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Old 09-06-2021, 12:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Albums that turn 50 this year

Hello, I'm not sure whether I'm doing right by writing reviews, but at least I'm gonna give a try.
I should've probably began doing this a the beginning of the year, but I was too tired, so at least I'll try to review some albums that have already turned or will turn 50 this year. I'll probably post my first review today, if my grammar skills allow me to do so
I'll try to begin by reviewing albums I've become familiar with recently, so don't expect to see Led Zeppelin IV or Imagine being reviewed here.
Cheers and don't be too hard on my reviews

Last edited by Eleanor Rigby 14; 09-06-2021 at 02:48 PM.
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Old 09-06-2021, 02:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Tapestry by Carole King



TRACKLIST
1. I Feel The Earth Move
2. So Far Away
3. It's Too Late
4. Home Again
5. Beautiful
6. Way Over Yonder
7. You've Got A Friend
8. Where You Lead
9. Will You Love Me Tomorrow
10. Smackwater Jack
11. Tapestry
12. (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman

Tapestry has to be one of the most complete albums ever released, and probably my favourite one by a female artist (depending on the day). It mainly covers genres such as soft-rock, pop and even blues at some points. Before listening to all the songs on this album, I was already familiar with a couple of them and had always admired Carole King's songwriting skills, and I was very aware of her songwriting partnership with Gerry Goffin, as together they had written hits from the 60s such as Loco-motion by Little Eva, Goin’ Back by Dusty Springfield, Will You Love Me Tomorrow by The Shirelles and my favourite one (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman by Aretha Franklin (the last 2 were later recorded by Carole King herself on the album I’m gonna review), among others.
But now I’m just gonna start reviewing the album song by song; notice that every track on this was written by her.

Ok, so the opening track is just great. “I Feel The Earth Move” is an upbeat and very-well written song, and the vocals are really good, it's definitely one of the best known songs by Carole King. The second track, “So Far Away”, is a slow piano ballad that Carole sings very well, but I don’t consider it to be really good, not as good as the previous song or other ones of this album. It’s not really “filler”, it’s nice to hear and you don’t wanna skip it and move on to the next song, it just doesn’t stand out very much. Now we arrive to another one of my favourites. The third track is probably her biggest hit: “It’s Too Late”. I don’t think I need to say much about it, it’s a kind of slow soft-rock song, it’s not a ballad, unlike the next song: “Home Again”. My thoughts about this one are the same as the ones about “So Far Away”, with the difference that the latter is a better song in my opinion. Now, I’d take the next track, “Beautiful”, over these two any day. In the beginning it is a little bit similar to “I Feel The Earth Move” in some aspects, with the difference that after a while it becomes a more ballad-type song. “Way Over Yonder” is the sixth track, a bit filler too, I’d say, but I think every song on this album is listenable, there’s actually nothing boring or annoying here. And we arrive to my favourite one. “You’ve Got A Friend” is my absoulte favourite song by her. I’ve been listening to it since I was 9, and it’s a very special song for me, even though the first version I heard was James Taylor’s and I didn’t quite like it. The lyrics, the music and her voice just make an incredible combination. It seems like a slow sad song at first, then, during the chorus it becomes more…I wouldn’t say happy, because it’s a song about trusting your friend and let her help you, you know, stuff like that. But the next track is pretty amazing too, coming at number 8 we have “Where You Lead”, a song I’d never openly admit is great mainly because it was the “Gilmore Girls” theme and I have some friends obsessed with that series. The next song is a hit that launched her and her husband to fame back in the sixties. I’m talkin’ about "Will You Love Me Tomorrow". The original song was a bit in the vein of hits by other girl bands, such as “Be My Baby” by The Ronettes. But Carole King’s recorded version is slightly slower, and again, it’s a piano ballad, like most of the stuff here. It’s pretty interesting to hear though, it brings another different feeling to the song. The tenth track begins with a piano and organ intro I really like, and again, at first seems to be like “I Feel The Earth Move”, but no, “Smackwater Jack” is completely different, it’s like a typical American upbeat song, with some elements of country, perhaps? It has a short guitar solo, too. It’s OK, in general. Coming next, we have the title track ("Tapestry"), which, ironically, is the “worst” song here, another piano ballad, but still I’ve never felt like wanting to stop hearing it and jump to the final track. This album ends as greatly as it started, with another essential hit. “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” had previously been recorded by the great, one and only Aretha Franklin. I think it’s obvious that Aretha was a MUCH BETTER vocalist.
But still, Carole King has a very “personal” way of singing, I’d say it’s very expressive and she had a unique voice.
Overall rating: 9.25/10
That’s all, it’s the first time I write such a long review, I hope you didn’t get bored after the first 3 sentences, or at least you didn’t look horrified at the grammar mistakes I might have done.

Last edited by Eleanor Rigby 14; 09-07-2021 at 02:17 PM.
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Old 09-06-2021, 03:01 PM   #3 (permalink)
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You did fine, Eleanor. And Tapestry is a fine album.

Incidentally. King and Goffin wrote quite a few songs for the Monkees including Pleasant Valley Sunday and Porpoise Song. Also Up On the Roof (The Drifters), Chains (The Cookies, also covered by the Beatles), I'm Into Something Good (Earl-Jean then Herman's Hermits) and Wasn't Born To Follow (Byrds) among others. And, of course, King had her own career blossoming in the seventies.

Can't wait to see the next review
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Old 09-06-2021, 03:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by rubber soul View Post
You did fine, Eleanor. And Tapestry is a fine album.

Incidentally. King and Goffin wrote quite a few songs for the Monkees including Pleasant Valley Sunday and Porpoise Song. Also Up On the Roof (The Drifters), Chains (The Cookies, also covered by the Beatles), I'm Into Something Good (Earl-Jean then Herman's Hermits) and Wasn't Born To Follow (Byrds) among others. And, of course, King had her own career blossoming in the seventies.

Can't wait to see the next review
Well, I didn't know that those songs were written by them! Chains is the most surprising one, would've never noticed they wrote it, even though I've heard it a billion times!
I'll probably write another review soon. Thanks for answering!
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Old 09-06-2021, 07:52 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Hey Eleanor! Welcome to Journalland! Nice opening review, and I must say your English has come on in leaps and bounds. Well done. I have that album too, and would agree with most of what you say. Though a classic, today it would be characterised as having perhaps a lot of "filler", but the good tracks definitely outweigh the bad. I'm rather fond of "So Far Away" myself and I think if I remember correctly yes, the title track is a little pompous and boring and something of a let down.

Don't you just love that cat though? And did you know, Carole made that tapestry on the cover herself?
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Old 09-07-2021, 05:47 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Great reading Eleanor..your English is just so much better than mine..but then my excuse was Born in the London Region....
Well done that was easy reading as well. As for the name Tapestry cant agree that it's bland..Love doing Tapestries myself and they are to me highly talented works of art..
not mine as they are quite Bland...oo er..
Que estúpida de mi parte..haha
keep it up Eleanor....
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Old 09-07-2021, 06:12 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I don't think she meant tapestries in general are bland; she was, I believe, referring to the title track, which I agree is bland. But as a title for an album it's pretty good, since the tapestry is often a metaphor for a life's work.
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Old 09-07-2021, 01:20 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Bryter Layter by Nick Drake



TRACKLIST
1. Introduction
2. Hazey Jane II
3. At The Chime Of A City Clock
4. One Of These Things First
5. Hazey Jane I
6. Bryter Layter
7. Fly
8. Poor Boy
9. Northern Sky
10. Sunday

In the suggestions thread, Raime posted a video of one of the tracks from this album. And when I heard it, I quickly searched for the whole album and gave it a listen. Nick Drake’s discography is almost perfect, he only recorded 3 albums, as his career was tragically ended by his death in 1974. Also, most of the time I get confused and call him Nick Cave instead of Drake, and vice versa, but anyway, that’s another story. Here we have his second album, probably my favourite one (although Pink Moon is up there, too, and Five Leaves Left also reaches that level). This album was recorded in 1970, but released the following year. I think I could easily call it a perfectly arranged orchestral folk-pop album. Drake’s acoustic guitar playing is pretty damn good, and I also like his voice. At first I thought it was a bit…obscure, maybe?, but you get used to it. I wouldn’t say he stands out very much as a vocalist, but you don’t really need to be James Brown to sing “Northern Sky”, in fact most people say Bob Dylan can’t sing, but he’s considered to be the best singer of all time according to the super important Rolling Stone Magazine… But going’ back to Mr Drake’s record, there’ve been a couple of things that actually surprised me. Usually, I don’t really like orchestral or instrumental pieces in pop/rock albums, unless it’s something like prog-rock. I mean, I’ve always considered them to be some kind of non-annoying filler (e.g. The Who’s Overture, Sparks or Underture from Tommy or the Bee Gees’ various symphonic tracks from Odessa). It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re bad, they just seem meaningless. But here’s the surprise, there’s actually more than one instrumental track I like from Bryter Layter, and what’s more, each track was written by Nick Drake himself. The backing musicians include Fairport Convention’s Dave Pegg and Dave Mattacks, The Velvet Underground’s founding member John Cale and session musician Mike Kowalski (who’s known for having toured for a long time with the Beach Boys) But leaving fun facts aside, I’m gonna start reviewing the album as I’m always gonna do, track by track.

The album opens with an instrumental piece, called “Introduction” (props to Nick Drake for coming up with such an original title ). This is not one of the orchestral pieces I like. It's just…well, it’s OK, I’m not gonna skip it cause I hate skipping tracks, but let’s move on to the second one. “Hazey Jane II” is a folk-pop song. I would emphasize on the fact that here’s where you realize that the brass instruments have protagonism and that the string arrangements are really good, too. It’s in the same vein as the following track, “At The Chime Of A City Clock”. This one’s a bit more slow, maybe, but I think it’s better than the previous one. The fourth track ("One Of These Things First") is the first Nick Drake song I’ve heard, the one that was posted on the suggestions thread. That guitar intro still sounds really cool, and surprise surprise, the piano’s also important on this song. I wouldn’t be sure to consider it the best track on this album, because even though I appreciate Nick Drake’s songwriting abilities, I think he would’ve never been able to have really a successful single (“One Of These Things First” or “Pink Moon” are the songs that come closest to be “hit singles” imo). I mean, if I wanna hear some of his music, I’ll play one of his albums, you can’t really understand and value his art with just one song. But moving on to No. 5, we have “Hazey Jane I”. I think that this one is…(see what I’ve written about “II”). The biggest surprise comes next, the sixth song (“Bryter Layter”) has a lovely guitar and flute intro, and at first I thought Nick Drake was gonna start singing at any moment, but no, it’s an instrumental piece, and I must say it sounds really pleasant, and I can do nothing but highlight once more the amazing arrangement done on this album. The next one’s not instrumental but still it’s a nice beautiful song. “Fly” is that type of simple song everyone could’ve thought to be able to write, but very few would've done it. Also love the lyrics. In fact, after some time you’ll realize that I don’t usually mention anything about the lyrics of the songs in my reviews. That’s because most of the times I don’t think I understand them very well, and also because it’s not something I pay attention to during a “first listen”, unless it’s something by Pink Floyd or Genesis. Now we’re almost arriving to the end of the album. Track number 8 (“Poor Boy”) is another one of the surprises here. It’s kind of different, even a bit “jazzy”, and I also love the female backing vocals on it, it’s really different from the other tracks. The piano plays an important role on this one, even plays a mini-solo. Following it, we have another one of Mr Drake’s most famous hits: “Northern Sky”. It’s more “folkish” than “One Of These Things first” and I’d say it’s not as good as the latter, but still, I really like it. The album closes with another really beautiful instrumental track called “Sunday”, again with the flute as the "main character". I’d say it even sounds a little bit epic.

All in all, I’d say Drake’s compositions don’t really shine as hit singles, but the guy sure knew how to make listenable albums. Overall rating: 8.5/10.
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Old 09-07-2021, 02:17 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Trollheart View Post
Hey Eleanor! Welcome to Journalland! Nice opening review, and I must say your English has come on in leaps and bounds. Well done. I have that album too, and would agree with most of what you say. Though a classic, today it would be characterised as having perhaps a lot of "filler", but the good tracks definitely outweigh the bad. I'm rather fond of "So Far Away" myself and I think if I remember correctly yes, the title track is a little pompous and boring and something of a let down.

Don't you just love that cat though? And did you know, Carole made that tapestry on the cover herself?
Thanks!!! Yes, I love that cat, well, I love cats in general tbh. And I had no idea that Carole King had made the tapestry on the cover!! I learn something new everytime I enter to musicbanter
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Great reading Eleanor..your English is just so much better than mine..but then my excuse was Born in the London Region....
Well done that was easy reading as well. As for the name Tapestry cant agree that it's bland..Love doing Tapestries myself and they are to me highly talented works of art..
not mine as they are quite Bland...oo er..
Que estúpida de mi parte..haha
keep it up Eleanor....
Well, thank you very much! As for "Tapestry" I wasn't saying that the name of the album was bad. In fact, I think it's a wonderful name. What I was saying was that the song on it called "Tapestry" was the weakest one for me!
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I don't think she meant tapestries in general are bland; she was, I believe, referring to the title track, which I agree is bland. But as a title for an album it's pretty good, since the tapestry is often a metaphor for a life's work.
Exactly!

Btw, this is really fun if I have enough time to write these things, just posted another one above. Hope at least is not worse written than the first one
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Old 09-07-2021, 03:35 PM   #10 (permalink)
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From Wikipedia: (smiley added by me)

The cover photograph was taken by A&M staff photographer Jim McCrary at King's Laurel Canyon home.[9] It shows her sitting in a window frame, holding a tapestry that she'd hand-stitched herself, with her cat Telemachus at her feet.[10]

Small suggestion: as you're featuring albums that are 50 years old today, maybe you might like to explore as to whether they still hold up today as compared to when they were released. Or you might like to tell me what to do with myself. Both are good.
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