Tag Archives: Jay-Z

The Art of Feeling Naked in Your Clothes

It’s been a week or so since I wrote anything. Writer’s block? Laziness? Nothing to write about? Who knows? I’ve been sitting on this topic for a few days & now I feel the time is write to truly express my outrage (probably not the right word). Coachella, in case you live in a cave (talking to you Osama), is a 3 day music festival in Indio, California in April every year that highlights some of the most amazing bands & usually showcases new & old alike. This year, however, the lineup is shit. Talk about getting right to the point.

Last year the headliners were Paul McCartney, The Cure & The Killers. This year it’s Jay-Z, Muse & Gorillaz? Jay-Z is awesome & I’ve wanted to see him forever. He’s one of the best rapper’s around, but Gorillaz & Muse? I just don’t understand why Muse is blowing up so huge. They’re good, but headlining material? Not so much. I saw them at the Download festival a few years ago opening up for Beck & the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. They’re a nice band, with a nice sound. Hardly, headlining material. Don’t even get me started on Gorillaz who were another nice band about 5 years ago.

Sunday might as well be labeled has-been night with Pavement, Sly & the Family Stone & De La Soul also on the bill. 2009 had Franz Ferdinand, Morrissey, The Black Keys, Leonard Cohen & Paul McCartney & that was just the first day. What happened to getting the biggest acts in the world & showcasing them. It’s like the promoters for Coachella threw in the towel & just said “fuck it, we’ll see if Stephen Malkmus wants to get an underachieving 90’s band back together!” They’re not even headlining!

It’s get’s better. In their infinite wisdom they have decided not to sell individual day tickets, but to reduce the cost of camping.  This, to me, is a sign that they know they’re not going to make their money back with such a subpar lineup. If I had their money & the time they had form one year to the next to lock down anyone I wanted here’s 10 of the artists I would get.

Bruce Springsteen – Have him headline like he did at Bonnaroo. He’ll play for 3 hours like McCartney did & leave everyone with a memorable experience. .

Born to Run (Unplugged) – Bruce Springsteen

Thunder Road (Acoustic) – Bruce Springsteen

The Avett Brothers – Yeah I know they’re playing Day 1 on a shitty side stage, but I’d get rid of Grace Jones & move in the Avett’s. Poor planning once again.

Laundry Room – Avett Brothers

It Goes On & On – Avett Brothers

The Pixies – They’ve been playing again recently & would’ve been a helluva better option than Pavement.

Here Comes Your Man (Live) – The Pixies

Hey (Live) – The Pixies

Blitzen Trapper – An amazing band that would’ve fit nicely with Passion Pit & Grizzly Bear on day 1.

Furr – Blitzen Trapper

Wild Mountain Nation – Blitzen Trapper

Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse – They came out with one of the best underground album in years (probably since The Grey Album) & John Waters will be playing on Saturday.

Revenge – Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse featuring Wayne Coyne from The Flaming Lips

Little Girl – Feat. Julian Casablancas

Dr. Dre – He’s coming out with a new album. Could’ve gotten Eminem on stage with him & screams West Coast much more than the New Jersey native Jay-Z.

Nuthin’ but a G Thang – Dr. Dre

Forgot About Dre – Dr. Dre feat. Eminem

Guns ‘N Roses – What better venue than Coachella to try & get the original line-up together for a one-off? This is what Coachella used to be about, getting bands back together after years of strife.

Don’t Cry – Guns N’ Roses

Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door – Guns N’ Roses

Led Zeppelin – They’ve been talking about getting back together for a couple of years now. Wouldn’t Coachella have reaped the benefits of getting such an amazing act on their queue?

Black Dog (Live) – Led Zeppelin

Going to California (Live) – Led Zeppelin

My Morning Jacket – They bring their own audience much like the Dead, but talented. They are a band that would bring people from across the country to the event, unlike say…Muse or Grace Jones.

One Big Holiday (Live) – MMJ

Where to Begin – MMJ

Oasis – What better venue than to get the Brothers Gallagher to kiss & make up once again than Coachella. They could bring a global audience to watch what could turn out to be great music or a great fistfight. Either way the crowd is entertained.

Live Forever (Unplugged) – Oasis

What’s the Story Morning Glory (Unplugged)– Oasis


Top 250 Albums of All-Time – 159-150

#159 – Elephant – The White Stripes

Recorded in only two weeks The White Stripes 2003 album , Elephant, was a throw back to pre-1960’s rock n’ roll/blues albums. It was even recorded on antiquated equipment, 8 track tape machine & pre-1960’s gear. it was Jack & Meg White’s 4th album & their Magnum Opus. It also happened to be their major label debut. The fact that a two person band could pump out a quality album is an achievement in it’s own right, but to do it with such precise brilliance is another thing altogether. While Meg does certainly leave alot to be desired as a drummer she does exactly what any other drummer would do when confronted with perhaps the greatest guitarist of his generation, Jack White (who is the subject of a documentary with Jimmy Page & The Edge). The album was so good that Rolling Stone hailed it as “…a work of pulverizing perfection.” Pulverizing being the key word. With songs like “Seven Nation Army” & “Hardest Button to Button” it draws attention to Jack White’s superb guitar ability & perhaps Meg White’s steady drum play as not being overtly fancy. She is the bass in a band where there is none.

