40 Years of Noe

#Postal #Service #2003 #Music



To start off, frankly, this is probably the best thing Ben Gibbard has ever done. Death Cab for Cutie’s a pretty good band, but I think that the Postal Service blows them clear out of the water. Ben Gibbard’s sensitive and sweet voice sounds much more natural and convincing alongside the ambient electronic music created by Jimmy Tambarello (of Dntel fame) than conventional indie pop/rock. The chemistry that these two share makes Give Up one of the best and most beautiful albums of 2003.

The album’s sound is the perfect mix of EDM and indie pop songwriting. The music and beats are subtle and soothing, and Ben Gibbard’s emotive, almost understated vocals compliment the music perfectly. This is undoubtedly a headphones album, and a great headphones album at that.

Give Up starts off incredibly strong, with its best song, “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight” leading the way. Strong melodies, strong lyrics, relaxing atmosphere, and ethereal backing vocals make this track infinitely memorable. Following it are the album’s other stronger tracks, especially “Such Great Heights,” “Clark Gable,” and my second favorite on Give Up, “This Place is a Prison.”

This is music that makes me smile. Beautifully crafted electro-pop with heartfelt lyrics. Ben’s vocal stylings that uncannily resemble Ben Folds’ fill in the bleeps and clicks with his sincere delivery. The ladies singing background, Jen Wood and Jenny Lewis, almost steal the show. The simply sweet and charming harmony their voices offer are the perfect complement to Mr. Gibbard’s.

40 Years of Noe

#Flaming #Lips #2002 #Yoshimi #Music



“Do You Realize?” is one of the greatest songs written in modern music. It’s a precious song about life and how fragile it is. The song deals with taking advantage of the positivity that surrounds you while you’re here on earth. It’s about embracing what is beautiful and not feeling so morbid about death. 

Now this album by the flaming lips is certainly a great album but what makes it my number one album from the year 2002 is that very song “do you realize.” That’s how powerful the song is. It’s the glue that holds the whole record together. 

Certainly the whole album is an enjoyable listen and follows the soft bulletin quite nicely. But I can’t emphasize how awesome that song is. I will include the lyrics here as well as an audio file of the song because I want to let the song and the words speak loud and clear. 

It seems rather poignant now in my life because I just recently lost not one but two grandmothers one week apart. R.I.P. to two wonderful ladies…

Do you realize by the Flaming Lips:

Do you realize?, that you have the most beautiful face

Do you realize?, we’re floating in space,

Do you realize?, that happiness makes you cry

Do you realize?, that everyone you know someday will die

And instead of saying all of your goodbyes, let them know

You realize that life goes fast

It’s hard to make the good things last

You realize the sun doesn’t go down

It’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round

Do you realize?, oh, oh, oh

Do you realize?, that everyone you know

Someday will die

And instead of saying all of your goodbyes, let them know

You realize that life goes fast

It’s hard to make the good things last

You realize the sun doesn’t go down

It’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round


40 Years of Noe

#Tool #Lateralus #2001 #Music



So I have a guy named Matt Duve to thank for getting me into the band Tool. In high school he would periodically loan me tapes to listen to. When I first heard the album Undertow, my life changed. Flash forward to the year 2001. The album Lateralus is released during a time when our country was invaded by terrorists. However, I was personally moved and deeply touched by Maynard and the gang in a very positive way.

Everything about Tool’s fourth album is an experience, starting with the packaging, which consists of liner credits printed on a translucent plastic sleeve over the CD and a booklet that layers anatomical representations atop one another. The first page pictures musculature and blood vessels; the next, bones; the third, internal organs; and so on. It’s worth describing the packaging of Lateralus because it says much about the astonishing music within.

While it remains in the Tool tradition of trance-inducing progressive metal, Lateralus is tighter, clearer, crisper, and all around a notch above their admirable previous releases. Aenima was flawed by muddy production and a certain predictability. Don’t get me wrong, I truly enjoyed that album. Undertow had a cleaner sound but wasn’t as confident or adventurous. It was an adventure in high school that catapulted me into the world to begin my Tool adventure but I have moved on since then.

