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Williammunny11

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Williammunny11 last won the day on December 24 2019

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About Williammunny11

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    https://soundcloud.com/geek-usa

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    James Gerard

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  • Favourite MG(B) Song
    While We Were Hunting Rabbits

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  1. As I expected, there is hardly a consensus, which is something I love about MG's catalog. I ran back through the MGB albums this past week, and I'm always struck by how much I enjoy the Audio of Being despite my initial disappointment with that record when it first came out. I know that it was an incredibly tumultuous time for the band, but songs like "The Rat Who Would Be King" and "Truffle Pigs" are absolute gems.
  2. Ranking Matthew Good’s Solo Work from Best to Worst Amazingly, some 20 years into his solo career, Matthew Good has succeeded in creating an artistic identity that stands apart from the platinum success he enjoyed in the late 90s/early 2000s by way of the alt-rock band that shared his name. With each new release, it seems like the Canadian artist somehow manages to firmly and succinctly re-establish what longtime fans have known for years: Matthew Good is writing the best music of his career. And now, with yet another new Matthew Good release (Moving Walls) on the horizon, I recently decided to take a long-overdue ‘deep-dive’ into the man’s catalog, listening to each and every release front to back and in chronological order. Some of Good’s albums (like the breath-taking Lights of Endangered Species) I still listen to on a fairly regular basis, while others (here’s looking at you Arrows of Desire), well, not so much. But as I worked my way through Matt’s work, I found myself constantly blown away by how well nearly all of these albums have aged. With his solo catalog now fresh in my mind, I’ve decided to (finally) compile a list ranking (in my opinion) Matthew Good’s solo albums from worst to least, albeit, with a few caveats: *Caveat Number One: I’ve decided to restrict my list to Matt’s eight major label solo releases (minus E.P.s, Comps, and the Live At Massey Hall release). Also, while he was clearly the creative force behind the Matthew Good Band, I tend to consider that band’s work to be its own thing, and thus, I tend to listen to the MGB and Matthew Good Solo in separate spurts. **Caveat Number Two: It goes without saying that I hold Matt in the highest esteem, therefore, any and all criticisms should be taken with a grain of salt. He’s a genius, so dividing his ‘best’ from his ‘worst’ is essentially an exercise in nitpicking. ***Caveat Number Three: I’d like to file anything that I’ve written below in the ever-so-subjective ‘prisoner of the moment’ category. I suspect that if I were to repeat this process six months from now, my results would be dramatically different. The following list is little more than a snapshot of where I am as a Matthew Good fan right now, in late 2019. And now, without further adieu, my personal ranking (In order from least to most favorite) of Matthew Good’s solo catalog. My Rankings at a glance: Tier 3 Rarely Listen: 8. Arrows Of Desire (2013) 7. Something Like A Storm (2017) Tier 2 Often Listen, but Skip a Track (or Two or Three): 6. Vancouver (2009) 5. White Light Rock & Roll Review (2004) 4. Hospital Music (2007) 3. Avalanche (2003) Tier 1 Consistently Listen, Still (amongst my favorite albums by any artist): 2. Chaotic Neutral (2015) 1. Lights Of Endangered Species (2011) Deep Dive: 8 - Arrows Of Desire (2013) I was so excited when I first heard the singles “Had It Coming” and “Guns Of Carolina” back in the Summer of 2013. I remember running a long race the weekend before this dropped, and I listened to the three singles that had been released (I can’t remember which the third was, maybe the title track?) over and over. I loved (and still love) Lights..., but the thought that Matt was returning with something a bit more ‘amped up’ had me incredibly excited. That all being said, once I finally digested Arrows Of Desire, I quickly realized that the record’s sound and vibe really only satisfied a certain mood. There’s a workman-like quality to the album that, unfortunately, works against the listening experience. It sounds like everything was tracked in that classic assembly-line fashion. Drums one day, guitars the next, and so on. It’s sonically