Tuesday, September 30, 2008

698. Pearl Jam - Ten (1991)

















Track Listing

1. Once
2. Even Flow
3. Alive
4. Why Go
5. Black
6. Jeremy
7. Oceans
8. Porch
9. Garden
10. Deep
11. Release

Review

With the success of Nirvana we all knew this would happen sooner or later. The squeaky clean produced Grunge for mass consumption of the lowest common denominator consumer that wanted in on the latest fad.

It ends up being quite crappy. It doesn't offend me to listen to them or anything, but it is mediocre at best. It's an album for those without the musical commitment to actually get into something more gritty, and they could still say they were into the Seattle scene.

It is full of somewhat catchy, but mostly dull epics that in my wife's apt comparison sound like Nickelback. I know this is the minority opinion, but hey the minority is often right. Listen to Mudhoney and then listen to this and you will get what I mean, hard-rock posing as Grunge is not only crappy but almost a treason to the whole concept of Grunge. Too clean, not stripped down enough, come on the first seconds of the album sound like Peter Gabriel. So yeah... fuck 'em.

Track Highlights

1. Alive
2. Even Flow
3. Jeremy
4. Release

Final Grade

6/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

By February 1993, American sales of Ten surpassed those of Nevermind, the breakthrough album by fellow grunge band Nirvana. Ten continued to sell well two years after its release; in 1993 it was the eighth best-selling album in the United States, outselling Pearl Jam's second album, Vs. As of April 2006, Ten had sold 9.4 million copies in the U.S. alone, and has been certified 12x Platinum by the RIAA.


Alive:



Monday, September 29, 2008

697. A Tribe Called Quest - Low End Theory (1991)













Track Listing

1. Excursions
2. Buggin' Out
3. Rap Promoter
4. Butter
5. Verses From The Abstract
6. Showbusiness
7. Vibes And Stuff
8. Infamous Date Rape
9. Check The Rhyme
10. Everything Is Fair
11. Jazz (We've Got)
12. Sky Pager
13. What
14. Scenario

Review

If the last album by TCQ was brilliant but a bit all over the place, looking for its musical footing, this one is brilliant and has completely found its style. And the unifying element here is the reliance on Jazz samples and particularly the use of double bass.

This makes this a rare thing, a hip hop album which is just cool, laid back and a joy to listen to irrespective of lyrics, it is just musically extremely rewarding. Of course TCQ is still lyrically brilliant, but the musical step-up is such that that almost gets second place here. It is also one of those albums that gets incrementally better with each listen through.

So this is another essential hip-hop album, and the last hip hop album on the list for a while now. I think we all need a little break, there will be more hip-hop in about 10 albums time, when we can let all this settle down. So listen to this until then, it will be rewarding.

Track Highlights

1. Buggin' Out
2. Butter
3. What?
4. Excursions

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The Low End Theory became a watershed album in the history of hip hop music. The album established alternative hip hop as a definable genre, distinguished by aware, often abstract or political lyrics, and a light-hearted sense of humor, along with jazz and other unusual sampling sources. The Low End Theory transformed alternative hip hop, leading the way from the jazzy pioneers like De La Soul towards future artists like Common and The Roots. The song "Scenario" helped break future hip hop star Busta Rhymes into the mainstream, partially as a result of its popular music video on MTV. Some sources, such as Angus Crawford of mvremix.com, say that "Scenario" is the best posse cut ever. Phife Dawg, who fans thought of as adequate but nothing special on the first album, greatly improved his style on this album. This amazing turn-around is highly respected in hip hop circles. Songs like "Buggin' out" and "Butter" showcased Phife's new confidence.

Topics include the music industry's exploitation of musicians ("Rap Promoter", "Show Business"), music ("Excursions"), date rape ("The Infamous Date Rape"), violence in hip hop ("Vibes and Stuff") and the beauty of jazz ("Jazz (We've Got)").


Jazz(We've Got) & Buggin' Out:

Sunday, September 28, 2008

696. Public Enemy - Apocalypse 91 ... The Enemy Strikes Black (1991)

















Track Listing

1. Lost At Birth
2. Rebirth
3. Nighttrain
4. Can't Truss It
5. I Don't Wanna Be Called Yo Niga
6. How To Kill A Radio Consultant
7. By The Time I Get To Arizona
8. Move!
9. 1 Million Bottlebags
10. More News At 11
11. Shut Em Down
12. A Letter To The New York Post
13. Get The F... Outta Dodge
14. Bring Tha Noize

Review

After two defining albums it was only natural for Public Enemy to produce one that wasn't that amazing. And this is it. Don't get me wrong, it is not bad. In fact it is pretty good hip-hop, however, if you judge them to their own standards this is an inferior album.

