Wednesday, December 31, 2008

772. Blur - Parklife (1994)

















Track Listing

1. Girls And Boys
2. Tracy Jacks
3. End Of A Century
4. Parklife
5. Bank Holiday
6. Debt Collector
7. Far Out
8. To The End
9. London Loves
10. Trouble In The Message Centre
11. Clover Over Dover
12. Magic America
13. Jubilee
14. This Is A Low

Review

Here's another pretty great album by Blur. They take the principles introduced in
Modern Life is Rubbish and develop them here to great effect. They are clearly taking the mantle of the Kinks and the Jam and repackaging it for the 90s.

At least they are repackaging it in new and innovative ways unlike some other bands that will go unnamed. Even if you can clearly see the influences in Blur they don't let them overwhelm them and mix them with other interesting elements from synth-pop as well as more original approaches as show in
This is a Low.

So Blur retain their crown as the best Britpop band for the moment at least. I don't think they will lose it that fast. In fact I can't see them losing it at all. Yep, they're gonna keep it. No matter what people of no taste say.

Track Highlights

1. This is a Low
2. Girls and Boys
3. Parklife
4. Magic America

Final Grade


9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Blur frontman Damon Albarn told NME in 1994, "For me, [Parklife] is like a loosely linked concept album involving all these different stories. It's the travels of the mystical lager-eater, seeing what's going on in the world and commenting on it." Albarn cited the Martin Amis novel London Fields as a major influence on the album. The songs themselves span many genres, such as the synthpop-influenced hit single "Girls & Boys", the instrumental waltz interlude of "The Debt Collector", the Oi!-influenced "Bank Holiday", the spacey "Far Out", and the fairly-hard rock "Trouble in the Message Centre". Journalist John Harris commented that while many of the album's songs "reflected Albarn's claims to a bittersweet take on the UK's human patchwork", he stated that several songs, including "To the End" and "Badhead" "lay in a much more personal space".

Parklife, great video:


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

771. Drive Like Jehu - Yank Crime (1994)

















Track Listing

1. Here Come The Rome Plows
2. Do You Compute
3. Golden Brown
4. Luau
5. Super Unison
6. New Intro
7. New Math
8. Human Interest
9. Sinews

Review

Another slightly blah album on this list. It can be superficially interesting and a lot of the tracks actually start quite well, reminding me at times of stuff like Pere Ubu. Eventually, however all the tracks kick into some run of the mill sludge.

Well, it isn't exactly run of the mill, some of the songs are quite complex, but never enough to hold my interest for what are often very long running times. The overall ambience of the album is quite dark but even that, which I would be predisposed to like, can really save the album for me.

There is nothing inherently wrong with it, it's just not very exciting and it is often just plain dull. That is never what you want from anything.

Track Highlights

1. Here Come The Rome Plows
2. Sinews
3. LUAU
4. New Intro

Final Grade

7/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

In later years, as guitarist John Reis found international recognition with his band Rocket from the Crypt, a gradually growing audience began to pinpoint Drive Like Jehu's music as a catalyst for the eclectic San Diego music scene and the emerging national emocore scene of the 1990s. In 2003 Reis re-released Yank Crime on his Swami Records label, including on it the songs from the band's Hand Over Fist/Bullet Train to Vegas 7" and the original version of "Sinews" that had appeared on the compilation Head Start to Purgatory.

Sinews:


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

770. The Offspring - Smash (1994)

















Track Listing

1. Time to Relax
2. Nitro (Youth Energy)
3. Bad Habit
4. Gotta Get Away
5. Genocide
6. Something to Believe In
7. Come Out and Play
8. Self-Esteem
9. It'll Be a Long Time
10. Killboy Powerhead
11. What Happened to You?
12. So Alone
13. Not the One
14. Smash

Review

Is it better to burn out or to fade away? In 1994 that sentence was used more often in conjunction with another guy, but it is also applicable to the career of The Offspring. So here you have what was the biggest selling Indie album in history, and they never did anything good again.

