This is an ode to the shuffle. How better to get a good insight in your digitized album collection than by a classic shuffle? Finally discover the albums you never got into, finally throw the ones away you will never get into and worship those classics that never grow old again. The Shuffle of this week:
1. Guided By Voices – Echos Myron (Bee Thousand, 1994)
After giving the shuffle some inspiration with The Beatles’ ‘Sexy Sadie’, it exceeds my espectations by finding a Guided By Voices track that lasts longer than 2 and a half minutes. After being recommended this album so many times, the shuffle gives the sign to finally listen to this one thoroughly.
2. Arctic Monkeys – 505 (Favourite Worst Nightmare, 2007)
It also tries to make clear to me that I have to listen to the Arctic Monkeys more, but this offer I’m going to reject one more time.
After Lambchop last time, we meet another one from the same genre, a long one this time (8 minutes). This one appeared on their second album, which was a very pleasant sequel to their debut, and features a spoken monologue from Drugstore singer Isabel Monteiro.
4. Beatles – There’s a Place (Please Please Me, 1962)
There’s the Fab Four again, another one from their debut album.
5. Johnny Cash – We’ll Meet Again (The Man Comes Around, 2002)
From the Cavern to a dark jazz club, where the old Johnny Cash is performing this Vera Lynn evergreen in the back, wrapped up in smoke. Marvellous album that’s full of beautiful covers of rock classics, including contributed vocals from the original artists. It hardly ever happens that an artist makes such a beautiful album at such an age.
6. Of Montreal – Disconnect the Dots (Satanic Panic in the Attic, 2004)
Directly from the jazz club to the fun-fair then, with the nice and enchanted opening track of this melodious rollercoaster. Neo-psychedelia that sounds like The Beach Boys getting high on 21st century technology.
7. Uncle Tupelo – John Hardy (No Depression, 1990)
Something completely different: pure alternative country from this epic album. Suppose you’d be a decade, you would be pleased with such an album to kick off things.
8. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Keep on Chooglin’ (Live in Europe, 1973)
We continue with some 13 minutes of jamming with these rock veterans, full of some good old improvisation. The live track almost turns into a medley when Fogerty sets in a very threatening version of ‘Pagan Baby’ in the middle of the song. .
9. Django Reinhardt – Ou est-tu, mon amour? (Djangology 49, 1949)
Small Belgian jazz song about a guy who has lost his Abbey Road album.
10. Pink Floyd – Hey You (The Wall, 1979)
Always pleasant to conclude with Pink Floyd, certainly when it’s one of my favorite album tracks, delivered to you with excellent vocals from Gilmour and Waters.
Progressive rock, a genre to love or hate. It originated in the late sixties thanks to heavy psychedelic rock influences and was pioneered by bands that wanted to go beyond the standard verse-chorus based song structures. As a result, often complex instrumental songs were bundled on concept albums with epic pretensions. It’s well possible that you once caught yourself asking what the hell one of these bands was trying to tell you while listening to one of their albums. The answers are provided here, in Prog Albums Explained. All you need is the album, a comfortable couch and some good headphones.
Genre: Progressive Rock
Preceded by: Selling England by the Pound (1973)
Followed by: A Trick of the Tail (1976)
Related to: Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon
Side 4: (continued from Side 3)
Track 1: The Colony of Slippermen (The Arrrival – A Visit to the Doktor – Raven) + Track 2: Ravine
After an intro full of strange sounds, the propelling keys and drums kick off the closing side, starting with an absolute highlight. After escaping from the snakes, Rael runs into a bunch of mutilated entities called the Slippermen. They tell him that the same thing happened to them with the snakes and that Rael will end up the same way: Don’t be alarmed at what you see, you yourself are just the same as what you see in me. Amongst the creatures Rael recognizes once again his Brother John, who tells him that the life of the Slippermen is devoted to satisfying the never-ending hunger of the senses, which has been inherited from the Lamia.
So we’re getting more and more indications that the criminal activities of Rael have something to do with sexual misbehavior. Certainly when John tells Rael that they’ll have to go to Doktor Dyper to remove the source of the problem, castrating that is. After getting it done, they receive their testicles in a little tube. But the brothers don’t get the time to walk home safely, as a black raven flies by (represented by the haunting synths), stealing Rael’s tube and dropping it in the water below. Rael runs behind it while his brother fears this sign of bad luck, leaving his brother behind once more: Now can’t you see, where the raven flies there’s jeopardy. The track merges into Ravine, an instrumental piece representing the wind across the cliffs of the ravine.
Track 3: The Light Dies Down on Broadway
As the title already presumes, this track shows some similarities with the opening track of the album. But to the contrary of the rest of the album, the lyrics of this track would have been written by Banks and Rutherford and not by Gabriel. However, Rael is searching for his testicles when he suddenly sees a glimpse of reality, as if there was some kind of portal to NYC in one of the cliffs. He sees the streets he’s so familiar with and runs to the way out. But at that point he hears John, screaming for help while he’s drowning in the water below. Rael now has to choose between returning to reality or saving the brother that left him so many times… Hey John!
Track 4: Riding the Scree
So Rael has decided to go after his brother and during this track he’s running along the ravine, chased by the synths. But.. If I want John alive, I’ve got to ditch my fear – take a dive… Here I go!
Track 5: In the Rapids
So Rael’s in the water now, trying to grab his brother. Although the lyrics describe a fairly exciting scene, the track is sung in a very calm way. Rael succeeds to get John out of the water and tries to reanimate him. But then he notices something remarkable: Something’s changed, that’s not your face. It’s mine!
Track 6: “It”
So we arrived at the closing track now, just having discovered that John is actually Rael, in some kind of split personality. As the title of the last track already gives away, it was all the time about ‘it’. It is chicken, it is eggs, it is in between your legs. You should really read the lyrics of this last track yourself, to experience the brilliance of it. And like Peter Gabriel says on the very end of it: If you think it’s pretentious, you’ve been taken for a ride..
First of all a happy new year to all the loyal and less loyal readers of albumblog. I wish you all a lot of listening pleasure in the new year and hope that all your future discoveries may come true. Let’s give everybody a push in the right direction by presenting you the absolute best albums you should hear before you buy a house:
1. Genesis – Selling England by the Pound (1973)
2. Beatles – Revolver (1966)
3. The Band – The Band (1969)
4. Radiohead – Kid A (2000)
5. Guided By Voices – Alien Lanes (1995)
1. Genesis – Selling England by the Pound (1973)
2. Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)
3. Beatles – Revolver (1966)
4. The Band – The Band (1969)
5. Moody Blues – In Search of the Lost Chord (1968)
Although we witnessed two quite different lists in general from our music professors, it was already noticed last time that the similarities grew as we proceeded to the top of the lists. The absolute top perfectly demonstrates this trend, as 3 out of 5 albums are the same. Mister Hofmeijer starts with a surprise on #5, presenting his idol Robert Pollard and his band. This is of course a true landmark album as something like playing 28 songs within 40 minutes using your own toilet as a studio was never performed again afterwards. Mister van Zwanendonk’s #5 was earlier to be found on #17 in his list, just like Kid A appeared earlier on #21 in the first ones list.
The legendary brown album The Band from the Canadian rockers of the same name can be found on #4 and #3, and is best served on a dark Greek beach before some casual nightswimming, with only the stars above you to accompany the pure Americana sounds coming out of your speakers. Both professors also rate Revolver as the best of four listed Beatles albums, on #3 and #2. Lennon, McCartney as well as Harrison are maximally showing off their songwriting capabilities on this album, which makes the album so diverse and at the same time so homogenous concerning the quality of each song separately. An album that is totally ignored by mister Hofmeijer is The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967, added to the poll), runner-up in van Zwanendonk’s list. Let’s not mention the fact that the album was influential, that remark being both boring and redundant, but let’s say that this album is just loaded with brilliant songs.
Both lists are topped by Genesis‘ 1973 masterpiece Selling England by the Pound. I think there’s no explanation needed here if you’ve ever heard this. If you haven’t, just don’t buy a house. At least not one with its own lawn.