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Old 07-15-2015, 06:30 PM   #441 (permalink)
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Trying to get this back underway, and as I see Goofle's recommendation in the last post I say, sure why not?


Title: Chrome
Artiste: Catherine Wheel
Year: 1993
Chronological position: Second album
Previous experience of this artiste?: Zero, but have heard Goofle enthuse about them
Genre: Alt-rock, Shoegaze

My thoughts
One minute (or thereabouts in) ---- Good, great, bad, meh, still waiting or other? Good
One track in --- Good
Halfway through --- Good
Finished --- Good

Comments: I like the power and energy in this, and given that Goofle described them as shoegaze I was expecting something much more introspective and navel-gazing. The power continues on through to the next track, with a sort of darker feel to it, even touches of prog rock in places. “Crank” is the first track I'd really categorise as shoegaze, although I'm probably not familiar enough with the genre to make that assumption. Like the harmonies in it. Still pretty powerful. Must say I'm impressed with everything so far. It's not making me sit up and go “Oh my god! Why did I not listen to this before?” but I can see why Goof rates it so highly.

Ok, now this one I don't like. Screechy, pointless feedback that ... oh. Falls right away and leaves in its place a really nice clean song, almost indie rock maybe, nice chorus. Love the guitar once the feedback is gone. Move your hand away from that “Least favourite tracks” line, Troll! Ah, you know what? I'm undecided. Parts of it are great and parts are boring. I'll have to think about it (which means I never will, of course) but meantime I really like the title track. Next one's pretty rockin' too. “Ursa Major Space Station” (great title!) has a hard, almost metal edge to it, great guitar workout. “Fripp” is just superb. “Half life” is good too but it gets a little unnecessarily chaotic, while closer “Show me Mary” is a good rocker.

Favourite track(s): Kill rhythm, Crank, Broken head, Chrome, Ursa Major Space Station, Fripp
Least favourite track(s): Not really anything I didn't at least enjoy

Final impression --- A very decent album but I wouldn't go mad about it. I could end up listening to it again, but if I never did it wouldn't bother me all that much.

Do I feel, at the end, A) I wish I had listened to this sooner
B) I'm sorry I bothered
C) I might end up liking this
D) Have to wait and see
E) Bit underwhelmed; was ok but a classic?
F) Definitely enjoyed it, but again would I consider it a classic?
G) Enjoyed this album just purely on its own merits
H) Glad I listened to it


Probably have to say E

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Old 07-23-2015, 11:11 PM   #442 (permalink)
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Glad to see this come back. Not familiar with that album, but I liked reading your take on it. Might check it out sometime.
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Old 07-23-2015, 11:17 PM   #443 (permalink)
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By the way, have I bugged you about Weezer's Blue Album yet? I'm not sure if you'd be into it due to the Nirvana influence, but you might be able to appreciate the brilliantly crafted melodies. There's a distinct Cars influence, and Ric Ocasek produced it, so who knows? I'd say it's worth a listen.
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Old 07-24-2015, 05:40 AM   #444 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Powerstars View Post
By the way, have I bugged you about Weezer's Blue Album yet? I'm not sure if you'd be into it due to the Nirvana influence, but you might be able to appreciate the brilliantly crafted melodies. There's a distinct Cars influence, and Ric Ocasek produced it, so who knows? I'd say it's worth a listen.
Seeing as how you bothered to post, what the hell? I'll put it next in the queue.
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Old 07-24-2015, 11:05 AM   #445 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trollheart View Post
Seeing as how you bothered to post, what the hell? I'll put it next in the queue.
Awesome, thank you. Hope you like it.
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Old 07-24-2015, 12:41 PM   #446 (permalink)
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Im looking forward to that review on the blue album.

i love that album but i anticipate you won't like it lol
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Old 07-24-2015, 06:40 PM   #447 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Francis View Post
Im looking forward to that review on the blue album.

i love that album but i anticipate you won't like it lol
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Old 03-10-2017, 11:09 AM   #448 (permalink)
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Been almost two years since I dug this up, and I feel like trying to maybe get it going again. I'm still open (sort of) to suggestions, but remember, if you're going to recommend an album to me it must be a recognised classic, and that's by generally the world at large. I mean, you may think it's a classic, all your mates may think it's a classic but if it's not officially recognised as one, don't bother. This isn't “Love or Hate Part Two”; I don't want to just listen to albums because someone thinks it's good. If you're confused about the idea behind this journal then please re-read the OP and the first few posts. That said, if you can prove the album is a classic – even if I haven't even heard of it – then it may be considered. Note: I'm not asking for recs here. I have more than enough to get through already and will be shortly adding more, but this is just in case someone knows of a classic album I should give a chance. Also remember, it has to be an album I have not heard (clue is in the title).

