75 Percent Less Fat: No. 41

Since discovering the New Pornographers with the release of their second disc, this album, they’ve been one of my favorite bands of the new millennium. As a present from my lovely wife, I caught them on my 50th birthday last year, joining a lot of other old people at Metro in Chicago, where I discovered that standing in one place for 3-plus hours is a lot harder than it used to be.

The New Pos enjoy one of the longest stretches on my CD rack (yep, I’ve still got one of those). I’ve got their entire catalogue, save their last release, which I’m sure I’ll add to my collection in time (I’m rarely a new release guy – typically acquiring an album long after it hit the shelves. Well, back when there were shelves).

Just as I’m sure I’ll eventually purchase Whiteout Conditions, I’m equally certain I’ll enjoy some parts of it immensely*, while other parts don’t wow me. While the New Pos were certain to have a spot in this here countdown, the choice of album was up in the air. And, if I were to review this down the road, I could easily peg debut disc Mass Romantic, No. 3 Twin Cinema (which contains my No. 1 song of all-time), or some other entry in this slot. The New Pornographers have churned out consistently good albums in their 15-plus years of recording, but I think a true masterpiece has eluded them. At this point, I doubt they’ll deliver one. It’s still a testament to just how good the band is that an imperfect work could still crack my list.

The Laws Have Changed was my intro to the band, and it remains one of their best singles. The song is a perfect example of the group at its best, with changing tempos and Carl Newman and Neko sharing shifting vocal duties. Other highlights include All for Swinging You Around, The End of Medicine and The New Face of Zero and One.

*Given the absence of Dan Bejar from the disc, the first time the Destroyer frontman hasn’t appeared on an album from the band, it’s possible I’ll like it more than most. Though I think his presence is a net positive overall, given the change of pace he provides from the Newman-penned songs, I’ve never been a big fan of his work.

Important Information:

Name: Electric Version

Released: 2003

Record Company: Matador

Running Time: 46:41

Track Listing:

  1. The Electric Version
  2. From Blown Speakers
  3. The Laws Have Changed
  4. The End of Medicine
  5. Loose Translation
  6. Chump Change
  7. All for Swinging You Around
  8. The New Face of Zero and One
  9. Testament to Youth in Verse
  10. It’s Only Divine Right
  11. Ballad of a Comeback Kid
  12. July Jones
  13. Miss Teen Wordpower

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