With Lateralus, Tool have raised an already lofty bar still higher by coming up with a collection that kicks major ass. Lateralus, like I said was released in 2001, it has got to be one of the more groundbreaking musical releases since the mid-80’s and early 90’s. Lateralus is a long, well thought out musical masterpiece that draws parallels to Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon.” This whole record is just full of amazing progressive rock and it is nearly impossible to fathom that human beings actually wrote and then performed this type of music. Every song has layers and sub-layers and sub-sub-layers.

You do not listen to this album…you surrender yourself to it. The experience of Lateralus penetrates deeper than the brain — it is deeply spiritual and uplifting. Nothing comes close to obsessing my world of the first decade of the 2000’s like this one. TOOL ROCKS!

40 Years of Noe

#Radiohead #KidA #2000 #Music


This is my favorite album released in the year 2000

Welcome to the next Millennium!

Is it possible to fall in love with “Kid A”?  Maybe. It’s a love it or hate it album. But I can unconditionally recommend giving it at least one try, especially if you’re a fan of “OK Computer” or “Bends”.

Why? Because “Kid A” is Radiohead’s true masterpiece, that’s right, even more so than “OK Computer”. It takes the rule book and rips it apart in two, managing to be so many different things in so many ways that it’s almost indescribable. Thus, this “review” will really wind up being a short guide to listening to “Kid A”, to give the reader some concept of what experiencing the album feels like.

How do you listen to “Kid A”?   Since it’s not for everyone.

Expect the unexpected. As many shocked listeners discovered when “Kid A” was released, it is NOT like their first 3 albums at all!! ” It is a Radiohead album, make no mistake, but it sounds like nothing you’ve ever heard before. In a good way. Do yourself a favor and leave any concept of what you might hear at the door. Form your own experience of what you hear, and allow yourself to be startled by it. It’s OK, the water’s fine. Dip your toes in for a bit.

Listen to the Entire Album. At least once. “Kid A” flows more than any previous Radiohead work – it’s supposed to be experienced as a single, cohesive whole, the only possible break being “Treefingers”, which acts as an intermission of sorts. It’s not a terribly long album – you can do it, set aside 49 minutes and do the album justice.

Finally, Give it Time….to percolate.  “Kid A” is an album that absolutely refuses to give everything up on first listen. Nothing will be obvious immediately. You’ll need to engage it actively if you want to enjoy it completely. Does music always have to be work? No, but in this case it’s well worth the trouble.

If you still don’t like, well then that’s OK too. 🙂




40 Years of Noe

My top 90’s Ten Albums (90-99)

Find out more by reading my previous blogs……


40 Years of Noe

#1999 #Flaming #Lips #music

Wrapping up the 90’s. This is not just a great album, this is an unbelievably rare album. Albums like this come once in a lifetime for most bands. Few bands are able to create musical experiences that could be called religious just out of their sheer beauty.
This album is beautiful, desperate, hopeless, hopeful, lost and constantly searching. This album reaches into your heart and holds it from beginning to end.
The Flaming Lips are deceptively simple, with songs like “Buggin'” and “Race for the Prize” which contain what seem to be simple lyrics or a simple story, but it’s never that simple. Reach deeper into the album, do a little more research. “Race for the Prize” isn’t about a race, it’s not about a scientist it’s about finding a passion for something and loving it so much that you would hit rock bottom for it.
Songs like “Suddenly Everything Has Changed” are introspectively genius, and with the mere descriptions of everyday tasks (folding laundry, putting away groceries, driving a car) and those being the moments in which everything changes.
“Waiting For Superman” is a beautiful song about desperation and waiting for the saving grace to lift up everything up of our shoulders that’s “gettin’ heavy.”
Outside of the incredible lyrical beauty is the best production job I’ve heard in years on par with the likes of Brian Wilson’s “Pet Sounds.” The album itself bears many parallels to Pet Sounds with the diverse array of instruments and sounds with orchestra, also the beautiful instrumental interludes, plus an overall wall of sound Phil Spector-ish boom to everything, especially within “The Gash.” It’s been said that music is a combination of sounds and silences, in “The Gash” the second is completely omitted.
The Flaming Lips encompass everything I love about music. They’re catchy, with wonderful hooks, they make incredible ear opening sounds that just amaze, the production is deep and complex, and above all they say something without saying “Look at us! We’re saying something!” Every step of their work is done with complete humility, almost as if they’re surprised anyone would care. Their music goes completely off the edge, with visions as great and far reaching that completely challenged and destroyed everything we ever thought about music. And most importantly, it works.  I’ll say I think they’re one of the most genius groups to enter the scene in years. They are musical conceptualists that will always have my attention and interest.

