Go to the NEW FORUM
Give it a rating out of 10 and write something about it if you wish.
David Bowie- Aladdin Sane 5/10
Aladdin Sane just feels different to me than every other 70's Bowie album. To me it's the end of Bowie's really creative period in the early 70's and we'll see a bunch of mediocre albums until the late 70's. Every Bowie album has a few good songs on it though and this isn't an exception with Jean Genie and Drive-In Saturday... and no song is truly bad. But, without a great song and a bunch of mediocre ones I can't call this album anything other than just o.k.
Don't let this bomb! I think it would be really nice to see what everyone is listening to and what they think of it. I know RYM is good for that, but truth be told, I don't look at your RYM profiles every day. Sorry. So, if you posted a review there, just copy paste it over to this thread!
Neil Young - Freedom (1989) 7/10
Strange album. Good songs, nothing to throw away, none of them excellent except for the last one, the electric version of "Rocking In The Free World", a true masterpiece. The reason for that is the production : NY has no clear idea about it, and the songs suffer from it, some of them sounding dated, some of them sounding like back in the seventies, some of them like what he was about to do next with Crazy Horse. Too bad, because with a proper sound, that album could have been much bigger.
Isn't Anything - My Bloody Valentine 9/10
Very underrated. I actually listen to it as much as Loveless.
A lot of the time I get 3/4 of the way into the album and decide I feel like listening to something else. So I have to track back a few listens to see which one I actually made it all the way to the end.
Jethro Tull - Aqualung 8/10
Only my fourth or fifth listen of this album, which I picked up in August or so. It's peaks are psychadelic bliss but the album is uneven as a whole.
Steve Earle - Jerusalem. Not sure about rating, but it's fairly high on my personal list of favourites. Steve is a mighty fine songwriter, and even better for being pissed about something. It's not musically sophisticated, but if roots rock means anything to you, it'd be likely to be worth your while.
To be honest, I don't typically listen to albums straight through anymore. Having an MP3 player has exaggerated my singles-orientation to the extreme..it's always running in "random" mode.
However, I do still listen straight through to CDs I borrow from the library to see if I want to add them to the randomness on my player. :)
Most recent would be Madonna's HARD CANDY which at this point I'd give a 6/10. "4 Minutes to Save the World" is easily the best single I've heard from Madonna in a long time. Her producers manage to make Madge sound contemporary without her feeling like someone's "cougar" mom who doesn't know when to stop going clubbing.
The other advantage is there aren't any awful rhymes here contrasting her New Yorker status with other cities that make her "feel like a dork".
My first impressions are typically NOT my final ones, however, so this could very easily rise or fall the more often I listen to it.
Mott the Hoople- All the Young Dudes: 6/10
Although it's pretty uneven there were times where I really enjoyed it which I wasn't really expecting from a straight up classic rock album. Almost everything from All the Young Dudes on was worth listening to. It starts slow but does end up delivering.
I think I'm more critical with my rating than you guys! A 6/10 is 3 stars and that to me is an album I'd definitely download and listen to but probably wouldn't go out and buy it unless it was really cheap- like a couple bucks at a used shop. A 7/10 is something I'd buy, 8 would be an album that is one of the better of it's year and 9-10 would be classics.
The Beat - I Just Can't Stop It
It is great to hear it again after so many years. Bands like Bloc Party and Foals definitely got inspired by this Ska band. The album starts with the two classics 'Mirror In The Bathroom' and 'Hands Off ... She's Mine', but does not lose energy until the very end. Disadvantage of this album, as with most ska music, is that after a few listens you need some change. A classic album, you just need to hear once in a while.
Frank Zappa - "The grand wazoo"
I purchased this album yesterday by the recommandation of my record store seller (Gibert Musique). I also purchase "Waka/Jawaka". I've told him I love "Hot rats" and asked him what I should listen now in the large Frank Zappa discography.
I've heard "The grand wazoo" two times and it already look like a great album to me. The jazz part is what I seem to prefer in Zappa's discography. The band who play with him on this album is really stunning. It's really a good listening experience.
"Eat That Question" is my favorite Zappa instrumental
Andrew Bird - Andrew Bird & the Mysterious Production of Eggs: 8/10
To be honest, this was the first time that I heard it completely. Bird has a comforting voice and uses it in diverse ways. The whole album is very good, very close to a 9 out of 10 rating.
Heartless Bastards- All the Time: 6/10
Searching For a Ghost is a great song but all of the others run together and sound very similar. It's a great sound but it gets repetitive.
Friction - s/t (2008)5/10 (first listen : I guess we should mention that, it is very important)
An indie-rock/electro trio from the Paris area. I had heard a song on a compilation CD, but the album is a disappointment. Same opinion as John on the previous thread : too repetitive, not very original, no stand-out song.
Van Morrison - Astral Weeks
On the eve of its 40th anniversary, I decided to sit down again with it. Still have the same hard time with it as I've alway had:
- the songs are unnecessarily lengthy (eg. "Madame George" goes on for about four minutes longer than it has to)
- too much instrumental wankery (eg. "Sweet Thing"; you've got the classical guitar coming through the right speaker and flute in the left... it's just plain ol' showing off, not to mention sensory overload)
- the same melodies and two-chord vamping on side A; listen to the chord changes and the phrasing, specifically how Van tosses out lines in a similar melodically-descending way
- the out-of-tune guitar strumming at the beginning of "Ballerina" (or is it just me?)
Not trying to piss all over a classic, but it just seems like this album could've benefited from letting the songs breathe a bit more -- less instrumentation and maybe a little restraint on the length. And more melodic variation, for example, "The Way Young Lovers Do", which is probably the best thing on the album due to its brevity and digression from the other seven songs.
I'd give Astral Weeks a 6 making it a solid 3 star, average album but I agree with most of what you said. There are times when it blows me away but most of the time is spent waiting to get to the next song.
It's going to go down a slot thanks to OK Computer. It doesn't stand a chance of ranking any higher with Radiohead right behind it in the rankings.
Remy Shand - The Way I Feel
Has anyone else heard of this album and/or artist?
It was released in 2002 and was quite popular here in Canada for a time; I'm not sure that it made quite the same splash in the states though. In a nutshell, it's the one and only album from this artist, Remy Shand -- "a clean, white, middle-class twentysomething" from Winnipeg, Manitoba; no one's seen hide nor hair of him since, and it's a shame because this record is pretty frickin' good. As AllMusic writes, any fan of early '70s soul should do themselves a service and give this record a spin. (Definitely give the AMG review a read first.)
I was going through my collection about a week ago and rediscovered this gem. I've listened to it about four or five times since.
Guys, I have to disagree about "Astral Weeks" and give it a 8/10.
The 2 first songs are great, full of passion and beauty, the rest plays like one long song, with the same unity of souns as in "What's Going On".
but I know a lot of people who don't get that record, including one of France's best critrics, Nicolas Ungemuth.
And I never heard the out of tune guitar intro, but I'll lend an ear next time.
Satyricon - Now, Diabolical 8/10
It's probably Satyricon's poppiest album, with catchy hooks and riffs, and good refrains. Good, old cockrock, with - of course - that grunting voice which sounds a bit like the cough I got nowadays. If you only get used to it, you'll end up liking this album. At least if you're into cockrock.
Point taken, nicolas.
I guess my biggest gripe about it is just that it's overindulgent; it's bloated. It's like Oasis' - Be Here Now, except trade the Epiphone Sheratons-through-Marshall-stacks and electronic blips for classical guitar and flutes. There's just too much going on at once, which isn't to say that I don't like indulgence; I do, IF it serves the song. But in this case, it's just showboating. And you almost get the sense that these songs would've been a lot more emotional and powerful had they just been left alone -- Van, an acoustic, maybe a light dusting of glockenspiel, some light percussion. Y'know?
John, I like this thread because you get brief impressions of what people on this forum listen to. The rating and short review remarks keep it digestible.
I don't like the discussions so much that follow about the ratings and the music (either getting tired of it or I'm just not music nerd enough). So here's for your information: Astral Weeks get my 5 stars (=10/10) and comparing it with Be Here Now is a straightforward insult. Don't worry, Anthony, no hard feelings or whatsoever
Back to Remy Shand...
I really hope some of you guys (especially the soul fans) check out the album I mentioned -- it's pretty fantastic. 4.5 stars on AMG.
And just another word about his disappearance... here's a blog that someone started, asking the question "Whatever Happened to Remy Shand?" Seriously, the guy hasn't been heard from for over six years. It's pretty unusual, given that he won a Juno and was nominated for a Grammy.
Thanks, Andre. I thought we needed a thread like this because there hasn't been enough talk about what we are listening to.
Femi Kuti - Day By Day 7/10 (2008, first listen)
Great impression. I feared it would be an attempt to sound like his father Fela, but it's much more than that. Although the relation is clear (the voice, the rhythms), the music is very good, sometimes awesome. It looks like a good continuation of his father's heritage, with a modern sound and excellent musicians. I think that with a few more listens, it could climb into my top 10 of 2008.
To me a 7 is a good mark. 8 is for the best, and 9 (not speaking of ten) to the exceptional.
I felt obliged to post again because I just listened to one of the best albums I've had the pleasure of hearing.
Blues for the Red Sun - Kyuss
Very skillful instrumentalists, inventive playing, and a powerful singer. Though my favorite parts are the long stretches without singing.
U2 - Achtung Baby
Sign of a great album: you're on the home stretch and there's still great songs being thrown at you -- "Ultraviolet" (love Edge's three-note guitar motif running through this one), "Acrobat" (great lyrics), "Love Is Blindness" (featuring Larry Mullen Jr.'s hard, tubular wood.... block).
The rest is a laundry list of classics: "One", "Who's Gonna Ride You're Wild Horses", "Mysterious Ways", "Even Better Than The Real Thing".
Just a dynamite record (and yesterday was it's 17 year anniversary). I give it a 9/10.
Jorge Ben - A Tábua de Esmeralda
My current favorite Brazilian album. Jorge Ben has a totally unique style, and in this album he combines samba with a funky groove guided by soulful acoustic guitar accords, besides some delicious keyboard sounds. His long verses leads to simple but sophisticated melodies, all of which flow always effortlessly. I only don't give a 10/10 rating due to a couple of tracks that don't thrill me like all the others do.
Glad to see you celebrating albums' anniversaries, Anthony. Gives you good reasons to go back to the classics. I should probably do that as well. Birthday parties for my favorites.
Robert Wyatt - Rock Bottom (1974) 9/10
Coincidences. I bought “Rock Bottom”, though I’ve heard it before, the very same week that Nicolas made an excellent review on his blog. In fact I got nothing else to add, you may better go there and read it. But (sadly) it was not the only coincidence. This has been a really bitter week for me, the 23-year-old son of a close friend of mine died in a car crash, another close friend of mine was just diagnosed of breast cancer and I had myself a car crash when I was going to the cremation ceremony (don’t worry, only the car was damaged, not me, fortunately it happened nothing that money couldn’t buy). Well, unexpectedly “Rock Bottom” turned to be the perfect companion for the bitter days I’ve been living, the bizarreness but closeness of the songs and arrangements had a balsamic effect on me, the “uterine” voice of Wyatt put me inside a bubble where nothing can hurt me. Yes, Nicolas, let me quote you, “écouter Rock Bottom, c'est comme entrer dans la mer, marcher au fond de l'eau comme Pinocchio et se rendre compte à sa surprise qu'on peut respirer” (“listening to this record is like taking a walk under the sea like Pinocchio and realizing you can breathe” .
Very disturbing coincidence indeed... Thanks for quoting my review. My thoughts are with you now.
This afternoon I will make a few corrections to my review of Rock Bottom, quoting the 1998 re-issue liner notes that were written by Wyatt himself.
Lil' Wayne - Tha Carter III
Honorio, I'm sorry to hear about your friends and your accident.
We are lucky to have the music when times are hard. It was nothing compared to a car crash or the loss of friends, but anyway I remember that I once had a cold and was too tired to do anything. Most records gave me headache too, but then I picked up Brian Eno's "Another Green World" and it just perfectly matched the state I was in. Music is never better than when it has a healing effect (against sadness, illness, anger or whatever).
One of the last albums I've listened to (because of the 1989 poll) is The Blue Nile's "Hats". And I felt it was suitable to tell you my little story about this record.
It was in the end of 2001 and my ex-girlfriend and I had been together for 5.5 years. A feeling kept growing inside of me that I didn't want to live the rest of my life with her, but I hadn't had the guts to let her know her about my feelings. This year we lived separarately during the weeks and I wanted the weekends to be happy. I also got interested in a girl at work. At first I didn't think this was anything serious, just enough evidence of that something was wrong in my relationship. I had to tell her.
But my feelings changed very fast and one night after work I put "Hats" in the CD player. I had never paid much attention to it's lyrics before, but it quickly struck me that THESE SONGS TALKED TO ME. I lied down on the floor and listened to the songs, again and again.
There was "Let's Go Out Tonight", with it's demanding 'Baby, baby, let's go out tonight'. But would it really be a good idea? From "The Downtown Lights" I heard 'How do I know you feel it?" ringing through my ears. And, of course, this would mean that I'd have to break up with my girlfriend. Well, "From a Late Night Train" effectively told me that 'It's over now'. But "Seven A.M." continued with the lines 'Where's the love that shines?', 'Where is the love?' and the painful 'Stop, go, stop, go' part, so maybe I should think this over one more time? At this stage, when I was already a complete wreck on the floor, came "Saturday Night" through the speakers with it's fundamental questions 'Who do you love? / Who do you really love? / Who are you holding on to? / Who are you dreaming of?' Well, there was only one thing to do...
Today, I am very pleased to write that my ex-girlfriend is now happily married with a much better man (at least he's not spending all his spare time on a website). I am happily married to the girl at work and together we have a lovely daughter who sleeps beautifully in the room next to me.
9/10 (the story is 10/10 of course)
Great story, Henrik. So the music helped you to make up your mind... Sometimes is amazing the way in which the songs talks directly to you. “Hats” was already Top 10 of 1989 for me, but suddenly is Top 5.
Because of my post?
Of course... It gaves a new dimension to an album that loved already.
Wow, I'll have to get hold of "Hats", never even heard the thing.
Most recently listened-to album here: Sprigsteen's debut "Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J." (we're giving the apartment a make-over, so I'm reduced to listening to old cassette tapes on a portable player, which adds a funny dimension to the choice of music).
I'd give "Greetings" 6 or seven out of 10 -- the songwriting is top-notch, although the musical execution may not have aged quite perfectly.
I actually own "Hats"; to be honest, never thought much of the record. I'll have to give it another go. Anyhoo...
Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes (1st, 2nd, 3rd listens)
Serendipitous. I was reading about Phil Ek's production credits on Wikipedia and discovered that this was the first album he did since "Cease to Begin", by Band of Horses (an album that I love). I did a bit of reading about Fleet Foxes, liked what I read, and made a special trip last night to the record store and picked up the album for $10.
Love it; it wasn't inaccessible at all (as one of the reviews said) -- it hit me right away like a punch in the face. And I'm thinking that it can only get better. 8/10.
Joe Strummer and the Mescalaroes- Global a go-go
The more you listen to them the better joe strummers post-clash band sounds
Transient Random-Noise Bursts with Announcements - Stereolab
I've never dug Stereolab. Emperor Tomato Ketchup is one of the most overrated albums ever imho. Mars Audiac Quintet was okay. But I heard some things about how Transient was one of their most experimental and eclectic works. It was only 7.99 at my local record shop so I decided to give it a try. Yup, much more experimental (in a good way) than anything else I've heard by them. By far my favorite Stereolab.
Rolling Stones: Beggars Banquet- 3/10
I'm not a fan of country or the blues so this isn't my record, but I still think fans of both genres overrate this album. It's pretty straightforward stuff, not really paving any new ground in either genre. If I were a fan of this type of music I'd bump it up a couple rankings but that's about it.
Funny John because when saying that you show that you're DEFINITELY NOT a blues/country genre.
I guess that when you love these genres, as I do, you don't care if artists break or do not break grounds.
You just wanna know how if the music is good, that's all, and how the artists cope with the genre.
I mean when I'm listening to a record I just don't give a damn if the artist changes the history of music. Blues and country are about tradition, but also about personal expression. I wanna hear what this guy has got to say, how he sings, how well the song is written, etc...
Even if he choses to stay inside the boundaries of a pre-defined genre. (hope I make myself clear)
To me Beggar's is a 9/10. I guess that when it comes to play blues and country, the Stones are one of the best rock group, as they don't try to ape original artists but instead incorporate the spirit of roots music into rock.
sorry, in my first sentenced, I meant "a blues & country FAN"
DeVotchKa - A Mad and Faithful Telling - 8.5/10
Jeez, every time I listen to this album it grows on me. The first song remains offputting due to the very sparse sound of the production. However, by the third song, "The Clockwise Witness," I'm completely sold. Hell, the song is battling for my favorite of 2008. So, it's just a really solid album. I guess I still prefer "How It Ends," but "A Mad and Faithfull Telling" is easily in my top 5 of 2008 at this point.
There are a couple of Rolling Stones albums I do like like Let It Bleed and Tattoo You. But it's true that you really have to appreciate roots music to really love the Stones and I just don't have that love. So, maybe it was a mistake to say that it would only be a 5 if I did like those genres because you're right, I don't look for groundbreaking material on all of my favorite albums either. I still stand by my initial ranking though because it was really hard for me to get through the entire album.
Sly & The Family Stones - There's A Riot Goin' On - 5/10
Wow, I actually listened to two whole albums today and the second was "There's A Riot Goin' On." I've been trying to knock this one out for about a year now, but every time I tried, I just got bored after "Family Affair." This album doesn't have the poppy edge of the far superior "Stand!" and is really just a drugged out jam session. That said, it's not terrible, it's just that from Sly I would expect something more interesting and engaging and since it's consistently rated higher than "Stand!," I figured it would just blow me away when I finally got around to it. Oh well.
A few tonight:
Madonna: Bedtime Stories 6/10
Madonna's most complete album but still there are holes just like every Madonna album. For every great song (Secret, Human Nature, Take a Bow) there is a mediocre to bad song to match it. It's still an enjoyable album especially if you like her more seductive work compared to the dance hits.
Jellyfish: Bellybutton 7/10
Bellybutton starts out amazing and then kind of falls off at the end. It never gets terrible, but the second half just doesn't compare to how good the first half is. Fans of this album should listen to PFR- a Christian band that had a very similar sound to Jellyfish.
M83: Before the Dawn Heals Us 5/10
Each song on it's own would be fine I suppose but as an album it gets pretty boring.
Listened to quite a few yesterday:
The Meters - Rejuvination - 8/10
Always a fun example of New Orleans funk. Songs two and three are a bit cheese, but this album is really fun. Plus, "Ain't No Use," is one of very few 11 minute songs I enjoy listening to.
The Meters - Fire on the Bayou - 7/10
Not much different from Rejuvination (it was made the next year), but it's like an album of the all 2nd-best cuts from Rejuvination, which means a very consistent album without many standout tracks.
Santana - Abraxas - 8/10
For some reason, I'd never listened to this album all the way through, mostly b/c it's much more instrumental than I would have ever anticipated by the two songs that get played on the radio. However, while working on a paper, that's a great thing since it's a very exciting album. Somehow it's a very fitting album while writing a paper about Hugo Chavez.
Kinky - s/t - 7.5/10
I've only been able to sit through good albums today. So if you like Mexican techno, I guess this is the best (I wouldn't know, since it's the first Mexican techno album I've ever heard). I actually quite like it, though it is a slight "samey" by the end. The use of the Latin drums throughout is awesome.
Tortoise - TNT - 7/10
I've never quite understood while "Millions Now Living Will Never Die" is hailed as the best Tortoise album. I think this one is more enjoyable, though it will still always be background music.
The Who - Tommy - 8/10
I really have a love/hate relationship with this album. Sometimes I listen to it and all the hype makes sense and sometimes, I wonder why there aren't any standout tracks and a better editor. This was a good listen today.
Heroes del Silencio - Senderos de Traicion - 8.5/10
This was my first listen to this album and I really really liked it. It definitely reminds me of the late 80s, early 90s "goth" music that Depeche Mode and The Cure were making at the time. However, this is also a very economical album that doesn't wear out its welcome or include a single bad song like some Cure/Depeche Mode albums. It definitely deserves a few more listens.
Britney Spears: Circus 5/10
Unfortunately, Britney (or at least her handlers) decided to side with the haters of Blackout and made a cleaner, poppier album in the vein of her previous work. Too bad, Blackout was interesting and fresh at least in a production sense. This sounds like everything else on top 40 right now but, like every Britney album there are a few songs that make it worthwhile.
Rivers Cuomo: Alone II
I'm almost glad that Alone I was such a dud and that he saved all of the best tracks for one album so I don't have to listen to a bunch of crap to hear the good stuff. Almost everything on this album is better than most of Weezer's post Pinkerton output and some of it even rivals the peak years. There is some mediocrity here but I never cringed which can't be said about the past 10 years or Alone I. It's nice to hear some good, "new" Rivers tunes.
Oh, I'd give Alone II a 7/10
Kings Of Leon - On ly By The Night 5/10
I was curious to hear this so much acclaimed album. Well, I don't understand why some people love this music. The singer's voice is pretentious, unnatural and sounds like some bad 80's vocals. The musicianship is not so bad (good drummer), but none of the songs really captivated me. I was rather bored, despite some good moments.
With a similiar sound, I really prefer British Sea Power. They have better songs and production.
I just listened to it as well. I rather injoyed it 7.5/10. I was curious to as to the recent acclaim that had befallen it. Its not a great album. Its enjoyable. I like his voice, but for the same reason you hate it...lol...I think he sounds like a rock star wanting to get laid...lol..I wish I could sound like that. I does seem a bit to big hair 80's to me as well. Maybe some elctronic experimentation and sampling would go well with them.
Your Sex is on fire...lol...Corny, but flawless. As my grandma would say. Thats very F Scott Fitzgerald of you.
Portishead - s/t (6.5/10)
This album isn't as sexy and groove-laden as Dummy, nor is it as bleak and gorgeous as Third. Beth's vocals sound like they're coming out of a tin can, which could be bad or good depending on your taste. The creativity doesn't seem as focused as it could be, and as a result, ideas are rarely fully developed. But a mediocre Portishead album is still better than a lot of other stuff out there.
AGREE. Dummy and Third are awesome. s/t just not on the same level.
Speaking of voices
Roy Orbison - The All-Time Greatest Hits of RO 9/10
I'm in a Roy O mood these days (since the 1989 lists).
Being from the early 60's he was not a man of albums, so a compilation is the right choice for him. This one has his best songs; I'm in love with the ballads ("In Dreams", "Crying", "Blue Bayou", "Running Scared")which are IMO one of the best collection of hits in the story of popular music.
Only a man like Roy could sing this kind of music, owing to pop, opera, even Napolitan an Mariachi music.
The rockers are not so bad (although inferior), and "Oh Pretty Woman", his biggest hit, is not representative of the man, being one of his only positive songs.
Well I could write for ages about this fantastic singer and songwriter, a good-natured man that went through a series of disasters in his life (loss of his wife and 2 sons).
Of course some of the lesser-known songs haven't aged very well, but the performance is astonishing.
Roy is the archetypal romantic singer.
(The Jon Spencer) Blues Explosion - Orange (5/10)
It was a bit disappointing to hear this blues rock album again. Back in '94 I had bought this CD and really was into it, but it does not seem to be timeless (or, as usual, I'm getting too old for this). It's quite energetic and at times even playful, but a full listen gets on your nerves. The closure Greyhound is, imo, the highlight of the album.
I agree you Nicolas about Roy Orbison, what a romantic singer.
Without him, there won't be any Richard Hawley these days.
Songs like "Blue Bayou", "In dreams", "It's over" or "Crying" are wonderful.
Roy Orbison, with Sam Cooke, are definitely the two best singers of the sixties and even probably of the whole pop music history.
Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes (10/10)
Well, what to add?
- Heard the album over hundred times now
- Album of the year
- Perhaps album of the decade
- Surely one of the most beautiful albums ever ...
JAMC - Psychocandy - 9/10
I was inspired to listen to this by the recent attention enjoyed by Glasvegas. They look like JAMC (now that they are fat and middle-aged, not at their peak) but sound like a less challenging Snow Patrol.
Psychocandy, on the other hand, is an album worth rescuing from the established canon. I presume to suppose that everybody here recognises it as a classic but - like me - has not listened to it for a while. It is even better than you remember.
I'm running a 60s poll on another site, so I've been inspired to listen to some 60s classics for the first time:
Scott Walker - 4
The Kinks - The Kinks Are Village Green Preservation Society
Love - Forever Changes
The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds
What I've come to discover is that I am open to a lot more music than I used to be, but I still have clear glass ceilings for certain genres/eras. While I like all of these albums, none of them seem to be threats to enter my top 100. I can recognize that they are good, but none seem like they'll grow to become huge favorites.
The Kinks Are Village Green Preservation Society: 7.5/10
Forever Changes: 7.9/10
Pet Sounds: 7.3/10
Jeff Buckley - "Grace"
I picked up the album a few weeks ago, finally listened to it in full over the weekend, and I was blown away. Easily one of my 20 favorite albums ever. I can't stop listening to "Hallelujah".
The Rolling Stones - "Exile on Main Street"
I picked this one up with "Grace", because I found it on sale, and i'm glad I didn't have to pay for it at full price. I don't see the hype over this one. It's definately not the Stone's best album. However, "Tumbling Dice" is a classic.
The Avalanches "Since I Left You" 6/10
Once I really loved electro. Now I find it only pleasant at times. This record is full of invention, but it's a mess at the same time. The collage-like songs are a bit tiring in the end. Only "Frontier Psychiatrist" is a masterpiece the rest is interesting but too unfocused IMO
Sonic Youth - "Goo"
Rating = 8.6
I'm probably one of the very few who would pick up "Goo" over "Daydream Nation" on any given day. "Sister" as well, probably.
Wow...this is "Take a piss on a classic" day.
Last album I heard in full:
PJ Harvey- Stories From the City, Stories from the Sea (8/10):
I've never been quite as receptive of this album as some people on here. To me, this is streamlined, dumbed down PJ Harvey. The songs lack the edge of her early stuff, without displaying a new complexity that most artists who successfully go soft tend to display.
Still, dumbed-down PJ Harvey for soccer moms is better than no PJ Harvey. There are still a lot of songs on here to love. "The Big Exit" and "This is Love" are the closest that she comes to rocking out old school, and the duet with Thom Yorke, "The Mess We're In" is of course a stand-out track.
Still there aren't moments that blow me away like "Rid of Me", "Long Snake Moan", "50 Foot Queenie" etc. A Good album, yes, but not the classic it's made out to be imo.
I've been listening to a lot of albums from 2001 ahead of next month's poll. My favourite new discovery has to be The Radio Tisdas Sessions by Tinariwen. One review I've come across mentions how this ablum makes you feel like you're in a metaphorical Sahara with ancient-sounding rolling guitars washing over you like water. That pretty much describes the feeling I get from it.
Beck's Sea Change. This one goes deep. the melodies are gorgeous so are the lyrics. It's like the album that Beck always wanted to make and was inside of him all the time, Mutations almost anticipated it in tracks like Nobody's Fault But My Own and Odelay's Jack-Ass. Beck really delivered it on that one. Beck sounds like the successor of Nick Drake in some tracks. The strings in tracks like Paper Tiger are breathtaking, so is the producing of the whole record. Genius. ★★★★1/2
I'm also listening to other albums. Albums that i've heard once or two times, but unfortunately i wasn't able to build something more, only admire. Hopefully this topic will remain alive and i'll be able to discuss while getting some tips with you guys.
Tortoise - Millions Now Living Will Never Die
This album has simply grown on me with every listen. "Djed" is of course a masterpiece, but the other songs are excellent in their own right, particularly "Glass Museum" and "Along the Banks of Rivers." Though this album is really slow, it has such a captivating, cinematic feel to it. It also goes perfectly with studying.
Just got into Lou Reed's Berlin. My God it's brilliant. The last three songs are surely one of the best album ending trios ever. It's weird; I would never consider him a good guitarist, or a good singer. But when it's just him and that acoustic guitar, no one does it better. 10/10. Top 20 all time.
Rush- Moving Pictures 8/10: I've never been a prog guy but Rush... at least Moving Pictures stays away from most everything I hate about the genre and turns out to be an album I should have listened to a long time ago.
Doors- Strange Days 5/10: The Doors are a singles band. It feels weird to say but they are. All of their best songs are scattered throughout their catalog. The rest of the albums consist of filler and over the top, flat out bad poetry. But then there's the great songs and you wonder how they were never able to produce one amazing, no filler album.
Urge Overkill - Saturation:
As brainless guitar rock goes, this is actually pretty good. I won't go so far as to say that the album is a hidden classic or anything like that, but it's fun to listen to, and has a chill aura that reminds me of summer and the early nineties.
The first half is definitely better than the second half, though. If you take about six of these songs and combine them with the band's Stull EP from the previous year, you'd have a really good album. Unfortunately, this is as far as the band got. Saturation is their only rated album in the Top 3000, and I don't expect it to go higher on the next update.
I can't remember ever listening to Strange Days, but I agree with Moonbeam about LA Woman.
I listened to Transference by Spoon - it's excellent. One of my 2-3 favorite Spoon albums, and it did so poorly on the EOY lists. It sounds exactly how you expect a Spoon record to sound, maybe it was forgotten due to its January release. GaGaGaGaGa is still my favorite, but this one is solid through and through.
Emeralds - Does It Look Like I'm Here?
This is by far my best late discovery from 2010. It really belongs in my year end top ten. I would draw a comparison to Lindstrom, instrumental electronica that doesn't rely on loops. Or perhaps Mike Oldfield.
Hole - Live Through This (9/10)
The second album of Hole took me by surprise. Doesn't sound at all like their debut. It's accessible and pure alternative rock bliss. Not much forward thinking, what you got are great lyrics and deliveries juxtaposed with catchy melodies. She blames herself for rape stage in Asking for It, she disses a chick that copied her style in She Walks on Me and even speaks of her childhood and teenage years as a social outsider in Softer, Softest. Violet might be one of the most impressive album openings of the 90s and it is instantly followed by Miss World and the "i made my bed and i lay in it" sing along chorus. Love and her bandmates make her pain and feelings palpable and relatable and she never sounded as much honest and heartfelt as in this album. She can't sing, but her delivery if flawless. It's easy to feel sorry for her state during the time of the release and her marriage with Cobain and Live Through This gives the perfect imagery of who she is, that marriage and her life - aside the fact coming out a few days after Cobain's death it became something like a prophetic album. There's not a dud in the whole record and she disses three different artists during it. Love is never as raw as PJ Harvey or feminist as Bikini Kill or as sincere as Liz Phair, but with this album she created a niche of her own and justified her place not only as the first lady of Grunge, but the queen of it.
Sleater-Kinney - Dig Me Out (8/10)
America's favorite all-girl band, one of the best thing about Sleater-Kinney is that they actually wrote about themselves and their lives before going politic or feminist. Dig Me Out is considered their opus. There's One More Hour about the breakup of two of the integrants; Words and Guitar, an ode to music and the title track and its amazingly jaw dropping riff. The three being some of the instant highlights. It's sad that though Dig Me Out is their most acclaimed release and maybe more consistent, some tracks just fail to match the greatness of others -It's Enough, The Drama You've Been Craving, Not What You Want to name them. These tracks slow the album down a little and sound downright Sleater-Kinney calculated by the numbers, being too damn repetitive and lacking the hook or soul of other tracks like Turn It On, sing along Little Babies. Fortunately the highs are so impressive, fun and full of energy that they out-do the lows by a considerable distance. The lyrics are not amazing, but smart enough to do their job and a little more. What really make this a strong record are the simply-produced hooks and melodies and Corin's divisive, but otherwise unique vocals, best showed off in Buy Her Candy. I admit that it's hard to pick a favorite SK album, but even with its considerable flaws, Dig Me Out is a fresh winner and near such a status.
R.E.M. - Up
I'm a big fan of R.E.M. but I've avoided their post-Berry work (aside from Accelerate) because of a supposed drop off in quality. I have enjoyed every R.E.M. album I've ever listened to, and even love a few. So today I finally talked myself into giving Up a listen, and I hated it. It's sterile, joyless and seems to go on forever. There are a couple of songs scattered on the album that are alright. Walk Unafraid/Why Not Smile/Daysleeper is a decent 3 song stretch near the end of the album, but it's not worth sitting through 40 minutes of crap to hear 20 minutes of o.k. R.E.M. Now the bottom end of my R.E.M. album list looks like
Out of Time
*did not like
Should I ever give Reveal or Around the Sun a listen?
An excellent album, almost every track is of a 5 star quality. The song I really got into this time was "Polly".
Note: I gave "Exile on Main Street" another listen. I was definatley too harsh on it with my rating earlier.
The one pro of having an essay to write: Lots of time to listen to albums!
The Rolling Stones- "Sticky Fingers"
An excellent album, a real nice listen. May be their best guitar album. with songs like "Sway", "Can't You Hear Me Knocking", "Brown Sugar" and "Bitch". Those songs are probably my favorites on the album. which is probably my favorite of their albums.
Nirvana- "In Utero"
After rating "Nevermind" yesterday, I decided to give my favorite album of the 90's a spin. It still owns the title. Songs like "Heart Shaped Box", "Rape Me", and "All Apologies", my personal favorite, make this album.
cLOUDDEAD - cLOUDDEAD
I listened to this one in preparation for the 2001 nomination round, and it is a very unique listen. Not sure what to call it, maybe ambient hip-hop? Whatever it is there were certainly drugs involved.
I'll go 8/10 for now.
nj will like this one...
Comateens - Comateens
After the band finally made this affordable to get on CD, I ordered it, and my copy arrived in the mail yesterday! It's really fun, quirky new wave on a shoestring budget. The eerie synth lines, healthy bass lines and cheap drum machines are right up my alley!
The Gun Club - Fire of Love
I had listened to this before and enjoyed it, but yesterday I had one of those experiences when an album just perfectly suits my mood and it seems like nothing else matters. This album is the perfect mix of excitement and restraint, and it sounds completely unlike its contemporaries. "She's Like Heroin to Me" and "Ghost on the Highway" are just absolute jams.
My massive album listening continues (as does the essay)...
Aerosmith- "Toys in the Attic"
Another favorite of mine. Every song kicks @$$!! Song of my favorites are on this album, including "Walk This Way" (my second favorite song of all time), "Sweet Emotion", and pretty much anything else on the album!
My problem is that a lot of the new music I listen to is in my car on crappy speakers usually half on the way to work, half on the way back. It's hard to make a good judgement on an album like this.
That said I think I'd give Darwin Deez- ST a 7/10 and Cloud Nothings new album a 6/10.
Darwin Deez is kind of repetitive and on tinny speakers that repetiveness gets annoying. But, the songs are really strong so I'm giving it a 7 with a chance for an 8 after I listen to it at home.
Cloud Nothings album is just a rehash of 90's California punk with a couple of songs going strangely in a completely different direction. If you like 90's Cali punk though I'd definitely recommend it.
Joan Jett - Sinner
I've had this album for 4 years but had never listened to it before. It's pretty good! The middle of the album is a bit preachy, sounding a bit like a hard rock PSA, but the beginning and end are what I love about Joan Jett - melodic, rawking thrillers. A few of the songs near the end are more musically diverse and rewarding - "Baby Blue" and "Bad Time".
Cosmogramma- Flying Lotus
Great album. After hearing the new Radiohead a few times I felt compelled to listen to this album again. It's really pretty and technical, but I wish Flying Lotus combined some of the songs together, making a couple long songs instead of a bunch of short ones. As good as the album is though, it just missed my top ten of 2010.
David Bowie - Hunky Dory (10/10)
The material masterpieces are made of. Hunky Dory might lack the glam rocking of Ziggy and posterior works and the highly experimental trend that Bowie would create and follow with his Berlin-trilogy, but it totally pays you back in terms of melody and lyrics. The impact of this album on his carrer, the influence on other artists. The beautiful piano playing, the strings. Bowie makes magic going big on "Life on Mars?" and then in simple numbers like the tender "Kooks" and "Eight Line Poem". "Changes" owns one of music greatest chorus and is beautiful written, a reflexion of the role of chameleon that Bowie would assume with each record. "Song for Bob" and "Andy Warhol" are among the many highlights of the record and the concept of "Queen Bitch" has been remade by many over the years, but few time equaled. Hunky Dory is the gigantic leap forward that Bowie gave in 71 and 40 years later, it still sounds like a hell of a one.
Ryan Adams - Heartbreaker (8/10)
Excluding a fun skit about Morrissey, Ryan Adam's debut album kicks off impressively with the unabashedly Dylan homage "To Be Young (Is To Be Sad, To Be High)". It takes 10 more tracks until we listen to another upbeat track as such, but until there Adams pulls off beautifully the slow numbers. "AMY" and "Call Me On Your Way Back Home" are two of the best examples of Ryan's gift for melody and simple, yet fully formed lyrics. The production of the record never overtakes his voice, even the ones accompanied by a band - most of the songs are accompanied only by strings or harmonica. The banjo makes an appearance in "Bartering Lines", the centerpiece of the record; Dylan's shadow is present in "Damn, Sam" and there's also the beautifully executed ode to Carolina "Oh My Sweet Carolina" - with background vocals by Emmylou Harris, even used more impressively in "Why Do They Live?". Still is when Adam's mixes all of this together on standout "Come Pick Me Up" that you know you're facing something truly special. The album does slow down a little after "Shakedown On 9th Street" and even if they don't quite match the beauty of what it came before, are still worthy and great on their own - also "Lil Gal" is an excellent close number. Some people and music critics recognize "Gold" as Ryan Adam's definitive effort, but Heartbreaker is his one-of-a-kind carrer highlight. A landmark of american alternative country music and of the last decade. He might have record a better fully formed follow-up, but he never quite crawled under your skin like this again.
Brian Eno - Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)
I saw a few recommendations of it on here, thought I'd give it a listen. The ideas are definitely cerebral and unique but I didn't find it really gripping. Probably a grower.
Nick Drake - Five Leaves Left: 7/10
I don't often rate albums out of 10 but if I did I reckon 7 would be pretty high. Apart from the obvious River Man and Thoughts of Mary Jane, which make the album, it's the consistency and ease with which Drake maintains an atmosphere from start to finish. Great to listen to in any sort of mood, and one of the most enjoyable albums to listen to while doing other stuff at the same time.
I see people are rating albums that aren't new to them, so I'll add this review I wrote about Debbie Harry's KooKoo, which I listened to this morning.
The fate of solo careers is not easy to predict. While many artists make a seamless transition going out on their own, many others struggle to find their voice. Blondie had been a great vehicle for Debbie Harry's meteroic rise to fame in large part due to her striking presence as a smart style icon, but it remained to be seen whether her talents would translate outside of the framework of the band. Enlisting the help of bandmate Chris Stein as well as the production gold of Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards, Debbie offers a fascinating glimpse into what makes her tick with a peculiar hybrid of styles and themes in the appropariately titled KooKoo.
From the opening moments, it is clear that this not a Blondie record. While moments like "Rapture" suggested a courtship of a black audience, KooKoo dives headfirst into a veritable buffet of black styles. The main singles of the album, "Backfired" and "The Jam Was Moving", feature prominent funk bass lines dueling with sassy horns and eerie buzzing synths, respectively. The spritely "Jump Jump" and midtempo swagger of "Surrender" follow the same blueprint, while "Military Rap" and "Under Arrest" feature manic synth pop, "Inner City Spillover" wouldn't sound out of place on a Grace Jones album from her halcyon Sly and Robbie period, and "Now I Know You Know" is a smoldering soul ballad that meanders into toe-tapping jazz. The most bizarre tracks are the alien, metallic atmosphere of "Chrome" and the clash of Middle Eastern mysticism and sultry, almost Spanish boogie of "Oasis". While Blondie had made a career out of blending genres effectively, they never sounded as quirky as they do on KooKoo.
Coupled with this wild array of sounds is a set of highly neurotic lyrics. While Debbie had shown an inkling of weirdness in previous tracks like "Atomic" and "Victor", being unfettered by the Blondie brand allows her imagination to run wild, and it is a wonder to behold. "Inner City Spillover" depicts a girl whose brain is smashed by a falling brick in the urban sprawl, "Jump Jump" features a section about puppy-training school, undercover agents investigate the origins of a dance craze ("The Jam Was Moving") and a nebulous murder mystery ("Under Arrest"), and a sequence of non sequiturs set to a military cadence predominate "Military Rap". "Chrome", meanwhile, is an incomprehensible collage of chameleons, dresses and flowers while "Oasis" serves as the album's title track with an exposition on the phrase "koo koo". Peppered throughout are generous doses of humor, such as the sardonic interplay of "Backfired", the hyperbole of "Surrender" ("I'd rather lie down in the street and get hit by a big Mac truck"), and the confession "I can be annoying" in "Under Arrest". Moreover, some random lyrics seem to come out of nowhere - "Can you tell me why that guy is on the roof?" or "The brick that smashed her brain is now a road in Maine" or best yet "Answer ding dong do you play ping pong?" and "Was that a... Are you a... Are you?" in "Oasis". As she excitedly shrieks in "The Jam Was Moving", the album is one giant slab of "CRAZY! CRAZY! CRAZY!"
Complementing this vibrant album is a set of noteworthy visuals from the renowned H.R. Giger. The strikingly skewered and sci-fi headbanded Harry against an electrical storm backdrop is an appropriate representation of the album's contents, while the hypnotizing Giger-directed video of Debbie emerging out of a mummy's tomb decked out in skeleton skin seductively dancing in catacombs is also a must-see. So strong was this imagery that it ended up upstaging the music itself!
It isn't difficult to see why KooKoo did not fare well, as it is drastically different to the polished power pop anthems that made Blondie famous. It feels like going on a date with the hottest, most popular girl in school and discovering that she yodels Cheerios through her nostrils. Well, suckers like me become smitten by such vivid displays of unabashed weirdness, and it endears me to Debbie Harry in away that her work with Blondie does not. While it may not be to everyone's taste, KooKoo is nonetheless a bold record worthy of the attention the iconic album cover promises.
I'm on a Debbie Harry kick!
Def, Dumb & Blonde (1989)
With Blondie dead and buried for 7 years, Deborah Harry had more or less eased into the role of an aging icon of yesteryear with sporadic ventures into music alternating with a notable, if not flashy, secondary career as an actress. At 44 in an increasingly youth-oriented music scene, it would have been understandable if she made acting her primary gig. As she was no longer at the forefront of the music industry, it would be likewise understandable if her musical dabblings amounted to little more than victory laps. While this is indeed partially apparent in Def, Dumb & Blonde, the album contains enough charm and invention to be worthy of exploration.
Released in 1989, Def, Dumb & Blonde fits comfortably in the era. By and large, it feels as if a concerted effort was made to update her previous successes for production standards and mainstream tastes of the time. At times, this is to the detriment of the album. "Kiss It Better", for better and for worse, sounds as if it was taken straight out of a Top 40 station in 1989, with little of Deborah's unmistakable imprint noticeable. "Bugeye" is likewise a limp attempt at a sultry rock come-on. "Maybe for Sure" fares a little better, but is still stripped of much of its potential through needless gloss. The worst offender is "Get Your Way", which amounts to little more than a collage of mailed-in seduction, a trademark rap that populates every album after the success of "Rapture", and a shiny guitar solo fitting of the zeitgeist. Unfortunately, it is not the only attempt to cash in on previous hits, as the obligatory homage to "The Tide Is High" comes in the form of the forgettable "I'll Never Fall in Love", which could explain why it is not available on either cassette or vinyl editions of the album.
Thankfully, some of these attempts to update Deborah's sound work well. The shimmering dance pop of "I Want That Man" is so catchy and anthemic that it is easy to forgive the requisite guitar solo thrown in. Nods to Blondie's punk roots come in the welcome form of "Bike Boy", "Comic Books" and "Forced to Love", which both remain true to form in clocking in under 3 minutes. The first in particular sees a vintage '77 Harry vocal, proving that she still had the voice for spiky punk pop in her mid-40s. Even better is the delectable confection of "Sweet and Low", full of sassy swagger and innuendo that climaxes with a fantastic chorus.
The greatest rewards come when Deborah stretches herself. "Calmarie" can best be described as a jungle new age lullaby sung half in Portugese and half in English. Somehow, it works, and the song achieves a gorgeous serenity. Equally disarming is the ballad "He Is So", in which guitars and synth strings illicit a lush atmosphere fitting for Harry to let down her guard, enraptured in an ecstasy that leaves her, for once, at a loss for words. Best of all, though, is the bonafide electro-ballad "Brite Side", a synth pop sunburst so good that it warrants comparison to Yaz's "Only You". In fact, it is so thrilling that it renders superfluous an epic and rather poignant look into her past in the form of "End of the Run", which threatens to become a power ballad at every turn, but manages to rein in the hairspray.
In the end, Def, Dumb & Blonde is a mixed bag. Nevertheless, the pedestrian style updates and feckless homages to Blondie's glory days are far outnumbered by worthy gems of the late 80s and exciting new avenues. Curiously for a pop album, most of these highlights are found in the second half, giving it the effect of ending with a bang. It adds up to a record that succeeds despite its flaws, and while not a knockout, it is the best album Harry would be associated with since The Hunter and until The Curse of Blondie.
Beck - Sea Change (10/10)
I know, i already post about it and i gave it a 9, but it happened: Sea Change became part of me. I've been playing since last week non-stop, when he moans on "Little One"... it could last forever, many moments on this record could last forever. Beautifully produced, executed, written, the voice, his voice, you can totally feel the pain. It became part of my life, part of me. Yeah this comment is a little more personal than what i've written before here on this topic, but i can't help but feel that words won't ever express how i fell when i listen to this record. A masterful tour de force. My favorite album of 2002 and it is ranking pretty high inside my 00s, and hell, of all time. Masterpiece.
I usually have 3 or 4 albums in my cd player at a time and listen to them in full 2 or 3 times and then replace them with another set.
Nashville skyline- Bob Dylan: 8.4
More songs about buildings and food-Talking Heads: 9.3
Blues and the abstract truth-Oliver Nelson: 8.7
Closer-Joy Division: 9.1
Let it bleed-Rolling Stones: 9.3
DMX - The Definition of X Compilation