5. Dan Mangan, "Nice, Nice, Very Nice" (2009)

Hometown: Vancouver, British Columbia
Notable Tracks: 'Road Regrets', 'Robots', 'Basket'

When I first heard Dan Mangan, I didn't think much of him. But for the better part of a year and a half since then, I've found myself continuously coming back to this album. Again and again. And then, just when I thought I was sick of it, I'd find myself listening to it once more.

Dan Mangan's sophomore album has poignant, soulful, and beautiful lyrics that are always introspective and insightful; occasionally humorous and occasionally cynical; and never settling for cliched observations or rhyming schemes.

This whole work is an original, through and through. Nothing is ever done in a typical fashion, putting new spins on old themes. For example, the drums in 'Road Regrets' begin complex and steadily decrease in complexity until the outro, which is a simple beat reminiscent of Queen or AC/DC. Or listen to the hand claps on 'Sold', or the style of the call-and-answering lyrics in 'The Indie Queens are Waiting'. Or the complete lack of a chorus or steady rhyming scheme in 'Robots'. Or...

And that's the whole album. Nothing is easily labelled. Acoustic guitar stylings in the folk vein, with ramblings into rock and roll, country, bluegrass, and that catch-all commonly known as "indie" - there is no one genre that this album can be shoehorned into. This is one of a kind, and I fully understand what my friend Kate means when she says she's afraid of Mangan's next release - it's hard to imagine anyone being able to top this album. But after at least forty complete listenings, I have faith in Mr. Mangan.

This is, plainly, a "must have" album. Anyone who hasn't sat through beautiful pieces like the layered 'Fair Verona' or the cleverly self-deprecating 'Et Les Mots Croises' is missing out on something beautiful.

'Nuff said.


  1. You can get "Oh, Fortune" (a new track from his upcoming album) online now. How exciting!

  2. How did I miss this!? Downloading now!