Tag Archives: Little Dragon

Adjective Battleship

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a group called Little Dragon and how my friend Greg’s 5-word description of their song “Ritual Union” — he called it “alien Motown in the snow” — made such a fantastic and indelible impression that my enjoyment of the song went through the roof. Listen to the song here. He’s totally right, right? I know!

Well, Greg came up with the awesome idea of trading these types of descriptions back and forth (an idea I promptly militarized*, being a dutiful son of Norfolk, VA) and after we traded a few emails about how fun this would be, the joys of structured creativity and about Spin’s new Twitter reviews, which aim, with no small amount of chutzpah in my opinion, to sum up and rate new albums in 140 characters or fewer, Adjective Battleship was born!

While you won’t find any star-based or scale-of-1-to-10 ratings below, I hope these descriptions, or “unread footnotes to a haiku” as Greg put it, will help you find something in these songs to latch onto and love, as happened for me with “Ritual Union.” Before we get started, here are the rules, as ratified by the two contestants.

RULES FOR PLAYING ADJECTIVE BATTLESHIP

  1. Each player nominates 3 songs.
  2. Each player provides a description comprised of up to 5 words, not all of which actually have to be adjectives, for all 6 songs.
  3. There is no time limit on composing descriptions.
  4. The player who compiles the descriptions for posting purposes cannot look at the other player’s descriptions before finalizing his or her own.
  5. There is no winner, just congratulatory high-fives for a game well played.

As for listening strategies — that’s entirely up to you. Song then description, description then song, song then description then song… do whatever floats your boat. Without further ado, let the battle commence!

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Little Dragon

Ritual Union

Someone once said that talking about music is like dancing about architecture. Or they may have said that writing about music is like dancing about architecture — the first page of a Google search was inconclusive on the matter, and this page creeped me out so I stopped* researching it. Either way, as I understand the saying (which is sometimes attributed to Elvis Costello), it suggests that analyzing music with language is pointless, just a marriage of two unrelated and abstract concepts. Well, I happen to be of the opinion that mixing abstract concepts is super fun, and I was reminded of how fun it can be with five awesome words — “alien Motown in the snow.” That’s how a friend (the same person who recommended Jesca Hoop) described the title track off Swedish electronic band Little Dragon’s 2011 album Ritual Union. Who could resist a description like that? As I was putting my earphones in, I remembered that I’d heard the song a few times, and I mentally played back the section where the vocals first come in, but as soon as I hit play, all I heard was 100% alien Motown in the snow. “Ritual Union” is now impossible to forget. The description is just so apt, and the song so enjoyable when keeping it in mind, that I’m not even going to ascribe my own adjectives to it. Just hit play below to see (well, ya know… hear) for yourself. If you want to hear some more of that good ol’ fashioned a.M.i.t.s., just click here and buy Ritual Union on iTunes.

Little Dragon — “Ritual Union

*Though I did find this, which seems to come pretty damn close to bringing the “dancing about architecture” part of the saying to life.

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