Saturday, April 2, 2011

I keeps it real tight...Arcade Fire vs. The XX

The following email exchange is almost totally real...

What to say, what to say…

Andy – March 22

so what do you think? should we wait until after we've fucked to start talking or what....

Eric – March 22

definitely let's get it on before we compare notes. i don't have "the suburbs", so i will have to grooveshark it. i need to review "xx", too...haven't listened to it for a bit. let's keep in touch. and let's touch...

Andy – March 28

i'll step up on the mound first...i listened to most of both of these albums over the weekend. i'm more inclined to go with arcade fire. it seems to be a warmer and more emotionally available bunch of songs. not as unhinged as their previous emo barking and shouting. do you want me to do a mathematical anal cyst like you do? Maybe we should.

Eric – March 28

We may have to go the math-y route, as I was going to vote for The XX. I've listened to them a lot over the past week. Their sound is so cool and sleek and sexy...It feels like something new, kind of like when I first heard Portishead. I love the male-female vocal exchanges, too. I think the album through "Heart Skipped a Beat" is just about flawless; things get a little too sleepy in spots on the second half, although "Basic Space" is a real keeper. This album makes me excited for what the band is going to do next. For being so young, their sound is amazingly mature.

I have listened to "The Suburbs" in its entirety at least twice now (which is saying something as it is definitely too long). It feels like a "sprawl"-ing (They like that word, don't they?) and uneven epic endeavour. There are definitely some catchy tracks: I like the title track, and I really like "Month of May" (which sounds like an indie cover of some lost Springsteen B-side). "The Blondie-esque "Sprawl II" is kind of fun, too.

Eric – March 28

The XX: 3.9
Songs rated 4 or above: "Intro", "VCR", "Crystallized", "Islands", "Heart Skipped a Beat", "Basic Space", "Infinity"
Songs rated 2 or below: None

Thoughts: Solid, steady, tight.

The Suburbs: 3.1
Songs rated 4 or above: "The Suburbs", Month of May", "Wasted Hours", "We Used to Wait", "Sprawl II"
Songs rated 2 or below: "Rococo", "City with No Children", "Half Light I", "Sprawl I"

Thoughts: Has some high points but is uneven, inconsistent, tries too many different moods/ styles.

Andy – March 28

i will do my math tomorrow and get back to you.

solid, steady, and tight. how could i not like it like that. especially that last one..."i keeps it real tight"*

(*this was actually said to me by someone at my old work and i think she was talking about her vagina. better than keeping it loose like sleeve of wizard. am i right? why did i quit that job again?)

Andy – March 29

here are my scores. i'm being kinda harsh. my overall feeling about both of these albums is that they don't stand up very well to detailed criticism and are probably best experienced outside of a death match scenario. i owned both of them prior to this assignment and had a generally favorable view of both (like maybe a B or B+). they both start strong and fizzle. kinda like that time we did it.

Arcade Fire

1. the suburbs - 3
2. ready to start - 4
3. modern man - 4
4. rococo - 3
5. empty room - 2
6. city with no children - 3
7. half light I - 3
8. half light II (no celebration) - 2
9. suburban war - 2
10. month of may - 2
11. wasted hours - 3
12. deep blue - 3
13. we used to wait - 4
14. sprawl (flatland) - 2
15. sprawl II (mountains beyond mountains) - 4
16. the suburbs (continued) - 3
total = 47

average - 2.9

The XX

1. intro - 4
2. VCR - 4
3. crystalised - 2
4. islands - 4
5. heart skipped a beat - 3
6. fantasy - 2
7. shelter - 3
8. basic space - 2
9. infinity - 3
10. night time - 2
11. stars - 2
total = 31

average - 2.8

Eric – March 31

Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner. Natalie messed up the computer last night. Apparently, she bumped into the whole CPU, including knocking the external hard drive off the top. Afterwards, the computer only made weird noises when you tried to start it

Thanks for your scoring. The two albums really came out close, you know, as mediocre crap. I guess The XX gets the higher score when you add ours together, though, eh? The AF will be OK...They have some Grammys and Junos and dildos strapped under their belts now. I kind of feel like having them win the MDM would be hugely anti-climactic, since they are winning everything else right now.

Andy – March 31

sorry to hear about your computer. kids break stuff sometimes. i keep all my external hard drive’s tucked up under my balls. i'm pretty much the only one who ever goes there. you should think about it....

after i saw everyone's picks back in january, i thought arcade fire will win for sure. i thought that would be okay. i know you don't care for them, but i like 'em, i'm just not in like with 'em. as i've said many times, the death match, at least for me, encourages a type of critical thinking that makes it difficult for anything to come off well. you may recall my reviews of the kinks VGPS and the stones EOMS, where i made a semi-retarded, yet totally fuck-tarded attempt at taking down both albums even though i think they are both really good. that's where i am with these two. they are both good to me, but when i really sit down to listen and read the lyrics, they start to sound like a load of crap. i'm gonna go with the xx. i think you are right about too much sprawl to the suburbs album (dontcha think). i wish there we only nine or ten songs. that's ultimately what kills it for me. also, the subject matter is a little trite. as a concept album, it loses me. the xx win. may god have mercy on our holes (did i say holes, i meant assholes).

Eric – March 31

Good to hear from you, Andy. I hear you...I get where you are coming from. And maybe part of the problem is that the actual experience of music, in its broadest sense, affects part of us that isn't overly rational/ cerebral/ analytical. It kind of comes at us from the same place as visual art and spirituality and exercise and whatnot. A lot of times the thinking about the music and the talking about the music kind of dim the actual experience of the music, which was what got us excited in the first place. That being said, there is definitely a place for talking and thinking about music. But there is also a place for just listening and loving it, too. "To everything (Turn turn turn)"...

Andy – April 2

R.I.P. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs


  1. Hey, I think we are the first pair to make a post and actually pick a winner, too. We're so trad.

  2. The following line is Bruce & Sarah approved: "i keep all my external hard drives tucked up under my balls. i'm pretty much the only one who ever goes there. you should think about it...."

    Karl, is this also an IT hero approved practice?

  3. Wow, it just occurred to me that that song by song rating system was what we did at WCAL.

    Also Andrew could you please expand on "loose like sleeve of wizard?"