1001 Albums: Bayou Country

#138

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Artist: Creedence Clearwater Revival

Album: Bayou Country

Year: 1969

Length: 33:48

Genre: Roots Rock / Swamp Rock / Southern Rock

“If you come down to the river
Bet you gonna find some people who live
You don’t have to worry ’cause you have [if you got] no money
People on the river are happy to give

Big wheel keep on turnin’
Proud Mary keep on burnin’
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river”

 

This album marks the beginning of a new playlist on my spotify account, aptly named “1001 Albums 60s part 2” because I was very creative when it came to naming them. I have to say, it’s a bit of a milestone in this musical journey I’ve decided to partake in and any milestone at this point feels like well-deserved achievement, even if this is only 138 albums into 1001.

Creedence Clearwater Revival (or CCR as I like to call them) are one of those bands that I knew about, heard about a whole lot, but never listened to. My only exposure to them would be when one of their songs would play in a movie and even then I wouldn’t even know I was listening to CCR. Those were ignorant times for me because I find it quite the crime that I never even gave this band a chance or a listen or even a lookey-loo. When these guys were big, they were big, pounding record after record out (5 in two years) that were massive critical successes. If the band members names had been more of a household… name then they probably would have replaced the superstardom that was left empty once The Beatles broke up. I mean, they were big and came right at the tail-end of The Beatles career, they had a chance for sure. But didn’t. However, I;m not here to discuss that, I’m here to talk about their first big album and that’s Bayou Country.

I did not expect to love this album, I went into it expecting some sort of mix of folk rock and country that I would have possibly been amused by but not engaged with. Instead I was hooked form beginning to end. If I had never heard about Swamp Rock and was told to imagine what Swamp Rock would sound like, this is probably what I would have thought of, with every one of their songs evoking images of life on the bayou, waterside afternoons and swampy marshes full of crocs and slugs.There’s no low points to be found and is a great journey down Bayou Country indeed. From the opening riffs of Born on the Bayou, to the sometimes incomprehensible vocals (I didn’t get they were saying Bootleg until I saw the title of the song), to the joyous chanting of rollin on the river, to the grand finale of Keep on Chooglin, it’s a wild ride. Even the incredibly repetitive instrumentation of Graveyard Train doesn’t feel like it tracks (haha) on forever and it doesn’t feel grating at all, which is a difficult thing to pull of when using repetition.

If I had one thing to say it would be I didn’t really feel like they needed to add a cover of “Good Golly Miss Molly” in there. It isn’t bad but feels a little out of place amongst the rest of the album. I didn’t care much for it but thankfully it didn’t take away my enjoyment as a whole. I’m so happy I got to finally experience CCR in all it’s glory, after years of wondering what a CCR was i finally got to find out and it was amazing! I might be exaggerating my feelings a little, which is  heavy possibility with me, but it’s always a great feeling to discover something new that tickles your earbuds that i just wanted to bask in the glory of this newfound joy. Don’t know much about Swamp Rock but if all Swamp Rock bands sound this way then I can easily see this being a genre I can come to like, maybe even love, but I don;t know if I’m ready for that kind of a commitment. I still haven’t broken up with Jazz yet and Jazz can be unstable, so I’m not really sure how Jazz will handle me having a new relationship with another genre.

As much as the swamp is a great aesthetic for the music, I don’t think swamps are very safe places to hang out at. Their full of dangerous shit like crocodiles and leeches and god knows what kind of microorganisms that can crawl under your skin and create a world of pain and hell. I don’t remember the last time I went to a swamp. I’ve been to swamp-like areas but they seemed to be trying too hard to be swamps rather than just being themselves. Maybe more like a boggy marsh. I do like frogs though, and there’s lots of frogs at swamps. I sued to catch frogs as a kid at my cottage, but suddenly… frogs stopped appearing and that was sad. But I always get excited when I see a little fella hopping along. They’re super cute.

Anyway, I diverted a bit there. CCR only has three albums on the list and seeing how much I’ve liked all three (yeah I’ve gotten way ahead of myself in terms of listening) I will most definitely check out their other albums. (Maybe… I say that but knowing me I probably won’t anytime soon and it’ll probably be a few years later before I remember “Oh hey yeah, I said I’d do that” and then still not do it. Not because I don’t care but I can be a little (ok a lot) absent-minded when it comes to certain things and I really do, I swear, i want to, I just… probably won’t out of pure airheadedness). Until then, Keep on Chooglin’, whatever the hell that means.

Seriously.

What does that mean?

