Well, I was happy the last time through, will I be happy this time, too? Will there be a Pink Moon or Exile in Guyville in this segment? Will I just love something like I already did Ghost in the Machine? Well, let’s get started to find this out!
#320 – Amnesiac by Radiohead. Radiohead wasn’t that long ago, right? Here we are with another one. Looking on the track listing I don’t see anything that I’m familiar with, at least by title. The sounds I’m familiar with. It’s typical Radiohead with typical Radiohead atmospheric intangibles. I liked “Pyramid Song” and the feel of “Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors” is strange but cool, the latter sounding of what it would perhaps be like listening to Radiohead on the International Space Station or something. I do like the guitar work on “I Might Be Wrong” and they keyboard and “backward tape” sound in “Like Spinning Plates,” too. And, the horns at the end of “Life in a Glasshouse,” that’s a great jazzy touch. I liked that, especially how bombastic it was. All in all a decent album but like many previous Radiohead albums, I don’t really care if I do or don’t hear it again.
#319 – Burnin’ by Bob Marley & The Wailers. Technically, it’s originally only known from The Wailers, but since his death it’s been credited as “Bob Marley & …” The band officially became known as that after this album as Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer left to do solo things, but hey? I want to like reggae. I do. And, truthfully, this album has some of the songs that I do like. I don’t hate this. “Get Up, Stand Up” is all about fighting oppression and not be pinned down by “the man.” I know that sounds grandiose but it’s really not. Marley also touches on the wonders of life, spirituality and positivity. It must have been really bad back then, but I’m glad I really don’t know. The song that Eric Clapton eventually took to #1, “I Shot the Sheriff” is on this album, as well. I love the use of Clavinet in the songs. This is a real Clavinet and not the sampled kinds that you find now. Which, don’t get me wrong, the samples are darn fine, but this is the real dealio. I found myself bouncing the whole time, both head and body, so I must have dug it. Did you hear that Ed Bumgardner and Tommy Priest? I dug it!
#318 – Back Stabbers by The O’Jays. That’s some Philly Soul right there! Rocking it out, indeed! “When the World’s at Peace” kills it! Rocks it! Rolls it! The title song, along with “Love Train,” I have on a 70s compilation or three. I also hear them played a good bit on ’70s on 7 on SiriusXM. I really enjoyed listening to this one. I can totally hear the influence this stuff had on Daryl Hall and John Oates, too; it’s prominent in their music, especially the early stuff. “992 Arguments” and “Time to Get Down” are great tunes, too. I also find it interesting that none of the guys are named O’Jay. They named themselves after a DJ named Eddie O’Jay. Go figure. This is beautiful early ’70s music and I’m glad I found it on the list! Dug!
#317 – Surfer Rosa by The Pixies. I know for 1988 it was considered “alternative.” In 2015, it’s really nothing out of the ordinary for that style and genre. The drums are quite a distinct part of the mix. They’re in your face. The vocals are a bit lacking of cohesiveness, which I’m sure was the appeal of the band to their fans back then. “Gigantic” is the hit I know and I love that one. Really, I’d rather hear Kim Deal sing (she did on “Gigantic”) than Black Francis. I think he spends too much time trying to be ironic and it appears thin, at least to me. Don’t hear that as me not liking the album. I’m good with it, just an observation about Kim Deal v. Black Francis. And really, Black Francis? His real name has nothing to do with Francis, Frank, Fran, Franz, etc. nor does it have anything to do with the color black. His real name is Charles Michael Kittridge Thompson IV, that’s a cool name, couldn’t he find something better? I guess not. I am a fan of “Where Is My Head?” that’s quality there. Lots of energy and aggression the entire album. Oh, and let me give heed: do not listen to this within earshot of anyone that may be offended by strong language. There’s a 47 second rampage called “You F’n Die!” “Vamoa” is energetic and makes you do silly dances in your chair; or maybe that’s just me? The album is worth a listen but falls squarely under my “why on this list/why so high on it” list. They do sound like they were having fun. I dug it.
#316 – Velvet Underground by Velvet Underground. Okay, one song in and I’m a little happier than I was before I pressed play. I was expecting the ridiculous Velvet Underground that you find on that stupid “banana” album which I know I’ll have to talk about eventually. At least with the first song, “Candy Says,” it’s actually pretty good. “What Goes On” is a good song and I’ve always liked it, even before I knew what it was. I love hearing The BCPF singing along with it, too. I like when she sings, if she just would more. “Pale Blue Eyes” I’ve heard before, too. Man, how I wish Lou Reed could actually sing. He’s a great story teller, I just have a hard time listening to him do it (except Berlin that is). It makes good background music as that’s where most of it stayed. Not a bad thing necessarily, but not a lot I can really say about it. If “The Murder Mystery” wasn’t so weird, I’d say I liked it. I like the musicality of it, but it becomes a hot mess. However, “After Hours” sung by Maureen Tucker is a great song a lovely finish. The four songs I mentioned (not “The Murder Mystery”) I liked very much. The rest, I tolerated. Meh.
#315 – Damn the Torpedoes by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. This was featured as The Less Desirables Album of the Week (which we need to get back into, Eugene). It was my recommendation and I believe that Brian named it one of his faves of all time after that. That’s a big deal. Eug liked it a lot, too. “Refugee,” one the greatest of Petty tunes, starts the album and makes everything OK. It washes away the blech from the Velvet Underground album. And, can I say that Benmont Tench, the keyboard player for the Heartbreakers, is a beast!? He’s amazing is what he is. Case in point: listen to the keys in the chorus of “Here Comes My Girl” and the organ in “Don’t Do Me Like That.” Again. A BEAST. I used to not like Tom Petty but I am proud to say I grew out of my distaste, just like with tomatoes; I used to hate tomatoes. He’s a great story teller and a great song writer. He’s a distinctive voice that is not easy to imitate, which most don’t even try. This is one danged fine album and I love it. Why is it so low (high) on this list?
#314 – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill by Lauryn Hill. A little trivia for you. The cover of this album is directly inspired by another album on this segment of the overall list, Burnin’ by Bob Marley & The Wailers. It’s basically the same concept. And, Lauryn, whilst touring with The Fugees got pregnant by Bob’s son, Rohan, so there’s that connection, too. Enough about that, though. I love the “school room” aspect. “Ex-Factor” is very much a breaking free song. Free of exes, of course. With two “high profile” exes to discuss, well, having this type song on the album is not unexpected and actually fits nicely. Wyclef or Rohan? The world may never know. Musically, the album is more than samples and hip-hop beats. It’s soul. Every bit soul. The messages spoken between songs (in the classroom setting) are positive and how to stand up for yourself, believe in yourself, being yourself; self-discovery if you will. I do like the cover of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.” Now, I believe it to be a good album, influential and important for its time, but “best?” Eh. I know that coming up, especially in the upper tops of this list (#13 I know already I’m going to run over like a lawnmower does a stray styro foam cup in the yard and #2 I already don’t get) I’m going to get increasingly annoyed at the positioning of some of these albums and question a lot of them; you’ve seen what I’ve done so far. I get it this was important, but I really think it would be better up in the upper 400s. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it but think it doesn’t need to be this far up in the countdown. Dug.
#313 – MTV Unplugged in New York by Nirvana. I’ve documented by past disdain with Nirvana. As much as it pains me to say so, I’ve kind of grown to like them. Embrace the “heck,” I guess. This was released mere months after Kurt Cobain ended his “misery.” What it gives you is a look into what may or may not (according to how you choose to interpret it) have been going through his head at the time. Not the songs, of course, but the performance. It’s raw and emotional. Truthfully, he sounds great here. It’s stripped down, which I think is a plus. It takes all the mud that he could have hidden behind and makes it show what they can really do. And while it is a bit subdued to the grunge we were used to hearing from them, this was a departure that seemed to make his passing more chilling but more clear at the same time. I’ll admit that I told bad jokes about his passing, even up until the last 3 years or so, but The BCPF told me to stop, showed me the way and now that I have a more-than-modicum of respect for him and the band, I can say truly feel bad for it. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard the original of “About a Girl;” I think this is the only version I’ve heard. I like it. A bit of strain on his voice but it sounds more honest that way. David Bowie’s song “The Man Who Sold the World” is played perfectly. In fact, this was the first time I’d ever heard that song. I wasn’t a Bowie fan at the time. I never saw the Unplugged video. I was confused as to why there were Meat Puppets songs (I’m not at all familiar with them, either) but I will say that I think I like those the best after “Come As You Are,” the Bowie tune, “All Apologies” and “On a Plain.” The latter was one of my absolute faves. The blood-curdling scream in the end of “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” was, from what I can tell, a very intense part of the show and knowing what we know about after the recording/filming of this, it’s even more profound. In listening to it, I found myself doing nothing else. I was enthralled. I. Loved. This. Album.
#312 – Nothing’s Shocking by Jane’s Addiction. Oh Perry Farrell you nutty nutster, you. Scream at me, boy! Scream! Sing. Scream! I’m just funnin’. Funkified and still rockin’, Farrell and Dave Navaro let it rip and don’t hold back. This was the first official studio album for Jane’s Addiction on Warner Bros. I love the bass tone and playing of Eric Avery. The unorthodox stylings and chord progressions (at least presentations) of Navaro; lots of noise, too. I used to play the bass line for “Mountain Song” in sound checks often during the early ’90s. That’s just a simple yet powerful riff and I had forgotten about it until listening to this album. Hmmm, I miss playing. The “hit” on the album was “Jane Says” and it’s a pretty righteous song in that. I do like the “Thank You Boys” afterwards, even if it only lasts a little over a minute. I like jazz aspects. Finish it off with the rocker, “Pig’s in Zen” and that wraps this one up. All in all, it’s a decent album. I won’t say it’s my thing outside of the few tunes I mentioned but I didn’t dislike it. Dug.
#311 – The Sun Records Collection by Various Artists. I’m catching heck about not doing the compilations. To this I say “pfft.” I don’t want a record company’s money grab, I want my collection of songs to have a cohesion, a purpose. Again, it’s a dying art this thing called putting an album together. I want to hear a vision, no matter how thin, of what the artists or producers had whilst putting an album together. Just clumping previously released songs into a compilation does nothing for me. This one, I looked over the tracklisting on Wikipedia and a) it’s 74 frickin’ songs, b) I am well aware of about 90% of them, c) the artists aren’t necessarily connected; it’s just putting a bunch of songs on an album. I can hit shuffle on my iPod for that. So, thanks, but no thanks to doing the compilations. Done.
This segment gave me seven, out of ten, that I dug (some more emphatically than others), one I didn’t comment on (officially) and two that I don’t care anything about. Not a bad haul, I don’t think. Good quality stuff, mostly. I look forward to the next segment. Also, I had to bunch the album covers that I chose together because TWO of the albums on this segment contained nudity on the covers. I love nudity but just as I try not to curse on here, I keep that off here, as well. Ma mère may be looking!
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“You know, sometimes, I don’t know why, but this old town just seems so hopeless.
I ain’t really sure, but it seems I remember the good times were just a little bit more in focus.
But when she puts her arms around me I can, somehow, rise above it.
Yeah man, when I got that little girl standing right by my side,
You know, I can tell the whole wide world, and shout it: ‘Here comes my girl!'” – Tom Petty, “Here Comes My Girl.” (Petty, Campbell)