I have to start this post off with some back tracking. A few RS posts back I skipped over George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass album because of technical difficulties. The difficulties being, it wasn’t available on Rhapsody and that I owned it but hadn’t listened to it. It’s a triple album and that’s a lot of songs to aggregate to put into a playlist, when I have it already. So I went back and listened. So the first part will be out of sequence.
#433 – All Things Must Pass by George Harrison. I believe that George Harrison was the most unique, if not the best, of the songwriters in The Beatles. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think his songs were the best, I just think he was ahead of his time in songwriting. Paul and John were awesome songwriters and their songs were amazing. But, I think George was a madman when it came to penning songs. For The Beatles alone, look at “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” IF that was the only song that he wrote, it’s a monumental one-off. But, that wasn’t all. This album, All Things Must Pass, also highlights this fact. This was a shload of songs that I guess Paul and John didn’t think was good enough for their little group. A caveat to this part is that while I have the album, I believe it is the 2001 remaster that I have and it only offers an instrumental version of “What Is Life.” Four and a half minutes of an instrumental version of a classic hit. Boo, to that, I say. Also, I don’t get the whole idea of the “jam” records that went with it, the “Apple Jams” part. I get that jamming is an integral part of songwriting and collaboration, but jeez o’pete!! And “Out of the Blue,” um… !? It’s 11:18 long… AND it fades out. At what point do you think, well, this has gone on long enough, let’s just fade it. Obviously at 11:18, but MY point is: how much longer did it go before they stopped?! It was ridiculous and to me not at all entertaining. Anywhat! Let’s get back to the main album. I’m trying to figure out how Alice Cooper wasn’t sued for “Only Women Bleed.” That, too me, is a rip off of “Isn’t It a Pity (both versions).” “My Sweet Lord” is fabulous and I’m a big fan of “Beware of Darkness,” “Awaiting on You All,” and the title track, too. Overall, a great album, but in my opinion, way too long. At least ditch the jammy stuff, to me it’s not needed. Sorry that one went on so long. Dug, but disappointed, too.
#410 – Time Out of Mind by Bob Dylan. I will start off saying that I love the first song, “Love Sick.” Something dark and foreboding, yet incredibly sexy about that song. I don’t think it’s necessarily supposed to be sexy but it is. The pain in the storytelling of “Standing in the Doorway” almost makes the listener feel the same. I love the dirty blues/jazz rhythms and “down home” feeling of this album, although I usually don’t. I could listen to this again (disclaimer: I did refresh for the review, which I do for every album). I dug it!
#409 – Strange Days by The Doors. I’ll always picture Val Kilmer when I think of Jim Morrison. That and the fact that I saw the alleged location of his death in Paris. Never have I been a big fan of The Doors, but I liked listening to this. You don’t have to be fan to like listening to something, I have figured. From the title track to “Love Me Two Times” and “People Are Strange” (probably my favorite Doors tune, although I think I like Echo & the Bunnymen’s version better) this is some great stuff. This, their sophomore effort ends like the debut album did, with a 10+ minute song. Dug!
#408 – I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got by Sinéad O’Connor. Sinéad O’Connor has an amazing voice. Much power, emotion, feeling and conviction is busting from her pipes. I love her version of Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” and also “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” The laid back “Black Boys on Mopeds” is only laid back in sound; there is political gunk all over this album. Not a bad, either. You can listen and picture her ripping the crap out of the Pope’s picture all over again. For whatever reason, “Nothing Compares 2 U” wasn’t included on the version of the album I listened to (Rhapsody) although the song was included in some compilation elsewhere on the service. Anywhat! I dug the album.
#407 – Sandinista! by The Clash. Another, I repeat, yet another triple album. You get a lot for your money with triple albums… if you like what you’re listening to, that is. The Clash and I are in an on-again/off-again kind of relationship. Usually, I’m off. Three LPs full at one time… whew… The first track, “The Magnificent Seven” has an awesome bass line which was played by a bassist that wasn’t even in, and was never in, the band. It was guest bassist, Norman Watt-Roy. According to Wikipedia (yeah, I know) it was the first major white rap song. I even predates Blondie’s “Rapture” but about six months, the site says. I think The Clash gets in appropriately lumped in with punk, even though they’re more a pop band, in my ears. Throw in some Motown, island music with vibraphones and such and you’ve got yourself a party. The trouble is, I’m not really feeling it. Way too long and just couldn’t bring myself to care. I don’t get it myself, just how it is. Didn’t dig.
#406 – Rid of Me by PJ Harvey. First track (title) starts off very quiet. I thought something was wrong with it. She kicks it in about halfway through the title track, then quiet again. I know it’s for artistic value but somewhat confusing to me. The rest of the album is melodious wailing at its finest. I’m always impressed with the dissonance in both her voice and the musical arrangements. “Legs” is good, almost teeth kicking. Can you say angst? She can! Dug!
