Single Shot: Genghis Kahn

Posted in Music on April 8th, 2016 by Tom


So I have a pretty horrible record on prognosticating a given year’s “song of summer,” but this year I think I’m on to something. I’ve been a big fan of the Miike Snow project for several years now, and their lead single from the just-released iii is something special.

As if this song, the most accessible Miike Snow track to date, wasn’t enough of an earworm, you have what is one of the sweetest music videos I’ve ever seen to go along with:

The video presents a really clever narrative to accompany the song and the production touches (costumes, lighting) are really spot-on. Between the tune’s infectious ooo-oohhh’s and the absurd(-ly amazing) dancing that goes along with it, I’m quite confident saying that ‘Genghis Kahnshould be the jam everyone is rocking all summer.

iii may get a full write-up here, it may not. Like all Miike Snow albums, it’s a bit of a grab bag- some of the gimmicks pay off while others aren’t for me. But also as with their past work, when they hit the sweet spot it’s a thing to behold.

Tell your friends about this song. Tell them everyone is going to be listening to it this summer!

‘Genghis Kahn’
[ mp3 ♫ ]


Best of 2012

Posted in Music on January 31st, 2013 by Tom

So it’s late, but that’s life.

Best Albums of 2012!

It was a necessary step for me to begin to get back on the music horse after a pretty abysmal showing November – January.

As always, hit up the Music Calendar for my personal checklist of stuff to check out in the coming months!

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Happy To You

Posted in Music on June 5th, 2012 by Tom

The Miike Snow project always seemed a tad curious to me. Two well-credentialed producers link up with a vocalist and crank out a startlingly well-crafted debut, with the hit ‘Animal’ still being a big favorite (though I myself found ‘Burial’ and ‘A Horse Is Not A Home’ to be Miike Snow‘s greatest tracks). Simple enough in principle, but does it work more than once?

Happy to You is proof-of-concept that the Miike Snow project is more than just a flash in the pan. I really like this record, but not entirely for the normal reasons that I typically like an album. Sure, those normal reasons help, as we clearly see with the second track, ‘The Wave‘:

‘The Wave’
[ mp3 ♫ ]

Big drums, that persisting rat-a-tat percussion as well, combined with bass-y, buzzing effects and grand, echoing vocals make for an easy hit early on the tracklist. On its own, a great song, but as a setup for the pre-release single ‘Devil’s Work’, even better! The two songs are a powerful pair that complement each other well.

We should also touch on the more whimsical side of the record. Songs like ‘Enter the Jokers Lair’, ‘Vase’, and ‘Archipelago’ have a really free-flowing, almost lazy playfulness that struck me as a pretty unique sound. None of those tracks are my favorite (full disclosure: I skip ‘Jokers Lair’ nearly every time), but to their credit the set a really interesting tone, and serve as a necessary counterbalance to some of the faster songs.

My other favorite song is ‘Bavarian #1 (Say You Will)‘. It has the same marching drum beat as ‘The Wave’, but steadily new elements are woven in with nearly each stanza of lyrics, building to a pretty cool sound. Awesome change-up (bridge? I don’t know squat about real music terms…) too, around 2:31.

‘Bavarian #1 (Say You Will)’
[ mp3 ♫ ]

‘Black Tin Box’ is a way more experimental, dark track compared to its peers, aided by the spooky vocals of Lykke Li. It bubbles beneath the surface for most of the five minutes, only occasionally breaking the surface for a breath of air. I liked that it wasn’t the closing track though, as he keyboard-driven dancy ‘Paddling Out’ is a much better send off.

Like their debut, I do not unconditionally love every single song on Happy To You, but a handful are really spectacular, and rest are listenable and catchy at the very least. Also: Jackalope. Case closed!

Miike Snow – Happy To You


Best of 2009 Errata, Vol. 1: Miike Snow

Posted in Music on January 24th, 2010 by Tom

Miike2 Honestly, folks, I don’t know how I missed this one. Miike Snow’s ‘Burial‘ was one of my favorite single tracks I got into during this past summer of mass-music-listening which sparked the format-change of the blog. Apparently, ‘Burial’ as well as my other favorite track by the group, ‘Black & Blue’, are both on the same album released this past May! Boy do I feel stupid. Without further ado, I must commence with my praise for Miike Snow’s self-titled debut.

From the same men who brought you ‘Toxic’ by Brittany Spears, as well as a litany of other chart-topping dance hits comes their effort made in collaboration with an American songwriter which has produced some most finely crafted indie-synth I’ve heard in a long time. A friend of mine commented that it’s a just “a little to slow to dance to,” which I must admit is true. That may be why accelerated remixes of multiple Miike Snow tracks have been tearing up the music alley of the blogosphere for the past few months, but it is in no way an actual detracting factor of the music.

Certainly, the drive and arching vocals of ‘Burial’ should make it clear why I’m so enamored with this group’s music, as its everything I’m looking for in a song: A mellow opening is slowly built, through the judicious use of a piano for a slow-build, finally arriving at the chorus. The bridge-like thing starting at 1:40 is maybe my favorite part of the song, getting you to the point where a power-doubled repetition of the chorus seems like just what the song needs, and delivers! ‘Black & Blue’ is similarly enjoyable, but far more up-beat.

Lower-intensity songs like ‘Sylvia’ and ‘Sans Soleil” showcase how much finesse these men command over their machinery, but maybe my favorite “surprise” track was ‘A Horse is Not a Home‘. The lyrics on this one, “With a hole in the heart / I was forced to ride / in morning traffic”, gave me a weird sortof post-apocalyptic vision, but it seems to be more of the emotional-isolation-is-tragic kindof thing. Either way, this song has the most fast-paced beats of any of the tracks, and I think it stands out as on of the album’s best (check out the little drum flourish at 2:44).

[ mp3 ♫ ]

‘A Horse is Not a Home’
[ mp3 ♫ ]

Miike Snow – Miike Snow