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 » 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
Rachael Yamagata
Happenstance
Private Music

Rating: 6/10 ?


October 1, 2004
If you're single and inclined to let that fact control your thoughts and determine your identity, then you might relate to Happenstance. It seems to speak directly to those in lonely apartments in big cities. The lyrics are filled with vague accusations, memories of loves past, and emotional confusion; the music takes on a number of styles, never becoming too intense or involved.

At one moment, rock guitars playing disco riffs will spring up behind Rachael Yamagata's voice only to vanish, giving way to a few intimate moments with the singer, followed by full string sections. This doesn't make the songs overly eclectic, but it does put the focus on producer John Alagia rather than Yamagata's voice. His presence is felt throughout, on a brilliant little pipe-organ bridge in "Be Be Your Love," on the unmistakably alt-rock feel of "Worn Me Down," on the upbeat syncopation and complete orchestra of "I Want You," with its Charlie Chaplin-like piano playing, strings, and a brass section.

But Happenstance isn't empty, and if you're looking for intimacy, you'll find it near the end of the album. Only on the soft ballad, "Quiet," and in her beautiful, untitled track does Yamagata's voice completely stand out. On the latter, she grumbles and rasps a bit, both trends making me cringe and making the music sound more real than anywhere else on the CD. At best, her voice is husky and low, jumping between jubilee and emotional instability - qualities best found in the last few tracks.

As for the rest of the album, it is a gallery of other emotions that you tend to feel when you're falling in and out of love: In "1963," a joyfully nostalgic chorus plays to heartstrings, and in "Letter Read" there are feelings of cold-hearted betrayal. There are also a good number of tender moments sprinkled throughout a few songs - as on peaceful opening to "Reason Why," and the revealing end of the heavy, cinematic "Even So."

Happenstance certainly has its moments, even if trite, and for the mall-rockers marooned in the big city the album is undoubtedly an attractive one. But trough everything, the lasting impression of Happenstance remains one of glossy, over-production.

Reviewed by Josh Kazman
No infro.

See other reviews by Josh Kazman

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