Sunday, September 9, 2012

#50: Ray LaMontagne - Trouble (2004)

(I lead a hard life) I was on the beach at 11pm tonight and was searching for the perfect album to listen to. I really struggled to find the right sound, but the moment I saw Ray's name pop up I knew I had found the perfect record. This album is a creeper, I didn't love it on first listen. I didn't even love it on the 5th, but now that I'm about 20 deep I can truly appreciate the brilliance of it all.

It's the title of the album for a reason. The vocals on this are phenomenal, it's one of the absolute best vocal performances in the past 30 years. It doesn't have an incredible amount of pop appeal, but it makes up for that with beautiful musicality and deep lyrics. The guitar isn't all that interesting but the bass keeps it relevant. Really the music gets out of the way and let's Ray sing his guts out. While I may not have fallen for this record quickly, this track was love at first sight. Best track on the album.

Forever My Friend
On the first few listens the tracks can at times run together. However, (and this is true with a lot of records) the more you listen to it, the more you can appreciate the small details and each individual song for exactly what it is. I'm still drawn to the tracks with a little more percussion in them. This track features a kit, bongos, and a shaker. It adds a backbone but still allows Ray's vocals to really shine through.

How Come
This is the only track on the album to feature an electric guitar, it provides the hook on the chorus. This track doesn't feature quite as much percussion, but it still has bongos while the bass takes over a little more of the feel for the song. Ray just keeps feeding you and feeding you early in the song, waiting until the last moment to let you hear the chorus. Lyrically it becomes all the more effective and it fits in so perfectly with the lead electric guitar that comes in and out.

All in all, I've come to the decision that I'd listen to the man sing the phone book. Lucky for us he writes really solid music and does that instead. I still don't know if he's written his best music, however, even if he stays at this same level for the next ten years, I'll still buy every album. There's certain albums that I'll never enjoy as much as the first time, but this happens to be an album I enjoy more and more every time I queue it up.

Tomorrow's album: Miriam Makeba's self titled debut album.

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