Vinyl Reports: Old & New, Good & Bad

(Vinyl Reports is a new AnalogPlanet feature intended to create a definitive guide to vinyl LPs. Here, we’ll provide sound quality, LP packaging, notes about the overarching vinyl experience, and sometimes music reviews. Today’s vague theme is what this recurring feature is generally about: records new and old, good and bad. Let the fun begin…)

Charli XCX - Charli

Asylum 0190295409579 double 45rpm clear vinyl LP

Produced by: A.G. Cook and Charli XCX (executive)
Engineered by: Various
Mixed by: Various
Mastered by: Stuart Hawkes (digital and vinyl)

Music: 9
Sound: 9

Since I already reviewed the music, it doesn’t need any further explanation (other than that I still think it’s better than half of The Who’s discography combined). Shortly after that initial review, I headed to Music Millennium (where Charli did a signing in October that I skipped - instead I went to the record store that Stereolab used to frequent on tour) and bought the double 45 clear vinyl set. Is it, as the sticker proclaims, “The Best Album You Will Ever Buy?” It’s certainly up there, in the sound department especially. Cut by Stuart Hawkes at Metropolis at 45rpm and pressed by Optimal on clear vinyl, it’s the best $31.99 I’ve spent on vinyl in a long time. This LP explodes with precise imaging, unrivaled punchiness, black backgrounds, and dynamics. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hawkes, who mastered the digital files as well, prepared a separate vinyl master; the double LP is without question less fatiguing and more detailed than the files. Sometime in the future, it’ll end up on someone’s “records to die for” type list, except now you don’t have to die for this hifi demo-grade album.

JPEGMAFIA - All My Heroes Are Cornballs

EQT/Universal 2812118685 double LP

Produced by: JPEGMAFIA
Engineered by: JPEGMAFIA
Mixed by: JPEGMAFIA
Mastered by: JPEGMAFIA (digital), unknown GZ cutting engineer (vinyl)

Music: 9
Sound: 8

I already reviewed the music: immensely "disappointing", strong 9/10, wouldn’t bother listening again, JPEGMAFIA’s best album, and one of the best records of the artistically amazing 2010’s. The vinyl edition? For $18.99 retail, you get two high-quality Precision-pressed, GZ-cut LPs (despite Cornballs’ 46-minute runtime, they likely split it over 2 discs to cut louder) with printed inner sleeves in a capacity jacket. I find that GZ cuts pressed at Toronto’s Precision facility have more inner detail and a cleaner, airier top end than the Czech-pressed in-house cuts. While the sound here isn’t remarkable, it’s still very good, and most notably easier on the ears than the sibilant-heavy digital file. The capacity jacket is too loose, but it’s better than GZ’s unpleasantly tight gatefolds. But for the price, I can’t complain much.

Donny McCaslin - Blow

Produced by: Steve Wall
Engineered by: Steve Wall and Lily Wen
Mixed by: Steve Wall
Mastered by: Joe Lambert (digital), unknown GZ cutting engineer (vinyl)

Motema Music MTM0287 clear vinyl LP

Music: 5
Sound: 7

I recently picked this up on a whim at Music Millennium. According to the hype sticker, McCaslin, the jazz saxophonist/flautist whose group backed David Bowie on Blackstar, made what NPR called an “exhilarating” art rock LP. Do I trust NPR’s music opinions? Rarely, since our preferences mostly differ. Still, Blow seemed like it could be, at the very least, interesting. I took the $26.99 gamble and boarded the bus home.

What was I expecting? Obviously, nothing like Blackstar; that’s an untouchable masterpiece that only Bowie could conceive. What I did want to hear was, well, “exhilarating art rock.” Instead what’s heard is Donny McCaslin being sidelined on his own album, with vocalists/lyricists Ryan Dahle and Jeff Taylor boxing McCaslin’s group into a space that stifles their musical voices. And save for the Gail Ann Dorsey-sung “Eye Of The Beholder,” none of the songs were memorable or interesting; it’s “art rock” without artsiness. (Also note that McCaslin’s typical jazz material never impressed me.) After two listens, I’ve decided to throw this into the sell pile (however, the record store that gets it will have a hard time selling it without that “exhilarating art rock” sticker).

