Tuesday, June 28, 2011

#32 Let it Bleed - The Rolling Stones

This album was awesome, but I will spare you all the vagina jokes that I couldn't stop thinking of while I listened to the song "let it bleed."  I couldn't really help it with lines like "we all need someone we can cream on" "we all need someone we can bleed on"  I pictured a chorus of vaginas singing this song.  Although not many of the other lines seem to really fit.  "coke and sympathy" not so much.  unless you were smuggling coke in your vagina and were caught by a tsa agent at the radiation-station.  (PS- OPT OUT!)

Anyway, the stones are awesome!  I love them and this album was really great.  anyway, I would include a band picture, but they are all moderately to terribly unattractive.  I don't know what Kei$ha was talking about.

This album was great to listen to right after The Clash's London Calling because it feels like a cry for help.  Gimme Shelter, You Can't Always Get What You Want, both the opening and closing song of the album show that there's not much peace, there's nowhere to turn, and yeah, your life sucks, just try to live through it with cocaine and sex.  Bright message.  yay!

I want to add on a side note that in the song "You Can't Always Get What You Want" they sing about the chelsea drug store.  It was an establishment on the King's Road in London in the district of Chelsea and it is now a McDonalds.  I only know this because I lived in London briefly between my freshman and sophomore years of college, and used to eat at that McDonalds (might I add that the quality of food for McDonalds is much different in other countries- also they actually had real lettuce in their salads, which is all I ordered because meat is murder kthnxby).  When I looked it up I couldn't believe that was the very same location they were singing about.  So fun fact.

Album FACTS:
 Released in 1969!!

The record kicks off with the terrifying "Gimme Shelter," the song that came to symbolize not only the catastrophe of the Stones' free show at Altamont but the death of the utopian spirit of the 1960s. But the entire album, although a motley compound of country, blues and gospel fire, rattles and burns with apocalyptic cohesion: the sex-mad desperation of "Live With Me"; the murderous blues of "Midnight Rambler"; Keith Richards' lethal, biting guitar on "Monkey Man"; the epic moralism, with honky-tonk piano and massed vocal chorus, of "You Can't Always Get What You Want," which Mick Jagger wrote on acoustic guitar in his bedroom. "Somebody said that we could get the London Bach Choir," Jagger recalled, "and we said, 'That will be a laugh.'"

Sunday, June 26, 2011

#8 London Calling - The Clash

My favorite line from the album: "I wasn't born so much as I fell out, nobody seemed to notice me..."

Totally brilliant album.  Rather than listening to this album just twice with a few of my favorite songs over and over afterwards, I spent a whole weekend immersed in The Clash.  Laundry, working out, driving to work on Friday - you name it, I spent the whole time with Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, and Nicky Headon.  Ballers, all, but Paul is the hottest.

It was like they took the best of rock, punk, reggae, ska, and other random categories of music, threw it together with a theme about the end of the world and birthed this badass album.

Random Picture of the band:

Here is a youtube video of them performing London Calling:


I think that it's such a great album on its own and the spooky, end-of-the-world themes probably resonated then as much as they do now considering I personally feel an impending doom about the world; but maybe that's because - as we already discussed in the Ok Computer post - that my brain functions at frequency "anxiety" or maybe it's because I believe Monsanto is trying to kill us all.  but I digress.  What is also so amazing about this album is it doesn't bring you down despite the lyrical content of the songs.  Most of the album is upbeat and very catchy so it's not like getting hit with a totally unforgiving apocalypse.  But it'll be playing at my house when the zombie invasion comes, no doubt.

What the Rolling Stone had to say about it:

Recorded in 1979 in London, which was then wrenched by surging unemployment and drug addiction, and released in America in January 1980, the dawn of an uncertain decade, London Calling is nineteen songs of apocalypse fueled by an unbending faith in rock & roll to beat back the darkness. Produced with no-surrender energy by legendary Sixties studio madman Guy Stevens, the Clash's third album sounds like a free-form radio broadcast from the end of the world, skidding from bleak punk ("London Calling") to rampaging ska ("Wrong 'Em Boyo") and disco resignation ("Lost in the Supermarket"). The album was made in dire straits, too. The band was heavily in debt; singer-guitarists Joe Strummer and Mick Jones, the Clash's Lennon and McCartney, wrote together in Jones' grandmother's flat, where he was living for lack of dough. But the Clash also cranked up the hope. The album ends with "Train in Vain," a rousing song of fidelity (originally unlisted on the back cover) that became the sound of triumph: the Clash's first Top Thirty single in the U.S.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

#81 Graceland - Paul Simon

Regardless of how great this album is, for it's cajan undertones and African influences and whatnot, I really couldn't get over the song, "I know what I know" because here you have this beautiful singer with such a melodious voice juxtaposed with a loquacious cacophony of rapping chipmunks.  What the F*ck is going on in the background of this song?  I looked all over youtube to find an original recording of the song so you could HEAR what I'm talking about for those of you who have not heard this album.  When it's done live, it's not so bad although the lyrics of the song are still pathetic.  (wow, he can rhyme money with funny!) But the original recording.  God Bless.  He must have been sleeping with the chipmunk or something to have approved this.  Anyway, this is the only recording I could find, and someone decided to draw some crap to entertain you, but whatever, just listen to the song.  If you want to fast forward to what I'm talking about you'll need to move the cursor to the time ".50" so 50 seconds into this crap:


That's about all I have to say about this album.  Not really worth your time, I don't know why people go crazy over it.  It would have been pretty good, but I seriously could not get over Paul Simon and the rapping chipmunks.

I did like: "Graceland" "You can Call me Al" and "The Boy in the Bubble" (sort of)

Rolling Stone's Mag and website schpeal:
Frustrated by the experience of writing good songs that didn't come to life in the studio, Simon set out "to make really good tracks," as he later put it. "I thought, 'I have enough songwriting technique that I can reverse this process and write this song after the tracks are made.' " Simon risked severe criticism by going to South Africa (then under apartheid) and working with the best musicians from the black townships. With the fluid energy and expertise of guitarist Ray Phiri and the vocal troupe Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Simon created an album about isolation and redemption that transcended "world music" to become the whole world's soundtrack.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

#162 OK Computer - Radiohead

I think in order to appreciate Radiohead, your brain has to operate at a frequency two notches below depression and about two notches above suicide.  Mine operates at constant anxiety, which is about 5 notches above depression, so I felt mostly anxious for the album to finish the first time through.  I kept checking to see how many more songs I had left and for the most part I was getting frustrated.  However, the second time, I think they finally got to me and lowered my anxiety level substantially and by the time I got to "Let Down" I was in tune to the right frequency and finally began to enjoy Radiohead while I contemplated my depression and/or suicide.  I didn't really imagine me killing myself, but moreso my funeral.  and people talking about how "Let Down" was playing on repeat when she did it.  however I'd do it.  

If your brain isn't already in tune to the right frequency for Radiohead (probably why they named their band this?!) they are not something you can just pick up.  I think you have to acclimate to them, but now I am listening to them at my own free will while I type this, and they really have grown on me and I look forward to the other album of theirs that made the list.

I joke, the album is really good.  But I won't lie that I had a hard time listening to them at first.  I started a job today, to support my new blogging hobby (haha), and I had to drive an hour and thirty minutes on a small texas highway out to the middle of nowhere.  It's a great time to listen to music, but maybe not radiohead because the band uses all these strange noises throughout the album and I kept thinking I was getting pulled over by a cop.

My favorite songs are "No Surprises," "Let Down," and "Karma Police."  I suggest you listen to them when you are having a bad day, not when you are starting a new job.  

I also thought it was badass that they alluded to bob dylan with "subterranean homesick alien" or maybe that phrase goes further back than bob.  what do I know, clearly, I don't know anything about music.  :)

oh, and this album was released in 1997.

Blurbbbb from Rolling Stone's mag/web and visual aids for myyyyyy visual learners: 

Radiohead recorded their third album in the mansion of actress Jane Seymour while she was filming Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. OK is where the band began pulling at its sound like taffy, seeing what happened, not worrying if it was still "rock." What results is a slow, haunting album with unforgettable tracks such as "Karma Police." Said guitarist Jonny Greenwood, "I got very excited at the prospect of doing string parts that didn't sound like 'Eleanor Rigby,' which is what all string parts have sounded like for the past thirty years. . . . We used violins to make frightening white-noise stuff, like the last chord of 'Climbing Up the Walls.'"

Monday, June 20, 2011

#359 Stankonia - Outkast

I feel very under-qualified to write anything about a rap album so in order to ease into my thoughts on Stankonia, I want to begin this post with a random fact:  Andre 3000 is a VEGETARIAN.  Yeah, you read that right.  (Represent, mother f*****!!) Check the PETA website if you don't believe me.

