Tag: Art Pop

1974, Music

Sheer Heart Attack (1974) by Queen

This is, by all accounts, the record where Queen really becomes Queen, taking their bizarre (insane, really) hybrid style and finally pairing it with enough quality songs that it no longer seems gimmicky. I’m not sure I entirely agree, but I get why people feel this way.

1989, Music

The Sensual World (1989) by Kate Bush

Kate Bush, ever the iconoclast, finds a good balance on this record between contemporary art pop – and all of the obsession with technology that entails – and folk music influences. In the vaguest sense this one sort of reminds of Peter Gabriel’s work, only they are incorporating very different forms of folk music and …

1979, Music

Broken English (1979) by Marianne Faithful

Broken English is one of those records I heard so damn much about throughout my life that, by the time I listened to it decades after first hearing about, there was going to be a let down, it was inevitable. With multiple listens, the record is growing on me a bit, but it’s still worth …

1974, Music

Fear (1974) by John Cale

Paris 1919 is my favourite John Cale album but it’s not coincidentally the album of his I’ve heard the most, by far. That seems to be the way with me and Cale’s songs, it takes some time for them to impress themselves upon me,  I don’t like his other albums as much not just because …

1989, Music

Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989)

I’ll be honest. I have no idea what the state of R&B was in 1989, outside of Michael Jackson and Prince. (And, I guess, Whitney Houston’s early hits.) It’s a genre I never spent much time with once you get past the early ’70s. Well, until very recently, anyway. So I really don’t have the …

1974, Music

Crime of the Century (1974) by Supertramp

Before I knew what Prog Rock was, Supertramp was just a band on classic rock radio that I didn’t exactly love. Once I figured out what Prog Rock was, they became this caricature for me – my friends who hated prog hated it because they hated Supertramp but, to me, Supertramp wasn’t prog at all, …

1994, Music

Mars Audiac Quintet (1994) by Stereolab

I don’t love Stereolab’s shtick though I get why lots of people do. So my mileage with them varies in so much as I can convince myself that the album is either important (because they probably pioneered their particular fusion) or how ti compares to the other albums of theirs I’ve managed to get around …

1979, Music

Discovery (1979) by Electric Light Orchestra

I don’t know ELO much at all, though I know a lot of Jeff Lynne’s work as a producer (which I hate). I first read about the band in the first music book I ever owned, but I never got around to listening to them in part because when I first consciously encountered their singles …

1974, Music

Kimono My House (1974) by Sparks

Sparks is one of those bands with such a big cult following that you inevitably encounter someone who loves them. I have, at some point, but it wasn’t a friend, just people on the internet. Reading a lot about a band always gives one impressions, and those impressions are often wrong. So it was with …

1984, Music

A Walk Across the Rooftops (1984) by Blue Nile

Many years ago, I learned that first impressions should be ignored and overcome as much as possible when it comes to music. There have been many days in my life I’ve been happy about doing that and today is one of them. Because my first impression of this record was not a good one, and …

1989, Music

Like a Prayer (1989) by Madonna

Many years ago I was drinking at a bar in grad school, when the title track came on. A colleague of mine said it was a good song, I scoffed and we got in an argument, with everyone else siding with him and getting annoyed at me for being stupid. For my entire life I …

1979, Music

Breakfast in America (1979) by Supertramp

I grew up listening to Oldies Radio when that meant music from the 1960s and, occasionally, the late ’50s. Especially as I got older, the station I used to listen to would make exceptions for some music from the 1970s, usually MOR and singer-songwriter stuff. Supertramp was one of the bands that made that cut. …

2018, Movies

Post-Crash (2018) by Missing Waves

Jazz is at a weird place in the 21st century, like basically every other form of music. Boundaries between jazz and other genres sometimes completely disappear, as they do with this record. At times, I think for sure this is some kind of modern art pop (i.e. not jazz) but then there are tracks when …

