Name five of their albums. We’ll go first.
Venice: thank u, venice
Music critics have long discussed that signature Venice sound: the full-throated lazy canal lullaby of the vaunted gondolier. Yes, there’s much to be said for the romance of the whole thing. Drifting from pastel island to pastel island, an Italian man in a striped shirt letting loose ballads in a language you can’t understand—punctuated by “bella” and “signora.”
But Venice knows how to venture beyond the known and trusted sounds of the gondoliers. Upon the first few minutes of listening, one encounters the crunch of a hungry mouth into crisp focaccia, the slurp of an espresso at the corner café, and the lilting sing-song melody of Venetian-tinged Italian floating through the air in St. Mark’s Square.
Venice has long churned out chart-toppers—from the revered hush inside the basilica, to the percussive whoosh of the Murano glassblowers. There’s no doubt this is a sound that’s here to stay.
Reviewed by Alfredo D’Critico
Best Pasta Performance
Best Use of a Boat
Tokyo: Greatest Hits of Tokyo Vol. 1
Hey guys, KaraokeGod2000 here, back again with a review of the greatest hits of Tokyo. Before we get into the review, make sure to like, follow, and subscribe. Okay, so what is there to say about Tokyo? As always, everything they’re doing is so forward-looking, so revolutionary. Like, the feeling of being at Shibuya Crossing as a wave of human traffic weaves all around you—Times Square has nothing on this sound. The technicolor electronic bleeps and bloops of the outside world give way instantly to calm, as you step off the street and into a hole-in-the-wall ramen shop filled with the sound of broth slurping and traditional instrumentation. Very cool stuff.
You guys know me, I love karaoke. And Tokyo has some of the best karaoke I’ve ever heard. I felt like I was right there screaming my heart out with my friends late at night in the bar. Loved it.
But it’s not just karaoke. Everything here is pushing boundaries, sonically. The stimulation and sound of Japanese nightlife is unbeatable. And the way we keep hearing people audibly say “mmm” as they sample the freshest raw fish of their life? So cool! Oh, and the hidden bonus track of the robot cabaret show, complete with taiko drums and techno music? Never heard anything else like it. Make sure to check this one out in person.
Reviewed by KaraokeGod2000
Best Genre-Defying Performance
Best Karaoke Performance
Fastest Train Ride
Most Futuristic Packaging
“I like their old stuff better.” We’ve all heard that. For people who miss that old sound, before their favorite artist started experimenting with new beats and letting the fame go to their heads, be happy that there’s Ireland. Yes, the sound of the Emerald Isle remains unchanged. Step into any pub and be regaled by that familiar chanting, complete with those beloved instruments of yesteryear such as accordion and banjo played at blazing speeds.
The past is alive and well in the latest work of Ireland—from the clattering of shoe soles on cobblestoned streets to the smooch of lips on the fabled Blarney Stone. But even more important than the past is the way this storied artist captures the timeless. The crash of waves and cries of gulls at the Cliffs of Moher, the breeze through the rugged wilderness of Killarney National Park, and of course that friendly Irish brogue flowing melodically from the mouths of curious strangers eager to make your acquaintance. Indeed, the gift of gab echoes from start to finish on yet another classic performance from Ireland.
Reviewed by Barney Stone
Best Folk Performance
Lifetime Achievement Award
Best Group Performance
Most Sheep Bleating
Swiss Alps: When We All Fall Asleep, Where Fondue We Go?
When people discuss the Swiss Alps, they tend to focus on what they see: mammoth snow-capped mountains, fairytale villages, cozy chalets. But the real beauty lies in the often-overlooked sweet sounds emanating from there.
The Swiss are famously neutral, but it’s tough to be anything but blown away upon first listen. The oohs and aahs coming from the gondola headed up Mt. Pilatus, the famous Swiss yodeling, and the bleating of a mountain goat are all there to greet you upon your sonic arrival in Switzerland.
Later on, as the fondue flows freely and the wine even freely-er, these trilingual people open up with folk songs and stories that transport you through the brisk mountain air. Just like the changing of seasons, the sounds of the Swiss Alps turn to summer, culminating in the traditional march of the village cows from their farms up to the mountains for grazing—just in case you did, in fact, need more cowbell.
Reviewed by Raclette Matterhorn
Best Album Art
Best Yodeling Performance
Costa Rica: My Beautiful Pura Vida Fantasy
It starts with a splash. Then another splash. Then laughter. The sound of Costa Rica—land of Pura Vida and pristine nature—is one of friends, both old and new, having fun in the great outdoors. The splashing you hear may be the paddle of a kayak navigating around a lake at the base of a dormant volcano, of water sports at the beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park, or of the plunge pool of the famed La Fortuna Waterfall.
On Pura Vida Fantasy, Costa Rica invites us into its world. From the minute you press play on the hustle and bustle of San Jose to the ballad of your long walk above the clouds in Santa Elena Cloud Forest—the hits start coming and they do not stop for the entirety of your time with this very special talent.
If the sound you hear coming from Costa Rica doesn’t make you want to salsa dance the night away, then newsflash: you need new headphones.
Reviewed by A. Howler Monkey
Best Sloth Performance
Most High-Energy Sound
Best Salsa Music
Adrenaline Producer of the Year