consistent to a fault. There are moments that I truly love on this album, but I’ve only revisited the album in its entirety a handful of times since its release. Every list has to have a starting point, and for the reasons stated above, this list begins with Arrows Of Desire. Near Fantastica (Highlights): “Garden of Knives” and “Mutineering” are incredibly satisfying, mid-tempo monsters that I consider to be amongst Good’s best ‘rockers’. “Letters in Wartime” is an amazing closer. Born Losers (Lowlights): Like I said, while there’s nothing outright offensive here, there’s also little that wows (save for the highlights mentioned above). When I’m in the mood to rock, Arrows... always satisfies, but the front half might be the weakest opening salvo in Good’s catalog. Letters In Wartime (Favorite Lyric and/or moment): No matter where the sun strikes us, knives will grow - “Garden of Knives” 7. Something Like A Storm (2017) This was perhaps the first time I found myself completely underwhelmed by a Matthew Good release. When “Bad Guys Win” was released as a single, I was incredibly disappointed: it’s just so painfully on the nose. In my opinion, “Decades” would have served as a better opener and/or first single, but regardless of the tracklisting, Something Like a Storm still feels uneven to me. To that point, this is probably the only Good record where there are a handful of songs that I could take or leave, and for that reason alone, this winds up near the bottom. Something Like a Storm is also a good example of a record where the highs, while few and far between, vastly outweigh and overcompensate for the lows. Near Fantastica (Highlights): This is easy: the title track (“Something Like a Storm”) and “Bullets In a Briefcase” were instant classics for me, and the latter might be the best album-closer in his catalog. Born Losers (Lowlights): Much like Arrows of Desire, I rarely revisit this album as a whole; whenever I put it on, I listen to “Decades”, and then skip right to the title track. “There The First Time” is one of my least favorite good songs (the lyrics just don’t do anything for me), and “Men at the Door”, and “Days Come Down” are equally forgettable for me. Letters In Wartime (Favorite Lyric and/or moment): Fall asleep, your head on my chest, dream of something effortless - “Something Like a Storm” 6. Vancouver (2009) After losing track of Good for almost a decade (like many of us South of the border, once Much Music disappeared from my cable provider, I lost my connection to many of my favorite Canadian artists), Vancouver served as my re-introduction to the man’s music. I’ll never forget what sparked the re-emergence of my fandom. During the Winter of 2008, I found myself on a huge Matthew Good Band kick. After listening to Beautiful Midnight and Audio of Being for weeks on end, I fell down the google rabbit hole one night and realized that he had a new solo album that was about to drop. Now, remember, 2009 was still pre-streaming, so if you wanted to ‘legally’ check out a release, you needed to purchase it. And so, I pre-ordered Vancouver and immediately fell in love with it upon first listen. The older, more mature songwriting and slightly less angsty sound felt incredibly fresh to my middle-aged (I was about to turn thirty) ears. I immediately purchased the rest of his solo LPs, and much to my surprise, I realized that Vancouver was only scratching the surface in regards to the quality of Good’s solo work (more on that later). More than a decade removed, Vancouver still holds a special place in my heart. Is it a perfect record? No. But the record’s strongest moments warrant frequent re-listens. Near Fantastica (Highlights): The opening salvo of “Last Parade”, “The Boy Who Could Explode”, “Great Whales of the Sea”, and “Us Remains Impossible” is incredibly effective. “Empty’s Theme Park” continues the tradition of amazing album-closers, and “Volcanoes” still takes my breath away all of these years later. Born Losers (Lowlights): For whatever reason, I rarely listen to “Fought to Fight It”, and “A Silent Army In The Trees” just never really connected for me. Those two songs (along with “Vancouver National Anthem”) bog down the back half for me; I need to be in a very specific mood to listen all the way through this one. Letters In Wartime (Favorite Lyric and/or moment): And I know you know that I ain’t me, so us remains impossible - “Us Remains Impossible” 5. White Light Rock & Roll Review (2004) We now enter the ‘toss-up’ portion of my list, as I hold the next three albums in very similar esteem. Going into this process, White Light Rock & Roll Review was a clear dark horse. While I’ve always thought of this album as ‘one of the weaker ones’, upon further review, I’ve come to realize that it’s not only a record I revisit often, but it’s also one of Matt’s best sequenced albums period. Simply put, White Light... rocks from start to finish. Reportedly tracked ‘live on the floor’ (with vocals and overdubs added later), White Light… is the sound of a band firing on all cylinders, and its stripped-down, bare-bones approach stands in stark contrast to the lushly-orchestrated Avalanche that preceded it a year earlier. Despite the spontaneous nature of it’s production, White Light… is an incredibly realized effort, proof of Good’s ability to derive an astonishingly high level of quality from his songwriting despite a dramatically different approach. This, to me, is the album Good was trying to channel with Arrows Of Desire, but where that album tends to feel a bit labored, White Light… breaths. Near Fantastica (Highlights): My God, “Blue Skies Over Bad Lands” is such a gem! The closing “Ex-Pats…”, in all its Who-esque glory, gets better each and every time I listen, and “Empty Road” is one of Good’s best ‘love’ songs. Born Losers (Lowlights): I know it was selected as a single, and I think there’s some genius wordplay in the lyrics, but I just can’t get down with “It’s Been A While Since I Was Your Man”, and “Buffalo Seven” is one of the only Good rockers that I don’t really care for, but neither of these tracks warrant a skip, so I consider them to be minor blems on an otherwise solid album. Letters In Wartime (Favorite Lyric and/or moment): Just understand understanding - “Blue Skies Over Bad Lands” 4. Hospital Music (2007) I fell in love with Hospital Music from the moment I first heard the opening samples of “Champions of Nothing.” Hospital Music is a fan-favorite for obvious reasons, as there’s at least a half-dozen classics here, plus a pair of amazing covers, and despite the record’s protracted running time (clocking in at over an hour), the album never threatens to overstay its welcome - a feat in and of itself. A friend of mine once referred to Hospital Music as Good’s ‘sad-bastard, singer-songwriter’ album, and in a way, the description couldn’t have been more fitting. Hospital Music is Good at his most raw, emotional, and vulnerable. The fact that this incredibly strong collection of heartfelt songs sits in the middle of my list is less an indictment on the music itself, and more a testament to Good’s impeccable catalog. Near Fantastica (Highlights): “Champions of Nothing” is, without a doubt, my favorite Matt Good opener (that solo!), “Born Losers” and “The Boy Come Home” feature some of Good’s best lyrics to date, and the covers (The Dead Kennedys’ “Moon over Marin”, and Daniel Johnston’s “True Love Will Find You In The End”) offer a reverential take on a couple of classic songs. Born Losers (Lowlights): While they make sense within the context of the album, “Girl Wedged Under the Front of a Firebird” and “I Am Not Safer Than a Bank” feel like underdeveloped ideas rather than songs; I wish they weren’t back-to-back. Other than that, “Black Helicopter” is the only proper song that I feel doesn’t quite hit the mark. Letters In Wartime (Favorite Lyric and/or moment): On my chest you put your head and said, ‘there you are, there’s my heart’ - “A Single Explosion” 3. Avalanche (2003) Until 2011’s Lights Of Endangered Species, Avalanche was not only my favorite Matthew Good album, but it was in contention for my favorite album period. Setting aside the songs for a moment, Avalanche is simply a joy to listen to on every sonic level thanks in no small part to the lush, nuanced production (augmented with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra on several tracks). In addition to the gorgeous mix, Avalanche also contains what might be Good’s best vocal performance (in terms of range and tone) on record. It’s hard to find a more jaw-dropping moment than the notes he consistently hits in “While We Were Hunting Rabbits” and “In a World Called Catastrophe”. Near Fantastica (Highlights): Where to begin. For starters, the string of songs beginning with “Lullaby For the New World Order” through the title track represents what might be the best four track run on any Matt Good album. While much of the album is comprised of dense, emotionally-charged numbers, the more ‘in-the-pocket’ arrangements of “Song For a Girl” and “Double Life” really help sustain Avalanche’s momentum as it comes around the bend. Born Losers (Lowlights): “21st Century Living” is the only track I could do without here. While mildly interesting in and of