Like last week’s The Fall, a Gorillaz album recorded purely on an iPad, Nighty Night will be a record forever remembered more for what it is than the songs on it. Created at a conference at Berkelee Music College in Boston by four superstars (Ben Folds, Neil Gaiman, Damian Kulash of OK Go and Amanda Palmer) over the course of 12 hours, Nighty Night stands as a testament to the spectacular imagination of some industry giants, as well as a nice reminder of how fun crazy experiments like this can be.
Regardless of the process behind it, though, Nighty Night is also a solid pop-rock EP. In fact, if you’re not listening too carefully, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell that it only took 12 hours to compose, orchestrate and record these tunes. The only real lack of polish I detect is in some subtly off-key deliveries from our singers (no, not just Neil!). These are six fully-arranged rock songs; if you thought you’d be getting an album of tossed-off piano/vocal sketches, think again. All told, Nighty Night delivers a group of really enjoyable songs that accurately channel the spirits of their four disparate creators.
Indeed, perhaps surprisingly, this album doesn’t make a great case for gestalt theory. There are songs here that sound like they come from Palmer, songs that sound like they come from Folds, and songs that (kind of) sound like they come from OK Go; never the twain do they meet. What that means is that if you’re a fan of even one of these artists there’s probably at least one song on here that you’ll like. It also means that if you don’t like one of these artists, the collaboration isn’t really going to change your mind. I’m not really a fan of Amanda Palmer’s style of vocalization, and because of that the two tracks where she sings lead don’t really do it for me. On the other hand, as a big Ben Folds follower, I loved his contributions, especially the second track, “Because of Origami,” which is probably my favorite song on the record. It’s written as a duet which casts Folds and Palmer as parents of a runaway child, kind of an inversion of the excellent “That’s Me Trying” on the Folds-produced Has Been from William Shatner.
Thankfully, famed author Neil Gaiman gets to grab some lead vocal duties as well, lending his pipes to the closing song, a lovely English ditty entitled “The Problem with Saints.” If nothing else convinces you to buy this album, you ought to be won over by the fact that the guy who wrote Sandman (or American Gods, if that’s your bag) makes his rock & roll frontman debut.
Also note that this album works on a pay-what-you-want scale, so there’s no reason not to get it. True, you have to pay at least $1, but anything beyond that is up to you, and everything above that dollar goes to charity. I think six songs from these creators are worth the $1, right?
You can download Nighty Night from Amanda Palmer’s website. What did you think of the album? Let us know below!
Nighty Night tracklist:
1. Nikola Tesla (ft. Amanda Palmer)
2. Because the Origami (ft. Ben Folds & Amanda Palmer)
3. One Tiny Thing (ft. Damian Kulash)
4. Twelve Line Song (ft. Ben Folds)
5. I’ll Be My Mirror (ft. Amanda Palmer)
6. The Problem with Saints (ft. Neil Gaiman)
My Best of 2012 Playlist by Eric Garneau
After being inspired by some friends, for the past few years I’ve been really into documenting my musical exploration with year-end mixes. I realize this is not a particularly novel thing to do, but hey, who has original ideas any more? Anyway, this has gotten even easier to do thanks to new technology like Spotify. read more