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MUSIC REVIEW

State of the Airwaves

Slean, Self, and Stupid

By Dan Katz

Staff Writer

When an amateur music journalist books a concert for the first time, you can bet that he’s sure to declare it (clears throat and picks up megaphone) the Airwaves Show Of The Week. This Friday night, Sarah Slean, fresh off a couple of dates with Moxy Fruvous, will play a free show at the MIT Coffeehouse at 9pm. Sarah’s style is very reminiscent of Tori Amos, and most of the songs in her November performance at the Somerville Theater stunned the venue into silence. The rest of the concert weekend is dominated by local artists: Friday finds The World Is My Fuse on stage at Bill’s Bar while MIT alums Honest Bob and the Factory-To-Dealer Incentives will play at TT the Bear’s; and Saturday the Nields show up at Club Passim in Harvard Square.

So I heard Third Eye Blind’s “Never Let You Go” for the first time about a month ago, and predicted I would hear it about nine times before I got completely sick of it. In actuality, I’ve heard it about twenty times now, and at this point, I’m marginally sick of it. It’s got a bright eighties sound to it and sounds like it would be a terrific summer release -- but after a while you start to notice that it’s really repetitive and doesn’t have much to offer beyond one guitar hook. I figure at any given time, there’s room for one feelgood fuzzy guitar song in the spotlight -- “Never Let You Go” has inherited the airwaves from the Foo Fighters’ “Learn To Fly,” and it will in turn give it up when Oasis’s new single, “Go Let It Out!” breaks into the mainstream.

Forgot to take some time last week to complain about the Grammy nominations, which as always are ridiculously frustrating. Santana’s “Smooth” and Ricky Martin’s “Livin’ La Vida Loca” may be poppy, but they’ve got some musical cleverness to them; on the other hand, the Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way” and TLC’s “No Scrubs” are so simplistic and inane that their mere nominations for Record of the Year practically invalidate the award. As usual, it’s much faster to point out the bright spots than all the depressingly undeserved nominations, so thumbs up to Santana leading the nomination list and nods to Nine Inch Nails, Moby, Radiohead’s tourumentary “Meeting People Is Easy,” and Korn’s video for “Freak On A Leash.”

There are quite a few terrific singles just out from previously released albums, so here’s a quick wrap-up: Oleander hit the radio once again with one of the highlights of their debut album, a vicious grunge track called “Stupid.” Recent Oleander tourmates Our Lady Peace prepare for a large-scale Canadian tour with Stereophonics by releasing “Is Anybody Home?”, a standard verse-chorus-verse rock song vaguely like “Big Dumb Rocket” off the band’s sophomore album. And finally, in a blaze of irony, “Suzie Q Sailaway,” the song that Self didn’t want to put on their album, Breakfast With Girls (they were saving it for the upcoming “toy-instrument album,” Gizmodgery) is now their followup single to “Meg Ryan.” Self happens to be my favorite band, and I will venture to say that “Suzie Q” is the best song with extensive use of bells in the history of pop music. Feel free to write in and correct me.

SotA’s a little short this week, because I’ve been messing around with the Mystery Hunt all week, because I’m generally lazy, but mostly because nobody’s sent me interesting comments and questions to respond to. And whose fault is that? Yes, that’s right. Redeem yourself by sending your kudos, condemnations, and first-born children to <airwaves@the-tech.mit.edu>. Time is running out to submit your ballots for the Airwaves Reader Awards! Categories include Album of the Year, Single of the Year, Video of the Year, Live Act of the Year, Local Act of the Year, and Most Annoying Personality of the Year, and your vote will be counted and treasured for eternity (or at least until the piece of paper I print it out onto goes through my laundry). Until next we meet, keep enjoying your IAP, and keep expanding your horizons.