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We continue with our list today, having another ten splendid albums to fill your cold winter evenings with. Some big all-time classics are delivered by mister Hofmeijer while mister van Zwanendonk gives you the opportunity to complete your prog collection further.

RKH:

16. Van Morrison – Astral Weeks (1968)
17. The Moody Blues – In Search of the Lost Chord (1968)
18. Eagles – Hotel California (1976)
19. The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds (1966)
20. Prince – Purple Rain (1984)

GvZ:

16. Electric Light Orchestra – Out of the Blue (1977)
17. Pink Floyd – Atom Heart Mother (1970)
18. King Crimson – In the Court of the Crimson King (1969)
19. The Move – Shazam (1970)
20. Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon (1973)

Hofmeijer starts with a little fetish on #20, after which two absolute Westcoast classics follow, Pet Sounds and Hotel California respectively. Both albums go together well with eating a Greek souflaki, or even better with thinking about eating a souflaki while you’re sitting in a hot van. The list is topped by two 1968 classics, with an absolute masterpiece at #17 and an album we found earlier in the other list at #41.

The only common album in van Zwanendonk’s part also appeared on #41 in the opposite list, more precisely Dark Side of the Moon. Other absolute prog classics can be found on 17 and 18, with Floyd’s heavily orchestrated Atom Heart Mother and the epic In the Court of the Crimson King. Also from 1970: the magnificent second album from The Move, one of the greatest British sixties bands that was never successful overseas. These guys started covering songs from The Byrds, and while the typical sixties pop sound still can be heard on this album, the band is already moving towards something different with longer and more complex compositions. That something different would end up to be Electric Light Orchestra, after Jeff Lynne joined the band. Their ultimate pop explosion of happiness can be found on #16.

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.

 

 

Year: 1974

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 3: (continued from Side 2)

Track 1: Lillywhite Lilith + Track 2: The Waiting Room

Another case of two songs merging into each other, with the second one being another instrumental. Rael is still in the middle of this chaos, when he suddenly hears a blind lady (Lilywhite Lilith) asking him to help her out of the crowd.  In return she will lead him out of this place. So Rael follows her but instead of escaping he’s left behind disillusioned in the darkness:  Then she sat me down on a cold stone, carved in jade. A bizarre noise is approaching now while he stays in ‘the waiting room’. Those sounds originate from unused compositions of the band from 1969, resembling the experimental parts from Pink Floyd’s Atom Heart Mother.

Track 3: Anyway

This seems to be some kind of stream-of-consciousness experience from Rael in which he’s confronted with his death. Death seems to come much faster than Rael expected  (Anyway, they say she comes on a pale horse, but I’m sure I hear a train) and when the piano-driven song is at its highest orchestrated point, Rael looks Death right into the eyes…

Track 4: The Supernatural Anaesthetist

Death is impersonated by the supernatural anaesthetist. He approaches Rael, but it appears that he didn’t come to claim his soul and as such he disappears again.  This is the reason there are few lyrics in this song, which is mainly driven by Hackett’s guitar playing, including a beautiful outro. However, the anaesthetist left a charming impression on Rael: he’s such a fine dancer.

Track 5: The Lamia (+Track 6: Silent Sorrow in Empty Boats)

This track is really reigned by Tony Banks’ keys. Rael is tired of having this schizophrenic flashes in the middle of the rubble, so when he suddenly smells a strange scent, he decides to follow it to see where it comes from. It leads him to a hole in the wall and he succeeds to crawl through it. Now he witnesses the strangest thing: a pool filled with snakes all having female heads and breasts. The entities are seducing him to join them in the pool. Has this something to do with Rael’s criminal record? However, Rael stands astonished doubting his sight, struck by beauty, gripped in fright. Rael enters the pool and the Lamia start to devour Rael’s body but they end up dying because of his poisonous blood! The track flows over to ‘Silent Sorrow in Empty Boats’, a very calm interlude with a zooming mellotron, a sinister warning of what’s to come on side 4…

-Continue to Side 4

Although not everybody seems to get the cryptical goal of our list, to be sure that you have listened to a certain 50 albums before you buy a house, we continue today with the upper half of the list. Remarkably, the first part of this half is totally dominated by the year 1970, scoring not less than 5/10. Even more remarkable is that Cat Stevens is represented by two different albums from that same year, Tea for the Tillerman (RKH #25) and Mona Bone Jakon (GvZ #23). Also Radiohead is represented by two different albums, both being the second album from the band in each list till now, after OK Computer:

RKH:

21. The Beatles – Rubber Soul(1965)
22. Radiohead – In Rainbows (2007)
23. CSNY – Déjà Vu (1970)
24. John Lennon – Plastic Ono Band (1970)
25. Cat Stevens – Tea for the Tillerman (1970)

GvZ:

21. Radiohead – Kid A (2000)
22. Fleetwood Mac – Bare Trees (1972)
23. Cat Stevens – Mona Bone Jakon (1970)
24. Santana – Abraxas (1970)
25. Cream – Disraeli Gears (1967)

RKH also delivers his second Beatles album with the magnificent Rubber Soul, the reincarnation of the Fab Four. Déjà-Vu and Plastic Ono Band are both albums we found earlier in GvZ’s list at #39 and #44 respectively. In that list Abraxas was earlier found at RKH on #34, and together with Disraeli Gears (added to the 1967 poll), they form an excellent couple of albums to cross the Greek mountains, whether or not you’re thinking about buying a house. More epic vinyl next time.

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.    Death Cab For Cutie – 405 (We Have the Facts and We’re Voting Yes, 2000)


The shuffle started with the fifth song from the second album of this American indie rock band. Not much to add, hardly listen to their albums anymore.

2.    Pixies – Here Comes Your Man (Doolittle, 1989)

It continued with an absolute alternative rock classic from the Pixies’ second album Doolittle. At first I thought my shuffle had hit The Beatles’ ‘A Hard Day’s Night’, using the same opening chord. The Byrds-riff that follows keeps this one a favorite.

3.    Beatles – Come Together/Dear Prudence/Cry Baby Cry (Love, 2006)

With a small delay, the Fab Four play at last. Having the most songs of all artists in the collection, it’s no surprise to hear them again. This is the Love version of Abbey Road‘s opening track, mixed by George Martin and son. The transition to McCartney’s ‘Can you take me back where I came from’ certainly adds value to this Lennon-classic.

4.    Pink Floyd – Money (Delicate Sound Of Thunder, 1988)


Another classic rock evergreen in an edited release, as Pink Floyd plays their Dark Side of the Moon classic live in New York. With an extended intro and solos, it contains ten minutes of guaranteed joy.

5.    Beach Boys – Here Today (Pet Sounds, 1966)

Probably my favorite Pet Sounds track after, obviously, ‘God Only Knows’. The music written by Brian Wilson is just absolutely genius, filled up by  Tony Asher’s sad lyrics, sung by Mike Love. It starts with just a little glance now!

6.    Cotton Mather – Aurora Bori Alice (Kon Tiki, 1997)

Now this Texan rock band deserves a much broader appreciation. This album in my opinion is one of the most refreshing guitar albums from the past 15 years. The lead singer makes you think Lennon is still alive now and then, and the guitar licks just keep coming!

 

7.    Moody Blues – House of Four Doors (In Search of the Lost Chord, 1968)


Legendary song from a legendary album of a legendary band. Amen.

 

8.    Morrissey – You Know I Couldn’t Last (You Are The Quarry, 2004)


Took me a while to get into The Smiths and in the end I succeeded. Curious if the same will apply to Morrissey, till now it does. It takes me a while.

 

9.    Paul McCartney & Wings – Helen Wheels (Band On The Run, 1973)


Talking about legendary albums, huh? This track did not even appear on the UK versions as it was released as a single long before all the other hit singles kicked in. The album is without any doubt McCartney’s absolute solo masterpiece.

10.    Mogwai – Secret Pint (Rock Action, 2001)


The shuffle closes with the closing song from the third album of Scottish post-rockers Mogwai. That album goes on the mp3 player right away, long time since I listened to it.

Contributed by RKH
BLASPHEMY!

We’re halfway now in our trip to find out what albums are regarded fundamentally important before becoming an house-owner. And frankly, these lists from our two professors couldn’t be further apart at this point.

RKH:

26. DJ Shadow – Endtroducing….. (1996)
27. Patti Smith – Horses (1975)
28. Neutral Milk Hotel – In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (1998)
29. Grateful Dead – Workingman’s Dead (1970)
30. Radiohead – OK Computer (1997)

GvZ:

26. The Byrds –  The Notorious Byrd Brothers (1968)
27. Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
28. Bob Dylan – Blonde on Blonde (1966)
29. Traveling Wilburys – Vol.1 (1988)
30. Simon&Garfunkel – Bridge over Troubled Waters (1970)

Dr. RKH shows an almost insulting disregard for the sixties and appears to have some unexplainable fetish with the nineties this week. Granted, albums like OK Computer and Entroducing….. are hallmark albums who gave music a new direction; hell, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is even featured in the design of this website! But still, Dr. GvZ is deeply disappointed in his colleague, especially because he already admitted to -spoilers!- not including The Notorious Byrd Brothers in his list. He even spoke words of blasphemy.

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.

 

 

Year: 1974

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 2: (continued from Side 1)

Track 1: Back in N.Y.C. + Track 2: Hairless Heart

These tracks are also treated as one as the first song smoothly fades into the second instrumental one. As Rael has now seen something and some people he is familiar with, he’s thrown in into a flashback that takes him back to the streets of New York City. He’s contemplating the times he had there together with the gang. How he gained their respect by misbehaving in several ways:  I’m the pitcher in the chain gang, we don’t believe in pain. In this way, this song gives the listener a first glance at the distorted mind of Rael which was discussed earlier in the title track. The music is creating some panic at this point, before fading into the instrumental interlude. No time for romantic escape, when your fluffy heart is ready for rape.

Track 3: Counting Out Time

Despite this warning from the last track, everything is becoming much more brighter in this song where Rael has his first experiences with love. We are now confronted with the softer sides of his character in what’s probably the most accessible song on the whole album. It has a catchy melody with a lot of synths that will stay in your head for days after hearing it, but the lyrics are probably still way too odd to become a mainstream hit (Erogenous zones I love you. Without you, what would a poor boy do?). Perhaps we should be happy about that. In fact, this song is the prelude to the next one, as the album is now reaching its melodic peak. Move over Casanova.

Track 4: The Carpet Crawlers

We are now at another absolute highlight of the album, musically (this would be one of the melodies that Gabriel has written)  as well as lyrically. Rael witnesses a bunch of people that fail to reach the top of a spiral stair, where they can escape from their misery. While the dreamy keys and synths that are producing some harp-like sounds certainly add a great part to the atmosphere, it’s above all the great mix between Gabriel’s lead vocals and Collins’ backing vocals that portray the helplessness of the people so well. Mild mannered supermen are held in kryptonite.

Track 5: The Chamber of 32 Doors

As we learn (after a great guitar solo) in this song, Rael has succeeded to reach the top of the stairs. Pity for our hero, the escape from his misery is still far away as he now ended up in a huge room containing no less than 32 doors (Are you listening, Moody Blues?). The room is filled with a large crowd that are all pointing to different doors, as only one door leads out. Rael is becoming desperate and begs for someone to show the right door. I’d give you all of my dreams, if you’d help me find a door that doesn’t  lead me back again. Take me away.

 -Continue to Side 3

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Jukebox

GreenRiver1969 StandUp1969 darksideofthemoon1973 ledzeppelin1969