Hardest Button to Button – The White Stripes

Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes

#158 – Songs of Leonard Cohen – Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen’s debut album, Songs of Leonard Cohen, was a backlash to an ever increasing psychedelic movement propagated by the Beatles album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Leonard Cohen was first & foremost a poet & only in his desire to showcase this poetry did he create this Beatnik style album. His brand of lonely music was a huge hit in Europe, who just enjoying an Enlightened era of art, but was slow to catch on in the States. However, once his song “Suzanne” caught on it was hailed as an instant classic. Written about sculptor Armand Vaillancourt’s wife Suzanne Verdal it becomes a treatise on religion in the second verse. Cohen speaks of “Jesus as he walked upon the water”, but it ends again with Suzanne. The real Suzanne ended up living in her car in Venice, Ca while Cohen achieved stardom & after 1970 they never spoke again.

Suzanne – Leonard Cohen

So Long, Marianne – Leonard Cohen

#157 – Loaded – Velvet Underground

Loaded was Velvet Underground’s fourth album & their most commercially successful. Bassist Doug Yule had this to say:

On Loaded there was a big push to produce a hit single, there was that mentality, which one of these is a single, how does it sound when we cut it down to 3½ minutes, so that was a major topic for the group at that point.

This was also Lou Reed’s final album with tensions about the direction of the band after the growing separation between the group & Andy Warhol. Along with that the overall pop/commercial feel of the album didn’t sit well with Reed’s vision of what Velvet Underground should be, so he left & wasn’t even there long enough to hear the final mix.

Who Loves the Sun – Velvet Underground

Sweet Jane – Velvet Underground

#156 – Ricky Sings Again – Ricky Nelson

Ricky Sings Again is Ricky Nelson’s third album, but the first in which he transcends the teen-pop label he had been saddled with for his first two albums & dives into Rock-a-billy music with long time collaborator James Burton, who went on to become a guitarist in Elvis Presley’s band.

Nelson knew and loved music, and was a skilled performer even before he became a teen idol, largely due to his parents’ musical background. In addition to guitar, he played drums and the clarinet. (He showcased his drum skills in the same episode where he made his singing debut.) Nelson worked with many musicians of repute, including the aforementioned James Burton, Joe Osborn, and Allen “Puddler” Harris, all natives of Louisiana, and Joe Maphis, The Jordanaires, Scotty Moore and Johnny and Dorsey Burnette. While Elvis may have served as the catalyst for Rick’s musical career, his real inspiration was Carl Perkins.

From 1957 to 1962, Nelson had thirty Top-40 hits, more than any other artist at the time except Presley (who had 53) and Pat Boone (38). Many of Nelson’s early records were double hits with both the A and B sides hitting the Billboard charts. When Billboard introduced the Hot 100 chart on August 4, 1958, Nelson’s single “Poor Little Fool” became the first song ever in the #1 position on that chart. In addition to his recording career, Nelson appeared in movies, including the Howard Hawks western classic Rio Bravo with John Wayne and Dean Martin (1959), plus The Wackiest Ship In the Army (1960) and Love and Kisses (1965).

It’s Late – Ricky Nelson

Lonesome Town – Ricky Nelson

#155 – Reasonable Doubt – Jay-Z

Jay-Z’s debut album, Reasonable Doubt, is also consequently his best album. While taking events from his real life growing up in Brooklyn’s Marcy Projects, Jay-Z conveys a sense of hopelesness growing up with an urgency to escape the ghetto. His father left when he was 11 & he began dealing drugs in his teens with his new father figurtes being the drug dealers in the neighborhood. He also was one of the forerunners to the subgenre of Gangster Rap called “Mafioso Rap” evident in the opening track, “Brooklyn’s Finest” with the reference to the epic line from Scarface. “Brooklyn’s Finest” also features a cameo from the Notorious B.I.G. which like many songs on the album is considerably longer than most Rap songs coming in at just over four & a half minutes. It like many of the era’s songs relies heavily on sampling from such artists as: Isaac Hayes, The Ohio Players & Ahmad Jamal.

Brooklyn’s Finest (With Biggie Smalls) – Jay-Z

Ain’t No Nigga (With Foxy Brown) – Jay-Z

#154 -Moanin’ in the Moonlinght – Howlin’ Wolf

Born Chester Arthut Burnett (after the 21st President of the U.S. Chester Arthur) Howlin’ Wolf was not only a revolutionary in Blues Music, but also in overcoming stereotypical & seemingly early Blues/Jazz outcomes of succumbing to Alcohol or drugs & either dying young and/or penniless. He came by the name, Howlin’ Wolf when his grandfather heard him trying to yodel along with a popular country song of the day & thought it sounded more like a wolf howling at the moon. His first full length album, Moanin’ in the Moonlight, inspired many an artist such as: Led Zeppelin, the White Stripes, Jimi Hendrix & The Rolling Stones. It is the forefather to the rock sound that inundated the late 60’s early 70’s.

Smokestack Lighting – Howlin’ Wolf

Moanin’ at Midnight – Howlin’ Wolf

#153 – Ritchie Valens – Ritchie Valens

Never before has the flip of a coin meant so much in the history of rock n’ roll. On a snowy night, Feb. 3, 1959, Ritchie Valens won a coin flip with guitarist Tony Alsup & less than 10 minutes later Valens, Buddy Holly & the Big Bopper were all dead in a horrific plane crash in Iowa. At 17 years old Richard Valenzuela became a Rock n’ Roll Martyr. It was in death that he grew as an icon in the Chicano rock movement. It was one month after his death that his self titled album, Ritchie Valens,  was released with songs like, “La Bamba”, “Donna” & “Come On Let’s GO”. Ritchie Valens was the stepping stone for artists like Santana, War & Los Lobos (who have covered many of Valens’ songs). When Ritchie Valens died that night at 17 he was ensured of beomcing a rock icon for decades to come, but without being able to actually see the impact his music had on others one must truly wonder if it was ultimately worth it ot his family & himself?

Come on Let’s Go – Ritchie Valens

La Bamba – Ritchie Valens

#152 – Pablo Honey – Radiohead

Besides “Creep”, the album also included the melodic, perhaps ironic, and Sonic Youth-influenced single “Anyone Can Play Guitar” and U2-like single “Stop Whispering”. Also, on Pablo Honey, are ethereal rocker “You”, fan favourite “Thinking About You”, and “Blow Out”, the latter of which is apparently the band’s personal favourite from the album, and points ahead to their future sonic manipulations.

By mid-1993, “Creep” had become a hit in Israel, then the United States, and then a worldwide hit, finally reaching number 7 when it was re-released during the Autumn of 1993 in the band’s native Britain. “Creep” went on to define the band’s early career, at the expense of anything else on Pablo Honey. The song, whose self-loathing lyrics struck a chord with many fans, was released around the same time as other so-called “slacker” anthems such as Beck’s “Loser” and was seen by some as a part of the grunge movement kicked into high gear by Seattle bands Nirvana and Pearl Jam. Radiohead eventually fell into a media-created niche as the “British Nirvana”, due both to “Creep” and to the equally morose (if not equally successful) other songs on the album. In fact, Radiohead did share similar influences as Nirvana, notably the Pixies and R.E.M., although The Smiths were also a large influence on the band at this time.

However, the band are not unanimously pleased with “Creep”. Although at first ecstatic at their success, they soon came to resent being unable to escape its shadow, inspiring the bitter song “My Iron Lung”. When performing live in 1993 and 1994, much of the audience would often leave after “Creep” had been performed, ignoring all the other material from Pablo Honey. One exception was “Prove Yourself”, a song Yorke removed from setlists after he realised the crowd would always chant along with its disturbing refrain, “I’m better off dead.”

Creep – Radiohead

Blow Out – Radiohead

#151 – All Things Must Pass – George Harrison

All Things Must Pass is the first triple album by a solo artist, the original vinyl release featured two records of rock songs, while the third, entitled “Apple Jam” was composed of informal jams led by Harrison with musician friends and other famous musicians.Received as a masterpiece upon its 1970 unveiling, All Things Must Pass is widely considered to be one of the best albums made by a Beatle as a solo artist. It is certified 6x Platinum by the RIAA.

The outpouring of the wealth of material on All Things Must Pass took many critics by surprise, with Harrison having long been overshadowed by the talents of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, despite the fact that some of his later period Beatles inclusions (“While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” “Something,” and “Here Comes the Sun”) were hailed as highlights of their respective albums. Consequently, as Harrison had only placed just a few songs on any given Beatles album, he had amassed many compositions by their break-up, enabling him to release many of them simultaneously on All Things Must Pass.

Harrison had been accumulating the songs he recorded for the album as far back as 1966; both “The Art of Dying” and “Isn’t It a Pity” date from that year. In bootlegged conversations from the Get Back sessions, Harrison revealed that John had rejected “Isn’t It a Pity” three years before, and that he (Harrison) had considered offering the song to Frank Sinatra.

He began writing “My Sweet Lord” while touring with Delaney & Bonnie in late 1969, and would later utilise their backing group “Friends” as an important part of the All Things Must Pass sound. He made one last detour before beginning work on All Things Must Pass, visiting Dylan while the latter was starting sessions for New Morning in May 1970, learning “If Not For You” and participating in a now-bootlegged session.

If Not For You – George Harrison

All Things Must Pass – George Harrison

My Sweet Lord – George Harrison

#150 – Transformer – Lou Reed

Transformer is Lou Reed’s breakthrough second solo album, released in December 1972. Unlike its predecessor Lou Reed, eight songs of which were leftovers from his Velvet Underground days, this album contains mainly new material. Transformer was produced by David Bowie and Mick Ronson, who had been strongly influenced by Reed’s work with the Velvet Underground. The album features some of Reed’s best-known songs such as “Walk on the Wild Side”, “Perfect Day” and “Satellite of Love”, and made him an international star in his own right.

