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Polaroids Of Androids

Record Reviews

8.0

Various Artists
Dark Was The Night

You've likely no doubt heard about the Dark Was The Night compilation by now. With a ridiculous tracklisting that is a veritable "who's who" of the last few years of independent music this compilation was always going to draw lots of attention. Of course, as this is a charity album, that is kind of the point. All proceeds from Dark Was The Night benefit the Red Hot Organization which raises money for AIDS relief around the world. So even if this album sucked, it would still be worth your coin. Luckily, it doesn't suck.

I'm not generally a fan of compilations whether that be albums put together like this one or soundtracks. The lack of a focus tends to lose me and I seldom feel like listening to the whole thing. So Dark Was The Night had some work to do to win me over despite its all star cast. But win me over it did.

Most (all?) of the songs that appear here are previously unreleased songs (Arcade Fire's Funeral outtake, Lenin), new songs recorded specifically for DWTN (the tracks by the National brothers Dessner who "curated" this album), or new versions of old favourites (Conor Oberst and Gillian Welch redoing Bright Eyes' Lua).

After a few listens I'm surprised that it's some of the bigger names who's songs seem a bit undercooked. Arcade Fire's Lenin was wisely left off Funeral, while the Decemberists plodding contribution, Sleepless, is a total misnomer: it will actually put you to sleep. Cat Power once again does her cover thing with a totally unsurprising rendition of Amazing Grace.

Luckily there is still a lot here that warrants repeated listens. David Byrne's collaboration with Dirty Projectors which opens the album is full of life. Likewise, The Books and Jose Gonzalez bring Nick Drake's Cello Song into the twenty-first century without destroying it... in fact, it's a really, really great cover. Spoon's sparse Well-Alright has a Chuck Berry-esque swagger while TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek's cover of With A Girl Like You exemplifies how deep the talent pool in TVOTR really is.

While it may not be a perfect compilation, I for one am having a hard time playing anything else in my house this weekend. Check out a few of my favourite tracks below…and then check out the tracklisting if you need more convincing that there are at least a few things you really want to hear on this thing.

Filed Under
Record Reviews
Arcade Fire
Yeasayer
Spoon
The National
Buck 65
Sufjan Stevens
Jose Gonzalez
TV On The Radio

 

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Comments

MichaelateNine

How anyone could say no to an album featuring Feist and Ben Gibbard on the same track is beyond me. Agree on the Decemberists track but otherwise a swell compilation.

1 decade ago

thedfm

Actually, I'm pretty sure I could say 'no'.

1 decade ago

MichaelateNine

I'll put that down to some kind of super human self-control.

1 decade ago

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