A Different Kind of Review

This review isn’t of an established band or an up-and-comer or some other typical music review that is normally featured on this this site. What it is, on the other hand, is a review of a mix CD that I received in a monthly mix exchange.

On Twitter, a newfound friend that my wife and I follow decided to put together a monthly mix exchange. This month’s theme was 10 songs you’d want with you on a deserted island. Like myself, the creator of the mix I received, must have had a hard time narrowing it down and actually included 11 tracks. This, below, is a review of the 11 track mix that I received, entitled, Justin’s Deserted Island CD Mix November 2009:


Track 1: Muse – Uprising

In typical Muse fashion, this song has a driving beat, that specific mystical quality so many of their songs have (think “Knights of Cydonia”), and tons of rock sensibilities. The riff accompanied by what sounds like a synthesized cheer of “Come on” is very reminiscent of Blondie’s “Call Me”. Overall, a great rock song in the vein of what I’ve come to expect from Muse. Quite enjoyable.

Track 2: Black Ghosts – Full Moon

Never heard of Black Ghosts before this, but the track wasn’t bad, quite relaxing in feel and mood. Layered acoustic guitars and synth sounds by the electronic duo sound like something I’d put along side Air, Morcheeba, Zero Seven and The Echoing Green on a playlist entitled “Chill” or something of the sort.

Track 3: Ben Harper and the Relentless7 – Fly One More Time

I’ve never though much of Mr. Harper. This track isn’t horrible by any means, though. Can’t completely vibe with his vocal style, but I would guess that I could dig the track more if I didn’t already have a preconceived notion of Harper

Track 4: Coldplay – Strawberry Swing

Coldplay has always been hit or miss with me. Sometimes I can dig them, other times I find them either a bit too pretentious, or a bit too generic, or, often times, too epic and overproduced. This is a more stripped down song that sounds like it either is or should be featured in a Zach Braff film.

Track 5: Erin McCarley – Pony

This chick is pretty cool. I suspect my wife would dig this song. She has a good voice and strikes me as the type of pop that the teenie boppers and the 20 something hipster crowd alike can enjoy. I’m not compelled to grab more of her music or play this song over and over, but I won’t skip this track when listening to the mix, either.

Track 6: Bon Iver – Flume

This track is boring to me. I feel about this song the way I feel about most music by Iron and Wine, Sufjan Stevens, and the like. My best guess, Bon Iver has a song or two I’d dig somewhere in there, but this one isn’t really it. That said, it’s good for what it is… which is “Gina music”. You dig stuff like this? That’s cool, just not my cup of tea or mug of beer, if you catch my drift.

Linkin Park

Track 7: Linkin Park – Leave Out All the Rest

I definitely enjoy most of the Linkin Park I hear. They aren’t a band that I’ll ever go out of my way for, but they are a band I’d rarely flip the station of skip the track for. This is one of their more chill type track, less in your face or hard edged than their typical material. Bennington displays that he can actually sign quite well on this track. I like this song quite a bit.

Track 8: Regina Spektor – Eet

The only Regina Spektor track I ever really liked before hearing this was a track that wasn’t even hers, the song she does with Ben Folds entitled “You Don’t Know Me”. After listening to this song, I’m going to have to say that “You Don’t Know Me” is still the only track featuring her that I vibe on. Oh well, I can’t like every track, can I? This CD is like 5 for 8 at this point, so that’s pretty damn good.

Track 9: Mat Kearney – Where We Gonna Go From Here

Acoustic singer-songwriter stuff certainly has its place in my collection. This track isn’t bad at all. Nothing to write home about, but I’d likely call this a song that I could listen to on a deserted island, as it sounds like a lay-on-the-beach-looking-up-at-the-clouds-while-contemplating-life kind of song. Like Erin McCarley, Bon Iver, and Black Ghosts, I had no idea who this guy was before listening to this mix. Not bad, although something about the song makes me think of the worship music that kids at the Christian college I went to used to pump through their stereos all of the time.

Track 10: Sara Bareilles – Vegas

Kinda smooth and sultry, while not being outright sexy (like Mozella’s), her vocals are pretty cool. Worth a few more listens, but not likely hitting heavy rotation for me.

Track 11: Sufjan Stevens – No Man’s Land

Outside of the creepy and hauntingly beautiful “John Wayne Gacy Jr.”, Sufjan does little for me. He’s not insufferable by any means, but I could do without him. Nothing really different about this song for me. The flutes get a bit annoying for me.

Overall, this mix was much better than I expected at first. The first names that jumped out at me were Sufjan Stevens, Regina Spektor, and Ben Harper, all of which I am not a fan of, but after several listens, I found it to deliver pretty well for me. I was quite happy to be introduced to Black Ghosts, whom I intend to delve a bit more into. I also enjoyed my first listens to Mat Kearney, Erin McCarley, and Sara Barielles. The Coldplay and Linkin Park tracks are solid. The Muse track gets better with each listen (side note: I think I need to listen to more Muse). I enjoyed this mix CD more often than not, which is the best you can get when mixing musical tastes. I can only hope she found a few tracks on the one I sent her way that she enjoyed, as well.


~ by thepaintedman on December 2, 2009.

3 Responses to “A Different Kind of Review”

  1. […] thepaintedman.com » A Different Kind of Review […]

  2. Well, at least I hit a few you liked. It is hard to know what people like and don’t so I simply picked what I liked. I suppose that’s kind of the point. I actually wanted to include even more because I can never narrow down music. Another you ‘might’ like is Gomez (who I am new to). I am a Train fan but didn’t have their newest cd to include anything there. I’m always up for Dave Matthews as well.

    A lot of the mix you sent was new to me (and enjoyable). Even more so once my husband gives it back.

    And just to freak you out – I found Black Ghosts via the scary soundtrack from Twlight :)

  3. I dislike Twilight greatly, but… maybe I should check out the soundtrack if the music is along the lines of Black Ghosts.

    I’m glad you decided not to put on Dave, hes one of my arch enemies… but I kinda dig Train and I dig some Gomez, though it’s been like years since I have listened to them at all.

    I liked the CD, it was definitely not a bad mix at all.

    Let me know what tracks you dug most from mine when you get the chance.

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