I've now listened to the new Beirut album four times, and it's disappointing. Not bad, exactly, just . . . fine. The sound's evolving, which is always interesting, but the direction in which it's evolving isn't, very. I'm all for more listenable style--I have too many albums right now that I can't really listen to at work, because it's too distracting--but somehow, it doesn't quite make it. If after four plays nothing's leaped out at me, it seems rather likely that nothing will.

On an unrelated note, I listened to Hem's Rabbit Songs for the first time in months, which was a great album. (Sadly, never matched by their later efforts). And as I was listening to "Half Acre", it suddenly occurred to me that I've listened to a lot of hard-core copyright advocates complaining that "fair use" might let someone ruin a song by, for example, turning the Ride of the Valkyries into a laxative commercial. How come none of these sensitive-eared music lovers get upset when bands ruin their own songs by, say, licensing them to egregiously overplayed insurance commercials? Obviously, I'm a libertarian; I think the latter should be legal. But can't we at least make fun of them, hard?



The truly shocking news is that Wikipedia claims the insurance commercial gave Hem a boost. It couldn't have happened to a nicer band, of course, but do people really buy music off commercials?

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