Mon Jan 23 2023
Songs From The Big Chair
Tears For Fears
Some nice New Wave
"Shout" in particular is extremely well-engineered
"Everybody Wants to Rule the World"
Tue Jan 24 2023
Do you enjoy 80s pop and New Wave? Ever find yourself thinking "Gee, I wonder what it would sound like if the intricate polyrhythms and harmonic structures from traditional African music joined with pristine engineered, 80s pop in some kind of fusion. Is there anything like that that even exists?"
Well guess what: Yes. Graceland fills that niche perfectly.
In the hands of a lesser musician and a lesser producer, this album would sound over-produced and kitchy. But with the melodic hooks devised by Paul Simon and his collaborations with various South African musicians, the atmosphere of the record is one that provides a rare feeling nowadays: Joy. No songs wailing about how the government is failing its citizens or how you'd rather be dead than caught by police, and even the song "Homeless" has an optimistic twang to it, only heightened by the smooth interweaving of the acapella arrangements. The eclectic choice of instruments and arrangements provide a unique experience that few albums could boast about.
"Boy in the Bubble"
"Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes"
"You Can Call Me Al"
Wed Jan 25 2023
Pretty good Glam Rock, but besides the title track, nothing to really write home about. Makes sense why this album is almost forgotten from Cooper's live set list.
"Gutter Cat vs. The Jets"
Thu Jan 26 2023
The apex of Joni Mitchell's adventures into "Folk-Jazz" yields a wonderfully groovy album with long, winding songs about travels and tyrsts, all overdubbed by the masterful fretless bass of Jaco Pastorius. A great album shrouded in the haze of lounge cigarette smoke, coupled with the moodiness of someone who's traveled there and back again.
"Furry Sings the Blues"
"Song for Sharon"
Mon Jan 30 2023
Damn good Jangle Pop. A nice debut for what would eventually become the greatest band out of Athens, GA
Tue Jan 31 2023
Belle & Sebastian
Nice indie pop with a warm feel; not conventional enough to feel boring yet the more experimental passages felt like they could use some expanding upon. All in all a nice collection of songs to sing along to.
Fri Feb 03 2023
I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight
Great folk rock. Linda's strong voice perfectly complemented Richard's inventive guitar, and the songs themselves struck a nice balance of hope and hopelessness.
Mon Feb 06 2023
Tea for the Tillerman
Fri Feb 10 2023
All That You Can't Leave Behind
A couple of slammin’ good songs, but the production quality is kinda “muddled” and the album itself feels like simply a collection of songs. Normally that’s no deal-breaker but the other songs on the album outside the singles are terribly mid, and knowing what U2 is capable of makes this normally 3-star album plummet to a 1-star. It won a bunch of awards though, so U2 kept the sound for other albums like “How to Dismantle an Atom Bomb” and (everyone’s iTunes favourite!) “Songs of Innocence”. Shame on you (2), U2, the potential was squandered.
Mon Feb 13 2023
Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
This album’s kinda cheating because it’s really two albums in one, but hot DAMN are they some slammin’ albums! Truly a shame that OutKast disbanded when they did, though this album shows how explicitly different Big Boi and André 3000’s artistic directions were heading. At least we got two definitive artistic statements from each they brought down from the height of their partnership.
Tue Feb 14 2023
Like looking at Joni from the other side of a one-way bathroom mirror. Powerfully raw to the point of beauty, yet enough remains among the sparse accompaniment to properly cover her shame. Not as fun as her more jazz-inspired works later down the line, but definitely her best. A crying shame that it’s not on Spotify.
Wed Feb 15 2023
...Baby One More Time
The title track? Good. Nice to dance to.
The rest of the album? Gad. It was a tacky as a neurotic college kid’s corkboard. Not to mention that this was all going on before Spears turned 18, which… mercy. At least I have the non-US cover in my collection to save face when someone asks me what it’s doing there.
