Tag: Pop Rock

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

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 …

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 …

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. …

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

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

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, …

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, …

1993, Music

August and Everything After (1993) by Counting Crows

I was talking to a guest of the podcast a few episodes ago and I described how my “alternative” junior high school had been just full of alternative rock, pardon the pun, even though I was firmly into “oldies.” I mentioned the grunge usual suspects, which I do remember hearing for the first time at …

1988, Music

Land of Dreams (1988) by Randy Newman

Full disclosure: I do not like Randy Newman. I have yet to hear more than maybe two or three songs of his that I think are really, truly great. (One of them is on this record.) Sure, most of them are above average, but his reputation far exceeds what I’ve heard, in my opinion.

1983, Music

Sports (1983) by Huey Lewis and the News

Imagine recording a song denigrating no wave and new wave in New York and hair metal in Los Angeles (not that I care about the latter) and who knows what else, and celebrating the music of your youth instead – kids today! – but recording that song with terrible ’80s keyboards and a shitty heartbeat …

1978, Music

Parallel Lines (1978) by Blondie

My dad bought a Blondie compilation sometime in my teens. It was a double disc. So I feel like, to the extent I know Blondie, it is through that compilation. Had he bought it 10 years earlier, I would likely know all their hits very well. Alas, he bought it a few years before my …

1993, Music

Tuesday Night Music Club (1993) by Sheryl Crow

For me, Sheryl Crow seemed everywhere in the 1990s. Poppy enough for Top 40 but “rock” enough for some other stations – especially later – in my memory it feels like there was always a Sheryl Crow song playing on the radio when I was in high school. I didn’t pay much attention, mind you, …

1988, Music

Sunshine on Leith (1988) by The Proclaimers

If you’re my age, or a little older, you’ve heard “I’m Gonna Be” more times than you could count. Depending on how you feel about this song, you may be pleasantly surprised by the rest of the album or severely disappointed.Because the thing is, there’s maybe one or two tracks on this album that come …

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 …

1998, Music

Stunt (1998) by Barenaked Ladies

You can count me among the many (millions?) of Canadians who were shocked by the success of this record in the USA when it came out. To me, Barenaked Ladies were a comedy novelty act who had some funny songs and videos, which I had mostly grown out of by the time this record came …

1988, Music

Temple of Low Men (1988)

Like so much other music, I have come to this band backwards, having recently listened to Neill Finn’s solo debut before I had ever heard any of their records. What I discovered on his solo debut is that he is not my kind of songwriter and often not my kind of performer. This is not …

1973, Music

Countdown to Ecstasy (1973) by Steely Dan

I don’t like Steely Dan. I’ve given them four albums (if you include this one), and I find their early stuff way too poppy for my liking and their “mature” stuff to be way too “hipper than thou,” but also far, far too slick. But lo and behold, I like this record. And it’s making …

1968

Aerial Ballet (1968) by Nilsson

Nilsson is just one of those guys I don’t get. I have listened to a few of his records now and every time my reaction is “This is what Nilsson sounds like?” You see, I am not really a fan of pop, and though this music is relatively adventurous – I stress the “relatively” as …

1978, Music

The Cars (1978)

The Cars’ debut album marks the point where, for better or worse, New Wave goes commercial. Basically very previous (American) New Wave album was too arty, too quirky, too herky jerky to connect with the average listener. But Ocasek and company found how to merge New Wave with that basic American need for big dumb …

1998, Music

Version 2.0 (1998) by Garbage

Though I feel like Garbage songs were everywhere when I was in High School, I honestly don’t remember too many of them. (A couple here are sort of ringing some bells, I guess.) So I was genuinely surprised when I listened to the record and then I decided the title must have something to do …

1988, Music

Lovesexy (1988) by Prince

To the extent that I know Prince, I know him as the dynamic performer who effortlessly combines aspects of R&B (funk, soul, etc.) with elements of rock (psychedelia, art rock, hard rock) and pop. Well, he’s dialed down the ambition at this point in his career and I’m not sure that’s a good thing.

1988, Music

Melissa Etheridge (1988)

I know virtually nothing about the history of queer/LGBT performers and especially singer-songwriters in popular music. Depending upon how you feel about the queerness of David Bowie or Freddie Mercury, I may know absolutely nothing. So I don’t truly know how much of a landmark this record is, by a woman who was out, if …

1993, Music

Are You Gonna Go My Way (1993) by Lenny Kravitz

I do not love nostalgia. Even when that nostalgia is for music I like, I have a hard time liking or sometimes even appreciating music that was made in awe of and devotion to another time. Sure, it might sound better than the original because it was recorded better or mixed better or mastered better …

1998, Music

Before These Crowded Streets (1998) by Dave Matthews Band

I have always been the kind of person to go left when everyone else was going right, when it comes to cultural things. If a song is everywhere, it’s pretty much guaranteed I won’t like it. If a movie is getting celebrated a little too much, I want to not like it. What does this …

1973, Music

Diamond Girl (1973) by Seals and Crofts

I am fascinated, on some level, by bands that want to combine “soft rock” and pop with roots music because fundamentally they are two very different things. The whole point of roots music was to return to the pre-rock professionalism, which necessarily embraces the rough edges. But the essence of soft rock, and much if …