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Letters from Wildlife


Dear Gorillaz,



Your CD The Fall is like, so chill, I slipped on the ice building up on the floor by my computer and knocked myself out. The good news is, I probably didn't miss much because all the songs are the same. The bad news is, I probably didn't miss much because all the songs are the same — ""Hey, let's make some ‘tronics pulsate in the background while we sing the beat. And let's bring it up an octave on like, three of the tracks, so that it almost sounds like we're switching shit up.""

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A breakdown (not the kind you use so frequently, by the way): ""Amarillo"" — it's as flat, empty and uneventful as the town in Texas; ""Phoner to Arizona,"" ""Detroit,"" ""The Speak It Mountains,"" ""Aspen Forest"" — modernist company elevator music; ""Shy-town,"" ""Little Pink Plastic Bags,"" ""The Snake In Dallas""— lurker/creep-ass jams as they lurk and creep they asses through dark alleys. ""Bobby In Phoenix (feat. Bobby Womack)""— OMG, was that a real song?



Figure it out,



Kim Kotel   



 



Dear Jessie J,



The U.S. just nabbed your debut album, Who You Are. That's a good question — who are you with this ""Stand Up"" business — Natasha Bedingfield? What about ""Who's Laughing Now"" — Mary J. Blige? Hell no, you're Jessica Ellen Cornish, full-on equipped with vocal chords vibrating talent off themselves. The pop scene hasn't been rocked by a voice like yours since Christina Aguilera was getting dirrty in chaps and a wrestling ring.



Don't try to pull that ""Rainbow"" bull chips on me again or I'm going to make it rain skittles on your ass. You're better than that cliché ""yellow brick road"" crap. Make some popular diddies like ""Price Tag"" and ""Do It Like A Dude"" to keep green in the AT-Machine, but don't forget about the likes of ""Mamma Knows Best"" and ""Big White Room (Live)"" — just because the stage is packed full of musical performers doesn't mean they can sing. You can. Big deal, girlfriend. Don't poop out on us before you even get started.



Oh, and re: ""Nobody's Perfect."" I can still only think about the YouTube vid of that chubby girl dancing around her room to Hannah Montana. No room at the inn, girlfriend. Find another track name.



For serious,



Kim Kotel  



 



Dear Foo Fighters,



Please don't let these be your ""famous last words.""



To me, the Fighters' musical persona is at an all-time best in your newest cut, Wasting Light. The pop is poppier, the rock is rockier, the screams are scream-ier and they make me want to snag a copy. Yes, a physical copy — with liner notes and everything. It was No. 1 for a reason.



""White Limo"" rocks with edgy, feedback-laden riffs, and finds its match in ballads like ""Arlandria"" and your single, ""Rope."" ""Walk"" is reminiscent of the rock that the kid in your dorm plays down the hall, the kind you bop your head to on the way to the shower without feeling the compulsion to call UAPD in fear of his or her mental state. Plus ""I Should Have Known"" is chill-inducing.



The album, in Dave Grohl's words, is ""heaven burn(ing) like hell"" in my ears … and then some.



Until the next one (I hope),



Jazmine Woodberry



 



Dear Atmosphere,



You've been flowing since the late ‘80s, and now it seems like a shame that my first taste of Slug and Ant was only three years ago. What was that album called? Oh yeah, When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold.



But The Family Sign is an even darker twist on the intimacy that people have come to expect from you two. It's a dip into a world enveloped by ambient keys and guitar where you're not quite sure, a world so sincere and deeply intimate that it's hard to decide if the album is really hip hop at all.



Take ""I Don't Need Brighter Days."" It's nowhere near the fiery lyrics present in your biggest hits — and work like this doesn't prime The Family Sign for top-played radio hits.



Not that it needs to. The album oozes wisdom, a wisdom I'm afraid will be muffled in the age of Key-Dollar Sign-Ha and pop stars carried in eggs to award shows.



""They tell me that I'm not qualified to lend my voice to something so beautiful,"" you sing on ""Something So.""



Qualified might not be the right word, Slug.



A crooning, almost-40-year-old rapper might not be marketable enough to convince the world to listen to him lyrically sift through society's problems. But I'm a pessimist.



Forget the haters,



Jazmine Woodberry



 



Dear Explosions In The Sky,



I'm gonna be honest with you. I didn't like you for a while. I thought slightly less of my freshman year roommate for liking you so much because I thought your albums were dumb. I just told people I was into you because sometimes you came up in conversation and I like seeming popular and in the know. But that excellent guitar section during ""Human Qualities"" (from your new album Take Care, Take Care, Take Care) is an audible experience comparable to riding a sharp skiff across shallow waves and warm breezes impregnating taut sails. There is a touch of wonder here, a vulnerability that is both beautiful and emasculating. Touché, Explosions in the Sky. You have yourselves a convert.



Love,



Remy Albillar



 



Dear TV on the Radio,



How are you? Remember seven years ago when you were, like, a really cool indie band for people to like? Nah, me neither. I'm sort of a poser when it comes to music. Anyway, I listened to another one of your albums, Nine Types of Lights. More like … 10 Tracks of Trite. I mean, some of this stuff is catchy and wavering on fringe brilliance. But some of these things aren't really even songs. They're more like a set of musical skits taped together. Sort of like an indie rock version of the third Austin Powers movie. Just think about that one for a while. You'll get it later. Well, that's all I have to say to you, TV on the Radio.



Love,



Remy Albillar



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Updated December 3, 2021