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Old 01-18-2009, 10:16 AM   #101 (permalink)
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The Holy Bible



So, God is my dad and I'm Jesus? But Jesus is God so I'm God. Okay I can work with this. Or is this supposed to be taken literally?

But a lot of Jesus' stuff seems kind of derivative of John Lennon.

If we include Paradise Lost which most people seem to I guess I'm Satan as well... pretty cool.

Tentative 8/10
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Old 01-18-2009, 10:49 AM   #102 (permalink)
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Nirvana - In Utero



It has to open with a blast of feedback. This might be the apex of despair. The cover shows that the angels have been dissected.

The first line gives you Nirvana up till now-- “Teenage angst has paid off well/ Now I'm old and bored.” In reviewing this album, we assume the role of the “self-appointed judge” who Cobain rails off against in the next line. This is quite clearly Cobain against the world. It is unclear whether he has set it up that way or if he has been forced into it. The simple truth is that anyone achieving fame in today's world will face praise and criticism in torrents, and none of it will seem very genuine.

So when he screams “Go Away!” in “Scentless Apprentice,” we're torn. On the one hand, he does seem to be screaming at us. On the other hand, we're drawn like moths to the flame, and he must be fully aware of this. There is an essential paradox operating here. “There is nothing I could say/ That I haven't thought before,” but I'll say it anyway. I'm filled with despair, but the name of the band is Nirvana. How does this paradox resolve itself?

“Heart-Shaped Box” exudes stunning ferocity. The imagery of umbilical cords and hymens ties in to the name of the album-- “In Utero”... an attempt to escape the cold judgmental world for the warmth and comfort of pre-birth. “Rape Me” is a response to every Nirvana detractor and exploiter. Heap all your hate and disdain on Kurt Cobain and his “simplistic, sophomoric” music. He can be a symbol for all the things you detest—self-concerned adolescence, apathy, nihilism, detachment. Go ahead, don't think about what you're doing, just rape him. We can detest all other attitudes to justify our own.

“Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle” is a violent reaction against the tendency of society to normalize at all costs. The story hinted at by the title regards the actress Frances Farmer, who was involuntarily institutionalized and given shock therapy for “erratic behavior.” “I miss the comfort in being sad,” sings Cobain, breaking through the supposed paradox. There is a great comfort in being who you are, rather than feeling obligated to contort yourself into a fabricated image. Here you can almost hear Frances Farmer speaking on behalf of Cobain: “It was pretty sad, because [after the publication of God Dies] for the first time I found how stupid people could be. It sort of made me feel alone in the world. The more people pointed at me in scorn the more stubborn I got and when they began calling me the Bad Girl of West Seattle High, I tried to live up to it.”

What exactly does “Milk It” milk? The tension regarding Cobain, the instability we sense, the breakdown we know must be coming. “Look on the bright side, suicide” he sings, and he sounds like he means it. Is it any surprise Nirvana were so incredibly popular? It's not just the music, there's an entire drama surrounding the band, and as hinted at above the expectations surrounding the self-destructive rockstar myth become self-fulfilling. Did Cobain kill himself or did we kill him? Like any of us are ready to assume that kind of responsibility...

It's a strange state of affairs when “Radio Friendly Unit Shifter” can be both ironic and close to truth. It probably hasn't gotten too much radio play, it is probably the closest to noise rock of all the songs on “In Utero,” but nevertheless the album was immensely popular and this song could only add to its popularity, to the feeling of “Fuck You” that millions relished in it, to the countercultural message which is instantaneously absorbed into an undiscriminating culture. Oh what a wonderful world.

In “Tourette's,” he's more or less just screaming. He's breaking down. This is what we wanted, isn't it? This is epic, this is larger than life, and it's all right there for us to consume. Of course, the closing track completely seals the deal. Now he's talking directly at us. How could you listen to this and not know this is the end? Where could he possibly go? It's all been said, he could go on and drown in his own hypocrisy, or he could resolve the paradox. Return to pre-birth. This is enlightenment, this is nirvana: “All in all is all we are.”



