“A pig. In a cage. On antibiotics ”: OK Computer (Radiohead)

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Year: 1997

Genre: Alternative Rock

Preceded by: The Bends (1995)

Followed by: Kid A (2000)

Related to: Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon



In my last year at university I had a course called ‘Science Critics’. For the orally exam I had to prepare a discussion about “something that drew your attention and could be linked to the content of the course”, which was about people wanting everything and getting nowhere by doing so, meanwhile destroying their environment. I wanted to avoid I was going to be outtalked by this grey professor about Dark Side of the Moon, so I picked Radiohead’s version of the 90’s. It was the most pleasant assignment I ever had at university. Welcome to the world of OK Computer.

The nineties were reigned by what’s called ‘alternative rock’, an umbrella term for several genres that emerged from the independent music scene of the mid eighties. So in fact there’s no specific musical style to describe the genre, basically all the bands belonging to it have only one specific thing in common: their most important instrument is the guitar. While The Pixies and Jane’s Addiction paved the way for grunge rock in the US, it were The Smiths introducing an alternative to new wave in the UK, being responsible for the renaissance of the guitar. It opened the doors for typical britpop bands like Oasis and Blur. Just when grunge as well as britpop were within an ace of death, the English rock band Radiohead released their third album: OK Computer. Radiohead quickly became kings of alternative rock, but left the genre again only shortly afterward, trading it for experimental rock on their next albums Kid A and Amnesiac.

The band, consisting of singer Thom Yorke, guitarists Jonny Greenwood and Ed O’Brien, bass player Colin Greenwood and drummer Phil Selway, already formed in 1985 but only started to perform frequently in public in 1991, after all band members (except the young Jonny) were graduated from university. Soon followed the debut album, Pablo Honey, which wasn’t that great of a success, although ‘Creep’ became a massive hit, especially in the US. It was the follow-up album The Bends which brought the band its recognition in the UK. The album was characterized by rather personal lyrics, in huge contrast to their next one and one of the landmark records of the nineties, OK Computer (obviously). The album consists in fact of two kind of songs: melodic rock songs like they made before (but greatly improved) and kinda experimental songs introducing some ambient and electronic influences. They all have one lyrical theme in common: modern alienation.

Because the sequence of the tracklist, together with the music, the lyrics and the artwork, is one of the elements that makes this album immortal, I’m going to run over it chronologically. Opening track ‘Airbag’ gives you the crying voice of Yorke supported by a sinister electronic drum beat, as the band members were great fans of DJ Shadow back then. Not a genius song, but a very solid opening song, introducing you to the theme of the album. That’s why I always consider it a sort of prologue to ‘Paranoid Android’. This one is the first masterpiece, like you’re launched in somebody’s schizofrenic head with the altering moods of aggression, desperation and hope. The multiple sections remind of The Beatles‘ ‘Happiness Is a Warm Gun’, mixed with the ‘slow down and explode’ music of the Pixies.

‘Subterranean Homesick Alien’, is my least favorite song of the album of the album so I leave this one to you. The next gem is ‘Exit Music (For a Film)’. It’s a very naked song in the beginning, with only Yorkes voice (like later on ‘We Suck Young Blood’) and an acoustic guitar, progressing towards a climax in the end. Maybe this song reflects the spirit of the album best with Yorke singing ‘Breath, keep breathing’, ‘Sing us a song to keep us warm’ and the repeated ‘We hope that you choke’ towards the end. Some relief on the next track then, ‘Let Down’, which is driven by a very melodic, beatlesque guitar riff filled up with some nice vocal harmonies. Closing ‘side 1’ is one of Radiohead’s most famous anthems: ‘Karma Police’. It’s actually a quiete simple constuction, based around an acoustic guitar, Jonny’s piano and a very basic rock beat by Phil Selway. But the power of the song is the fact that when you whisper quietly to someone that you’re going to get him, it sounds much more powerful than if you would scream it loudly (and I don’t want to talk about The Beatles here all the time, but listen to ‘Sexy Sadie’ and compare the chord progression for yourself).