That this would happen is just inevitable, no band, if it lasts long enough will make just perfect albums. That said there is still plenty to love here and all of it is better than 90% of the hip hop out there at the time... and 99% of that coming out now.

So this is one for you if you really love Public Enemy, but if the other albums did not work for you or you are still only dipping into them you can give this a miss for the time being. Pretty good, but they have done so much better... and they would not get this good ever again.

Track Highlights

1. By the Time I Get To Arizona
2. I Don't Want to be Called Yo Nigga
3. Nighttrain
4. Lost At Birth

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

This album is notable for the controversial music video that accompanied the song "By the Time I Get to Arizona" (samples "Two Sisters of Mystery" by Mandrill), in which Public Enemy was depicted killing the Arizona governor, Fife Symington III, who refused to recognize Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday as a national holiday.

I am sure they would allow this video to be released today... or not. By The Time I Get To Arizona:




Saturday, September 27, 2008

695. Mudhoney - Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge (1991)
















Track Listing

1. Generation Genocide
2. Let It Slide
3. Good Enough
4. Something So Clear
5. Thorn
6. Into The Drink
7. Broken Hands
8. Who You Drivin' Now
9. Move Out
10. Shoot The Moon
11. Fuzzgun 91
12. Pokin' Around
13. Don't Fade IV
14. Check Out Time

Review

Mudhoney, the less popular but more interesting grunge. If your conception of grunge comes solely from Nirvana or Pearl Jam or both this will sound a bit rough. And it is a bit rough, it owes more to people like Neil Young than their own contemporaries in the Seattle scene.

The Neil Young tributes are thick and fast here, from the outro to Cinnamon Girl starting off Broken Hands to the beginning of Pokin' Around with it's harmonica which is very reminiscent indeed or the title of Don't Fade IV with references to rust and fading away. But they are making something different here, they acknowledge their influences but repackage it for a new generation.

This album ends up being better than Superfuzz Bigmuff, firstly it is more accessible and shows more variety in the music, Superfuzz was too short to really be a good showcase of their talent, this is a different thing and all the better for it. Highly Recommended.

Track Highlights

1. Broken Hands
2. Pokin' Around
3. Into The Drink
4. Shoot The Moon

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Guitarist Steve Turner has said that the album is his "favorite Mudhoney album as a whole" and many critics agree that the band reached a peak on Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge.

The album is named after a mnemonic used by music students to recall the notes (EGBDF) on the lines of the treble clef.

Into the Drink:


Friday, September 26, 2008

694. Ice-T - OG Original Gangster (1991)














Track Listing

1. Home of the Bodybag
2. First Impression
3. Ziplock
4. Mic Contract
5. Mind over Matter
6. New Jack Hustler
7. Ed
8. Bitches 2
9. Straight Up Nigga
10. O.G. Original Gangster
11. The House
12. Evil E-What About Sex?
13. Fly By
14. Midnight
15. Fried Chicken
16. M.V.P.s
17. Lifestyles of the Rich and Infamous
18. Body Count
19. Prepared to Die
20. Escape from the Killing Fields
21. Street Killer
22. Pulse of the Rhyme
23. The Tower
24. Ya Shoulda Killed Me Last Year

Review

So here is a little more typical West Coast Rap, bitches, money, guns and drugs... well maybe it is not so typical, in fact it is a little better. Firstly the album covers quite a number of subjects beyond just the typical ones, and then it does it in quite smart ways.

The best thing about the album is probably its humour, which is mostly present in the spoken pieces, Ice-T is a pretty funny guy, even if it isn't the most intellectual of humour. You will often chuckle through the album, and will sometimes be stricken by some clever play.

A good example of this clever play is the song Street Killer, what seems to be a gangster bragging about his crimes quickly turns out to being a cop bragging about his feats, we are not so different after all. Heh. Another noticeable quality to the album is Ice-T's love of rock music, while this works perfectly with the best song in the album, Midnight, it works less well with Body Count, a shameless plug of his new hardcore band. I can't believe I actually bought the self-titled Body Count album for a friend's birthday when I was a kid.

Track Highlights

1. Midnight
2. O.G. Original Gangster
3. New Jack Hustler
4. Street Killer

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The album was ranked at #25 in Melody Maker's list of the top 30 albums of 1991, and was featured in The Source's 100 Best Rap Album. and the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Rolling Stone (6/13/91) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "Ice-T has forged a flexible, hyperliterate style that sacrifices none of hiphop's rhythmic momentum...his slice-of-street-life stories and badass parables offer a fascinating glimpse into a half-hidden world."

Melody Maker (12/91) - "...tight, intelligent and matchless musically."