This album, however, is another story. For those of us born in the early 80s, The Offspring was probably the first contact we had with something resembling Punk, early childhood was full of New Wave and then we had grunge. Smash was the first big album to actually bring a certain punkish attitude to our lives, quickly followed by Green Day's Dookie and then endless crap.

Fortunately this is a great album. Each and every single track is a possible single, with the actual singles being a lot of fun, and in the case of Self-Esteem painfully insightful when you are in the 12 to 16 bracket. So, yeah it is music for that bracket, but they go at it with gusto, and it is one of the funner albums to cross this list in 1994. I really like it. Offspring, should have died in a plane crash after this however, as from Ixnay on the Hombre onwards they never did anything comparable to Smash, simply becoming a parody of themselves.

Track Highlights

1. Self-Esteem
2. Come Out and Play
3. Bad Habit
4. What Happened to You?

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Since its release in 1994, Smash has proved to be a seller over time, moving over 6,000,000 in the US alone and being certified six times platinum by the RIAA. By 2008, the same year the album was remastered, it had sold over 16,000,000 copies worldwide. Many consider this to be The Offspring's most successful album to date. Despite its massive commercial success, it is not The Offspring's highest charting album on Billboard 200, peaking at #4; their fifth album Americana would hit #2 in 1998. Smash also sold well outside the US, particularly in Australia, where it debuted #1 on the ARIA Charts for three weeks in 1995.

Self Esteem:


Monday, December 22, 2008

769. Soundgarden - Superunknown (1994)

















Track Listing

1. Let Me Drown
2. My Wave
3. Fell On Black Days
4. Mailman
5. Superunknown
6. Head Down
7. Black Hole Sun
8. Spoonman
9. Limo Wreck
10. The Day I Tried To Live
11. Kickstand
12. Fresh Tendrils
13. 4th Of July
14. Half
15. Like Suicide
16. She Likes Surprises

Review

Superunknown is a very long album, too long. Smart editing would have been a good idea here, not all the tracks need to be here, and nearer the 40 minute mark would have made for a better album. As it is it becomes very hit and miss indeed.

As such, despite good single tracks it fails as an album. If you are doing an epic album you'd better be sure that every single track is worth the listener's time, if it isn't it just drags along the listener waiting impatiently for the next good one.

The influences here, more than from their Seattle contemporaries, are obviously from Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, but they do venture into other musical genres and the experiments can at times be interesting. Still none of it is that amazing, even if I do have a soft spot for Black Hole Sun.

Track Highlights

1. Black Hole Sun
2. My Wave
3. Spoonman
4. Like Suicide

Final Grade


7/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Superunknown was a critical and commercial success and became the band's breakthrough album. It debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 and reached high positions on charts worldwide. Five singles were released from the album: "The Day I Tried to Live", "My Wave", "Fell on Black Days", and the Grammy Award-winning songs "Spoonman" and "Black Hole Sun", the latter two of which helped Soundgarden reach mainstream popularity. In 1995, the album was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Rock Album. The album has been certified five times platinum by the RIAA in the United States and remains Soundgarden's most successful album.

Black Hole Sun, one of the most emblematic videos of the 90s:



Sunday, December 21, 2008

768. Oasis - Definitely Maybe (1994)


















Track Listing

1. Rock 'N' Roll Star
2. Shakermaker
3. Live Forever
4. Up In The Sky
5. Columbia
6. Supersonic
7. Bring It On Down
8. Cigarettes & Alcohol
9. Digsy's Dinner
10. Slide Away
11. Married With Children

Review

I love Manchester, I have lived here for 8 years now. But in the top 5 things I hate about this city, you'd probable have Oasis near the top, together with Morrissey and the weather. So from this you can imagine that this isn't going to be a very complimentary appraisal.

Oasis are a band for people who have never heard any music composed before 1975. Even if you've never heard an Oasis song, if you have a moderate knowledge of music you will have heard all of their songs. Not only is nothing new, they also do it badly and annoyingly.

You know why the Happy Mondays never did a "Happy Mondays sing the Beatles" album? It's is because it would sound shit and the Mondays are smarter than that. So why do people go crazy about a band who borrows all their tunes and sing them like the Happy Mondays? It is completely beyond me. If it was only that... the lyrics are appalling. Take Supersonic for example. Could the rhymes be more inane? Hardly. I can't even start to fathom how this band ever had a competition with Blur, and later, more amazingly, with Radiohead! They are not even in the same league, only as a high selling band.

Track Highlights


1. Live Forever
2. Cigarettes & Alcohol
3. Married With Children
4. Rock 'n' Roll Star

Final Grade

5/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

In 1997 Definitely Maybe was named the 14th greatest album of all time in a 'Music of the Millennium' poll conducted by HMV, Channel 4, The Guardian and Classic FM. In 2005 Channel 4's '100 Greatest Albums' countdown placed the album at number 6. In 2006, NME placed the album third in a list of the greatest British albums ever, behind The Stone Roses and The Smiths' The Queen Is Dead. In a recent British poll, run by NME and the book of British Hit Singles and Albums, Definitely Maybe was voted the best album of all time with The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band finishing second and Revolver third. Q magazine readers placed it at five on their greatest albums of all time list in 2006 and in that same year NME hailed it as the greatest album of all time. In a 2008 poll by Q and HMV in 2008, Definitely Maybe was ranked first on a list of the greatest British album of all time.

Take the above as more evidence that people are stupid.

How shit are the lyrics and how annoying is the whole thing? Very! Supersonic:


Saturday, December 20, 2008

767. TLC - CrazySexyCool (1994)















Track Listing

1. Intro-Iude
2. Creep
3. Kick Your Game
4. Diggin' On You
5. Case Of The Fake People
6. CrazySexyCool-Interlude
7. Red Light Special
8. Waterfalls
9. Intermission-Iude
10. Let's Do it Again
11. If I Was Your Girlfriend
12. Sexy-Interlude
13. Take Our Time
14. Can I Get A Witness-Interlude
15. Switch
16. Sumthin' Wicked This Way Comes

Review


Heh, TLC, I remember it well. I remember watching Waterfalls on TV and thinking that those were the most stupendous special effects ever envisioned by mankind, and I remember kind of liking it in a guilty way.

That's pretty much how I feel today, I kind of like it in a guilty way. Waterfalls is still a great song, so is Creep, but they are also incredibly dated, they sound really tacky now.

Still you really have to admire TLC for being the band which opened the door on all this female group R&B from En Vogue to Destiny's Child to Sugarbabes and Pussycat Dolls. In this sense they are still better than most of those bands. It doesn't feel anywhere near fresh, but it is still fun.

Track Highlights

1. Waterfalls
2. If I Was Your Girlfriend
3. Creep
4. Red Light Special

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The title refers to the different attributes that make up the personalities of each group member, Lisa Lopes having more of the crazy side in her, Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas representing the sexier element of the group, and Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins being the cool member. The three words together create one word, "CrazySexyCool", which describes all women's personalities.

Waterfalls:


Friday, December 19, 2008

766. Morrissey - Vauxhall and I (1994)


















Track Listing

1. Now My Heart Is Full
2. Spring Heeled Jim
3. Billy Budd
4. Hold On To Your Friends
5. The More You Ignore Me The Closer I Get
6. Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself
7. I Am Hated For Loving
8. Lifeguard Sleeping, Girl Drowning
9. Used To Be A Sweet Boy
10. The Lazy Sunbathers
11. Speedway

Review

More Morrissey. I ask the gods of list books why? Why more morrissey, why is he so fucking overrepresented while Nick Cave for example, a much better musician, lyricist and person is completely under-represented.

I am pretty sure one of the editors of the book is Morrissey's secret lover. And don't worry there's at least two more of his albums on the list! I mean the Smiths I get, all the albums included are significant, but this? Morrissey alone is never anywhere as good as The Smiths.

This album is a bit different from his previous offerings here, it sounds quieter and more carefully produced. Still, the lyrics are annoying as only Morrissey can make them and the music is not really that innovative that it deserves a place in history. There is a satisfying wish fulfilment fantasy to be had in the line from "I Am Hated For Loving" (another douchey title): "Anonymous call, a poison pen
A brick in the small of the back again". 
If only.

