Review Summary: Defined beauty
We use the word beautiful everyday but probably could not come up with a clear definition of what it really means. We cannot come up with a clear definition of what is beautiful because beauty is somewhat conditional. What is beautiful to me might be ugly to another person, and what is beautiful to that person might be something that I think is totally disgusting. It is why we have people who hang crosses in their living room and other people that want to hang them from those crosses, it is why we have people who are addicted to porn and why we have people who get their porn from a PBS special on "The Lost Dinosaurs," and, it is why a snobby white basketball player looks beautiful to Duke fans but looks like a jackass to the rest of America. It is tough to define beauty as anything but conditional.
Beauty is just as conditional in music but it can be broken up into genres and subjects. What a metal fan finds "beautiful" is going to be different from what a hip hop fan finds beautiful (unless this is a Jay Z and Linkin Park CD,) and what an indie fan finds "beautiful" is also going to be different from what a hip hop finds "beautiful" (unless this is a Jaydiohead CD.) Also what an indie fan finds "beautiful" when he or she is depressed is going to be different from what a metal fan finds "beautiful" when he or she is depressed, what a hip hop fan finds "beautiful" when he or she is working out is going to be different from what an emo fan finds "beautiful" when he or she is working, and what a electronica fan finds "beautiful" when he or she is in love is going to be different from what a post-hardcore fan finds "beautiful" when he or she is in love. Beauty is not only conditional in music but it also depends on the genre and the subject manner the music falls under. It almost seems like it would be impossible to find an album that everyone found beautiful.
So, trying to find an album that any music fan finds beautiful is going to be twice as difficult as finding a man that every woman finds attractive (Ryan Gosling?). It is going to be twice as difficult finding that one show that everyone describes as beautiful, the one movie that every critic thinks is beautiful, and the one team that every sports fan finds beautiful. It seems like finding an album that fans of any genre and in any mood could find "beautiful" would be as impossible as finding one person who didn't link KONY video today.
It seems like it would be impossible to find an album that transcends beauty, but Sigur Ros have always been a band that have made the impossible possible. They are an Icelandic band that is so good that they have made it in the United States, they are a band that can make 10 minute songs that never seem to drag on or become repetitive, they are a band that has released over three quality albums in an era where bands cannot put out one good single, and they are a band that trascends the normal definition of beauty on their 2008 album Med Sud I Eyrum Spilum Endalust by making songs for fans of any genre and making songs for any occasion.
The first thing that makes this album a beautiful album for every music fan is that it sounds like just about any type of music. The song "Festival" is a great example of this. The first half of the song sound likes an brilliant combination of Radiohead's "Give Up The Ghost," U2's "Where The Streets Have No Name," the opening parts of Arcade Fire's "Haiti," and any hard rock bands attempt at a power ballad. The second half of the song (the fast paced half) sounds like a combination of one of U2's faster songs, the end of Arcade Fire's "Rebellion," the dramatic ending to Radiohead's "Separator," and the chorus to one of the hit hair metal songs of the 1980's. On just about every song Sigur Ros are able to present just about one genre beautifully: the opening song gives us an alternative folk song, the second song gives a Beirut/Fleet Foxes song with a little added soul, the third track sounds like the acoustic ballad any popular artist dreams of putting out, the fourth track combines the Beirut and Fleet Foxes feel of the second track with a more hard rock feel, the sixth track ("Festival" is the fifth track) is the perfect piano song, the seventh track is another perfect soft song, and the last song is just a combination of just about every genre possible. It is safe to say Sigur Ros offer something beautiful for fans of just about any type of music on this album.
Another thing that makes this album the "ultimate beautiful album" is that it not only has songs that beautifully define one of your moods but it has multiple songs that can define just about any of your moods. None of the songs on the album are happy or sad, hard or soft, punk or emo, bad or good, they all just have a beautiful indifference about them that allows you to connect to them in your own unique way. Every song on this album is so beautiful that anyone in any mood can connect to them instantly. That is a beauty that is almost impossible to have in a music industry defined by "happy songs," "sad songs," "war songs," "breakup songs," and "sex songs." But Sigur Ros make an album of 11 songs that are so beautiful and free that anyone can connect to them almost instantly.
It is tough to describe Sigur Ros music as anything less than breathtaking or beautiful. It is a beauty for post rock fans, a beauty for rock fans, a beauty for electronica fans, a beauty for indie fans, a beauty for hip hop fans and a beauty for fans of whatever you call the music Insane Clown Posse makes. It is a beauty that says whatever you are doing is okay, it is a beauty that wants you to run away yet wants you to lay down and cry, it is a beauty that wants you to love yet wants you to move on, it is a beauty that tells you to believe in God yet is a beauty so powerful that it makes you believe that you are already in heaven. Sigur Ros' Med Sud I Eyrum Spilum Endalust is more than just an album, it is a beautiful Icelandic utopia that makes the impossible possible and brings an instant beauty into your life.