Mon Feb 20 2023
“Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine.” GodDAMN what a way to kick off an album. The opening song continues its quiet crescendo from that line until it explodes into a primal cover of Van Morrison’s “Gloria,” surpassing the energy behind Morrison on his rendition. Through and through, “Horses” is pure punk, beating the Sex Pistols to the punch by a few months. Though the raw sensibilities of Patti and her band are joined with the strangest choice of producer: John Cale of Velvet Underground fame. His production allows Patti to spread her wings more into the artsy-side of music; the result is one of the first art punk records, and its influence cannot be overstated. Even with a little bit of sag on side-B, this is a great album to turn up and scream to, even if it’s not as wild as the Sex Pistols.
Tue Feb 21 2023
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
People always like to parade capitalism around on a stick like Guy Fawkes, as an easy target to blame all of their problems on (when they should be using Ronald Reagan instead). Though after reading up on the album’s history, one can’t help but wish to deflect unfathomable anger towards the stiff suits who saw the record as “unmarketable.” The music is pure genius, striking a perfect line between experimental art rock and American indie, fusing the two into a sound which gives Wilco a distinct voice, amplified by their audible Alt-Country roots. To miss out on this record is a sorry mistake. The 50th anniversary remasters make the record sound so fresh and inventive that it could have been made ten years in the future.
“I Am Trying To Break Your Heart”
“War on War”
Fri Feb 24 2023
Meat Is Murder
What not getting railed by Johnny Marr does to an mf
Mon Feb 27 2023
Normally I’m a huge fan of Progressive Rock, whose internal mantra seems to be that it must be, at all times, as maximalist and pretentious as it possibly can in a musical sense. And in a way, S&M is prog-adjacent, with the addition of a full symphony orchestra with the heavy thrash metal of Metallica. But I don’t like it nearly as much as any prog record I own.
First issue lies in the length (Over 2 hours! “Tales From Topographic Oceans” isn’t even that long!), where the more memorable songs (The epic “Call of Klutu”, with an immaculate segue into “Master of Puppets”) are dragged down by a lot of mediocre filler (Has any non-Metallica fan even bothered to listen to “Load” or “Reload”? Seriously…) which makes sense, given that those were more recent albums that Metallica released. But for once, I maintain that this album could be saved if we “trimmed the fat” and cut down on the sheer amount of filler. If it was the just the hits from the Black Album and before, I feel that many more fellas could enjoy this album. But until then, this album is only worth the first 30 minutes (Unless you’re a die-hard Metallica fan, in which case you’re eating well) until its novelty wears off.
The San Francisco Orchestra though, nothing bad to say about them. 10/10 execution and direction, unfortunately dragged by mid-tier songs to fill the void.
Tue Feb 28 2023
Finally, some nice, classic dad rock. And no grandoise AOR either, just some blues-inspired hard rock. As an album, it’s not really an artistic statement. More like a collection of songs with no underlying theme. So if you’re looking for that in your albums, you won’t find it here.
The music is par for the course hard rock. No new invention or improvisation to be found here. But the songs themselves aren’t hindered by this fact. The band sounds full of life, and the sound has a head-nodding punch to it, akin to a less-wild The Who. Worth the listen if you’re looking for a good album to drive to, but not really an “album” to come back to.
“Can’t Get Enough”
“Don’t Let Me Down”
Wed Mar 01 2023
Not the biggest trip-hop fella out there, but Dummy really captured my attention. Maybe not enough ti get me on the trip-hop-train, but at least enough to get me to watch it leave the station. The seductive power of Beth Gibbon’s voice, combined with the steady electronic beat seemed to invite a certain kind of energy: Kind of like what androids would play before making love. An overall pleasant experience.
Fri Mar 03 2023
Pictures At An Exhibition
Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Progressive rock, my beloved. Is it for everyone? So long as you leave your expectations of “modesty” and “relatability” at the door. ELP remains one of my favourite progressive rock acts, though in my opinion Pictures at an Exhibition may be one of their weaker records. But that’s not to say it’s bad. ELP takes the classical mainstay “Pictures at an Exhibition” and re-arranges it for a rock trio. Some purists may be appalled by this, but for those who have never heard a progressive rock record outside of Pink Floyd or 70s Genesis, this is a great record to start on. And after you finish, look to ELP’s album “Trilogy”, which is probably their most cohesive record, and not weakened by a side-long suite (Unlike the B-sides of Rush’s “2112” and ELP’s “Tarkus”.)