Midnight:


Thursday, September 25, 2008

693. Red Hot Chilli Peppers - Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991)

















Track Listing

1. Power Of Equality
2. If You Have To Ask
3. Breaking The Girl
4. Funky Monks
5. Suck My Kiss
6. I Could Have Lied
7. Mellowship Slinky In B Major
8. Righteous And The Wicked
9. Give It Away
10. Blood Sugar Sex Magik
11. Under The Bridge
12. Naked In The Rain
13. Apache Rose Peacock
14. Greeting Song
15. My Lovely Man
16. Sir Psycho Sexy
17. They're Red Hot

Review

The Red Hot Chilli Peppers really made it big with this album, in a tradition of slightly reggaefied rock from the West Coast that we have had here before with Faith No More and Fishbone. From this album it is quite easy to see why RHCP would make it bigger than these bands.

RHCP are not technically better than these bands, certainly not better than Faith no More, but they definitely have a wider appeal, and they manage to be proficient at all types of mainstream pop/rock music, from great ballads to sexual innuendo they do it all.

In this sense RHCP end up being a kind of later day Aerosmith, there's something here for everyone under 25, I am 26. However, their combined talents make this album a true classic and heads above any Aerosmith crap.

Track Highlights

1. Under The Bridge
2. Breaking the Girl
3. Give It Away
4. Suck My Kiss

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Due to the success of "Give it Away", the band did not foresee "Under the Bridge" as being equally viable. Warner Bros. sent representatives to a Chili Peppers' concert in order to figure out what would ultimately be the next single. When Frusciante began playing "Under the Bridge", Kiedis missed his cue; the entire audience began singing the song, instead. Kiedis was initially "mortified that I had fucked up in front of Warner's people...I apologized for fucking up but they said 'Fucking up? Are you kidding me? When every single kid at the show sings a song, that's our next single." "Under the Bridge" was, therefore, selected as Blood Sugar Sex Magik's second single. By January 1992, "Under the Bridge" had exploded, peaking at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Under the Bridge Live:




Monday, September 15, 2008

692. Jah Wobble's Invaders of the Heart - Rising Above Bedlam (1991)




















Track Listing

1. Visions of You
2. Relight the Flame
3. Bomba
4. Ungodly Kingdom
5. Rising Above Bedlam
6. Erzulie
7. Everyman's an Island
8. Soledad
9. Sweet Divinity
10. Wonderful World


Review

I'm off on holiday until the 25th! So it is a good time to look through the archives and see if there is something you missed  :P Think of it like one of those cheap clip-episodes on some crappy sitcom.


This is one of those albums whose influence is clearly wide-ranging while not being particularly interesting or good in and of itself. The whole mix of modern rock and world music is not completely new, Peter Gabriel and Paul Simon had explored the Sub-Saharan African side of it already. Peter Gabriel had actually recorded music for Scorsese's Last Passion of the Christ in 1990 which explores Palestinian sounds, and is actually a better album than this one, but it is more of an ambient album than anything else.

Jah Wobble takes on a more Spanish, Arabic and North African kind of music while mixing it with non-world content. The main asset he has here is the great Natacha Atlas, who would eventually have a pretty successful solo career as a singer.

This is a style that would eventually influence people like Jean Michel Jarre, Sting and Peter Murphy of Bauhaus as well as more world-music types such as Lhasa de Sela. So yes the style is a very influential one, but it is not completely successful. A lot of the music sounds incredibly dated, a bit tacky and slightly bad. It's a pity.

Track Highlights

1. Soledad
2. Everyman's An Island
3. Sweet Divinity
4. Vision of You

Final Grade

7/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Following on from the success of several critical and popular landmark recordings, most notably "Without Judgement" and "Rising above Bedlam", in the late 80's and early 90s, respectively, Wobble has since collaborated with a wide variety of musicians. His explorations into World music predated much of the genre's popularity. Jah Wobble's 1994 album Take Me To God was influenced by world music genres and enriched by contributions from a variety of artists of diverse cultural backgrounds, including Baaba Maal, Dolores O'Riordan, and Chaka Demus, and its uplifting sounds made it both a critical and commercial success. His music has spanned a number of genres, including ambient music and dance music, and in 2003, reworkings of traditional English folk songs. Though he has released recordings since the early 1980s, Wobble has been quite prolific from the mid-1990s to the present. He now runs his own label, 30 Hertz Records, and tours regularly throughout England and Europe with his current band, Jah Wobble & The English Roots Band.

Visions of You:


Sunday, September 14, 2008

691. MC Solaar - Qui Seme le Vent Recolte le Tempo (1991)

















Track Listing

1. Intro
2. Qui Seme Le Vent Recolte Le Tempo
3. Matiere Grasse Contre Matiere Grise
4. Victime De La Mode
5. L'Histoire De L'Art
6. Armand Est Mort
7. Quartier Nord
8. Interlude
9. A Temps Partiel
10. Caroline
11. La Musique Adoucit Les Moeurs
12. Bouge De La
13. Bouge De La (2)
14. Ragga Jam
15. La Devise
16. Funky Dreamer

Review

French hip-hop really hasn't got the best of reputations today, the reasons are varied. Firstly the language is almost never as aggressive as English and therefore is not as suited to Public Enemy/N.W.A. style angry rap. Secondly a lot of the Francophone hip-hop sounds similar in its more laid back rhythms and so forth.

MC Solaar is very much a part of the tradition of French hip-hop but he is also the most original of those artists. MC Solaar is creating a template, and as is usual no one ever beat the sheer quality of this template for French hip-hop.

The production work is superb, the use of samples ditto, the lyrics are little more than bragging, but the music is so good that you manage to overlook that. All in all a very different hip-hop album that would spawn a thousand imitators that never were this good.

Track Highlights

1. Qui Seme le Vent Recolte le Tempo
2. Victime de la Mode
3. Caroline
4. Bouge de La

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The title is a pun on the French proverb "qui sème le vent récolte la tempête" (he who sows the wind reaps the whirlwind). It was released in 1991 and gained enormous success.
Bouge de là was the album's first single, which was hugely successful in France and went on to kickstart Solaar's career there. The song is based on a sample of The Message by 1970s English band Cymande.
Other popular singles from the album are Caroline and Victime de la mode.

Victime de la Mode:


Saturday, September 13, 2008

690. Gang Starr - Step In The Arena (1991)


















Track Listing

1. Name Tag (Premier And The Guru)
2. Step In The Arena
3. Form Of Intellect
4. Execution Of A Chump No More Mr Nice Guy
5. Who's Gonna Take The Weight
6. Beyond Comprehension
7. Check The Technique
8. Lovesick
9. Here Today Gone Tomorrow
10. Game Plan
11. Take A Rest
12. What You Want This Time
13. Street Ministry
14. Just To Get A Rep
15. Say Your Prayers
16. As I Read My S A
17. Precisely The Right Rhymes
18. Meaning Of The Name

Review

Humm, this is a strange hip-hop album, I don't dislike it in any particular way, there are plenty of things I like, but in the end it didn't make that strong of an impression.

That is probably a result of one of the good points of the album, it is quite quiet. There is none of the boisterous nature of Public Enemy or the sense of fun of De La Soul or Tribe, it just goes along, admitedly using very good samples, mostly taken from Jazz.

So yeah, it is perfectly good, I wouldn't mind listening to it again in the future, but I don't know that I would ever go out of my way to put this on for me to listen to.

Track Highlights

1. Form Of Intellect
2. Beyond Comprehension
3. Step In The Arena
4. Just To Get a Rep

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Both members of Gang Starr have deep roots in the New York hip hop scene, despite hailing from Boston, Massachusetts (Guru) and Houston, Texas [Originally From New York] (DJ Premier), and have each worked with countless artists.
The Gang Starr Foundation was a loose collective comprised of various members that have worked closely with the group, through either Guru's now defunct Ill Kid label, DJ Premier's production work or the management company that Gang Starr was represented by, Empire Management. The founding member was Vikar.


Form Of Intellect:


Friday, September 12, 2008

689. Julian Cope - Peggy Suicide (1991)

















Track Listing

1. Pristeen
2. Double Vegetation
3. East Easy Rider
4. Promised Land
5. Hanging Out And Hung Up On The Line
6. Safesurfer
7. If You Loved Me At All
8. Drive, She Said
9. Soldier Blue
10. You...
11. Not Raving But Drowning
12. Head
13. Leperskin
14. Beautiful Love
15. Western Front 1992 C.E.
16. Hung Up And Hanging Out To Dry
17. The American Lite
18. Las Vegas Basement

Review

This is an interesting album, if for nothing else for the simple variety of music that Julian Cope manages to produce here while still keeping his own distinctive style. He touches on so many genres that this could have gone badly wrong, but it didn't.

If you are expecting more Teardrop Explodes you will probably disappointed, but it is just as good, there are still some traces of the post-punk/goth thing particularly in Cope's vocals and delivery, but the music is a kaleidoscope of styles.

It is actually Cope's presence that consolidates the album into a coherent whole, it stops it from sounding like a good compilation and gives it the sense of albumness. It should definitely be heard and if you can only get one track make it
Safesurfer.