In case this is – which it could very well be, given how long it's been since I wrote in this journal – your first experience of this, don't expect an in-depth review. These are, after all, classic albums, and it's assumed that most everyone (other than me) has heard them, so I won't be going deeply into the songs, just giving my own thoughts and impressions.

With that in mind, and as I'm currently reading his biography for Karen, let's do this one.

Title: Thriller
Artiste: Michael Jackson
Year: 1982
Chronological position: Sixth album
Previous experience of this artiste?: Who doesn't know some Jackson? Though I have never listened to one of his albums all the way through. Or even partially. I know him from his singles.
Genre: Pop/Funk

My thoughts
One minute (or thereabouts in) ---- Good, great, bad, meh, still waiting or other? Great
One track in --- Great
Halfway through --- Great
Finished --- Great

Comments: Yeah yeah I know: where have you been? But I was never a fan of disco, funk or really even pop, and though as Martin Prince said, “I'm aware of his work” (who could not be?) I was never that interested in Jackson's music. Despite myself, I have been exposed to his singles, so obviously I know quite a lot of this album. It's therefore the ones that weren't released as singles I am interested in. Perhaps also the structure of the album. I'll add in some trivia here too that I've picked up from the biography, as we're currently right at the making of this album. “Wanna be startin' somethin'” opens the album well, with a funky, upbeat dancy tune with a certain edge, one of the many singles. At the time, this and “Beat it” made me laugh, given that Jackson was such a quiet individual and the lyric on both was more or less based around fighting. I always considered disco and funk and soul as quite reserved in terms of comparing them to rock or metal; the gentler side of music sort of. Anyway the next one is one I don't know, one of only two I see.

Jackson's famous vocalise (Woo! Cha-mon etc) comes into its own on this album, but I have to say I find the album version of this opener way too long at over six minutes. Considering that apparently the original mix was too long and they had to delay the release of Thriller to shorten it, I'm surprised they didn't shorten this one down. But on to “Baby be mine”, the first of three songs written by Rod Temperton, who also wrote the title track. It comes across as very Jackson 5/EWF to me, very soul, very dance, very boring, to me. Meh. My darkest vitriol however is reserved for the next one, the cringeworthy collaboration with Paul McCartney, that stain on the music world we know as “The girl is mine”. God how I hate that song. In fairness, I hated any duet between him and Sir Paul, but this one really grinds my gears, and seems almost out of place on the album. Just awful. Urgh. Let's move on.

How could I not love the title track? With its horror-themed intro, its funky beats, its by-now-legendary lyric, it's a great song and then of course you have the added bonus of the late Vincent Prince guesting on it. Fun fact: when asked how he wanted to be paid for his work on the album, Price was offered a straight USD 20K or a percentage of the profits from the album. He chose the former. I bet he regretted that. Not that he needed the money but, you know, it sold over thirty million units. Anyway on to side two and I know almost all these, starting with “Beat it”. Another fun fact: Eddie Van Halen did the solo gratis, saying that he enjoyed doing it. What a guy huh? That knocking sound just before his solo? He confirms it's just him tapping on his guitar. So now you know. “Billie Jean” we all know, and after “Beat it” has (ahem) rocked things up, this brings it back to disco/funk basics, while also later causing a huge fracas at MTV, who initially refused to play the video because it was by a black artist! I know, sounds stupid when we say it now.

And even more fun factoids: “Human nature”, the next song up, and the only real ballad on the album, was included by a complete accident. Steve Porcaro of Toto , who was playing session on the album, was trying the song out, intending it to be a Toto song. He had it only partially written, and it got included on a tape sent to Quincy Jones (Thriller's producer) by mistake. He heard it, loved it, asked could they have it, and so it ended up here. It's a great song, one of the better ones certainly, but you can definitely hear the Toto sound on it.

