Monday, January 25, 2010

Vampire Weekend is for Smart Kids, Bouncing Souls is for Dummies

I just finished writing my record reviews for the week when I noticed something interesting. I was using Google Documents to the type the thing and I clicked the word count tool to make sure I had met my guidelines. Each of my reviews was about the same length, but the reading level was quite different.

My Bouncing Souls review--a punk rock record by a band that I absolutely love--is written at a 6th grade level.

The Vampire Weekend review--a good album by a band that sings about diplomats' sons and other WASP-y things, and who drives me a little bit crazy--is at an 11th grade level.

While I'm not bothered that I generally write like a 12-year-old (come on, it's rock 'n roll, not rocket science), it's weird that you have to write like a 16-year-old to talk about a snooty band that college kids like.

And now that you're so curious about these incredible reviews...

Bouncing Souls
Ghosts on the Boardwalk

In 2009, The Bouncing Souls celebrated two full decades as a band by releasing a new digital track each month. "Ghosts on the Boardwalk" serves as the proper album release, and also shows that the years have been kind to the New Jersey foursome. Songs about throwing toilets off the roof or falling in love with a buddy's mom have given way to more introspective tunes, but the invincible punk rock spirit remains. That's not to say they've lost all their immature ways. On the cleverly titled "Badass," they simply shout all of the things worthy of being deemed badass, including, among others, "Black eyes! Muscle cars! Metal!" More than just documenting the 20th year in their career, "Ghosts" is a solid reminder of what an amazing band The Bouncing Souls have become. And the great songs just keep coming.

For fans of: NOFX, Rise Against
Rating: 4 of 4

Vampire Weekend

Expectations have always been extremely high for Vampire Weekend--in 2008 they appeared on the cover of Spin Magazine, before they had even released a record. Fortunately, their debut was successful in both living up to the hype and delivering undeniably catchy tunes about yachts and ivy league colleges. Wisely, Vampire Weekend stay on the same course with "Contra." Afro-pop beats are plentiful and singer EzraKoenig's voice floats beautifully above his polo shirt and plaid shorts. The band pushes their boundaries a bit with the herky-jerky rhythms of "California English" and the electro and falsetto-infused "White Sky," without straying from its strengths. These college kids are smart.

For fans of:Ra Ra Riot, Ramona Falls
Rating: 3.5 of 4

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