Wednesday, 23 January 2013

1001 Albums Update: 307 and counting!

Long long looooong time since I've given an update on this. I figured having made so much progress since last time I should be more economical with this update, so I'll split the album's I've heard into three categories: yay (stuff I liked), nay (stuff I didn't) and meh (stuff that didn't make much impression).


  • Madonna - Ray Of Light, Music 
Yeah I think it's acceptable to listen to Madonna sometimes, sue me! Well, except for that ill-advised cover of "American Pie" on Music: What were you thinking Madge?
  • Biggie Smalls - Ready To Die
Song #1 I've always heard but never put a name to til now: turns out the student bar I lived above at Dalton Ellis played "Juicy" every other week. "Big Poppa" is irresistibly catchy as well.

  • Hole - Live Through This, Celebrity Skin 
Sounds like Kurt Cobain had his fingerprints all over Live Through This, but Celebrity Skin proved Courtney Love could write a good record on her own too.
    • System of a Down - System of a Down (SoaD tow the line between flat out ace metal and flat out crazy so perfectly)
    • Television - Marquee Moon (This was a really good listen, an obvious influence on The Strokes)
    • Violent Femmes - Violent Femmes
    Song #2 I've always kept hearing without putting a name to: "Blister In The Sun". Terrific, as is the rest of the album, a great ode to teenage frustration.


    • Creedence Clearwater Revival - Green River, Bayou Country ("Bad Moon Rising"! "Proud Mary!" "Good Golly Miss Molly"! This is the good stuff right here.)
    • Randy Newman - Sail Away (Well it's not the Toy Story soundtrack, but it's great nonetheless)
    • Eminem - The Slim Shady LP, The Marshall Mathers LP
    Oh man this takes me right back to my childhood here, I remember when I used to visit my cousin and we'd play his copy of Marshall Mathers and laugh our arses off at the swearing. We were 10 at the time and tracks like "Kill You", "Criminal" and "The Real Slim Shady" just sounded incredible. Eminem never topped that record.
    • Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Deja Vu/ Neil Young with Crazy Horse - Ragged Glory/ David Crosby - If Only I Could Remember My Name
    I've found myself seriously getting into more of Neil Young's work and that of his collaborators after reading his book Waging Heavy Peace, which is excellent.

    Unsurprisingly I enjoyed Neil's contributions to Deja Vu ("Helpless" and "Country Girl"), but I also found myself surprisingly familiar with Graham Nash's "Teach Your Children Well" and "Our House" (and yes it IS that song used on some advert recently, can't think which off the top of my head.)

    Crosby's If Only I Could Remember My Name is also great, "Music Is Love" (featuring Young on backing vocals) and "Song With No Words" being my favourites. David was also formerly a member of The Byrds and features on the excellent Fifth Dimension amongst others.

    But the undisputed best of the bunch was Ragged Glory, Young & Crazy Horse at their heavy rocking best. Filled with riffs and solos to die for, "F*!#in' Up" and "Love To Burn" being particular highlights.
    • De La Soul - 3 Feet High and Rising ("How high's the water mama?" Anybody who samples Johnny Cash intelligently is alright by me)
    • Travis - The Man Who ("Why does it aaaalways raaaaain on meeeeeeee?")
    • The Who - The Who Sell Out, Who's Next?
    I had the pleasure of listening to my Dad's vinyl of these records while I was home at Christmas. Who's Next? was my favourite, but The Who Sell Out was also excellent - with all the skits between songs ("Radio Lon-doooooon") it felt more like a time capsule than a record.
    • The Velvet Underground & Nico - The Velvet Underground & Nico (Well I knew I'd love this what with practically half the album being on the Velevet Underground Best Of I have.)
    • Pink Floyd - The Wall (Am I getting old? Just like the other Floyd albums on the list I loved this.)
    • Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz
    Another one I've had on Spotify for years and couldn't remember if I'd hear the whole way through. Worth it for "Zero" and "Heads Will Roll" alone. Plus, I only just realised the album cover is of someone breaking an egg in their hand!

    • Aretha Franklin - Lady Soul
    This was Aretha at her peak right here. "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman", "Chain Of Fools" ("Chain chain chaaaaaaain", so effortlessly cool), plus her take on Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready" (which Springsteen also liberally borrows from these days). Fantastic.
    • Todd Rundgren - Something/Anything? (For some reason I had low expectations for this, despite Rundgren having produced several other albums in the book, but I really enjoyed it, the first disc especially)
    • Fleetwood Mac - Tusk (A worthy follow up to Rumours, whose colossal success is probably why this album gets overlooked. "Over And Over" is one of my favourites.)
    • The Jesus and Mary Chain - Darklands (Considering that my ears were met with pure, unendurable feedback when I gave a Jesus and Mary Chain best of a listen a few years ago, this album is surprisingly melodic.)
    • Snoop Dogg - Doggystyle (G-Funk at it's best, an absolute classic)
    I also enjoyed (deep breath...)
    • Ice Cube - AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted
    • Nas - Illmatic
    • Jay Z - The Blueprint 
    • Common - Be 
    • Elvis Presley - Elvis Presley 
    • The Clash -The Clash 
    • Motorhead - Ace Of Spades
    • Buena Vista Social Club - Buena Vista Social Club 
    • Booker T & The M.G's - Green Onions 
    • Rush - Moving Pictures 
    • Janis Joplin - Pearl  (More music I heard from adverts first! "Mercedes Benz" is a classic)

    • Sonic Youth - Sister 
    • Wire - Pink Flag 
    • The Sonics - Here Are The Sonics 
    • Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
    • The Doors - LA Woman
    • Depeche Mode - Violator, Music For The Masses
    • The Police - Regatta De Blanc
    • Carole King - Tapestry
    • The Mama's & Papas - If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears
    • The Byrds - Fifth Dimension, The Notorious Byrd Brothers
    • The Mekons - Fear and Whiskey 


    • Captain Beefheart & His Magical Band - Safe As Milk, Trout Mask Replica (Oh good lord these albums just made me ears hurt. The opposite of SoaD - the weirdness of this music really hurt my enjoyment of it.)
    • Can - Future Days, Tago Mago/ Neu! - Neu (This is krautrock? How disappointing. My first impressions were "...well where's the rock?")
    • Jean Michel Jarre - Oxygene
    And here's one last example of a song I've heard for years but never been able to name! (skip to 1:43 in the video below). Rather like Tubular Bells this just left me a bit cold.

    • Tortoise - Millions Now Living Will Never Die (I can't believe a band called Tortoise would disappoint me so much.)
    • Frank Zappa - Hot Rats
    • Butthole Surfers - Locust Abortion Technician
    • Slipknot - Slipknot, All Hope Is Gone


    • Van Morrison - Moondance (In fairness this was much more my cup of tea than Astral Weeks)
    • Iron Butterfly - In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida: 
    Turns out The Simpsons were right, the title track was supposed to be called "In The Garden Of Eden", but lead singer Doug Ingle was so drunk when he wrote it, his bandmates couldn't understand him and wrote the title down phonetically. Shame the album is the very definition of a one track album.

    • Queens of the Stone Age - Queens of the Stone Age (Why do QOTSA keep disappointing me? I've heard people effuse with praise for them yet I've only liked a handful of their songs.)
    • Tim Buckley - Goodbye and Hello (Jeff's Dad! Who sadly was taken from us before he was 30 too. I think my expectations of this album were too high.) 
    • Iron Maiden - Number Of The Beast (Well at least it had "Run To The Hills") 
      • Brian Eno - Here Come The Warm Jets, Ambient 1: Music For Airports, Before and After Science (OK, Before and After Science is more "yay" than "meh" really, the thematic split halfway through the album worked really well. But the point is on the whole I've found Eno's work a bit of a let down)
      Also not quite doing enough to gain my affections were...
      • Sly & The Family Stone - There's A Riot Goin' On
      • The Jeff Beck Group - Trust
      • Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
      • The Grateful Dead - American Beauty
      • James Taylor - Sweet Baby James
      • Magazine - Real Life
      • Gang Of Four - Entertainment
      • Killing Joke - Killing Joke
      • War - The World is a Ghetto
      • Dr. John - Gris Gris
      • A Tribe Called Quest - People's Instinctive Travels Through the Paths of Rhythm
      • G Love & Special Sauce -  G Love & Special Sauce
      • The Bee Gees - Odessa 

      Whew, I'll try not to leave it so long between updates next time. See you soon!