1993, Music

The Red Shoes (1993) by Kate Bush

The first time I listened to it I just couldn’t get over the productive, which sounds so ’80s like any number of early ’90s albums, made by artists or producers who hadn’t yet seen the writing on the wall – that the era of gated drums synthesizers approximating any instrument you could think of was …

1993, Music

Fumbling Towards Ecstasy (1993) by Sarah McLachlan

This is the Sarah McLachlan I was too young for; the kids at my school weren’t into this music when it came out and I don’t think she was big enough in the States yet to make it on MTV when I got the chance to watch that at my cousins’. I say this because, …

1983, Music

Soul Mining (1983) by the The

My main complaint against synthpop is that the majority the bands decided to entirely or mostly drop conventional instruments in favour of synthesizers and drum machines. I have never been a huge fan of either instrument and so it’s an uphill battle for me when an entire album is performed with instruments I don’t like. …

1988, Music

Peepshow (1988) by Siouxsiee and the Banshees

The opening song “Peek-a-Boo” really threw me for a lip – those samples are a massive departure from what I’m familiar with from this band. My initial impression of it was that they were trying to piggyback on the emerging sound of hip hop and electro which they didn’t understand and were failing terribly. That …

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

janet. (1993) by Janet Jackson

As I say all the damn time, coming at an artist backwards is a bad idea. And yet here I am doing it again. This is only the second Janet Jackson album I’ve ever heard, but the first one I heard was the sequel to this one. The problem for me is that the sequel …

1973, Music

A Wizard A True Star (1973) by Todd Rundgren

If you’re like me, you wished that Something/Anything?could have been, well, weirder. Or, if not weirder, at least more varied. I personally find that the record doesn’t quite live up to its reputation for weirdness and variety. Well, be careful what you wish for.

1968, Music

Eli and the 13th Confession (1968) by Laura Nyro

I was barely aware of Nyro when I listened to this record – I had heard her name, likely from seeing it listed in credits and mentioned here and there I guess, but I didn’t know what I was in for.

1998, Music

Ray of Light (1998) by Madonna

This may or may not be the first Madonna album I’ve ever listened to – not 100% sure – but it is definitely the first one I’ve given my three requisite listens to. Given that fact, it should be no surprise that I can’t fully grasp what a drastic left-turn this record probably was for …

1978, Music

The Kick Inside (1978) by Kate Bush

The problem with starting mid-career with an artist is that you kind of assume what they sound like in their maturity or prime is how they’ve always sounded. I started with The Dreaming, a record that knocked me out. It was pretty damn unlikely that Bush’s debut would stand up to it. And I certainly …

1973, Music

Approximately Infinite Universe (1973) by Yoko Ono

My first encounter with Yoko Ono as the dominant performer (as opposed to Lennon) was with her Plastic Ono Band. I guess I wasn’t in the right mood for it, as it felt just way too directionless and faux avant garde to my ears at the time. (Some of the stuff they do on that …

1987, Music

Savage (1987) by Eurythmics

I don’t know Eurythmics very well. Sure, I know their biggest hits, but that’s it. And I only ever recently sat down to listen to an Annie Lennox album. So I have no idea about context here. For example, I had no idea they were so damn prolific. (Seriously, what the hell? 7 albums in …

1982, Music

A Kiss in the Dreamhouse (1982) by Siouxsie and the Banshees

I am really big fan of JuJu for many of the same reasons I like this record: there’s this balance between the dark. “gothic” lyrics and Siouxsie Sioux’s vocals, and the often shimmering neo-psychedelic guitar and sound effects. But I definitely get a sense of deja vu. And I get that sense even though this …

1997, Music

The Velvet Rope (1997) by Janet Jackson

I had a very, very fixed idea of Janet Jackson before listening to that record. It was an idea essentially created by music videos (Janet Jackson is attractive) and the odd accidental radio exposure, but also created by the music industrial complex, which has generally marketed female performers in a particular way for quite a …