Song of Choice: Bootleg

-Bosco

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1001 Albums: Trout Mask Replica

#137

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Artist: Captain Beefheart

Album: Trout Mask Replica

Year: 1969

Length: 78:51

Genre: Avant-Garde / Art Rock / Blues / Experimental Rock

A squid eating dough in a polyethylene bag is fast and bulbous. Got me?

Well there you have it. I’ve officially found an album that I found incredibly difficult to listen to. Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if everyone who has listened to this would say the same thing. My tolerance in general is actually really high when it comes to difficult music, with the exception of music made purposefully just to be pure noise, but anything that has a (debatable) sense of melody and tune I can sit through. Sure, I hate sitting through country music and there’s a ton of artists that I can’t stand to listen to (U2, Coldplay and Radiohead) but when push comes to shove I can sit through it if I had to. Heck, I’m the kind of person who loves The Shagg’s Philosophy of the World, which is considered the worst album of all time, an album that everyone I show it to turns it off almost immediately because they just can’t listen to it. I can sit through that and yet I found this album difficult to sit through because of what it offered sonically.

This album has really left me at odds with how I feel. On the one hand I absolutely love it, I always love absurd and screwed up music and this falls neatly into that category. I found myself enjoying the songs and loving the pure insanity of what was happening. But on the other hand I couldn’t grasp what exactly was being made here. At least with something like The Shagg’s I know it’s terrible and was an earnest attempt at music by people who had no idea how music worked, but here… here it’s an abomination of sorts created by a group of people who knew exactly what they were doing. Captain Beefheart isn’t new to music, he played in the Mothers of Invention, heck Frank Zappa is even the producer on this album. This album is also full of incredibly talented musicians, I mean what Beefheart was asking of them required a shit ton of talent to recreate. Based on a story I heard, apparently he’d show the other musicians what he wanted off a piano (an instrument he apparently couldn’t play, apparently) and what he wanted was apparently not even possible to recreate on a guitar but the guitarist had to anyway. It’s pure madness when yous top to think about it and I think that’s kind of the point.

Is this an avant-garde masterpiece or the complete gibberish nonsense of a delusional madman whose lost his marbles? I don’t think we’ll ever have the answer but what we have here is the perfect example of an album where the artist had full control over every aspect. Usually it’s arguable that that isn’t always a good thing as most art blossoms from constructive criticism instead of being surrounded by Yes men but int his case… it’s hard to tell if that’s a good or bad thing. I mean, we wouldn’t have this insane piece of music if it weren’t for that and who knows what it might have been instead with people putting in their two cents, maybe polished and easier to listen to… but then… it wouldn’t be Trout Mask Replica.

It’s hard to call it a masterpiece when Beefheart very deliberately seemed to create a complete deconstruction of what we understand music to be. Is that what makes it a masterpiece? Is it a masterpiece int he same way that Freddy Got Fingered was a masterpiece of surrealist absurd Dada art filmmaking? But then again can we really call it terrible? Is it terrible if the terribleness was deliberate? Is it really terrible if the creator did it on purpose to make it sound that way? All this album does is raise so many questions, none of which I have any answers to. The public seems completely split by it with enthusiasts who love it on one side and people who think it’s garbage on the other. What’s the truth? What’s the reality? WHO IS RIGHT??? WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?????

The truth is I can’t even begin to dissect this album, I don’t have the knowledge or ability to do so. Thankfully, there are countless videos on YouTube that do just that and if you’re interested I’d suggest doing that because there’s no way I can even begin to understand what’s happening here. I mean, on one song, the instruments don’t even play int he same tune or time signature as each other, and even throughout one song those keep changing as the drums do their damn best to keep it altogether like a piece of scotch tape trying to hold together a dam to prevent it from bursting and flooding the entire town. All the while Captain Beefheart himself growls his way through all the absurd lyrics, is it poetic? I don’t know, maybe it is but then again maybe it’s not meant to be. At this point I’ll believe either one.

This album somehow manages to simultaneously be the worst album ever and the best album ever. The dumbest and yet the smartest. It seems to embrace two extremes while never really being one or the other. it has transcended reality, gone beyond space and time and has entered a universe of its own. It is above the heavens and beneath the hells. It sinks deep into the subconscious while being at the forefront of your thoughts. It transcends the heights of philosophy and thinking. It both is and is not at the same time. How do you question that which is a nothing and yet a something? How can something be nothing and yet be something while being nothing? What is…. WHAT IS….???

It is Trout Mask Replica.

Song of Choice: Can I even really pick a song of choice off this album? Is that even possible?? I pick…. Frownland just because it’s starts your journey into pure insanity. it’s the gateway drug to Beefheart’s mind.