The album was also apologizing to women openly and also underhandedly.  I got the vibe that Andre 3000 and Big Boi were trying to right all of the rap albums that talk about beating bitches and hoes, "slip my hoe a 44 when she got in the back door" (snoop) etc.  The album dripped with misogynistic guilt.  But, he's a vegetarian, so he understands empathy, right?

I enjoyed that he had a song about apologizing to the mothers of girlfriends who have been wronged, hurt, or knocked up.  I also really enjoyed the Kim and Cookie interlude where they talk about how awful it can be to get stuck with a "minute man" and how one must hit him up for money in the morning so she can feel like she got something out of it instead of a memory of a 23 second countdown.  And that interlude leads into my favorite song "I'll Call before I come" which explains to men that they should respect a woman enough to call her before coming over instead of just showing up and expecting some play.  It's also a play on words, and between the chorus, the rappers explain that it is important for the woman to come first.

so if being a vegetarian wasn't hot enough, this mating call of a song seals the deal.

The album was catchy and political too.  Everyone in America needs to listen to "Gasoline Dreams."

Rolling Stone's Blurb:
"We call it slumadelic," said Big Boi of OutKast's far-reaching blend of hip-hop, funk, rock and otherworldly sounds. "Miss Jackson" was something new for rap: an apology to the mother of an ex-girlfriend. And the sadly still timely "B.O.B. (Bombs Over Baghdad)" twitches to techno beats and screeching guitar.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

#17 Nevermind - Nirvana

Wow.  Wow.  Wow. What a badass album.  I must say had I been born 10-15 years earlier, my parents might have been in trouble and lost me to Nirvana and angry 90s kids.  On second thought, I can't imagine I'd look good in grunge clothing.  Flannel looks pretty terrible unless you are a lumberjack.

The album is so awesome because it pumps you up while at the same time making you feel like absolute shit.  so nihilistic - and with a smile.   Because I had already heard many of these songs, I knew what I was getting into, but I felt like this time, I really owned it.  Before, it seemed like music for "other people" and not for me, but because I played it all in a row (and more than twice I might add) I felt like it was finally mine.

Yesterday, I was leaving the grocery store, and because it's summer and I believe all those things that everything is toxic for you, I always roll down the windows in the summer to let the toxins from the plastic on the dashboard escape the car while I blast the a/c.  Well, Nirvana was on, blaring in the parking lot and I began to drive away, and stopped before getting onto the street near a gas station, and some guy pumping gas yelled, "Hey turn that shit down!  It's not 1993!!!!"  and I wanted to be like "MotherF******, you mean 1991; do your homework!!!"  Instead, I just turned it up and flipped him off, so deeply immersed and under the spell of Kurt Cobain, who is oddly handsome, I might confess.

But before I go much further, can I just ask, did anyone get concerned about the baby on the front of the album?!  The whole time I kept thinking of this poor kid, did he make it out of the water safely?  How old is he today?  He seems so anonymous.  But the whole cd has this air of abandonment, neglect, and alienation- and I think that the cover art really gets at the heart of that- that is, if you actually thought with deep paranoia about this unsupervised child like I did.  So why were the 90s kids so angry?!  I want some real answers on that one.  I think our generation is the most effed up:  Go to college and then get a job at starbucks, because those are the only jobs available for you.  furthermore, spend 20 years paying off your debt with your job at starbucks.  oh, and have a good work ethic like your daddy.  The 90s kids didn't have that problem.  And, we don't even have a cool name like GenX.  Do we even have a generation name?  The GenXers can't be that angry anymore, they are all having kids like it's 1950.  nevermind... (haha, get it?!)

Ok, so all that said, does this album really deserve spot #17 out of 500?  Really?  number 17?  Beating Led Zeppelin, Cash, Muddy Waters, The Who and others who I have yet to hear but I'm pretty sure might be more deserving?  Can anyone answer me that?

Album Cover Art and Blurb from Rollingstone Mag/Website:

The overnight success story of the 1990s, Nirvana's second album and its totemic first single, "Smells Like Teen Spirit," shot up from the Northwest underground — the nascent grunge scene in Seattle — to kick Michael Jackson off the top of the Billboard album chart and blow poodle-hair metal off the map. No album in recent history had such an overpowering impact on a generation — a nation of teens suddenly turned punk — and such a catastrophic effect on its main creator. The weight of success led already troubled singer-guitarist Kurt Cobain to take his own life in 1994. But his slashing riffs, corrosive singing and deviously oblique writing, rammed home by the Pixies-via-Zeppelin might of bassist Krist Novoselic and drummer Dave Grohl, put the warrior purity back in rock & roll. Lyrically, Cobain raged in code — shorthand grenades of inner tumult and self-loathing. His genius, though, in songs such as "Lithium," "Breed" and "Teen Spirit" was the soft-loud tension he created between verse and chorus, restraint and assault. Cobain was a pop lover at heart — and a Beatlemaniac: Nevermind co-producer Butch Vig remembers hearing Cobain play John Lennon's "Julia" at sessions. Cobain also fought to maintain his underground honor. Ultimately, it was a losing battle, but it is part of this album's enduring power. Vig recalls when Cobain was forced to overdub the guitar intro to "Teen Spirit" because he couldn't nail it live with the band: "That pissed him off. He wanted to play [the song] live all the way through."

Saturday, June 18, 2011

#420 With the Beatles - The Beatles

People who tell you that they don't like the beatles are either liars or attention whores.  I, like 100% of the population, love the beatles but have never heard this album start to finish before.  WARNING-- this is not a good album to listen to hungover.  I made that mistake this morning, and now I am typing in silence and "Roll Over Beethoven" is no longer pounding in beat with my headache.  It was much more fun yesterday afternoon, when I danced around my house pretending to hold a mic-- a scene I will of course spare you a youtube video of.

Awesome short facts and blurbs about album:

The Rollingstone Mag/website- The album cover photo is the same as their U.S. debut, Meet the Beatles!, but in the U.K. this was the Beatles' second album. It celebrates Motown with rocked-up versions of the Miracles' "You've Really Got a Hold on Me," the Marvelettes' "Please Mr. Postman" and Barrett Strong's "Money."

This album was released in 1963, after "Please, Please, Me."

It's good enough to give you Beatlemania but not one of their better albums.

Friday, June 17, 2011

#172 Every Picture Tells a Story - Rod Stewart

The first time I saw Rod Stewart was when he was singing at Princess Diana's Memorial Concert where my mother and I debated whether or not he was wearing a diaper.  I had of course heard "Maggie May" because as a child my father would remind me, every time that song came on, that they were going to name me Maggie May (after the song) but on second thought, decided to name me after the Katy Freeway in Houston instead.  I am not entirely sure they knew what the song was really about, or maybe I'm being naive.

Brief album facts:
This album was released in 1971 and includes "Maggie May" "Mandolin Wind," "Every Picture Tells a Story" and my favorite "Tomorrow is Such a Long Time."

The Rolling Stone Magazine (and Website) said this blurb about it:
"We had no preconceived ideas of what we were going to do," Stewart said. "We would have a few drinks and strum away and play." With a first-class band of drinking buddies (including guitarist Ron Wood and drummer Mickey Waller), Stewart made a loose, warm, compassionate album, rocking hard with mostly acoustic instruments. "Mandolin Wind" was his moving ballad of a country couple toughing out a long winter on the farm; the title tune was a hilarious goof. But Stewart scored his first Number One hit with "Maggie May," his autobiographical tale of a young stud getting kicked in the head by an older lady.

I didn't know what I was about to hear when I began listening to the album, but I was pleasantly surprised with all the songs.  I had never heard "Tomorrow is Such a Long Time" before, and I almost broke my rule that I have to listen to the whole album twice before I can skip around, because I couldn't stop thinking of it as I pushed forward toward the end of the album.  If you haven't heard that song before, you should find it and listen to it, because it's quite beautiful, and I'm surprised I had never come across it before.

The only thing that annoyed me was his break out in "Amazing Grace" at the end of "That's All Right." It immediately reminded me of those terrible christian infomercials about christian artists and all the godgasmic music to be heard if you call 1-800-GodInsideMe now.  I thought of all the poor people who had to listen to it on Record Players and couldn't fast forward...

Whether or not Rod wears diapers, there is no doubt in my mind that 40 years ago, he was quite the stud and a fantastic musician.  I strongly recommend this album if you haven't heard it before.

Yay, first post!  I already feel detoxed from Miley Cyrus