Ditty Bops, Love Letters – Some bands become more mainstream as time goes on, but that can’t be said of the Ditty Bops, who just seem to get more and more twee and cutesy with each new album. I support them doing their own thing, but I do have to say that I don’t think they’ve ever really surpassed their second album, the last one to be released on a major label. Anyway, while their last record, The Color Album was pretty positive in outlook, this one is full of songs about lost and unrequited love. It’s quite well-done, but probably not something I’m going to listen to all that regularly. Then again, I’ve listened to it a bunch of times so far, so who knows? I think my favorite song on there might be “Sad Song of My Heart,” at least partially because it features banjo. Also, I have to say that the piano introduction on “Charlotte” reminds me of the Final Fantasy theme.
And aren’t they a cute couple?
And now, a few book reviews:
Hexwood, by Diana Wynne Jones – Like The Homeward Bounders, this one was centered around alien beings manipulating events on various worlds including our own, but also worked in characters and themes from traditional legend. I enjoyed it, but I found it quite confusing, as I’m sure it was supposed to be. It involves an alien-made machine called the Bannus that runs fantasy scenarios in order to test people. The people in the scenarios still act according to their own characters, but are convinced that the game is real. What’s more, it operates on various levels, so even the people who are aware of the Bannus’ tricks can still have their minds muddled. As in some of Jones’s other tales, pretty much nobody is who they seem at first. Throw in references to Arthurian legend and Anglo-Saxon mythology, and…well, that’s about as well as I can describe it.
I’ll Mature When I’m Dead: Dave Barry’s Amazing Tales of Adulthood – Barry’s style of humorous writing hasn’t changed much over the years, but I still enjoy reading his new books. This one includes a few semi-serious pieces (which isn’t to say they don’t include jokes) about his recent life, as well as a bit on the differences between Christianity and Judaism, and amusing Twilight and 24 parodies.