Category: Music

1978, Music

Parallel Lines (1978) by Blondie

My dad bought a Blondie compilation sometime in my teens. It was a double disc. So I feel like, to the extent I know Blondie, it is through that compilation. Had he bought it 10 years earlier, I would likely know all their hits very well. Alas, he bought it a few years before my …

1978, Music

Love Bites (1978) by Buzzcocks

I am not a fan of the Buzzcocks. They are way too far on the pop side of the pop punk spectrum for me. (Yes, going by that, it’s safe to assume I don’t like pop punk.) I acknowledge their importance in the evolution of punk and particularly in pop punk, but I would just …

1978, Music

Blue Valentine (1978) by Tom Waits

I am very a much a fan of the Tom Waits who reinvented himself and who gave the world a unique sound. I am less a fan of the early Tom Waits, whose music was far less inventive and imaginative. That’s not to say I dislike ’70s Waits, more to say that I prefer his …

1973, Music

Wild and Peaceful (1973) by Kool and the Gang

I knew of Kool & the King, of course. I’ve heard “Jungle Boogie,” I know “Celebration,” maybe a few others. But I’d never thought much of them. I never took them seriously as a funk band perhaps because of the seeming novelty nature of their biggest hits.

1973, Music

Vagabonds of the Western World (1973) by Thin Lizzy

I’ve been meaning to listen to Thin Lizzy since I listened to classic rock almost exclusively (i.e. for 20 years). For some reason that has never happened. And now I find myself listening to a different album that their reputed best. I worried that was a recipe for disaster. Good thing Thin Lizzy are pretty …

1973, Music

Faust IV (1973)

Faust were always the wackiest of Krautrock bands, so it’s fitting that the first track of this album is called “Krautrock.” By listening to it, I’m not 100% sure if it’s satire of other Krautrock, a legitimate attempt to make some far out version of motorik (which wasn’t their thing anyway), or something else. But …

1968, Music

Shine On Brightly (1968) by Procol Harum

Procol Harum remind me of The Moody Blues in a way; not in terms of their sound but in terms of their place in the history progressive rock, and how it evolved. Both bands got in on the ground floor, which makes them pioneers, at the very least. But both also got in before progressive …

1968, Music

The Hurdy Gurdy Man (1968) by Donovan

Donovan put out so many damn albums in the late ’60s that I have a hard time believing it sometimes. So I stupidly assumed Mellow Yellow was the last one and was going to compare this to it. But no, there was a double album in between – which was confusingly released as two albums …

1968, Music

The Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles and Fripp (1968)

This bonkers album is probably only known because Michael Giles and Robert Fripp went on to form King Crimson. Without Crimson, I cannot imagine too many people would be aware of this record.

1963, Music

Surfer Girl (1963) by The Beach Boys

Like every early Beach Boys album, this is a short collection of an incredibly inconsistent set of songs which, on the one hand, show off Brian Wilson’s increasingly elaborate vocal arrangements and increasing compositional sophistication and, on the other, pad things out with songs so inane or derivative you want to burn the record. The …

1993, Music

Giant Steps (1993) by The Boo Radleys

As neo-psychedelia goes, this is a pretty diverse and varied record. That’s good because it’s not all that psychedelic comparatively speaking – I’m thinking of Mercury Rev by way of comparison – and often has more in common with britpop.

1993, Music

Transient Random-Noise Bursts With Announcements (1993) by Stereolab

I am familiar with what one might call “peak” Stereolab, the sound of the band in the mid 19990s. They are not a band I particularly enjoy but they are a band I respect, given their pretty much utterly unique fusion of styles. (They basically have their own genre, in many ways. And I wouldn’t …

1993, Music

Perfect Teeth (1993) by Unrest

Imagine if Television were really an indie pop band with an occasional female lead singer and maybe you get some idea of what Unrest sound like on this record. Not really, actually, as that’s a pretty poor comparison for many of the songs here, but it’s the best I can do at the moment.

1993, Music

Tuesday Night Music Club (1993) by Sheryl Crow

For me, Sheryl Crow seemed everywhere in the 1990s. Poppy enough for Top 40 but “rock” enough for some other stations – especially later – in my memory it feels like there was always a Sheryl Crow song playing on the radio when I was in high school. I didn’t pay much attention, mind you, …

1988, Music

Sunshine on Leith (1988) by The Proclaimers

If you’re my age, or a little older, you’ve heard “I’m Gonna Be” more times than you could count. Depending on how you feel about this song, you may be pleasantly surprised by the rest of the album or severely disappointed.Because the thing is, there’s maybe one or two tracks on this album that come …

1988, Music

Straight Outta Compton (1988) by N.W.A

Though I do not generally enjoy listening to Hip Hop, and still lack a frame of reference for most of it, if not all of it, I vowed to myself a few months ago that I would listen to more of it, at least to give myself some frame of reference – both for my …

1983, Music

An Innocent Man (1983) by Billy Joel

On this album Billy Joel makes me think he’s the pop version of Aaron Copland (in his most Americana phase) – an eminently talented musician who thinks that the best music is the music the people like, not the music he is fully capable of writing if he were more of a snob. I side …

1973, Music

Boulders (1973) by Roy Wood

I had a Billboard book growing up, which was just a series of chronologies of bands. It was really quite boring but for some reason I ate it up; I read it front to back more than once. I think one of the things I found fascinating about it was all the recurring names from …

1973, Music

pronounced ‘lĕh-‘nérd ‘skin-‘nérd (1973)

With their debut album, Lynyrd Skynyrd didn’t invent southern rock, as it had already existed for at least 4 years. But you might say they invented the populist form of southern rock, a louder, more blue collar version that relies more on hard rock and country than on soul or jazz. There are eight songs …

1973, Music

3+3 (1973) by The Isley Brothers

I know the Isley Brothers more by reputation than by their music. I know their most famous song, and I know the most famous song from this record, but that’s about it. (Also, I may have forgotten that “Shout” and “That Lady” were by the same band until I listened to this record.) This record …