itself, the song’s placement in the tracklisting (sandwiched between “Avalanche” and “While We Were Hunting Rabbits”) does this song no favors. Letters In Wartime (Favorite Lyric and/or moment): I’m just a ship lost at sea - “While We Were Hunting Rabbits” 2. Chaotic Neutral (2015) This will probably be a stunning choice for most fans (and to be honest, I was a bit surprised myself), but what can I say, Chaotic Neutral has been continuously stunning me for the last four years, and in that period of time, it is hands down one of my most listened to albums. Chaotic Neutral, as the vague ‘D&D’ reference would suggest, is an album of extremes, encapsulating the best moments of Good’s previous two releases, seamlessly combining the lush orchestration of Lights Of Endangered Species with the more immediate swagger of Arrows of Desire. And while the strength of both of those albums lied in the focused, albeit somewhat one-dimensional approach of the material, Chaotic Neutral thrives squarely somewhere in the balance of the two. The album begins with an immediately familiar ring of “All You Sons and Daughters”, a song that could have easily been a late 90’s hit for his former band. “Moment” and “Kid Down The Well” continue the albums momentum with a more ‘rocked-out’ treatment for songs that easily could have stood on their own as acoustic numbers. “No Liars” flat out swings while “Harridan” serves as the album’s defacto centerpiece, a sprawling epic that functions as the record’s most sincere nod to the grand, orchestrated vibe of Lights... Where the first half starts with a bang, the second half of the album tends to burn at a simmer, with songs like “Tiger By The Tail” and “Cold Water” featuring sparser arrangements that highlight what is undoubtedly some of Good’s best lyrical content ever. It’s here where the nuanced production serves the songs best (especially the quieter ones), revealing initially overlooked subtleties with repeated listens. I was originally skeptical when I saw the Kate Bush song “Cloudbusting” (featuring the criminally underrated Holly McNarland) in the track listing, but the song is simply a triumph, reverently conveying the intent of the original with enough deviation to make it stand on its own. Near Fantastica (Highlights): Chaotic Neutral was a ‘grower’ in every sense of the word, as each and every listen reveals yet another amazing moment (for instance, like the driving piano on “Moment”). In addition to all that I stated above, I would cite the hushed whisper of the ballad “Los Alamos” as one of my top-five Matthew Good songs. It’s an incredibly poignant ballad that never ceases to move me. Born Losers (Lowlights): With an album this good, there’s not a lot to say that doesn’t feel like I’m splitting hairs. While “Army of Lions” succeeds in spite of it’s overly-glossy production, I would’ve loved to have had a more organic, stripped down version. Letters In Wartime (Favorite Lyric and/or moment): I can hear your heart beat on the other side of town - “Los Alamos” 1. Lights Of Endangered Species (2011) Matt has openly stated his affection for 2011’s “Lights Of Endangered Species” on numerous occasions, and the sentiment is well placed as the album is, in this writer’s opinion, the artist’s best work to date. Devoid of any standout singles (other than the modestly received “In A Place Of Lesser Men”, Lights… finds Good fully embracing the album format. This record epitomizes the idea of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. While there are numerous breath-taking moments (the jaw-dropping crescendo half-way through “Set Me On Fire”, the big-band stomp of “Zero Orchestra”, and the final two minutes of “Shallow’s Low” to name a few), each and every song is elevated by the process of listening to the record from start to finish. Not unlike a brilliant scene from a classic movie, the moments work in and of themselves, but the true emotional impact is elevated when listened to within the context of the overall piece. Simply put, Lights Of Endangered Species is a staggeringly coherent, at times visceral forty-seven (depending on which version you got, of course) minutes of music Good wanted to do something a little ‘left of center’, and with 2011’s Lights…, he succeeded by side-stepping the guitar-driven alt-rock that he’d spent the better part of two decades perfecting in favor of piano-centric compositions. Longtime producer Warne Livesey managed to elevate Good’s impassioned vocals with lush, orchestrated arrangements that featured a healthy dose of horns, strings, woodwinds, and brass. When compared to previous records, the tonal difference