This is my favorite thread. I am learning a lot.
This is my favorite thread. I am learning a lot.
1st Stop...Emergency & I. It's their essential album and my personal favorite album of all time. For anyone in that post-college rut or any rut for that matter, this is lyrically one of the most meaningful. Musically it's brilliant bringing utter craziness into a pop sound. The way Travis sings gives some sense of personal pain and urgency at most times, other times just a sense of emergency(no pun intended). This album is what pop rock should aspire to be. Every track is perfect in it's own way.
Next Stop: ...Is Terrified
This album is a lot more fun...less serious than Emergency & I, save for the last track. ...Is Terrified is almost frenetic at times, less personal. It seems to be a lot of observational content about certain types of people. For instance, Doing The Standing Still...having to do with the crowds that just stand there during shows(which I can't stand anymore). Academy Award seems to have do with people who are just too overdramatic. My favorite on this album and one of my favorite D-Plan songs is The Ice of Boston. The main character(Travis) in the song seems to have moved to Boston from DC for a girl and they broke up soon after he moved. Very funny images in the song. The last track Respect Is Due is pretty dark. There comes a point where lyrics are repeated over and over pounding in the idea stronger every time. All in all a great album.
now we're on: Change
Change turned out to be some sort of awakening for Travis lyrically. There's some obvious allusions to having left the past in the past and moving on in his life. Musically this is probably the tightest and cleanest the band has ever been. It's also generally a lot brighter sounding and more straightforward musically.
almost there: "!"
This was their debut album. They had a different drummer who wasn't as crazy as Joe Easley(their newer drummer), but he held it down nonetheless. It's a pretty solid debut and it has a song called "Onward, Fat Girl." They're humor and love for frenetic pop was well established on "!" Travis does a lot more yelling.
and finally: Dismemberment Plan Gets Rich
awesome song...it's on a split with a band called Juno. It's a fan favorite at shows and the EP also includes an acoustic dark cover of Jennifer Paige's poppy dance song Crush, which I think is just phenomenal and quite depressing. Juno's songs on there are pretty solid as well. Pretty straightforward rock song Non-Equivalents and an awesome live instrument cover of DJ Shadow's High Noon. If you find the vinyl 7" somewhere...I'll be glad to take it off your hands.
somebody's gotta tackle this.
Start with Highway 61 Revisited. Once you've digested that, move to Bringing It All Back Home which is sorta the same except the second half is all acoustic. Once you've mastered these two albums you have completeld Dylan 101 and are ready to move on to..
Blonde on Blonde. BoB is a different thing altogether, and given that it came out just 6 months after Highway 61, you can see what an incredibly creative phase he was going through. Dylan's surreal imagery gets really crazy here, and the singing is kinda weird in spots too, but the album is sheer genius. Tucked in amongst all this weirdness are stretches of sheer beauty, like "Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands".
from there I would jump forward to Blood on the Tracks, his 'divorce' album that's just full of great songs ("Tangled Up in Blue", "Idiot Wind", "Buckets of Rain", etc). This album also includes "Lily Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts" which is very entertaining although not as artistically fulfilling as some other stuff.
Then, one more stop I promise, go to John Wesley Harding, which is sort of like Blonde on Blonde on quaaludes. However, it's another essential album.
Once you've got these down there are all sorts of directions you can go;
- early folkie stuff, like The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, The Times They Are a-Changin' and Another Side of Bob Dylan. These are all amazing records but remember they are true early-60s folk albums, they make no attempt at being rock music.
- the early to mid 70s stuff, Nashville Skyline, New Morning, Pat Garret & Billy the Kid, Planet Waves, and Desire. of these the first and last listed are my favorite. Avoid at all costs Self Portrait and Dylan.
- The Basement Tapes. recorded with The Band in 68 or so but not released til 1975, this really belongs up with the classics I listed at the beginning, but is definitely Advanced Dylan, for grad students only. It sounds like a bunch of drunk hillbillies or something. It's fabulous.
- the Christian era, late 70s and early 80s. Might take some stomach to listen to, if this sort of thing offends you, but I think the songs on Slow Train Coming and Shot of Love are really good and underappreciated. Avoid Live at Budokan and Saved, IMO.
