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 411mania » Music » Columns

411 Music Fact or Fiction 10.05.12: Babbling About Babel
Posted by Joseph Lee on 10.05.2012

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Welcome to another edition of Fact or Fiction: Music. I'm your host, Joseph Lee.

This week we have Dimitri Dorlis against Jeremy Thomas.

Round 1
1) You don't expect the Foo Fighters hiatus to last long.
Jeremy Thomas: FICTION.

I guess we would have to debate how long "long" really is, but I'm not certain enough to say with any kind of confidence that we won't be waiting a while for Foo Fighters material. And I'm fine with that. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the band quite a bit but I would rather see them take time off, recharge, do whatever they need to do and then be creatively refreshed when they're ready to return instead of pushing for new music that might suffer. Too many artists rush albums out to disastrous results; I'll wait for quality in this case.

Dimitri Dorlis: FACT.

How long have the Foo Fighters been together? Over 20 years or something, right? I'm not surprised they took a little break from each other, but when you've been together for that length of time, you don't expect a hiatus to last that long. As it is, I imagine the hiatus will last until Spring of next year, which gives all the guys time to recover and recharge (for reference here, the Red Hot Chili Peppers went on hiatus for over a year recently - I'm just guessing the Foo Fighters come back earlier than that).

Score Card: 0 for 1

Round 2
2) You thought Mumford & Sons' Babel was even better than their debut Sigh No More.
Jeremy Thomas: FICTION.

I'm not saying that it's bad by any stretch, but I really, really liked Sigh No More so that's a pretty damned high bar to surpass. I would actually rate them about the same; the band's sound is a bit richer on Babel than it is on their debut but there's something magical about that first LP in the lyrics that Babel comes close to, but doesn't quite reach. I think that overall it's a wash between them; they're both very good albums and I'm happy to see that the LP is breaking sales and chart records.

Dimitri Dorlis: FACT.

True story, I only enjoyed parts of Sigh No More. My main problem was that all the songs on the album bled together and didn't really differentiate themselves from each other. Babel showcases the band as much more confident in themselves, and the music, while still suffering from an inability to change up the formula, works a lot better. There's some clever tracks on the album (I personally love I Will Wait), and enough good stuff that it outweighs the bad better than Sigh No More did. Also, just for the record, this is a popular band that utilizes a banjo. I don't think I'll ever get over that.

Score Card: 0 for 2

Round 3
3) You enjoyed Soundgarden's new single "Been Away Too Long".
Jeremy Thomas: FICTION.

It's better than "Live to Rise" to be sure, but I just am not a big Soundgarden fan. They've had moments of absolute brilliance but by and large they haven't clicked for me. I'm certainly not trying to say that they aren't talented and I totally get why people like them; they're just not my thing. With "Been Away Too Long" the band has some of the aggression that was sucked completely out of "Live to Rise" but the lyrics are far from their strongest and the sound is not distinctive enough to stand out. It's a pass for me.
Dimitri Dorlis: FICTION.

I feel I've heard that song before. Oh wait, I have, because EVERY SOUNDGARDEN SONG SOUNDS THE SAME (see also: Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam). Unlike those other two bands, I just can't stand Soundgarden, so this is a bit of a biased answer, but screw that song, and screw Soundgarden.

Score Card: 1 for 3


Round 4
4) Led Zeppelin will reform again eventually.
Dimitri Dorlis: FICTION.

Can a band really reform if one of their members is dead? I mean yeah, they did have that attempt at a full reunion tour/album a few years ago with Jason Bonham taking the place of his father on the drums, but again, they had to replace a member, and overcome the fact that their singer didn't want to go on tour with the rest of the group. It's like the Beach Boys now that Mike Love kicked everyone else out of the group: you can call yourselves Led Zeppelin, and have some members of Led Zeppelin, but it's not really Led Zeppelin.

Jeremy Thomas: FICTION.

Led Zeppelin rumors pop up all the time. They're like Rihanna albums; you know that some point in the year you will hear a new one and with each successive one, you are more and more disappointed. If Zeppelin were going to reform again, they would have done so. Sure, we may get another reunion concert appearance, but when I hear "reform" I think more than just a one-off and I just don't see that happening. And honestly, why should they? Are Plant, Page and Jones short on cash? I rather doubt it. I don't think they have anything left to prove, so they shouldn't do it unless they are truly inspired to do so. Anything less would be a slight on the memory of one of the greatest bands in rock history.

Score Card: 2 for 4

Round 5
5) Rihanna's "Diamonds" was forgettable.
Dimitri Dorlis: FACT.

Oh god wow, yeah that was bad. I guess when you've put out a bunch of good songs in a row, you're allowed one clunker. It's not a bad song, per say, it's just nothing that you're going to remember. Maybe if it's played on repeat on one of those Top 40 stations, it'll get better, but until then, it's just not very good.

Jeremy Thomas: FACT.

Do you want to know how forgettable? En route to answering this question, I have listened to the song multiple times throughout the past week to see if anything would stick in my head. I literally can't remember any single lyric in the song besides "Shine bright like a diamond." Now don't get me wrong; I'm not saying it's a bad pop song. I kind of like the sound, it's mellow and yet somehow energizing too. But it fits firmly into the category of disposable pop that Rihanna is increasingly known for. The girl is obsessed with throwing as many albums as possible out for public consumption; she has released seven albums in seven years. Take a break hot stuff, and slow down so you're putting out some better music. She's going to burn out pretty quickly at this rate.
Score Card: 3 for 5

Round 6
6) You would watch a Nicki Minaj reality show.
Dimitri Dorlis: FACT.

Will Nicki Minaj's ass be on the show? Yes? Well, that made that easy.
Jeremy Thomas: FICTION.

CHRIST no. Speaking of women who are overexposed, Nicki Minaj needs to focus on one thing. Pink Friday was okay, but Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded is utter tripe. And that's because she's busy doing ninety different things. What's more, she comes off as less and less legitimate with every new venture. American Idol, really? Again, nothing against her but this is going to be an absolute disaster. And a reality show focusing solely on her would be an even worse idea. It's not Honey Boo Boo levels of awful in terms of ideas, but it's sure as hell not a good one either.

Score Card: 3 for 6

Anything you agree with? Disagree with? Sound off in the comment section.


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