"Listening to 60 kids sing in a gymnasium might not be the average music fan's cup of tea, but those who give this little treasure a chance will be forever changed...
" --Pop Matters
Recorded in the mid-70's by Western Canadian elementary schoolkids, Innocence & Despair
is one of 2001's few releases that I still listen to regularly. If you can overlook some cringe-worthy musical moments (an out of place cymbal crash here, a vocal note that was just
out of reach there), you're in for a sometimes funny, often sad and haunting, and always disarming, listen.
This version of the Fleetwood Mac
classic is as emotionally affecting as the original. The Langley kids, as Stylus
puts it, "duplicate Fleetwood Mac's mysticism with just an off-rhythm woodblock, one bass string, and a modified xylophone. With a child's transparency (and a cymbal crash about three days off-beat--a touching and funny motif throughout the album), the group lurches into a blithe, confident chorus."
Forget for a second that The Eagles
and Linda Ronstadt
verisons of this song are cheesy and emotionally overwrought. "Desperado", as sung with pure "innocence and despair" (thus the name of the album) by 9 year-old Sheila Behman, is a heartwrenching classic, and Pitchfork called it the definitive version of the song.
Download Innocence and Despair
; other recommended tracks include "Space Oddity", "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft", "The Long and Winding Road", "Good Vibrations", "God Only Knows"********************************
As I mentioned briefly last week, eMusic's no-strings 50 Free Download Trial
comes to an end this month, and since they are one of our sponsors
, I thought I'd point out some of the excellent new releases that can be had with your trial offer
Beirut Gulag Orkestar
Sunset Rubdown Shut Up, I Am Dreaming
Jolie Holland Springtime Can Kill You