Last 10 were pretty decent, let’s see how this one shapes up!!
#390 – Elephants by White Stripes. You can’t watch any sporting events without hearing “Seven Nation Army.” There’s a reason, too. It’s a great tune. “There’s No Home For You Here” just tears into you from the get go. Then it slows down to allow you to breath (the first slow point in the album) before it stands you up and punches you square in the face, again. Jack White, like him or not, is a good song writer and this album proves it. According to an interview in Guardian, Jack says that the production of the album was done completely without computers or editing software with all the equipment being from 1963 or prior. Meg takes over on “In the Cold, Cold Night” and showcases her haunting velvety voice. I love the squirrel story behind “Little Acorns.” I love the snark and sharpness of “Girl, You Have No Faith in Medicine.” In “It’s True That We Love One Another” Jack and Meg do a trio with Holly Golightly (yes, that’s her real name-ish). Kind of some weird love triangle, which if you consider the “Whites” it’s a whole bunch of weirdness to begin with. But this song, is hilarious and well written. I dig it and the album! Good stuff.
#389 – The End of the Innocence by Don Henley. When this came out in 1989, I knew right away who was playing the piano on the title track. That sound is Bruce Hornsby. No denying. The song itself is a reflection of the world at that time. Lots of Reagan and lots of crap. Armchair warriors (Oliver North, etc.). A deeper song that itinitially exhibits. I researched it to see how it pertained to that time after listening a couple more times recently. Deep. “The Last Worthless Evening” is a song about yearning. Despair for loves lost and comfort is what I hear, but it could be more elaborate than that, considering who wrote the song, and for whom. The rumor is Michelle Pfeiffer. Who knows for certain, but some of the evidence stacks up when you hear his account. “New York Minute” is another favorite of mine from this album. Henley is a great story teller. It tells how things can change in the blink of an eye, it’s here and gone, or in a New York Minute where everything happens even more rapidly. “The Heart of the Matter” was a song that I did in a band when I was fresh out of high school with a friend of mine who is unfortunately no longer with us. All in all, this album is top notch and when you research how many guests there are on this – I mean, really!? Axl Rose!? – it was a great co-op and has quality to show for it, too! DIG x∞!!
#388 – The Indestructible Beat of Soweto by Various Artists. Um… Well. I’m a bit perplexed. It’s cool, I think. A shload of South African musicians doing their thing. It’s certainly different. I’m wondering if the “Rooney Rule” was put into action just to have something on the Top 500. I don’t mean that racist, but really it ranks higher than a Beatles album, many other great albums on this list. Is it really Top 500 material? I would say “who am I to judge?” but, really, that’s why I’m taking time to do this critique and I say, no, I don’t think that it is. I think they just picked something to appeal to everyone. Sometimes, political correctness gets in the way of truth. It’s good for what it is, but I don’t think it belongs here. I mean no offense if anyone chooses to take some with this. Just stating my opinion. For the record, I did listen to the whole thing. It ended up being background for other activities, but I did listen. I like Peter Gabriel and this sounds like it could be included in some of his world music stuffs, if that helps? Didn’t really dig, or did I? I don’t know.
#387 – Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) by Wu-Tang Clan. Well, it’s pretty much what I expected: lots of blaring curse words and use of the dreaded “N” word for no real reason. Asked in the second song: “How do you like me now?” I don’t. It’s just a long conversation about themselves with “music” scattered throughout. I don’t get it. I struggled through it, but somehow made it through… because that’s what I do. This is just hard to listen to. Do NOT dig.
#386 – Pretzel Logic by Steely Dan. I love Steely Dan. Starts off great with the radio hit “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number.” After that, yes, it’s Steely Dan, but most of it isn’t my favorite bit of SD stuff. “East St. Louis Toodle-Oo” is ok and “With a Gun” is a right fine song. I like that one. “Charlie Freak,” too. I thought I was a bit disappointed with the output, but it ended righteously. Overall, it’s ok, but that doesn’t turn me away from Steely Dan, just know that this album (which I own) isn’t my favorite of theirs, but hey, it’s not Wu-Tang Clan. Dug, moderately.
#385 – Love and Theft by Bob Dylan. Released on September 11, 2001, the first song, “Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum,” at least, is pretty cool. Ol’ Bob’s voice has gotten a bit strained and even more rough than it used to be. It’s almost like a bad Tom Waits imitation. Not horrible, and the songs are well written, but it’s somewhat sad to hear him singing like it’s painful. Then, a few songs into it, the mood changes and it’s 12-bar blues mumbo jumbo that, as I have mentioned several times, turns my stomach, literally. I don’t mind the jazzy blues stuff, like “Floater (Too Much to Ask),” but the 12-bar blues, I can’t stand. The more I listen to this, I’m thinking it was put on the list just on Dylan’s name alone? I’m not saying it’s bad, but it’s not better than some of the albums that have rated lower. I don’t think this is one of the “greatest of all time,” not by a long shot! Didn’t dig.
