Tag: Singer Songwriter

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 …

Music

Darkness on the Edge of Town (1978) by Bruce Springsteen

Sometimes I feel like I go on and on about how I think Springsteen is overrated. At least a little of that is because I feel like I have to compensate for all the rock critics who told people Springsteen “saved rock and roll music from disco” or whatever the fuck. But part of that …

1978, Music

Peter Gabriel [Scratch] (1978)

Because of the nature of the collaboration – my favourite guitarist, Robert Fripp, produced this record – I had sort of viewed this record as the holy grail of early Peter Gabriel records, in spite of the lukewarm reviews. I had just assumed that, whenever I got to it, I would discover this incredible mixture …

1973, Music

A White Sport Coat and Pink Crustacean (1973)

I gave a listen to Down to Earth recently, as I figured that I should give the infamous Jimmy Buffett a listen for the podcast, given his longevity, his popularity and his notoriety. But I read that he had essentially disowned that album – it is a pretty conventional singer-songwriter album that does not give …

1968, Music

Randy Newman Creates Something New (1968)

For someone with my oft-stated supposed ability to tolerate weird, unconventional voices, I sure seem to struggle with them lately. On first listen to this record, I thought about dropping it, as I wasn’t sure I could deal with the 1968 iteration of Randy Newman’s legendarily unconventional voice.

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 …

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 …

1988, Music

Tracy Chapman (1988)

Chapman’s self-titled album is the introduction of a strong new, one might even say necessary, voice. She offers what was likely a very unique perspective in late 1980s, that of a folk-singing African American woman. Excuse my ignorance but I’m not sure there was much precedent for her, even by 1988. (When I say folk, …

1988, Music

Viva Hate (1988) by Morrissey

One of my reasons for my antipathy towards Morrissey (and the Smiths) is the music, and I must say the music here is much artier and weirder than I was expecting. (I think we can thank Vini Reilly for that. He’s a musically interesting guy in ways that Street and Morrissey normally are not.)

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 …

1968, Music

Bookends (1968) by Simon and Garfunkel

Simon and Garfunkel were one of the groups I listened to more than most when I was in my childhood/tween oldies phase. I want to blame that for why I have such a hard time with them as an adult but I think it’s mostly because I find Paul Simon to be perhaps the most …

1978, Music

Easter (1978) by Patti Smith Group

I struggle with Patti Smith; she’s one of those artists I think I should like, not just because of received opinion but because the things she does are things I supposedly like. But for some reason I have this barrier. I think it comes from how I first heard her.