The vinyl edition, cut at GZ and pressed on clear vinyl, comes with a printed inner sleeve, a small poster with artwork and lyrics, and a jacket that’s way too flimsy. As with nearly all GZ cuts, it sounds almost exactly like an unremarkable digital file, albeit an acceptable one. A prime example of a reviewer unintentionally drowning their $26.99 so you don’t have to.

Talk Talk - Spirit Of Eden

Parlophone PCSDX 105 (2012 180g vinyl reissue with audio DVD)

Produced by: Tim Friese-Greene
Engineered by: Phill Brown
Mixed by: Unknown
Mastered by: Unknown

Music: 9
Sound: 7

A friend recommended this classic, so I picked up the 2012 reissue. It’s cut and pressed on 180g vinyl at Optimal, comes with an audio-only DVD with the 96/24 album, and is housed in a foldover jacket with a printed inner sleeve. For $25, the specs aren’t bad. However, the sound is flat, one-dimensional, and spatially blurred. After one listen I’m in no position to comment on the music (other than that I liked it), but I doubt that flat, one-dimensional, and spatially blurred is how Spirit Of Eden is meant to sound. Once I pick up an original near mint UK pressing, this reissue is headed to the sell pile.

Radiohead - OK Computer

2008 2LP 180g repress (Parlophone/EMI 7243 8 55229 1 8)

Produced by: Nigel Godrich
Engineered by: Nigel Godrich
Mixed by: Nigel Godrich
Mastered by: Chris “King Fader” Blair

Music: 10
Sound: 10

Very rarely does an LP’s sound quality change my opinion on the music itself, but here we are. I recently picked up the 2008 European Parlophone repress of OK Computer, using the original UK metal parts, and experienced a revelatory listen. My other copy is the 2017 OKNOTOK 1997-2017 super deluxe box set version (with a demos cassette, bonus LP, and several art books), digitally remastered by Bob Ludwig at 96/24, cut by Barry Grint at Alchemy Mastering, and pressed at Optimal. It sounds good… until you hear Chris Blair’s original mastering. The older UK/EU pressing reveals the album’s every last hidden detail, with absolutely perfect texture and timbre (most notably on Phil Selway’s “The Tourist” drums), black backgrounds, and space. In comparison, the 2017 remaster is a muddy, dried up mess (although to be fair, Ludwig’s goal was to be more accurate to the tape). If you have a strong distaste for the harder British top end EQ, you might enjoy Ludwig’s traditionally American-sounding master but the original cut is simply better. Because of the stunning sound, I found myself more easily appreciating the musical intricacies of OK Computer; in greater clarity I also heard the imperfections, such as the glaringly obvious tape splice in “Karma Police” (right before the “for a minute there, I lost myself” part).

Doesn’t this go against most of my anti-traditional audiophile rants? Actually, not really. I rail against the audiophiles who listen to music solely because it sounds good, who avoid modern masterpieces because they’re “too compressed/brickwalled” (a load of bullshit), who listen to the same boring SRV record hundreds of times because they never perfectly broke in that new tube preamp. High fidelity sound reproduction, in fact, can bring newfound love and understanding for an album, unraveling subtleties often missed otherwise. This is exactly what I found on OK Computer, which has surprisingly become one of my favorite Radiohead albums. (Remember when I said ANIMA was better than OK Computer? Yeah… I now officially retract that statement.) The OKNOTOK box is still worth having for the abundant bonus content, but with a perfect quality to price ratio this 2008 EU repress is the OK Computer to own.

(Malachi Lui is an AnalogPlanet contributing editor, music lover, and highly opinionated sneaker enthusiast. Follow him on twitter: @Malachi Lui.)

COMMENTS
Anton D's picture

There are some artists I like whose music I stopped playing because it was so compressed it became unpleasant to listen to.

It's like trying to read literature printed in ALL CAPS. (It was bad enough when only Owen Meany spoke that way, but when the whole schmear is like that, forget it!)

I agree that Charli XCX and JPEGMAFIA did great jobs on those releases!

Lyle Lovett's last few releases have made trying to listen to them unpleasant. I love the guy, but I guess I am too big of a snowflake to suffer through the sound.

John Hiatt can do that, too, as can (don't hate me) Kanye.

Cool review of Kanye and his love of compression: https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/recording-mixing-kanye-west

At some point, the compression feels like trying to watch some late night movie and then the commercials come on.

MalachiLui's picture

i hadn't seen that article before, thanks for sharing. i find most of kanye's albums fairly listenable (in sonics), except MBDTF is atrociously bad, vinyl is the ONLY way to listen to it. yeezus was a very good master, and pablo was near-perfect. the wyoming records were mediocre (mike dean really went downhill fast), JIK was a mess, the college dropout sounds fantastic, and the 05-08 albums are decent but could occasionally use more dynamics.

i would love to trade the listenable albeit still messy mastering job for JIK for a listenable MBDTF, and make JIK the terrible one.

gmeese34's picture

Urban Outfitters was selling it for $20 over the weekend but I passed as I wasn't sure about the sound quality. Now I wish I would have went for it. Enjoying the new Tame Impala/Tennis?

MalachiLui's picture

more like "the mid rush." I'll listen to it again (only played the first 2/3 of it on release night) but it felt like all vibe, no substance. it'll end up in a review explosion sometime soon.

gmeese34's picture

Yeah, outside of a couple tracks I really like, I think it’s just okay. Not on par with his other work. The new Tennis is great though, check it out if you haven’t

MalachiLui's picture

haven't listened to any of their stuff but i'll make note of it. thanks for recommending.

Hergest's picture

(other than that I still think it’s better than half of The Who’s discography combined)

I stopped reading really early on in this article when I read that idiotic comment. It's not that I'm a Who fan, I have only a couple of their records but there is no reason whatsoever to throw in that derogatory comment at the start of a review of an album from a modern artist. It's the same kind of rubbish you read from some stuck in a rut old bloke who doesn't reckon any good music has been made since the 1970s who would lay into Charli XCX for no other reason than it's not The Stones or Led Zep.
I'm not interested in reading reviews by people who think no modern music is worth listening to and at the same time I'm not interested in reading reviews by people who make derogatory comments about older bands for no reason.
Others praise your reviewing and articles. I think you need to grow up a lot as your immaturity has become a negative influence here.

davip's picture

Agreed -- bringing 11-yr-olds into the editorial of a magazine (online or otherwise) is, if not necessarily questionable, then certainly something that the Editor-proper of this site should have kept oversight on. He hasn't done so and I likewise switch-off when I see this name on the header, as his inexperienced input is an embarrassment to this site. What MF has done for the vinyl cause -- uniquely -- he can never be thanked enough for. This, however, is a retrograde step.

The type example of a homophone...

MalachiLui's picture

1) I am not an 11-year-old. I started here when I was 12, and I’m now 14. big difference.

2) MF’s job is not to question my opinions, force opinions on me, or not run a feature that he approved just because there’s an opinion that he didn’t agree with. he is not jann wenner, who actually controls his writers’ published opinions. by hosting my writing, Michael is simply providing more opinions about more music. if he had/has a problem with my writing, he wouldn’t publish it. he has oversight on everything, and he still edits my work.

Hergest's picture

It's not your opinion that's in question. If you think that Charli XCX's album is better than 50% of The Who's output then that's fine. It's the fact that you decided to throw that into the review of the album that is in question. There is no possible connect between the two and it came across as some silly kid rubbishing something for no reason. It's like that moronic "Okay boomer" comment that people have started using when they don't have a cogent argument.

MalachiLui's picture

that comment was addressing readers in the last review explosion comments section who were mad about "charli" getting a 9 and "who" getting a 4. it was literally me saying "boomer readers can't change my opinions, i still stand by my original opinion and there's nothing you can do about it." idk why some of you are getting so pissed off now.

