Tue Jul 05 2022
Alice In Chains
Okay, so I've never heard this album before apart from "Rooster." I'm immediately struck by the interesting timing of "Them Bones," which has this kind of syncopated rhythm on both the guitar and the drums. It's almost kind of funky.
Quickly we've moved onto "Dam That River," which has some great vocal harmonies. Again, some really fascinating rhythmic choices all over the place that almost evoke old blues tunes.
"Rain When I Die" -- again, really incredible rhythms going on. Some reverby, tonal explorations on the guitar. Impressed with the lyrics on this track -- this song could totally be covered and done in different styles.
This album seems to be a personal reflection on a rough emotional situation (considering most of it is about drugs). Moving to "Down in a Hole," which sounds a lot like a straight Metallica ballad. A lot of the songs on this record are confessional pieces from a powerless and downtrodden individual. This track is essentially the thesis statement of the record, painting for us the sordid portrait of our narrator.
"Sickman" --another funky situation with some tempo changes. At this point in the record, I'm starting to get a stomach ache. I feel as if I can only hear so much about a guy wanting to die. What's tethering me (somewhat) is the interesting musical changes that sound almost bluesy in origin. I can see why folks loved this record even if the content is a bit rough around the edges and in the center. Let's see what Jerry Cantrell, the primary songwriter on this album, has been through. Alright so AIC is from Washington (no doubt), and Cantrell is often called "the Riff Lord." His dad was a veteran and his mother was a musician. He liked Gregorian chants. His parents seemed to be divorced and he lost in mother at a young age. I suppose that's pretty rough.
"Rooster" - speaking of Cantrell, this song is about his dad, and happens to be the only one on this record that I know. Let's be real, the main riff on this song is really tasty, and yet it's used so sparingly. Didn't realize this but Layne Staley, the singer, was already in a band called Alice 'N' Chains when Cantrell heard him play one of his last concerts with them.
"Junkhead" - gosh I'm getting tired of the drug stuff, but the music is nice! It seems that Staley passed of an overdose in 2002. That makes this album even more haunting. There's about 5 songs left. There's a great excerpt of a review that says: "It's all in the music." My stomach ache, fatigue, and haunting feeling is all in the weird time signatures and dissonant harmonies.
"Dirt" -- the eponymous track. Struck by his incredible voice but that's all.
"God Smack" -- starting to get a bit bored by these last few tracks. There's some fun energy in the chorus (?) of this one. I like how he's experimenting with some vocal acrobatics in this (the falling-down-the-steps vibrato thing he has going on), but that's the end of the intrigue on this one. Again, the lyrics get a bit depressing and samey.
"Untitled" - just a little "Iron Man" interlude thing.
"Hate to Feel" - Feeling bored by this point. Not so much by the music, again, but by the content. I'm out!
Wed Jul 06 2022
I LOVE “Chameleon.” I used to listen to this one all the time on road trips. It doubles — for me — as toe-tapping easy-listening for reading as well as perfect music for dancing. “Watermelon Man” is funky and features West African percussion instruments — I wonder if this was one of the first times these instruments reached the American mainstream. “Sly” — undoubtedly a tribute to Sly Stone and “Vein Melter” are also great tunes with lives of their own.
Thu Jul 07 2022
I totally listened to Goo in high school at some point, but I only clearly remember “Kool Thing” (what a classic).
“Dirty Boots” really sets the scene — especially if conceptualizing Goo as a concept album — saturated in teenage rebellion, adrenaline, shock value, and a keen eye on the world surrounding. The guitar in the second half is quite nice, and the song ends much calmer than it began.
“Tunic” - here’s Kim. This song touches on Hollywood and fame, with Kim telling her mom that she made it in the music industry.
“Mary-Christ” - of the three so far, this one is a pretty straight punk song. Still great!
Ah “Kool Thing” - the effect that they put on the main guitar riff makes it sound like it’s echoing off the walls of a cave. The dialogue between Chuck D and Kim in the middle is a dreamlike absurdity, wherein a teenage girl asks the rebellious object of her affections how he will liberate her and all girls from male white corporate oppression. Love it.
“Mote” - probably the song I remember the least out of all of them. Probably the most melodic out of what I’ve heard thus far (concerning the vocal lines), and then it erupts into a kind of experimental noisy atmosphere.
“My Friend Goo” is a riot grrrl punk ditty. Reminds me of Bratmobile, though they might have been a little later.
“Disappearer” - one of the less memorable ones, but has interesting lyrics.
