Paulson - Variations (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Variations (2004)


My fellow reviewer Scott received $0.67 when he traded Paulson's Variations in. After listening to the record on my way home from work today (not recommended as it causes nausea), I knew that I too would be visiting my favorite used record store to obtain the same $0.67. With all that money headed my way my mind raced like a thirteen year old boy after receiving that sweet cash for my birthday, I began to weigh my options…

For a whopping $0.67 I would be able to purchase something from the following list:

• Two packets of Kool Aid (Tropical Punch of course)
• A stamp to send my grandmother a letter
• Two gumballs
• The PA sales tax (7%) on a $9.00 item
• Imprint a penny with a design at those tourist penny smashing machines
• Green peppers as a topping on the pizza I just ordered
• A bouncy ball
• A bag of Doritos or a can of Pepsi from the vending machine at work
• A condom at a rest stop, ribbed
• There is a penny candy store down the street, hmm…
• A pencil
• The gas it would cost me to drive to Wal-Mart to find something to spend $0.67 on

I have a lot of choices ahead of me or I could just keep the album, I mean there are pictures of an attractive girl wrapped in cellophane decorating the insert (that's one way to sell a record). However, it's what has been recorded onto the compact disc that turns my stomach at the thought of keeping this coaster. Some parts of Variations follow along the pathway of today's emo, while those variant parts including blithe vocals, out of place synth keys, banal screaming, slow guitars, all creating an atmosphere that will suffocate your ears. The eerie album-intro "Diarlyland" is the only decent track and that's because there's no maddening vocals to deal with.

Often bands try too hard to differentiate themselves from the pack of musicians that all sound the same. Roadblocks are reached when these groups begin to think the more odd and unstructured the music the better it will sound. Quite often there will be those who succeed at that, in Paulson's case it's completely opposite. There's no heart behind these songs either, I put more passion into tying my shoes this morning than there is on any of the ten recordings. For proof, the title of track eight is "Optimism is for Stupid Idiots."

Save your money, don't buy this or you'll be questioning how to spend your $0.67 when you go to dump this off for some other poor soul.

Now what should I go get…