Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

JONATHAN COULTON

Artificial Heart

2011-10-21

Coulton is a Yale-educated computer programmer. He plays, in addition to guitar and ukulele, “other things.” Apparently for “Artificial Heart” he abandoned his home studio for the professional help of producer John Flansburgh of “They Might Be Giants” with whom he currently tours. This is his 8th studio album. “Nemeses” is a wonderfully upbeat tune and I love the premises: ‘Could it be that you need me to keep you out, to run you faster?’ It’s one of the best on the CD. “Today with Your Wife” is a piano-driven, sticky-sweet melody. Weezer-like tiny tune “Sucker Punch” is an energetic ditty that features tight chord changes but immediately leads to track 7. The guitar in “Fraud” at first captivates but then turns a little tedious. “Now I Am an Arsonist” [an astronaut, as in burning up the atmosphere] is a beautifully simple song featuring a duet with vocalist Suzanne Vega and acoustic guitar accompaniment. “Dissolve” and “Good Morning Tucson.” have that 1970s sound. “Still Alive” is the story-song of Coulton’s success as an independent artist making money from the Internet. And finally “The Stache” is an ode to the mustache…’rocking the stache…make a stand, celebrate the skin beneath your nose!’ This is an ambitious album of 18 songs. With so many varied styles, Jonathan Coulton’s “Artificial Heart” is sure to please almost every listener. – Pam VandeKerkhoff FCC violation: tracks 1 and 9

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