Orla Garland – Woman on the Internet

I’m a few years behind I suppose, but it’s worth mentioning that Orla Gartland’s debut album, Woman on the Internet, was my favorite album of 2021. Orla Garland is one of those artists that I cam to from another, as she is also Dodie’s guitarist and friend and so listening to Dodie, lead me to listening to Orla. The overall feel and tone of Orla Garland’s music is much different than Dodie’s though, it’s much much more upbeat and rock and roll, though it does share a lot of the structural characteristics of ups and downs and clever lyrics that I enjoy from Dodie’s music. I have no idea if there was any level of cross collaboration there, more that just, there is a subtle style going on that definitely has rubbed off one way or the other, or probably both ways a bit.

Though this is her first full album, Olra has had several EPs previously and regularly publishes snippets and unfinished/unreleased songs on her Patreon. I mention the Patreon only to mention that it’s literally the only Patreon I have ever subscribed to. It’s also probably worth mentioning that though I am only writing about the regular release, there is a deluxe version available as well which contains a few more tracks.

Though there is no track called Woman on the Internet, the album title does show up as a lyric and kind of, underlines a lot of the themes present in this album’s tracks about just how “fake” a lot of online people tend to be about a lot of things and how people try to strive to be like them, even if they don’t realize it. The intro track Things That I’ve Learned, feels like it sets a sort of baseline for this, and the theme is a bit ramped up in More Like You later on and comes to a bit of a head later on the album in Pretending. Pretending is probably my favorite track on this album as well, I really just love the whole theme and tune behind it.

Another good track is track 2, with You’re Not Special Babe, a nice fast paced track that makes clever use of it’s title. It’s not really what one might expect, it’s not saying you’re not special because you’re stuck on yourself, or you’re not special and are a loser, it’s more that, you’re not special, in being the only one with problems and issues. As the lyric goes,

Everyone cries, everyone lies Everyone hates you Everyone’s so scared of the future, it’s true

Essentially, everyone has bad days and times and all in all, you’re doing fine, and it will be better. Another track that kind of runs with this theme of “getting better” is Zombie!, When everything seems awful and just bottle it all up because it’s what’s expected and live like, well, an emotionless zombie.

Another one I particularly like is Codependency, which has some nice hits and ups and downs in it’s structure and an interesting theme that feels a bit like a blame game but then accepts that it’s a problem that goes both ways and that’s why it works out. As a wrap up I also wanted to call out the last track, Bloodline/Difficult Things. Which feels like an interesting topper to all of the turmoil of drama across the album, it has a touch of Orla’s own history wrapped in, but I particularly like the lyric “Skip a beat in the bloodline,” which kind of feels like the idea of breaking a bad family cycle.

All in all I just really dig Olra’s overall sound and I’m really looking forward to her next album. There’s lots of interesting emotion behind the lyrics and a lot of fun structure and shifting to the melodies and beats.

Evangelion Finally

While I’ll talk a bit on this album, Evangelion Finally, this also covers the vinyl version of this album. So, a bit of a story here. I really don’t plan to collect up a ton of records for my recently activated vinyl hobby, but I really could not resist this one when I came across it. I was originally looking into albums at Best Buy, because I had some credit, and went to do some price comparisons, then this one, and another came up as recommended. Which has spawned a bit of a new angle of interest for my vinyl buying. Anime Albums, and to some extend, Video Game albums.

I already have a plan to build a narrow wall shelf over my record player space, and this album, will look so nice propped up on the wall. I almost wish I had a good way to also show off some of the records themselves in the display because they are often quite nice looking. This album included, it has two records, both a nice splattered hot pink color. The cover has this very vibrant image of Rei Ayanami on it.

I should probably rewind a bit more on why I care about this album. I am not currently a particularly huge Anime fan, but I used to be one. I really can’t stand a lot of modern Anime, but still like a lot of those old, 90s, early 2000s classics. Evangelion is up there as one of my favorites as well. I re-watched it recently on Netflix and it’s still really good. The soundtrack is also pretty good, though this album is not the complete sound track. It’s mostly just, all the vocal tracks, minus a few dozen versions of Fly Me to the Moon.

Back around the time I was in college, I listened to the complete soundtrack pretty regularly.

While the whole album is pretty good, assuming you are fan of Evangelion and music in Japanese, I find most of the “meat” of this album is front loaded in the first 5 tracks. As one would expect, it opens with the opening track from the series, A Cruel Angel’s Thesis. The second track is a nice version of Fly me the The Moon. Yes, the same song often associated Frank Sinatra. For those who may be unaware, this song was played during the end credits of each episode of the series, though each episode also featured a different take and version of the song.

The third and fourth tracks are from the two movies, Soul’s Refrain and Thanatos-If I can’t Be Yours-. Both tracks are good, but the fifth track is the fan favorite from The End of Evangelion, Komm, Süsser Tod (Come, Sweet Death). This track plays during the Third Impact event as the world ends during the movie, and it’s probably the most upbeat sounding song about death that you’ll ever find. It’s also a bit of an odd juxtaposition of language, the title is German, it’s from a Japanese show and sung by a Japanese woman, but the words are all in English. There is also a Japanese version of this song at Track 12, though it’s a different mix for the instrumentals.

A lot of the rest of the album I don’t immediately recognize, aside from Track 11, Shiawase wa Tsumi no Nioi. This kind of tracks with my experience with Evangelion as a whole. The one track I do recognize was from a Dreamcast game, and while I have never played the game, it would have ended up in my soundtrack pile of Evangelion media back in the day. Most of the other tracks seem to come from the more recent V2.0 Remake anime. I have, sort of watched, parts of this, but I couldn’t get into it as much as the original series at all.

While I admit, I mostly bought this album on vinyl because I want to to hand up among my wall display, it is a good collection of music from the series.