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File Under: Easy Listening [Deluxe Edition] ()

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Given Bob Mould's reputation for searing electric rock & roll, it may be easy to think that the title of File Under: Easy Listening is ironic, and it is to a certain extent. But beneath the loud guitars lie the friendliest, most relaxed pop songs Mould had ever written. "Your Favorite Thing" and "Can't Help You Anymore" are two of Mould's most direct, pop-oriented songs, driven by instantly memorable melodies and hooks; they are also the most conventional songs on the record. The best moments come when Sugar push the boundaries a bit, whether it's on the country-rock of "Believe What You're Saying," the swirling "What You Want It to Be" and "Company Book," the searching ballad "Panama City Motel," or "Explode and Make Up," which bristles even at its most delicate moments. Mould throws in one classic spite-fueled rocker, "Granny Cool," but the record's finest moment is "Gee Angel," a powerhouse melodic scorcher. [Merge's 2012 reissue of File Under: Easy Listening spans two CDs with the first disc devoted to a remastered version of the proper album supported by B-sides -- "Mind Is an Island," "Frustration,' "Going Home," "In the Eyes of My Friends," "And You Tell Me" -- and the second disc devoted to a live show from 1994 called The Joke Is Always on Us, Sometimes: Live at First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN, November 2, 1994 .] ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi Hide synopsis

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