Tag: Singer Songwriter

1976, Music

Turnstiles (1976) by Billy Joel

I have trouble putting into words how much I hate Billy Joel, especially late ’70s Billy Joel. Basically I don’t like anything about his music, though occasionally there will be something redeeming. And I’m getting to that point where I should be inured to him, where the animus should be wearing off. But it’s not.

1966, Music

Little Wheel Spin and Spin (1966) by Buffy Sainte-Marie

This is my first encounter with Buffy Sainte-Marie’s music – save covers of “Universal Soldier” – though I’ve known of her for longer than I can remember. (Is it possible one of my parents had an LP that never got played?) It seems I should have started with her earlier records, but I honestly missed …

2001

The Swimming Hour by Andrew Bird’s Bowl of Fire (2001)

I know very little about Andrew Bird. I actually thought he was a jazz musician, confusing him with, um, another Andrew. (Andrew Hill, apparently, which seems ridiculous.) Anyway, eventually I did figure out he was an “indie rock” musician but knew nothing else. Nothing about his principal instrument, nothing about the Squirrel Nut Zippers, nothing.

1991, Music

Mama Said (1991) by Lenny Kravitz

I get why people like Lenny Kravitz. I think there was probably a time in my life when I could have quite liked Lenny Kravitz. (And maybe, for a while, I sort of did.) And maybe, had I not become the music history obsessive that I am, I would like him to this day. But …

2001, Music

Musicforthemorningafter (2001) by Pete Yorn

It sure is a good thing I didn’t know anything about Pete Yorn and didn’t read any of the reviews about this album before I started listening to it. Because reading some of the breathless critical acclaim this received would have just about guaranteed that I wouldn’t have liked it. Fortunately, I listened first.

1986, Music

Parade: Music From the Motion Picture Under the Cherry Moon (1986) by Prince

I have never seen Under the Cherry Moon, just like I haven’t seen his other movies. But everything I read says that this is a lot better than the movie, so I should be okay.

1971, Music

Histoire de Melody Nelson (1971) by Serge Gainsbourg

I first encountered Serge Gainsbourg through the Great Jewish Music series. (I was probably more aware of his daughter, who I was barely aware of, than I was him.) I liked the Gainsbourg album the least of those records – and I still wish they had made way more – but it did give me …

1996, Music

Boys for Pele (1996) by Tori Amos

So sure, this is denser than her previous albums but I’m kind of mystified by how it’s viewed as “difficult” by so many people. It’s still a woman with a beautiful voice singing relatively conventional songs. I guess we listen to different things…

1981, Music

Trust (1981) by Elvis Costello & the Attractions

Some critics insist this is the best of the early Attractions albums and among Costello’s very best work. I haven’t listened to any of the other records, recently, however, and so I have a really hard time judging whether or not that opinion is correct.

1964, 1966, Music

Lightfoot! (1966) by Gordon Lightfoot

Gordon Lightfoot was born in 1938. He was relatively old when he released his debut album. And, though this shouldn’t matter, it’s really apparent in 1966, when this was released. Because something happened in the early ’60s after Lightfoot began his career, while he was refining his style, recording his debut but, importantly, well before …

1980, Music

Humans (1980) by Bruce Cockburn

Cockburn is one of those singer-songwriters I’ve taken my sweet time getting to, especially strange given his nationality. (Or perhaps that’s on purpose on my part.) This is only the second Cockburn album I’ve ever heard despite how prolific he is and despite his citizenship. (He is a bigger deal in my country, I suspect, …

1995, Music

The Ghost of Tom Joan (1995) by Bruce Springsteen

My two biggest problems with Bruce Springsteen are the hype I grew up with and Springsteen’s aesthetic as a producer (and/or the E Street Band). I’m slowly getting over the first one. And this is one of his few records that sort of addresses the latter problem.

1980, Music

Double Fantasy (1980) by John Lennon, Yoko Ono

The dirty little secret about this record – if it’s even a secret – is that it was a failure when it first came out: it got bad reviews and it didn’t sell very well. People can write all they want about how it was John Lennon’s return after being a dad, or what have …

1970, Music

Starsailor (1970) by Tim Buckley

I guess this is the logical end of Tim Buckley’s pursuit of jazz – a record that has basically nothing in common with his debut or any of his early music, and which feels really mislabeled if the term “singer songwriter” or “folk” is used.

1970, Music

Tea for the Tillerman (1970) by Cat Stevens

At his worst, Cat Stevens is like a sappier James Taylor (which is really saying something). But, at his best, he’s more musically interesting and ambitious than his bloodless contemporaries. My problem with this record is that he’s at his worst far more than he’s at his best.

1970, Music

Stephen Stills (1970)

Though I became kind of obsessed with Manassas’ debut album and Super Session back in the day, Stills is the last of CSNY for me, in terms of listening to proper solo albums. Some of that is accidental (or technical, depending upon how you feel about Manassas). But some of that is also because, though …

1970, Music

Van Morrison, His Band and the Street Choir (1970)

Imagine you were so talented you could come up with an album concept, have it fall apart completely, and then have your record company release some of the tapes against your will and you still end up with this great album. The more I get into Van Morrison the more I am just in awe …

2000, Music

Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea (2000) by PJ Harvey

PJ Harvey is one of the great songwriters of her generation, and this album is another fine example of her abilities. but the record marks a bit of a change in aesthetic for her (as far as I know) that I don’t exactly love.

2000, Music

Whoa, Nelly! (2000) by Nelly Furtado

I’ve paid basically no attention to Nelly Furtado. I was aware of her hits – and remember the hits from this record – but was otherwise utterly uninterested. Some of that has to do with my music tastes – specially my tastes when I was 19 – and some of that appears to have to …

1980, Music

The River (1980) by Bruce Springsteen

We were driving back from a ski resort in Vermont – Bolton Valley or Killington, I don’t remember which – and we got slowed by a massive snowstorm. I was in my tweens or early teens. We were driving up the west side of Lake Champlain and we could only get one radio station from …

1975, Music

Rock of Westies (1975) by Elton John

Based upon the title, the cover, and the presence of “Island Girl”, I thought this was going to be John’s Caribbean record. (I thought “westies” meant “West Indies”; I didn’t know it was a spoonerism.) So colour me surprised by (most of) the actual content.

1970, Music

Tumbleweed Connection (1970) by Elton John

Try as I might, I cannot fall in love with Elton John’s music. I have listened to many of his records at this point – basically only from the ’70s – and I have quite liked one of them. The others don’t really connect with me yet and this one is just another of those.

2000, Music

Hearbreaker (2000) by Ryan Adams

Faithless Street (specifically the expanded edition from 3 years later) is one of my favourite albums of the 1990s and easily my favourite alt country album of all time. I went through a phase where I was chasing that dragon a bit, listening to the other Whiskeytown records and some Adams solo stuff, and never …

1990, Music

Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 (1990) by George Michael

More than his debut album, this record strikes me as the work of a singer-songwriter, one who also happens to be an incredibly dynamic performer, and a multi-instrumentalist. I’ve only listened to Faith a couple of times, but this feels more personal. And I must say I like it more. As an aside: the fact …

1985, Music

Hounds of Love (1985) by Kate Bush

Though I have yet to listen to every one of her albums, this strikes me as her most ambitious album, at least to date. Recording a side-long suite of songs is borderline prog rock (and would actually be, I guess, if the music was a little more connected).