Friday, February 13, 2015

105. Document - REM

105. Document - REM (1987) 87/100.  To me Document was a tale of two sides of an album.  Side one was ok.  Finest Worksong I enjoyed, the next three tracks were average.  Nothing special or spectacular, in my opinion.  Strange started to peak my interest.  Of course I had heard It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I feel Fine) and The One I Love from the radio a million times and those are both solid tracks.  The rest of the album I thoroughly enjoyed.  It would be a toss up for my favorite song on the album between Fireplace and Lightnin' Hopkins (loved that bass line).  I have always had a sweet spot in my heart for End of the World.  You can't go wrong with a good dulcimer in King of Birds.  The One I Love is always going to be a great song (even though it is a little overplayed - at least here on Chicago radio).  Listened: 2/13/2015
Favorite Tracks: Fireplace, Lightnin' Hopkins, It's the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine), King of Birds

104. Sister - Sonic Youth

NOTE: I realize I have taken a rather long hiatus from this project. In the interim I have done other projects, etc. but I always had this one on the back of my mind so here I am hoping to get it completed. Only 90% more to go...

 104. Sister - Sonic Youth (1987) 85/100 - I had not heard much Sonic Youth prior to this so for me it was relatively new.  My first impression was if someone took Velvet Underground and The Stooges, put them in a Yahtzee! cup, shook it around, and rolled them out - it would be two sixes, a three, and Sonic Youth.  Right off the bat, I enjoyed Schizophrenia, as it was more melodic than most the rest of the album.   (I Got A) Catholic Block was an ode to punk that I found average.  I really enjoyed the insane guitar work in Stereo Sanctity and Pipeline/Kill Time.  As a Nirvana fan I can hear the influence in Cobain's playing from tracks like these (which in turn were influenced by Velvet Underground) especially when he played live.  My favorite track was probably the most mellow of the album - Cotton Crown.  Of course, this was the one most influenced (in my humble opinion) by Velvet Underground.  This will be the one track that I will be adding to my oft-listened to playlist.  Overall, I compare me listening to this to showing the movie Halloween to a fifteen-year-old in the year 2015 - they will like it but it will be nothing new or interesting to them since they had seen so many other horror movies that ripped it off.  I liked it.  I'm not going to say I didn't by any means, it just didn't blow me away the same way that it might have if I had heard it in 1987 upon it's release.  Of course, in 1987, I was in sixth grade and listening to Bon Jovi, Poison, and Whitesnake so my tween mind may not have been able to comprehend or appreciate it then either.   Listened: 2/12/2015
Favorite Tracks: Schizophrenia, Stereo Sanctity, Cotton Crown

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

103. O.G. Original Gangster - Ice-T

103. O.G. Original Gangster - Ice-T (1991) 92/100.  I had heard this a few times in the early 90's and had remembered liking it so I thought I would purchase it on the assumption that I would like it.  I was right.

Ice-T is one of the artists who put gangsta rap on the map in the early 90s and it was this album that brought it to the mainstream.  Not only a great rap album, but gave the introduction of Body Count which would later become the center of controversy for their follow-up album that featured Cop Killer.

This is a classic hip hop album.  It is brilliantly produced and as great a listen now as it was when released twenty years ago.

New Jack Hustler is a great track.  Bitches 2 is another favorite.  O.G. Original Gangster is a classic.  Midnight has been in my mp3 rotation for over a decade (I am a sucker for all things Black Sabbath). Body Count is a nice change of pace.  The Tower is another favorite.  A classic album.

Note: Rage Against the Machine has been a consistent favorite of mine and while Rage formed the same year as Original Gangster, you can hear a lot of O.G.'s influence on them.  Listened: 5/24/2011
Favorite Tracks: New Jack Hustler, Midnight, Body Count

102. I Should Coco - Supergrass

102. I Should Coco - Supergrass (1995) 90/100. A first time listen for me.  In fact, I had never even heard of Supergrass.  They initially reminded me of The White Stripes (and yes, I know that Supergrass came out first so The White Stripes would sound more like Supergrass instead of the other way around, but I never heard Supergrass and had heard The White Stripes so deal with it).  I will say, musically Supergrass is a better band than The White Stripes, but again that has nothing to do with anything.

I really liked I Should Coco.  I wasn't expecting much when I turned it on so I was pleasently surprised by it.  I don't mind Britpop - it's not a genre I go out of my way for but also one I don't run away from either.

But, I wouldn't put Supergrass as straight Britpop.  When I think Britpop, I think Oasis and this isn't Oasis.  This has some punk roots that Oasis doesn't and reminded me a little of The Kinks (who they had said was a major musical influence).

Alright was a highlight of the album.  Strange Ones and She's So Loose were good tunes as well.  We're Not Supposed To had some fun psychedelic-esque sound effects that made the song fun, kind of reminded me of Pink Floyd's, Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict.  I really liked Sofa (Of My Lethargy) - a great, mellow (in comparison with the rest of the album) and probably the most Britpoppish sounding track - but still great.  

Overall, the whole album is pretty good.  It made my list of, "To Purchase Albums".  Good stuff.  Listened: 5/24/2011
Favorite Tracks: Alright, Strange Ones, She's So Loose  

Monday, May 23, 2011

101. Thriller - Michael Jackson

101. Thriller - Michael Jackson (1982)  87/100.  I am one of the few people on this earth, that was alive in the 80's, that didn't have Thriller.  It really never appealed to me.  I didn't watch Michael do the moonwalk, I didn't care much about the Thriller video, and didn't even pay attention to the fact that he had a pet chimpanzee until much later in life.  So, this was a first time listen for me.

Having listened to it, I am still on the fence on whether this is really my thing.  I can say, unlike most that would put this in, I don't have the nostalgia for it - since I never listened to it in the 80's.  Well, I didn't own it, it has been all over the radio for 30 years.

Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' is still a popular (and decent) track on the radio.  Did he just say, "you're a vegetable"?  WTF?!?

Baby Be Mine was an ok track, nothing flashy and also not going to be memorable.  The Girl is Mine is another popular track on the radio and was probably my favorite from the album.  I wonder how the Jackson/McCartney relationship was two years later when Jackson would outbid McCartney for The Beatles publishing rights to their music - I am guessing that ended all hope for McCartney/Jackson live duet.

If you have never heard Thriller, Beat It, or Billie Jean before, welcome to our world.  We have indoor plumbing, air conditioning, and cookies here - enjoy your stay.  It is nice to hear Vincent Price at the end of Thriller as I was a fan of his movies when they would play on Saturday afternoon (before stations decided that the Saturday afternoon time slot would be better suited for things like bowling, golf, and pool - who the hell watches bowling?)  Beat It's strongest part for me, of course, Eddie Van Halen's guitar work.  Billie Jean is Billie Jean.  I still have no real idea what the hell that song is about.

Human Nature is probably my second favorite on the album.  It is a popular track but not nearly as overplayed as the big three from the album.  Just a nice mellow track.

PYT was ok.  I liked the R&B vibe from The Lady in my Life.

Overall, I give the album merit for taking the pop genre to new heights.  It isn't my kind of music but I can still appreciate it.  I do not ever see myself listening to it again, if it were 1982 who knows but in 2011, not going to happen.  Listened: 5/23/2011
Favorite Tracks: Thriller, Human Nature, The Girl is Mine

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

#100. The Doors - The Doors

100. The Doors - The Doors (1967) 98/100.  I decided to listen to one of my favorite albums as my 100th review - The Doors.  I'm not going to lie, I am a huge Doors fan.  And, this list has a few on there so I will get to relive some of my youth.  Of all of The Doors albums, I probably would say that the debut album would be my favorite.

Now, my favorite doesn't necessarily mean the best.  You could make arguments for Morrison Hotel, LA Woman, and even Strange Days.  And, I probably would agree that those are all good albums.  But, for me...The Doors was THE Doors album.

I hate to have to admit this, but the only reason that I started to listen to The Doors my sophomore year of high school was because of the release of the Oliver Stone movie.  At the time, I actually took what happened in the movie as fact.  It wouldn't be until my junior year, when I read No One Here Gets Out Alive, that I realized that the Stone film was fictitious.  But, fictitious or not, it did introduce the music of The Doors to me so for that I guess I should be grateful - even though the whole dropping acid in the dessert scene was the most insulting thing I had ever seen (later to be topped by Kristen Stewart's portrayal of Joan Jett in The Runaways).

While recorded over just six days, the songs on the debut album had been in circulation from their live shows forever and makes this album feel more like a live performance than their later albums which were more fine tuned on the production side.  If anything, it is that factor that I probably fell in love with when I was in high school.

Well, it was either the tracks had more of a live feel to them or Jim wasn't nearly as out of control in the beginning as he would be in later recording sessions (when he showed).

While Light My Fire and Break on Through (To The Other Side) are the most popular from the album, the other tracks are definitely note worthy.  How can you not like Soul Ktchen, The Crystal Ship, End of the Night, and The End?  I have a soft spot in my heart for Take It As It Comes as well.

To think there was a time when the word higher would have to be censored due to drug connotations.  A great, great album that needs to be heard by anyone that likes rock n' roll.

Feel free to take a look at the two YouTube videos to see some of the liberties Stone made in his movie.  How can you fuck that up?  You had the tape of the original performance, Morrison does not taunt the camera and dance around like a crazy person.  Why would you make him do it in your portrayal that was supposed to be biographical?  Oliver suck. Listened (most recently): 4/19/2011
Favorite Tracks: All of it.

#99. The Genius of Ray Charles - Ray Charles

99. The Genius of Ray Charles - Ray Charles (1959) 87/100.  Not too familiar with Ray Charles outside of seeing the movie Ray.  I don't think that really constitutes having any sort of background in it so listening to this was a definite first time for me.

Overall, it was a lot more mellow than I had been expecting.  I guess I was expecting more rock n' roll and got more jazz and R&B.  It was pretty good, but not something that I would listen to often.

Let the Good Times Roll was a pretty good R&B track.  It Had to Be You was a mellow (as if it could ever be played any other way (a death metal version could be interesting however)) soulful cover.  I really liked Two Years of Torture.  You Won't Let Me Go was another really good tune.  Worth a listen if you never had heard it.  Listened: 4/19/2011
Favorite Tracks: Let' the Good Times Roll, It Had to By You, Two Years of Torture