Monday, June 30, 2008

615. Everything But The Girl - Idlewild (1988)
















Track Listing

1. I Don't Want to Talk About It
2. Love Is Here Where I Live
3. These Early Days
4. I Always Was Your Girl
5. Oxford Street
6. Night I Heard Caruso Sing
7. Goodbye Sunday
8. Shadow on a Harvest Moon
9. Blue Moon Rose
10. Tears All over Town
11. Lonesome for a Place I Know
12. Apron Strings


Review

This album, earlyish in EBTG's career, before they discovered electronica, is a good piece of easy listening soft-pop, soft-jazz stuff... meaning it's not that good. Still, they manage to raise their heads above the crappy medium they are making music in on a couple of songs.

It is never exciting music, but it can seem very nice at times, even if it feels like a late 80's dinner party record, the Dido of its time, which is not necessarily good. That said Tracey Thorn has a great voice, which has been put to better use earlier in Style Council's Cafe Bleu's Paris Match or later in Massive Attack's Protection.

So the album is worth listening to for a couple of pretty well written tracks, but mostly due to Tracey Thorn's voice. It is good to see that the Lord in his infinite wisdom may let a woman hit all the branches on the ugly tree before she hits the earth, but then gives her a great voice. Also a warning for all you adult chat lines addicts.

Track Highlights

1. I Don't Want To Talk About It
2. These Early Days
3. Apron Strings
4. The Night I Heard Caruso Sing

Final Grade


8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

They formed a duo and took their unusual name "Everything but the Girl" from the slogan of well-known Hull shop, 'Turners' Furniture', on Beverley Road (left). Earlier, this was a line from the 1937 film "Daughter of Shanghai", in reference to a bungled murder and theft of evidence: 'Did you get it?' 'Everything.' 'Everything but the girl!'

I Don't Want To Talk About It:

Sunday, June 29, 2008

614. Fishbone - Truth And Soul (1988)

















Track Listing

1. Freddie's Dead
2. Ma and Pa
3. Question of Life
4. Pouring Rain
5. Deep Inside
6. Mighty Long Way
7. Bonin' in the Boneyard
8. One Day
9. Subliminal Fascism
10. Slow Bus Movin' (Howard Beach Party)
11. Ghetto Soundwave
12. Change

Review

Fishbone are a slightly interesting band. There's a lot of mix going on here, Funk, R&B, Metal, Rock, Jazz, Ska etc. But in the end it is less than the sum of its parts. That said it is still a precursor of bands like the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

But the album does kind of disappoint, it is never taken to the level that it could. It sounds very promising indeed, but the promise is never fulfilled. Some tracks do almost do it for me, but in the end it doesn't really happen.

So, if you are interested in the development of the east coast scene, or you want that rare thing, an African-American rock band, you should give this a go, but other than that... eh.

Track Highlights

1. Ma and Pa
2. Ghetto Soundwave
3. Frankie's Dead
4. Subliminal Fascism

Final Grade


7/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The album begins with a hard rock version of Curtis Mayfield's Super Fly classic "Freddie's Dead".

The title is derived from the ad agency in Robert Downey Sr.'s film Putney Swope.

Ma and Pa:

Saturday, June 28, 2008

613. The Waterboys - Fisherman's Blues (1988)
















Track Listing


1. Fisherman's Blues
2. We Will Not Be Lovers
3. Strange Boat
4. World Party
5. Sweet Thing/Blackbird
6. Jimmy Hickey's Waltz
7. And A Bang On The Ear
8. Has Anybody Here Seen Hank
9. When Will We Be Married
10. When Ye Go Away
11. Dunford's Fancy
12. Stolen Child
13. This Land Is Your Land

Review

I have loved The Waterboys since very early on in my life, probably since I was 3 and This Is The Sea, the previous album came out. So it has been a long relationship indeed, I remember being very young listening to them, and unlike so many things they have lost nothing with time. They are still impressive.

The Waterboys intention of creating a wall-of-sound was already fulfilled with their previous albums, but this one directed them towards and Irish sound which had already been hinted at before but was incredibly more prevalent here. What you end up with is a chaotic, epic, folksy sound that sounds at the same time very authentic and very modern.

This is a pretty great album, if you are interested in folk-rock it is, together with the Pogues, but just below them, some of the better stuff to come out of the 80s, the lyrics are half-literate, half-surreal and often beautiful. The music is always interesting, be it for its chaos and varied instrumentation or mimicry of Irish balladry. Essential any way you look at it.

Track Highlights


1. Fisherman's Blues
2. And A Bang On The Ear
3. We Will Not Be Lovers
4. World Party

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The recording sessions for the album were lengthy and produced a great deal of music. The sessions began at Windmill Lane Studio in Dublin and lasted from January through March of 1986. An additional session took place that December in San Francisco. From March to August of 1987 The Waterboys were recording in Windmill Lane again. Scott moved to Galway and another year passed as the band recorded at Spiddal House, where Scott was living. The entire second side of the original record is made up of recordings from this 1988 session. The album was released that October (see 1988 in music). Scott describes the process; "We started recording our fourth album in early '86 and completed it 100 songs and 2 years later".

Fisherman's Blues at last year's Glastonbury:

Friday, June 27, 2008

612. Leonard Cohen - I'm Your Man (1988)













Track Listing

1. First We Take Manhattan
2. Ain't No Cure For Love
3. Everybody Knows
4. I'm Your Man
5. Take This Waltz
6. Jazz Police
7. I Can't Forget
8. Tower Of Song

Review

So this is the great come back album by Mr. Cohen. Well it certainly is a good one, and it is a rare case where the song are just so good that you are obliged to look over it's quite glaring faults. I'd much rather Cohen would have remained the same guy with the little decorative acoustic guitar and back-up vocals... but no.

Cohen introduced a much synthier sound here, and that does not always work, and one song in the album is just terrible (Jazz Police), but other than that all the tracks are such great songs that you end up loving the album.

The lyrics are of course the best thing here, closely followed by Cohen's voice, and you never really listened to his albums for anything else, unfortunately the back-up can be quite distracting at times, but the songs are so good. Is this a great album or a pretty shitty one? It depends on how much you can overlook the crappy arrangements really, but I go for the first option, the songs are just too good for it to be anything less than a great album.

Track Highlights

1. I'm Your Man
2. Take This Waltz
3. First We Take Manhattan
4. Everybody Knows

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

It was widely considered Cohen's "comeback" album, after the poorly promoted Various Positions in 1984. The album also marked Cohen's further move into modern musical textures, with many songs having a synthpop-style production. I'm Your Man reached #1 in Norway.

The song "Everybody Knows" was one of Cohen's first writing collaborations with Sharon Robinson, who would become a frequent collaborator in the future. Most notably, Robinson co-wrote every song on Cohen's 2001 outing Ten New Songs.

In "Tower of Song", Cohen discusses songwriting and acknowledges the influence of Hank Williams ("a hundred floors above me").


Secretary to the sound of I'm your Man... Not Safe For Work obviously:

Thursday, June 26, 2008

611. Pogues - If I Should Fall From Grace With God (1988)

















Track Listing


1. If I Should Fall From Grace With God
2. Turkish Song Of The Damned
3. Bottle Of Smoke
4. Fairytale Of New York
5. Metropolis
6. Thousands Are Sailing
7. South Australia
8. Fiesta
9. Medley: The Recruiting Sergeant/The Rocky Road To Dublin/Galway Races
10. Lullaby Of London
11. The Battle March Medley
12. Sit Down By The Fire
13. The Broad Majestic Shannon
14. Worms

Review

I just love the Pogues, few bands are able to create such chaotic, boisterous and infectious music, it is hard not to tap your feet along to so many of the tracks here. But then you have to love them for a lot more than that. For their lyrics, experimentalism and the variety of music, particularly in this album.

This is not as an explosive album as Rum, Sodomy and the Lash, it is slightly more subdued and more slickly produced, yet it still has the edge necessary for the big stomping numbers, while allowing the Pogues to make more delicate music.

This album also contains what has repeatedly been voted as the best Christmas Song by UK audiences, and Fairytale of New York is certainly that. A bitter-sweet Christmas Song and the Pogues' biggest hit, but to focus on that single track would be to do this album a disservice, there is not one bad or average song here, it is all brilliant. Indispensable.

Track Highlights

1. Fairytale of New York
2. Thousands Are Sailing
3. Fiesta
4. Turkish Song Of The Damned

Final Grade


10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The album was a departure from previous Pogues albums, which had focused on an Irish folk/punk hybrid, combining musical radicalism with strong commercial appeal. On If I Should Fall From Grace with God several more genres were added to this mixture, including Jazz, Spanish folk and Middle Eastern folk. The adding of Spanish and Middle Eastern sounds was a sign of things to come; on later albums such as 1990's Hell's Ditch these would become the defining sound. However on this album it was very much Irish folk to the fore, especially on songs such as the title track, "Bottle of Smoke", "South Australia", "Lullaby of London" and "Sit Down By The Fire", and the rendition of the traditional jig "The Lark in the Morning" as the coda to "Turkish Song Of The Damned". These songs were more typical of the earlier Pogues albums, mostly fast and heavily textured. The album was also the first by the band to utilize a complete drum kit.

Also prominent on the album were the ballads "Thousands are Sailing", "The Broad Majestic Shannon" and especially the Christmas hit, a duet with Kirsty MacColl, "Fairytale of New York". "Streets of Sorrow/Birmingham Six" showed a passionate and angry political side to their music, the first part being about the sorrow a person feels about the streets of Northern Ireland, and the second half about the Birmingham Six and the Guildford Four, two groups of people wrongly imprisoned for terrorism offences and held in jail despite evidence showing they had not committed the crimes. The song also makes a passing reference to the Loughgall Martyrs with the line "while over in Ireland eight more men lay dead, kicked down and shot in the back of the head".

Fairytale of New York:

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

610. Terence Trent D'Arby - The Hardline According to Terence Trent D'Arby (1987)

















Track Listing


1. If You All Get To Heaven
2. If You Let Me Stay
3. Wishing Well
4. I'll Never Turn My Back On You (Fathers Words)
5. Dance Little Sister
6. Seven More Days
7. Let's Go Forward
8. Rain
9. Sign Your Name
10. As Yet Untitled
11. Who's Lovin' You

Review

I must be one of the few people in the world who really likes Terence Trent D'Arby, at least he is included in this list, and maybe a re-apreciation of his work, and particularly of this album is in order. This is a guy who is a bit of Prince, a bit of Jackson and a bit of Sam Cooke all rolled into one.

There are very few R&B albums which mention Asmodeus and Belial in one track while they advise the consumption of magic mushrooms in another one, and still manage to have big hits. It is also rare to find albums of this kind where the singer writes, composes and plays many of the instruments here.

All that being said the album is dated of course, but that is not a necessarily bad thing, it is of its time, but it is very good in its context. Hell I'd rather listen to this than to any Michael Jackson (with the notable exception of Off The Wall). So here's to Terence, who is now called Sananda Maitreya.

Track Highlights

1. Sign Your Name
2. Rain
3. Wishing Well
4. Who's Loving You

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Sananda Maitreya was born as Terence Trent Howard. His former stage name, Terence Trent D'Arby, came from taking his adoptive father's, James Benjamin Darby's, family name, and including an apostrophe. At the early years when he joined the Band The Touch he used Terence Trent Darby as his stage name without an apostrophe. The name Sananda Maitreya, on the other hand, purportedly came to the artist in a series of dreams, after which he considered it to reflect his present self better than his former stage name. Said Maitreya: "After intense pain I meditated for a new spirit, a new will, a new identity.

Sign Your Name:

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

609. U2 - Joshua Tree (1987)
















Track Listing


1. Where The Streets Have No Name
2. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
3. With Or Without You
4. Bullet The Blue Sky
5. Running To Stand Still
6. Red Hill Mining Town
7. In God's Country
8. Trip Through Your Wires
9. One Tree Hill
10. Exit
11. Mothers Of The Disappeared


Review


From the opening moments of the album you can tell that this is most definitely produced by Brian Eno, then you get the layers upon layers of effects on Edge's guitar and you know you have U2 here, even if you didn't know the song, which you most likely do.

This is definitely one of their best albums, they went out looking for American music and came back with a mix that has been widely influential since then, epic pop-rock bands like Coldplay would not be here if it wasn't for this... and the world might be a better place for it.

We should not, however blame the parents for the sins of their children, and this is a pretty good album, with some big problems, it is extremely preachy, self-important and unbelievably top heavy. They asked Kirsty MacColl to place the songs in the album by the order of favourite to least favourite. You end up with an album with the best tracks at the beginning...

Track Highlights

1. With or Without You
2. Where the Streets Have No Name
2. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
4. In God's Country

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Named The Joshua Tree as a "tribute" to (rather than a "metaphor" for) America, the album was released in March 1987. It debuted at number one in the UK and also quickly reached the top of the charts in the U.S. U2 became the fourth rock band to be featured on the cover of Time magazine (following The Beatles, The Band, and The Who), who declared that U2 was "Rock's Hottest Ticket". The Joshua Tree is often cited as one of the greatest albums in rock history. The album brought U2 to a new level of mega-stardom, as the worldwide Joshua Tree Tour sold out arenas and stadiums around the world, the first time the band had consistently played venues of that size.

Live With Or Without You:

Monday, June 23, 2008

608. Pet Shop Boys - Actually (1987)
















Track Listing


1. One More Chance
2. What Have I Done to Deserve This?
3. Shopping
4. Rent
5. Hit Music
6. It Couldn't Happen Here
7. It's a Sin
8. I Want to Wake Up
9. Heart
10. King's Cross

Review

The best thing about the Pet Shop Boys is the fact that they ironically put deep lyrics in the most disposable kind of music possible, dance-pop. The worse thing about the Pet Shop Boys is the fact that their music, albeit with interesting lyrics, is disposable dance-pop.

This is not to say that the album does not have its share of memorable moments, and as disposable dance-pop goes this is probably one of the most interesting albums of the type. But it sounds incredibly dated, unfortunately.

Even though it is very much of its time a couple of tracks have become bona fide classics, It's A Sin is the foremost example of this, and if it wasn't for this album we probably would not have had the Dusty Springfield albums we did on this list, they single-handedly brought her back into the limelight sparking interest in her back catalogue, and for that they deserve my respect. For this album they deserve a rotund "meh".

Track Highlights

1. It's A Sin
2. What Have I Done To Deserve This
3. Shopping
4. King's Cross

Final Grade


7/10

Trivia


From Wikipedia:

Actually spawned four UK Top 10 singles: the number one lead-off single "It's a Sin," "Rent," "What Have I Done to Deserve This?," a duet with fellow Parlophone artist Dusty Springfield which peaked at #2 in both the UK and US and led to a major resurgence of interest in Springfield's earlier work; and the duo scored another UK number one in April 1988 with a remixed version of the album's fourth and last single, "Heart."

During this period, the Pet Shop Boys also completed a full-length motion picture called It Couldn't Happen Here. Featuring songs by the duo, it was most famous for containing the video for "Always on My Mind" (starring Joss Ackland as a blind priest), which - while not on Actually - was released as a single during this period.

