Tag: Singer Songwriter

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

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

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 …

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 …

1998, Music

Whitey Ford Sings the Blues (1998) by Everlast

As you might imagine, I heard “What It’s Like” a ton in High School, pretty much completely unaware that this guy was in House of Pain until someone told me. But having not heard that song since it was in heavy rotation, I had no idea what I was getting into.

1998, Music

Electro-Shock Blues (1998) by Eels

I had long heard of Eels but was actually completely unaware I had heard him, as I had never made the connection between “Last Stop: This Town,” which I vaguely remember from High School, and Eels the band name. So all this time I thought Eels was something else but I had actually heard what …

1993, Music

The Black Rider (1993) by Tom Waits

I’m always willing to listen to any Tom Waits record, particularly any record since he changed his sound, but I also agree with the general consensus that work written (or assembled) for stage shows rarely meets the level of an artist’s best work, especially when that artist is a singer-songwriter (who, by their very nature, …

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.

1998, Music

Whitechocolatespaceegg (1998) by Liz Phair

Phair is a strong songwriter, she writes catchy songs with lyrics that are above average. (I often liken her to PJ Harvey at times, given both have a penchant for writing lyrics from the perspective of other people. Sure, many lyricists do that but they are explicit about it.)

1978, Music

Blue Valentine (1978) by Tom Waits

I am very a much a fan of the Tom Waits who reinvented himself and who gave the world a unique sound. I am less a fan of the early Tom Waits, whose music was far less inventive and imaginative. That’s not to say I dislike ’70s Waits, more to say that I prefer his …

1968, Music

The Hurdy Gurdy Man (1968) by Donovan

Donovan put out so many damn albums in the late ’60s that I have a hard time believing it sometimes. So I stupidly assumed Mellow Yellow was the last one and was going to compare this to it. But no, there was a double album in between – which was confusingly released as two albums …

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, …

1983, Music

An Innocent Man (1983) by Billy Joel

On this album Billy Joel makes me think he’s the pop version of Aaron Copland (in his most Americana phase) – an eminently talented musician who thinks that the best music is the music the people like, not the music he is fully capable of writing if he were more of a snob. I side …

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

Scraps at Midnight (1998) by Mark Lanegan

I got really annoyed with Lanegan’s Blues Funeral (which came out a while ago now) because of its title. I got annoyed because the title referenced the blues and the record didn’t much, as if I had some kind of deeper knowledge of the blues than Lanegan does. But I read a quote from him …

1998, Music

Black Music (1998) by Chocolate Genius

It’s pretty hard to talk about this record without talking about the title. Clearly, the title is intended as some kind of statement challenging the tendencies in media to characterize certain music as “black” music, because what’s here is, for the most part, not what would be associated with “black” music in 1998 – except …

1993, Music

Altered Beast (1993) by Matthew Sweet

When I was a teen, I didn’t get Matthew Sweet. He had the odd video on Much Music and those videos made no impression on me. But some people in the media (and probably even some people I knew) spoke about him as if he was…someone, as if he had done something in the time …

1993, Music

Julius Caesar (1993) by Smog

When we were discussing Will Oldham’s debut (as Palace Brothers) on the podcast a few weeks ago, someone said it reminded them of Smog. So I approached this record with a very different idea than what I had when I first marked it down to listen to (I knew nothing about it).

1988, Music

Lucinda Williams (1988)

I was going to say that there’s something about a debut that tempers my expectations in a way that doesn’t happen with other albums. But this record wasn’t her debut; I hadn’t realized she put out two records way, way earlier, in 1979 and 1980. So I guess the positive spin on this is that …

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 …

1993, Music

Exile in Guyville (1993) by Liz Phair

Many years ago, after hearing way too many times that Exile in Guyville is a song-by-song response to Exile on Main St. I listened to this right around the time I was obsessed with that Stones album. I listened to this once, didn’t hear a song-by-song response, and decided it was one of the most …

1993, Music

There Is No-One What Will Take Care of You (1993) by Palace Brothers

The impact of this record is dimmed a lot by time and by familiarity with Will Oldham’s career. Apparently this was initially released without credits and the sense of mystery that and the music contained herein created probably has a lot to do with this record’s reputation and the launching of Oldham’s career (as Palace …