Thursday, August 18, 2011

#42 The Doors -- The Doors

While sitting outside on the patio with my family my brother inquired what album I was listening to currently.  I said, "The Doors - The Doors."  He said, "ok, now tell me, don't you think Jim Morrison is over rated?"  My father chimed in with a laugh of total agreement and said, "of course he was."  Then they both looked at me for confirmation but I just said, blushing in my honesty--

"I love the Doors!"  and they both laughed.

I thought this album was upbeat and happy for the most part.  I also found it rather impressive for a debut album (1967) and shows the band's potential and skill.  Even if they are over-rated or cocky.  But, I'd be cocky too if I had luscious locks like Jim Morrison.

<--- Do you smell Pantene Pro-V?  Growl.....

Easily, the most memorable songs on the album are:

Break on Through
Twentieth Century Fox
Light My Fire
Back Door Man
Take it as it Comes

Those were my favorites anyway.  Their music sounds so unique with the organ that it makes for a very recognizable and original sound.  I loved it all the way through.  I am slightly confused as to why it made it so high on the list; but it was still a great album.  Even if music snobs everywhere think they were overplayed, overrated, or possibly too vulgar, cocky, and attention whores - It doesn't change the fact that they debuted a pretty excellent album.  So, hats off to you Jim, your hair, and your fellow Door members.

What the Rolling Stone has to say about that:
After blowing minds as the house band at the Whisky-a-Go-Go, where they were fired for playing the Oedipal drama "The End" (which was too explicit for even the Sunset Strip), the Doors were ready to unleash their organ-driven rock and Jim Morrison's poetic aspirations on the world. "On each song we had tried every possible arrangement," drummer John Densmore said, "so we felt the whole album was tight." "Break On Through (to the Other Side)," "Twentieth-Century Fox" and "Crystal Ship" are pop-art lighting for Top Forty attention spans. But the Doors hit pay dirt by editing one of their jamming vehicles for airplay: "Light My Fire," written by guitarist Robbie Krieger when Morrison told everybody in the band to write a song with universal imagery

Monday, August 8, 2011

#139 All That You Can't Leave Behind - U2

When I played this album bright and early Sunday morning it brought me straight back to the 9th grade.  It brought me back to my bathroom mirror getting "ready for school" and my adolescent morning rituals of listening to our local music stations "The Beach 96.5" and "The Planet 102.3" while applying make- up and taking it off because I felt too weird wearing it.  Awkward.  Glad I'm 11 years older now and suffering through my quarter life crisis and sounding like a real blogger by bitching about how terrible it is to be turning 25 on Sunday.  boo-hoo.  Not that you care.

Anyway, I loved "Beautiful Day" for the first month it was overplayed.  Then it was overplayed some more.  then it was overplayed more than that "Closing Time" song by Semisonic the year before.  Or Mambo #5.  And in case you forgot about Mambo #5 this song did actually happen; and the only reason I remember it is because of the line "little bit of Monica" and this was a year after our president taught all we *innocent* 7th graders what a blow job was.  Great man, that Bill.  He alone allowed us to ask our Social Studies teachers what "Oral Sex" was over and over and over and over.  Uncomfortable.  Anywho back to U2.

 "Beautiful Day" was so overplayed I STOPPED listening to the radio and graduated to napster like everyone else.  I'm always a bit behind on the music uptake if you haven't noticed so far.  And now nobody listens to the radio.  But around Christmas time, I used to call The Beach or The Planet and say:  "Hey, 'Beautiful Day' was awesome until you played it for the 3rd time this morning.  I can't apply and take off mascara to this."  and i'd get responses like "shut the f*ck up, you're 14.  You don't understand the epic awesomeness of Bono."

And I sort of didn't until now.

I really enjoyed this album.  After having not heard "Beautiful Day" and some of the other songs on there for many years it was great to hear them with fresher (albeit older) ears.  The album is upbeat, positive, and sends a message I found eerily similar to the one in Pink Floyd's "The Dark Side of the Moon" even though- U2 spins it and makes the world sunny and bright instead of "moony?" and "cratery?"  I could be totally pulling this out of my ass, but "Walk on" and "Eclipse" provoked similar feelings in me.  I can't tell if there are similarities, I mean, golly, it's a tough call:

The end of "Walk On" by U2:
Leave it behind
You got to leave it behind
All that you fashion
All that you make
All that you build
All that you break
All that you measure
All that you feel
All this you can leave behind
All that you reason
All that you sense
All that you speak
All you dress-up
All that you scheme...

A Portion "Eclipse" by PF:
All that you touch
And all that you see
All that you taste
All you feel
And all that you love
And all that you hate
All you distrust
All you save
And all that you give
And all that you deal
And all that you buy
Beg, borrow or steal
And all you create
And all you destroy
And all that you do
And all that you say
And all that you eat
And everyone you meet
And all that you slight 

But, I mean, who would borrow or steal from Pink Floyd?  Isn't that like a sin?  So clearly they were both tapping into the lyrical genius in the collective consciousness.  Which now after hearing both bands, is totally possible.  Are you picking up on the sarcasm and the celebration of EPIC AWESOMENESS at the same time?  I hope so, because I'm laying both down pretty hard. And that's kind of a hard thing to process if you're not a fledgling music snob like myself. (I don't want angry emails, I kid.  and recognize that i made almost no real connection between the two bands.)

Some say that U2 is too generic or formulaic.  Others say that they are the best band of the last 20 years or so.  I have friends in both categories, and I think both have some truth in them.  At least in this album because "All That You Can't Leave Behind" provokes happiness that can't be ignored.  Kinda like what those people who listen to serious christian music look like they feel.  if you're in to that creepy sort of thing.

I liked it; And I'll save it for a day when I feel like I have just reached the Dark Side of the Moon.

Bono, I know that the Matrix was King in 1999, but you and your little band didn't have to go and steal Morpheus and Neo's outfits too.

"Our best work has been in our thirties," Bono told Rolling Stone in 2000. "We did some good work in our twenties, but it's getting better." U2's tenth album proved him right. Their previous effort, 1997's Pop, was under-realized; All That You Can't Leave Behind brought things back to essentials. The songs grapple with mortality — particularly the gospel-soul ballad "Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of" — and take on new resonance after September 11th. U2 bravely embraced those resonances the following October with a U.S. tour full of ecstasy, mourning and release.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

#31 Bringing It All Back Home - Bob Dylan

Spoiler Alert: This post won't be very funny.  Seriously.  If you want humor check out the Transformer post.  If you want to oo and ahh about Bob Dylan, keep on a readin'.

I haven't posted on a Bob Dylan album yet because frankly, his albums are all so personal to me that anything I write about them will be like exposing a piece of me that's been so entwined with his music and too close to home to share.  I think a lot of die hard Dylan fans would agree.

However, Bobby D served as a recovery drink to the accidental Horcrux that was created when a part of my soul died listening to Liz Phair.  I've decided now that I will listen to a Dylan album after an album that has made me contemplate quitting this marathon.  You'll know all the albums I dislike by where a Dylan album follows.  I'm glad there isn't a shortage of Dylan on the list :)
This one is my favorite!!!

I'm also intimidated to post anything on a Dylan album because they are all so packed with genius that there is nowhere to begin and I could write a thesis on how important this album is, but I will spare you 50 pages of thoughts.

Instead, here are some album facts: Bringing It All Back Home came out in 1965 and was his 5th studio album, mixing rock and folk.  

and Here is the set list:

Subterranean Homesick Blues
She Belongs to Me
Maggie's Farm
Love Minus Zero/No Limit
Outlaw Blues
On the Road Again
Bob Dylan's 115th Dream
Mr. Tambourine Man
Gates of Eden
It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)
It's All Over Now, Baby Blue
As a kid growing up, I remember hearing "Mr. Tambourine Man" playing in the car on the way to school or in different rooms all over the house throughout my childhood.  I remember thinking that I wouldn't want a guy with a tambourine to play me a song because it would sound awful and that this song would do if he would stop trying to get someone else to sing a song.  But the tune stuck in my head for a long time, and when I went off to college, it was playing on the drive from Corpus Christi to North Texas and I remember looking out the window thinking I was going on an adventure and this song was sending me on my way.  The song has since changed more for me since and I hear it from different perspectives and view life differently through its lens each time it is played.  It is my all time favorite song, not to mention my favorite Dylan song.  It finds me when I'm alone, inside my own thoughts.  Like the time I flew across the country and had a few lay overs and I stopped at an airport book store in Tennessee and picked up "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and thought, meh, maybe I won't read it, even though I've heard great things, and I was about to put it down when I flipped to the dedication page and read what Hunter S. Thompson wrote:
"To Bob Geiger, for reasons that need not be explained here--and to Bob Dylan, for Mister Tambourine Man"

and like that I bought the book.  I read most of the book with Dylan singing in my ears.

Every song on this album has little lines of prophetic truths, moments of clarity, and it's not without a bit of silliness.  All and all, an excellent listen.

I'll leave you with a video:

Even though you'll never see this, I just want to say Thanks, Bob for making my life better by having you in it.

What RSM has to say:
It's very complicated to play with electricity," Dylan said in the summer of 1965. "You're dealing with other people. . . . Most people who don't like rock & roll can't relate to other people." But on Side One of this pioneering album, Dylan amplifies his cryptic, confrontational songwriting with guitar lightning and galloping drums. "Subterranean Homesick Blues" and "Maggie's Farm" are loud, caustic and funny as hell. Dylan returns to solo acoustic guitar on the four superb songs on Side Two, including the scabrous "It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" and the closing ballad, "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue," arguably his finest, most affectionate song of dismissal.


Monday, August 1, 2011

#328 Exile in Guyville - Liz Phair

I knew nothing about this album when I started listening to it.  I wasn't even clear on the sex of the artist until about half way through the first listen because she has a deep voice and an epic monotone.  If I could get those hours back of my life from listening to this album that would be awesome.  If there is a market somewhere for memory loss, please find me that number.  

This album is nothing but Super angry fem-nazi confessionalist bullshit.  It is also, somehow, supposed to be a response to The Rolling Stone's Exile on Mainstreet.  Although I haven't heard that album from beginning to end yet, (and I am regretting my decision to listen to this crap over another Rolling Stone's album) I know of some of the songs on that album, and homegirl, I'm not buying it.

I was offended by the misandristic (correct man-hating term?  We don't really use one) tones and the way she described encounters with men.  If the gender roles were reversed honey, we have a name for the things you describe in your lyrics and it's called RAPE (well, it should still be called that, regardless of a gender reversal scenario but it puts it into perspective for those women who are still battling insecurities about not being "equal" for some reason.)  Can I also add that the number one rape victims who never come forward are men?  nuff said.  We all suffer now.  Men moreso than women now thanks to your backlash and others like it.

Example in the song "Flower":
"I want to f*ck you like a dog
I'll take you home and make you like it"

Creeper.  If you were a 40-year-old-man and you said that to anyone you would be a creeper.  This is not ok.  Because you have a vagina you think you can say these kinds of things and make it on the Rolling Stone's top 500 album list for being "honest" and "interesting?"  

This album just made me angry.  I know it came out in 1993 and what not, but fem-nazis, put down your ball cutting devises, we have reached a synthesis.  The more you alienate yourselves by making music with lyrics like:

"Because I take full advantage of every man I meet
I get away almost every day
With what the girls call, what the girls call
What the girls call, the girls call murder"

the more it is obvious that you are insecure and bitter.  Awesome, I hate you.  And good luck getting laid after writing that.  and thanks for making feminists (who should really now be called humanists because let's stop dividing genders already, everyone suffers) look awful.  I'm sure you never got to take advantage of a guy because he saw the teeth in your vagina and cut out faster than you could lie about having sex with him. elle oh elle smiley face.

What Rolling Stone's Mag had to say about this album- it looks heavily edited and lacking all the things they wanted to say that I went ahead and said for them:

A studio expansion of Phair's homemade Girlysound cassettes, Exile's frank sex talk caused a stir. But it's the lacerating honesty of tracks such as "Divorce Song" that sticks, and "Fuck and Run" is one of the saddest songs ever written about dreaming of romance and settling for less.