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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Air- Love 2



Air is back with a new record. I know, I know, I was out of the loop too. Let's move on.

When I first heard Air I was at a terrible party in the suburbs of the suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri. The record was Moon Safari and it changed the way I thought about music for the rest of my life. In the years that followed I would discover Premiers SymptĂ´mes, The Virgin Suicides, and Late Night Tales, and note them as my favorite records in an ever growing mental catalog of experimental music.

But then, all the sudden, Air hit a wall. Their music, while still progressing through a sort of post-modern sound, had become the cultural norm. Records like 10,000 Hz Legend and Talkie Walkie just didn't turn my wheels like their earlier efforts did, though they achieved better sales than anything they had released prior. So the question remained: would Air settle into a mediocre lull now that most active music listeners were aware of them? Or would the continue to push the envelope as they always had?

The result wound up being a little of both. For the first time ever, I think Air abandoned the idea that they had to fit into a musical category, if they ever had that idea to begin with. Their new record, Love 2, isn't as much a complete album as it is a band's collection of songs they wrote. There is no genre, that is to say, it's all genres at once (well, save for rap and country). And that turns out to be both the record's strength and weakness. I like a lot of the songs, and I think this record had the potential to be really great, but it wasn't achieved here. Instead, it feels more like a push from a record label to release something in hopes of retaining their small yet dedicated fan base before everyone assumed they had broken up or taken on a slew of DJ projects and solo records.

Take a listen and tell me what you think.

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