Music From Big PinkThe Band
Apparently some people like this. P.S. Natalie played me three covers of songs from this album. Each one was better than the original, and even these I wouldn’t play again.
Apparently some people like this. P.S. Natalie played me three covers of songs from this album. Each one was better than the original, and even these I wouldn’t play again.
A high-energy start to my random journey into the 1001! I'd never heard of this hardcore punk band, which Simon and Peter will probably find either hilarious or appalling. No doubt they were very influential on lots of punk-rock bands that followed, including the ones that I did listen to. It's not something I'd listen to again - the angry but mostly incoherent vocals were a bit too same-samey for me - but I appreciated hearing it for its place in music history. Good variety and change-ups in the arrangements, which isn't always the way for hard & fast punk rock.
Ah, this put a smile on my face. Was it the joyous cover art, the sentimental associations with roller discos c.1981, or the perfectly produced opening tracks (the 3 singles) that illustrate the best aspects of late 70s-early 80s pop rock? Right up there with Split Enz for integration of synths & guitars, variety of sounds, great harmonies/backing vocals. The rest of the album was all new to me. Even more variety, including some more experimental sounds, glued together with the same attention to detail in all aspects of production. And of course, those instantly recognisable lead vocals.
This is one of the many Beatles albums I never listened to, having grown up with the collections and then the White Album and Abbey Road (still two of my all-time-favourite albums). I'm sure it was an amazing step forward in its day, but if I just rate it for how much I liked it / how likely I am to want to listen to it again, 3.5 stars. Some great songs, some that just don't grab me. Maybe it's a familiarity problem?
First few tracks: Very complex music, amazing musical talent on display, would no doubt reward listening many times over. But apart from the title track, not enough hooks to make me want to. V2 Schneider reminded me of Kraftwerk - intentionally, I discovered later - but with a full band. Quite enjoyed that. Sense of Doubt & following instrumental tracks felt like an entirely different album
Good stuff, but few tracks that really leapt out at me. Great drummer and bassist, especially enjoyable on "Bussing", my favourite track on the album. I found myself wishing for more from their guitarist, amidst all the synths & samples. Interesting to listen to the feedback wailing on "They're Hanging Me Tonight" right after Fripp's on Bowie's "Heroes". I don't know if this would have been pressed to vinyl in 2000, but I preferred "Side 2". Overall, I'd be happy to listen to this album again, but I wouldn't reach for it, and would probably play only "Side 2". Is that 3 stars? Still calibrating my approach to ratings!
Call me narrow-minded, but I just can't get into gangsta rap. Hip hop in general isn't my go-to music, but give me some hard hitting social and political commentary and I can really get into it. But guys bragging about their actual or notional murders, drug empires, guns, and intimidation of all and sundry? No thanks. Some good atmospheric beats and some nice flow in places (though not many, to my taste). So two stars from me (one star being no redeeming qualities but reviewed).
Ah, now this is what I came for: albums I really should have listened to years ago, but never did. I'm still not sure how I got this far without hearing it, especially after my teenage son started playing the Paranoid album and getting into metal in general and black metal in particular (all kicked off by an "intro to guitar rock" playlist including War Pigs that I made him back when he mostly listened to pop). Oh well, here I am now. Objectively, I don't think this is a great album. I don't think I'll listen to it over and over. Plenty of things to nitpick about. But for the combination of how groundbreaking it was, how influential, and my sheer enjoyment in listening to it for the first time, I'm giving it 3 stars. Possibly another half star for the timeless brilliance of the opening.
FIVE STARS. I don't even know where to start. This album has just about everything I want from music, not least that it appeals instantly as well as rewarding repeat listening and closer attention. Awesome grooves and hooks with interesting development/improv, AND lyrics that inspire and provoke. In the last decade or so I'd forgotten just how much I like it, and will absolutely be putting it back on rotation...if I ever make it through the 990-odd other albums!
I almost always enjoy an organ trio or quartet, especially ones with a good guitarist in the mix. Big fan of Medesko Martin and Wood, to name one group clearly indebted the “The Incredible” Jimmy Smith. But I’d never gone looking into the history of where it all came from. I’d be curious to know why they picked this out of all his albums (about 100, I gather). I’d love to follow this up by listening to his collaboration with Wes Montgomery, for example. But this album was thoroughly enjoyable, without ever making me go “oh wow”. 4 stars.
What's this, a woman? Natalie has taken to calling this the "1001 albums by men" list, so it's a welcome change. PJ Harvey is another influential artist I've not really listened to, so again, a welcome recommendation. And an anti-war album! A new generation of songs to add to my ANZAC Day/Remembrance Day playlist! So yeah, I'm ready to dig it... But somehow, this album doesn't really grab me. It's musically inventive, it's worthy, it's well produced, it just...doesn't grab me. Not musically, and not lyrically. Not on the first 1.5 times through, and I didn’t get time for another go around.
My first thought was "I wonder if Natalie knows this band". She was always into cool, niche bands in the 80s, not to mention David Sylvian whose rainy-day albums (my phrase) share a lot in common with the overall vibe as well as the singer's voice on this album. Anyway, sure enough, she did. As for me? I might add it into the David Sylvian rainy-day mix. Just the sort of thing to drift in and out of paying attention to. Mostly the lyrics are artsy and obscure anyway, though the melodies and arrangements are sometimes genuinely engaging. (Mind you, "Heatwave" could be reinterpreted now as a climate crisis song: "Are we rich or are we poor? Does it matter anymore? In a heatwave...")
As luck would have it, I had just heard an excellent cover by Rufus Wainwright of “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” the night before this album came up. RW is another artist I’ve heard great things about, and very occasional songs from, but never really listened to. This time, I was hooked from the opening of the most unexpected track (“Agnus Dei”), followed by a remarkable range of songs. Masterful arranging and production. Nice lyrical connections between some of the songs, without trying to be a unified concept album. I’m not sure that every song will sustain my interest over repeat listens, but there’s plenty to come back to and enjoy.
How to go about rating and reviewing an album like this? In the end, I'm going to stick with rating by how much I enjoyed - and think I may in future enjoy - listening to it. But not before acknowledging how massively influential it was, with many crediting it as one of the albums (if not the album) that saved the ALBUM as a viable product - not to mention the whole "visual album" thing. And how significant its themes, and of course how massively talented a singer Beyonce is. As for enjoyment? If my favourite albums and those that simply delight me (or deeply move me) get 5 stars, and albums I really like but have some weak spots get 4 stars (including Revolver for example), and albums I mostly don't like but have some bright spots/redeeming features get two stars, then this falls into the broad middle ground...in round numbers, 3 stars.
First thought: early Cure - yes, I must listen to this! Turns out, it's not so early (4th album), and it's the first album so far for which I have skipped though the tracks without listening to at least one entire track on the first run through. Now that's partly a matter of time - rather behind on work today - but it also reflects my reaction to the music. I suppose it's on the list because it's influential on Gothic music, but it's not something I want to listen to. "The Figurehead" was OK, I guess, if I was ever in the mood for existential angst I might listen to it again. Update: listened again, “need to hear it loud” I was told (and maybe don’t fret about exact lyrics, just pick up the feel). Worked better that way, in the background while cooking and talking. Still not really doing anything for me.
Tori Amos has never really been my style, but I enjoyed this more than I thought I would. “Me and a gun” was a chilling standout track. 3.5 stars overall, but not 4.
Once there was a time when I'd have run a mile from anything remotely country. That's changed (via a dive into Bluegrass and Americana inspired by Sacred Harp singing and three years living in the US), and I quite like some alt-Country and Country-inflected indie music. (I've cheated and looked at the full list to see if Gillian Welch is on it, for example...looking forward to that!) I didn't have time to do justice to this album. But initial impressions were that it's good - good songwriting, well produced, but for the most part not really inspiring me to come back for more. One track that did get my attention (thanks initially to the oddly present tambourine) was the instrumental track Transylvania Blues.
Here's another band I've recently thought, I must listen to them. Sadly I don't have much time today. First impressions (informed also by a quick reading of Wikipedia articles): appealing music that fits in my newish category of "70s music that is more complex and interesting than I would previously have given credit for", in this case some nicely jazzy tracks; lyrics that are apparently interesting but which I didn't really have time to pay attention to today; doesn't blow me away or make me drop everything and listen. But I may well come back for more, at least to revisit the jazzier tracks.
I grew up with "Songs of Leonard Cohen", his first album (followed by this one). I learned to play fingerstyle guitar for several of those songs, and they're etched in my heart. I did always wonder about some of the more extravagant arrangement/production choices on that album, and it seems LC did too, insisting that this album would be more simple, even stark. But having pulled that off, I'm listening to it and missing something. Or is it just that the songs themselves aren't as good?
"Sounds like the Smiths". As with Tori Amos, I struggled a bit with my own tendency to hear an overall sound that I associate with the artist/band, rather than to really listen to each track, let alone to imagine a time when this sound was new and exciting. But a few stood out for me: "Cemetery Gates" got my attention - brighter sound, really engaging lyrics. "Bigmouth" was one of only two tracks I'd heard before: a great sounding pop song, but with truly troubling lyrics. There is a light that never goes out has one of the best Romeo & Juliet type lines ever written ("...to die by your side, oh the pleasure and the privilege is mine"). But will I come back and listen to it again? No, probably not for the whole album. So 3.5 stars. P.S. The timing of this album hitting our playlist is either the most marvellous coincidence, or else the feed is not truly random (in which case, kudos to the site managers for intervening in this way).
I've never been a fan of EJ, though I respect his talent and influence - how could you not? I've probably been lazy in lumping his music in with other "70s big bands with too much going on at once". So I tried to give this album (which I'd never listened to, only knew the singles) a red-hot go. Amazing musicians (not least the superb Dee Murray on bass), singers, production crew. So much to admire in the details of each recording. No doubt an incredible live show. And yet, as far as my enjoyment goes...somehow the whole is still less than the sum of its parts. Shout outs for: All the girls love Alice (I wonder how this landed in 1973); Dirty Little Girl (not great, but I wonder whether it inspired Pink Floyd's "Young Lust", which I love); Candle in the Wind (which really is a great song, and which is spared some of the histrionics that plague many other songs); Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (so damn catchy)...and whoever remastered this in 2014 and left the massive dynamic range intact!
I hadn't heard of Q-tip, but apparently he's the producer from A Tribe Called Quest. Only had time for one listen through, but I enjoyed the funky and occasionally jazzy grooves on this album, the mix of rapping and melodies, and the thoughtful & non-violent lyrics (esp the opening track). But I'm unlikely to come back to it, so once again, three stars.
Wish I’d heard these guys in 1990! Sadly (?), my limited listening time today was focused on getting geared up for the Oils’ last ever show at the Palais. But from what I heard, I’ll be back to hear the rest.
Grumpy Old Man review alert! Goodness. I understand they’re meant to be an influential band, but why would I want to listen to this album? One star up from the minimum for occasional moments of interesting sounds or melodies.
Wish I’d known about this rock-band-with-drum-machine when forming one with Simon & friends back in the day! As for now, a pleasant enough listen but nothing to bring me back for more.
Classic! Certainly the most familiar to me so far. Although I’m a big Pink Floyd fan, and this has two of my favourite tracks (and one of my all time favourite rock songs, Money), as an album there are others I’d put ahead of it. So 4 stars from me.
Good to finally listen to some Radiohead. I can see its appeal to some (many, apparently) with some great atmospheric sounds and vibes. But it’s not something I’m likely to come back to. So once again, three stars from me.
Yeah...nah. I might have liked this much more in 1985.
Classic! I’m not always in the mood for Sinatra, but when I am, this is a good one to come back to. Less over the top than some other (later) recordings I’ve heard.
So I decided to listen to this album after all, including its most controversial song (now). Yes I think he clearly means it (possibly with some personal empathy, possibly with a resigned "realism", but with no hint of promoting the alternatives) when he says Bengali Oh, shelve your Western plans And understand That life is hard enough when you belong here. Yet at the time, the most controversial song was the dreamy acoustic-guitar-and-accordion "Margaret on the Guillotine"..."Kind people, do not shelter this dream, make it real". For this, he was investigated as a potential terrorist and had his house raided by the police. Does the one balance out the other, in some scale of morality or politics? No, but there is probably a conversation to be had about how "interpretable" songs like these are meant to be, or should be. Meanwhile, there are some interesting insights into the "older and wiser" Morrissey across this album, including rejection of the maudlin wallowing of earlier years (can't find the lyric now, but it's reflected in the music too). Having said all that, the music itself isn't to my taste, so no reason to come back to this album.
On the first play through I didn't think much of this one, but the second time around I enjoyed it more. Apparently these guys are super influential, which no doubt contributes to their placement on the list. By the end of the album the chugging 8th-note rhythms, at first energetic and fun, got a bit wearing. But the first side had more variety, and some great bass parts, which I enjoyed. I don't remember finding any of the lyrics particularly engaging.
OK, another band from my "ought to listen one day" list (along with most other Prog Rock bands), so this list is working to that extent! First reaction: Side One seems a bit bombastic and overwrought - earning the reputation that cynics give to this genre - with occasional passages of genuine interest to me. [Side note: Is it fair to expect better lyrics from intelligent and gifted musicians (as anyone who can compose and play such complex music must be) than from their heavy metal contemporaries like Black Sabbath? I'd have thought so.] Side Two's shorter songs were more engaging to me.
Like it says on the cover, this album rocks! And very consistently, which wasn't my previous impression of Aerosmith. Every now and then I'm in the mood for this sort of thing, and I'd definitely come back to this album if I was.
I hadn’t heard of Elliot Smith. Not sure why this album’s on the list. Some enjoyable songs, Beatles-like chords in places, but nothing to really pique my interest.
I think if I came across this band playing this set live, I would be ecstatic. Really interesting and at times compelling use of two guitars (downtuned) & drums without bass. Some welcome variation in styles and textures - songs like "Buy her candy", "Things you say" and the awesome closer "Jenny" (among others) particularly catching my ear. The B52-esque "Dance Song 97" also appeals. However, applying my "would I come back to listen to this album again" criteria, it's not quite hitting my 4 star threshhold...just a bit more punk angst and angularity across (most of) the set than I'm ever in the mood for. I am, however, looking forward to exploring more of the band's work - a quick look at some recent videos suggests they've evolved in really interesting ways. 3.5 stars for this one.
I love the song Lovefool, after covering it in a band. It turns out the rest of this album is much more eclectic than that pop gem might suggest. Apparently the guitarist and bassist previously played heavy metal, and it shows in some "post metal" explorations here, as well as some specific Black Sabbath allusions. But there are many other influences evident, reflected in widely diverse arrangements from super-sparse to lush. And then there's the cover of Iron Man, one of those great covers that sounds nothing at all like the original but is delightful in its own way. I didn't have long with this album - skipped through some of the tracks after getting the gist - but this time I do think I'll be back for more.
Really enjoyable jazz album - some fun tunes, some simply beautiful. Awesome bass player. Some glitches perhaps in the recording? At times the bari Sax was so far “behind the beat” (and behind the other horns) as to be distracting, especially on headphones. But I’ll be back.
I didn't find a single track on this album that grabbed me. Good bass player though.
The DS sound is so familiar now, and I was a big fan of Brothers in Arms at the time, but I enjoyed listening to this first album in full. Good stuff throughout - not just a (huge) hit single - reflecting a range of influences. I thought "Wild West End" fell a bit flat, but I enjoyed all the other tracks. Would I come back though? More likely I'd listen to individual tracks, a best-of, or playlists-based-on. 3.5 stars, but not quite 4.
Dark concept album. At times great music, occasionally moments of real emotional connection, but also lots of moments of annoyance or disconnection for me . I keep thinking I must be missing something.
Solid songwriting, solid playing, solid album. But for all I might try to listen with fresh ears, prompted by fans, critics and even a recent movie I saw about a Pakistani English kid who finds himself through Bruce (and this album in particular) there’s very little that really grabs me. Still not a convert to The Boss, at least not to this album.
I think I could really get into this band...if they had a different singer. As it is, I gave up half way through the 2 hour ordeal.
Didn’t get much time with this one, which is a pity as I like Madness (greatest hits anyway) but was surprised by how “different” many of these tracks were. Hard to say whether I’d warm more to the less poppy songs if I gave them more time.
So, as Simon well knows I've never been very good at doing my musical homework. If I was, I might have listened to these guys sometime after becoming (and remaining) a fan of the early albums from The Offspring & to a lesser extent Green Day. As it is, I'm happy to start catching up now, and intrigued with this album that seems to be poised right on the cusp between the "original/classic punk" sound and the emerging punk-pop that these guys evidently helped to pioneer. Good stuff...but two listens was enough for me. 3.5 stars.
Compared with Mellon Collie, I found even more to like in the songwriting, tones and textures of this album. And for some reason, I found Corgan's voice much less irritating here, so I could enjoy those things without being totally distracted. I think there's more of his softer singing here (than the really strident nasal belting on much of Mellon Collie), maybe it's different recording mixing techniques, maybe it's just my increasing familiarity; I haven't done a back to back comparison to check. But I might even come back for another listen to this one, so 3.5 stars.
Hadn't really listened to more than a song or two, though Natalie used to (not so much this album, apparently). I'd have to say, on first listen, it all sounds very nice, very grown up, classy arrangements & playing/singing etc...but nothing to hook me in.
Not bad, but nothing really grabbed me.
Now here's something really interesting, various flavours of Indian-English cultural fusion and cultural commentary, frequently funky and generally very chill. I recently got into Garaj Mahal (jazz-rock-funk-Indian fusion) and love them; I wonder if they'd cite Cornershop as influence. I enjoyed this album, though not as much as G.M. That said, I have already started looking into their other records, and I *might* come back to this one ahead of those. Solid 3.5 stars, maybe even 4?
My son Dan loves this guy, but I didn't really get into this album. He's clearly a very talented bass player, but the grooves didn't move me. And I found the songs pretty "meh" and the cheesy synths annoying rather than cute (compare Cornershop). Not bad, but not three stars either. 2.5.
How to review an album that wasn't meant to be "enjoyed"? I tried thinking of it as visiting a performance art piece (which I gather is how the band started). But even then I found it hard going, intriguing at times but never really engaging - hampered no doubt by me not understanding German (and not finding translations in the time available). All along, I'm thinking fondly of times with Simon and Jeremy (RIP), who cited this band as a key influence they wanted to bring into our band, and of course then into Kinderschmerzen. In the end, I'm going to rate it as usual: how much did I enjoy/appreciate it, and would I come back for more? Having dipped quickly into some later albums where they mixed the industrial noise with more melody, groovier rhythms, and discernable song structures, I'm sticking with my original rating: two stars, the second being due more to the memories than to the recording itself.
So I gave this a good listen, setting aside the longstanding household impersonations of Alanis' voice. I didn't dislike it after all, and indeed found a lot to appreciate. It has, I think, earned its place as one of the classic breakup albums. I can't say the same for its newfound love songs - to be fair, they seem to be harder to write for just about everyone - but there are only a couple of those. The thing is, I'm never in the mood for a breakup album.
Just listening to the album the first time around, I found the music to be enjoyable and interesting in a low key way, probably not enough to draw me back for more but probably 3-3.5 stars worth. Reading more, before and during a second listen, I learned that John Martyn was abusive to his wife, children and others. Does this change my perception of the music? Yes, because the album included some quite beautiful songs of love, holding onto love after years of marriage, with peaceful and gentle music...only now, they are tainted for me by my awareness of the common dynamic (of most abusers) of using "but I really do love you!" as some kind of excuse, justification or manipulation after episodes of violence. It makes it hard now for me to relate to those songs as any kind of inspiration, regardless of the subjective (and no doubt genuine) feelings of their author. So this isn't the opposite of an album I dislike but with redeeming features (e.g. like but with demerit points) - it's an album I liked at first but now can't enjoy in the same way.
Good stuff, despite the hugely overplayed “Girls…”. Not sure I’ll be back though, so 3.5 stars.
So, I was never a fan of Rod Stewart. Having listened a couple of times through, I'm afraid that's still the case. I could nitpick about aspects of the songs, or the arrangements, but I think it's mostly just his voice. (I will add, though, that the mandolin playing on "Mandolin Wind" is exactly the kind of sound that made me not want to play this lovely instrument for decades, until I heard Chris Thile and other leading players of the 21st century.)
[Grumpy old man warning] I know this band is super famous and considered to be super influential, but frankly I can't see what the fuss is about. What am I missing? Maybe I'll find out when I read your reviews.
Oh yeah, lots to like here for this first-time listener. Energy and attitude galore from all members of the band, channelled into well structured songs. I also appreciated the alternating feel of the songs - raw proto-punk balanced with slower/more polished rock & blues-rock. Intriguing to listen to the different mixes available too (I think I prefer the more open/clear sounding Iggy mix than the boxier Bowie mix, on a quick comparison of a few tracks). Some of the songs appeal more than others, but I'll come back to this album, for sure.
Rundgren is clearly very talented, and has (as his "Intro" hints) taken great care with this recording. But I have to say, the songs and the arrangements just don't appeal to me. It's "that 70s sound" again...a kind of perfectly crafted soft rock that has lots going on at once, but nothing to hook me in. 2.5 stars.
Here’s Jerry Lee Lewis, possibly at the peak of his rock&roll capabilities, touring in Europe (while disgraced in the USA after eloping with his cousin’s 13 year old daughter, his 3rd of 7 marriages). Once again, hard to separate the man from the music. But I listened before reading, and was indeed impressed by the energy. Less so by the songs, which suffered by comparison with the Beatles versions (in all 3 cases, 2 of them also from live recordings). Worth heading, yes, but no reason for me to come back.
I can’t remember exactly when I crossed over from thinking “Bossanova = Muzak” to “the styles loosely labeled as Bossa Nova = groovy, accessible jazz played by incredibly talented musicians.” But I did, and have never looked back. This album fits the bill, being of course one of the original efforts to popularize (and in this case reproduce) this music in the USA. Sure, it can provide great atmosphere as background music for cocktail hour, but there’s so much to enjoy in every track on close listening. I was much less familiar with this record than some others (Getz/Gilberto for example), but I loved it. A shout-out to the engineer and mixer too - rarely have I enjoyed hard panning so much as when listening to these legends through headphones.
I definitely prefer this to the Cure’s later album Pornography. A good mix of lyrical and instrumental songs, more and less familiar/conventional. Some well-created atmospherics with discords and effects. I’d happily listen to it again if someone played it for me, but would I reach for it? No. So 3.5 stars from me.
One word: “meh”. It’s not terrible, it’s just not very interesting to me.
Didn’t get much time with this classic album, but liked it and want to come back for more.
I listened to this in very enthusiastic company - this was one of Natalie’s first discoveries of new wave music in the early 80s, thanks to her local library. I was happy to hear it, surprisingly complex and interesting arrangements and definitely part of the sound of my 80s too. I’d enjoy hearing it again but I wouldn’t pull it out myself. 3.5 stars.
This album bolts out of the blocks with Let’s Go Crazy…then falls flat on its face for the next couple of songs. What on earth was he thinking? The promise is partly fulfilled in later songs, and When Doves Cry (cranked up on our car trip home) sounds as fresh and epic as ever. I have to say, though, the title track still seems interminable to me, no matter how much I focus on enjoying particular aspects of it.
I hadn’t heard of these guys. Some interesting stuff, but nothing that really grabbed me.
It's pretty clear why this album's on the list! Any number of people have extolled its virtues, and many rank it as the best (or one of the very best) of all time. I'd heard many but by no means all of the tracks before. Listening from end to end, there was a lot to really enjoy, but some songs I'd skip or at least consider background music only. Although some songs outstay their welcome (including the very first, at 8+ mins - never a good move), the variety just keeps coming with each song, especially when the bonus EP is included. The musicianship is consistently a treat, whether it's Stevie or others playing the tracks. I ran out of time for a second listen, which might have helped me decide between 4 and 4.5 stars - do the less appealing songs and occasional moments of (over?)earnestness grow on me, or grate? But I'll definitely be back, so for the official 4-point scale definitely a 4.
When I was young, I thought Elvis Costello (of this & susbequent albums) was "grown up music". Now I'm grown up, and I agree with my younger self. Lots going on, lots of talent and originality and variety. But still, somehow, lacking the "hook me in" factor. Maybe I need to give it another go around (or maybe then, his sometimes over-wrought singing would start to bug me, like it bugs Natalie).
I didn’t get to spend much time with this one. Skipped through some tracks. First impression “good not great”, but I reckon I’ll come back to listen again and find out. Might end up a 3.5, but by the criteria I’m using I need to give it a 4 for now.
Not without redeeming features, but not my thing.
Yeah, this is a really solid album! Some things still niggle (endless repetition of simple melodic lines, for example) but if I turn off my judgemental filters and get in the mood, most of these songs really hit the spot.
Hmm, pleasant enough psychedelic folk/country, kinda like Bob Dylan meets Lucy in the Sky for an unplugged session...not sure I'm ever in the mood for that. 2.5 stars
Finally another album I own! (3rd so far, and first in ages.) That said, it’s a long time since I listened to all of it. So I was excited and curious: would it live up to my memory? Would I discover that the songs between the big favourites are all filler? As soon as I put it on (walking to the shops) I was launched into gear, trying not to look like an idiot head banging down the street. Listening in the car with my son, the epic songs just kept coming, right through to the end. Sounds as fresh, as heavy, and as awesome a mix of accessible and interesting as ever. This album is even better than I had remembered. I had guessed four stars, but this one absolutely earns FIVE STARS from me.
I can see why some people enjoyed it - some catchy & even enjoyable beats/instrumentation, (mostly) intelligible lyrics and fun character voices. But I just can't get past my reaction to the violence that's embedded in almost every track, whether real or fantasy I don't care.
Some good stuff here, and I’d happily listen if someone put it on. Interesting to hear the original of Tonight (I was vaguely familiar with the 1984 Bowie version; the original has a lot more grit!) and to really listen to other tracks I’d heard but not really listened closely to. But I probably won’t pull it off the (virtual) shelf again myself, so 3.5 stars.
Engaging post-punk mashup of punk, reggae/Jamaican sounds, and lyrics that should be more out of date than they are. I also enjoyed reading about the furor generated by the cover and the contemporary and subsequent reflections of the band and the photographer.
I grew up with the Beatles Live at Hollywood Bowl, so I have a love-hate relationship with these kinds of recordings. At least here they scream more or less on cue, and not incessantly. Getting beyond that: interesting to hear this earlier side if JB - like most, I mostly know only his later hits. Great tight band, as always, and surprisingly well mixed for an early 60s live recording. 3.5 stars.
Ordinarily I’m more likely to make fun of Elvis than appreciate him. But the first track really helped - this is the kind of Elvis I can really get into. Less so the slower tracks, especially the slow-dance ballads with the wavery voice. I did enjoy the other up-tempo ones, and “True Love Travels on a Gravel Road”.
Hmm. Not bad at first, but then the lead guitarist started sounding like he was stumbling over his own fingers. I gather (and can see why) this album is considered influential in the development of psychedelic rock, but it's not for me. Give me the smooth-flowing lines of their earlier music (and some of the more folky sounding tracks on this album) any day. 2.5 stars.
Didn’t enjoy this as much as I thought I might. Maybe I needed another go around, but no time today - and not enough of interest to draw me back later.
Quality musicians, good range of music…but nothing to grab my attention.
Apparently (per Wikipedia), Andy Kellman of AllMusic wrote that In Rainbows "will hopefully be remembered as Radiohead's most stimulating synthesis of accessible songs and abstract sounds, rather than their first pick-your-price download". I haven't listened to most of their albums, but I'm inclined to agree.
As mentioned previously, I never listened to any Beatles albums before Sgt Peppers - but grew up on compilations. Many of my childhood favourites on this album, plus good “new” songs in between with a surprisingly folky/country flavour. Among other things, this album demonstrates how versatile they were becoming with their (already excellent) vocal harmonies.
I’ve never been a huge RS fan. I enjoy most of their well know singles, but have never really listened to an album. I’d say I enjoyed most of the tracks this one, warts and all, and was struck by just how American they sounded - other than Jagger’s unmistakable voice of course. But I wouldn’t come racing back to hear them again.
Well I definitely enjoyed this more than Berlin. "Walk on the wild side" is the standout track, and I found even more to appreciate on a close listen. But none of the other tracks did it for me in the same way. So while I'd happily listen to the album again if someone put it on, I wouldn't reach for it myself. 3.5 stars.
Quirky yet approachable, with some really interesting sounds, vibes and the occasional cut-through song. Not sure when I’d ever think “now that’s what I want to hear tonight”, but I enjoyed hearing it. Another 3.5 from me.
In 1986-7 I was in year 10-11, and I remember guys with “Megadeth kicks Metallica’s ass” on their pencil cases (or something to that effect). At the time I had no interest. Later, I became one of the “Black Album converts”, saw the doco “Some Kind of Monster” in the early 2000s, and have loosely followed Metallica’s journey ever since. But I never really got into their early stuff as much, nor Megadeth. Why all this about Metallica? Because Dave Mustaine’s whole thing, at least at that time, seems to have been to prove he could play faster, “heavier” and cleverer than the band that kicked him out. Listening more seriously to this album now, I’d have to say that “objectively” he may have succeeded in all three (not so sure about the second, but then he had a low bar at the time - Metallica’s later slower stuff is much heavier than any of the speed/thrash stuff, which is partly the fault of the recording but also a necessary corollary of playing too many notes too fast - just ask Mozart’s critics). But somehow Megadeths’s riffs, the songs , the arrangements appeal to me even less than their counterparts on Master of Puppets etc. It’s as if Megadeth have succeeded in doing even more of what I like less about early Metallica. To put it another way, this album just doesn’t make me want to bang my head, let alone to come back for a closer listen to the (apparently) socially conscious lyrics (which perhaps someone should have told my 16 yo self about).
I've often found that I like covers of Joni Mitchell songs better than the originals (much like Dylan in that regard). However, listening to the first half of this album closely I found lots to really enjoy. I didn't get time for the second half, but I'll come back when I can - so 4 stars it is!
So apparently this band I'd never heard of invented a sub-genre I'd never heard of, but they reject the label despite having put it on their posters. Do I care? Not really. Is the music any good? Some tracks better than others, and I'd have to be in a rare mood to want to put it on. (That said, I think their live gigs would have been a hoot). I might add the Zombie Dance track and perhaps one or two others to my Halloween playlist. I'm wavering between 2.5 and 3 stars, but will give the benefit of the doubt as I may just have been in the wrong mood when I listened - only had time for once through, and not quite all the tracks at that.
Parts were OK, but I’m general just not my thing. 2.5 stars.
Interesting! I quite enjoyed listening to this, thinking of it in the context of Sgt Peppers and the White Album. Not sure if I'd hunt it out again, esp as I couldn't listen to it on Spotify but had to use YouTube (which gets fiddly in relation to my speakers/headphones). But some really engaging compositions and sounds nonetheless - 3.5 stars.
The intellectuals among the founders of synth-pop, apparently. Nice enough, I guess.
Several of these tracks are well known to me, not least because they're on Natalie's 37 hour "Legendary Christmas" Spotify playlist. I can get into the mood for them one at a time. But a whole album is way too much!
If this is an essential psychedelic rock album (as opppsed to other bands dabbling in or influenced by psychedelia) I don’t think I missed much. 2.5 stars.
Another band I'm more likely to make fun of than listen to...but found I enjoyed more than I expected. The upbeat ones more than the ballads. Even the last track, which is in the less-preferred slow ballad category, brought a smile to my face with the sheer ridiculous abandon of its extended triple guitar solo.
Yeah, nah. I'm sure if I really paid attention I could find something interesting in Ry Cooder's early guitar work, but the whole thing just isn't working for me. Perhaps (like the recent album from Country Joe) it's great listening for someone who's high, and/or hearing it when it first came out?
I can understand that it’s influential, but not in the development of anything I’d listen to. Life’s too short. Half a point for the "socially conscious lyrics" makes 1.5.
Another “very influential” album I have no interest in playing again. Not entirely without interest.
I look forward to reading from one or more of you what's to like about this.
As background music, I quite liked the sound of most of the tracks. But on closer attention to the lyrics - no thanks!
Even though I never really listened to this band, they somehow seem to have the archetypal 70s hard rock sound. Enjoyable in bursts, and the live energy on this album is great (as is the mix, at least for the time).
No time for a fuller review, but in short: 1. I can see how this band was an influence on Kinderschmerzen! 2. Not really my thing - all those one chord songs (without the compensation of a funky groove) just bore me.
Some very interesting sounds & lyrical themes here, but overall a mixed bag. 2.5 stars
Yeah, nice! I have in recent years enjoyed a radio show on PBS FM called Switched On, which always includes some music from 60s-70s Brazil. So I’ve probably heard Veloso, Gil and others before - but while doing housework, so never took in names or listened closely. Will def come back to this album, prob at dinner time rather than jobs time as it’s at the chill end of the spectrum.
Yeah, nah. Sounded ok at first but woefully bad songwriting.
Enjoyed this! Was more "rock" sounding than I remembered - great guitar tones! I still have no idea what most of the songs are about, but maybe I'll pay closer attention next time.
An album I was mostly familiar with, from a band I knew a bit about (as pioneers of racial & gender equality in bands) this took me to a very happy place. I actually wish I hadn't gone on to read more about the subsequent troubled history of Sly & the band, it puts a bit of a dampener on the bold optimism expressed in & through this music.
A really interesting listen. Monae is super talented, and a couple of her songs are on high rotation in our house. But I've not listened to any of her albums. This one was pretty epic in scope, lots of enjoyable-enough songs, but not one that I'd be likely to come back to. Keen to listen to her later work though (including whichever album has my favourite song of hers, "Make Me Feel" - possibly THE best pop song of the last decade, IMO).
I suppose this album has some historical significance. But to my taste it's only the barest hint of what was to come, with Number of the Beast and later albums. It's recognisably Iron Maiden, but without the awesomeness that you can get (in the right mood, anyway) with those later albums cranked up.
Wish I’d heard this in the late 80s or early 90s!
Wow, some pretty wild stuff there from the irrepressible Kate Bush. Not really my thing, for the most part.
Now here’s a band I can really get into, at least when I’m in the right mood. I was a Black Album convert, never a huge fan of their earliest stuff or the woeful middle albums, but Dan has played their latest albums and they are a great return to form (but with modern production, yay). Anyway, sitting in traffic in a car on my own, I cranked this one and really enjoyed it. Apropos of my earlier musings on Megadeth vs Metallica - no contest. These guys make me want to bang my head. And they keep changing up their songs, but in a way that’s fun in an over-the-top way rather than just ridiculous. No further analysis needed.
Yeah, this one hit the spot. Cool beats with plenty of musicality or just plain groove; lots to say, and said in a way that makes me want to listen, rather than tune out. Didn't have time to listen to the whole album, but heard the first half and skimmed through the rest; I'll come back to it for sure. 4 stars at least.
Having never listened to this album, despite having really liked most of Eurythmics' singles, I was struck by how sparse and open it sounded, and how varied its moods. And of course, Annie Lennox's voice shines throughout! Definitely not "just another synth-pop album", it's got plenty to offer for further listens.
Well, a few songs in, I was ready to skip through the rest in a perfunctory way: definitely not my thing. But I was looking at the lyrics as I went. The sheer intensity and honesty of the songwriting was arresting, even if it's not crafted (nor set to music) in ways I would prefer.
Exuberance or excess? I guess it depends on the mood of the listener. This was Queen developing their trademark sound, but it’s no accident that people don’t sing the songs from this album.
Enjoyable album from just before all the acid-jazz stuff Natalie and I listened to in the mid 90s. Nice grooves, chill but not sleepy, works in the background and on closer listening. Thoughtful and well delivered lyrics, with a strong vein of social commentary that is (alas) still relevant. No one song really stays with me, other than the single, but I’ll be back to spin this album again.
I was never a huge fan of TFF at the time, but over the years I have come to think of Shout as one of the very best songs of the 1980s. It has everything, masterfully arranged and produced, and just makes me go YES! every time I hear it. Did I mention it also has one of my all time favourite guitar solos too? With that as a starting track, I was primed to love this album. As it turns out, I liked the album. Some of it a lot, some of it less (including the 2nd track, which just makes me think of Simple Minds and the whole “more reverb, more reverb!” 80s thing). On balance it’s probably 3.5 stars, but I may come back and listen to most of it again, skipping a track or two, so rounding up to 4.
Amazing musicianship, but not really my thing.
Classy stuff. Not something I'd race to put on, but I was and would be happy to listen to it (and found I enjoyed it more if I really listened than as background music). It was starting to get a bit same-samey through most of the 2nd side, but then the last track was enjoyably different.
I want the bomb, I want the P-funk! Totally joyous, awesomely funky, amazing musicianship, what's not to like? OK, maybe some of the tracks go on a bit longer than they should. But that's a small quibble when talking about funky jams. Contains one of my favourite lines of all time "That's the law around here. You got to put your sunglasses on...so you can FEEL COOL." Never gets old! 4.5 stars.
Apparently some people like this. P.S. Natalie played me three covers of songs from this album. Each one was better than the original, and even these I wouldn’t play again.
Hmm. I guess without this album there'd be no Little Creatures, which I absolutely love. But I found this one quite disappointing.
So I was driving on the freeway past Ballarat to Melbourne, a mostly boring drive where pretty much any music will improve the driver’s experience. As it turns out, not all albums are suited to that purpose. 1.5 stars, rounded up with the benefit of the doubt as to whether the lyrics add anything when translated.
Didn’t get much time with this one. First impressions: as at the time, I like the overall sound but the songs somehow disappoint and the singer can be really annoying. I’d say 2.5 stars but feel I should give the benefit of the doubt.
Classic! One great soul track after another. I could possibly get picky after a close listen, but why would I do that? After a long hard day this album really lifted my spirits, and both of us could enjoy it together.
At the time this came out, I wasn't a fan. I preferred their earlier style to their reinvented one, as much as I knew that every band needs to evolve (and apparently, they really felt it - nearly split up). However, on a closer listen - and getting beyond the "hey we're different now" announcement of the opening track - there's a lot to like. Sure it's a bit overdone in places, but for the most part these are good songs with good arrangements. Not sure i'd reach for it in preference to other U2 albums, but definitely 3.5 stars.
A bit hit and miss, to my taste, only the hits aren’t that great either. But very happy to hear that a band like this was singing songs like “Androgyonous” way back in 1984.
Lovely, and I’m very glad it’s on the list, but not an album I’d race to pull out again. (Although I am inspired to listen to some of her later work)
Yes, it’s the Pet Shop Boys alright. A bit more “mature” than their earlier stuff, but neither dance-y enough to get me moving nor interesting enough to move me (or even to make me listen closely, truth be told). Not sure why it’s on the list. 2.5 stars.
They do rock hard, and I can see that this would be a great capturing of their live show for fans, but for some reason their style has never appealed to me. 2.5 stars
I liked this one a little better than the other Elliot Smith album. Lovely palette of sounds in the arrangements/production, though I still wish he'd sing out more often. Might have been 3.5 stars if I'd had more than once through with it, but realistically I'm unlikely to pull it out for another listen - so not 4.
Where to start? This album is almost a caricature of itself and the 80s commercial-metal genre it epitomises. Or does it just seem that way in retrospect? No, I think I could have said that even at the time. It combines some epic 80s guitar tones along with some of the most ridiculous excesses of 80s production, and quite a few of the most inane songs ever written. In the end, I keep finding little islands of "ooh that sounds awesome" (for about 5 seconds) floating in a sea of mediocrity. I didn't make it all the way through more than two songs, and even quit before the solo of most of them! HOWEVER...kudos for the Gods of War track. I remember how counter-cultural it was for a big rock band to be this clearly anti-war at the time, and writing on the 1-year anniversary of Russia's full scale invasion of Ukraine, it couldn't be more relevant today.
Pretty good - certainly very listenable. But not reach-for-it good.
Wow, I had no idea that Funkadelic got this guitar-heavy! Should have been listening to this for years. I didn’t have a lot of time with it, but will come back for more.
Hmm. I can see how they were influential in the development of garage rock on some of the tracks, but others sounded remarkably like copies of the early Beatles to me
First few songs were OK, then became pretty bland and boring.
I didn’t get to give this a good listen, but as best I can judge I’d say it was enjoyable but not compelling .
I can see how it was influential, but it’s not for me.
Didn’t listen fully, but based on what I heard, 2.5 stars
I’m a fan of their later work, and indeed of the Syd Barrett singles (Emily and Arnold, which disappointingly aren’t on this album), but this record is for me of historical interest only.
Enjoyable enough, but nothing special
Maybe this album should be called Get Rich or Kill Trying. I can’t even filter out the lyrics and half-enjoy the beats, for all the gunshots and tinkling cartridges.
Love this album! I hadn’t listened to it in ages, but it popped and rocked and funked with surprising freshness as well as familiarity. I was never comfortable with the sexual aggression in a few of the tracks, and this has only grown. 4.5 stars from me.
I wasn’t able to give this a really good listen. From what I could take in, I’d say I can see why it’s significant, and some tracks I quite liked, but it’s not something I’d reach for again.
Woeful, just woeful. Apparently a couple of well known critics thought they were the best band of the 1990s. WTF??? I had to skip through most of these tracks, they were so bad.
Enjoyed this more than I thought I might. 3.5 stars
No doubt about it, this is a great recording of BB King and his fantastic band. Plenty of “oh yeah that’s cooking” moments . If I was trying to objectively assess its quality, 5 stars for sure. But when I’m in the mood for blues guitar, I’m more likely to pick something by the generation who stood on the shoulders of this giant.
I can see why this became a cult classic, even though it was not successful on its release. If I ever wanted more psychedelia than a quick run through Lucy in the Sky, See Emily Play and other such faves, I’d reach for this. But will that ever happen?
Punk with sax - who knew? Not me anyway. Enjoyable up to a point, being the point when Poly Styrene’s voice went from impressive to irritating.
Similar reaction to the previous KB album: she’s very clever and very talented, but I just can’t get into it. I’m gonna give benefit of the doubt because I only had time for one play through.
I was one of those “Black Album converts”, and to this day this album remains for me a benchmark for heavy metal. Such a huge sound, so many awesome riffs, actual melodies with intelligible (and mostly tolerable) lyrics, and most importantly for this genre - makes me move! There are a couple of tracks that I sometimes skip over if I’m not in the mood, so 4.5 stars, but this time I’m rounding up.
OK, but I don’t know why it’s on the list.
How do you rate an album like this? It ranges from misogynistic drivel with boring riffs to the sublime heights of “Back in Black”, possibly the best rock song ever recorded. Not sure I would ever reach for the whole album again. 3.5 stars
I’m afraid this album confirms, rather than challenges, my thoughts about prog rock. That is, the musicianship is superb, the compositions incredibly clever, but the whole is somehow less than the sum of its parts when it comes to my enjoyment. 3*
I listened to this while driving, and Natalie read me something about why this album was considered to be significant, but by the end of the album, I’d already forgotten what that was. 2*
After the opening track, which I couldn’t get into while driving, I quite liked the rest of this. Unlikely to play it again though.
It’s all pretty listenable, but aside from the absolute banger of a single, not very memorable. To be fair I only played it once through, and while cooking, but while I enjoyed it at times, it bored me at others and it’s not calling me back for more.
I enjoyed several tracks on this album, others less so.
Only listened to part of the album. nor did I give it full attention. What I did hear was OK but not great.
Fun at times, ludicrous at others. Also limited by the weakness of some of the then-newer songs. And way overbloated! As a souvenir of the concert, the fans may have loved it, but as an album, I really wish they'd picked the best half of the tracks.
Didn’t get as much time with this as I’d have liked, as it sounded interesting. I might come back for another go, so 3.5 stars rounded up (to remind me to come back to it)
I’ve never really listened to the Doors, so this was worthwhile. They’re good at that atmospheric blues-rock thing, aren’t they? But no standouts to make me race back for more of this album, especially when there are several others to listen to.
It verges on embarrassing to say so, as a would-be rock guitarist, but I’ve never really listened to the Stones. It’s hard to pinpoint why, but in the end I guess it boils down to “they don’t grab me”. And while I was surprised (in a good way) at how country-blues-rootsy this album sounded, overall it’s still true.
Wow, full-on folk psychedelia! I wouldn’t have made it past the first couple of tracks, except that I was preparing a D&D encounter with pixies & faeries so now I have a complete soundtrack and extracts of lyrics…for a band of pixies who have been exiled for their lack of tunefulness!
I was glad to have a whole weekend with this one, as Muse is a band I've been meaning to listen to for ages. I was really impressed on first listening, and it held up well on repeat. So many musical influences, but sounding like a creative synthesis and not merely derivative. Listening out for "what's that [lick/tone/melody] from?" became like an Easter egg hunt, and I'll happily come back for another go. Only short of 5 stars because there are one or two tracks that are less appealing on repeat, and some of the lyric writing is patchy.
Sounds just like the Byrds! I think if I'd had this album when I was a kid / early teen, i.e. when I was listening to the Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel, I might have gotten into it...but even then I'm not sure. As it is - sounds nice, nothing to come back for.
Only had a quick listen, but I kinda liked the neo-Merseybeat sounds. Maybe I just have a soft spot for Liverpool after having just visited it Anyway, might end up with 3.5 stars but giving it 4 for now to remind myself.
I liked some of the tracks, others less so.
Nice. Didn’t really speak to me, but I’m hardly the target audience!
Apparently this was the start of neo-soul, but I found it pretty bland.
I’m back from a long holiday, and have really enjoyed reading your reviews of key albums that I missed (after all this time, Abbey Road drops right before I get back???). I’m not going to be able to keep up the daily pace, but will try to review some. So, Jamiroquai: another album on my “really ought to listen to this someday” list. And it’s pretty much as I expected: instantly appealing, enjoyable, but somehow not quite as compelling as I’d hoped. I could try to analyse why, but life’s too short. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4.
Wow. Not easy to listen to, but I tip my hat to this musical embodiment of raw emotions. Not sure whether to give it 4 stars for that, or 2 stars to reflect how unlikely it is that I’d ever want to listen to it again. (In the end, I’m sticking to my very subjective scale of personal preference)
Another one where I can see why it’s on the list - musically and politically significant, great capturing of the live energy, etc - but it just doesn’t appeal to me as something to listen to.
I’d heard of this band, but had never listened. Was pleasantly surprised by the light&shade, the variety, and the mix of melodic & impact-oriented vocals (likewise for the instruments, I guess). And all this from a band that clearly had important things to say. I’ll definitely come back for another listen.
Influential, I’m sure, but of no interest to me.
Not bad, but not inspiring.