Okay, I must dismiss my earlier paranoia concerning Boys and Girls in America. It is a solid effort, just stressing different parts of the group's sound than previous efforts. It's a more pop, happy approach to similar themes, but I guess I just dug the dark, angsty overtones of previous Hold Steady material (still prefer it, too). the second track on each album is pretty representative of the progression of the band.
"The Swish" from Almost Killed Me is just pure, harsh rock. Finn spits lyrics sharply, like he's trying to harm someone with the physical sound waves.
"Cattle and the creeping things" (Separation Sunday) hosts a similar delivery, with a cleaner production, but a still dirty riff driven over and over again.
"Chips Ahoy!" doesn't lack the insight, but the delivery is notably different, with Finn laying back on his words in almost a swoon. Also, the backing vocals (which appear on many tracks on Boys and Girls in America) really throw me off - very joyous, taking away from the gravity of the words.
The Decemberists' Crane Wife is pretty tight, progressive music, a welcomed change from Picaresque, which I started out listening to a lot, but has sort of lost itself in the recesses of my CD collection. "The Engine Driver" is still about the sweetest song ever, though.
The new Wolf Eyes that I got in the mail isn't really interesting at all, but I'll still go to see them live for the novelty of it. (Plus it's free.)
I still haven't adopted much to Modern Times -- I'll give it some more time to sink in, but I'd still rather listen to Highway 61 Revisited any day of the week.
I finally got Gnarls Barkley ($11.98 at Target -- I think it was mispriced), and I still don't see why "Crazy"
got so much attention. People were saying hit single of the summer and all that, but I frankly don't think it's that catchy or impressive. Fun, sure, but not really stellar.
A music addiction is quite a weird thing, especially for me, since I don't really read about bands or about music news at all anymore. So where will all this listening get me? Probably the poorhouse.