1000 Shades of Grey
Thursday, May 07, 2009
Shuffleathon 2008 - the review
As you may recall, I signed up for Swiss Toni's Shuffleathon at the end of last year. I duly made and sent out my CD, which got a mixed review from RussL, and I waited for my CD to arrive.
Then I waited some more, watching as everyone else in the draw received the CD's, whilst mine, which by process of elimination I knew was coming from Monogodo in the States, never arrived.
After pretty much giving up hope, I got home from work one day a couple of months ago, to find a jiffy bag sat waiting for me, and behold, my CD had arrived.
Now, I'll be honest, I was quite cheesed off that I'd had to wait so long for the CD, so have deliberately taken my time in reviewing the CD so that I can give it an honest appraisal without being coloured by my initial negative feelings towards Monogodo for the delay, and therefore the CD.
So this is it, review time:
Mahna Mahna - Mahna Mahna & The Two Snowths
Interesting choice to start - it's the song from The Muppets. In terms of message, this suggests that this won't be a serious album, but could instead be a lot of fun. However, there's a small part of me that is wary of novelty records. They are funny the first few times, but it always seems like the law of diminishing returns, and before too long the novelty wears off. Still, it's mahna mahna, and who doesn't like that, at least a little bit.
Ooh La La Summer Nights - The Wiseguys vs Olivia John & John Travolta
Oooh, a mash up. I've not really listened to too many mash ups, and certainly wouldn't have gone out of my way to find one. I quite like Ooh La La by the Wiseguys, and I've been spotted on a dance floor to Summer Nights. This is OK, but it just doesn't really wow me, although it sounds much better with the sun shining than it first did back in late February/early March when winter was still with us.
Bla Bla Bla Cha Cha Cha - Petty Booka
As far as I can tell, this is essentially a decent cha cha tune (think Hernando's Hideaway) which someone decided they would wittily put words to about the fact that nobody listens to the words of a dance. To be fair, I quite like the tune, with the cha cha rhythm proving quite infectious, but the lyrics are just a bit of a throwaway. Again, it's OK.
I Wanna Dance With Some Bono - Witney Houston vs U2
Like buses, you wait ages, and then another mash up comes along almost immediately. However, I like this one more. I think it works really well, with the U2 sound really underpinning Houston's vocals brilliantly. Ironic that it references Bono in the title, but we then don't hear his voice. Still, this is the best track so far.
Never Feel Good - Gorillaz vs Cake
Another mash up. This one isn't so good, and the novelty factor is starting to wear off now. Not helped by the fact that I really don't like the Gorillaz track. I think my view on mash ups is starting to equate to my view on wine. I like white wine and I like red wine. Problem is that I'm not sure I like them both at the same time.
Single Ladies (In Mayberry) - Party Ben vs Beyonce
Oh look, another mash up. Going back to my bus analogy, it's like being at a flipping bus depot now. This one features someone whistling a tune while Beyonce encourages men to marry their girlfriends if they want to keep them. I like the whistling, and it's an OK song, but I've had enough of mash ups now thanks.
Sammy Hagar Weekend - Thelonious Monster
Ah, something other than a mash up - hurrah! However, this sounds a bit like I'm listening to Kid Rock, which isn't a good thing. Hang on, what's that lyric: "We're going to drink some beer, smoke some pot, snort some coke, and drive". Well, that can't be wise can it? I know this makes me sound like an old man, but seriously: beer, pot, coke then drive?!?
Pleasure Dog - SSQ
This kind of reminds me of the Sugar Hill Gang, only not quite as good. According to wikipedia, they were really a synth-pop band, so this probably isn't representative of their entire output. It's ok, if you like that sort of thing, but I'm a pasty white northern bloke, and Hip hop isn't really my bag.
Lovecats - Paul Anka
A change of pace - as Canadian crooner Paul Anka slips on to the stereo. This is OK, but I can't help think this is probably the song Austin Powers would put on his record player when trying to seduce someone. Unfortunately, once that mental image crops up, I can't shake it.
Without Me Nobody Listens To Techno - Eminem vs Party Ben
Another mash up. Seriously, enough now. This one isn't helped by the fact that I'm not a big fan of Eminem.
Ain't Talkin 'Bout Dub - Apollo 440
From the opening guitar riff, I'm hooked. I really like this - it's upbeat, it's rocky but with a dance fusion thing going on. This is great. Best song so far.
Don't Lets Start - Commotion Rotation
Slight change of pace, now it's all acoustic guitars and harmonising. Again, I like this. Two good songs in a row, things are starting to look up.
Take Me I'm Yours - Droyds
The Droyds (presumably learnt to spell at the same school as the Byrds). This is a piece of electronica, which to be honest, I really don't care for.
My Bike - Ghoti Hook
Starting with a little monologue about the fact that someone's nicked the singers bike, he then launches into a punky (i.e. slightly tuneless) rant about this fact. Don't get me wrong though, I actually like this - the energy and rage coming through in the slightly off-key lyrics, which a better singer wouldn't have been able to convey.
Condoleeza, Check My Posse - The Majestic Twelve
"I will rule the world forever, I'm straight, and white and male, American and free" Presumably written before Barack Obama's election, this is nonetheless a great record. It's got a great bouncy tune, and some pretty witty lyrics highlighting the massive disparity in American politics in which the WASPs are cared for, and anyone else is pretty much screwed.
My 16th Apology - Shakespeare 's Sister
I've never really been a fan of Shakespeare's Sister. I admit, I've not listened to much, but what I have heard always struck me as being a bit wet and moany. This has a backing track that sounds a bit like some form of elevator music, and also features a horrible spoken bit right at the end.
World With No Money - Ten Hands
This just reminds me of something that Sting or Bryan Adams might come out with - it's very eighties guitar rock with a preachy message. Not a fan, sorry.
It's Okay to Say Goodbye - Macavity
Nice guitar intro to this one, before the bloke starts singing. To be fair, he's not got the greatest voice in the world, but this is an OK track.
Say Goodbye - Cheap Trick
Again, this is OK - although it does sound a bit like some kind of eighties guitar based rock (think a quiet Bon Jovi number). Not bad, but equally not amazing.
So that's it. I hope I've been fair and honest. Unfortunately there were lots of tracks which weren't particularly to my taste (which is the nature of the Shuffleathon beast), and I've been sure to give them all a good few listens before I reviewed it, rather than rattle off a quick review after only one listen through.
I'd like to thank Monogodo for all the hard work in putting the album together (complete with cover artwork!). Unfortunately, I think it was largely a case of our tastes not being that similar (which I'm guessing may be partly born from an age gap between the two of us). That said, there were some tracks which I really liked, and have enjoyed listening to.
Also big thanks to Swiss Toni for organising the whole thing, and putting up with people like me taking forever to post their review!