Stranger than Fiction, Larger Than Life: the Finn Brothers song-by-song discussion thread

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Lance LaSalle, Jan 21, 2019.

  1. brownie61

    brownie61 Forum Resident

    Burn Up the Road

    This is a good song with a guitar riff and song structure that reminds me of something else (Foo Fighters, maybe?). I can imagine this being a rock radio hit in the 90s or 00s, but probably came too late and from a too “unknown” artist for that to happen in 2014.

    Not really my thing, but it’s a good radio song.

  2. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Yeah; I love it, actually. It's a real rush, as it is intended to be. It's about riding fast on a bike at night and I feel he kind of captured that sort of thing, and the lyrics speak to a certain manic thrashing out of personal issues through activity. The wordless middle bit with the female vocals is really sublime too, I see it as the kind of "runner's high" of the song.

    That synth and guitar riff is just awesomely catchy, even if it does feel vaguely derivative -- and it really reminds me of disco music I used to hear back in the mid-00s back when I'd actually go to discos. Although, God knows why I went there: the drinks were overpriced, you had to pay to get in, you couldn't talk to anybody because you couldn't hear anybody and I usually left within a half hour.

    I'm really getting into this album and this to me has always been the most immediately likeable song on the album, even though it's charms are mostly just candy sweet.

    The video is totally boring (refreshingly so after the last two) but I love the live performance above -- it's as great as the others, only this time it doesn't overshadow the studio version by much as the studio version is actually pretty awesome. Lot of great textures going on with the layered guitars and synths, some awesome drumming too.

    Funny, HitAndRun thinks that a lot of people here are going to go for this in a big way, I'm predicting the opposite....We shall see. (But I've learned not to bet against @HitAndRun )

    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021
  3. Anne_G

    Anne_G Forum Resident

    Burn Up the Road: If I heard this on the radio I would swear this was Coldplay. Not too familiar with that band or a fan - they are so blah and generic. The hook in the middle sets it apart tho, but I don’t like that guitar sound.

    I watched HBC and Snug as Fudge videos and loved them! I love those two songs too. I appreciate Liam more since seeing those videos - so creative, not trying too hard, very interesting. It’s complicated.

    Burn up the Road: 2.5/5
  4. KangaMom

    KangaMom Queen of the Quokkas

    Burn Up the Road - I think I like it?? I find it a bit noisy and thrash-y, maybe I'm not appreciating the textures as much as others (to be fair it's a first listen and via laptop). I like the female wordless vocal as a relief from the density of the song. Maybe that's what bothers me a little - it's all a bit too much.
    There is a good atmosphere - that late night, adrenalin rush - that's why I think I should like this song. But it's all just noise really to me. I should try and give the live version a shot and see if it improves.

    (Possibly if I'd already had coffee it may help too...)
  5. BeSteVenn

    BeSteVenn little-known member

    Burn Up the Road is too frenetic for me, the backing track (especially the drumming) sounds to me like it was tinkered with and sped-up in ProTools. Then when it comes to the middle bit where it slows down and isn't quite as dense, I quite like it. When the drums and Liam's vocal come back in, it almost works for a bit, then sounds like the first part of the song.

    My sense is that Liam spent too much time messing with the song after he'd recorded the basic tracks, and perhaps not enough time on the song itself.

    (I rated this after I'd had my coffee, but I drink decaf, so it doesn't matter...)
  6. drewrclv9

    drewrclv9 Forum Resident

    Metro Detroit, MI
    I love the keyboard on this track, especially at the beginning. This is a pretty cool song; maybe a little too generic Coldplay (as @Anne_G mentioned) or modern-day-U2 sounding at times (with a bit more energy of course), but still enjoyable. The middle 8 is good, but it sounds a little like it was lifted from another song, especially at the beginning of it. The guitar solo at the end is fine, but feels a bit unnecessary (and strangely out of tune). Otherwise, great vocals, great energy, and a pretty enjoyable song as a whole.

  7. therunner

    therunner Forum Resident

    "Burn Up The Road" is not a style of music that I care to listen to, so it's hard to say whether this song is a good example of noisy rock or not. Sounds generic to me, without much of a melody to set it apart from hundreds of other similar songs by myriad artists. All I know is that I don't like it, and I'm not sure Liam has a strong enough voice to compete successfully with the dominant instrumentation.

  8. Jaffaman

    Jaffaman Senior Member

    A stand out track on the album for me. Simple but killer hook. I like the video too.
    (C) 2021 Overly Simple Reviews But I’ve Gotta Go
  9. jcr64

    jcr64 Forum Resident

    I forgot to write about "Helena Bonham Carter" yesterday, but it's worth a mention because my reaction to it is so mixed. I quite like the verses, and I happily follow along when the chords make a weird harmonic shift. But then what I take to be the chorus just bores me. Even though the energy level goes up a notch, it kills the song's momentum. And then there's that intentionally astringent bit, sort of a bridge, that I actively dislike and that keeps me from rating the overall song above a3/5, even though there are parts I like.

    It's probably a sign of my conventional tastes that I like ""Burn Up the Road" better than the previous songs on The Nihilist, despite its noise. The burst of energy works for me, and for the most part the melody and chords eschew gratuitous weirdness. 3.55
  10. StefanWq

    StefanWq Forum Resident

    Vallentuna, Sweden
    "Burn Up The Road" is quite charming. To me, this is an interlude track based on energy and atmosphere more than melody. I think it captures what Liam said in the interview that Lance quoted, the kind of special adrenalin rush of going fast on empty roads at night, a kind of youthfulness and feeling carefree. This song works best for me when I listen to it in headphones and really pay attention to all the details in the backing track. I especially like the fuzzy guitar and the synth which adds a hint of melancholy to the song.
    On one level, this song is a bit fluffy but it fits in well on the album.
  11. dthomas850

    dthomas850 Forum Resident

    Cleveland, Ohio
    Burn Up The Road - Great energetic track, love it! 5/5
  12. KangaMom

    KangaMom Queen of the Quokkas

    @Lance LaSalle I'd like to revise my score now that I've listened to the live version (had coffee AND ice-cream).

    I still think it's too dense for me to truly enjoy it, but it deserves more than my original score (which was 3.2). Please amend it to 3.6/5. It sounds better at this end of the day and not first thing in the morning!
  13. NorthNY Mark

    NorthNY Mark Forum Resident

    Canton, NY, USA
    After being really impressed by all the previous tracks on this album, my reaction to this one is more middling. The guitar riff is really the only memorable part of the song, and it's somewhat catchy, but sounds kind of cliched, and gets old for me after a while. Liam is also singing more like a lead vocalist here, and I don't find his voice very effective in that role. Here he reminds me of another singer--maybe Thom Yorke?--whose voice I find particularly unpleasant. Even so, I don't exactly dislike the song--I just find it sort of OK: 3.3/5.
  14. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Our votes for "Burn Up the Road"

    Average: 3.4875
    KangaMom and StefanWq like this.
  15. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Today's song is "Dreary Droop", written and produced by Liam Finn; recorded by Liam Finn and Jol Mulholland.

    Liam Finn: vocals, guitars, keyboards, "digi beats"
    Elroy Finn: drums, synth bass
    Eliza-Jane Barnes: vocals

    I can't really make out a lot of the lyrics on this one, even when I boost the vocal; it seems to be a song about long-distance relationships and being separated from one's love. Possibly autobiographical, Liam was in a relationship and got married later in 2014.
    BeSteVenn, HitAndRun and StefanWq like this.
  16. drewrclv9

    drewrclv9 Forum Resident

    Metro Detroit, MI
    I always forget how this song goes until I hear the first few seconds, and then I go "Oh yeah, this song!" I really like almost everything about this one, title included. "Dreary Droop"? :D Anyway, this song, like most others on the album, has simply wonderful electronic sounds floating and bouncing around all over the place. It all feels perfectly implemented. Again, fantastic vocal harmonies here as well; maybe the best on the album (if not, close).

    The first 2 and a half minutes are really lovely as everything swirls, and then the next 30 seconds or so comes in and ends up being a really cool section, sounding quite dirty and sinister. Overall a really good, dreamy sounding track, and one of my favorites on the album.

  17. NorthNY Mark

    NorthNY Mark Forum Resident

    Canton, NY, USA
    I like this, though I experience it as more of a soundscape that a song, per se. The mellotron-like wash is wonderful, punctuated with some interesting swirling and loungy effects. It's kind of hard to pin down the overall feel--kind of like plastic soul meets late Beatles or something. The slightly sinister guitars toward the end are also great, though the track ends with me feeling like there could have more of the sort of "payoff" we discussed a few days ago (or at least more of a sense that the ending wasn't simply chosen at random): 4/5.
  18. HitAndRun

    HitAndRun Forum Resident

    Dreary Droop

    I'm really not getting on with this album. This song has an interesting arrangement, but after a bit it goes on the same a bit much. It's the same story as before. Not enough to really capture and hold my attention. When the guitars come in and the song goes up a step, it doesn't really for me. There are a few too many instrumental sounds and I can't focus on anything. That's not necessarily a bad thing in itself, but it doesn't really work for me here.

    The synth sounds are interesting. But, perhaps a bit overdone at the detriment of the song I feel.

  19. brownie61

    brownie61 Forum Resident

    Dreary Droop

    Very atmospheric. Very nice. Better when listened to in the context of the entire album.

    Funny, I can and do listen to this album on repeat, and enjoy doing that, but there hasn’t been one song yet I can say I want to repeat individually.

    JCo, jimbutsu, StefanWq and 7 others like this.
  20. Anne_G

    Anne_G Forum Resident

    Dreary Droop:
    This one is growing on me, similar to side two of Dreamers are Waiting. Some things just take time. The beats are distracting but a nice melody.


    Does anyone know about the cover photo? It has always reminded me of a civil war era photo maybe it’s the beard? :laugh: It’s cool.
    StefanWq, BeSteVenn, Jaffaman and 6 others like this.
  21. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    "Wet plate photos by Ken Clark." Other than that, I couldn't tell you!
  22. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    I absolutely love everything about the backing track (again, once I've re-equalized): those synths are really so very pretty and I actually like the programmed drum beat -- reminds me of Prince, it's very minimal. And I like how the acoustic drums are simply there to add flavor and texture rather than drive the song -- it's kind of fresh. Especially for Liam, who tends towards the brutally flashy with his drums.

    The song itself is vaguely pretty -- the really quiet EJ Barnes vocals in the middle are gorgeous -- but the melody is too vague for me to get excited about. And ultimately it's it's not until the guitars start up that the song starts getting really interesting for me: but it does do that.

    Ultimately I'd give the backing track a 4.5/5 but the song itself about a 2. It's really undeveloped.

    So I'll split that and give this an overall 3.5/5: a good album track, but not a standout
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2021
  23. KangaMom

    KangaMom Queen of the Quokkas

    Dreary Droop - I like this from an aural soundscape point of view. I do have trouble figuring out what to focus on (again a little bit of the density problem similar to the previous song). I do like the guitars at the end but what is with that ending? It just stops...

    I'm starting to develop a feeling for what @brownie61 wrote right at the beginning of this discussion. This may be an album that's best to hear as an album. I can't imagine (for instance) repeating a listen of this song by itself, but can definitely see how I would probably like it a lot more in the sequence of an album.

    jimbutsu, StefanWq, BeSteVenn and 5 others like this.
  24. Lance LaSalle

    Lance LaSalle Prince of Swollen Sinus Thread Starter

    Play with your equalizer, it will make it better. Whole album's a mess if you don't do that.
  25. jcr64

    jcr64 Forum Resident

    Liam is really asking for it with a title like "Dreary Droop." There's so much sonic murk here, it's virtually impenetrable. The vocals have the odd pleasant line, but they're largely formless. And the end bit seems like another deliberately calculated to make my stereo sound like ccrap. No thanks.

    StefanWq, KangaMom, BeSteVenn and 6 others like this.

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