It's A Sin:

Sunday, June 22, 2008

607. Michael Jackson - Bad (1987)

















Track Listing

1. Bad
2. Way You Make Me Feel
3. Speed Demon
4. Liberian Girl
5. Just Good Friends
6. Another Part Of Me
7. Man In The Mirror
8. I Just Can't Stop Loving You
9. Dirty Diana
10. Smooth Criminal
11. Leave Me Alone

Review

Bad


Track Highlights

1. Man in the Mirror
2. Leave Me Alone
3. Dirty Diana
4. Bad

Final Grade

6/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

By the time Jackson released this album, sales of its predecessor, Thriller, had already reached forty million, raising expectations for Bad. Bad became the first of Michael's albums to debut at number-one on the Billboard Top 200 where it remained for the next six consecutive weeks. The RIAA certified Bad for having sold eight million copies in the U.S. alone. In the U.K, the album sold 500,000 copies in just five days and is currently certified 13x platinum, for sales of 3.9 million making it Jackson's biggest-selling album in the UK. Globally, it's Jackson's overall second best-selling recording, with 32 million copies sold.


Man In The Mirror:

Saturday, June 21, 2008

606. The Triffids - Calenture (1987)
















Track Listing


1. Bury Me Deep In Love
2. Kelly's Blues
3. A Trick Of The Light
4. Hometown Farewell Kiss
5. Unmade Love
6. Open For You
7. Holy Water
8. Blinder By The Hour
9. Vagabond Holes
10. Jerdacuttup Man
11. Calenture
12. Save What You Can

Review


This is an album which has been growing on me the more I listen to it, and I imagine that with a few more days of listening to it I might have come to a different conclusion about it. There are some songs here which I truly love and then others which leave me kind of cold.

The idea of having a kind of alternative band with kind of a strong Gospel flavour is an interesting one, but I am not sure if this is done to the best effect here. There is too much of the music which is of its time, and for 1987 that is not a particularly wonderful thing.

Still, as a band from Australia you can see some influences here that go from INXS to Nick Cave, and the influence is mutual really. The Triffids clearly influence the more grandiose of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, only it's cheerier. The lyrics are good, at times great. So a good album.

Track Highlights

1. Blinder By The Hour
2. Kelly's Blues
3. Save What You Can
4. Bury Me Deep In Love

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The recording sessions for Calenture began with American producer Craig Leon (appointed by Island Records) however it bcame clear, at least to the band that Leon (and Island Records) were primarily interested in David McComb and not the rest of the band members.

'In the tried and true way of all major labels at the time, they really wanted to sign Dave but got a troublesome band instead. It was probably Island's insistence that Alsy and Marty weren't up to it that caused the Craig Leon sessions to be the unmitigated disaster that they were. Now I could be wrong here, maybe Craig wanted them out, maybe both. We were pretty much forced to let a couple of session guys stand in -- no names because it wasn't their fault -- and we could tell straight away that this was applying a straightener to the normally unruly quiff that was the band. It was also sucking the essence of the band out. Anyway, it's a sorry little interlude that I should draw the curtain on. The sessions were scrapped and we were allowed to be the Triffids again.'

Island Records then brought in Lenny Kaye however Kaye felt that the Triffids and their material were impressive enough and that they didn't need his help. Eventually Gil Norton (who worked on Born Sandy Devotional was brought back to re-record the album.

Kelly's Blues:

Friday, June 20, 2008

605. Sonic Youth - Sister (1987)





















Track Listing

1. Schizophrenia
2. I Got A Catholic Block
3. Beauty Lies In The Eye
4. Stereo Sanctity
5. Pipeline Kill Time
6. Tuff Gnarl
7. Pacific Coast Highway
8. Hot Wire My Heart
9. Cotton Crown
10. White Cross


Review

Very few band know how to use noise to a level of perfection, one of them is Pere Ubu, another one is Sonic Youth. Making feedback and distortion an integral part of the music that does not just work but actually enhances the musical experience is a feat that when it is pulled off to this level I really enjoy. Not enough bands do it, and those that do, do it wrong.

The qualitative jump from Evol to sister is marked, there is a slight shift towards more conventional song structure, but not enough to ruin the music in any way, just making it the right notch of accessibility to lead this album to near perfection.

If there is a problem that I can point to in this album, it is the fact that some songs are so superlatively good that others kind of pale in comparison. But even the less amazing songs here are still amazing enough. An essential album.

Track Highlights

1. Schizophrenia
2. I Got A Catholic Block
3. Hot Wire My Heart
4. Kotton Krown

Final Grade


10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The black area on the front cover was originally the photograph "Sandra Bennett, twelve year old, Rocky Ford, Colorado, August 23, 1980" taken by Richard Avedon, but was removed after the threat of a lawsuit. At first the picture was merely covered up with a black sticker, but on later pressings, it was deleted. The same was done with a photo of Disney's Magic Kingdom on the back cover. Very early promotional posters and pressings of the album do feature these photos, but later ones do not.

Schizophrenia:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

604. Napalm Death - Scum (1987)
















Track Listing

1. Multinational Corporations
2. Instinct Of Survival
3. Kill
4. Scum
5. Caught... In A Dream
6. Polluted Minds
7. Sacrificed
8. Siege Of Power
9. Control
10. Born On Your Knees
11. Human Garbage
12. You Suffer
13. Life
14. Prison Without Walls
15. Point Of No Return
16. Negative Approach
17. Success
18. Deceiver
19. CS
20. Parasites
21. Pseudo Youth
22. Divine Death
23. As The Machine Rolls On
24. Common Enemy
25. Moral Crusade
26. Stigmatized
27. MAD
28. Dragnet

Review

If you think Slayer was heavy and fast you ain't seen nothing yet. Napalm Death sounds like their name, a relentless attack that will leave your ears scorched. It fast, furious and not very pleasant to listen to at all.

I have to admire their politics (they don't seem to like multinational corporations, the only two words I understand in the whole album), and the sheer speed and anger projected here, I also admire a certain experimentalism that must be present to produce such a grating album, with one of the songs not even reaching 2 seconds and most being under 2 minutes.

That said, if I never hear this album again I will only be too happy, this is fucking horrible to listen to, I don't understand how some people listen to this for pleasure, for anything other than as a mildly interesting noise experiment. Sure, teenagers are sometimes angry and this has some kind of cathartic effect, but this is about the only good thing I can say about this.

Track Highlights


1. You Suffer

Final Grade

5/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The Side A of the Scum album was originally recorded for £50.00 at Rich Bitch studio (Birmingham, England) in August 1986: it was intended to form part of a split release with the English hardcore thrash group Atavistic on Manic Ears records (Bristol, England). After an extensive line-up change, the second half of Scum was recorded in May 1987 at Rich Bitch studio. The album was released as a single album through Earache Records in July 1987.

You Suffer, live:



Yes, that was it.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

603. Laibach - Opus Dei (1987)
















Track Listing

1. Leben Heist Leben
2. Geburt Einer Nation
3. Leben Tod
4. F I A T
5. Opus Dei
6. Trans National
7. How The West Was Won
8. Great Seal

Review

Laibach is a fascinating band, alternatively accused of being far-right or far-left they are really putting everybody on with a great display of detournement. That is particularly obvious in this album, taking songs from other people, in this case crap Austrian band Opus and crappy UK band Queen and making them into what they were never intended to be: slightly nazified epic martial anthems.

And if that was all they did this would be a great album, but their own tracks stand up nicely, with a Wagnerian feel and a sense of humour making this one of the funnest albums to come across our paths in a while. They are prefiguring Rammstein's brand of martial stomp metal 10 years before its time.

Of course this album ruffled a lot of feathers, the band's name is the German name for Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, occupied by the Nazis. That had them in hot water in their own country, their uniforms and singing style in the rest of the world. But in the end there is a criticism, the artistic concept of the album is a bit heavy handed making it sound like a novelty album at times. Still, a lot of fun.

Track Highlights

1. Geburt Einer Nation
2. Leben Heisst Leben
3. The Great Seal
4. Leben - Tod

Final Grade


8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

It features two cover versions - "Geburt einer Nation", a German cover of Queen's "One Vision" and two reworkings of Austrian band Opus' sole hit single "Live Is Life". The Opus song became the German language "Leben heißt Leben" and the English language "Opus Dei".

The attention this album received from MTV and others led to Laibach's first worldwide tour.

Geburt Einer Nation:

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

602. Ladysmith Black Mambazo - Shaka Zulu (1987)




Track Listing

1. Unomathemba
2. Hello My Baby
3. At Golgotha
4. King of Kings
5. Lomhlaba Kawunoni
6. How Long?
7. Ikhaya Lamaqhawe
8. Yibo Labo
9. Rain, Rain Beautiful Rain
10. Wawusho Kubani?

Review

If your favourite bit of Graceland was the South African chorus present in several of the songs and you thought that Paul Simon coming in was just ruining it, then this is the album for you. If like me you think those choruses added a lot to the songs but were not the be all and end all of the songs, you might be slightly disappointed by this album.

The album is produced by Paul Simon, and maybe due to that the sound is very similar to the Ladysmith Black Mambazo bits in Graceland, but then they just go on and it never gets terribly exciting. It's nice and all.

There isn't much diversity here, nothing compared to the Miriam Makeba album we had here many moons ago, it is a bit more of the same. and while the singing can be very impressive at times it is not enough to sustain interest for very long. It is a good album but could have done with more oomph.

Track Highlights

1. Hello My Baby
2. Yibo Labo
3. At Golgotha
4. How Long?

Final Grade


7/10

Trivia


From Wikipedia:

Following a collaboration on Paul Simon's 1986 album Graceland, which brought the group to international prominence, Shaka Zulu - produced by Simon - marked the band's first genuine international hit, securing them an American audience which would be built upon by the successes of Journey of Dreams (1988) and Two Worlds, One Heart (1990). Shaka Zulu was a collection of newly recorded versions of older Mambazo hits, such as "Unomathemba", "Hello My Baby" and "Lomhlaba Kawunoni".

Hello My Baby:

Monday, June 16, 2008

601. The Jesus And Mary Chain - Darklands (1987)
















Track Listing

1. Darklands
2. Deep One Perfect Morning
3. Happy When It Rains
4. Down On Me
5. Nine Million Rainy Days
6. April Skies
7. Fall
8. Cherry Came Too
9. On The Wall
10. About You

Review

Psychocandy carried a lot of promise for tJaMC, it wasn't the best album around, it was too derivative of VU to be a true original, but I thought maturity would make them somewhat different. And they did get different, but they also seem to have lost what made them interesting.

