Fri Dec 17 2021
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Best Song: Carry On. Kicks the album off with ethereal harmonies and a driving tempo.
Worst Song: Helpless. Neil Young solo vocals do not stand up against the harmonies of the other songs.
Overall: Meh. Starts with an interesting, "revolutionary-hippie" vibe that dies off for a slower atmosphere for the latter half of the album
Mon Dec 20 2021
Creedence Clearwater Revival
Best Song: Travelin' Band. Short and high tempo.
Worst Song: Ooby Dooby. Because the chorus is "Ooby Dooby".
Overall: More blues-y than I expected. Several songs that overstayed their welcome.
Tue Dec 21 2021
Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire)
Best Song: Australia. Kind of catchy and fun lyrics.
Worst Song: Yes Sir, No Sir. Lyrically cliche, slow and plodding.
Overall: I can feel the influences that this album must have had, but it feels REAL dated.
Wed Dec 22 2021
A Night At The Opera
Best Song: '39. Topic is unexpected for what I know of Queen.
Worst Song: The Prophet's Song. The layered vocals/canon thing that takes up the entire middle of the song is horrible.
Overall: I could never listen to Bohemian Rhapsody again and die happy.
Thu Dec 23 2021
Best Song: Waiting for the Sun. Maggie M'Gill. Psychedelic, with moments where Morrison lets loose.
Worst Song: Land Ho. The whole song sounds restrained.
Overall: Bluesy, with a sort of drugged and drunken swagger. Is at its best when Jim Morrison is wild and uninhibited, and at its worst when he tries scatting.
Fri Dec 24 2021
Best Song: Man in the Mirror. Perfect merge between pop and gospel.
Worst Song: I Just Can't Stop Loving You. The last thing this album needs is a slow ballad in the middle to absolutely kill the vibe.
Overall: The hits are fucking Hits, but the middling tracks are just okay. Can't believe anyone ever thought "hee-hee" was an acceptable musical adlib.
Mon Dec 27 2021
A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector
Best Song: Sleigh Ride. Feels like the distillation of a Christmas movie montage.
Worst Song: Frosty the Snowman. I think I just find this song obnoxious, regardless of version.
Overall: Well-produced Christmas music, but still just Christmas music.
Tue Dec 28 2021
Best Song: Hero Worship. No male vocals, and an uninhibited/chaotic/amateurish vocal performance.
Worst Song: Planet Claire. Just a goofy start to the album.
Overall: The female vocals far outperform the male ones. In a not altogether bad way, it sounds like an alien's conception of what rock music is,
Wed Dec 29 2021
Best Song: Infected. Bombastic and actually lyrically interesting.
Worst Song: Heartland. Not terrible, but it really feels like the author is performing a monologue in an amateur theatre on this one.
Overall: Liked it much more than I expected. Feels like what the B-52s want to be, but cooler and more true-to-self. Rare that I like 80s music like this.
Thu Dec 30 2021
Best Song: Stillness in the Move. Best vocals of the album.
Worst Song: Temecula Sunrise. Really don't like the instrumental spasm they do right before the words "Temecula Sunrise".
Overall: Fun looping and layered instrumentals that just ultimately wasn't for me.
Fri Dec 31 2021
If You're Feeling Sinister
Belle & Sebastian
Best Song: Get Me Away From Here, I'm Dying. I love anything that places dark and melancholy meaning within an upbeat presentation.
Worst Song: Like Dylan In The Movies. Not a bad song, just the least interesting lyrically of an otherwise excellent album.
Overall: Fantastic. Exactly my type of muted, lyrically poignant songwriting.
Mon Jan 03 2022
Best Song: Bittersweet Symphony. Even though the song is overplayed, it felt like the only song on the album that woke up and came to play.
Worst Song: Catching the Butterfly. Slow, meandering, with a kind of nasal drone.
Overall: Not entirely sure what there is to like about this album. The massiveness of Bittersweet Symphony overshadows the rest of the album, which comes off as sleepy and uninteresting. It doesn't even have the decency to be short.
Tue Jan 04 2022
The White Stripes
Best Song: Hypnotize. A song that leans forward the whole way.
Worst Song: You've Got Her in Your Pocket. No one is here for attempts at a ballad. Really disrupts the punchy, staccato flow.
Overall: Not as good as I expected/remembered. For such a raw production style, I expected more passion and intensity in the lyrics and the pacing.
Wed Jan 05 2022
Best Song: Where It's At. Succeeds (partly) in instilling the chill vibe that I think the rest of the album is striving towards.
Worst Song: High 5 (Rock the Catskills). Unironically sounds like a Kid Rock song.
Overall: Slow and monotonous droning that absolutely is not for me.
Thu Jan 06 2022
Best Song(s): Luna y sol. Malegría. Upbeat and high tempo songs that wake you up out of the otherwise relaxed atmosphere.
Worst Song: Lágrimas de oro. Just wasn't a fan of the "rapping" near the end of the song.
Overall: Really fun album that seamlessly transitions between chilled out café music with outright lively dance songs.
Fri Jan 07 2022
Best Song: Second Time Around. Good drum solo near the end.
Worst Song: Doctor Please. Not terrible, but it just felt like a jam session that wasn't particularly interesting relative to any other.
Overall: An altogether "alright" proto-metal album that seems to be on the list for reasons relating to legacy, rather than the overwhelming quality of the music. Also, the stereo-mixing is strange, and had me wondering whether my headphones were broken for half the album.
Sat Jan 08 2022
Best Song: World in My Eyes. Groovy, bombastic intro that sets the tone for the rest of the album.
Worst Song: Blue Dress. Weird and overly long outro.
Overall: Better than I expected. Feels like an odd combination of dance music and Buffalo Bill style murder monologues.
Sat Jan 08 2022
Best Song: Cracked Actor. Fun rhythm, song didn't take itself as seriously as the rest of the album does.
Worst Song: Aladdin Sane. Really didn't like the piano solo.
Overall: Had some vocally interesting tracks, but mostly the instrumentals felt overly theatrical. I cannot doubt that there are other (better) Bowie albums on this list, so I have to wonder why this one also needed to be included.
Sun Jan 09 2022
Best Song: Find My Baby. All the vocals looped throughout were excellent.
Worst Song: Porcelain.
Overall: Excellent collection of songs with great sampling and mixing. Track ordering is sometimes weird though, resulting in heavy tonal shifts between tracks (e.g., the transition from Rushing to Bodyrock). Last third of the album also slows down considerably.
Mon Jan 10 2022
Led Zeppelin IV
Best Song: Stairway to Heaven. For a song so famous, it still delivers. Maybe because it isn't as overplayed on the radio as other similar mega-songs.
Worst Song: Four Sticks. Not bad, just boring.
Overall: Hard to listen naively given how ubiquitous this album is, but even under that weight it feels monumental.
Tue Jan 11 2022
Best Song: Susan's House. Down-earth lyrics that don't tread so heavily on cliché ideas.
Worst Song: Beautiful Freak. Cheesy and massively overplayed lyrics. I think the writer thought the juxtaposition of "beautiful" and "freak" was a lot more unique and poetic than it is.
Overall: Sounds like the soundtrack to a movie I wouldn't like. Feels as though the music derives its whole purpose from believing it is counter-culture.
Wed Jan 12 2022
The Electric Prunes
Best Song: Sold to the Highest Bidder. Best song musically, although it does have some woefully misogynistic lyrics.
Worst Song: Quarter to Nine. An utterly failed attempt at sounding suave.
Overall: Lyrically dated songs that sound like they were written by a bunch of high school horndogs, all backed by pretty ho-hum instrumentation. Feels like a waste of the otherwise cool phrase "i had too much to dream last night". The album's best quality is its brevity.
Thu Jan 13 2022
Best Song: A Message to You Rudy. Just a classic.
Worst Song: Too Much Too Young.
Overall: A weird album for me. The whole thing feels too sleepy and laid back. There's nothing unpleasant about it, nor is there anything exciting.
Fri Jan 14 2022
I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got
Best Song: Black Boys on Mopeds. Soft instrumentation with haunting, socially conscious lyrics that still feel relevant.
Worst Song: Nothing Compares 2 U. This might just be me punching out against the obviously most famous song on the album, but although sung beautifully, the whole song has this sort of weepy, damsel-in-distress, helplessness that undercuts the strong voice and individuality of the rest of the album. There are better songs about failed relationships on this album.
Overall: A fine collection of soft, poignant songs. I would have preferred more of the politically charged songs and fewer of the purely relationship ones.
Sat Jan 15 2022
Rum Sodomy & The Lash
Best Song: A Pair of Brown Eyes. Rousing, rolling song in a singalong style.
Worst Song: A Pistol for Paddy Garcia. A just okay instrumental song with a Old West vibe.
Overall: Rough, raw, danceable music that also manages to tell stories with each song. Excellent folk punk.
Sun Jan 16 2022
The Soft Boys
Best Song: Insanely Jealous of You. An actually intense song that concludes in an interesting crescendo.
Worst Song: I Got the Hots. Sounds like a sociopathic, wannabe cowboy learning how to play scales on guitar.
Overall: Wholly boring, with the audacity to think I want to listen to 40 songs of very nearly the same song repeating. Would fit well in a book called "1001 Albums It's Totally Fine to Miss Before You Die."
Mon Jan 17 2022
Best Song: A Strange Day. Good emo lyrics with a groovy swing behind it.
Worst Song: Pornography. Bland, brooding background music.
Overall: It's emo. I can feel its influence, but that doesn't mean I'll like it.
Tue Jan 18 2022
Emergency On Planet Earth
Best Song: Too Young to Die. Dancy, groovy, with a hint of melancholy lyrics. Absolute jam.
Worst Song: There isn't one.
Overall: May more lyrically interesting than I expected, full of dark gems mixed with funky, high energy music that makes you want to move. Feels like the dance album for the apocalypse.
"Death can seem to bear no relevance
Bet you wished you'd danced to the music
What you want to do is kill yourself
Still you don't dance to the music"
Wed Jan 19 2022
Post Orgasmic Chill
Best Song: On my Hotel TV. The intensity of the lyrics caught me off guard, and the vocals were phenomenal.
Worst Song: I'm Not Afraid. Not terrible, but weak compared to the rest of the album.
Overall: Good instrumentation and sampling turned great by the addition of powerhouse vocal performances on every track. This album lives entirely on the strength of that killer voice, where each song is sung with a passion and intensity that is uncommon.
Thu Jan 20 2022
Live At The Witch Trials
Best Song: No song is good enough to be the best of the bad bunch.
Worst Song: Rebellious Jukebox. Everything about this sounds like a high school band's first performance of the second song they've ever written. Their classmates are nonplussed.
Overall: Short (thankfully). Nothing exciting nor interesting here. Another example of when this list degrades into "1001 albums and older British man remembers from his youth."
Fri Jan 21 2022
Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness
The Smashing Pumpkins
Best Song: Jellybelly. Tipped over into heavier territory, which I wished they would do more often.
Worst Song: Bullet with Butterfly Wings. Despite all its plays, the nasal voice will still just annoy me for days.
Overall: Something about this album, and Billy Corgan specifically, just annoys me. The egotism and lack of self-awareness it must have taken for Corgan to write such a wandering double album, forcing us to listen to him whine out "Love is Suicide" over and over and over.
Sat Jan 22 2022
Best Song: Where is My Mind? Obviously the most well-known track on the album, it also feels like the most (only?) that was really constructed as a thoughtful song.
Worst Song: Broken Face. A chorus that seems designed to annoy.
Overall: Chaotic, spastic, and not in a good way. The kind of music that feels like it would be fun to listen to and bounce around with at a grime-y live show, but as a piece of written and recorded music? Meh.
Sun Jan 23 2022
Best Song: Jesus of Suburbia. Upbeat bop that really leans into the pop-punk aesthetic.
Worst Song: Wake Me Up When September Ends. September isn't even that bad of a month. Has he ever met November? January?
Overall: Better than I expected... They sure know how to write a catchy hook. Politically it is fairly milquetoast and "edgy" in a way that always feels safe, if not slightly corporate. The album is much more pop than punk, but the punkier songs are enjoyable and sound like an even more pop-ified Bad Religion, but the attempts at slow ballads really drag the album down.
Mon Jan 24 2022
Heartattack And Vine
Best Song: Heartattack and Vine. Gritty and caustic blues-soaked track that kicks the album off well.
Worst Song: In Shades. I don't listen to Tom Wats albums for instrumental tracks.
Overall: For a big fan of Tom Waits, this feels like a transitional album, bridging between his earlier melodic stuff and his later grit-and-gravel delivery. For that reason, when he dips into softer tones (like on "Saving All My Love For You" and "On the Nickel") it feels a bit off. Like watching someone use the gnarliest motorcycle to go grocery shopping. Sure it'll get you there, but that's not what it was made for. In all, a good album, but not the Tom Waits album I'd have chosen to appear on the list.
Tue Jan 25 2022
Jagged Little Pill
Best Song: All I Really Want. It feels like lurking behind every lyric and note is a barely unspoken "Fuck You."
Worst Song: Hand in my Pocket. I like the lyrical theme of "I'm one thing but I'm also juxtaposed opposite thing", but the conceit of "I've got one hand in my pocket and the other..." is so silly it takes me out of the song every time. ESPECIALLY when the other hand is playing the piano.
Overall: A really good album that feels raw and adventurous, but occasionally gets in its own way with lyrics that try too hard to be clever and just come off as goofy. I won't beat the dead horse of the song "Ironic", but it hinders an album that otherwise runs with such an intensity it feels like it might come off the tracks at any moment. Also, this was my first time hearing the a cappella outro to "You Oughta Know" as the final track of the album, and it really demonstrates how incredible a voice Alanis Morissette has.
Wed Jan 26 2022
Let Love Rule
Best Song: Mr. Cab Driver. Feels like the root of a decent folk song, even if it isn't totally successful here.
Worst Song: Freedom Train. Took until nearly the end of the song for me to realize what he was even saying. Why is it mixed like he's singing from inside a suitcase?
Overall: Not good. Largely feels like is co-opting a sort of hippie, "free love" aesthetic and presenting it in this smarmy, overly "cool" fashion. The album sounds like Kravitz has cornered some 19-year-old in the corner of a bar and is saying "we should all love each other", but it's pretty clear he doesn't mean all, and he probably doesn't mean love either. Gets weirdly religious towards the end. Combined with Kravitz occasionally pulling this vocal technique where he sounds like he's singing with every ounce of strength he doesn't have, its hard to believe this was a breakout debut.
Thu Jan 27 2022
3 Years, 5 Months And 2 Days In The Life Of...
Best Song: Fishin' 4 Religion. Lyrically kinda whack, but the heat behind that beat is undeniable.
Worst Song: Natural. The lowkey production and slow delivery means the goofy lyrics have nowhere to hide. "Cause I want to travel with you
Travel in your mind 'cause you seem like a virgin". Sure.
Overall: A really tough album to review. The beats are the star here, providing a diverse range of groovy, dance-y rhythms. The vocal delivery is also spot-on, if not quintessentially '90s. It's just the lyrics that far too often stray from righteous topics of justice and solidarity into classic, early hip hop corniness and religious preaching. This album is better the less you listen to the lyrics.
Fri Jan 28 2022
White Blood Cells
The White Stripes
Best Song: Fell In Love With A Girl. This is how I wish all White Stripes songs sounded.
Worst Song: This Protector. It just sounds amateurish? I understand their aesthetic is this kind of street performer vibe, but this really feels like a first or second rehearsal of a song, not a recorded track.
Overall: Jack White's mewling cat vocals occasionally work here, but the general simplicity of all the songs makes it blend together very quickly. Each song feels like snippet of an idea that was considered for a moment before they cranked out the song and moved on to the next one. I do like the raw vibe though, and if they just played faster and with a little more life, I would actually like the album.
Sat Jan 29 2022
Best Song: A Forest. Driven by a bassline that keeps the song chugging at a decent clip, with interesting mixed and layered effects.
Worst Song: Three. Sparse piano and unintelligible whispers that progresses into a Michael Jackson-sounding beat.
Overall: Nearly the whole album seems content to sit in its own sleepy sadness. It isn't even sad in an interesting way. Just dull. Don't know what context I would ever want to listen to this.
Sun Jan 30 2022
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
Best Song: Ziggy Stardust. Might be worth it just for the line "Making love with his ego".
Worst Song: It Ain't Easy. Not bad, just forgettable.
Overall: Very theatrical. Certainly one of the albums on this list that feels most cohesive as a single concept.
Mon Jan 31 2022
Best Song: John Wayne Gacy, Jr. Dark, haunting subject matter told with a gentle presentation.
Worst Song: Jacksonville. Feels like a relatively ordinary and safe song you might hear in a clothing commercial.
Overall: Great to listen to. Really enjoyed the choir sections, particularly the female vocalist. Lyricallly interesting throughout.
Tue Feb 01 2022
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Best Song: Gorgeous. Obviously Runaway stands out, but Gorgeous feels like it has Kanye in his rarest form. Lyrically might be the best of the album, and the whole seems tense and ready to attack.
Worst Song: So Appalled. The chorus is not good enough to repeat as often as they do. The song also suffers from having a somewhat sleepy production and trying to immediately follow Nicki's verse on Monster.
Overall: Expertly produced. The beats are fantastic, the samples scratch itches you didn't know you had, nearly every feature works. Kanye even has his lyrical ducks mostly in a row, but still throws in the occasional goofball bar.
Wed Feb 02 2022
Best Song: Spanish Pipedream. Halfway decent lyrics.
Worst Song: Far from Me. That mewling cat instrumental in the background is not helping.
Overall: Not great. Really repetitive rhythm and rhyme schemes, drawled in what feels like an imitation Dylan affectation. Why listen to this when Bob Dylan and Gordon Lightfoot have done it so much better?
Thu Feb 03 2022
Honky Tonk Heroes
Best Song: They all mix together in a continuous stream of the same, country-flavoured mush. It may have been fresh when it came out, but that doesn't make it interesting.
Worst Song: Old Five and Dimer (Like Me). Are we at the country bear jamboree?
Overall: I think I just have a predisposition to dislike any music where the singer refers to themselves as a "good old boy." Lyrically uninteresting, musically repetitive.
Fri Feb 04 2022
Red Headed Stranger
Best Song: Down Yonder. Nice rousing piano tune.
Worst Song: O'er the Waves. Mega sleepy guitar solo.
Overall: Honestly, this is the third consecutive country/western album the algorithm has given me, so it has all begun to blur. This is not my genre, although of the three albums, I could see why someone might like this one.
Sat Feb 05 2022
Talking Heads 77
Best Song: The Book I Read. Romantic in that creepy vibe that the Talking Heads give off.
Worst Song: Psycho Killer (Acoustic). It isn't terrible, but why is the song twice on the same album? They didn't even put the repetition at the end?
Overall: It really just feels like more of the same of this pop punk, alternative rock. Never seems to put any gusto behind any of the songs. Feels like a slightly better version of the B52s.
Sun Feb 06 2022
Sweet Baby James
Best Song: Sweet Baby James. A smooth introduction to the album, where his voice is really able to shine. Interesting lyrics about religion as well.
Worst Song: Steam Roller Blues. It just doesn't feel like he has the right timbre of voice to grit out this kind of song. His voice is altogether too clean, even if I do like the backing instrumentals.
Overall: Not my typically preferred style of music, but the concise and well-written songs, in combination with Taylor's gentle and smooth voice, works as well as it can for me.
Mon Feb 07 2022
Here's Little Richard
Best Song: Long Tall Sally. Each two line verse feels like Little Richard is ripping it directly out of his soul. You can feel the recording technology (and his voice) struggle against everything he throws at it.
Worst Song: Miss Ann. The vocal performance is good here, but I prefer the tracks with a faster, more urgent tempo.
Overall: Little Richard comes off as absolutely electric here. The whole album has this manic feel, like it might fall apart at any second.
Tue Feb 08 2022
Best Song: Get It Together. Carried by Q-Tip, although it really does remind you that you could be listening to A Tribe Called Quest instead of this.
Worst Song: Heart Attack Man. Unfunny and noisy.
Overall: I wasn't a fan of the Beastie Boys coming into this, and the album did little to change that. Tracks like Sabrosa and The Update prove that they can make slick, jazzy jams, but more often than not they just descend into noisy lo-fi mumbling.
Wed Feb 09 2022
Best Song: Trafalgar. Nice harmonies.
Worst Song: The Greatest Man In The World. Sappy, weepy, corny, with way too much vocal vibrato.
Overall: Why did I think the Bee Gees were fun? This was melodramatic, overly serious, and self-important. Should feature as Figure 1 in the textbook on over-singing.
Thu Feb 10 2022
Since I Left You
Best Song: Frontier Psychologist. The selection of vocal tracks work really well together to tell a story, mixed well with nice use of drums and scratches.
Worst Song: Flight Tonight. If you're going to repeat a sample that much, make sure you've picked an interesting sample.
Overall: A good background album that feels almost more like a live DJ set than a recorded album. Nothing really stands out as high- or lowlights; instead the entire production works as a single flow. Feels like great music to have in the background while cooking or working.
Fri Feb 11 2022
Best Song: Rococo. I really like the way he plays with the stresses on the syllables of the word "rococo" to generate rhythm in the chorus.
Worst Song: Wasted Hours. Sleepy song that sounds like old blues standard instrumentals. Not a terrible song, but doesn't fit with the rest of the album.
Overall: Well-produced, thoughtful, stylish indie rock-pop? It's definitely very well done, but still ends up feeling somewhat heartless to me.
Sat Feb 12 2022
Highway to Hell
Best Song: Beating Around The Bush. Has that slightly rawer feel that benefits the intended vibe.
Worst Song: Walk All Over You. The backing vocals come off really weak here.
Overall: Obviously the title track commands a lot of the respect here. Many of the lesser known tracks even lose a bit of the AC/DC edge and feel like they verge into hair metal (Touch Too Much sounds like it could be a Def Leppard song). Also, has to be one of the worst album covers of all time. It looks like its taken from the perspective of a young woman who just asked if she could join her high school's D&D group.
Sun Feb 13 2022
Kings Of The Wild Frontier
Adam & The Ants
Best Song: Dog Eat Dog. Punkish rolling beat with overlapping vocals. High energy.
Worst Song: Don't Be Square (Be There). Elements of this sound like they are intending to sound bad, as if that amounts to punk rock. Absolutely inane lyrics too.
Overall: Another album seemingly pulled from a very specific time and place in England that doesn't belong on this list. I easily could have died having never heard this.
Mon Feb 14 2022
Out Of The Blue
Electric Light Orchestra
Best Song: Night in the City. Wonderfully layered and uplifted vocals. Almost ruined by the brief cowbell interlude.
Worst Song: Jungle. Much too droning and repetitive of a rhythm, especially balanced against the rest of the album.
Overall: Very theatrical feel. Fits nice in the background, but there are too many slow moments and extended transitions to enjoy a really focused listen.
Tue Feb 15 2022
Live At The Star Club, Hamburg
Jerry Lee Lewis
Best Song: Good Golly, Miss Molly. That speed and intensity are in full force here, and Lewis pushes his voice into a gravelly breaking point.
Worst Song: Your Cheating Heart. This album lives and dies based on its speed, and it absolutely dies here.
Overall: A strangely varied album for its 22 minute runtime. It makes you roll your eyes when Lewis tries to croon and play the ragtime standards, knowing there are plenty of other singers who could do the same better. But when he decides "fuck it, this piano has no brakes" and hits the gas, it rivals even the best that thrash metal has to offer.
Wed Feb 16 2022
Dog Man Star
Best Song: The Asphalt World. Progressive feel with nice multi-layered vocals and a gloomy lyrical feel.
Worst Song: The 2 Of Us. Pure melodrama. The sparse instrumentals, particularly those that close the song, as nice, but they can't overcome the full cheese vocal performance.
Overall: A totally average British band cosplaying as David Bowie.
Thu Feb 17 2022
TV On The Radio
Best Song: DLZ. A more industrial, almost NIN sound.
Worst Song: Dancing Choose. The nasally tendencies of the vocalist stick out more in the chorus of this one.
Overall: Pleasantly busy music that jumps genres within the album. Vocals are the weak point, but the production is clean.
Fri Feb 18 2022
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme
Simon & Garfunkel
Best Song: Flowers Never Bend with the Rainfall. Whimsical lyrics with excellent use of rhyme.
Worst Song: Homeward Bound. Not terrible, but feels like the kind of song that would play in a coffee commercial.
Overall: A very short album, filled with short songs. Pleasant to listen to, but leaves nothing particularly memorable.
Sat Feb 19 2022
Selected Ambient Works 85-92
Best Song: Ageispolis. Groovy and bloopy.
Worst Song: Green Calx. Sounds a bit too much like a rave inside a malfunctioning office printer.
Overall: It is excellent at what it aspires to be. This feels like the pinnacle of what "ambient" music can be. Lacks the busyness/aggression of some of Aphex Twin's other work. Great music to read or work to.
Sun Feb 20 2022
Pills 'n' Thrills And Bellyaches
Best Song: Step On. Their most listened to song, probably the best on the album, but the lyrical patterning in some sections seems pretty derivative of The Beatles' "Come Together", so it's not even that original.
Worst Song: Bob's Yer Uncle. Why does the title invoke an uncle, but the song contains lyrics like "Can I take you from behind and make you live?" Was this song supposed to sound so predatory? Perhaps the least sexy attempt at being sexy I've ever heard in a song. The flute/sax combo was nice though.
Overall: Bland and basic. Sounds something like an amalgam of U2 and a Bowie cover band. The backing instrumentals were nice and funky in sections, but not enough to make up for the rest of the album. Another album that was gratuitously added to reach a nice number like 1001.
Mon Feb 21 2022
Best Song: All I Need. The female vocals were a nice addition. Really chill track.
Worst Song: Remember. The reverb on the snare doesn't sound great.
Overall: A good chill album to have on in the background. Sunday morning coffee type music.
Tue Feb 22 2022
The Pleasure Principle
Best Song: Cars. Don't even know if it's better than any of the others, or if it just benefits from the fact that I recognize it.
Worst Song: Observer. Exactly that chunky, slow, 80s synth style that I dislike.
Overall: Not my style. Sounds like big hair and neon clothes. It just feels like so much emphasis was placed on using weird and space-y sounds, rather than having them sound good and fit together in any cohesive way.
Wed Feb 23 2022
Haut de gamme / Koweït, rive gauche
Best Song: Qui cherche trouve. Slow groovy dance rhythm yeah.
Worst Song: Dit Jeannot. A bit too far out in space, instrumentally.
Overall: Optimistic toe-tapping music that does nothing to grab your attention, for better or worse. Beautiful mess of an album cover though.
Thu Feb 24 2022
Let's Get Killed
Best Song: Radio 7. The bit about Bond was great, as was the play on his theme.
Worst Song: Head Rush on Lafayette. Because the preceding songs started with (what appear to be) candid recordings of people talking, the spoken word here ends up feeling forced in comparison. Give me more of those realistic, bizarre slices of life.
Overall: Nice relaxed beats interspersed with strange street interviews. Nothing stands out all too distinctly, but overall the album does a good job of maintaining this sort of "hardened mellow" flow. Good background/working music.
Fri Feb 25 2022
Hunting High And Low
Best Song: Take On Me. Always feels lame to pick the big target as the best song, but it really is the only choice here. So unique, with much more adventurous vocals than the rest of the album.
Worst Song: Hunting High and Low. Sounds too much like the song that plays during a movie montage, where the animated protagonist is literally looking high and low for their missing friend.
Overall: Coming into this having previously only heard "Take On Me", I honestly expected more. The rest of the album is just this squeaky clean, super-sanitized pop. Also, I don't usually care about the cover art, but the decision to choose this tricep-popping picture is an interesting one.
Sat Feb 26 2022
Echo And The Bunnymen
Best Song: Seven Seas. Somewhat energetic, liked the gang vocals.
Worst Song: The Yo-Yo Man. Really just sounds like a budget version of The Doors here.
Overall: Put another one on the growing pile of English mediocrity. Is this "1001 Albums to Hear before you Die" or "1001 Albums One Man Heard On His Local Radio"?
Sun Feb 27 2022
Music From Big Pink
Best Song: I Shall Be Released. Sounds almost like the Bee-Gees here. Nice falsettos backed by a good military-style snare.
Worst Song: In A Station. Ponderously slow and self-indulgent.
Overall: Although not bad, I just wonder who gets excited about music like this? It's not particularly thoughtful or evocative, nor does it seem to have an ounce of passion. This album came out a year before Led Zeppelin 1. Given that context, I can't understand how this music persevered. Everything about them, down to the name, feels like a placeholder.
Mon Feb 28 2022
Best Song: I Know What I Know. Nice storytelling style to communicate a very slice-of-life ordinariness, while being backed by some great South African music.
Worst Song: Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes. Sometimes writers can enjoy the sound of a lyric they've a little too much, and repeat it to the point where it loses its lustre. This is one of those times.
Overall: Quirky little album, with Simon telling these quaint little stories over varied African rhythms. The juxtaposition didn't really feel like it added much though, and the whole was no more than the sum of its parts. I often found myself wondering why I wouldn't just listen to the African artists themselves, without Simon overtop, as they were often the most interesting part of the music.
Tue Mar 01 2022
Birth Of The Cool
Best Song: Moon Dreams. Although I usually prefer my jazz upbeat, this song is the absolute definition of cool.
Worst Song: Venus De Milo. A just okay track sandwiched between two far better ones.
Overall: Sometimes an album title just fits. This whole album is undeniably cool, suffused with a sort of suave but understated confidence. This is lean back, pour a stiff drink type jazz.
Wed Mar 02 2022
Dusty In Memphis
Best Song: Son Of A Preacher Man. The one song I'd heard before. The only one where the singer (or her vocal object) seems to have an ounce of agency. How did this righteous song end up in the middle of all this wrist-wringing?
Worst Song: So Much Love. Real weepy and pathetic lyrics that feel like they are entirely undone by the very next song.
Overall: Entirely forgettable except for the one song that managed to escape the melodramatic clutches of the rest. Each song is dripping with cheese and sounds like it is intended to be listened to while staring forlornly out of a rain-covered window. I also dislike how none of the songs know how to end, instead just fading out into nothingness.
Thu Mar 03 2022
Best Song: White Riot. The best pure punk song on the album.
Worst Song: Cheat. Absolutely sounds as though he's "cheep cheep-ing" like a bird.
Overall: At a certain point, we have to admit that The Clash is the AC/DC of punk. All of their songs sound the same. It lacks the conviction and passion of something like Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, or Bad Brains. Just the same bouncy rhythm on every track.
Fri Mar 04 2022
Best Song: Pussycat. Has to be one of the best R&B choruses out there, in a track that manages to be both absurd and legitimate at the same time.
Worst Song: Back In The Day. Get Jay-Z outta here. The choppy beat is good, but wasted on Jay-Z's low energy input.
Overall: Missy crushes it with her self-aware and funny lyrics. Timbaland crushes it with some production that is maybe peak-Timbaland, with layers upon layers of clipping beats. Honestly, the features here are the weakest parts (especially Jay-Z and Beyonce). Missy's presence is so big, and she's so uniquely playful and creative, that it feels a waste to have her share the stage.
Sat Mar 05 2022
Shake Your Money Maker
The Black Crowes
Best Song: She Talks To Angels. I know it's more than a bit overwrought, but it gives me nostalgia for this specific period in my childhood wherein this song was so perfectly melodramatic that I would listen to it and imagine singing this song as a eulogy for a friend taken by drug addiction, despite my not being able to sing and not knowing anyone with a drug problem. Nevertheless, there wasn't a dry eye at that imaginary funeral.
Worst Song: Sister Luck. Too slow with too much forced sincerity.
Overall: If ever there was an album that felt like it was explicitly written for radio, it's this one. Entirely safe rock, where the basis of each song seems to be the nature of the (oft-repeated) vocal hook. I like the vocalist's style, but don't like how often he over-sings.
Sun Mar 06 2022
John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers
Best Song: Parchman Farm. Nice and high tempo. Harmonica is the star here.
Worst Song: What'd I Say. Not terrible, but just a needlessly lengthy drum solo. Also weirdly positioned within the album. I feel like a solo like this is best placed near the album's finale, not a third of the way in.
Overall: This kind of blues is not my genre, although I could see how some would like it.
Mon Mar 07 2022
Planet Rock: The Album
Best Song: Looking for the Perfect Beat. That perfect level of retro-futuristic sound.
Worst Song: Really weird that they chose this as the leadoff song (let alone named the album after it), because I found it by far the most annoying on the album. Part of it is just that this style of hip hop has aged really poorly, so this track sounds a bit like the DK rap.
Overall: Today I learned that RATM's 'Renegades of Funk' is actually a cover. Although I think this is one of those cases wherein the cover really elevated the song.
Tue Mar 08 2022
Best Song: Need Your Love. The rhythm section really carries here. The latter half of the song is a real nice driving groove, which smartly dips in intensity before grinding forward into a stronger climactic end. It is also devoid of any vocals, which doesn't feel like a coincidence.
Worst Song: Big Eyes. Whiny sounding hook.
Overall: Feels odd to have a live album here. Is Cheap Trick notably worse in studio? Even as a live recording, the audience almost sounded fake, so I don't think the live atmosphere helped the cause here. Regardless, whenever the vocalist entered the fray it just sounded like fairly standard, Big Hair Rock. Better left as a hard rock instrumental group.
Wed Mar 09 2022
Wish You Were Here
Best Song: Shine On You Crazy Diamond. Doesn't matter how long it is, this track feels absolutely ethereal. Completely in outer space.
Worst Song: Isn't really a worst song here. Everything flows into everything else, and it all works.
Overall: This album just feels so expansive. Every note has so much space. I think part of it is the patience with which everything is delivered, but part also comes from the way its mixed, as though the band is actually far away from the microphone, floating in space, and the microphone is just drifting around them.
Thu Mar 10 2022
Best Song: When Doves Cry. I really don't think anyone other than Prince could make this song work. Everything about it is killer: the layered vocals, the introspective lyrics, that slow grinding groove.
Worst Song: The Beautiful Ones. Too sleepy and synthy. Doesn't meet the energy of the songs that come before or after. I do like the raw vocals at the end though.
Overall: It's hard not to love Prince's goddamn charisma. The best songs on this album sound like pure Purple energy. Prince sounds like Michael Jackson if MJ had a soul. Even still, there is a pretty sizable gulf between the massive heights that the singles reach and the comparatively far weaker songs that fill the rest of the album.
Fri Mar 11 2022
Best Song: Timeless Melody. Nice, pure 90s sounding hook. A good enough song that I went back and listened to it again specifically after the album ended.
Worst Song: Freedom Song. This waltz ain't workin'.
Overall: There's really one hit wonders in this list?
Sat Mar 12 2022
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
Best Song: Ex-Factor. The latter half of the song, when the vocals start to layer and the choir joins in, is good enough to be spiritual.
Worst Song: I Used To Love Him. I just find Mary J. Blige over-sings on this track in a way that clashes with Lauryn Hill's laidback delivery.
Overall: Beautiful, soulful album. Lauryn Hill's voice is pure honey. The lyrics manage to be both romantic and anti-romance. Even the clips with the kids are perfect at exemplifying the broader themes of the album.
Sun Mar 13 2022
Best Song: In My Mind. Nice rolling guitar and drums.
Worst Song: Time With You. Sounds like a high school band.
Overall: Likeable high tempo music made uninteresting with boring vocals. Would have preferred an instrumental version.
Mon Mar 14 2022
People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm
A Tribe Called Quest
Best Song: Can I Kick It? There's a reason this song is so popular. The laidback, slow-drip lyrical flow is about as good here as it is on the rest of the album, but the backing instrumentals here stand above.
Worst Song: Mr. Muhammad. The beat is most obtrusive on this track, getting in the way of the flow. Sounds almost Beastie Boys-ish (in a bad way).
Overall: Groove personified. This album isn't right for all situations but it's perfect for some. Phife and Q-Tip are on their game for the whole album. The beats are solid, predictable head-nodders, which provide the best canvas for the vocals layered over top.
Tue Mar 15 2022
Best Song: Search and Destroy. Liked the wild ending.
Worst Song: Gimme Danger. Feels like Iggy Pop is cosplaying as Jim Morrison here.
Overall: Plodding, punkish music that slips frequently into different genres and attempts to do what others have done much better.
Wed Mar 16 2022
Fear and Whiskey
Best Song: None.
Worst Song: Chivalry. What in the 8-bit cowboy is that background instrumental?
Overall: I will be surprised if there is a worse vocal performance on this list. This sounds like your milquetoast colleague who always wants to go to karaoke, so you assume they must be able to sing, but when they get on stage they just start loudly talking with the music. And it's interspersed with amateur theatre? Even better. This album is one of the 1001 ways to tell that you've actually already died and you were sent to the bad place.
Thu Mar 17 2022
The New Tango
Best Song: Nuevo Tango. Very uptempo, jazzy tango. Not what I imagined tango to be.
Worst Song: Little Italy. An alright song that has its moments, but overstays its welcome with an overly long, slowly diminishing outro.
Overall: Some much appreciated diversity in this list, even if it isn't music to which I would typically listen. Still, I will definitely consider it for background working or dinner music.
Fri Mar 18 2022
From Elvis In Memphis
Best Song: Suspicious Minds. At least this one seems to have a bit of hubris? it isn't just more of Elvis's overwhelming "you'll love me no matter what" ego.
Worst Song: Only The Strong Survive. The chorus of "only the strong survive" is wholly undermined when the verses reveal that he's actually talking about girls not loving him, not any actual hardship.
Overall: Maybe Elvis is a "you had to be there" type of talent. Listening now, I just find myself thinking that there are so many better musicians who can produce this type of music with much more authenticity. Elvis's music sounds like it was stolen, overproduced, and then sold back as a safe and sanitized version of something that ought to have been more raw. He sings like he's playing with house money.
Sat Mar 19 2022
Live At The Harlem Square Club
Best Song: For Sentimental Reasons. When the crowd starts singing along and Cooke still soars over top... To be in that room.
Worst Song: Twistin' the Night Away. Just not a fan of the twist.
Overall: The live setting really works well here. The recording sounds very close, as if the band is grouped tightly together in the corner of a small bar or club. And there's just something about the way you hear idle chatter in the background, the way Cooke rambles and adlibs these little bits. It feels like the audience isn't all stuck, shoulders squared to the stage, watching the music, but are letting themselves enjoy the music and each other. It feels like I can hear dancing. A surprisingly romantic album.
Sun Mar 20 2022
Best Song: Jordan River. I like the rolling chorus. Feels like a song that would be nice to listen to while going down a river.
Worst Song: Give Me. I don't even know why.
Overall: I think this is just a genre that doesn't work for me. The plodding pace, the strong reliance on repetition. This could be great reggae, but I can't overcome the trappings of the genre.
Mon Mar 21 2022
I’ve Got a Tiger By the Tail
Best Song: Streets of Ladere. If I close my eyes, I can imagine I am a child. It is a hot day in Florida, and we've just stepped inside the Country Bear Jamboree.
Worst Song: Wham Bam. Jesus this is the corniest shit I've ever heard.
Overall: Was not expecting an unironic use of the word "buckaroo".
Tue Mar 22 2022
Jorge Ben Jor
Best Song: Taj Mahal. Upbeat, joyous music. One I will definitely go back to.
Worst Song: Cavaleiro Do Cavalo Imaculado. I like the tempo, I don't like that high-pitched honking in the background.
Overall: Decent groovy music. Not terribly memorable, but something I can easily imagine listening to on occasion.
Wed Mar 23 2022
Untitled (Black Is)
Best Song: Wildfires. The best straight song that I could imagine listening outside of the context of the rest of the album.
Worst Song: Don't Shoot Guns Down. The lyrics were a bit too on-the-nose to be poetic.
Overall: An intensely political album that feels at time like spoken word poetry. This isn't music that can (or probably was intended) to be listened to in the background. It demands your attention. At many points it feels closer to theatre than music.
Thu Mar 24 2022
The Holy Bible
Manic Street Preachers
Best Song: Mausoleum. Really enjoyed the melody for the chorus.
Worst Song: This is Yesterday. No one asked for this slow down in tempo in the middle of the album.
Overall: Even though I've never heard them before, I can definitely here their influence on bands I have listened to. Although the album starts a bit slow, it picks up relatively quickly into the upbeat, dancey pop/punk/rock that it does well.
Fri Mar 25 2022
Club Classics Vol. One
Soul II Soul
Best Song: Back to Life. Angelic singers serenading you with soul.
Worst Song: Feeling Free. Feels like a dude just talking over a beat in front of a captive audience.
Overall: The music grooves, the backup singers are killing it, it's honestly just the main male vocals that drag the album down. The male vocals sound really dated, and are delivered with a sort of impassivity that doesn't jive with the rest of the output.
Sat Mar 26 2022
Best Song: Hole In Your Head. Something about the grating voice really works on this kind of schoolyard bullying track. And you can't tell me "Scooby dooby doo y'all" isn't a fun lyric.
Worst Song: Stoned is the Way of the Walk. So choppy in the delivery that it makes me feel like English isn't my native language.
Overall: For some reason, I've always thought that Cypress Hill was the rap version of The Smashing Pumpkins. I think it might be because both vocalists sound like they were born without mouths and have to sing exclusively through their noses. The beats are solid, in-your-face, 90's fare, and the lyrics are alright, but I just cannot cope with that voice.
Sun Mar 27 2022
Best Song: Tough to find a standout in this list of noisy snippets.
Worst Song: Three Girl Rhumba. It legitimately sounds like his mouth is numbed for this song.
Overall: Really not that much to pick out here. Doesn't have the tempo or emotion of good punk or rock, instead just kinds of sits in this middle space of mediocre noisiness, as if being abrasive were its own virtue.
Mon Mar 28 2022
Ready To Die
The Notorious B.I.G.
Best Song: The What. If there was anyone who can fit Biggie's flow it's Method Man, who elevates this track.
Worst Song: Fuck Me (Interlude). It's funny, but it means you can't just throw this album on with other people around
Overall: Nobody did it like Biggie. His voice is butter, and you can feel the storytelling in each track. Surprisingly dark. Biggie toes the line between bravado and vulnerability, but he does it with such straightforward lyrics its equally easy to ignore the message and focus instead on the musicality of his flow and the relentlessly heavy, bouncing beats.
Tue Mar 29 2022
Best Song: Run Riot. Only because around the three minute mark there is a brief guitar solo that reminds you that music can be fun and interesting.
Worst Song: Love Bites. Why this one over the dozen other nearly identical soulless entries? I don't know. They're all bad.
Overall: This is a low water mark in rock music history. Def Leppard lacks the edge of other hair metal bands like Motley Crue, the vocal talent of groups like Boston who could actually pull off these kind of ballads, and the passion of literally any other band. The instrumentation is uninteresting. The vocals sound like sick cats stage whispering from the far end of a wind tunnel. The lyrics are so dumb they feel like parodies. "Don't Shoot Shot Gun"? Kill me.
Wed Mar 30 2022
Best Song: Unchained Melody. Given that most versions of this song are intentionally and forcefully oversung, I enjoyed this more mellow rendition.
Worst Song: Blue Skies. Too much reliance on the piano, and I wasn't a fan of the chorus.
Overall: Sometimes the title and cover of an album sets an expectation of how the album will sound. Here, I expected an acoustic album, one you might expect to hear alongside a campfire under the stars. For that reason (and therefore perhaps unfairly), I was disappointed by the electric instrumentation on much of the album. I think the album would have been better if it were allowed to be more sparse so as not to draw away from Willie's often meek and subdued vocal delivery.
Thu Mar 31 2022
Done By The Forces Of Nature
Best Song: Doin' Our Own Dang. The female vocals were more interesting than anything else on the album.
Worst Song: Feelin' Alright. Scatting is something that can work really well if used sparingly. It just goes on too long here.
Overall: The backing house-style instrumentals are nice. It's got a dance-y groove. Clearly influential, but hip hop aesthetics have changed so much since this era, so it is really difficult to listen to these simple and repetitive flows and rhyming patterns and get excited. I think it's the over-enunciation of each syllable that really kills it for me.
Fri Apr 01 2022
Best Song: Sultans of Swing. It really lives up to its name. Has spawned several really good covers while still holding up as the original. Obviously the guitar is the star here.
Worst Song: Setting Me Up. Gettin' a little too honky tonk over here....
Overall: Outside of Sultans of Swing, the rest of the album is only okay. Sweet smooth guitar licks, sure, but at times the vibe seems so relaxed it starts to feel sleepy. Nevertheless, the instrumentation is fantastic throughout.
Sat Apr 02 2022
Best Song: Uncertain Smile. Unoffensive in that coffee-commercial kind of way, but with a really enjoyable piano solo.
Worst Song: I've Been Waitin' For Tomorrow (All of My Life). Really bizarre song to start the album. It sounds like each person was told to play a different song and they didn't realize until after they mixed it.
Overall: Another cottage in the industry of Bowie impersonators. Also peppered with oddball, edgy lyrics. "While I'm being raped by progress / Tomorrow's world is here to stay / They wouldn't have it any other way..." Yikes.
Sun Apr 03 2022
The Smashing Pumpkins
Best Song: Cherub Rock. This is the band at their most Smashing. A grungy, gritty groove that does a great job of kicking off the album.
Worst Song: This is the band at their most Pumpkins. Corgan just absolutely squeezing out how he "used to be a little boy," sounding like he's trying to sing while someone fits him for a corset that's two sizes too small. Add that to the layered vocals when he sings against/with himself and it's all just too much.
Overall: This album, like the other Smashing Pumpkins albums I've listened to, is bloated, self-indulgent, and rooted around a central sound whose appeal I just don't understand. There are better, realer, rawer grunge records out there. Your time is much better spent listening to any of them.
Mon Apr 04 2022
Best Song: Sweet Cocaine. Absolutely did not expect a love letter to cocaine in the back half of this album. That alone is worth the price of admission.
Worst Song: Bad-Di-Da. A bit of a forced melody made worse by the ancient mixing which threatens to blow out your speakers with each "di-da".
Overall: This album's alternate title is "Old Man Cowboy." I'm not even sure if that's derogatory. Also, a bit strange that the whole album foists this okay-ish voiced Rootin' Tooter to the fore to sing ballad after ballad, but then the album ends with this long and meandering instrumental desert jam. I actually liked that bit better than anything else here.
Tue Apr 05 2022
In A Silent Way
Best Song: Shhh. These rules make less sense for an album like this, but the early portion of the album sounds almost alien and ethereal in its use of these technical blips and bloops.
Worst Song: None.
Overall: Definitely different from the Miles Davis I've listened to previously. The electric elements and rock fusion style definitely make it more easily listenable, but it also doesn't feel like it hits the same heights as Kind of Blue.
Wed Apr 06 2022
The Soft Bulletin
The Flaming Lips
Best Song: The Spark That Bled. The rhythm changeup that hits in the middle of the song is nice.
Worst Song: The Spiderbite Song. The plodding pace, along with the basic rhyme scheme, makes this song almost feel like a Dr. Seuss book put to music.
Overall: Thoughtful, well-produced music that doesn't sound as old to me as it apparently is. The vocals are almost too nasally, but they remind me of John K. Samson from the Weakerthans, which helps.
Thu Apr 07 2022
Best Song: Guitar Town. Really hits you in the mouth with the twang, but it's early enough in the album that it feels like a nice novelty rather than a ludicrous affectation.
Worst Song: My Old Friend the Blues. Call me cantankerous but I really don't think "the blues" should be sung as sweet-faced as this. The blues are gritty, not this saccharine stuff that feels like it should be playing at closing time in a rib restaurant.
Overall: You'll only find long vowels in this ol' giddyup. Feels like it has a classic rock feel in parts, almost like Bruce Springsteen or Bon Jovi, but also devolves into modern pop-country crooning. I don't really like the genre, but when I do it is at least has some raw and rough qualities. This kind of polished country feels like an oxymoron that's antithetical to the best parts of the genre.
Fri Apr 08 2022
Car Wheels On A Gravel Road
Best Song: Can't Let Go. Nice rolling rhythm. Reminds of me of KT Tunstall's modern (and extremely popular) "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree."
Worst Song: Concrete And Barbed Wire. Whatever cleverness the title might have had was entirely wrung out by the excessive repetition of the phrase.
Overall: She has a sweet voice, but I just find the music inoffensively bland.
Sat Apr 09 2022
Deloused in the Comatorium
The Mars Volta
Best Song: Inertiac Esp. The true kickoff to the album, this song launches like a rocket and never slows down.
Worst Song: Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of). Very atmospheric, but slower than I want from this group.
Overall: Chaotic music with a progressive edge, constantly cutting in with fits and starts. Complex enough to always be interesting and nostalgic enough for me that I have a sweet spot for it.
Sun Apr 10 2022
Clube Da Esquina
Best Song: Cravo E Canela. Dance-y and uplifting.
Worst Song: Me Deixa Em Paz. Without knowing the content of the lyrics, this feels like a religious proclamation that I needn't be a part of.
Overall: A bit of a fever dream, although sadly one that went on long enough for me to want some medicine.
Mon Apr 11 2022
Best Song: Hot for Teacher. Often times, songs are either funny or musically interesting. This is the rare case in which it's both. This song is positively sweaty.
Worst Song: I'll Wait. Sometimes, David Lee Roth just sounds like a poor man's Phil Collins.
Overall: Van Halen elicits a very specific feeling. You're near a body of water. The sun is setting. Your entire body is slick with lotion. You've lost track of how many beers you've had, but you have the vague notion that you're halfway to wherever it is you're going. A feeling of existential dread begins to push on you from the periphery. Is this it? Is this what life is? You belch and crush your beer can, grabbing a cold one from the bucket. Too Hot For Teacher comes on. As quick as it came on, the feeling of dread is gone, replaced by the need to Air Drum.
Tue Apr 12 2022
Best Song: Way over Yonder. Really powerful vocal performance.
Worst Song: Home Again. This just feels entirely plain, especially following the previous songs wherein King really showed off her vocal prowess. Also has some weak lyrics. "Snow is cold, rain is wet."
Overall: Really soulful performance. Has a few slow moments, but overall the package is delivered with such a passion that you can't help but feel like a natural woman.
Wed Apr 13 2022
A Grand Don't Come For Free
Best Song: Blinded by the Lights. Interesting and introspective description of a drug trip, helped massively by someone else taking over the vocal hook.
Worst Song: It Was Supposed to Be so Easy. The chorus sounds like a failing student in an adult education centre trying to read aloud to the class. Lyrically, the song is just on the line of self-awareness so I can't actually tell if it's satire. Even if it is, that doesn't redeem the song. Just explains it.
Overall: The stream-of-consciousness, intensely sincere, story-telling lyrical approach is (at times) really interesting here. Sadly, literally everything else isn't. The lead singer would have been better off writing dialogue for movies and TV than trying to cut it as a rapper.
Thu Apr 14 2022
Born To Run
Best Song: Born to Run. A classic, surely, but I wonder if the instrumentals are doing more of the work here than Springsteen.
Worst Song: Night. I guess never realized that this is how Springsteen's voice sounds. Like he's shouting through a mouthful of peanut butter.
Overall: Kinda tough to tell why this album is considered a bit deal.
Fri Apr 15 2022
Best Song: The Architect. Give me more of whatever those background blips and bloops are.
Worst Song: Loops In The Secret Society. A disappointingly generic rock groove.
Overall: An chill and psychedelic album, although leans a bit too heavy on the chill at times. Just groovy enough to keep you interested, and just relaxed enough that it can be put on in the background without feeling intrusive.
Sat Apr 16 2022
Brothers In Arms
Best Song: Your Latest Trick. Rarely do you get an opportunity to listen to a sleazy saxophone solo like this.
Worst Song: Money for Nothing. Absolutely everything in this song sounds dated, from the expired references to MTV and colour TVs, to the entirely out-of-pocket use of homophobic slurs.
Overall: Overwhelmingly medium music. Nothing very interesting here. Instrumentals are obviously slick, but the vocals are weak and the lyrics stink.
Sun Apr 17 2022
The Style Council
Best Song: My Ever Changing Moods. Like a budget Billy Joel.
Worst Song: A Gospel. Sounds like an alternate take on the Ghostbuster's theme.
Overall: One of the least cohesive albums I've ever heard. None of the songs seemed to have even a passing similarity or relationship to one another. There were some alright (albeit overly 80s) takes here, but they're tough to appreciate while you're getting musical whiplash.
