Luna – Best Of

August 21, 2006

I originally heard of Luna from a message board user. Mostly because I am a tool. A few months ago I heard some shoegaze for the first time, so I asked for some reccomendations on what other shoegaze is good. Someone vaguely suggested Luna, and the name caught my eye. It’s a nice little word, and it represents what I would soon learn is a nice little band. It’s not shoegaze really, at least I’m pretty sure it’s not. It’s more dreampop, in the fairest deffinition of the word. I checked out Lunapark and Bewitched from the library and I was pleased by the cheery yet relaxing disposition of the songs. So I didn’t hesitate to buy this collection when given a chance, because I’ve been told it is a pretty good summation of the bands career. So I’m no huge fan of the band and whether or not this is the best collection the band could possibly make, I am very pleased with it, mostly because I wanted to own some of the bands work, and a Best Of type thing would be best. So if it truly succeeds in it’s goal of doing the band justice is really irrelevant, because every song is great anyway.

I truly believe that our moon is underrated. I know that sounds strange, but think about it for a minute. We take it for granted. Thinking of how rare it is to even have a solar system in this universe at all with more than one planet is mindboggling. We have nine, and with tons of moons. And the only green planet there is, as far as we know, has a moon, and we tend to forget it. It’s name is Luna too, and it is beautiful. It’s grey/blue hue lights up the night in such a beautiful way that we tend to not even think about it. It’s just so natural. I don’t mean to sound like some super environmentalist or something, or that I’m ever out on my front steps hitting a bong and staring at the moon. I mean, really think about it. How often do you think about the moon? Or even the sun for that matter? They are both brilliant and gorgeous, yet so natural that they blend into our minds. Our suns name is Sol. Our moons name is Luna.

Ever since ancient times, the moon has been associated with feminine aspects of life. Goddesses always seem to represent the moon, and gods seem to always represent the sun. What the moon is to many of us is a pleasent backdrop. If you asked anyone what they thought of the moon, the typical response might be, “yeah it’s cool.” Like, seriously, they do think it’s cool, but they aren’t so enthused just at it’s mention. I guess Luna as a band wasn’t anything horribly revolutionary, because that kind of music had been done before, but gosh darn it, it’s really good music that really achieves what it sets out to do. Much like how our moon is an underappreciated yet lovely backdrop, the same goes for the band Luna. Mostly what their music is is easygoing pop. In some ways it is very happy skillfully created, as the guitarist really seems to have a knack for soloing and the band has a good ear for hooks. But the music can also be very melancholy and a tad depressing. I think it all depends on how you look at it. Whatever the cover of this collection doesn’t say (it says a lot, arguably), the cover of their most popular album, Penthouse, certainly does.

This probably isn’t music you can listen to for the span of an album so much as hear three or four songs every once and a while at your liesure. The best thing you can do for yourself when faced with Luna’s music is try to pick out your favorites by getting to know the individual songs more and more. A personal favorite of mine is Tiger Lily, one of the most innocent and pretty songs I have heard in a long time. It’s not hard to plug into your own life somehow. I mean, all you guys out there, think of any girl who you have ever thought about in a loving way beyond sexually. Picture that pretty girl, standing in the party on the front of this collection. In a corner, awkwardly, your eyes meet. BAM! This song is the perfect way to convey that image.

Like I said before, this is relaxing music, so it needs to be listened to in a relaxing environment. Daytime or nightime, it’s solid mood tunage. But really it’s the same type of moody throughout the entire album. It’s really the hooks and chords that change, which is fine. And once again, every song on this collection is good, simply because of it’s nature. So if you felt apprehensive about picking up Penthouse or Lunapark either because you weren’t sure of the quality of it’s individual songs or if you didn’t want to get yourself drawn into a spending spree of curiousity, this is of course perfect. It’s one thing to sit down and listen to the entire thing through… If you did that you would be utterly bored by the end, and that wouldn’t be good. It’s music to listen to in different situations, not so much as a track by track thing.

Everything is a treat, and while the collection may be a little uneven, from what I have gathered, it covers the bands career in the best way possible. The most treatment is given to Lunapark, Bewitched, and Penthouse which is okay because they were the bands most popular and consistant albums, but from what I have heard, and this is completely not my place to be saying because I’m not a rabid fan of the band, Romantica probably deserved a little more attention than it got. Friendly Advice was probably a little uncalled for. It really progresses but it has no solid construction. I’m thinking that could have been sacrificed for some of the bands later material that I am not as familliar with.

So I guess there isn’t too much I can really say because I don’t know the band well enough. I enjoy the disk a ton. Theres nothing better than being able to flip on Superfreaky Memories whenever I want, but I’ll admit it, as much as I would like to avoid AMG, I got curious about what they said of the bands later stuff. In the respect that they give that stuff, the compilation is shakey. But every song is good once again, and this works as more of an introduction to the bands work than anything and an effective means of creating a Best Of collection so that every album need not be bought. And it comes straight from Dean Wareham anyway, so I really have absolutely no right to complain about the consistancy of such a compilation when the bands main man himself compiled it. Why would I not trust his word? The band has a huge collection of songs, and no doubt almost all of them are good. But I don’t have the time to sift through every release for my own favorites. If you like this kind of music, Luna is at the absolute top of it’s somewhat specific genre, so there is no better way to go than this disk simply because Wareham says so. And now I’m set for when I find myself on a dark hotel roof staring at the moon. A great compilation for a grossly underrated band.

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