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30 Seconds of Expert Criticism

By Tony Hicks
Thursday, September 6th, 2007 at 3:02 pm in Uncategorized.

I occasionally did this thing in my old Thursday column called 30-second record reviews, in which I gave a review of a record based on 30 seconds of listening. Or was it 30 seconds of writing? I must’ve been really busy back then. Or lazy.

Anyways, I’d like to bring back the 30-second record review at least once a week in this space – maybe Thursdays. That was the day my music column used to run. It’s also today and, let’s face it, if I don’t do one of these things while I’m thinking about it, I’ll never do it, as I have the attention span of a border collie.

Oh, speaking of people with similar attention spans and parenting skills: OMG I CAN’T WAIT for Sunday night when Britney OPENS THE VMAS!!!!!!!!!” You can count on me to be on this blog, chronicling every exciting, career-killing moment.

And I was just kidding about my parenting skills being like those of Britney Spears. We don’t want anyone’s lawyer to get hold of that quote and run with it in court. I am a superior parent.

Anyways, I now offer a few 30-second record reviews for your reading pleasure. Or displeasure…I don’t care. Just keep those Web hits coming so I keep my job.

Thurston Moore “Trees Outside the Academy:” OK, so I lied. I listened to it WAY more than 30 seconds. As in previous solo records from the Sonic Youth guitarist, the record is far more song-oriented than one would think from a guy who specializes in making such delicious screeching, squawking guitar noise. There’s a few personal touches, but this sounds a lot like a good Sonic Youth record, only without any Kim Gordon vocals. There’s even some dueling guitar, which I’m assuming was all Moore’s doing. It makes you wonder what the band thinks when Moore does this, taking well-constructed and dynamic songs for his solo record instead of sharing. But that’s OK, since he produces so much for the band. It’s not like they make bad records (NYC Ghosts and Flowers not withstanding).

Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals “Lifeline:” I’ll be saying this in an upcoming item in our Sunday A&E, but if you can’t steal from yourself, who can you steal from? “Lifeline” is arguably one of their best, for no other reason than it came on the heels of a long tour when the band could keep its live buzz alive. “Lifeline” is loose and exposes all of Harper’s best influences, from 60s soul to the folk feel of Cat Stevens. Harper and his mates have always been much better live than on record; this helps bridge the gap.

Sixx A.M. “The Heroin Diaries:” OK, I admit to feeling dirty over liking a Motley Crue side project so much. But this is easily the best thing anyone in that band has done in at least 15 years. Sixx wrote a yet-to-be-released book about his adventures with drugs back in the day, wrote a soundtrack, recruited a couple guys, and made this record. I was fully prepared to hate it … and I just can’t. I guess i have to turn in my membership card to the Music Snobs Union. The fact is that Sixx wrote some good songs, brought some grand arrangements and production, and wrote lyrics that are curiously potent.

Michael Jackson “Thriller:” This record will go nowhere. Trust me.

Remember to get on the Britney blog on Sunday.

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