“Mildred Pearce” - similar vein as Mary Christ and My Friend Goo — riot grrrl/Pixies situation with Frank Black-esque screaming.
“Cinderella’s Big Score” - experimental guitar soundscapes still going strong plus a funny title. This is what I think of when I think Sonic Youth! There’s two songs left.
Fri Jul 08 2022
If I Should Fall From Grace With God
i didn’t get to finish this album, but the first few songs were great! I love the combination of punk, traditional Scots-Irish folk, and the polka feel.
“Bottle of Smoke” and “Thousands are Sailing” stick out to me for their vivid imagery and nice melodies. Will definitely finish this album when I have time.
Sat Jul 09 2022
Belle & Sebastian
Of the records I’ve listened to so far, I know next to nothing about this group. I’m reminded of the Smiths and just about every indie group ever. I love “The State I’m In.” “Expectations” is also great and I’m struck by the immersive imagery and unique turns of phrase. The first four songs are great tunes, though I felt that the “Electronic Renaissance,” though fun, is a weaker track. The second half of the album is still strong with compelling lyrics and catchy hooks. Not a super revolutionary record but the songs are pretty great with clever and at times melancholy lyrics — I can see if this album is legendary in the indie/twee sphere!
Sun Jul 10 2022
I only know Breaking the Law, but I’m excited to listen to the rest! I’m not at all a metal aficionado but I’m struck by the MeatLoaf-esque theatricality first and foremost. Rob Halford has the perfect metal voice to deliver a mix of standard hardcore metal lyrics and unique clever metaphors denouncing patriotism and such. Besides Breaking the Law, which is classic, I am interested in United which is a kind of tongue-in-cheek pop-inflected tune that seems to try to subvert patriotism. It came as a surprise after the first few tracks, which hopefully will key my ear in to the other unique qualities of this album. Of the other hard rock albums I’ve listened to so far during this project, I think I like this one the best. I appreciate that the lyrics are not unnecessarily dark and morbid and are instead songs with some kind of message towards society. I do recognize that this album has a bit of a commercial sound, which suggests a double edged sword (rock in the mainstream can be great for the musicians! Rock in the Mainstream can be restricting or even inauthentic.) Songs like “Living After Midnight” are simple songs about having a good time and being young, which are simultaneously characteristic of the rock ethos and a bit too commercialized and sanitized. As the album continues, I really really like the song The Rage! The guitar riff is awesome, and Halford is especially sounding like Ronnie James Dio, whom I love. The interacting bass riff and guitar interlude is particularly standout!! I recognize that this album is a really quite good hard rock/metal album, though I admit it’s not really my thing! I will totally return to “The Rage” and “Breaking the Law” but the others were just okay to me. I will give this album a 4 though!
Mon Jul 11 2022
Love is great, though I’ve never heard this particular record before. “Stephanie Knows Who” is a whirlwind of several music styles and approaches. Folk, Baroque, proto-funk, proto-punk, garage rock. Arthur Lee’s energy is infectious. “Orange Skies” has a nice classic 60’s vibe as it starts, reminding me of Peggy Lee and other 60’s loungey jazz-inflected pop. Though the songs on this album evoke other musical styles, the result is something especially unique and unparalleled in style and vibe. “Que Vida” is especially lyric-forward, introducing a collection of questions with the exception of the last verse which ends in an assertion about death. We move from loungey 60’s pop to garage roc/proto-punk on 7 and 7 is! So 7 and 7 is certainly 14, though I’m not sure what else the title could be referring to based on the lyrics. Lee is known for expressing societal and philosophical truths in his lyrics, though this one is especially hidden. From what I’ve heard thus far, “The Castle” is my favorite of this record. The acoustic guitar riff is lovely, the lyrics are engaging, and the harpsichord is a fun witty harkening back to times in which there were castles. Again, “She Comes in Colors” has great lyrics and a unique yet accessible melody. Lastly, we have “Revelation” which is 18 minutes long! All in all, this is a record that I’d love to return to and listen closely to the lyrics, as Lee is very much a wordsmith.
Tue Jul 12 2022
Are You Experienced
I used to listen to this album when I first started learning how to play guitar. Let’s be real — this record is one of the best of all time, and I don’t usually say that! Jimi has a unique voice, both from his throat and through his guitar. None of the songs bleed together, all are distinct from one another and fantastic. You can very clearly hear how Hendrix takes existing musical styles and approaches and rearticulates them into something new.
Wed Jul 13 2022
Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret
Of course we all know their cover of Gloria Jones’ “Tainted Love.” “Frustration” was my high school anthem, angsty line after angsty line. Soft Cell’s simultaneous punk and disco sensibilities make for the ideal new wave album. “Seedy Films” is a kind of funny one, another I listened to nonstop (erotic cabaret!) in high school. I think what’s special about this album is the not-a-hair-out-of-place layering and general attitude. I’m thinking of the girls giggling on Seedy Films, and of course the BEEP BEEP of Tainted Love. I really love the first few songs until “Entertain Me,” which is fun but a little aimless. Overall, this record has such an infectious frenetic energy and I’d want to hang out with the singer. I find most of the songs pretty relatable, which isn’t often the case with dancey pop records. This is likely due to Soft Cell’s punk edge which is a necessary ingredient for their unique musical personality. I’m gonna give this record a 4 because, while many of the songs are a bit samey (as is the case with using basically the same drum track), this record has a cohesive sound and creates a very specific atmosphere indicative of its spot on this list.
Thu Jul 14 2022
Have never heard of this band before. Really enjoyed this album. Thought the instrumentation, arrangements, and lyrics were all compelling and unique. I admire the blending of different popular styles to create something new and fun to listen to. This album has a great blend of easier listening tunes and ones you need to focus on. It reminded me of other indie bands like maybe Wilco, especially the lead’s soft, slightly acerbic voice and observational lyrics. I will totally recommend this album to others now that I know it.
Fri Jul 15 2022
Back In Black
Ah, AC/DC. Those bells tell me it’s hell but the guitar following tells me it’s heaven. So, I actually liked AC/DC in middle school. A girlfriend of mine bought me an AC/DC pick that I wore around my neck everyday. I just think they’re a classic hard rock group. Listening to Hell’s Bells makes me feel like I can roam the halls of high school with those kids from Freaks and Geeks. It’s one of those songs that you’re not really sure exactly what it’s about, but the vibe is pretty clear (in this case, Cool Rebellion). This is doubled by the fact that the song doesn’t move around too much musically. Shoot to Thrill has a pretty iconic intro, I know it well. The guitars on this record are just pretty tasty. Didn’t realize Shoot to Thrill was about London housewives on Valium. Thought it was about sex! Surprisingly more depth than I expected of an AC/DC song. Sometimes the singer’s voice (totally blanking on his name) sounds like Elmo screaming or Jon Fogerty. Somehow I like this range. The next track seems to be about a sought-after woman who siphons money out of all of her gentleman callers. It seems pretty clear what she does for money, but the Youngs persist with the question. This track dragged a wee bit. Next track is especially bluesy with its riff and lyrical content. Pretty much about sex — the shock value I expect of AC/DC. “Let Me Put My Love Into You,” while also sex-inflected, is a bit more of an interesting song musically. Love the guitar riff. The metaphors are really fun in this one: machinery, the elements, and cake! Now, we’ve reached the classic eponymous track. Funky, fun, and also mildly disturbing. From hardcore teenage gangsters to soft lovers: “You Shook Me All Night Long.” Honestly love this anthemic love song. The lyrics are seriously poetic, deviating from AC/DC’s angsty boy rock image. There’s three songs left, so I’ll stop doing my play-by-play. You can tell that this group had a great time recording this album. There’s a simultaneous deep attention to detail as well as a laidback garage band atmosphere. I wasn’t expecting to give this album a 5 going into it, but I would be seriously remiss if I didn’t. Fun, musically interesting, and makes you feel infectiously cool. Sound is cohesive but not every song sounds exactly the same. Depth and variety of lyrical content. Still holds up from when I listened to it in middle school and when it was contemporaneously popular way before that. I gotta go find my AC/DC pick.
Sat Jul 16 2022
The Rock Opera! Never got around to listening to this one in full, so I’m excited. The Overture, which foreshadows the music to come, boasts a mix of blues, country, rock, and classical music. We’re introduced to Tommy Walker, whose father went missing before he was born. 1921 is a pretty song, introducing the fact that Tommy is unable to hear, see, or speak. Amazing Journey has an interesting rhythm, reflecting Tommy’s vibration land. Tommy’s 10 years of age at this point. I’m confused as to whether the point of view is constantly shifting — does Tommy see the bearded man in a silver gown or does the narrator? I suppose the point is that Tommy has the capacity to create his own experience of the world around him. Story aside, The Who’s sound is so rich and full. They have such a profound control of dynamics. The songs blend pretty seamlessly together, though there are a couple that are able to stand out enough on their own. In this way, this concept album is the epitome of concept albums. It simulates the experience of a band playing continuously without any stopping for one hour (as an album tries to simulate anyway but not all of them do effectively). “Eyesight to the Blind” comes in with a vengeance — reminiscent of Pink Floyd. This song is about a woman with the power to revitalize senses. At this point, while listening to “Christmas,” which singles Tommy out as a child unable to experience Christmas in the way intended (Tommy doesn’t know what day it is), im wondering why The Who resonated with a story about a disabled child. Having taken classes on disability theory and rights, I’m a bit put off by the portrayal of a disabled child as simultaneously needing to be saved and being extraordinary. By “Cousin Kevin,” I’m feeling a little bored. Granted, I was forced to stop and restart again a few days later. Because of their classic sound and the ambitiousness of this project, I’m going to rate this album a 4. Some of the songs are a bit samey, which I guess is expected of concept albums or musical theatre-esque stuff. This makes it a bit boring after a while, though I plan on doing another listen.
Mon Jul 18 2022
I listened to this album and liked the first two songs. Would probably be more fun to listen to on a road trip with my dad. Listening to it without that additional stimuli, I’m wanting to give it a 3. I understand why people like them and this, but it’s doesn’t seem like it would be super sustainable in my listening lists. Totally love Detroit Rock City, and that’s what’s keeping this from being a 2.
Tue Jul 19 2022
Fun to listen to this album while I’m visiting Ann Arbor! The Stooges are a great garage Rock proto-punk band. I’ve always been an Iggy Pop fan. The album starts with a bit of youthful cynicism — 1969 is just another year with nothing to do. Driving drum line, cool guitar effects, and Iggy’s assertion of not caring all make for a great classic tune. Moving on to the one that got me listening to the Stooges: “I Wanna Be Your Dog.” This song is strange and perverse, but it’s clear that the musicians are just being shock-value teens (or perhaps making an incisive, tongue-in-cheek critique of sexual monogamy). After those two short and rather simple tunes, we move to the ten minute “We Will Fall,” which has a dark psychedelia vibe to it with deep drones, a dirge-like tempo, and another language at the beginning. This piece definitely differentiates the Stooges from other garage/proto-punk groups — I wonder how this sounded live. I also wonder how this particular song was perceived at the time (perhaps it was perfect for smoking listeners to get high to) as it is clearly influenced by Indian drone music. Regardless of its cultural context, I thought that song was a pleasant surprise! Next, we move back to the punk stuff. That fuzzy guitar sound is so classic Stooges. The recurring theme appears to be teenage boredom, harkening back to “1969.” “No Fun” has been my least favorite so far; I think it drags a little. “Ann” has a different feel from the other songs, and it’s nice. This song feels somewhat more sophisticated lyrically than the others. The third half erupts back into fuzzy garage goodness. The band blinks back into crude garage punk on “Not Right.” Though the lyrics on these types of songs aren’t as sophisticated as those on “Ann,” Iggy’s stilted phrasings simulate a conversation or scene creating a kind of musical realism against the backdrop of musical chaos. The final song on the album is “Little Doll,” again evoking a kind of perverseness like “Dog.” Classic grimy rock ‘n’ roll with musical and lyrical surprises (drone, fuzz, perversion, and the occasional tenderness). An easy 5!
Thu Jul 21 2022
Lust For Life
Funny that the generator gave me this back to back with the Stooges. I grew up listening to the eponymous track, though I think the lyrics went over my head as a kid. It's striking me on this listen how Bob Dylan-esque the lyrics and delivery are, with the rambling lyrics and Iggy's whine. An energetic tune that doesn't tire, much like Iggy's "lust for life." Didn't realize Bowie wrote that one! Moving on to "Sixteen." He really sounds like Bowie on this one. Slightly creepy love song, could be construed as tongue-in-cheek/ironic, especially given that Iggy wrote it. The creepy factor is enhanced by the dissonant riff in the background. "Some Weird Sin" -- a great way to describe that last song! This one is fun and glammed out. The Rocky Horror Picture Show of it all. I really like the instrumentation on this one as well as the harmonies. Favorite track so far! Traveling seamlessly into the classic: "The Passenger." Another one I grew up with -- this song fills me with nostalgia. Now that I'm really processing the collaboration on this album with Bowie, it seems this album is about Iggy's "cultural passenger" status in relation to Bowie, who became much more of a household name. (Side note: listen to Siouxsie Sioux's version if you have not!) Moving to the epic introduction of "Tonight." The theatrics of this one is just the perfect amount I like, not too much, not too little! Really unique love song about serenading an overdosing lover. This album appears to get increasingly glammier, as we move to "Success." A fun track characterized as the throwaway song on the album, but still catchy. The call and response between Iggy and then Bowie musically subverts the message of "The Passenger," as Bowie follows and repeats Iggy's line. The album appears to break down on "Turn Blue," in which Iggy goes into full heroin-afflicted ramble. There's a mix of almost intelligible and illogical musings related to religion, sexuality, and race. It seems that they're only meant to be taken seriously on the level of "yeah - this guy's on something!" During this time apparently, Iggy was struggling to kick his heroin addiction while in Germany with Bowie. With this context and with the beautiful instrumentation, "Turn Blue's" almost seven minutes helps us get a sense of what Iggy was going through. "Neighborhood Threat" inherits some of the Stooges' darker, slightly fuzzed guitar sound. The lyrics seem to focus on the periphery of the city, the unhoused, the hungry, the addicted. Iggy asks if, after seeing someone in this state, will you still bet against them? He highlights the reality of a society built against them, perhaps illuminating his fear as a recovering heroin addict. Finally, we reach "Fall in Love With Me," a track I already know and really like. I didn't know, however, that this album closer came about when the session musicians all decided to swap instruments and jam. A sort of light-hearted ending that shows we can create great things with our friends and companions: a potential thematic summary of Bowie and Pop's personal and professional relationship.
Sat Jul 23 2022
Let It Bleed
The Rolling Stones
I lost my review for this one! I’ve always wanted to listen to this album, admittedly, because I like the front cover. “Gimme Shelter” is one of my favorite songs of all time — I kinda wish the rest of the album sounded like this. I’m not a huge Stones fan, so I thought listening to this album would help me understand their appeal. I liked a few songs but apart from “Gimme Shelter” and the classic “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” I only liked some songs, didn’t love. I understand that the appeal of this record (and of the band in general) is the fusion of different styles of music, such as gospel, blues, and country. I think I’m struck by this feeling that I’d rather go to other bands for blues — the Stones have a great sound, but I often feel like I’m being dragged along by the songs that seem to go on for too long. I’ll have to relisten to these songs and confront what I like and don’t like about them. For now, I will give this album a 3.
Sun Jul 24 2022
I listened to this album a lot growing up. Bjork remains one of my absolute favorite singers of all time. There are some great songs on this record, some serious and introspective ("Crying," "Venus as a Boy," " Come to Me") and some a bit silly and whimsical ("Human Behavior," "Big Time Sensuality," "There's More To Life Than This"). The minimalist club sound mixed with Bjork's unique soft, at times wailing voice creates an incredibly influential and unforgettable sound. The less clubby one ("Like Someone in Love") is a cute yet powerful jazz standard cover that, in spite of its outlierlyness, fits right in. It's funny -- the generator has been primarily giving me hard and classic rock music lately, all of which I've promptly been giving 4's and 5's as I feel obligated to (they're "Classics"). But none of them give me quite the same feeling that Bjork and this album give me. Every song hits. Her voice is calming but not in an easy-listening, boring, simple way. The songs build and evolve. Though not the first, the last, or the most influential in doing so, Bjork definitely brought experimental house music to the mainstream. And, like I said above, Bjork said that she pursued working on this album after the realization that traditional guitar-driven music was beginning to feel stagnant and limiting. The mix of jazz, trip hop, ambient, and house on this record definitely feels new, even listening to it nearly thirty years later.
Mon Jul 25 2022
I know Michael Kiwanuka as the guy who performs the Big Little Lies theme (my favorite show), so I’m totally psyched to hear this album. The production of this album created such a rich and full sound. There’s a clear mix of influences — gospel, rock, electronic music. Beyond all of these specifics, this is a beautiful album that explores love, violence, intolerance, and other themes becoming increasingly salient in the modern Western world. No two songs sound alike. Kiwanuka’s voice is stunningly mournful, pensive, thoughtful, and strong. The themes of this record could probably be construed as political, but I think that would be a serious reduction of the main messages here. Kiwanuka points to the violent intolerance that goes on today, calling for a love-oriented rearticulating of our social order. Not at all political but simple truths. This album is the sound of the times. I’m glad to have heard it, and I will definitely listen again, recommend to others, and keep up with what Michael Kiwanuka is doing today!
Wed Jul 27 2022
Hail To the Thief
Going into this, I know “2+2=5” and “Punch Up at a Wedding.” I like ambient and electronic music, though I never really got into Radiohead, who seem to famously fuse those sensibilities with rock. I read that 1) this album was recorded primarily with live takes to kind of dispel the machiney sound with all the electronics and 2) the themes are largely dealing with BBC coverage of the War on Terror, words infused with more emotion than they were reported with (according to Thom Yorke). I was born around this time, so I can only wonder if this album captures the atmosphere of the moment. So far, I think “Backdrifts” is a really standout track — I like the feel and the lyrics. The vibe dramatically shifts from that song to “Go to Sleep,” which is an acoustic guitar forward song. I really like “Where I End and You Begin.” There’s a dark sense of foreboding throughout this album — an attempt to unravel parts of reality and a fear of what’s beneath. Thought “the Gloaming” was cool — many of these songs would sound great in movies. I understand that the overall effect of this album may have been meant to come across as a spontaneous and experimental unleashing of bad phrases and stuff on tv and in the press and in reality. “There, There” really felt like one of the only full-fledged songs with a clear arrangement, not necessarily making it the best (or only) song on the whole record, but definitely making it stand out. Yorke himself thought this track was Radiohead at their best. Not surprised to see this was the first single from this album — it definitely feels like a thesis statement. “Punch Up at a Wedding” is a good one, too. I’m determining that I like the instrumentation on most of the songs, but kind of wish Thom Yorke would be quiet. It would probably be cool to see Radiohead perform this live, but I can’t shake the feeling that I don’t think I need to ever listen to this album again.
Thu Jul 28 2022
I love this album. This was one of my favorite albums growing up and remains a favorite today. I’m sure that the combination of sax, nearly operatic screaming, and the punk aesthetic may seem odd at first listen, but part of the point of making a project of this album generator (and the point of listening to new music in general!) is to learn about the multitude of ways music speaks to a multitude of people. The seeming clash of sounds on Germ-Free Adolescents is purposeful. The sax may represent the traditional oldheads in British society, as it often is involved with a sort of mocking call and response to Poly Styrene’s vocals. This album’s primary theme is anti-consumerism — the clash of musical sounds lead to something that is, on its surface, not at all commercialized. It’s new, it’s odd, it’s art, and, yes, it’s punk at its core. Every song is a trip to the sky, where you find yourself looking at the world with a bird’s eye view, exploitative capitalist consumerist systems clearly at play. Musically and in its message, this album taught me so much when I first heard it in high school. There’s still much to be gleaned from it today. An easy 5.
Sat Jul 30 2022
So happy to see this one on here! I loved Janelle Monáe in high school and still do today. The ArchAndroid was probably the first album by her I listened to. It’s part of a series of concept albums about a robot who falls in love with a human — seemingly an allegory about queer relationships, as Janelle is pan and non-binary. That was my interpretation in high school, but now I’m glad to do a re-listen of the full album and recalibrate. First, we start with an overture. I’m no connoisseur of classical music, so I’m not sure how people think this holds up on its own. In context, this sets the musical scene and plot, perhaps musically detailing the war that’s sung about later on. It’s short and quickly leads into the Fela Kuti-esque “Dance or Die.” In this song, the Androids are headed to war to find the escaped android. While she is describing the plot of the story, the lyrics seem to double as a social commentary about the real world. We move into the fast-paced “Faster.” This song details the relationship between the protagonist and the human she loves. Great chorus. “Locked Inside” - a song about how love is a necessary ingredient for freedom. In a hateful and intolerant society, you can’t help but feel “locked inside,” looking at the free land in your mind. I think this song is the weakest of the first three, so I didn’t remember it much. “Sir Greendown” - has a 60’s feel. A simple little song in which the protagonist yearns for the calm company of her love, Sir Greendown. “Cold War” has a much more 2010’s feel. I think this particular song leaves much to be desired and I’m surprised it was one of the singles for this album. This one sounds what I’d expect a pop singer singing about war to sound like, while the other songs accomplish that with more finesse and intrigue. “Tightrope” - this is the other single that I didn’t listen to much when I was in high school. This one also has a clear 2010’s feel, which isn’t necessarily bad but this feels like sensory overload even though nothing is really happening! It’s a shame that the two singles are the worst songs on the album! Okay now that