When the sun beats down and I lie on the bench, I can always hear them talk; if I had ever been here before on another time around the wheel, I would probably know just how to deal with all of you:
|20||Genesis||Selling England by the Pound||1973||7|
|19||The Beatles||Abbey Road||1969||11|
|18||The Moody Blues||In Search of the Lost Chord||1968||5|
|17||Talking Heads||Remain in Light||1980||30|
|20||The Kinks||Face to Face||1966||24|
|19||Van Morrison||Astral Weeks||1968||14|
|18||Genesis||Selling England by the Pound||1973||6|
|16||The Rolling Stones||Sticky Fingers||1971||*|
|19||Paul McCartney & Wings||Band on the Run||1973||22|
|18||Crosby Stills Nash & Young||Déjà Vu||1970||23|
|17||The Velvet Underground||The Velvet Underground & Nico||1967||17|
|16||Genesis||Selling England by the Pound||1973||10|
1. Guns n’ Roses – Breakdown (Use Your Illusion II, 1991)
Lyrically, GNR had obviously grown up on this album, moving away from the juvenile drugs anthems that dominated their previous work. But also musically, the band was in fact at its peak on this album, containing some very strong rock songs. This one qualifies for mediocrity, but also manages to surprise with a country intro followed by a proggy piano. LA chemists that reinjected mainstream rock music with the demonic and shabby rock ‘n roll from the Stones, and like many predecessors, collapsed by withdrawing to the studio.
2. Kate Bush – L’Amour Looks Something Like You (The Kick Inside, 1978)
Although it was already announced many, many times during the preceding years by the record labels, it was only during the late seventies that the sales of records started to stagnate. That must have been the reason for EMI to completely squeeze this album, for example by including some sexy posters of the then only 19 years old Kate Bush. A little bit paradoxical of course, as Bush should have represented the emancipation of women in rock music by becoming the first woman to reach number 1 in the singles charts with ‘Wuthering Heights’ as well as the first woman at the top of the album charts with The Kick Inside. No surprise Bush started her own label after the forced follow-up album to stay in control over her own work.
3. Jefferson Airplane – Triad (Crown of Creation, 1968)
The previous song could at least be called slightly sexually fueled, this one simply describes the story of a threeway relationship written by David Crosby himself. Although The Byrds could hardly been called conservative, they rejected the song for being too daring after which Grace Slick gratefully accepted the gift. Jefferson Airplane, just like The Byrds, did not have any hitsingle success anymore for some time at that point, due to numerous radio station bans because of supposed drugs references. However, just like The Byrds, it continued to deliver some good albums, like this one. The song reminds of the original folk roots of the band and is in that way representative for the album, on which psychedelic rock slowly starts to peel into the country rock that would be dominant on the last real album of the original band: Volunteers. That album also had to face numerous radio bans in the liberal US, this time not because of drugs references but for, let’s say, ‘political’ reasons.
4. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Gloomy (Creedence Clearwater Revival, 1968)
Maybe one of those bands from the same area that was somehow responsible for the change in course of the group mentioned above. At their own turn, they still propagate some psychedelic elements on their debut album, well illustrated by some long instrumental jams like this one and break-through single ‘Susie Q’, that got CCR some fame in the Bay Area. Not to forget the album sleeve that makes clear that CCR was willing to ride the psychedelic wave a little.
5. Blind Faith – Do What You Like (Blind Faith, 1969)
One year later, at the other side of the ocean: blues rock is still king, but there’s also a wind blowing from another direction: prog rock. Just like in California, the own sound, in this case the muscled bass-percussion combo, is mingled with the new rising sound, witnessing the elaborate, Genesis-echoes from the near future by Steve Winwood on keyboards. Just like their prog colleagues, Blind Faith principally grabbed ships full of cash in the US by becoming a gigantic stadium act. Disbanded afterwards.
6. Islands –Volcanoes (Return to the Sea, 2006)
Recording in the drummer’s bedroom, intro containing a telephone conversation, all pretty indie for sure. Unfortunately it can’t really compete with peers and countrymen like Sunset Rubdown, Apostle of Hustle and Arcade Fire. A little snooty.
7. Radiohead – Morning Mr. Magpie (The King of Limbs, 2011)
If I ever wanna hear about a ‘Third Way’ again, its Radiohead’s one. Clearly echoes Thom Yorke’s soloalbum, but more exuberantly dressed thanks to the electric guitar riff and lots of other reworked ornaments. Courtesy of Johnny Greenwood.
8. Lambchop – Breath Deep (I Hope You’re Sitting Down/Jack’s Tulips, 1994)
Kurt Wagner addressing you on a (apparently) way underrated debut albm. Many folk and country out there, well illustrated by the acoustic intro of this song. Lambchop’s line-up has been altered many, many times, but Wagner obviously forms the heart of this band, with one of the best senses of understatement ever heard.
9. The Rolling Stones – Brown Sugar (Sticky Fingers, 1971)
Opening track and lead single of what is considered by some music professors as one of the best albums of all-time; sleeve designed by Andy Warhol (the Stones were artistically freed after breaking up with Decca Records) and riff ripped by Dandy Warhols. Whether the song was about Marsha Hunt or Claudia Lennear, old pictures of both are worthy of some research.
10. Jethro Tull – For a Thousand Mothers (Stand Up, 1969)
Perhaps the crown juwel on this album, that definitely pushed Tull in the middle of the earlier mentioned prog wave. Just like elsewhere on the album, captain Anderson refers to his relationship with his parents, while his flute sounds more aggressive than ever. The album reached number one in the UK in September 1969, to be removed from that position by… Blind Faith.
Happy New House Year:
5. (23) Bob Dylan – Blonde on Blonde (1966)
“Here we are: the melancholic romanticist, some morally omniscient cynics and the one that just tells me to get stoned. Unfortunately I don’t have a basement, my friends.”
4. (5) Radiohead – In Rainbows (2007)
“The completion of that download, the uncompromising support tour: for the first time in my life I consciously witnessed rock history being written.”
3. (8) Love – Forever Changes (1967)
“Who gives a shit about forever? The Now Album.”
2. (2) The Beatles – Revolver (1966)
“If they would have replaced ‘Yellow Submarine’ by ‘Paperback Writer/Rain’, this list would have been a dictatorship.”
1. (1) The Velvet Underground and Nico – The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)
“What has become of democracy anyway?”
5. (20) DJ Shadow – Endtroducing… (1996)
“Technological deconstruction leading into organical reconstruction. The first true musical collage that actually sounds great.”
4. (4) The Beatles – Revolver (1966)
“The Big Bang. The start of an ever expanding revolution that’s still being felt today. But tomorrow? It’ll never know.”
3. (2) Van Morrison – Astral Weeks (1968)
“Ying. Mysticism, conjured by a 23 year old seer. The musical definition of The Divine Touch.”
2. (1) Radiohead – Kid A (2000)
“We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity. We shouldn’t flee from this revelation, but embrace it with every fiber of our being. Let this album be your guide.”
1. (9) Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On (1971)
“Sitdown and listen, really listen. Take it all in. Poignant lyrics, passionate singing and subtle yet overwhelming melodies. A sum greater than it’s parts, which 43 years later still makes me wonder why the most relevant questions are often times the least asked ones.”
5. The Who – Who’s Next (1971)
“Een oerkracht van protest en schreeuwen in de verre wildernis.”
4. The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers (1971)
“Verslavend, strak en geil, van de platenhoes tot de nummers.”
3. Radiohead – In Rainbows (2007)
“Zang, teksten en instrumenten verweven tot een magisch geheel, zoals het samenkomen van zon en regen.”
2. Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (1969)
“Zware gitaren, fluisterende stemmen, pakkende melodieën en teksten over gevoelens die ieder kent maar nog nooit zo mooi gehoord heeft.”
1. Bob Dylan – Blood on the Tracks (1975)
“And every one of them songs rang true and glowed like buning coal.”
Concluding the bottom half of our lists this week with a lot of undisputed classics. Of course there’s The Dark Side of the Moon, classic among classics, appearing in the lists of both DOK and GvZ after already having conquered a spot in RKH’s selection (#38). Moreover, GvZ finally put his sixties fetish aside, presenting his first eighties and nineties albums and a brand new entry by The Rolling Stones.
26. Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
27. Blind Faith – Blind Faith (1969)
28. Santana – Abraxas (1970)
29. John Lennon – Plastic Ono Band (1970)
30. Talking Heads – Remain in Light (1980)
26. (36) Talking Heads – Remain in Light (1980)
27. (*) Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers (1971)
28. (20) Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
29. (39) Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Déjà Vu (1970)
30. (34) Radiohead – OK Computer (1997)
26. (39) Panda Bear – Person Pitch (2007)
27. (19) The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds (1966)
28. (*) Neil Young – After The Gold Rush (1970)
29. (*) Cream – Disraeli Gears (1967)
30. (*) Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run (1975)
RKH also welcomes a bunch of new albums, including the first albums of Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen that come around this year. Thanks to a total of eight albums this week, the seventies are the leading decade with half the albums behind us now (23/75, equally distributed among the three professors).
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. Rolling Stones – Dead Flowers (Sticky Fingers, 1971)
Opening with the Stones this week, which is already quite remarkable, considering the two albums being in my collection. However, this famous one (with possibly even more famous sleeve from Andy Warhol) is an absolute gem. This song from it was covered later by Townes Van Zandt, which version was used in The Big Lebowski.
2. Electric Light Orchestra – Starlight (Out of the Blue, 1977)
Delighted of course with this choice, from one of my favorite albums. Written and produced by Jeff Lynne, obviously. Although you might think that the Bee Gees are also some kind of involved.
3. My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges (Evil Urges, 2008)
Title track of the homonymos album from 2008. Just like I said last time about Wilco, one of those bands that try to transcend the contemporary mediocrity by searching for new directions. Sometimes of course this ends up wrong (like on this album imho), but they would strike back hard three years later with one of their best albums (Circuital). Great band.
4. Grinderman – Go Tell the Women (Grinderman, 2007)
Going back one more year with this debut album from Nick Cave’s project Grinderman. Strange strolling song that nonetheless draws your attention when your shuffle hits it on a lost Tuesday afternoon.
5. Monks – Oh, How to Do Now (Black Monk Time, 1966)
Another curious song from an album I one day had to add to my collection because, just like 1000 others, it would be one that I absolutely had to hear before I die. It still has to prove that.
6. Jackson Browne – Rosie (Running On Empty, 1977)
Track from the album with the famous live ending. This song, to the contrary, was recorded backstage.
7. Golden Earring – Turn the World Around (Naked III, 2005)
Song from Holland’s rock pioneers that originally appeared on their 1989 album Keeper Of the Flame, when the band’s success was shrinking. That success returned in the nineties with the acoustic live trilogy, of which this is the final part.
8. Booker T. & The MG’s – Stranger on the Shore (Green Onion, 1962)
Way back in time then with this song from a classic album. The atmosphere of this song perfectly describes the scene of a stranger standing on the shore.
9. Mogwai – Sine Wave (Rock Action, 2001)
We’re still instrumental, but have travelled some 50 years in time meanwhile. Remarkably enough, this song also describes the atmosphere of a stranger standing on the shore, although the wind rages a little harder.
10. Lemonheads – Rockin Stroll (It’s a Shame about Ray, 1992)
Another recommendation from my album bible, leading me through life by telling me how to walk through history. Gonna give this album also a next try.