-Bosco

 

1001 Albums: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere

#136

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Artist: Neil Young

Album: Everybody Knows This is Nowhere

Year: 1969

Length: 40:29

Genre: Country Rock / Hard Rock

“Everybody seems to wonder
What it’s like down here
I gotta get away
from this day-to-day
running around,
Everybody knows
this is nowhere.”

CANADA REPRESENT! Love seeing some good, old Canadian talent getting the recognition they deserve. If you hadn’t guessed by now, I’m very much a Canadian (French-Canadian to be exact, hence why I was so excited to see Leonard Cohen pop up (but I do a great job of explaining that in that post)). I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a proud Canadian because the idea of patriotism doesn’t really make sense to me, how can you be proud of being a nationality? But I am proud of Canada’s achievements especially when it comes to the arts. Believe it or not, Canada is a huge exporter of artistic talent. Some of the biggest talents in music and film have come straight out of Canada. Jim Carrey was an Ontarion, Dan Akroyd, original not ready for prime time player and the writer for Ghostbusters and Blues Brothers, RUSH, one of the biggest prog rock bands out there with mega hits (who funnily enough I am currently listening to), Leonard Cohen, who I don’t need to talk more about, Celine Dion, the Quebec sensation who sang the Titanic song, Seth Rogen, stoner extraordinaire, Joni Mitchell, who also doesn’t need any introduction, and many, many, many more. Neil Young is just one of the hundreds of talents to come out of this country and from Toronto no less, which is my current home town.

There is a good possibility every time I come across Canadian talent, I’ll get excited, but that’s only normal. Everyone loves to see successful people who have brought some sort of joy to many come from their countries and especially their home towns and you do feel a sense of pride knowing that such great people are representing your home in a good way. (There’s tons that do in a bad way too, I mean Justin Bieber and Drake also come from Toronto, but I think Neil Young properly out shines them any day).

I’ll be honest, despite what I just said, this is actually my first exposure to any Neil Young music. The closest I’ve come to seeing any of his work was from his film Human Highway, and even then I only saw the segment with Devo performing “It Takes A Worried Man”, and that’s only because I’m a huge Devo fan. Of course, I don’t live under a rock either so Neil Young was definitely a name I knew and a musician I was 100% aware of but never listened to. Don’t even know why, I guess it was a lack of interest on my part to discover his work and also, and this is probably a big possibility, he falls under the country rock category, and everyone knows how much I avoid Country music as if my life depended on it. Either way, I really didn’t know what to expect going into this and I think the fact I went in with zero expectations is what caused me to enjoy the album as much as I did.

Yes, I enjoyed music that falls under the Country Rock category. I know, it’s insane. But to be fair, it’s country rock mixed with a healthy dose of hard rock, and I do really love me some good hard rock and it’s clear throughout that the hard rock aspects overshadow the country rock parts. This is nothing like The Byrds’ Sweetheart of the Rodeo, it’s very much Neil Young doing his own thing with his own style under the genre. Based on what I’ve read, this is where Neil Young sort of let loose and just went nuts forming his own sound, incorporating a lot of improvisational bits into his tunes and setting up a blueprint for his future work. Along with the band Crazy Horse who support him here, they sound like they’re having a great time, especially on the long songs that clock in at 9 minutes. Within them they have segments where the guitar just gets to riff at it’s hearts content and it wails and screeches in the best possible way, having a blast as note after note is played. Thanks to this, these 9 minute long songs don’t feel like they’re 9 minutes at all. The zoom by, which is funny because two of the songs that are just 5 minutes feel like an eternity.

I could have done without Round and Round, which just like it’s name suggest, feels like it’s on a loop. It becomes repetitive fast and I found myself bored with it quickly. Especially it’s placement in the album, it just feels like it kills the momentum Neil had set up with the first two songs. However, that being said the second one, Running Dry, has a quality to it that makes it hauntingly beautiful. An aspect that permeates throughout the entire album. Neil Young manages to be morose without ever becoming cheesy and it makes the vocals rather haunting in a way, especially when mixed with the loud, hard rocking guitar riffs. The whole thing may not be perfect but I’ll be damned if Neil Young isn’t doing a phenomenal job on this album. Cinnamon Girl, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, Down by the River and Cowgirl in the Sand are definite highlights that it makes the low points tolerable enough to sit through.

I’m glad to say I enjoyed it because I did think I might come out of it feeling very meh, which I thought would have been a real shame. But I didn’t, which goes to show it’s best to enter experiences having no expectations. Unfortunately, being human I know that won’t be the case with some future albums, but doesn’t mean it won’t happen and I look forward to those moments because they’re moments I cherish dearly.

Song of Choice: Everybody Knows This is Nowhere

-Bosco

1001 Albums: We’re Only In It For The Money

#135

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Artist: Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention

Album: We’re Only in it for the Money

Year: 1968

Length: 39:15

Genre: Experimental Rock/ Psych Rock / Music Concrete / Doo-Wop

“What’s the ugliest Part of your body?
What’s the ugliest Part of your body?
Some say your nose Some say your toes
I think it’s your mind (Your mind)
I think it’s your mind, woo woo”

Thank you Zappa, thank you from saving me from The Beatles. How fitting that you would follow right after them on this list, especially with this album. After getting one phony album it’s great to finally hear someone who isn’t afraid to speak their mind, say it as it is and speak freely without concern of what people will think. No fear of judgement, no fear of criticism, just pure verbal genuine words coming from you. If there’s one thing you have to commend Zappa for, it’s his pure, unfiltered, uncensored, take-no-prisoners honesty. As a person who has dealt with so much bullshit in his young life, I find some major solace in the work of Frank Zappa because it’s refreshing to hear someone finally speak their mind without beating around the bush or catering their words to suit who they’re speaking too. Frank Zappa didn’t give a shit what you thought and that’s really admirable in my eyes.

It’s rather fitting that this album followed a Beatles album because this is the album that Zappa made to stick it to them. Heavily annoyed by them, he constantly critiqued them as being phonies and only being in it for the money and it’s with this album he finally let all his grievances out. This was his response to Sgt. Pepper, in fact the original cover of the album was a direct parody of the Sgt. Pepper album, with the bandmates in place of The Beatles and controversial historical figures standing around them. Instead of bright skies, it was dark and cracking thunder. Even the way the album title was spelled out was with a variety of spoiled fruits rather than flowers.

 

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Now whether you agree with Zappa’s feelings towards The Beatles or not (Lots don’t, I do), it doesn’t take away from the fact that this is still one hell of a well-crafted and sardonic album (I do love a  healthy dose of Sardonicism). Although, blatantly calling out The Beatles may have been a starting point for the albums creation, it evolved into a sharp critique of the counter-culture, the hippie lifestyle that The Beatles influenced and encouraged that Zappa despised. Songs like Who Needs The Peace Corps and Flower Punk are straight forward with what they’re saying, directly calling out hippies with no hidden meaning. He expresses his disdain through lyrics that sarcastically speak of the hippie lifestyle (Like going to San Francisco to join a group, smoking pot, walking around barefoot) and the latter song does a reworking of the classic hippie tune Hey Joe, but changing the lyrics to describe the so-called flower punks.

It’s funny to see how perceptive Zappa was about society in general. Remember all this was written in the 60s and he has a song (Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance) that has the lyrics: “There will come a time when you won’t even be ashamed if you are fat”. Flash Forward to today and fat-shaming is a very real thing, with constant campaigns of promoting love for the bigger body and encouraging the notion that big is beautiful. (Before anyone says anything, I am not taking a side here, I am merely stating what is happening. There’s no denying it has become a huge topic for debate, especially on the internet with people being incredibly vocal from both sides. Whatever side your on it’s still worth noting Zappa predicted it would happen). This idea of free love and peace for all didn’t sit well with Zappa, thinking the idea to be naive and finding hippies to have fascistic tendencies. He was often associated with the movement but wanted to make it clear how against it he was (He was vocally against drug use and was clearly a heavy-duty cynic).

Don’t you worry though, his criticisms and satire weren’t just putting a light to the left but to the right as well. In this album he made fun of the establishment just as much, with songs like “Concentration Moon” that evokes imagery of hippies thrown into concentration camps for their activism and getting gunned down by police officers during a protest (another eerie prediction on Zappa’s part as only a few years later the famous Kent State shootings would occur, where student hippies doing a peaceful protest would be fired upon resulting in a handful of deaths (students who weren’t even participating in the protest on top of that)). He even goes so far as to critique parents and their lack of involvement and parenting in their kids lives, which he seems to imply is in part the creation of the hippie lifestyle. Songs like Mom and dad, Bowtie Daddy and the incredibly funny Let’s Make The Water Turn Black (based on actual moronic kids Zappa sued to know in his youth) speak warnings of what could happen when parents don’t get involved enough in their kids lives and the consequences of that.

I could probably go on and on about this album because there’s so much to dissect here. A quick google search of it will bring up tons of articles and essays that break down the ideas at play here and the satire Zappa is using in his work. But I won’t because I honestly don’t think I’m educated enough to be able to properly express what’s truly happening here and I’ll let the experts do it. But I can say this, it’s an incredibly focused album thematically and Zappa clearly put a lot of time and effort crafting it to perfection. Every single not and studio technique used masterfully and brought together to tell a story. It’s one of the tightest concept albums out there and is well worth anyone’s time.

Of course, like any Zappa album, many people could find this alienating as a whole. Sprinkled throughout the album is Zappa’s usual music concrete style tunes that can be difficult to sit through especially if you’re just a casual music listener. The studio techniques could throw people off as well, pitches changed to make voices sound higher, cartoony effects, and psychedelic style effects that can make your brain hurt. Zappa isn’t for everyone and it’s clear he’s a love or hate it kind of artist. I personally love this album to death and have listened to it 5 times in two weeks. It gets better everytime I do and has quickly snagged a spot as one of my favourite albums of all time.

Zappa at one point asks the question “What is the ugliest part of your body?”, a question asked twice throughout the album, having it’s own reprise. It captures Zappa’s attitude perfectly I find. At first you actually try to think of what part of your body could be considered the ugliest and in the song they even list of typical “ugly” body parts: Your toes, your nose, but Zappa turns it around saying “I think it’s your mind”. It’s easy to forget that part of each person. I’m sure it’s happened to many people that their attraction to someone can change drastically based on the personality of the person they’ve met. In this case, Zappa speaks against people who aren’t free thinkers, who react on emotion instead of logic, who blindly follow a certain set of beliefs without question, who are narrow-minded and can’t see beyond their own realities, either based on personal values or their upbringing (once again bringing the parents and establishment into it). At the end of the day no matter who you are, it’s kind of true that our minds are the ugliest part of our bodies and no amount of masks or make-up will ever cover that up.

Song of Choice: Let’s Make The Water Turn Black

-Bosco

 

 

 

 

 

1001 Albums: The White Album

#134

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Artist: The Beatles

Album: The White Album

Year: 1968

Length: 93:35

Genre: Pop Rock

“Obladi oblada life goes on brahhh
Lala how the life goes on
Obladi Oblada life goes on brahhh
Lala how the life goes on”

Oh No, Here we go again.

Welcome back Beatles, it’s been awhile. Boy, did I miss you since our experience with Sgt. Pepper and His Lonely Hearts Club Band thing album you did. I have to say I could not, COULD NOT wait to hear more of you. Man am I such a big Beatles fan. If I could listen to The Beatles all day, everyday, I would. They are just so amazingly good. They changed music, they changed the world, they were the key to a Utopian society, bringing peace to the world and clean air to the skies. The Beatles aren’t just men but gods brought down from the heavens to bring us the most amazing of music. The fact that music even continued to be created after The Beatles is beyond my comprehension and understanding, it should have ended right there and then as The Beatles are the epitome of music.

There’s nothing more I can really say about The Beatles without repeating myself. There’s nothing really more that can be said about them in general and about this album without me reiterating what everyone has already said. There’s just nothing new to be said about this band at all. It’s been done to death and at this point it’s like beating a dead horse. What can i really say about this album? It’s a typical Beatles album, relatively inconsistent as a whole and is half great tunes and half really dumb ones. It makes sense, this was the album where Lennon brought Yoko Ono on to help out and tensions between the band were incredibly high. The best member of the band even threatened to leave and did for a short amount of time (Ringo in case you’re wondering). You basically can hear the band in the process of breaking up in this album as each individual members ideas fight against each other for a spot on this album. What we get is a muddled up sounding album that isn’t sure what it wants to be, which is both fascinating and annoying to listen to.

I don’t really have the patience to rant about the album as a whole, so I’m going to do a track by track review instead (apparently I have the patience for that).

Here we go:

  1. Back in the U.S.S.R.

How cute, The Beatles are trying to be revolutionaries. I would take it seriously if it weren’t for the fact that half their career is teeny-bopper pop tunes. It’s fully known these guys were full of crap with their attitudes and as Frank Zappa critiqued them as “Only in it for the Money”. It’s a shallow attempt to make it look like they’re more political than they really are. It’s all fake. These guys are fake. Also, sounds like a Beach Boys Rip, sorry Brian Wilson did this sound better.

2. Dear Prudence

Dear Prudence,

I’m bored, go out to play already so they can stop singing about you. I implore you, please just go.

3. Glass Onion

Oh nice, a weird metaphor for what? Absolutely nothing. What is a glass onion exactly? Is it something to see through that makes you cry? Is that the metaphor? Taking things a little too literally here. (Yeah, yeah I know this is one of their tunes they purposefully made to have people look deeper into even though it means absolutely nothing, shut up).

4. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da

This is one of the stupidest songs I’ve ever heard. Heck, it’s even considered one of the worst songs of all time. It’s fucking ridiculous and I absolutely love it. Beatles at their best. When I think Beatles this is the song I think of to perfectly represent them.

5. Wild Honey Pie

I could really go for some pie right now… Yum.

6. The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill

Oh Jesus, do these dumb songs ever end. HEEYYYY BUNGALOW BILL, WHY DID YOU KILL? I don’t know, I can probably name a few reasons. Silliness overload on an album we’re supposed to take seriously? Sure.

7. While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Oh George, You’ve saved my life. Thank god a great tune finally. Just when I thought it was going to be one silly song after another you come in and show me that there is a god after all. Thank you George, you beautiful man.

8. Happiness is a Warm Gun

Happiness is a warm turd.

9. Martha my Dear

MARTHA? WHY’D YOU SAY THAT NAME? YOUR MOTHER’S NAME IS MARTHA? This must be Batman’s favourite song.

10. I’m So Tired

You and me both.

11. Blackbird

AH yes Blackbird, what a pretty song. I especially love Ringo’s drum work on this one. He’s really giving it everything he’s got. This is the famous song where he exclaims “I’ve got blisters on me fingers!!” at the end. I am not surprised, Ringo.

12. Piggies

Oink!

13. Rocky Raccoon

Why? Who was thinking this would be a good idea? A children’s story time int he middle of The White Album? I guess Yellow Submarine was a good indication of things to come, sadly this just doesn’t have the staying power or catchiness of the submarine that is yellow. This song is dumb.

14. Don’t Pass Me By

Don’t tell me what to do.

15. Why Don’t We Do it in the Road

Oh I will, believe me I will.

16. I Will

Oh…

17. Julia

Forgettable tune placed wisely in the most forgettable part of any album, the middle. Smart choice, guys.

18. Birthday

Aw, you guys remembered??? Thank you so much! In all honesty, this is a fun tune overall and I always enjoy seeing bands create their own Birthday songs. It’s a good birthday tune that I wouldn’t be angry if it was played on my birthday. They sound like they’re having a fun time here and that’s what birthdays are all about! Good Job!

19. Yer Blues

Oof… eesh… uuuh… Beatles… what happened? You went from Birthday to wanting to die. Was your birthday that shitty? Jesus. Also, Rolling Stones did this sound better.

20. Mother Nature’s Son

Didn’t even know she had a son. Good for her. I mean, she is mother nature, the word mother does imply she has kids, but I always thought that was a general thing about nature as a whole. Like Father Time or Father Christmas or Mother Mary (maybe not that last one). Nice clip-clopping sounds but falls flat as a whole. Snooze.

21. Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me and My Monkey

Stupid title, but is a fun tune. More along the lines of what I expect from them especially as a throwback to their old stuff. No complaints here.

22. Sexy Sadie

Woah-ho-ho. Getting a little risque here Beatles. Hot Damn.

23. Helter Skelter

FUCK YES! Now this tune rocks! Easily their best off the album. SO good even Charles Manson loved it so much he used it to brainwash his followers into committing murders! A great tune for a Manson family get together BBQ.

24. Long, Long, Long

Well, at least this album is self aware.

25. Revolution 1

Back to what I said in the first song. These guys aren’t the voice of revolutionaries, they became phoney headed hippies who thought they were in touch with everything. They’re fake, this song is phoney, as usual can’t take them seriously when they try to talk about politics. Stick to hand-holding and love me until the sun dies type songs.

26. Honey Pie

I still didn’t get pie…

27. Savoy Truffle

Sounds like The Beatles. Must be…. The Beatles. Decent Beatles-esque tune. Sure, why not. All good.

28. Cry Baby Cry

I already am.

29. Revolution 9

I’m sorry, what? What is this monstrosity of a song doing here? You think you can just throw in some heavily experimental art piece at the end of your album? No, this has not been earned. Blame Yoko Ono for sure, it’s her fault but you guys should have put your foot down with this one. If the entire album was pieced together with experiential tunes then this would fit, but the fact that it comes completely out of nowhere right at the end, NO, UNNACEPTABLE! Don’t just throw it in to be like “Hey look at us we can do weird music to!” It comes across as pandering and shallow and ends up looking like art for the sake of art rather than having purpose and meaning to it’s existence. NO!

30. Good Night

Well, thank you. At least you tuck me in and kiss my forehead at the end of it all wishing me pleasant dreams. How thoughtful of you.

 

There, I’m finally done this overly long album that did not need to be 90 fucking minutes long. I’ll leave you with this excellent Simpsons Parody of the recording sessions of The White Album:

 

Song of Choice: Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da

-Bosco

 

 

 

p.s I feel like I shouldn’t have to say this but feel like I need to. This review is purely Hyperbolic, sardonic and all around ridiculous on purpose. It was a mere exaggeration of my exhaustion with Beatles fandom and does not reflect my actual feelings towards it. I’m sure many people get that but there’s still a handful who will take this as serious. So there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1001 Albums: Sweetheart of the Rodeo

#133

Album_133_Original

Artist: The Byrds

Album: Sweetheart of the Rodeo

Year: 1968

Length: 32:35

Genre: Country Rock

“One hundred years from this time would anybody change their minds
And find out one thing or two about life
But people are always talking
You know they’re always talking
Everybody’s so wrong that I know it’s gonna work out right
Nobody knows what kind of trouble we’re in
Nobody seems to think it all might happen again”

Jesus Christ…

Here we go again. My ears were once again dealing with music I just can’t stand. What happened to The Byrds? They were doing so great and had to just devolve into this cheesy style country music. What was wrong with their psychedelic sound? What was wrong with their folk rock roots? I mean, based on their last album I heard I shoud have expected this to come. But I was ready, I knew it would be country rock and surely The Byrds doing Country would make it bearable for me or at the very least somewhat interesting.

BUT NO!

It’s just the same schlock I’ve heard in the past and doesn’t feel like anything new, heck most of the songs (if not all, I don’t know and honestly don’t care enough to check) are covers of country songs. WHAT ARE YOU DOING BYRDS?!?! You are better than this, much, much better. I expected more, I expected you to wow me and hopefully get me to actually enjoy this type of country music. But you didn’t, all you did was solidify how much I can’t stand this style of country music.

I do want to clarify before we continue. My distaste for country music is a complex one to explain. It’s easy for all of us to jump on the country music hating bandwagon. It’s incredibly typical to hate country music, I know. Most people do and you hear it all the time that it’s the worst genre (which isn’t true, that distinction clearly goes to Dubstep). What I’m saying is that it’s a bit of a cliche to say you hate country music. Sorry, a bit is an understatement, it’s one of the biggest cliches related to musical tastes. And I will admit, at one point I sort of just jumped onto the country hating bandwagon and disliked it just because… it was what people loved to dislike. It was an easy genre to hate and make fun of, so I was ignorant when it came to it.

However, in the past two years I’ve expanded my listening and have listened to more country music than I ever have and realised that I actually do have a really high distaste for it. Now it doesn’t encompass the entire country genre, I like Johnny Cash and enjoy Outlaw Country music and Spaghetti Western style tunes (Ennio Morricone soundtracks and the influences used in the songs of Wall of Voodoo). BUT! This style, this old-school, cheesy, country songs, I just can’t listen to. It’s not that I can’t appreciate what’s being done (I try but it’s incredibly difficult) it’s that my earbuds just don’t enjoy the flavour of this type of music. Think of it this way. Everyone has taste buds on their tongues and those taste buds are unique to each and everyone of us. This means that certain foods just don’t taste good to our tongue. For me, it’s mangoes. I want to enjoy mangoes but for whatever reason it just doesn’t taste good to me, my taste buds just don’t like mangoes. It’s the same with this type of country music. Aurally, it just doesn’t agree with my sound buds. Don’t know why, but unfortunately it makes listening to it an unpleasant experience.

Some might say, give this a second chance. No. I refuse to listen to it a second time. I couldn’t stand it the first time around and highly doubt I will the second. I am not wasting my time trying to enjoy something I never will. This is not what I wanted to hear from The Byrds (but then again who really gives a fuck what I wanted to hear, my feelings aren’t more important than anyone else’s). But I genuinely was hoping to hear some Country Rock music that I would have enjoyed. I went in expecting that and was heavily disappointed. I apparently wasn’t the only one either because upon release this was their worst selling album ever. The fans spoke and weren’t happy with the change either, so I know my first impression isn’t that left field.

However, all that being said, credit is due where credit is deserved… (I said that right, right?). This album has one hell of a legacy within the country genre. It was one of the first to be considered “Country Rock” and was used as a stepping stone for the future of country rock as a genre. It also brought one famous Gram Parsons to the mainstream audience. He was a part of this album showing off his talents in the country music and it’s thanks to this album that he was able to have a successful career (Supposedly I guess, maybe he could have without it but it definitely helped him get noticed and propel him forward). Although it didn’t make a big splash in general, it was heavily important for Country music as a whole and I will recognise that.

I mean, as much as Country music is hated, those that love it, love it with all their hearts and have an undying passion for it. There’s really something to admire from Country fans. Their love outweighs our hate and if we could love anything half as much as Country music fans love Country music… well, then there’d definitely be a lot of love out there.

Yee-haw Motherfuckers.

Song of Choice: Life in Prison

-Bosco

 

 

 

 

 

1001 Albums: Astral Weeks

#132

Album_132_Original

Artist: Van Morrison

Album: Astral Weeks

Year: 1968

Length: 47:10

Genre: Folk Rock / Blue-Eyed Soul

“If I ventured in the slipstream
Between the viaducts of your dream
Where immobile steel rims crack
And the ditch in the back roads stop
Could you find me?
Would you kiss-a my eyes?
To lay me down
In silence easy
To be born again”

Without further delay, I come back from another break from these posts. A common occurrence, it seems, but that’s what you get when you have very erratic schedules that change from week to week. Might seem confusing but it definitely keeps you on your toes. A lot has happened in the past few weeks and I’m thankful to say all good, finally for once. However, all this is irrelevant to my current task at hand. I’d like to say I’m going to continue pumping these out more regularly but we all know that’s just a big, fat lie.

I always find myself getting incredibly introspective when I listen to music like this. I don’t know why but it seems this style of music just has that effect on me, from Bob Dylan’ Free Wheelin’ and Leonard Cohen, it always manages to evoke deeper feelings in me that have me looking inward. It happened a few weeks ago, I was in a really down mood, a lot happened at once and it brought me down pretty badly. This album came on and I just found myself lost in it’s aura, consuming me and having me traverse deep into my mind and thoughts. Not intentional, but it somehow had that power over me. It’s weird how music can do that to you sometimes. Thankfully for everyone reading, I waited to write this post when I was in a good mood because now I won’t go on a long paragraph about all that introspection. Saves you from the misery of it all.

If you go into this album expecting Brown-Eyed Girl, you will be incredibly disappointed to find it is nothing like that. Van Morrison made a conscious effort to move away from pop rock sounding tunes and move into a more folk rock and jazz influenced style of music. I could be wrong, maybe you wouldn’t be disappointed. If you went into this thinking of Brown-Eyed Girl with a sour taste in your mouth than you probably would have been pleasantly surprised to find it was nothing like it. I don’t know, I don’t know you. Personally, I didn’t but that’s because I already knew what to expect going into it, but I digress.

Morrison throws away any sense of verses and choruses and instead goes for a stream of consciousness style of lyricism. Sure, sometimes there’s repetition, but never in the same way as you’d think. With each song he seems to start in one way and then let his mind take him on a journey, not knowing where it will lead him or where it will go. He takes a page out of Dylan’s writing and makes it his own, telling story after story with no clear plot or narrative but a central theme to his long, winding prose. He keeps on ideas of earthliness and heaven and just goes with them, creating songs that are both poetically beautiful but also vivid in imagery. It’s easily substance over style with Van Morrison here and it pays off.

I feel this is an album for musicians. The average listener might enjoy this but I can easily see a lot of people turning it off, calling it “boring and long”. This is an album for people who can truly appreciate music and for those who create it. As a whole it wasn’t very successful but held a lot of respect within the community, being seen as an influence or a favourite of many musicians and artists (such as Bono and Bruce Springsteen, and even film maker Martin Scorsese who claims the first 15 minutes of Taxi Driver are basically Astral Weeks). It wasn’t a big deal when it first came out but over time grew as a cult album that left a stronger impact than anyone could realise. Van Morrison even dismisses this. It was a greatly personal album for him and he allowed himself to trust himself and just go with what felt right in the moment.

However, that being said, the songs can feel a little long and musically repetitive. I have a hard time distinguishing them from each other as a whole and because of it’s stream of consciousness style, I can easily get lost within their stories and find myself unsure of where I am (within the album that is). After what feels like a long time, I could check my phone and either find I’m still on the same tune or it has changed and I didn’t even notice. This could be both a good and bad thing. Good because it means the music flows very well and can have you lose yourself to it like a classic jazz album. Bad because if the tunes become indistinguishable that can also mean they might not be memorable on their own. Thankfully, the latter isn’t true, because I am able to pick out pieces of each tune and I feel the former is more what’s happening, but it’s easy to believe the latter as well.

Whether you loved it and appreciated what Morrison was doing here or are the type that found it “long and boring” there’s no doubt it truly is a work of art that manages to touch deeper than even it thought it could. Music is sometimes about the journey you go through and this album manages to do that form start to finish, taking you on a trip as your own spiritual guide looking inwards to yourself. Now, that could have been just me (it isn’t because other artists have stated the same effect happening to them) and even if it was that means this album did something right for me. I always have a difficult time delving deep into albums like this because it’s outside my realm of comprehension when it comes music theory and composition and the likes, but emotion is something I do understand and this definitely left an emotional impact in a positive way and to me that’s just as important. I’m glad to see Morrison take a different approach to his music as it definitely paid off for him in the long run.

Song of Choice: The Way Young Lovers Do

-Bosco