Anything 1983 and after is a bit of a crapshoot (except Biograph, a boxed set compilation, which now that I think about it would be a really good place for a Dylan novice to start).
Last edited by TomAz; 04-02-2007 at 11:26 AM.
somebody had to do it...
And Tom did it good.Agree with everything except Planet Waves.And funny thing is,Biograph is exactly where i started and became a fanatic for awhile.Street Legal has some good songs on it(notably Senor).
Originally Posted by God
I guess I'll try my hand at this.
When I start exploring a band or artist's catalog, I always use allmusic and check out what the "AMG pick(s)" for the artist are. But sometimes I will get a band suggested to me and start with that person's recommendation.
In the case of Talking Heads, I was told to listen to Remain In Light. I would not, however, advise this as the place to start. It's an exceptional record, but in all honesty I would rent Stop Making Sense from your local video store or Netflix or whatever and just go from there. It covers their back catalog decently well (with a focus on Speaking In Tongues). There is a David Byrne solo tune and two Tom Tom Club tracks on there as well. But if you don't like Stop Making Sense, you will not like the Talking Heads.
I am only going to talk about the records I consider essential by the band, and avoid the live albums (apart from the recommendation to watch Stop Making Sense at all costs).
The albums (in chronological order):
Talking Heads: 77:
Fun, herky jerky art rock. I love "Psycho Killer" and "Uh-Oh, Love Comes to Town". A great first record, fairly arty (weird structures, timing, etc). Also serves as a good intro to David Byrne's somewhat deranged vocal delivery and paranoid lyrics.
More Songs About Buildings and Food:
Brian Eno's production influence begins to come forth, as the songs take a dancier, funkier focus while still maintaining the odd timing and structures of the first album. More accessible than the first record, with more immediate songs. Personal favorite tunes: "Thank You For Sending Me An Angel", "The Girls Want To Be With The Girls", "Found A Job", "The Big Country".
Fear of Music:
Much darker than the first two records. It makes sense as a stepping stone to Remain In Light, though it isn't as straightforward or evened out as that record. Check out "I Zimbra", "Heaven", "Life During Wartime" and "Air".
Remain In Light:
A masterpiece. The worldbeat rhythmic influences are especially present on this record, highlighted by Eno's dark production and cylical, trancelike tunes. Totally brilliant. Personal favorites: "Cross-Eyed and Painless", "Once In A Lifetime", "Born Under Punches".
Speaking In Tongues:
Much brighter than the previous two records. Funky, upbeat songs that utilized the polyrhythms and world music influences of records past while incorporating dancey synths and other influences. A lot of fun, if not their most outstanding artistic acheivment. And it has "This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)", one of the best songs ever written. Favorites: "Naive Melody", "Slippery People", "Girlfriend Is Better".
Little Creatures is good too.
Pink Floyd - Tons of people seem to forget that there was a Pink Floyd before Dark Side of the Moon and after The Wall. But with 14 proper studio albums, the Floyd definitely deserve a deeper look.
Almost everyone starts off with Dark Side of the Moon, which is good because it really is their best, and one of the best albums ever produced. So start there. Discover it, and be left in awe. Next, move on to Wish You Were Here, also one of PF's best, but skip Animals and The Wall (for now), and take a trip back in time to Pink Floyd's debut to see who they were actually talking about on WYWH and to see how they evolved...
The Piper at the Gates of Dawn is nothing like the Floyd that most people know and love, but this is where their original genius (in Syd Barrett) is established. This music is quirky, whimsical, and psychedelic, in that Summer of Love sort of Acid Tripper way... Far out, man... Next, Saucerful of Secrets, sees the addition of David Gilmour, and that beginnings of Roger Waters' darker visions. It's definitely not as good as "Piper," but worth it for "Let there be more light" and Barrett's last PF song, the heartbreaking "Jugband Blues." Anyways, I would skip More and the studio side of Ummagumma, but the live disc is awesome! Next check out Atom Heart Mother to see a kind of weird, transitional side of the Floyd, then Meddle, which isn't exactly a great album, but it's totally worth it for the EPIC "Echoes." This song sets the tone for what most people love about Pink Floyd, and it's my personal favorite. Skip Obscured by Clouds for now...
That covers the first half of their career... The next half tends to be dominated by Roger Waters... Since you're all caught up with their past, dive into The Wall, and check out the movie, too. It's kind of a downer, but awesome nonetheless... After that, back-track to Animals, which features some of PF's heaviest stuff, but again it can be kinda dense. Next comes The Final Cut which is essentially a Roger Waters solo album with the other band members contributing... But many people consider this to be the last TRUE Pink Floyd album, since Waters leaves the group after this. Next is A Momentary Lapse of Reason with David Gilmour at the helm, and then The Division Bell. If you've hung in here this long, go ahead and back track to More and Obscured by Clouds. You might even want to check out the studio side of Ummagumma, but I can never bring myself to listen to it all the way through...
Last edited by PsyGuyRy; 04-02-2007 at 01:14 PM.
Buy the ticket, take the ride.
Ummagumma has that Pict song on it right?
I have been listening to The Division Bell and A Momentary Lapse of Reason alot lately.
ditto. Andrew's parsing of the TH oeuvre is indoubitably superb.
Originally Posted by God
Oh, I just thought of another good one:
So, I'm a former Pearl Jam #1 Fan Forever (which ended up being until 2002 insted of forever) which I think qualifies me because I still love them, but sensibly. Okay, so they have eight studio albums and 75% are really good. So the rundown (chronologically):
Ten-You actually already own this (in your noggin), though you may not realize it. There's "Even Flow," "Alive," and "Jeremy," which are their most famous songs by Pearl Jam. Plus they might be the only songs that get played on Modern Rock, Classic Rock, and Hard Rock radio stations simultaneously. Plus, how cool is that Jeremy video?
This is arguably their most essential album, simply because it's their most famous, the bestselling, and the most rooted in the "Grunge" movement. Definitely worth owning, but not the most essential in my opinion. Grade: B
Vs.-A nice continuation of the sound from Ten, but with some ballads so that you could cop a feel for a little bit during their shows in 1993. This album is in every way as good as Ten, and helps to foreshadow their development as an overtly political band ("Glorified G"). Grade: B
Vitalogy-Awesomeness defined. The early era essential. Grade: A
No Code-Awesomeness redefined. The late era esential. Grade: A-
Yield-No Code was a flop for Pearl Jam. It was disregarded by critics and the public at large, and for Yield, Pearl Jam tried to win some of that public back (regardless of what they say). That means that this album has some or their more poppier songs, though it was the dirty hard rock song that became the albums most remembered, mostly thanks to this awesomeness:
However, this is one of Pearl Jam's most elegant albums. "Given to Fly" is a fan favorite by now for obvious reasons, and as a whole the album is able to rope in most of its urges to stray. Grade: B-
Binaural-This is a personal favorite, and I don't really know why. Here is where they became comfortable with their dimming popularity, and they put together an immensely strong collection of songs. Also, this is where the band picked up Matt Cameron from former Soundgarden fame. Pearl Jam has been through a Spinal Tap-like number of drummers, but Matt has stayed, and I think Binaural revitalized their D.I.Y. attitude thanks to that. This is a personal favorite, but definitely not for most people. I'd probably get it fourth or fifth. Grade: B+
Riot Act-Ah, the downfall. The comfort of Binaural fell to the wayside as pretention set in. Now, I'm an uber-liberal, but I don't give a crap what Eddie thinks about the political situation. What's worse, is that here, the vaguely written lyrics that were vital in previous albums are overt, lazy lyrics ("It's a disease and they're all green," gosh, heavy handed enough). Maybe I don't like this album because it shows Pearl Jam trying to be important, and nothing is more irritating. Grade: C-
Pearl Jam-I haven't decided if this is worse than Riot Act. It's definitely more bland. I actually just find this album sad, because they're trying too hard to not only be important, but to be popular. Pearl Jam doesn't really make radio rock that well, and when that's what they're trying to make, it's even worse. Grade: D+
A trillion live albums-Good ones are the last Seattle show from their 2002 tour and (I've heard) the State College album where they played for 3 hours. I can attest that the Seattle one has a good mix of everything from Ten to Binaural, and that their playing was tight and energetic.
Lost Dogs-This is actually a really good career spanning collection. I also like it a lot because of sillier songs like "Dirty Frank" that show Eddie to actually have a sense of humor, something that you didn't see past No Code. Grade: B-
Pearl Jam has two eras, popular and post-popularity.
I think the most important album of the post-popularity era is No Code, simply because it demonstrates how they lost their popularity. Yet, I've found that with repeated listenings, you really, really love the playfulness on this album. "Red Mosquito" ranks amongst my favorite Pearl Jam songs, and "Present Tense" is a wonderful song that just builds and builds.
However, for their popular era and overall I think if you're gonna start somewhere you start with Vitalogy. This album is as tight and coherant as Ten (except of course for "Bugs" and "Hey Foxymomma" or whatever that song is; everyone skips it anyway). It has their best ballad ("Betterman"), and their best overall song ("Corduroy"). However, it also has an amazing sense of energy and rawness that was only apparent on Ten and Binaural. The thing that puts this above those two albums is simply that the songs are stronger as a whole.
Okay, now I'm waiting for a lurid Pearl Jam fan to disagree with me.
Last edited by Slushmier; 04-03-2007 at 09:48 PM.
I will disagree with you because I am not a fan and for the overuse of "awsomeness" with a dash of "uber" thrown in to complete a subpar review of Pearl Jams discography.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Pearl Jam review,and not knowing much about their studio albums I now feel better informed about them.That State College gig is amazing btw.At one point they are asking for requests,and somebody shouts out "Satan's Bed" so they go ahead and do it!
My favorite song on there is their version of Gimme Some Truth (by John Lennon),but the whole album is,well,awesome.
Set List: Release, Save You, Animal, Corduroy, Cropduster, Small Town, Even Flow, Grievance, I Am Mine, Improv, Rearviewmirror, Nothingman, Daughter/(Highway to Hell)/(Hell No We Won't Go)/(Another Brick in the Wall), Lukin, Whipping, MFC, Jeremy, Improv #2, Blood;
1st encore: Hide Your Love Away, Gimme Some Truth, Breath, Do The Evolution, Black, Alive;
2nd encore: Last Exit, Mankind, Down, Better Man/(Save It For Later), Satan's Bed, Leaving Here;
3rd encore: Crazy Mary, Porch, Fortunate Son, Rockin' In The Free World, Yellow Ledbetter
Originally Posted by God
You really think that is their best Pot?
Red Medicine. Repeater. The Argument. Steady Diet of Nothing. In On the Kill Taker. 13 Songs. That other one.
Hooray for Fugazi.
That's the other one. I really don't care about End Hits.
let's hope not...
There's no way. Ian Mackaye will never be able to resist the profit motive. Look at The Police.
I'm trying to decide which band to do next... The Doors? (Actually, that's too easy... Just buy all 6 of their albums, go chronologically, but save "The Soft Parade" till last (it's their weakest), and don't bother with Morrison's poetry album "An American Prayer" unless you like to wear berets and secretly smoke cloves in the darkness of your bathroom at midnight.)
Equally as easy is The Stooges. Just buy all 3 of their albums (exclude their new one "The Weirdness") and listen. Prepare yourself a bit in advance for "Raw Power." (BTW, there are two mixes of the album out there, the original David Bowie mix, which is WAAAY more listenable and subdued, and the Iggy Pop "new" mix, which is supposedly how the album was supposed to sound... The Iggy mix is way more loud and grating... So I suggest checking out the OG mix (which you can still buy) on vinyl (or download it), then listening to Iggy's mix... (which is the only one that can be purchased new on CD now...)
Okay, gotta do some work now... Who should I do next? The Beatles? Sonic Youth? I think someone posted that somewhere else in another thread... Oh, I think maybe Sleater-Kinney... Or Aphex Twin... Or... who?
Buy the ticket, take the ride.