Kalk Samen Kuri no Hana, (English title Kalk Semen Chestnut Flower), is the essence of art pop and easily one of the best records of the 00’s. Not only is the songwriting terrific – the hooks on Kuki and Yattsuke Shigoto are the hooks of the gods – but there’s this great anything goes spirit and Shiina’s voice is in top form throughout. She also plays an insane amount of instruments, including koto, pipe organ, percussion, piano, erhu, shamisen, melodica, recorder, kalimba, harmonium, jaw harp, whistle, drums, guitar… And some people say that nobody does anything different anymore.
Choice Cut: Kuki
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If you like your pop snarky, quirky, and full of great melodies so adorable that you forget the songs are populated by depressed, listless, arguably insane people with all sorts of sexual kinks, then this album is for you. The Fox in the Snow is one of the most gentle, gorgeous songs to ease my troubled mind and a good song to listen to when I’m ready to let my romantic ideal lifestyle take over. A fine alternative to the chest-beating, alpha-male bullshit that British music was marinating in at the time. The best album of 1996; their best album.
Choice Cut: Get Me Away From Here, I’m Dying
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Successfully defines any feeling I’ve ever had related to love. Merritt’s voice is great throughout, as are those of his guests. The stylistic and emotional range on display is ridiculous. I love the concept and most of these 69 love songs are very, very good ones. The magic about 69 Love Songs is that you don’t NEED to listen to all of it in a single sitting. You can randomly play any 10-15 songs from the three volumes and you’ll always end up with a beautiful pop experience. There will never be a 3-disc album this good again. Ever.
Choice Cut: The Book of Love
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