Thursday, January 7, 2010

Mean Everything To Nothing

I know that this too is kinda old news, but I feel like I have to catch up on some of the really cool stuff that happened before I started the blog.

So, Mean Everything To Nothing was the album released last year by Manchester Orchestra, and definitely one of my favorite albums of the year. Not only is the music great, but they had the fantastic idea to film a series of short films, one for each song, which when viewed in order form a very loose narrative. I watched it, and it is extremely well done. The story follows the character "Elaine". It begins with her escaping from a mental hospital, and follows her journey, interspersed with occasional footage of the band.

At the beginning of the first video, the words "past present and future, they are all the same" appear on screen. This is very telling of the tone of the videos, where reality, imagination, past, present, future, all blend together. The filmmakers did a very good job of making the music and the video mesh together very well, and all her "memories" are so well done, they manage to make me nostalgic for a world and time I never experienced.

As for the actual music, it's a very solid album, good indie rock, at times venturing into some screamo territory. Normally I hate screamo, but it's not too overt, and very well done, so it's not a problem. One of the ways I like to judge music is by how much it makes me feel, and this music definitely does well in that area. The emotion is very intense, and very well conveyed by the songwriting. Sometimes you wish it would let up a bit more often, as it does with "I Can Feel a Hot One", but that's not a major concern.

I've read complaints about the singer's voice, and I can definitely see how some people could find it annoying, as it does have a kind of whiny, high pitched quality to it, but I have no problems.

Overall verdict, very solid album. It starts out very well, drags a bit in the middle, but then picks up again towards the end. The films are definitely meant to go with the music, they wouldn't have a whole lot of value without it. Together, the videos really heighten the experience of listening to the album, and add a very unique dimension that wouldn't have been there otherwise. I highly recommend both the album and the videos.

Two places to watch. On this website, they have all 11 videos with comments from the directors under each one explaining whats going on, which is really cool. However, there's occasional Sony ads, as well as other videos on the page which automatically start playing, both of which are very annoying.
As an alternative, they have all the videos on this Youtube playlist, which I'm pretty sure is ad free.

Also, in a fantastic coincidence, today's daily deal on Amazong MP3 is this very album, so for today only, head here to download the whole album for $2.99.
Update: It's over, but the album is still only $7.99, not bad at all.
And finally, if you don't want to sit through the videos, here are a few musical highlights from the album:
The Only One - Manchester Orchestra
I Can Feel a Hot One - Manchester Orhcestra
I've Got Friends - Manchester Orchestra

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