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Music

Listened to No Cities Left

Listened No Cities Left from Tumblr

Initial Release Date: April 12, 2003

I was super into this album in 2004/5ish. I haven’t especially liked anything they put out in the past ten years, and haven’t listened to this album in its entirety since 2007, per last.fm. But, their email list is so infrequent I’m apparently still on it 😂 Got an email about the lead singer’s new solo project, didn’t like it, but got the inkling to give this a listen and I’m digging it tonight.

 

Liking Warm and Sunny Days but it doesn’t have a music video 😉

 

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Music

Album roundups

Bookmarked Album Whale | Staff Picks (Album Whale)

People are making lists of albums on Album Whale and you can too!

Visual lists of albums curated by individual people — might be a good place to search for recommendations though if you haven’t heard of the band it’s hard to know if it’s a genre you like 🤷‍♀️

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Music

Played Siamese Dream

Listened Siamese Dream, the Smashing Pumpkins album from Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.

Siamese Dream is the second studio album by American alternative rock band the Smashing Pumpkins, released on July 27, 1993 on Virgin Records. The album has received widespread acclaim by audiences and critics alike, with the album’s musical influences and lyrical material standing out compared to other alternative records released during its time. The album has since been considered “one of the finest alt-rock albums of all time”.

Never heard this whole album before, only Today. I’m trying a new approach to finding new music since it seems Tidal’s a bit harder for me to find new stuff than Spotify, so I asked my husband for a music rec of an old album I’d never gotten around to listening to – he warned me it might be too 90s for me and he was right. A very consistent sound, the whole album fits together well, it’s just overpowering 90s without nostalgia for me. It was fine for the first half but the second half hour felt really long. Disliked Silverfuck and Sweet Sweet, though that could be influenced by being at the end of the album when I was over it 😉

Categories
Music Political Commentary

Played Born in the USA

Listened Born in the USA by Bruce Springsteen from Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.

Born in the U.S.A. is the seventh studio album by American rock singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen. It was released by Columbia Records on June 4, 1984. The album’s music was written by Springsteen and recorded with his E Street Band.

My mom’s a huge Bruce fan so I’ve listened to this album many times over the years. Lately when I listen to Bruce I tend to avoid the more popular stuff like this album, or listen to covers, but today I wanted something upbeat while I was cooking.

Born in the USA – talk about depressing lyrics – if this came out today that background line would be dated but I think we all know it so well it disappears

Cover Me – I like this song, I usually put on the live version but this one’s good too

Darlington County – er, is this about underage girls?

Working on the Highway – er, is this also about underage girls 🧐 fun song though maybe a little dated sounding?

Downbound Train – love the line “now I work down at the carwash / where all it ever does is rain” – he snuck a sad song in that could fit with The River on this mostly uptempo album, although frankly the vast majority of his lyrics are depressing – I’ve been digging Kurt Vile’s cover

I’m on Fire – sweet now a song about cheating 😂 guess as long as you sing it sexy it’s not creepy – definitely hear the eighties in this one – I like the slower tempo cover by AWOLNATION

No Surrender – another song filled with despair covered by a major key and fast beat

Bobby Jean – the first half sounds like it’s about someone committing suicide but the last bit is I guess more straightforward that a friend left town

I’m Going Down – fun to sing along with, sweet backing organ

Glory Days – a popular kid’s anthem? I definitely wouldn’t consider high school “glory days”

Dancing in the Dark – very 80s backing on this – I’ve been listening to Hot Chip’s cover of this a bunch

My Hometown – don’t like this song much, and a low note to end the album on

I’ve kinda always assumed politicians didn’t listen to the lyrics whenever they use a Bruce song but now I’m wondering if they are trying to redirect a deep American disillusionment to their ends, that the depression is a feature and not a bug. If this really is the most American music – that being American means accepting your town’s been destroyed and there’s never going to be good (union) jobs there again, that your friends are gone, your best days are behind you, and there’s nothing you can do about any of it but try to grab a little pleasure? That this emptiness and hopelessness is what Americans identify with? But as long as we claim it we’re not admitting defeat, that we’re proud to be Americans even though our country is a dystopia? It must be some weird badge of honor that we endure this shit? That we must be proud of and defined by this shared suffering because otherwise we’d have to admit how wrong shit is, and how bad it is for so many people?

Categories
Music

Played So

Listened So by Peter Gabriel from petergabriel.com

The first of Peter’s studio albums to have a proper title So was a watershed release in his career. Its marriage of the artistic and the commercial made for an indisputable success, with the album quickly sitting atop the album charts on both sides of the Atlantic. Aside from some intriguing collaborations – with Laurie Anderson on This Is The Picture, Kate Bush on Don’t Give Up and Youssou N’Dour on In Your Eyes – it was the unity of singer, band and producer that made So such a crucial record in the Gabriel canon.

I was obsessed with this album in like 1995-6. I would play the start of Sledgehammer over and over at full blast on our speakers to hear the weird flute-y synth (?) riff. I still like all the songs on the album besides Don’t Give Up. For having a couple massive hits on it — Sledgehammer and In Your Eyes — this is a pretty weird and dark album. Not a lot of pop artists gonna write about a psychologist’s unethical experiments. It’s kind of an odd blend of funky pop and world beat influenced kinda prog rock.

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Music

Played Interpreting the Masters: A Tribute to Van Halen by The Bird and The Bee

Listened Interpreting the Masters, Volume 2: (A Tribute to Van Halen) — The Bird and the Bee | Last.fm from Last.fm

10 tracks (36:02)

On their latest album, L.A.-based duo the bird and the bee cover of some of the most massive and magnificently wild songs from David Lee Roth-era Van Halen.

The fifth full-length from singer Inara George and multi-instrumentalist Greg Kurstin, Interpreting the Masters, Volume 2: A Tribute to Van Halen both sheds new light on the glory of classic VH and further proves the playful brilliance of the bird and the bee. This time around, George and Kurstin find common ground with their source material in a shared affinity for fantastically intricate rhythms, unforgettable melodies, and—most essentially—a certain ecstatic spirit imbued into every song.

Been digging their cover of Panama, so I thought I’d give their whole Van Halen cover album a try and enjoyed it! It’s been years since I listened to Van Halen, but I listened to 1984 enough when I was in high school to feel like they’re pretty ingrained in my memory. These were a fun twist, and made for good bike workout music 😉

Runnin’ with the Devil was too lounge piano-y for me, a shame for the first track to be one of the weakest. Eruption was a great surprise, an ELP-esque classical jam on a rock song. I don’t like the song Jamie’s Cryin’ that much, but I liked this cover. I liked Jump but not enough to add it to my rotation. Funny to end with a slowed-down live version of their own David Lee Roth tribute song, Diamond Dave. Got some ELP / Copland and BOC vibes at various point throughout the album.

I’m kind of surprised to see how few plays some of these songs have on last.fm – just 600 for the first track – but Diamond Dave has 55,000 plays? Must be on a playlist or soundtrack.

Favorite tracks: Panama, Unchained, and Ain’t Talking ’bout Love. I just wish they’d dropped the goofy convo interlude in Unchained.

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Music

Played From Dreams or Angels by Abney Park

Listened From Dreams or Angels — Abney Park | Last.fm by Abney Park from Last.fm

11 tracks (43:37)

Remembering the suggestion I saw the other day of listening to your favorite band’s full catalog in order, I started today with From Dreams or Angels.

I’ve mostly stopped listening to this album, remembering it as sounding a little dated, but I was digging it today. The guitar’s heavier than a lot of their newer stuff, their industrial roots clearer. Some of the recording sounds a little compressed maybe? The only part that sounds really dated is the opening notes of Breathe — but there’s a nice acoustic version at the end of the album 😉

It’s big on the mystical, world music vibe, with varied instrumentation and beats. I like the voice of the female singer, it suits the moodiness. The album opens with a soft, slightly spooky intro, then revs up quickly. Heavy beats carry through the album, feels very danceable. Favorite tracks on re-listen: The Root of All Evil, Thornes & Brambles, Holy War, Kine.

Thematically, the world described in this album is much more traditional fantasy / magic-themed than their later steampunk albums. None of the lyrics spoke to independence / uniqueness / escaping the rat race, which seems a recurring theme later.

It’s a little horrifying to listen to Holy War, which samples news reports about the war in Afghanistan, and realize that it was only last year we finally brought our troops home, a failed war ending in ignominy and needless death. Twenty years after this album was released.

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Music

Played Iconoclast by Abney Park

Listened Iconoclast — Abney Park | Last.fm by Abney Park from Last.fm

15 tracks (50:33)

I’m a huge Abney Park fan, but haven’t listened to this album that much because the CD was really expensive on their pre-order so I only got the digital tracks, and Spotify made it harder / less appealing to listen to your own music library at the same time (and they reasonably don’t release their latest album on Spotify right away so people will actually buy it).

I don’t like the first song, but the rest of the album is good. Several of my favorite tracks are actually from the extended album, which adds five songs.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is fun and delightfully goofy. Keep It Strange captures the feel of the title nicely. Magic Dance is catchy (I never saw the movie it’s from so I don’t know what the original sounds like).

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Music

Played Selling England by the Pound by Genesis

Listened Selling England by the Pound — Genesis | Last.fm by Genesis from Last.fm

Selling England by the Pound is the fifth studio album by Genesis and was recorded and released in 1973. It followed Foxtrot and was the band’s commercial peak with Peter Gabriel, hitting #3 in the UK. The album went gold in the US in 1990.

Holds up pretty well — actually I have a memory of the album being overshadowed by annoying songs, but was less bothered than I remembered 😂

Really like the opening track, “Dancing with the Moonlight Knight.” The first few sung lines do a great job setting a tone. Forgot how much I enjoy “More Fool Me.” It is a head-scratcher to me that “I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)” is the single, when those two are much more enjoyable.

“The Cinema Show” was the worst. The falsetto bits are not good, and it’s really damn long (though not as long as Epping Forest). I like the chorus of “Battle of Epping Forest” but there are other parts of the *11 minute track* 🙄 that annoyed me.

I feel like you don’t see 11-minute tracks anymore now that Spotify / streaming is the main way people listen, and artists get paid by the track. There are some songs that benefit from length, but maybe so many ideas don’t need to be mashed into one uber-song (lookin’ at you Tarkus).

Categories
Music

Played Wermland by Detektivbyrån

Listened Wermland by Detektivbyrån from Detektivbyrån

14 track album

Forgot this album existed! I was rooting through my last.fm data to figure out which albums I’ve listened to the most (actual albums not just one or two songs I played a ton), and this was surprisingly high up. Last.fm says I listened to it last year sometime but 🤷‍♀️ Before that hadn’t listened to it since 2013.

Generation Celebration and Neonland are still my favorite tracks. I feel like Neonland is the sound of happiness.