mishii247 wrote:Trying too hard for the sake of "art".
I find it interesting when people say things like this. It seems to imply that the artist is a slave to a master that expects them to make their music difficult for the sake of some imaginary intelligentsia out there who frown on anything that can be easily grasped by mortal men. But Vienna just seems more down-to-earth than that to me - not out to prove that she is the most artsy or has the most indie cred or whatever, but some who tries to think outside the box simply because that's what she enjoys.
mishii247 wrote:Take away the clever and wonderful production and you are left with (again my opinion) not very strong songs.
This is also interesting to me, because I don't hear a lot in the way of production on several of this album's more intimate tracks. I definitely hear it on "White Light" and "Radio" and "St. Stephen's Cross", but on other tracks like "Kansas" and "Antebellum" and "Grandmother Song", I just hear a few musicians in a room playing and that sound being captured without too much fussing around with it after the fact.
Regardless of how over or underproduced it might be, though, I'm still pretty sure that the songs are the core of it, not the nuances of the sound. The production is icing. Maybe you'd prefer to scrape it off the cake and just enjoy the cake, but the point is that the cake isn't all icing and no substance. Most of the songs on IT, I think they wouldn't sound like they were missing crucial elements if they were played live with just Vienna and her piano.
mishii247 wrote:But even on her last album, there are songs like Whatever You Want, City Hall, Nothing Without You, and Recessional that balance out the more adventurous songs.
Interesting. I thought "Whatever You Want" was complexity trying to deceive us into thinking it was simple. (Just listen to those interlocking, disparate rhythms during the chorus. Not straightforward stuff at all.) "Recessional" struck me as one of the more experimental and abstract songs in her catalogue. I'll grant that "Nothing Without You" and "City Hall" are comparatively easy-going, but I don't think that mode of songwriting and recording is completely absent on IT.
None of this is an attempt to invalidate your dislike of the album, but I do feel kind of like your perception of it's being hurt because you see it as a case of an artist trying to be something that she's not. Sometimes understanding an artist's intentions can help us to better understand the work that they do.