Track Highlights

1. Now My Heart Is Full
2. I am Hated For Loving
3. The More You Ignore Me The Closer I Get
4. Speedway

Final Grade

7/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The lead single off the album, "The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get", became the only song by Morrissey or The Smiths to achieve chart success in the United States, where it reached #46 on the Billboard Hot 100 and also became a #1 Modern Rock Tracks chart hit. In the United Kingdom, the song hit #8 and was the only single by Morrissey to reach the top ten during the 1990s.


Creepy Stalker song, The More You Ignore Me The Closer I Get:


Thursday, December 18, 2008

765. Elvis Costello - Brutal Youth (1994)


















Track Listing

1. Pony Street
2. Kinder Murder
3. 13 Steps Lead Down
4. This Is Hell
5. Clown Strike
6. You Tripped At Every Step
7. Still Too Soon To Know
8. 20%
9. Amnesia
10. Sulky Girl
11. London's Brilliant Parade
12. My Science Fiction Twin
13. Rocking Horse Road
14. Just About Glad
15. All The Rage
16. Favourite Hour

Review

You all know by now I really like Elvis Costello, still this album is a bit of a disappointment, not because it is bad, it isn't, but because there is not much new here. A bit repetitive of his previous career.

The list chooses not to have any of his more challenging albums that he recorded just before this one, ok, but this was a bit unnecessary. Of course the writing is still great, Costello being one of the best lyricists alive, the music is perfectly attractive as well.

So it is a perfectly good album, but if you've been following Elvis Costello you would expect a move forward. This seems like an album that is stalling, again I really like it, but it doesn't sound new, and it doesn't sound like Elvis moved since Blood and Chocolate.

Track Highlights

1. This is Hell
2. Sulky Girl
3. Pony St.
4. Favourite Hour

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

This is the first album Costello recorded with his band the Attractions after Blood and Chocolate (1986). The several albums in between were recorded with session musicians.

Kinder Murder:


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

764. Beastie Boys - Ill Communication (1994)

















Track Listing

1. Sure Shot
2. Tough Guy
3. B-Boys Makin' With The Freak Freak
4. Bobo On The Corner
5. Root Down
6. Sabotage
7. Get It Together
8. Sabrosa
9. The Update
10. Futterman's Rule
11. Alright Hear This
12. Eugene's Lament
13. Flute Loop
14. Do It
15. Ricky's Theme
16. Heart Attack Man
17. The Scoop
18. Shambala
19. Bodhisattva Vow
20. Transitions

Review

The Bestie Boys are probably one of the most underrated and misunderstood hip-hop bands around. A superficial look at their music simply reveals annoying vocals, childish lyrics and Jewish middle class boys trying to do rap.

Now, none of those statements is necessarily wrong, in fact I would say they are right. But they are so much more than that. There are few hip-hop acts that are as original, innovative and simply brilliant in their sampling. This album is another perfect example of that.

Another great thing about the Beastie Boys is the sheer variety of their influences, here they range from Vajrayana Buddhist ritual music to Middle Eastern Music, to 70s cop shows to Hardcore to funk, to Tribe Called Quest, Jazz and all the things in the middle. Weirdly enough it still produces a cohesive album, and this is an admirable album due to the sheer smartness behind the whole thing. I have only discovered the Beastie Boys through the list, my opinion of them before went from negative to neutral, now I really quite admire them as artists.


Track Highlights

1. Sabotage
2. Sure Shot
3. Bodhisattva Vow
4. Root Down

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Rolling Stone (5/13/99, p.54) - Included in Rolling Stone's "Essential Recordings of the 90's."

Spin (12/94, p.78) - Ranked #19 in Spin's list of the `20 Best Albums Of '94'.

Q (12/99, p.82) - Included in Q Magazine's "90 Best Albums Of The 1990s."

Village Voice (3/94, p.5) - Ranked #2 in the Village Voice's 1993 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll.

Village Voice (2/28/95) - Ranked #15 in the Village Voice's 1994 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll.

Mojo (p.60) - Ranked #54 in Mojo's "100 Modern Classics."

NME (12/24/94, p.22) - Ranked #3 in NME's list of the `Top 50 Albums Of 1994.'

Sabotage:


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

763. Nas - Illmatic (1994)


















Track Listing

1. The Genesis
2. N.Y. State Of Mind
3. Life's A Bitch
4. The World Is Yours
5. Halftime
6. Memory Lane (Sittin' In Da Park)
7. One Love
8. One Time 4 Your Mind
9. Represent
10. It Ain't Hard To Tell

Review

Another pretty good hip-hop album coming out of the East Coast. This is also one of those highly considered albums that, much like the Chronic for West Coast, I just don't find that amazingly impressive.

It is good and all, but we've just recently had better an more original stuff here on the list like Jeru the Damaja. There's not much wrong with Illmatic but there is also not much that is that impressive.

The fact that it is less "experimental" or alternative than other stuff at the time might be the explanation to why it had a wider impact, it is simpler and possibly has a wider appeal, but honestly it didn't really endear me to it, the lyrics are good, the music is good but nothing to make it merit it's place in hip-hop history.

Track Highlights

1. Life's a Bitch
2. One Love
3. N.Y State Of Mind
4. Halftime

Final Grade


8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Several critics immediately hailed Illmatic as a masterpiece, and is one of the most celebrated and influential albums in hip hop history. Illmatic redefined the musical milieu of East Coast hip hop in the mid-1990s, resulting in a renewed focus on lyricism and in the revival of the Queensbridge rap scene. In spite of this, the initial record sales fell below expectations. Although some criticized the album for its brevity (it contained only nine songs and one skit; unusual for a hip hop album), the general reaction was overwhelmingly positive. Pitchfork Media listed the album at number thirty-three in its "Top 100 Albums of the 1990s". As one of the website's writers, Hartley Goldstein asserts: "Illmatic is the meticulously crafted essence of everything that makes hip-hop music great; it's practically a sonic strand of the genre's DNA." It was listed as one of thirty-three hip hop/R&B albums in Rolling Stone's "Essential Recordings of the 90s".

Yeah... not really.

Halftime:


Monday, December 15, 2008

762. Sabres of Paradise - Haunted Dancehall (1994)


















Track Listing


1. Bubble And Slide
2. Bubble And Slide II
3. Duke Of Earlsfield
4. Flight Path Estate
5. Planet D
6. Wilmot
7. Tow Truck
8. Theme
9. Theme 4
10. Return To Planet D
11. Ballad Of Nicky McGuire
12. Jacob Street 7am
13. Chapel Street Market 9am
14. Haunted Dancehall

Review

Snore. If you are not a genius of the Brian Eno or Aphex Twin level it is very hard to make a compelling album of instrumental ambient music that can be listened to for pleasure instead of a trip-enhancer. This album doesn't quite get there.

First it is very long, 72 minutes of this is about half an hour more than it needed to be, secondly it is just not that interesting. Very repetitive, with a couple of quite good tracks. Still, it's better than the William Orbit album we had here recently.

The sound of this album is interesting in the way that it is quite dark in feeling, however it is never good enough to sustain your interest for the running time of it, hell even half the running time. I will never put this on for pleasure, maybe if I am tripping on something... otherwise let it be.

Track Highlights

1. Wilmot
2. Bubble and Slide II
3. Theme 4
5. Planet D

Final Grade

7/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The Sabres of Paradise was an experimental group from the UK, active in the early 1990s, whose roots were in the acid house scene but later produced more dub-inspired work. Their albums Haunted Dancehall and Sabresonic II contained no vocals whatsoever. Andrew Weatherall formed the group and was joined by engineers Jagz Kooner and Gary Burns, and were responsible for the legendary Sabresonic warehouse raves. The group dissolved in 1995, but continued their music careers. Weatherall who teamed up with Keith Tenniswood AKA Radioactive Man went on to form the Two Lone Swordsmen, and Kooner and Burns went on to form The Aloof.