Tue Mar 07 2023
Lost In The Dream
The War On Drugs
Ladies and gentlemen Bob Dylan is floating in space. A neat little album that sounds like Americana mixed with neo-psychedelia and space rock, but not much to write home about. At least the soundscapes are chill.
Wed Mar 08 2023
The most aggravating record I've ever owned.
On one hand... The title track is a 21/12, pure heavy progressive rock perfection. The story fully develops and the music follows with it. Ayn Rand objectivism aside, the story is captivating enough to keep the listener along for the ride.
The other side, on the other hand, is mid. It's not like they're bad songs, but they don't have much to add to the album, and seem like they were added as an afterthought, as a "Oh shit, we still have half an album to fill" kind of beat. At least "Tears" is a nice little ballad.
Overall, a fantastic record that suffers from "Tarkus Syndrome", where the side-long opener is such a banger that it saps the energy from the rest of the record, leaving the b-side a collection of forgettable tunes you probably heard in the end credits of some coming of age movie back in the day.
"2112: Overture / The Temples of Syrinx / Discovery / Presentation / Oracle / Soliloquy / Grand Finale"
Thu Mar 09 2023
Born In The U.S.A.
Until now the only Springsteen album I was familiar with was "Nebraska", which I thought was stellar, perfect for Springsteen's biting commentary. This album came next in his discography, lauded by fans and critics as one of the greatest albums of all time.
It did not live up to the hype.
Lots of people describe this album as "Electric Nebraska", since most of the songs on it were recorded during the Nebraska sessions, later re-arranged with the E-Street Band. It's loud, poppy, anthemic, and completely juxtaposed by its lyrics of hardship and injustice. Except it's not. When it comes to Springsteen, taking on such an 80's pop sheen and becoming more overproduced than Atari's "E.T." hurt his style. The title track is great. "Bobby Jean" is a jam. But most other songs don't really hit that mark. And don't even get me started on the cheeseball-fest "Dancing in the Dark", overplayed to high hell on MTV with his other songs. Hell, you can't even dance to it very well (unless you really feel like doing an archaic version of "The Carlton" to the dancefloor's dismay).
Overall, if you're a Springsteen fan or just hate Ronald Reagan (guilty as charged, lol), you'll love this album. But it is also very much a product of its time, and sorely in need of a remix that does away with all the bloody synthesizers.
Fri Mar 10 2023
Damn good soft rock. Hell, the best soft rock album out there, bar none. It also benefits from some of the greatest production quality of any album ever made. Even the cheap CD on a 2001 car stereo sounds clean as hell. I can't say anything more about this album that hasn't already been said. Just listen to it.
"Gold Dust Woman"
Mon Mar 13 2023
Banger after banger after banger after Octopus' Garden after banger after... you get the idea. When the WEAKEST song on this album is "Octopus' Garden", it gives you a good idea on how bloody good the album is. The 2019 remaster gives the record a new breath of life, especially side-B and its medley. Every song on this album has been played on AM radio at least one million times, and they never grow stale. Had a bad day? Feel like the world's going to shit? Just want to listen to music where the band isn't confronting the harsh realities of life? Pop in this album and thank me later.
"Maxwell's Silver Hammer"
"I Want You (She's So Heavy)"
"Here Comes the Sun"
Tue Mar 14 2023
And here I was thinking Joni Mitchell’s “Blue” was raw. This album is one of the most sensitive, confessional, and melancholy albums I’ve heard without understanding the lyrics. Nick Drake delivers pure folk, with nothing but his breathy vocals billowing over his guitar, which plays simple accompaniment. It seems to draw the listener’s attention to the lyrics, but the lyrics are vague and mysterious, as if describing another world. And yet its emotional power is not diminished. While you may not “get it” on your first listen, subsequent listens will go by quickly due to the album’s length. And it’s nigh impossible to capture this album’s full worth from one listen. Each moment is passing but precious. To truly savour each moment, each intimate story of isolation and melancholy, this album demands your full attention. And it will reward you with a beautiful expression of emotion all the orchestras in the world could not parallel.
“Place to Be”
Wed Mar 15 2023
Since I Left You
The first great Plunderphonics record, The Avalanches take digging through the record bin to another extreme, using all of their findings to create a smashing dance record. While not as earth-shaking as big beat, “Since I Left You” makes up for it in its unreal flow, seamlessly joining together songs with a head-bobbing beat with obscure samples. And since they approached it from a “no one’s gonna listen to this, let’s do whatever” mentality, they create the oddest collection of fusions seen this side of Melbourne. Great as both a pure dance record and as IDM performed by an alien mixtape.
“Since I Left You”
Thu Mar 16 2023
Originally drafted after “Pet Sounds” as a “teenage symphony to god”, SMiLE was abandoned by Beach Boys frontman Brian Wilson after numerous setbacks and mental breakdowns, as well as the release of Sgt. Pepper. Now, nearly 40 years later, Brian finally brought a fully matured version of SMiLE to listeners, presenting what is probably the greatest pop album in the 2000s.
The album lives up to its title and then some. It’s just so… fun. Are there better performances of the songs on other existing Beach Boys albums? Yes. But this album’s flow between them all is unmatched. Infectious pop hooks framed with an orchestra and packed vocal section, glazed with witty lyrics by original SMiLE collaborator Van Dyke Parks, all come together with the trademark Beach Boys harmonisation to dazzle the listener. And not a dull moment is heard on this album. Truly one for the ages, and a worthy fulfilment of Brian’s promise all those years ago.
“Heroes and Villains”
“Roll Plymouth Rock”
“In Blue Hawaii”
Fri Mar 17 2023
Mr. Tambourine Man
Definitely see where the harmonies came from for CSN. A nice mixture of Bob Dylan folk and Beach Boys-esque harmonisation, with a couple of sleepers and a very odd cover of “We’ll Meet Again” by Vera Lynn. A nice little album, but not much more for a return visit.
“Mr. Tambourine Man”
“I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better”
“The Bells of Rhymney”
Mon Mar 20 2023
Folk. Punk. Somehow not a train wreck of a combination. It’s good, but not really my type.
Tue Mar 21 2023
I’ll be frank. Not the biggest fan of Jane’s Addiction. Or much Alternative Metal, really. I know they were an early forerunner of bringing alternative music to the mainstream with their successful albums and later by helming Lollapalooza, but their music never struck much of a chord with me. Their lead singer especially sets me on end for unexplained reasons. A good album for alternative metal fans, but not for me.
Wed Mar 22 2023
Kimono My House
“Man, this lead singer sure is talented. I wonder what else she’s done…”
*One Google search later*
“Huh? She’s a DUDE?!”
Funny diatribe aside, this album remains one of the most unique listens you’ll hear pertaining to Glam Rock. Specifically, this album is the product of fusing Glam with its similarly grandiose, posturing cousin: progressive rock. Side B may lose a bit of energy, but played together the whole album’s a real treat. A combination of technically skilled musicianship including rhythmic syncopation and cheeky wordplay about love, loss, and family never fail to crack a smile from even a rock. Sing along if you dare. It’s almost as hard as singing along to Peter Hammil.
“This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us”
“Here in Heaven”
“Hasta Mañana, Monsieur”
Thu Mar 23 2023
Kind Of Blue
I can’t understand how anyone has anything bad to say about this album. You won’t find a better jazz record even if you dug through the indie jazz bargain bin. This album remains both the greatest jazz album of all time, and the best album to get into jazz. The story goes that the legendary lineup for this album laid everything down in one take, only working off Davis’ loose direction and lead sheets. While that rumour has since been dispelled (it actually took two days and several takes), the raw skill of such a lineup made the rumour completely believable. And what a lineup it was. Both Cannonball Adderley and John Coltrane trade saxophone solos, joined by Davis’ soaring muted trumpet. Underneath the trio is supported by the rhythm section of pianist Bill Evans, bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer James Cobb, with Evans being replaced on some tracks by Wynton Kelly. The group improvises extremely well, capturing the true essence of jazz: its spontaneity. Even if it wasn’t all done in one take, they still laid down some of the greatest jazz ever put to wax.
“Blue in Green”
Fri Mar 24 2023
Emperor Tomato Ketchup
An extremely odd album with one of the most unique pop hooks you’ll ever hear on “Cybele’s Reverie”. Good but runs out of steam on side D. Could have been a whole lot worse (and industrial).
Mon Mar 27 2023
Dig Your Own Hole
The Chemical Brothers
Why do they call it “Big Beat”?
Because them beats is ***BIG***.
This album was the louder-than-a-bomb bombshell that caused Big Beat as a genre to burst onto the scene, and from the first of them “Block Rockin’ Beats” it’s easy to see why. Though it doesn’t have the biggest beats of the era (That honour goes to “The Fat of the Land”), “Dig Your Own Hole” is loud and catchy enough to distance it from the then bustling acid house and techno scenes with a uniquely bombastic experience. For all the Big Beat albums to rightfully explode, this album serves as the perfect herald to a new kind of dance music ready to shake the MDMA right outta the raves.
“Block Rockin’ Beats”
Tue Mar 28 2023
Darkness on the Edge of Town
Maybe I just don’t like Bruce Springsteen.
To this album’s credit, its production isn’t as unbearable as “Born in the USA”, but it still suffers from quite a few pitfalls that plague the aforementioned album. To be honest, I feel like Springsteen is at his best without the E Street Band. If “Nebraska” has taught us anything, it’s that Springsteen’s social commentary regains its razor-sharp edge through just Folk instrumentation, and it becomes greatly dulled with the addition of other superfluous instruments (As a progressive rock fanatic I love me some electronic keyboard instruments, but they do NOT fit here). With these complaints aside, this album is definitely better than “Born in the USA”, at least music-wise. Worth the listen, but unless you can look past the embellishments, not worth coming back to.
“Racing in the Street”
Wed Apr 05 2023
At a complete loss for words. Who gave the whacked-out commies a synthesizer and a drum machine? Is it Post-Punk? Synth-Punk? Bloody madness? Either way, I really dig it. It gets a bit repetitive at times, but then when you pay attention to the lyrics things regain that fresh sense of “wtf is this?” Nothing. I repeat, NOTHING will prepare you for the sonic surprise attack awaiting you in “Frankie Teardrop”, which contains what is possibly the most blood-curdling scream ever put to wax. Just listen to it and see what I mean.
Thu Apr 06 2023
Krautrock tends to cross paths with progressive rock a lot, since they take inspiration from each other at different points in time. So I’m pretty familiar with this kind of music. And Holger Czukay’s previous group Can has ventured into prog territory before, so I went into this album keeping an ear open for it. But I didn’t find much that really “popped” from the album. A lot of meandering, like uninspired jazz, permeated about the record. And while it didn’t sound bad, it didn’t really do much to sound good either. A shame, I guess. Back to “Future Days” for my kraut-prog fix then.
Fri Apr 07 2023
Everything But The Girl
Now this is something completely different. Drum n’ Bass was a huge force in electronic music in the 90s, so to mix it with EBTG’s sophisti-pop is definitely not what I expected to hear. Is it good? Yeah. The music’s nice. But not much is really there to grab the listener’s attention. It almost feels like this album was specifically designed to be non-offensive background music playing at some retail store in the mall. And yet, the lyrics are surprisingly somber and touching. Not as low as musak, but not really a record to come back to. It definitely has a couple good revisits for relaxing with your partner.
Thu Apr 13 2023
The Atomic Mr Basie
Count Basie & His Orchestra
It was around this time that the genre of Swing was losing its momentum, mainly because people stopped pushing it on the playground. In the face of this, Count Basie looked at the writing on the wall and decided to do what he could do best: Swing.
“The Atomic Mr Basie” is Basie’s last great Swing record, and is packed to the gills with passionate, punchy, and catchy tunes to pack a dance floor with. Like a Swan-song, except not as romanticized. Basie was raging against the dying of the light. And his rage was fully captured on this record, leading the band in feverous moments of swinging the beat so hard it may go soaring out the window.
“Kid from Red Bank”
Mon Apr 17 2023
ZAPPA! One of the greatest and most prolific musicians in the past century. And that’s no hyperbolic boast, either. Zappa’s discography is about as wide as his range: all of his records riddled with “mad scientist-esque” musical experimentation. Though his songwriting may be marred by a middle-schooler’s sense of scatological humour, his virtuosity on the guitar and studio experimentation remain unmatched. Some albums may be complete misses (Avoid “Thing Fish” for the love of god), but some are complete hits, like “Hot Rats”.
“Hot Rats” remains one of Zappa’s greatest records, as a jazz-rock fusion record that can’t be squarely placed in either Jazz or Rock. Zappa weaves together odd chord structures with rock instrumentation, but also includes jazz instruments like the saxophone, the upright bass, and associates. “Hot Rats” has jazz-like improvisation over the songs, illustrated in songs like “The Gumbo Variations”, with a spicy guitar solo from Zappa. Other songs have even become jazz standards, like “Peaches en Regalia”. All in all, whether this is Zappa’s best solo album is not up to debate, though people often disagree on whether it’s because of the musicianship or because only one track has lyrics (from guest vocalist Captain Beefheart). Don’t miss out on this gem.
“Peaches en Regalia”
“The Gumbo Variations”
Tue Apr 18 2023
Groovy. This is what really kicked off the Bossa Nova craze, and all of the songs are pleasant and soothing. Though personally it’s not really much of a record to spin and find new stuff on from each listen. They’re much better jazz out there, though if you’re looking for a good Bossa Nova time, you’ll find it here.
Thu Apr 20 2023
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme
Simon & Garfunkel
Is it good? Yes. Is it a good album? Eh. Better than the rushed “Sounds of Silence” album, but still shows room for artistic improvement. A couple of standout songs, but cohesively sounds more like a compilation than an album. Can’t rightly put my finger on why. But hey, the music’s still great, and once you watch “The Graduate” (1967) you’ll struggle to find a better mental picture for “Scarborough Fair/Canticle”.
“Scarborough Fair / Canticle”
“For Emily, Wherever I May Find Her”
Fri Apr 21 2023
Alice In Chains
The classic discography of Alice in Chains has playfully been described as a “freefall into depression and despair,” culminating with their self-titled album in 1995. “Dirt” marks the tipping point when the freefall begins, and does so with some HEAVY stuff. Not just lyrics, either. From the opening riffs from “Them Bones” you know that the album will be bogged in the mire, with downtuned, sludgy metal riffs that fit perfectly with the despotic and distortion-heavy Grunge style. Here Alice in Chains brings a fresh look on Grunge, adding heavy metal sensibilities and distortion to make the record seem sluggish and pitiful, despite being filled with energy. A great album to put on when you need the opposite of a pick-me-up: a let-me-down.
“Dam That River”
Mon Apr 24 2023
Back In Black
AC/DC is overplayed to hell (via highway) and back (in black). I wouldn’t be able to make it through this album if it wasn’t so bloody good. I mean really. This is prime-time Hard Rock. It has more hit singles than I have stars to give. Just listen to it and turn up the volume. Rock out!
“Shoot to Thrill”
“Back in Black”
“You Shook Me All Night Long”
Tue Apr 25 2023
Huh. This is different. This is what happens when you let New Order take a pill in Ibiza. Makes you wonder what Ian Curtis would have thought about them. For what it’s worth, this is a good dance record. Maybe not as floor-rattling as ***BIG*** Beat (though that genre wouldn’t be shaking the world until nearly 6 years later with the Chemical Brothers), but still bop-able. Not quite Acid House either. It sounds unique, and still sounds unique today considering all the electronic subgenres that have developed since it was released. My one problem is that the songs aren’t really different from one another to stand out, paradoxically with the record’s unique sound. I’d definitely come back and listen to this one again, but I doubt any songs from this album would find their way onto my playlists except for maybe “Love Less”, which even so sounds inferior to “Love Vigilantes” from “Low Life”.
Wed Apr 26 2023
Court And Spark
Again a fantastic album by Joni Mitchell that is off Spotify. Curse you, Joe Rogan.
“Court and Spark” marks Mitchell’s ventures into jazz, creating a “jazz-pop” that would later be expanded upon by later albums. A unique record, especially for its time. However, it is another one of those great records that loses steam on Side-B, especially the last couple songs (Joni Mitchell is many things, but she should not be singing scat). All in all, a wonderful, low-key album that takes the smokey lounge from “Hejira” and opens the windows a bit to let some light inside.
“Raised on Robbery”
Thu Apr 27 2023
Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots
The Flaming Lips
Always a sucker for Neo-Psychedelia. But I haven’t properly sat down and gave an album by The Flaming Lips a spin yet so until now. A loose concept album (i.e. the first four songs) about evil robots quickly turns into psychedelic musings on love, life, and the baggage that comes with both. I do wish the album was fully realised as a concept album, which is what really holds it back from a 5 star. But make no mistake, this album remains a crowning achievement for The Flaming Lips. College Stoners everywhere would agree.
“Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots: Part 1”
“Are You A Hypnotist??”
Mon May 01 2023
Pet Shop Boys
I get why the Pet Shop Boys are on this list. They were pretty popular, pretty catchy, and pretty (gay). But listening to this record in the year 2023, and man, I just can’t stand it. I’ve heard AJR. I’ve heard Weezer. I’ve willingly listened to Einstürzende Neubauten (Funny that “Kollaps” is on this list, and probably one of their roughest records). But I just can’t get behind Pet Shop Boys. I’m a big fan of other synth-pop bands like New Order, but I can certifiably say that the worst song on “Low Life” is better than whatever the Pet Shop Boys were cooking on “One More Chance.” Eugh. It soured the rest of the album for me. But the album is saved from being a flat one star due to the lyrics. Some great commentary over some mid-tier (and some completely washed) beats. But hey, it beats having to listen to Britney Spears one more time.
Tue May 02 2023
Ever wanted to listen to Emo music but hated how terrible the vocalists were and how shallow their lyrics were? Well, guess what: There’s not only an album, but an entire band about that. Think if an emo outfit grew out of adolescence and dumped all the awkwardness with it, and you would have Arcade Fire.
This is their debut. First album. And it sounds as grandoise as a progressive rock record recorded by a veteran band. The confidence they have on this record is staggering. I mean, again, this is their DEBUT! And here they are, giving some of the most rousing stadium-stompers this side of the early 2000s! Gone are the indie “slacker vibes” that bands like Pavement brought to the table, now these indie outfits have something deeper to say. The production gives the songs a cinematic quality to them: that kind of sprawling sound that seems larger than life. And nowhere does the album lose any of its momentum. It keeps building, and building, and building, until it finally climaxes at “Rebellion (Lies)”, another impressive anthem. It’s no secret that this album gets the praise it does, this is the real deal. No other 2000s indie act could boast such an explosive debut (maybe barring Franz Ferdinand but I’d argue that’s a different case), at least over in North America. A great driving album where you’re on a long rural highway and can pay attention to the lyrics a bit more.
“Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)”
“Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)”
“Crown of Love”
Wed May 17 2023
Ellington at Newport
Paul Gonsalvez single-handedly revitalized Ellington’a career. No I will not elaborate.
“Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue”