Sunday, August 31, 2008

677. Ice Cube - AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted (1990)
















Track Listing


1. Better Off Dead
2. Nigga Ya Love To Hate
3. Amerikkka's Most Wanted
4. What They Hittin Foe
5. You Can't Fade Me
6. Once Upon A Time In The Projects
7. Turn Off The Radio
8. Endangered Species
9. Gangsta's Fairytale
10. I'm Only Out For One Thang
11. Get Off My Dick And Tell Yo Bitch To Come Here
12. Drive By
13. Rollin' Wit' Tha Lench Mob
14. Who's The Mack
15. It's A Man's Man's Man's World
16. Bomb

Review

Ahh, more West Coast hip-hop... and it really does very little for me. Still, Ice Cube did a good thing in leaving NWA as this album is actually better, it doesn't rely as much on the pure novelty value of uninterrupted cursing.

Still there is plenty here to annoy, the constant and quite violent misogeny is one of them. You Can't Fade Me is quite a disgusting track, kicking a pregnant woman in the stomach because you don't want to have a kid is never nice.

That said the album starts pretty well, after the first track which is basically a intro the two tracks that follow are pretty great, but it soon starts feeling samey and never reaches the same heights as the beginning of the album. Oh well.

Track Highlights

1. The Nigga You Love to Hate
2. AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted
3. It's A Man's Man's Man's World
4. A Gangsta's Fairytale

Final Grade

7/10

Trivia

In an interview with Cooleh Magazine, producer Hank Shocklee had this to say in regards to Ice Cube's approach to creating the album:

Cube contacted me wanting to know if we could do a few tracks for his solo album after the whole NWA thing came to what it was and I was like, I’ll do it if I can do the whole album. And he said, "that’s what I was hoping you would say." And when we were in the studio he showed up with notebooks and notebooks full of new rhymes, a bag full of rhymebooks. The reason why I liked Ice Cube was Ice Cube’s viewpoint was a lot more dangerous, even more than what I was used to with Chuck and P.E.. He came from the school of "tell a nigga like it is and not give a fuck" and his "not give a fuck" was so ecstatic, so real, so concentrated that it was like wow!

The Nigga You Love To Hate:

Saturday, August 30, 2008

676. Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Ragged Glory (1990)

















Track Listing

1. Country Home
2. White Line
3. Fuckin' Up
4. Over And Over
5. Love To Burn
6. Farmer John
7. Mansion On The Hill
8. Days That Used To Be
9. Love And Only Love
10. Mother Earth (Natural Anthem)

Review

I am a big Neil Young fan, but I have to say this wasn't the most exciting of his albums, he is very much past his prime by 1990. However, and it is a big however, from the cover to the music particularly Fuckin' Up, Young is showing the direct line between him and the Grunge to come a year later.

The album is unpolished in a good way, the songs are angry, Crazy Horse do what they do best, meaning not be extremely competent but still pull it off and there is a whole home-made feel to this album that sets it off as a precursor to the next big thing.

In the end, however, there just isn't much to be excited about here, Neil is competent enough but doesn't shine through as he did in earlier albums, this is generally seen as a return to form, but only because his albums before this for most of the 70s and 80s were much worse, not because he is back to his days of glory... pity.

Track Highlights

1. Fuckin' Up
2. Love To Burn
3. Love and Only Love
4. Country Home

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The album revisits the hard rock style previously explored on Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere and Zuma. The first two tracks are songs Young and Crazy Horse originally wrote and performed live in the 1970s. "Farmer John" is a cover of a 60s song, written and performed by R&B duo Don and Dewey and also performed by garage band The Premiers. Young admitted that the song "Days that Used to Be" is inspired on Bob Dylan's "My Back Pages". The album features many extended guitar jams, with two songs stretching out to ten minutes and more.

Fuckin' Up with Pearl Jam:

Friday, August 29, 2008

675. George Michael - Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1 (1990)
















Track Listing

1. Praying for Time
2. Freedom
3. They Won't Go When I Go
4. Something to Save
5. Cowboys & Angels
6. Waiting for That Day/You Can't Always Get What You Want
7. Mother's Pride
8. Heal the Pain
9. Soul Free
10. Waiting (Reprise)

Review

This is supposed to be the album where George Michael goes more serious and completely leaves his origins in Wham! behind... well maybe he shouldn't have, Faith was the right amount of move away from bubbly pop. This step further really doesn't do him many favours.

Faith is never plodding, this sometimes gets there, it is not George Michael's element, but even so he makes as good a job as he could. There are some great songs here, the best being Freedom but it is telling that the other great one is actually a cover of a Stevie Wonder song, and quite a faithful one at that.

So, yes, Michael moved a bit too much to the serious side, and it is understandable that if you consider yourself an artist you would want to be taken seriously, this is reflected in the title of the album and the new direction, but he lost something in the process.

Track Highlights


1. Freedom
2. They Won't Go When I Go
3. Praying for Time
4. Cowboys and Angels

Final Grade


7/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Michael refused to appear in many of the music videos that accompanied the singles released from this album. As a result, the little-seen video for "Praying for Time" simply consists of the song lyrics against a dark, ambient background, while the video for "Freedom '90" featured several famous supermodels lip-synching to the track instead of the absent Michael. It featured the literal destruction (by fire and explosions) of several icons from the artist's Faith period and was directed by David Fincher, an acclaimed promo director hot off the success of Madonna's "Vogue" video. Fincher would later go on to become a high-profile and critically acclaimed mainstream Hollywood film director.


Here's the link for Freedom, as embedding is disabled

Thursday, August 28, 2008

674. Happy Mondays - Pills 'N' Thrills and Bellyaches (1990)
















Track Listing


1. Kinky Afro
2. God's Cop
3. Donovan
4. Grandbag's Funeral
5. Dennis And Lois
6. Bob's Yer Uncle
7. Step On
8. Holiday
9. Harmony

Review

Another great Mancunian album on this list, the Happy Mondays really typify the sound of Madchester in the late 80s, early 90s and no album is more emblematic of that than this one, with what are possibly their three greatest hits in Step On, Kinky Afro and Loose Fit.

But the album doesn't live only of great singles, the rest of it is equally good with some great lyrics and some pretty dirty songs (check out Bob's Yer Uncle for a prize example). Music inspired by Ecstasy but that is brilliant enough to be enjoyed with no chemical enhancements.

This is really the pinnacle of Manchester music, from here on out nothing would ever be as good, yes there is plenty more of Morrissey and Oasis on this list but they do not hold a candle to what came before. So a sad farewell to the best albums of one of the cities with the best music. Hey, maybe the renaming Barry Adamson entry will be like a call from beyond the grave for Manchester music, you never know. Watch this space.

Track Highlights

1. Step On
2. Loose Fit
3. Kinky Afro
4. Bob's Yer Uncle

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

In 2000 Q magazine placed Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches at number 31 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. In 2005, the album was voted the 51st greatest album of all time by Channel 4 viewers.

Step On:

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

673. Pet Shop Boys - Behaviour (1990)
















Track Listing


1. Being boring
2. This must be the place I waited years to leave
3. To face the truth
4. How can you expect to be taken seriously?
5. Only the wind
6. My October symphony
7. So hard
8. Nervously
9. The end of the world
10. Jealousy

Review

The Pet Shop Boys are never the most exciting of things to listen to, but this album is kind of good, really. Firstly it is probably their most introspective work, it isn't really a pumping dance album. In fact most of the tracks are slow and contemplative while still being synth-pop.

Some of the collaborations here are pretty great, Johnny Marr and Angelo Badlamenti and the Balenescu Quartet, this gives you an idea of the scope of music in the album. The lyrics are also particularly good.

That said it sounds quite dated now, synth-pop hasn't really stood the test of time at all well. But it is more pleasant than I thought a Pet Shop Boys album could ever be, at the same time less mechanic and more restrained than many other of their albums. Possibly their best album.

Track Highlights


1. October Symphony
2. Being Boring
3. So Hard
4. How Can You Expect To be Taken Seriously?

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Although a popular album among fans, in the context of Pet Shop Boys' other albums, Behaviour differs in production value. Harold Faltermeyer was hired on to produce the album at his "Red Deer" studio in Munich, Germany. Because they were dissatisfied with the available digital synthesisers and samples, Pet Shop Boys wanted to use analogue synthesisers. Faltermeyer was a good choice for producer, as he happened to be an expert on analog equipment. The result was a Pet Shop Boys album different from both the previous album, Introspective and the 1993 follow-up, Very. In places, the album expands upon the synthpop genre with flavours of guitar pop ballads, as with "This must be the place I waited years to leave" and "My October symphony" featuring guitarist, Johnny Marr. Later, singer Neil Tennant would reflect on the different style of Behaviour, "It was more reflective and more musical-sounding, and also it probably didn't have irritatingly crass ideas in it, like our songs often do".

Being boring:

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

672. Digital Underground - Sex Packets (1990)
















Track Listing


1. Humpty Dance
2. Way We Swing
3. Rhymin' On The Funk
4. New Jazz (One)
5. Underwater Rimes
6. Gutfest '89
7. Danger Zone
8. Freaks Of The Industry
9. Doowutchyalike
10. Packet Prelude
11. Sex Packets
12. Street Scene
13. Packet Man
14. Packet Reprise

Review


This was an interesting one, and interesting is the word, it isn't great, but it is funny, and constantly entertaining for more than an hour. This is one of those albums that it is hard to do something else while listening to it, the lyrics will distract you every time, and while it can be quite funny it is also a bit tiring.

The first part of the album consists of pretty good funky tracks, mainly based around P-Funk samples, and there is nothing wrong with that, Digital Underground drags George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic kicking and screaming into the hip-hop age.

The second half is where the fun really is at, it is a kind of concept suite around Sex Packets, some kind of Virtual Reality drug that makes a person have sex with the picture at the front of the pack. It ends up being a kind of spoof of songs about pushing drugs, and it is very amusing indeed. All this amusement can't help but make the album feel a bit like a novelty product, but there is more to it than that, and you should therefore listen to it.

Track Highlights


1. Sex Packets
2. The Humpty Dance
3. Doowutchyalike
4. The Way We Swing

Final Grade


8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

"The Humpty Dance" made it to the #1 spot on more than two charts, and reached #11 on the U.S. pop charts. The album was selected as one of The Source 100 Best Rap Albums in 1998, and was re-issued on February 8, 2005 by Rhino Entertainment.

Humpty Dance:

Monday, August 25, 2008

671. Megadeth - Rust In Peace (1990)
















Track Listing

1. Holy Wars...the Punishment Due
2. Hangar 18
3. Take No Prisoners
4. Five Magics
5. Poison Was The Cure
6. Lucretia
7. Tornado Of Souls
8. Dawn Patrol
9. Rust In Peace...Polaris

Review

By the time this album came out Metal was almost dead, it would take the meteoric rise of Grunge in 91 to completely kill it off. Even the next Metallica albums stop being proper thrash metal and become full of ballads like Nothing Else Matters, so will Megadeth make the change into hard rock, but not yet.

This album feels, for the reasons stated above, anachronistic here, but that does not mean it is a terrible Metal album, it isn't, it is actually not that bad, and I really dislike thrash metal, so if you like it you should buy it and make love to it.

That said, it is uninteresting, not that different from other metal, and crap, but it doesn't bore you and that to me is the greatest accolade a Thrash Metal album can have from me, the fact that it isn't boring. A lot of Metal fans think they are so hard in liking metal and that other people don't like it because they are not "hard" enough to like the noise... well actually, I don't like it because it is boring and repetitive, the noisiest of Thrash Metal bands, Slayer, is my favourite, so there. And yes Megadeth still have political lyrics which is at least a plus when compared to the vapid content of other bands.

Track Highlights

1. Hangar 18
2. Holy Wars...The Punishment Due
3. Rust In Peace... Polaris
4. Five Magics

Final Grade

7/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Rust in Peace debuted at #23 on the Billboard 200 in the US, and #8 in the UK.

Allmusic cited Rust in Peace as "Megadeth's strongest musical effort".

The album was certified Platinum in 1994, and received Grammy nominations in 1991 and 1992 for Best Metal Performance.

IGN named Rust in Peace the 4th most influential heavy metal album of all time, after Metallica's Master of Puppets, Black Sabbath's Paranoid and Iron Maiden's The Number of the Beast.

Hangar 18:

Sunday, August 24, 2008

670. Pixies - Bossanova (1990)
















Track Listing


1. Cecilia Ann
2. Velouria
3. Is She Weird
4. All Over The World
5. Down To The Well
6. Blown Away
7. Stormy Weather
8. Rock Music
9. Allison
10. Ana
11. Dig For Fire
12. Happening
13. Hang Wire
14. Havalina

Review

How does a band follow Surfer Rosa and Doolittle? With a lot of difficulty. It is hard to blame Bossanova for not being as good as the previous albums, because they were superhumanly good. This one is just very good.

Yes, it is a very good album but it cannot beat its amazing predecessors, still some tracks here like Velouria, Dig For Fire and Is She Weird are among the best Pixies tracks.

It is a pity that one of the greatest assets of the Pixies is missing a bit from the album, the amazing Kim Deal had started the Breeders at this time and had less time for the Pixies, actually it is a pity that Title TK and Pod are not included in this list, as the Breeders are pretty amazing. Oh well.

Track Highlights


1. Velouria
2. Is She Weird
3. Dig For Fire
4. Havalina

Final Grade


9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

All of Bossanova's original material was written by the band's frontman Black Francis; it marked the point where his artistic control over the band became absolute. The album's sound, inspired by surf and space rock, complements its lyrical focus on outer space, which references subjects such as aliens and unidentified flying objects.

Because of 4AD's independent status, major label Elektra Records handled distribution in the United States; however, Bossanova only reached #70 on the Billboard 200. It charted significantly higher in the United Kingdom, reaching #3 in the Albums Chart. Two singles were released from Bossanova, "Velouria" and "Dig for Fire"; both charted highly on the U.S. Modern Rock Tracks chart.

Velouria, such an anti-video video:

Saturday, August 23, 2008

669. Depeche Mode - Violator (1990)

















Track Listing

1. World in My Eyes
2. Sweetest Perfection
3. Personal Jesus
4. Halo
5. Waiting for the Night
6. Enjoy the Silence
7. Policy of Truth
8. Blue Dress
9. Clean

Review

This is definitely the best Depeche Mode album you can get, and if you can only get one this is it. And frankly it is not only because of the smash hits Personal Jesus and Enjoy the Silence.

It is hard to make a whole album based on synths in a pop medium without making it seem tacky in the least, but Depeche manage, they make it really good. It would have been easier to do this album in the 70s when synths still meant Kraftwerk, but after all the shit in the 80s it is truly hard.