Although all songs on the album were credited to Reed, it has long been rumoured that “Wagon Wheel” is actually a David Bowie composition. The first single from the album, “Walk on the Wild Side”, became an international success, despite its adult subject matter (it was edited in some countries and banned in others) & is now generally regarded as Reed’s signature tune. “Satellite of Love” was issued as the second single in February 1973.

Satellite of Love – Lou Reed

Walk on the Wild Side – Lou Reed

Music News – Woody Show, Jay-Z, Simpsons, iTunes, Weezer

Some great things going on this week. The new releases have been a huge disappointment for the third third week in a row, so I’ll come up with something for Wednesday & post the Music News today.

  • P.S. Hoping to do that long rumored Woody Fife interview this week. Getting in touch with him has been a bit of a hassle lately, but here’s hoping we can get it done soon. I’d even be open to doing a segment on the New Woody & Rizzuto show at the point in St. Louis. Here’s some other Live 105 news:
  • Greg Gory has been fired 3 months after the rest of The Woody Show was unscrupulously show the door. Dave Numb is showing tremendous idiocy in getting rid of people like Gory.
  • New rumor coming out of Live 105 is that No Name will move to 3-7p, Jared to 10a-3p, Madden to 7-midnight. KEVIN AND BEAN syndicate mornings from L.A. station KROQ. I’m chasing down some leads trying to get confirmation on this & will keep you posted. Check out this video of the moron White Menace continuously being himself & failing miserably at getting anything right. What a treat! Stay behind the camera, genius. I wouldn’t let this jackass introduce me in front of a firing squad let alone a treasure like Happy Days. NOT THE HAPPY DAYS, JUST HAPPY DAYS.
  • Jay-Z’s new album The Blueprint III is coming out on September 11, but the second single released came out this morning at, fittingly 9:11 am on some radio station no one cares about & is reintroduces Rhianna to the Jay-Z stable of collaborators. Her first collaboration since Chris Brown pummeled her down the street from my house.  Jay-Z also replaced the Beastie Boys (due to MCA’s previously reported cancer) at the All Points West Festival marking his first U.S. Festival appearance.

Run This Town – Jay-Z, Rhianna, Kanye West

D.O.A. (Death of Autotune) – Jay-Z

  • Weezer is starting to tread in dangerous Jason Mraz waters with their new teen-pop direction. It’s been this way for a few albums now. They went from Hipster idols to Teen idols on par with the Jonas Brothers or High School musical or worse Jason Mraz. Way to sell out, Weezer. Here are two songs they debuted in South Korea, of all places. You tell me do these songs scream Jason Mraz is my mentor or what. I haven’t seen things suck this much since Jason Mraz & Dave Matthews collaborated. Here’s what former Sleater-Kinney singer/guitarist Carrie Brownstein said:

I don’t know if Weezer hates its fans or just the (apparently) stifling concept of sincerity, but you should listen to these two new songs if you weren’t already convinced of Weezer’s contempt for music.

  • Chris Martin of Coldplay will be a guest on the Simpsons this coming season, the 21st. There is no sense in complaining about this. Coldplay is not a great band, but they certainly aren’t the worst. The Simpsons is still a funny show & I wouldn’t mind seeing it on for another 10 years if it stays funny regardless of who’s on. Here’s a list of previous rock stars to guest on the show: U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Who, R.E.M., Phish, Sting, the Ramones, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Elvis Costello, Tom Petty, Blink-182, David Byrne, the White Stripes, Aerosmith as endorsers of “Flaming Moe’s” and Johnny Cash as a Guatemalan Insanity Pepper-induced coyote that talks to a hallucinating Homer. But perhaps the most memorable music-related episode of The Simpsons was “Homerpalooza,” which featured appearance by Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth, Cypress Hill and Peter Frampton.
  • The Financial Times Website is reporting about a new incentive to try & get consumers to purchase more digital albums versus strictly selective songs.

Apple is working with the four largest record labels to stimulate digital sales of albums by bundling a new interactive booklet, sleeve notes and other interactive features with music downloads, in a move it hopes will change buying trends on its on-line iTunes store.

The talks come as Apple is separately racing to offer a portable, full-featured, tablet-sized computer in time for the Christmas shopping season, in what the entertainment industry hopes will be a new revolution. The device could be launched alongside the new content deals, including those aimed at stimulating sales of CD-length music, according to people briefed on the project.

  • Finally, if you haven’t heard, Daft Punk are doing the score to the new Tron movie (Tron Legacy) & Thom Yorke & Bon Iver have both written songs for the next movie in the Twilight series, New Moon. Not sure if anyone, though, can match the perfection of Johnny Greenwood’s score of There Will Be Blood which was miles ahead of No Country For Old Men as far as score & the movie in general.

The Grey Album – Danger Mouse, Jay-Z & The Beatles

For the Thursday Bootleg this week I decided to go the Hip-Hop route since Jay-Z’s Black Album was #191 in the Top 250 of all time. I mentioned the Grey Album before during my comments on the Black Album, but if you’ve never heard the Grey Album then you would have no frame of reference to understand what I was speaking about.

It is a musical achievement in technology, mixing the Beatles White Album with Jay-Z’s Black Album. A lot has been made about this project in the age of digital downloading & file sharing.

Brian Burton (Danger Mouse) is quoted as saying:

“A lot of people just assume I took some Beatles and, you know, threw some Jay-Z on top of it or mixed it up or looped it around, but it’s really a deconstruction. It’s not an easy thing to do. I was obsessed with the whole project, that’s all I was trying to do, see if I could do this. Once I got into it, I didn’t think about anything but finish it. I stuck to those two because I thought it would be more challenging and more fun and more of a statement to what you could do with sample alone. It is an art form. It is music. You can do different things, it doesn’t have to be just what some people call stealing. It can be a lot more than that.”

This album was named 2004 album of the year by Entertainment Weekly though it was never truly released on it’s own as a legitimate album. It is, however, worthy of the accolades as it is tremendously ambitious in it’s depth of samples & configuration.

  1. Public Service Announcement
    • Samples “Long, Long, Long”
  2. What More Can I Say
    • Samples “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”
    • Samples “Top Billin'” by Audio Two
  3. Encore
    • Samples “Glass Onion” and “Savoy Truffle”
  4. December 4th
    • Samples “Mother Nature’s Son”
  5. 99 Problems
    • Samples “Helter Skelter”
  6. Dirt Off Your Shoulder
    • Samples “Julia”
  7. Moment of Clarity
    • Samples “Happiness Is a Warm Gun”
  8. Change Clothes
    • Samples “Piggies” and “Dear Prudence”
  9. Allure
    • Samples “Dear Prudence”
  10. Justify My Thug
    • Samples “Rocky Raccoon”
  11. Lucifer 9 (Interlude)
    • Samples “Revolution 9” and “I’m So Tired”
    • Samples “Ave, Lucifer” by Os Mutantes
  12. My 1st Song
    • Samples “Cry Baby Cry” and “Savoy Truffle” and “Helter Skelter”

Top 250 of All-Time 199-190

#199 – Abraxas – Santana

Abraxas is Santana at his most lyrical, especially when Gregg Robie isn’t singing. Layered in Latin flavor Santana excels at songs like “Samba Pa Ti” where he speaks through his guitar playing a beautiful melody though intricate & refined. Covers of Peter Green’s (Fleetwood Mac’s original line-up) “Black Magic Woman” & Tito Puente’s “Oye Como Va” stamp the Santana insignia on them creating classics that would become his & his alone. At only 22 Santana proved that his first album was no fluke & his intensely mesmerizing performance at Woodstock only lent itself to his growing mystique.

Samba Pa Ti – Santana

Black Magic Woman – Santana

#198 – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Tom Petty’s debut album after Mudcrutch disbanded became a huge hit in the U.K. before it went gold in the U.S. This album shows Petty embracing 60s rock more than most artists at the time. I t was a style familiar to the Byrds & Bruce Springsteen with that familiar Blue Collar element that became so apparent in songs like “American Girl” which All Music referred to as:

The similarities between Petty & the Byrds became apparent. Take the closer “American Girl”, it’s a Byrds song by any other name but he pushed the Heartbreakers to treat it as a Rock & Roll song not as something delicate.

“Breakdown” has that familiar hook with Petty’s Dylan-esque vocals. A sign of great things to come.

Breakdown – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

American Girl – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

#197 – War – U2

U2’s third album, War, was the one that propelled them into the limelight as it was their first overtly political album. Bono put it best:

War seemed to be the motif for 1982, everywhere you looked, from the Falklands to the Middle East & South Africa, there was a war. By calling the album, War, we’re giving people a slap in the face & at the same time getting away from the cosy image alot of people have of U2.

“Sunday Bloody Sunday” is the perfect example of one of the protest songs as it speaks to the Troubles in Northern Ireland. It’s military-esque drum beat by Larry Mullen at the beginning is followed immediately by the Edge’s fiery solo. It is a song written by the Edge after a  period of growing frustrations with his own writing ability & problems with his girlfriend.

Sunday Bloody Sunday – U2

New Year’s Day – U2

#196 – Ten – Pearl Jam

Pearl Jam’s debut album, Ten, is a seminal album in grunge lore. Eddie Vedder mumbles his way through classics such as: “Jeremy”, “Alive” & “Black”. When Mother Love Bone broke up Jeff Ament & Stone Gossard recruited Vedder, Mike McCready & Dave Krusen to form Pearl Jam. Vedder wrote of depression, homelessness, suicide & abuse. “Jeremy” the song about a boy who is picked on, to the point of committing suicide in front of his classmates is an example of Vedder’s pulling stories out of the newspaper & turning them into hits.

“Alive” tells the semi-biographical tale of a son that discovers his father is actually his step-father & that his real father died many years before & his mothers grief turns her to sexually embrace her son who strongly embraces the biological father.

Jeremy – Pearl Jam

Black – Pearl Jam

#195 – Animals – Pink Floyd

Animals is Pink Floyd’s take on George Orwell’s classic political allegory on communism, Animal Farm. The various animals described on the album represent different elements of society. Dogs are businessmen, Sheep as the powerless pawns & Pigs as ruthless leaders. While the book is commentary on communism, the album deals more of it’s pointed attacks at capitalism.

David Gilmour said this to Mojo in 2008 about Animals:

Roger’s (Waters) thing is to dominate, but I am happy to stand up for myself & argue vociferously as to the merits of different pieces of music, which is what I did on Animals. I didn’t feel remotely squeezed out of that album. 90% of the song “Dogs” was mine. That song was almost the whole of one side, so that’s half of Animals.

This in response to long held conclusions from media & fans alike that Roger Waters was the driving force behind the album & in effect began to take greater control beginning with this album.

Pigs on the Wing (Part 1) – Pink Floyd

Dogs – Pink Floyd

#194 – Metallica – Metallica

On previous albums Metallica were the speed metal masters of the 80’s with songs like “Ride the Lightning” & “Master of Puppets”, but with the so called Black Album it was a new direction for Metallica. Gone were the staccato riffs that had defined them & with that change over from Metal long hairs to true rock stars they created an album so great that it is one of the top selling albums of all-time having sold 22 million to date. Along with the good, the alter ego of Metallica must be taken into account as they have crusaded for years against the sharing of music on peer-to-peer sites & even blogs. Lars Ulrich in particular has been the most vocal as he seemingly wishes to keep his music locked in a vault. As an aside, what many artists don’t realize is by bloggers, such as myself, bringing attention to some of their works they have a better chance of getting paid than if they wage a war against their fans. A war that no matter how many sites they shut down, they can not win.

Unforgiven – Metallica

Nothing Else Matters – Metallica

#193 – The River – Bruce Springsteen

The River was intended to be a single album with joyful songs, but Springsteen, never one to be complacent, wrote “The River” about his sister and brother-in-law. About a couple marrying too young because of pregnancy, changed everything, and the narrator feels they’ve forgotten what used to be important and feels like his dreams will never come true. After that he changed the album from the single album The Ties That Bind to the double album The River with a darker edge to it. This according to Bruce himself:

Rock & Roll has always been about joy, this certain happiness that is in it’s way the most beautiful thing in life. But Rock is also about hardness & coldness & being alone…I finally got to the place where I realizes life had paradoxes, a lot of them & you’ve got to live with them.

Among many of the songs was the happy sounding but ultimately tragic classic “Hungry Heart” originally written for The Ramones, but Bruce was convinced by Manager/Producer Jon Landau to keep it for himself.

The River – Bruce Springsteen

Hungry Heart – Bruce Springsteen

#192 – The Wild, The Innocent & The E-Street Shuffle – Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen’s second album, The Wild, The Innocent & The E-Street Shuffle, was released in 1973 to little fanfare initially. It’s a telling album of the young Bruce’s thoughts & opinions at the time. About the police, “The newsboys say the heat’s been bad since Power Thirteen gave a trooper all he had in a late summer scuffle.” & about sex, “All the little girls’ souls grow weak when the man-child gives them a double shot.” Typically, for a Springsteen album, it has a host of characters with everyman names that could easily be you or I.

In “Incident on 57th Street”,  “Spanish Johnny dressed like dynamite” meets “Puerto Rican Jane”, who dreams of taking him to, “the other part of town where paradise ain’t so crowded”. While Jane sleeps with her “sheets soaked damp from sweat” Johnny’s friends call through a window in what seems to be some sordid affair to make “easy money”. He promises to meet Jane “tomorrow night on lover’s lane”. The album is as close to an ode to West Side Story as anything Springsteen’s ever written as with “Rosalita” his tale of forbidden love screams Romeo & Juliet & Tony & Maria.

Rosalita – Bruce Springsteen

Incident on 57th Street – Bruce Springsteen

#191 – Black Album – Jay-Z

What was supposed to be his final album, The Black Album, turned out to be his Michael Jordan moment. Creating greatness & being lauded for it is hard to stay away from. With samples of songs from Madonna, Run DMC, R. Kelly & the Chi-Lites, Jay-Z created a return to his Reasonable Doubt style, getting away from the commercialized, over-hyped offerings he had been putting out since. What may be the best indication of the enduring legacy of this album are the remixes & mash-ups that have consistently been made since his accapella version of the Black Album were released. Most notably the Grey Album, by Danger Mouse, which combined this with the Beatles White Album. Another version with Linkin Park was a lso released & is the only authorized copy to date.

Dirt Off your Shoulder – Jay-Z

Lucifer – Jay-Z

#190 – Disraeli Gears – Cream

Initially self titled, Disraeli Gears got it’s name from roadie Mick Turner’s response as Ginger Baker discussed purchasing a racing bicycle. Turner exclaimed, “It’s got them Disraeli gears!” meaning to say “derailleur gears”, but instead alluding to 19th Century British Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli. The classic track, “Sunshine of Your Love” was a sign that the band was distancing themselves away from their blues sound & more towards a psychedelic sound.

Sunshine of Your Love – Cream

250 Best Albums of All-Time 229-220

#229 – Morrison Hotel – The Doors

Morrison Hotel was a return to The Doors roots. Back to what propelled them towards the mainstream earlier in their careers. Even without a clear cut hit on the album it still got to #4 on the Billboard Charts. With a very bluesy feel to the whole album it had some surprise guest musicians including John Sebastian from The Lovin’ Spoonful & blues great Lonnie Mack. “Roadhouse Blues” is probably the most recognizable tune with Morrison’s familiar howls, Sebastian’s harmonica playing & not one but two brilliant guitar solos by Robbie Krieger.

The Doors – Roadhouse Blues

The Doors – Maggie M’Gill

#228 – Funeral – Arcade Fire

Never has a Canadian Rock band taken music by storm the way Arcade Fire did with Funeral. And not since Sonny & Cher have a husband and wife played in such tonal harmony as Win Butler & Regine Chassange. Hailed by Pitchfork as the #1 album of 2004 this ambitious album, breaks all the molds of what Indie Music is supposed to be with strings, xylophone, accordion & horns. A debut album that would set the bar extremely high for the rest of the 00’s for any other band. Counted among some of their many fans are: Bruce Springsteen, Spike Jonze & Jay-Z.

Arcade FireNeighborhood #1 (Tunnels)

Arcade Fire – Rebellion (Lies)

#227 – Grievous Angel – Gram Parsons

Gram Parsons called it “Cosmic American Music”. Today we call it alt-country. Released 6 months after Parsons died at the age of 26 due to a lethal combination of Morphine & alcohol Grievous Angel came to be the second and final solo album for Gram Parsons. With Emmylou Harris on backing vocals & dueting on many of the tracks & James Burton (Elvis Presley & Ricky Nelson’s guitarist) on guitar Parsons created such classics as “$1000 Wedding” & “Return of the Grievous Angel“. This album is widely known as one of the fore-bearers of the Country Rock/Alt. Country movement & “Return of the Grievous Angel” has been covered countless times from artists such as Ryan Adams who shares a birthday with Parsons & was born a year after he died.

Gram Parsons$1000 Wedding

Gram Parsons – Return of the Grievous Angel

#226 – Pneumonia – Whiskeytown

Taking it a step further than his idol, Gram Parsons, Ryan Adams helped make Pneumonia, Whiskeytown’s crowning achievement. Though the same lineup was together as previous albums it’s Adams’ vocals that seem to carry this album, unlike in the past when he shared vocals with Caitlin Cary. Adams sings of the desolation of the town he once knew in “Jacksonville Skyline“. An army town that he can’t wait to get out of & start a new life somewhere else. Though, his desire to leave propels him to move out “soon as I turned 16” he longs for the home he once knew. The album sat on a shelf for 2 years & was bootlegged extensively before finally being released in 2001. This came to be the final album released by Whiskeytown as their label Outpost Records was shut down due to the merger of Polygram & Universal effectively breaking up the band.

WhiskeytownJacksonville Skyline

Whiskeytown – Sit & Listen to the Rain

#225 – Out of Time – R.E.M.

Before Out of Time everyone knew knew R.E.M. simply as a good college radio band with a nice following. After Out of Time they were a juggernaut that could not be stopped. the centerpiece of the album is “Losing My Religion“, a song of unrequited love. The feeling of being embarrassed because you have such unabashed affection for someone who doesn’t feel the same way. However, the song that may be the best in all of R.E.M.’s library of classics is “Country Feedback“. An amazing song that, minus a few words scribbled on a piece of paper, was basically improvised. Recorded in one take it is literally what Michael Stipe was feeling that day.

R.E.M. – Losing My Religion

R.E.M. – Country Feedback

#224 – True Blue – Madonna

My hatred of pop music can not be emphasized enough. It is trite, pointless, untalented gobbledygook. That being said, every once in a while a pop album comes along & it just blows me away. The 80s were perhaps the best era for pure unadulterated lasting pop goodness (oxymoron). As much of a train wreck & oddity that Madonna is today, back in the 80s she was attractive, talented & cutting edge. On True Blue some of the that she deals with were so controversial that the Vatican made it a sin for Catholics to see her in concert. This is years before Sinead O’Connor on SNL.

Papa Don’t Preach” is a classic plea from a pregnant teenage girl to her father (Danny Aiello in the video) as she asks him to help her through her tough time. Women’s groups hated her, the Vatican condemned her but what they all failed to realize was that on the song she, while not condemning abortion, decides to keep her baby, because it’s the right thing for her. This is the album that made Madonna famous & kept her there.

Madonna – La Isla Bonita

Madonna – Papa Don’t Preach

#223 – Snowflakes Are Dancing – Isao Tomita

Claude Debussey was an impressionist composer in the late 19th & early 20 centuries who composed music based on color & tone. What Isao Tomita did was take that music & transform electronically using a Moog Synthesizer. He paved the way for much of the Electronic music we hear today when he recorded Snowflakes are Dancing in 1974. He created such a unique sound that when I first heard it on my father’s record player as a boy I had no idea that what I was listening to was so revolutionary. “Arabesque no. 1” made me think of the Munchkins in the Wizard of Oz with it’s “Be-bop be-bop”. This recording is an achievement of the highest order that is so far ahead if it’s time that there are scarcely few artists today who could recreate such beauty.

Isao TomitaArabesque No. 1

Isao Tomita – Claire De Lune

#222 – Band of Gypsys – Jimi Hendrix

Banf of Gypsys was the album Jimi Hendrix was forced to make after losing a court case with a record company he signed with in 1965, before he was famous. It turned out to be one of his best selling albums & seemed to convey his views on the fighting that was going on not only in Vietnam but also the rioting that was going on all over the United States as blacks struggled for equal rights. When you listen to “Machine Gun” the sound of the guitar feedback & the percussive effects mimic war sounds (machine guns, bombs, grenades). “Changes” is drummer Buddy Miles’ song that features Jimi playing guitar only as Buddy sings. Played New Years Eve at the Fillmore East 1969.

Jimi Hendrix – Changes

Jimi Hendrix – Machine Gun

#221 – Doolittle – The Pixies

Doolittle by The Pixies was an eclectic mix of surrealism, 3 chord punk anthems & even Spanish music. The second album released by the Pixies and their last with label 4AD it was their most successful at almost platinum (800,000-1 million). What’s most telling about this album is the scene that generated out of it’s wake…grunge. After writing “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” both Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic of Nirvana thought: “this really sounds like the Pixies. People are really going to nail us for this” according to Michael Azerrad who wrote the book Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana. Former Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha described Doolittle as less raw than Surfer Rosa but “more listenable” and “Here Comes Your Man” as a “classic pop record.” Fellow alternative musician PJ Harvey was “in awe” of “I Bleed” and “Tame,” and described Francis’ writing as “amazing”.

The PixiesHere Comes Your Man

The Pixies – Hey

#220 – Sweetheart of the Rodeo – The Byrds

David Crosby had just left to form Crosby, Stills & Nash & Michael Clark over creative differences Roger McGuinn & Chris Tillman decided not to break up the band, but instead to hire 21 year old Gram Parsons to play piano & rhythm guitar. This provided fortuitous as the band packed up for Nashville to record their most country/bluegrass album yet, Sweethearts of the Rodeo. They expanded upon the roots movement that Bob Dylan had started with his album John Wesley Harding. It featured 2 Dylan songs, covers of classic country songs & 3 original Parson songs including the classic, “Hickory Wind“. While being their least successful album, at that point, it is considered to be a seminal point in the Alt-Country movement.

The ByrdsHickory Wind

The Byrds – You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere

Music News – Jay Z (D.O.A.), Lemonheads, Pearl Jam

  • The Lemonheads have a new single this week. Coincidentally, Evan Dando is suing, nearly defunct, GM because he alleges they used his song “It’s a Shame about Ray” in a commercial. Why, of all the artists songs to use, would GM use a Lemonheads song? A group most famous for covering a Simon & Garfunkel song, “Mrs. Robinson“. Ah, maybe it’s tangible proof of their poor decision making that led to their undoing. See for yourself. If anything the Lemonhead song sounds like the Velvet Underground’s, “Who Loves the Sun?“. So maybe instead of gunning for companies who can’t even pay their employees, maybe Evan Dando should watch his own ass in case Lou Reed decides he needs a little extra coin.
  • In another case of odd litigation someone named Jocelyn Brown is suing shitty 90s group Snap! over their song “The Power” that’s been featured in 500 movies, TV shows, commercials, etc. Honestly, it’s been 20 years, you didn’t think about suing before now? Isn’t there some sort of statute of limitations on contributing to kitschy shit? Maybe they weren’t really the lyrical Jesse James…hmmm?
  • Natasha Khan of Bat For Lashes did a really long interview over at Pitchfork. I spent 20 minutes reading it & got about half way through it.
  • Thom Yorke, of Radiohead, will playing solo at the Latitude Festival this year in Suffolk, England this year. It’s rare that Yorke plays solo so you may want to reserve your tickets now my England bound friends. July 16-19.
  • Interesting how groups like Pearl Jam have become corporate douches after spending many years fighting for the common man. Nick Hornby favorite & Pearl Jam acolyte, I Am Fuel You Are Friends Blogger, Heather Browne, got into a bit of a dust-up last week with PJ Management. It may be time for Pearl Jam to descend into that good night. Since Vitalogy have they made a good album? If so use the comment section to name it and why it’s relevant?
  • Not sure if this is really Music News but Apple is set to reduce the price of the current I-Phone on the cusp of their new I-Phone anouncement said to come within a month or two. Prices could down $50-100.
  • Our condolences to ex-Guns ‘N Roses guitarist, Slash, who’s mother passed away June 5th after a lengthy battle with lung cancer. She was a professional costume designer who tailored outfits for such acts as John Lennon, Diana Ross & the Pointer Sisters.
  • Jay-Z’s New single “D.O.A. (Death of Autotune)” off his yet to be released album The BluePrint III, has leaked and guess who’s got it? Hova, once again, proves why there is no other rapper in his league, period.

Velvet Underground – Who Loves the Sun

Jay-Z – D.O.A. (Death of Autotune)