Tag: Music

1974, Music

Pretzel Logic (1974) by Steely Dan

I liked Countdown to Ecstasy more than any other Steely Dan record I’ve ever heard. And it imbued me with the hope that I would hear further records, probably from this time in their career, that I would also enjoy more than most of their records. I had that hope until I listened to this …

1999, Music

14:59 (1999) by Sugar Ray

I hated Sugar ray. I hate “Fly.” I hate “Every Morning.” I hate Mark McGrath’s flat singing and his fame-whoring. I hated their super poppy “fusion” thing which seemed like some weird kind of experiment of what would happen if a generic “alternative” pop rock band tried to incorporate hip hop like it was nu …

1999, Music

…Baby One More Time (1999) by Britney Spears

I’m not sure I can convey the loathing I felt towards Britney Spears when she first debuted. I hated both her music, the singles of which were catchy enough they were hard to ignore, and what she represented: manufactured pop. I told myself she was a puppet. In 1998 and 1999 it felt like we …

1989, Music

Technique (1989) by New Order

The fusion of alternative and dance was such a big thing in the late 1980s in the UK. But it’s not something I really get because, well, I don’t like dance music. But I wish I could appreciate it more, because there are all these bands, with all these acclaimed albums, and I listen to …

1984, Music

Footloose Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1984)

I don’t review soundtracks normally for at least two reasons: normally they are not entirely composed of original music and they are not culturally significant enough – i.e. some kids probably bought it but the rest of us likely ignored it. But this one, well it is composed of original music, to the best of …

1984, Music

1984 by Van Halen

I know when I listened to Van Halen’s debut album – I think the only album of theirs I’ve actually listened to all the way through before this one – I was thinking it lacked one thing: synthesizers. The decision to add a cheesy ’80s synth to a sound that was already pretty fucking dumb …

1984, Music

Learning to Crawl (1984) by Pretenders

I never liked Chrissie Hynde. I don’t know why I didn’t like her when I was young – maybe I just didn’t have an opinion and don’t remember – but I know why I didn’t like her as an adult: I watched her and Morrissey shit on prog rock in New York Doll while I …

1993, Music

Quique (1993) by Seefeel

I don’t know ambient music much beyond the 1970s, aside from a few 1990s albums I’ve encountered due to my podcast. But I do know that the vast majority of ambient music in existence has been created with synthesizers and other electronic instruments, keyboards hooked up to synthesizers and now computers, not rock band equipment. …

1978, Music

Public Image First Issue (1978) by Public Image Ltd

Simon Reynolds begins his definitive history of post punk, Rip It Up and Start Again with “Public Image” and this album. He argues that Lydon leaving the Sex Pistols, recording and releasing a song about them and releasing this record mark the point at which punk wasn’t just punk, but evolved into something else. It …

1973, Music

Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh (1973) by Magma

The first time I heard Koenji Hyakkei I thought “Oh my god, what is this?!?!” and kind of lost my mind. It seemed like someone had invented a new spin on prog rock in the 1990s and I had just missed it during my teens. It was a while before I knew about Zeuhl or …

1973, Music

Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1973) by Black Sabbath

Is a band that does one particular thing very well, like Black Sabbath, allowed to evolve? It’s one of those tricky questions. On the one hand, we expect many if not most artists to evolve in some way. (Thank the Beatles for that, if you hate that.) On the other hand, some bands (AC/DC, Ramones, …

1968, Music

S. F. Sorrow (1968) by The Pretty Things

If being first counts for anything, this record deserves more attention than it has received (in North America, anyway). Tommy is viewed by so many people as the first ever rock opera but it wasn’t first (this came out five months earlier in the UK), however a delayed release of this record in the US …

1998, Music

White Ladder (1998) by David Gray

When I lived in rez, my neighbour played this record fairly frequently because he loved Dave Matthews and Dave Matthews put it out in the US. (He seems to have played it so much that, a few years later, I would insist that the men in my rez only liked DMB, Sublime and David Gray, …

1998, Music

Chaosphere (1998) by Meshuggah

I listen to every record I review a bare minimum of three times (but rarely more than that unless I own the album and have heard it before). But every so often I listen to a record three times and I’m pretty sure I need to listen to it more to figure it out. This …

1998, Music

Supposed Form Infatuation Junkie (1998) by Alanis Morissette

My biggest problem with Jagged Little Pill is its faux grunge (what we would now call post grunge) production; there’s this veneer of trying to make Alanis fit in with alternative rock bands, but it’s clearly the work of someone who was never in an alternative rock band and is just trying to create a …

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

No New York (1978) by Various Artists

I have heard about this record so much that it was inevitably going to prove difficult to listen to it by the time I got around to it. I first learned about it in The Secret History of Rock close to twenty years ago but I have at least managed to listen to the Contortions …

1978, Music

Outlandos d’Amour (1978) by The Police

The Police’s debut album is a bouncy energetic thing, with way better than you’d expect musicianship for their music scene and the kind of performances you would require from that same scene. Much of what initially captivated people about this band, present on this album, would disappear by the end of their career.

1973, Music

The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle (1973) by Bruce Springsteen

I have never heard a Springsteen record like this one. Maybe that’s because I just haven’t heard that many Springsteen records but I suspect or at least wonder that it’s because, at some point later on, he figured out who he was, and this version wasn’t part of that (or wasn’t normally part of that).

1973, Music

Piano Man (1973) by Billy Joel

I do not like Billy Joel. I recognize he has talent but let’s say I don’t like the way he uses it. I find his melodies too sappy and saccharine but even when I don’t I often don’t find them compelling enough. I regularly do not like his lyrics. But it’s really the arrangements that …

1973, Music

Stranded (1973) by Roxy Music

I must say I was pretty damn worried about the first post-Eno Roxy Music album. I have heard later records and, well, I didn’t love them. I don’t love where Ferry took the band. I figured this was the beginning of the end, with the “end” being Ferry the oh so sophisticated synthpop crooner.

1968, Music

The Marble Index (1968) by Nico

If you only knew Nico from Chelsea Girl (i.e. you had never heard The Velvet Underground & Nico nor were you aware of her subsequent reputation), I have trouble imagining the shock of this record. It’s a little like what later happened with Scott Walker, albeit not nearly as radical, but it took Nico less …

1998, Music

1965 (1998) by The Afghan Whigs

I did not particularly enjoy the critically acclaimed Gentlemen and I think so much of that has to do with when I heard it, in my late 30s. I suspect had I heard it when I was, say, 22, I might have really liked it a lot. It’s still a fine record but, as a …

1998, Music

I’ve Been Expecting You (1998)

I know basically nothing about Robbie Williams because I am Canadian. I read that he was unbelievably successful in the UK during his solo career but, like so many UK artists, he didn’t quite translate to North America. Yes, he’s had the odd hit, but nothing compared to the dominance he’s had in the UK. …

1988, Music

American Water (1998) by Silver Jews

Pavement were such a big deal – or seemed like they were such a big deal – that I think it’s really easy to understand why they inevitably come up with this band, even though, according to some sources, this band existed prior to Pavement, and certainly in some iteration or other. But even if …

1998, Music

Dearest Christian, I’m So Very Sorry for Bringing You Here. Love, Dad (1998) by PM Dawn

I have long had a particular impression of 1990s R&B, an impression formed in high school when subjected to Boyz II Men and whatever else. Even with all the listening to ’90s R&B I’ve been doing lately, encountering all sorts of things I never thought I’d listen to, I still haven’t been able to muster …