Tag: Music

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 …

1978, Music

Crossing the red Sea With the Adverts (1978)

I think the thing that so many people find really appealing about this band is that they manage to combine punk attitude with a pretty strong sense of melody, a sense of melody lacking in other punk bands of the sort of second wave of British punk bands, who got record deals in 1977 but …

1978, Music

Van Halen (1978)

The first time I ever heard “Eruption” my mind was blown. I had never heard anyone play guitar like that (though that was because I hadn’t heard so many guitarists). It was my gold standard in virtuoso (masturbatory?) guitar showmanship until I heard “Spanish Fly,” which seemed so much more impressive for being played on …

1978, Music

Stained Class (1978) by Judas Priest

I do not like Judas Priest, at least as they compare to the other New Wave of British Heavy Metal (henceforth abbreviated NWOBHM) bands. I sort of assumed that was due to the fact that they predated those bands by years and that they jumped on the bandwagon. I am only familiar with their early …

1973, Music

Lifemask (1973) by Roy Harper

Lifemask finds Harper pulled in two different directions after Stormcock, which I assume is his best album; on the one hand retreating from its ambitious format on side A but doubling down on side B. The arrangements are also more elaborate, on the whole, than on that previous record.

1973, Music

Tyranny and Mutation (1973) by Blue Oyster Cult

I didn’t quite grow up with early British metal but when I started listening to music other than oldies in my late teens, Zeppelin, Purple and Sabbath played a pretty big part of my listening. On my second Blue Oyster Cult record I find myself thinking that it was all those years of worshiping those …

1973, Music

In the Right Place (1973) by Dr. John

Really listening to the (sort of) title track for the first time (instead of just being aware of it playing on the radio), it’s clear to me why it’s Dr. John’s biggest hit – the song has much more immediacy to it than anything else of his I’ve ever heard.

1998, Music

Wide Open Spaces (1998) by Dixie Chicks

I understand why this was a hit: it finds a middle ground between the slick sound of Nashville and a rootsier sound of bluegrass that was, I assume, mostly completely out of favour with the Nashville sound due to Garth Brooks, Shania, et al. And Maines is a compelling, alluring lead singer. Though I literally …

1998, Music

Mark Hollis (1998)

Given how world-changing the final Talk Talk albums were, I guess we could be forgiven that Holli’s solo debut (and only record to this point) would somehow also be world-changing. I think there’s a natural desire for us to believe that artistic innovators will always be innovative, and always to the degree that they were …

1998, Music

Moon Safari (1998) by AIR

Due to my podcast, I often find myself listening to music that is outside of my entirely wheelhouse and don’t know what to do with it. But sometimes I find an album like this where I recognize elements but I also don’t have the listening context to know why these elements arranged in such a …

1988, Music

What Up, Dog? (1988) by Was (Not Was)

Imagine if you can a musically less sophisticated but infinitely slicker, but lyrically more earnest Steely Dan, recording with the very latest in ’80s musical technology, and featuring mostly guest vocalists, and you maybe get some idea of what Was (Not Was) sounds like. You also have to up the R&B quotient while dropping the …

1983, Music

What Makes a Man Start Fires? (1983) by Minutemen

This is such a unique take on hardcore – if you can even call it hardcore, since it’s hardly loud enough or musically violent enough to qualify. It’s like something else. I see the descriptor “post punk” thrown around, which might fit, though Minutemen sound absolutely nothing like the British post punk bands (or the …

1983, Music

Duck Rock (1983) by Malcolm McLaren

For much of 2017, there was an ongoing public conversation about “cultural appropriation.” It’s a concept and charge that I have a complicated relationship with because, on the one hand, I believe everyone should be freely able to access and to make use of any cultural artifacts but, on the other, I recognize that there …

1983, Music

Pyromania (1983) by Def Leppard

I struggled with just giving Hysteria my usual three listens and so I was not looking forward to this record. The good news is that it is better than Hysteria. The bad news is that claiming anything is better than Hysteria is damning with faint praise.

1983, Music

Cuts Like a Knife (1983) by Bryan Adams

I’m Canadian, so like every Canadian under a certain age, I know Adams’ hit singles rather well, whether or not I wanted to know them at all. But this is the first record of his I’ve ever heard. It sounds very much like I would expect Bryan Adams to sound (and I’ve heard the title …

1983, Music

Trouble in Paradise (1983) by Randy Newman

Most people who are not fans of Randy Newman seem to be put off by his voice. (Though given his prominence lately, and given the sheer proliferation of unique voices, I think that he sounds a lot less weird than he did when he first starting releasing music.)

1983, Music

Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) (1993) by Eurythmics

I heard my first Eurythmics album after listening to Annie Lennox’s debut and I guess that distorted my expectations for their later work. I also read a lot about how their later work was “weirder” but, well, it isn’t weird… “weird compared to what?” is a question that occurred to me.

1978, Music

The Modern Dance (1978) by Pere Ubu

Imagine New Wave at its absolute quirkiest (i.e. Devo) and then add a dose of avant rock from the late 1960s and you get some vague idea of what Pere Ubu sounds like on their debut. All the herky jerky New Wave stuff is here but so are piercing noises, samples of who knows what, …

1978, Music

Bootsy Player of the Year (1978) by Booty’s Rubber Band

If you’re like me, you sometimes find yourself reading the liner notes for a Parliament or Frunkadelic release and wondering “What exactly is it that George Clinton actually does?” He’s credited as a co-writer on all or most tracks, but he’s usually only one of numerous singers and is rarely credited with playing an instrument. …

1978, Music

Excitable Boy (1978) by Warren Zevon

My only previous experience with Warren Zevon is Sentimental Hygiene. An idiosyncratic songwriter backed by REM – I thought it was going to be really up my alley. But, alas, I really don’t love that record. It was enough to put me off listening to him again. So I find myself listening to this record …

1973, Music

Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player (1973) by Elton John

I have no idea how this is the Elton John record I ended up first giving three full listens to. Sometimes these things happen, I guess, but after listening to it I’m pretty sure it was the wrong one for me. For some reason I listened to Honky Chateau once last May and then decided …

1973, Music

The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1973) by Rick Wakeman

I can’t say I like programmatic music a lot of time as I often find the concept completely unhelpful in appreciating the music. (The exception to this is a really great tone poem, wherein the program sometimes helps locate the experience.) So frankly I am unconcerned with whether or not this record does anything with …

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 …