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Old 03-01-2008, 05:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Musicbanter Retro Reviews

Each week a moderator will review a classic album (in their humble opinion!) from at least ten years ago. All the other members of the mod team will also review the album. Hopefully we will get some conflicting opinions on our choices and reviews. Each new Sunday brings a new mod choice for review. Hopefully this will all work out and maybe some members will give these albums a go.

Reviewed:
Sunday 2nd March. Marvin Gaye- What's Going On (jackhammer)
Sunday 9th March. Wu-Tang-36 Chambers (Lespaul)
Sunday 16th March. Meat Puppets. (Cardboard)

Next review:
Sunday 23rd March. Linda Perhacs-Parallelograms. (Crowquill)
Sunday 30th March. David Bowie- Diamond Dogs. (Urban)
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Old 03-01-2008, 06:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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MARVIN GAYE-WHAT'S GOING ON (1971)


A landmark album not just musically, but personally and professionally for Marvin. Disillusioned with many aspects of his life both professionally and personally, Marvin fought tooth and nail with Motown head Berry Gordy to release an album wrote by himself, played with a full credit to the in-house Motown band The Funk Brothers AND make it lyrically relevant to Americas feeling to the ongoing Vietnam war (Marvins brother had recently returned home after a 3 year stint in Vietnam). After a hard battle Gordy relented in the sure fire knowledge that it would be a failure. How wrong he was! The album changed soul music for ever and gave great freedom to other motown staples such as Stevie Wonder.

Musically it was also adventurous for a soul album. Each song connecting with the other through particular motifs and evidence of Jazz style ideas running through the album.

The albums highlights (punctuated with one of the most naturally gifted voices in soul) are the lazy superlative title track. Right On has an instantly likeable groove elevated with some great string work and Inner City Blues is soul encapsulated in five minutes of beauty. It also happens to be my absolute favourite soul track with Marvin never ever sounding better in my view.

If you have any passing interest in Soul but think that the genre is only about ballads and is musically unadventurous then listen to this superlative masterpiece. I think every self-respecting music fan should have this in their collection. There is not one duff note on the whole album and it works not only as a stunning music album but a representation of an artists determination to be true to their ideals and beliefs.
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Old 03-02-2008, 04:53 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Marvin Gaye – 'What’s Going On'

This album by Marvin Gaye is no stranger to me.
I’ve heard it that many times, I’d probably recognise it if it was played backwards.
As jackhammer as already pointed out, not only is this a personal milestone for the career of Marvin Gaye and his struggle with Motown for his creative freedom, but it was a watershed moment in the world of soul music.
Souls first concept album, 'What’s Going On' was a smooth side step away from the standard Motown beat and more importantly, completely different from what anyone else was doing at the time.

The album is a fusion of Isaac Hayes 'Hot Buttered Soul' (another ground breaking, must hear soul album) and the latest technical gadgetry of psychedelic rock.
'What’s Going On' took souls theme of love, with its cultural context and transferred it to the real world.
At a time of domestic and world conflict, Gaye's message is as powerful and poignant as anything Dylan was producing.
Previously, as far as Motown was concerned, soul music had channelled all its frustration, anger and hope into love songs.
Here on the title track and on 'Mercy, Mercy Me' the notion is stood on its head.
'Flyin' High' (In the Friendly Sky) makes turning on, tuning in and dropping out a holy sacrament.
'Wholy, Holy' the most spiritual and optimistic song on the album precedes 'Inner City Blues' (Make Me Wanna Holler) to end the album.
Its lyrics read like graffiti and Gaye's vocals blend the blues with gospel to produce a song that is as powerful today as it was then.

To fully understand and enjoy this album it's important to understand its place in music history.
Personally, I appreciate much more the contribution of the Funk Brothers, especially the genius bass playing of James Jamerson (whose bass lines cocoon this album beautifully throughout) to the vocals of Marvin Gaye any day.
Essential, even if dated.



^ Inner City Blues
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Old 03-02-2008, 01:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackhammer View Post
MARVIN GAYE-WHAT'S GOING ON (1971)
I'm having a tough time with this album. On the one hand, I can hear the qualities R-T and Jackhammer listed that make this album classic, and it does have some pretty lush compositions and very culturally relevant soulful vocals... but I really can't get into it. I get a few songs into it and get bored and switch it to something else. I'm not sure what exactly is missing for me, but I think it might be that the album is too low-key and smooth, whereas I tend to favor driven, edgy music. Overall I guess I just don't have a proclivity for soul.
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Old 03-02-2008, 05:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I can't get into this either but I can understand why its so loved and why it holds its place in history. Something about it just doesn't sit well with my ears. It's not that I don't like really light music but the upbeatness here, that optimism that seems to underlie every track, bugs me and I don't know why. I did enjoy most of it though, even though I wished it was slightly darker and that Marvin didn't sound cheery most of the time. I did think Save the Children was inexcusably awful though; Wholy Holy was my favorite song.
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Old 03-03-2008, 06:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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CA and Crowquill , thanks for the reviews. At first glance we could deduce that liking this album is age related. Myself and RT are over 30 and dig it. You are both under 20 and didnt dig it. It is not as simple as that though. For myself and RT, WGO? was an original voice in what was a fairly moribund commercial scene. In todays extensive and wide reaching internet scene, the (then) dynamic and innovative can seem ordinary and quite rightly so. Marvin's music comes across as staid, quaint even.

The juxtapostion of lyrical content and vocal delivery was quite rightly commented on. I would like to think that the vocals are delivered optimistically, and not pessimisticaly. There was genuine hope and enthusiasm at this time (even if it was a facade). Time tells a different story and listening to the album now, it can indeed seem a little dated. That is why I chose the album. Not just on a musical level but on an academic level.

I am certainly not professing that any singular review is better. I am just completely fascinated by the role that music plays not only on our ears but also on our minds. WGO? has many layers that we are all slowly pulling away.
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Old 03-03-2008, 08:52 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I really like the overall feel of the album. I can definitely feel the soul and passion through his lyrics. God is Love is by far my favourite song on the album, I've listened to it already about 5 times. Sad Tomorrows is probably my second favourite. Although this is one genre I know hardly anything about, I can tell this album has had a huge impact on many artists and many albums made after this one. All in all, Im really happy that I listened to this album and I see it staying in my library for sure.
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Old 03-07-2008, 04:31 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I just gave the album a listen for the first time and I might alter my response if I get around to giving it another listen.

I like how this album has a decent bit of musical exploration... it doesn't just meander around one genre for half an hour. And indeed it was the jazzy Right On which was the highlight of the album for me. Gaye sounds great on this album and as a bassist, I love Jamerson's lines. I like the concept of the album, the personal delivery and how it all melds together. The only song which really annoys me is God is Love.

Having said that, while I did enjoy this album, it's probably not something I'd listen to much because like CA, it feels oddly light/smooth to me and I'm not particularly into soul. But it really is a landmark album.
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Old 03-10-2008, 06:34 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Wu Tang Clan - Enter the Wu-Tang-36 Chamber


This is the debut album from the Wu Tang Clan released November 9th/93'.
The Wu Tang members on this album were GZA, RZA, Ghostface, Raekwon, Method Man, U God, Masta Killer, Inspectah Deck, and the good ol' Dirt McGirt. Enter The Wu Tang 36 Chamber is most definitely Wu Tang's most primal and rawest album they released as a group. For Meth, Raekwon, and ODB this was there first appearance in the rap game. This album has been noted as one of the most influential albums in hip hop history. The album went platinum in 95 and in 2003 Rolling Stone Magazine ranked it in the 500 Greatest Albums of all Time. This album for me particularly got me into Hip Hop. Its a super easy album to listen and get into. It had me searching for artists that had the same love for the genre of music. Wu Tang Clan didnt use hooks to sell their music. They used legit lyrics which in some cases were dirty, or talkin about the projects. Or sometimes, beautiful and profound. The minds behind Wu Tang are incredibly intelligent ones. When Wu Tang was first founded, RZA had so much confidence in the group that he promised them they would re-shape the hip hop game as it was. And that they did. Like I said before this album had me looking for real genuine hip hop...for me it was a gateway to a whole genre of music I didnt know existed. Thats why I chose this album to review for my Retro Album, its one of the most important albums I've ever had the chance to find.
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Last edited by jackhammer; 03-10-2008 at 06:47 PM. Reason: upload in mod area only.
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Old 03-11-2008, 03:49 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Enter the 36 Chambers begins with the most classic of Wu-Tang elements... a kung-fu movie sample. The members of Wu-Tang Clan use sword-fighting as a metaphor for rapping, with their tongues serving as swords. As such, the music is harshly confrontational, but not without a sense of humor. Each line is buried in metaphor and analogy, and every other line is a clever pun or a self-referential nod to the music itself. Added to this is the incredible chemistry that each personality in the Clan brings to the music, with each imparting their own delivery and lyrical vision on the project. Ol' Dirty Bastard, for instance, adopts a modernist emphasis on the sounds of words and their relations in the musical phrasings, whereas GZA is the self-proclaimed lyrical “genius” whose dense rhymes cut up whack MC's. Of course, what makes Enter the 36 Chambers a true masterpiece is its razor sharp edge, courtesy of RZA. From the stripped-down, minimalist opening of Bring da Ruckus, the mood of the entire album is impeccably crafted by RZA. Whether sparse or voluminous, RZA's production complements the lyrics so well that it's hard not to get drawn into the dark urban soundscapes Wu-Tang Clan wrap around themselves. Grounded by its gritty delivery while ambitious in its vision, Enter the 36 Chambers is a concept album done right. At times it lacks the cohesion of the solo albums of some of these rappers, which is not unexpected, but this unpredictability and variation is also what makes it such an interesting and re-listenable album.
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