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Old 01-27-2009, 10:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Bee Thousand - Guided by Voices


Speed up, slow down, go all around in the end.

Man, this is a brilliant album. It sounds like the 90s encapsulated. This album and it's melodies are like a gold mine that 90s pop mined, emulated, partially ripped off and riffed off of. I firmly believe if it weren't for:

a) The recording quality and
b) The strange song names and lyrics

That this would be one of the most popular albums of the 90s. It has the songwriting potential definitely. Tractor Rape Chain's chorus for the longest time bugged me, it sounded so much like some other popular song I heard in the 90s but I couldn't think of it. Now I'm pretty sure there was no song, and that it was just one of those magical hooks that is already ingrained in your bones, something you're already familiar with. Speed up, slow down, go all around, in the end.

Once again, pertaining to those two rules earlier, and along with a little bit of a song expansion, I believe The Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory could have been a hit. It has such a great melody and hook.

Hot Freaks, once again, great chorus and melody. It's classic ballsy rock that wants to break your ****ing nose.

Smothered in Hugs is a victim of recording quality I think. I feel this song could be a hit too. I want to note, that I'm not blaming Guided by Voices for this and these reasons I'm pointing out don't really detract from my liking of the album. I'm just pointing out the petty things that mainstream uses as excuses to shove aside great music.

Yours To Keep is once again, a sad and tender song and probably wouldn't have been a hit, but it if it was a bit longer, I would like it a lot more. But it's still great.

Echos Myron once again sounds so typically 90s. Why wasn't this a hit? This sounds exactly like a 90s hit, with the exception that it wasn't a hit.

I think Awful Bliss is a ****ing beautiful song. These guys are great at melody. It's some indescribable motion of the melody that Guided by Voices uses a lot, I can't really put it into words, it's something that is tenderly visceral, cutting to the core of you.

A Big Fan of the Pigpen is also a really great song. BOP BADDA BOP BAH BOP DOW DOW! The end part is great.

Ester's Day is absolutely beautiful. I really can't describe it, it just is. It goes from like 30 seconds of a really cool part, then acoustic brilliance. Down and out...

I Am A Scientist is one of the most fully formed songs on the album and if the recording quality were better, like I've repetitively been stressing, it would have been a hit. Maybe I'm going crazy, maybe it wouldn't have been a hit, but I firmly believe it could have.

Peep-Hole is a really good song. Brief, but nice. You're Not An Airplane is one of the best ending songs I've ever heard on an album. Short and brief, concise and beautiful.

Bee Thousand is brimming with a major songwriting talent, one of the real signatures of an era where technicality took a back seat to emotional QUALITY SONGWRITING. This is one of my favorite albums ever, without a doubt.

10/10
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Old 01-27-2009, 10:54 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Another great album pick Davey.

I'm interested to see what you think of albums you don't like.
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Old 01-28-2009, 03:42 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I strongly doubt it would have been "one of the most popular albums of the 90s" if the recording quality was better etc. It's automatically destined not to be popular material on the basis of other things, not least the point that the songs are in the main incomplete. But above all, its defining feature is its understatement. The songs show restraint; they hold back from trying to create the big, grand moments that make hits. And it is this vital quality that essentially came to define indie rock.

I see this as the essential early "indie" record that spurned a whole generation of great music.
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Old 10-14-2014, 02:54 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Young Coconut View Post
This is one of those albums that the band could re-record to sound bigger and bolder, but I think we all know that would be a huge mistake. The songs are great precisely because of how they were recorded, not just because they are great songs. Maybe the band could have saved up more cash and not used tapes/4-tracks the way they did here, but that would defeat the purpose. I think they did this album this way very deliberately to make a point, although later on they would go for the "big sound" and it often has worked against them, I feel. My favorite stuff by them and Bob in general is when it has that low-fi i-made-this-in-my-bedroom charm.
Why on earth would you re-record Bee-Thousand? Why would you even contemplate it. If it aint broke don't fix it! Im failing to understand why you are pointing the obvious out? Eurrbody knows this record is supposed to sound this way. Btw the sky is blue, ya know that?
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