1001 Albums: White Light/White Heat

#104

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Artist: Velvet Underground

Album: White Light/White Heat

Year: 1968

Length: 40:13

Genre: Experimental Rock / Noise Rock / Proto-Punk

“White light, White light goin’ messin’ up my brain
White light, Aww white light its gonna drive me insane
White heat, Aww white heat it tickle me down to my toes
White light, Aww white light I said now goodness knows, do it”

This might be the album that has me liking the Velvet Underground. Their debut just didn’t really do it for me and felt more like a Hipster’s wet dream than anything else. But here, they take on a completely different approach to their music and it’s one that captivated me and kept me hooked… for the most part. If I had to choose between the two I would definitely pick this one over their debut any day. I’m not sure about their future albums and how they are, since I have never listened to them, but if the band continues in the direction that this one started, than it’ll be a band I’ll slowly gain a liking to.

A big contrast here is that they take a proto-punk and noise rock sound to their music, which is an incredibly different approach than their more artistic and “pretty” sounding melodies that they expertly crafted. Here they left place for improvisation (their final song just goes on for 14 minutes on pure improvised guitar solos) and a hard rock sound before hard rock really even existed. The distorted guitar sounds would be incredibly influential for future punk bands and this album can easily be seen as paving the way for punk music.

The opening track sucked me in. Wait this was Velvet Underground? I was surprised in the best possible way. If the entire album was like this, I was set. Unfortunately it was followed by an almost 9-minute song that is basically just John Cale doing story time in a deadpan way. It’s a hit or miss song, you either love it or hate it. I unfortunately hated it. it felt long and repetitive and you catch the twist of the ending incredibly early that you feel like the rest of the time is just wasted time. Nothing wrong with telling stories in your music (most do) but here it just feels out of place with the rest of the songs and just doesn’t do it for me. This album (in my opinion) could have done without this song and had a different one in it’s place that matched the rest of the album.

Going through the album once, I wish I understood the lyrics. I only found out afterwards what the lyrical content was while doing some mild research for it and had to do a double-take because I missed it completely. Tales of Drag Queen Orgies and A Transvestite’s botched Lobotomy… Jesus, I wish I had understood the lyrics, I might have had a much different experience (in a good way because that just sounds pretty fucking great). I should probably explain this though. It’s not that I don’t pay attention to the lyrics or I just don’t get it, my problem is and I have this in general life in general is that I have a hard time understanding what people say. I’m not deaf, I can hear perfectly well but I constantly seem to misunderstand or mishear what people say. This happens especially with music, if the vocals get drowned out or the singer has a thick accent or mumbles, I never know what the lyrics are. I’m like the king of misheard lyrics or you know, it just sounds like Gibberish to me. If you want to understand what I’m saying, I always watch movies with subtitles on because sometimes I just couldn’t understand what they said. For music, once I know what the lyrics are, I can finally hear the singer saying it, but mostly… unless the singer sings in a very comprehensible and clear way… I have a hard time catching what the lyrics are, hence why I missed out on this weird and strange lyrical content that would have made me love my first experience much more. This is also why I’m really bad at quoting things… I can’t explain this phenomenon, it’s something that just is.

Anyway, I think it was a smart decision for the band to get rid of Andy Warhol and part ways with Nico (who is, thank god, not on this album anywhere) which allowed them to experiment more with the noise rock genre. I’m glad they did because not only did we get to see a different side to the band but they got to show off their expertise on a completely different level. Might not be a fan of the first, but definitely enjoyed this one.

Thanks for the pleasant surprise Velvet Underground, you did good.

