Friday, December 14, 2007

458. Dead Kennedys - Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables (1980)
















Track Listing


1. Kill The Poor
2. Forward To Death
3. When Ya Get Drafted
4. Let's Lynch The Landlord
5. Drug Me
6. Your Emotions
7. Chemical Warfare
8. California Uber Alles
9. I Kill Children
10. Stealing People's Mail
11. Funland At The Beach
12. Ill In The Head
13. Holiday In Cambodia
14. Viva Las Vegas

Review

This is the Dead Kennedys album to get it's got all their smash number one hits - In some better, commie alternative reality - like Kill The Poor, California Uber Alles and Holiday In Cambodia and is all around a great album. Also it doesn't end there, I knew little more than those tracks by the Dead Kennedys and it was actually a revelation how good the rest of the album is, although it is not as accessible, songs like Drug Me and Chemical Warfare are so full of angry energy that they are great.

Actually there is nto a single dud here, even Viva Las Vegas is imbued with a critical snarl which changes the meaning of the song completely. This is politically active music at its best, you can sing along to it, headbang along to it, or write an essay about it.

This is where the Kennedys win at life, they eschew the puerile anarchism of previous punk band and go for a focused political agenda, even if it sounds a bit childish and utopic it is very much recognisable as a far-left agenda, still they do it with a great sense of fun, making great use of sarcasm, just Jello Biafra's snarl gives you the requisite hint of sarcasm while the lyrics are an exercise in making mini Swiftian Modest Proposals. Great stuff.

Final Grade

1. California Uber Alles
2. Holiday In Cambodia
3. Kill The Poor
4. Chemical Warfare

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

Musically, Fresh Fruit laid the blueprint for future Kennedy's releases: loud, noisy, fast, but with a sense of dynamics and musical individualism. The surf and rockabilly-inspired riffs owe something to the Ramones' most influential recordings, drawing from early American AM pop and rehashing it in the immediate, aggressive context of punk rock. The lyrics lend a significant bite to the breakthrough of the already strident (yet surprisingly catchy) musical assault. On the original vinyl version Side A was tracks 1-7 and Side B was tracks 8-14.

California Uber Alles:

Thursday, December 13, 2007

457. The Cramps - Songs The Lord Taught Us (1980)
















Track Listing


1. TV Set
2. Rock On The Moon
3. Garbageman
4. I Was A Teenage Werewolf
5. Sunglasses
6. Mad Daddy
7. Mystery Plane
8. Zombie Dance
9. What's Behind The Mask
10. Strychnine
11. I'm Cramped
12. Tear It Up
13. Fever

Review

So The Cramps come out with the first Psychobilly album, and that is no bad thing, I like the concept and sound of psychobilly, but then in this album all songs sound a bit too similar. It's a nice trick that this pony does, but it is just one. That said the overall sound is quite good and I enjoyed seeing a cover of Strychnine by The Sonics, giving tribute to who they should for their sound.

That said it is not a bad album on first impression, but after a while you start asking yourself if they can do anything else or is this a long extended suite on psychobillyness? It seems like the second option is the case, and sure that's fine for a while, and as I said I quite like the sound of it. The gothy/Lynchian sound is a good thing, the endless repetition not so much.

So in the end this is a mediocre to good album, not excellent. Frankly don't know what their other albums sound like and if they make any departures form the same formula but if they don't you just need one album frankly. It is also quite telling that the two best tracks here are covers, Strychnine and Fever, and that doesn't say much for The Cramps.

Track Highlights


1. Strychnine
2. Fever
3. I Was a Teenage Werewolf
4. Garbageman

Final Grade

7/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Their sound was heavily influenced by early rockabilly and proto-rock'n'roll like Link Wray and Hasil Adkins, 1960s surf music acts such as The Ventures and Dick Dale, 1960s garage rock artists like The Standells, The Gants, The Trashmen, The Green Fuz and The Sonics, as well as the post-glam/early punk scene from which they emerged. They also were influenced to a degree by The Ramones and Screamin' Jay Hawkins, who is often credited for having pioneered their style of theatrical horror-blues.

I Was a Teenage Werewolf:

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

456. AC/DC - Back In Black (1980)
















Track Listing

1. Hell's Bells
2. Shoot To Thrill
3. What Do You Do For Money Honey
4. Given The Dog A Bone
5. Let Me Put My Love Into You
6. Back In Black
7. You Shook Me All Night Long
8. Have A Drink On Me
9. Shake A Leg
10. Rock 'n' Roll Ain't Noise Pollution

Review

Wow, look at those song titles, none more crass. And yet, and yet... This is a really fun album, It is hard for a band in a genre I pretty much dislike to make me bob my head at most songs and if AC/DC are experts at something it is shitting little gold nuggets. Particularly the deservedly famous Back In Black and You Shook Me All Night Long, which are supremely catchy tracks.

This wouldn't be an album that I would put on if I was by myself, but two summers ago while DJing a private 80's party I did include both Back In Black and You Shook Me All Night Long because they are both such fun little things. And I can tell you people were dancing to them.

AC/DC are pretty much lowest common denominator music, but that implies that it is hard to dislike at least some tracks by them whoever you are. Still, as an album it is probably too much, I'd stick to the singles and even then only a couple of them at any given time. After a full album you are actually quite tired of them. Still, fun.

Track Highlights

1. Back In Black
2. You Shook Me All Night Long
3. Hells Bells
4. Given The Dog A Bone

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Back in Black contained some of AC/DC's biggest hits, including the title track "Back In Black", "Hells Bells," and "You Shook Me All Night Long". Angus Young has stated that the album's all-black cover was a "sign of mourning" for Scott, as black is the traditional color of mourning. It went on to become AC/DC's most popular album, the fifth best-selling album of all time, and the biggest selling album by any band, with more than 42 million copies sold worldwide. In 2006 Back in Black was certified by the Recording Industry Association of America as the fifth best-selling album in the United States, with 21 million copies sold. Despite its massive commercial success, it is not AC/DC's highest charting album, peaking at #4; their next album, For Those About to Rock We Salute You, hit #1 in 1982.

Back In Black:

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

455. Dexys Midnight Runners - Searching For The Young Soul Rebels (1980)

















Track Listing


1. Burn It down
2. Tell Me When My Lights Turn Green
3. The Teams That Meet In Caffs
4. I'm just Looking
5. Geno
6. Seven Days Too Long
7. I Couldn't Help If I Tried
8. Thankfully Not Living In Yorkshire It Doesn't Apply
9. Keep It
10. Love Part One
11. There, There My Dear


Review


This is the first of all three Dexys albums on this list. This might seem strange to some people, particularly those who are in the US as there they are only seen as a one hit wonder. This has actually tainted their image to an extremely unfair point, as they have never, ever produced a bad, average or good album, they are all exceptional. Actually it annoys me that when a respectable band has a hit they are dismissed as crap, as a "one hit wonder" how many hits did so many great bands have? None that's how many, but if you have no hits then you are alternative and underground and suitably obscure enough to be respected. Now if you have the supreme bad luck of having one hit, in the States that is, you will forever be tainted as some kind of freak accident of nature, better to have no hits then. So Dexys are not a one hit wonder, firstly in the UK they are a multiple hit wonder, one of the songs on this album, Geno, reached number 1. Then they are one of the greatest bands of the 80's period. Rant done.

This is one of the most original albums that I have had the pleasure of listening to, imagine a mix of soul music, in the style of James Brown intertwined with new wave sensibility and some Jamaican influence and you get the drift, well maybe not the drift but might be intrigued enough to check it out.

Then this is one of those albums which is injected with a relentless energy which reflects the band's name pretty well, Dexys comes from Dexedrine and this is a very amphy album. The brass band is fantastic and Rowland's voice just howls and screams over it like a man possessed and then the lyrics are fantastic so shed your music snobbery and preconceptions and worship at the feet of Dexys. Actually the only thing that I dislike about this album is the lack of an apostrophe on the cover.

Track Highlights


1. Geno
2. Burn It Down
3. Keep It
4. Seven Days Too Long

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The album was ranked 98th in a 2005 survey held by British television's Channel 4 to determine the 100 greatest albums of all time. In 2000 Q magazine placed it at number 85 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever.

The first track, "Burn It Down", is a re-titled re-recording of the band's first single, "Dance Stance". "Seven Days Too Long" is a cover of the Northern Soul favourite originally recorded by Chuck Woods.

The Brighton-based new-wave punk outfit, Young Soul Rebels, took their name from this album.

Geno:

Monday, December 10, 2007

454. Adam And The Ants - Kings Of The Wild Frontier (1980)

















Track Listing


1. Dog Eat Dog
2. Ant Music
3. Feed Me To The Lions
4. Los Rancheros
5. Ants Invasion
6. Killer In The Home
7. Kings Of The Wild Frontier
8. Magnificent Five
9. Don't Be Square (Be There)
10. Jolly Roger
11. Making History
12. Human Beings

Review

This is the first album of the 80's and very appropriately we have what would be an icon for the age, Adam and the Ants, with the excess and fun that they brough and typified a certain kind of 80's.

Now, Adam Ant has himself called this the last nail in the coffin of punk and I couldn't agree more. It was the success of albums like this, glamorous, fun and neatly produced that brought down the last true punk trying to hang on. From now all is post punk and pop. This sits somewhere in the middle, you can tell that punk exerts its influence but also that there is a conscious effort to depart from it. And it is a successful effort, the music is great, sounds fresh and supremely catchy. If only all other pop/new wave albums in the 80'd would be the same.

And a great big welcome to the 80's, we'll laugh, we'll cry... with the most underrated decade of them all.

Track Highlights


1. Kings Of The Wild Frontier
2. Antmusic
3. The Human Beings
4. Jolly Roger

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

This album introduced the new Burundi Drum sound. After having his previous backing band wooed away by producer Malcolm McLaren, who used them to form Bow Wow Wow, Adam Ant recorded Kings of the Wild Frontier with guitarist Marco Pirroni his new writing partner. In spite of the difficulties with the recording, Kings of the Wild Frontier has become acknowledged as an inspiritational and unique sounding album, introducing two drummers, with Duane Eddy sounding guitar riffs. Unique in style and sound, it is hard to classify it as anything but Antmusic though some consider it fringe pop-oriented post punk rock.

Kings Of The Wild Frontier:

Sunday, December 09, 2007

453. The Specials - The Specials (1979)
















Track Listing


1. A Message To You Rudy
2. Do The Dog
3. It's Up To You
4. Nite Klub
5. Doesn't Make It Alright
6. Concrete Jungle
7. Too Hot
8. Monkey Man
9. (Dawning Of A) New Era
10. Blank Expression
11. Stupid Marriage
12. Too Much Too Young
13. Little Bitch
14. You're Wondering Now

Review

The most noticeable punk band with very recognisable Jamaican influences we had here was the Clash. Now we close the 70's with The Specials, it is hard to say if they are a punk band with Ska or a Ska band with punk. But they are a pretty nifty band.

The album starts with the very well known Message to You Rudy and it shows their respect to the sources of Jamaican music, and it is actually quite admirable that al the covers show this respect. But The Specials shine equally in their original compositions, those have the very marked punk aspect to them and are great. Funny and with social consciousness they are some of the best modern Ska.

This is a great album, if you like Reggae, Ska, Punk or just good music, this is for you.


Track Highlights

1. Message To You Rudy
2. Little Bitch
3. Too Much Too Young
4. Money Man

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Trombonist Rico Rodriguez, who performed on many 50s and 60s Jamaican recordings before moving to London in 1962, played on the band's version of "A Message to You, Rudy," as he had on the original recording fifteen years previously. As a former member of the legendary Skatalites, a band that helped define the sound of ska and reggae, Rico's appearance on the album considerably added to the album's credentials.

A Message To You Rudi:

Saturday, December 08, 2007

452. Gary Numan - The Pleasure Principle (1979)
















Track Listing


1. Airlane
2. Metal
3. Complex
4. Films
5. ME
6. Tracks
7. Observer
8. Conversation
9. Cars
10. Engineers

Review

Gary Numan comes up with a distinctive sound here that is actually a mix of distinctive sounds and attitudes, there is something of the good glam of the early 70's Roxy Music and David Bowie and a lot of the Kraftwerk. It is "what if Kraftwerk made pop songs".

If they did it would have been pretty cool. This is a great album, and unfortunately unlike anything else by Gary Numan. This is the peak of a career which looks very much like a needle, a sharp climb followed by a sharp drop. This is not to say that Gary was a one hit wonder, because this whole album is a hit, even if the only song most people will recognise immediately is Cars. Then you think about it and ME is where Basement Jaxx got Where's Your Head At From, Metal had incredible influence on the hip hop scene and the whole album comes together in a crescendo of goodness.

This is also a herald to some of the cool things expecting us just around the corner in the 80's, Soft Cell and the Human League for example owe their existence to this album. And let's not talk about Gary Numan himself but this album, this was his epiphany and this is what he should be remembered for. And that was enough Mr. Numan, you should be happy with yourself.

Track Highlights

1. Cars
2. ME
2. Metal
4. Engineers

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Notable tracks included "Airlane", the lead-off instrumental; "Metal", sung from the perspective of an android longing to be human and covered by Nine Inch Nails on Things Falling Apart, Afrika Bambaataa on Dark Matter Moving at the Speed of Light and used as backing for Planet Funk's "Who Said"; "Films", acknowledged by Bambaataa as an important influence on the U.S. hip hop scene; "M.E.", told by the last machine on Earth and later used as backing for Basement Jaxx’s "Where’s Your Head At?"; the electronic ballad "Complex", a UK number 6 single; and "Cars", a worldwide synthpop hit recently covered by Fear Factory and sampled for Armand Van Helden’s "Koochy". "Cars" reached number 9 in the U.S., helping make The Pleasure Principle Numan's strongest Stateside showing, but lack of a strong commercial follow-up meant he was tagged a one-hit wonder there.

Cars:

Friday, December 07, 2007

451. The Damned - Machine Gun Etiquette (1979)
















Track Listing

1. Love Song
2. Machine Gun Etiquette
3. I Just Can't Be Happy Today
4. Melody Lee
5. Anti Pope
6. These Hands
7. Plan 9 Channel 7
8. Noise Noise Noise
9. Looking At You
10. Liar
11. Smash It Up (I)
12. Smash It Up (II)

Review

Ahh The Damned, it isn't apparent form the list but they were the first British band to have a Punk single, so they have been around by the time this album came out. Actually the punk is here but so is something else, a darkness and musicality more associated with gothy post-punk and even pop and a smattering of Psychadelia.

This is definitely a good thing, and all the tracks here fall into slightly different fields, making this a pretty varied but still consistent album. It is consistent in the quality but also in the overall feel of the thing. It is dark and oppressive but this is Thatcherite Britain so it is just a mirror to society. Actually in the times to come we will see very much the two poles of depression and escapism coming out of the UK as we start going into the 80's.

This album is great, one of the links between punk and the 80's gothy post-punk this album has feet planted firmly in both fields making it an interesting thing. It is actually poppier than Siouxsie for example, never reaching their level of depression and bleakness and being able to see some of the fun behind the darkness. Get it.

Track Highlights

1. I Just Can't Be Happy Today
2. Smash It Up (I)
3. Plan 9, Channel 7
4. Melody Lee

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The original vinyl's lead-out groove contained a sound clip ("Nibbled to death by an okapi") that was intended to loop indefinitely until the listener removed the needle from the vinyl (like the lead-out groove on Sergeant Pepper). The sound clip was a line from the BBC Radio series Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, spoken by Peter Jones, about the fate of Arthur Dent's brother

Smash It Up (II) and I Just Can't Be Happy Today:

Thursday, December 06, 2007

450. Michael "Wacko Jacko" Jackson - Off The Wall (1979)

















Track Listing

1. Don't Stop Till You Get Enough
2. Rock With You
3. Working Day And Night
4. Get On The Floor
5. Off The Wall
6. Girlfriend
7. She's Out Of My Life
8. I Can't Help It
9. It's The Falling In Love
10. Burn This Disco Out

Review

So someone has been listening to Stevie Wonder... but all that political stuff is really too much so he decided to make it funkier and dumb it down. Well there is nothing wrong with that, in fact this is an album that touches your inner child. Sometimes that child is touched inappropriately, because the challenge to your manliness that comes from prancing around the house in your boxer shorts (laundry day) dancing to Wacko Jacko is substantial.

So this is a fun album, with a little interlude of a ballad in She's Out Of My Life that although it sounds heartfelt sounds slightly out of place in what is such an upbeat album.

So if you like fun, don't turn your nose up to this. Nose... get it? Nose. So yeah I enjoyed it a the most basic level of music, the fact that it makes you happy and dancy but really doesn't demand anymore from you. But that music has its place and if it is done as competently as it is here it deserves to be respected and listened to. This is a perfectly produced album of pure fun, and a trip back to a time when Jackson was a great singer and performer.

Track Highlights

1. Don;t Stop 'Til You Get Enough
2. Off The Wall
3. Rock With You
4. Burn This Disco Out

Final Grade


9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Despite its commercial success, Jackson felt the album should have made a much bigger impact. In particular, Jackson was angry that he had won "only" one Grammy Award at the Grammy Awards of 1980 (Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough"), losing the Grammy Award for Best Disco Recording to Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive". He became determined to exceed everybody's expectations with his next album. Even Jackson couldn't have prepared himself for the phenomenon that followed. (Though his personal vow was fulfilled at the Grammy Awards of 1984 when he swept the ceremony, taking home a record-breaking 8 awards). Then he made sweet love to Macaulay Culkin.

Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough:

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

449. Public Image Ltd. - Metal Box (1979)















Track Listing


1. Albatross
2. Memories
3. Swan Lake
4. Poptones
5. Careering
6. No Birds
7. Graveyard
8. Suit
9. Bad Baby
10. Socialist
11. Chant
12. Radio 4

Review

So another PiL album on the list, and probably their most famous one, although it really did not make the same impression as their first album. This is probably also more famous for its crazy cover, made to look like a film canister which was good to protect the vinyls from scratches, but made it quite expensive to produce.

This is, however simply a development of the previous album, and therefore not as original as their self-titled d├ębut. It does have one advantage over that album, however, the fact that this isn't as relentlessly experimental also means that they have focused on their sound and the whole thing sounds tighter, but this is not really enough to make it a better album. And there is nothing as gratingly pubescent as Religion.

The sound of an apocalyptic disco club is what they go with here, thoroughly explored in their first album, particularly in Fodderstompf, so if you were into that album (and I was) this is a good place to go to. Although never as exciting and possibly overly long. But always, always, infinitely more interesting than the Sex Pistols.

Track Highlights

1. Memories
2. Albatross
3. Chant
4. Poptones

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

The Metal Box packaging was innovative and surprisingly inexpensive, costing little more to the label than the cost of printed sleeves for equivalent 12" releases (although Virgin did ask for a refund of 1/3 of the band's advance due to the cost). After an initial release of 60,000 units, the album was re-released in 1980 as Second Edition, a double LP with a gatefold sleeve.

The original metal canister idea caught on a few years later during the compact disc era. By the late 1980s a number of CDs were packaged in metal canisters, including Prince's special edition of the Batman soundtrack. In 1990 the concept came full circle, with the compact disc release of Metal Box employing a smaller version of the original metal canister, containing a single disc and a small paper insert.

The Second Edition sleeve art consists of distorted photographs of the band members, achieving a funhouse mirror effect. (The front cover is a photo of Keith Levene.) The lyrics are provided on the rear cover; these were originally printed in a magazine advertisement and not included with Metal Box. The band initially wanted the album released with a lyric sheet but no track titles; the United Kingdom version of Second Edition appears as the band intended, with lyrics on the back cover, but no titles, and "PiL" logo labels on all four sides of the vinyl. The American edition of Second Edition has track titles both on the back cover and the labels.

Memories:

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

448. Pink Floyd - The Wall (1979)

















Track Listing


1. In The Flesh?
2. Thin Ice
3. Another Brick In The Wall Pt. 1
4. Happiest Days Of Our Lives
5. Another Brick In The Wall Pt. 2
6. Mother
7. Goodbye Blue Sky
8. Empty Spaces
9. Young Lust
10. One Of My Turns
11. Don't Leave Me Now
12. Another Brick In The Wall Pt. 3
13. Goodbye Cruel World
14. Hey You
15. Is There Anybody Out There
16. Nobody Home
17. Vera
18. Bring The Boys Back Home
19. Comfortably Numb
20. Show Must Go On
21. In The Flesh
22. Run Like Hell
23. Waiting For The Worms
24. Stop
25. The Trial
26. Outside The Wall

Review

This is a long, long album and a completely anachronistic one at that. What are Pink Floyd thinking still doing their thing while the world has moved on? This is not such a great album, it is overly long, overly self indulgent and just plain pretentious.

Firstly I don't really care for the concept of it, secondly does it really need to be 80 something minutes? There are plenty of good tracks here, but also plenty of filler, the album would have been much better served by a judicious editing. But was going to tell that to Roger Waters. Thankfully they could thank the populous for being as undiscerning as them and so this was extremely successful.

If you compare this to Dark Side of the Moon it looks like a big glass bauble on a fancy dress crown next to the Koh-i-Noor. There is none of the refinement of that album here, it is flashy allright, but just that. Unfortunately there are a handful of really good tracks here which get lost in the concept. Some of the best music by Pink Floyd is here, but is is drowned out by all the filler.

Track Highlights

1. The Trial
2. Comfortably Numb
3. Mother
4. Nobody Home

Final Grade

7/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

"Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)" was the band's only number one single, reaching #1 in both the UK and the US. Around the world, the album produced a number of hit singles for Pink Floyd, including "Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)", "Young Lust", "Hey You", "Comfortably Numb" and "Run Like Hell". The Wall was the last Pink Floyd album to feature Rick Wright until his return in 1987. During the recording, Roger Waters demanded a great deal of artistic control, which led to tensions. The album is included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, and in 2003, Rolling Stone placed it 87th on their 500 greatest albums of all time list.

The Trial (NSFW):

Monday, December 03, 2007

447. Fleetwood Mac - Tusk (1979)

















Track Listing

1. Over & Over
2. The Ledge
3. Think About Me
4. Save Me A Place
5. Sara
6. What Makes You Think You’re The One
7. Storms
8. That’s All For Everyone
9. Not That Funny
10. Sisters Of The Moon
11. Angel
12. That’s Enough For Me
13. Brown Eyes Never Make Me Cry
14. I Know I’m Not Wrong
15. Honey Hi
16. Beautiful Child
17. Walk A Thin Line
18. Tusk
19. Never Forget

Review

I never thought I'd really like a Fleetwood Mac album until today. This is a really great collection of songs, there is no single bad track here, some better than others, but they are great and all reveal the individual sensibilities of the different members.

In a sense this is quite similar to a CSNY album in the way that different tracks display the different talents in the band, this is also a symptom of how band dynamics work... or how they don't work. But great things come from conflict and this is one of them.

This is a very long album, and therefore all the more surprising for its consistent quality. Forget Rumors, this is the album you want, it hasn't been overplayed, and allows you to appreciate Fleetwood Mac in a fresh way. This is also a considerably more experimental album particularly in its mixing, frequently bringing the rhythm section up front giving some of the tracks a distinct stomp, which really suits them. Highly recommended.

Track Highlights

1. Tusk
2. Beautiful Child
3. Save Me a Place
4. The Ledge

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The unusual title track, "Tusk", featuring the University of Southern California's Spirit of Troy marching band, proved to be a hit, reaching both the US and UK Top 10. The accompanying promotional film was often played as a fill-in segment by Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) TV channels during the 1980s (the single had enjoyed its highest international chart placing in Australia, peaking at #3 in the singles charts).

The album was one of the first to employ digital mixing.

The project had apparently made some record executives nervous, not only for its million-dollar production budget, but the label had expected a similar formula to that which had made Rumours so successful. The luxurious packaging and product that resulted did top the UK album charts on 10 November 1979, but only reached #4 in the US. Warner Bros attributed this to the record being "over produced" by Buckingham, making it less commercially viable. However, Fleetwood himself stated that matters were not helped by a major US radio station playing all 20 of the tracks in their entirety just prior to the album's release, thus allowing for home taping.

Tusk:

Sunday, December 02, 2007

446. Cheap Trick - At Budokan (1979)
















Track Listing

1. Hello There
2. Come on, Come On
3. Lookout
4. Big Eyes
5. Need Your Love
6. Ain't That a Shame
7. I Want You to Want Me
8. Surrender
9. Goodnight
10. Clock Strikes Ten

Review

This is the famous Cheap Trick live album, and it it decidedly meh. It just goes to show that Japan has an insane market for any old poop flung their way. Still there are a couple of good songs here, none of them justifying the mass hysteria of girls on the background.

So this is pop-rock at its blandest for most part, not offensive, original, inspired or interesting, just quite competent and slightly mediocre. Then there's the two jewels at the core of this album, I Want You To Want Me and Surrender, none of the two is particularly good, but they are both great fun.

So if this is your kind of thing, good for you, but it definitely eludes me why they were so popular, or particularly deserve to be in this list.

Track Highlights

1. Surrender
2. I Want You To Want Me
3. Ain't That A Shame
4. Need Your Love

Final Grade


7/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Illinois rock band Cheap Trick found early success in Japan, and capitalized on this popularity by recording At Budokan in Japan on April 28, 1978 (see 1978 in music) with hordes of screaming young Japanese girls nearly drowning out the band at times. This album (which appeared in Japan many months before being issued in the U. S. where it had sold briskly as a Japanese import, and which was issued with a concert program in both English and Japanese) broke the band into global pop stardom with their first hits.

Surrender:

Saturday, December 01, 2007

445. Gang Of Four - Entertainment! (1979)
















Track Listing


1. Ether
2. Naturals Not In It
3. Not Great Men
4. Damaged Goods
5. Return The Gift
6. Guns Before Butter
7. I Found That Essence Rare
8. Glass
9. Contract
10. At Home He's A Tourist
11. 5.45
12. Love Like Anthrax

Review

This is a great, great album. Go4 are doing so many things here in what is one of the best debut albums in British music, that it is hard to know where to start. So let's start with the music itself.

The staccato guitars are one of the most original but also most influential things that Go4 do here, they sound like many bands would sound later, Franz Ferdinand owe a deep gratitude to them for example. Then there's the great mixing bringing the bass right up front on equal footing with the other instruments, giving you a whole new sound to the rhythm section. But then this is pop, the song constructions are completely poppy but with a twist, the twist comes from how it is played and what it is saying.

Lyrically as you would imagine from a band named after the 4 people who controlled the Cultural Revolution in Maoist China, this is quite a subversive album. Of course, like most subversive music it runs the gamut from naive to insightful, but the heart is always in the right place, even if they are quite angry. Remember there's Thatcher and Reagan looking at each other across the ocean, life isn't rosy for the left.

And then the music is really catchy, after a couple of listen-throughs you will always remember all the songs, be able to quote from them, and just love it. This is a band which can sit at the pantheon up there with Pere Ubu in the great avant-garde punk bands of all time.

Track Highlights


1. Natural's Not In It
2. At Home He's A Tourist
3. Damaged Goods
4. Love Like Anthrax

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The album has attracted praise from rock musicians. Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers stated that the first time he heard the record, "It completely changed the way I looked at rock music and sent me on my trip as a bass player." In 2003, the album was ranked number 490 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In March 2005, Q magazine placed the track "At Home He's a Tourist" at number 52 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks.

The Dresses of Marie Antoinette to the sound of Natural's Not In It,,, and there's a half naked Kristen at the beginning:

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: