I did something.
There’s a handful of albums coming out next week that I was going to try and do more standard reviews of, but I decided instead (after noticing some tangential similarities in the names of two of them) to compare them side by side and see what happens. Well, this is the result of that. I gotta say, I enjoyed it; it was fun to stack two things so dissimilar next to each other, not for the purpose of finding commonality between them, but just to see what makes them tick. Maybe this will become a thing for me here, assuming I can find a decent jumping-off point for future pairings. I’d like it to be, but I can’t really say for sure. So for now, let’s just get to it:
IRON & WINE – Ghost On Ghost
GHOST – Infestissumam
Iron & Wine: Major (Warner Bros.)
Ghost: Major (Loma Vista, an imprint of Republic)
Iron & Wine: 44:04
NUMBER OF SONGS:
Iron & Wine: 12
NUMBER OF GOOD SONGS:
Iron & Wine: 8
Iron & Wine: a collection of the 70’s blues/soul stuff that was on Kiss Each Other Clean, except better.
Ghost: early Uriah Heap and Mercyful Fate teaming up with some Gregorian Chanters.
Iron & Wine: Lovers’ Revolution. Hot damn, the jazz breakdown in the middle of this thing is great; I’ve been listening to it all day.
Ghost: Monstrance Clock. Catchy and bizarre chorus about coming together as one. Also: demons.
Iron & Wine: any song similar to Biting Your Tail from the Walking Far From Home EP – I was really hoping for an album of songs like that.
Ghost: their cover of ABBA’s I’m A Marionette – had it been included, it would’ve been the album’s strongest track.
Iron & Wine: I think so…?
Iron & Wine: Yes.
Iron & Wine: Not really.
HOW MUCH SATAN, SPECIFICALLY?
Iron & Wine: See above
Ghost: Boatloads. Just…fucking boatloads of Satan.
IRON & WINE – Ghost On Ghost
This was inevitable, really. I’ve never been a huge fan of Ghost. What they do is interesting enough, and I’m sure they’d be amazing live (seriously, look at this wackiness), but their first album was fairly predictable, and Infestissumam is too. Iron & Wine win out in terms of lyrical variation (Sam Beam’s evocative prose notwithstanding, Iron & Wine would win anyway for even having lyrical variation), as well as musical variation – the band’s been incorporating more and more elements into their sound for six or seven years now, and you’d think I’d be ready for it at this point, but there were still moments on Ghost On Ghost that caught me by surprise (see: Lovers’ Revolution above). On top of that, Ghost On Ghost has less duds on it than both Infestissumam *and* the last Iron & Wine album. So there’s that, too.
(SIDENOTE/RANT: it’s cool that Pitchfork is doing an exclusive steaming thing now, but Jesus, their interface is terrible; it’s slow, glitchy, and you can’t pause or scan through songs. I know it’s supposed to be “immersive”, but newsflash: sometimes the phone rings, or a bowel movement is imminent. Don’t punish me for either).