#384 – A Quick One by The Who. I don’t know how the critics liked this one, the sophomore album by The Who, but upon the first little bit, I really like “Boris the Spider.” That’s great production right there. Very nice! Now, after that, it gets a little sketchy. Some decent stuff, but not a lot of “striking” stuff. Some of it, too, makes me scratch my head in a “what in the wide world of sports is this!?” manner. “Cobwebs and Strange” at least gets its name right. “Don’t Look Away” is good ’60s rock and roll, though. “A Quick One, While He’s Away” is a 9 minute song. I don’t know many 9 minute songs that I actually like; I think it’s my attention span to blame. This 9 minute song isn’t bad, but I don’t really care one way or another. This album certainly utilized that “Happy Trails” duh-da-duh duh, duh-da-duh duh (think Van Halen’s version) riff a lot. What’s this?! The Batman theme song? Why yes, yes it is. Okay, then. Now, here is a good song: “Happy Jack.” I really like that song, and “My Generation/Land of Hope and Glory.” All in all this album, to me is a bunch of fluff. It started off good, but had a long bout with drag until the end. Somewhat dug.
#383 – More Songs About Buildings and Food by Talking Heads. Two sophomore albums back to back on the countdown. I hope this one is better than the last. It’s funky. It’s David Byrne. A weird one, him. That’s okay, though. I like weird. Brian Eno is co-producer, so that just adds to the weird. I like “With Our Love” and it’s funky disco-esque stylings. “Artists Only” is magical and I like that. In truth a lot of this album is pretty good, but nothing that I’d say I’d go back to listen to much of. I have Sand in the Vaseline: Popular Favorites and as much as I talk about greatest hits albums on here, I do like them for what they are at least supposed to be: all substance and no filler. I just don’t think they belong on this countdown. My point is, comparing this to that, I’ll stick with that. But, this is nothing I can say with “bad.” I love the marching of “Stay Hungry.” It’s energetic and funky. With the addition of Al Green’s “Take Me to the River,” it’s not a bad album at all, really. Just not my thing. Dug.
#382 – The Modern Lovers by The Modern Lovers. Some early punk, this. Not the “in-your-face” kind of punk but the laid back, take no regard for the critics kind of punk. I can’t put my finger on what this reminds me of. Something that came later. I’ll think of it once I post this, I’m sure. “Astral Plane” is a good one as is “Old World.” Somewhat minimalist, which is a good thing. You don’t want to “over do it. Apparently, Pablo Picasso was never called an @$$hole, at least according to the song. I can see that, PP was pretty cool. I’m not sure that I like the odd and curious “Hospital.” I can definitely hear a Velvet Underground influence, which does kind of diminish its appeal to me as I think VU is a complete waste of time. I’ll catch heck for that, I’m sure. I wonder if this album wasn’t recorded in the order it is on the track listing because it seems to get tired as it goes on. At one point the lead singer, Jonathan Richman seemed to bargle through his lyrics. I couldn’t understand what he was saying at times. Meh. Started ok and then lost me. Why is this on the “greatest of all time” list? Dug, I guess.
#381 – Smile by The Beach Boys. Never have I been a Beach Boys fan. This isn’t swaying me. Give me The Beatles any day. This is kind of crappy to me. Again, I know I’ll get hell for it, but this is nothing more than background noise to me. I hear the harmonies and I appreciate them, but there’s nothing really memorable here. And to think that it got a lot longer than the original mess that this is, scares me. Again, there’s nothing wrong with it, but nothing that stands out to me that I couldn’t hear done ten times better on a Beatles album. It does get credit from me as one of the few “compliation/anthology” albums that I’ll listen to for this list. At that, I’m only listening to the first three “movements” and not the bonus content, etc. I don’t hate it but don’t care to ever hear it again. The one bright spot was “Good Vibrations.” I really dig that song. The rest…? There will be plenty of Beach Boys later in this list, I’m sure. Luckily, plenty more Beatles, too. Meh.
So for this leg, it started with 2 great albums, Henley and White Stripes and then flowed forth eight examples of mediocrity or, gasp, full-on crap! Let’s hope the “next ten” goes better than this.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“And I thought of all the bad luck,
And the struggles we went through
And how I lost me and you lost you
What are these voices outside love’s open door
Make us throw off our contentment
And beg for something more?” – Don Henley, “The Heart of the Matter” from The End of the Innocence