Thursday, March 29, 2012

Martini? Stir your drink?

I wasn't certain which topic to approach today, but then a song comes on MP3 player that decided it. I am writing about the greatest album ever made.

Yep, that's the right. The greatest. Pic related.

Devin Townsend is my favorite musician. He is an incredible guitarist and vocalist, but his strongest trait is his songwriting and production skills. He uses a trademark "Wall of Sound" approach to his albums and this has led to his production of some of the biggest metal acts of the last decade.

Terria is very reflective of Townsend's personality. Devin suffers from an intense bipolar disorder and it shows through his music. Some of the most intense, terrible sounds are immediately followed by a long, serene passages. Let's get to the review.

Track 1: Olives. This is a short little intro with an automated voice asking the listener if they would like a martini. Devin, despite taking his music very seriously, can't help but include humor in anything he does.

Track 2: Mountain. The first real song of the album, this is literally the bipolar disorder in a musical state. The music is chaotic and heavy, yet Devin's voice comes in very soft and melodic singing "You are so beautiful to  me..." The highlight of this entire album is the layered vocals he uses to create harmonies and melodies throughout every song. The middle of the track mellows out and creates a few beautiful melodies before resuming the previous chaos. Devin ends the song with some powerful screams that sum up his views of his disorder: "IT'S JUST ANOTHER MOUNTAIN! JUST ANOTHER MOUNTAIN!"

Lyrical highlights: "I've logged so many hours with medications and the dog."
"It's just another mountain."

Track 3: Earth Day. Jesus Christ. If Mountain was the decline of humanity, Earth Day is  the armageddon. It begins with a powerful guitar line before Devin comes in with an incredible vocal line telling us to "Eat your beets... Recycle!" One can never be sure what Devin is really talking about in his songs, but I think he indicates that he think God is a woman, and that he thinks there's a little gay in every straight person. This song is so chaotically beautiful, and it has become one of the trademark songs of his career. When he was off his meds, Devin said he began to see people as pieces of meat, and he uses this line in the song. It ends with Devin assessing his personality with "Ooooh, man overboard."

Lyrical highlights: "Eat your beets, Recycle."
"So just shut your face, and take a seat, cause after all you're just talking meat."

Track 4: Deep Peace. As the tiitle implies, this song is a much needed break after absorbing the chaos of Mountain and Earth Day. Devin chills with an acoustic guitar for the first minute and a half, with birds chirping in the background. He is telling someone that it's alright to not be perfect, and he'll still be there. Then the song takes a slightly bipolar twist, lyrically, with him in turn telling the person he won't be there with an almost mocking tone in his voice. The middle of the song has a beautiful guitar passage and vocal harmony passage after that. Very impressive dynamically.

Lyrical highlights: "It's alright to cry, it's alright to feed on everyone."
"If you ever need me babe, I will be there."

Track 5: Canada. This is the song that came on my MP3 player. Devin's vocals in this song are the best on the album. This is probably my favorite song because I spend so much time driving and this song is about the lonely road. The vocal harmonies here are incredible, and there's a really good bassline in the middle of it. Devin belts some powerful lines here.

Lyrical highlights: "All that time I needed your approval to be me."
"Wake me, please wake me when it's my turn to drive."
"Only the lonely, and maybe John Denver know the Canadian freeway."

Track 6: Down and Under. This a very nice instrumental with some vocal "Oh's" harmonized over a repetitive guitar line. Really nice, but there's not much to say about it.

Track 7: The Fluke. This song picks the pace up with a very pop friendly guitar hook and verse. "I am a fluke in this world..." At the chorus, this song takes an extreme turn and returns to the chaos that resembles earlier shades of the album. Then it takes yet another turn and goes into one of the best vocal sections of the album, before returning to another verse and another chorus. The vocal section has some harmonized "Oh's" over a melancholic guitar line, before having 3 different vocal lines harmonizing over each other, with each saying something different. I wish I could pick his brain to figure out where he gets this shit from.

Lyrical highlights: "I'll have to wade through the bullshit babe just to find my own vision of pearl."
"And I write and I eat and I shit and I sleep
Yes, I eat leafy greens nearly three times a week.
And I'm not unafraid but no longer afraid of you anymore!"

Track 8: Nobody's Here. Another very mellow track, this track defines solitude. It opens up with Devin offering the listener a beer. The lyrics here are very strong and really connect with people going through a tough time. Once again, I think he is singing about his bipolar disorder.

"Tune in and lock yourself away
Relax, it doesn't matter anyway
'Cause it's all a lie, it's true
I think, I guess, I know, I think, I know
...Fuck off...
Why can't I remember?
I feel, feel like there's nobody here
...Feel like there's no more fear
I wanna feel like this for a year...
...Feel like there's nobody here... "

Lyrical highlights: See above.

Track 9: Tiny Tears. Another softer song, this is the weakest track on the album in my opinion, but it's still just a fantastic song. He illustrates how absurd it is that he,http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=8861072796139233198#editor/target=post;postID=7072547364679062446 or anyone, being a miniscule human can significantly impact another person in such a way to make them cry. The vocal melody is very nice and the guitar lines are reminiscent of a lullaby almost.

Lyrical highlights: "Baby babe don't say a word
In this life you get all that you deserve
I'm sorry that I made you cry
I can't believe that I'm just an ordinary guy"
 "And I'm 29 years old, and I'm a million miles away."

Track 10: Stagnant. The conclusion of the album, and because you're so mentally exhausted from the rollercoaster he has put you through, he has put a much simpler, pop-friendly track here to end it. Devin urges the listener that if you're tired of how shit is, then learn to let things go cause "You don't know how or when it's gonna go." The final chorus ends with an almost choir like vocal performance with probably 12-16 voices going at once. A great way to end the album.

Lyrical highlights: "Summer's here, the sunlight greets the day
The winters gone, there's no more rain today...
And if I could, I'm sure that I would take your breath away"
"It's beautiful, the way it's meant to be...beautiful, but it 'don't do shit' for me...
So peel away a little skin and choke upon the bone"

I realize this was a lengthy post, but I urge anyone who likes music at all to get this album. Regardless of what you like, you will find a song on here that you like. Youtube some of the songs and just listen. Or else, this man will come and get you.

  Ain't he pretty?

17 comments:

  1. Holy crap thats long. Reading it later

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  2. Looking forward to new posts! :D

    https://twitter.com/#!/MemeDoctor

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  3. Very interesting! https://twitter.com/#!/aaron_pike

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  4. "So just shut your face, and take a seat, cause after all you're just talking meat." That is perhaps one of my new favorite lyrics of all time.

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  5. Great review, and, he is pretty...on the inside

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  6. Just looked him up on youtube. He's got another fan now. Thanks for the new music discovery!

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  7. Love discovery new music, thanks!

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  8. Bizarro, just the way I like it though.

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  9. I really enjoyed your musings on each track.

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