those two songs are over we move to “Neon Gumbo,” which is an ambient interlude with backwards lyrics (you can read them backwards and see what she’s saying) — seemingly a coded message from the main Android getting past the Android censors. Now one of my favorites: “Oh, Maker.” I really do believe this is one of the best songs on the album and maybe one of Janelle’s best. Next to “Come Alive” — another strong one on the album. The little bell and chorus interlude between verses gives me chills. The previous song and this one really demonstrate her vocal range and agility, as she’s able to do controlled runs as well as grating screams. I’m really interested in the balance between electronic and analog instruments in this album, and the literary reasons for the shifts. On “Mushrooms and Roses,” the singer’s voice is completely caked in a tremolo underwater filter, while the rest of the music is not electronic. Anyway, this psychedelia-inspired song is great — still more interesting than the two singles. We take a second with the next overture, which introduces the final part of the Metropolis story. “Neon Valley Street” - neo-soul tune with Prince influences. “Make the Bus” - I listened to this one nonstop in high school. I was a huge of Montreal fan. I think the melody and arrangement of this song is great (it’s basically just an of Montreal song slapped into a Janelle Monae record). The lyrics are fun and endlessly compelling. “Wondaland” - bubble gum poppy Jesus Christ Superstar meets Aqua. A dream you didn’t know you dreamed of - Janelle’s voice on this one has a comedic android-inflected affect to match the lyrics. “57821” is about Cindi and Sir Greendown being in waiting for each other. The melody again is impeccable. I think I skipped over this 6 minute song when I was in high school - “Say You’ll Go.” A strangely hypnotizing love song. The last song is “BaBopByeYa,” a jazzy noir tune also super long but compelling. An ending that leaves you wanting more. This record is an incredible work of Afro-Futurism, though its modifiers and influences don’t at all stop there. An array of different people could find a song they like on this album, and perhaps a few of them would even stay and listen to the story. This album can be analyzed on countless levels, and it also stands as entertainment, too. I listened to The Who’s rock opera during this project, and I regret giving it a 5, which I did so almost out of obligation to it’s supposed legacy. I strongly feel that, as far as literary concept albums go in rock music, the ArchAndroid is seriously one of the strongest. This is one of the best albums of the 2010s without a doubt. Janelle Monae brings you into an immersive world that causes listeners to look at the world we live in with new eyes. Aside from the two singles that I think don’t hold up as well as other tracks, this album is an easy 5, in its literary pursuits, the many musical explorations, and Janelle Monae’s captivating and inspiring persona throughout.
Sun Jul 31 2022
I’m a weird Arcade Fire fan. I know and love the basic hits, and my favorite album is Reflektor. It’s time to finally listen to the Suburbs while living in one. The eponymous opener is a catchy yet slightly haunting tune about the tension between kids and their parents as well as the tension between a bubble-like suburban neighborhood and the real world. I listened to this record as I cleaned the house, so I didn’t do an extremely close listen. I did, however, hear many songs I enjoyed and I recognize that I should definitely listen again! The mix of Depeche Mode and Neil Young, as Win Butler himself characterizes this record, accomplishes this wistful atmosphere (again reflecting the experiences within the suburb). Humble melodies and evolving arrangements make for something that is pleasing easy listening as well as something to be musically and literarily analyzed. I’m going to give this album a four — I like it very much but it doesn’t have the effect that some of the other 5’s have! Excited to listen again!
Mon Aug 01 2022
Haven’t listened to this record in a long time, but I remember liking it a lot when I was younger. My favorite on Nevermind is “Something in the Way.” A lot of these songs still hold up — “In Bloom,” “Come As You Are,” “Lithium.” Nirvana is an important and influential band because they brought grunge to the mainstream. Kurt Cobain was particularly adamant about crediting his influences and supporting contemporary grunge bands, which is the part of his legacy that I admire the most. The songs are great, the band had an amazing chemistry, and their sound influenced much to come. I’m giving this album a 4 to account for my personal tastes because it’s no longer a 5 for me (compared to when I was younger and idolized Cobain).
Wed Aug 03 2022
At Mister Kelly's
Had never heard this before! Initially thought it a little strange that a live album of jazz standards would make the cut for one of the best albums ever, but I really enjoyed this. It felt as if you were there at the venue in Chicago, listening to Sarah Vaughan sing. Thought it was cute that she forgot the words on a few songs, and she still sang with such command. Giving this a 4 because it was nice but it wasn’t show-stopping.
