Maybe I'm just a sucker. A sucker for production. For engineering. Perhaps. I'm a knob junky, a sound purist. But....
I do feel I have a decent gut for music. I'm trained, I'm experienced, I'm well versed. I possess context across many genres. But, maybe I'm just a sucker. I know music.
"The Information" is gorgeous. Really. Beautifully created, much props. Perhaps too clean though. Dunno. Unlike the professional music critics (which I am not), I can't tell you much about a record after one or two listens. If it passes the first listen test, then it may get the headphone test. This isn't a formal procedure just how it works. I get the CD or download at work and listen to it on my tinny desktop speakers at a volume just a bit louder than is appropriate for an office setting (stopped caring about that about 13 years ago). Of course that listen tells me absolutely nothing. Never. Ever. I shuffle home thinking that even the most brilliant recordings positively suck.
But, if I drag it home - for whatever reason - I usually listen on some "high-quality" headphones. The usual set-reset response is, "holy shit, this doesn't suck at all!" Here's the sucker: that's mostly because I can suddenly hear everything and only heard remnants previously. I usually LOVE everything. I'm a peacenik hippie on X.
[note: I had hoped to publish today's post with the words "poltergeist" and "doppleganger" - so there you have it]
So, "The Information" (Beck Hansen and Nigel Godrich) sounds beautiful but...eh, doesn't as Mark Foley would say, "give me wood." That's not a knock on Beck either. I've just moved on. Certainly, I appreciate the sound (as I am a sucker for production, right?), but there's a hollowness. Ouch! That sounds much worse than it's intended. "Hey, I like you and I had a really good date. The sex was even really good. But...eh...your mother's a fat pig and your father's a republican. It's probably not going to work out. Hey, that's my phone...gotta cruise. Call me!" There may even be some techniques I'll lift, but - and this is significant - not many, yo.
You see, the Roots just put out a fucking near masterpiece. Bobby Dylan just put out a sweet record. TV on the Radio just put out some serious shit (and I just listened to their first TV joint called "OK Calculator" - kind of Ween meets Big Dave Wave meets Applied Communications). Ghostface is still holding strong. Beck in 2006 just can't compete anymore, Nigel or not. Sorry, dude. But, I've dropped Ben Harper, probably Flaming Lips, and JSBX from the Ty Hardaway music label too.
So, I bought your record. I own the license for "The Information." I have the stickers. I have the DVD. You get my money, okay? We both win here. I get a "good" record and you get some (more) money. But, it's not enough to get me to buy your next joint (unless I hear that it gives serious wood).
I'll listen some more, but "The Information" will probably wind up as the occasional listen as the iPod shuffles through all the rest of my stuff (see Beck, it made the iPod. Don't cry, you're really pretty and smart).
Maybe 5 out of 10. Dunno.