Mon Apr 18 2022
Devil Without A Cause
Best Song: Wasting Time. Only for the soulful chorus sung by not Kid Rock.
Worst Song: Only God Knows Why. This has to be the worst ever use of auto-tune. T-Pain is
Overall: I have too many teeth and too few wallet chains to enjoy this music. Almost nothing of worth here. Kid Rock's lyrics are monumentally bad. He knows exactly one rhythmic pattern, into which he dumps whatever trashy ode to beer or women he's barfed out. Everything is vulgar without being interesting, delivered with this unearned bravado and confidence that suggests Kid Rock thinks he's a badass because he says bad words into the microphone. This album sounds like how cheap beer smells.
Tue Apr 19 2022
Songs From A Room
Best Song: The Partisan. Haunting lyrics paired with sparse instrumentals, further assisted by the French chorus, which contrasts and elevates Cohen's ruddy, nasal voice.
Worst Song: Story of Isaac. Lyrically beautiful, but this is Cohen, who can have a tendency towards vocal timidity, at his most quiet and disinterested in his delivery.
Overall: Although I prefer Cohen's later work, when his voice was coarser and his lyrics darker, this is a good entry into Cohen's canon. Cohen's music is best listened to intentionally, not as background music. Quiet, contemplative poetry set to music. One of the best singer-songwriters of our time.
Wed Apr 20 2022
Best Song: Amelia. Something about the lyrics and the subject matter really works here. "Like Icarus ascending / on beautiful and selfish arms". Very hippy aesthetic in the instrumentals as well.
Worst Song: A Strange Boy. The story-telling style here begins to deviate into rambling. And some of the lyrics are too on-the-nose (e.g., "drunk on love").
Overall: A wild and uninhibited set of stories that fluctuate between seemingly stream of consciousness to deeper, more poetic observations. The album feels very "free", but at times I wished it had more structure.
Thu Apr 21 2022
Best Song: All I Know. Nice alt-rock chorus that feels radio-friendly in a not unpleasant way.
Worst Song: Traveler. Nothing here sticks out here as singularly "bad", just generally boring, so this song wins by virtue of being slightly more boring than the rest.
Overall: Perfectly ordinary music that I can't imagine a single person getting excited about. An album whose highs are as medium as its lows.
Fri Apr 22 2022
Best Song: I'm Down to my Last Cigarette. Nice sultry song that suits her voice.
Worst Song: Sugar Moon. I just really don't like that old-timey, everything is rosy aesthetic for a song.
Overall: I enjoy K.D. Lang's voice, but this kind of crooning music is just not my style.
Sat Apr 23 2022
Sly & The Family Stone
Best Song: Everyday People. A lot of great songs on here, but the iconic vocal delivery edges this one out above the rest.
Worst Song: Sex Machine. Not to say that this prog-y groove is bad, but especially after "Everyday People" it feels somewhat out of place and kills the energy of the previous song.
Overall: Great, groovy music with a political message. That second song is a heavy hitter. Definitely will be returning to this.
Sun Apr 24 2022
Billion Dollar Babies
Best Song: Billion Dollar Babies. I'm of the age where this song makes me think of the version from Guitar Hero (or was it Rock Band), so chalk this like up to nostalgia for basement dwelling and video gaming.
Worst Song: Raped and Freezin'. Bold choice to put "raped" up there in the title. Especially of an otherwise entirely bland song.
Overall: A couple poppy, classic rock hits in here, but it does feel kind of laughable that anyone ever found this guy edgy. From a modern perspective, he feels entirely tame.
Mon Apr 25 2022
Madman Across The Water
Best Song: Levon. Only now did I realize the song isn't titled "Leave On". Good song though.
Worst Song: Rotten Peaches. A little too Elton in this one. Elton's swooning voice, his raucous piano playing, and the twangy guitar all feel like they're competing for attention, not melding together well.
Overall: Elton John has a very singular voice and presentation that makes it hard to compare him with other artists. Who can even be said to be his peer? That isn't to say it always works, and the album sags and flumps on occasion, but I can't help coming away having enjoyed the uniqueness of it.
Tue Apr 26 2022
Modern Life Is Rubbish
Best Song: Chemical World. Like a spooky children's party descending into madness.
Worst Song: Colin Zeal. Lots of sustained vocal notes to make sure you're acutely aware that these fellas can't sing.
Overall: An album that almost seems designed to annoy. Take the guitar flutter on Oily Water. I'm all for variant or raw musical styles, but with headphones this just sounds like the onset of a migraine. And sure, the album hits these nice instrumental rock grooves every so often, but those are offset by the times when anyone here is singing. Like many of the British bands from this era, one I think would have been better off as strictly instrumental.
Wed Apr 27 2022
Best Song: Be Thankful For What You've Got. They really got a brilliant vocal track here, that they gently augmented with the chill backing beats.
Worst Song: Daydreaming. Nicely quirky, but ultimately with too much going on, leaving the whole song feeling scattered.
Overall: Just good grooves that are suitable both as background and foreground music. Could use a bit more direction at times, but that chaos also helps drive its underground feel.
Thu Apr 28 2022
Best Song: If I Had a Heart. The only song on the album I knew prior to listening. Dark and brooding, it builds satisfyingly towards this sort of sombre crescendo. The lyrics also feel heavy and mysterious, lending themselves well to the overall tone of the track.
Worst Song: Now's The Only Time I Know. Lacks the grit and edge of the rest of the album, sounding more like a generic pop-rock song.
Overall: Atmospheric, dark, with interesting lyrics and neatly layered instrumentation. The male and female vocals provide an excellent stylistic counterpoint to one another. For rainy days, dusk and dawn.
Fri Apr 29 2022
Come Find Yourself
Fun Lovin' Criminals
Best Song: The Grave and the Constant. Full lean-back chill. The drums are the star here.
Worst Song: Bombin' the L. Blaring "classic rock" guitars absolutely killing the mood that had been developed up to that point.
Overall: The rapping isn't always top notch, but the hazy, atmospheric vibes mean those lyrical misses matter less. There is a tendency to repeat each song's hook too often that at times feels forced. For the most part, a purely leisurely album that seems designed as an intentionally slow burn. Would be improved by removing the boisterous tracks and leaning fully into the relaxed vibe.
Sat Apr 30 2022
Best Song: Black Sabbath. I can only imagine that in 1970, first hearing this track would have felt like a tectonic shift.
Worst Song: Wicked World. This is the kind of slow, plodding tempo that I think bogs down some of this old metal. Plus that super jazzy hi-hat really clashes with the rest of the aesthetic.
Overall: A historical monument that still has that heavy, bluesy swagger. Obviously what we think of as "metal" has developed significantly since this album, and it does feel dated at times, but there are moments of brilliance. Ozzy's voice is somehow captivating in spite of itself, but I think it is the guitar work that really stands out. A relatively tame starting point, from which better music came.
Sun May 01 2022
Best Song: Trillium. Sunday morning coffee music.
Worst Song: Sunlight. The lead singer seems seconds away from crying.
Overall: Musically I really want to like it, but the vocalist just sings so goddamn softly. The whole album I just wanted him to let loose, grit his voice up a bit. Show a little passion goddamnit.
Mon May 02 2022
My Bloody Valentine
Best Song: To Here Knows When. It sounds like I'm eavesdropping on a fever dream that someone else is having.
Worst Song: Blown a Wish. There are limits to how ethereal a song I can appreciate, apparently.
Overall: A very sleepy, droning album. While listening, I never felt all that annoyed, nor that interested. This feels like an album for the inebriated.
Tue May 03 2022
Best Song: Truckin'. The layered vocals are nice here, and the rhythm is real rhythmic. Despite the name, doesn't actually feel like driving music. Driving montage music, maybe.
Worst Song: Candyman. So slow. So staccato. So wispy in the vocals.
Overall: I'd never listened to the Grateful Dead before. All I knew was that they had a cult following unlike any other band. If this album is indicative of what their stuff is like, then I really don't understand. It isn't bad, but it certainly isn't interesting enough to warrant a cult. Sleepy dad rock.
Wed May 04 2022
Rage Against The Machine
Rage Against The Machine
Best Song: Killing In The Name Of. The song, its political message, and its musicality all make it a great song. What makes it an iconic song is when De La Rocha switches the lyrics in the final minute of the song to "fuck you I won't do what you tell me." The way it takes the heated and passionate political tone of the song and cranks it higher, when you thought the dial was already as high as it could go, is perfect.
Worst Song: Settle for Nothing. Trends a little too far towards prog-rock with its meandering guitar solo, which doesn't really add anything to the track.
Overall: It's killer. The whole album sounds youthful, smart, and talented. Takes the best of both rap and rock and mashes them into a rare fusion that actually works. Zack De La Rocha raps like a man on fire. If I close my eyes I can forget that Tom Morello is shilling NFTs now and remember when his guitar work was pure alien madness. This album is political and musical brilliance.
Thu May 05 2022
Best Song: American Guitars. Droning, but the most likeable of this relatively boring bunch.
Worst Song: Junk Shop Clothes. Intentionally and unintentionally sleepy.
Overall: Nothing of note here. Really just dull, milquetoast offerings. I[d forgotten most of the album by the next day. I'll probably lose recognition memory within a month.
Fri May 06 2022
Songs From The Big Chair
Tears For Fears
Best Song: Mother's Talk. Nice percussion that gives a worldly, dancey feel.
Worst Song: I Believe. Eighties ballads might be the worst variety of ballad.
Overall: Not bad for what is some painfully 80s fare. Even still, by the end I had started to grow tired of that 80s vocal affectation that makes it sound like they're singing in a big, empty warehouse.
Sat May 07 2022
Best Song: What Happened to You? I like the ska-style rhythm. It feels like it channels the band's rambunctious energy into a more productive direction.
Worst Song: Bad Habit. Odd choice to focus so heavily on the voice of a guy who can't sing. Also, the whole lyrical schtick of being a badass
Overall: It feels as though I've heard all the big songs on this album hundreds of times on the radio, and still I struggle to see the broad appeal. Is it because it has a certain everyman quality? Listening to this, you can imagine that, with minimal effort, you could probably make some kind of generic music that would be on par with what's available here. So you sing along and, as your caterwauling mixes with the sounds from the radio, you are able to vicariously live your rock star life.
Sun May 08 2022
Best Song: Dum Dum Boys. I liked the opening dialogue, leading into a warped and stretched opening that almost sounds like Pink Floyd.
Worst Song: Tiny Girls. There is no world in which this song isn't creepy. Also, why is his voice like that? Is he singing from atop a working washing machine?
Overall: Discordant in an ugly way. The latter half of "Mass Production" seemed almost designed to annoy.
Mon May 09 2022
Best Song: Mutual Slump. One of the more bombastic tracks, it provides a nice contrast to the more chilled-out tracks that surround it.
Worst Song: What Does Your Soul Look Like - Pt. 4. Just wasn't a fan of the croaky vocal sample.
Overall: Pretty perfect background music for working or writing. Nice mix of hip-hoppy beats and more ethereal soundtracks. Will definitely return to this.
Tue May 10 2022
With The Beatles
Best Song: All My Loving. I actually prefer several covers of this song, but the original still holds its own.
Worst Song: Roll Over Beethoven. Only because I can imagine the live shows in which the crowd, determined to match the energy of the studio recording, clap their hands bloody and raw for the entire goddamn song.
Overall: If this album is here, should I just assume that all Beatles albums are on this list? Surely one day all this phony Beatlemania will have bitten the dust, right? One thing that struck me while listening to this album was the way nearly every track immediately wriggles its way into your brain and sticks there like some not-entirely-pleasant drug. But then, for as fast as the dopamine hit of each song comes on, it peels off even faster and by the end of each (already short) song, you're grateful that it's finally gone. Paired with these inane, cheeky-cheesy lyrics, you're stuck with this album that feels so sugar-coated it should come with its own insulin shot.
Wed May 11 2022
New Boots And Panties
Best Song: Plaistow Patricia. Pure cacophonous filth.
Worst Song: Wake Up And Make Love With Me. This sounds like if Lenny from Of Mice and Men tried to write a song to woo Curley's wife.
Overall: I hope one day the creator of this list encounters a globe so they can fully appreciate the size of the world they ignore in favour of including the work another bloke who just happened to grow up in the same backyard.
Thu May 12 2022
Histoire De Melody Nelson
Best Song: Melody. I don't know what's being said, but I like the way he says it.
Worst Song: Ah Melody. Almost like a waltz? Didn't suit the brooding voice well.
Overall: An engrossing and appealing voice quietly and powerfully delivered, although the arrangements of each of the songs on the album starts to feel a bit similar. I did quite like the strange vocals on En Melody however, with the suggestive laughter backed by some more forward instrumentation.
Fri May 13 2022
The Sun Rises In The East
Jeru The Damaja
Best Song: Brooklyn Took It. Excellent flow, vocals drip feed a the perfect rate.
Worst Song: Da Bichez. Kinda disappointing that a song this misogynistic slaps so hard.
Overall: A lot of older hip hop has a short shelf life, if only because the genre changes and transforms so frequently, but this still works decades later. Great voice and a great collection of beats.
Sat May 14 2022
Beauty And The Beat
Best Song: How Much More. I'm a huge fan of upbeat songs with bleak or melancholy lyrics, and this fits that theme perfectly. The use of repetition really amplifies the song here.
Worst Song: We've Got The Beat. Despite being clearly the most popular song here, it really just comes off as overly bubblegum in a way that quickly becomes annoying.
Overall: There are brief moments here where the music transcends the sterile, saccharine 80s trappings, but ultimately it ends up descending into that sugar pile. An album that is okay to listen to once, but you need to brush your teeth immediately after.
Sun May 15 2022
Best Song: Nosferatu Man. Nice and noisy grunge rock.
Worst Song: Don, Aman. The reliance on whispering for dramatic effect really just comes off as melodrama. Plus, the whispered bit sounds like the introduction to a song that never comes.
Overall: This album is angst personified. It isn't necessarily bad, but I think you might need to be pubescent to get its full effect.
Mon May 16 2022
The Young Rascals
Best Song: Sueno. The Spanish inspired instrumentals helped alleviate the otherwise dated quality of the record.
Worst Song: If You Know. Real school choir vibes coming off of this one.
Overall: This is part of the sweet, cliched romance cohort of 60s music. Even when they sing "I don't love you anymore" it sounds like schoolkids who have broken up at lunch and will be together again by recess. I think this genre of forced wholesomeness has aged quite poorly, even if the music is (occasionally) groovy.
Tue May 17 2022
Best Song: Afraid of Everyone. In an album of excellent lyrics, this song still stands above the others.
Worst Song: Can't say there was one. Everything was very cohesive, and each song felt like it belonged.
Overall: Intoxicating. Between the deep and resonant vocals, the moody and melancholy lyrics, and the expansive instrumentation, the album feels very well-rounded.
Wed May 18 2022
Best Song: Aja. It almost doesn't feel like a song, more like a showcase of each band member's soloing abilities, but they're damn talented.
Worst Song: Deacon Blues. This just felt a bit dull. Ho-hum, without the blistering musical prowess from the previous track.
Overall: This was my first (that I know of) foray into Steely Dan. For some reason, maybe based on the name, I assumed they were boring dad rock. Turns out I was half right, because this is actually some pretty compelling dad rock. The musicality is top-notch here, but like many bands of this era, there is a sense of bloat as each song takes far longer than it needs. Still, a relaxed and groovy album that was fun to listen to.
Thu May 19 2022
Another Music In A Different Kitchen
Best Song: I Don't Mind. Not great, but it at least breaks through the monotony of the other songs by trying something marginally different.
Worst Song: Moving Away From The Pulsebeat. Just another guitar solo born or nothing, going nowhere.
Overall: Just a mish mash of noise, mixed poorly, that rarely deviates from the continuous droning line that drives ever onward. In what context does someone listen to this music? When so absolutely knackered that the musical drone mirrors that kind of stumbling myopia of heavy inebriation. Maybe then I would like it. Sober it's an absolute chore.
Fri May 20 2022
Best Song: Tubular Bells Pt 1. Particularly the spot around 12:30 where the instruments harmonize together.
Worst Song: Tubular Bells Pt II. The part where he begins to sing(?). I'm not certain that what this album needed was traditional rock drumming and non-traditional vocal shouting. It doesn't sound bad, necessarily, but it deviates so heavily from the musical themes set up in part one that I feel it ought to have been placed on another album entirely.
Overall: Tremendously weird. The instrumentation is fantastic, and all of Part 1 is engrossing and interesting, genre-defying music. It is only in Part 2, when the weird gets turned up a bit too high, when the progressive elements take over and the album feels like it starts to lose its mind a bit, even if it retains its soul.
Sat May 21 2022
Best Song: Highway Patrolman. I'm a sucker for these kind of simple, storytelling songs and this one's not bad, although sometimes the syllables don't line up well and it feels like he needs to rush or drag to finish a particular phrase on time.
Worst Song: Reason to Believe. I would have liked something more dramatic to conclude this otherwise sleepy album, not a sort of religious diatribe.
Overall: I appreciate that this has less of the over-the-top bravado that characterizes much of the other of Springsteen's work that I am familiar with, but still, I just find his voice largely uninteresting.
Sun May 22 2022
KE*A*H** (Psalm 69)
Best Song: Jesus Built My Hotrod. Now see, this is exactly the kind of silliness I appreciate in a metal album. Leaning fully into the "scatting" works well here at utilizing the metal vocals as an "instrument", but even still it gravitates a bit too close to Kid Rock's "bawitdaba" here.
Worst Song: TV II. Everything here comes off very flat, and the repeated stopping and starting means the song never feels like it has room to take off.
Overall: I like metal, but I've never heard this before. Very industrial. Feels like excellent music to work out with, preferably under a dilapidated bridge or in an actively working factory. Like a lot of this sub-genre though, it really just functions as this continuous, vaguely aggressive background music without ever stepping outside itself to provide you with anything that really grasps your attention.
Mon May 23 2022
AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted
Best Song: The Nigga Ya Love to Hate. Such a groovy blastoff into this album, that still hits hard lyrically despite being so upbeat musically.
Worst Song: I'm Only Out For One Thing. No song has ever been improved by including Flava Flav.
Overall: Yeah it's good, even if it does have some lyrical work that has aged pretty poorly. Also far too long for what's on offer, and could have used some editing before release.
Tue May 24 2022
Elvis Is Back
Best Song: Dirty, Dirty Feeling. It was surprisingly difficult to identify anything in this album that was better than the rest, as it all felt very slow and sleepy. This one wins by sounding the least "Elvis", and having an upbeat, (safely) raunchy theme.
Worst Song: Soldier Boy. As difficult it was to pick a "star", it was equally difficult to pick a low point in this album. I think this wins because what patience I had for these bloated, self-indulgent ballads had been worn thin by this track.
Overall: With music like this, it is very hard to understand how Elvis came to be as famous as he was. Call it a change in tastes, but everything here is rich and overdone, but starting to sour like like milk that's gone bad. To punctuate how terrible it was, after the song ended Spotify automatically transitioned into playing a Little Richard song, which was so fiercely singular and alive that I got whiplash from the juxtaposition. I firmly believe that Elvis is only interesting to people for whom some slightly gyrating hips are considered scandalous.
Wed May 25 2022
Best Song: Salminanam. I liked the vocal hook, whatever it was.
Worst Song: Bibbe Leyde. Felt a little too much like religious prayer for my taste.
Overall: A difficult album for me to rate. On the one hand, it is far more sparse and folksy than the music I typically like, and I find the lead singer's nasally delivery grating at times. On the other hand, some of the instrumentation is quite nice, and the fact that it is not in English means that it is something I can listen to in the background without getting distracted. Overall, happy to have heard it, not sure how often I'll come back to it.
Thu May 26 2022
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Best Song: Parallel Universe. Not a full ballad but still slow enough that Kiedis needs to sing, not rap, which I prefer. Also a track that didn't reach the stratospheric heights of the other singles here, so it doesn't feel so overplayed.
Worst Song: Porcelain. Why include such a slow, lullaby-style song in the middle of the album?
Overall: No one else sounds at all close to how the RHCP sound, but sometimes they don't sound all that good. Despite Kiedis not having a conventionally strong singing voice, I really prefer his singing to the kind of staccato, Beastie Boys-esque rapping that he favours. Although I was a bigger fan of them when I was younger, listening to them now I can't help but feel like they are the musical equivalent of the TV show 'Friends': difficult to hate (unless you're outright trying to be contrarian), but also so strongly of an era that they become less relevant with each passing year.
Fri May 27 2022
Reign In Blood
Best Song: Raining Blood. A recognizable riff that launched a thousand video game rock band simulators.
Worst Song: Necrophobic. The whole song it felt like the lead singer was struggling to keep up with the pace of the rest of the band, giving the whole song a sort of back-foot awkwardness that makes everything feel off balance in a bad way.
Overall: Given how passionate, how dramatic, how intense metal music can be due to the freedoms of the genre, I am always disappointed to find an album that's so boring. Try something different! Be weird! But don't just plod along with this morose seriousness. This album is like a drive through the worst kind of rural highways, maybe somewhere in Saskatchewan. Sure, the drive might be a little faster than the posted speed limit, but there isn't anything interesting to look at along the way. The road doesn't even bend or turn. It just goes and goes until you find yourself wondering "are we there yet?"
Sat May 28 2022
The Real Thing
Faith No More
Best Song: From Out of Nowhere. I really like the unconventional, somewhat whiny voice in this style of rock. A nice kickoff to the album.
Worst Song: Epic. Truthfully, it might just be because this was the only song that I had heard before, so the others were improved by the novelty.
Overall: Like a palatable Smashing Pumpkins, or a less interesting Porcupine Tree. Little bit grunge, little bit rock, and even coming close to the precipice of a rap-style delivery. Likely not something I would seek out to listen to again, but relatively interesting for a first spin.
Sun May 29 2022
The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan
Best Song: Don't Think Twice, It's Alright. A nice vocal hook that doesn't meander as badly as some of the other tracks.
Worst Song: Down the Highway. This lacks the political or story-telling elements that set apart Dylan's best songs. Instead it just feels like a bit of a stuttering mess that never gets off the ground.
Overall: I expected more. I think Bob Dylan is really good when he focuses on a particular topic and tries to tell a tight story. Something like is song Hurricane. Here, too many songs have no clear point and just kind of circle a vague topic before unceremoniously ending. Also I find his rhyme sequences are often simple over-enunciated, as if he's really leaning into the rhyming word to "bounce" off it for emphasis, which gives an almost Seuss-like quality to some tracks.
Mon May 30 2022
Best Song: Life on Mars? It has a nice ethereal quality that is reminiscent of Pink Floyd, but suitably Bowie-d up.
Worst Song: Andy Warhol. Bit of an annoying intro and the rest of the song is quite boring.
Overall: Maybe Bowie just isn't for me. I find most of these songs rather boring. His vocal performances aren't particularly exciting either. I wonder how much of his success is attributable for his persona and the cult of personality that is built around him. Stripped of that, and with no personal nostalgia towards his work, this feels just okay.
Wed Jun 01 2022
Best Song: Sorted for E's and Wizz. Nothing more to say than that I really just enjoyed the melody of the chorus.
Worst Song: F.E.E.L.I.N.G.C.A.L.L.E.D.L.O.V.E. What is it with every disco-rock male artist from the 80s that requires them to produce at least one song that makes them sound like a serial killer. Every one of them is at least 1% Buffalo Bill. Who thought this husky whispering was the sexy vibe of the decade?
Overall: More Brit male mediocrity. Nothing particularly exciting here, nothing weird, nothing musically interesting. Much ado about nothing.
Thu Jun 02 2022
The Young Gods
Best Song: Longue route. Nice heavy groove that really epitomizes the industrial sound they are going for.
Worst Song: Ville Notre. Without knowing the context of the song, it just sounds like it is taking itself too seriously.
Overall: A nice surprise. I liked how experimental it got with songs like "Les enfants". At times the experimentation got in its own way and I found myself looking for a consistent rhythm or theme, but generally the vibe here was a good industrial grind.
Fri Jun 03 2022
Rip It Up
Best Song: A Million Pleading Faces. Funky, dancey, beautifully layered vocals... I can get behind this.
Worst Song: Mud in your Eyes. Whiplash from how awful the vibe and vocals are here relative to the dance bomb of the previous track. This song never had a chance.
Overall: If the whole album was composed of those upbeat dance numbers, I'd have instantly loved it. Unfortunately, the fun songs are the minority here, poking out of an otherwise stock-standard set of predictable 80s rock.
Sat Jun 04 2022
Best Song: (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman. The most impressive vocal performance on the album, paired well with powerful but sweetly romantic lyrics.
Worst Song: Niki Hoeky. Just felt like more of a standard R&B song that didn't take advantage of Franklin's vocal abilities.
Overall: Obviously she has a strong and icon voice, and there is an offering of great R&B cuts here, but it also feels a bit more upbeat and (dare I say) disco-adjacent than the soulful stuff I was expecting.
Sun Jun 05 2022
Meat Is Murder
Best Song: Nowhere Fast. A short song that hits the marks it needs to and then leaves, kicking along at a decent pace that serves as a useful counterpoint against the sleepy, echoing vocals. The lyrics also have an existential melancholy that I wish more of these wispy 80s vocalists would dive headfirst into.
"I think about life and I think about death, and neither one particularly appeals to me."
Worst Song: That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore. Everything about this song sounds whiny. For everything that was right about the previous song, it is wrong here.
Overall: Back in the British 80s I see. Not much to like overall. There is the occasional interesting track, but it's mostly just that big, echo-y vocal affect over top simple and straight forward instrumentation. I also don't understand why bands leave their longest (often most bloated) tracks to the end of the album. When the last few songs are significantly longer than the others in the album, it makes the album feel like it's dragging on and that the artist was padding for time.
Mon Jun 06 2022
Best Song: Nowhere Man. Even if the vocal harmonizing feels a bit annoying at time (and honestly, a bit like a cult), the lyrical weirdness is enough to make this one stick out.
Worst Song: If I Needed Someone. Only the worst here because it is, like much of the rest here, boring. By the end of the album, my taste for these hyper-sweet melodies had long expired.
Overall: Fourteen songs that absolutely sprint past, each one dangling a slightly different jingle to try to grab your attention before its near-identical twin shoves it out of the way to offer its own wares. Everything about this is commercial in the worst way. This feels like an album that you like after you've already decided you like the Beatles.
