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…aaaaaaaand the first four artists to “officially” leave our island are:
(point totals in parentheses)
101. Pet Shop Boys (30)
100. Black Sabbath (24)
99. Primal Scream (23)
98. Guns N’ Roses (18)
Those wishing to write a valedictory for any of these departed bands might take a look at Henrik’s thread here (I wrote mine for PSB in last week’s thread.)
Artists still on the island, but with their toes in the water: Metallica (15), Run-D.M.C. (14), Frank Zappa (13), Eminem (12) and Oasis (12).
97 artists remain:
The Band, The Beach Boys, Beastie Boys, The Beatles, Beck, Chuck Berry, Björk, Blondie, Blur, David Bowie, James Brown, The Byrds, Johnny Cash, Nick Cave, Ray Charles, The Clash, Leonard Cohen, John Coltrane, Elvis Costello, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Cure, Miles Davis, Depeche Mode, The Doors, Nick Drake, Bob Dylan, Eminem, Brian Eno, The Flaming Lips, Fleetwood Mac, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, PJ Harvey, Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Holly & the Crickets, Michael Jackson, The Jam, Elton John, Joy Division, The Kinks, Kraftwerk, Led Zeppelin, John Lennon, Little Richard, Madonna, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Massive Attack, Curtis Mayfield, Metallica, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, New Order, Nirvana, Oasis, OutKast, Parliament/Funkadelic, Pavement, Pink Floyd, Pixies, The Police, Elvis Presley, Prince, Public Enemy, Pulp, Radiohead, Ramones, Otis Redding, Lou Reed, R.E.M., The Rolling Stones, Roxy Music, Run-D.M.C., Sex Pistols, Paul Simon, Simon and Garfunkel, Frank Sinatra, Sly and the Family Stone, Elliott Smith, Patti Smith, The Smiths, Sonic Youth, Bruce Springsteen, Steely Dan, The Stooges, Talking Heads, T. Rex, U2, The Velvet Underground, Tom Waits, The White Stripes, The Who, Wilco, Hank Williams, Stevie Wonder, Neil Young, Frank Zappa/The Mothers of Invention.
Week 2 voting begins now. You know what to do.
Last week, I gave Zappa the benefit of the doubt, but now the time has come for him to leave the island.
5 points - Frank Zappa
4 points - Metallica
3 points - Run-D.M.C.
2 points - The Band
1 point - Eminem
Yep, another rap artist/band. The slim shady LP is quite okay, but I don't like his personality. Beastie Boys are more the kind of white rap I like.
1 - Bjork
2 - Run DMC
3 - John Lennon
4 - Pavement
5 - The Flaming Lips
I gave them a chance last week in order to listen to "The Soft Bulletin" and I don't like it much... Might have found it interesting enough to stay a few more time on the island but as I still remember them as the "most pretentious live band I've even seen on TV", I have to nominate them !
Previously voted on:
2) Public Enemy
4) Frank Zappa
5) Nirvana - They're back in. I've listened to the 3 albums for the 1990s poll and I still don't like them. Unplugged dropped them a few spots on the list, but they're still in.
1) Frank Zappa/The Mothers Of Invention
2) Paul Simon
3) Fleetwood Mac
4) Steely Dan
5) The Band. They seem fairly uninspiring to me. 'The Weight', which did very well in Bracketology, is nice enough, but overall they haven't the 'connectability' of the bulk of the rest of the islanders.
1. Creedence Clearwater Revival
3. Elliott Smith
4. Depeche Mode
Pet Shop Boys was the only of my picks to get ousted so I'm keeping four from last week.
1. Depeche Mode
2. Buddy Holly & the Crickets
3. Frank Zappa
4. Patti Smith
5. Roxy Music - Sure it was Eno's launchpad but this glam-schlock was more eye-liner than highlights.
1. Tom Waits
2. The Band
4. Nick Cave
5. Steely Dan
I have four artists returning from last week, and I’ve kept them in the same order:
1. FLEETWOOD MAC
2. METALLICA (Should have exited before Sabbath)
3. DEPECHE MODE (I slammed them too hard last week, but still think they belong here)
4. PAUL SIMON (Does anyone remain who’s more bland?)
I’ve got three contenders for the final spot. One’s Zappa, about whom I’m still reserving judgement. Another, as I hinted last week, is the Doors. This week, though, I’ve got a left field pick for #5:
5. ROXY MUSIC. I don’t actually dislike their music as much as that of the Doors, it’s just that I always see them ranked very high on all-time lists (#42 here), and I’m not sure why. They may be the only prog-rock band with actual wit, but they’re still prog-rock. Anyway, I’m putting them here to see if anyone wants to rise to a spirited defense of Brian and Bryan.
