Paolo Nutini, "Sunny Side Up" - To listen to him, you wouldn't think the kid's barely in his 20s; au contraire, you'd guess from his voice he's at least 50. But aside from an old voice, and aside from the freaky-looking cover, it's a fairly passable and laid-back album that uses reggae and olde-tyme swing in the form of harmonicas, walking basslines, and muted horns. There isn't a whole lot that pokes itself out here in the opening tracks, that is to say, there isn't much in the acoustic setup that surprises there, and these tracks ("Candy" and "Coming Up Easy") play straight-through and thankfully open up musically at the end. "Worried Man"'s blues (with a country chorus) deserves the downloading, as does this respectably solid album, but only if you're looking for something fairly calm and straightforward.
The Sound, "Crossing the Rubicon" - It's high-pop-alt with simple guitar riffs and a lady-singer. They're not musically nuanced, but that's not to say they have no merit; it's good for fans of Motion City Soundtrack and other up-beat bands. "4 Songs & A Fight" is worth your shot if you want to try this album, and on the whole, they're good enough to leave in the car for a trip or two. It's catchy and fun, but because they're fairly basic on their instruments, you'll put them away for good when you tire of their songs.
It surprises me that, generally speaking, youth is celebrated so openly in our culture (think: Aber + Fitch, Calvin Klein ads). Yet, when you hear someone like Paolo Nutini, you respect the fact that he sounds so much older; kind of the ideal is to be young and feel old.
And when we're old, we want to feel young. Go figure.
But age aside, probably the only thing that matters is not being your age. "Act your age," comes off like an admonition; old and tired is as frustrating as young and immature is annoying. I wonder if there's an ideal somewhere in the between: something along the lines of a twenty-year old doing twenty-year-old things, elderly acting just like elderly. Yet if I see another commercial with a young-ish guy doing x-treme stunts, I think I'm going to smack the nearest Gen-Xer. Or whatever generation we're at now.
In short, do without expectations. Stop watching TV and go out and do something. Or, if you're like me, abandon human society in favor of the perfect and unflawed company of cyborgs. I've got my Nintendo Powergloves andVirtual Boy goggles coming in the mail as I write this.