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Showing posts from May, 2009

222. Say Anything... (1989)

It was 20 years ago today. Jethro Tull won the first Grammy for Heavy Metal performance and hundreds of demonstrators were killed by troops in Peking's T'ien-an-Men Square . This is the fourth in a series of 5 reviews of seminal (well, depending on your definition of the word seminal) albums from 1989. View the first three here , here , and here . Now... The soundtrack is an artform. A really good soundtrack can be enjoyed equally by those who haven't seen the parent film and by those who have. For the latter, the soundtrack is akin to a really good mixtape. For the former, it's a memento, an evocation of the film. The soundtrack for the 1989 Cameron Crowe film Say Anything... is a really good soundtrack. Case in point: I bought it without having seen the movie, intrigued mostly by the diverse combination of artists represented. I enjoyed the soundtrack enough to watch the film, and at that point it was all over. I loved the movie, absolutely. My fondness for the soun

221. Tinted Windows: Tinted Windows (2009)

Early in rock history and on into its mid-point, the supergroup was a viable second act in a musician's career. In fact, in many cases the supergroup became more notable than the original bands the members hailed from. Take Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Asia, and Bad Company for example. In modern times the supergroup has not only gotten rarer, it's become more of a lark, something intended to kill time between projects. The Traveling Wilburys, Golden Smog, and the Thorns were all great, but temporary. Some would define Velvet Revolver and Audioslave as supergroups, but I wouldn't. To me those bands were rock 'n' roll Frankensteins: Same body, different head. A couple of years ago I wrote this post, wherein I ran with Chuck Klosterman's challenge to build an ideal supergroup. My answer now would be a little bit different than it was then, but I can guarantee you, I would have never have thought to put James Iha (guitar), Adam Sc

220. The Monkees: Head (1968)

In 1968, the Monkees TV show was over and the band was musically fragmented. Their public popularity was on a downswing and they certainly weren't a favorite in rock circles. But someway, somehow, they were allowed to make a movie. Maybe the studio saw it as one last cash-in, or maybe they thought the franchise could be revived. Who knows? The movie was a flop. I won't spend much time on the movie in this review, because I already wrote about it here . I'll wait while you go read it. Suffice to say, it's probably my second favorite rock 'n' roll movie ever made (after Purple Rain , of course). It takes equal parts Marx Brothers zaniness, '60s psychedelica, and self-aware post-modernism and mixes them into one tasty stew. The soundtrack (compiled by Jack Nicholson, who also co-wrote the film) is similarly high-quality, a sharp turnaround from the two limp albums that preceded it. The record does a good job of capturing the free-flowing nature of the film, wit

219. XTC: Oranges and Lemons (1989)

It was 20 years ago today. The RIAA first warned parents about explicit content, the Cold War ended, and Driving Miss Daisy won the Oscar for Best Picture. Over the next few months, I'll be looking back at 5 seminal (well, depending on your definition of the word seminal) albums from 1989. Now... Oranges and Lemons was the first XTC album I bought. It was 1996, and I found it in the discount section at Target. I knew of the band, but hadn't heard a note. All I needed was that cover art to convince me to pony up my $5.99. It's some of the best money I ever spent. Recorded in L.A. with producer Paul Fox (10,000 Maniacs, Phish, Semisonic, Bjork, They Might Be Giants), Oranges and Lemons was the band's 9th album, and a thoroughly successful attempt at making immaculately-produced, commercially-viable music without sacrificing the incisive lyrics and ultra-melodic songwriting that the band had made its trade for the 12 previous years. As such, and given the momentum and r