0011. Albums I Brought to Work Today - And Why (6/16/00)
Submitted by lbangs on Tue, 02/20/2001 - 10:24
- R.E.M., Murmur - Where did this album come from? Or, perhaps the real question, when did this album come from? Despite titles of their other works, this is truly the disc out of time, sounding both ancient and contemporary at once. Like that kudzu on the cover, the music grows over you until it claims you forever.
- The Pretenders, The Pretenders - For an album so important to new wave, this cd rocks. Still, if you listen closely, back behind that stunning guitar work and snarled vocal, there is an odd mood of melancholy lurking behind the scenes, even surfacing on such fine songs as Lovers of Today. This constant, sad longing gels this album together more than you might think on first listen. Besides, anyone who thinks female rockers are a creation of the 90s has obviously never heard Tattooed Love Boys (or Aretha Franklin, for that matter).
- Primal Scream, Screamadelica - The Stone Roses threatened to mix rock and dance on their fantastic debut, but for all the critical talk, dance was definitely playing second fiddle to R n R. This album finished the job, and threw in some of the greatest, burnt-out songs this side of Exile on Main Street to boot.
- The Clash, London Calling - Like Blonde on Blonde or the White Album before, London Calling unleashes an overwhelming rush of pop brilliance held together by its own eclectic diversity. Pop, rock, reggae, punk, and more form a group together and jam until the wee hours.
- Elvis Costello, This Year's Model - Possibly the greatest album ever. Elvis wrote his sharpest songs and spat them out like razor knifes. The Attractions tear through each song as if trying to outrun the blades. Pure energy wired through cutting guitar, a drummer who may well be going mad as we listen, a swift bass, a circus organ from hell, and the raw, defiant whine of a nerd who will not be silent or polite any more. This album erupted like a volcano and has remained a much-neglected mountain ready to go off everytime the play button is hit ever since.
- Nirvana, Nevermind - It wasn't the punk-influenced roar that shot this one to the top; it was their hidden weapon. Cobain could write pop songs like nobody's business. Once these classic tunes were melding to that riot music, the world woke up. Radio stations dumped their Poison, Warrant, and Motley Crue albums to join the movement. How could this had been a bad thing? We needed this music, and we were lucky that, for a short time, Cobain delivered.
- The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - What can I say? Revolver might boast equal songs, but this album somehow mysteriously clings together more than it has any right to. A soaring carnival that takes time to both sympathize and gently critique the parents of a runaway, contemplate aging without growing maudlin, and delight in the refreshing pull of a lovely meter maid, and these are the lesser known songs! It doesn't matter, anyway, since after track 12, the world ends forever.
- David Bowie, The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust - Whether Bowie controlled Ziggy or Ziggy controlled Bowie is highly debatable, but for this album, Bowie definitely sounds like someone from Mars. He sings of UFOs, strange radio shows from outer space, and a paranoid rock god slowly imploding upon himself as if this sci-fi hooey was life-changing fact. For some in the 70s, it was. Every song is a classic, it still ain't easy, and time is still pulling on the cig.
- Pavement, Slanted and Enchanted - The Beach Boys in the 90s, perhaps, if Wilson had exploded instead of imploded. In fact, this sounds like a bunch of kids in a garage recording with equipment old enough to be the same stuff the Beach Boys worked with in their own garage back in the early 60s. This was one of the first of the decade to use the sloppy, inadequate noise of crappy amps and antique mixers to its advantage. Melodies suface and sink, lyrics get tossed and washed over, guitars roar, roll, and wipe out, and somehow, a new music emerged from the deep. This was the other revolution of 91, but this one was never televised (or played on the radio, for that matter).
- The Who - Meaty, Beaty, Big & Bouncy - Individually, the Who may have had the best musicians to grace a rock band. The fact that they could actually tap that energy to create music as a band, not a jangle of soloists, is rare and breathtaking. Winnow down their early songs to the absolute best, and you get this fine compilation. Spinal Tap's exploding drummer HAD to be influenced by Moon, who constantly sounded as if he might go nuclear any second. Frenzied, melodic, genius. If time was distance, these boys definitely saw for miles. And miles.
- The Smiths, The Queen is Dead - Just picked this one up last weekend, so I can't say much except that so far, it has done the amazing task of topping my much-loved Smiths' Singles collection, and that's saying something.
Database was down, I was bored, and this idea was born. Enjoy!