50 Albums you must hear before you buy a house (10): 5-1

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:

RKH:

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)

GvZ:

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.

50 Albums you must hear before you buy a house (9): 10-6

We can see the end of the year now, just like the absolute top of our lists looms up slowly. Entering the top 10, the lists of both music professors finally start to display some resemblances. Let’s have a look at some of the last albums you have to dig through before signing that contract of your new house:

RKH:

6. Paul Simon – Graceland (1986)
7. Brian Wilson – SMiLE (2004)
8. Beatles – Abbey Road (1969)
9. Paul McCartney & Wings – Band on the Run (1973)
10. Lee Hazlewood – Cowboy in Sweden (1970)

GvZ:

6. Paul Simon – Graceland (1986)
7. Paul McCartney & Wings – Band on the Run (1973)
8. Panda Bear – Person Pitch (2007)
9. Beatles – Rubber Soul (1965)
10. Jefferson Airplane – Surrealistic Pillow (1967)

Something that immediately stands out is the fact that both lists are topped by Mister Simon’s Graceland. This fantastic album full of melody and fascinating little stories has already become a true classic throughout the years and is best served on a Greek beach full of second hand beer salesmen. Another album that appears in both lists is Paul McCartney’s Band on the Run. Three years after the dissolution of the Beatles, Macca (just like Simon would do 13 years later to record Graceland) went to Africa to make the most successful (at least commercially) album of an ex-Beatle. It goes without saying that both albums are absolute must haves in your record collection.

McCartney is represented two more times this week, together with his three former buddies. Mister Hofmeijer presents Abbey Road on #8 (earlier to be found at GvZ’s #11), while mister van Zwanendonk presents his third Fab Four album at #9 with Rubber Soul (RKH: #21). Two other albums that were met earlier are SMiLE (GvZ: #14) and Person Pitch (RKH: #39). What remains are the two number tens. Mister Hofmeijer offers this spot to his personal idol Lee Hazlewood, who he is trying to become since he first saw him. Meanwhile, mister van Zwanendonk gives you a Surrealistic Pillow to spend the holidays with, as psychedelic distorted guitars and westcoast vocal harmonies were never fused together better than on this 1967 classic, which is of course added to the poll. See you next time for the final end of the lists!

50 Albums you must hear before you buy a house (8): 15-11

Since the world did not explode for no reason this morning, we continue with our lists of all-time best albums. As the year approaches its end, we approach the absolute top of those lists, presenting #15-11. Mister Hofmeijer brings along his seventies record collection, while mister van Zwanendonk presents you the record that can ultimately give meaning to your dark winter weekend, Genesis’ Lamb:

RKH:

11. Bob Dylan – Desire (1976)
12. Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On (1971)
13. Talking Heads – Remain in Light (1980)
14. Electric Light Orchestra – Out of the Blue  (1977)
15. Fleetwood Mac – Rumours (1977)

GvZ:

11. Beatles – Abbey Road (1969)
12. Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)
13. Radiohead – In Rainbows (2007)
14. Brian Wilson – SMiLE (2004)
15. Genesis – The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1974)

Hofmeijer first offers Rumours, a perfect album to listen to while playing some cards, for example on the terrace of your private appartment in the middle of a Greek beach. After that we fly to the planet of joy with the Electric Light Orchestra once again (GvZ: #16) in the same year. Another album we met earlier (GvZ: #36) is Talking Heads’ masterpiece Remain In Light, an album you can talk about during a complete holiday without even playing it, can you figure.

While I’m still wondering what’s going on on #12, you can notice his second Dylan album on top. This is truly one of his favorites, as he personally brought his Desire to Poland to satisfy it right there. Well known for being a huge fan of  Blood On The Tracks, we may even expect that this is not the last Dylan album in his list.

Having a look at the other list, we meet the best friend of your headphones: The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. Feel free to experience the melody rollercoaster yourself while listening to the adventures of Rael, right here. The next one perfectly illustrates that the masterpieces are following one after another now; it was all worth it, Brian. In Rainbows is the third Radiohead album in this list, and was found earlier at Hofmeijer’s one  (#22). Another band delivering his third album is Pink Floyd with one of rock’s true classics. The end of this week is symbolically illustrated by the end of the Fab Four on #11, but I’m sure we’ll see them again very soon. Have a nice weekend and keep the end of the end in mind:
And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.

Shuffle of the week #3

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.    Lambchop – The Militant (How I Quit Smoking, 1996) [singlepic id=61 w=80 h=50 float=left]
It started with the band I can never put a style or genre on. Got the first two records of them, of which this one is the second. Started to listen to it again the past few days and I have to say I really like it. Tips about later work are welcome.

2.    dEUS – Suds & Soda (Worst Case Scenario, 1994) [singlepic id=58 w=80 h=50 float=left]
Already an all-time classic in several end-of-the-year-lists in Belgium. Hearing this album again since many years made me realize that it’s actually a very rough one comparing with their later work. Good album.

3.    Beatles – Carry That Weight (Abbey Road, 1969) [singlepic id=56 w=80 h=50 float=left]
It’s always strange and a little bit disappointing to hear this song out of its album context. Still awesome nevertheless.

 

4.    Buddy Holly – Rave On (single, 1958) [singlepic id=57 w=80 h=50 float=left]
Another very short song, although something completely different. That’s about it.

 

5.    Yes – The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus) (Fragile, 1971) [singlepic id=63 w=80 h=50 float=left]
And once more a short interlude, which could not have been more different from the last one. The song appeared on Yes’ fourth studio album, the first one featuring Wakeman on keys. The albums consists of some epic prog suites together with a couple of semi-solo contributions from the band members. This instrumental song was written by bass player Chris Squire, performing most parts of the song together with Bill Bruford, the later drummer of King Crimson.

6.    The Ocean – Rhyacian (Precambrian, 2007) [singlepic id=62 w=80 h=50 float=left]
The shuffle really likes to mix up things this week, continuing with an eleven minutes during piece from this Berlin experimental metal band. It appears on a double album, of which the first disc contains some real pure and rough metal, while the second one is more symphonic with contributions from members of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.

7.    Fleet Foxes – Mykonos (Sun Giant, 2009) [singlepic id=60 w=80 h=50 float=left]
Really one of my favorite songs of the past ten years. Brilliant.

 

8.    Aretha Franklin – (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman (Lady Soul, 1968) [singlepic id=54 w=80 h=50 float=left]
One of the big hits on this huge soul album. Just like The Beatles’ ‘Chains’ which was shuffled earlier, it was written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin. It was covered a gazillion times later on, even by Rod Stewart. Really Rod?

9.    Beastie Boys – Eugene’s Lament (Ill Communication, 1994) [singlepic id=55 w=80 h=50 float=left]
Another short intermezzo. Good album, not a huge fan.

 

10.  Dire Straits – The Man’s Too Strong (Brothers in Arms, 1985) [singlepic id=59 w=80 h=50 float=left]
Same goes in fact for this one, although I can still appreciate this song. This album was of course loaded with hits (making it one of the absolute best all-time selling albums), with this song probably being one of the least known. However, it remains the most interesting one after you get tired of the rest.

50 Albums you must hear before you buy a house (7): 20-16

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.

Prog Albums Explained: The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway (side 3)

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.

[singlepic id=30 w=320 h=240 float=left]

 

 

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