Tag: Pop Rock

2000, Music

Sing When You’re Winning (2000) by Robbie Williams

It is one of the strangest musical careers of our time, that Robbie Williams was perhaps the biggest star in the UK, for like nearly a decade, and was just a guy with some minor hits in North America. It’s something that has happened over and over and over again – with British stars failing …

1995, Music

Ben Folds Five (1995)

At some point during the last 30 or so years before this album’s release, the piano stopped being a rock instrument. That’s particularly weird given its primary in the creation of rock and roll, as it was piano and saxophone, before electric guitar, that helped create what became rock and roll (in part because they …

1990, Music

No Fences (1990) by Garth Brooks

I honestly thought Garth Brooks was a songwriter. I have a memory of channel-surfing and finding a show on which he and some other country songwriters were discussing songs they wrote. So I just assumed he wrote all or most of his material. Going by this album, his breakout hit, he doesn’t. (He co-writes 4 …

1975, Music

Atlantic Crossing (1975) by Rod Stewart

When going through Stewart’s solo early solo records I’m always wary that maybe this one will be the one in which he abandons his early sound for the money-chasing of his later career. But the truth is never so straight-forward and so I find myself listening to a record that manages to both sound close …

2000, Music

Parachutes (2000) by Coldplay

Imagine early Radiohead with none of the energy or edge (i.e. none of the alternative/grunge influences) and none of the aritness or idiosyncrasy, and imagine them playing mostly ballads (and the up-tempo songs are so soft they sound like ballads) and I guess you get some idea of what Coldplay sound like on their first …

1995, Music

Tigerlily (1995) by Natalie Merchant

If you had asked me what I knew of Natalie Merchant before I listened to this album, I would have told you I know she was the lead singer of 10,000 Maniacs and I know she’s a featured vocalist on a couple of the Mermaid Avenue songs. That’s it. Well, now I know better.

1985, Music

The Dream of the Blue Turtles (1985) by Sting

Sting’s songwriting grew leaps and bounds while The Police were together. But what grew more was his musical palette, as the police moved from a band that played one style of music (essentially poppy art punk-reggae) to a variety of styles. The Police basically never really got along with each other but, at some point, …

1975, Music

Main Course (1975) by Bee Gees

This album is considered a bit of a landmark in the Bee Gees catalogue because it marks the transition (or the beginning of the transition?) from their earlier baroque pop sound to their disco sound, as well as the introduction of Barry’s falsetto. This is as far as I know one of their albums.Personally, I’m …

1980, Music

Joan Jett aka Bad Reputation (1980)

Joan Jett was pretty young when she made this record – only 19 or 20 – but it sounds like it was made by someone 10 years her senior. That’s often a compliment but it’s not here: like so many punk-adjacent albums of the late ’70s and early ’80s, this one is obsessed with the …

1975, Music

Captain Fantastic and the Dirt Brown Cowboy (1975) by Elton John

I keep having the same experience over and over again with artists I’m relatively unfamiliar with, like Elton John: I listen to 2 or 3 or 4 albums and I’m unimpressed and then I get to like the 5th album (or sometimes even the 6th) and I have some kind of epiphany and suddenly worry …

1985, Music

Around the World in a Day (1985) by Prince and The Revolution

I suspect the degree to which I like this album is heavily influenced by the narrative around it, and my lack of engagement with that narrative. Prince is a known iconoclast when I’m listening to this record for the first time. He’s done things such as change his stage name and fail to release completed …

1980, Music

Empty Glass (1980) by Pete Townshend

The story goes that Townshend was writing songs for both this album and the subsequent Who album and Daltrey at least feels like Townshend kept most of the good material for himself and gave the band the less good stuff. (I should point out I’ve never bothered with Face Dances because one thing I don’t …

1990, Music

I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got (1990) by Sinead O’Connor

Sinead’s second album is considerably more self-assured and even than her debut, though it’s lacking a bit of the energy of the debut and, also, the pure shock factor of a woman so young seeming like such a self-assured songwriter and performer. And like the debut, it hasn’t dated that well, but that’s sort of …

1980, Music

Glass Houses (1980) by Billy Joel

I read somewhere that this is supposed to be Joel’s “punk” album, not in that it sounds like punk that it is his response. I think that comes from a way too deep reading of the lyrics to “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me”, and if it is indeed his response to these trends …

1965, Music

The Beach Boys Today! (1965)

Well this is the moment when the Brian Wilson who has been endlessly celebrated by the music press truly emerges, at least in album form. Though the lyrical sophistication of these songs has been greatly exaggerated (to a degree I don’t think I can stress enough) the musical sophistication is leaps and bounds beyond most …

1985, Music

No Jacket Required (1985) by Phil Collins

The more I listen to Phil Collins’ solo work – and, to a lesser extent, post-Gabriel Genesis – the more I have come to respect him, both as a performer and, especially, as a songwriter songwriter. His sense of melody is really strong and his lyrics are definitely above average. I know from Genesis that …

1980, Music

Get Happy!! (1980) by Elvis Costello and the Attractions

I don’t know Costello’s career as well as perhaps I should, given his sheer volume and his reputation as perhaps (British) New Wave’s preeminent songwriter. But I feel like I know it well enough to mark this as the first record when he began his genre-driving. It’s not as drastic as a departure as some …

1970, Music

Sweet Baby James (1970) by James Taylor

I don’t like James Taylor. But I’m not sure I knew that before listening to this album. I don’t think I’d ventured much of an opinion about him before, because he never seemed very interesting to me. I have a friend who likes him, and I think tried to get me into him at one …

1995, Music

The Rapture (1995) by Siouxsie and the Banshees

This is my first ’90s Banshees album and I must say I was a little reticent to give it a listen, for two reasons. For one thing, though I feel like their ’80s records have dated rather well for ’80s music, I must say I was worried that this record would sound pretty damn ’80s. …