Thursday, July 23, 2020

This is Difficult - Postal Service and Dntel

It's difficult at times to decipher the differences between AM10s and personal faves, even for me and I wrote the rubric.  I started this article by looking back at Dntel's Life is Full of Possibilites, having given it pretty high honors when it came out. Here was the perfect mix of computer geeks and hipsters - all my favorites creating the ultimate sonic landscape - but is it a record or an Epcot soundtrack with the occasional vocal?  Indeed, this isn't an album for many, and despite its musicianship and production and influence, it's not a ten or a nine - probably a six.  It is indeed Jimmy Tamborello's finest moment (it is undeniably his moment), and I've listened to it a hundred times, but it's nowhere near a 10, rescue vehicle cover art notwithstanding.

So, I crossed out Dntel and replaced it with the Postal Service.  Give Up on the other hand is a real album with real hits and Gibbard and Tamborello and Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley .  There's no fluff. Every track is spot on.  Gibbard has released seven LPs with his day-job, Death Cab, but many of his best tunes are here on Give Up.  It is indeed the electronic album that I'd hoped for since John Cage in the psychedelic 60s.  It speaks in ways that Depeche Mode and Erasure failed to do in the 80s, but is that just me?  Is it a ten?  

How about mostly?  Does that count?

No, see, that's where it all comes tumbling down.  I started this thing to be objective.  I have my faves and they're my 10s, but they're not AM10s.  Life is Full of Possibilities is a solid AM7.  Eleven years on and Give Up has a shot at longevity and an AM8.  These are two of my favorite albums and by a lot of my favorite people, but it's not about me.  This is Absolute Magnitude.

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