Tag: Art Rock

1970, Music

Jesus Christ Superstar (1970) by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice

I honestly had no idea this was an album first. I think because it has been so successful as a property I just assumed it had to have been a musical. But, instead, it was an album. And, as a result, it got reviewed as an album. (And, hilariously, it was banned in some countries …

1990, Music

The Good Son (1990) by Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds

I love Tender Prey. For me, it’s the culmination of the Seeds through their first era, a powerful combination of punk-influenced music and songwriting well beyond the quality of most punk albums.

1990, Music

Songs for Drella (1990) by Lou Reed and John Cale

I’m not sure why but I find Lou Reed’s memorial lyrics way too explicit for my tastes. He’s so specific that it removes the universal appeal. I don’t normally have a problem with specificity in and of itself, and with Reed’s other lyrics but, for some reason, when it comes to death, that’s how I …

1975, Music

Welcome to My Nightmare (1975) by Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper is one of those performers whose reputation and actual music don’t really mesh, at least in my mind. His music is always tamer than I imagine it, and that’s especially true with this album, in which he goes full Bob Ezrin. (Thanks not only due to Ezrin’s participation, but also due to the …

1975, Music

Desperate Straights (1975) by Slapp Happy and Henry Cow

Slapp Happy is one of those bands I read about a lot and then listened to and was kind of disappointed by. But then I guess I mustered some enthusiasm because my review of another album of theirs is positive. Henry Cow, on the other hand, I used to absolutely love. It’s an odd match, …

1970, Music

Shazam (1970) by The Move

This is a bonkers record which, had I discovered it when I was in my late teens or early 20s, I might be telling you is one of the great unknown masterpieces of the early ’70s. However, time has dulled my tolerance for the “anything goes” approach of this band, especially given how scattershot the …

1979, Music

Real to Real Cacophony (1979) by Simple Minds

How synthpop and the New Romantic movement evolved out of punk via post punk has always been one of the most confusing parts of recent popular music history, at least to me. But it’s records like this, caught somewhere in the middle (of punk and synthpop), that make that whole evolution a little more clear.

1974, Music

Country Life (1974) by Roxy Music

I have approached Roxy Music in a strange way – listened to their second album first, got really into it, and then listened to their last album and didn’t enjoy it. And I’ve jumped around ever since. And because of the way I feel about their earliest and later albums, I’ve approached the ones in …

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

Tusk (1979) by Fleetwood Mac

The number of times I’ve heard that Tusk is “experimental” in my life…well, if I had a dollar, I still wouldn’t be able to afford a down-payment on a house in Toronto, or anything, but maybe I could lease a car or something. The problem with pop music fans telling you that some pop album …

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

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, …

1974, Music

Rock Bottom (1974) by Robert Wyatt

As I write in seemingly half the reviews of albums I write, expectations are a terrible thing. I have heard about Rock Bottom for perhaps as long as I was aware of Wyatt’s existence, which dates back to my first encounter with Soft Machine maybe 20 years ago (or slightly less than that).

1984, Music

Hyaena (1984) by Siouxsie and the Banshees

Reading about this album, it’s absolutely incredible how much ink was spilled over Robert Smith’s involvement. Even though it sounds like the Banshees (much more than the Cure) and even though Smith’s involvement in the songwriting is not explicitly laid out (perhaps because of this), the critics of the time attribute basically everything they like …

1974, Music

The Psychomodo (1974) by Cockney Rebel

I think I got this band confused with a pub rock band. I don’t really know how I did that, but I did. So, as you might imagine, I was in for a surprise.This is extra arty glam rock (or perhaps super glammy art rock, if you prefer) with a fair amount of quirk courtesy …

1989, Music

Street Fighting Years (1989) by Simple Minds

Simple Minds is one of those bands that put out an absolute ton of music but which I was only aware of due to their biggest hit. Until 2018 or 2019 I had never heard a single album of there’s. That one album sounded too much like U2 to me, but mostly because of Kerr. …

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

Queen II (1974)

I think it’s safe to say that there’s no other band that sounds like Queen: hard rock plus operatic vocals plus other weird arty or proggy ideas, in a really accessible package, with occasional diversions into other genres that shouldn’t fit – pick a Queen record and there’s usually at least one of these. I …

1974, Music

Sparkle in the Rain (1984) by Simple Minds

What do you do when you’ve heard one band your whole life and not another, and then you hear the second band and they sound a lot like the first? But, the thing is, the second band was actually first, and really doesn’t sound that much like that first band.

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 …

1978, Music

Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller) (1978) by Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band

For some reason, so much of my experience of Beefheart is tied up with Safe as Milk and Trout Mask Replica, and how the latter is such a huge departure from a former, that when I hear latter Beefheart records that are closer in spirit to his early work than Trout Mask Replica I’m not …

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 …

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 …

1978, Music

Peter Gabriel [Scratch] (1978)

Because of the nature of the collaboration – my favourite guitarist, Robert Fripp, produced this record – I had sort of viewed this record as the holy grail of early Peter Gabriel records, in spite of the lukewarm reviews. I had just assumed that, whenever I got to it, I would discover this incredible mixture …

1998, Music

Leitmotif (1998) by dredg

Apparently these guys were Nu Metal once upon a time. You can sometimes hear that in the vocals – without actually knowing anything about Linkin Park, I’d say I hear a similarity in the way this guy sings – but on the whole the idea that this was a Nu Metal band on their EPs …