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Song of the day.

6.30.2011



"Belong" by Cary Brothers. Featured on last night's SYTYCD.

#343: The Piper at the Gates of Dawn by Pink Floyd


The Piper at the Gates of Dawn by Pink Floyd (1967)

Favorite Track(s): "Lucifer Sam" and "Chapter 24"

Thoughts: I have to say this is my first real Pink Floyd listen. I know a few of their songs, but am not at all familiar with their catalog. I believe this is their debut album?

Anyway, I liked it, but as I've said for other albums before, I think I'm a bit too sober to fully appreciate it. I'm such a square, it's true. "Interstellar Overdrive" was a pain to get through, and the rest was just mediocre to me. So far I rank new-to-me 60s rock bands thusly:

1. The Yardbirds
2. Rolling Stones
3. Pink Floyd

Is This Better Than A Hard Day's Night?: Nope.

#344: At Newport 1960 by Muddy Waters

6.29.2011

At Newport 1960 by Muddy Waters (1960)

Favorite Track(s): "(I'm Your) Hoochie Coochie Man" and "Baby, Please Don't Go" and "Got My Mojo Working"

Thoughts: Muddy Water is wonderful, and so is this live album from 1960 in--you guessed it--Newport.

Is This Better Than A Hard Day's Night?: Yep.

#345: Roger the Engineer [Yardbirds] by The Yardbirds (1966)

6.28.2011


Roger the Engineer [Yardbirds] by The Yardbirds (1966)

Favorite Track(s): "Lost Woman" and "Over, Under, Sideways, and Down" and "Rack My Mind" and "Farewell" and "He's Always There" and "Turn Into Earth" and "What Do You Want"

Thoughts: (Pre-Listening) Hey, the Yardbirds are back! Again! So soon. You were here just 4 albums ago. But you're back. And with kinda lame album art. Let's hope the music makes up for it all! (Side note: I'm listening to the original UK release track listing.)

(Post-Listening) I might get a lot of hate for this, and it might just be my lack of Stones exposure, but I think this album is of the caliber what I expected Between the Buttons to be. Roger the Engineer is just incredibly solid, tight, luscious 60s rock, and I was so impressed by everything on it...so my question is, why aren't The Yardbirds as big a band in the history of rock? Their lack of longevity? A wonder. Because this album was awesome.

Is This Better Than A Hard Day's Night?:


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#346: Rust Never Sleeps by Neil Young & Crazy Horse

6.27.2011


Rust Never Sleeps by Neil Young & Crazy Horse (1979)

Favorite Track(s): "My My, Hey, Hey (Out of the Blue)" and "Thrasher" and "Sail Away"

Thoughts: Oh hey, Neil Young! I think this is the first album of his we've had on the list so far. Growing up I hated his voice, and it felt like my parents had to play "Heart of Gold" and "Old Man" ALL THE TIME and I couldn't get over how awful he sounded. As I grew older I learned to tolerate his voice, but still love him most of all with Crosby, Stills, and Nash.

I think my favorite Neil Young song is "Man Needs A Maid" but I also like "Unknown Legend" and "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" and a few more. I'm hopeful he'll show up a lot more on the list so I can hear more of his catalog.

I really liked most of this album. "Ride My Llama" made me think of two things, neither of which had much to do with the actual song. First:



And second:



Ok, I just really wanted to post both of those. Sue me. Also, "Sedan Delivery" felt like a 90s REM song, so that was cool (for a 1979 album). Good stuff!

Is This Better Than A Hard Day's Night?:


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#347: Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits


Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits (1985)

Favorite Track(s): "So Far Away" and "Money for Nothing" and "Walk of Life" and "The Man's Too Strong"

Thoughts: The Dire Straits and I have never made much time for each other. I tend to associate them with my parents, especially Mark Knopfler. But somehow I've just never been that interested in them. Like, less interested than I am in The Eagles, but probably more interested than say, Boz Scaggs. Does that clear up everything?

Confession: I always thought the song "Walk of Life" was "the walk on by." Which makes much more sense, in my opinion... Parts of the album were a bit too smooth jazz for me, like "Your Latest Trick." "Ride Across the River" reminded me of a Donkey Kong Country level for Super Nintendo.

Is This Better Than A Hard Day's Night?: Sure...maybe.

#348: 52nd Street by Billy Joel

6.24.2011


52nd Street by Billy Joel (1978)

Favorite Track(s): "Big Shot" and "Honesty" and "My Life" and "Stiletto" and "Rosalinda's Eyes" and "Half A Mile Away" and "Until the Night"

Thoughts: (Pre-Listening) THIS IS AN ALBUM BILLY JOEL HAS MADE, I WILL REJOICE AND BE GLAD IN IT. Guys, it's finally happened. We finally have some Billy Joel on the list. I'm not sure I've shared before with you, dear people of the internet, my love for Billy Joel. My great, blinding, blistering, earth-shattering, heart-stopping, tongue-wagging, ankle-breaking, nose-piercing, soul-crushing love for Billy Joel. Well, not Billy Joel the person, perhaps, but Billy Joel: The Singing Piano God, definitely.

I'm starting to realize that the piano is the way into my musical heart, and Billy Joel and Elton John really are at the top of that list, along with Bruce Springsteen and Lennon & McCartney of course.

