All posts tagged washington

  • Rolling Stone album reviews, October 2010: Washington, Ben Folds/Nick Hornby

    A couple of album reviews for Rolling Stone, which appeared in the October 2010 issue.


    Album review of Washington's 'I Believe You Liar' in Rolling Stone, October 2010Washington Four stars
    I Believe You Liar

    Charismatic newbie delivers an impressive debut album

    Following a string of EP releases, Melbourne-via-Brisbane singer-songwriter Megan Washington delivers an impressive debut album, whose 12 tracks were written and performed by the eponymous singer alongside producer John Castle. On I Believe You Liar, the pair play all the instruments that comprise her heady mix of piano-heavy pop. The star here isn’t just Washington’s impressive vocal range, but the clever wordplay and knowing sense of irony that sees her question whether she makes us hum in “Sunday Best”, and write an entirely danceable chorus around the concept of not wanting to dance (“Rich Kids”). Such additions are cute without bordering on kitsch. While most tracks swing with contagious joy, the album’s handful of slower moments – like the morbid “Underground”, which deals with the singer’s preference for cremation over burial – reveal an introspective bent. Given the singer’s ability to compel with both modest and garish modes of songwriting, Washington’s debut is a consistently enjoyable listen.

    Key tracks: “Rich Kids”, “How To Tame Lions”, “Clementine”

    Elsewhere: an interview with Megan Washington for The Vine


    Album review of Ben Folds/Nick Hornny's 'Lonely Avenue' in Rolling Stone, October 2010Ben Folds/Nick Hornby Four stars
    Lonely Avenue

    Piano tinkler gets together with pop fiction’s poster boy

    It’s a music geek’s wet dream: American singer-songwriter Ben Folds collaborating with British novelist Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, About A Boy). Here, multi-instrumentalist Folds uses Hornby’s emailed short stories as the lyrical basis for 11 tracks that sparkle with irreverent humour. Take “Levi Johnston’s Blues”: a hilarious character narrative written from the perspective of the “fuckin’ redneck” who knocked up Sarah Palin’s daughter. Folds’ musical vision wheels between the rollicking, piano-led pop for which he’s become known (“Working Day”, “From Above”), and more subdued compositions like “Practical Amanda” and “Password”, which feature stunning string section interjections courtesy of arranger Paul Buckmaster (David Bowie, Elton John). “Your Dogs” – a tale of suburban discontent set to catchy, taut instrumentation – can be counted among the finest moments of Folds’ career. Lonely Avenue is a meeting of two brilliant minds in near-perfect sync. Hopefully, it won’t be the last time they get together.

    Key tracks: “Your Dogs”, “Levi Johnston’s Blues”, “From Above”

  • The Vine interview: Megan Washington, September 2010

    An interview for The Vine.

    Megan WashingtonInterview – Megan Washington

    Megan Washington is on the cusp of something big. Her recently-released first album, I Believe You Liar, debuted at #3 on the ARIA charts. During her current album tour, she and her band are playing five sold-out shows at the 850-capacity Melbourne venue, The Corner. Successful album tours aside, she’s booked to play (at least) eleven significant music events for the remainder of 2010. Put simply, people are going bananas for Washington.

    Most people, at least. One of TheVine’s critics, Everett True, wrote a contentious review of I Believe You Liar, which was published the day before we spoke. Hours ahead of Megan’s sold-out show at The Zoo, my girlfriend Rachael and I sat cross-legged on the concrete floor of a nearby car park with the singer, who smoked five self-rolled cigarettes over the course of our 50 minute conversation.

    So tell me: what were your first feelings when reading Everett’s review last night?

    At first it was…I don’t think it was a particularly compassionate review. I think that you can state your opinion, whilst not being overly hostile. You know what I mean? It was a bit hurtful, but I guess everybody feels like that about their art and the thing they try really hard to make.

    Then I read it again this morning and realised that it makes no sense. It starts by saying that pop’s doing fine by itself, thanks very much, ask Katy Perry, blah, blah, blah. Then he said the production is ‘too pop’ on the record. How does that make sense? The production’s too pop, and [yet] pop’s doing fine.

    Do you know what I mean? I guess you’ve got to be adult enough to understand that people have opinions and even though if I really thought… he didn’t even mention the songwriting. He said the lyrics were quirky, without actually discussing any of the lyrics. Why are they quirky; how are they quirky? I thought it was more of a vehicle for him to voice his opinion about the state of the music industry in Australia.

    Full interview on The Vine.

    This was one of the most relaxed and fun interviews I’ve done. It’s another occasion where I’m glad I was writing for the web, as I wanted readers to see it all unfold. I had no desire to cut any of it, and I’m glad that my editor didn’t either.