40 Years of Noe

#Madonna #1998 #Music

1998 was a difficult year for me. But not without redemption and solace.

My parents got divorced. It wasn’t pretty.

I lost my job working at the movie theater for 4 years. Spent the summer working odd jobs until I found stable employment.

I got arrested for being an idiot. Wrong place at the wrong time.

My grandfather died the day we helped move my sister into her college dorm. I read the eulogy at his funeral.

But through it all, I listened to the album “Ray of Light” by Madonna. Without her voice and music, that year could have been much worse possibly. In and of itself, this is a wonderful album. This was a comeback record for her. She took things into a newer and more spiritual direction. Madonna, herself,  was maturing and growing. I found much healing power listening to this album. She reassures the comfort of saying goodbye.

I had to say goodbye to my Grandpa who held the extended family together. With the divorce, I also had to wave goodbye to the structure of our immediate household family. This year was a challenging one.

Opening and closing the heart.

Madonna deeply connects with family matters. After all, 1989’s “Like a Prayer,” dealt with the breakup of her marriage, her mom’s death, and the estranged relationship with her father All of these things shattered the belief that Madonna was an artist that relied on hit singles. The deep and expressive set of music on “Like a Prayer,” made for a mature album that could be enjoyed from start to finish.

Unfortunately, subsequent recordings weren’t as sharp: “Erotica” and “Bedtime Stories” definitely had their moments but also had their share of filler. Then along came 1998’s “Ray of Light.” This picks up on the flip side of “Like a Prayer”: this time around, Madonna’s the parent, and the topic of family provides a springboard for reflections on love versus fame and what a grown adult considers truly important.

Adding to the mix is her collaboration with electronica producer William Orbit, making “Ray of Light” one of the most mature and satisfying albums of dance music that I have personally heard.
And while the opening track gets things off to an unexpected start with a hypnotic slice of slow rock, the lyrics of “Drowned World/Substitute for Love” set the pace of the record.  Halfway through the song the music takes a break and Madonna distances herself from side-effects of fame.  As the song continues the decibel level grows until both Madonna and her music are at an in-your-face level, clearly declaring that fame may be nice but enough is enough.
The dance-club friendly track, “Nothing Really Matters” is another summation of her new point of view; singing to her newborn daughter, the onetime Material Girl admits that she once “lived so selfishly,” but now “everything’s changed.” The concept is simple but nonetheless a touching one.
Not all the lyrical content is parental, however. And then the midtempo “Power of Goodbye” and the near-Bossa Nova “To Have and Not to Hold” are flat-out love songs, albeit doomed ones. This is where I found most of my connections, during this portion of the album.

All in all, “Ray of Light” marks her most successful connection with dance music and her most compelling efforts as a lyricist. It’s a relief to know that, years after enjoyable ear candy like “Holiday” and “Like a Virgin,” Madonna grew up and matured over the years just like the rest of us. As she observes on “Sky Fits Heaven”: “isn’t everyone just travelling down their own road/watching the signs as they go/I think I’ll follow my heart/it’s a very good place to start.”

Very good? Some would say brilliant.