On the playlist, or hardly knew you, Lala

Back when eMusic had a moratorium on major label content, I turned to Lala as my source for what I call the "paid preview" — a low-cost way to sample an album before I make a full purchase.

But then eMusic introduced Warner Music Group titles into its catalog, and my reason to use Lala evaporated. In the past, I would turn to Lala when I wanted to explore catalog titles by Emmylou Harris, the Replacements or Talking Heads. Of course, cheap ass that I am, I would never actually download anything from Lala — I’d just stream it.

The introduction of Warner titles in eMusic’s catalog meant I wasn’t tethered to a web site in a browser — I could download a title instead and play it at my leisure. Yes, eMusic’s Warner titles aren’t extensive, but they have enough for even a cursory exploration.

As a result, my patronage of Lala declined. When Lala announced it would offer the remaining balance in my Lala wallet as either iTunes credit or a check, I chose the check. I can use it for an eMusic booster pack. Or maybe to buy a CD.

Most of the titles on this list were downloaded from eMusic or they could be.

  • Anita Baker, Rapture I had 8 downloads remaining in my monthly quota, and I’ve always had Anita Baker in my the back of my head as someone to explore. Some things cannot be explained.
  • Arcadia, So Red the Rose "Say the Word" remastered! The Making of Arcadia on DVD! Duranies understand.
  • Dirty Projectors, Bitte Orca I was fascinated by Solange’s cover of "Stillness Is the Move" and Dirty Projectors have performed concerts with Alarm Will Sound. But really, Dave Longstreth’s voice is annoying.
  • Duran Duran, Duran Duran and Seven and the Ragged Tiger (special editions) The DVD is the real draw for the Seven and the Ragged Tiger special edition, because most of the music is available on various boxed sets and compilations. The extras on the Duran Duran special edition, however, make it worth its price.
  • Echo and the Bunnymen, Echo and the Bunnymen After subjecting myself to the Smiths, I thought maybe I was ready for Echo and the Bunnymen. The 30-second samples on eMusic were encouraging, but now that I have the whole album, it hasn’t really done anything for me yet.
  • Ex-Boyfriends, Line In/Line Out Ex-Boyfriends bypass labels and go it alone on this latest effort. The sound of the album seems a bit more subdued.
  • Janelle Monáe, Metropolis: The Chase Suite Someone on Metalfilter suggested Janelle Monáe ought to collaborate with Shiina Ringo. That would be fantastic.
  • Jónsi, Go The previous Sigur Rós album almost found the band picking up the tempo a bit. Jónsi goes full tilt, crafting an album quite different from his parent band. Nico Muhly provides orchestration.
  • Kraftwerk, Computer World Try as I might, I really can’t picture how this 1984 album would ever have been considered state of the art. Probably in 1977, but not 1984.
  • Kronos Quartet with Alim & Fargana Qasimov and Homayun Sakhi, Rainbow This album pretty much extends what Kronos Quartet did on Floodplain.
  • LEO Imai, CITY FOLK 0.5 This one does feel kind of miscellaneous.
  • mono, Holy Ground: Live in NYC with Wordless Orchestra This album is pretty much Hymn to the Immortal Wind with crowd noise, but the album does work live without an orchestra.
  • Rufus Wainwright, All Days are Nights: Songs for Lulu This album is one that Rufus Wainwright needed to record — stripped down, just him and a piano.
  • Sam Amidon, I See the Sign The electronic beats are off-putting.
  • Spangle call Lilli line, VIEW Spangle call Lilli line can sometimes get lost in its own ambience, but VIEW actually has a pretty solid backbeat.
  • Talking Heads, Talking Heads ’77 After finally succumbing to Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols, I wanted to find out what else was happening in 1977. I’ll get back to you.
  • The B-52’s, The B-52’s I don’t think it helps that my first exposure to the B-52’s was Cosmic Thing.
  • Tracey Thorn, Love and Its Opposite I need to unearth Out of the Woods to compare. I think I prefer when Tracey Thorn goes acoustic.