The wall of sound and noise is gone, the whole thing moved to more run-of-the-mill alternative rock. There is nothing particularly wrong with this and the album ends up being perfectly inoffensive, which is also its problem. Still, some of the songs are quite good in their genre.

The problem with tJaMC is that they became a promise unfulfilled. They end up making a more accessible album by destroying what made them unique, it's a bit sad. Still, I liked this album on its own merits, but it's nothing that amazing.

Track Highlights

1. April Skies
2. Happy When It Rains
3. Darklands
4. Nine Million Rainy Days

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Unlike their previous album, drum machines were used in place of drummer Bobby Gillespie, who had left to pursue a successful career as the frontman with Primal Scream. The album marks a turning point in the band's music, going from the savage noise-pop of Psychocandy, to a more melodic Indie/Alternative rock sound.

Gillespie and Primal Scream later recorded a cover of the album's title track.

April Skies:

Sunday, June 15, 2008

600. Guns n' Roses - Appetite For Destruction (1987)
















Track Listing

1. Welcome To The Jungle
2. It's So Easy
3. Nightrain
4. Out Ta Get Me
5. Mr. Brownstone
6. Paradise City
7. My Michelle
8. Think About You
9. Sweet Child O' Mine
10. You're Crazy
11. Anything Goes
12. Rocket Queen

Review

Ok, this is pretty crap but it is still a lot of fun. If you, like me, grew up with this it gains an inordinate amount of points for sheer nostalgia value. In fact that is pretty much all the value this album has.

Axl's voice is annoying, the playing is very good but very masturbatory, the lyrics are inane, and it is overall ridiculous. Still, it is fun, and contains what are the three best Guns tracks. The rest of the album really does not stand up to the epic ridicule and awesomeness of Paradise City, Welcome To The Jungle and Sweet Child O' Mine, so you are always kind of waiting for those highlights.

The exception if probably It's So Easy, a great track which sounds out of place in the album, it sounds like it belongs to a better album, maybe because Axl is mostly absent from the track. So, yeah I had fun with this, but I'll keep it out of my iPod, the times I listen to it by accident are quite enough.

Track Highlights


1. Sweet Child O' Mine
2. It's So Easy
3. Welcome To The Jungle
4. Paradise City

Final Grade


7/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The album's original cover, based on the Robert Williams painting "Appetite for Destruction", depicted a robot rapist about to be punished by a metal avenger. After several music retailers refused to stock the album, they compromised and put the controversial cover art inside, replacing it with a cover depicting a cross and skulls of the five band members (designed by William White, originally as a tattoo), each skull representing one member of the band: Izzy Stradlin, top skull; Duff McKagan, left skull; Axl Rose, center skull; Steven Adler, right skull; and Slash, bottom skull. The photographs used for the back of the album and liner notes were taken by Robert John (photographer).

Sweet child O' Mine, look at Axl dance!:

Saturday, June 14, 2008

599. The Smiths - Strangeways, Here We Come (1987)
















Track Listing

1. Rush And A Push And The Land Is Ours
2. I Started Something I Couldn't Finish
3. Death Of A Disco Dancer
4. Girlfriend In A Coma
5. Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before
6. Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me
7. Unhappy Birthday
8. Paint A Vulgar Picture
9. Death At One's Elbow
10. I Won't Share You

Review


Well this wasn't as bad as Meat Is Murder or as good as The Queen Is Dead, it is somewhere in the middle, leading me towards disliking it, but I have to admit I have a more open mind about the whole Smiths thing.

There are some pretty good tracks here, my favourite being Death Of A Disco Dancer, which doesn't seem to be anybody else's favourite, oh well. People seem to like crap like Girlfriend in a Coma which is one of the more annoying Morrisey wankfests.

The good thing about Smiths albums post Meat Is Murder, is the fact that they started to be a bit more humorous about the whole thing, you really wouldn't be able to sustain the preachy quality of their earlier efforts for any longer. In that sense there are some not bad self-digs here. So, listenable but not that great.

Track Highlights

1. Death Of A Disco Dancer
2. Unhappy Birthday
3. Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before
4. Paint A Vulgar Picture

Final Grade

7/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Strangeways, Here We Come may be The Smiths' last album, but it does not feature their last-ever recordings, as a final two songs were recorded in May 1987 to provide B-sides for the album's lead single, "Girlfriend in a Coma" (see the entry on "I Keep Mine Hidden", B-side for this single and the last song The Smiths recorded). Two more singles were taken off Strangeways, Here We Come; they were supplemented on their B-sides by archive recordings.

Death Of a Disco Dancer, and I'll spare you Morrissey's dancing:

Friday, June 13, 2008

598. Astor Piazzolla and Gary Burton - The New Tango (1987)
















Track Listing

1. Milonga Is Coming
2. Vibraphonissimo
3. Little Italy 1930
4. Nuevo Tango
5. Laura's Dream
6. Operation Tango
7. Muerta del Angel

Review


About 10 years ago I was talking to my wife to be (we were just friends then) online, and I told her I was listening to some tango. She laughed and said that that was something I'd never get her in to. So I sent her an mp3 of Libertango, one of Piazzolla's most famous tracks. She was convinced.

Many things 10 years later start sounding worse and worse, and there is a lot I liked then that I don't now, or that I am at least indifferent to. Piazzolla is not one of them, even with the overuse of his music by bands like Gotan Project and their ubiquitous presence everywhere for the past few years, Piazzolla "unplugged" has never diminished in my view.

Part of the reason for this is the fact that he died (in 1992 but he had been severely debilitated since 1990) at the height of his powers as a musician and composer. He is also tellingly the only artist which is both on this list and on the Classical Recordings list, this is a tribute to how undefinable his music is. It is based on a folk tradition of Tango in Argentina, but it is very much not danceable, it has mass popular appeal but it is also very complex in compositional terms. It is beautiful and strange and pervaded with a deep longing feeling. It is the music that always reminds me of Lisbon, because of that sad longing of not being there and it works when I am there with the wide sea and the white houses, taking a train with the headphones on. It can also be energetic and exciting but it is always amazing.

This live recording is a particularly good one because to the bandoneon of Piazzolla and the strings of his band you add the vibraphone of Burton, and that is another of my favourite instruments, the deep resounding sound of the vibraphone complements this New Tango perfectly. If you don't know Piazzolla there is no time like the present to start doing so.

Track Highlights


1. Milonga Is Coming
2. Vibraphonissimo
3. Laura's Dream
4. Nuevo Tango

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

He began to play the bandoneon after his father, nostalgic for his homeland, spotted one in a New York pawn shop. At the age of 13, he met Carlos Gardel, another great figure of tango, who invited the young prodigy to join him on his current tour. Much to his dismay, Piazzolla's father deemed that he was too young to go along. Nevertheless he played a young paper boy in Gardel’s movie El día que me quieras. This early disappointment proved a blessing in disguise, as it was on this tour that Gardel and his entire band perished in a plane crash. In later years, Piazzolla made light of this near miss, joking that had his father not been so careful, he wouldn't be playing the bandoneon — he'd be playing the harp.

Muerte Del Angel from the Concert that this album is taken from:

Thursday, June 12, 2008

597. Butthole Surfers - Locust Abortion Technician (1987)

















Track Listing

1. Sweat Loaf
2. Graveyard (1)
3. Graveyard (2)
4. Pittsburgh To Lebanon
5. Weber
6. Hay
7. Human Cannonball
8. USSA
9. O Men
10. Kuntz
11. Twenty Two Going On Twenty Three

Review


Welcome to the review of one of the most infantile, louder, weird and freaky albums on the list. But it is also a pretty great album. The whole thing sounds like a very bad acid trip, but it is infused with a great sense of humour and sound.

On the childish side look at Kuntz, a song which is simply the re-working of a traditional Thai recording in order to emphasise the use of a word which sounds curiously like a profanity. Now, this isn't particularly smart, and it is not particularly funny, but it is a use of world music that would never have crossed the mind of Paul Simon or Peter Gabriel, and it ends up being one of the highlights of the album.

Then take the other songs on the album, distorted, noisy and nightmarish they create a whole sonic universe, and that is one of the hardest things for a band to do. To create music so individual, so unique that it creates its own little world. Let me warn you that this is certainly not to everyone's taste, not something you would play in polite company but I like it.

Track Highlights

1. Kuntz
2. Sweet Leaf
3. 22 Going On 23
4. USSA

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Arguably the Surfers' heaviest album, Locust Abortion Technician is also considered by many critics and fans to be one of the band's best, harnessing aspects of punk, heavy metal, and psychedelia into a then-unique sound that could be considered noise rock. With its marriage of punk and metal producing a number of grinding, slower-paced songs, the album might also be seen as an early precursor of grunge. "Sweat Loaf" utilizes the verse riff from the Black Sabbath song "Sweet Leaf". Not all of the tracks are guitar-oriented, though; the song "Kuntz" was created by remixing an original Eastern recording by a Thai artist.

Brilliant interview with the Buttholes, notice the beat finger snapping at the end:

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

596. Hüsker Dü - Warehouse: Songs And Stories (1987)
















Track Listing

1. These Important Years
2. Charity Chastity Prudence And Hope
3. Standing In The Rain
4. Back From Somewhere
5. Ice Cold Ice
6. You're A Soldier
7. Could You Be The One
8. Too Much Spice
9. Friend You've Got To Fall
10. She Floated Away
11. Bed Of Nails
12. Tell You Why Tomorrow
13. It's Not Peculiar
14. Actual Condition
15. No Reservations
16. Turn It Around
17. She's A Woman
18. Up In The Air
19. You Can Live At Home

Review

Strangely enough this is the first Hüsker Dü album on the list, while it is certainly a deserving album, and possibly the most deserving, the absence if Zen Arcade is actually quite inexcusable. Zen Arcade was an album with such a wide ranging influence in the indie music world that it leaves a noticeable gap in this list.

But lets turn to the album at hand, Warehouse is actually quite a bit more listenable than Zen Arcade and that is a good thing. It is a double album so there is plenty to like here, 19 tracks that range from good to great. This is, however, an album to take in slowly, and it is certainly one which my three days of listening to it did not do it complete justice. There are so many layers here, the noise, the melody and the lyrics all very well fleshed out throughout.

This means that this is an album that I certainly want to listen to again. Hüsker Dü might easily be compared to R.E.M. and the influence was mutual, in the case of bands like Dinosaur Jr. or the Pixies, they were very much learning from Hüsker Dü. Of course this album and the previous one are the ultimate betrayal of indie principles being recorder by Warner, but hey, we all like money.

Track Highlights


1. Too Much Spice
2. Could You Be The One?
3. She's A Woman (And Now He Is A Man)
4. Visionary

Final Grade


9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The band dissolved following the tour in support of its release, in part due to disagreements between song-writers Bob Mould and Grant Hart over the latter's drug use. This album, along with Candy Apple Grey, showcases the increasing maturity of Mould and Hart's writing—a change which alienated some long-time fans.


Could You Be The One?:

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

595. George Michael - Faith (1987)
















Review

1. Faith
2. Father Figure
3. I Want Your Sex (Parts 1 & 2)
4. One More Try
5. Hard Day
6. Hand To Mouth
7. Look At Your Hands
8. Monkey
9. Kissing A Fool
10. Hard Day (Shep Pettibone Remix)
11. A Last Request (I Want Your Sex) (Part 3)

Review

It is actually quite sad to notice that mainstream pop-music has evolved very little since this album, it is also, however, a tribute to how influential this album is, and also its staying power.

The songs here could have been done at any time after 1987 but not before, the qualitative evolution when compared to something like Thriller is quite astounding. The songs have a social and life-style message, they aren't simply innocuous pop of the Jackson variety, the use of drum machines is also pretty influential to the point that it sounds like so much that came afterwards.

And then the music is actually quite good, there are of course horrible tracks here, an example of which is Monkey, a pointless addition to the album, but with a couple of cuts this could have been one of the best R&B pop albums out there.


Track Highlights


1. Faith
2. I Want Your Sex (Parts I & II)
3. Hard Day [Shep Pettibone remix]
4. Kissing A Fool

Final Grade


8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

In 1989, Faith was ranked #84 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 100 greatest albums of the 1980s. In 2003, the album was ranked number 480 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Faith was ranked 79th in a 2005 survey held by British television's Channel 4 to determine the 100 greatest albums of all time.

Faith:

Monday, June 09, 2008

594. Sisters Of Mercy -Floodland (1987)
















Track Listing


1. Dominion/Mother Russia
2. Flood I
3. Lucretia My Reflection
4. 1959
5. This Corrosion
6. Flood II
7. Driven Like The Snow
8. Never Land


Review

I have always found Sisters Of Mercy to be the most overrated of goth rock bands, a genre which I actually really like. This album is probably the best thing they ever did but it is still not that great.

Sisters Of Mercy play overblown epic goth rock which most obviously has some sense of humour about its own failings, surely they must have, well I hope they do. And that sense of humour comes across in the fact that they have J. Steinman the producer of Bat Out Of Hell producing this album. So you can imagine what comes out of it.

This overblownness is actually the best thing of the album, when it gets more quiet and less pumping it loses its power to be quite fun and funny, so it ends up being a hit and miss album and the hits are really in tracks like the first one and Corrosion, with their choirs and thumping gothyness sounding like the most ridiculous caricature of goth ever put on this earth, making it good.

Track Highlights

1. Dominion/Mother Russia
2. This Corrosion
3. Lucretia My Reflection
4. Flood I

Final Grade


8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Eldritch claims that bassist Patricia Morrison, the only other official member of The Sisters of Mercy at the time, did not perform on the album and was hired only for the purpose of promotional appearances. This claim is contested by Morrison. She is not credited on the album's sleeve, although her image appears in its artwork. Morrison did perform on The Sisterhood's album.

The Sisters of Mercy did not follow the album with live performances.

Dominion:

Sunday, June 08, 2008

593. Depeche Mode - Music For The Masses (1987)
















Track Listing

1. Never Let Me Down Again
2. Things You Said
3. Strangelove
4. Sacred
5. Little 15
6. Behind The Wheel
7. I Want You Now
8. To Have And To Hold
9. Nothing
10. Pimpf

Review

Depeche Mode have always been one of those phenomena that I never really got. I never really clicked with them, and this album isn't really solving that problem. It does have some good songs and a couple of interesting sounds to it but it never makes it a great album. It is a pretty good album but never great.

I can very well recognise their influence in the rising Electronic music scene at this point in time, but they never seem that different from something like OMD for example. And I like OMD better.

The lyrics are quite interesting and they become like a love child of OMD and Soft Cell. I am sure you have all gone through that idea of bands or singer that you know you "should" like but then you never click, and this is what happens with me and Depeche Mode, most definitely, so a resound blah.

Track Highlights

1, Strangelove
2. Behind the Wheel
3. Never Let Me Down Again
4. Pimpf

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The album became the band's highest-charting in the US upon its release, reaching #35 on the Billboard 200. It also contained more hit singles than any of their previous releases. While there was no extremely popular single from the album ("People Are People" from Some Great Reward reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100), the three singles that were released all made it onto the Hot 100, a feat that hadn't been achieved by any Depeche Mode single after those from Some Great Reward. Moreover, all three singles achieved modest success on the chart.

Strangelove: