Tuesday, September 18th. The last record release date of the Summer. This is a special one, too! Two women from the Pacific Northwest have released two highly anticipated sophomore albums. Carly Rae Jepsen is the voice behind the ubiquitous hit “Call Me Maybe.” Corin Tucker is 1/3 of the legendary riot grrl super group Sleater-Kinney. Tonight, I will be listening to both of these records, beginning to end, for the first time. Both records are 12 tracks, so I will be giving my thoughts about 24 different songs as I listen to them. I will alternate between Carly and Corin. For those that wish to follow along at home, I have made a playlist in rdio.com! Keep refreshing, because I will update as I go…
Now, without further adieu, here is “Live Blogging With The Devil: Carly Rae Jepsen vs Corin Tucker”:
Tiny Little Bows
Jepsen won the coin toss. Actually, I just went in alphabetical order. Track opens with a bright disco beat, with Jepsen quoting The Spinners’ hit “Cupid.” This song is cute, although a little chaotic. It’s very disco: steady beat, a lot of layers, slap bass, trilling strings. It’s a weird album opener, but I like it.
Such a sharp contrast to Jepsen. The album opener for Corin Tucker Band’s Kill My Blues is pure rock and roll. This song would have been right at home on Sleater-Kinney’s One Beat. Big, ecstatic guitars, with a nice warm xylophone underneath. Classic Tucker.
Sharp synth hits open this track. Jepsen sounds surprisingly like Katy Perry on this. Or may unsurprisingly like Katy Perry. The production on this song is terrible: everything is overdriven to death, and the effects on Jepsen’s voice causing the song to get lost completely. Which is a shame, because, at it’s core, this is a great pop song. Jepsen really understands the complex emotions that go through your head when you are about to kiss somebody for the first time. The pleasure, the stress, the awkwardness, and the relief. Not since Rivers Cuomo was at his peak has a song truly understand these feelings.
Kill My Blues
Song opens up with a blistering electric piano riff. Tucker’s soulful wail is in prime form here. Two tracks in a row of pure, blistering, overdriven guitar rock. The drums on this track really stand out- it’s almost a garage rock dance song.
Call Me Maybe
Weird to bury the big hit at track three. Everyone on earth has heard this song 100 times. This is the perfect bubblegum pop song. It’s innocent without being naive. Everybody on Earth can relate to it. The only people that don’t get this song are horrifically jaded people that will never understand happiness.
Track three of Kill My Blues, and it’s pretty settled Tucker has moved away from the singer/songwriter vibe of 1,000 Years. Instead, it’s another big, riff heavy rock number. This one complete with some great harmonies.
The last Corin Tucker Band song was so heavy that it made this song sound like a full on ballad. Lyrically, this record seems to be resting on all of the same themes-these are songs about not understanding love, but being optimistic about the adventures that it takes you on. Also: more disco.
I Don’t Wanna Go
This song sounded like it started in the middle. It’s messy. It’s super lofi. I think it was recorded live in the studio. It’s so very immediate- a delightful punk rock tune. Right in the middle there is an psychedelic breakdown that would have been just as at home on a 13th Floor Elevators record as it does on this one.
Sounds like the guy from Owl City is singing the lead on this one. A quick Google search confirms this. This whole piece sounds like Owl City. Jepsen is practically none existent. This song sounds like it should be the theme to a teen comedy at a summer camp. Nothing particularly deep or interesting going on.
Wow. So dark. So dissonant. The keyboards and drums are carrying this song something fierce. This reminds me of The Doors at their darkest. The organ definitely sounds like Ray Manzerek. After the substance free levity of “Good Time,” this is positively chilling.
More Than A Memory
I’m beginning to think that this project is grossly unfair to Jepsen. This piece of melancholy is great pop music. The lead instrument sounds like a hammered dulcimer, which is an underutilized instrument. The tale of holding onto a lost love is one is well composed, and, really, this is one of the best sounding tracks on this album.
No Bad News Tonight
The most radio-friendly track on the album. Opens up with pop punk riff that is beyond catchy, and drives head first into a great pop rock song. Tucker’s vocal performance may be the most understated of her career. If there is any “hit” off this record, this will be it. And, at 2:03, it’s the shorted track on the record. It left me immediately wanting to hear it again.
Turn Me Up
Might be the flirtiest break up song ever written. The mixed messages in this song lead me to believe that it’s either one of the best written songs ever or worst written songs ever. She either really likes this guy, or really hates him. Or just wants to sleep with him. Or just likes toying with him. I really can’t tell… I’m likely to over analyze this song for months.
Funny how almost every Jepsen song sounds like a Summer Jam, but this one is actually called Summer Jams. It is, of course, a summer jam. It’s a classic, warm, fuzzy garage rock song. It’s got great girl group vocalizing on top of some great guitar playing.
Hurt So Good
I really wanted this to be a John Cougar Mellancamp cover. It’s not. It’s reminding me that almost every song on this record is about the same BPM.
None Like You
Opens up with a dark church organ tone. Something out of Phantom Of The Opera. The dark organ is juxtaposed by a bright piano riff that keeps repeating. Since this is a straight up rock record, of course, drums and guitar kick on after a minute or so, and, although it stays dark, they certainly rock out pretty hard once the opportunity presented itself.
Acoustic guitar ballad. First acoustic instrument to be present on the record. Sounds like this song was written specifically for an American Idol contestant to audition with. The lyrics are a little preachy, but teaching you that beauty is in the inside. Justin Bieber’s vocals are unnecessary.
Tucker loves writing songs about specific people and the trials they go through. These tracks tend to be my least favorite of her songs. Still fantastic songwriting, but this is my least favorite track so far.
Tonight I’m Getting Over You
For the first time in this project, the Jepsen song beats the Tucker song. I’m not sure what I disliked “Joey” so much, but this song woke my right up. This song about simply going out, having fun, and letting go of the past has anthem written all over it. This song is the 2012 version of “I WIll Survive.” Jepsens does Gloria Gaynor proud on this one.
The guitar tone is perfect on this track. Just a great sounding rock song.
Guitar String /Wedding Ring
The most “rock” song on the record. This song would sound so much better with live instruments, but beggars can’t be choosers. Just a nice song about crushing on a musician.
Blood Bones and Sand
A piano driven rock song. Very theatrical sounding. Tucker’s signature wail is on full display here. Beautiful song. Unlike anything I’ve ever heard Tucker do before.
Your Heart Is A Muscle
More top 40 philosophizing. A cute ballad about using your own heart as strength to get through a tough time. There is a 14 year old kid that will hear this song, and it will save their life.
The last song of this experiment starts out with a fantastic stomp. The album is called Kill My Blues, but this is the only song that actually sounds like the blues are getting killed. Chilling and heavy. Robert Johnson would be proud of this one. So would Grace Slick.
Thank you for following along with this experiment. In whole, I give Kill My Blues by The Corin Tucker Band an A rating, and Kiss by Carly Rae Jepsen gets a B-.