is almost jarring, but Lights… rewards repeated listens in a way that few ‘rock’ albums do. Does Lights Of Endangered Species contain my favorite Matthew Good song? Does it contain Good’s best vocal performance? No. Is it, in my humble opinion, his best, most cohesive musical statement to date? Yes, absolutely. And for that reason, it sits at the top of my list. Near Fantastica (Highlights): “Extraordinary Fades” is an understated gem that perfectly sets the mood for what is to come. “How it Goes” is a brilliant lyric, and as I mentioned before, “Shallow’s Low” has a captivating instrumental ending. “What If I Can’t See The Stars Mildred” and “Zero Orchestra” are a brilliant one/two punch that propel the album into its third act. Matt has cited “Non Populous” as an artistic high-point of his career on numerous occasions, and the sentiment is well placed as the song is easily one of his most challenging musical compositions. At over eight minutes in length, and with a challenging arrangement (eschewing the traditional verse-chorus ‘pop song’ structure in favor of a classically-minded piece comprised of movements), “Non Populous” is a musical tour-de force in every sense of the phrase. “In a Place of Lesser Men” was as good a choice as any for a single, but the song really benefits from hearing it within the context of the album, as it provides some nice breathing room between two of the record’s most musically dense moments. “Set Me On Fire” and “Lights Of Endangered Species” are a breath-taking final actwhile “Darlin’” closes the album with a subtle, pensive moment that hearkens back to “Extraordinary Fades.” Oh, and I almost forgot, what an amazing album cover! (painted by Vancouver artist Miriam Aroeste). Born Losers (Lowlights): I wouldn’t change a second of this album. Every lyric and every note contributes to the overall composition in a way that renders each individual part indispensable. “Darlin’” should have been included on the physical release as it is a beautiful coda to the album, but seeing as it appears on the streaming/iTunes version, this gripe is somewhat nullified. Letters In Wartime (Favorite Lyric and/or moment): And the girls, their eyes, piano wire, scream ‘set me on fire’ - “Set Me On Fire” Closing Thoughts: Phew. Well, that’s that! Like I said above, whether you agree or disagree with any of what I wrote, it should (hopefully) be pretty clear that I am, first and foremost, a fan. In that sense, the compiling of this list was a labor of love, and every opinion stated (critical or not) was done so with reverence. The Bored has been a bit more active as of late, so I’m hoping that this thread will spark some conversation, and maybe even inspire others to take their own deep dive into Matthew Good’s impeccable catalog. I’d love to hear everyone else's thoughts as well! Cheers, James
  3. Yeah, I remember "Mistake", and was always impressed with it in the same way that Silverchair's "Tomorrow" impressed me.
  4. Might be my favorite video since In A World Called Catastrophe
  5. This. I was a little 'meh' at first, but every time I revisit this song, I find myself more and more invested...reminds me of "In a Place of Lesser Men" from a decade ago, which was another single that I grew to love.
  6. Gotta love the Vintage interwebs. That Spacejam movie page (https://www.spacejam.com/archive/spacejam/movie/jam.htm) is so classic!
  7. I am so happy I purchased Chaotic Neutral and Something Like A Storm when they were first released. As single LP's, I listen to them a ton, where as LOES (double LP) I rarely listen to because of the constant flipping.
  8. I am beyond excited. Last time I saw Matt was some years back at the Cleveland House of Blues during his acoustic tour. Looks like I'll be at Detroit or Buffalo (or maybe both?) in April!
  9. I so agree. I love the variety of sounds that MG's albums have provided us, but it sounds like this next record is gonna be one I come back to often.
  10. Arya Stark for the win. I LOVE her 'faceless man' arch.
  11. A Kind Of Magic is in my top-5 Queen albums.
  12. I'm very interested to see where they take Season 3 as well. The second season, in a lot of ways, provided some closure to a lot of the loose threads from Season 1. That being said, there are so many different directions they can go in now. maintaining the balance of paying homage to all those classic sci-fi elements without becoming derivative will be the true challenge I suspect.
  13. I think that's part of the genius of Stranger Things - the show has both depth and accessibility; a true cross-over.
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