John...why Steely Dan?
That's a very good question.
(Not only because the comment is missing.)
1. Eminem - already mentioned
2. Run-DMC - already mentioned
3. Depeche Mode - not my style
4. Madonna - already mentioned
5. Little Richard - He may have been very influential but I find his music kind of annoying.
1. Madonna (already mentioned)
2. Talking Heads : Way overrated in my opinion. I like one David Byrne's solo album of the 90's, but I realize I only like one TH song : The Road To Nowhere.
3.Blondie : Heart of Glass is fun, but it's time for her to go
4. Run DMC : I love their song with Aerosmith, but that's all
5. The Ramones : I've been listening to the first album, and there are a few songs I like, as well as the energy and the short songs. But that doesn't save them
1. The Band
3. Buddy Holly
4. The Jam
5. Run-D.M.C. - I love their biggest hits (It's Like That, It's Tricky, Walk This Way) and they were pioneers in their genre, but that's not enough - the other artists have done more good stuff.
Sorry I forgot to leave a comment. I just don't like them. Every element they incorporate into their music are styles I usually don't like. I don't like soft rock, I don't like blues music for the most part and I don't like the style of R&B they are influenced by. It's the same reason I don't like Todd Rundgren and The Doobie Brothers (artists listed as similar on Allmusic). That style of music is just completely unappealing to me.
A quote from Allmusic: "Becker and Fagen never truly enjoyed rock -- with their ironic humor and cryptic lyrics, their eclectic body of work shows some debt to Bob Dylan -- preferring jazz, traditional pop, blues, and R&B. Steely Dan created a sophisticated, distinctive sound with accessible melodic hooks, complex harmonies and time signatures, and a devotion to the recording studio." ----Just reading that bores me to death.
Schleuse, I'll jump in to defend Roxy Music, as they are among my top 20 artists. Along with David Bowie and Lou Reed, they defined what could be so great about glam, seeking a more artistic expression than the sleaze of T. Tex (who I also like) and Kiss (who I don't) or the glam-to-be-glam drama of Queen. They comfortably inhabited many genres in their three main periods- from the shockingly progressive and futuristic glam mindwarp of their first two albums, to the melodic and gritty textures of their next three (Stranded in particular is unbelievable), and lastly, to the serene pop sheen of their final three albums, they were never afraid to change and delivered eight solid albums in the process. They were also well ahead of their time in many instances- the freakishly turbulent "Editions of You" is arguably the first punk song, and I find it hard to envision the most hardened cynic able to resist moving along to its propulsive energe. It soars with more vigor and balls than anything flown under the punk flag. Here's my review of their debut:
In the annals of modern music history, few bands have proven themselves as trailblazing and wildly experimental as Roxy Music. With its grand artistic aspirations and sundry political, mythological and literary references, the band transcended the mere sleazefest fun of most glam rock acts. Their incredible career trajectory begins on this eponymous debut, which features some of the most cinematic songs in their history.
The first side of Roxy Music stands to date as one of the most adventurous and varied displays of vision, talent and unbridled macho revelry in the history of modern music. Leading the way is the raucous rave-up "Remake/Remodel", which sees each musical component vying to be heard among the cacophonous roar. Synthesizers, saxophones, drums and guitars offer a full-fledged onslaught on the senses geared by Bryan Ferry's vocal lunacy. The intensity proves too potent as the song literally breaks down and collapses at its finish. This dramatic opener yields to a slightly more peaceful but no less affecting "Ladytron". As Brian Eno maps out uncharted, almost medieval territory with his pioneering synthesizers, Ferry unveils his clandestine seduction: "I'll use you and I'll confuse you and then I'll lose you, but still you won't suspect me." Like its predecessor, the song comes apart at the end, this time via some screeching staccato synth stabs. Next is the album's highlight, "If There Is Something". The song begins with a silly honky tonk false start before opening up into a sweeping, sorrowful epic. A descending chord progression carries an air of death as Ferry's vocals swerve of control, his offerings being superlatives of commitment. Eventually, the song launches into a visceral synthesized oboe solo whose drawn out delivery is one of absolute mourning as the chord progression continues before some synth strings and chorus-backed Ferry close the song in grand splendor. Although originally unissued on the album, orphaned single "Virginia Plain" has thankfully been added to later versions, its peppy percussive piano and sleazy swagger offering a perfect introduction to the band's sound. The song rightly stands as Roxy's most famous and seminal. Closing the first side, the subdued delight "2HB" is a heartfelt ode to the late Humphrey Bogart. That the band is able to dexterously showcase its variety weaving through a myriad of styles and sounds only fortifies its claim to greatness.
