Tag: Pop Rock

1999, Music

Supernatural (1999) by Santana

When this record came out I was just starting to get into the less popular ’60s bands. I was familiar with Santana’s biggest songs from that era, but no their albums. I would get their a few years later and listening to those albums would confirm my impression of this record’s hits: this was a …

1999, Music

Californication (1999) by Red Hot Chili Peppers

“Scar Tissue” was everywhere in the summer of 1999. The radio was always on at my work and so the song was always on. I fell in love with a girl at my work who loved “Scar Tissue.” And so I found myself torn between my love for this girl, who would sing along to …

1984, Music

Born in the U.S.A. (1984) by Bruce Springsteen

I understand why a lot of Boss fans love this record. More than any other record of his I’ve heard, this one has a (relative) lot of songs I know, and I generally avoid Springsteen as much as possible. There are at least four songs here which, to me, are among the most famous Springsteen …

1989, Music

Street Fighting Years (1989) by Simple Minds

Simple Minds is one of those bands that put out an absolute ton of music but which I was only aware of due to their biggest hit. Until 2018 or 2019 I had never heard a single album of there’s. That one album sounded too much like U2 to me, but mostly because of Kerr. …

1984, Music

All Over the Place (1984) by The Bangles

So many of my impressions of ’80s bands with only a couple of hits have been formed by those hits, and so I often find myself encountering a band with strong preconceived notions and finding them just blasted apart by albums. I don’t know if I’m alone in thinking “Walk Like an Egyptian” is gimmicky …

1979, Music

Discovery (1979) by Electric Light Orchestra

I don’t know ELO much at all, though I know a lot of Jeff Lynne’s work as a producer (which I hate). I first read about the band in the first music book I ever owned, but I never got around to listening to them in part because when I first consciously encountered their singles …

1974, Music

Kimono My House (1974) by Sparks

Sparks is one of those bands with such a big cult following that you inevitably encounter someone who loves them. I have, at some point, but it wasn’t a friend, just people on the internet. Reading a lot about a band always gives one impressions, and those impressions are often wrong. So it was with …

1999, Music

The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner (1999) by Ben Folds Five

For most of my adult life I’ve been only vaguely aware of Ben Folds and his band. I think he had a hit or two I heard of and many years ago I managed to listen to their reunion album but it apparently made no impression on me. Despite sort of bemoaning the death of …

1979, Music

Breakfast in America (1979) by Supertramp

I grew up listening to Oldies Radio when that meant music from the 1960s and, occasionally, the late ’50s. Especially as I got older, the station I used to listen to would make exceptions for some music from the 1970s, usually MOR and singer-songwriter stuff. Supertramp was one of the bands that made that cut. …

1989, Music

Oranges & Lemons (1989) by XTC

I don’t know anything about XTC really, just that one of their early ’80s albums has been on my “to listen” list for a very long time. I sort of assumed they were a post punk band but knew basically nothing else. Not knowing anything was good, as it often is, because I didn’t see …

1974, Music

Sparkle in the Rain (1984) by Simple Minds

What do you do when you’ve heard one band your whole life and not another, and then you hear the second band and they sound a lot like the first? But, the thing is, the second band was actually first, and really doesn’t sound that much like that first band.

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 …

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 …

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.