Whew 200 gone and now we kick into 3rd gear, right? Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Albums of All Time are counting down and I think I said in the #400-301 recap everything I needed to say. So, it’s time to begin!
#300 – Master of Reality by Black Sabbath. Way to start it out, eh? Punched in the mouth by the originators of Heavy Metal music, at least what I perceive to be the case, Black Sabbath. It’s hard to believe that this heavy of stuff was coming out in 1971. It’s relatively short, too, at least as far as songs go, with 8 songs (one being only 28 seconds long). Time-wise, however, it’s up there with all proper songs being at least five minutes and about 35 minutes total. I’m wondering if the end of “Children of the Grave” is where Victor Miller and Sean S. Cunningham got the idea for the whispering in the film Friday the 13th from 1980? Don’t know. “Sweet Leaf” starts the album off and it’s a great riff, I used to play it in a band and it was fun to play live. I wonder what this s -weet leaf is that Ozzy’s speaking of? That was back when you could understand him talking. “Lord of this World” is one heavy tune and feels like my feet are grounded after being run over by it. Same goes for “Into the Void,” the closing number. And dang, Geezer! He’s kicking arse on this album. Tommy Iommi always kicks butt. I was trying to look up to see the personnel for this album and everything that I find says that Ozzy sings all the vocals but I contend that the vocals on “Solitude” is not Ozzy singing it. I’ll admit that my Ozzy knowledge is really from after he left Sabbath but I really don’t think that was him singing there. Overall, a crack-your-teeth kind of album that rocks the hardest way possible. Dug!
#299 – Weezer (Blue Album) by Weezer. When this first came out in 1994, I hated it. Hated it! Now, I think it’s a barrel of fun and love listening to it. The hits, “My Name is Jonas,” “Buddy Holly,” “Undone – The Sweater Song” and “Say It Ain’t So,” are hits because they’re quality hit material. It’s fantastic stuff. They brought chic to nerdism and they were proud to do so. Musically, it’s some of the finest tunage that the 1990s had to offer. Nothing that makes these boys virtuoso-like, but the song writing, is amazing. I said I hated it. Why? Just like Flaming Lips getting famous from a song about Vaseline, these guys got famous because of a song about a sweater and Buddy Holly. I was stuck in the basement playing what I thought was the best option, musically. I know now that all that was baloney, but it was how I was at the time. I’d listen to this at least once a week if it was needed and do so with a smile on my face. I definitely dug!
#298 – The College Dropout by Kanye West. Okay, Kanye is an a-hole. I’ve said it. I just now said it, again. The POTUS even said he was an idiot. Some of the things he does, yeah, makes him look like one. I think he’s an attention wh*re and enjoys being such. But, while he does look like an idiot, I don’t think that he is one. This is his debut album and it took a long time to record. He uses samples from several of his contemporaries throughout the album. It’s been a while since the “N” word was prevalent in an “RST500” album but I knew this was going to have it in there. I was right. That’s bad for me, but he’s got a decent voice and isn’t too abrasive in the raps. He uses a good bit of actual singing vocals from others, like “All Falls Down” with Syleena Johnson. “I’ll Fly Away,” by Albert Brumley is a modern gospelized version of the tune that heard growing up going to Ma Mère’s (and eventually Ma Père’s as well) Pentecostal-Hades-Fire-and-Brimstone church. Yes, Dear Reader, I haven’t always been the heathen I am today. Let me say, it sounds a lot better on this album that it ever did in that little white church by the creek. Kanye seems to have fun, but is serious. Lots of musicality and I’ll be honest, I didn’t hate listening to it. I’ll admit that with 20 tracks it does tend to become background music, but at the same time, it’s very accessible (minus the “N” word). The last song, “Last Call,” pretty much is KW talking about the making of the album and signing the deal with Roc-A-Fella records after Capitol passed on him. I like the behind the scenes stuff. All in all, I dug it.
#297 – We’re Only in It for the Money by Mothers of Invention. I have never, ever done an illicit or illegal substance but listening to this, I really, really, really wish that I at least knew what the high was like so I could maybe get it more. I mean they even talk about smoking a lot of dope in “Who Needs the Peace Corps?” There was definitely some influence on Stewart Copeland because some of his material for The Police sounds a lot like this. The segues are a bit strange, too. But, I can picture a gang of people in togas sitting around in a “drum circle,” getting stoned, drinking Scotch Whisky and recording this album. Lots of lava lamps and Naugahyde animals scattered about, I’m sure. “COP KILL A CREEP! Pow pow pow.” That’s the closing lyrics to “Concentration Moon.” That and the follow up, “Mom & Dad,” are great musically, and lyrically, really, but it’s just so weird. Again, it’s the late-’60s and some wily stuff, but just weird, to me. I like weird. “Flower Punk” has to be the inspiration for the Match Game with Gene Rayburn’s theme song. Lots of tape loops and radio transmissions are scattered throughout the album. I sat listening to it with my eyes open in a daze and my scalp crawling because it was so corn-fusing. Then. Then there was “Let’s Make the Water Turn Black.” Then. The lyrics, which made me rewind and listen again, mention this: “Whizzing and pasting and pooting through the day.” Apparently, Kenny and Ronnie are crappy little kids who only want to light farts and pee in jars. I’m shaking my head, now. But, you know what? I didn’t hate it. It’s weirder than all get out but I’d probably listen again because the songs, while ridiculous at times, are mostly easy to listen to. Dug.