Wilmot:


Sunday, December 14, 2008

761. Portishead - Dummy (1994)

















Track Listing

1. Mysterons
2. Sour Times
3. Strangers
4. It Could Be Sweet
5. Wandering Star
6. It's A Fire
7. Numb
8. Roads
9. Pedestal
10. Biscuit
11. Glory Box

Review


It is now that we are starting to get albums that make me feel really old. This came out 14 years ago! I mean there are people reading this blog who are younger than that I would imagine. I can't even conceive of people born after this. Probably the same reason why I don't get Myspace. I am more of an IRC man, myself.

So this is the most trip-hoppy of trip-hop albums. As such it has dated somewhat, trip-hop was a very time specific phenomenon. However, this is no reason to ignore this album, in fact it is a pretty amazing piece of work.

The sampling from Lalo Shinfrin samples, the amazing scratch work, Beth Gibbons voice... Portishead were never as good and this definitely marks the pinnacle of a whole genre. As such it is an essential album in anyone's collection. It is more than a cultural artefact, however, it is also a damn good album to listen to. Never boring, always interesting, this is something I really cherish.

Track Highlights

1. Sour Times
2. Roads
3. Glory Box
4. Wandering Star

Final Grade


10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

It won the 1995 Mercury Music Prize, beating stiff competition which included PJ Harvey's To Bring You My Love, Oasis' Definitely Maybe, and Tricky's Maxinquaye.

Sour Times:



Saturday, December 13, 2008

760. Pavement - Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain (1994)


















Track Listing

1. Silence Kit
2. Elevate Me Later
3. Stop Breathin
4. Cut Your Hair
5. Newark Wilder
6. Unfair
7. Gold Soundz
8. 5-4 = Unity
9. Range Life
10. Heaven Is A Truck
11. Hit the Plane Down
12. Fillmore Jive

Review

I loved this. I don't know if I loved it more or less than
Slanted and Enchanted or less, but I loved it differently. To me that is a mark of a great band, when it can produce albums that you love for different reasons, that are complementary rather than repetitious.

This is, unlike
Slanted, a much more sleekly produced album. The music, however, makes the best of that sleeker production and it is astonishing to see Malkmus moving from Lou Reed to Mark E. Smith to Dave Brubeck in the space of half an hour while making it all sound like Pavement.

This is one of those albums that really feels timeless, it hasn't dated one jot since it was recorded 14 years ago, if it came out today it would be as great as it is here. Highly Recommended.

Track Highlights

1. Gold Soundz
2. Cut Your Hair
3. Filmore Jive
4. Elevate Me Later

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Due to an ink splodge on the back of the original artwork, the song "Silence Kid" has become erroneously known as "Silence Kit". This misnomer persisted when designer Mark Ohe printed it onto the back of the re-issue Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain: LA's Desert Origins, despite the interior artwork showing the correct name in print several times, including written in Stephen Malkmus's own handwriting.

It was chosen as #8 on Pitchfork Media's Top 100 Albums of the 1990s In 2003, the album was ranked number 210 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

It was also mentioned in the Kevin Devine song "Probably," from his album Split the Country, Split the Street. In the song, Devine sings the lyric, "And you probably don't care for punk rock, but you probably love Crooked Rain."

Gold Soundz:


Friday, December 12, 2008

759. Jeru the Damaja - The Sun Rises in the East (1994)



















Track Listing

1. Intro (Life)
2. D. Original
3. Brooklyn Took It
4. Perverted Monks In Tha House
5. Mental Stamina
6. Da Bichez
7. You Can't Stop The Prophet
8. Perverted Monks In Tha House
9. Ain't The Devil Happy
10. My Mind Spray
11. Come Clean
12. Jungle Music
13. Statik

Review

Jeru the Damaja does something different in hip-hop! This album is a great antidote to g-funk style music, Jeru's samples are truly original ones, he uses them by simply sampling very small sounds which are then interestingly repeated throughout the track, it's pretty great.

Jeru's samples mainly come from Jazz but more of a free-jazz tradition than the more conventional Jazz used by groups like Tribe Called Quest. This makes his music sound pretty innovative while also being pretty accessible.

Jeru's beats are also great as are his lyrics, even if you have some problems with tracks like Da Bitchez, which might be construed as misogynist, at least Jeru qualifies what bitches are instead of being an anti-woman song... it is still misogynist, however. This is hip-hop, however, and you should be listening to anything else if words like bitch offend you. A great album which deserves more fame than it actually has.

Track Highlights

1. Brooklyn Took It
2. D-Original
3. Ain't The Devil Happy
4. Da Bitchez

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The album also features fellow Gang Starr Foundation member Afu-Ra. Jeru's trademark delivery and vocabulary can be found throughout the project. It is highly significant and is said to have helped revive East Coast hip hop along with other albums such as Wu-Tang Clan's Enter the Wu-Tang, Nas' Illmatic and Black Moon's Enta Da Stage.
An interesting sidenote, the album cover depicts the World Trade Center on fire only one year after the 1993 bombing of the North Tower.

D-Original:


Thursday, December 11, 2008

758. Girls Against Boys - Venus Luxure No. 1 Baby (1994)


















Track Listing

1. In Like Flynn
2. Go Be Delighted
3. Rockets Are Red
4. Satin Down
5. Let Me Come Back
6. Learned It
7. Get Down
8. Bullet Proof Cupid
9. Seven Seas
10. Billy's One Stop
11. Bug House

Review

Here's an album that is somewhere between post-hardcore, post-punk and alternative rock. This mix makes it kind of interesting, but then not much is made of it and the album's relistenability goes downhill.

So I can't say I disliked it, because I didn't, it is fine and I'd happily listen to it again, but overall it leaves me cold and I probably would not put it on myself again.

A big meh from me to this album then, even if it has got some pretty good tracks. In fact that album starts very well and gets less interesting the further you go in to the album itself. The first couple of tracks are the real highlights here and quite worthy, other than that...

Track Highlights

1. Go Be Delighted
2. In Like Flynn
3. Satin Down
4. Seven Seas

Final Grade


7/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The group began as a side project of Eli Janney and Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty. Canty soon left the project and by 1991 Janney had gone on to recruit three former members of D.C. hardcore punk group Soulside—Scott McCloud, Johnny Temple, and Alexis Fleisig—to complete the line-up. Girls Against Boys are perhaps most notable for employing dual bass guitars, a rarity in rock music, and for their second album, Venus Luxure No.1 Baby, a heavy yet nuanced entry into early 1990s post-hardcore. This album was performed live in its entirety as part of the All Tomorrow's Parties-curated Don't Look Back series, and at the 25th anniversary concert for Touch and Go Records held in Chicago in September 2006.

In Like Flynn:


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

757. Frank Black - Teenager of the Year (1994)

















Track Listing

1. What Ever Happened To Pong?
2. Thalassocracy
3. (I Want To Live On An) Abstract Plain
4. Calistan
5. The Vanishing Spies
6. Speedy Marie
7. Headache
8. Sir Rockaby
9. Freedom Rock
10. Two Reelers
11. Fiddle Riddle
12. Ole Mulholland
13. Fazer Eyes
14. I Could Stay Here Forever
15. The Hostess With The Mostest
16. Superabound
17. Big Red
18. Space Is Gonna Do Me Good
19. White Noise Maker
20. Pure Denizen Of The Citizens Band
21. Bad, Wicked World
22. Pie In The Sky

Review


So Frank Black after the Pixies gives us his solo career. It, unfortunately, never reaches the heights of Surfer Rosa or Doolittle, but hey... what does. Still, this is a pretty nifty album albeit a bit too sprawling for its own good.

Throughout 22 songs and a bit more than an hour of album Black touches many different styles, much like the Pixies had done before, but there is a distinct lack of focus to this production. This is not to say that there aren't great tracks here, because there definitely are.

It is the great tracks peppered throughout the album that really make it a worthy listen. Frank Black manages to keep the timeless sound of the Pixies, an album that could have been recorded today as well as 5 years before it actually was. So it is really good, but you honestly always expect more after the great albums in the past of the Pixies, it is an unfair expectation but something you always have in the back of your head anyway. So I'll put this on par with
Bossanova and give it 9.

Track Highlights

1. Speedy Marie
2. Freedom Rock
3. Calistan
4. (I Want To Live On An) Abstract Plain

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Notable songs include "Olé Mulholland," about William Mulholland, the architect of the Los Angeles Aqueduct and the St. Francis Dam, and "Big Red," about the possibility of terraforming Mars. The song "Bad Wicked Word" is about the 1960's TV Show The Invaders.

Calistan:


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

756. Method Man - Tical (1994)

















Track Listing

1. Tical
2. Biscuits
3. Bring the Pain
4. All I Need - Method Man, Diggs, Robert
5. What the Blood Clot
6. Meth Vs. Chef
7. Sub Crazy
8. Release Yo' Delf
9. P.L.O. Style
10. I Get My Thang in Action
11. Mr. Sandman
12. Stimulation
13. Method Man
14. Bring the Pain
15. Release Yo' Delf

Review

One thing that immediately comes to mind when listening to Method Man's Tical is how close it sounds to the Wu-Tang Clan's album we've had here a short while ago. This is obviously deliberate, the album is peppered with references to the Clan, some of the samples are the same etc.

This is appropriate for the first solo album to come out of that group and the production is again very similar, lo-fi,gritty and very good. That said, it seems like an extension of the previous Wu-Tang album more than a proper solo effort, all the good qualities of that album are here, but it doesn't really improve on it.

So in the end this is a mixed bag, while good in itself it is derivative, too similar to its direct ancestor just a year before and maybe slightly more chilled out, with moments that seem straight out of Portishead, but that just is not enough to put in the "great" category.


Track Highlights


1. Release Yo' Delf
2. Bring The Pain
3. All I Need
4. Tical


Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

t was a commercial success reaching #4 on the Billboard 200 and earning a platinum certification from RIAA on July 13, 1995. This success was driven by its two singles, "Bring The Pain" and also "Release Yo Delf", which boasts an interpolation of "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor. The album is also critically hailed by many hip hop fans as a classic album. This may be attributed to the gritty production which was handled almost exclusively by RZA. Its success is matched by its influence as a major piece in the East Coast hip hop renaissance. It was included in Q Magazine's 50 Heaviest Albums of All Time.

Release Yo' Delf, sorry for the advert and the fact that the song is censored:


Monday, December 08, 2008

755. William Orbit - Strange Cargo III (1993)

















Track Listing

1. Water From A Vine Leaf
2. Into The Paradise
3. Time To Get Wize
4. Harry Flowers
5. A Touch Of The Night
6. The Story Of Light
7. Gringatcho Demento
8. A Hazy Shade Of Random
9. Best Friend, Paranoia
10. The Monkey King
11. Deus Ex Machina
12. Water Babies

Review

William Orbit gives what he is famous for, pleasant chill out music of some quality, that is at the same time inoffensive but also generally uninteresting. He is a very good producer, no doubt about it, but he is also a bit of a bore.

The whole genre of "chill out" music is a minefield of shit. Like wading through an elephant cage that hasn't been cleaned in decades. In that context this album is really not that bad at all.

Interestingly in the first track you get a very unknown Beth Orton doing vocals, and that is actually the most interesting part of the whole album, she is doing a quite different singing style than what she would later use in her career. So yeah, mildly interesting "chill out", like ambient music for those without the intellectual commitment.

Track Highlights

1. Water From a Vine Leaf
2. The Monkey King
3. Into the Paradise
4. Time to Get Wize

Final Grade

7/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The album was performed, produced and mixed by William Orbit at Guerilla Studios, London. Mark Rutherford and Sugar J. co-performed "Deus Ex Machina" with William Orbit. Rico Conning: flexible bleeps and roadhouse piano on "Time to get Wize", spikey piano and strings on "The Story of Light" and additional programming on "A Touch of the Night".

Beth Orton in what is probably the most ridiculous video of her career, Water from a Vine Leaf: