Friday, November 30, 2007

444. Neil Young and Crazy Horse - Rust Never Sleeps (1979)

















Track Listing

1. My My Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue)
2. Thrasher
3. Ride My Llama
4. Pocohontas
5. Sail Away
6. Powderfinger
7. Welfare Mothers
8. Sedan Delivery
9. Hey Hey My My (Into The Black)

Review

This is Young's attempt to prove that he was still relevant in these post-punk days, and he does more than that. Young makes one of his best albums by doing much more than just "his thing". Actually this album was so relevant that Kurt Cobain was quoting from it in his suicide note, that infamous sentence of 'It is better to burn out than to fade away'.

And Young burns very brightly indeed here, the album is neatly separated into two halves, one is a beautiful collection of acoustic music, and the other is an angrier, electrical side which is his reply to the punk movement. Both sides are equally great in completely different ways, in a vinyl it would be easier to put one or the other side on depending on your mood.

This reply to punk is also a return to Neil Young's roots with Crazy Horse, it sounds more like Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere than any of the later albums... maybe with the exception of On The Beach. This is an amazing album by one of the best singer-songwriters ever and you owe it to yourself to get it. The Godfather of Grunge shows how relevant he was and still is here to magnificent effect.

Track Highlights


1. My My Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue)
2. Hey Hey My My (Into The Black)
3. Powderfinger
4. Ride My Llama

Final Grade


10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The title is borrowed from the slogan for Rustoleum paint, and was suggested by Mark Mothersbaugh of the New Wave band Devo. In 2003, the album was ranked number 350 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

My My Hey Hey:



Hey Hey My My, presented by Dennis Hopper:

Thursday, November 29, 2007

443. Elvis Costello And The Attractions - Armed Forces (1979)
















Track Listing

1. Accidents Will Happen
2. Senior Service
3. Oliver's Army
4. Big Boys
5. Green Shirt
6. Party Girl
7. Goon Squad
8. Busy Bodies
9. Sunday's Best
10. Moods For Moderns
11. Chemistry Class
12. Two Little Hitlers

Review

Elvis finally does it right! This is his third album on the list and the two previous ones just felt slightly off the mark, near being great but always somehow falling a bit short, but with great potential. This potential is definitely realised here.

Costello has had a pretty obvious progression from album to album, and this is no exception, and what started with My Aim Is True, developed in This Year's Model comes to full fruition in Armed Forces.

The album sounds slick, beautiful and supremely effective and catchy. There are still the remnants of Elvis' original punk attitude, particularly in the lyrics, but he has moved to a slicker post-punk which suits his voice and lyrics better than what he did before.

Frankly I loved this album, it was hard not to sing along to the smart, sarcastic and angry lyrics. I was never a Costello fan but this album made a great impression. There will be three more albums by him on the list, lets wait and see if the progression is further or if he slumps from this high point.

Track Highlights

1. Oliver's Army
2. Two Little Hitlers
3. Green Shirt
4. Accidents Will Happen

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:


The album originally had the working title Emotional Fascism. It was produced by Nick Lowe at Eden Studios in West London.

Initial pressings of the US album included a promotional three-song 7" 33⅓ rpm EP, Live at Hollywood High, recorded on June 4, 1978. The live tracks, also produced by Nick Lowe, are "Accidents Will Happen," "Alison," and "Watching the Detectives," which are included on the Rykodisc reissue and on the Rhino bonus disk along with six more songs from the Hollywood High gig.

In 2000 Q magazine placed Armed Forces at number 45 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. In 2003, the album was ranked number 482 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Oliver's army:

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

442. The Slits - Cut (1979)
















Track Listing


1. Instant Hit
2. So Tough
3. Spend Spend Spend
4. Shoplifting
5. FM
6. Newtown
7. Ping Pong Affair
8. Love Und Romance
9. Typical Girls
10. Adventures Close To Home

Review

This is a great album. Actually I think there has not been a female lead punk album that I didn't love, from Siouxsie to X-Ray Spex and now The Slits. And yes it it a good thing to mention them in the same breath as the X-Ray Spex, if you liked that this is the natural progression, it is just as good.

You can tell these girls aren't the most proficient people with instruments, but they more than make up for it with inventiveness, be it compositional, lyrical or in terms of arrangements. This makes it really worth listening to. Also the lyrics are pretty funny, and although you can tell it has a teenage girl writing them, they are really smart.

This is an album which as the exciting quality of punk which was absent from the last few offerings we got here, it uses the same Reggae influences as The Clash but makes something new with them, and truly interesting and it has the same catchiness of the Undertones but is not easy listening. Highly Recommended.

