Whipping Cords seems to require far too many listens to really reach that ‘viola!’ moment—sure to result in exhausted listeners who try desperately to love the record as much as they think they should
Providing the sort of semi-autobiographical character arc, good kid would be enough for some, but it’s the lush environs surrounding this “short film” that makes good kid not only a compelling story, but also musically interesting.
In the end, Blunderbuss is a confused little record that wants to be two things at once: a pointed statement about the pains of a breakup and a collection of songs that are both daring and wacky and eccentric all at once.
While Shields may mark a transition for the band in terms of the immediate emotional impact of their music, it is clear that they have not in any way abandoned their expansive approach to melody and song structure.
Though there’s no shortage of beauty or orchestral decoration on Sweet Heart Sweet Light, the influence of a middle age precipice on those pop trappings gives the album a rare and yes, spiritual, power.
At 16 songs long, Red could use more editing and streamlining with a less-is-more mindset as a guiding principle, particularly since the quieter numbers—which also happen to be some of the album’s strongest moments—get lost in the sound and fury of Swift’s grand gestures.
The inherent darkness of Stott’s carious and degraded mixes, souped up in reverberating drone and pointillized by granular detail, is here juxtaposed against the often sweet, sometimes harrowing voice of his one-time mentor.
Although you wouldn’t expect anything less from artists of this high a caliber, it still comes as a pleasant surprise how cohesive, complete, and thought through Love This Giant is for a one-off all-star collab.
A truly special album, one that will reach out and grab you by the lapels and shake the life out of, or into, you.