Top 100 Album Review: #35 – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, David Bowie (1972)

Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am.

The flair and pomp gets more attention, but the album itself is actually good. 91WJORzpHML._SY355_.jpg

Rolling Stone’s Ranking: #35/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550

I was bracing myself for a let down.

Most of the things you find about this album online are about the extracurricular activities: the hairstyles, alter-egos, and concept. I found more words about David Bowie’s supposed sexuality than attention to the music itself. No worries needed here thankfully. There are a handful of great songs that can easily be enjoyed whether you think David’s gay or not.

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Top 100 Album Review: #86 – Let It Be, The Beatles (1970)

It’s Hard Being at the Top.

This album isn’t “Revolver” or “Sgt. Pepper,” but it is still damn good. 51F-JrWga3L.jpg

Rolling Stone’s Ranking: #93/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550

Lebron James is the preeminent athlete of my lifetime. He’s been to eight straight finals, won three, been crowned MVP four times, and continues to pass legend after legend in points, assists, and rebounds. People still think he sucks. 

The Beatles were the world’s peak musical influence. They ruled the entire industry from 1963-1970 with eight albums being considered top 100 worthy. They are the best-selling band of all time for God’s sake with over 800 million albums sold as of 2013. People thought Let It Be was a let down. 

While it is unfortunately the last entry into The Beatle’s catalog, it is still full of great material.

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Top 100 Album Review: #74 – Otis Blue, Otis Redding (1965)

Otis Sings Your Favorite Songs…That You Prefer By Someone Else.

The originals and covers just don’t beat out other versions.
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Rolling Stone’s Ranking: #74/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550

Let’s play a game. Who do you think of when I say “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction?” How about “My Girl?” Does “Respect” make you think of anyone in particular? I doubt Otis Redding’s name bubbled up to your consciousness, but on this album, Otis will remind you how many songs you like by other people. Whether an original or cover, this material only makes you wish you were listening to the other and BETTER version

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Top 100 Album Review: #93 – Sign o’ the Times, Prince (1987)

This Took Forever to Like.

I finally came around to enjoy Prince’s socially conscious and eclectic album. 

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Rolling Stone’s Ranking: #93/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550

Taking a look at the track listing, I recognized one song. This made me real excited. I loved the albums Purple Rain and the Love Symbol, so if this was going to be somewhere between those two, I knew it was going to be awesome.  The space between the best, undeniably great songs on this album (track 1 and 13) was so vast it felt like mostly filler. I was so deflated. 

It’s been around a year since I downloaded it. Somehow giving it tries at random intervals finally clicked. I still wouldn’t say this is grand material (and I would quickly recommend other albums in front of this one), but it’s a much better album than what my previous self would have considered.

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Top 100 Album Review: #22 – Plastic Ono Band, John Lennon (1970)

Personal But Not Transcendent.

The Album Where Lennon Bares All Leaves Me Asking — Would I Ever Want to Listen to These Songs Again?

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Rolling Stone’s Ranking: #22/100
My Rating:cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550

Many songs on this album are decent, but the big catch is that it’s all about John. These songs are deeply personal and pretty indulgent, a result of some alternative therapy Lennon was getting in California with Yoko Ono. Each song is from the first person perspective. He talks about his life, family, anxiety, politics, and fame. Some of the popularity stems from this — you really get to understand what John is thinking because that’s all he sings about.

This makes the material very awkward to listen to outside of the album, not to mention the duds. There isn’t one powerful single that can stand on its own merits. Trying to add any songs into my mega 70s playlist on Spotify makes little sense.

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Top 100 Album Review: #3 – Revolver, The Beatles (1966)

Best Beatles’ Album of All-Time

I’m officially part of the movement to usurp Sgt. Pepper as the apex. 

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Rolling Stone’s Ranking: #3/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550

Revolver is when things got “weird” for the Beatles. They sped recordings up, layered multiple tracks on top of one another, and hid secret messages that could only be discovered by playing the album backwards. It was also released under some tenuous circumstances, with John Lennon comparing the band to Jesus and some drug-referenced singles being withheld from the American release.

After their break up, many claimed that Sgt. Pepper was the pinnacle point of Beatles goodness. I am going to have to disagree; Revolver beats it out track for track, and if not for the drama, would clearly be cemented as the top work they ever did.

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Top 100 Album Review: #76 – Imagine, John Lennon (1971)

Extremely Eclectic.

Lennon throws everything at the wall and finds things that sticks. 

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Rolling Stone’s Ranking: #76/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550cropped-smooth-star-e1545862962550

We are now entering the uncharted realm of post-Beetles work. I have discovered so many hidden finds in Sgt. Pepper, Revolver, The White Album, Abbey Road, and Let It Be that I’ve only written one review on those works so far; I’m just not ready to put those experiences into words. There is so much material. I need more time to let it sink in.

I was wondering how everything would work when they split up. It’s evident as a group that they covered each other’s blind spots. Lennon was iconoclastic and not afraid to tread into weird domains, but McCartney kept him honest and found ways to use lyrics and traditional pop to keep him grounded. Lennon’s second solo album is a solid go, but you can’t help but Imagine what some of the songs could have been With a Little Help From His Friends*.

*I hate myself for making this joke. 

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