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Wherein I Have My Cake and Listen to It Too

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Though illness has kept me from doing much writing over the past few weeks it certainly has not done much if anything to slow down the amount of music I’ve been listening to. If music is a constant comfort and companion when I am in the best of health, just imagine how much I leaned on it as a crutch while I wheezed and coughed in my bed. Short answer? A lot.

What have I been listening to? Too many things to totally discuss in one column but mainly I’ve been listening to new releases mixed in with a smattering of things I listened to while a teenager. Hey, I was sick so don’t give me too much hassle over the older music. If a man wants to listen to W.A.S.P. when he’s ill, then so be it! Right? Right?

I see… Won’t stop me from listening to “The Last Command,” though. I am what I am and what I am is a child of ’80s heavy metal.

Aside from nostalgia, though, as I mentioned I’ve been listening to newer releases the most. The one that has surprised me by how much I have truly enjoyed it would be the latest offering from Cake, Showroom of Compassion.

While delivering some of the catchiest and snarkiest singles in modern rock on their earlier albums, John McCrea and his bandmates had never offered an album of material that captured my attention from start to finish. Until now.

Perhaps because Showroom of Compassion was the band’s first studio album flown under the banner of their own label (Upbeat Records), of because of the fact that the band somehow channeled the positive energy of the sun as they converted their entire studio to run on solar power, or even because of something as mundane as McCrea finally allowing a touch of reverb into the recording mix, the recording as a whole just sounds and feels complete to me.

No worries about this being a situation where you should just pop onto iTunes or whatever other online retailer you prefer so you can download the album’s one or two “hits” and save yourself the expense of buying the whole album. No, this is not a collection of songs but a true and proper album, and it really shows in the listening.

As I hacked and wheezed and generally wished for death in the midst of the flu, I must have listened to Showroom of Compassion back to back at least five times per day, now that I think about it.

Truth be told, I was listening to it again while writing this. Didn’t plan on this being solely about Cake but it turned out that way. I’m planning to do a proper review of what I’ve been listening to and had thought this was only going to be a general “I’m still alive” kind of column.

Oh well. I am still alive, at least, even if a tad bit wordy.

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About Michael Jones