Posts Tagged ‘Pop/Rock’

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Radiohead – The Bends

Tuesday, July 19, 2011
The Bends (1995)

The Bends (1995)

I think of a lot a words at the mention of The Bends. Nostalgia is one of them. Old friends I don’t really see anymore (sad face). Angst? I don’t know. Maybe that’s too cliche and teenagery. But one thing’s for sure – it was (and is)  an album that was (and is) really important to me, especially during my freshman year of college. All of Radiohead was like that for me in that pivotal time in life, when I was discovering a lot of different things, including a more mature taste in music.

I know I’ve reviewed Radiohead to death on this site, but there’s a reason for that. I listened to this band so much my freshman year of college (and a lot beyond as well) that I’m sure they have become a permanent part of my soul. I don’t know how healthy that is, but that sounds about right to me. It’s even to the point that you can quote one line from just about any of their songs (exluding B-sides) and I would probably be able to tell you not only what song it is, but a lot about that particular song and what exactly it means to me. Each song or album evokes a very distinct feeling/thought process within me and makes me all misty-eyed if I don’t stop myself. It’s kind of weird, and even freaks me out a bit writing about it.

But anyway, tangent. I don’t know how many times I’ve listened to this album. Well over a hundred. And listening to each song evokes a certain feeling of sadness in me, for some reason. Something  sublime and completely indescribable. This is Radiohead beginning at their best. The sadness, I guess, comes from such bleak lyrics as “Everything is/broken, Everyone is/broken,” “I want to live, breathe, I want to be part of the human race.” And those are just the first two songs. I don’t want to say it’s depressing. Unlike other music that truly is depressing, Radiohead somehow transcends that. I really don’t know what magic allows it do that, and if I did, I guess it really wouldn’t be magic.

And of course, there’s “Fake Plastic Trees,” “My Iron Lung,” and “Street Spirit,” the latter being one of the main reasons I picked up a guitar. “Immerse your soul in love,” to this day, has to be one of my all time favorite song lyrics, and also a very good philosophy on life.

Well, I haven’t written on this blog for a while, so my writing feels a bit sloppy. But oh well. I love this band. I love this album. The end. Get it now if you don’t have it.

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Coldplay – Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends

Monday, April 20, 2009
Viva la Vida or Death And All His Friends (2008)

Viva la Vida or Death And All His Friends (2008)

To me, this is Coldplay at their best. I’m not even a Coldplay fan, really, and a lot of songs on this album don’t really do it for me. But where they do get it right Coldplay have done some of their very best work here, when they stop trying to be experimental and concentrate on crafting a solid britpop song.

The highlight of the album for me is “Lost!’ though many would make a case for “Violet Hill” or “Viva la Vida.” It’s the case that their singles are their best songs on here, the rest being merely so-so.

I gave this a listen all the way through for the first time last night, having only heard their singles on the radio or friend’s rooms or whatnot. Some of it was pretty hard to sit through, like the big slump from “Lost!” until I was eagerly awaiting the first staccato string strains of “Viva la Vida.” After this it slumped off again, and the version I got had a piano rendition of “Lost,” which was nice to close, though not really necessary.

All in all Viva la Vida is a decent album. There are bands I prefer to Coldplay, definitely, but they are fun while they last, until you just get bored of them.

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Pixies – Doolittle

Sunday, April 5, 2009
Doolittle (1989)

Doolittle (1989)

Springtime’s in the air in Oklahoma. Sort of. Which means windows come down and the tunes get cranked up, cause I’m that “cool guy” who does that, who people think he thinks that they think he’s cool because he plays his music loud, but in reality he knows he’s a huge dork, hopefully of the loveable kind, but most likely not.

To get to the point, I really like listening to Doolittle when the weather is perfect. Like, seventy two degrees (Fahrenheit), sunny, a certain smell of freshness in the air unique to early spring in the South, where often listening to a record as ecletic as Doolittle is liable to get you shot (not really), that is, if you don’t get sucked up a tornado first.

I love living where I am, especially around this time of year, where I am witness to thunderstorms galore. Doolittle to me is the perfect spring album. Upbeat, really crazy, and can get your blood pumping – maybe we don’t need that tornado. Certainly, Doolittle is one of the most fun albums I own.

The sheer bliss of “Debaser” and all the crazy yelling and words that seem to be in German. Love it. Also, “Wave of Mutilation” is absolutely amazing. “Here Comes Your Man” has to have the catchiest guitar riffs of all of indie music – maybe all time. Maybe I’m just a loser, but the rest of the album seems to drop in quality, but for the Pixies that still means amazing. The rest of the songs sort of seem to flow together – fun to listen to, though I don’t know their names. They’re fun though.

Well, I shall be “cranking” this bad boy of an album out for the next week or so, or until I fancy something else. Or even Surfer Rosa, which is fun stuff too. Always, of course, windows down.

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The Beatles – The Beatles [White Album]

Monday, March 9, 2009
The Beatles (1968)

The Beatles (1968)

This review should just read “It’s the Beatles, end of story,” but I’ll go a little in depth for those interested in my thoughts on this music classic.

The Beatles self-titled LP, or the “White Album,” is my favorite by them. It’s impossible to just pick any Beatles’ album and say it’s their most important or quintessential. So instead, I’m just focusing on this one because it is filled with many my favorite Beatles moments.

The White Album has always struck me as darker, more mature, and more experimental than anything else they have thus far attempted. It is absolutely jaw dropping to just think of how the Beatles changed as a band from Please Please Me in 1963 to The Beatles in 1968. Considering they released at least one album every year, each one a timeless classic that redefined music forever – when it comes to bands, none in music history was or is as great as the Beatles were. Usually, thoughts like these cross my mind every day, and what the Beatles have done still and likely always will capture my imagination.

Anyway, back to the music instead of my exposé on the Beatles. To me, the “White Album” encompasses everything good about the Beatles – it’s as if every single one of their albums is wrapped up in it (with the exception of their last two, recorded after this one). They decided to go in a different direction as they had for their previous few albums, and they recorded new material prolificly, enough for a double album.

The importance of the “White Album” for the Beatles and music at large cannot be overemphasized. It starts with “Back in the U.S.S.R.,” a hilarious spoof of the Beach Boys and their knock-offs, the former of whom the Beatles shared a good-natured rivalry. Track two, “Dear Prudence,” is the Beatles at their most simplistic beauty. The song is beautiful because it says the world is beautiful, “and so are you.”  There is always an underlying simplicity and familiarity with the Beatles, despite how complicated the song acutually is.

Then of course, we have the catchy “Ob-la-Di, Ob-la-Da,” a Carribean-esque song nearly anyone can sing to, followed by “Bungalow Bill,” another classic. Then comes what’s often considered George Harrison’s magnum opus “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” followed by Lennon’s classic “Happiness is a Warm Gun.” This so far has to be one of the strongest song lineups in album history, just so you know.

A few songs later we come to the animal trilogy, “Blackbird,” “Piggies,” and “Rocky Racoon.” Of the three, “Rocky Racoon” is my favorite. Though they’re English, the Beatles were pretty good at playing American folk with their own twist. Though “Blackbird” deserves mention, and also happens to be one of the few songs I can play on guitar.

Later on, the infamous “Birthday” song, which would be should also be sung on birthdays along with the traditional one (I’m picking and choosing songs now, since there are so many). Later, McCartney’s “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey.”

And then, the first metal song ever written, “Helter Skelter.” Right here, I just want to pause and reflect on the diversity of all the songs on this album up to this point. We have the first proto-metal song, folk, Caribbean influenced pop, surf rock, ballads, and later, downright exprimental things that simply cannot be classified, like “Revolution 9” (which, like all respectable Beatles fans, I loathe).

The last track I want to mention is “Goodnight.” Granted you made it this far, then you’ve just listened to one of the most famous and amazing albums in music history.

Though I’m not saying the Beatles were perfect and cannot be criticized in the least, like it or not, they are the most famous, most influential, most quintessential rock band in music history. And to me, The Beatles is their magnum opus.