Tag: Music

1988, Music

Fisherman’s Blues (1988) by The Waterboys

I listened to the Waterboys’ debut a while ago, and grudgingly acknowledged it was probably a pretty big deal in the UK music scene at the time – it might have been the first record you could call “alternative” instead of post punk for all I know – but I didn’t love something about it, …

1988, Music

Ultramage OK (1988) by Soundgarden

Chris Cornell apparently didn’t like the production of their debut and I must say that, as someone who is really familiar with their ’90s efforts, this doesn’t sound like Soundgarden to me. Even Cornell himself doesn’t quite sound like himself. I’m not sure how much that can be blamed on the production, how much it …

1988, Music

The Serpent’s Egg (1988) by Dead Can Dance

I always find myself coming at bands backwards. This is another band where I’ve heard a later album first so my impression of them is distorted by what they did later. In this case, the band sounds pretty much the same which is both a good thing (I knew what I was getting into this …

1988, Music

Copperhead Road (1988) by Steve Earle

I have a weird bone to pick about records that weren’t recorded with the same group of musicians throughout. This doesn’t necessarily apply to guest vocalists, but it does apply to guests on other instruments. I guess my argument would be that I want a record to have a consistent sound and recording with different …

1983, Music

Colour by Numbers (1983) by Culture Club

I thought I hated Culture Club. And then I heard Kissing to Be Clever, which just shocked the hell out of me. Not the singles but the rest of the album, which was far more diverse and brave than I ever would have imagined from the singles.

1983, Music

Head Over Heels (1983) by Cocteau Twins

My only experience of the Cocteau Twins before this record was Blue Bell Knoll, a record that both sounds very different from this one and quite similar. Listening to this, knowing now where they came from, I think I should have rated Blue Bell Knoll higher, because I never would have guessed that it was …

1983, Music

North of a Miracle (1983) by Nick Heyward

I know literally nothing of Haircut 100. I first heard about them in a Billboard chart book I had growing up, and that’s as far as it got. I don’t know what they sound like, as I think they were one of those UK bands which just never translated to a North American audience. So …

1983, Music

Infidels (1983) by Bob Dylan

The conventional wisdom is that this is the first Dylan album after his weird trip to the Christian Music wilderness to really be worth listening to. I have deliberately avoided his late ’70s work because of its reputation, so I have no idea if this is his best album since Desire (1976) or not.

1983, Music

Uh-Huh (1983) by John Cougar Mellencamp

A number of times in the last few years I have put on a Mellencamp album with the intention of talking about it on the podcast and come up with some reason not to talk to about, so I’ve never given any of them the full three listens I want to give any record before …

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. …

1983, Music

She’s So Unusual (1983) by Cyndi Lauper

I have heard “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” way too many times and seen the video way too many times. I can’t say I’ve ever liked the song but at some point it became annoying. (And it doesn’t help that Weird Al’s “Girls Just Want to Have Lunch” is on the lazy side.) And, …

1978, Music

Prehistoric Sounds (1978) by The Saints

Eternally Yours might be the first ever “punk with horns” album, but the band lacked the courage of its convictions and only put them on some tracks. Not so here; instead we have the full embrace of the horn section and the result is, for me, a substantial improvement on the last album.

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 …

1978, Music

52nd Street (1978) by Billy Joel

Full disclosure: I do not like Billy Joel. This is the third record of his I’ve listened to in the last year or so and I have liked exactly zero of them. Moreover, I don’t think I get Billy Joel. At all. I listen to this record and I don’t understand how there are 4/5 …

1978, Music

Killing Machine (1978) by Judas Priest [aka Hell Bent for Leather]

Judas Priest are not my favourite metal band by a long shot, but I had to admire how significant Stained Class was, with some tracks feeling like they were NWOBHM before such a thing even existed. I can’t decide now whether that was due to my very low expectations or the sound of that record, …

2014, Music

Uncovered (2014) by Maya Beiser

I heard part of her cover of “Lithium” courtesy of Cover Me and thought “Wow” and so I decided I had to get this record without another thought. I had never heard of Beiser and had no idea what I was in for. I had high expectations because the part of “Lithium” I heard was …

1973, Music

Sweet Revenge (1973) by John Prine

Many years ago – 15? – I was watching Austin City Limits as usual and John Prine came on. I had never heard of him before but I was blown away. ‘Who was this songwriter I’ve never heard of?’ I thought. I was blown away by his stage demeanour as much as his songs, probably, …

1973, Music

Imagination (1973) by Gladys Knight and the Pips

I basically only know Gladys Knight & the Pips from “Midnight Train to Georgia.” I assume it was their biggest hit. But it turns out I’ve also heard the second track, “I’ve Got to Use My Imagination.” Hence the first two tracks make this album almost feel like a Best Of, because it contains the …

1973, Music

Marjory Razorblade (1973)

Reading about someone before you listen to them is always problematic. I had never heard of this guy but then I read a lot about him on Wikipedia before listening to this record and so much of it was about how much of an “outsider” he was. Well, he may well have been an outsider …

1973, Music

For Everyman (1973) by Jackson Browne

Jackson Browne is one of those artists I’ve heard so much about but never really heard (that I know of). He’s always been on the periphery of music I’ve listened to – guesting on many albums I’ve heard, or co-writing songs, or both – but I’ve never sat down and listened to anything of his …

1973, Music

Burnin’ (1973) by The Wailers

If I had to put money on it without listening to their entire catalogue, I would probably wager than Burnin‘ is the best original Wailers album; it has two of their most iconic songs on it, and the quality of the rest of them feels higher than some of the other albums I’ve heard. Regardless …

1973, Music

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973)

The double album (LP edition) is such a fraught proposition for the artist: on the one hand, for serious fans, it’s the opportunity to hear even more of one of their favourites and so its a treat to cherish – and it should come as no surprise the number of bands whose dedicated fans regard …

1973, Music

These Foolish Things (1973) by Bryan Ferry

A friend of mine told me this album was pretty great. I can’t remember whether or not he said it was one of the great cover albums of all time, but I feel like it was implied if not explicit. And I’ve read elsewhere that it is among them. So my expectations were pretty high, …

1968, Music

Bradley’s Barn (1968) by The Beau Brummels

The usual history of country rock goes something like this: The Byrds invented it with Sweetheart of the Radio. A more sophisticated version of that story is that the International Submarine Band invented country rock, but nobody heard their record, so the Byrds popularized the genre when they hired ISB singer-songwriter Gram Parsons and he …

1998, Music

El Oso (1998) by Soul Coughing

Members of Soul Coughing are quoted in The Secret History of Rock, the pre-internet guide to weird and rarely heard rock music which was my bible for a long time. I made it my mission to listen to all the bands that were featured in that book, but I also made it my mission to …

1998, Music

Aquemini (1998) by OutKast

When I was in first year university Stankonia was everywhere. I would walk down the hall and hear it. It was blaring so loud in my neighbour’s room that first semester I couldn’t escape it. Worse, it wasn’t really Stankonia, it was just the hits: “So Fresh, So Clean,” “Ms. Jackson” and “B.O.B.” just playing …

1998, Music

Is This Desire? (1998) by PJ Harvey

If you spend too much time reading music magazines – do people still do that? – or you spend too much time on the internet, it’s tempting to see Is This Desire? as the flip side of The Boatman’s Call, or a direct response to it or some combination of the two. The easiest thing …