Tue Jun 07 2022
Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols
Best Song: Bodies. I appreciate the shock value that a song that so explicitly discusses abortion must have caused when the album first came out.
Worst Song: Problems. Holy shit that droning "Prawwblemm" at the end of the track is one of the least musical things I've heard on this list. And I can't even give the group credit to think this might have been an intentional choice. I think they legitimately didn't know better.
Overall: Imagine if you took punk music, stripped it of all its lyrical intelligence, its musical creativity, and its political authenticity. An album with neither a heart nor a brain. An extraordinary long 39 minutes.
Wed Jun 08 2022
461 Ocean Boulevard
Best Song: I Shot The Sheriff. It is a chilled out classic, with good vocals and tight guitar playing.
Worst Song: Willie And The Hand Jive. You can't tell me he's not saying "handgina" over and over.
Overall: It mostly just feels like Clapton playing with his guitar, more than it feels like a cohesive album with a heart and soul. Admittedly, the guitar work is pretty damn good, but it all starts to blend together halfway through the album.
Thu Jun 09 2022
Best Song: Homelands. The mix of traditional songs and instruments comes together beautifully here.
Worst Song: Pilgrim. Not a bad song, per se, but it definitely doesn't fit with the vibe of the rest of the album.
Overall: This artist was totally new to me, and I found myself really enjoying this album. A great mix of samples and chill instrumental beats. Perfect for working or cooking, but also interesting enough to listen to outright (i.e., not just in the background).
Fri Jun 10 2022
Best Song: Not applicable.
Worst Song: Not applicable.
Overall: This is ethereal space music. I'm not sure whether it is good ethereal space music, but that is what it is. It feels like music that would be best listened to while absolutely blitzkrieged in a planetarium, but when just sitting at work, staring at spreadsheets, it comes off as a little tedious. Context is key for this one.
Sat Jun 11 2022
Best Song: Smells Like Teen Spirit. Brilliant kickoff to the album. It truly sounds like angst personified. This song in particular might be the high water mark for grunge as a genre.
Worst Song: Stay Away. This is the bad side of angst that makes me cringe. Although I like the instrumentation in this track (especially the driving drums), the lyrical choice to continuously scream "stay away" has the energy of a teenager whose mom has just reminded them that they need to clean their room.
Overall: This has to be one of the most front-heavy albums I've ever seen. The first half is full of hit after hit, only for the album to tip off a ledge somewhere near the midpoint into fairly forgettable grunge tracks.
Sun Jun 12 2022
Rid Of Me
Best Song: Rid of Me. A totally raw and bold kickoff to the album. For whatever reason, the "rough around the edges" quality that is put off here feels more authentic than it does for a lot of other bands of the era.
Worst Song: Man-Size Sextet. Not bad by any means, but it definitely feels more like a performance art piece than a regular "song".
Overall: Had never heard (nor heard of) her before, but I was impressed with the quality and authenticity of the music. Felt like a good example of what benefits this raw style of musical production can have.
Mon Jun 13 2022
Best Song: I Can't Be Satisfied. I don't know, something about the humour/melancholy of the song tickled me right.
Worst Song: The Blues Had a Baby and They Named It Rock and Roll. I just find the meta-approach of music about music to be kind of annoying, even if the musicianship in this track is top notch.
Overall: This is a difficult album for me to review. I do know that this style of music wasn't made for me. I don't know enough about the blues, I can just recognize it when I hear it. I don't know or appreciate why standards (ranging from the level of song down to individual riffs) are so prevalent in the genre, but I do know that as a result of these standards, the music starts to feel familiar or repetitive very quickly to me. The instrumentation and vocals are great, but I just can't get past the trappings of the genre.
Tue Jun 14 2022
A Nod Is As Good As A Wink To A Blind Horse
Best Song: Stay with Me. It might be just because this song has a hint of familiarity, but I think Rod Stewart's otherwise frustrating voice works here.
Worst Song: Love Lives Here. I absolutely despise these kinds of "look how much I care" ballads that seem so popular from this era.
Overall: There is something about Rod Stewart's voice that I just don't like. To me, it sounds "flat". Like butter scraped over too much bread. It feels like it's missing some resonant, bass-y quality. Beyond that, the rest of the album is your pretty standard classic rock. Nothing to hate, nothing to love.
Wed Jun 15 2022
Best Song: Deeez Nuuuts. Can't go wrong with features from Warren G and Nate Dogg. Smooth as hell.
Worst Song: The Doctor's Office. I know it's not fair, this is a skit not a song, but it really doesn't work for how long it takes up from the album. And I just hate when rappers include lengthy "sex" skits in their albums.
Overall: It's definitely an overall strong album, with no weak points apart from the skits. Seminal work, surely, but time keeps moving. Hip hop keeps developing. And what's here feels more like a relic of the era than something that still has something interesting and meaningful to say today.
Thu Jun 16 2022
Best Song: Break on Through (To the Other Side). Such an immense kickoff to the album. Showcases Morrison's unique vocal qualities, with the keyboard accompaniment that really signifies The Doors.
Worst Song: The Crystal Ship. I don't want to hear Jim Morrison croon and romance. I want the Lizard King. I want noise and passion and bravado.
Overall: It's good. Weird and good. It still feels like they haven't totally nailed down their aesthetic here, and there are a few too many forgettable filler tracks, but that is easily overcome by the long, meandering, drug-fueled tracks like "Light My Fire" and "The End". Morrison's simple poetry and the unique blend of backing instrumentals just work well together. Ambitious but accessible.
Fri Jun 17 2022
Black Holes and Revelations
Best Song: Knights of Cydonia. Although there are many great tracks on this album, I have to give it to this one, largely because of how unique it is, and the intense feelings of nostalgia I have for it.
Worst Song: Soldier's Poem. Amidst the epic, grandiose tracks that begin and end this album, this sleepy lullaby in the middle falls short.
Overall: Muse somehow is able to create this epic and expansive sound that doesn't come off as cheesy or self-important. The vocals always carry this slightly ethereal wisp and the instrumentation feels both science fiction and fantasy. For reasons that I can't fully articulate, this music feels like hymns for the space age.
Sat Jun 18 2022
Buddy Holly & The Crickets
Best Song: Oh Boy. Classic wholesome horndog music. Personally I like to imagine that the "Oh Boy" is meant to be taken literally, and this is a progressive anthem decades ahead of its time.
Worst Song: It's Too Late. This sleepy weepiness is not what I need right now.
Overall: I'm sure this was the absolute bees knees back in the day, but today it just feels like the kind of music they play at a church function to make everyone feel a little bit rock and roll. I do appreciate the influence Buddy Holly had though, including explicitly on Don McLean's 'American Pie' and Weezer's 'Buddy Holly'.
Sun Jun 19 2022
The Genius Of Ray Charles
Best Song: Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying. A really beautiful lyrical theme, in a song where Ray Charles is just the right mix of laid back and freewheeling. Also features what is (in my opinion) the best piano solo of the album.
Worst Song: Alexander's Ragtime. The backing band is turned up so loud that each of their entries just comes out as a blaring blast of sound.
Overall: Surprisingly, I ended up liking the quieter, more subdued tracks on here. Although usually I like the more bombastic additions, I think problems with the mixing caused the quieter songs to stand out more.
Mon Jun 20 2022
Warehouse: Songs And Stories
Best Song: Charity, Chastity, Prudence, and Hope. Over the course of the song, I went from disliking the vocal chorus to having it drilled so far into my brain I couldn't help but like it.
Worst Song: Actual Condition. The Elvis affectation isn't working.
Overall: 20 songs straight from the inoffensive middle ground. Painfully straightforward, after the first track you have a pretty clear idea of what the next 19 are going to sound like.
Tue Jun 21 2022
Best Song: D.A.N.C.E. The "childish" vocals ordinarily seem like the kind of thing that would just annoy me, but they really do work well.
Worst Song: Valentine. The carousel-style music did nothing for me.
Overall: Nice working music that definitely doesn't have as much of a "dance" feel as the track names would imply. Leans a little too heavy on the deep, bass-y "wah" sounds to generate contrast, but overall a pleasant, groovy listen.
Wed Jun 22 2022
You've Come a Long Way Baby
Best Song: Praise You. Even though this is one of the three big songs I'd heard before, the vocal sample here is just too good, and used too effectively, for it not to be the number one.
Worst Song: In Heaven. You can just tell that the artist thought that the vocal sample was cooler and edgier than it actually is.
Overall: One thing that I found Fatboy Slim is the master of on this album is holding things - notes, patterns, looping samples - longer than I feel many artists have the courage to hold things. The effect is that often, for these extended repeated sequences, I found myself going through this entire trajectory of liking whatever new sound he introduced, growing tired of it and wishing it would end, but then pushing through to some point where it felt like it had wormed itself fully into my brain. I know this idea obviously isn't unique among electronic artists, but I think that Fatboy Slim does it tremendously here.
Thu Jun 23 2022
Best Song: Moral Kiosk. I think I just like this song lyrically and the drums bounce in a pleasant way.
Worst Song: 9-9. A spastic song that never goes anywhere.
Overall: I know a handful of R.E.M. songs that I kind of like. None of them are on this album. Not sure why this album was included, but it really gave the impression that R.E.M. has only one speed, and that speed isn't particularly exciting.
Fri Jun 24 2022
Best Song: Mother. Now this was interesting and weird. A song written from such a perverse, bizarre perspective is uncommon. The music, lyrics, and vocal performance all worked together well to create this tortured, crazy result.
Worst Song: Wrapped Around Your Finger. The unnecessarily longest song of the album. What about this orchestration needed more time?
Overall: I'm just going to say it: I don't like Sting's voice. Even when he's singing powerfully it has this intense nasal whine. Sure, it kind of works in songs like Synchronicity II, but I found myself growing so tired of it by the end of the album.
Sat Jun 25 2022
Best Song: Between the Bars. A perfect encapsulation of a particular type of melancholy. The lyrics here are excellent, full of clever double entendres.
Worst Song: Cupid's Trick. I found the instrumentals mixed too loud relative to Smith's voice. The drums were fine, but the guitar seemed at odds with the tone he was portraying.
Overall: I don't think there's an artist that can sound so vulnerable, and make the listener feel as vulnerable, as Elliott Smith. It is difficult to even articulate what it is about the combination of his whispered vocals and sad, poetic lyrics that is so compelling. It sounds like the coming of a peaceful but inevitable tragedy. Many have imitated, but none have come close to duplicating.
Sun Jun 26 2022
There's A Riot Goin' On
Sly & The Family Stone
Best Song: Family Affair. The male and female lead voices provide the perfect contrast for one another. The female vocalist in particular has such fantastic intonation on the line "it's a family affair" that I'm glad it's the last the thing the song leaves you with as it fades out.
Worst Song: Just Like a Baby. Too slow for my taste. The vocal scatting which seems to imitate a baby's cry at times is impressive in how it's able to scrape something musical out of such a non-musical thing, but it's a lot of cleverness for not much payoff.
Overall: A long, meandering jam album that takes its time to hit all its marks. That relaxed delivery somewhat depreciates its value as something to be actively listened to, but makes it a good candidate for background music.
Mon Jun 27 2022
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Best Song: Radio Cure. A slow but thoughtful pace that had enough of a forward-facing, driving tempo to keep it interesting.
Worst Song: Heavy Metal Drummer. This song stuck out for me. After all the slower tracks that preceded it, I didn't believe that they wanted to play this fast. It felt coerced.
Overall: Music I've never heard before that sounds like a lot of music I've already heard. Not bad, not memorable.
Tue Jun 28 2022
Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black
Best Song: Can't Truss It. Chuck D's performance here is the best on the album.
Worst Song: I Don't Wanna Be Called Yo Niga. Why? Flavor Flav.
Overall: I fucking hate Flavor Flav. I know it's not exactly a hot take, but his presence diminishes the value of everything he touches. I get that's he's supposed to be like a comedic counterpoint to Chuck D, but that would require him being funny.
Wed Jun 29 2022
Best Song: Clint Eastwood. The woozy, laidback flow works excellently here. The chorus feels like it perfectly encapsulates that moment when you're at the pinnacle point of inebriation and you feel like your every move is brilliant, even as you know the train might come off the rails at any moment.
Worst Song: Man Research (Clapper). Is it possible to overuse a vocal sample? Yeahyeahyeahyeahyeahyeahyeah.
Overall: The album has a groovy, melted wax quality that makes it overall enjoyable as this kind of relaxed, thick, slow jam. It's too long, and several tracks could have been removed to keep the theme more on point, but maybe that isn't the point of an album like this.
Thu Jun 30 2022
Penthouse And Pavement
Best Song: Soul Warfare. Give me more of that bassline, please.
Worst Song: Decline Of The West. There is a jangly little audio snippet in here that sounds like a compression fragment... I don't know what it is trying to be but it sounds awful and is used liberally.
Overall: Really weird album. What started as an interesting, disco-inspired groovy pop thing suddenly took a radical turn at the end, turning into a (failed, in my opinion) attempt at industrial music. The result feels very fractured, but highlights were sufficiently interesting that I could see myself returning.
Fri Jul 01 2022
Best Song: Season of the Witch. I like songs that slowly build like his one does. Plus it has a cool title.
Worst Song: Legend of a Girl Named Linda. I'm sure there's a delightful little story hidden in this ballad, just as I'm sure the lead singer had a +1 with girls named "Linda" for the rest of his life. Doesn't mean I want to hear it though.
Overall: Going in, I knew only two of the songs, although I didn't know who had performed them. Coming out, I understand why I knew only those two, as the remainder were a bunch of dry duds. I do respect the audacity of having a song called "Guinevere" be immediately followed by "Fat Angel".
Sat Jul 02 2022
Mr. Tambourine Man
Best Song: Mr. Tambourine Man. It has the one trait that really helps these old classic rock songs succeed: familiarity.
Worst Song: All I Really Want To Do. The lyrics just seem like that kind of predatory whining of a "Nice Guy".
Overall: Very many very short songs which do little do differentiate themselves. I'm sure it was influential, but today it's just a bit boring.
Sun Jul 03 2022
Heaven Or Las Vegas
Best Song: Iceblink Luck. Nice groove. Nice rhythm.
Worst Song: Wolf in the Breast. At a certain point, this sleepy temp starts to lose its lustre.
Overall: Relaxed music that is at times too wispy and ethereal for my tastes. I can understand how some might like this style of music, but I don't.
Mon Jul 04 2022
Dig Your Own Hole
The Chemical Brothers
Best Song: Dig Your Own Hole. Incredibly funky. Could imagine it as the soundtrack of a chase scene in a Matrix-era movie.
Worst Song: Get Up On It Like This. The song closes out with a repeating vocal sample that sounds JUST like the sound Baby Mario makes when you take damage in the SNES Yoshi's Island game, and that sound is permanently associated with anxiety and trauma.
Overall: Good background and working music. Not as exciting as much of the other electronic music on this list, but still pleasant to listen to.
Tue Jul 05 2022
Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
Best Song: From The Ritz To The Rubble. Something about the rapid-fire lyrics of the intro really sticks with me. Paired with the layered vocals, this sounds like a perfect song to hear live.
Worst Song: You Probably Couldn't See For The Lights But You Were Staring Straight At Me. Not a bad song, but the inclusion of other vocals really just reminds you how great Alex Turner's vocals are.
Overall: A classic album that I'd already listened to extensively before this. As a Canadian, that commitment to the accent sounds incredibly attractive and endearing. The music behind it rocks too, creating this fun and cheeky album that feels like an icon for post-2000s indie rock.
Wed Jul 06 2022
Best Song: It's Like That. Really just a nice lyrical hook.
Worst Song: Hollis Crew. It's like a worse version of "It's Like That".
Overall: Some things just don't age well, although I'm not sure how excited I would have been to hear this back in the day. Everything is delivered with this plodding rhythm, to the point that it feels like the tracks have been artificially slowed.
Thu Jul 07 2022
Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde
Best Song: Passin' Me By. The most technically impressive rapping performance, that also manages to tell an interesting story and has a nice musical hook. This song feels very "of an era", but in a good way. Close second for "Otha Fish".
Worst Song: 4 Better Or 4 Worse. The "deranged phone call" character from the latter half of the song seemed like it was somehow actually going to work, but it overstayed its welcome into a weird, sexually aggressive territory that kind of undid whatever cool there was. I did like his slow, stilted delivery though.
Overall: A good album that sometimes feels dated, but still holds up to a modern listening. A lot of Hip Hop ends up aging poorly, so I was happy that for the most part the age of the album doesn't get in the way of enjoying it. I liked the chill backing instrumentals, but the real star is Pharcyde's ability to consistently flip and mix up his flow.
Fri Jul 08 2022
Best Song: Ratamahatta. I really like the intense staccato delivery. It pairs well with the metal backing, and isn't something you often see in the genre. Close second to Itsári.
Worst Song: Straighthate. I'm not a big fan of when metal artists try to cram this "edgy" lyrical content into their songs as a way to, I don't know, gain credibility? The music is heavy enough to stand on its own without the cheesy lyrics.
Overall: Pleasantly surprised by this album. There was a diverse enough set of sounds to keep an album this long interesting (which isn't always the case in metal, where bands can tend to be a little one-note). I think the name "Roots" is fitting, and I most enjoyed the parts of the album where the band took inspiration from traditional/aboriginal Brazilian music. These elements felt really unique, whereas some of the more typical, English-language tracks were a bit boring.
Sat Jul 09 2022
Best Song: Viðrar vel til loftárása. I really liked the crescendo at around 8:00, and then the sort of cacophonous descent into madness at the end of the song.
Worst Song: Hjartað hamast (bamm bamm bamm). That feedback audio at the end of the track almost blew out my speakers, and really didn't fit with the rest of the song (or album).
Overall: A difficult album to rate. I can tell that my enjoyment would really depend on my mood at the time of listening. Feels like an excellent album to listen to while reading, or otherwise just relaxing. Best suited for evenings and rainy days.
Sun Jul 10 2022
There's No Place Like America Today
Best Song: Billy Jack. A real soulful introduction to the album, with this current of funk that is disappointingly less-prominent in the rest of the album.
Worst Song: Jesus. I love me some gospel music, but the falsetto became a bit too much, and the guitar solo in the middle just felt like Eric Clapton was trying to butt himself into the track, uninvited.
Overall: A lovely soul/funk/R&B album. I don't know if I'd heard Curtis Mayfield before, but he has a beautiful voice. I also appreciate that the album is short; at 37 minutes it doesn't overstay its welcome. Perfect for relaxed settings. Music to cook and eat to.
Mon Jul 11 2022
Remain In Light
Best Song: Born Under Punches. I really wasn't expecting that futuristic sound. Felt fun and dance-y.
Worst Song: Seen and Not Seen. Although I like the attempt at this kind of spoken word track, it ultimately doesn't work here for me.
Overall: This album felt like a bit of a bait and switch. It kicks off with these killer 80s dance tracks, and then before you even reach the midpoint the style totally changes into a heady, serious, ballad filled album. I wish the whole album had been like the first four songs.
Tue Jul 12 2022
Best Song: Weather Storm. Nice instrumental chill track. good for relaxing or reading.
Worst Song: Spying Glass. I became annoyed at the warble that was put at the end of each delivered vocal phrase. It felt like a weird call-out to reggae that didn't capture the best elements of reggae.
Overall: Like the other Massive Attack album I've already had on this list, it feels like a chill but ultimately directionless collection of beats and slow jams. I will say that the vocal tracks were better on average here than on the other album, but still found myself getting bored at times.
Wed Jul 13 2022
Best Song: Rock Music. Maybe it is a product of my low expectations coming in, but the visceral, aggressive sound of this song took me my surprise.
Worst Song: Blown Away. Not spectacularly worse than the other songs in the album, but just a kid of dull, plodding track.
Overall: My opinion of the album generally was reduced by the difference between the song "Rock Music" and all the other tracks. I would have loved an album full of "Rock Music", and knowing that they could produce that style of music, what was on offer felt lukewarm, without that same punch and passion.
Thu Jul 14 2022
The Rolling Stones
Best Song: Wild Horse. even though this song has attained a sort of cliché status, it really holds up. I find the main lyric of "wild horses couldn't drag me away" is really evocative, and Mick Jagger's giant personality is sufficiently under control here.
Worst Song: You Gotta Move. Absolute travesty of an blues take.
Overall: Having not grown up in the heyday of the Rolling Stones and instead knowing the group as a bunch of (impressive) geriatrics, they sit in a weird spot for me. I don't find their music particularly interesting, but it is very familiar. It's largely that familiarity that succeeds for me here.
Fri Jul 15 2022
Buenas Noches From A Lonely Room
Best Song: I Hear You Knockin'. It has a certain toe-tapping quality that I can't deny.
Worst Song: I Sang Dixie. The funeral dirge of someone I care nothing about.
Overall: This ain't my genre. Maybe this is the Mozart of this shit, but I wouldn't be able to tell. All I can tell is that the production is decently slick, and what's here sounds as listenable as its likely to get for me.
Sat Jul 16 2022
Best Song: You Ain't The Problem. Incredible mix of retro-sounding soul and modern mixing elements. Immediately loved it. Close second to "I've Been Dazed".
Worst Song: None.
Overall: This one really surprised me. I knew nothing about it going it, and it completely blew me away. It was soulful yet modern, with beautiful lead vocals and what feels like a perfect mix built around those vocals. One of my favourite personal discoveries from the list thus far.
Sun Jul 17 2022
At San Quentin
Best Song: San Quentin. It was tough not to like it given how much the audience appreciated the song.
Worst Song: Darlin' Companion. The song is just okay, and the prolonged talking goes on way too long.
Overall: I understand times were different, but I cannot fathom why in 2022 I'm listening to hard, censored beeps over every bit of profanity. Were the originals lost? Regardless, the live setting here doesn't really help the overall presentation. It certainly feels like everyone at the show was having a great time, but the whole schtick of "they tried to tell Johnny Cash what to do but he don't listen to authority" just comes off as cheesy. The "casual" mentions to dope and song stealing also come off as pandering.
Mon Jul 18 2022
My Bloody Valentine
Best Song: Lose My Breath. The vocals are really dreamy here, in a way that works for me.
Worst Song: Feed My With Your Kiss. The mixing is really frustrating to listen to, with the vocals dialed way too quiet. It feels like you have to strain to hear them, but even then aren't well rewarded for the strain.
Overall: Second album of theirs that I've had on this list and my reaction is about the same as the first. Very "one note", wherein after you've heard a song or two you've heard them all. A constant drone with little dynamic change.
Tue Jul 19 2022
Hounds Of Love
Best Song: Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God). I'm writing this review in a post Stranger Things S4 world, which undeniably changed the impact of this song. Still, I'm glad this song was given a spotlight as it really is excellent. Everything works here: the strong vocals, future-synth sounds, and interesting lyrics.
Worst Song: And Dream Of Sheep. There is only so much ballad I can take, and this song is too much ballad.
Overall: Other than the effect of Stranger Things, this was my first exposure to Kate Bush's music. I was really impressed with the diversity and creativity of music on offer here. From elevated, 80s-style anthems to weird and interesting tracks like "Jig of Life". There are a few slower, forgettable tracks in the middle, but overall the breadth covered here impressive. Combined with Kate Bush's unique and powerful lyrics and vocal performances, I can understand why she has such a significant following.
Wed Jul 20 2022
Best Song: Something Wicked This Way Comes. The right amount of chill while still being energetic. Pretty major deviation from the sex-obsessed nature of the first track. Good music for working.
Worst Song: It's Business As Usual. I actually somewhat like this song as a bit of art. It certainly made me uncomfortable, and I think both vocalists/actors did a good job of conveying their respective emotions, but would I ever want to listen to this track again? Did it fit within the context of the album? Nah.
Overall: It's weird. And it doesn't feel like a single album. From a starting track that is unspeakably horny, through muted jazzy rhythmic songs in the middle, plus the occasional spoken word theatre, I don't really understand what the artist was going for here. Some of the individual songs sound nice in isolation, but listening to the album front-to-back just gives you whiplash from the tonal changes.
Thu Jul 21 2022
Live At Leeds
Best Song: My Generation. Iconic rock song. In retrospect, it's actually kind of surprising that the "stuttering" effect works as well as it does here.
Worst Song: Happy Jack. Lyrically, all I can imagine is "Simple Jack".
Overall: Significantly more boring than I expected. Not a lot exciting here, especially given that this ought to have the added energy of a live concert. Also, The Who's tendency to write story-based tracks seemed really cool to me when I was younger, but now that I've heard it done so much better by other bands, I find these a bit lackluster.
Fri Jul 22 2022
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Best Song: American Girl. Something sort of works here with Tom Petty's kind of retrained, desperate sounding voice.
Worst Song: Fooled Again (I Don't Like It). This song wasn't all that much worse than the others, but it was just boring enough, just late enough in the album to be the tipping point for me.
Overall: Really as stock-standard as classic rock gets. To me, nothing here sticks out as noteworthy, none of the songs feel that differentiated. Sure it works fine as bland, rock-flavoured background music, but beyond that I can't imagine listening to this earnestly.
Sat Jul 23 2022
Lost In The Dream
The War On Drugs
Best Song: Suffering. Thoughtful lyrics and this drawn out, echoey musical style. really feels like the distillation of the melancholy feeling that the rest of the album is going for.
Worst Song: Eyes To The Wind. Leans a bit too heavily in the bluegrass/country domain for my tastes.
Overall: Music to drive/stare out the window of a moving vehicle to. I can see how some people would love this, but it just doesn't match the type of music I typically like. It is inoffensive and pleasant to listen to, but doesn't do much to grab my attention.
Sun Jul 24 2022
Best Song: Just What I Needed. More for familiarity than anything.
Worst Song: All Mixed Up. I don't like the falsetto portions.
Overall: The lead singer sometimes does this overly 80s affectation with his voice that actually makes it sound like he's emulating a baby voice. Don't like that. As for the rest, it has that kind of singalong quality that makes it somewhat enjoyable, but it's all wrapped up in that 80s aesthetic that I find unpalatable.
Tue Jul 26 2022
She's So Unusual
Best Song: Time After Time. It's an impressive feat to have a song this slow also feel entirely danceable. I like the way the song ramps up into the chorus each time.
Worst Song: He's so Unusual. I don't even know if this counts as a song, but I'm baffled that it was included in this album. Why the baby talk? Why did it only come out of my right headphone? Was it a skit or a song? Why does it seem like the album is (almost) named after this song? Nevertheless, it sounds gross and should've been cut.
Overall: Each song here, even the slow ones, seems designed to get people up, dancing and singing along. Sure, the general synth-y quality that pervades all these 80s albums is a bit much for me, but I can see the appeal of this more than a lot of other 80s albums.
Wed Jul 27 2022
Straight Outta Compton
Best Song: Fuck Tha Police. Timeless, perfect track that manages to be both clever and anthemic. One of the best examples of righteous anger in a song.
Worst Song: 8 Ball. The rhythm + rhyme-scheme felt a little too Dr. Seuss.
Overall: The rapping is great, with each member bringing their own flavour that sounds distinct without any obvious weak links or outright stars. The selection of beats here are also good and groovy. The whole album feels a bit long, but it's tough to complain when the whole runtime is actual tracks and not inflated with skits, like a lot of other albums of its era. Still, maybe the best rap album of its decade.
Thu Jul 28 2022
Welcome To The Pleasuredome
Frankie Goes To Hollywood
Best Song: Relax. It feels like the distillation of all the best parts of the rest of the album in a single, normal-length track. Silly, almost like video game music. And something about the way he cries out "hit me with those laser beams" just gets to me.
Worst Song: San Jose. Silly little smooth jazz number that feels at odds with the rest of the album.
Overall: Such a weird album. The tone is all over the place, and there are random, just alright covers interspersed throughout? Some individual songs are okay, but the whiplash from all the tonal changes means you can't really just throw the album on in the background and enjoy. Also, as in the song "The Ballad of 32", I think I'm done with artists putting moaning and other sexual vocalizations into a song as if that instantly makes the song edgy and sexy. It doesn't. It makes it awkward.
Fri Jul 29 2022
Everything But The Girl
Best Song: I Don't Want to Talk About It. She has pleasant voice. It sounds like the kind of song that could be played at a wedding or a funeral.
Worst Song: Tears All Over Town. A bit too slow, and the backing instrumentals make it sound like an R&B slow jam, which doesn't vibe with the vocals.
Overall: I kept expecting to dislike this album but then I just... didn't. With each new song, I still found the main vocals charming. Sure, it's not altogether exciting music, but she has an undeniably lovely voice. I could care less about most of whatever music is going on in the background, but the strength of the vocals really sticks out here.
Sat Jul 30 2022
Best Song: Barry Town. Feels like the kind of song that plays at the beginning of a movie as the main character parades down the main street of their town, greeting neighbours, before anything bad happens. It feels like a song where nothing bad CAN happen.
Worst Song: East St. Louis Toodle-Oo. My favourite part of this album is the vocals riding along with the instrumentals, not the instrumentals masquerading as vocals. Wah wah.
Overall: I really like the vocals here. It feels like what bands like Def Leppard aspire to be. Still, the guitar wankery gets a bit obnoxious at times, even in an album this short. I'd prefer they focus more on the buttery hooks and less on the (probably technically very sophisticated) musicianship.
Sun Jul 31 2022
Slanted And Enchanted
Best Song: No Life Singed Her. On the border of punk, provides some much needed energy to the album.
Worst Song: In The Mouth A Desert. Sounds like a high school band whose members listen exclusively to Weezer.
Overall: I have to assume that this was influential for later and greater bands, because nothing here seems particularly interesting to me. Just that plain, droning noisiness that takes few risks and accomplishes little. Songs to be angsty in the 90s to.
Mon Aug 01 2022
Best Song: Good Times. A social classic, that if nothing else gets people making goofy disco dance moves.
Worst Song: My Feet Keep Dancing. The entire 6:30 song sounded like an outro.
Overall: A very repetitive disco album that always feels like it's building up towards something that never comes. It's pleasant as sort of groovy background music, but that's about it.
Tue Aug 02 2022
Best Song: The Dark of the Matinee. I enjoyed the dynamic volume/tempo.
Worst Song: Tell Her Tonight. The vocals sound raw in a bad way.
Overall: Apart from the few (by now massively overplayed) hits, this feels pretty forgettable. It sounds a bit like a mix of LCD Soundsystem and the Arctic Monkeys, but is inferior to both. Not bad, but just the kind of nondescript music you hear during breaks at a sports arena.
Wed Aug 03 2022
Best Song: Atrocity Exhibition. I like the bouncing drums, and that's about it.
Worst Song: Isolation. The man is just talking over stock standard 80s sounding beats.
Overall: This man cannot sing. Sometimes that's okay, and the song feels like an odd arthouse take on what is music, but mostly it just feels like someone snatched the microphone at the company Christmas party and is subjecting everyone to their talent.
Thu Aug 04 2022
Best Song: N.Y. State of Mind. That low, droning melody that repeats throughout the song is so iconic, and Nas is on another level through the whole track.
Worst Song: Life's a Bitch. It's not a terrible song, but maybe a bit overplayed in movies, and it has this spirit of nihilism that I feel very much is not fitting with the rest of the album.
Overall: I mean, this is maybe as good as it gets in this genre of rap. Great flow, great features. There's a reason it's considered such a classic. Sure, there are a few slurs that haven't aged well, but I don't think that's enough to sink what is otherwise such a thoughtful and iconic album.
Fri Aug 05 2022
Buena Vista Social Club
Buena Vista Social Club
Best Song: Chan Chan. Such a pleasant, dance-y kickoff to the album.
Worst Song: Pueblo Nuevo. I just didn't find the extended, ragtime-style piano that interesting.
Overall: My first time hearing them. Based on the name, I assumed it was going to be a standard indie band... Instead I was pleasantly surprised. Beautiful Latin melodies, always interesting instrumentation. Will definitely be returning to this.
Sat Aug 06 2022
Made In Japan
Best Song: Child in time. The best vocal performance on the album, that perfectly hits that sweet point between singing and screaming. Plus a killer guitar solo.
Worst Song: The Mule. Excessively long drum solo that even the crown didn't seem interested in.
Overall: The music is good, but the live setting doesn't add much atmosphere beyond apparently giving the band permission to draw out each song into these long, drawn out solos and musical interludes while the audience quietly watches. The result is an album that feels a little "look what I can do", and lacks the cohesion of a regular album but also the passion of a live setting.
Sun Aug 07 2022
Crosby, Stills & Nash
Crosby, Stills & Nash
Best Song: Suite: Helplessly Hoping. Here is where the layered vocals sound necessary, religious even, with muted background instruments and the voices on full display.
Worst Song: Long Time Gone. Definitely feels like they're trying to mimic "harder" rock artists here.
Overall: This might just be a me thing, but I find that this kind of music, where the vocalists sing everything in this perpetual vocal harmony, as cultish. Like you're being indoctrinated by a group wearing robes and they're trying to get you to join their collective consciousness. For that reason, no matter how pleasant the the harmonies might sound, it eventually just ends up grating my nerves, sounding unnatural.
Mon Aug 08 2022
On The Beach
Best Song: On the Beach. The guitar solo that makes up the bulk of the middle of this song is excellent.
Worst Song: Revolution Blues. Young's voice just isn't cut out to sing the blues.
Overall: I can never decide whether/how much I like Neil Young. His voice is always teetering on the edge of annoying, but it also has moments of possessing this sort of haunting beauty. I wish he stayed further away from trying to be a rock star and gravitated more towards a Willie Nelson, or even an Elliot Smith aesthetic.
Tue Aug 09 2022
Best Song: It's Tricky. Guaranteed to get the whole room going along with the chorus.
Worst Song: Hit It Run. Are those straight up fart adlibs?
Overall: Hasn't aged that well. Every song kind of blends together with that staccato, in-your-face delivery. This style had its era, but once the DK Rap came out on the N64, I think it just reads as corny now.
Thu Aug 11 2022
The Dave Brubeck Quartet
Best Song: Blue Rondo a la Turk. I especially liked the intro melody with the piano with the bass layered behind it.
Worst Song: Kathy's Waltz. I just don't really like the rhythm of a waltz.
Overall: Pleasant little bit of background jazz. Obviously Take Five has become a high school band staple to the point of not being altogether that interesting anymore, but the rest is nice to have on in the background.
Fri Aug 12 2022
Five Leaves Left
Best Song: ' Cello Song. The bongos (?) added a nice element to the soft, almost sultry aspect to his voice.
Worst Song: Way to Blue. Seems like the introduction to a theatre production, rather than the fourth song into an album.
Overall: It was raining while I listened to this album, which I think significantly helped its appreciation. A mildly melancholic feel with a talented but muted vocal performance. The album feels candlelit. Good for quiet dinners and being sort of sad.
Sat Aug 13 2022
Best Song: Happy Man. That walking bassline and the in-your-face, golden-retriever naivete of a chorus that's just "I'm a happy man" make this track a standout.
Worst Song: Chic Cheer. Pretty rough start to the album. Not a fan of "cheer" as a musical form, and the use of a ref's whistle as an instrument just feels a bit lazy. Also, by the end of the song, it sounded to me like they were saying "Sheep, Sheep".
Overall: The groove is undeniable, but is it altogether that interesting? Not really. Toss it on in the background and you'll waggle your shoulders some, but won't bust out and dance.
Sun Aug 14 2022
Best Song: Hold Me Now. Nice, short, to the point alt-rock track. Almost has a grunge feel.
Worst Song: 2:1. Never felt like the song landed on a decent rhythm.
Overall: Neither offensive nor interesting. I imagine it must be a historically relevant article, but to me it mostly just feels like a standard, rather dull alt-rock album.
Mon Aug 15 2022
The Velvet Underground
The Velvet Underground
Best Song: After Hours. Pleasantly innocent, with a sort of naive feel. Very sweet.
Worst Song: The Murder Mystery. I get it's a bold artistic choice to have different audio playing in the left and right ear, but goddamnit it sounds awful.
Overall: I can maybe see how some people might like it, but the whole thing is too understated for me. Everything felt like a warm-up. I appreciated the thoughtful lyrics, but there are more poetic singer-songwriters out there, and nothing else really held my interest.
Thu Aug 18 2022
Best Song: The National Anthem. Explosive, bombastic, with a wide range of instruments that always kept things interesting.
Worst Song: Kid A. The heavily vocoded voice sounds more Stephen Hawking than Daft Punk.
Overall: For an album that I'd heard so much about before actually hearing, I found it kinda... boring? It has its moments of excitement and uniqueness, and the production is really good overall, but the vocals just drag the whole thing down. They're so often mumbled that I can't even tell if the lyrics are interesting. Maybe I have heard too much of the music that was influenced by this album for it to feel fresh on its own, but I was underwhelmed.
Fri Aug 19 2022
Bat Out Of Hell
Best Song: Bat Out Of Hell. The song takes like 2 minutes to get started, "ends" three or four times, and yet is still somehow the perfect amount of camp and energy to really rip.
Worst Song: You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth. That scripted intro must be the most cringeworthy thing I've heard in this list. Good god, like the opening plenary to a furry convention.
Overall: Apart from the two standout tracks (Bat Out of Hell and Paradise By The Dashboard Light), which are brilliantly campy and theatrical, everything else is a bit boring and plain. The middle of the album almost sounds like a poor Elton John impersonation, which is disappointing given the creativity in the two aforementioned tracks.
Sat Aug 20 2022
Coat Of Many Colors
Best Song: Early Morning Breeze. The deep, strolling bass serves as a nice contrast to Parton's high and floaty voice. Hearing this song, it strikes me that she needed more of this contrast throughout the album.
Worst Song: The Mystery of the Mystery. Classically cheeseball religious lyrics that come off as particularly vacuous while trying to seem deep.
Overall: Very much not my type of music. The slight warble that she puts on man of her notes is off-putting. Lyrically it is nice, and Dolly Parton seems like a lovely person, but this isn't my style.
Sun Aug 21 2022
Vauxhall And I
Best Song: Why Don't You Find out For Yourself. Slightly more upbeat than the rest of the album. Feels like a break from the (somewhat) monotonous melancholy.
Worst Song: Lifeguard Sleeping, Girl Drowning. I understand that the whispering was a clear artistic choice, but that doesn't make it sound good.
Overall: Not terrible, but I felt like I was forgetting it as quickly as I listened to it. I guess this is a sort of proto-emo? It feels like it's probably wrought with emotions, they're just communicated in this muted and sleepy way.
Mon Aug 22 2022
Best Song: London Lady. Has a stronger punk element than the rest of the album.
Worst Song: Ugly. Everything about this song is ugly, from the lyrics to the singer's attempts to sing on rhythm.
Overall: Big English oof. Another contender for British band I'd do find to not know about. The fact that this album is included on "1001 albums" is, quite frankly, offensive. There's life outside your borders, goddamnit.
Tue Aug 23 2022
Best Song: Dancing Queen. Sure it's a bit much, and it doesn't seem that great when listened to quietly at home through a set of headphones, but that's not what it's meant for. It's meant for the dance floor, a large group, and everyone belting it out together.
Worst Song: My Love, My Life. I'm just not here for slow ABBA ballads.
Overall: When I fashioned myself an edgy teen, I think I decided that I didn't like ABBA because they were too safe and clean. I'm old enough now to see the error of my ways. It turns out they are safe and clean, but in a good way. It's dance-y, the vocals are harmonious. Honestly, their biggest fault is that they're overplayed, making songs like "Dancing Queen" come off as a bit cliche. Still, it's really just the hits here that still hit, and there is a fair amount of tedium around the middle.
Wed Aug 24 2022
If I Could Only Remember My Name
Best Song: Cowboy Movie. Something about the way this is mixed makes the low-end sound incredible. It's as though the bass is strumming inside of my brain. The rest of the song almost falls away in the face of the deep rhythm of it. Honorable mention to: Song with No Words, which was also excellent.
Worst Song: Orleans. I actually like the vocal melody, but I don't like the choice to play the vocals as a harmony. Just let Crosby sing it in a single voice.
Overall: Excellent musicianship, where the playing felt impassioned and thoughtful. It's not in-your-face music, and everything has this kind of quiet timidity to it. The album also comes off the rails at the end, transitioning into what sounds like a sort of pseudo-religious offering. I'm here for the understated folk rock, gimme more of that.
Thu Aug 25 2022
Paul Revere & The Raiders
Best Song: I'm Not Your Stepping Stone. I can see, especially when the vocals get rawer and more akin to a growl, how this track would have gone on to influence a lot of the bands that came later.
Worst Song: Melody for an Unknown Girl. The song itself is fine, whatever, but those spoken word sections are appalling. Jesus, self-awareness was a different beast in the 60s.
Overall: Definitely seems like an album caught in a transitional period of music, with one foot in the future for progressive songs like "Stepping Stone", and one foot in the past with the more tempered, rock-and-roll beats that make up the rest of the album. They can't decide if they want to be Led Zeppelin or the Monkees. More of that future-oriented music would have made this album much better for me.
Fri Aug 26 2022
Echo And The Bunnymen
Best Song: Happy Death Men. I actually liked the noisy and cacophonous outro.
Worst Song: The Pictures on My Wall. For several songs on the album, it feels like the vocalist is doing a bad Bowie impression. This feels like the worst of those cases.
Overall: Just dull. Not sure why this stood the test of time, or why it's considered noteworthy now. Inoffensive and generic.
Sat Aug 27 2022
Best Song: Northern Star. I'm a sucker for any song that slowly builds in this perpetual crescendo to hit a big climax, and this song does that well.
Worst Song: Boys on the Radio. This feels like they were writing a song to try to have it appear in a rom-com, maybe abandoning their rougher roots.
Overall: I'd heard of Hole, and heard the song "Celebrity Skin", but never put the two together. I was actually impressed at how Courtney Love has the perfect, almost proto-typical alt-rock voice. Poppy enough to be approachable, but with a decently raw edge to make it alternative.
Sun Aug 28 2022
Best Song: The Humpty Dance. Yeah it feels silly, but it's still better than the rest of the awkward, overly serious (and overly long) tracks on the album.
Worst Song: Freaks of the Industry. My campaign against sex moans as background music continues. This shit is just awkward, not interesting. Like, did at any point during writing/recording did this group of dudes question themselves as they went through line after line of corny sex poetry?
Overall: What is it about hip hop from this era that always sounds like it's being performed by Snagglepuss? The best parts of this album are its samples.
Mon Aug 29 2022
Best Song: Cry Baby. A nice midpoint between rock and an almost gospel quality.
Worst Song: Get it While You Can. A bit too sleepy of a gospel track.
Overall: Janis Joplin fits into that category of artist that I'd heard about far more than I'd actually heard their music. I can understand the hype, as she's got such a powerful voice (which she pushes to the limit in nearly every song). Still, the songs begin to blur together somewhat, favouring more formulaic tracks, rather than letting Joplin rip loose and be weird.
Tue Aug 30 2022
A Hard Day's Night
Best Song: A Hard Day's Night. Up-tempo, nice percussion in the background. Paul's voice is used well here (within its limits).
Worst Song: I Should Have Known Better. Most bands not called "The Beatles" would be skewered for that failed high note. Overall just a needlessly strained vocal performance.
Overall: Obviously there are some well-written songs in here, but they make up at most half of what's on offer. And more fundamentally, even for the songs that I did quite like, I could think of covers that I like as much or more. So yeah, the Beatles had a knack for writing pop hits, but often those songs are better performed by others. Three Beatles albums in and I'm still unsold on their position as inarguable music gods.
Wed Aug 31 2022
Is This It
Best Song: Last Nite. Sure, it's the most famous from the album, but it feels justified here. The way, as the song progresses, the line "Last Nite" starts to feel like it's being torn out of him. A truly melancholy dance song.
Worst Song: Take It Or Leave It. I dig the vocals here, but the instrumentals seem to be turned too quiet, and don't quite match the vocal intensity.
Overall: This is what alt rock should be. Musically talented, with this unique sound that doesn't fit the more classic rock sound. That raw, slightly degraded audio quality, particular on the vocals, gives the whole album a garage feel. Each song is as short as it needs to be, and full of hooks.
Thu Sep 01 2022
Simon & Garfunkel
Best Song: A Hazy Shade of Winter. Refreshingly uptempo, shows that the duo can pull off more energetic songs than their typical ballads. Would love an album full of songs like this.
Worst Song: Old Friends. Sounds much too much like a theatrical song from a stage play than a song I want to just listen to, on an album.
Overall: Beautiful voices that are mostly under-utilized singing simple or uninteresting songs. Everything sounds "nice" and fresh and clean, but also a little sanitized.
Fri Sep 02 2022
Best Song: Ethereal and bloopy, while still being short enough to be a traditional song.
Worst Song: Can't say there is one... the label barely applies here.
Overall: Nice easy listening. Very clearly "proto-" electronic, but it feels interesting listen to where the genre came from, in contrast to the places it's gone since.
Sat Sep 03 2022
All Mod Cons
Best Song: To Be Someone (Didn't We Have A Nice Time). Very typically classic British rock.
Worst Song: In The Crowd. Bit of an overly long jam session that never went anywhere interesting.
Overall: Seems like the kind of music that goes over great in a pub as background to a round of drinks, but listened to outside of that context it's just another band on the pile of classic rock, indiscernible from most of the others.
Sun Sep 04 2022
The Notorious Byrd Brothers
Best Song: Tribal Gathering. A nice, jazzy, pseudo-psychedelic track.
Worst Song: Space Odyssey. Imagine my disappointment, thinking that I'd hear a version of Bowie's classic before him, only to be met with this 60's SciFi church hymnal.
Overall: An album that shows its age, with all the positives and negatives that entails. I liked the psychedelic aspects that pop up here and there throughout the album, but it also had that element of uniformity that feels true for a lot of older rock. Also, the album was probably a solid 3 before track 11, after which it dropped clear off a cliff. Why include these half-baked tracks to leave a bad taste in the listener's ears?
Mon Sep 05 2022
Best Song: Paranoid Android. Really wide reaching song, that feels (in a good way) like three independently good songs crammed together into one.
Worst Song: Fitter Happier. Just as in Kid A, I think the band thought this robo-voice was way cooler than it actually is. Barely intelligible, and ugly to listen to.
Overall: Fine, it's good. I get that it's important, and I feel the weight of its influence while listening to it. Still though, for whatever reason, it's just not my jam. I'm sure much of the music I like wouldn't exist without Radiohead, and for that I'm grateful, but the source does little for me. There are a few standout tracks here (Paranoid Android and Karma Police, specifically), but the rest starts to get a bit lost in the sweeping instrumentals and nasal whine.
Tue Sep 06 2022
The Köln Concert
Best Song: Pt. II C. These terms don't really apply here, but it's the shortest, and most "song" length.
Worst Song: N/A
Overall: It's pleasant to listen to, but I don't think I know enough about classical music to appreciate why this particular album was selected over any other. Nothing stood out to me as ground breaking, but it's certainly something I could imagine returning to for chill reading atmosphere.
Wed Sep 07 2022
Back At The Chicken Shack
Best Song: Back at the Chicken Shack. Nice blues/jazz fusion. Really enjoyed the sax here.
Worst Song: Messy Bessie. Overlong, without much to show for it. The piano (organ? Harpsichord?) took way too much of the stage here.
Overall: To my uneducated ear this is entirely serviceable, utterly unexciting jazz. Probably full of sick cuts I'm too dense to understand.
Thu Sep 08 2022
Are You Experienced
Best Song: The Wind Cries Mary. The album is full of examples of Hendrix setting fire to tracks, burning it all down as he plays these iconic guitar solos that everyone's become familiar with now. What I like about this song is how gentle he sounds, both in voice and guitar.
Worst Song: Red House. Sounds a bit too much like a standard blues track.
Overall: Feels like the best that classic rock has to offer. Mildly psychedelic, marked by Jimi's excellent voice and 9bviously virtuosic guitar playing. Maybe too long, it's got a bit too much fat on it to warrant a 5 from me, but still phenomenal, obviously.
Fri Sep 09 2022
Best Song: Hanging on the Telephone. Just enough of that gruff quality to the vocals, and everything is quick and uptempo enough to stay interesting.
Worst Song: One Way Or Another. Maybe it's just overplayed, but I find the chorus (especially the getcha-getcha-getcha) very grating.
Overall: The vocals are the best part here, and they're best when pushed into a throaty, rock direction. Unfortunately, those rock moments are not as frequent as the plain, fairly basic era pop. Also, the album absolutely didn't need to be 16 tracks.
Sat Sep 10 2022
The Queen Is Dead
Best Song: There Is a Light That Never Goes Out. Something about the specificity of the chorus ("double-decker bus"), and the way the rhythm and rhyme matches up, is pleasant to the ear. Angsty, perhaps, but enjoyably so.
Worst Song: The Boy with the Thorn in His Side. Morrissey's strengths are in his lyrics, so him scatting the melody alongside the guitar did little for me.
Overall: Morrissey's soft, silky voice works here with the vaguely dark and introspective lyrics. The real star here might be the rhythm section, which gives most of the songs an upbeat bounce to it that provides a counterpoint of life that juxtaposes well with Morrissey's understatedness.
Sun Sep 11 2022
Best Song: Some Misunderstanding. A lengthy, epic of a song that goes places I didn't expect.
Worst Song: True One. This feels like the genre standard that I expected. Solo vocals for the loss, as well.
Overall: Although I don't typically like this kind of music, I found it quite compelling here. I think the inclusion of choral vocals added some excitement that would have otherwise been missing.
Mon Sep 12 2022
Best Song: House of the Rising Sun. I just love this song. I love the original, I love most covers. Her voice fits nicely, turning it into a somewhat more haunted version than others.
Worst Song: Mary Hamilton. This song exemplifies some of the problems with self-editing in the album. The song is overly long, lingering long after it has made its point, and is the tipping point for the same regarding the album in general.
Overall: What felt charming and ethereal at the beginning gave way to tiresome as the soft vibrato continued relatively unabated for 16 long tracks. I might have loved a shorter version of this album, trimmed of its fat.
Tue Sep 13 2022
Me Against The World
Best Song: Young Niggaz. I prefer Pac on these higher tempo tracks. Feels politically charged, simultaneously realistic and aspirational, all with a little bit of funk and soul.
Worst Song: Dear Mama. This level of intense (forced?) sincerity ends up feeling a bit awkward. The content of the song is clearly intensely personal, but it isn't produced or performed that way.
Overall: I've never really listened to Tupac before this (Changes notwithstanding), and it's definitely real solid. His lyrics are always interesting, more storytelling than Biggie, and the production is decent. It feels a bit dated now though, more than Biggie does, although I can't quite put my finger on why.
Wed Sep 14 2022
Best Song: Life in a Glasshouse. The jazz brass instrumentals really helped ground the music, and served as a good background for the vocals. Maybe Radiohead really ought to be a jazz band.
Worst Song: Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors. I actually quite liked the bassy instrumentals, but the real experimental vocals did nothing for me.
Overall: As technically competent and musically experimental Radiohead might be, I'm always left feeling like I've listened to an album with absolutely no soul. Like music written by a melancholic AI.
Thu Sep 15 2022
Good Old Boys
Best Song: Rednecks. Imagine my surprise when Mr. Toy Story kicks the album off with liberal use of the N word. And it's funny, while still being listenable? Sign me up.
Worst Song: Marie. Too slow, too conventional.
Overall: Newman really shows his creativity here. Most songs tell a story, and most of those stories are interesting and unlike the standard material sourced for song lyrics. I didn't expect this level or sarcasm and satire. His unconventional voice is also pleasant to hear. Unfortunately, too many of the middle tracks eschew that creative energy for fairly standard love songs.
Fri Sep 16 2022
Best Song: Into the Fire. I'm a sucker for any gospel-style song, even if lyrically this one is about as milquetoast as it gets.
Worst Song: Let's Be Friends (Skin to Skin). Just feels creepy and predatory.
Overall: Bruce Springsteen is the epitome of serviceable, inoffensive yet unexciting music. Listening to a Springsteen album, it's easy to forget that you're even listening to music. It is room temperature water. It sounds the way store-brand hot dogs taste. You're not mad to have a hot dog, and hey everyone likes a barbeque, but you're not asking for the recipe.
Sat Sep 17 2022
Fear Of A Black Planet
Best Song: Fight The Power. There's a reason it's the most popular off the album. Pure righteous fury.
Worst Song: 911 is a Joke. Great, a full Flava Flav song.
Overall: Flava Flav thankfully takes little airtime on the album (although still more than he's due). Chuck D has such a buttery smooth flow which, when paired with his political lyrics, make compelling songs. Still, some of the production is dated, hindering its listenability in the modern day.
Sun Sep 18 2022
Best Song: Dear God. Simple but earnest lyricsc, with a nice build towards crescendo in the end.
Worst Song: Season Cycle. Sounds like the opening to a sitcom I wouldn't like.
Overall: Other than a few highlights, a big bunch of British boredom. Certainly doesn't belong on this list, for how little reaction it manages to elicit in its nearly hour long runtime.
Mon Sep 19 2022
The Rolling Stones
Best Song: Sympathy For The Devil. By far the most adventurous and unique song on the album.
Worst Song: Parachute Woman. Jagger can't sing the blues. That's all there is to say.
Overall: It's mostly just kind of dull. The Stones seem to have occasional songs that stick out as unique, but the brunt of the album is just cheap, generic rock. Maybe it hits better live, where Mick Jagger's charisma can elevate the performance, but on recording it just falls flat.
Tue Sep 20 2022
Hail To the Thief
Best Song: Sit Down. Stand Up. I really like the flurry of chaos that happens around 3:00 in. I wish the album were full of more moments like that.
Worst Song: Scatterbrain. Melancholy caterwauling. One of those songs where I don't have an emotional reaction, despite the vocalist's attempts to emote really hard.
Overall: Probably my favourite of the three Radiohead albums I've had thus far, if only by a small margin. Still, I'm left wishing their songs were on average more adventurous than they end up being.
Wed Sep 21 2022
Best Song: Shit, Damn, Motherfucker. I already thought this song was great with the funky intro, and then when the chorus hit I was in with both feet. GotDAMN this song is good.
Worst Song: Higher. A little too much gospel in my R&B.
Overall: Shit this is smooth. My first exposure to it, and I'll definitely be keeping it in the rotation. So slick, with no real low points. Just a perpetual groove.
Thu Sep 22 2022
Best Song: The Day I Tried To Live. I think Cornell really lets his voice run in this track. Obvious honorable mention to "Black Hole Sun", but that song suffers somewhat from being played so much.
Worst Song: Half. Far too meagre a mostly instrumental track to have this late in the album.
Overall: It's pretty good. Cornell's voice is the obvious star here, but everything surrounding it is good and grungy. The main knock against it is its length. At a little over an hour, I don't think the album tries enough different things to really stand out, and gets bogged down once you get past the hits.
Fri Sep 23 2022
Best Song: Fame. This track feels like it does the best at portraying Bowie's grandiose, larger-than-life persona. Super recognizable, super funky backing instrumentals too.
Worst Song: Across the Universe. This cover makes no improvements (or really any significant deviations) from the original.
Overall: Apart from the two big hits, it feels like relatively standard 70s fare, which means it's not much for me. I'm really starting to think that a lot of Bowie's music has a "you had to be there" quality, as it doesn't elicit much so far after the fact.
Sat Sep 24 2022
Back In Black
Best Song: Shake a Leg. I've always liked the guitar riff, and it's strangely the most danceable AC/DC song.
Worst Song: Let Me Put My Love Into You Babe. Absolutely one of the grossest euphemisms to come from a band that kind of revels in gross euphemisms. Also, "Don't you struggle, Don't you fight, Don't you worry cuz it's your turn tonight"? Jesus H.
Overall: A massive album full of great rock songs that I'd be happy never hearing again. Perhaps unfair to call them a victim of their own success, but the amount that I've heard these songs played at every sporting venue and outdoor event means I can't stand to listen to them any more.
Sun Sep 25 2022
Pictures At An Exhibition
Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Best Song: The Curse of Baba Yaga. Absolute psychedelic nonsense, but I'm kind of here for it.
Worst Song: The Old Castle. Complete atonal whining at the beginning, that does eventually transition into more interesting but that ultimately
sounds like someone strapped a microphone to a hyped up mosquito.
Overall: Not sure I understand the appeal. I think there are far better ways to listen to Mussorgsky than this.
Mon Sep 26 2022
Best Song: How Do You Sleep? I liked the eastern influences in this song.
Worst Song: Imagine. Imagine liking this track.
Overall: This is the supposed Magnum Opus of Britain's greatest songwriter? First of all, can we finally admit that the title track is straight trite cheese? If there was ever any doubt, the celebrity rendition at the beginning of the pandemic illuminated what the actual context of the song is: wealthy privilege wistfully singing "imagine there's no hunger" while never being the least bit hungry themselves. The song is the pinnacle of pandering, and I hate that it was ever considered a poetic masterpiece. The rest of the album is totally forgettable as well.
Tue Sep 27 2022
Best Song: Everything Means Nothing To Me. The repetitive chorus, as the instrumentals swell in the background, creates a really nice effect. The choice to place this song immediately after "Everything Reminds Me Of Her" also feels like an impactful, meta-song choice that I dig.
Worst Song: Bye. Elliot Smith and his vocals are the point of admission.
Overall: As always, Elliot Smith's quiet, vulnerable delivery and poignant lyrics are excellent. The album is heavier (more electric) than I would maybe prefer to pair with Smith's voice, but there's still no denying the quiet presence Smith instills.
Wed Sep 28 2022
First Band On The Moon
Best Song: Lovefool. Never knew this was the group that did this song. Even though I've heard it dozens of times, it's still fun, bouncy, and with a playful chorus that you just feel like you have to sing.
Worst Song: Heartbreaker. Almost a waltz, can't say I liked how sleepy this one sounded.
Overall: Perfectly serviceable pop-alt-rock. Like the sound of her voice, like the brevity of the individual tracks and the album as a whole. Nothing overstays its welcome. Just quietly pleasant 90s rock.
Thu Sep 29 2022
Best Song: Izzo (H.O.V.A). Real funky dance track, that sounds like an extended intro but in a good way.
Worst Song: Girls, Girls, Girls. It's really just Jay-Z obnoxiously shouting "Girls" over a mediocre beat. I guess at least it's as advertised?
Overall: For a guy who seems like he's such a big part of pop culture, this is by far the most Jay-Z I've ever in one sitting. Turns out the best parts of the album are the parts that aren't him. Many of the beats, most of the samples... Great. It's when he starts "yeah"-ing overtop those samples that things start falling off. Lyrically, not exactly heavy hitting either. Never, while listening to this album, do I think, "I'm glad Jay-Z said that thing, and I'm glad that's the way he said it." Can't believe lyrics like "I can't see 'em comin' down my eyes" made it past being shown to literally anyone. And am I wrong to say that "Renegade" is an Eminem song with a Jay-Z feature, rather than vice versa?
Fri Sep 30 2022
Here Come The Warm Jets
Best Song: Blank Frank. Here Come The Warm Jets. Consistent, inundating groove. Why wasn't this the album?
Worst Song: Driving Me Backwards. The effect placed on the vocal track makes it sound like a group of drunk friends is trying to sing a song together, but the knowledge of the lyrics is split evenly amongst the group so they all just try to sing what the others sing.
Overall: Pretty obnoxious, apart from the title track. Some of the tracks (looking at you Blank Frank) seem designed to annoy.
Sat Oct 01 2022
Best Song: Pinball Wizard. That guitar melody which pops up throughout the album makes its presence most known here. It also feels the most "rock" of all that's on offer.
Worst Song: Cousin Kevin. Is it just me, or does it sound like some of the vocals are really off-key?
Overall: I always applaud weird and avant garde choices in art, and a rock opera about a deaf, dumb, and blind kid who becomes a pinball savant is certainly weird. Sadly, in the effort to present a continuous narrative, the actual music becomes less interesting. Would probably be interesting to watch a stage production, but it struggles to hold my interest over such a lengthy album.
Sun Oct 02 2022
Sound of Silver
Best Song: A raw and somehow melancholy dance track that builds in a satisfying, continuous crescendo. Good stuff.
Worst Song: Time to Get Away. Probably the weakest vocals on the album, especially in the upper register.
Overall: An electronic album that feels personal and sad and uplifting and authentic. It feels like the moment on a night out when you suddenly remember that there is a broader world out there, and that in the morning you have to do whatever obligations you might have to do, but you keep partying anyway. Only now, the party feels tinted, if not tainted, with that knowledge that it's only for a little while longer.
Mon Oct 03 2022
The Gilded Palace Of Sin
The Flying Burrito Brothers
Best Song: Hot Burrito #2. At least things are starting to get somewhat interestingly electric here.
Worst Song: Sin City. Bit too honky tonk for me.
Overall: Sometimes you see a combination of a band name and an album name that seems like it might be interesting, but then the artists absolutely fumble the bag. Why give yourself such a silly name to just go out and sing sad little country ditties?
Tue Oct 04 2022
Automatic For The People
Best Song: Man On The Moon. Nice chorus, lyrically interesting. If you believed...
Worst Song: Everybody Hurts. Listen, I get that this is a big song. Iconic, recognizable. But it's aggressively whiny. Cloying. I actually kind of like the central lyrical theme of "everybody hurts", but then they don't go and do anything interesting with it. Is that good and unifying? Is it the tragic reality of life that everything, in the end, is pain? Give me more than just "everybody hurts".
Overall: Tremendously okay. Fantastically alright. There are sounds on this album that can, undeniably, be categorized as music. Of all the albums in the world, this is one of them.
Wed Oct 05 2022
Pet Shop Boys
Best Song: The Theatre. Unexpectedly grandiose dance music.
Worst Song: To Speak is a Sin. The song that plays as you realize your Tinder date was being unexpectedly literal when they said you were looking like a snack. Patrick Bateman's ringtone.
Overall: Consuming, expansive, complex dance music that comes at you as a wall of sound with absolutely no soul. But hey, I mean there are times when I don't feel like having a soul. Whenever that happens, I'll listen to this album.
Thu Oct 06 2022
Best Song: Breathless. Sad to say my favourite track on the album is the one in which he isn't singing.
Worst Song: It Takes Two to Tango (This Is For The Girls). That chipper voice is really starting to grate on my by this point in the album, and the dated "boys are from Mars, women are from Venus" lyrical theme isn't helping.
Overall: Seems like one happy little drug man's personal project to make an album he loves. I can't really begrudge him for that, because it really does sound like he's having fun. But Jesus, there's some weird shit in here. I'm forced to believe the man has no idea what a viking is. Not to mention a song called "intro" in the middle of the album that's just him fiddling with recording equipment? To paraphrase Hemingway: "Record inebriated, edit sober".
Fri Oct 07 2022
Best Song: Interzone. Finally something mildly uptempo.
Worst Song: Day of the Lords. When WILL it end?
Overall: This sounds like music created by and for people on Valium. Really don't see the appeal here. I like the prominence of the bassline throughout the album, but the vocals sound like a tranquilized Jim Morrison.
Sat Oct 08 2022
Best Song: In The End. Exactly the right amount of angst, with a chorus that just asks to be sung in chorus.
Worst Song: Papercut. Pretty rough start to the album. Really makes me realize how much their music can be classified as "rap rock". Don't know how I never made that connection before. It feels obvious now.
Overall: When I saw this come up I was excited because I thought I love Linkin Park. After listening to it, I realize I actually just kind of like Linkin Park. That approachable "edginess" and angst was really evocative to me when I was listening to this in my teens, but now I can see the parts that are a bit shallow, or a bit cheesy. Not to say that I think current Me has the accurate read on the quality of this album, but I think it needs to be appreciated by someone at a very particular phase in their life. This would be Holden Caulfield's favourite album.
Sun Oct 09 2022
Rock 'N Soul
Best Song: Cry to Me. Bombastic, with an impressive vocal performance.
Worst Song: You Can't Love 'Em All. The choir is just shouting. At this point in the album, I've also grown very tired of the "lovey-dovey" subject matter. There are other topics.
Overall: The vocals really stand out here, even if a lot of the songwriting shows its age. If he had sung about more interesting things, I think I would have liked this album a lot more.
Mon Oct 10 2022
Music in Exile
Best Song: Irganda. Pleasant upbeat dance rhythm.
Worst Song: Jolie. Don't know why. Not significantly worse than the others, but the melody didn't hold my interest much.
Overall: Really nice stripped down blues. I don't understand the lyrics, but the musicality is sufficient to communicate emotion and tone. My inability to understand it also makes it good for having in the background while working. Music for driving at sunrise/sunset.
Tue Oct 11 2022
Bob Marley & The Wailers
Best Song: Them Belly Full (But We Hungry). An almost sombre slow dance song. Really soulful in a way that almost forcibly compels you to sway in time.
Worst Song: Talkin' Blues. Something about the backing vocals don't work for me here. The vocals themselves are fine, they just seem like they come from a cover version of the song that just happens to be playing at the same time.
Overall: Reggae just isn't my genre, regardless of who's performing it. It wasn't unpleasant, but it feels like I need my consciousness blunted to enjoy that continuous, bouncy rhythm. Given the right weather, and the right inebriation, maybe I can come to enjoy it.
Wed Oct 12 2022
Best Song: Ghost Rider. The backing groove is kinda nice.
Worst Songs: Girl. Mother of God who the fuck wants to listen to this horny, desperate mumbling? Also Frankie Teardrop, for being one of the least musical songs I've ever heard.
Overall: What at first seemed like some marginally interesting groove tracks descended into absolute hell due to the vocals layered overtop. The absolutely non-musical screaming, blowing out the mic? Insane, paranoid "lyrics"? If you played this song to an enemy combatant it would count as a war crime. I read they declined to play this at Abu Ghraib, citing it as too cruel.
Thu Oct 13 2022
Southern Rock Opera
Best Song: 72 (This Highway's Mean). I like the coarseness of his voice here.
Worst Song: Moved. Sometimes a song can be too stripped down.
Overall: This is a large quantity of country music, but I felt like I'd heard all that it had to offer by the end of Disc 1. It mostly sits in that safe spot between pop, rock, and country, but occasionally has some interesting diversions, like in "Three Great Alabama Icons". There might be a compelling skeleton in here, but if there is it's buried under a mountain of fat.
Fri Oct 14 2022
Best Song: Blue. Feels the most poetic and artful on an album full of poetic, artsy songs.
Worst Song: California. Lots of that upper register stuff here...
Overall: I like that Joni Mitchell makes the music she does, but I'm not sure that I like the music. The songwriting and lyrics are thoughtful, but the vocals (particularly the upper register) just sounds grating to me. I feel like would rather read a book of Mitchell's poetry than listen to the performed versions.
Sat Oct 15 2022
Best Song: Zombie. The song is very wide-ranging, but I liked the part with the choral vocals of "zombie".
Worst Song: Mr. Follow Follow. By contrast, the vocals here did not work for me at all.
Overall: It's a nice jam, but doesn't do much to hold my attention. I can imagine throwing it on in the background while I cook or clean though.
Sun Oct 16 2022
Best Song: Roundabout. A song I'd heard the opening riff to without realizing it. This feels like a prime example of the best elements of this era of classic rock: broad, sweeping, with every instrument (including keys) given an opportunity to stand out.
Worst Song: America. Too long, with that prog-rock tendency to never stay long enough on a particular musical theme for it to make an impact.
Overall: The music feels thoughtfully produced and technically impressive, but, like a lot of classic rock, favours grandiosity and scope over passion and soul.
Mon Oct 17 2022
Best Song: The Passion of Lovers. The least Buffalo Bill of all the tracks.
Worst Song: Muscle in Plastic. I guess that was intended to be a jazzy interlude, but it just felt like noise.
Overall: An hour of overly serious 80s nonsense. None of it is very good.
Tue Oct 18 2022
Court And Spark
Best Song: Help Me. Iconic, memorable, with a nice vocal performance.
Worst Song: Raised on Robbery. I just don't think this kind of rock n' roll fits her style.
Overall: For whatever reason, I like this offering much more than the previous Joni Mitchell album that I've had on this list. Her vocals are less all over the place, putting the focus more squarely on her lyrical strengths.
Wed Oct 19 2022
Abattoir Blues / The Lyre of Orpheus
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Best Song: There She Goes, My Beautiful World. Cacophonous in a good way, with perfect use of a backing choir. Upbeat in a way that feels like it might fall off the rails at any moment.
Worst Song: The Lyre of Orpheus. Lyrics were fine, but the "oh mama" chorus was not good enough to be repeated as frequently as it was.
Overall: Lyrically dense, musically diverse. My first serious foray into Nick Cave's music and I really enjoyed it. I will definitely be returning to this album. Very nearly 5 stars for me, but the double album runs a bit long with a few too many weak points (surprisingly, both title tracks) that I feel it would have improved with more stringent editing.
Thu Oct 20 2022
Liege And Lief
Best Song: Crazy Man Michael. Really dialing up the fantasy, medieval elements here.
Worst Song: Reynardine. A four and a half minute intro to a song that never arrives.
Overall: It's better than the majority of its contemporaries. The vocals are nice, as is the tendency towards folkish sounds. Feels equal parts 1869 and 1969.
Fri Oct 21 2022
16 Lovers Lane
Best Song: Was There Anything I Could Do? Sweeping, sort of theatrical sound.
Worst Song: Dive for Your Memory. Nothing quite like sending off the album with an absolute sleeper.
Overall: I was about to write that this was another example of British mediocrity padding the list, but then I found out that the band is actually Australian. Who knew. Humdrum knows no borders.
Sat Oct 22 2022
Best Song: The Way Young Lovers Do. The most interesting and dynamic instrumentation, especially on the bass.
Worst Song: Astral Weeks. I swear to God, at 3:22 it sounds like he's trying to sing with his tongue sticking fully out of his mouth. Like a goat. Man's out here bleating.
Overall: What I initially thought was just a brief glimpse of accidental goatiness in the opening track, I came to realize that it's just how the man sings. Unfortunate. Doesn't help that he sings like he's the most important thing in the room, when the surrounding instrumentals were actually my favourite parts. An exercise in over-singing.
Sun Oct 23 2022
Frampton Comes Alive
Best Song: Baby, I Love Your Way. Often, when listening to these older albums, I wonder if I coincidentally like the most famous song or if I just enjoy recognizing it. This one's no different.
Worst Song: (I'll Give You) Money. Generic classic rock that could have been produced by absolutely anyone.
Overall: It's not bad. Not great. Just is. And what it is, it is a bit too long.
Tue Oct 25 2022
The Madcap Laughs
Best Song: Octopus. At least it has a sort of raw, silly quality that is kind of endearing.
Worst Song: Terrapin. Good god if this wasn't the sleepiest introduction I've heard in a while.
Overall: I hope it was influential because good god there is little of value here to a modern listener. It never exceeds what feels like the author's first attempt at each song given.
Wed Oct 26 2022
Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)
Best Song: Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This). Call it nostalgia, but it feels like there's a reason this is the song people instantly sing along to when it comes on, be it on the car radio or at a bar. Honourable mention to "Wrap It Up" for being the safe sex anthem I never expected.
Worst Song: Jennifer. I'm really not looking for such a ballad in the middle of these other dance tracks.
Overall: Pretty groovy throughout, with soulful vocal performances on top of some decently dance-worthy beats. Would have been rated higher with some better editing, as the album didn't need to be this long.
Thu Oct 27 2022
Best Song: Supernaut. That perfect Sabbath mix of ethereal vocals and deep, proto-metal grooves.
Worst Song: Changes. Don't get me wrong, this is a great song. It just isn't a great Black Sabbath song. Nearly every cover I've heard feels better and more natural than this version.
Overall: Pretty solid album. Ozzy is in near-perfect form, and that kind of pitchy shout-singing contrasts well against the instrumentals. Conversely, the pacing/track order is a bit bizarre: "Laguna Sunrise" seems better suited as an opener or closer, and as it is sits really awkwardly in the middle of the album. Also, and maybe this is just my more modern sensibilities pushing in, but I often find myself wishing Black Sabbath played at 1.25x their default speed (more like the latter half of Snowblind) to drive the intensity and pace further forward. Alas, baseline slow Sabbath is alright.
Fri Oct 28 2022
Best Song: Heart-Shaped Box. After two directionless opening tracks, finally we have one that channels Nirvana's interpretation of angst into an angry little ditty worth listening to.
Worst Song: Rape Me. Musically it's alright, but that absolute edgelord choice to just shout "rape me" over and over really undermines my desire to ever listen to this track.
Overall: Overall a much less focused project than "Nevermind". A lot of just scattered screaming that never feels all that cohesive or purposeful, with a few solid tracks interspersed throughout.
Sat Oct 29 2022
Best Song: But I'm Different Now. I have a soft spot for songs that come and go in a flash but are able to leave an impression in that time.
Worst Song: Music For The Last Couple. Clearly experimental with that bizarre intro, but that pseudo-reggae vibe wasn't for me.
Overall: Bouncy 80s rock album. Had never heard any of it before. In the end it was better than my low expectations, but it also wasn't something that I feel excited to return to.
Sun Oct 30 2022
Station To Station
Best Song: TVC15. Seems like a post-apocalyptic ad for the best rocket launcher money can buy.
Worst Song: Station to Station. Maybe it's just my mood right now, but I can't stomach the choice to kick off the album with a 10 minute song that could've been 5.
Overall: It certainly sounds very Bowie, but is that enough to warrant the inclusion of all his albums on this list? Surely the rest of the world combined has produced at least a few albums that are better than this.
Mon Oct 31 2022
In The Court Of The Crimson King
Best Song: 21st Century Schizoid Man. Great song, has been sampled well to great effect. Sufficiently prog without overstaying its welcome.
Worst Song: Epitaph. It isn't bad per se, but it does certainly take it's time, feeling like a lengthy mourning for someone I don't care much about.
Overall: An almost medieval feeling fantasy prog album that is more often atmospheric than it is in-your-face rock. The opener is the best track, but also feels at odds with the rest of the album, resulting in a listening experience that feels a bit scattered. The sparse jazz of Moonchild feels like it doesn't belong in the same album as the raucous electricity of 21st Century Schizoid Man.
Wed Nov 16 2022
Creedence Clearwater Revival
Best Song: Proud Mary. Like the lyrics suggests, the song just rolls along nicely, with a sweet, singable chorus that gets people moving.
Worst Song: Bootleg. CCR tends to have an enunciation problem, and it feels like it is at its worst here. Lots of southern-sounding gibberish.
Overall: CCR has some iconic songs, although not many are on this album in particular. For lovers of the genre, I'm sure this album really slaps, but the bluegrass grows a little long after a while. It turns out I prefer CCR when they take on more of a rock approach, with a stronger political tone with tracks like "Fortunate Son".
Thu Nov 17 2022
The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
Best Song: The Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging. Equal parts futuristic and theatrical. Very cool.
Worst Song: Hairless Heart. I'm here for the vocals, plain and simple. This sounds like the music that plays over the credits of an awful coming-of-age film.
Overall: The whole album feels indulgent, from its production to its unnecessary length. That saccharine luxury surely overstays its welcome, and you end up wishing for some kind of raw emotion halfway through this monster album.
Fri Nov 18 2022
Crime Of The Century
Best Song: Bloody Well Right. Iconic vocal track that still has the weird, jazzy qualities of the rest of the album.
Worst Song: Asylum. Although the theatricality is part of Supertramp's appeal, songs like this swing too hard into actually sounding like theater, which feels one step too far.
Overall: Supertramp has a very idiosyncratic sound, and that can become tiresome after an entire album. I like the diverse use of instrumentals, and the nearly-whiny vocals, but sometimes the tracks here come off as grandiose without being all that grand.
Sat Nov 19 2022
Sign 'O' The Times
Best Song: Adore. The actually legitimately sexy song to conclude an album full of songs trying to be sexy.
Worst Song: Housequake. The beat is sufficiently funky, but the vocals here have a kind of chipmunky quality that I can't quite get behind.
Overall: It seems like this whole album is centered around the thesis explicitly defined in "Slow Love". Maybe I didn't have enough candles playing while listening to this album, but I consistently wished to hear more of the upbeat, dance-worthy songs that I know Prince is capable of. Instead, it's full of Love so Slow it might be sleeping.
Sun Nov 20 2022
MTV Unplugged In New York
Best Song: Where Did You Sleep Last Night. The perfect, explosive end to the album. It feels like the entire album's quiet pressure culminated in this one loud, painful song.
Worst Song: Polly. I've always thought this song sounded too much like Nirvana intentionally trying to go a more skate-pop route.
Overall: This is the perfect example of how a live album can elevate the material well above the studio versions. The stripped down instrumentals, Kurt's seeming reticence to even be there, the personal asides the musicians make between songs. All while channeling Nirvana's often impotent-feeling rage into something quieter and more concentrated than their noisier studio stuff. If not for a sleepy section in the latter half, it would be an easy 5.
Mon Nov 21 2022
Best Song: Old Man. A nice, quiet sort of lullaby.
Worst Song: God's Song. This is really more of an interesting poem than a listenable song.
Overall: Pretty one note. And that note is extremely nasal.
Tue Nov 22 2022
Best Song: Been down so long. Raw, violent, expressive, explosive, sexual. This is what I think of when I think of Jim Morrison and the Doors.
Worst Song: Love Her Madly. Too much of a surf rock song for my taste.
Overall: This is the Doors at their best. Jazzy interludes that feel like pleasant, albeit safe drives through the American countryside that suddenly and inexplicably descend straight to hell as the Lizard King takes over. Jim Morrison plays probably the best Jekyll and Hyde in all of music that it doesn't matter when the quality of his singing deteriorates as he plummets into madness.
Wed Nov 23 2022
Best Song: Tattooed Love Boys. That crunchy rhythm with the little solos in the middle of the song was nice. Real nice.
Worst Song: Space Invader. Definitely a jam track that snuck its way onto the album.
Overall: Totally inoffensive 80s pop rock, with all the pros and cons that that entails.
Thu Nov 24 2022
Here Are the Sonics
Best Song: Have Love Will Travel. Nice groove, nice solo. Perfect encapsulation of that kind of hippie-love vibe.
Worst Song: Good Golly Miss Molly. Not terrible, just not one of the better renditions of this song that I've heard.
Overall: High energy, low polish early rock. The songs are quick and spastic, but they don't really do much to differentiate themselves.
Fri Nov 25 2022
Best Song: I've Been Drinking. The only song where I felt like the singer felt what he was singing.
Worst Song: You Shook Me. It's got all the trappings of blues without the soul and authenticity.
Overall: Relatively flat and uninteresting blues. Didn't help that I had Jeff Beck confused with Jeff Buckley, so this really clashed with my expectations. Regardless, can't imagine turning to this when actual blues music exists.
Sat Nov 26 2022
Ace of Spades
Best Song: Ace of Spades. This song hits you like a truck to kick off the album, and then drags you through the gravel of Lemmy's perfect thrash metal voice.
Worst Song: Jailbait. Unless I'm misunderstanding what he means by "jailbait", this song is creepy as fuck.
Overall: High speed, killer bass, legendary voice. Honestly, apart from that random pervert interlude in the middle, this album is pretty good, even if it does feel like it starts to lose steam at the end.
Sun Nov 27 2022
Best Song: Mountains O' Things. The non-standard instrumentals (triangle and xylophone?) really pair well with the vocals here.
Worst Song: For My Lover. A touch too close to a country vibe.
Overall: Vocally and lyrically, this album is a stunner. Although I'd heard Fast Cars before, I'd never heard anything else by Chapman. Enough to make me a fan.
Mon Nov 28 2022
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Best Song: Where The Wild Roses Grow. Excellent contrast with Kylie Minogue.
Worst Song: Henry Lee. I think PJ Harvey is a nice counterpoint to Nick Cave, but I find the la's a bit annoying after a while.
Overall: Lyrically very dense. Clearly poetic, which I think will require several listens to extract their meaning. Cave knows how to use his voice within the confines of what it's capabilities. Definitely feels like it is striving for (and succeeding at) being Art with a capital A.
Tue Nov 29 2022
Best Song: Oh, What A World. Love the use of the vocoder. It gives the song this ethereal, progressive feeling that is missing from the rest of the album. A song for breakfast with people you really like.
Worst Song: Butterflies. Completely forgettable bubblegum pop.
Overall: Mostly quietly pleasant coffee shop music, with a few standouts (e.g., High Horse) that stretch genres a bit. Strangely, this feels like the type of music that is just okay to listen to on recording, but if heard live would make you want to follow her to the ends of the Earth.
Wed Nov 30 2022
Songs For Swingin' Lovers!
Best Song: You Make Me Feel So Young. It sounds theatrical in a good way.
Worst Song: Too Marvelous For Words. Sometimes (often) Sinatra dips heavily into the cheese for his lyrics, and this is some of the worst. I get that it was a part of the style of the times, but damnit if it doesn't make me cringe.
Overall: This is probably the effect of a retrospective lens, but a lot of this is just (both lyrically and musically) exceedingly saccharine. It's like a big piece of cheesecake from a chain restaurant. When you first taste it, it seems sumptuous, but the more you eat the more you realize it's just one thin note propped up by too much sugar and fat.
Fri Dec 02 2022
Best Song: It's All Over Now. Mostly because of the piano.
Worst Song: Only A Hobo. Only a shmuck would be suckered into feeling sympathy for this grade school, sickly sweet attempt at a parable. Special thanks to Rod for explicitly reminding us that this is a "sad song". Might have missed it otherwise.
Overall: Rod Stewart seems determined to convince the listener that he's a good person. I don't know that he isn't, but its his determinedness that makes him a little suspect. Musically, it's that same "shout whisper" that I expect, on top of some otherwise uninteresting classic rock.
Sat Dec 03 2022
New York Dolls
New York Dolls
Best Song: Personality Crisis. Kicking the album off aggressively, before you realize that this is the only setting this band has.
Worst Song: Looking For A Kiss. I hate this desperate, clingy, girl-harassing motif common to music of this era.
Overall: Noisy in an ugly way.
Sun Dec 04 2022
Best Song: Keep The Car Running. I like when a song's lyrical themes match well with the feelings imparted by the music itself. Here, both the lyrics and music give a feeling of haste and urgency that works really well.
Worst Song: My Body is a Cage. Overly whiny, verging on Smashing Pumpkin's "despite all my rage..."
Overall: Extremely well-produced, but still lacks the soul I'm looking for. Everything feels very polished, well-thought out and constructed, but lacks some internal something necessary for me to actually care about it.
Mon Dec 05 2022
Best Song: Ladytron. At first this sounded like futuristic for a future I never want to visit (Mostly because of whatever instument (recorder?) carries the melody throughout the song). Eventually though, the part picked up by the rhythm section carried an energy that won me over.
Worst Song: If There Is Something. Man went full sheep on this one. Bonus points for one of the worst solos I can remember hearing.
Overall: Really quite awful. Theatrical in a cheesy way, over-indulgent, manic, blegh.
Tue Dec 06 2022
Licensed To Ill
Best Song: No Sleep Till Brooklyn. The Beastie Boys' boisterous attitude actually channeled towards something that feels worthy of that dumb energy.
Worst Song: Girls. In an album full of obnoxious songs, this song out obnoxiouses them all.
Overall: The Beastie Boys are the chihuahuas of music. All impotent energy and rage. The vocals are garbage, blown out frat boy shouting that sounds like it's coming through a fast food drive-thru speaker, and then the beats, which are the main thing on offer here, aren't that great either. Even when the beats are good, it's probably just a barely altered version of some other song. This music does nothing well.
Wed Dec 07 2022
Best Song: Little Red Riding Hood Hit The Road. At least the brass instrumentals were nice.
Worst Song: Sea Song. That warbled singing is not a strong way to kick off an album.
Overall: I respect the weirdness of this album, even if I mostly didn't enjoy it. The laboured breathing through the entirety of Alifib? Interesting choice that's awful to listen to. Followed by Alife, which sounds like the soundtrack to someone's sleep paralysis? Bold. Painful, but bold.
Thu Dec 08 2022
Maverick A Strike
Best Song: It's Great When We're Together. The chorus here is excellent, and repeated in an almost mantra-like fashion to great effect.
Worst Song: Supreme I Preme. Too sleepy for me.
Overall: Pleasantly chill background music that I can definitely see myself throwing on in while cooking or reading. For someone who typically doesn't like this genre of music, I found it pretty compelling.
Fri Dec 09 2022
Best Song: Aqualung. A decent song, but one that definitely comes from that classic rock school of song writing that basically begins and ends with coming up with a cool riff.
Worst Song: My God. On overly long song that thinks it's being overly clever.
Overall: My only knowledge of Jethro Tull prior to this was that they're the classic rock band with the flute. Turns out that is in no way reductive: that's exactly who they are. Granted, the flute is a nice occasional reprieve/contrast to everything else going on, but they're still fundamentally an okay rock band with a gimmick.
Sat Dec 10 2022
Best Song: Fall At Your Feet. I must have heard this in some sitcom or romcom... It has that hint of familiarity that makes it more enjoyable.
Worst Song: Whispers and Moans. That falsetto is not nearly as sexy as I think the singer intends.
Overall: Utterly forgettable pop rock. Also, some absolute childish album art. Nothing to note here.
Sun Dec 11 2022
Best Song: Waterfalls. I fucking love this song. The hooks, the lyrics, that chorus. I legitimately think this is a perfect song.
Worst Song: Case of the Fake People. This kind of diatribe against "fake people" feels really dated now.
Overall: Some brilliant tracks on here, but the album is weighed down by the unnecessary and too-frequent interludes. Either expand them into full songs or leave them out, in my opinion.
Mon Dec 12 2022
Vulgar Display Of Power
Best Song: A New Level. I liked the rhythm of the riff best here.
Worst Song: Live in a Hole. So sluggish and weighed down, with a solo that is comically at odds with the rest of the song.
Overall: Pantera always seemed to me like a slowed-down version of some other, better metal band. I bet this sounds decent at 1.25x or 1.5x speed, but at its current pace it just meanders around these bloated, overly serious tracks. Boring metal is a sin, and this is as boring as it gets.
Tue Dec 13 2022
The Number Of The Beast
Best Song: Hallowed Be Thy Name. Sprawling, epic, with beautiful vocals and a riff that is arguably more memorable than anything else on the album.
Worst Song: The Number of the Beast. Not a bad song overall, but I've always found the theme a bit too cheesy and on-the-nose.
Overall: I love Iron Maiden. They were one of my first favourite bands, and unlike many other bands I once liked, I've never stopped loving them. The combination of Bruce Dickinson's soaring vocals and what must be one of the best rhythm sections in metal, you get this band that feels both epic/ethereal and blisteringly paced. Iron Maiden at their best makes me want to sing and cry and run and fight all at once. Their songs, especially lengthier epics like Hallowed Be Thy Name, also somehow manage to have a "live" quality to them, even in studio recording. As good as this era of metal ever got.
Wed Dec 14 2022
Best Song: Sweet Young Thing Ain't Sweet No More. Had a decent groove to it, even if the lyrics were a bit suspect.
Worst Song: Halloween. Somehow the most amateurish of the whole lot.
Overall: Massively overlong. Feels like a garage band saved up for some studio time and decided that if they paid to record something then it was going on the record.
Thu Dec 15 2022
Best Song: Pick Up Your Feelings. Classic bouncing R&B rhythm with a great vocal performance.
Worst Song: Price Tags. This song loses the subtlety and nuance of the other tracks and just beats you over the head without innuendo. Anderson .Paak was good on it though.
Overall: Pretty solid R&B that is excellently produced. The "tales" which set up each track are actually really well done in communicating the general vibe of the upcoming song in a concise way. Not a big fan of the materialist thread that runs through sections of the album, but thankfully that thread doesn't touch all tracks.
Fri Dec 16 2022
Best Song: Halcyon On and On. The use of the female vocals as another instrument works really well here.
Worst Song: Time Becomes. I get that it's more of an album intro than a song, but it is such an awful repetition that it makes you not want to see what else the album has to offer.
Overall: A halfway decent electronic album that goes in heavy on repetition. This works, mostly, during the instrumental tracks, but I've never heard electronica that handles verbal content so poorly. Anything with someone speaking words is almost unlistenable, and yet Halcyon On and On works very well. Go figure.
Sat Dec 17 2022
Best Song: Birds and Ships. The female vocals served as a great counterpoint to the main male vocal track.
Worst Song: Hoodoo Voodoo. Sounds inauthentically silly. Like irreverence cooked up in a board room.
Overall: Subdued, bluegrass-y folk. The star here is the lyrics, which is not surprising given that they're apparently all old Woody Guthrie lyrics. The rest is not bad, country roads type music.
Sun Dec 18 2022
A Seat at the Table
Best Song: Mad. Solange's vocals absolutely stand up on their own, but Lil Wayne adds something special to this.
Worst Song: Borderline. Q-Tip didn't really add anything, and the backing trip beats detracted (and contrasted) with the rest of what's on offer.
Overall: Refreshing, solid modern soul, without any real slow points on the whole album. Can't definitely see myself returning to this. Candlelit dinner music.
Mon Dec 19 2022
3 + 3
The Isley Brothers
Best Song: Summer Breeze. The song feels like the ecstasy of a summer breeze. Light and rolling, but with just heavy enough guitars to give it some substance, and a pace that feels like summer could end at any moment, and you've got to enjoy it while it's here.
Worst Song: Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight. Not bad, but after that heater of an opening track it was difficult to pump the brakes hard enough to appreciate this one.
Overall: Exactly what I come to this list for. A band I'd only heard of, with a brilliant combination of funk, soul, dance... Musically talented with incredible vocals. Somehow it is able to sound both retro and modern at the same time. Really, really good.
Tue Dec 20 2022
Best Song: Comfortably Numb. Lyrically and instrumentally, this stands well above the crowd.
Worst Song: In The Flesh. The main guitar riff just seems cheesy and overwrought.
Overall: It's good, sure. I like how expansive it is, how seamlessly one track flows into another while still having pockets of uniqueness throughout. However, it feels needlessly long, sticking around well after it has made its point.
Wed Jan 11 2023
Best Song: 16 Shells From a 30.6. The vocals here are absolutely perfect: energetic and dragged across a backcountry gravel road.
Worst Song: Dave the Butcher. The insistence of placing instrumental tracks on a Tom Waits album never ceases to astound me.
Overall: More expected excellence from this period of Tom Wait's career. The mix of often gentle music and Wait's unique grit, all around compelling lyrics, makes this work.
Thu Jan 12 2023
Master Of Puppets
Best Song: Welcome Home. The guitar riff in the latter half of the song is really quite good.
Worst Song: The Thing That Should Not Be. That boring, overly serious trudgery that I expect from Metallica.
Overall: Metallica is the plain Cheerios of metal. Not that heavy but not that melodic, not that fast but not that sludgy. They're inoffensive, but certainly metal should aim to do more? It really gets quite boring towards the end of the album.
Fri Jan 13 2023
Best Song: Sincere. I like the slow jam atmorphere here.
Worst Song: You're Mine. The presence of the female vocals throughout the album led me to believe that she was here to stay. Removing her just made this track feel like it was missing something.
Overall: Music that is unexciting, but might also not be designed to excite. Relatively simple, straightforward, vocal-dominant electronic. At times it feels as though it's trying really hard to be soulful, and not always landing.
Sat Jan 14 2023
At Mister Kelly's
Best Song: September in the Rain. Nicely melancholy, although could do without the recording industry intro.
Worst Song: Stairway To The Stars. A prime example of the syrupy, over-indulgence that plagues a lot of this genre of music.
Overall: She's got a nice voice, but I'm not sure it's so wonderful to havie the staying power necessary for me to want to listen to this today. Hearing her sing about Ella Fitzgerald just made me wonder why not listen to her instead?
Sun Jan 15 2023
Best Song: Blitzkrieg Bop. I can't even tell if this is the best song, or if I just like it more because it is at the beginning of the album and you hear it first before realizing that the band can't write any other type of song and you're about to hear the same thing 13 more times.
Worst Song: I Don't Wanna Walk Around with You. It's just so fucking dumb.
Overall: Every song is the exact same. It starts at full speed, with no ramp up and continues unabated at the same uninteresting pace for 2-3 minutes while the band shouts some random phrase (probably the title of the song) over and over. Its only gift is its brevity.
Mon Jan 16 2023
Best Song: Silver Soul. One of those quietly rising and building songs that feels like it has an element of inevitability to it.
Worst Song: Norway. I'm not musically literate enough to fully explain what it is that I don't like here, but something about the backing instrumentals feels... off.
Overall: It's fine. Very sleepy, kind of quiet background pop. Not worth paying close attention to, but serviceable to throw on while having a quiet night in.
Tue Jan 17 2023
The Atomic Mr Basie
Count Basie & His Orchestra
Best Song: Whirly-Bird. High intensity, nice solo, killer bassline.
Worst Song: Duet. Too slow and plodding for my liking.
Overall: The rhythm section really shines here, but unfortunately it's just not the style of music that I like, so I can't stomach much more than the album's (short) runtime.
Wed Jan 18 2023
Best Song: Goodbye Lucille #1. The opening guitar sequence was really pleasant. Rest of the song was just okay.
Worst Song: Horsin' Around. Sounds like a rejected soundtrack for the in-universe sitcom from Bojack Horseman.
Overall: Another day, another boring British band. I like a pop band that uses sad and melancholy lyrics like those found here, but I still need the music to be more interesting.
Thu Jan 19 2023
Chicago Transit Authority
Best Song: Beginnings. Hits a fever pitch crescendo, where the many layers of instrumentals coalesce in a really nice way.
Worst Song: Free Form Guitar. I wonder if at any point in planning, playing, recording, or mastering, anyone asked whether someone would actually want to listen to this.
Overall: A group of highly talented musicians that sometimes seem more motivated in trying to show off their talent than to write songs people want to hear. Everything here - at the album level but also at the level of individual songs - feels like it is in desperate need of an editor to pare things down and trim the fat.
Fri Jan 20 2023
Tragic Songs of Life
The Louvin Brothers
Best Song: Knoxville Girl. The vocal harmonies are nice I guess.
Worst Song: Satan Lied to Me. How can you squander such a cool title with such a dorky little song.
Overall: Even if this album was highly influential, it's so obnoxious to listen to that I assume I'd dislike anything it influenced.
Sat Jan 21 2023
Creedence Clearwater Revival
Best Song: Bad Moon Rising. Exactly what we come to CCR for. A quick song that gets in, makes its point, and gets out without wasting anyone's time. A good mix of white man's blues and rock.
Worst Song: Wrote A Song For Everyone. Slow and cheesy.
Overall: The high hits are great, but the rest of the album does end up feeling relatively flat and one-note. The vocals are so excellent here, I can't help wishing they would use more variability in tempo and intensity.
Sun Jan 22 2023
Teenager Of The Year
Best Song: Speedy Marie. I appreciated the slower, more thoughtful production on this track. The singer has a really nice singing voice when he sings low and slow.
Worst Song: Sir Rockaby. Didn't need the lullaby here.
Overall: Another one of those alt albums where the artist just throws everything at the wall and hopes something sticks. It feels like they thought if they wrote a song, it needed to be on the album. That kind of desperate energy does little to improve the overall experience, which is 22 songs of just okay.
Wed Jan 25 2023
Close To You
Best Song: Help. Perhaps not fair, as much of the heavy lifting is being done by the Beatles' songwriting, but the female vocals really elevate the song.
Worst Song: Crescent Noon. Far too slow and plodding given the vocal talent that's on display here.
Overall: Pleasant music that is equal parts hippie free-love and cult indoctrination.
Thu Jan 26 2023
Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul
Best Song: My Girl. The most soulful of the songs on offer here.
Worst Song: Respect. Not terrible, but just an example of when a different version of the song is so excellent that it eclipses all other attempts.
Overall: I wish these renditions of these songs skewed more towards the "soul" side of the spectrum (and less on the rock & roll), but there's no denying Otis Redding's voice.
Fri Jan 27 2023
New Gold Dream (81/82/83/84)
Best Song: Promised You A Miracle. Just the right amount of 80s pomp and cheese to make me think it's funny-good not funny-bad.
Worst Song: Somebody Up There Likes You. Yawn.
Overall: Another British album better off left to the annals of history.
Sat Jan 28 2023
Best Song: Watermelon Man. Manageable. Frenetic, but manageable.
Worst Song: Vein Melter. A disappointingly chill departure from the madness of the previous songs.
Overall: Absolute musical madness. This whole album feels like it's running at full speed at all times, teetering on the precipice of coming undone but somehow always staying on track. Blistering and chaotic in the best ways.
Sun Jan 29 2023
The Rolling Stones
Best Song: Paint It Black. Wow, does the kickoff really give you an inaccurate estimate of what the rest of this album will sound like.
Worst Song: Stupid Girl. Goddamn did this song ever age horribly.
Overall: Starts strong and ends extraordinarily weak, on an 11 minute bloated bumpkin song with a guitar melody that competes with the chorus to see who can be more annoying. They both win.
Tue Jan 31 2023
If I Should Fall From Grace With God
Best Song: Bottle of Smoke. The raw, biting, polk-funk atmosphere is thickest on this track.
Worst Song: Fairytale of New York. Cheesy and overwrought. This feels like the sentimentality of a drunk at the end of a long night, when they think they're being thoughtful and articulate and sweet but really they're just being cliché.
Overall: A bit too long, but nicely broad ranging, with a mix of folk classics and heavier originals. Works best when the energy is high.
Wed Feb 01 2023
Best Song: Weird Fishes/Arpeggi. That guitar work is beautiful. It really feels like it takes up all the space in your brain.
Worst Song: Nude. Aptly titled, as Yorke's voice is laid a bit too bare here, and with nothing to hide behind it sounds extra warbly.
Overall: Compelling, clearly "indie" music that always feels crunchy and unique. I really like how much is going on in each track, which gives an intoxicating sense of complexity to the whole album. Probably the most I've liked Radiohead.
Thu Feb 02 2023
Best Song: Macbeth. Real dancey rock and roll.
Worst Song: Hanky Panky Nohow. The lyrics aren't as bad as I expected, but still the phrase "hanky panky" is insurmountably bad.
Overall: This was certainly a collection of songs. Breathtakingly average.
Fri Feb 03 2023
Best Song: Merchandise. Feels like a song I'd listen to while I play Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2.
Worst Song: Two Beats Off. I didn't come to this punk show for people to whine.
Overall: Nice and crusty proto punk. Not my genre, but good for what it is. I can imagine it'd be great in a live show. In my headphones, not so much.
Sat Feb 04 2023
Best Song: The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke. That piano (harpsichord?) sounds really nice, and the vocal harmonies aren't so over-the-top to distract from the song entirely.
Worst Song: Nevermore. Needlessly self-indulgent piano interlude.
Overall: This might be the album that solidifies for me that Queen is just okay. They're not some mythic superband that can do no wrong. They're not infallible. They made some good songs (all of which have since gone on to be massively overplayed) and a bunch of mediocre ones.
Wed Feb 08 2023
Best Song: Lover, You Should've Come Over. This might be the perfect ballad.
Worst Song: Eternal Life. This sounds like Stone Temple Pilots, not the angel-voiced Buckley.
Overall: Jeff Buckley has a knack for singing with (what feels like) genuine emotion. His vocal range is incredible, and he sings with this endearing vulnerability. There is also a sort of quiet and honest simplicity to his lyrics. And his cover of Hallelujah competes with the original for quality.
Thu Feb 09 2023
Out of Step
Best Song: Little Friend. Juvenile and noisy in the right way.
Worst Song: Cashing In. The spoken word "Wizard of Oz" bit probably sounded more artistic in their heads, but it just sounds amateurish.
Overall: The sound of largely impotent (directionless?) rage. Everything sputters everywhere, briefly. It honestly doesn't feel like there's even enough here to comment on. It's nice and noisy, but not so interesting.
Fri Feb 10 2023
Best Song: None.
Worst Song: All.
Overall: The Wikipedia page credits one of the musicians for "noises". This album has to be an abstract art piece, not actually intended to be listened to. This is anti-music. The sounds contained herein appear to have been carefully curated to be as obnoxious, abrasive, and a-musical as possible. It is the senseless but intentional bucking of trends and norms - not to prove some interesting or intelligent point - but just to seem interesting by being contrary. This is low effort trash. My day is worse for having listened to this. The only positive is that I think I now appreciate all other music more for at least having the fucking courage to earnestly try.
Sat Feb 11 2023
Ellington at Newport
Best Song: Skin Deep. Who doesn't like a drum solo?
Worst Song: Pt.1 - Festival Junction. That solo at the end is just needlessly shrill.
Overall: This really feels like a time capsule that's difficult to appreciate in the modern era. The jazz is nice, but the crowd seems to be losing their goddamn minds over it. Had they just never experienced anything remotely progressive/transgressive before? It gave the strange sense that I was missing something when I heard how extreme of a reaction the crowd had to the music.
Sun Feb 12 2023
Destroy Rock & Roll
Best Song: Muscle Cars. I feel like I've never heard a song that's so blippy-bloopy while also being on such a low register. I like.
Worst Song: Musclecar (Reform Reprise). The lyrical conceit of "listing a bunch of topical things" was already exhausted in "Destroy Rock & Roll", making this song feel less original.
Overall: Really enjoyable electronica album from a band I've absolutely never heard of, but feels like they must have influenced groups that I have. Perfect for background music, cooking especially, as it's got just enough energy to dance to.
Mon Feb 13 2023
Best Song: Which Way To America. Almost metal in its intensity.
Worst Song: Desperate People. This band is too talented for such a slow and plodding track.
Overall: Slick rock that has a very classic feel. The music feels very technical (at times to a deleterious degree) and something about the guitar tone makes it sound dated. Still, good classic rock is good classic rock.
Tue Feb 14 2023
Willie Colón & Rubén Blades
Best Song: Buscando Guayaba. I think it is the background chorus that really set this one apart.
Worst Song: Siembra. I'm not sure if it was actually the worst, or if I'd just exhausted my interest in this level of latin music. Given my ignorance of the genre, it all started to sound very similar by this point in the album.
Overall: Not my genre, but nice and enjoyable all the same. I could imagine it for cooking and eating particular meals. It is danceable, but in a way that I don't know how to dance to.
Wed Feb 15 2023
The Yes Album
Best Song: Starship Trooper: a. Life Seeker, b. Disillusion, c. Wurm. This is what I want when I listen to prog rock: expansive, meandering rock that takes its time to get anywhere, and goes some weird places along the way.
Worst Song: Perpetual Change. That tempo change at around the 5 minute mark is exactly what is annoying about a lot of prog. It happens absolutely out of the blue. The whole song changes in an instant, without foreshadowing or any built anticipation. Why is this the same song? Why isn't this the next song? These kind of harsh cuts make listening to the music feel disjointed. Chaotic for its own sake.
Overall: Music to stroke shag carpet to. Nothing here is particularly revelatory, even if all the band members seem musically quite talented. It just suffers from that heartless musicality that seems to plague a lot of prog rock.
Sat Feb 18 2023
Best Song: Adeus Maria Fulo. Really cool mixture of instruments with a pleasant, bouncy melody.
Worst Song: Baby. Feels like they're really trying to cosplay as the Beatles here.
Overall: Overwhelmingly okay. Seems pretty derivative of other big bands at the time (the Beatles in particular), so nothing feels particularly exciting here. Can't imagine that I'll return to this.
Sun Feb 19 2023
Best Song: Rapid Fire. A nice (relatively) high-speed kickoff to the album.
Worst Song: United. Just pure cheese. Can't imagine what kind of dorks there must be standing in a crowd, chanting this song with their whole hearts. Ditto for "Red, White & Blue".
Overall: I find that Judas Priest really suffers from the significance of their influence. They - along with Motorhead - inspired a lot of modern thrash metal, and one thing those modern derivatives have done is really crank up the speed and intensity of the genre. The effect is that going back to listen to the progenitors of the genre feels like listening to thrash metal at half-speed, and I kept waiting for each track to kick into a higher gear. The music is still alright, and I can appreciate Halford's theatrics, but it kind of feels like an old man's version of speed now.
Mon Feb 20 2023
Second Toughest In The Infants
Best Song: Rowla. Like I'm running through the Matrix.
Worst Song: Banstyle / Sappys Curry. The drum beat got really fatiguing after a while.
Overall: The first two songs were so overly long that I found I had grown tired of the concept after those first two. It's a bit of a shame, because I think the artist showed some interesting rhythms on their shorter tracks, but are just in desperate need of some self-editing.
Tue Feb 21 2023
Best Song: Green Light. This song fucking rocks. The piano is fantastic, the backing vocals bring the energy, and Lorde's sultry voice fits very well in the main stage.
Worst Song: The Louvre. Sounds like a Taylor Swift song, but like in a bad way.
Overall: This album had such a strong start that I was ready to love it, but a fairly weak middle section left me feeling significantly less excited for it. Although it ended on a fairly high note, the middle was far too placid, ordinary pop music that sat in this superficially melancholic space without seeming to actually plumb all that much lyrical depth. I would have preferred a whole album of pop bangers like Green Light, or a more headlong dive into sadness.
Wed Feb 22 2023
Emperor Tomato Ketchup
Best Song: Cybele's Reverie. The overlapping vocals were really pleasant.
Worst Song: Emperor Tomato Ketchup. This track has one of those rhythm sections that is so repetitive that it oscillates between catchy/bouncy and grating/mind-numbing. By the end of the song, it landed fully on the latter.
Overall: I always like to see pop that feels unique and experimental. Not everything works here (sometimes the rhythms are downright annoying), but damnit I respect them for being weird. Has a nice jazzy feel. Well suited for background music.
Thu Feb 23 2023
Guided By Voices
Best Song: As We Go Up We Go Down. Mildly enjoyable hippy whimsy.
Worst Song: Ex-Supermodel. Is someone snoring in the background of this song?
Overall: What even if this? I don't think it feels right to call these songs. None of the tracks certainly feel like they can stand on their own, but it also isn't as though the tracks ease consistently into one another to produce a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. It is just a disorganized collection of ideas, jumbled together and picked blindly from a hat. It has the feeling of going to a library, grabbing a book and opening it to a random page, reading a paragraph or two, and then tossing it over your shoulder to grab a new book.
Fri Feb 24 2023
All Hope Is Gone
Best Song: Snuff. It isn't a good sign that the least metal song on this ostensibly metal album is the best one.
Worst Song: Psychosocial. Really didn't expect (nor enjoy) the emo-esque melodic vocals.
Overall: Really just boring, repetitive metal. None of the heavy tracks did much to catch my attention. There's a lot better metal out there.
Sat Feb 25 2023
Live At The Regal
Best Song: You Done Lost Your Good Thing Now. Probably the best vocal performance on the album.
Worst Song: Worry, Worry. I've just never been a fan of the "relationship advice interlude" that seems so common in blues music.
Overall: B.B. King is obviously King here. Instrumentally and vocally everything is really great here, although I do wish that some tracks were more stripped back to let King's vocals stand more prominent.
Sun Feb 26 2023
Best Song: Eleanor Rigby. The best lyrics on the album, but the star is the impeccable string section.
Worst Song: Love You To. Overall creepy vibe whose only efforts at originality seem to come from using the sitar.
Overall: This is, without a doubt, another Beatles album. There are a few gems in here, but also a whole lot of filler. I find it difficult not to assume a contrarian position, but surely this list doesn't need to include EVERY Beatles album. Is it not possible to have an assessment of popular music that doesn't treat the entire Beatles discography as gospel? It's been 50 years, I think we can admit as a society that some of their music is just okay.
Mon Feb 27 2023
My Aim Is True
Best Song: Blame It On Cain. Nice blues rhythm, nice energy.
Worst Song: (The Angels Want to Wear My) Red Shoes. I hate when I can tell that the artist thought that a particular lyric was going to hit harder than it does. That repetition at the end is just annoying.
Overall: This sounds like the kind of music that gets old people BUSTLIN' on a wedding dance floor, while everyone under 50 takes the time to refill their drinks. I'm sure he must have been raucous at one time, but to me he just kind of sounds like a slightly more energetic Randy Newman.
Tue Feb 28 2023
Let's Get It On
Best Song: If I Should Die Tonight. I love this style of soul, with multiply-overlapping vocals, wherein each vocal track feels like it's conveying the same lyrics with a starkly different emotion.
Worst Song: Just To Keep You Satisfied. It is fitting that the comedown song on this sex album is the least interesting.
Overall: This has to be one of the most sexual albums ever recorded. It's impressive what levels of eroticism he was able to cram into 8 tracks, but it also severely limits the companies and contexts in which you can play this album. He might have done too good a job at making a Fuck album.
Wed Mar 01 2023
Best Song: The Ox. I found the sheer musicality (in particular the piano) really entertaining. Kind of would have preferred a whole album of this track.
Worst Song: The Good's Gone. I never understand what compels a dynamic band like The Who to try such a monotonous song.
Overall: Gotta say I expected more. It's fun enough, but it's mostly just fairly typical British rock without much unique to make it stand out. It's not unpleasant, but just a bit dull.
Fri Mar 03 2023
Best Song: ManWomanBoogie. That bassline is killer.
Worst Song: You. A bit too corny compared to the rest of the album. Also, the transition between this song and the next one is so severe it will give you whiplash.
Overall: Goddamn this is good. So chill, Q-Tip has an unreal flow, amazing production. Great variability of beats. This is my first time hearing any solo stuff from the Tribe Called Quest gang, and it really demonstrates why that group is so successful.
Sat Mar 04 2023
Can't Buy A Thrill
Best Song: Reelin' In The Years. Like butter. The chorus kills it, the solos are great. This song is so fun.
Worst Song: Fire in the Hole. Musical theatre with an okay piano solo.
Overall: Peak smooth Dad Rock. It's not gonna knock anyone off their feet, but damnit it'll get them grooving in their seats.
Sun Mar 05 2023
Public Image: First Issue
Public Image Ltd.
Best Song: Annalisa. It almost resembled something poignant or grungy.
Worst Song: Religion II. I thought Religion I was bad, and then for this song they decided to play different, equally shitty, songs to each ear.
Overall: This is fucking awful. Musically this obviously sounds like shit, but maybe more embarrassing is how you can tell the artists really thought they were making something politically/socially/artistically meaningful, but they came up with this grade school garbage.
Mon Mar 06 2023
Best Song: If I Can't Change Your Mind. I could easily see this playing over a montage in a 90s movie where the guy is trying to convince the girl he's been pining over to fall for him.
Worst Song: Man on the Moon. Might not have been the worst (although that breakdown was awkward), but I was definitely tired by the whiny drone by this point.
Overall: It's just a bit boring, isn't it? Certainly not so notable to make a list like this. It sounds like a popular local band that never made it big.
Tue Mar 07 2023
The Lexicon Of Love
Best Song: The Look of Love, Pt.1. Pure theatre, with a rather catchy melody.
Worst Song: All Of My Heart. Much, much too sappy.
Overall: Firmly in the "Buffalo Bill" style of 80s music. At times the theatricality was able to overcome the camp, but at other times the camp wins. An album that toes the line between catchy and annoying.
Wed Mar 08 2023
Best Song: The Gumbo Varieties. I like the mix of jazz with just plain weird.
Worst Song: Willie The Pimp. It just sounds like a jazzier but worse Tom Waits.
Overall: Not great, not terrible either, although there are few circumstances in which I can imagine myself listening to this again. Maybe while cleaning? I don't know... There's better jazz and weirder prog rock out there.
Thu Mar 09 2023
Best Song: Small Hours. A beautiful and gentle song that uses sparsity and quiet to great effect.
Worst Song: Big Muff. Awful title, longer runtime without doing much with it.
Overall: A nice, quiet little album. The vocals are pleasantly raspy, a bit like Ray Lamontagne. Nothing particularly exciting, but also probably no designed to excite.
Fri Mar 10 2023
Best Song: Meaningless Movements. Not much more interesting than the other tracks, but at least sufficiently heavy.
Worst Song: Orgasmatron. Slow, plodding, with dumb lyrics. Winner winner.
Overall: Maybe this was more influential than I'm giving it credit for, but this feels really "paint-by-numbers". I suppose if you like heaviness for heaviness' sake then this album might be for you, but otherwise it feels a bit safe.
Sat Mar 11 2023
Best Song: Wild Wood. Has that compelling, folk campfire quality to it.
Worst Song: Shadow Of The Sun. Not terrible, but it sounds like he's really imitating Bruce Springsteen here.
Overall: More generic, inoffensive dadrock. Can't exactly hate it. Music to barbeque ballpark franks to.
Sun Mar 12 2023
Best Song: Enjoy Yourself. If for nothing else, it at least seems like the artists are taking their own advice and really enjoying themselves.
Worst Song: Stereotype. The soft singing really puts his weak voice center-stage.
Overall: I'm happy for them, but goddamnit I just find this music annoying. Why not listen to reggae? Everything is just so nasal and dorky.
Mon Mar 13 2023
System Of A Down
System Of A Down
Best Song: Sugar. A perfect encapsulation of the quirkiness of SOAD.
Worst Song: Mind. I've never been a fan of their slower tracks (even when the slowness is only a component that serves as a foil to the forthcoming speed). This one contains an entirely needless "intro" before the song proper that could have been cut for no loss.
Overall: I like how distinct and unique SOAD feels. They are unlike any other metal band, so even when their artistic choices don't pan out, I'm still appreciative that they tried something interesting. This isn't their best album, but the impressive vocal ranges and the chunky, spastic rhythms still work.
Wed Mar 15 2023
Wild Is The Wind
Best Song: Lilac Wine. Quiet, poetic, and powerful.
Worst Song: Wild is the Wind. Despite being the title track, it felt too mournful, and the vocal warble (vibrato?) was too much for me.
Overall: Haunting, thoughtful music. Feels so personal and subdued, making it difficult to listen in all contexts, but good for quiet afternoons and reading by a rainy window.
Thu Mar 16 2023
Best Song: The Ocean. Beautiful, sonorous voice. This song would fit well in any Leonard Cohen album.
Worst Song: (Wading Through) The Waters of my Time. Not a fan of this sleepy rockabilly. Seems like it was made for old people to sway along to, slapping their thighs out of rhythm and trying to forget death.
Overall: An alright album that toes the line between listenable throwback and parlor room camp. Wouldn't go back and listen to the whole album, but there are a few choice tracks that aren't bad.
Fri Mar 17 2023
Incredible Bongo Band
Best Song: Last Bongo in Belgium. Maybe it's just because I live in Belgium now, but these bongos really did speak to me.
Worst Song: In A Gadda Da Vida. There is zero reason to listen to this over the original.
Overall: This weird blend of covers and samples of existing songs mixed with iconic original drum beats that have gone on to be sampled all over hip hop. The covers are categorically worse than the original versions of the songs. There are bits here and there that really snap, and I can see why so much has been sampled since its release, but more often than not it ends up feeling more like a bunch of ingredients than a cohesive, complete album.
Sat Mar 18 2023
Best Song: Crystalised. I think this song imprinted on me when I was younger. It feels like it is a certain part of me.
Worst Song: Fantasy. So chill it's just sleepy.
Overall: Maybe the perfect chill music. The male and female vocals compliment one another so well, and the backing instrumentals are always fantastic. I love the sultry, almost whispered quality to the vocals. My only criticism is that none of the tracks seem to end in a satisfying way. They either limp off into the distance or just end abruptly.
Sun Mar 19 2023
Close To The Edge
Best Song: America. That bass (guitar? idk I'm musically ignorant) solo in the back of the song sounds awesome.
Worst Song: Close to the Edge. It isn't all bad, but it's very much that prog-rock thing wherein it's actually 5 or 6 different songs mashed together, often with awkwardness at the points of connection.
Overall: Pretty standard prog-rock, whose main selling point seems to be that predictable unpredictability of the genre. Nicely spacey at times, but mostly just frustrating in its inability to maintain a coherent thought.
Wed Mar 22 2023
Best Song: Paper Tiger. The one song that doesn't sound like it's on life support.
Worst Song: Side of the Road. So sleepy it doesn't even sound like he wants to be singing it.
Overall: Music to overdose to.
Thu Mar 23 2023
Queen Of Denmark
Best Song: Sigourney Weaver. Slightly rocking with quaintly specific lyrics. Feels real indie, in a good way.
Worst Song: Silver Platter Club. The lyrics are overly simplistic and a bit too on-the-nose.
Overall: Some pretty nice singer-songwriter material here, but it doesn't reach that same echelon as like Joni Mitchell, Tom Waits, or Leonard Cohen. Not to say its bad, but it's hard not to compare it against much stiffer competition. The lyrics here also often seem to default to snappier, "cleverer" sounding lines than something deeper or more profound.
Fri Mar 24 2023
Best Song: The Art Teacher. Beautifully sad. In an album of lovely lyrics, these are the loveliest.
Worst Song: Old Whore's Diet. This song feels totally at odds with everything else on the album. It's louder, longer, and has no interesting lyrics - just endless repetition.
Overall: It feels a bit like if they took Elliot Smith and told him to play rock and roll. The lyrics are nice, but the delivery is so nasal that at times I imagined his nostrils opening and closing like little mouths to sing the song themselves. Plus, the production is often too busy to appreciate the songwriting itself. Oh and goddamn if he doesn't have the spittiest, raspiest inhale that he does straight into the mic after half the line deliveries.
Sat Mar 25 2023
Every Picture Tells A Story
Best Song: Maggie May. It has by far the most listens on spotify. Is that why I liked it most? Honestly, probably.
Worst Song: That's All Right. What an awful, buzzkill ending to that song.
Overall: It honestly feels like a big prank that Rod "singing through a wind tunnel" Stewart ended up having the career he did. His voice sounds like it's perpetually raspy from some amazing performance the night prior. I wish I could hear that Rod Stewart.
Sun Mar 26 2023
The Grand Tour
Best Song: Our Private Life. Slightly upbeat. In the right mood, this could honk my tonk.
Worst Song: She'll Love the One She's With. Painfully slow song with lyrics that get more uncomfortable the more you think about them.
Overall: I'm not attending a high school prom in the deep American south in the 1970s, so I don't think this is for me.
Wed Mar 29 2023
A Short Album About Love
The Divine Comedy
Best Song: If... It turns out the true Divine Comedy was him making two horse-based love metaphors in a row - one about cleaning up his horse-lover's poop and the other about riding his horse-lover all night long - and deciding to lead with the poop one.
Worst Song: Timewatching. Grossly theatrical melodrama.
Overall: It's not terrible, but it mostly just sounds like the soundtrack to a dinner theatre show. Hopefully the food was better than the show.
Thu Mar 30 2023
Best Song: Survivor. The perfect head bobbing tempo. The righteousness. The motivation. This is also one of the tracks that takes most advantage of the trio, layering their vocals beautifully. Cut that last 10 seconds though, goddamn.
Worst Song: Brown Eyes. Every other track on the album is so uplifting, and then there's this mundane love song in the middle. It's a sweet song, but it doesn't belong at this spot of this album.
Overall: This is so good. The three all sound fantastic, even when Beyonce stands out as something else entirely. Listening to this album feels having a squad of ladies behind you reminding you not to take no shit. The beats are early 2000s gold. A beautiful time capsule.
Fri Mar 31 2023
Best Song: Pandora (For Cindy). Bubbly and ethereal. Sounds like fairies singing in a language no one understands.
Worst Song: Otterley. It turns out you can be too atmospheric.
Overall: Music that feels completely alien, but at least the aliens seem kind of friendly? At least not immediately violent. It really feels like the artist is experiencing an entire range of emotions that I don't even know the names of. sleepy rain music.
Sat Apr 01 2023
If You Can Believe Your Eyes & Ears
The Mamas & The Papas
Best Song: California Dreaming. Undoubtedly I picked this one because I've heard it used in a hundred movies.
Worst Song: You Baby. The definition of saccharine. Gross.
Overall: Exactly what you'd expect. 60s drivel with a nauseously "happy" style that never lets up. Music for cults.
Sun Apr 02 2023
The College Dropout
Best Song: All Falls Down. Easily the most iconic samples on the album, and Kanye is restrained enough to not bungle it with too ridiculous bars.
Worst Song: Get Em High. This would be a great Snoop song, but it's a pretty weak Kanye song. Both features are just okay too.
Overall: A big album full of huge hits, but given its runtime it inevitably has a few duds. None of the features are that interesting (Jamie Foxx notwithstanding), and some of the tracks linger too long on beats that aren't worth that much time. Feels like a mid-2000s time capsule.
Tue Apr 04 2023
Take Me Apart
Best Song: Enough. Beautifully layered vocals. Busy/noisy in a good way.
Worst Song: Truth or Dare. A bit too contrived in its sweet/sexy theme.
Overall: Nice, chill background R&B, although there's also nothing that really sticks out or feels memorable about it. I could imagine throwing this on in the background for a relaxed vibe, but not for targeted, intentional listening.
Wed Apr 05 2023
Best Song: Stolen Car. Lovely lyrics, nice soft alt-rock.
Worst Song: Central Reservation (Original Version). Not terrible, but I think the second version is just better, making this one a bit odd to include.
Overall: Easy listening. Could imagine turning this on in the background while working or commuting.
Thu Apr 06 2023
The Beach Boys
Best Song: God Only Knows. The best use of layered vocals in the entire album.
Worst Song: Pet Sounds. We're here for the vocals, not the rhythm jams.
Overall: It get that it's an iconic pop album, but it just does the same thing over and over. Granted, it does that one thing really well, but I can't pretend that the lilting melodies and well-sung harmonies were exciting at the end of the album as at the beginning.
Fri Apr 07 2023
Best Song: Bad Company. This is the second best song I know of where the song is the album is the band.
Worst Song: Don't Let Me Down. Worse than the Beatles version in every way.
Overall: Uninspired dad rock. At its best, it feels like a poor imitation of CCR. Can't imagine ever returning to this.
Sat Apr 08 2023
Best Song: Rio. Danceable in a creepy, Buffalo Bill way.
Worst Song: The Chauffeur. This is the kind of flat,, hyper-polished that feels like it doesn't have a soul.
Sun Apr 09 2023
Best Song: In My Bed. Something about that chorus just scratched some deep itch. Groovy, sultry, with busy enough background instrumentals that Amy doesn't feel the need to over-sing.
Worst Song: Amy Amy Amy. Too slow, too waltz-y.
Overall: This is a difficult album to appreciate, because Amy Winehouse's singing style was so (poorly) imitated in the years following her success, and the genre was so saturated with this kind of indulgent "over"-singing, that going back to listen to this feels like revisiting Patient 0. As though the more modern imitators have put a blemish on the whole style. Regardless, her singing ability and individuality shine through, and the album is still highly listenable.
Mon Apr 10 2023
Music Has The Right To Children
Boards of Canada
Best Song: Telephasic Workshop. Cacophonous space robot noises.
Worst Song: The Color Of The Fire. That child audio was unpleasant to listen to. Odd artistic choice to have the kid give so many different versions and intonations until they begin to sound like a robot who doesn't understand the meaning of the words.
Overall: Atmospheric, ambient, ethereal. Really compelling blends of sounds, although I found almost all of the vocal samples decreased my enjoyment of each track on which they were used.
Thu Apr 13 2023
Best Song: He Won't Go. Didn't expect such an almost R&B sound out of Adele, but here we are.
Worst Song: Rumor Has It. I think this one was overplayed when this album first came out, and the faux blues don't feel very believable.
Overall: An odd mix of songs I've heard a million times before and ones I've never before encountered. I found myself liking the unfamiliar tracks for just their sheer novelty given how massively popular the other tracks once were. Take altogether though, the songs aren't particularly novel or exciting, it's just that Adele has such a powerful and commanding voice that it is easy to listen to.
Fri Apr 14 2023
Best Song: Drive. The most popular, most chill song on the album.
Worst Song: I Miss You. Straight from that era of corny, melodramatic "rock" ballads. I bet if this song has a music video, someone looks forlornly out of a rain-covered window.
Overall: Honestly, kind of dull. Doesn't do anything that a dozen other bands don't do better. It's incredibly 90s, so nice for the nostalgia but not much else.
Sat Apr 15 2023
Booker T. & The MG's
Best Song: Twist and Shout. Honestly, I liked that I could recognize it.
Worst Song: Stranger on the Shore. Unbearably sleepy.
Overall: Evidently this is not the genre for me. Without any vocals, this just felt like the blues that was missing one key element.
Sun Apr 16 2023
Best Song: Pretty Little Birds. SZA is at her best here, and Isaiah Rashad provides the best feature on the album.
Worst Song: Drew Barrymore. Just felt like way too basic of a song, especially after all the spice that came from the previous track with Kendrick saying "pussy" forty times.
Overall: When it's good, it's good. Sexy, spirited. The non-musical asides are great too. There are a few weaker tracks near the middle, but otherwise a great album.
Mon Apr 17 2023
Best Song: I Laugh In Your Face. For some reason I like the mean-spirited nature of this one. The gang vocals also make it sound like a very theatrical form of bullying.
Worst Song: Black Diamonds. Nobody asked for that vocal warble.
Overall: Maybe the longest hour-long album I've heard. Boy did this take a while to end. Sure there's some slick songwriting throughout, but does it ever feel like it has a heart? It feels like any potentially interesting imperfection was polished out ages ago, and for some reason they're still polishing. There might actually be more polish than substance now.
Wed Apr 19 2023
Countdown To Ecstasy
Best Song: King of the World. The guitar lick here is so buttery that you can't care that it's being performed by a music robot. Rock for AI dads.
Worst Song: Pearl of the Quarter. Is that French in the chorus? Not helped by the honky tonk guitar.
Overall: Technically proficient, soulless music. Maybe it's the vocalists weird "whisper-shout" singing, but it feels like the whole album is one element short of being something great.
Thu Apr 20 2023
It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back
Best Song: Bring the Noise. Upper lip stanky.
Worst Song: Mind Terrorist. Fitting title.
Overall: Another Public Enemy album, which means another conflict between the brilliance of Chuck D and the everything of Flava Flav. I can understand the utility of a hype man, but to me he's not even good at that. He's just obnoxious and it sounds like he raps all of his bars through his nose. And Flava Flav is way too present on this album.
Fri Apr 21 2023
Best Song: Two Weeks. Pleasant contrast between the main vocalist's voice and the higher, more lilting, backing choral voices.
Worst Song: Hold Still. I actually really liked the vocals, but that guitar lick that interrupted was really jarring.
Overall: Quietly interesting. Nice for rainy mornings and evenings reading.
Sat Apr 22 2023
Odessey And Oracle
Best Song: Care of Cell 44. A nice and bubbly start to the album.
Worst Song: This Will Be Our Year. Sounds like a song sung by highschool freshman at a school assembly to kick off the new year.
Overall: Competent but largely annoying early rock. The Golden Retriever Energy starts to become unpalatable by the second half of the already short album. Far surpassed by all of their contemporaries.
Sun Apr 23 2023
Best Song: Street Life. Long and winding, but the vocal performance really ties the track together.
Worst Song: The Hustler. Too sleazy for my liking. Feels like it should be played over casino and strip club montages from some middling late 80s movie.
Overall: Nice background jazz that would be great for driving around at night. Alas, I don't have a car, so I can't imagine when I might otherwise listen to this.
Thu May 11 2023
Trout Mask Replica
Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band
Best Song: My Human Gets Me Blues. Just a great blues track. You can really hear how Beefheart's vocal stylings will go on to influence so many others.
Worst Song: Hair Pie: Bake 1. Seemingly intentionally a-musical. Also, weird Blair Witch vibes at the end. Wonder if that woman survived the encounter.
Overall: An album that somehow manages to be neither as good nor as bad as I expected, it alternates between refreshingly weird and stubbornly opaque. I like the abstract poetry rambled over gritty blue, but I don't like the intentionally atonal and weirdly polyrhythmic stuff that seems to exist just to be different. There's clearly a core of something brilliant here, but it seems mostly obscured by Captain Beefheart's ego and resistance to editing. Everything that is introduced on this album has subsequently been better channeled and refined by Tom Waits, including the voice.
Fri May 12 2023
Best Song: Solsbury Hill. It's like I'm living in a coffee commercial.
Worst Song: Excuse Me. Nobody wants this parlour circus silliness.
Overall: Exceedingly humdrum. I expected much more. This was the genesis of nothing.
Sat May 13 2023
Born To Be With You
Best Song: (He's Got) The Whole World in His Hands. I like Spector's wall of sound technique that is present here.
Worst Song: Make the Woman Love Me. Such desperate, pathetic, stereotypically "nice guy" lyrics. The song is also just slow and sleepy.
Overall: In a word: boring. Not all that interesting vocally, lyrically, or instrumentally. No reason to ever return to this.
Sun May 14 2023
Best Song: Elegia. Very Stranger Things. As much 80s as I'm willing to tolerate.
Worst Song: Sooner Than You Think. No all that worse than the other tracks, but that "solo" at the end really sucked.
Overall: Classic 80s fare, in particular with its focus on a busy synth background and a lead vocalist who can barely sing. It is no coincidence that my favourite track is the one where he doesn't.
Mon May 15 2023
Best Song: Wildflowers. Lyrically quite nice. Made me want to be a wild little flower.
Worst Song: To Know Him. Diabetically saccharine.
Overall: Absolutely not my kind of music. Painfully slow, preoccupied with desperate, romantic themes. And what's more, the central conceit of the three singers harmonizing always felt worse than just Dolly Parton singing on her own.
Wed May 17 2023
Time Out Of Mind
Best Song: Tryin' to Get to Heaven. I just like the lyrical conceit of someone racing to heaven before it closes.
Worst Song: Make You Feel My Love. The contrast between the beauty of the lyrics and the nasal voice is just too much. This is a great song, sung by anyone else.
Overall: Not Bob's best offering. I found myself wishing for his more youthful energy, or just the darker tones of a Tom Waits. This languishes too much in the middle.
Thu May 18 2023
good kid, m.A.A.d city
Best Song: Backseat Freestyle. In an album of great tracks, this one has an elevated intensity that makes it stand just above the others. Honorable mention to Money Trees and Poetic Justice.
Worst Song: Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe - Remix. Jay-Z adds nothing transformative to this already great song.
Overall: Such an incredible, wide-ranging album. This might be Kendrick at his best. It is amazing to see how he is able to transition from a lean-back, apathetic anthem like "Swimming Pools (Drank)" directly a meandering story telling track like "Sing About Me, I'm Dying". Every track feels iconic, most every feature feels like it brings a complementary energy. Even the skits serve to fit the theme and elevate the surrounding tracks.
Fri May 19 2023
Scream, Dracula, Scream
Rocket From The Crypt
Best Song: Used. I might just be a sucker for gang vocals, but I liked the blend of punkishness and doo-wop on this track.
Worst Song: Heater Hands. Proof that you can over-repeat an outro.
Overall: This album is the most 3/5 an album can be. Was it full of fun, bouncy little rock ditties? Yep. Did I enjoy listening to it? Check. Will I remember an ounce of it in even one week's time? Absolutely not. The embodiment of "we're here for a good time, not a long time".