Anton D's picture

I can safely state that any Charli album is better than 100% of the Kinks' albums.

Just change Who to Kinks and you will automatically be right.

Or, say that the JPEGMAFIA album is better than the group Chicago's tolal combined output and you will be correct again.

If you really hate an album but it's popular, it's still better than anything Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, or Whitney Houston ever made.

Your error, young padawan, was in criticizing a group who made some good records instead of choosing a group who made no good records.

Your next assignment: head over the the Stereophile site and post on the Record of the Month thread about how the new Who album is only a "4" and sucks compared the Charli XCX. I dares ya! ;-D

Michael Fremer's picture
See? I'm a huge Kinks fan. I love most of their albums especially the Pye ones. But opinions are like buttholes. Everyone has them and everyone is entitled to express theirs. It doesn't offend me one bit. I also don't agree with Malachi about The Who, but so what? And I certainly don't think his age is the issue. It's just a convenient though not material fact.
Anton D's picture

I was just trying to stir it up.

I have nothing against the Kinks.

nukular's picture

Oh god..please...please....please don't express your buttholes everyone... :)

Turnerman1103's picture

I think people are just reacting to the fact that you’re a mean spirited, ego driven narcissist .The fact that you’re only 14 doesn’t give you a pass . It’s unfortunate MF has empowered you. Your opinions, insights and writing ability don’t justify your hugely overinflated ego .

analogdw's picture

Malachi can you PLEASE stop using this term. You may not mean it to be an insult, but I take it as one (and I'm not even a baby boomer)! Your whole approach, and particularly your use of this term, is confrontational and grating. I truly cannot understand what Michael thinks he's doing, allowing you to take this approach with his presumably valued readership. It is turning me and clearly others off this site. It's not your age your musical tastes that I have a problem with, it's your rude and confrontational attitude, in particular your use of this Boomer term. Can you PLEASE stop it? PLEASE?

Michael Fremer's picture
I agree with you but I feel it's more important for him to learn by doing than for me to control his output, though occasionally I do. Malachi is 14 even though he sometimes writes with the insight of a 40 year old. At other times he writes like the hormonal adolescent that he is. Surely you can ignore his provocations? I do. He's a button pusher....
jamesgarvin's picture

that scene in Napoleon Dynamite where Uncle Rico is showing young Kip and younger Napoleon the video of him next to his van (not down by the river) throwing a football into the vast open spaces. The ensuing dialog went something like this: [Napoleon] "This is the worst video ever made." [Kip] Napoleon, like anyone could ever know that." Young Kip's point was that unless Napoleon had seen every video ever made, how could he say it was the worst video ever made?

By my research, the Who have released twenty nine live and studio albums. The comment that any particular release is better than half the Who's output (which would be 14.5. I'm not clear whether we should round up or down) does not mean anything to me unless the comment is accompanied by a statement that the author has heard every Who output. Otherwise, it does sound like hyperbole, and perhaps should be identified as such.

To that extent, I agree it should have been self-edited out, or, at the very least, clarified. I don't have a problem with MF allowing his young protégé a bit of a leash. Nor do I have a problem with MF providing a forum encouraging younger persons to contribute. I often wonder why older readers get so bent out of shape with his opinions, as though they've never been bent out of shape with opinions their contemporaries express. I'm unclear what age has to do with the source of a differing opinion.

To Malachi, for what it's worth, I will, however, say that as a fifty three year old (ouch, it hurt to type that) who remembers what it was like to be fourteen, with ideas, opinions, and thoughts, that, looking back on my self at that age, with the benefit of experience and further education, I realize now that, at fourteen, I really did not know what I did not know.

