Thursday, September 20, 2007

Band Review: Rilo Kiley Album Wars!

Wanna hear a few of my favorite Rilo Kiley songs? They're each taken from the albums I mention in this entry:

More Adventurous
Under the Blacklight I have to admit, I was actually introduced to this Rilo Kiley band a few years back. A friend of mine was/is a big fan and it seems I didn't appreciate the group's music much until now. Back then, the few clips I did hear consisted of Jenny Lewis talk-singing in a one-notch-above-whiny voice that didn't appeal to me, but since then, I discovered she also sings! I'm glad I didn't give up on the band altogether. If we, as individuals, change with time, then why wouldn't a group's overall sound also change? There are some bands that I just can't stand, mostly the ones with incoherent, insincere lyrics and beats, but Rilo Kiley wasn't and isn't one of them. I admit, they do have a special place on my playlist now.

So what's this about Rilo Kiley Album wars? You might ask. Well, being that I am an Amazon.comer (I use it to check out the ratings of books/music I want to purchase) I couldn't help but come across Rilo Kiley's latest work, Under the Blacklight. By the time I actually read the reviews, I already had the album--thanks to MySpace (I decided that if I liked the few songs they showcased on their page, it was worth my time to listen to the rest of 'em).

Well, they didn't get the 5 stars, not even 4, sadly. The couple of other albums they released beforehand seemed to make the cut with the amazon.comers, but this one didn't. Some of the reviewers mentioned that this album was to popified, for lack of a better term; it simply was a perfect example of how a good indie band goes bad by selling-out to a more familiar but boring sound. They miss the old Jenny, this one was too modern for them; I have to admit, Under the Black Light's lyrics aren't as fabulous, as some mentioned. I'd even say that at times, they're just a little too lustfully raw in a sort of unclassy, distasteful way.

But, another confession, I love the first couple of tunes. Not-so-great lyrics aside, the first few songs on the album make me wanna do a combination of a skip and a dance; their happy sound is contagious and catchy. But it seems Rilo Kiley ran out of ideas toward the end, where they tried to give a brief nod to the 60s, or maybe of those eras. It's also evident that their general instrumentation and song arrangement styles are a little less country and a tad more rock and roll--another change that might've disturbed some of the long-time fans.

And the conclusion? New-comers to Rilo Kiley might just find their latest music fun, while long-time fans will find it flawed. I'm somewhere in the middle. I appreciate Under the Blacklight, because I can see how Rilo Kiley was trying to go somewhere new with it. Even though they might've gotten a little lost along the way, it's obvious they're still a worthwhile band. More Adventurous, their previous release, does a fine job of capturing the band's song-writing ability and uncanny "skills".

All in all, I think Under the Blacklight deserved 4 stars instead of 3.5. Like I said, those couple of songs were pretty darn mood-boosting, so they should get the spotlight, it's just too bad the other colorless songs seemed to hover under a blacklight.


scardypants said...

I read your blog :) and im gonna check it frequently too cause I like it!

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