Amanda Palmer is quite possibly the coolest person on the planet, and if you know who she is, you probably do not disagree.
So imagine my petty glee when I discovered that I had found my way to the brand-new conceptualized Kaiser Chiefs website before reading about it on her blog. I was like, shoot, I already knew that. I just didn’t get around to it until today because today is payday.
Basically, you can make your own album of ten songs, chosen out of twenty by you, ordered as you like, and then paste together your own album artwork from the icons they give you based on your chosen songs.
It is a fantastically amazing concept, and the band is certainly no slouch in the awesomeness department, so of course I invested my almost-twelve-and-a-half American dollars. I’m listening to it right now. I love it.
Amanda Palmer gives a spot-on breakdown of the entire idea behind it: I strongly recommend reading her blog post on it.
I’ll use my own blog instead to defend my own set list, which I noticed is quite different from AFP’s list, despite us both having spent roughly two hours carefully picking the songs and the order.
The order is as important as the contents. Film editors know this. Novelists know this. And good album producers know this, too. The flow of songs in both a musical and a lyrical sense, the binding aftertaste of one song as you begin the next, and the satisfaction at the end of the full journey – these make the difference between an album and a simple collection of singles. If anybody tells you the album is dead, you can punch them in the jaw.
So I took my order and my selections very seriously. I kicked it off with “Dead Or In Serious Trouble,” which starts with an explosion of synth and cymbals reminiscent of Styx’s “The Grand Illusion.” It’s a powerhouse that pumps a strong and steady 6|8 time signature, and leads easily into my next track, “Man On Mars,” which (you guessed it) carries hints of a spaced-out David Bowie. I took the permanent title of the album, “The Future Is Medieval,” into full consideration and tried to stick with what could be placed into a science fiction movie. So Styx + David Bowie makes a pretty good start to me.
For the rest of the album, I tried to keep it in line with the idea of time travel, so I went with a mix that, at least in my own mind, takes us on a swirling trip from the start of the 80’s to the later years. The synthy hollowness and vocal echoes keep it all unified, but each moment has its own particular personality.
The six slot is a good spot, albeit somewhat unconventional, for a breakout single. I went with “Child of the Jago.” I could see that song making it as a single.
The final song caps the album. You have to be smart about it. I went with “Out Of Focus” – it felt right. I started with a bang, and I at first wanted to end with a bang as well, but of the nineteen other songs available, I couldn’t find a suitable reprise. So I went the other direction, and chose the one whose melody inexplicably reminds me of UFOs. If I couldn’t go with a musical match, I figured I’d go with a thematic match. Start with a bang, let it course through your veins, exit with a song that leaves you wanting so, so much more, and when it’s all gone you realize you’ve got everything you ever really needed.
Here’s the full list:
1. Dead Or In Serious Trouble
2. Man On Mars
3. My Place Is Here
4. Heard It Break
5. Problem Solved
6. Child Of The Jago
7. Can’t Mind My Own Business
8. Saying Something
9. Long Way From Celebrating
10. Out Of Focus
I like it. It’s good for the brain.
At any rate – if you’re into this sort of thing, please feel free to buy my album. In fact, if you do, let me know! I’ll want to thank you personally. Each purchase of MY setlist and album art gets me one British pound back. If I can sell eight of those bad boys, I’ll have made back my monetary investment and then some.