Mountain Man, Prince, and Metric
Perhaps you’re like me. When life throws a big bag o’ uncertainty your way, you seek out the familiar. I still have that rebellious part of me that needs to venture out to uncharted areas. That’s why this week features a musical voyage of the unexpected and a journey along a well-trod path as we check out Mountain Man, Prince, and Metric. Before we dive in, honorable mentions go out to: Christian Sands, Christine and the Queens, Lupe Fiasco, Brockhampton, Gazelle Twin, and Suede.
Mountain Man: Magic Ship
Believe it or not, Mountain Man, contains no men. However, that doesn’t mean there is no truth in advertising because their vocals are mountainous. By that, I don’t mean the vocals are as big as a mountain. I mean they are as haunting and as lonely as a mountain. Most of Magic Ship‘s tracks are sung a cappella with tight harmonies and only the occasional guitar accompaniment.
Close your eyes and imagine a single, lilting female voice piercing the snowy mountain top air. As it floats down and reaches mid-mountain, it’s picked up and met with another slightly lower voice. When the harmonies finally reach the bottom, a third voice chimes in.
What I have yet to discern from listening to track 11: Underwear is whether these ladies want a pair of Underwear to “chill” in (Netflix & Chill?) or whether it’s hot where they are they want a pair that’s simply not uncomfortably cold. Honestly, that was my first reaction.
Prince: Piano & A Microphone, 1983
What couldn’t Prince Rogers Nelson do? Play almost any instrument? Check. Charm the pants off of anyone he wanted? Check. Chuck it all out the window and reinvent himself after “getting the religion”? Check.
Piano & A Microphone, 1983 is exactly what you think it is. Prince. At a piano. With a microphone. In 1983. Consider this for a moment. He had already released five albums up to the star-making 1999 (in 1982). He had yet to release 1984’s Purple Rain – the album that catapulted him into mega-stardom. Somewhere between all that whirlwind of touring and creativity, he sat down at a piano to bang out (at least) nine tracks of earnest, soulful vocals over bluesy, jazzy, funky piano riffs. His talent is sorely missed.
Thankfully, this album answers a question over two years in the asking.
Metric: Art of Doubt
Art of Doubt is Metric‘s seventh studio release. This album isn’t quite as synth-heavy as Pagans in Vegas, but it still has its share. Tracks alternate between featuring the guitar and the synthesizer. Guitar arrangements are equally gritty and clean and serve to really drive tempos to a steering wheel pounding intensity.
I found something curious on this album that I’ve never caught on previous ones. If you remove Emily Haines’ distinctive vocals, I could understand someone thinking this is a new Garbage album. Listen to tracks like Dark Saturday, Underline the Black, or Dressed to Suppress and you can hear it. I think if Emily ever developed any vocal issues on this tour, Shirley Manson would fit in nicely.