Your Arsenal (1992) by Morrissey

Categories: 1992 and Music.

I hate Morrissey, both personally, as I find him an objectionable human being and cannot understand why anyone would find him charming, and musically, as I find The Smiths really underwhelming and Morrissey’s solo music (that I’ve heard) to be hilariously middlebrow for someone so full of attitude. Morrissey talks a lot about a certain type of music and then makes music very different from that. He basically doesn’t walk his own talk. And his music is boring. Read More

Stands for Decibels (1981) by the dBs

Categories: 1981 and Music.

This is kooky power pop record with so many weird detours that it’s borderline new wave. Individual verses and choruses (and, occasionally, whole songs) sound like they belong to a typical power pop group, but then there’s a weird effect, or weird, unpredictable time change or left turn. It’s no wonder it wasn’t a big success at the time, as it’s rather weird. But the idiosyncrasy helps a lot. It’s wacky, in a good way. 8/10 Read More

Green (1989) by REM

Categories: 1989 and Music.

When I first got into REM, my friends who got me into REM told me Green was the worst album. And so I didn’t listen to it for over 20 years. (Makes sense, right?) I do know a few songs from a mixtape a friend made me, but that’s less than half of the tracks.I think you could say this is the second REM album where Stipe was singing “properly” (to hear him tell it) and that was both a good thing and a bad thing, since a lot of the appeal of their early albums is the mystery from Read More

The Best of James (1998)

Categories: 1998 and Music.

I’m not going to go into how I got my hands on this, but let’s just say it wasn’t a deliberate decision; it literally fell into my lap.And I had no idea who James was until I heard that hit single I remembered from my youth (“Laid”) and I was like “Oh, these guys.” And I wondered aloud about why I was bothering with them.But, funnily enough, after listening to it my requisite three times, I found myself enjoying a lot of it – not all of it, mind you, especially the sub-Smiths stuff – and being pleasantly surprised by Read More

The Queen is Dead (1986, Rough Trade) by the Smiths

Categories: 1986 and Music.

I usually don’t have trouble liking rock I’m “supposed” to like (i.e. the generally accepted rock canon). I can’t say the same about pop I’m supposed to “like” (frankly, I just prefer inventiveness, grit, rhythm and other such things to melody, aesthetic angles to precision arrangements, appropriate to clean production and mixing, etc). I usually can at least bring myself to  respect most rock music that has become canonical. Hell, often I can put aside my gut feelings and and least say “this is a pretty impressive feat even though I don’t particularly like the style of music.” But I Read More