Depeche manage to pull this one off very successfully and it feels Goth while not maudlin, Synthy while not 80s, and pop without being shit. Recommended.

Track Highlights

1. Personal Jesus
2. Enjoy The Silence
3. Waiting For The Night
4. Policy Of Truth

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

A 32-minute short film entitled Depeche Mode 1989-90 (If You Wanna Use Guitars, Use Guitars) and featured interviews with the band (including Alan), Daniel Miller, Flood, Fran├žois Kevorkian (who mixed the album), Anton Corbijn (who directed the music videos and did the album's photography/cover), and others. It also includes news footage from the infamous "riot" in Los Angeles which gave the band media publicity the day before Violator came out. The band were scheduled to do autographs in an LA music store, and the line reached into the 10,000's. The event had to be cancelled shortly after it began due to problems keeping the line in order. Unfortunately, the documentary lacked footage from the World Violation Tour, but did have information about it. For example, interviews regarding the soldout Dodger Stadium shows. There is also footage from Strange Too, notably clips from the music videos for "Halo" and "Clean".

Personal Jesus:

Friday, August 22, 2008

668. The Black Crowes - Shake Your Money Maker (1990)
















Track Listing

1. Twice As Hard
2. Jealous Again
3. Sister Luck
4. Could I've Been So Blind
5. Seeing Things
6. Hard To Handle
7. Thick 'n' Thin
8. She Talks To Angels
9. Struttin' Blues
10. Stare It Cold

Review


Yesterday we had already seen a certain tendency for retro in the work of The La's, here the same thing happens, but instead of going to Love or folk psychedelia the Black Crowes are going to blues rock of the Rolling Stones style.

Yes, it is a bit Stones derivative, but it has a 90s flavour which makes it not that bad, but there is really not much new here. It's rock in the tradition of many other things that came before and after them, and they don't particularly shine through.

So, yeah, unremarkable but inoffensive, I don't particularly understand why it belongs in this list, but it shows the 90s move away from the fabricated pop of the 80s into a more organic sound, and that would have heavy repercussions down to today.

Track Highlights

1. She Talks To Angels
2. Hard To Handle
3. Jealous Again
4. Seeing Things

Final Grade


7/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Shake Your Money Maker peaked at #4 on Billboard's Top 200 album chart.

"She Talks to Angels" is included on the music video game Karaoke Revolution Presents: American Idol.

'Hard to Handle' is playable in Guitar Hero: Aerosmith, and downloadable in Rock Band.

She Talks To Angels:

Thursday, August 21, 2008

667. The La's - The La's (1990)
















Track Listing


1. Son Of A Gun
2. I Can't Sleep
3. Timeless Melody
4. Liberty Ship
5. There She Goes
6. Doledrum
7. Feelin'
8. Way Out
9. I.O.U.
10. Freedom Song
11. Failure
12. Looking Glass

Review

So early into the 90s and we already have an album with one of the most unforgettable singles of the whole decade. There She Goes is one of the best pop songs of the decade, but we shouldn't neglect the rest of the album, even if it never reaches the brilliance of that single.

The La's influences are quite easy to read, there is a bit of R.E.M. (I Can't Sleep) and a bit of Love (Looking Glass) but there is also a lot that they influenced, The Coral for example has taken a lot from here.

It is strange that such a successful album would have been their first and last, but at least they avoided the "difficult second album" and the inevitable decay of any band, making this album a testimony of a band that could have been pretty great.

Track Highlights

1. There She Goes
2. Looking Glass
3. Way Out
4. Freedom Song

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

"There She Goes" has gained a reputation for being about the use of heroin; the lyrics seem to refer to a woman, but on closer inspection of some lines ("There she goes again... racing through my brain... pulsing through my vein... no one else can heal my pain"), the possible drug connotations become apparent. Several newspapers ran articles about The La's and their apparent ode to heroin. When asked about the rumor in 1995, the group's bassist John Power replied, "I don't know. Truth is, I don't wanna know. Drugs and madness go hand in hand. People who you've known all your life... they're steady, then they're not. But you can't ponder, cos' it kills you, la.'" However, in the 2003 book In Search of The La's : A Secret Liverpool by MW Macefield, ex-La's guitarist Paul Hemmings denied the rumour.

In May 2007, NME magazine placed "There She Goes" at number 45 in its list of the 50 Greatest Indie Anthems Ever. The song has also been covered by, amongst others, Sixpence None the Richer, Robbie Williams, The Wombats, The Boo Radleys and The Cranberries. It has appeared on several film soundtracks, including The Parent Trap, Fever Pitch', Girl, Interrupted and So I Married an Axe Murderer (where both the original and Boo Radleys version appear). "There She Goes" also appeared at the beginning of the Gilmore Girls pilot episode. The song has also been used by The Bay as part of their advertising campaign.

There She Goes:

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

666. Deee-Lite - World Clique (1990)


















Track Listing

1. Good Beat
2. Power Of Love
3. Try Me On...I'm Very You
4. Smile On
5. What Is Love
6. World Clique
7. ESP
8. Groove Is In The Heart
9. Who Was That
10. Deep Ending

Review

Well this is a fun album, it isn't 'high-art' but it is not attempting to be that, it's light, bubbly, fun dance music. There is nothing wrong with that if that is all you are trying to do.

Then the album has a particularly great track in Groove Is In The Heart, their greatest hit and for a very good reason. Deee-Lite mix soul, funk, hip hop and dance music like no one else before but like plenty afterwards.

Does it sound a bit dated? Sure. Is it extremely fun nonetheless? Definitely. Is it great music? Not really, but it isn't bad. It's quirky, a bit brainless and enjoyable, that all you want from dance music anyway.

Track Highlights

1. Groove Is In The Heart
2. Good Beat
3. Who Was That
4. Deep Ending

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Guest artists on the album include Bootsy Collins ("Try Me On... I'm Very You," "Smile On," "Groove is in the Heart," and "Who Was That?"), Q-Tip ("Groove Is in the Heart"), Fred Wesley and Maceo Parker (Try Me On... I'm Very You," "Smile On," "Groove is in the Heart").

Groove Is in the Heart:

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

665. The Shamen - En-Tact (1990)
















Track Listing

1. Move Any Mountain
2. Human NRG (Massey)
3. Possible Worlds
4. Omega Amigo
5. Evil Is Even [Edit]
6. Hyperreal Orbit
7. Lightspan
8. Make It Mine
9. Oxygen Restriction
10. Hear Me
11. 666 Edit
12. Make It Minimal
13. Hyperreal Selector
14. Lightspan Soundwave
15. Progen 91 (I.R.P. In the Land of Oz)

Review

Yes, well, it is more dance music, but there is a definite 90s feel to this, more so than 808 State. You can tell from the people that compose Shamen what this is more like, with people such as Paul Oakenfold, William Orbit and Orbital there is a more ambient, rather than rave feel to this.

That said it is still pretty much informed by ravey, Ibiza style music, but some songs more than others, this variety also makes the album superior to 808 State, it does not sound as dated as that one, even if it is quite dated itself, like most dance music really.

This isn't necessarily something I want to listen to again, it is very much music of its time, even if there isn't anything particularly wrong with it, It just hasn't stood the test of time that well.

Track Highlights


1. Omaga Amigo
2. Make It Mine
3. Hyperreal Orbit
4. Possible Worlds

Final Grade


7/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Their third album, En-Tact, was released in 1990, and it spawned the hit singles "Move Any Mountain (Progen '91)", "Hyperreal" and "Make It Mine". Also notable was the appearance of rapper and DJ Mr. C (real name Richard West), as well as incorporation of a female vocal talent, Plavka Lonich - who was intended to become focal point of the group. The transformation into a successful rave act was complete.

Make It Mine:

Monday, August 18, 2008

664. Cocteau Twins - Heaven Or Las Vegas (1990)
















Track Listing


1. Cherry coloured funk
2. Pitch the baby
3. Iceblink luck
4. Fifty fifty clown
5. Heaven or Las Vegas
6. I wear your ring
7. Fotzepolitic
8. Wolf in the breast
9. River road and rail
10. Frou frou foxes in the midsummer fires

Review

Welcome to the 90s! I think we were all getting tired of the 80s, so this is a good thing. Now, this isn't an album that particularly screams 90s, but it also does not scream any other period, the Cocteau Twins' originality makes it something else.

I first got this album some 9 years ago, and I really didn't rate it that much, much preferring Treasure. Now my tastes have clearly changed because I really liked this album. The Twins are going in a more pop direction, instead of being completely otherworldly, and this ends up making a really consistently good album. Less of a hit and miss as Treasure.

Some tracks here are simply heart-achingly beautiful, others are just great, but never mediocre or even just good. The whole thing is a bit too different from most music to be able to be appreciated easily with just one listen through, but 3 or 4 will convert you, so do it.

Track Highlights

1. Frou frou foxes in the midsummer fires
2. Heaven or Las Vegas
3. Cherry coloured funk
4. I wear your ring

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia


From Wikipedia:

In terms of chart positions, it is the most successful Cocteau Twins album - reaching no.7 in the UK. The album is noteworthy for the musical evolution the band was showing at the time. The lyrics of vocalist Elizabeth Fraser are more intelligible; many of them concern her newborn daughter Lucy Belle. Guitarist Robin Guthrie was experiencing problems with drug addiction, and as a result of his decreased time in the studio, bassist Simon Raymonde's playing is more in the forefront.

Despite 4AD label president Ivo Watts-Russell proclaiming that this LP was one of the best releases ever on his label, he released the Twins from their contract at the end of 1990, as his relationship with the band had soured.

Heaven Or Las Vegas:

Sunday, August 17, 2008

663. N.W.A. - Straight Outta Compton (1989)

















Track Listing

1. Straight Outta Compton
2. Fuck Tha Police
3. Gangsta Gangsta
4. If It Ain't Ruff
5. Parental Discretion Iz Advised
6. 8 Ball
7. Something Like That
8. Express Yourself
9. Compton's N The House
10. I Ain't Tha 1
11. Dopeman
12. Quiet On Tha Set
13. Something 2 Dance 2

Review

Making a poor copy of Public Enemy and swearing loads in your tracks does not make you great. Write that 100 times on your blackboard NWA. So yes, this is derivative, of both Public Enemy and Beastie Boys, I don't know if I am the only one but I think the move from East to West Coast is the start of bad Rap.

Still there are some good things here, never was a track as openly angry as Fuck Tha Police, and it is a great track. But the birth of Gangsta Rap is really not something I approve of on the whole, yes there are some good albums but the focus shift from social inequality to "bitches and money" seems to be unhelpful to everyone.

And yes, I know NWA claim they were only reflecting reality, but doing it in the first person with no sense of consequence and a great sense of pride seems to be very much like glorifying of violence. Not that I think that "kids are gonna go out and kill people", I don't, but it seems adolescent and immature to me. I am to old for it.

Track Highlights

1. Fuck Tha Police
2. Express Yourself
3. Straight Outta COmpton
4. I Ain't Tha 1

Final Grade

7/10

Trivia


Of course the authorities went about it the wrong way:

From Wikipedia:

Because of the recurring violent and sexual lyrics and profanity, often specifically
directed at governmental organizations such as the LAPD, N.W.A always enjoyed a particular repudiation from U.S. Senators and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). This situation persisted over the years with the group's visible head, Eazy-E. One of the reasons for this was the highly controversial track from the album, "Fuck tha Police", which resulted in the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service sending a letter to Ruthless Records informing the label of their displeasure with the song's message, and N.W.A were banned from performing at several venues.

Family Friendly version:

Saturday, August 16, 2008

662. Jungle Brothers - Done By The forces Of Nature (1989)
















Track Listing

1. Beyond This World
2. Feeling Alright
3. Sunshine
4. What U Waitin' 4
5. U Make Me Sweat
6. Acknowledge Your Own History
7. Belly Dancin' Dina
8. Good Newz Comin'
9. Done By The Forces Of Nature
10. Beeds On A String
11. Tribe Vibes
12. J Beez Comin' Through
13. Black Woman
14. In Dayz 2 Come
15. Doin' Our Own Dang
16. Kool Accordin' 2 A Jungle Brother

Review


The Jungle Brothers are a part of the same collective as De La Soul, Tribe Called Quest and Queen Latifah, and you can tell. Still the three artists maintain quite different sounds while sharing influences, as a collective should. These guys are pretty cool.

There is a different in outlook from De La Soul, this album is much more focused on Afrocentric politics rather than squirrels, but it really belongs next to Three Feet High and Rising as a great 1989 alternative rap album.

The Jungle Brothers use a huge number of samples, and uncharacteristically take a lot from Jazz and World Music giving the album a different flavour and giving the band a particular originality. So, yeah, pretty great.


Track Highlights


1. Tribe Vibes
2. Doing Our Own Dang
3. Black Woman
4. Done By The Forces Of Nature

Final Grade


9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Rolling Stone gave the album four stars, claiming that the Jungle Brothers "don't lose a shred of their deftness by quoting the Bible, bad-mouthing drugs or espousing vegetarianism. Their joyously Afrocentric message comes through loud and proud – their idea of heaven is a two-month paid vacation in the motherland." The Face, New Musical Express, and the Village Voice all placed Done by the Forces of Nature on their best-of list for the year more awards and details. In 1998, the album was selected as one of The Source Magazine's 100 Best Rap Albums.

Doing Our Own Dang:

Friday, August 15, 2008

661. Janet Jackson - Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989)

















Track Listing


1. Rhythm Nation
2. State Of The World
3. Knowledge
4. Miss You Much
5. Love Will Never Do (Without You)
6. Livin' In A World (They Didn't Make)
7. Alright Alright
8. Escapade
9. Black Cat
10. Lonely
11. Come Back To Me
12. Someday Is Tonight

Review

I am actually pleasantly surprised by this album, I wasn't really expecting much from Janet, but after some repeated listenings I would definitely put this in second place of the Jackson's catalogue, right after Off The Wall.

Janet starts off this pretty long album by getting the socio-political music out of the way in the first three tracks, and curiously these are also some of the best tracks in the album. The opener is pretty great.

Then the album meanders a bit, mixing some pretty good tracks and some more indifferent ones, but strangely it never gets dull or bad. So yeah, not a masterpiece of modern music but surprisingly not bad at all. So there.

Track Highlights

1. Rhythm Nation
2. Escapade
3. Alright
4. Miss You Much

Final Grade


8/10

Trivia


From Wikipedia:

Departing from themes of independence present in Jackson's 1986 breakthrough album Control, Rhythm Nation 1814 is a concept album based on social injustice. Though A&M executives wanted an album similar to Control, Jackson insisted on addressing social issues. Jackson and her producers routinely watched television news reports—predominately from CNN—as a source of inspiration for the album's lyrics. Though Jackson understood she could not change social norms with a single album, she intended to create a socially conscious message strong enough for listeners to take notice of. Capitalizing off the rise of new jack swing, the album incorporates R&B, soul, funk and jazz, as well as use of sample loop and triple swing.

Rhythm Nation:

Thursday, August 14, 2008

660. De La Soul - 3 Feet High and Rising (1989)

















Track Listing

1. Intro
2. Magic number
3. Change in speak
4. Cool breeze on the rocks
5. Can U keep a secret
6. Jenifa (taught me)
7. Ghetto thang
8. Transmitting live from Mars
9. Eye know
10. Take it off
11. Little bit of soap
12. Tread water
13. Potholes in my lawn
14. Say no go
15. Do as De La does
16. Plug tunin' (Last chance to comprehend)
17. De La orgee
18. Buddy
19. Description
20. Me myself and I
21. This is a recording 4 living in a fulltime era (LIFE)
22. I can do anything (Delacratic)
23. DAISY age
24. Plug tunin' (are you ready for this version)

Review

Happy Rap! And great happy rap, if we wonder what would have happened to the world if De La Soul style Rap had prevailed against Gangsta Rap we might have another summer of love going on, a perpetual one as well.

And then the music is great, catchy, and with an amazing use of all kinds of samples. The sampling is phenomenal, not only in the way it is used, but in the incredible variety of sources. De La Soul are truly an eclectic bunch.

So a fun filled, warm, humorous and actually quite deep album, presenting the world with an alternative to the gloom presented by Public Enemy for example. And even if this album does not reach the pinnacle of quality that is It Takes A Nation of Millions... it comes close.

Track Highlights

1. Magic Number
2. Eye Know
3. Me Myself and I
4. Potholes In My Lawn

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:


* Though the idea was quickly abandoned, the original concept behind the group was that Mase was PA and Posdnuos and Dove were the microphone plugs, transmitting messages from Mars. This is the origin of the nicknames for Posdnuos and Dove, Plug One and Plug Two, respectively.

* The Turtles won a lawsuit against De La Soul over the unauthorized sampling of "You Showed Me" on "Transmitting Live from Mars".

* The title 3 Feet High and Rising comes from a Johnny Cash song called "Five Feet High and Rising" ("How high's the water, Mama?/It's three feet high and rising"). This song is sampled on the album. Some have interpreted the title as a reference to drug abuse; De La Soul has not commented on this interpretation.

* The members of the group have said that the only thing they would change about 3 Feet High and Rising is the cover, because the light-hearted colors do not mesh well with their somber faces.

* De La Soul in collaboration with Nike Skateboarding created two SB Dunks (one low, one high) based on the 3 Feet High and Rising album cover.


Eye Know:

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

659. Soul II Soul - Club Classic Vol.1 (1989)
















Track Listing


1. Keep on movin'
2. Fairplay
3. Holdin' on Bambeleda
4. Feeling free
5. African Dance
6. Dance
7. Feel Free
8. Happiness
9. Back to life
10. Jazzie's Groove

Review

Soul II Soul (well, Jazzie B really) bring us a very good album of late 80's dance music. It moves slightly away from funk and into a more R&B region of dance music and they have some pretty good guest vocalists.

The definite stand-out is Back to Life, I had never heard the version in the album, and it is an a cappella version with the beat only kicking in towards the end as it meshes with the next track. This actually makes the song more powerful than the more popular single mix.

The way the tracks mesh is actually a pretty good thing, the album is structured as a DJ set, so it is a pretty good one to revive that late 80s club music experience. And really it wasn't that bad, it's not ecstasy music, it can be appreciated without drugs, yes it's not my style but it is still pretty good.

Track Highlights


1. Back To Life
2. Keep On Movin'
3. Jazzie's Grove
4. African Dance

Final Grade


8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The album was released to great critical acclaim following three top 20 singles - "Fairplay", "Keep On Movin'" and "Back To Life" (the latter was also a UK number 1).

The record spawned one more hit - "Jazzie's Groove" - before vocalist Caron Wheeler decided to leave the group. Like many other albums recorded around that time, such as Black Box's Dreamland, other songs from the record became club hits despite not being released as singles; "Holdin' On" was especially popular in London clubs.

In 2000 Q magazine placed Club Classics Vol. I at number 49 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever.

Here's the original version of Back To Life:

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

658. Fugazi - Repeater (1989)
















Track Listing

1. Turnover
2. Repeater
3. Brendan No 1
4. Merchandise
5. Blueprint
6. Sieve Fisted Find
7. Greed
8. Two Beats Off
9. Styrofoam
10. Reprovisional
11. Shut The Door

Review

In the course of time we saw the evolution of punk through proto-punk, punk, post-punk, hardcore and now we get to post-hardcore with Fugazi. And what does post-hardcore sound like? It has pretty much the same relation to hardcore as post-punk had with punk, the attitude is still there, if slightly toned down and the music is better, the melodies more complex.

So who better than Ian McKaye, formerly of Minor Threat to bring us into this new music? Very few people, that's who. And in the end the album is not perfect, some of it is a bit preachy, a bit shouty, and when you add the two it sounds like someone is preaching by shouting, which isn't particularly pleasant.

But I have to doff my hat to the rest of the band, some of the songs are really quite catchy, complex and appraoch a level similar to the Minutemen, in fact post-hardcore sounds very much like the Minutemen now that I think about it, but with more shouting. Oh well, can't always be original.

Track Highlights

1. Shut The Door
2. Repeater
3. Turnover
4. Styrofoam

Final Grade


9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Repeater is the debut full-length album by the post-hardcore band Fugazi. It was released in January 1990 as Repeater on LP, and in March 1990 on CD bundled with the "3 Songs" single as Repeater + 3 Songs. It is their debut full-length album as 13 Songs is a compilation of the band's first two EPs Fugazi and Margin Walker.

Shut The Door:

Monday, August 11, 2008

657. Bonnie Raitt - Nick Of Time (1989)

















Track Listing

1. Nick Of Time
2. Thing Called Love
3. Love Letters
4. Cry On My Shoulder
5. Real Man
6. Nobody's Girl
7. Have A Heart
8. Too Soon To Tell
9. I Will Not Be Denied
10. I Ain't Gonna Let You Break My Heart Again
11. Road's My Middle Name

Review


Usually attempts to update country sound are not extremely successful. Bonnie Raitt is actually moderately successful with this album, although it does sound like it is from the late 80s it isn't terrible. And that is saying something.

There are some good collaborations, Crosby and Stills do backup vocals, Herbie Hancock plays the piano, but unfortunately their particular styles don't really come through in most of the time.

So I didn't love it, but I admit it wasn't terrible. The songs are quite catchy and there is some real fire to a lot of the music. I always liked things more toned down and bluegrassy myself, but hey, can't win every time.

Track Highlights


1. Love Letter
2. Thing Called Love
3. The Road's My Middle Name
4. Nick Of Time

Final Grade

7/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Before work began on Nick of Time, Raitt had been courted by several major labels.It was during this time that Raitt met producer Don Was through Hal Wilner, who was putting together Stay Awake, a tribute album to Disney music for A&M. Was and Wilner both wanted Raitt to sing lead on an adult-contemporary arrangement of "Baby Mine" (the lullaby from Dumbo) created by Was. Raitt was very pleased with the sessions, and she asked Was to produce her next album.

Dennis Quaid stars in the video for Thing Called Love:

Sunday, August 10, 2008

656. Pixies - Doolittle (1989)
















Track Listing


1. Debaser
2. Tame
3. Wave Of Mutilation
4. I Bleed
5. Here Comes Your Man
6. Dead
7. Monkey Gone To Heaven
8. Mr Grieves
9. Crackity Jones
10. La La Love You
11. No. 13 Baby
12. There Goes My Gun
13. Hey
14. Silver
15. Gouge Away

Review


Ah, the other great Pixies album, after the amazing Surfer Rosa, the Pixies tone it down slightly for Doolittle their second masterpiece, and that it is. The sound isn't as heavy as in the Steve Albini produced Surfer Rosa, but there is still plenty of noise in the more pop sheen of the thing.

Then all the songs are memorable in their own right and that is what makes for a truly great album, nothing to skip, nothing to say "eh" it is all good, all fun and incredibly all quite different. In fact this album is a showcase of what the Pixies can do, and that is quite a lot of styles. The only thing that annoys me is Black singing Chien Andalusia in Debaser instead of Chien Andalus which is the name of the film he is referring to.

I might still like Surfer Rosa slightly better than this one, and I like these two definitely better than any other Pixies albums, but the difference in quality is quite small, they are both 10s, only Surfer is possibly a more perfect 10, even if this is the more accessible album of the two and probably the album a newcomer should start with.

Track Highlights

1. Wave Of Mutilation
2. Here Comes Your Man
3. Hey
4. Mr. Grieves

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

However, Doolittle received mixed reviews from several music critics. Time Out said that "Gil Norton's toy theatre production makes a drama out of what should have been a crisis." Spin ran a hundred-word review of the album, including critic Joe Levy's comment "the insanity less surreal and more silly, and the songs themselves more like songs and less like adventures." Rolling Stone, reviewing the album in July 1988, gave the album three and a half stars. Doolittle appeared on several end-of-year "Best Album" lists; both Rolling Stone and The Village Voice placed the album tenth, and independent music magazines Sounds and Melody Maker both ranked the album as the second best of the year. NME also ranked the album highly, placing it fourth in their end-of-year list.

A range of music magazines have since acclaimed Doolittle as one of the quintessential alternative rock albums of the 1980s. Rolling Stone, reviewing Doolittle again in 2002, gave the album five stars out of five, remarking that it laid the "groundwork for Nineties rock." Doolittle has received a number of international accolades and is consistently noted as one of the best albums of the 1980s in any genre. The band's later albums have failed to attract the same level of retrospective critical praise.

Rolling Stone is soooo shit.

Here comes Your Man: