December of 2008 was an all talk and no walk album month. No one seemed to be releasing but everyone was talking about, "in 2009." In 2009 indeed, the first week of January was hit hard by the music scene. All the Best Of of 2008 articles got washed by headlines about Animal Collective's new masterpiece, then Kanye West was making a scene blogging about Peter Bjorn and John's melodies and since then it's been band after band. She & Him aren't even waiting for their best album of the year declaration from Paste magazine to fade before they're making it known they're in the studio again. However, amidst this flurry of new sound bites, there are a few albums that I am more than excited about.
Kanye West does a pretty amazing job at keeping his name aflutter. Between Twitter and his blog, he's got himself in the mix of the news. His excited post on the 6th was quite a boast, exclaiming about the Peter Bjorn and John mp3 that was sent to him. While Living Thing isn't necessarily supposed to be out until March, the songs that have leaked out, "Nothing to Worry About" and "Lay It Down", are building a good deal of anticipation for what they've created. Peter Bjorn and John's last great work, "Young Folks", from their album, Writer's Block, still frequents playlists 3 years later. While "Young Folks" has a simplistic attribute that keeps it strong, "Nothing to Worry About" and "Lay It Down" are a magnificently intricate and a pleasure to listen to. It's going to be fantastic to hear what else they have in store.
Also mentioned before, She & Him, the amazing duo of Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward, are said to be cooking up some tunes. M. Ward, simply a smart musician with productive fingers, is putting together his seventh solo album, Hold Time, in which Zooey Deschanel's voice appears on the track, "Never Had Nobody Like You." While the song sounds a little like some of the tracks from his 2006 solo album, Post-War and the song "Requiem" in particular, and doesn't have all that much Zooey in it, it's still a deliciously short song. However, just because M. Ward isn't putting Zooey Deschanel's voice at the fore front her voice is still breaking air waves. With the movie release of "Yes Man" Zooey Deschanel's movie band, Munchausen Proxy conjured a few really fantastic works. The song "Yes Man" and "Sweet Ballad" are quite the contrast from M. Ward's more melancholy usual tone.
Now as for a band that hasn't been mentioned yet, The Decemberists have been teasing the music scene with their self-declared rock opera, The Hazards of Love. Filled with mini epic ballads, the album is bound to tell a great tale in a beautifully melodic way. This week, The Decemberists released a free download of "The Rake's Song" hinting at what is to come from the album release expected in March. Surprisingly, the song has got some beat to it with a few heavy electric guitar and drum accents. The song, while very descriptive and telling a well defined story, certainly deepens the anticipation of what's in the works.
*Madeleine J. Muska is the genius and main commentator behind the music blog, ChipperDemon.