This is a terrific review. In Utero is 10000000 times better than Nevermind, and severely underrated by hipsters.
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Old 01-24-2009, 08:23 PM   #103 (permalink)
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Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band - Safe as Milk
1967




Safe as Milk. Is it?

There's something about Don Van Vliet's voice that really reminds me of God. He looks at life with the innocence of a child. His surrealistic lyrics betray an intimate encounter with life. The music is only conventional at first glance. There is an undercurrent of oddity. It hangs on the end of a breath. There is something left unsaid, something ominously subversive in its honesty.

The track listing on the back of the album is not in order. That must be it.
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Old 01-24-2009, 08:25 PM   #104 (permalink)
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Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention - Absolutely Free
1967




I wanted to find some pithy quote, like “True Genius is the ability to laugh at yourself,” or something, and then cleverly relate it to this review because I take this whole introduction nonsense very seriously, so I went over to the google.com and typed in “true genius quotes” and one of the first things that popped up was Frank Zappa. So I can spare you all that nonsense, we all realize Frank Zappa is a genius. And only a genius would make a concept album about vegetables. Which is what this is. The greatest “progressive rock” album ever.

Never has social satire sounded as good as on “Plastic People.” The song shifts not just in song structure, but in tone, level of absurdity, level of complicity, level of accusation... toward the end of the song they all merge into a swell of voices, a yearning for authenticity, violent accusations, and a steady undercurrent of absurdity, and an introduction of the theme: VEGETABLES!

What sounds like a tender mock-love song shifts into a genuine dedication to the majesty of prunes. Soon there is no longer a clear distinction between songs, they form arching suites which ebb and roll, and climax, while Zappa comments, “ooh I like this part. It's like the Supremes. See the way it builds?” Yes we do, Frank. Very nice.

The main theme of the album is very profound. It deals with the destruction of boundaries, the all-encompassing power of love, the spiritual necessity of joining our brothers in the vegetable kingdom. There is no need to feel shame any longer. “Why is a vegetable something to hide?” It certainly isn't, we should all find the strength and courage to proclaim, and more importantly, to practice our complete and unconditional love for vegetables. But, is a tomato a vegetable? And if not, can we still love it?

You begin with what sounds like it might be a pop, or doo-wop songs. But at some point The Mothers stab it in the gut and out pours a river of spiraling progressive rock oozing with solos and intertwining and permutating melodies and flutes and all that jazz. It's monolithic and just as it threatens to burst beyond the limits of playability or at least listenability, zip, we're right back where we started, no sprawled out guts, just a temporary lapse into the imagination.

Ah, side two. I can't find the line between absurdity and sincerity. It's like magic. Everything is a whirlwind. I can't even focus on the words, I'm in a scene. We shift into a wild transition where up is down and carnival music taunts me. Structure solidifies, slowly leaks out branching styles, crystallizes, shatters, diffracts, and so on. Now we're in High School with our inane cares, now we're on the verge of nuclear destruction, now we're trying to talk the American Spirit out of the consumer oblivion. A strange sense of symmetry is starting to emerge.

Suzy Creamcheese, what's got into you? Blew your mind on too much kool-aid...

Through time, this record sounds like a lament for an entire generation. But has it lost any of its impact? Are any of the claims less pertinent? We've just gotten so used to hearing them that they're easy to drown out. “Life's a ball, TV tonight!”

Despite the irony of the title, this music is free. Every tone is adopted. Nothing is too taboo, nothing is absurd enough. It achieves an absolute unity in absolute schizophrenia. Beautiful.
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Old 01-25-2009, 12:55 AM   #105 (permalink)
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Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band - Safe as Milk



Safe as Milk. Is it?

There's something about Don Van Vliet's voice that really reminds me of God. He looks at life with the innocence of a child. His surrealistic lyrics betray an intimate encounter with life. The music is only conventional at first glance. There is an undercurrent of oddity. It hangs on the end of a breath. There is something left unsaid, something ominously subversive in its honesty.

The track listing on the back of the album is not in order. That must be it.