Song of Choice: Sister Ray

-Bosco

 

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1001 Albums: Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind)

#102

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Artist: Loretta Lynn

Album: Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ on Your Mind)

Year: 1967

Length; 28:24

Genre: Country

“Well, you think you’re the hardest thing a goin’
The way things come to you, you think you’re in
But one of these days that wind’s a gonna start blowin’
You may not lose the big boy, you won’t win

‘Cause the devil gets his dues and you’ll start payin’
When he collects, you know you’ve paid your debt
The devil gets his dues like I been sayin’
You hurt just like you’ve hurt me, you can bet”

I slowed down on the listening because I knew this was the next album on the list and part of me really didn’t want to start the new year with a country album. For anyone who has read these posts (all three of you) it’s fair to say I am not a country music fan at all. I avoid it like the plague, so this wasn’t how I wanted to start the new year at all. First album of the year is a country album just doesn’t sound good to me. But was it as bad as I expected?

No. In fact, it was the complete opposite. I loved this album. Love, love, loved it. Ok, maybe not to the point that I’ll buy it and listen to it again but as far as country goes, I absolutely loved it (which means in general it was ok for me). Maybe I just needed a female country singer to change my mind about it all. Who knows. But Loretta Lynn was definitely a beautiful gem within a large field of crap ( I really hate country) and it felt like such a change of pace for the genre. Loretta Lynn set some high standards and is easily an important icon for the country music genre (and just for women in general).

For the first time, we have a woman in the 60s standing up for herself against her really shitty husband. This whole album is basically Loretta standing her ground and telling her husband to fyck off. The title song is basically her saying he ain’t getting nothing from her if he decides to come home drunk and get frisky. She’s saying NO (It’s weird how some people don’t understand the word no) and standing by it. Even throughout every song feels like such a great feminist anthem, especially today with the rise of the #Metoo campaigns and the attack on sexual predators and just douchebags with “I’m horny so I feel entitled to have sex with you” mentalities that many women have been dealing with. It’s great to see someone out there back in the 60s was doing that and wasn’t afraid to do so. Forget whoever there is today, Loretta Lynn is the real feminist icon. And that’s how it should be. Some douchebag is objectifying you, stand up to him and tell him how much of a piece of shit he’s being. No one should ever treat you that way, ever (guy or girl, I’ve been specific to women because Loretta Lynn is a woman, but neither men nor women should be treated that way). Too many douchebags get away with their shit attitudes because we seem to still be in a time where it’s not “Ok” to speak up and stand up for yourself, but I’m happy to see times are a changing and these people are getting what they deserve. I have never been objectified but I know people who have and I have their backs every step of the way.

Other than that, Loretta Lynn has a really interesting life as a whole. She was born in a coal mining family and got married at 15 years old (her marriage was highly inspirational for this particular album). Oddly enough, her husband despite being a shit was the one who highly encouraged her to become a musician… so… pros and cons I guess. Her life was even turned into a movie “The Coal Miner’s Daughter”, which I have not seen but it is on the 1001 movies list, so I will get around to it eventually because I am tackling it (but unfortunately no blog posts for that one). So, Loretta Lynn has really left her mark in history.

The only song I could have done without was the final one where she basically tries to justify the fact that she cheated on her husband because he’s a pro at it and it’s only bad because he caught her? I’m sorry but I feel that just takes away from the whole standing up for yourself against douchebags message because cheating is never justified. it doesn’t matter if your significant other cheated on you, by cheating as a response it just brings you down to their level and you are no better than them. So it took me out of it a bit (even though I did enjoy the song I just think it takes away from the rest of the album). SO as an experience I’d stop before that one, but still listen to it cause I do think it’s great as a song.

What else can I say? I found a country album that really engaged and captured me for once and I honestly think it should make a comeback with all the politics going on today.

You go Girl.

Song of Choice: The Devil Gets His Dues

-Bosco

1001 Albums: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)

#101

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Artist: The Electric Prunes

Album: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)

Year: 1967

Length: 29:47

Genre: Psychedelic Rock / Garage Rock

“Last night your shadow fell upon my lonely room
I touched your golden hair and tasted your perfume
Your eyes were filled with love the way they used to be
Your gentle hand reached out to comfort me
Then came the dawn
And you were gone
You were gone, gone, gone

I had too much to dream last night
Too much to dream
I’m not ready to face the light
I had too much to dream
Last night
Last night”
Keeping up the pace with this list. If I want to make it to 1001 before I die (which I think is the goal in general) then I really need to pick it up. To be honest the listening part is the easy part. The writing the blog posts and doing the photoshopped covers is really what usually slows me down otherwise I probably would be way farther in the list by now. It’s hard to find time sometimes to sit down and crank one of these out, especially if a lot of time has passed since I heard the album and I basically forgot about it. When I started this challenge, I made it a point to write a post the night of listening to an album, but things change and it’s become tougher in general. But no more of that. Time to take my life into my own hands and get back on track.
I really liked this album. It’s another one of those bands that appeared in my famous Psychedelic music class (forgot to mention Jimi Hendrix did too but that wasn’t important). So, I had exposure to this band and have heard of them before. I got excited because as much as I’m getting bored of psychedelic music, I love 60s garage rock and that outweighed my boredom with psychedelia. How does it compare to other fusion bands? Not sure if I can say the best, but their mix of Psychedelic and Garage blends together almost seamlessly that it’s hard to tell where each begins and ends. That was an aspect I really liked about it. Other than two songs (The King is in The Counter House and The Toonerville Trolley) which had more of a ragtime, children’s story feel to them, the rest of the tunes hit you hard with that raw garage rock sound and muddy noise with backwards tape and psychedelic acid attached to it. The singer screams and yells at the right moments and takes it easy at others. And you get different tempos for different vibes. Fast ones for those like me who love to get pumped up (Get me to the world on time) and slower ones for people who like to enjoy their time (About a Quarter to Nine).
There’s definitely a cheeky feel to a lot of the lyrics but I think they decided to go more the psychedelic imagery route along with slight cheekiness thrown into it. It’s really hard for me to find things I didn’t enjoy about the album. The album is in no way perfect or even the greatest thing ever, but for garage rock lovers it’s really a great album that holds up from beginning to end (even at the slightly weirder parts). It flowed really well and it’s short run time seems to feel even shorter than it really is. Maybe it’s my personal taste bias that feels this way, but what you gonna do?
I don’t really have much else to say about this album mainly because it’s a little hidden gem from the big year of 1967. It was a garage rock album that really made an impact and stood out as being it’s own unique specimen but definitely got overshadowed by all the big albums that came out that same year. Shame because it’s a great album all the way through and deserves more recognition than it gets. (Unless it’s getting tons of recognition that I’m unaware about. If that’s the case than excuse my ignorance).
Now excuse me while I go sleep and possibly dream too much (lame I know… fuck you, whatever).
Song of Choice: Get Me To The World On Time
-Bosco

1001 Albums: Are You Experienced

#100

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Artist: The Jimi Hendrix Experience

Album: Are You Experienced

Year: 1967

Length: 40:12

Genre: Acid Rock / Psychedelic Rock

I know, I know you probably scream and cry
That your little world won’t let you go
But who in your measly little world
Are you trying to prove that
You’re made out of gold and, eh, can’t be sold

But first, are you experienced?
Have you ever been experienced?
Well, I have

It’s happened folks. It’s finally happened. I’ve broken into the triple digits, I’ve finally hit album 100! And perfect timing for celebration since it is Christmas too (or was at the time I’m writing this). I’m officially at about 10% of the entire list. I started about a year ago so at this rate I’ll finish the entire list in ten years. Ten years… gotta pick up the pace a bit I think. Either way, it’s a big milestone in this challenge and one I’ll hold dear to myself because it’s proof I won’t give up and will keep doing it no matter what. I will make it to the end.

And what an album to do number 100 on. I think currently one of the best albums I’ve heard so far on this list. From beginning to end it’s just a powerhouse of guitar playing and psychedelic music. I’ve heard songs from this album before (Are You Experienced, Third Stone From The Sun, The Wind Cries Mary, Purple Haze (the last two from countless hours of playing guitar hero)) but had never listened to a full Jimi Hendrix Album before. Believe my shock when a ton of his biggest hits all appeared on his debut along with some other fantastic songs. To call this one of the greatest debut albums of all time is a bit of an understatement. This sounds like a band that have been playing together for years and years and been developing their sound. They managed to do in their first album what many bands and artists don’t achieve until their third. I really wish I hadn’t missed out on this album when I first heard about Jimi Hendrix, but I didn’t because I wasn’t really into Psychedelic music at the time and two I was as open-minded as I was today.

Jimi Hendrix is easily one of the greatest guitarists of all time. I’ve heard that phrase so many times and everyone I ask always puts him in their top 5 lists. Listening to this album, I now know why. Putting aside the fact that he has such a distinct sound to his guitar. I mean, you hear it play and you know exactly who it is. There’s no one else that sounds like him and he’s managed to really capture his own sound that people would try to emulate but no one can sound like Jimi Hendrix, it’s his sound not yours. Putting that aside, his playing his also really unique, fusing rhythm and blues influence, with some free-jazz stylings and psychedelic music, he clearly was trying out new things that suited what he wanted and it worked very well and to his advantage. He didn’t care what people said, he wanted to play his way and he did. His producer even made sure he had full creative control over the album so the band wouldn’t have to compromise over their songs. Smart choice because this whole album just oozes with Hendrix (I think, I don’t know, just talking out of my ass again).

There’s such a fascinating and long history about this band an dhow Jimi Hendrix got to where he is. Wasn’t successful in the Rhythm and Blues scene, moved to England, met a manager who loved his rendition of Hey Joe, got a band together and boom, dynamite album. That’s the most brief and condensed version I can tell you because I’m not going to sit here talking about the whole thing. I’ll leave it to you to find it yourself and also it’s been said many times before, I don’t want to just reiterate.

Speaking of which, what can I really say about this album that hasn’t been said already? Everyone has talked about this album to no end already so there isn’t much I can add to the conversation. All I can say is as a first-timer, it was a great experience through and through and I feel I really need to listen to it a second time to truly experience the full experience of Are You Experienced.

Not sure what else to say so I will end this post with a cover of Are You Experienced by my favourite band Devo:

 

Song of Choice: Purple Haze

-Bosco

p.s I’m not sure what version of the album I listened to… doesn’t seem to be the Uk or Us release or any of the other versions… Spotify seems to have it’s own unique version that included every song from both releases, hence why I said Purple Haze despite it not being on the original UK release… oh well.

1001 Albums: I’m a Lonesome Fugitive

#99

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Artist: Merle Haggard

Album: I’m a Lonesome Fugitive

Year: 1967

Length: 31:02

Genre: Country

“I’d like to settle down but they won’t let me
A fugitive must be a rolling stone
Down every road there’s always one more city
I’m on the run, the highway is my home”

 

Hooray! My favourite genre of all time! The genre I love the mostest! MMMMM… mmmmm time for some goooooooood ole’ country music. Damn do I love country music, god it’s so amazing. I just can’t help myself when a country tune pops up. I pull on my best cowboy boots and my nicest cowboy hat and put on some assless chaps and do a nice hoedown jig. I don’t care who is looking or who sees my ass, but country music fills my heart and soul in a way I can’t describe. YEEEE-Fucking-HAW!!!!!

I hate country music. It’s my least favourite genre. So Imagine my thrill when this album started and it was you’re very straightforward country sounding music. The twang of the guitar, the flow of the notes, the style, that irritating mellow-dramatic strings, that southern drawwwwlllll. I just can’t do it. I mean, occasionally I’ll find a country tune I’ll enjoy (as I did with this album) but those are exceptions to the rule because as a whole I cannot stand this genre and avoid it like the plague. I even knew someone who loves country tell me “How can you hate a genre but like some tunes? That makes no sense”. Yes it does… I shouldn’t even have to explain that.

Either way, based on my hatred for the entire genre I still ended up enjoying this album anyway. Ok sure, for the most part it’s pretty skippable for me, but if you’re a big country fan I can see why you would love this album and it’s definitely one to have for any big country fan. Being a little biased i did love the more upbeat tunes while the sadder, mello-dramatic ones turned me off. However, that being said, there was one aspect of the whole album that really drew me in and that was it’s honesty.

It seems Merle Haggard (with a name like that you were destined to be a country music singer) actually did spend time in prison and according to his wife at the time he was in a very dark place when writing this and that all comes across very clearly. He sings with truth in his voice and you feel and understand every emotion he’s saying. It’s not just telling stories to the audience but he’s revealing a part of himself and making himself vulnerable. That’s really the highlight of the whole album and one I was able to pick up on the whole way through. It’s funny how you can sometimes listen to a piece of music and just sense that kind of thing. I can’t explain it, it’s just something you feel when it’s genuine.

So, I wrote this piece in two parts. Everything above this I wrote two days ago and I had time to think more about it. I still don’t like Country music, but the more I thought the more I flt the subject matter resonated with me a lot. Ok, I’ve never been to prison like Merle has, but the idea of feeling trapped in your mind and running with no where to go and these themes of feeling lost and isolated did. These past few days a lot has happened to me which I guess I didn’t expect and it hasn’t been the most positive. For months I’ve been stuck in my mind with stupid invasive thoughts almost controlling me and it took something big to happen for me to sort of realise I have to turn myself around and make changes to take care of myself. It hasn’t been easy, it never is, and these past few days have been really hard which is why the material suddenly resonated with me after having listened to it. I mean, it’s almost Christmas and I’ve had so many negative things happening I wonder if things actually will turn around.

Only time can tell…

I guess I’ll just have to put in the effort is all.

Song of Choice: Skid Row

-Bosco

1001 Albums: Sunshine Superman

#98

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Artist: Donovan

Album: Sunshine Superman

Year: 1966

Length: 42:59

Genre: Psychedelic Folk

“Sunshine came softly through my a-window today
Could’ve tripped out easy a-but I’ve a-changed my ways
It’ll take time, I know it but in a while
You’re gonna be mine, I know it, we’ll do it in style
‘Cause I made my mind up you’re going to be mine”

Wait… Hold up a minute… Am I reading this correctly? What the hell is going on? I must be going crazy here. This can’t be right. Does that say… 1966? 1966?!?!? 19 fucking 66??? I spent all this time listening to album after album in 1967 only to be setback to 1966?? How is this even possible? How do they order these fucking albums on this list? I always thought it was chronologically but now I don’t know what to believe anymore. Just when I thought I was making it to the end it turns around and goes in reverse. What, is the next album back in the 50s? Will I hear something from the 40s? Doesn’t make any sense but at this point I would believe it could happen.

I digress.

What truly is amazing is that I’m making two posts in one day. That rarely ever happens. I usually try to avoid that because one of the two entries always gets lost in the ether of the internet doomed to only a small amount of views. But I need to catch up, I’m already halfway through the next album and don’t want to get bogged down with all the posts I need to write and also I don’t want to forget the album itself either. When you listen to an album once and listen to many others after, it’s easy to not really remember it that much, unless it really captivated you in some way, and even then my memory isn’t the greatest. I’ll remember loving it but ask me to recreate the songs and I will barely remember how they sounded. Sounds odd but it makes sense because I remember how I felt while listening more than the details of the song.

That kind of happened with this album. I remember listening to it and the general feeling of the whole album I had while listening to it, but I can’t remember the details of it. This actually happens with most albums I listen to but it was especially with this one. It’s another mix of Psychedelic folk that I guess I just wasn’t that crazy about. Loved it with Jefferson Airplane but here Donovan really takes the folk root with some long (one going as far as 7 damn minutes) and repetitive tunes that feel like a bore and a struggle to get through. Thankfully he contrasts those tunes with some fantastic ones, with Sunshine Superman and Season of the Witch clearly being the stand-out ones, and a fun folk tune called The Trip that even though is long and repetitive, it’s upbeat enough to keep you engaged the whole way through, it never feels boring is what I’m saying.

The psychedelic tunes are easily the best songs on this album and although a lot of the folk tunes delve into medieval imagery and stylings, which if you’ve read my posts you know I am a sucker for medieval things, no idea why. That’s something I’ll eventually look into. But really isn’t important at the moment… is it? I don’t think so… no, it isn’t…

As I was saying, even though the folk tunes still captured an image of something that captivates me I still found it a bit of a struggle to make my way through them (Legend of a Girl Child Linda comes to mind). But what really makes up for it is Donovan’s delivery of his vocals. He’s a damn good singer and sings with a youthful quality that really adds to the whole experience. Even if you don’t like the music at least his vocals will win you over.

So as a whole the album is really hit and miss, but the high points are really strong and well worth the time invested. I have a strong feeling this album was mainly included for its two biggest songs, but Donovan does seem to blend psychedelic with folk in a really strong way and it’s nice to hear some well needed sitar sprinkled throughout. I’ll always feel half and half about this album, but at least the half I do like I really like and that’s all that matters to me.

Song of Choice: Season of the Witch

-Bosco

 

1001 Albums: Something Else by The Kinks

#97

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Artist: The Kinks

Album: Something Else by The Kinks

Year: 1967

Length: 36:17

Genre: Rock / Baroque Pop

“I am a dull and simple lad
Cannot tell water from champagne
And I have never met the Queen
And I wish I could have all that he has got
And I wish I could be like David Watts”

The Kinks are back! Should I be this excited? No, not really, I’m actually not. I thought it’d just be a great way to start the post… with energy and stuff… you know? I honestly couldn’t even remember how many Kinks albums I actually listened to on this list. I checked… it was only one… I seriously thought it was two or three… don’t know why. It’s possible all these albums are starting to blend together into one big mashed potatoes of music and I’m having trouble distinguishing between them (despite most albums have their own unique sounds). It could be because of my really long hiatus from listening to the albums that I figured I listened to Face to Face months ago, I surely had listened to more than one Kinks album… right? RIGHT?

Either way, that’s unimportant. Point is The Kinks are back and are for the most part really fun and enjoyable. It honestly didn’t feel like much of a step forward from their last album and felt more like an extension of it with a continuation of their tongue in cheek observations of English life. Each song feels like a portrait of a character or situation that you’d typically find in their daily lives but what makes it more than straight forward is the satirical take on them with a dash of cynicism and wit. I had a ton of fun listening to this album, heck I saved most of the songs on my Spotify playlist, which I hadn’t expected at all.

This feels like it’s ¬†hidden gem of a Kinks album. I mean, I don’t know if it actually is or not since I haven’t listened to any other Kinks albums and I’m basically talking out of my ass right now but I feel like it is mainly based on the fact that this album apparently didn’t sell well at all… anywhere upon it’s release. Due to it competing with cheaper Kinks compilation albums mostly, people just didn’t seem interested in picking up this album for whatever reason (the reason I mentioned above). Kind of odd seeing how fun the album is. It really has a sentimental and nostalgic vibe to it that feels like a snapshot of 60s England that never feels dated either. It feels like this album despite sounding old has aged very well and still works even today, as if it was a stylistic choice to be the way it is… I don’t know, I’m not The Kinks. I especially love their use of harpsichord, but I think I’ve always been a sucker for it. It gives this sort of medieval sound to it that I always enjoyed, I really hope there’s more harpsichord in future albums (not just The Kinks) because I really do feel there just isn’t enough harpsichord in general in this world.

THE WORLD NEEDS MORE HARPSICHORD!

…Please…

Song of Choice: Death of a Clown

-Bosco