#405 – Radio City by Big Star. Being that I have a chronically bad case of the “Not Knowing Any Betters,” I listened to Radio City when I listened to (and reviewed) #1 Record (#434). Rhapsody put them together, I didn’t know they were separate albums. My bad. I dug it though.
#404 – Dr. John’s Gumbo by Dr. John. Never have I wanted, or craved, jambalaya, red beans and rice or other creole foods as I did whilst listening to this album. Big Easy indeed. I can see him, Tom Waits and Joe Cocker standing at a mic doing music “in the round.” “Iko Iko” starts it off and I had never heard a version like it. “Somebody Changed the Lock” is sad for him, but a great song. Admittedly, all I knew about Doc was “Right Place Wrong Time.” This is the less commercial version of that style of music. Comparable, yes, but not necessarily the same. Boogie-Woogie, hints of Zydeco, and straight out rock. Entertaining. Another good quality, the songs were relatively easy to get through; short and to the point. No fluff or muff, it was a good listen. That being said, I don’t ever have to hear it again. Dug, but done.
#403 – (Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd) by Lynyrd Skynyrd. I have a confession to make. Seems like I do that quite often. If you know me in real life you know that I despise Skynyrd. My house is a “Skynyrd Free Zone,” as is my vehicle. The thought of hearing them turns my stomach, just like 12-bar blues (we’ve talked about that before). But, guess what. I have seen them live before. I took the “Ex” and her brother (both HUGE fans of the band). I loved Paul Rogers’ set as an opener. But, truthfully, I didn’t even want to get out of the car. I’m not a fan of the contingency that are Skynyrd fans. Rebel flag waving, white goofballs that do nothing but yell “woo!” one after the other, after the other, chugging their Bud Lights and PBRs and listening to Skynyrd at awful volumes, just to get in the show, accidentally bump into each other want to fight, get everyone around them stirred up, only to hug it out and sing along to their favorite or next-to-favorite tunes together. Tension is high, ridiculously so, and well, I can’t stand it. DISCLAIMER: I do not lump all fans of Skynyrd, or Bud Light or PBR drinkers in the same category, recklessly. There has to be a mix of all of it. BUT, that being said, I don’t like that crowd, they scare me, horribly. No offense is intended, I’m just laying it out there. Now, remember I said I had a confession. The scenario laid out above, notwithstanding, I actually don’t mind the music of Skynyrd. Even though this album has the all-time worst song ever written (yes even worse than “The Christmas Shoes”), known as “Freebird,” this was a pretty decent album. Most of Side 1 are great songs. “Tuesday’s Gone,” “Gimme Three Steps” and “Simple Man” really are great tunes. “Freebird” sucks on many levels: I hate the whining of Ronnie Van Zandt through out, the length of the song, the aforementioned association of the certain type fan, and don’t get me started on the heckling opportunities at live venues. Here’s your middle finger and it’s no charge. Abstaining from proper ranking, here. Sorry.
#402 – Illmatic by Nas. I was dreading this. Only because usually rap is just not my thing. I’ve been disappointed, mostly, by the rap/hip hop choices thus far; I think I’ve been waiting to be wowed. Well, other than the obviously obligatory use of the “N” word, the music in this one is quite good. Cursing hasn’t ever bothered me, jeez, I’ve a potty mouth on me. I just usually leave that off of this blog, just no need for it. Some sad stuff, indeed; some good stuff; optimism and darkness. The raps are honest and from the heart. I was even nodding and toe-tapping between the cringing (“N” words, again). Dug, but done.
#401 – Californication by Red Hot Chili Peppers. This album is no Blood Sugar Sex Magick. Nope, most certainly isn’t. Not saying it doesn’t have some good stuff, nosiree! They did get John Frusciante back, though. They needed him, I think. “Scar Tissue,” the title track, “Otherside,” “Porcelain,” all great songs. But, I think I was expecting something new. To me the jump from Mother’s Milk to Blood Sugar was innovative, even if I can’t really say how, I’ve never been a huge fan of Chili Peppers. But, there was something. I’d have thought that after going through [Dave] Navarro and getting John back would have been something profound. I just wasn’t blown away. I will say though, that no matter what he does, Flea… he’s a beast. Dug-ish, but disappointed.
So that was the first 100 of this countdown/list thingy. I guess I’ll take some time to reflect later this week, before moving on to the next batch. Keep an eye out for it!
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“Since u been gone I can do whatever I want
I can see whomever I choose
I can eat my dinner in a fancy restaurant
I said nothing can take away these blues” – Sinéad O’Connor, “Nothing Compares 2 U” by Prince