The Beatles finally arrive to adulthood.
Rolling Stone’s Ranking: #5/100
One of the best adult moments I’ve had is experiencing the music of The Beatles. Consider that I almost made it to 30 before really appreciating the breadth and endless selection from the best band of all time. How did I avoid it for so long?
When I was younger, I was extremely pro African American music. I was the only white 17 year old I knew in the county of Hanover that could list every Stevie Wonder album and owned Marvin Gaye shirts. When driving my friends around, I felt it was my job to introduce them to Ray Charles, The Four Tops, and the like.
Out of spite, I defended it against all potential perpetrators, particularly The Beatles. My main evidence? The early creampuff pop entries that were fueled by Beatlemania and teenage girl hysteria. I didn’t know, or care to find out, about the later albums when the band grew up and began to push music forward in all sorts of ways.
Rubber Soul is the demarcation. After this album, The Beatles were no longer boys singing about wanting to hold your hand. There might still be a lot of relationship talk, but the edginess and experimentation is evident. There was no going back after this.
Continue reading “Top 100 Album Review: #5 – Rubber Soul, The Beatles (1965)”
Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am.
The flair and pomp gets more attention, but the album itself is actually good.
Rolling Stone’s Ranking: #35/100
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.
Continue reading “Top 100 Album Review: #35 – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, David Bowie (1972)”
What Can Jimi Not Do?
A debut album that show cases the wide range of Hendrix’s talents — guitar riffs, thoughtful lyrics, original compensations.
Rolling Stone’s Ranking: #15/100
Another example of me listening to the original album when I knew the greatest hits, “Are You Experienced” is a reminder that there is plenty hidden in the full record.
I had previously listened to Ray Charles’ Atlantic R&B Collection and Little Richard’s Eponymous album, and I can’t help but see the continuation of what was becoming a 20 year project: taking the foundations of music and twisting in ways never done before.
Jimi Hendrix’s use of guitar sends you to an incorporeal place, being left in awe of his mastery of the instrument. His interpretation of R&B, gospel, jazz, rock, and soul might be the best attempt yet. Continue reading “Top 100 Album Review: #15 – Are you Experienced, Jimi Hendrix (1967)”
Rip-Roaring Rock, Start to Finish
Rollingstone Magazine’s ranking: #91/100
I came of age in a post-album era. iTunes purchases were only .99 per song, and we picked apart an artist’s catalog like making our plates at a buffet.
I wonder what this has done to our musical palate: we don’t give ourselves time to give any songs a chance, never mind giving a whole album with a variety of lyrics and tunes an opportunity to impress us.
I only knew about Elton John via his greatest hits. But, that kind of leaves me with no idea of who Elton really was as an artist. I feel like it has been said that we get to know an artist through their “B-Side” (which is a reference to the other song that was sold with a single when it was a physical 45RPM vinyl disc), so I was blissfully unaware of anything beyond “Crocodile Rock” and such.
Elton John was born in 1947 and has had an illustrious career starting with his first album in 1969 (Empty Sky) culminating throughout the years to make him the 5th best selling artist of all-time, having 50 (FIFTY) top 40 hits and releasing 30 studio albums. So we know Elton can write a hit, and many of them, but how does his album work hold up?
Continue reading “Top 100 Album Review: #91 – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road – Elton John (1973)”