Track Highlights

1. Safesurfer
2. Hanging Out And Hung Up On The Line
3. If You Loved Me At All
4. The American Lite

Final Grade


9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Julian Cope is into big stones:

1998 saw the release of the widely-acclaimed bestseller The Modern Antiquarian, a large and comprehensive full-colour 448-page work detailing stone circles and other ancient monuments of prehistoric Britain, which sold out of its first edition of 20,000 in its first month of publication and was accompanied by a BBC Two documentary. The Times called the book: "A ripping good read ... it is deeply impressive ... ancient history: the new rock 'n' roll." The Independent called it: "A unique blend of information, observation, personal experience and opinion which is as unlike the normal run of archaeology books as you can imagine." The historian Ronald Hutton went further, calling the book: "the best popular guide to Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments for half a century." The Modern Antiquarian was followed in 2004 with an even larger 484-page study of similar monuments across Europe entitled The Megalithic European, the most extensive study of European megalithic sites to date.

Here's Part 1 of Julian Cope's documentary on Megalithic Britain:


Thursday, September 11, 2008

688. Cypress Hill - Cypress Hill (1991)
















Track Listing

1. Pigs
2. How I Could Just Kill A Man
3. Hand On The Pump
4. Hole In The Head
5. Ultraviolet Dreams
6. Light Another
7. Phuncky Feel One
8. Break It Up
9. Real Estate
10. Stoned Is The Way Of The Walk
11. Psycobetabuckdown
12. Something For The Blunted
13. Latin Lingo
14. Funky Cypress Hill Shit
15. Tres Equis
16. Born To Get Busy

Review

Well this is quite a different West Coast hip-hop album. Firstly it's Latino hip-hop and that marks it as different by itself. The Latin influence is more visible in the vocals and lyrics than really in the music itself, which seems to be very influenced by East Coast acts like the Beastie Boys and Public Enemy.

At least those are good influences to have. Another element that marks this album as a quite different one is its focus on weed. Yes, it's basically about smoking weed and chilling, but it isn't that laid back. They don't forget social issues.

So, I liked it, not immensely but there are plenty of tracks here to enjoy, some of the sampling is quite smart and it is at least original. It is at a higher level than most other West Coast hip-hop at this time. So good for them.

Track Highlights

1. How I Could Just Kill A Man
2. Tres Equis
3. Psychobetabuckdown
4. Hole In the Head

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Steve Huey of Allmusic calls Cypress Hill's debut "a sonic blueprint that would become one of the most widely copied in hip-hop."

Rolling Stone calls it "an album that is innovative and engaging in spite of its hard-core messages."

In 1998, the album was selected as one of The Source Magazine's 100 Best Rap Albums.

How I Could Just Kill A Man:

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

687. Crowded House - Woodface (1991)

















Track Listing


1. Chocolate Cake
2. It's Only Natural
3. Fall At Your Feet
4. Tall Trees
5. Weather With You
6. Whispers And Moans
7. Four Seasons In One Day
8. There Goes God
9. Fame Is
10. All I Ask
11. As Sure As I Am
12. Italian Plastic
13. She Goes On
14. How Will You Go

Review

Ah! New Zealand's best... and the best album by them. Really if you like Crowded House, or you liked Split Enz before them, this is the essential album to have. Crowded House is in that vein of smart pop/rock that brought us Lloyd Cole and a number of bands from Scotland.

I really like it, it is not that challenging or anything, but it is smart, witty and has a couple of pretty great tracks, catchy music with brains. This is a rare thing, a good pop album which has had thought put behind it.

It might at times sounds a bit like generic 90s music, but that is partly because they helped define it, with their slightly retro Beatles influence and literate lyrics. A really good album in general and a truly great album in its genre.

Track Highlights

1. Four Seasons In One Day
2. Weather With You
3. Fall At Your Feet
4. Chocolate Cake

Final Grade


9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

"Chocolate Cake" was released as the first single, and it sealed the fate of the band in America. The song was a humorous comment on American excesses. It failed to make the US singles chart. The album's second single, "Fall At Your Feet" fared a little better, but with lost momentum for the band it only reached #75.

The album sold well internationally. The immense success of this album particularly in the UK prompted the Queen in June 1993 to bestow the OBE upon Tim and Neil for their contribution to the music of New Zealand.

If you wonder why Chocolate Cake wasn't a hit in the US listen to the lyrics:

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

686. Nirvana - Nevermind (1991)

















Track Listing

1. Smells Like Teen Spirit
2. In Bloom
3. Come As You Are
4. Breed
5. Lithium
6. Polly
7. Territorial Pissings
8. Drain You
9. Lounge Act
10. Stay Away
11. On A Plain
12. Something In The Way

Review

Now we come to the year that Punk broke, and there is no more appropriate album to start the year off than what is probably the most famous and instantly recognisable album of that decade, let alone that year.

Nevermind by Nirvana is one of those albums whose influence and importance is universally recognised, that most people will like but that I don't think many people listen to frequently anymore. It hasn't aged as well as it's importance would demand, but then this is true of most grunge.

That said it is a revolutionary album, not necessarily because it sounds very different than what came before, but because it propelled alternative rock into the mainstream like a rocket. From this album on charts would NEVER be the same... well at least until the mid-90s.

Track Highlights

1. In Bloom
2. Smells Like Teen Spirit
3. Come As You Are
4. Polly

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Nevermind not only popularized the Seattle grunge movement, but brought alternative rock as a whole into the mainstream, establishing its commercial and cultural viability. Nevermind's success surprised Nirvana's contemporaries, who felt dwarfed by its impact. Fugazi's Guy Picciotto later commented: "It was like our record could have been a hobo pissing in the forest for the amount of impact it had. [...] It felt like we were playing ukuleles all of a sudden because of the disparity of the impact of what they did". In 1992, Jon Pareles of The New York Times described that in the aftermath of the album's breakthrough, "Suddenly, all bets are off. No one has the inside track on which of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of ornery, obstreperous, unkempt bands might next appeal to the mall-walking millions". Record company executives offered large advances and record deals to bands, and previous strategies of building audiences for alternative rock bands had been replaced by the opportunity to achieve mainstream popularity quickly.

Michael Azerrad argued in his Nirvana biography Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana (1993) that Nevermind marked the emergence of a generation of music fans in their twenties in a climate dominated by the musical tastes of the baby boomer generation that preceded them. Azerrad wrote, "Nevermind came along at exactly the right time. This was music by, for, and about a whole new group of young people who had been overlooked, ignored, or condescended to." Rolling Stone wrote in its entry for Nevermind on its 2003 list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, "No album in recent history had such an overpowering impact on a generation -- a nation of teens suddenly turned punk -- and such a catastrophic effect on its main creator."

In Bloom:

Monday, September 08, 2008

685. My Bloody Valentine - Loveless (1990)

















Track Listing


1. Only Shallow
2. Loomer
3. Touched
4. To Here Knows When
5. When You Sleep
6. I Only Said
7. Come In Alone
8. Sometimes
9. Blown A Wish
10. What You Want
11. Soon

Review


Right after Nowhere by Ride, we get another classic of Shoegaze, Loveless by MBV. Honestly, Loveless is in my opinion the only true classic of the genre. Yes, I have gotten comments saying that I was too harsh on Ride, but the whole genre is something that doesn't click particularly with me. This album is different, however.

Beyond the normal influences that Shoegaze draws on, this album has a recognisable Cocteau Twins influence, this is particularly obvious in the lyrics, even if, and also because, they are often drowning in the huge sound of the guitars.

It is the way these guitars fill your whole scope of hearing that make it such a cool album as well. Talk about wall of sound! The whole thing sounds like it is underwater, like a huge engine revving under the sea. In that sense the comparison to some of Eno's ambient music are not out of place as well, things here remind of Another Green World. If you must listen to one Shoegaze album make it this one.

Track Highlights


1. Only Shallow
2. To Here Knows When
3. When You Sleep
4. Sometimes

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia


From Wikipedia:

Loveless's influence has grown with time, and the album has impacted a wide variety of other artists. Music critic Jim DeRogatis wrote in Turn On Your Mind: Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock that "the forward-looking sounds of this unique disc have positioned the band as one of the most influential and inspiring bands since the Velvet Underground." Brian Eno has praised the album and said, regarding the song "Soon", that "[i]t set a new standard for pop. It's the vaguest music ever to have been a hit." Robert Smith of The Cure discovered Loveless after a period of almost exclusively listening to "disco, or Irish bands like the Dubliners" as a means of avoiding his contemporaries, and said, "[My Bloody Valentine] was the first band I heard who quite clearly pissed all over us, and their album Loveless is certainly one of my all-time three favourite records. It's the sound of someone [Shields] who is so driven that they're demented. And the fact that they spent so much time and money on it is so excellent." Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins told Spin, "It's rare in guitar-based music that somebody does something new [...] At the time, everybody was like, 'How the fuck are they doing this?' And, of course, it's way simpler than anybody would imagine." Corgan later recruited Alan Moulder to co-produce the Pumpkins' album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (1995). Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, who praised the album's musical diversity and production, also worked with Moulder on the third Nine Inch Nails studio album, The Fragile. Trey Anastasio of jam band Phish believed that "Loveless [was] the best album recorded in the '90s", and wanted his band to cover the album in its entirety for a Halloween show. Robert Pollard of indie rock band Guided by Voices acknowledged the album as a source of inspiration, noting, "Sometimes when I want to write lyrics, I'll listen to Loveless. Because of the way the vocals are buried, you can almost listen to the songs as if they're instrumental pieces." Loveless has also been said to have made a considerable influence on the career of British band Radiohead, particularly influencing the band's textured guitar sound. Instrumental band Japancakes covered the album in its entirety on Loveless (2007), replacing vocals with steel guitar and distortion with a clean sound.

Only Shallow:

Sunday, September 07, 2008

684. Ride - Nowhere (1990)


















Track Listing


1. Seagull
2. Kaleidoscope
3. In a different place
4. Polar bear
5. Dreams burn down
6. Decay
7. Paralysed
8. Vapour trail

Review

Well here we have some shoegaze, that kind of music that existed just before Grunge and Brit-pop kicked it into oblivion. Thing is I like it generally better than Brit-pop but slightly less than Grunge... So it had its place, as a kind of development of the whole post-punk scene.

Nowhere, by Ride is a more mellow album than the more famous Loveless by My Bloody Valentine, It is, however not as great. There is more of a Smiths/Cure/Byrds influence here, making it more "ballady" and less like the big sprawl of distorted guitars in most Shoegaze albums.

This originality contributes to the fact that Ride does have its own sound, and that's fine. It is not, however, amazingly impressive. Nice enough and all but meh. Yes, meh.

Track Highlights

1. Paralysed
2. Seagull
3. Dreams Burn Down
4. Polar Bear

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The band name and title, visible in the image of the album, were added for the re-release. Originally the album cover had the band name in raised text in the location of the visible text and a raised album title in the lower right corner.

The album has recently checked in at number 39 on NME's '100 greatest British albums of all-time' list in 2006.

Seagull live:

Saturday, September 06, 2008

683. Sonic Youth - Goo (1990)






















Track Listing

1. Dirty Boots
2. Tunic (Song For Karen)
3. Mary-Christ
4. Kool Thing
5. Mote
6. My Friend Goo
7. Disappearer
8. Mildred Pierce
9. Cinderella's Big Score
10. Scooter And Jinx
11. Titanium Expose

Review


So Sonic Youth sign up to a big label and go slightly more commercial. You can tell, however, that they didn't really sell out here. The shorter length of the tracks does not sound imposed, it sounds like a progression.

This progression, is, however, not necessarily good. Gone are the long suite-like collections of songs from Daydream Nation, it isn't as noisy, but it is much more accessible.

Actually Goo is one of the best entry points into Sonic Youth. It is more accessible without compromising their distinct sound, it is pretty good, even if it isn't their best effort and it has some pretty catchy tunes that would certainty prick up the interest of people unfamiliar with them.

Track Highlights

1. Kool Thing
2. Tunic (Song for Karen)
3. Titanium Expose
4. Dirty Boots

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The cover is a Raymond Pettibon illustration based on a paparazzi photo of Maureen Hindley and her first husband David Smith, witnesses in the case of serial killers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, driving to the trial in 1966.

The handwritten text reads, "I stole my sister's boyfriend. It was all whirlwind, heat, and flash. Within a week we killed my parents and hit the road."

Kool Thing:

Friday, September 05, 2008

682. A Tribe Called Quest - People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm (1990)

















Track Listing

1. Push It Along
2. Luck Of Lucien
3. After Hours
4. Footprints
5. I Left My Wallet In El Segundo
6. Public Enemy
7. Bonita Applebum
8. Can I Kick It
9. Youthful Expression
10. Rhythm (Devoted To The Art Of Moving Butts)
11. Mr Muhammad
12. Ham 'n' Eggs
13. Go Ahead In The Rain
14. Description Of A Fool

Review


Another great hip-hop album coming out of the Native Tongues Collective. Honestly of the three greats of that collective - De La Soul, Jungle Brothers and Tribe Called Quest - Tribe is definitely the best, particularly in the way that they could sustain more than one great album.

De La Soul's 3 Feet High and Rising is a masterpiece but it is their only masterpiece. This album, however is one of the masterpieces by Tribe. All of the bad ideas usually associated with hip-hop are completely disproven by this album, it isn't aggressive, no one shoot or wants to shoot anyone else, women aren't called bitches, the writing is in no way childish. In fact this album and the next Tribe one can stand proudly next to De La Soul's début and Public Enemy's amazing albums as true works of art.

The use of samples reveals a deep knowledge of music with a use of Jazz samples that is peerless and would influence the whole Chillout scene of the late 90s. Samples also range from the Beatles to Lou Reed and Mariachi music. Then the lyrics are the smartest and funniest of any hip-hop group around at the time. It is just pretty much near perfect, the only fault is the idea that they are maybe experimenting a bit too much here, some more focus would have made it even better, but they fix that in their next album.

Track Highlights


1. Can I Kick It?
2. I Left My Wallet In El Segundo
3. Bonita Applebum
4. Luck Of Lucien

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm is the debut album by the alternative hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest, released April 17, 1990 on Jive Records. Though the album was well-received critically, it had little mainstream appeal. The album did earn the band a devoted following, however, within the alternative hip hop community. People's Instinctive Travels was praised for its lyrical inventiveness and bizarre sense of humor, mixed with socially aware and literate message tracks. It is one of three A Tribe Called Quest albums included in The Source's list of 100 best Hip-Hop/Rap Albums of All Time. It also was certified gold by the RIAA on January 19, 1996.

