Mother’s Day is this Sunday. (Shame on y’all who forgot!) And what better way to celebrate than to put Mom to work reviewing music, right? We gave self-titled contributor Cassie Marketos a batch of songs–including tracks by Micachu, HEALTH, the Juan Maclean, Phoenix, Woods and St. Vincent–to force-feed her mom (and dad) and record their reactions. Says Cassie, “Young people don’t listen to our parents–not about our friends, not about our jobs and especially not about our music. So when I sent my folks these songs, I was already sniggering to myself over how much they wouldn’t ‘get it.’ Um, can I get a fork to eat those words with? My mom and dad may be your standard-issue parental types, but their astute reactions to contemporary music might just mean that I have to start accounting for all their other opinions about my life. Dammit.”
Cassie Says: A sugar rush. All chug-chug-chug and frantic collisions and tugging on guitars with gushing synth-y sound effects. If mitochondria had musical taste, this would be it. I like it even though I don’t want to.
Her Mom Says: I really liked this. Good beats with drums and lots of energy. If I was cleaning the house to this, I would be dancing instead.
Her Dad Says: Fun. Cute. Touch of early ’60s. Overproduced. I might buy this.
HEALTH: “Die Slow”[audio:http://www.self-titledmag.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/die-slow.mp3]
Cassie Says: Grinding, steady, industrial dance music. Less noise freak-out and more tightly focused than before. The chorus is hypnotic. I’m a slave to the beat!
Her Mom Says: Wow! Techno plus. Not my style of music, but it’s good listening. I really like the drums.
Her Dad Says: Certainly has a “big” sound. There is a lot of talent, and they will be better when they learn to channel it. Not ready to buy their music just yet.
The Juan Maclean: “Happy House”[audio:http://www.self-titledmag.com/wp-content/uploads/audio4/10_Happy_House.mp3]
Cassie Says: A good pop song is a good pop song, and Juan couldn’t hide his under all the slick disco-synth in the world (not that he wants to). The female vocals work well, bringing the songs back to earth before they get too spaced out. Best heard in close proximity to strangers while sweating in the dark.
Her Mom Says: This started out catching my ear, but… Nice beat, but same sounds went on way too long. Wouldn’t buy.
Her Dad Says: The ’70s-style electric piano is nice but nothing new. Won’t get to my collection.
Cassie Says: Definition fun and fancy-free. It’s good in a technical sense, well produced, but I’m bored. I’m sorry!
Her Mom Says: Good variety in style. I liked the vocals in this one. A little bit of a disco touch would be the only drawback for me.
Her Dad Says: Light and fun with a good range of styles. Tight performers with good musicianship.
Woods: “Rain On”[audio:http://www.self-titledmag.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/woods-rain-on.mp3]
Cassie Says: An abandoned house of a song. Charmingly dilapidated and strangely poignant. I absolutely love it.
Her Mom Says: Makes me move with the music right away. Easy laid-back tunes. A little bit garage-band style. Singers make feel like I am back in Japan.
Her Dad Says: Folksy touch with an interesting production quality. I liked it for its cleverness. Want this in my collection.
St. Vincent: “Actor Out of Work”[audio:http://www.self-titledmag.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/04-actor-out-of-work.mp3]
Cassie Says: Precious and whimsical. A slightly cynical fairy tale. St. Vincent’s music reminds me of those light-saturated dream sequences in prime-time television shows where everything is slightly fuzzy and glows. Coincidentally, that’s also how listening to it makes me feel inside.
Her Mom Says: At first I didn’t like the constant, hard beat with the fairy-tale voice. [But then] the voice blended much better with music. The singer too child-like sounding.
Her Dad Says: Broadway show tunes with a techno background. Lose the voice.