The album continues with the cold ‘Fitter Happier’, consisting of lyrics (typical nineties slogans) that are recited by a synthesized voice of a Mac. Not really a song, but totally creating the right atmosphere for the album. On ‘Electioneering’, Radiohead returns to its earlier rock sound, with guitar riffs, drum beats and Yorkes lyrics about political compromises pounding against each other. Following is one my absolute Radiohead favorites: ‘Climbing Up the Walls’. Just like ‘Exit Music’, it shapes a very dark atmosphere by its horror lyrics about serial killers and mental illness, and the powerful music with trip-hop influences. This always reminds me of the music Radiohead would later release on Kid A, Amnesiac and even Hail To the Thief. From horror to a a charming lullaby with ‘No Surprises’, considering the music with its acoustic guitar and glockenspiel. The lyrics however are about a very monotonous life in the modern world, which makes this an awesome contrasting song.

The album almost came to an end then, and after all the emptiness, bitterness and anxiety of the previous ten tracks, the future is again full of hope and lying in front of us. We were ‘Lucky’ of course, but maybe there’s still something in for us. It’s kind of a Floydian song (especially the intro) and also resembles the opening track ‘Airbag’, like this song finally explodes here, with a terrific guitar solo in the end. The album is definitely closed by ‘The Tourist’, which is (in my opinion) just like the opening song not outstanding, but a perfect clincher, easily sliding you out of the world of OK Computer.

This album is like a room with a secret camera with a different character walking in each song. That’s kind of how Tom Yorke once tried to describe it, and I can only agree with it. The interesting thing about this album is that Radiohead is searching for something, just like the characters in its songs. But the band is not searching to find something, it’s just searching because of the searching and is going somewhere nobody else went. The searching on this album resulted in an unquestionable rock classic, an album you absolutely must hear, apart from what your favorite music genre is. But to really experience the album, you have to make an effort. This is no background music, this is a documentary. (Try to) enjoy.

Top Tracks:
1. Paranoid Android
2. Climbing Up The Walls
3. Karma Police

“And I’ll probably feel a whole lot better when you’re gone”: Mr. Tambourine Man (The Byrds)

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Year: 1965

Genre: Folk Rock

Preceded by: –

Followed by: Turn! Turn! Turn! (1965)

Related to: Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited, The Beatles – Rubber Soul



The Byrds are called a source of inspiration for several bands a number of times here, and I’ve declared that it’s time for one of their own albums now: Mr. Tambourine Man. Just like with The Doors, the sublime debut album is the perfect starting point in this case. It’s an absolute must-have for all Beatles-fans out there, as this album is the missing link between Bob Dylan (which is covered four times) and The Beatles, being the American forerunner of Rubber Soul.

The Byrds formed in Los Angeles about a year before releasing their first album. It all started when core members Roger McGuinn and Gene Clark started to perform together in California, mainly covering early Beatles songs. They originally played in different folk bands, just like David Crosby, who joined them a little later. They called themselves The Jet Set and tried to mix this traditional folk music with the sound of the then emerging British Invasion bands. This resulted eventually in the band’s distinct trademark: the wonderful vocal harmonies of McGuinn, Clark and Crosby combined with McGuinn’s jangly Rickenbacher guitar. Chris Hillman and Michael Clarke were recruited on bass an drums respectively, they changed their name to The Byrds and defined the new genre of ‘folk rock’ with the album Mr. Tambourine Man.

The album opens of course with the famous title track, one of the four Dylan covers. However, the song immediately introduces you to that specific Byrds-sound, with the typical guitar intro followed by the vocal harmonies of the chorus instead of a first verse. McGuinn is the only Byrd playing an instrument here, as the rest of the band was not yet adapted to each other at the moment of recording. You can ask yourself what Dylan exactly wanted to tell with the lyrics, but Mcguinn turned them into a kind of psychedelic prayer. The other Dylan song on side 1 is ‘Spanish Harlem Incident’. Dylan would have written it about a gypsy girl he once saw, but the remarkable thing about his song for me is that McGuinn sounds like the perfect mix of Dylan’s and John Lennon’s voices here.

Other Dylan compositions on side 2 are ‘All I Really Want to Do’ (b-side of the single ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’) and ‘Chimes of Freedom’. The latter one is the longest track on the album, on which McGuinn shows another good effort to match his voice with the one of the original songwriter while singing about a lightning storm. This was the last song of the album to be recorded as Crosby initially refused to sing on it, wanting to leave the recording studio. After being physically forced to stay they recorded the song after all, luckily for us, as the harmonies are really awesome on this track.

So what is this, some kind of release of a Dylan coverband? Certainly not, this thing has way more to offer you. Listen for example to ‘I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better’, one of the songs from Gene Clark (who was the band’s primary songwriter) and for me personally the ultimate Byrds song. It’s an upbeat song, very Beatlesque and with the geniusly added word ‘probably’ into the line ‘I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better’. Talking about Beatles, listen to ‘The Bells of Rhymney’ and ask yourself where George Harrison got that sweet guitar riff from ‘If I Needed Someone’.

And there’s more. You can already hear on this album how The Byrds would evolve later on the sixties. ‘Here Without You’ lyrically is a kind of love song, but reminds me of the group’s later psychedelic anthem ‘Eight Miles High’ with it’s typical intro. On side 2 there are two similar songs: ‘I Knew I’d Want You’, sounding like Jefferson Airplane would do a few years later, and ‘It’s No Use’, with that British Invasion ingredient. The last two songs are covers again, ‘Don’t Doubt Yourself, Babe’ even adds a little fifties rock ‘n roll to the album and ‘We’ll Meet Again’ is a reinterpretation of Vera Lynn’s classic war song.

In the years following Mr. Tambourine Man The Byrds (with Roger McGuinn being the only consistent member) would release another number of excellent albums in the genres of psychedelic rock and country, but on this one they define the genre ‘folk rock’ for the first time in rock history. Besides, it’s a great example of how bands were propelling themselves to unique heights by continuously influencing each other. It’s well known that Brian Wilson made Pet Sounds in reaction to The Beatles’ Rubber Soul, but those guys were inspired themselves by an American band that once originated as… a Beatles coverband.

Top Tracks:
1. I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better
2. Mr. Tambourine Man
3. Here Without You

“These are the roots of rhythm and the roots of rhythm remain”: Graceland (Paul Simon)

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Year: 1986

Genre: Worldbeat

Preceded by: Hearts and Bones (1983)

Followed by: The Rhythm of the Saints (1990)

Related to: Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water



Some months ago I started this blog introducing my own concept of ‘the basics’. This is the seventeenth and last album belonging to that concept, meaning it’s time to expand your album collection a little more in depth from now on. But not after a little celebration at Paul Simon’s worldbeat party Graceland.

After the split of Simon and Garfunkel in 1970, of which Simon was the primary song writer, the next logical step was a solo career. This eventually was a big success, releasing a couple of highly acclaimed albums. Simon had already experimented with strange music influences while working with Garfunkel (‘El Condor Pasa’), and continued to do this on his solo records. He incorporated a reggae song on his debut album and kept adopting world music in his work that followed, especially on the live album Live Rhymin’ which was released in 1974. But there was a decline in Simon’s songwriting and recording towards the late seventies and early eighties, and his work became less successful. You could say Simon faced his own kind of midlife crisis, but instead of buying a big sports car he went to South-Africa (despite the cultural ban of the United Nations against the apartheid regime) to design his new musical future. Down in Johannesburg, he recorded Graceland, inspired by the local township music. The album became Simon’s most successful solo album, and one of the defining works of worldbeat, blending western pop music with traditional and world music.

The origins of the album are to be found in the fourth track, ‘Gumboots’. This was originally an instrumental song by The Boyoyo Boys, which Simon accidentally heard and wrote his own lyrics to. Simon liked this new sound that much that he started to write a number of others songs, absorbing musical styles like isicathamiya and mbaganga. I have actually not a single clue what typically characterizes those specific styles, but that’s not at all required to enjoy the album. The first time you can hear this African influence on the album is on track 3, ‘I Know What I Know’, where one of those typical Simon-rhythms is fused with zulu yells and a gospel choir. My absolute favorite in this genre however is ‘Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes’, closing side 1. The intro is sung by a traditional African choir, after some time alternating with Simon’s voice. Then some Caribean guitar riff smoothly kicks in, supported by a delicious drum rhythm. Simon tells us a little story about a wealthy girl while this melody goes on, with the choir returning again in the end of the song.

On side two there’s Simon’s lyrical ode to Africa and it’s rhythms and music: ‘Under African Skies’. This track features Linda Ronstadt’s beautiful harmonizing voice and a nice bassline. It flows over in ‘Homeless’, with an outstanding vocal performance of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, a male choral group. Those tracks all show that Simon made another effort to step into other musical cultures, the African one this time. But he clearly didn’t do this just for the sake of it, he really wanted to incorporate this influences into his own style because of their added value. After all, Paul Simon will always be Paul Simon, and this is best demonstrated on the wonderful title track. Another very smooth guitar riff escorts Simon while he’s making a road trip through America towards Graceland after the failure of his marriage. This still is one my favorite songs of all time, with The Everly Brothers contributing some harmony singing.

The album contains another two of such ‘musical stories’, starting with the opening track ‘The Boy In The Bubble’. It actually has an accordion intro, after which Simon kind of ridicules the modern society with all it’s innovations. The most famous track is without any doubt ‘You Can Call Me Al’, the lead single of the album. It’s an (autobiographical?) story of a man in the middle of an identity crisis. Especially it’s video, featuring actor Chevy Chase ‘singing’ the lyrics, had a great impact as it was a success on MTV, launching Simon to the forefront of pop music again.

The last track of the album, ‘All Around the World or The Myth of the Fingerprints’, brings us our ‘lawsuit of the week’. Simon played with Los Lobos (as one of his guest musicians) during the recording of the album and after Graceland became a massive success, Los Lobos claimed Simon stole this song from them without crediting them. However, Graceland is an album filled with brilliant songs, delivered by Simon as little stories. This is one of those rare albums you can recommend to almost everyone, regardless of their musical references. Enjoy.

Top Tracks:
1. Graceland
2. Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes
3. The Boy in the Bubble

“Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way”: The Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd)

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Year: 1973

Genre: Progressive Rock

Preceded by: Obscured by Clouds (1972)

Followed by: Wish You Were Here (1975)

Related to: Radiohead – OK Computer, Genesis – The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway



What makes The Dark Side of the Moon one of the most famous albums ever made in the whole world? Its high critical acclaim by like everybody writing about rock music?  Its huge commercial success, remaining in the charts for 741 (!!) weeks from 1973 to 1988? Its cover, which became one of the most iconic images in rock history? Or the fact that this album strikingly described the changing mood of that time, leaving the spirit of the sixties (which had died in Altamont) behind and facing the Vietnam war and Watergate? Whatever it is, with the release of this album in 1973 Pink Floyd became the biggest progressive rock band in the world.

Pink Floyd gradually came into existence after architecture students Roger Waters and Nick Mason started to play in some bands together. Later on they were joined by Richard Wright and art student Syd Barett. As a successful psychedelic band (releasing some hit singles and debut album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn), they formed the British antithesis of American acts like Jefferson Airplane and 13th Floor Elevators. However, Barett’s mind became a little too psychedelic for the rest of the band to deal with, so he was gradually replaced by David Gilmour. Subsequently, Pink Floyd started to evolve towards a progressive rock band with long, experimental tracks and philosophical lyrics on the albums Atom Heart Mother and Meddle. The band also became famous for it’s innovative album artwork and elaborate live gigs, so in fact there was only one thing missing which would define Pink Floyd as the biggest prog rock act in town: a concept album.

It was Roger Waters who came up with the idea of making an album about things that will drive people into insanity, inspired by the mental problems former band member Barrett suffered from. They came up with subjects like time, greed, war, rush, death,… and originally gave the album the title Dark Side of the Moon: A Piece for Assorted Lunatics. They released it as The Dark Side of the Moon and the impact of the album was enormous, as music critics quickly recognized the brilliance of it’s concept. But the album also became a huge commercial success, selling millions of copies, especially after ‘Money’ became a rare hit single for the band. The reason for this commercial success prolly is the fact that this album lacks some extended instrumental experiments that was typical for Floyd’s preceding (and following!) albums. That’s why it’s also the perfect starter for the uninitiated Floyd ones.

Each side of the orignal LP consists of a continuous piece of music, introduced and ended by a heartbeat, in that way reflecting the human life. It starts with the combined track ‘Speak to Me/Breathe’, stressing the primary elements of the life one lives. It contains samples from a lot of other tracks to follow on the album, like the clocks of ‘Time’ (which has a reprise of ‘Breathe’), the cash registers of ‘Money’ and the laughter of ‘Brain Damage’. Then we move on to the instrumental ‘On the Run’, with the synthesizers taking you to the rushy scene of an airport, pointing at the anxiety of flying.

At the beginning of track 3 you are completely shaken awake by the alarm clocks telling you it’s ‘Time’, followed by a fantastic instrumental intro of Mason’s drum solo and Waters’ bass picking, lasting for about two minutes. This track especially shows how beautiful  the voices of Richard Wright and David Gilmour (which are kinda similar), can be harmonised together. The lyrics tell you how time can get a grip on your existence when you underestimate its speed. It’s brilliantly followed by the return to solitude in the end of the song, with the reprise of ‘Breathe’. The logical next step is death, touchingly portrayed with ‘The Great Gig in the Sky’, closing side 1. Guest singer Clare Torry screams unintelligible lines, representing the ascending spirit of a death person. She received £30 for her contribution back then, but after some suing  in 2004 she succeeded to get some settlement concerning the royalties of the song.

Side 2 opens with the single ‘Money’, well-known for it’s recognizable intro (sounds of cash registers supported by a bass riff) and the legendary transition from sax solo to guitar solo. It became the biggest commercial success of the album, which is quite ironic  as it’s an accusation against greed and consumerism. It flows over into ‘Us and Them’, the longest track on the album and also containing some sax solos. The song is about conflict in all it’s possible forms, war as well as personal relationships.

What’s next is some form of medley like the one closing The BeatlesAbbey Road. It starts with another instrumental one, ‘Any Colour You Like’, which fades over into ‘Brain Damage’, one of my personal favorites. Roger Waters takes the lead vocals here, singing ‘and if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes’, pointing to former member Barett, who would sometimes just start playing another song in the middle of a performance with the band at the top of his mental problems. The climax of he album is the last song, ‘Eclipse’, with it’s loud melody telling us what we people all have in common.

What characterizes the album throughout all the tracks are the different voices that were  mixed into it. These are all extracts from interviews Roger Waters took with all kind of people who were present in the studios at the times of recording, ranging from studio staff to other artists recording in the Abbey Road studios. The laughter on ‘Brain Damage’ for example was contributed by road manager Peter Watts (father of Naomi). Paul McCartney was also interviewed, but his voice was never used as his answers were considered as ‘trying too hard to be funny’. Lol. Enjoy this  absolute ‘must have heard before you die’.

Top Tracks:

1. Time
2. Brain Damage
3. The Great Gig in the Sky

“From the moment I could talk I was ordered to listen.”: Tea for the Tillerman (Cat Stevens)

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Year: 1970

Genre: Folk Rock, Soft Rock

Preceded by: Mona Bone Jakon (1970)

Followed by: Teaser and the Firecat (1971)

Related to: not available yet



Another album from 1970, as it might have become clear that the period between 1967 and 1972 is my favorite era in pop history. Back then, singer-songwriters still made music you didn’t just smoothly fell asleep to. One of the greatest of his generation was Steven Demetre Georgiou, inspired by John Lennon and Paul Simon (who had just broke up with their respective groups) and with an exceptional talent for great melodies.

Because he realized no American would buy music from some guy called Georgiou, he adopted the stage name Cat Stevens. Stevens was an English art student who liked playing piano and guitar. In the early seventies he would suddenly claim world fame after  releasing three very successful albums: Mona Bone Jakon, Tea for the Tillerman (both 1970) and Teaser and the Firecat (1971). Of all three albums (on which Stevens created the artwork himself), Tea for the Tillerman would become most famous.

Stevens already released some singles in 1966 (featuring John-Paul Jones on bass before he joined Led Zeppelin), with the first album following in 1967. But in 1969 he suddenly ended up in the hospital after contracting tuberculosis, fighting against death. During his recovery, his perspective on life and spirituality changed. He started to meditate, to read about other religions and became a vegetarian. And also: he wrote like forty songs which would appear on his following albums. First on Mona Bone Jakon, with the hit single ‘Lady D’Arbanville’. Next was Tea for the Tillerman, mixing lyrics of ordinary life situations and spiritual questions with great folk rock melodies.

Songs that were heavily influenced by Stevens’ stay in the hospital are ‘But I Might Die Tonight’ (obviously), ‘On the Road to Find Out’ (find one’s self through personal experiences and religion, with really awesome vocals) and ‘Sad Lisa’ (about a girl nearing the point of depression). The opening song of the album, ‘Where Do the Children Play?’, has a broader perspective, contemplating the challenges mankind has to cope with during the beginning of the seventies: war, poverty, ecological trouble,… . While coping with these challenges we tend to forget primary needs.

The only single of the album was ‘Wild World’, which was kind of a sequel to ‘Lady D’Arbanville’, as it describes Cat’s goodbye words to his departing lover, Patty D’Arbanville. The combination of Stevens’ voice and guitar beautifully awakes the sad feeling of leaving. A song a little more mysterious is ‘Into White’, which I still don’t really get. It’s about some organically built house with plants and animals inside, but it also says you have to be aware of violence, and in the end everything is ’emptied into white’. Find out for yourself where this is all about.

However, my absolute favorite of this album is ‘Father and Son’. The song tells a dialogue between a father and his son (surprise), with the son explaining that he wants to leave to seek his own destiny. The father (echoed by Stevens with a lower voice) doesn’t understand this desire. The American band Flaming Lips released a song very similar (musically as well as lyrically) to it in 2002, ‘Fight Test’, and were therefore charged with a lawsuit. Flaming Lips singer Wayne Coyne expressed he had no intentions to steal the song, he just liked it very much, and he granted Stevens half of the royalties for the song.

The album is closed actually by the title track, a very short song which was used for the closing credits by the creators of the hilarious British sitcom Extras. Stevens himself made some more albums in the seventies before converting to Islam in 1977, adopting his new name ‘Yusuf Islam’ from then on. He left the music scene two years later and only returned in 2006. However, he never reached the same heights again as on Tea for the Tillerman, telling us with it’s ethical lyrics and smooth melodies that you better enjoy life now, before it’s too late.

Top Tracks:
1. Father And Son
2. On the Road to Find Out
3. Wild World

“Don’t want to be a fat man, people would think that I was just good fun.”: Stand Up (Jethro Tull)

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Year: 1969

Genre: Progressive Rock

Preceded by: This Was (1968)

Followed by: Benefit (1970)

Related to: not available yet



Old bearded men playing endless symphonic compositions and singing about all kind of mystical themes: progressive rock. A genre in music history which is praised as many times as it’s feared. I myself am a big fan; Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Emerson, Lake &Palmer, King Crimson, Yes and even Genesis, I loved it all from the start. Somebody once asked me which ‘prog’ album I would recommend him as he wanted to learn to know the genre. The guy liked bands like The Beatles, The Who, The Kinks, The Doors,… and I could only come up with one album that could soothe the transition from that world of music into one including all the achievements of progressive rock: Stand Up.

Progressive rock originated in the late sixties, heavily influenced by psychedelic rock from the US. Bands like Procol Harum (with it’s hit ‘Whiter Shade of Pale’) and The Moody Blues (with it’s album Days of Future Passed) started to incorporate elements from classical music into their work. Other (mainly British) bands followed by going beyond the standard verse-chorus based song structures with complex instrumental ‘songs’. They frequently brought these songs together on so called concept albums, with all lyrical contributions treating a specific theme or telling stories with epic proportions.

In contrast with bands like Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull didn’t have its origins in psychedelic rock but in blues rock instead and that’s exactly what makes Stand Up such an accessible prog album. Tull’s debut basically was a mediocre blues album featuring a flute. Singer Ian Anderson decided to start playing this instrument after he realized he couldn’t outbid Eric Clapton as a guitar player so he picked an instrument no rock star had played before to become the world’s best at it. Together with this new instrument he started to put in all kind of new influences into the group’s sound after taking full control of the band. He wrote all the tracks on the album, which pushed Tull in the direction of progressive rock.

The first track on the album (with awesome artwork) is the raw, bluesy ‘A New Day Yesterday’. Together with ‘Nothing Is Easy’ (track 6 on the album), these songs are juiced with some solid guitar riffs and sound like the hard rock of Cream, completed with some energetic flute loops. The album also delivered Tull’s first classic: ‘Bouree’. It’s a very jazzy reinterpretation of the classic composition ‘Bourrée in E minor’ by Bach, with Anderson’s flute replacing the piano. Also noteworthy is the delicious bass solo in the middle of the song.

The album continues with ‘Back to the Family’, a song which Anderson must have written to prove that he also had a great voice besides his capabilities as flute player. Moreover, guitarist Martin Barre performs a great solo towards the end, something he repeats in an even better way on the next track, the ballad ‘Look Into The Sun’. But just like last week’s album, the best songs are saved for the second part. ‘Fat Man’ reinvents blues by inserting eastern instruments like the sitar and the notorious balalaika. But it even gets better.

For me personally, the last three songs of the album are the best ones. The most melodic of them all is ‘We Used To Know’, on which Anderson performs the best melancholic vocals I’ve prolly ever heard. It’s chord progression and even the guitar solo in the end was used later by the Eagles for their monster hit ‘Hotel California’, as they liked the song very much while supporting Tull on their tours in the seventies. ‘Hotel California’ might have become the greatest hit, ‘We Used To Know’ is the real stuff. Make your own judgment on that one. The song gets a melancholic sequel on ‘Reasons For Waiting’, a love song which blends the acoustic guitar and the flute beautifully together.

The album doesn’t fade out after this one because you’ll be shaken completely around again by it’s final piece: ‘For A Thousand Mothers’. Anderson’s flute is more aggressive than ever on this uptempo track and just when you think the storm has ended he strikes back one more time with a solo. Certainly check out the album if you don’t know it because if you like it, there’s a lot more waiting for you.

Top Tracks:
1. Reasons For Waiting
2. We Used To Know
3. For A Thousand Mothers