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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Blue Merle
Burning In The Sun
Island/Def Jam

Rating: 6/10 ?


April 25, 2005
When am I going to be too old to crave danger and excitement? Is this an inevitable occurrence? Does age necessarily whittle away the desire for things that aren't necessarily safe? When I have kids, are they going to eventually roll their eyes at the music I play in the car or around the house?

It's all I can think of listening to the nice, well-made, ultimately pleasant songs on Burning in the Sun, the debut album from Blue Merle. Is this the kind of music I'm going to like more the older I get? Pretty pop songs about love lost?

There's not anything specifically displeasing about this. Singer Luke Reynolds has a compelling voice, plaintive in a more-gruff-Dave-Matthews kind of way. The instrumentation is interesting, with violins, mandolin and stand-up bass. The songs are well-constructed, not overly long or maudlin. Nothing is lyrically daring, but it avoids sounding too cliché and hokey, as well. Fans of jam band music and straight-ahead songwriting should be pleased with everything here.

But that's what bothers me about how I responded to this record. I find jam band music and straight-ahead songwriting to be particularly uninteresting. The songs on this album are too "nice" - they lack any edge, any feeling of real excitement or energy. In short, this sounds like exactly the kind of music we would think of as "adult." Burning in the Sun is the kind of album a parent would love to hear coming of their kids' stereo, since it is completely non-threatening.

At one point in my life, I would have thrown this out of the window of a moving car after hearing the first two minutes of it. Now I find myself if not really liking it, but at least not hating it. Does that mean that all of a sudden I'm going to wake up one day and find myself craving this kind of simple niceness in my music?

This is a truly frightening thought, and one I'd rather not entertain for too much longer. I can only hope that I'll be able to maintain my edge for all of my adult life - and nothing about Burning in the Sun will make me all of a sudden get rid of my El-P records. But, if I am doomed to one day crave that which is decent and bland, at least I know there are albums like these that will be able to happily fill that safe and pleasant musical space.

Reviewed by Dan Filowitz
Dan Filowitz is Toronto-born, New-Jersey-raised, Indiana-University-educated, and Chicago-residing. In addition to his Lost At Sea contributions, Dan is a senior staff writer for political humor site TalkStation.com and the president of ChicagoImprovAnarchy (The CIA) a Chicago-based improv theatre company. We are not mentioning the 9-5 corporate job. Apparently, Dan does not sleep much. Dan Filowitz is the perfect dinner party guest - fun, witty, intelligent, with wide-ranging interests, ecclectic tastes and a winning smile. Just make sure you have coffee available.

See other reviews by Dan Filowitz

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