#296 – Meat is Murder by The Smiths. The Smiths: bouncy happy music complete with depression-laden lyrics from constant downer, Morrissey. I’ll be honest and say that I really only knew one song on this album, which was “That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore.” The Smiths, I’m hit or miss with them. I will say that I’m indifferent with this. Musically, it’s solid; completely solid. Lyrically, it’s solid, because Morrissey is a storyteller, but the clash of the happy/morbid is sometimes hard to get through. This isn’t necessarily hard to get through, just not my favorite. I really need to listen to more Johnny Marr’s solo stuff because his playing is fantastic on this. I do like “Well I Wonder,” though. And dang! Andy Rourke’s bass playing is always fantastic, but on “Barbarism Begins at Home,” it’s freaking amazing! It’s a great song. I believe I could listen to it again as it grows on you. I dug it.
#295 – Songs of Love and Hate by Leonard Cohen. Wow! Talk about a rough section. Weirdo Frank Zappa and then the laugh-a-minute duo of Morrissey and, now, Leonard Cohen? That’s a party, I tell ya! Now for all the craziness I made of people like Dylan, Waits, Young, etc. (Lucinda Williams is still on the hook), I really like Leonard Cohen’s wacky voice nuttiness. “Avalanche” is so dark but I love it. He’s a classic story teller but some of the stories really make one depressed. “Last Year’s Man” is the example I’m hearing right now. It’s about Jesus and such and he makes it all morbidly noir. In listening to this I’m hearing some of my good buddy, Patrick Ferguson, in this. Patrick sings much better than ol’ Leonard, but I hear a style comparison here. I think it’s in the execution. “Diamonds in the Mine” sounds like there is an attempt at fun for Cohen. Then again, perhaps he’s having fun the whole time and relishes in the murk? The music and the delivery is almost chuckling self-satire. “Joan of Arc” is a beautifully tragic song about Joan as she’s being burned at the stake. How can that not be fantastic? This album is dark, witty, honest. I like it. Take a listen. Dug.
#294 – Kick Out the Jams by MC5. Okay, a live album. I was happy with the last one (Nirvana Unplugged) so here’s hoping for good things with this one. I love the preachiness of the intro. Can I get an Amen!? Lots of energy in the first song “Ramblin’ Rose.” Lots of energy for all of it, really. Woodstocky, but isn’t most live stuff from that era? I think I’ve heard “Borderline” before, it sounds very familiar. It’s kick arse from the get go to the end. That being said, I have to say for the most part, I don’t really care for it, but I appreciate it for what it is. I see why it’s on the list and its placement is perfect. I’m not disputing any of it, just saying it’s meh for me. I’ll say that I do really enjoy “Starship.” That song is what I wish the rest of the album could have been. So I’ll just leave it at that.
#293 – White Light/White Heat by The Velvet Underground. Seriously distorted bass and poetic flair. That’s what I get from this. I can’t understand a single thing that they’re saying in “The Gift.” I hear a word here and there but I can’t put any full sentences together, at least not until about halfway through the song. I may have to go back and listen with headphones, but I don’t know if I really want to. Follow that up with Lou Reed being very loud and overtaking John Cale’s lead vox in “Lady Godiva’s Operation.” It’s abrasive and unneeded. I really think that VU just wanted to be as weird as they possibly could. They achieved that, if so. I do like “Here She Comes Now.” I’ve heard that before, too, I think. The album ends with a 17-minute jam about mainlining drugs, being high and oral sex. I do not get people’s obsession with this band. I don’t care how good the story is, this is ridiculous. DID NOT DIG!!!!
#292 – The Basement Tapes by Bob Dylan & The Band. These are some funny songs. It’s exactly what you thought you’d get from Dylan and The Band as well. What confuses me, though, is the why? Let me rephrase that as I’m not asking why they did it, that’s not a problem, but I think that this is really a Dylan album with a few Band songs sprinkled about. This is a double album (four sides on vinyl; an hour and seventeen minutes long), why not just release the Dylan songs (there are almost 2 LPs or at least an LP and an EP worth) or The Bands songs on their own albums? My experience is that in recording, there are sometimes songs that aren’t used, I’m sure they could have filled any holes. So that’s the question, why not just do their own things and perhaps have guest spots with Dylan playing on The Band’s and The Band as the “backup” band for Dylan? Eh, I don’t know. It’s a mystery! Whilst most of the album, for me, was just background there were some really good tunes, as well. Some songs that I really did like were: “Yazoo Street Scandal,” “Bessie Smith,” “Don’t Ya Tell Henry” and “Ruben Remus.” Dug, I guess.
#291 – Talking Heads: 77 by Talking Heads. Have I mentioned how much I love Tina Weymouth? She’s the bass wizard that works magic with Talking Heads. “Uh-Oh, Love Comes to Town” is a great demonstration of this. She’s awesome and amazing. Ok, this is the debut album of Talking Heads. I’m up and down, hit or miss (I’m tired of this phrase for the blog) with them. Stop Making Sense was a masterpiece in every sense of the word. This, I must say, is a fine, fine specimen of musicality, just nothing that outright makes me excited. I do like it, though. “Psycho Killer” is one of my favorite Heads songs. “Don’t Worry About the Government” is also a nicely crafted tune. All in all, it’s decent disc and I’ll say that I dug it. This is mostly because of Tina Weymouth.
Not a bad haul, though I’ll say it’s not my favorite segment. Not even close. I won’t poo poo much (save Velvet Underground and MC5) on it, though. Good listens, but I maintain my “why here” questioning of placement of some of the albums. What do you think of the segment? What’s your thoughts on them or how I reviewed them? Are any of your faves on this part? Let me know, hit me up, say something!
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“Woo-hoo, and you know I’m yours
Woo-hoo, and I know you’re mine
Woo-hoo, and that’s for all time.” – “Buddy Holly” by Weezer (Cuomo)