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Artist: Jesse Johnson
Song: “Spread the Love” (from the CD Cause and Effect)
Heard By: Peter Milmoe, New York City

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Jesse Johnson: "Spread the Love"

I thought he had a great voice. The song had a lot of movement, but it was all over the place and a little bit corny. I felt like I was listening to three songs with one chorus. The chorus was “To reach heaven above, all you’ve got to do is spread the love.” I suppose that was poignant but a little clichéd. I didn’t really feel like he was telling a story with his lyrics, which I like in music. I would describe it as pop/funk/soul…kind of like Gavin DeGraw. If I were a music producer, I think there would be some things I’d fix before I put it on the radio, but it’s a good “wake up in the morning” song.

Artist: Philip Treas
Song: “The End” (from the CD Scarecrow Chasing Rabbits)
Heard By: Garrett Voekle, Normal Heights

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Philip Treas: "The End"

It’s that singer-songwriter formula. There was nothing really original about it. The music itself — the instruments — sounded all right. It was heavy on the acoustic guitar. That seemed to be done well, but I didn’t like the vocals and I didn’t like the lyrics. The lyrics were just random sappiness. The song itself had a pretty common sound, but the vocals were like Dylan at his worst. I don’t see that song in particular being successful. I picture open-mike night at Lestat’s when I hear that song. There’s a lot of folk music I like, but that just didn’t click with me.

Artist: Extinct Animals
Song: “Bombs” (from the CD War Is Terror)
Heard By: Tony Cooper, College Area

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Extinct Animals: "Bombs"

I kept thinking of Zach de la Rocha of Rage Against the Machine. It’s sort of that school of protest music. The slipcase of the CD reinforces that. In terms of their instrumental, I kind of wished they pushed it more. It’s still got too much of a homegrown feel to it, and it needs more polish. There’s a little bit of an electronica influence. It was very politicized. I always think of that Chinese proverb, “May you live in interesting times.” It’s kind of a curse. We’re living in very interesting times. There are all kinds of protest music these days. Angry or subversive stuff like that can be cathartic, depending on your mood.

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