Monday, March 3, 2008

It Was 20 Years Ago ...

... today.

No, not really. And the '20 years' part is a bit off, to. Twentyish years ago some unspecified time is more like it.

Or we could just go with last week.

Last week I was browsing eMusic by decade - probably 70% of my collection dates between the early and mid-80s - and came across not one, but TWO albums I intended to purchase back in the day but never had gotten around to buying.

Both are concept albums. Not albums with a half-baked storyline, but albums written with an idea behind them.

Laibach - Opus Dei

Consolidated! have a track named "Industrial Music Is Fascism". They may have had this album in mind. Laibach have been accused of both far-right and far-left sympathies. The band has always denied either. The music is, of a sort, performance art.

My favorite tracks on the album are both covers. Queen's "One Vision" gets reconstructed as "Geburt Einer Nation". Australian arena rock outfit Opus' "Live is Life" gets the Laibach treatment in the title track "Opus Dei".

'The Laibach treatment' consists of orchestral swells, bombastic percussion, and vocals not so much sung as croaked. Not really what I usually listen to, and it does wear thin by the end of the album. As an examination of the spooky similarities between the crowds at a national socialist rally in 1936 and the crowds at an arena rock show in our modern 'more enlightened' era it works very well.

Will Powers - Dancing For Mental Health

And now for something completely different.

Don't use all your energy goosestepping. You'll need some for dancing when you put Will Powers' record on your turntable. Or CD in your player. Whatever.

As a bonus you'll be improving your life. Becoming the 'you' you want to be. Simply dance and let the music do the work.

The central concept behind Dancing For Mental Health is to take pop-psych platitudes and put them to an electronic dance beat. Vocals are handled by photographer Lynn Goldsmith with a synthesizer-altered androgynous voice. Guest vocals come from luminaries such as Carly Simon and Todd Rundgren.

The standout track is "Adventures In Success". Daily affirmations set to good old-fasioned synthpop.

It just might change your life.

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