After the unimaginable highs presented on the first side, the second side is unable to keep up, although it succeeds in closing the album in great style. Not short of ideas, the band compiles three songs into one on the slinky, meandering "The Bob". Roxy's assortment of influences becomes more evident here, particularly Bryan Ferry's fascination with crooning on such tracks as the poignant piano ballad "Chance Meeting". Nevertheless, there are always a few tricks up the band's sleeve, and the song is eventually propelled by a distorted guitar screech into a bopping synth shuffle. Elsewhere, "Would You Believe?" sees Bryan Ferry pulling out the panache before evolving into a fun ode to 50s rockabilly. The highlight of the second side, "Sea Breezes" features an ancient melody backed by ocean swells, soft organ touches and a wandering oboe before switching gears to a bass-driven groove that grows more desperate with increasingly rowdy scratching guitars and eventually subsiding to the opening refrain. The 50s make an even more prominent return on the bellhop bebop of the album's final track, "Bitters End".
Many bands go through their entire careers without as many ideas as are present on this album alone. Unfortunately, the tempestuous sound would extend itself to Roxy Music's chemistry and the original lineup would only remain intact for one more album. While Roxy Music opened the gates to even greater pastures on For Your Pleasure, it stands as one of the most thoroughly satisfying and bold debut albums on record. That the band was able to carve out a slice of commercial success and forge a great deal of critical acclaim is testimony to its greatness.
A repeat of last week's vote:
1. Oasis- These pretentious twats have based their career on the act that we all know that I despise. But at least the Beatles were original wankers.
2. Bob Marley and the Wailers- Again, reggae just doesn't cut it for me, and any enjoyment I could have garnered from Marley's music was spoiled by the countless images of drunk frat boys getting their Rasta on to his tunes.
3. John Lennon- My least favorite Beatle. I'm not overly familiar with his catalogue, but I really dislike the songs I do know of his.
4. Pink Floyd- Another band whose music is tarnished by the image of its fans- if the stoned, incomprehensible mumblings of countless undergrads wasn't enough, their bloated prog pretension is enough to push me over the edge.
5. The Beatles- I know there is no chance to get them out, but this is a statement vote. I honestly like them less than any of the artists on the island, including the ones I am hanging with more points.
I'm gonna' lay off Mathers this week. I mean, what's he done to upset me? I'm not his mother.
OUT (come on people):
1 The Police:seriously, is nobody with me on this one?I'd rather watch Dune again than listen to a Police record-and I'm talking about the singles.
2 The Doors
3 The Clash:not the most popular choice, probably.Regardless of percieved cultural impact, I just find them deadly dull, an innocuous pub rock band with the right-place/right-time good fortune to profit from the punk explosion.
4 John Lennon:post-Beatles he just seemed to drift from unlistenable self indulgence to buttock clenchingly twee MOR. His tragic death has rendered him a virtual sacred cow, but the image of the benign seer cocooned in the glow of 60s idealism tends to paper over both his decidedly unromantic pre-LSD persona, and the utter banality of his solo output.
5 Fleetwood Mac:I'm sticking with these, even though they were so innoffensive that it's like having a strong opinion about paper sizes or milk.
Nope. Not with you on the Police. If you insist, you can watch Dune again (I'd rather claw my own eyeballs out); I'll take the music. They suffer here from having no indie cred and from Sting's godawful solo stuff, but they were a damned good band.
As for the Clash...well, to each his own (they're in my top 5). You must be using a definition of "innocuous" with which I'm unfamiliar...
And I say all this only because you're absolutely spot-on about your other three choices.
I take your point (not the one about The Police, obviously).If I really found The Clash innocuous, I don't suppose I'd have selected them amongst my five least favourite acts from a list of 97.In my defence, I'm not accustomed to an enviroment where the English language is deployed widely or fluently-I'm from England.
Anyway, cheers Schleuse and premature Happy 40th wishes for next month.
Any chance of retracting that Roxy Music vote, Schleuse?
What's wrong with Sting's solo work?
nicolas, saw you voted off one of my favorite artists, the Talking Heads. Here are a few words to defend them:
David Byrne as solo artist is in no way comparable with the band. His attempt to stimulate and integrate more world music into the conservative pop&rock scene is very honourable, but the Heads as a band is a very different sound, initially plain college rock and new wave, later more rhythmic with african style influences. Road To Nowhere is a nice song, but represents the Heads from the eighties, where they were not as good as in the seventies.
Their acclaim is not overrated, IMO, it is mainly based on their first four albums from 1977 to 1980. These four albums, together with Byrne's project with Brian Eno ("My Life In The Bush of Ghosts"), I can sincerely recommend.
Two of mine got voted off (hooray!)
1) T. Rex - Too mediocre to be in the top 100. Go Bang a Gong somewhere else.
2) Kraftwerk - Beep Beep Boop Whirrr Buzzz Bleep Bloop Beep Bop Whirr Buzz Buzz Beep Boop.
3) The Cure - A few good songs, but would you like some cheese with that whine? And dude, you're like 40-something now, enough with the ridiculous makeup and hair.
4) Nick Cave - Suffers slightly because I'm not too familiar with him. But what I have heard doesn't put him in top 100.
5) The Jam - The band that stuck out the most as not belonging with the others.
I understand your defense of Talking Heads
First, what do I know of them ? The acclaimed album "Remain in light" that I used to own (in cassette so I don't listen to it anymore) and a few singles.
of course, it is short, but just because I didn't really liked what I heard.
I have downloaded "Remian" and I'll tell you more after listening to it, but what I can say now is I don't like their apporach to music : distant, intellectual lyrically and vocally;
College rock and new wave are not my favourite styles, I have to admit (I'm more into roots material, songwriters, folk, country, blues..)
one more thing : AMG defines TH as "art-school punks"
2 bad words for me
Thanks for explaining, nicolas. It's all a matter of taste differences, I guess, and hopefully you're the only voter not fond of TH
Argh. You had to bring that up? Just kidding; thanks--I appreciate it.
Nah, I'm not retracting the Roxy Music vote this week--I doubt they're in any real danger, with only two fifth-place votes so far. I also don't think votes should be changed midweek.
But my jaw hit the floor when I saw your post (although it shouldn't have...you've written lengthy praises of your favorites before), especially since you really only focus on s/t. Tell you what--I know a friend of mine has it; I'll borrow it and listen with your comments in mind. I had been thinking I'd pull them back next week, anyway--like I said, I was looking for guidance, and you provided it. Thanks.
Rhetorical question, I assume?
Yeah, if you don't like art-punks, then Talking Heads is exactly the kind of thing you don't like.
I suggest Stop Making Sense. IMO, it's the finest live album of my lifetime, and it's much less ironic and distant than their studio work.
Actually I kinda like it. I've noticed making my top 200 songs that I have a lot of those cheesy songs in my list. There's 2 songs from Sting that made it, "Shape Of My Heart" and "Fields of Gold", but there's quite a few more I like.
To quote, well... myself!:
"Oh, Sting, why do I find you so incredibly irritating? Is it your god-awful acting career? Your self-proclaimed tantric mastery? Your holier-than-thou, Tuscan-countryside-cavorting, yoga-enthusiast, early-morning-Bach-cantata-playing artsy-fartsy lifestyle?"
His solo career is dreadful!
That's more of a comment on the man than his music. I try to leave that out of the equation. :)
One more thing I noticed is the amount of songs in my top 200 that featured in either a favorite series or movie of mine. Shape Of My Heart for example, in the brilliant Léon.
I'm willing to overlook a lot, but in his case, his music is the blandest of bland, quasi-spiritual, soccermom garbage. And his irritating, soul-searching, Oprah bookclub persona makes it worse.
The Police have about four songs I like- a couple I really like. The rest of their catalog is pretty weak but they aren't on my cut list yet.
1)Elliott Smith:Voted for him before I think - stands out like a sore thumb among this lot...
2)Creedence Clearwater Revival
3)Beastie Boys:OK I admit I've probably only heard a couple of dozen songs but believe me,that is more than enough
4)Run-DMC:Don't really enjoy their stuff too much,not that they did very much anyway...
5)Kraftwerk:Just can't get into their stuff
"I suggest Stop Making Sense. IMO, it's the finest live album of my lifetime, and it's much less ironic and distant than their studio work."
I think I've said this before but here it goes again. If you haven't watched Stop Making Sense, you need to. I bet you'll have a totally new appreciation of The Talking Heads. Listening to Stop Making Sense is great but watching it is a whole different experience.
I promise to you all that I established a list for the island as soon as the final 101 were decided, and I have not strayed from that list in the interest of knocking off those that are teetering on the edge of dismissal. I cannot promise that I won't depart from the list, but I will promise that it will be done not on the basis of strategic voting, but on the basis of being swayed by all of your fine comments:
And Moonbeam, all I can say is I respect your taste and comments... and I'm sorry.
1) The Cure
3) The Doors
New to being voted on -- two artists who I have had cause to like a minority of their output, but that is overshadowed by my distaste for the majority:
4) Metallica - At heart, this vote is primarily based on my not being a metal fan. That said, I do admire some of Metallica's early stuff, and find "One" to be a particularly impressive song. But by the time of The Black Album onward, they are just plain silly. Look at the angry man growling, "Exit light, enter night, take my hand, off to never-never land." That's supposed to be scary and dangerous? Please.
5) Depeche Mode - During my classic rock all the time phase in the late 80's and early 90's, Depeche Mode was my number 1 hated band of all time. They represented everything I hated about modern music: Electronic music... not real music. Boy was I a fool then. However, I was right about Depeche Mode not being particularly good, just not right about why. Time has come to show me that mopey fellows (and ladies) singing behind synthesized music can be quite affecting and artistic. But those songs of theirs still grate. I think they just don't do it all that well (at least not top-100 of all time well). They climbed a few spots because I rather like their contribution to the "Until the End of the World" soundtrack, and can stand a few songs off of Violator. But "Personal Jesus," "People are People," and particularly that horrid "Route 66" cover... ACK!
My Beastie Boys hate-campaign screeches to a halt this week; but worry not, it will return with full force in the upcoming weeks.
1. ELLIOTT SMITH: I’ve spent the past week trying to figure out what’s so special about this guy. His position here on my list shows exactly what I came up with: zilch. His melodies are far too amateurish for my liking, his vocals are annoying and he’s out of his league with the likes of Dylan, Cohen, et al. here. (I’d feel bad about this vote had I not made an honest attempt to get into Smith’s music – but I did. I’ve listened to more of this guy than I’ve wanted to, and my plea for help last week was ignored.)
2. METALLICA: It strikes me as suspect that Sabbath exited before these anger management outpatients, but nonetheless, the S.S. California returns to the island to claim another victim.
3. FRANK ZAPPA: Like a pugnacious relative at a family function, Frank has worn out his welcome here.
4. DEPECHE MODE: *new entry* My enjoyment (well, guilty enjoyment) of a song like “Precious” is completely overshadowed by my dislike of this band, who’ve made a career out of pandering the same depressive, one-dimensional synth-sludge for the past few decades. A song like “People are People” is doubleplusungood, and with any luck this group is close to calling it a day.
5. RAMONES: I recognize punk’s place in the grand scheme of things, but I don’t recognize this band as anything other than a group of second-rate poseurs.
2. The Jam
3. Patti Smith
4. Paul Simon
5. The Cure - I remember liking Friday I'm in Love from my preteen MTV watching, but the other songs that have made it to my eyes have been nothing memorable. Kind of like a more mopey Morissey with eyeliner. Fans of them, please recommend any hidden album tracks or lesser known singles that might make me change my mind.
Close to Me
10:15 Saturday Night
All Cats Are Grey
...just to mention a few.
Six Different Ways is my favorite Cure song.
Great recommendations for The Cure, you guys. I will be really bummed if they go.
Plainsong (utter beauty)
All Cats Are Grey
A Few Hours After This
Rocky Raccoon, have you heard Abbatoir Blues? Thanks to Wings of Desire, I thought Nick Cave was another lame 80s cliche, but as he has grown older he has just become more incredible.
Also, Grinderman is pretty great and that's just a Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds album under a different name.
Thanks for the recommendation, Slush. I'll look into it when I get the chance.
Mmm, I must admit I got some problems finding arguments for the Survivor game. This game is about finding the NEGATIVE aspects of the bands and I usually like to think about music in a POSITIVE way. In fact I get surprised when someone tells “2004 was a bad year for music” or “I don’t like the music from the 60s”. There is (and there was) so much great music out there that I will never listen to! There are so many musicians making music in so many styles that I will never hear of!
1. Oasis: for its arrogant attitude.
2. Pavement: for its lack of musicality.
3. Run DMC: for its limited offering.
4. Beastie Boys: for its reiteration.
5. Joy Division; yes, I know I’m going to be unpopular and uncool now, especially after reading the thread about Beatles vs. Joy Division (!!) and about “Control” movie. And of course I’m aware of the historical importance of the band and the pioneering of the post-punk or gothic movement (or, as we called it in Spain at the time, “siniestro” -sinister-). And it was a band that I used to like a lot then (even a T-shirt with the Peter Saville cover of “Unknown Pleasures” was a more than valuable help in one of my first loving conquers). And moreover I still can find many flavours in JD sound, particularly the widely influential bass playing of Peter Hook and the way that Martin Hannett equalized the drums (with that spacious and long reverb effect on the snare drum). But let’s get NEGATIVE… Ian Curtis was one of the worst singers I’ve ever heard. Surely this could not seem important as long as he was a genius, a great writer of doom-and-gloom lyrics (quoting Anthony) and the responsible of a sound that – I must insist – I like quite a lot. But a good singer must find the melody that appeals to you, that sticks in your mind or at least that suits the song. But he built his melodies using two or three notes in an unimaginative and monotonous way. Please listen for instance “I Remember Nothing”, the closer number of “Unknown Pleasures”. I can’t think of a more uninspired and unappealing melodic line that the “we were strangers” one (B-#F-B-A-A-#F). The slick scary ambiance of the playing and the poignant lyrics get almost ruined by this odd melodic line. In my humble opinion, of course. Well, you can hit me now…
One more thing. I was saving an unsuspected quote from Colin Newman (Wire) about Primal Scream from an interview for Rockdelux, but they’ve leave the island so soon that I haven’t got the opportunity to post it. Sorry for the grammar mistakes, I’m retranslating to English from the Spanish translation: “For me, Primal Scream are the McDonald’s of music. Rock as a trademark. Their sound is the sound of the producer they hire. I could make a Primal Scream album without having them on the studio. They are the worst band in the world. I’m even bothered by their existence. Sometimes they provoke violent impulses in me. It’s horrible to find them every day on the radio, TV or magazines”. Well, maybe he exaggerated a bit, but it’s true that they sound completely different depending on the producer. Just hear “Screamadelica” and see the difference between the songs produced by Jimmy Miller and the songs produced by Andrew Weatherall.
What's with all the Pavement hating? I think somebody else said they didn't have any musical talent too. Have you guys heard Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain? I think Slanted and Enchanted is way overrated but Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain is a modern masterpiece. I don't get how anybody can say they don't have musical ability if they've heard it, and I think a lot of people haven't since Slanted and Enchanted is hyped as their best album.
I heard Crooked Rain way before Slanted and it confirmed what everyone else had told me. They can't play their instruments. I'm really not sure how they got to where they are because there's nothing special about them. Guess they won the lottery or something.
I think you're fighting a losing battle here, John-I can't see Pavement lasting more than another couple of weeks in this thing given the inexplicable groundswell of opposition. But you're spot on about Crooked Rain-I've got a mate who routinely baits Pavement just to annoy me, and even he can't deny being a big CRCR fan. It's just insanely, effortlessly catchy-strange guitar tunings notwithstanding, it's a pop album (excepting Hit The Plane Down) and probably the best pop album of the 90s.
However, Slanted And Enchanted is even better.
Amen John. I take back everything I said in the other thread (I wasn't having a go at you, just reacting), and am thrilled to find someone who loves Crooked Rain as much as I do.
I would like to second the praise for Talking Heads. They have enough consistent output and catchy melodies and unique sound to truly be a highly acclaimed band.
However, does anyone else here have an issue with their most acclaimed album, Remain in Light? After 4 dynamite songs to start with, what follows is what I think one of the biggest dropoffs in quality of any album. I wish they would have sequenced the album better and put some more dynamic songs at the end, because the endless slow songs that finish the last half of the album have pretty much caused this disc to collect dust on my shelf. I guess the euphoria of Once in a Lifetime and The Great Curve just can't be kept up. Maybe it works better as a two-sided album on vinyl.
I just have never been able to buy Slanted as a great album since I only really like a few songs. I like Pavement when they are writing pure pop songs so Crooked Rain and Brighten the Corners are my favorites. But, Here is one of my favorite Pavement songs so it's not like I hate Slanted and Enchanted.
Slanted just clicked with me from the first listen- I remember going out to buy on the day it came out around Easter '92, based on decent reviews and a couple of tracks played by John Peel.My mum walked in to a tirade of foul language during 'No Life Singed Her'. Regardless of this embarressment, it blew me away and still does.
Thing is, John, I fully understand your point. I don't expect everybody to warm to Slanted and Enchanted, but Crooked Rain is a different beast altogether- musically and lyrically far more accessible than its predecessor, and certainly immediate enough to disarm any critics playing the "lack of musical talent" card.
CROOKED RAIN, CROOKED RAIN isn't just a pop album - it's an arena-rock album, albeit one as played by a shambling indie-rock band. It's The Velvet Underground Plays Bruce Springsteen, and it's one of the best albums of the 90s (as is its more modest predecessor).
CRCR -is- insanely catchy; say what you want about Malkmus, the man knows how to write hooks. He just likes to sabotage them at every turn, as if he doesn't trust his own best instincts - "Wait a minute, this is a pop song! I'd better f--- it up!" (WOWEE ZOWEE would be one of rock's masterpieces if it were boiled down to only its good moments, instead of surrounding them with buffoonish junk; their last two albums were much more focused, thank God.)
Also, CRCR has a lyric (from "Unfair") that sums up early 90s ironic-slacker culture better than anything I can think of: "Wave your credit card in the air! Swing your nachos like you just don't care!"
Sorry, just read EdAmes' post about SLANTED. The thing that makes SLANTED so great, and makes it easy to get past the crappiest production on any classic album this side of BEE THOUSAND, is that even the noisy filler tracks like "No Life Singed Her" or "Chesley's Little Wrists" have indelible, instantly memorable melodies. I remember the first time I listened to the album; after "Summer Babe" I thought, "OK, effective Velvets cop - what else have they got?" Then "Trigger Cut" came on, and I found out. Every cut has unique pleasures. The audio quality on "Loretta's Scars" is ATROCIOUS, but it's a masterfully constructed song that starts unassumingly and just builds and builds, until by the end it's positively anthemic. And they did that kind of thing over and over again.
Heck the whole album is the love song to the slacker generation. Screw Mellow Gold. How bout this verse from Range Life?
run from the pigs, the fuzz, the cops, the heat
pass me your gloves, there's crime and it's never complete
until you snort it up or shoot it down
you're never gonna feel free
out on my skateboard the night is just hummin'
and the gum smacks are the pulse i'll follow if my walkman fades
but i've got absolutely no one, no one but myself to blame
don't worry- we're in no hurry
school's out, what did you expect?
I could have started a macabre new thread with this, but I always thought 'Here' would be the perfect track to have played at your funeral. Lyrically it's strangely poignant yet ultimately meaningless, musically it's simple but beautiful and soothing.
I reckon with 'Here', some decent vol-au-vents and a few crates of beer, people might even forget what a tosser I was.It certainly beats 'My Way'.
Funny, John. The slacker generation thing is not what I get from the album, although you're right that the second verse from Range Life fits perfectly. But the first and third are what always stuck out for me.
To me Malkmus seems preoccupied with two things (not on all songs, obviously): (1) L.A. ("Unfair," the Rose Parade in "Heaven Is a Truck," the "high protein land" of the "range-rovin'" "cinema stars"), and (2) much more importantly... rock itself: rock stardom, rock excess, rock folly. Not surprising that second part. In the two years previously, the music press and the indie world waited eagerly to see what would come after S&E. Malkmus is suddenly in the spotlight.
The album starts with auditions to replace the "drowned" Gary Young ("NO BIG HAIR!" he yells to the Sunset Strip metal rejects), accompanied by the "attention and fame" of Malkmus' sudden "career, career, career." We later get a shout-out "good night to the last psychedelic band." The slacker lyrics from "Range Life" are framed in the front by the band "pay[ing their] dues before [they] pay the rent," and in the back by the infamous lyrics about Smashing Pumpkins and STP (complete with debate about whether he includes himself when (if?) he sings "I/they don't have no function).
And at the end we get the epic "Fillmore Jive," where Malkmus, the man who some were looking to to save rock, comes to both bury rock and praise it. He starts by mocking: "I`d like to invite you to a taste of my chalice. It`s a special one, it`s made of gold." Then he looks in his rearview mirror at the punks, the mods, and the rockers and repeats a "goodnight"... this time not just to psychedelic rock, but to the entire "rock and roll era." What happened to all the rock stars? They're dead on the couch, left to "sleep it off," their "throats are filled with..."
Lyrically, the album is audacious, and not without its share of bullshit. But always, always compelling. This may be heresy, but Malkmus surpasses Dylan lyrically here.
And none of this is to mention the music.
Since this has turned into a Pavement thread, I'm just going to add my two cents and say I think there is enough support here to offer them immunity, just like they have in the TV 'Survivor' show — or at least they did the first couple of seasons I actually watched it, until it became too repetitive and boring.
Hee. Yeah, sorry about my part in turning this into a Pavement thread. I just get over excited about them.
No, I don't expect immunity for them, despite the passion for them in some quarters. Unfortunately Pavement seems to be one of those artists that you either love or hate... and those are the artists that tend to go out early in Survivor.
"However, does anyone else here have an issue with their most acclaimed album, Remain in Light?"
Jonah, I don't have an issue with that album. As a matter of fact, it is my all-time favorite album.
But you're right, the start is better than the ending. However, that's no problem for me, because by track 3 or 4 I am already in such a deep trance, that the album is finished before even noticing. It's good that I have it on CD, not vinyl. Having to turn around that LP while being in a deep trance is very annoying, could even be quite dangerous.
I could imagine, that the last two tracks bother you the most. They are in a very slow pace without any tempo changes. Not quite like the refreshing first 4 tracks.
I'm probably the only Talking Heads fan who hates all of their albums. I love the band but, man, it's a real struggle to work up the effort to listen to them. They're like the Clash and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I like the idea and theme of the band a lot more than I like their music.
From the previous list:
1. (5 pts) - The Jam
2. (4 pts) - T. Rex
3. (3 pts) - Massive Attack
4. (2 pts) - Depeche Mode - Just not a particular fan of either the genre or the group.
5. (1 pt) - Oasis - They started their career with two brilliant (if highly, highly, HIGHLY derivative) albums, but it was all downhill from there.
Well, my top 5 has changed quite a bit cause I actually came up with a method for the order I vote people off and I listened to some groups that I hadn't voted for before because of ignorance. So, Patti Smith, the Doors and Bjork get a bye this week (and Bjork will probably have one for awhile)
For this week's top 5:
5 points: Eminem - Nope, still don't like him
4 points: Run D.M.C. - Okay, I listened to their greatest hits this week, or at least I tried to. I think Run D.M.C. sums up why early-mid 80s rap has aged so poorly. They're not really flowing, they're just yelling on top of a beat. I guess that's why Public Enemy, EPMD and Eric B & Rakim are so revolutionary, because they started to evolve the actual concept of working with the beatlyrically until it reached its peak around 1993 - 1994. That said, DMC was probably the best hip-hop group from 1984-1986, but "Green Onions" was the best song the year before The Beatles hit and as we learned from bracketology, most of us don't consider it that great a song anymore.
3 points: Kraftwerk - I guess I have much the same criticism here that I had for Run D.M.C. For their time period, they were probably the best electronic music out there, but after listening to Underworld, The Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim, Daft Punk, Aphex Twin, etc., there's no way I can go back to Kraftwerk and find it all that interesting.
2 point: John Lennon - I thought about putting Steely Dan here, but I don't have any of their music and without a fresh listen I think it's wrong to try and kick them off. I do have Plastic Ono Band on my comp and every time I try to listen to it, I get bored and I move onto something else. Plus, I really really liked the song "Do It Again" back in the day. I can't really say that for any of John Lennon's solo songs.
1 point: Metallica - I kind of like their music in small doses, but there isn't really a whole lot of variety unless it's boring, slow ballad, but then it's a boring, slow ballad.
Oh, and a side note on Frank Zappa. He was going to get 4 points from me because I really hated We're Only in It for the Money when I finally heard it this week. Hot Rats saved him because it's the greatest (mostly) instrumental rock album I've ever heard. I also picked up Burnt Weeny Sandwich because of Jonah, just haven't heard it yet. Hopefully Zappa will squeak by this week somehow.
Well, it doesn't look so good for Zappa, and it's all my fault. Well, partly then, but I gave him a bye last week, but revoted him off this week with 5 points ...
I missed the end of this thread and the post by Slush. We're Only In It For the Money is definitely not the album for Zappa skeptics to get into. There seems to be some kind of muddy sound quality to the whole thing, which is odd because the other records they made around that time sound great. But it's hard to get into an album where the songs are barely formed before a bunch of snorts and sound effects are thrown in. I think it's canonization has more to with its role as an immediate subversive response to Sgt. Pepper's than anything else.
I still really like it. In fact when I don't have headphones and am stuck waiting someplace, I sing the entirety of Money to myself. It's easy to memorize an entire album when all of the songs segue into eachother.