The last segment of Rolling Stone Top 500 Albums of All Time was fairly easy. There were a few compilations and the rest was stuff that I actually enjoyed. I don’t know what this segment has in store for me, really. Some I’ve heard of before and some I haven’t. But, that’s why I do this. Speaking of doing this…
#230 – Nick of Time by Bonnie Raitt. Okay, we’ve talked about my aversion to the blues. Well, I don’t hate this. I don’t love it, but I can listen to it. It’s more pop than blues, to me and I love pop. I’ve heard her stuff here and there but it wasn’t until the late-’80s that I heard of her, even though she’s been around since the early-’70s. “Thing Called Love” was probably the biggest hit on here. She’s a great voice with good guitar talent. What I wish is that I could hear more of her songwriting. Only two songs on this album have name in the credits. I’m not saying she doesn’t do them justice, not at all. I am saying that for all the recognition she gets, I’d want to see more self-written material. Anywhat!”Nobody’s Girl” is a great acoustic ditty with what sounds like just her playing and singing. “Have a Heart” has a reggae-styled beat that has plenty of pipe-ish and chimey synths in the background. It seems kind of forced. I believe it was released as a single. “Too Soon to Tell” is a lounge/jazz-like bluesy thing that I did like. I like standards, as I’ve mentioned, this was somewhat reminiscent of a standard. I thought I was listening to “Heard It through the Grapevine” when “I Will Not be Denied” came on. A little too close, to me. And then it hits me, that (enter deity here)-awful blues harmonica that helps make my skin crawl, my stomach turn, on top of that blues style that I want to throw up whilst listening to it. That unfortunate song is one of the Raitt orginals, “The Road’s My Middle Name.” Luckily, that’s the only one like that on this album. Shudder… All in all, I dug the album but don’t care to hear it again.
#229 – Toys in the Attic by Aerosmith. I know the flack I’m going to get for this, but I can’t stand Aerosmith. Most of it is listening to Steven Tyler sing. The other part is the blues element. Now, full disclosure here, I like the era least popular to those Aerosmith faithful. I like the Permanent Vacation, Pump and Eat the Rich albums and even those have some “ugh” moments involved. This one up until “Walk This Way” is killing me. The comedy of “Big Ten-Inch Record” is funny but the song? Nah. “Walk This Way” has never been my favorite, but listening to it on the studio speakers gave me a new perspective of what’s actually going on in that song. However, I prefer the Run-DMC version. I know… more flack. I have always dug the bass intro to “Sweet Emotion” but that’s when the overplayed nature of this song comes in. It was reintroduced in the 1990s and a new video made for it. Then it was everywhere. I was done with it then and I’m done with it now. “No More No More” is everything I don’t like in that boogie-style rock and roll. BUT, “Round and Round” I love!! To me, that’s the best thing about his album. Great Zeppelin-like groove and is mean. I really enjoy that. “You See Me Crying” is a great song, too. Took the whole album (again, besides this listen to “Walk This Way”) to get to the two good songs on it. Meh.
#228 – Paid in Full by Eric B. and Rakim. This. This I like. This is the stuff my high school years were made of. Not the album, really, but the song “Paid in Full” itself. I played bass for the chorus and I would entertain all the girls and most of the guys by playing the infectious bass line over and over along with a couple of other contemporary pop songs. I just have great memories of that song. To me, this is more about the art form than trying to make any kind of statements which, in my opinion, is the underlying motive anymore. Not that there’s anything wrong with that and not that it itself isn’t an art form, just not my bag, baby. There’s nothing overly fantastic on here by today’s standards, but the fact that this was a groundbreaking (and genre breaking) album makes everything on it fantastic. Sampling wasn’t a huge thing, yet, and this set the stage for that. Even though I don’t hear a lot of social statements being slung, the album introduces Eric B.’s style of rap. Eric B. was a pioneer of internal rhyming and more in-depth lyrical content. On the other end of that spectrum, the instrumental, “Chinese Arithmetic” is a good listen. I would like to hear a whole album of stuff like that. “Eric B. is President,” “I Ain’t No Joke,” “Move the Crowd,” heck… the whole album. Listen!!! DUG!!
#227 – Doolittle by Pixies. This is probably one of The BCPF’s faves of all time. The album that is. She’s pointed out that she likes “Here Comes Your Man,” “La La Love You,” “Gouge away” and “No. 13 Baby” the best. Add the first song, “Debaser” and “Hey” and I’m good with that list. The rest isn’t too far from the same mold. There are ups and downs on it but most of it is good. The time is 1989 and this was for outside my scope at the time. Even though I am a pop fan, I’ve gone through several rock, hard rock and hair rock phases, too. This was the time where the hair stuff was high on my list so I didn’t get much of this. It was on my “avoid” list, really. Not that I’m proud of that, just being honest. I’ve heard several of these songs on Sirius/XM’s First Wave including “Debaser” and, of course, “Here Comes Your Man.” It seems to struggle sometimes with the identity of its genre. Is it rock? Is it pop? Is it Christmas? Wait… what? I don’t know, sorry. I’m okay with the format the way it is, I just think back to that time where things were really starting to be categorized and, to me, that was a bad thing. I like when an album can mix genres, especially when it’s many, and it make sense. It gives people like me, those who like a variety of genres but have (admittedly) a thin scope within each genre, something to be happy about. I was very happy about this one. This, too, was just as Black Francis got his panties in a wad and started ticking off Kim Deal (which led to her departure just a few years past this) limiting her input of the songs and according to some made recording of the album very difficult. Not only did Deal leave, but the band broke up. Ain’t it a byotch what power and control can do to you? So, the bottom line is, this was a great album with some dark secrets happening “behind the scene.” I dug it, a lot!!!
#226 – Nebraska by Bruce Springsteen. So, it’s Bruce’s “reverse Dylan.” Dylan went electric and Bruce went acoustic. I now know why it was a big deal for it to be called “Atlantic City (full band)” when Patrick Ferguson did that song at the Vagabond Saints Society: Bruce shows. I didn’t know then. I’d never heard it before. This is the first time I’ve heard it other than Patrick singing it. I will say that I’m glad this wasn’t my first ever introduction to Springsteen because while I to hear the talent and the execution’s merit. It really bores me. Not a slight on it as a whole and not what I’m going to rate it on. While I do “dig” and “did not dig” it’s not just whether I liked it, it’s on its merits, as well. I do like “State Trooper” which oddly enough follows “Highway Patrolman.” Where I’m from, that’s basically interchangeable. Funny, I think. Overall, well-written songs and very emotionally charged, but nothing moved me. I’ll say I dug it, though. I guess it’s an “ish.”
#225 – American Idiot by Green Day. I love the Broadway show which was born after and because of this album. I think this is one of those faves that The BCPF and I saw, too. But, this isn’t about that show, it’s about this album. It’s a very well-written album. To some, they lost their roots and sold out, but I don’t feel that way. I think they wrote what was for them. They’re still political in nature and this album from to back still has that punk spirit, even if some of the songs get soft. Billie Joe (Armstrong) and company do a great job of spitting at the establishment while writing catchy, sometimes poppy, tunes. Nothing bad here. It’s a concept album that follows the story of Jesus of Suburbia from Armstrong’s perspective. A rebel that sucks down soda pop and Ritalin and that’s about it, he hates where he lives, the life he lives, the people in his life. He meets St. Jimmy the Cool. I made that name up, but it was St. Jimmy. St. Jimmy’s foil is Whatsername. Because Green Day didn’t know where to take the story, from what I can tell, they’re pulling a “Pearl Jam.” That’s what I call when the song mayhap not make any sense to us on the surface but the writer wants you to deduce for yourself what may or may not be going on. Pearl Jam did that with almost every song, at least their older stuff. There’s not a lull in the action for me at all. I really love this album whilst I admit I haven’t really ever liked Green Day. After hearing this album in its entirety and seeing the story (that was co-written by Green Day) through the Broadway production it opened my eyes to Green Day more and more. I own Dookie so I’m going to go back and listen to that, too. So, I’ll say that I LOVE this album.
#224 – The Neil Diamond Collection by Neil Diamond. Pity. I like Neil Diamond.
#223 – War by U2. I’m a big fan of U2. I overlook the so-called “pretentiousness” of Bono because hey, if I had the platform and I had a cause I felt that strongly about, I’d do the same thing. And yes, he does write his own checks for those charities and causes. So this album. It’s probably the most raw of anything they’d done before and definitely since. Slick production (my preference) came after this. I’ll be honest, this could be my least favorite U2 album. Of course there is “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and “New Year’s Day;” staples to this day in a U2 set. After those, I’d say my favorite song is “’40′” because it just lays out there, easy-like. It’s based on the Bible‘s Psalm 40 and live bassist Adam Clayton and The Edge switch instruments. Then the band exits the stage in, well, stages. First Bono, then Clayton, then Edge, then drummer Larry Mullen, Jr. The crowd continues to sing the “how long…” parts after they leave the stage, sometimes for minutes. Well executed, for sure, but it’s very rare that they do the song live. Listening to it here, it’s still great. The album, as a whole, is okay, but I like it; just not as much as most other U2 albums. Perhaps better than Zoo or Pop!. I dug it.
#222 – New Orleans Piano by Professor Longhair. *Sigh. Another compilation. Yes, I recognize that it is from an era when albums weren’t prevalent. I get that. But, I don’t care. I did listen to a bit and will say that I don’t mind that kind of blues as I hear it more as some jazz take on the blues. Anyway, no rating from me.
#221 – Loveless by My Bloody Valentine. Whoa. I wasn’t expecting that. None of it, really. The first chords are pound-you-square-in-the-face and all that shoegazing music brings but the vocals are a little more subdued. Very “it” for the time (1991), I’d say. Very atmospheric while still being heavy at times. The vocals are buried through most of the album and I think, that while it’s the point they’re making here, it could be a little more accessible with the vocals. The production is deliberate and I can’t decide if I like that or not. The song “Blown a Wish” has some crazy warble effect (possibly a tape effect) and it’s kind of making me dizzy; sounds like tape drag. “Touched,” “When you Sleep” are both cool tracks, though. “Soon” seems to be the “hit,” though. It’s repetitive and dancy. I enjoyed that one most, I’d say. Overall, I can’t say I liked it or didn’t like it. It had its strong points and soft points. Nothing that struck me as “Top 500 of All Time” material, though. I’m just going with “meh.”
This segment had some real fun stuff and some meh stuff. Two comps. Not too bad, really. The next segment should be fun. I’ll get started on it almost immediately.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“Sleeping on your belly you break my arms, you spoon my eyes.
Been rubbing a bad charm with holy fingers.” – “Gouge Away” by the Pixies (Black Francis)