The Avett Brothers vs Arcade Fire

listening-musicIn this installment of Soundtracks for Situations…

Magpie and the Dandelion  by the Avett Brothers versus Reflektor by Arcade Fire

Now me personally, I like the Avett Brothers’ album better. It all comes down to one thing: focus. The Avett Brothers have it and Arcade Fire don’t. Reflektor is a fine album but it’s too big, too sprawling. It lacks definition and clearly defined songs like The Suburbs. It’s an album that’s less songs and more sounds. Which is a shame because Arcade Fire write great songs but they don’t necessarily create a good atmosphere.

Magpie and the Dandelion is another solid album from the Avett Brothers; an album that is slightly more low key than last year’s The Carpenter. It has a reflective feel. Not a reflektive feel. A reflective feel. That is apparently a big difference.

But don’t get me wrong. Both albums are good and both are worth listening too.

What album, though, fits more situations- specifically situations that would happen this month?

Giddy Up America’s Soundtracks for Situations: Volume Two

Magpie and the Dandelion by the Avett Brothers vs Reflektor by Arcade Fire

Situation 1: Raking leaves

You need two things when raking leaves: endurance and energy. Unless you are raking a lawn that is best measured by cubic inches. Then you don’t need shit. You have a small yard. Good luck playing wiffle ball. But when it comes to raking a normal sized lawn, it’s at the very least a project that takes a couple hours. If not more. When you’re out there, raking leaves like a champ, you need music you can simultaneously ignore and groove too. It needs to be effective background music. Effective background music is driven by a nondescript, but constant beat. The beat only exists on a handful of Avett Brothers’ tunes.

Winner: Reflektor

Situation 2: Drinking a beer on the deck after raking leaves

Your work is done. You’re admiring the job you’ve done and admiring your leaf-free lawn. The beer is cold and tastes like magic. This is a cool down time. You don’t need island beats, droning keyboards or Canadian disco music.

Winner: Magpie and the Dandelion

Situation 3: Finishing up leftover Halloween candy while reading Sports Illustrated’s NBA preview

Also kind of a chill time, that is until the sugar rush kicks in. But that’s later. You need to concentrate and study up on the upcoming NBA season. Will the Heat repeat? Will the Nets be as good as advertised? Will Kobe Bryant kill someone in a dark alley? My first thought was to award this one to the Avett Brothers, but right now I’m listening to “Flashbulb Eyes” off of Reflektor and you know, it seems like pretty good reading music.

Winner: Reflektor

Situation 4: Doing something outside on that randomly unseasonably warm November day

You know the day, the unseasonably warm November day when completely out of the blue, the temperature is in the low to mid sixties, the sun is out and the wind isn’t ripping around town like a drunken Mike Napoli. The day before it was cold as shit and the forecast for the next few days could best be summed up as merciless. This day, this delightful gift basket of a day needs to be taken advantage of. What are you going to do? Maybe take the dog out for a hike? Maybe you take a stroll through town, sipping on a pumpkin spice latte because it’s what ballers do? Maybe you just kick back and finish up some last minute yard work- snipping those last few plants that new snipping, packing up that deck furniture that needs packing up, dumping that shit at the dump that needs dumping? In the end it doesn’t matter, as long as you’re outside. So while doing this, you need music that is celebratory and positive, but don’t forget to pace yourself. There’s only so many hours of daylight this time of year and you want to make the most of it. If time weren’t such an issue (thanks Daylight Savings Time!) I’d say the Avett Brothers would be perfect, but you need to keep the train moving on this glorious surprise of a day. The beats and grooves on Reflektor are just what you need.

Winner: Reflektor

Situation 5: Hiding inside during that first taste of winter November day

No. This day is not like the last day and as a result, this day is about a conscious lack of movement. Book-reading, napping, light house work. Keep it simple, keep it light, keep it easy.

Winner: Magpie and the Dandelion

Situation 6: Taking it easy on Veteran’s Day

Yeah, kind of like that last day except this day is planned. You’ve had this day circled on your calendar since Columbus Day ended. Same rules apply though.

Winner: Magpie and the Dandelion

Situation 7: Coordinating the multiple Thanksgivings you have because you’re married

If you’re married then you know, you rock multiple holidays. Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter are the big ones. Your family, her family. Then maybe one or two holidays with extended families. Coordinating all these takes some work and it takes some patience.

Winner: Magpie and the Dandelion

Situation 8: Jams for the inevitable Thanksgiving road trip

On the move! Let’s go. Dude, one hand on the wheel, one on coffee, this on the radio…


Winner: Reflektor

Situation 9: Relaxing after Thanksgiving dinner

Totally not on the move. Slumped into the couch cushions and nursing a beer. The desert waiting game is on. Play out the string. It’s almost bed time.

Winner: Magpie and the Dandelion

Situation 10: Watching football and eating chili

Unless you absolutely hate the announcers, you are looking for background music here- something to turn up during commercials if it’s a good song. At first you would thing Reflektor would be good music for this particular situation, but no. No, sir. The key element here is chili. The one thing I think we can all agree on when it comes to Reflektor is that it kind of, sort of makes you want to dance. At the very least it makes you want to groove ever so slightly. Well let’s be honest- no one in the history of chili has ever had a bowl of chili and then thought that dancing was a good next move.

Winner: Magpie and the Dandelion

Final Scores:
Magpie and the Dandelion: 6
Reflektor: 4

Winner: Magpie and the Dandelion

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