Michael Fremer's picture
I fully agree with you. It should have been "self-edited out" because it was a wholly unnecessary provocation. I feel it best to let Malachi fully express himself. He can be his own worst enemy sometimes....
Zardoz's picture

but I have to say (I haven't heard Charli yet), the Who comment sort of sets a low bar. I'm a Who fan, but I must say that I am disappointed with a lot of their catalog. Maybe not 50%, but I've always felt like a lot of it was sort of phoned in. Not so much in the performance end, but the songs themselves weren't always that strong. YMMV but that's my 2 cents.
Good listening,
Z

Roy Martin's picture

Who albums that are better than Charli XCX:
-My Generation
-A Quick One
-Sells Out
-Tommy
-Quadrophenia
-Next

Who albums that are worse then Charli XCX:
-Magic Bus
-By Numbers
-Who Are You?
-It's Hard
-Face Dances
-Endless Wire

Michael Fremer's picture
I agree with your list!
MalachiLui's picture

Who albums that are CLOSE OR EQUAL to Charli XCX:
-Tommy
-Next

Who albums that are worse then Charli XCX:

-my generation
-a quick one
-sell out
-Magic Bus
-quadrophenia
-By Numbers
-Who Are You?
-It's Hard
-Face Dances
-Endless Wire
-WHO

Zardoz's picture

Really?? I would have thought this would be on your "good" list, from what I have read of yours so far. Like Mikey says, everyone has an opinion, but Quadrophenia is pretty much considered to be one of their master works. I know it's my favorite Who LP, with Live at Leeds, a close second.

Tom L's picture

While Tommy is an obvious high point, and Who's Next hangs together pretty well for a failed concept album, Quadrophenia is one big, sprawling drumbeat of greatness. Unlike many of their LPs that are really collections of singles, it's impossible for me to just listen to part of it. Gotta experience the entire thing.

MalachiLui's picture

of course i absolutely love great concept/narrative albums, but the individual songs also have to be great for me to like the entire record. aside from a few amazing songs, i feel like quadrophenia has many weak points that prevent it from being an amazing work. i’d probably give it a 7/10.

Zardoz's picture

just offering the same advice you have given in the past. Listen to it again, all the way through with an LP, not a stream or CD. I can agree that there are one or two weak songs, but because of the necessity of story telling, I'll forgive those. They are needed to tie everything together, and I really think they are very few like that.
You may not change your mind, but I have always felt it was an album that needs several listenings in order to be fully appreciated and understood.

Good listening,
Z

Wymax's picture

I have the original from 1988, bought when it was released.

This one also sounds flat in my system, i.e not much depth. It is spaced well across the plane of the speakers, going quite far beyond. The sound picture also goes higher than usual, and especially the "drum" is blurred.

I cannot report on the re-release.

ChrisM's picture

The intro of "Inheritance" for example doesn't sound flat at all, at least on my system ;-). So the complaints here are about Phil Brown's work, and I don't agree with that.
Moreover, Spirit of Eden is a masterpiece, a real jewel that deserves more than a "9", if giving a grade makes sense in this case, which I doubt.

MalachiLui's picture

i’ve only listened to it once so far - i definitely enjoyed it but couldn’t soak it in enough to precisely review the music. 9/10 is tentative first listen grade.

ChrisM's picture

I thought you rate on a scale of 11 like Mrs. F.M. does

MalachiLui's picture

is 11/10... above and beyond.

Zardoz's picture

"High fidelity sound reproduction, in fact, can bring newfound love and understanding for an album, unraveling subtleties often missed otherwise."
As my system has improved over the years I now find that it's higher resolution allows me to appreciate, and like some things that I once did not. I find that it's always tricky doing music reviews when you haven't heard the best that can be pulled from those black discs.
The better the system, the better chance that you will like or appreciate, something (the opposite is true of really dreadful recordings). As always YMMV, but I now find myself even enjoying genres of music I once didn't, now that I have a better system to listen with.
Good listening,
Z

Anton D's picture

This is intriguing!

Can you give us some examples of records you did not appreciate until your system improved enough to allow it to happen?

Your before/after impressions would also be useful as we talk about what we hear from our gear!

Thank you for posting that.

Zardoz's picture

is Diva, by Annie Lennox. I have the Simply Vinyl pressing, and while I always liked it, I thought it sounded a bit bland, sort of like a CD. I was extremely disappointed with it until I upgraded either my table or arm. I can't remember which it was at this point, but the upgrade "removed" the blandness. Now it meets all my expectations that were missing when I first purchased it.

Good listening,
Z

hi-fivinyljunkie's picture

Malachi, are you sure you have the original EMI release from 2012? I believe this was cut at Abbey Road? There has been later repress(es) since Warner acquired Parlophone. The 2012 EMI press I have is not 'flat' sounding.

ChrisM's picture

The EMI 2012 is a flawless, very nice sounding pressing, so I don't know what's going on here.

MalachiLui's picture

although this one dropped right before EMI split, and the represses that say warner on them use the same exact metal parts (which as far as i can tell, weren't cut at abbey road).

Rashers's picture

Its amazing how often the vinyl in superexpensive superdeluxe box sets falls way below the quality, sonically, of a relatively inexpensive reissue from a couple of years previously. Far too many to mention, in my experience, but recently I much preferred the MOV reissue of Gene Clarke's "No Other" to the SDE boxed version (the SACD was wonderful). Regarding Spirit of Eden - there is very little difference between the original pressing (very $$$) and the 2012 version - again - I preferred the DVD-A version. To be honest, SOE probably sounds best on CD (horror of horrors!).

avanti1960's picture

Music- 5- wow! Trustworthiness is a virtue and I look forward to checking into some of the LPs I don't already have.
FYI Talk Talk's "The Colour of Spring" is an audiophile delight= Sound = 11 !
Peace.

MalachiLui's picture

which pressing would you recommend? i'll pick it up sometime.

avanti1960's picture

parlaphone pressing. they seem to do a good job especially on my genesis selling england by the pound reissue. enjoy.

Michael Fremer's picture
When you visit
Christian Goergen's picture

How many of the above mentioned records did you buy?

MalachiLui's picture

some of the money came from holiday gift money but even if i didn't have that gift money, i would've still bought all of these records and still spent that money. that's basically an average trip to the record store, or an average discogs purchase for me. but i bought all the records myself, some from gifts and some from earnings.

Christian Goergen's picture

for any reader of record reviews.

MalachiLui's picture

as nice as it can be to get promos, you have greater feelings towards or against something if you drop your own $$$$$$$ on it.

Anton D's picture

If I buy a 250 dollar used record, it immediately gets played (after a proper cleaning, of course.)

If I buy a 125 dollar MF One Step....I fret about opening such a precious and valuable jewel.

We all have our idiosyncrasies!

MarshallGooch's picture

What is that? I’ve never heard this term before.

MalachiLui's picture

capacity jackets are those single pocket foldover direct-to-board jackets that have a thicker spine to hold 2-3 discs in that one pocket.

MalachiLui's picture

capacity jackets are those single pocket foldover direct-to-board jackets that have a thicker spine to hold 2-3 discs in that one pocket.

Anton D's picture

A completely fine Who album.

"Eminence Front" would have fit on "Who's Next."

You guys are hard to please.

Athena is a nice jaunty Who song.

MalachiLui's picture

“eminence front” is a very good song, but i just don’t think it’s hard holds up very well as a full-length record. it’s not deserving of hate, but neither does it warrant praise. probably a decent 5/10 imo.

Glotz's picture

Especially if it speaks to who you are! There is a LOT to be said about 'being Punk", and this is one of them. If you think the Who's catalog sucks and you like to push people's button about it... Fuckin' Do It!

Just please always use proper fucking grammar when you write. I can't stand sloppy journalism... (LMAO)...

Stay True, Young Man!

Glotz's picture

And I don't matter when it comes to YOUR writing!

Unless if you gave 'OK Computer' anything less than an 10... my boy!

elmore244's picture

I think Malachi is best left to learn his own lessons. No censoring! Now, given that, I've taken to listen to some of his suggestions for great albums. Some of them I truly like and I'm a 60's - 80's guy. So, Charli XCX being greater than 50% of The Who's discography? I had to check this out! Now granted, some of the LP's that the Who put out were pretty shitty. But, overall that was a band that could rock it! I decided to give Charli XCX a listen to see how good it was. First off, the lyrics made me realize that this must be more dance-type music because:
Cross You Out
(Oh, wha ah oh)
We are not around, when you're not around
We are not around, when you're not around
We are not around, when you're not around

Okay, let's try another one:

Warm
You gotta tell me the reason
Why we can't fall in love
You gotta tell me the reason, no, no
Why you won't open up
Know I'ma send you to heaven
With tequila on your tongue
You gotta tell me the reason
Why we can't we fall in love
And I'll finally cross you out

Okay. Listening to the rest of the album I realized that this album and music sounded pretty much like 50% of the shit that is playing out there right now. IMHO this album wouldn't make my top 1000 list. The only decent song IMO is 1999. So to pay $30 for what pretty much sounded like an album where most of the songs sounded like a record skipping. Nah! I'll pass. I think the LP's that Clean Bandit put out are much better than this crappola.

So going back to Charli XCX being better than 50% of the Who's discography, well even the crappiest album by the Who is much better than this below average LP. As far as sound? The album is great! And I would play it at a dance party after a few drinks when I don't care what the lyrics are as long as you can dance to the beat! (as long as someone brought the LP and I wouldn't have to pay for it) Sorry Malachi. But keep it going because there have been some great music you've introduced me to!

analogdw's picture

I tried listening to it as well, given all the hype here. It just sounds like more of the usual over-produced, mindless junk that permeates the pop music landscape today. What are we not hearing that Malachi is? Maybe I am just too old...

MalachiLui's picture

is that it’s modern pop music but with far more careful production than usual, good melodies, and some abrupt experimentation (“click” for example). compare the overall song quality to most other actually mindless pop records and “charli” wins without question. and many other critics say the same thing btw.

elmore244's picture

As far as being called "Boomer"? I've been called that by many a young man. Doesn't bother me. I usually respond by the telling the youngster "I'm proud of being a Boomer. I've shit more than you know."

Quaxxtro's picture

Malachi - Re: Charli XCX. You said in the "Review Explosion Fall/Winter 2019: Charli XCX, JPEGMAFIA, The Who, Beck, & More" that the album was Music: 9, Sound: 7.
However in this article you said Music: 9, Sound: 9.
What changed?
(I previously posted this to the wrong thread. Sorry about that!)

MalachiLui's picture

review explosions are almost always based on digital files. the 7 was for the 44.1/24 mqa files, while the 9 was for the vinyl.

WesHeadley's picture

I don't always agree with MalachiLui but I respect his right to express his opinions in his own way. I've been a regular visitor to this site for at least a decade and comment rarely, but I have come to the conclusion that adding MalachiLui is one of the smartest things you've ever done with this site. His occasionally polemic style actually makes me question some my own assumptions about how I feel about a particular artist or album. Personally I don't really compare one artist to another because I don't find it particularly useful to me personally-- I tend to just let new music in, sometimes just sit with it for a time, and eventually decide. Often I'll recognize that something's "good" even though it doesn't grab me. Sometimes I'll like something new immediately, other times I need a few spins to get into it. Many Bowie albums were like that for me. Regardless, I'm grateful that you have someone on the staff that brings a lot of new music into your site and that isn't afraid to say what he really thinks. MalachiLui will evolve just like (hopefully) the rest of us, and so will his writing. Keep up the good work guys! Meanwhile, anyone up for dinner at Mindey's?

HoomanR's picture

Malachi, I'd love to get the pressing you suggested but their shipment from Europe is a bit cost prohibitive for me. I have however found same pressing years of albums that have the Capital Records sleeve but apparently say Parlaphone on the inside and there are just pure Capital Record versions in the same year. Would love to know if you or anyone else may feel these other versions are equally as good(naturally based on first hand experience or knowledge about pressing details)? Much Thanks.

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