I've sort of noticed within the last few years that people seem to think it's cool to not like Billy Joel's music. They write him off for "We Didn't Start the Fire" and leave it at that. Well, that's their loss. AND STUPIDITY. So get ready for me to be all over the place in this post as I try to express my deep admiration and abiding love for one William Joel.

(Post-Listening) So I just adore the song "My Life" as I have for many years, but even more since seeing an episode of Miranda that features it. When attempting to find a gif of said scene via google, guess what came up in the first 5 results:



My blog and my tumblr. Whatever, I HAVE NO REGRETS. Instead, I will post the video that shows the scene, from the episode "Holiday", which you will now watch (hop to 6 minutes in):



Now I can never hear "My Life" without doing the piano hands she does, and it's improved my life greatly, I must say. The beginning of the song reminds me of Mika's "Love Today" now. Anyone? Anyone? Sigh. The intro (after the sax solo) to "Stiletto" reminds me of the clapping interlude of the epic All That Jazz (1979) rendition of "Bye Bye Love" (skip to 3:50):



Right? RIGHT? Sigh. "Rosalinda's Eyes" is, of course, connected to Freaks and Geeks. "Oh my god, she's running to get to us."



Every now and then there is the Billy Joel song that leaves me thinking, "that must be an inside joke or a reference I don't get." Like "Zanzibar." But I'm more than willing to allow it, because everything else is heavenly. Like "Until the Night" when he harmonizes with himself? FREAKING GORGEOUS.

Is This Better Than A Hard Day's Night?: Preciousbabydarling David Tennant and I agree:


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#349: Having A Rave - Up [with The Yardbirds] by The Yardbirds


Having A Rave - Up [with The Yardbirds] by The Yardbirds (1965)

Favorite Track(s): "You're A Better Man Than I" and "Still I'm Sad" and "Heart Full of Soul" and "Respectable"

Thoughts: The monk-esque sung intro to "Still I'm Sad" totally reminded me of the monk scene in Start the Revolution Without Me. And let's just say I love that movie more than I loved this album. Which isn't too bad, because I REALLY love that movie, you know?

This album was good 60s British rock, and the band had definite skill, but it left me unsatisfied, personally.

Is This Better Than A Hard Day's Night?: Not to me, but it was alright.

#350: 12 Songs by Randy Newman

6.22.2011


12 Songs by Randy Newman (1970)

Favorite Track(s): "Mama Told Me Not to Come" (but I prefer Three Dog Night's cover) and "Rosemary"

Thoughts: (Pre-Listening) Randy Newman, WHY CAN'T YOU LEAVE ME ALONE? All the songs on your other album we heard sounded like Pixar soundtracks! I'm over it and I'm done.

But you're here because you a a good (notice I did not say GREAT) songwriter, so you will be mildy tolerated today. But please bring your a-game.

(Post-Listening) So. I was looking at the track listing, and I was like, "Awwwwww, there's a song called 'Lover's Prayer', I bet that's going to be so lovely and sweet! These are the lyrics:

Don't send me no young girl to love me
With their eyes shinin' bright

All the young girls are afraid of me

Send me a woman tonight

Don't send me no hand-holdin' baby
'Cause I been with babies before
Don't send me nobody that's crazy

Don't send me no young girls no more

I was entertaining a little girl in my rooms,
Lord
With California wines and French parfumes,
Lord
She started to talk to me about the War,
Lord
I said, "I don't want to talk about the War."
Don't send me nobody with glasses
Dont't want nobody above me
Don't send nobody takin' night-classes

Send me somebody to love me
Please answer my prayer
Please answer my prayer

Please answer my prayer


RANDY NEWMAN WHY DO YOU FEEL THE NEED TO BE SUCH AN ASSHOLE/CREEP? You don't want the Lord to send you someone who wears glasses or takes night classes? Ass. And let's not eve talk about the 'babies' part. Creep.

And then there was this song called "Let's Burn Down the Cornfield" which was an utter and complete waste of 3 minutes and 5 seconds. It's called the cutting room floor, Randy, and I suggest you send some songs there.

Finally, the song "Yellow Man" is waiting for its [racist] Pixar film!

Is This Better Than A Hard Day's Night?:

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#351: Between the Buttons by The Rolling Stones


Between the Buttons by The Rolling Stones (1967)

Favorite Track(s): "Yesterday's Papers" and "Back Street Girl" and "She Smiled Sweetly" and "All Sold Out"

Thoughts: (Pre-Listening) Well, the day has come. Our first Rolling Stones album. You'd think that given the name of the magazine, the Rolling Stones would be the artists with the most albums on the Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list. But they aren't. They share the same number as Bob Dylan: 10, and the top appearances and ranking goes to--guess who?--The Beatles with 11, 4 of which are in the top 10. It's only natural (perhaps in my mind alone) that there is a real or imagined rivalry between The Stones and The Beatles, as different as they are. And you can probably guess which side I take in that particular contest. :)

I could probably name 10 Rolling Stone songs. Should I try? "As Tears Go By", "You Can't Always Get What You Want", "Hang Fire", "Brown Sugar", "Sympathy for the Devil", "I Can't Get No Satisfaction", "Paint It Black"...and that's all I've got. I'm sure as we hit their albums, I'll recognize a lot more. But the point is, I've just never been into The Stones. And it's not for any necessarily good reason. I never made, I believe, a conscious choice NOT to listen to their music, I just never hit a point where I had to devour their discography. But the time has come and I'm excited, because I know they are Rock Royalty, but apprehensive because I'm afraid they'll be overrated to me. Here we go! (P.S. I'm listening to the UK track listing, not U.S.)

(Post-Listening) It's a 1960s rock album, so I knew I wouldn't hate it, but...really? That's it? As you can see from my favorite tracks, there were songs I definitely liked. But this is THE STONES. I expected more, personally. But then this is all new territory, so maybe I need to warm up to them.

Is This Better Than A Hard Day's Night?: Heck no.

#352: Sketches of Spain by Miles Davis


Sketches of Spain by Miles Davis (1960)

Favorite Track(s)
: "Concierto de Aranjuez" and "The Pan Piper" and "Saeta"

Thoughts: First, I love the album cover, like a classic movie poster for The Man of La Mancha.

And second, it's 1960 Miles Davis, so of course it was a privilege to listen to.

Is This Better Than A Hard Day's Night?: Oh, yes.

#353: Honky Château by Elton John

6.21.2011


Honky Château by Elton John (1972)

Favorite Track(s): "Honky Cat" and "Mellow" and "Rocket Man (I Think It's Gonna Be A Long, Long Time)" and "Salvation" and "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters" and "Hercules"

Thoughts: Oh, Eltoooooooooooooooooooon! Every album on this list between yours feels like the world is trying to keep us apart, when we both know that your music and I are meant to be together and everyone else's music is just JEALOUS and wish they had what we have. (I suppose some love here should also go to Bernie Taupin. Bernie, I love you too. There.)

Maryann whenever an Elton John album shows up on this list:


For real.

This album was actually recorded in a chateau in France, Château d'Hérouville, where a ton of 70s artists have recorded as well. Thanks to my parents, this baby is one I own on vinyl. Have I talked about how great my parents' taste is in music? I have? Well, tough.

For some reason though, I didn't love Honky Château as much as Elton John and Tumbleweed Connection. Don't get me wrong, "Mona Lisa and Mad Hatters" is one of my favorite songs of all time, thanks to Almost Famous and The Concert for New York City. But maybe, for the rest of the record, it's the lack of strings? The prevalence of tongue-in-cheek songs ("I Think I'm Going to Kill Myself", "Amy", etc.) over sincere ones? I just didn't love it like I expected to, even if I loved it more than many albums on this list.

Is This Better Than A Hard Day's Night?: Yep, but only for "Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters" and "Rocket Man" and "Honky Cat", I'm afraid.

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#354: Singles Going Steady by The Buzzcocks


Singles Going Steady by The Buzzcocks (1979)

Favorite Track(s): "What Do I Get?" and "Love You More" and "Promises" and "Why Can't I Touch It?"

Thoughts: (Pre-Listening) This is another compilation album, and for some reason I find the album name so damn clever. Like, best greatest hits album name EVER.

Anyway, I have a confession: my main association with The Buzzcocks is the fact that their name is in the title to one of my favorite shows, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, as a play on the Sex Pistols album name. I'm not sure I actually know any Buzzcocks songs. Let's find out!

(Post-Listening) I do! I do! I know "Ever Fallen in Love?" But that was the only one. Point is, wonderful compilation, enjoyed listening to it!

Is This Better Than A Hard Day's Night?: Ringo says yes.


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#355: Stankonia by Outkast


Stankonia by Outkast (2000)

Favorite Track(s): "Gasoline Dreams" and "So Fresh, So Clean" and "Ms. Jackson" and "Spaghetti Junction" and "I'll Call Before I Come" and "Xplosion" and "Humble Mumble" and "Red Velvet"

Thoughts: Musically Outkast is one of my favorite hip-hop acts to listen to. This album had elements of funk and R&B and pop that often reminded me of other artists like Prince and the Fugees. Some of the content was not my favorite, but that's easier to stomach as long as the music has integrity. Still, there's enough misogyny here for me to not re-visit, except for the singles I love: "So Fresh, So Clean" and "Ms. Jackson."

Is This Better Than A Hard Day's Night?: Not to me, but the musical complexity and variety showcased on Stankonia totally justifies its place on the list.

Clarence Clemons, 1942 - 2011

6.18.2011


Clarence Clemons, my favorite and one of the greatest saxophone players EVER, passed away today. He did solo work, but I know him best from his membership in the E Street Band with Bruce Springsteen. I've seen him twice in concert with Bruce, and today I wore my t-shirt from the first concert, before I'd even heard of his passing. His most recent work was actually with Lady Gaga, where he played a sax solo for her latest song "Edge of Glory" and even appeared in the video with her.

Clarence is on the cover of the incredible album Born to Run (1975) with Bruce, and on that album is a song called "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" which mentions how the E Street Band and Bruce's musical sound came together when Clarence ('Big Man') joined them:

When the change was made uptown
And the Big Man joined the band
From the coastline to the city
All the little pretties raise their hands
I'm gonna sit back right easy and laugh
When Scooter and the Big Man bust this city in half
With a Tenth Avenue freeze-out, Tenth Avenue freeze-out
Tenth Avenue freeze-out...

Danny Federici, the E Street keyboardist and accordionist, passed away in 2008, and it's so hard to lose such incredible artists, who are clearly part of the Boss's family as well. Clarence had been suffering from problems for many years, specifically in his knees and hips, I believe, and last week he had a stroke.

There are numerous songs that I could post that exhibit Clarence's incredible skill, but I'll think I'll keep it to two. First is "Jungleland" from the Born to Run album. I have this sax solo memorized. At the beginning it bursts into the heart of the song like the cry of a newborn baby, and then takes you through the city streets of heartache and romance and loss... (To only hear his solo skip to 4:00, but if you do that don't tell me because it will BREAK MY HEART. The song is so good, it deserves 10 minutes of your time!)


There are SO many performances of that song on youtube that are incredible, but I love to post the early stuff whenever possible.

The second song Clarence actually sings part of, as do each of the 'frontline' E Street members, "If I Should Fall Behind." I first heard the song when watching my parents' dvd of the Live in New York City concert. That version is still my favorite (and I would love you FOREVER if you ever want to watch my copy with me), and I listen to it all. the. time. (I did so especially following the deaths of my paternal grandparents).

Clarence's sax solo is brilliant as always, and then following it he sings one of my favorite parts of the songs: there's a beautiful river in the valley ahead, there 'neath the oaks' boughs, soon we will wed. Honestly, one of my top ten love songs of all time.


The E Street band will never be the same, and the music world has lost one of its greatest artists.

#356: Siamese Dream by The Smashing Pumpkins

6.17.2011


Siamese Dream by The Smashing Pumpkins (1993)

Favorite Track(s): "Cherub Rock" and "Rocket" and "Disarm" and "Mayonaise" (is it too hard to spell it correctly?) and "Spaceboy" and "Luna"

Thoughts: (Pre-Listening) So many thoughts, and I haven't even heard the album yet! Well, first things first.

I'm pretty sure I have a tattoo that is the same font as featured on the album cover, only mine is all caps and theirs is all lower-case. But the point is: EPIC WIN.

Second, you know that scene in Little Women (1994) after Amy's fallen in the frozen creek and Jo was so scared that she forgives her for burning her manuscript and she says, "I could never love anyone more than I love my sisters?"

Well, it was quite surprising to me how much I loved Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness when I listened to it back in January. I didn't want to listen to it. But then it was really good! And the other day I was in the car with my sister and "Tonight, Tonight" came on and she went to change the station and first I was like, "No, don't do it--I love this song!" and then I was like, "WHO AM I?" Maryann of the Past would never have even known that's a Smashing Pumpkins song, much less wanted to hear it! So the point is, I've changed. I now like and respect the Smashing Pumpkins.

Which brings me back to the Little Women quote. I'm nervous about Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness's place on the list at #479, and Siamese Dream being all the way at #356! I fear I could never love any Smashing Pumpkins album as much as I love Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness! Maybe Siamese Dream is high on the list because of how 'influential' and 'ground-breaking' it was, instead of for loveliness, like Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (can you tell I love typing that? MELLON COLLIE AND THE INFINITE SADNESS! I might name a cat that someday). But who knows. Smashing Pumpkins surprised me once, so I'm able to hope they can do it again.

(Post-Listening) Well, "Disarm" took my breath away. The orchestrations were just divine. And coupled with the dark lyrics? I loved it.

The rest of the album was also very good. I probably still prefer Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, but this was great!

Is This Better Than A Hard Day's Night?: Sure!

if you really want to conjure up a ghost, cultivate a space for the things that hurt you most



rake the sands until they surface
bind their tiny eyes
stake out your position, let your armor fall
stay put til they find you, it won't take long at all
rake the sands until they surface
up they come, gone translucent
they're coming up no matter what
fools rush in and the doors slam shut
ghosts of my childhood stay with me, if you will
find a place where there's water, hold you under til you're still
rake the sands until they surface
don't let anybody call them ugly




Song of the day, "Outer Scorpion Squadron" by The Mountain Goats.

#357: Substance (1987) by New Order

6.16.2011


Substance by New Order (1987)

Favorite Track(s): "Ceremony" and "Temptation" and "Blue Monday" and "Perfect Kiss" and "Subculture" and "Bizarre Love Triangle" and "True Faith"

Thoughts: In regard to the title, it's actually just called Substance, but apparently there was a compilation album of the same name by Joy Division (THE BASTARDS--theirs came out a year later!), so they added the '1987' to distinguish it.

And oh baby, this was a good album (which isn't hard to believe, it's a compilation ablum, so it's all the best bits). It felt like a combination of The Smiths, Gang of Four, and The Cure. Which might be totally untrue? I have no idea.

My only complaint would probably be how looooong some of the song intros were. And I'm not talking like gorgeous-piano-Roy-Bittan-intros-that-you'd-give-your-first-born-child-for-one-more-minute intros (example: "Racing in the Street"), I'm talking what-did-you-just-have-a-hard-time-coming-up-with-lyrics? intros (example: "Thieves Like Us." Exception: "Shellshock" as the intro made me feel like I was watching Matthew Broderick hack into government websites, and I happened to like WarGames, thank you very much. Also "Bizzare Love Triangle." Ok, maybe my beef is really just with "Thieves Like Us.")

The point is: great album.

Side note: I listened to the LP track listing, rather than the CD.

Is This Better Than A Hard Day's Night?:

(I believe it's a 'yes' from Paul.)

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#358: L.A. Woman by The Doors

6.15.2011


L.A. Woman by The Doors (1971)

Favorite Track(s): "Been Down So Long" and "L.A. Woman" and "Hyacinth House" and "Riders on the Storm"

Thoughts: (Pre-Listening) Remember the previous Doors album we heard? Strange Days. I didn't care too much for it. So here's hoping this one--their final studio album--is more to my liking! Or not. Because they're The Doors, and they can do as they please.

(Post-Listening) The first half of the album was bluesy-er than I care for. But the rest was really, very good. I definitely liked it better than Strange Days, but I still don't think I'll need to revisit it or own it any time soon.

Is This Better Than A Hard Day's Night?: Not to me, but again, at least I could understand others voting it this high!

#359: Ray of Light by Madonna


Ray of Light by Madonna (1998)

Favorite Tracks: "Drowned World (Substitute for Love)" and "Ray of Light" and "Nothing Really Matters" and "Frozen"

Thoughts: I'll tell you what, guys. I didn't want to like this album. I wanted it to feel dated and boring. Why? Because as we've previously discussed, my love for Madonna is minimal and often just obligatory. As strong female artists go she's not my number one. Or number two. Or numbers three to twenty, either. But! This album was luscious and intriguing to me, I can't deny it. I thought her voice was beautiful and haunting, and the music moved me with each mood it presented from track to track. I'm glad this album was so much higher on the list than Music.

A few songs were a bit throwaway for me (as most pop albums made in this and the following decade were), for instance "Candy Perfume Girl."

Also, side note: I think this is my favorite of all of Madonna's 'incarnations', at least fashion-wise. Doesn't she look gorgeous on the cover? Probably because she'd just done in Evita in 1996 and the Andrew Lloyd Webber exposure rubbed off on her... I don't even know what that means. In fact, Patti Lupone and Mandy Patinkin should have been in the movie, not Madonna and Antonio Banderas, so I take everything back! HARUMPH.

Is This Better Than A Hard Day's Night?: Nope.

#360: American Recordings by Johnny Cash

6.10.2011


American Recordings by Johnny Cash (1994)

Favorite Track(s): "Let the Train Blow the Whistle" and "Bird On A Wire" and "Like A Soldier"

Thoughts: This album was recorded by Johnny in 1993, and save for two live songs, the rest were just him in his living room with his guitar (and producer Rick Rubin).

It was perfectly pleasant to listen to, but many of the songs sounded the same to me, which is a common Johnny Cash issue for me. I probably won't revisit it. But it's good!

Is This Better Than A Hard Day's Night?: Not to me, but it's one where I can see why others would rank it higher.

#361: Louder Than Bombs by The Smiths


Louder Than Bombs by The Smiths (1987)

Favorite Track(s): "Is It Really So Strange?" and "Half A Person" and "Panic" and "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now" and "Ask" and "Back to the Old House" and "Stretch Out and Wait" and "Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want" and "Unloveable" and "Asleep"

Thoughts: When an album is this good, I don't feel like I have coherent thoughts to share! Oh, The Smiths. Everything is heartbreak and nostalgia and longing and youth and tears and dancing and I love it.

I was initially shocked by how many tracks there are on this album: 24! And then I realized that's because this is a compilation album that was released in the U.S. only, containing almost all The Smiths' singles and b-sides that hadn't been available there previously. I know that gives it an unfair advantage to other non-compilation albums, but I don't care! I'm curious to see if any Morrissey shows up on the list, as I've never heard his solo work...

I'm currently reading The Perks of Being A Wallflower, and I think the book makes several references to "Asleep" and now that I've heard it, I totally can see why. It's amazing and my new favorite song.

Is This Better Than A Hard Day's Night?:


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#362: Mott by Mott the Hoople

6.08.2011


Mott by Mott the Hoople (1973)

Favorite Track(s): "All the Way From Memphis" and "Whizz Kid" and "Violence" and "Ballad Of Mott The Hoople (26th March 1972, Zürich)"

Thoughts: Even though we already listened to All the Young Dudes, it took me at least 2 minutes to figure out if the name of the album or the band was Mott...or Mott the Hoople. CONFUSING. (Still not as confusing as the dickweeds who make up the band Suicide, but close.)

Fortunately for Mott the Hoople, they are a 70s rock group, so my anger ends with the album name. This is the level of quality I am expecting at this point in the list, and it is so nice to hear albums that meet it!

I think my favorite song was "Ballad Of Mott The Hoople (26th March 1972, Zürich)", so beautiful and epic.

Is This Better Than A Hard Day's Night?: sure!

I have discovered my latest obsession. Horrible Histories.



It's like Monty Python and Black Adder meet real historical facts in a British children's television series. Also Mathew Baynton is probably going to get a MMWTLOHDW post. Just FYI. (He's the founder of Skinnymandria.)

Another favorite, Historical Wife-Swap:



And another:



Yeah, I'm just gonna keep posting these.



#363: Is This It by The Strokes


Is This It by The Strokes (2001)

Favorite Track(s): "Is This It" and "Someday" and "Last Night" and "New York City Cops"

Thoughts: Here we have another situation where the original album cover is graphic, so I've posted the alternative version. Here's the real one for you PERVS.

This is The Strokes debut studio album. Confession: I conflate The Strokes with Jet and The Hives and all those bands that came out in the early 2000s. But that doesn't mean it's not good music! If anything it feels like an intentional return to the musical integrity of the rock bands of the 70s and 80s, and I love that.

Unfortunately, I think that's about all this album was to me. It's better than a lot of the music being made in 2001, and I didn't have a connection with it then, so all I can say is that it's good, but I don't need to own it or listen to it again.

Is This Better Than A Hard Day's Night?: I'd say no, but I can at least see why other people would think so!

#364: Rage Against the Machine by Rage Against the Machine

6.07.2011


Rage Against the Machine by Rage Against the Machine (1992)

Favorite Track(s): How about no.

Thoughts: (Pre-Listening) If you've been reading along with my reviews, then you saw how I felt the last time we had Rage Against the Machine on here. I didn't despise the album with my whole being (*Cough*PUBLIC IMAGE LTD 's Metal Box*Cough*), but it certainly felt like one angsty-yelling-mess-of-lyrics-over-scratchy-guitar after another. This was my face upon realizing this album was next on the list, at THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTY FOUR:

Wind in my hair and everything. Well, actually maybe it was more like this:

So in other words, I am not excited to hear this album. I am also not excited that it made it this far up the list. But...I am going to listen to it anyway. Rage Against the Machine, please surprise me.

(Post-Listening) Let's just be honest. My 'rage against the machine' music is Jefferson Airplane or CCR or Lennon or CSNY. I prefer my political statements in well-crafted and moving rock songs, rather than shouting over a beat that creates zero curiosity in me for what the lyrics are or what they mean. All I hear is We're mad as hell! Let's blow shit up! 'Cause we're mad about stuff! So let's set things on fire! over and over again. This music isn't raging against the machine, it's raging against my ears. Yes, I just wrote that and I guess it means I am officially an old person.

At one point I thought Zach de la Rocha was yelling "WAAAYYYYNNNNEEE'S WOOOORRRRLLLLDD" but it was actually just "wake up." What a let down.

Is This Better Than A Hard Day's Night?: No.

#365: Reggatta de Blanc by The Police


Reggatta de Blanc by The Police (1979)

Favorite Track(s): "Message in A Bottle" and "Walking on the Moon" and "Contact"

Thoughts: And we're back with some more Police! And that's fine. I just didn't love this album...

Is This Better Than A Hard Day's Night?: I'm gonna have to say no. I'm sorry, I just expected a lot more, and it was just Ok for me. Should be lower on the list.

#366: Volunteers by Jefferson Airplane


Volunteers by Jefferson Airplane (1969)

Favorite Track(s): "We Can Be Together" and "Good Shepherd" and "The Farm" and "Hey Fredrick" and "Turn My Life Down" and "Wooden Ships" and "Meadowlands" and "Volunteers"

Thoughts: Grace Slick! Psychedelic Rock! The 60s! J'adore.

Can you tell every song on this album was a favorite of mine? Because it was. (Except for "Eskimo Blue Day" and "A Song for All Seasons." They were only very good.)

Other fantastic bits: Stephen Stills on the hammond organ for "Turn My Life Down." And just...every single part of "Volunteers." LOVE IT. Brilliant album.

Is This Better Than A Hard Day's Night?: Yep!

#367: Siren by Roxy Music


Siren by Roxy Music (1975)

Favorite Track(s): "Love is the Drug" and "End of the Line" and "Whirlwind" and "She Sells" and "Could It Happen to Me?" and "Both Ends Burning" and "Nightingale" and "Just Another High"

Thoughts: Confession: I love this album cover. If you are going to have a naked lady on your record, this is the way to do it, in my opinion.

The music! It was roxy. Yes, I just wrote that.

When I "End of the Line" came on, I was shocked by how much I loved it, and that's the best feeling when you hear new music. They also have a song called "Sentimental Fool" and all I could think of was He came from somewhere in her long ago, the sentimental fool don't see, tryin' hard to re-create what had yet to be created once in her life. Am I right? Doobie Brothers, FTW. Which, now that I think about it, the Doobie Brothers better effing show up soon, or else.

I believe this our last Roxy Music album on the list, and I for one am sad to see them go, but I agree that Siren is probably the best of the 3 on here.

Is This Better Than A Hard Day's Night?: Yes.

#368: Late for the Sky by Jackson Browne

6.06.2011


Late for the Sky by Jackson Browne (1974)

Favorite Track(s): "Fountain of Sorrow" and "Farther On" and "The Late Show" and "Before the Deluge"

Thoughts: Funny story! This album was released between the other two albums of Browne's we've heard so far: after For Everyman and before The Pretender! So is the list saying this is where he peaked?

I think we could safely say yes. This album is much, much too short at only 8 tracks.

I think my favorite one is "Farther On." I listened to a cover of this song by Denison Witmer on repeat for months. If I ever create a Best Songs for the Single Person's Experience playlist, this would be sooo near the top, if not at it. And so of course I feel I must give you the lyrics so you can understand. I have bolded my favorite bits:

In my early years I hid my tears
And passed my days alone
Adrift on an ocean of loneliness
My dreams like nets were thrown
To catch the love that I'd heard of
In books and films and songs
Now there's a world of illusion and fantasy
In the place where the real world belongs

Still I look for the beauty in songs
To fill my head and lead me on
Though my dreams have come up torn and empty
As many times as love has come and gone

To those gentle ones my memory runs
To the laughter we shared at the meals
I filled their kitchens and living rooms
With my schemes and my broken wheels
It was never clear how far or near
The gates to my citadel lay
They were cutting from stone some dreams of their own
But they listened to mine anyway

I'm not sure what I'm trying to say
It could be I've lost my way
Though I keep a watch over the distance
Heaven's no closer than it was yesterday

And the angels are older
They know not to wait up for the sun
They look over my shoulder
At the maps and the drawings of the journey I've begun

Now the distance leads me farther on
Though the reasons I once had are gone
I keep thinking I'll find what I'm looking for
In the sand beneath the dawn

But the angels are older
They can see that the sun's setting fast
They look over my shoulder
At the vision of paradise contained in the light of the past
And they lay down behind me
To sleep beside the road till the morning has come
Where they know they will find me
With my maps and my faith in the distance
Moving farther on

I mean, my dreams like nets were thrown/To catch the love that I'd heard of/In books and films and songs/Now there's a world of illusion and fantasy/In the place where the real world belongs pretty much describes my entire love life. Or at least my current one! Also, any song that uses the word 'citadel' is first class my book.

And "The Late Show", oh. my. word. Excerpt:

I saw you through the laughter and the noise
You were talking with the soldiers and the boys
While they scuffled for your weary smiles
I thought of all the empty miles
And the years that I've spent looking for your eyes
And now I'm sitting here wondering what to say
Afraid that all these words might scare you away
No one ever talks about their feelings anyway
Without dressing them in dreams and laughter
I guess it's just too painful otherwise

UNF. Also, as per usual, Don Henley does back-up vocals. Why wasn't Jackson in The Eagles already?

Brilliant, wonderful album. Loved it.

Is This Better Than A Hard Day's Night?: Yes!

#369: Post by Bjork


Post by Bjork (1995)

Favorite Track(s): "Hyperballad" and "The Modern Things" and "It's Oh So Quiet" and "Isobel" and "I Miss You"

Thoughts: (Pre-Listening) So here is another publicly well-loved and respected musician who I have just never had the time to listen to. Mostly because I think I've always thought her stuff was too weird for me. However, unlike some of the bands/artists on this list, I'm totally open to the idea that I might love Bjork. I just hope that this album is as good as the list is clearly saying it is!

(Post-Listening) Some stuff was a bit too out there for my current tastes (i.e. "Enjoy" and "Possibly Maybe" and "Headphones") but I ended up enjoying a lot more of it than I thought I would. I'm not sure I made it I-must-own-this-album but I appreciated and enjoyed it.

Is This Better Than A Hard Day's Night?: Not in my opinion, but at the very least I can see how people would like it better. Sort of.

Song of the weekend.



I can't stop listening to this song. And I've decided that if I were ever to sign up for online dating (and I'm not anytime soon), I would just put this song under 'what I'm looking for.' That and maybe Bruce Springsteen's "Human Touch" just to balance out the idealism of Smokey's song. :) And if you STILL haven't seen Blackpool, I will say that this song will always make me think of musical sex scenes. Of which there are not enough in the world.

#370: The Eagles by The Eagles

6.04.2011


The Eagles by The Eagles (1972)

Favorite Track(s): "Take It Easy" and "Chug All Night" and "Most of Us Are Sad" and "Train Leaves Here This Morning" and "Peaceful Easy Feeling"

Thoughts: I have spoken before about my love of self-titled debut albums, and this one here is no exception. Not only is this, I believe, our first Eagles album on the list, but it is also my first time listening and blogging an album on the weekend! When I saw that the Eagles were up next, I decided I'd like to try a weekend post. Also, if I really want to get this whole list done by New Year's (yikes!) I need to step it up!

Now, to the music. If you've been reading any of these posts, or have let me talk to you about my music taste, you know that 70s folk rock is my favorite. We have my parents to thank for that, and this album definitely makes me think of them. Great stuff!

Is This Better Than A Hard Day's Night?: I think it's as good!

#401 - #371: Personal Favorites



#401 - #371 had its ups and downs, but mostly I feel like we are moving out of the Awesome, Mediocre, and Horrific into just Mediocre and Awesome! I'm positive this isn't the case, but it feels like it could be!

Without further ado, here were my favorites from this portion, and links to my reviews/favorite tracks:

1. Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. by Bruce Springsteen (I officially don't know enough people who love Bruce Springsteen. OFFICIALLY.)
2. A Hard Day's Night by The Beatles
3. Willy And the Poor Boys by Creedence Clearwater Revival
4. Anthology by The Temptations
5. The End of the Innocence by Don Henley
6. Radio City by Big Star
7. Country Life by Roxy Music
8. Elephant by The White Stripes
9. (What's the Story) Morning Glory? by Oasis
10. Sandinista! by The Clash

Honorable Mentions: Funky Kingston by Toots and the Maytals, The Ultimate Collection (1948 - 1990) by John Lee Hooker, The Pretender by Jackson Browne, and Eliminator by ZZ Top

#432 - #402
#462 - #433
#500 - #463

Happy listening!

#371: The Ultimate Collection (1948-1990) by John Lee Hooker

6.03.2011


The Ultimate Collection (1948-1990) by John Lee Hooker (1991)

Favorite Track(s): "I'm in the Mood" and "I Need Some Money" and "Frisco Blues" and "Dimples" and "Boom Boom" and "You Know, I Know" and "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" and "Let's Go Out Tonight" and "I Cover the Waterfront"

Thoughts: Every blues song tends to sound the same to me, but in this case I didn't mind. Many of the songs had some rhythm added to the blues, which I appreciated.

Is This Better Than A Hard Day's Night?: I think the surviving Beatles would beat me if I said no, and the deceased ones would haunt me. Also, I happen to agree with them. :)

#372: (What's the Story) Morning Glory? by Oasis


(What's the Story) Morning Glory? by Oasis (1995)

Favorite Track(s): "Roll With It" and "Wonderwall" and "Don't Look Back in Anger" and "Hey Now" and "Some Might Say" and "Cast No Shadow" and "She's Electric" and "Champagne Supernova"

Thoughts: (Pre-Listening) Things I know about Oasis: they're a popular British band, they wrote "Wonderwall" and that I appreciate their reference to Bye Bye Birdie when naming this album. It's very possible I will recognize more of their songs upon hearing them, but as it stands, I know pretty much nothing. I hope I like it!

(Post-Listening) I know I sometimes criticize music on some albums for not seeming timeless. When I say that...I mean it makes me nostalgic for the time it was released, but not in a good way. More like a ugh-so-glad-we-don't-make-music-like-this-as-much-anymore. But this album is timeless in that it makes me nostalgic for the time it was released in a aww-remember-that?-that-was-lovely-and-painful-and-memorable way. And I haven't even listened to it before!

In other words (because even I was confused by that last paragraph, and I wrote it), I REALLY liked this album. I think I was expecting it to be less catchy and more grunge or dark like Portishead. But these songs felt 'real' without being unpleasant to listen to (i.e. whiny). I am starting to see why so many people love Oasis.

Is This Better Than A Hard Day's Night?: Paul?


(Image)

#373: CrazySexyCool by TLC


CrazySexyCool by TLC (1994)

Favorite Track(s): "Creep" and "Waterfalls" and "Switch" (but mostly because of the sample used) and "Sumthin' Wicked This Way Comes"

Thoughts: (Pre-Listening) It's rare for me to do a pre-listening for an album I'm pretty familiar with, but the fact is I want to say before I hear all of it that I don't believe it should be this high up on the list, no matter how much I enjoy "Creep" and "Waterfalls." The fact is this list is for the greatest albums of all time, and I'm just not sure this will be good enough to have received this ranking. But I could be wrong!

(Post-Listening) There were definite points of disappointment. For instance, here are some lyrics from "Red Light Special":

if you want it tonight
just come through my door
take off my clothes
and turn on the red light

SUBTLE. I like 'sexy' music as well as the next person, but "Sexual Healing" this ain't (mostly because they're comparing themselves to sex workers). But that's a minor criticism. The main criticism is that so many of the songs just feel like what were being done at the time--not timeless or brilliant or especially original.

I actually remember buying this album for my friend Christy in (dating myself) 5th grade, and I'm not sure her parents really appreciated that. Considering the main thing we did when we hung out was play with her complete playmobil medieval castle set, and at the time how scandalized I was by the word 'sexy', I don't blame them...

Is This Better Than A Hard Day's Night?: There are some fun, quality songs, but no, not to me.

It ain't no use to sit and wonder why, babe.




Oh hey, it's June. Remember last June? I do. It was horrendous. Sort of like last May.

I realize I haven't been heavy on the personal life posts lately, choosing to post about TV shows and albums instead. I've been keeping my mind busy on work, family, friends, TV, and my trip to London this summer.

Whenever I try to talk about 'me' and how I'm doing, it seems to always end up at how I am in relation to how I was last year. And the year before that. I keep thinking that reaching the anniversaries will help somehow, as if a year passing will mean that I'm finally moving on or will really be able to talk about it or it will be 'safe' to remember what happened and what I experienced.

I've long since re-gained my strength and day-to-day routines, though fortunately now I live somewhere new (thanks massively to my parents who gave me so much of the support and motivation I needed to get out and be somewhere else). But I am still very much haunted--usually at night in bed or in the shower or while talking a walk--by old physical memories of bed-rest, IVs, beeping machines, oxygen tubes, needle pricks, catheters, PICC lines... And then the mental and emotional memories return as well.

The truth is I love to engross myself in television and music every chance I get, because I rarely feel like being alone with my thoughts or memories. Moving forward from the events of 2009 and 2010 has meant not dwelling on them, and instead focusing on being happy day to day.

No, I haven't found a church yet, nor started therapy. I used the opening line of "Don't Think Twice, it's Alright" in my post because today at work when I heard that song, it reminded me of my relationship with God. And how much I still like to feel hurt by God for what happened, and how it all happened. And not in a how-dare-you-my-life-should-always-be-perfect way, but in a don't-worry-about-it-I'm-moving-on way.

When I go to church I feel angsty and uncomfortable and nervous, so I don't go back. And I give myself every excuse possible to not start therapy. Money, time, travel, fear of it not going well (again), etc.

Have you read Tina Fey's book Bossypants? A prayer that she wrote in it has been circling the internet, where she asks that God never let her daughter get a tattoo. For some reason I've taken it so personally. She was probably just trying to say she didn't want her daughter to have 'bad' tattoos. But my actual response when first reading it was well, you better pray she doesn't get spina bifida either. Which is such a harsh and strange reaction. I didn't only get my tattoos because of my surgeries, I also just like how they look aesthetically, and just because my tattoos were gotten in response to a hard experience, does not in any way mean that people who don't have tattoos have never experienced anything difficult, nor that people who do have tattoos got them because of a hard experience. My reaction revealed to me that I still have so many conflicting emotions about the last two years, and continue to feel insecure for having them.

Anyway. Thanks for continuing to read my blog, even when it's just music reviews or silly TV gifs.