Ratatat
Classics


3.0
good

Review

by Justin Taslak USER (30 Reviews)
August 12th, 2008 | 30 replies | 14,311 views


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: While Classics is enjoyable under certain circumstances, most songs are ultimately as innovative as their individual title.

1 of 2 thought this review was well written

RatatatClassics

Ratatat are:
Mike Shroud – Guitars
Evan Mast – Synths, Keyboard

Seventeen Years will forever remain the greatest thing Ratatat, the NYC electronic duo of Mike Shroud and Evan Mast, will ever record, if not the most popular. It is a difficult task for anyone to dislike this song. Alas, almost all innovative ideas and catchy hooks from it and the group’s self-titled debut are void from Ratatat’s sophomore effort, Classics. Hampered by lackluster instrumental bits, bland and reoccurring base beats, and a complete deficiency of emotion due to absent vocals, Classics is a pretty dull recording.

There is way too much rehashing of old material, and even revision of ideas inside the album itself to make this truly enjoyable. While I understand that under certain circumstances these songs are a boatload of fun, when one listens to this for the sake of listening to the music, and tries to dissect it, it can be frustratingly painful and boring, with a few exciting moments tossed sporadically throughout the album. The first track, Montanita, conveys the group’s signature sound spiced up with some luau-themed beats and instruments, including a xylophone, but this shot at inventiveness is a complete failure as the song is in fact incredibly annoying. Lex is possibly the best track on the album, featuring a noteworthy guitar riff and keyboard work that places it among the best songs Ratatat have ever done. The instrumentals change up frequently enough to make it enjoyable all the way through, as opposed to a strong start with a sub par finish, and vice-versa.

Wildcat, the most popular song on the album, has a very disappointing main theme. It’s pretty cool at first, but it’s also unpredictable in a not so good sense; when it sounds like the group could have thrown a neat riff or scale in there, the theme ends with a short, sharp, staccato note, and then repeats. This repetition, common in the genre, detracts from the song to the point where any promise it once held has been reduced to dust because it’s downright tedious. Then about two minutes into the song a simple yet baffling section of melodic keys and guitar begins and chugs its way all the way to the end of the song, without revisiting the main theme. This highly infectious section is one of the few places Mike and Evan were truly outgoing with the recording.

Capping off the track analysis, Tropicana is a very recognizable tune, making its way to the big screen via the Judd Apatow comedy Knocked Up. The main section is nice and relaxing, but not too exciting, and occasionally the song has too much going on at once, making it sound much denser than it needs to be. A lot of the album seems this way, as well as rushed during the recording process. Too much of it sounds more than eerily similar, as the synths are consistently doing the same exact thing, switched up only slightly as to continually confound any unaware listeners. While I am well aware that everything here can be played live very well, as a group of my friends covered Ratatat’s entire self-titled debut on a guitar, bass and drums, most of this could easily be recorded by a couple of kids fiddling around with Garage Band (In fact, Ratatat was recorded entirely on a PowerBook). It isn’t meant to be complex, sure, it’s meant to be enjoyable, but one still has to understand that this isn’t original or intricate to any extent. The tempo, save for Gettysburg, is always somewhat slow. Any addition of some variation in this aspect would have aided in making this an exceptional recording, although of course not alone. The dialogue pieces featured on Ratatat are also missing on this album. While at first a listener may feel indifferent of their absence, they are the human quality this entire album sorely needs.

While this review has had its far share of compliments and harsh criticism towards this album, let me conclude by saying this really does have plenty of highs and lows. Depending on where you are, who you’re with, what you’re doing and what you’re on, the standout tracks on here can be exceedingly pleasurable. Unfortunately, if you aren’t a fan of the genre, this is pretty tiresome with few highlights at the very best. Ratatat are definitely capable of better than this though, and from an unbiased perspective, I wouldn’t recommend Classics to listeners new to the band or genre.

Recommended Tracks:
Lex
Wildcat
Tropicana
Swisha

Score:
Inside the Genre: 3.5
Outside the Genre: 2.5
Overall: 3



Recent reviews by this author
Poison the Well The Tropic RotOrchid Dance Tonight! Revolution Tomorrow!
Emery While Broken Hearts PrevailThe Roots Things Fall Apart
Sinaloa Footprints On FloorboardsHaste the Day Dreamer
user ratings (327)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
related reviews

Ratatat

LP4

LP3
recommended by reviewer
Ratatat Ratatat

Comments:Add a Comment 
bustyagunz
August 12th 2008



911 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

meh, this is overrated. i bash this a lot but gave it a little extra on the score because i dont listen to the genre very much

Bron-Yr-Aur
August 13th 2008



4405 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah i more or less agree with you

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
August 13th 2008



15693 Comments


o hey babe

Digging: Nmesh - Dream Sequins [AMDISCS]

Myrrhman
August 13th 2008



83 Comments


stop acting like hes ur babe

bustyagunz
August 13th 2008



911 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

huhhhh

chickenfish
August 13th 2008



1008 Comments


I somewhat agree with you, however I still really like the album.

bustyagunz
August 13th 2008



911 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

yea you prolly like the group/genre, I don't mind the genre but i dont listen to it often and i dont think these guys are that great

fireaboveicebelow
August 13th 2008



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

how do you not have Montanita under recommended tracks?

bustyagunz
August 13th 2008



911 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

cuz if you actually read the ******* review it annoys me This Message Edited On 08.13.08

astrel
August 13th 2008



2613 Comments


I really dislike the song wildcat.

bustyagunz
August 13th 2008



911 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

the beginning is booboo

fireaboveicebelow
August 13th 2008



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

cuz if you actually read the ******* review it annoys me
I did read the ::stars:: review but it's not computing still

bustyagunz
August 13th 2008



911 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

alright.
i just think its incredibly tacky, and annoying, and essentially sounds like Tropicana with a luau sound added on, everything here ends up sounding pretty much the same

Already_Taken
September 3rd 2008



5 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

try bobbing your head at half time to what you think the tempo of "Gettysburg" is, and then take that attitude when you listen to the rest of the songs and maybe you'll actually get the point.

to say montanita is annoying and swisha isn't, is just ridiculous, and then to say that Gettysburg is the only fast song on the album is just wrong. Gettysburg is at 70 bpm. Wildcat is at 116. Lex is at 104.

And you don't even mention the most flawless song on the album that is "Nostrand"

Your review is unjust, and you should listen to a cd more than just once before you review it next time.

Already_Taken
September 3rd 2008



5 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i meant to say tropicana not swisha.

bustyagunz
September 5th 2008



911 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

tropicana is slightly better, and you seem like a fanboy. and if you saw i gave this a 3.5 for fans of the genre, meaning great, meaning just a tad lower than your probably bias rating. its just, this does nothing so stellar that it would drag someone into loving the genre. i listened to the cd a good ten times, and then repeated it during the writing.


bustyagunz
September 5th 2008



911 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

anyways, i will give it another listen for you.

abbyczach
December 21st 2008



46 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

this was actually the first album ive ever listened to by ratatat, and it made me fall in love with them. good review, but i dont really agree with you at some parts. i can see you how think they are repetitive, but i think thats what makes this album stand out from the others.

and the last minute or so of 'nostrand' is prolly my favorite ratatat riff ever. i dont think it gets better than thatThis Message Edited On 12.21.08

fireaboveicebelow
December 21st 2008



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah this album rules

Aaron
May 8th 2009



651 Comments


I saw these dudes last night and was impressed by them live. Will check out their albums now.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy