Making rock fun again
Is it finally acceptable for rock music to be fun again? After a couple decades of interminably serious attitudes about pop and rock music holding sway, a couple of new releases seem to suggest that just being silly is also okay for the non-bubble gum set.
Indie rock pioneer Matthew Sweet and Bangles lead singer Susanna Hoffs have teamed up for a retro project a la Robert Plant's The Honeydrippers or Bill Wyman's two Willie & the Poorboys projects.
This all-star exercise in pop nostalgia covers everything from Dylan, the Beatles, Beach Boys and Neil Young to semi-forgotten nuggets like Marmalade's "I See the Rain," Love's "Alone Again Or" and The Left Banke's "She May Call You Up Tonight."
Sid n Susie, as Sweet and Hoffs call themselves here, create some truly magical vocal harmonies. Sweet also does a nice job of capturing all the different guitar styles associated with these various hits.
And that's what makes this so fun most of the arrangements stick pretty close to the originals, giving the album a bright, uptempo mood.
If Sweet and Hoffs look to the '60s for their inspiration, Men Women and Children find their muse in the dance-happy beats of late-'70s disco and '80s new wave.
A project of Glassjaw guitarist Todd Weinstock, MW&C plays an utterly, joyfully over-the-top dance music that draws on everything from Billy Idol to Donna Summer to David Bowie to KC & the Sunshine Band. It is completely uninhibited, with "Who Found Mr. Fabulous?" being the most out-there.
If you're looking for attitude or meaning, MW&C isn't for you. If you want to shake your booty, however, this is the perfect album.
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