Track Highlights


1. Shoplifting
2. Instant Hit
3. FM
4. Newtown

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

It was originally released in September 1979 on the Island Records label (ILPS 9573) in the UK and on Antilles (AN 7077) in the U.S. Although it only made a brief impact on the UK top 30 at the time, in 2004 it was voted at no 58 in the Observer's list, The 100 Greatest British Albums

Some guy dances to Shoplifting:

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

441. Marianne Faithful - Broken English (1979)
















Track Listing

1. Broken English
2. Witch's Song
3. Brain Drain
4. Guilt
5. Ballad Of Lucy Jordan
6. What's The Hurry
7. Working Class Hero
8. Why'd Ya Do It

Review

Ah, the mellifluous voice of sweet Marianne. The title of the album is quite appropriate as she is singing in English and her voice is quite broken. This is not a bad thing, you are reading a guy who think Nico has a lovely voice, actually I quite like women with broken down voices like Billy Holiday in her later days for example.

That being said, it is hard to make comparisons between Billy Holiday and Marianne Faithful. They are not in the same league unfortunately, but I quite liked this album. It is clearly a little piece of late 70's music with a foot in the 80's already.

The main fault that I find in the album is the fact that Marianne is much better at singing anger than ballady songs. The first and last track are great precisely because that is what her voice gives strength to, to a certain type of anger, it would follow then that her cover of Working Class Hero would be great, but it isn't very impressive. An album to check out particualrly for the two songs I mentioned.

Track Highlights

1. Why'd Ya Do It
2. Broken English
3. Guilt
4. Witches' Song

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The last track, "Why D’Ya Do It?", is a caustic, graphic, and possessive rant of a woman reacting to her lover's infidelity. The lyric starts with the man's point of view, relating the angry, bitter tirade of his jilted lover. It was set to a grinding tune inspired by Jimi Hendrix’s recording of Bob Dylan’s "All Along the Watchtower". Poet and writer Heathcote Williams had originally conceived the lyrics as a piece for Tina Turner to record, but Faithfull succeeded in convincing him that Turner would never record such a number. Its plethora of four-letter words and explicit references to oral sex caused controversy and led to a ban in Australia, where local pressings of the LP were released with smooth vinyl in place of the track and a 'bonus' 45 single as compensation (the ban did not extend to import copies).

Why'd Ya Do It in a very extended version, pretty good, also VERY NSFW, unless you have headphones:

Monday, November 26, 2007

440. Japan - Quiet Life (1979)

















Track Listing

1. Quiet Life
2. Fall In Love With Me
3. Despair
4. In Vogue
5. Halloween
6. All Tomorrow's Parties
7. Alien
8. Other Side Of Life

Review

When I first noticed this album on the list, I thought: 'Why?'. Not because it doesn't deserve to be here, but because there are two other Japan albums absent which really were more worthy than this one, Tin Drum and Gentlemen Take Polaroids. Then I heard this and I thought the same thing again.

Now, three days later of intensive listening to it I understand the why, but still like those two albums better, even though this one is kick-ass. This in 1979 and suddenly we are in 1984 with the whole 80's sound completely formed, and that is the reason why it is here on the list instead of those two other records.

You listen to the title track kicking off the album and suddenly you think Duran Duran. But then it is slower, more thoughtful and more complex and you start giving your time to it and realising that this is 1979, the 80's are around the corner but not here yet. And the New Romantics have started.

Everything is perfectly studied here, from the sound to the cover image. And it is astoundingly original. David Sylvian's voice is one of the best things you ever listened too, oozing with affected sensuality, a petulant, yet amused voice that fits the languorous music perfectly. This is a pretty great album, the only thing I didn't enjoy particularly was the cover of All Tomorrow's Parties, but hey, nothing is perfect.

Track Highlights


1. The Other Side Of Life
2. Quiet Life
3. Despair
4. In Vogue

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Though initially unsuccessful upon its release in the band's native UK (where it peaked at #53), the album sold steadily and was certified "Gold" by the BPI in 1984 for 100,000 copies sold.

Also initially unsuccessful, the title track and lead single "Quiet Life" would later be re-released and make the UK top 20 in 1981. Three other prominent tracks were also recorded and released by the band during this era and would later be re-released and become UK top 40 hits for the band in 1982, but were not included on the album ("Life In Tokyo", "European Son", and a cover of the Motown hit "I Second That Emotion" which would make the UK Top 10).


Quiet Life:

Sunday, November 25, 2007

439. The Clash - London Calling (1979)
















Track Listing


1. London Calling
2. Brand New Cadillac
3. Jimmy Jazz
4. Hateful
5. Rudie Can't Fail
6. Spanish Bombs
7. Right Profile
8. Lost In The Supermarket
9. Clampdown
10. Guns Of Brixton
11. Wrong 'em boyo
12. Koka Kola
13. The Card Cheat
14. Lover's Rock
15. Four Horsemen
16. I'm Not Down
17. Revolution Rock
18. Train In Vain

Review

I mentioned the death of punk yesterday while talking about the Undertones, but there is a further reminder of the death of the movement here in this album, which is often touted as one of the best punk albums. Actually it is marginally punk, The Clash have moved somewhere else where reggae, ska, pop and punk intersect.

This is not a bad thing, I am not that much of a punk purist that this death-knell would annoy me in any way for that reason. There are good things here, The Clash show their ability to cover a very varied amount of music, the songs are actually pretty good.

Again, as it often happens the good bits are also some of the bad bits, the variety in the album makes it sound not very cohesive, it is still great but very dispersed, it sounds more like a compilation than an album, there is no particular conductive line through this, except the fact that they are recognizably Clash songs.

Still, this is a fun album, possibly more complex than the Undertones but sacrificing their very punkish simplicity.

Track Highlights

1. Spanish Bombs
2. London Calling
3. Guns Of Brixton
4. Death Or Glory

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The album was a double LP but sold for the price of a single one, which was the product of some record company duping by the band; they asked the record company if they could include a free 12" single with the album, and upon agreement from record executives, took it upon themselves to make the second disc a full length. This was one of the first showings of the band's anti-establishment/pro-listener position, as their mission was not to make money or please executives, but to get as much music out to Clash fans as possible.

Sapnish Bombs... wow that's a bad video:

Saturday, November 24, 2007

438. The Undertones - The Undertones (1979)

















Track Listing

1. Family Entertainment
2. Girls Don't Like It
3. Male Model
4. I Gotta Getta
5. Wrong Way
6. Jump Boys
7. Here Comes The Summer
8. Billy's Third
9. Jimmy Jimmy
10. True Confessions
11. She's A Runaround
12. I Know A Girl
13. Listening In
14. Casbah Rock

Review

This is a really fun album, I would have a bit of a difficulty placing it in any distinct genre, really. It sounds punkish but then it is eminently poppy. The tracks are all catchy bits of pop with very pronounced punk influence, the lyrics are more akin to something like the Beach Boys than any punk really, there is no real anger here, there's some frustration at being young and it almost sounds like throwback lyrics to a more innocent age.

That said it is a lot of fun, the tracks are perfectly crafted, and altough not included in the original release, the single Teenage Kicks, which is a part of most re-releases is a perfectly crafted piece of pop-rock, and most other songs in the album follow the same concept, to different levels of success.

The Undertones produce an album of what is really pretty inconsequential music, but thoroughly enjoyable, almost bubble gummy. It is light punk and there is nothing wrong with that, but it is with albums like this that you know that punk is dead.

Oh, sorry for the strange review yesterday, but I was drunk.

Track Highlights


1. Girls Don't Like It
2. Here Comes The Summer
3. Jimmy Jimmy
4. She's A Runaround

Final Grade


8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

By 1977 they were performing their own three-chord pop punk material, and in 1978 they released their debut four-song EP Teenage Kicks on Belfast's Good Vibrations record label. The EP became a hit with support from BBC DJ John Peel, who considered the title song his all-time favourite. The song has been covered by many acts, including: Ash, Skunk Anansie, Busted, Groovie Ghoulies, Sahara Hotnights, The Saw Doctors, Nouvelle Vague, Green Day, Franz Ferdinand, The Coral, The Raconteurs, Violent Delight, Snow Patrol, KT Tunstall, and the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. Falling sales linked to their changing musical direction and tensions within the band led to their split in 1983.

Here Comes The Summer:

Friday, November 23, 2007

437. Chic - Risque (1979)
















Track Listing

1. Good Times
2. Warm Summer Night
3. My Feet Keep Dancing
4. My Forbidden Lover
5. Can't Stand To Love You
6. Will You Cry (When You Hear This Song)
7. What About Me

Review

I just fucking love The Sugarhill Gang.

Nice!

Track Highlights

1. Good Times

Final Grade


7/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:


Risqué includes three classic Chic hits; "Good Times" (#1 Pop, #1 R&B June 23 1979), "My Forbidden Lover" (#33 R&B, #43 Pop October 13 1979) and "My Feet Keep Dancing" (#42 R&B, #101 Pop December 8 1979). Risqué reached #5 on the US albums chart and #2 on R&B and was followed by the release of the band's first greatest hits compilation Les Plus Grands Succès De Chic: Chic's Greatest Hits in late 1979.

Good Times:

Thursday, November 22, 2007

436. Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures (1979)
















Track Listing

1. Disorder
2. Day Of The Lords
3. Candidate
4. Insight
5. New Dawn Fades
6. She's Lost Control
7. Shadowplay
8. Wilderness
9. Interzone
10. I Remember Nothing

Review

This is a pretty amazing album from the best band ever to come out of my adopted land of Manchester, but that is not the only reason why it is so good. This is post-punk at its best, the slower pace, the threat the depression, the doom, it is all here ant it is all perfect.

We had some gothy music with Siouxsie in 1978, but this is an even more radical departure from Punk into something darker and more menacing. Few albums have been more laced with death than this one, but it is done so perfectly that you get the strange oxymoron of it being a joy to listen to.

The name of the band is actually pretty appropriate, taking their name from an SS division there is this whole Eros and Thanatos thing going on here. It all sounds amazing, there is not a single dud in the whole album and there are two real standouts in She's Lost Control and New Dawn Fades, two amazing dark anthems. And then there is that cover, the radio emissions of a star dying, nothing could have been more appropriate and albums rarely have been better than this.

Track Highlights


1. She's Lost Control
2. New Dawn Fades
3. Day Of The Lords
4. I Remember Nothing

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The original LP release contained no track information on the labels, nor the traditional "side one" and "side two" designations. The ostensible "side one" was labeled Outside and displayed a reproduction of the image on the album cover, while the other side was labeled Inside and displayed the same image with the colors reversed (black-on-white). Near the inner groove of the Inside is etched in script: "I've been looking for a guide", a reference to the song, "Disorder". The Outside and Inside designations were also used on the inner sleeve.

She's Lost Control:

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

435. Talking Heads - Fear Of Music (1979)
















Track Listing

1. I Zimbra
2. Mind
3. Paper
4. Cities
5. Life During Wartime
6. Memories Can't Wait
7. Air
8. Heaven
9. Animals
10. Electric Guitar
11. Drugs


Review

I know I am probably a philistine, but no album of the Talking Heads on the list has yet lived up to the promise shown in 77. Even with my beloved Eno on production this just isn't really as good as it should be, I wasn't really that impressed.

Of course it is hard, if not impossible to say that a Talking Heads album is bad, but one can be underwhelmed and that is the primary feeling that I get from this album, I am underwhelmed. It is still better than 90% of the music out there, I can't take that away from it and frankly it does deserve its place on the list.

It just does not have the chaotic experimentalism of 77, the faults are the same I pointed at in More Songs About Buildings and Food, only more so.

So now I've been disappointed by two Talking Heads albums after falling in love with 77, there is still an opportunity for them to redeem themselves with Remain In Light in not the very distant future. So we'll wait and see.


Track Highlights


1. Animals
2. I Zimbra
3. Electric Guitar
4. Cities


Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The song "I Zimbra" was adapted from the poem "Gadji beri bimba" by Dadaist poet Hugo Ball. Its polyrhythms presaged the direction the band would take on its next album, Remain in Light.

Fascinating Youtube lipsynch of Animals... because he didn't get locked in lockers enough at school:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

434. The Fall - Live At The Witch Trials (1979)
















Track Listing


1. Frightened
2. Crap Rap 2/Like To Bioxn
3. Rebellious Jukebox
4. No Xnas For John Quays
5. Mother Sister
6. Industrial Estate
7. Underground Medecin
8. Two Steps Back
9. Live At The Witch Trials
10. Future Pasts
11. Music Scene

Review


Here is one of those rare cases of what is really a subtle album, one of those which improves with every repeated listening, it goes from pretty blah to fucking kick ass in the space of some 10 listen troughs. So if you are still pretty blah about it, keep it up it will become good.

It is one of those albums because it is full of little things in it that make it better and that you only only start to notice as you listen to it again and again, and you find yourself singing along to No Xmas for John Quays or Rebellious Jukebox. Actually I want to invent a Jukebox that would randomly substitute a track for Rebellious Jukebox, like every 100 tracks or so. That would be cool. Could install them around Manchester pubs.

So it is a cool album, not the best thing I've ever listen to, but definitely something to add to my mp3 player. The lyrics are also pretty fun, especially if you have a knowledge of Manchester life. Another thing that you start noticing and liking is the pretty cool organ work on the tracks, giving it just another level.

Track Highlights

1. Rebellious Jukebox
2. Music Scene
3. Futures And Pasts
4. No Xmas For John Quays

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Live at the Witch Trials is the debut album by The Fall, first released on 16 March 1979. It is not, despite its title, a live album, but was recorded in the studio in one day and mixed by producer Bob Sargeant the next. In 2004, bassist Marc Riley told the BBC that the group had been booked into the studio for a week but that Mark E. Smith had fallen ill, leading to the cancellation of the first 3 days. No singles were taken from the album, a practice that would be commonplace for the group until the late 80's.

Interview for the Culture Show, with the precious moment of his reaction to the Death of John Peel:

Monday, November 19, 2007

433. The Police - Reggatta De Blanc (1979)
















Track Listing

1. Message in a Bottle
2. Reggatta de Blanc
3. It's Alright for You
4. Bring on the Night
5. Deathwish
6. Walking on the Moon
7. On Any Other Day
8. Bed's Too Big Without You
9. Contact
10. Does Everyone Stare
11. No Time This Time

Review

This is one of those guilty pleasures that I don't feel guilty about at all. I really like The Police, actually the first album I knew the lyrics off by heart was a Police Greatest Hits compilation.

I think that the main reason that the police are seen as tacky today is because of Sting, his solo career was very hit and miss with some masterworks of 80's excess and overemotional, sometimes pretentious lyrics. He always worked better in the confines of a group, and this album is a prime example of that.

I am actually quite surprised that their first album Outlandos d'Amour isn't here, because that is another great work. This is reggae filtered through post-punk sensibilities and that makes for exciting, danceable all around good fun music. And Sting was really at his song writing peak in The Police. This is a great album not just for the singles but also for all the other tracks which are just as good.

Track Highlights


1. Message In a Bottle
2. Walking On The Moon
3. Bed's Too Big Without You
4. On Any Other Day

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The album took only a few weeks (spaced over several months) to record, but unlike its successor Zenyatta Mondatta, there was no pressure on the band. As Stewart Copeland describes it, "We just went into the studio and said, 'Right, who's got the first song?' We hadn't even rehearsed them before we went in."

Message In A Bottle:

Sunday, November 18, 2007

432. Holger Czukay - Movies (1979)
















Track Listing

1. Cool In The Pool
2. Oh Lord Give Us More Money
3. Persian Love
4. Hollywood Symphony

Review

This is a quite peculiar album, unlike anything before here, we had Throbbing Gristle using sampling of course but not in any kind of melodic form, Holger Czukay is however prefiguring Brian Eno's and David Byrne's future projects by using sampling to the advancement of the music itself. It is also prefiguring Beck and The Avalanches with the use of speech snippets.

Much like in My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts most of the samples are either from the Radio or from what you would call "World Music", this is particularly apparent in Persian Love, which makes great use of an Iranian singer that Holger captured on the radio and embellishes it with what sounds almost like a Cape Verdian morna. It is actually quite pretty.

This isn't Can really, for whom Holger was bassist, but there are some elements of it here, and also some elements of concrete music and the stuff from Brian Eno, the second track quotes David Bowie/Eno's Sense of Doubt at the 3 minute mark for example. Recommended.

Track Highlights


1. Persian Love
2. Cool In The Pool
3. Oh, Lord, Give Us More Money
4. Hollywood Symphony

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Czukay studied under Karlheinz Stockhausen from 1963 to 1966 and became a music teacher. Having had little interest in rock music, Czukay's opinion was changed when a student played him The Beatles' 1967 song "I Am The Walrus," which led Czukay to music by rock experimentalists like the Velvet Underground and Frank Zappa.

Persian Love, sorry for the video:

Saturday, November 17, 2007

431. The B-52's - The B-52's (1979)

















Track Listing

1. Planet Claire
2. Fifty Two Girls
3. Dance This Mess Around
4. Rock Lobster
5. Lava
6. There's A Moon In The Sky (Called Moon)
7. Hero Worship
8. 6060 842
9. Downtown

Review

What a great, great album. If you know nothing about the B-52's except for Love Shack, you don't know what you are missing. This is an amazing album which is much closer to their post-punk roots than their work during the 80's and one of the best début albums by any band ever.

The B-52's present us with a completely unique style at the same time state of the art for 1979 with their new-wave/ post-punk sensibilities and also very retro, with an obsession with surf music which just makes them the right kind of quirky.

And quirky this album is, from the very funny and slightly surreal lyrics to the way it is sung/talked/screeched to the instrumentation. And then you have always behind it some pretty great post-punkish guitars. This is really good post-punk pop and you can count those by the fingers in your hand.

This is an astounding, unmissable album by a fun, smart and extremely competente group... they must have something in the water in Athens, Georgia...

Track Highlights

1. Rock Lobster
2. Planet Claire
3. 6060 842
4. Dance This Mess Around

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The B-52's peaked at number 59 on the Billboard 200 and "Rock Lobster" peaked at number 56 on the Hot 100.

In 2003 the TV network VH1 named The B-52's the 99th greatest album of all time. Shortly before his death, John Lennon considered the album to be his all-time favorite.


Album cover by Sue Absurd, aka, Tony Wright who also worked with artists such as Bob Dylan, Bob Marley and Traffic.

Rock Lobster:

Friday, November 16, 2007

430. The Germs - (GI) (1979)




















Track Listing

1. What We Do is Secret
2. Communist Eyes
3. Land of Treason
4. Richie Dagger's Crime
5. Strange Notes
6. American Leather
7. Lexicon Devil
8. Manimal
9. Our Way
10. We Must Bleed
11. Media Blitz
12. The Other Newest One
13. Let's Pretend
14. Dragon Lady
15. The Slave
16. Shut Down (Annihilation Man)

Review

This is probably the first punk album on the list that I don't really like. Let's talk about the good things about this album... the cover is pretty great, I quite like the design of it. Other than that there is not much I like here.

This sounds like a speed metal album, only it is boring. Boring, boring, boring. It isn't even the fact that it sounds unpleasant that pisses me off, I've listened to much more unpleasant albums that I liked, but I can't warm up to this.

Actually I am doing this review early in the day because I can't bear listening to it any more. So there.

Track Highlights

1. Shut Down
2. What We Do Is Secret

Final Grade

4/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Joan Jett, a longtime friend and heroine of many of the band members since her time in The Runaways, was asked to produce the album. Lead singer Darby Crash had originally wanted former Paul Revere & The Raiders vocalist Mark Lindsay to produce, but while Lindsay was willing to do the job, he turned out to be too expensive for Slash Records to afford. Jett's production was initially thought to be too thin when the album was finished and released, compared to the album Crash wanted Jett to emulate (the Sex Pistols' Never Mind The Bollocks). In retrospect, (GI) actually sounds cleaner and more polished than the Pistols' album.

Jett allegedly passed out during the sessions, as claimed by Crash while the band were recording "Shut Down" live in the studio.

Shut Down:

Thursday, November 15, 2007

429. Crusaders - Street Life (1979)
















Track Listing


1. Street Life
2. My Lady
3. Rodeo Drive (High Steppin')
4. Carnival Of The Night
5. Hustler
6. Night Faces

Review

Unfortunately an amazing track, even if it is 11 minutes long does not a 40 minute album make. This is what happens here, it starts with a great song, the title track and then goes on to be quite run of the mill fusion jazz which deserves to be in an elevator somewhere.

So, really this is a list of 1001 albums, not 1001 singles and this album is worth it just for one track, so either download that track or buy the soundtrack to Tarantino's Jackie Brown, a great compilation which includes it.

If only the rest of the album was like the first track. But it isn't actually it is hard to recognise it as even the same band, it is completely disconnected from the rest of the album. The other tracks run the gamut from the bearable (My Lady) to the awful (Rodeo Drive). Get the first track and that's it.

By the way I am starting a new blog today, look in the sidebar for a new 1001 project, 1001 Classical, can't say my interests aren't varied.

Track Highlights

1. Street Life

Final Grade

6/10 (10/10 to Street Life)

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Street Life is a studio album by the American jazz band The Crusaders. It represents the peak of the band's commercial popularity, as it was a Top 20 album on three Billboard charts. The title track was also a Top 40 pop single. It was also used on the soundtrack to Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown.


Street Life:

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

428. Sister Sledge - We Are Family (1979)
















Track Listing

1. He's The Greatest Dancer
2. Lost In Music
3. Somebody Loves Me
4. Thinking Of You
5. We Are Family
6. Easier To Love
7. You're A Friend To Me
8. One More Time

Review

More disco! We really haven't had enough of this yet, and unfortunately there is only one more album... I don't know if these are actually the only worthy disco albums or if the list is vastly under-represented.

That being said this is another pretty good disco album, it isn't as good as Chic, it is a bit more mellow with the exceptions of the three big hits here, but just for those three bit hits it is a good thing. The title track in its glorious 8 minutes length isn't as irritating as you might think. The extended length gives it a hidden depth that the single cut doesn't really have.

Other than this the album is not phenomenal, it is really worth it for three songs, the rest of it is perfectly acceptable, even quite good, but not phenomenal. But the technical competence is there and the fun is there, I think having the core of Chic supporting the band has a lot to do with that though.

Track Highlights


1. We Are Family
2. Lost In Music
3. He's The Greatest Dancer
4. Thinking Of You

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The album which was both written and produced by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of the band Chic includes four classic hit singles; the anthemic title track, "He's The Greatest Dancer", "Lost In Music", and "Thinking Of You", all four of which have been sampled, remixed and reissued through the 80's, 90's and 2000's.
We Are Family is one of two albums produced by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers in 1979, the other being Chic's second album C'est Chic including hit singles "Le Freak" and "I Want Your Love".

We Are Family:

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

427. AC/DC - Highway To Hell (1979)
















Track Listing

1. Highway To Hell
2. Girls Got Rhythm
3. Walk All Over You
4. Touch Too Much
5. Beating Around The Bush
6. Shot Down In Flames
7. Get It Hot
8. If You Want Blood (You've Got It)
9. Love Hungry Man
10. Night Prowler

Review

Welcome to 1979. Now the whole band was really on a highway to hell, drugs, drink and misbehaviour and none got there faster than Bon Scott who is the vocalist here and who died shortly after this album. But hey at least he had fun getting there. Who wants fucking angels and harps anyways... I was always miserable in the cold.

AC/DC is one of those bands with whom I have a kind of love/hate relationship, I don't really recognise much I like in the music, but I have fun with it. I think I might possibly put it in a similar place as Queen, another band that I have fun with but would never put an album on from my own volition.

That said the whole album is pretty good as far as AC/DC style rock goes, sooner or later all the songs have burrowed into your mind and you kind of like them now... they would have that effect even more with Back In Black later on, but that is quite present here.

So yes, it is quite puerile, very silly, but also a lot of fun. I won't put it on again for myself but I don't mind it at all.

