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Jonsi: Five Minutes Of Unfettered Joy

Of all the descriptors for Sigur Ros' artily orchestral meanderings, few would conjure phrases like "heart-burstingly joyful," but that's why frontman Jon Thor Birgisson didn't write "Go Do" for Sigur Ros. Recording as the leader of a side project he calls Jonsi, Birgisson is like a benevolent, motivational-speaking gnome who coos inspirational phrases in the year's most propulsive, sweet-natured call to arms.

Sung in English but largely inscrutable, every discernible word is telling listeners to go for it, to "surrender to summer," to "go do." At the same time, the almost comically overstuffed, massively percussive, toy-box instrumentation -- with a dynamite arrangement by Nico Muhly -- crashes and twinkles and marches purposefully all around Birgisson. If 2010 has produced a slab of summer-friendly rock candy more inviting than "Go Do," it has yet to reveal itself.

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Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)
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