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By Chris Moore:
It is my pleasure to welcome you once again to a brand-new week of all-new acoustic cover song music videos here at the Laptop Sessions. Following up my version of “Just Breathe” from Pearl Jam’s new 2009 album, I’m happy to present to you a new band to the blog and a new 2009 single.
If you’ve visited our site before, then you know that “New Music” is my niche here at the blog. I get a great deal of direction in terms of what to learn, record, or write about from the new music that I’m listening to, week by week. Up until last week, it had been a while since I delved into the new release racks for a session, so I’m attempting to make up for that tonight and later this week.
My video tonight is the mid-album cut “Cornerstone” from the Arctic Monkeys’ 2009 release Humbug. Previous to hearing this record, I didn’t know all that much about the Monkeys, and frankly, there wasn’t much that I found appealing. Since their rise to fame via the Internet in 2006, their work has been praised by some — Rolling Stone, for one — as outstanding, and it has also been disparaged as overrated. In addition, they received a backlash of criticism upon releasing their Who the Fuck are Arctic Monkeys EP merely three months after their debut album. Some called it a greedy move, while the band maintained that they wanted to release new material that they would be adding to their live shows. Now, I’ve certainly never been one to defend EP’s (Ben Folds and the Supersunnyspeedgraphic nonsense, anyone?), and I don’t plan to start here. Still, one should keep in mind that an album is typically recorded a significant time before its actual release — in this case, the EP was released seven months after the band finished recording their debut album.
Anyway, this album was recommended to me by a former student and friend who has tuned me in to some great material from Beck, Cold War Kids, and Harvey Danger — in other words, bands that I wouldn’t have listened to on my own. He described it as being more “slow and contemplative instead of just in your face punk music” which, for anyone who knows me, immediately got my attention!
While I rated this album as a “Maybe So,” it really is one of my favorites this year. It’s the type of album you can listen to again and again without it getting old. I love their style here: the songs are unique, and yet reminiscent of some of the greatest rock of the sixties, and their lyrics really make the music stand out to me.
Which brings me to “Cornerstone.”
I will never forget driving to school, listening to this song for the first time. I had been enjoying the album, but this song really made me stop and take notice. There is this devious tone in Alex Turner’s voice as he sings the story of a man searching for a girl who has left him. Did she break up with him? Has she died? Regardless, he is prowling the dirtiest-sounding dives, flirting and engaging with women of whom he soon makes an odd request.
He asks if it would be acceptable for him to refer to them by the name of his ex-lover.
No big deal. It doesn’t hurt to ask, right? Well, that’s not the case for most of the song. But you’ll have to listen until the end to find out how he fares.
In other new music news, I’m excited about picking up Bob Dylan’s first ever Christmas album, Christmas in the Heart. Of course, this is a mixed bag. After all, contrary to the fact that several holiday albums are coming out tomorrow, I think that it’s far too soon to start listening to Christmas music. I’ll probably end up listening to it once before I tuck it away for the day after Thanksgiving… The other question in my mind is whether or not the deluxe edition is worth the extra money. From what I can tell from the limited descriptions I’ve been able to find online, there are some greeting cards attached in the special edition. Well, how many? Do you save them or do you send them? How many people would truly appreciate a Bob Dylan Christmas card? Is his face on the cards? Could be scary to small children or residents of small New Jersey towns…
Well, that’s enough for tonight. I hope you enjoy my video. If you like it, you should mark your calendars for October 15th when the official music video for “Cornerstone” is set to be released. It has also been scheduled to be released as the second single from Humbug about a month after that.
See you next session!