That leaves “PYT (Pretty Young Thing”) written by James Ingram and another single, keeping the dance/funk vibe going, with some nice stabbing keyboard chords and perhaps some vocoder work on the chorus? Anyway it's okay but again I'm not much of a fan of any of these genres, but for what it is it's decent. The closer then is the final Temperton track, and the only other one on the album I don't know. “The lady in my life” is another ballad (so I was wrong about “Human nature” being the only one: sue me) and it's kind of typical of seventies soul ballads (I know this is an eighties album, that's the point) and the kind of thing the charts were full of. Meh.

Favourite track(s): “Thriller”, “Beat it”, “Human nature”
Least favourite track(s): “Baby be mine”, “The girl is mine”

Final impression Nobody could deny with a straight face that this is a classic album. After all, it's the biggest-selling album of all time, it's been selected for the Library of Congress and it made Jackson a bone fide star. Nevertheless, as there were so many singles from it I almost feel like I know it already, and it's been something of a wasted effort listening to the whole thing. I guess everyone should though, once in their life.

Do I feel, at the end, A) I wish I had listened to this sooner
B) I'm sorry I bothered
C) I might end up liking this
D) Have to wait and see
E) Bit underwhelmed; was ok but a classic?
F) Definitely enjoyed it, but again would I consider it a classic?
G) Enjoyed this album just purely on its own merits
H) Glad I listened to it


I'd probably give it a cautious H, but really, my life could have continued on fine without this.

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Old 03-10-2017, 12:57 PM   #449 (permalink)
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Title: In the Wee Small Hours
Artiste: Frank Sinatra
Year: 1955
Chronological position: Ninth album
Previous experience of this artiste?: Are you fuckin' serious?
Genre: Vocal jazz, easy listening

My thoughts
One minute (or thereabouts in) ---- Good, great, bad, meh, still waiting or other? Great
One track in --- Great
Halfway through --- Other (starting to flag and turning in the direction of Meh)
Finished --- Good

Comments: I'm by no means a Sinatra fan but I defy anyone to refute the man oozed class when he sung. It's hard not to be drawn into his music, just lose yourself in his voice. This is apparently considered the world's first concept album, as the songs all follow a linked theme, and he pioneered something to do with new microphones to enhance his way of singing too. For an album that runs for just over forty minutes it's packed with tracks, sixteen in all. One thing I really like about these “oldie” singers is their use of backing orchestras. It's not as if they used them as a prop or to disguise a weak voice or anything, as Sinatra could sing this acapella and be just as entrancing. But there's definitely an added dimension with the orchestra involved. Duke Ellington's famous classic “Mood indigo” gets the Sinatra treatment next, and from the titles, looking down, these all seem to be sad songs, with the possible exception of “Dancing on the ceiling”, so I wonder if it will get a little boring and predictable as it goes along? There are thirteen more tracks to go.

I like the orchestral arrangement to Hoagy Carmichael's “I get along without you very well” and there's a nice jazzy feeling to “Can't we be friends?”, slightly more uptempo than what's gone before, though only very slightly. I can see that my original worry is now beginning to manifest itself: it's getting a little boring, a little dreary. I would dare to venture that sixteen tracks was perhaps too many for one album, especially as they're all quite similar in tone. Still, it's certainly a good album, but I'm not sure I would really want to experience it a second time.

Favourite track(s): “In the wee small hours”, “Mood indigo”, “I get along without you very well”, “Last night when we were young”
Least favourite track(s): n/a

Final impression I don't deny the significance or importance of this album, or the contribution it made to music as an art form, but an album of ballads is a stretch for me to get through at the best of times, and not being a Sinatra fan, I found this pretty heavy going by about the halfway mark. There's no doubting the quality of Sinatra's singing or the greatness of the compositions. I just would have preferred something uptempo maybe to relieve the overall sense of depressing melancholia engendered by this album, at least in me. I guess that was the point, which is fair enough, but it's not for me.

Do I feel, at the end, A) I wish I had listened to this sooner
B) I'm sorry I bothered
C) I might end up liking this
D) Have to wait and see
E) Bit underwhelmed; was ok but a classic?
F) Definitely enjoyed it, but again would I consider it a classic?
G) Enjoyed this album just purely on its own merits
H) Glad I listened to it
I)Kind of not really that affected


Sort of I really...

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Old 03-10-2017, 02:32 PM   #450 (permalink)
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Translation: album was okay. 4 stars.
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