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Showing posts from June, 2008

180. The Beatles - Abbey Road (1969)

Now we conclude our journey through the back catalog of a little-known '60s band I've recently discovered.

This is it kids, The Beatles' final album. They gave it a good six year run, but it seems the years of hard work with little acclaim or monetary compensation had finally taken their toll on this little band.

To their credit, they go out with what I believe is their finest achievement. Unlike their previous album, The Beatles, there's a unified feel, not only in the performances, but in the sound of the songs themselves - bluesy and American - despite the fact that all four members were composing individually.

For all of its appeal, Abbey Road is actually quite a strange album. No other Beatles album - not even The Beatles - contains such a mixture of standout classics and obscure curiosities. In the former category, we have two songs that have nearly become standards. They're also the first two songs on the album. One is John Lennon's Come Together, a sin…

2008: Mid-Year Round-Up

175. Sloan: Parallel Play (2008)

The album's name comes from the developmental stage wherein children will play in proximity, but not interact with one another. It's a cute title, but doesn't quite work as an analogy for the band, despite the fact that all four members write and sing their own songs. That's because there's too much synergy and collaboration going on, and after 9 great albums together, that's what you'd expect.

Here Patrick, Andrew, Jay, and Chris add a few more masterpieces to their portfolio, including Burn For It, Witches Wand, Cheap Champagne, and All I Am Is All You're Not. Sloan are one of the few bands that might not be capable of making a bad album. Grade: A- Fave Song:Witches Wand

176. Supergrass: Diamond Hoo Ha (2008)

Do yourself a favor and seek out the newest effort from one of Britpop's most enduring and consistently surprising bands. Following 2006's contemplative Road to Rouen, Diamond Hoo Ha returns a sense of fun an…

12 featuring Jay-Z

Here's the drill: 12 songs to summarize an artist's career, in chronological order (of course).

Week 21












Jay-Z may have a lot of nice houses, but he's not content to just stay there. He likes to go visit his friends too. Here are the 12 best songs featuring Jigga as a guest. As I did with my 12 by Jay-Z feature, I'm going to let the man speak for himself.

1. Foxy Brown - I'll Be (found on Ill Na Na, 1996)
"Will tears fall to your ears if I don't stop?"

2. Notorious B.I.G. - I Love the Dough (found on Life After Death, 1997)
"And tell me you won't ball every chance you get / and any chance you hit, we live for the moment / Makes sense don't it? Now make dollars"

3. Mariah Carey - Heartbreaker (found on Rainbow, 1999)
"She call me heartbreaker / When we apart it makes her wanna piece of paper / Scribble down 'I hate ya!'"

4. Beyonce - Crazy in Love (found on Dangerously in Love, 2003)
"Young Hov, y'all know when the …

174. The Beatles: Yellow Submarine (1969)

Now we continue our journey through the back catalog of a little-known '60s band I've recently discovered.

As they reached the inevitable nadir of their undistinguished career, something weird happened. Some devoted fan took The Beatles' songs and made an animated movie out of them. With Peter Max-inspired design and a stream-of-consciousness plot, the movie was most definitely of its time, and that's probably why very few people are aware of it today.

Probably even fewer people know that The Beatles released an accompanying soundtrack, though to be fair it's not much of an album. There are 6 Beatles songs, two of which were previously released: Yellow Submarine and All You Need Is Love. The album's entire second side is taken up with the film's score, composed and conducted by the 5th Beatle, producer George Martin. The score has been much maligned (an updated version of the soundtrack released in 1999 even eliminated it in favor of additional Beatles son…

Refrigerated Love: The Complete Discography

Since Wikipedia has repeatedly denied submissions for an entry on Refrigerated Love, I'm using this blog to present you with the official discography of the band, including albums, compilations, solo albums and bootlegs.

I. Albums:

Refrigerated Love (1981)
1. Okay Then
2. The Ballad of Colin and April
3. Just Enough To Squeeze
4. Stolen Girlfriend
5. On the Other Hand
6. Exactly Right For Me
7. Gretchen
8. Still Life in Mono
9. Not a Soul But Us
10. That Hurt

Plant Lives(1982)
1. Foilage All Over You
2. Best Buds
3. Sequoias of Your Heart
4. Talk To Me
5. Love Sprouts
6. Gettin' My Hands Dirty
7. In With The New
8. Reap What You Sow

Defrost Before Heating (1983)
1. Nigel's Party
2. Big Promotion
3. Questions About You
4. Beneath the Strawberry Sky
5. Men and Women
6. Isn't It Neat
7. Mona Lisa
8. Valleys
9. Tell the Truth or Something Close To It
10. Hugs
11. The Last Thing I Need
12. January Sun

Monster Mashers (1984)
1. Crushin' On You
2. Did You Hear That?
3. Chang…

12 written by Prince

Here's the drill: 12 songs to summarize an artist's career, in chronological order (of course).

Week 20









There's no possible way to do a 12 by... for Prince as a performer. I'd have to be more like 48 by... But, if we look at songs the Kid has written or co-written for other artists, then 12 is a perfectly reasonable number. I've tried to include songs that were pretty much exclusive to the artist that did them.


1. Stevie Nicks - Stand Back (from The Wild Heart, 1983) Though not credited, Prince Rogers Nelson definitely had a hand in this one. Just listen to those synths and the funky guitar and it'll become a little more apparent.





2. The Time - Jungle Love (from Ice Cream Castles, 1984) So prolific was the Artist that he had to create other bands to showcase his songs. Thus was born The Time, and this unforgettably primal anthem.





3. Shelia E - The Glamorous Life (from The Glamorous Life, 1984)
Maybe one of his most memorable instrumental hooks, and that's sa…

173. Refrigerated Love: We're Actually Serious, Really (1999)

Reviewer's Note: I've dusted off this old review that appeared in the April 1999 edition of the Augustana Observer in anticipation of the new Refrigerated Love album due later this month. For more information, read the brief history of the band I wrote a few years back.

When Refrigerated Love first stepped onto the rock and roll scene in 1981, you would have been hard-pressed to find anyone who really cared. Today, eighteen years and 34 albums later that apathy is still holding strong. Earlier this year, the seminal British band released a live album called Songs From our Next Album - Live. The record wasn't a commercial success, mainly because of the fans' unfamiliarity with the songs, and the fact that drummer "Pasty" Pete Pockhorn and lead guitarist Nigel Hornblower failed to show up for the gig.

Now, with the full band in tow, that next album has finally arrived. Entitled We're Actually Serious, Really, the album is a decided musical growth for the band…

12 by Weezer

Here's the drill: 12 songs to summarize an artist's career, in chronological order (of course).

Week 19
Weezer have a new album out this week, so what better time to celebrate their virtues? Liking the band is taking more and more justification and explanation, but they're still an intriguing musical force.

You'll find this a slightly unconventional list. A conventional Weezer "best of" would probably read something like this: 1) Buddy Holly, 2) Undone - the Sweater Song, 3) My Name Is Jonas, 4) Mykel & Carli, 5) El Scorcho, 6) Hash Pipe, 7) Island in the Sun, 8) Dope Nose, 9) Keep Fishin', 10) Beverly Hills, 11) We Are All On Drugs, 12) Pork and Beans. Instead:

1. Say It Ain't So (from Weezer, 1994)
A little bit heavy, a little bit catchy, quiet-loud dynamics. So basically, it's Pixies lite. The song is interesting lyrically because it's basically nonsense until the "Dear daddy..." bridge, which lets out a torrent of emotion.

2. No …

172. The Beatles: The Beatles (1968)

You know the famous avant garde artist Yoko Ono, right? Everyone knows her. Well, did you know her husband had a band? I've been slowly working my way through reviews of all of their albums. Check it out:

I guess it's indicative of the slightly amateurish nature of this band that they'd wait until their 10th outing to do a self-titled album. It's ironic too. The title would seem to indicate a completely unified effort, when in reality it's exactly the opposite.

As I've been slogging through The Beatles' catalog, I've been keeping track of the changing band dynamics. John Lennon clearly dominated their early efforts, with Paul McCartney taking over on Sgt.Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and Magical Mystery Tour. The Beatles, however, shows the band with no clear leader. Instead, it's four men co-existing, each contributing their own insular ideas.

There wasn't much self-editing going on, in how many tunes were included on the double album…