Music is the soundtrack to our lives. And on Christmas Day 2012, four days after the world was supposed to end, GuysNation columnist Bryan Lienesch was given the book ‘1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die’. As he flipped through it, an idea dawned on him right then and there: he would attempt to knock all 1,001 albums off his list. Not just before he dies, but as fast as life would allow.

This is the Bucket Beats List.

Grizzly Bear

If music is subjective, than it goes without saying that no two people should ever agree on an exact 1,001 albums you should listen to before you die. But, at the very least, you would think all the albums up for consideration would be competitive with one another. That there would be no albums you just wish you could stop listening to halfway through and move on.

Just 22 albums in, I’ve already come across one or two that unfortunately fit that last criteria. And now, you can add Grizzly Bear’s ‘Veckatimest’ to that list.

Why? Because it’s about as memorable as elevator music. From the album’s opening track, ‘Southern Point’, to its concluding one, ‘Foreground’, Grizzly Bear, for the most part lays down 52 minutes of music that could not possibly be more monotonous.

Grizzly Bear VeckatimestIn fact, if it were not for the silent breaks in between tracks, it would be nearly impossible to differentiate between tracks. That’s because, with only a few exceptions, all 12 recordings are the same mind-numbing, semi-melodic garb over and over again.

And that’s not even mentioning the vocal chicken scratch that is the lead vocals of Ed Droste and Daniel Rossen. Their long, drawn out notes and clear distaste for consonants of any kind make their voices more like an additional instrument. That’d be great, except the record as it stands needs fewer instruments, not more.

If the record has a saving grace, it comes around the tenth track, ‘While You Wait For The Others’. Here, finally, and almost mercifully, the band gives a different look. A landmark from which we can get our bearings. The vocals actually become coherent for once and we get the clear twang of guitar, finally putting the “rock” into the band’s “folk rock” genre.

But by then it’s too late. You’ve made up your mind. Instead of thinking about the music, your mind wonders elsewhere. Did I brush my teeth this morning? Why does this shirt feel tight? I should really walk the dogs when I get home.

And therein lies the “elevator music” comparison.

Look, there’s no denying the album was well-received. The Wall Street Journal (obviously a publication specializing in music) put it atop their best albums list for 2009. The New York Times, 6th. Time Magazine, 8th. So it’s clear that a lot of people out there get whatever it is Grizzly Bear was going for here.

I, for one, am just not one of them. But like I said, music is subjective.

Favorite Tracks?
1. While You Were Waiting
2. All We Ask
3. Southern Point

Least Favorite Tracks?
1. I Live With You
2. Foreground
3. Ready, Able

Do you really need to listen to this album before you die?
Absolutely not.