Track Highlights

1. Highway To Hell
2. If You Want Blood (You've Got It)
3. Walk All Over You
4. Shot Down In Flames

Final Grade


7/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

It was originally released by Albert Productions, who licensed to album to Atlantic Records for release outside of Australia, and was then re-released by Epic Records in 2003 as part of the AC/DC Remasters series. On May 25th 2006, Highway To Hell was certified 7 x platinum by the RIAA. In 2003, the album was ranked number 197 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Highway To Hell:

Monday, November 12, 2007

426. Siouxsie And The Banshees - The Scream (1978)
















Track Listing


1. Pure
2. Jigsaw Feeling
3. Overground
4. Carcass
5. Helter Skelter
6. Mirage
7. Metal Postcard (Mittageisen)
8. Nicotine Stain
9. Suburban Relapse
10. Switch

Review


And so Goth rears its head with a great, great album. I should make a disclaimer right now that we are starting this phase in the list that I am a huge sucker for all gothy post-punk like Siouxsie, Bauhaus, Joy Division and Echo and The Bunnymen. That said this is a brilliant album.

When this came out Siouxsie were already quite well known for their UK top ten single Hong Kong Gardens, which is not here in the album unfortunately. But the album, although never as effusive as that single lives up to it.

This is proper post-punk, the attitude is too gloomy for punk, the playing is too competent relaying on rhythm more than on noisy guitars and the whole thing just shines with a much more slick decadence than the "filth and the fury" of stuff like the Sex Pistols.

This slicker decadence makes the music infinitely more interesting in my humble opinion, I am all for punk but it really lack sophistication. The ambience here is dark but slick and beautiful. Even the cover of Helter Skelter manages to be more disturbing than the original. But then there are glimmers of light like in Carcass, which doesn't really sound like the title for the lightest song in the album, but so it is.

Beautiful, stunning, stomping darkness.

Track Highlights

1. Carcass
2. Mirage
3. Switch
4. Helter Skelter

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The Scream was reissued in the UK 27 October, 2005 (28 October in the USA) as part of Universal's Deluxe Edition series. The new edition featured a remastered version of the album on the first disc, while the second disc contained demo and live tracks together with the singles from that period. The single disc edition of the 2006 remaster has noticeable digital distortion, and this is heard on the track "Jigsaw Feeling".

The razor-sharp, slashing strings of Bernard Herrmann's score to Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho particularly inspired the band for the music of "Suburban Relapse", where the guitars echo the knife-screeching violins of the famous shower scene.

* The Scream is one Morrissey-composer Boz Boorer's top seven "desert island albums".

* "Mirage" is also one of Morrissey's favorite songs: he featured it as part of his introduction tape on his Your Arsenal tour in 1992.

Helter Skelter:

Sunday, November 11, 2007

425. Brian Eno - Ambient 1: Music For Airports (1978)

















Track Listing

1. 1/1
2. 2/1
3. 1/2
4. 2/2

Review

Some music is meant to be closely listened to, some is meant to be easy listening, something that can just be in the background because listening to it closely will not reward you in the least. This album is something else.

We had seen the first stirrings of ambient music with Eno here on the in Another Green World, actually before that he had Discreet Music, which isn't on the list. But the most significant piece of Ambient music that Eno created is definitely Music For Airports.

In the early 20th century Erik Satie had composed some music which he called "furniture music", something that doesn't impose itself on the audience. Eno does the same here, with music that never imposes itself but that is truly rewarding if you decide you want to listen to it closely.

If you think that this was created as music to lower the fear of flying while people are waiting in Airport lounges you can only reach the conclusion that it works perfectly. The emotional effect of the music is immediate, it is an album which immediately relaxes me in a way that makes me quite happy and carefree. Eno was going for music that would be like having some distant sounds reaching you from far away, something pretty that never really develops but that you want to know more about. In this way it is almost like being in the womb, like music filtered through water.

This is a work of genius, a piece of art meant for installation that is still lovely. It's just a pity that Enya made her whole career out of 2/1.

Track Highlights


1. 1/1
2. 1/2
3. 2/2
4. 2/1

Final Grade


10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

All tracks were composed by Eno except "1/1", which was composed by Eno, former Soft Machine drummer Robert Wyatt, and Rhett Davies.

Music for Airports employs the phasing of tape loops of different length in some tracks, where, for example, in "1/1", a single piano melody is repeated and at different times other instruments will fade in and out in a complex, evolving pattern due to the phenomenon of phasing: at some point these instrumental sounds will clump together, at some points, be spread apart.

Talking about the first piece, Eno has said:
“ ... I found this very short section of tape where two pianos, unbeknownst to each other, played melodic lines that interlocked in an interesting way. To make a piece of music out of it, I cut that part out, made a stereo loop on the 24-track, then I discovered I liked it best at half speed, so the instruments sounded very soft, and the whole movement was very slow. ”

The two tracks containing the wordless "aaaaah"-style vocals intermingle four tracks which loop back on themselves and constantly interact with each other in new ways. Subtle changes in timing occur, adding to the timbre of the pieces.

Eno explains of the vocal-only piece:
“ One of the notes repeats every 23 seconds. It is, in fact, a long loop running around a series of tubular aluminum chairs in Conny Plank's studio. The next lowest loop repeats every 25 seconds or something like that. The third one every 29 seconds or something. What I mean is they all repeat in cycles that are called incommensurable — they are not likely to come back into sync again. Your experience of the piece, of course, is a moment in time, there. So as the piece progresses, what you hear are the various clusterings and configurations of these six basic elements. The basic elements in that particular piece never change. They stay the same. But the piece does appear to have quite a lot of variety. ”

2/2, the synth piece, was performed with an ARP 2600.

Eno talks about it:

Saturday, November 10, 2007

424. X-Ray Spex - Germ Free Adolescents (1978)
















Track Listing

1. Art I Ficial
2. Obsessed With You
3. Warrior In Woolworths Back
4. Let's Submerge
5. I Can't Do Anything
6. Identity
7. Genetic Engineering
8. I Live Off You
9. I Am A Poseur
10. Germ Free Adolescents
11. Plastic Bag
12. Day The World Turned Dayglo

Review


As my wife says this is the band Blondie could have been. And not in a sarcastic way as well, this is a really amazing album. It is a punk album with two amazing secret weapons, the voice of Poly Styrene and the sax. The two together make this unlike anything else.

This is exciting music at its most exciting. The whole album is pretty amazing from beginning to end and it never lets up there is never a dull moment here, it is amazing all the way trough.

The lyrics are as good as anything in the album as well, they are little vignettes of anger towards a commodified society where even the act of being "alternative" is commodified in itself. It is great, smart stuff by Poly who was a pretty young girl at the time, just 21... it's not Orson Welles but good on her.

Really recommended, you need this album, if you didn't know that you know it now. You really need this.

Track Highlights


1. The Day The World Turned Dayglo
2. I Can't Do Anything
3. Let's Submerge
4. I Am A Poseur

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The group played a fortnight's residency at New York's CBGB's, even though Germ Free Adolescents was not released in America until 1992. Exhausted by touring, Poly Styrene left the band in 1979 to release a solo album, Translucence, before joining the Hare Krishna movement (as did Logic, who left the band aged 16 in 1977 to form a new group called Essential Logic).

Without Styrene, the group lost its momentum and split up. Hurding and London went on to form Classix Nouveaux, while Paul Dean and Rudi Thompson went on to form Agent Orange with Anthony (Tex) Doughty, who later become a founding member of Transvision Vamp.

The Day The World Turned Dayglo:



Poly speaks on The Punk Years:

Friday, November 09, 2007

423. Chic - C'est Chic (1978)





















Track Listing

1. Chic Cheer
2. Le Freak
3. Savoir Faire
4. Happy Man
5. I Want Your Love
6. At Last I Am Free
7. Sometimes You Win
8. (Funny) Bone

Review

Here's Disco! Around this time particularly in the States there was the whole Disco Sucks movement, and while it is true that a lot of Disco sucks, that whole movement was slightly misguided, because if there was a load of shit in Disco the same was true of the Hard Rock scene or whatever and then you had some gems in disco. This album is one of those.

C'est Chic is basically the album that the P-Funk would have made if their primary concern was to sell albums. High quality party music but with high commercial expectations. It is actually a pretty nifty album.

It is refreshing to listen to something as uncomplicated as this but still being some quality music. The funk influence is the most apparent thing in this album but then it is danceable... and what is wrong with that? Unfortunately not all Disco albums were as good as this and in about two years the whole scene would be dead. But they left some good remains.

Track Highlights

1. Le Freak
2. I Want Your Love
3. Chic Cheer
4. At Last I Am Free

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

"We were so fucked off at what had happened. I mean, it was Studio 54, it was New Year's Eve, it was Grace Jones, and we were wearing the most expensive outfits that we had — back then, in the late '70s, our suits must have cost us a couple of thousand bucks each, and our really fancy shoes had got soaked trudging through the snow. So 'Fuck Off' was a protest song, and we actually thought it was pretty good — 'Aaaaahh, f**k off!' It had a vibe. I was thinking 'This could be the anthem of everybody who gets cut off on the street by a cab driver or any kids who want to say this to their parents.' You know, 'Hey, I wasn't saying it, man! I was just playing the record.'

"We really had pretty big designs on completing the song as 'Fuck Off'. You've got to remember, we didn't think of that prior to sitting down and playing. Once we did sit down and play and started singing that hook, it sounded good; just as good as 'freak out'. In fact, had we not come up with ' off' we would never have written 'Freak Out' and some other song would have been our big hit record. We were screaming it: 'Aaaaahh, fuck off!' Bernard and I usually wrote the hook of a song first, and then once we felt we had a chorus that would pay off, the rest of the song would follow. So, that night we actually converted 'fuck off' to 'freak out'. That was part of the process that first night. First, we changed it from 'fuck off' to 'freak off', and that was pretty hideous. We were singing it and just stumbling over 'freak off', because it was so lame by comparison. Then, all of a sudden it just hit me. For one second the light bulb went on and I sang 'Aaaaahh, freak out!'"

Le Freak: