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Thing a Week One

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Album Review

Quitting his nine-to-five job, techie Jonathan Coulton returned to an older love: music. Picking up on a bit of self-discipline, he began writing a quirky new song each week (hence the album title), with the first album a culmination of compositions from the fall. Coulton is clearly in the camp of geek rock or geek folk, but there's quite a bit under the surface of this album. A guitar-heavy anthem looped with samples of George W. Bush could be a political statement, but seems to take most of its pleasure from repeating the word "duty" ("doody" makes it funnier, of course). "Shop Vac" uses an upbeat bit of jangle pop to mask the lyrical content of a soul-crushing existence in suburbia. A folk rendition of "Baby Got Back" got Coulton much of his early play as a novelty act, but he treats the song as more than a novelty, giving it a bit of musical respect as he works choral harmonies into the structure — it's here that his composing and arranging abilities really come into their own. Influences range widely — angry Ben Folds-style pop mixes with banjos and accordions in "Someone Is Crazy," but the highly catchy "Brand New Sucker" has strong elements of some classic Peter Gabriel motives. Even a sea shanty makes an appearance before the album completes, just before the Justin Timberlake-meets-Blondie dance groove. The album presents itself as something of a novelty act, with quirk-heavy content about housewares and lobsters. However, the underlying themes are more existential, and can hit deeper at the core of the listener, as Coulton wraps up packages of loneliness, anguish, and love into sweeter musical packages often not outwardly matching their contents. There's more than one level at play here, and all the levels have their own enjoyment.


Born: 01 December 1970 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s, '10s

When They Might Be Giants were first starting out they experimented with an answering machine service named Dial-a-Song, by means of which listeners could call them in Brooklyn and listen to a random taped song. The service was popular enough that it broke down frequently, but not before it helped them get signed to an indie label, Bar/None. Jonathan Coulton, standing on the shoulders of the Giants both musically and spiritually, found fame by the 21st century equivalent of Dial-a-Song through "Thing...
Full bio
Thing a Week One, Jonathan Coulton
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  • 8,99 €
  • Genres: Pop, Music
  • Released: 30 August 2006

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