The Edge of Light // Gloria Cheng and Calder Quartet // Harmonia Mundi UK — Radiant sonorities by Messiaen and Saariaho, including Saariaho’s Prelude and Ballade, two works for solo piano.
Le Cirque // Anderson-Fader Duo // Furious Artisans — Contemporary classical played by guitar duo with refreshingly catholic tastes, from Wuorinen to Lang. Despite this variety, the album holds together well — maybe because things can’t help sounding good on guitar duo, including a haunting Gillian Welch arrangement here.
Handel: Bad Guys // Xavier Sabata with Il Pomo d’Oro and Riccardo Minasi // Aparté — Grab bag of villainous Handel arias, incongruously written for the warbling counter-tenor range. Sabata sings strongly and expressively, but he’s not going to make anyone quiver in their (historically informed) boots.
Haydn: Piano Concertos, Nos. 3, 4 & 11 // Marc-André Hamelin with Les Violons du Roy and Bernard Labadie // Hyperion — Remarkably clear and lively performance, though Hamelin’s playing is sometimes too dry & distant for my taste
The Top 30 is a weekly section of the WOBC blog where we highlight the 30 most-played new albums each week. Radioactivity’s crash a few weeks back and the disruptions of Spring Break mean that this post is a little anachronistic but, nevertheless, check out what our DJs are spinning!
When I was in elementary school, my physical education experience, while standard in many aspects, required all students to gather on the blacktop at least 3 times a week and learn to dance. Aside from a fantastic medley of country songs, pop boy-band ‘NSYNC, which was at the height of their popularity, was also a constant choice amongst the athletic coaches. Within my social circles, we all despised ‘NSYNC and constantly complained about having to dance to this dreaded music. Justin Timberlake was primarily at the receiving end of our animosity, continually being the subject of elementary schoolboy satire, but I must emphasize, we all really did like ‘NSYNC, we just would never admit it. I am now older, perhaps a little more secure and confident, and I can now admit I like Justin Timberlake and enjoy his music. However, my enjoyment of Justin Timberlake music aside, his latest release, The 20/20 Experience, while a welcomed change in sound from previous Timberlake albums, lacks musical variation within the album, suffers at times from horrid lyrics, and features a few throw-away songs; although I do recommend a listen of The 20/20 Experience, I can’t do much more.
The 20/20 Experience opens relatively strong, with the initial track Pusher Love Girl, a slow, diverse R&B song, serving as an effective platform for the rest of the album, and a transitional piece to perhaps the most well-known single, Suit and Tie. Suit and Tie, while not as catchy as 2006’s SexyBack, documents a successful growth within Timberlake’s music, with the appearance of Jay Z confirming The 20/20 Experience to be a more mature project. And in many aspects, maturity and growth dominate the album, as Timberlake, heavily distanced from his promiscuous, all-denim wearing days, now boasts of marriage, old love, and women wearing ball gowns. I do not see this change as problematic, but in some instances, Timberlake seems torn between channeling his new sound along with consolidating the past pretensions of “Future Sex/Love Sounds.” Lyrics such as “Stop, let me get a good look at it. Oh, so thick, now I know why they call it a fatty…” result, highlighting Timberlake may no longer be the same artists who once readily claimed to be the force behind the resuscitation of sexiness.
Past Pusher Love Girl and Suit and Tie, the album predominately maintains consistency, yet suffers to truly expand musically past the tone set in the initial songs of The 20/20 Experience. In this sense, every track sounds similar to the next, and while that’s not entirely a negative aspect, a diverse array of songs would obviously be more effective. In moments when Timberlake does in fact attempt to broaden his sound, tracks such as Don’t Hold the Wall and Let the Groove Get In are enlisted, but these songs hold no cohesive place within the album, serving as misplaced filler tracks. Essentially, The 20/20 Experience is a listenable paradox, in that it suffers largely due to the fact that it maintains too similar of a sound throughout, yet when Timberlake diverts from this format, the album fares worse. Gone are irresistible songs such as Cry me a River and My Love, but Timberlake, in my opinion, is indeed transitioning musically in a positive direction; it is just a long, arduous process that he hasn’t fully realized. The 20/20 Experience is decent, even good at times, and the second installation of the album, which Timberlake plans to release in November, hopefully will avoid the redundant pitfalls of its first half, and expand upon Timberlake’s maturation and growth.
Soundtap Madness 2013 begins today, April 1st! WOBC will compete in a bracket against college-affiliated radio stations across the country. Register for Soundtap today and begin listening to WOBC through Soundtap!
Good DJ/Samaritan Helps Clean Up WOBC Party, Finds Little to Clean
You know, I sure do appreciate it when people go out of their way in order for others to have fun. Like the good residents of 123 South Professor St., and all those at WOBC behind this semester’s iteration of the station-led bash. On a typical Oberlin Saturday night, the party provided some key attractions that made it a so-called “success.” But I really gauged the success of it thanks to a quote from a good friend: “Man, that party was the best! My boyfriend and I hooked up with so many people!”
So to come back the next morning and help clean up a bit? Sure, why not. I mean, it’s the least I could do.
But arriving at SoPro that Sunday morning pre-hangover, I was surprised to see the place looking quite commendable. The inside of the house was pretty much done, so I took to the porch, where I separated glass bottles from cans. The clinking and crashing of bottles and cans in the numerous plastic bags proved therapeutic to my ears, as did the strange odors emitting from the mass of finished and unfinished beers. I then proceeded to “hose down” the porch, which mainly turned out to be me flooding one area of the porch and kind of giving up on the rest. I kicked the puddle around and spread the water around, thus deeming the porch ‘clean’. Then I picked up some soggy cigarette butts. Probably should’ve cleared those before the hose, right? As I walked through the backyard to put the hose away, I noticed mud and grime caking the bottom of my pants and white Converse. It made me feel dirty, and I like feeling dirty. It made me feel real, like I was actually doing something, like feeling the consequences of hard work and stuff. Some pretty powerful feelings at 123 So Pro that faithful Sunday morning.
Moral of the story? Don’t underestimate the power of the post-party, morning after clean up. Or alternatively, a question for all of us to think about – does Oberlin need to go harder and messier at parties?