Thursday, December 05, 2019

Album Review: Prima Donna by Prima Donna

Fun fact: one of my 2019 accomplishments was learning that S/T means "self-titled". However, in reviews it is apparently appropriate to use the band's name as the album name. So...

I really liked Prima Donna by Prima Donna! (2018).

It starts strong and rocking with "4 Real", and that predisposes one to liking the rest of the album, but the other tracks do stand on their own. It makes such good use of the keyboards; we understand that role in pop, but it can do great things in rock.

"Press Your Luck" and "Automatic" - in addition to being fine on their own ("Automatic" has a bit of a Johnny Marr "The Tracers" vibe) - feel like they go really well with "4 Real", like the track order was contemplated and optimized.

There is some scorch on the guitar solo on "Year of the Rat", but also it goes to fun places vocally. "Recurring Nightmare" was just something I felt. "Sound the Alarm" takes a darker twinge, like a '60s crime show turned graphic novel, and you're just not sure what's going to happen.

I have listened way more than three times just to make sure I am getting everything. I am sure that I am still not getting everything, but I love that there is the content that you can dive into or just enjoy. I remember them striking me as smart and well-suited to each other when I first saw them in 2013. They have been through some things, but that hasn't changed.

Of course, I also remember that they always seemed pretty sexual. I had initially thought that was a little toned down this time, but after the most recent listen on "Love From Above", I am not sure that is true. I don't know; I was not specifically looking for it.

I'm just glad they're still around. With a new video released just three days okay, I think that will last.

If there's a new album coming, let's hope I get to that sooner.

December music

I had a point where I was frustrated with not being able to spend enough time listening to music to do any reviews. Now time is still an issue, but I have blogged more music reviews than anything else. A couple of live shows helped with that, but other writing has just been hard. The last non-music post I started writing ended up going way too long. I need to get back to it and break it down.

I thought I could write about what I was doing this month, both for the daily songs and for a new goal. I am not optimistic about the goal, but I can still write about it.

Daily songs are Christmas songs that I have not played before, bringing in as many previously reviewed or enjoyed artists as I can, and still trying to avoid repeats. Obviously, with reviewing bands more slowly I run out of them for daily songs faster. It's basically what I was doing for October with the Halloween songs, only it is more obvious that there are tons of songs out there. There are thousands of recordings of Christmas songs out there, although a lot of them are crap.

I could add to that list. 

Just for reference, here were the original music goals:

I am not ready to go into sorting out Christmas song history and tracing those developments. The daily songs may be a nod to that, but the deeper dive will not happen this year.

The question was, could I accomplish that other goal of having a week where the songs of the day were all mine?

At first, my daily songs decision made that a clear "no" for December; I don't have a week's work of Christmas songs.

I do have one, and I often think this is the year that I might break it out and let someone hear it. (Previously I have only sung it to my mother, and I guarantee she does not remember it.)

Then I started hearing a new one in my head. I also started remembering other contenders.

I did write a Christmas song for Family Ghosts. It is not highly refined. I only used some fragments in the book itself, so it didn't need to be refined. Still, there is a seed.

I also have partial lyrics to a Christmas version of  "Can't Hurry Love". I have always meant to get around to writing it out fully.

"Zombie Lullaby" might seem like it is more Halloween-themed, but the story takes place at the winter solstice. That was a key factor in the accidental demon summoning, and it was the demon being vanquished over the cemetery that caused the zombies to rise. I'm just saying, it's seasonal.

So then, if I did write out the new one, that would be five. That's a work week. It's close enough to a full week where you might wonder if writing two more songs is not impossible. It could at least be worth trying.

And it set off a lot of concerns, like the lack of real recording equipment, hence no ability to record multiple tracks or video, plus my own musical limitations and how that would prevent complimentary musical accompaniment, not to mention not being the best singer. There was a sure knowledge that it could not be very good, but that it could be done, so maybe it was something that should be done.

Maybe it's important to be good at doing things badly. I was really going to try and do it.

Four days into the month, it has already been so hard, and so tiring. I don't know if  I have it in me to concentrate and be creative, and then put it out into the world in poor a capella versions done on the built-in PC camera and microphone.

I'm not completely ruling it out, either; but sometimes I think it would feel great to do something well.