Can I Kick It?:

Thursday, September 04, 2008

681. Sinead O'Connor - I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got (1990)
















Track Listing

1. Feels So Different
2. I Am Stretched On Your Grave
3. Three Babies
4. Emperor's New Clothes
5. Black Boys On Mopeds
6. Nothing Compares 2 U
7. Jump In The River
8. You Cause As Much Sorrow
9. Last Day Of Our Acquaintance
10. I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got

Review

This is one of those albums I grew up with, it came out when I was 8 and my father had it in his car for quite a while, meaning that I heard it through many trips. Usually at night, from Evora to Lisbon and back. If it seems I am being biased then it is because maybe I am and you have to suck it up.

This is to say I really like this album. Sinead does one thing for which I am a sucker, she starts songs slow and builds on them to great epic finales, that's particularly true in the first track and the great Last Day Of Out Acquaintance. If all you know of this album is Nothing Compares 2 U, then you are missing out.

Yes, Nothing Compares 2 U is a good song, with a great video and great lyrics, but it does feel kind of out of place in the album. It sounds like the track put there to be the big successful single that it became. The other tracks are less accessible, track 2 is a dance/hip-hop/celtic music mix for example while the album starts out with a great use of a full string section for a great slow build up track. I really like this. Best album ever? Definitely not, but I want to listen to it again.

Track Highlights


1. Nothing Compares 2 U
2. The Last Day of Our Acquaintance
3. I Am Stretched on Your Grave
4. Feel So Different

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The critically-acclaimed album contains her most famous single, "Nothing Compares 2 U", and was one of the best selling records in the world in 1990, topping the charts in many countries, including the US, UK, and Canada.

The album includes O'Connor's rendition of "I Am Stretched on Your Grave," an anonymous 17th century poem (originally written in Irish) translated into English by Philip King. The first song, "Feels So Different", starts with The Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr.

The inner sleeve notes acknowledge Kabbalah teacher, Warren Kenton: "Special thanks to Selina Marshall + Warren Kenton for showing me that all I'd need was inside me."

The album was nominated for four Grammy Awards in 1991, winning the award for Best Alternative Music Performance. O'Connor refused to accept the nominations and the award.

In 2003, the album was ranked number 406 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.


A version of Nothing Compares 2 U with sound on, let's see how long it stays up, as because it is a Prince cover it will be going down soon for sure:

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

680. Public Enemy - Fear Of a Black Planet (1990)





















Track Listing


1. Contract On The World Love Jam
2. Brothers Gonna Work It Out
3. 911 Is A Joke
4. Incident At 66.6 FM
5. Welcome To The Terrordome
6. Meet The G That Killed Me
7. Pollywanacraka
8. Anti-Nigger Machine
9. Burn Hollywood Burn - Ice Cube, Public Enemy
10. Power To The People
11. Who Stole The Sole?
12. Fear Of A Black Planet
13. Revolutionary Generation
14. Can't Do Nuttin' For Ya Man
15. Reggie Jax
16. Leave This Off Your Fu*Kin Charts
17. B Side Wins Again
18. War At 33 1/3
19. Final Count Of The Collision Between Us And The Damned
20. Fight The Power

Review

When hip-hop is boring, it is really boring, when it is good it sounds like this album! Public Enemy had already shown what gods they were in their previous album, and this doesn't disappoint in the least.

You know a hip-hop is album is working when you are actually interested in what they are saying, this works partly as a great music album. partly as a spoken word album and partly as documentary through the spoken samples used through it.

Actually it is as socially important as It Takes A Nation of Millions, the black-white divide pervades the album, in all its forms, up to the point of the type-casting of black actors in Burn Hollywood Burn. This is art of the highest calibre, and another example of why East Coast rap will always be superior, at least at this point in time.

Track Highlights


1. Fight The Power
2. Burn Hollywood Burn
3. 911 Is a Joke
4. Power To The People

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The album's musical qualities were overshadowed by a controversy surrounding alleged anti-Semitic remarks by group member Professor Griff. After the controversy had been forgotten, however, the album's critical reception was generally very positive, with many commentators ranking it equal to or better than the previous album, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988).In particular, critics were favorable to The Bomb Squad's innovative and diverse production and Chuck D's songwriting. The Encyclopedia of Popular Music credits Fear of a Black Planet's atmosphere to the "bunker mentality" of "clashes with the press", and specifically cites "Fight the Power", which "bites harder than just about any other track in rap's history" (p. 1864).

Fight The Power: