16. Diablo Swing Orchestra - Pandora's Pinata
Now here's one that almost nobody talked about (although many should have). Classify this music? Not a fucking chance. I have no idea what genre to put this in, unless I make up one on the spot such as avant garde prog-death-swing music or something like that. The point is, it doesn't really matter. This album just rocks, and that's all you really need to know. Now I know what some of you may be thinking...DSO is just another gimmick band like Sleepytime Gorilla Museum or Stolen Babies (not that I feel that way about those bands, but it sounds like something a naysayer might throw out there). Here's the thing, though. I've listened to bands like that, and basically, I agree. There are some things that just don't combine musically - especially in the wrong hands. However, this band is simply AMAZING in their ability to take genres which should in no imaginable way be even mentioned in the same breath and cram them together into a song that's purely, wonderfully entertaining. Case in point - the album's opening track, "Voodoo Mon Amour". Holy shit. Really? Swing music with thick, heavy electric guitar in it? You bet your sweet ass! The trumpets are just as much at home in this music as the bass guitar is - not to mention the operatic vocals. Speaking of which, the following track, "Guerillla Laments" features not only solo soprano stylings, but also a chorus of superb vocals laid neatly over the top of a catchy bossa nova / samba beat that is complete with catcalls and whistles, the likes of which you'd totally expect to hear at Carnaval in Rio (if it weren't for the sick electric guitar that helps carry the primary melody of the song). Yeah, this stuff is weird, but not at all in a bad way. This band perhaps more than any other on the planet is doing something truly unique, and although the combination of styles they attempt have potential disaster written all over them, these incredibly talented cats just keep knocking tater after tater over the fence like it's a fucking home-run derby or something. I've loved this band for several years now, and this album is undoubtedly their current magnum opus. Given the talent on board, however, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if they go ahead and crush this album in a few years with another jaw-dropper that's even better.
EDIT: Muse wish they could do something as awesome as "Exit Strategy of a Wrecking Ball" (track 6).