You may have expected that the first album of the day would be by a band whose name starts with the letter "a." What you may not have expected is that the band would not have any other letters in its name. That's right, our first album is from the ridiculously named yet alphabetically superior band: A.
I first became aware of A because of a video game related music video they had on one of those networks that used to be all about the music but then decided to not be about the music and destroyed music in the process (you know the ones). Their song "Monkey Kong" was plenty catchy and sounded like the sort of thing I would like to look into, but try googling a band whose name is A. See how many hits you get (I got 18,560,000,000. Top that).
I picked up Monkey Kong, my very first A album, in a $3 clearance bin a few years after seeing the music video. I figured for $3 it couldn't be too disappointing. I don't think I really listened to it at all aside from spinning the title track a couple times. So today was the first time I listened to the entire album from start to finish.
As I finished the album, the only fitting metaphor I could think of for this album was a guy who tries way too hard in pickup basketball. You've all seen the sort of guy who guards people in pickup like it's the final minutes of a crucial NBA playoff game. He sets hard picks, he drives hard to the hoop, he grunts and groans on every play. There's also a significant chance this guy wears head and/or wrist bands and John Stockton short shorts. Anyway, from the opening surge of Monkey Kong to the final riff you can tell that this is a band who puts all their energies into rocking as hard as possible. You like to see a band try hard, but there are 17 songs on Monkey Kong and some of them are clearly more worthy of the band's efforts than others.
The album seemed to me to be top heavy. I enjoyed the first 5 songs a lot more than I did the last 5. Of course part of this may have something to do with the fact that the entire album has a certain glossy sheen and by the last 5 songs you feel like you need to turn it off before your ears end up laminated.
Anyway, there are some good songs and redeeming qualities to Monkey Kong, but it doesn't make for a very good listen if you're going to park yourself and listen to the whole thing top to bottom.
Go here to stream the album at lastfm.