If it reminds you of God then God must be Howlin' Wolf.
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Old 01-26-2009, 01:40 AM   #106 (permalink)
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Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention - Absolutely Free



I wanted to find some pithy quote, like “True Genius is the ability to laugh at yourself,” or something, and then cleverly relate it to this review because I take this whole introduction nonsense very seriously, so I went over to the google.com and typed in “true genius quotes” and one of the first things that popped up was Frank Zappa. So I can spare you all that nonsense, we all realize Frank Zappa is a genius. And only a genius would make a concept album about vegetables. Which is what this is. The greatest “progressive rock” album ever.

Never has social satire sounded as good as on “Plastic People.” The song shifts not just in song structure, but in tone, level of absurdity, level of complicity, level of accusation... toward the end of the song they all merge into a swell of voices, a yearning for authenticity, violent accusations, and a steady undercurrent of absurdity, and an introduction of the theme: VEGETABLES!

What sounds like a tender mock-love song shifts into a genuine dedication to the majesty of prunes. Soon there is no longer a clear distinction between songs, they form arching suites which ebb and roll, and climax, while Zappa comments, “ooh I like this part. It's like the Supremes. See the way it builds?” Yes we do, Frank. Very nice.

The main theme of the album is very profound. It deals with the destruction of boundaries, the all-encompassing power of love, the spiritual necessity of joining our brothers in the vegetable kingdom. There is no need to feel shame any longer. “Why is a vegetable something to hide?” It certainly isn't, we should all find the strength and courage to proclaim, and more importantly, to practice our complete and unconditional love for vegetables. But, is a tomato a vegetable? And if not, can we still love it?

You begin with what sounds like it might be a pop, or doo-wop songs. But at some point The Mothers stab it in the gut and out pours a river of spiraling progressive rock oozing with solos and intertwining and permutating melodies and flutes and all that jazz. It's monolithic and just as it threatens to burst beyond the limits of playability or at least listenability, zip, we're right back where we started, no sprawled out guts, just a temporary lapse into the imagination.

Ah, side two. I can't find the line between absurdity and sincerity. It's like magic. Everything is a whirlwind. I can't even focus on the words, I'm in a scene. We shift into a wild transition where up is down and carnival music taunts me. Structure solidifies, slowly leaks out branching styles, crystallizes, shatters, diffracts, and so on. Now we're in High School with our inane cares, now we're on the verge of nuclear destruction, now we're trying to talk the American Spirit out of the consumer oblivion. A strange sense of symmetry is starting to emerge.

Suzy Creamcheese, what's got into you? Blew your mind on too much kool-aid...

Through time, this record sounds like a lament for an entire generation. But has it lost any of its impact? Are any of the claims less pertinent? We've just gotten so used to hearing them that they're easy to drown out. “Life's a ball, TV tonight!”

Despite the irony of the title, this music is free. Every tone is adopted. Nothing is too taboo, nothing is absurd enough. It achieves an absolute unity in absolute schizophrenia. Beautiful.
Yes! My favorite Zappa album, and certainly my favorite progressive rock album of all time. I am absolutely loving this thread, by the way. I'm discovering new music while getting reacquainted with some old friends (I haven't listened to Violent Femmes or In Utero in months, I seem to have nearly forgotten them!) I've never heard Slint before, and Spiderland is exactly as you described it. I honestly didn't like it very much the first time through, but decided to give it another shot and the second time I really grasped what the band was trying to do. Keep it going!
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Old 01-28-2009, 02:54 AM   #107 (permalink)
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Great thread and a real contribution to MB .. But I'm gonna hassle you a bit for not including year of release with your reviews.
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Old 01-31-2009, 07:08 PM   #108 (permalink)
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what zappa album should i try after absolutely free?(it was my introduction). i am enjoying it a great deal =)
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Old 01-31-2009, 11:25 PM   #109 (permalink)
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hot rats, we're only in it for the money, freak out!
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Old 02-03-2009, 05:51 PM   #110 (permalink)
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Talking Heads - The Name of This Band is Talking Heads



Simply, a gem.
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