbed-up psychedelia, scrubbed-up sunshine pop, scrubbed-up soundtrack music, electrofunk, and lounge that's all produced immaculately, right down to the 'messy' parts. " They were mocking (and gave the album a 3.2 out of 10), but that sounds like a good album to me, worthy at least of a 6.5.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #94

Tracks: Highlights include Futures, Left Behind, Today, Crosses, and Your Place. The final tune, Waiting To Die, sounds like it could have been sung on Sesame Street if had different lyrics (educational lyrics instead of social commentary). In other words, the lyrics don't match the music and it's perfect that way. The songs If I Can't Have You and This Fine Social Scene aren't as good as the other songs on the disc. However, I usually don't skip tracks and think the sequencing holds up.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: This was one of the first CDs I bought after moving to Nac in 2006. It reminds me of living solo at the Fredonia and staying up late trying to finish my dissertation, all while trying to transition to a new career. It was a fantastic time in my life.

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