Hyacinths and Thistles

Friday, January 1, 1999

I've noticed a disturbing trend with my output here. Most of the films are horrible. Really horrible. And yet I sit through them, just so I can write a horrible review. However, the music reviews are overwhelmingly positive. Why is it that I am willing to sit through 100 minutes of visual pablum, but will stop listening to a subpar album within mere moments of determining just how bad it is? Something's clearly wrong.

So, in an order to correct this imbalance, here is a review of a pretty darn mediocre album. Now, in order to overcome my impulse to cease listening to a bad album, I selected an album that should have been one of the best of the year.

The 6ths, for those who don't know, is yet another project by Stephin Merritt, best known for his main project, The Magnetic Fields, which is one of the better pop bands operating today. However, Merritt prefers to have others sing his songs, and so was born the 6ths. The previous album, Wasps' Nest, contained brilliant pop songs sung by a variety of indie-rock superstars, such as Lou Barlow, Georgia Hubley, Dean Wareham, and Chris Knox. All in all a fine album.

Sadly, the follow-up is a significant departure from the last. Instead of attempting to produce a good album, they have decided to release a bad one. Really bad. A lot of the fault comes from the choice of guest singers. Some are selected along the same lines as the first (e.g, Clare Grogan, Bob Mould, Sally Timms), but most of the tracks are sung by Stephin Merritt's artistic twins (Momus, Marc Almond, Neil Hannon) or older artists that are well past their prime (Dominique A, Odetta, Melanie). This alone would make for a mediocre album, but the songwriting drops it down to utter trash. Merritt has always had a fondness for slow ballads, but here they sink down to Neil Diamond level (and not in a good "Sweet Caroline" way, but in an excreable "Turn On Your Heartlight" kind of way)

While the first album managed to overcome the "celebrity karaoke" feel that the concept lends itself to, this album feels like being trapped in a highly-recommended bar that can't mix a decent Tom Collins.

Rating: F (28.5%)

Reviewed by Padgett Arango
Contents
The Hills Have Eyes 2

Hostel Part II

Six Degrees

Shark

Jericho

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

Justice

The Hills Have Eyes

Love Monkey

Out of Practice

Head Cases

Crunchwrap Supreme

The Exorcism of Emily Rose

Batman Begins

Garden State

Hero

13 Going On 30

LAX

Starman

quirkyalone.net

Kill Bill, Vol. 2

Line of Fire

We Shall All Be Healed

Happy Family

Arrested Development

Love Actually

A Minute with Stan Hooper

Tarzan

Karen Sisco

Stop All the World Now

Cold Case

Skin

10-8

Joan of Arcadia

Eve

Luis

Lost In Translation

House of 1000 Corpses

Bubba Ho-Tep

Darkness Falls

Pirates of the Caribbean

The Amazing Race

Treasure Island

FearDotCom

Adaptation

To Hit Armor Class Zero

Without A Trace

8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter

Life With Bonnie

Jalapeņo Cheeseburger

The Mothman Prophecies

Happy Campers

The Man Who Wasn't There

Kiss of the Dragon

Josie & the Pussycats

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Dr. Pepper

Know By Heart

Waking Life

L.I.E.

Thirteen Ghosts

Earthlink presents Chang and Eng

New York and Country Bar

Change

Motivation and Water Tower Grammar

Crossing Philly

Makeout Club

Undeclared

The Gap

The Abolition of Work

3000 Miles to Graceland

Kolobos

Duets

The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Diesel Sweeties

The Cold Six Thousand

The Grilled Stuft Burrito (Rebuttal)

60 Second Wipeout

The Patriot

Grilled Stuft Burrito

Cowgirls

Crystalline

Frankenfinger E.P.

One Force Down

Shake

Both Our Secrets

Happy Birthday Captain Columbus!

Fight Club

Whatever It Takes

Committed

That Skinny Motherfucker with the High Voice?

Joe Dirt

The Veggie Whopper

Taco Bell Nachos

Palmetto

Godzilla vs. Monster Zero

The Terror of Mechagodzilla

To The Center

Infiniti+Infiniti

American Psycho

The Del Shredder

What Lies Beneath

The Cheesy Gordita Crunch

Bring It On

Chill Factor

Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars

Bad Company

The Blair Witch Project

Hyacinths and Thistles

Lake of Dracula

We'll Have a Time

Home Depot

Snow Day

The Virgin Suicides