Mon Aug 08 2022
This is one of my favorites! I saw Tori in concert not too long ago — she’s still making great music. “Boys For Pelé” is my favorite of her records, and “Little Earthquakes” might be my third favorite. She wasn’t afraid to speak up about things and assert her musical style. This record in particular touches on many different songwriting/piano approaches, so you get to see some of her range. She did indeed make some little earthquakes before making even bigger ones with her later success!
Tue Aug 09 2022
The Velvet Underground
The Velvet Underground
The model for all indie bands to follow. You hear twee, experimental, rock n roll, and more influences and innovations. Super important band and an album I will definitely return to. Giving a 4 because it’s not my all time favorite of their records.
Thu Aug 11 2022
I listened to this in high school, and I remember liking it. Amy is witty and hilarious as well as sophisticated and romantic. “Stronger Than Me” is a great intro and feels both of it’s time and something that would be popular today. “Cherry” is the only song I remember and seriously love. Amy Winehouse was a really special and unique pop star — blending 90’s R&B, Blossom Dearie jazz vibes, and Jeff Buckley-esque song lyrics. I’m actually not a huge Amy fan, but I totally understand her appeal and her talent. “Amy Amy Amy” is another fun song that I remember — the whimsical synth-tuba bass line sets itself apart from the rest of the record. So, all this being said, this album is a 3 for me. I like the occasional song, I respect Amy’s style, but I think that she eventually perfected her craft in future records. As a debut, this record revealed an up-and-comer with true potential, and debuts aren’t meant to be perfect anyway. Yes, a solid 3.
Fri Aug 12 2022
I had such a good time with this album. I like how it goes from Bowie glam soul to Brian Eno soundscapes. I’m not surprised this album was recorded after Bowie’s work on Lust For Life, as it has a very similar sound (though much more Bowie). This album starts and ends with a bang and even when it “slows down” it never diminishes in intrigue and excitement. Never expected Heroes to be a 5/5 Bowie album for me, but I really enjoyed this listen!
Sun Aug 14 2022
Gotta say, I dont think I needed to listen to this before I never can again! I like the Smiths’ music, and I like a few Morrissey solo songs. This album is just fine, however. A couple of songs I really like, maybe less than half of them. The others have a mix of interesting lyrics that only Morrissey can write but are otherwise not very distinctive songs of his, in my opinion. I’ll totally give this another listen, but this doesn’t seem like it would make a GOAT list. The Wiki says this album was praised for its mix of rockabilly, glam, and rock, but I feel like that describes the Smiths already, so I’m unsure about what’s really new here. “I Know It’s Gonna Happen Someday” is an undeniable beautiful tune, that is true! Beyond this, feeling uninspired!
Fri Aug 19 2022
Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space
Have always wanted to listen to Spiritualized. Used to listen to one of their songs on repeat in elementary school art class because I was sharing iTunes with my sister, who had apparently purchased a Spiritualized song (not on this album). So far, I like the layered vocals on the eponymous track. This really feels like early 2000s indie — I wonder if they were ahead of their time. Found of that some of this album may have been influenced by the breakup of the band’s couple after one of them was cheating with someone from the Verve. I was actually given a Verve record on this project but skipped over it…I’ll have to go back with this new connection. The next song on the album is evocative of 60’s proto punk. Also, Dr. John worked on this?? I love him. I had to interrupt my listening after four songs, so I’m back on “Stay With Me.” I like this one the best so far, but I feel a bit bored at this point. The realization that this is a psychadelic, substance-necessary album makes me feel better that I’m gonna stop listening. 2 stars because I’m really not feeling it, though I understand the appeal.
Mon Aug 22 2022
The White Stripes
I really really loved this album in high school. “Ball and Biscuit” is still one of my favorite White Stripes songs — Jack White’s soloing on there made me want to play guitar. This certainly isn’t my favorite Stripes record because there’s a couple songs on here I didn’t like much (they all happen to be smack dab in the middle). What I like about them, and what most people seemed to like, is their marriage of blues and garage rock with a naughties rock production style. The aesthetics of the White Stripes and the silly story surrounding their relationship (siblings or couple?) add to their charm and mythos. Though not my favorite Stripes record, I’m inclined to give this a 5 because of the nostalgia and in case I don’t ever see another Stripes record here again (I don’t want to skew my summary up! I love the White Stripes). 5 5 5!
Fri Aug 26 2022
The Man Machine
Huge favorite. Used to listen to this one in its entirety with my family. Makes me feel nostalgic, and it’s also incredibly influential.