Amph What was the last album you purchased/heard?

Discussion in 'Community' started by Darth Morella, Aug 5, 2004.

  1. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    10,000 Days (2006) ? Tool

    My introduction to Tool, really, and, after years of hearing them more or less pilloried all over the place, I was surprised to find this album not particularly bad. One expects to eventually tire of ambient, droning avant garde musical experimentation, but it?s actually the reverse on this album. At the end of the day, the title track, eleven minutes or not, may be the best track on it. And stuff like Viginti Tres and Lipan Conjuring may be considered filler by some, but it works better than rave ups like The Pot for me.

    Below the Salt (1972) ? Steeleye Span

    Brit group with the rotating lineup take the folkie route in repertoire, but the modern route in arrangement. Gaudete, from this album, was both their biggest hit and entirely accapella, but on most of the old ballads, electric guitars twang and drums pound the beat along. A delightful album that ranges from the nightmarish horror ballad of King Henry to the undeniably transcendent lightness of Guadete. The Royal Forester is worth the whole album all by itself.

    The Best Carols in the World . . . Ever (2005) ? Various Artists

    A two disc set of luminaries in the choral scene, Bach Choir, Choir of King?s College, Huddersfield Choral Society, etc., assaying to work through the body of classic English Christmas carols. Everything from the standbys (Away in a Manger, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, O Little Town of Bethlehem) to the obscurities (When an Angel Host Entuned, Adam Lay Ibounden, Sans Day Carol) is here and there are occasional moments of unbelievable greatness. For instance, once you hear the Bach Choir do Gabriel?s Message, you?ll never want to hear Sting do it again. But, with 25 songs on the first disc and 27 on the second, all with basically the same choral sound, they do begin to blend together by the end. Still, an interesting listen, even if I think I could have been satisfied with a much less rigorous collection.

    So (1986) ? Peter Gabriel

    Dragging out one of the definitive palate cleansers, a near perfect album that absolutely washes away everything in your mind to feel like the only music you?ve ever heard in your life. From the glorious, R&B stomp of Sledgehammer to the rampaging satire of Big Time to the luminous gospel melancholy of Don?t Give Up and Mercy Street, this album just hits every post on the spectrum. And somehow, I?ve managed to not include In Your Eyes, one of the most iconic songs of all time, in my rundown of the four best songs on the album, which tells you how good it is. Every time I hear it, it just gets me all over again.

    Bad (1987) ? Michael Jackson

    It isn?t his best album. For albums from his actual solo career, both Thriller and Off the Wall exceed it. Adding in The Jackson 5, I?d say ABC is certainly a better album. If you throw in greatest hits comps, then there are a couple of those that are better all around than this album. But this is a good album, if not entirely a great one. The Man in the Mirror remains one of Jackson?s finest moments and other songs here are not at all bad, even if they aren?t that great.
  2. emilsson Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6
    Robin Hood Prince of Thieves Original Soundtrack - Michael Kamen

    One of the first scores that made me interested in soundtracks. I still love the main theme.

    Something here - Debbie Wiseman and The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

    This is a collection of themes Wiseman has done for various movies. Absolutely lovely arrangements and the sound quality is fantastic.
  3. Boba_Fett_2001 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 11, 2000
    star 8
    I enjoy this album but you need to pick up Lateralus immediately. It's not of this world.
  4. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    Highly Evolved (2002) ? The Vines

    It?s sort of risible now that The Vines were once considered part of the salvation of rock?n?roll, right along with The White Stripes. Risible when you wonder where the Vines are now; but not so risible when you listen to this album again. It?s pretty well all great. The punk ravers, like the title track, are short, raucous blasts of energy; the ballads, like Autumn Shade and Country Yard, are evocative, imagery driven melancholic zone outs. And then occasionally they just do something really worth hearing, like Factory, a punk/reggae smash up that manages to make you think that maybe you should go hear ObLaDiObLaDa again, which is something I never expect to think. Goes a bit long and the last half of the album starts to drag a bit, but it?s still an exceptionally strong album and it still holds up.

    Saturday Night Fever (1977) ? Various Artists

    Disco?s one towering achievement was certainly this film and accompanying soundtrack. It?s the only disco album I own and I doubt I?ll ever get rid of it; this is because it really is what all those compilation albums claim to be: the only disco album you really need. It?s epic in length and the moments of greatness are unparalleled in the history of the genre. Every track is a winner, from the Bee Gees? swaggering entrance to The Trammps? ten minute flaming burn out. And the next time someone tries to tell you that I take music too seriously, remind them that I love A Fifth of Beethoven.

    Rattle and Hum (1988) ? U2

    A few years down the road and the fact that U2 spent an entire album evoking the legends of American music seems less offensive, since almost anyone with any sense acknowledges that U2 have become legends in their own right. All the fuss just seems silly now. The live cuts are generally great; Helter Skelter and All Along the Watchtower are barnburners and the version of Pride here is about fifty times better than the one on The Unforgettable Fire. The remake of I Still Haven?t Found What I?m Looking For is great and, while the new songs aren?t consistently great (or even good; Van Damiens? Land? Please), there are some real winners there. Desire and All I Want Is You stand among U2?s body of works without shame and When Love Comes to Town is pretty great too. Sadly, we?re missing the storming version of Where the Streets Have No Name from the movie and the ?also better than TUF? version of Bad. Oh, well; this isn?t their best, but listening to it now, I can?t quite figure out what everyone thought was so awful. It?s certainly nowhere near as labored or awful as TUF.

    I Wish You a Merry Christmas (2001) ? Bing Crosby

    White Christmas is nowhere to be heard on this one; I suppose most people think that?s all there is to Crosby and Christmas. As it stands, however, this album isn?t very good. Crosby has a wonderful voice and, at times, brilliant delivery. But the material and the backing music lets him down; it alls runs together into schmaltz. Crosby deserved better than crap like The Littlest Angel and Christmas Dinner Country Style.

    Biograph (1985) ? Bob Dylan

    The best boxed set ever? Oh, yes. On three epic length CDs, the entirety of Dylan?s career, in all its myriad phases and stranges, gets laid out for us. The hits are here, so are the B-sides, so are the live versions, so are the unreleased demos, all sequenced in a way that?s completely intuitive and has no logical train that you?ll be able to figure out until you?ve heard the whole set through about fifteen times. Which, by the by, you will most certainly want to do. No one can argue with some of the songs here, which are routinely mentioned as among the greatest ever. What?s most shocking is discovering that Dylan?s vaults are packed full of songs that are every bit as good; Caribbean Wind, Percy?s Song, Lay Down Your Weary Tune, Up to Me . . . these are songs that instantly climbed high up my list of best Dylan tunes, songs that, for whatever reason, were shelved at the time they
  5. somethingfamiliar Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 20, 2003
    star 5
    There's a few more of those original Blood on the Tracks tracks on the Bootleg Series Vol I-III release. I thought those were really good versions. There's an interesting article on the dylanchords site iirc which guesses that the originals were scrapped because Dylan used the same alternate tuning in the same idiosyncratic way throughout the session and later thought that the songs sounded too much alike as a result.
  6. DanyKenobi340 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 15, 2009
    star 3
    Almost Alice...where I became a major Cure/Robert Smith fan
  7. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    High Violet, by The National. Absolutely magnificent. If you don't own it (and you probably don't), you need to.
  8. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    Gotta Have Gospel (2003) ? Various Artists

    Two disc set of various black gospel artists. The first disc is more urban funk sound, tighter, tauter, more studio trickery; the second is more live performances, energetic, vibrant, anointed. The second disc is better; I?ve heard the song On Time God before, or so I thought, but I was proven wrong upon hearing Dottie Peoples just ripping it up in a live performance. And don?t miss The Colorado Mass Choir?s moving Speak Life and Jeff Major?s aching cover of Elvis? Somebody Bigger.

    i 2 Eye (1988) ? Michael W. Smith

    Pretty great album from probably my favorite Christian pop artist. Secret Ambition is still one of his best songs and I Hear Leesha is a calm, beautiful meditation on grief. Occasionally, as on the intro and outro of The Throne or the instrumental Ashton, wears its eighties instrumentation and production too obviously. But most of the album still sounds great, even if dated. But we need a remaster of this; it?s mixed annoyingly low.

    Stand (2006) ? Avalon

    Not a patch on their best work. Only Orphans of God is really a great song on this one. Get The Very Best of Avalon instead.

    American Recordings (1994) ? Johnny Cash

    Surely no one needs convincing on this one anymore; the beginning of one of the most amazing artistic comebacks in the history of recorded music (Bob Dylan?s equally brilliant one started three years later; great decade for comebacks, the nineties). Cash just sells these songs like he always could. Every song is a winner; Delia?s Gone, Let the Train Blow the Whistle, Down There By the Train, Redemption, Like a Soldier, Drive On . . . these measure among the finest songs of his entire career.

    Another Time, Another Place (2008) ? Avalon

    Avalon covering a lot of CCM standards. About the only one that works is a storming cover of Twila Paris? God Is In Control. And Michael W. Smith?s Place in This World is such a great pop song, nothing could kill it, I don?t think. The album closes with a re-recording of Avalon?s own definitive hit, Testify to Love; it, in keeping with the theme of the album, is annoying and not nearly as good as their original recording. This is a great playlist they came up with; just get the original versions, not the covers.
  9. emilsson Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 5, 1998
    star 6
    I've started to feel in need of new music so I got some compilations from Rough Trade Records with some new indie bands. There are indeed a few great tracks and bands on both albums, like The School (they got some really sweet melodies). I also bought Pandemonium - Live at the o2 by Pet Shop Boys. Great live album! I love the version of "King's Cross", one of my all time favourite songs.
  10. duende Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 28, 2006
    star 5
    Yo La Tengo - Today Is The Day! ep

    officially out of print, to boot!
  11. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    Testify to Love: The Very Best of Avalon (2003) ? Avalon

    Christian dance pop group?s best of compilation that still hasn?t been bettered. Most groups you need to dig a little deeper than the greatest hits comp, but with Avalon . . . possibly not (with the exception of their fabulous Christmas album, Joy). This is an incredibly strong set of songs and, frankly, it?s about every great song they?d ever recorded up to 03 and since their work since has been beyond patchy, I recommend this as your one stop shopping trip to the Avalon market.

    Best Loved Christmas Carols (2004) ? King?s College Choir of Cambridge

    Two CD set of choral arrangements of Christmas carols. I was not particularly enamored of this and if I wasn?t that keen, that probably means it would put any normal human being right to sleep. There were occasional great moments, as in A Child Is Born in Bethlehem, but most of the songs were forgettable, if not outright risible. Yes, indeed, they do a version of Ding Dong Merrily On High, which just the title can set me off into hysterics.

    I Can Only Imagine: Ultimate Power Anthems of the Christian Faith (2004) ? Various Artists

    Generally likable two CD set; neither CD is much over fifty minutes, which is a little annoying, but the song selection is pretty solid with a few notable exceptions, such as is Butterfly Kisses really a ?power anthem,? and why does Paul Baloche get three songs when even Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant only get two? Still, small quibbles. A very good CD set. Currently back in stores with a third CD as I noted at Target the other day; couldn?t say as to the third one.

    Waiting to Exhale (1995) ? Various Artists

    A surprisingly solid soundtrack. The music is all produced by Babyface who was somehow both the best and the worst thing about adult contemp R&B, back when that genre actually existed. You know, back BG (Before Gaga)? Most of the women singing here are given to being divas and ticcish, but there are some great moments. Aretha Franklin slays Hurts Like Hell, Whitney Houston delivers a surprisingly great Why Does It Hurt So Bad, TLC makes you forget that most of CrazySexyCool sucked with This is How It Works (Let it bowowounce to the mutha-******? ounce and maybe Left Eye was never this sexy anywhere else) and Faith Evans does a fantastic ballad called Kissing You. It gets pretty maudlin and pretty boring at times, but well, that was Babyface; blowing your mind one second, putting you to sleep the next.

    The Rising (2002) ? Bruce Springsteen

    Well, with the 00s finally behind us, it finally happened. Really and truly, The Rising was, at last, as I always knew it would end up being, the best album of the decade. I?ve been saying that it would be at about six months intervals ever since I first heard this one way back when. I still say it?s the most astonishing album Springsteen has ever done, a moving hymn of grief, resolve, anger, terror and, amazingly, faith, hope and love. It took a country shaking tragedy to finally wrench out the gospel tinged, life affirming hopeful album that Springsteen has been suppressing all these years. But it was worth the wait. I?ve heard this countless times and it?s never failed to move me nearly absolutely. All of human existence is in this album; devastated, enraged, stricken, pressing on. Amen, brother Bruce, amen. And it deserves points for kickstarting yet another late career renaissance (just five years after Dylan started his and eight years after Cash started his). The 00s were a great decade for returning statesmen; it was certainly Springsteen?s best period since the early eighties. Welcome back, old friend; stick around, won?t you? Better yet, meet me at Mary?s place; we?re gonna have a party.
  12. VanLiz Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 13, 2002
    star 1
    Duran Duran's Greatest Hits.

    I rediscovered the older songs like 'Rio' which is fun and 'Is There Something I Should Know'. I also discovered a few newer songs that I didn't realize were theirs like 'Serious' and 'Come Undone'. They really did seem to care about making good music and don't seem to be as shallow they were portrayed.

    I was not a diehard Duran Duran fan when I was 14 but I gave them a chance because I liked the sound of the bass. I didn't even know that the one playing the bass was John Taylor (I only knew that their lead singer was Simon Le Bon).
  13. The_Four_Dot_Elipsis Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2005
    star 5
    Silk Degrees by Boz Scaggs and Breakfast in America by Supertramp.

    I don't know whether I'm more disturbed by the fact that I bought them, or by the fact that I'm not actually ashamed.
  14. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    Carried Along (2000) ? Andrew Peterson

    The spirit of Rich Mullins hangs heavy over this melancholy, folk-tinged acoustic gospel album. Peterson?s voice isn?t aesthetically pleasing, but he talks about faith and real life in an amazingly incisive and poetic way. This album just never gets old. I?ve heard it countless times and it always carries me somewhere profound and wonderful. A word for the astonishing Gabe Scott who plays about every acoustic stringed instrument in existence on this album; Peterson is an amazing lyricist and melodicist; Scott is an incredible instrumentalist. Together, they make an album of broken hearts, quiet hope and a devastated faith.

    Adventures of the O.C. Supertones (1996) ? O.C. Supertones

    An astonishing debut. This is perhaps not high art, unless the most fun you?ve ever had is high art. Energetic, pulsing with pure joy and exuberance and a laugh riot from start to finish. An incredibly great album that breezes by at sixty miles an hour and leaves you feeling like you?ve just been on the mountaintop. The Supertones started slowing down and smoothing out immediately; this debut is their rawest and most raucous and I wouldn?t have them any other way. Still their best? I think so.

    Precious Memories (2006) ? Alan Jackson

    Intolerably dull, sleepy eyed and vacuously reverent collection of gospel hymns reworked by Alan Jackson to include as much crooning vocals over lightly humming organs as possible. The album only comes to life once, when Jackson nearly beats his acoustic guitar into submission over a pumping medley of Are You Washed In the Blood and I?ll Fly Away. Beyond that, this album is a long hard slog. I?m a Christian and this album nearly put me to sleep. Gospel still has to be good.

    Healing Rain (2004) ? Michael W. Smith

    Fantastic Christian pop album from probably the best Christian artist around. Prior to this, Smith had stepped out of the studio to do a live worship album, an orchestral instrumental album, a second live worship album and then The Second Decade, a immaculately produced collection of the greatest hits from years 11 ? 20 of his career. His return to the studio heralded great things; this album is one of his best studio albums, though it can?t touch I?ll Lead You Home, still his absolute masterwork. Since then, he hasn?t really delivered; his heart isn?t really in the studio anymore. This album reveals why that?s a tragedy.

    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) ? Howard Shore

    Fellowship is probably still my favorite score, but this one, just like Two Towers, is strong competition. This album is almost entirely given over to overwhelming darkness, a pure sturm und drang album if ever I heard one. Wagner would be pleased with most of this, I think. The End of All Things is the emotional high point of the trilogy and the music suits it. And, in Annie Lennox?s astounding vocal on Into the West, this one has the best closer.
  15. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    12 Songs (1970) ? Randy Newman

    There?s nothing quite like this indelible album. It?s a slice of pure Americana and, for once, an Americana album embraces both the positives and negatives of that title. Newman?s warm, avuncular vocals mix with his sloppy, charming piano style on sweet, witty songs (Lover?s Prayer), bitter, witty songs (My Old Kentucky Home, Underneath the Harlem Moon), terrifying, witty songs (Let?s Burn Down the Cornfield, Suzanne) and any other kind of witty song you could want. Still an incredible musical achievement and one of the best albums of its decade.

    Master of Puppets (1986) ? Metallica

    I still can?t really get my head around the fact that this album is nearly twenty-five years old. It?s certainly Metallica?s best studio album and, along with S&M, their crowning artistic achievement. Pure ferocity and unbridled rage; this is an album that you could listen to while sitting absolutely still and you?d still be drenched in sweat by the time it was over. It?s an absolutely perfect album; every song on the album is a masterpiece and I?ve spun it dozens of times without it ever losing its charm. On the contrary, actually; I end up thinking its even better than I remembered every time I listen to it.

    Acoustic Sketches (1996) ? Phil Keaggy

    Keaggy is a masterful guitarist, both acoustic and electric. For his great electric work, I recommend his astoundingly great Crimson and Blue, still his best album. This one is over an hour of acoustic guitar instrumentals, the vast majority composed or improvised by Keaggy. The album has patches of dead space if you?re not an acoustic fanatic, which I?m not. But it also has patches of absolute greatness, no matter what kind of music you like. The swinging Jam in Pocket is brilliant, the seven minute 50th is an epic hymn medley and Keaggy?s rootsy version of Swing Low Sweet Chariot is one of the best things he?s ever done.

    The Essential Bob Dylan (2000) ? Bob Dylan

    Two disc set. This is no replacement for Biograph, but then it?s not trying to be. These are the big titles in Dylan?s catalogue, starting with Blowin? in the Wind and ending with Things Have Changed. We can argue all day about which songs should be here that aren?t (Masters of War, The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll) and which ones are here that shouldn?t be (You Ain?t Going Nowhere, Jokerman), but at the end of the day, Dylan?s artistry wins out and you?d rather just listen to the songs than argue. A great place to start with Dylan.

    Deep Enough to Dream (1997) ? Chris Rice

    Luminous, astonishing debut from folk-gospel singer/songwriter. Rice?s voice is one of the most astounding in contemporary music, a Caetano Veloso-esque tenderness exuding from every syllable. And his lyrics are always brilliant; he thinks and talks about faith in wonderful, evocative, mature ways. He?s never glib, always thoughtful and aware of the contradictions of faith. Beautiful music. We need more like him; always have, always will.

  16. The_Four_Dot_Elipsis Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2005
    star 5
    A whole slew for my birthday: The Best of Stealers Wheel, The Essential Earth, Wind & Fire, Toto IV, Africa: The Very Best of Toto, and The Very Best of The Doobie Brothers.

    Toto IV in particular I'd been hankering to get, as I'd been listening to the LP non-stop. It doesn't have a single dud track, which amazes me to no end. There's probably only one song that is musically "interesting," and that's "It's a Feeling" but the rest are all tracks I'll be listening to repeatedly.

    The Stealers Wheel album is interesting, in that it's proto-Gerry Rafferty. Being familiar with what he'd do later, I like hearing what he took with him from Stealers Wheel, the kind of sounds he obviously felt comfortable with, and then other things that he ditched entirely.

    The Doobie Brothers album amuses me though - the first disc being the pre McDonald stuff, and the second disc being predominantly McDonald's work, and just how wildly divergent the songs are. I like both I guess, but the earlier stuff seems a lot "cooler" for lack of a better word. Harder, anyway. In spite of that, I still think "What a Fool Believes" has to be one of the most perfect mainstream pop songs ever.
  17. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    Third Verse (2000) ? Smalltown Poets

    Fantastic, unassuming pop-punk gospel album. These guys can rock it, as on the storming album closer 100 Billion Watts, or tell a moving story with grace and wit, as on the lilting No Kinder Savior. Hardly a bad song in the bunch. And, oh, yes, their cover of Beautiful, Scandalous Night? Definitive.

    What a Wonderful Christmas (1997) ? Various Artists

    Jazz compilation of Christmas tunes. Filled with some of the most incredible things you?ll ever hear; Louis Armstrong scatting it out on Winter Wonderland, Lena Horne letting out a whoop of sheer exultation on a raved up Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Duke Ellington pecking out a syncopated Jingle Bells on his piano. There are dull moments, courtesy of Mel Torme and Peggy Lee, but what can one say? On the whole, a fantastically joyous album.

    90 (1989) ? 808 State

    Brilliant early Brit-electronica album. The music still has a little eighties tinge too it and is occasionally somewhat dated. But most of the time, it?s either not or you don?t care, being so invested in dancing that you don?t particularly care what year it is. Radiohead wouldn?t exist without these guys obviously and it?s worth noting that they made a big deal about the 808 decades before Kanye. Quite a wonderful, exuberant album.

    Axis: Bold As Love (1967) ? The Jimi Hendrix Experience

    Neither as arresting and immediate as Are You Experienced or as epic and experimental as Electric Ladyland, Axis still has a lot to offer and its more a reflection of just how intense and deep those other two albums were than a reflection of how shallow this one is. Most groups would kill to put out an album this good, so let?s not count it out. Sure, I loathe EXP, but If 6 Was 9 is still maybe as close as Hendrix ever came to a real manifesto and a serious contender for his best song. And then there?s Little Wing, a luminous, lovely song and Castles Made of Sand, one of Hendrix?s rare forays into absolute empathy as a vehicle for a song. And, of course, everyone is musically up to snuff. A great album, if probably the least of the Experience?s studio albums.

    Ride the Lightning (1984) ? Metallica

    It?s sandwiched between debut Kill ?Em All and their best album, Master of Puppets. Frankly, I think it?s not as good as either of them, nor as consistent. It?s certainly better than the deadly And Justice For All and probably more or less tied with the Black Album. Some of the songs here are a bit labored, whereas none of the songs on Kill ?Em All were; I could do without Trapped Under Ice, Fight Fire With Fire, etc. But too the band is stretching toward something entirely new without losing sight of their energy. Creeping Death is an unjustly forgotten masterpiece and For Whom the Bell Tolls and Fade to Black are still, even after all the great songs they?ve done since, among the absolute top of the line masterpieces. A must hear album, if not as consistent as their work since.
  18. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    Bytes (1993) ? Various Artists

    Astoundingly forward looking electronica album from Black Dog Productions and Warp Records. The album is over an hour of generally medium length bleep and blat tracks, if you know what I mean, but it?s really amazing listening. It?s incredibly layered, incredibly textured and what is perhaps most amazing of all to me is the fact that, though it is now seventeen years old, it does not sound in the least dated. Electronica is still catching up to this incredible album; this album was seen as ahead of its time and incredibly visionary and experimental when it came out in 1993. In 2010, it?s still all of those things.

    Baby, I?m Bored (2003) ? Evan Dando

    I was never a fan of The Lemonheads, not even It?s a Shame About Ray and their supposedly ?great? cover of Mrs. Robinson. Still, I got this album recommended to me and I tried it and found Lemonheads frontman Dando, recovered from all his addictions and on his own, in a pensive and melancholic mood. I can?t tell you much I loved this album. It has an endearing folk-country tinge to it and the songs are generally absolutely luminously beautiful. Why Do You Do This To Yourself, on a mostly unaccompanied acoustic guitar, sounds like something Hank Williams might have written and Hard Drive is a loping, brush drummed meditation on the things that clutter our lives and learning to own and embrace them. Good as all the songs are, they all pale next to All My Life, a luminous, heartbreaking ode to brokenness that just moved me deeply every time I listened to it. I don?t know how this really ended up on my radar or why I even prioritized it based on a random recommendation from a friend, but I?m glad I did.

    Child is Father to the Man (1968) ? Blood, Sweat & Tears

    Alternately dull and annoying psychedelic jazz-rock album. I was sort of excited about hearing what Al Kooper was up to when not playing the organ with two fingers for Bob Dylan, but I was extremely disappointed in this album. There were occasional great riffs, but the lyrics never rose above the wrong-headed and prosaic, even as they struggled to be pretentious and important. If you can listen to The Modern Adventures of Plato, Diogenes & Freud without rolling your eyes in absolute derision, you have my sympathy/respect.

    And Justice For All (1988) ? Metallica

    I seem to recall one of the boys in the band sharing that at one point, after playing the title song, which, like all the songs on this album, is at least three minutes too long, live in concert, that he walked off the stage, looked at the rest of the band and said, ?We?re never playing that ******* thing again.? I get where he?s coming from as I?m not ever listening to the ******* thing again myself. Metallica?s worst album, that I?ve heard at least. The production seems to be purposely aiming at making the musicians appear as untalented as possible; everything is flattened out with no resonance or depth. It?s as though the entire album was put together on a single synthesizer, with every instrument set on the exact same volume level. If you don?t understand what Bob Dylan is talking about when he talks about how albums don?t have ?aural space? anymore, listen to this album and you?ll get it. The only legitimately great song here is One; Frayed Edge of Sanity and Shortest Straw are both very good, but, as above noted, go on for at least three minutes apiece after the band has used up the interesting riff and moved on to a completely annoying one. Oh, yes, Harvester of Sorrow is literally a GREAT song; for exactly thirty seconds and then they leave the introduction and that massively chilling riff in order to do something else entire. This is the problem with a lot of prog rock; Metallica dodged it because of their energy, their great production and the fact that every time they moved off an awesome riff on Master of Puppets, it was just to move to another awesome riff. But it catches up with them here. This is certainly my least favorite Metallica a
  19. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    The Rare Oul? Stuff (2002) ? Shane McGowan & the Popes

    McGowan?s brilliance didn?t end with The Pogues, it appears, as this compilation album of his lesser known material with another group is absolutely astounding. If you?re a fan of McGowan, like I am, you don?t need to be sold; if you?re not, then nothing will ever sell you on his rambling, mush-mouthed foolishness. This is an incredibly energetic and passionate album; traditional Irish sounds meet traditional rock?n?roll and, as on the hilarious Ceilidh Cowboy, traditional country. This is a raving, rollicking album and a great one. There are a couple of missteps; McGowan does no favors for Neil Diamond?s Cracklin? Rosie and a couple of the other songs are a little weak. But when the album clicks, it clicks and it does it most of the time; and trust me, you?ve never heard a version of Danny Boy like this one.

    Streams (1999) ? Various Artists

    Lovely, beautiful compilation of gospel artists doing ambient, folk tinged ballads and laments. Closes with four instrumental compositions performed by the Irish Film Orchestra. The album is entirely taken up with overcoming despair; some of the songs are the best things their artists have ever done: Cindy Morgan has yet to equal anywhere, her astonishing performance on the dark, devastated Job (as in the Biblical character) and Chris Rodriguez? beautiful Sanctuary is probably the only thing he?s ever done worth listening too. Never gets old. Gorgeous.

    Worship Again (2002) ? Michael W. Smith

    Entirely worthy sequel to his masterful live album, Worship. A new set of songs, but the same template: impassioned live performances, soaring choir, anthemic choruses, etc. It still works. Oddly closes with a studio recording of There She Stands, perhaps the only truly moving patriotic song I?ve heard this decade.

    Slow Train Coming (1979) ? Bob Dylan

    Dylan?s Christian period comes in for a lot of its licks fairly; Saved is practically unlistenable, except for the raving title track and the lovely Covenant Woman. But this, the first album of his born-again period, is a masterwork. I stand it unapologetically on the shelf next to Bringing It All Back Home, Love and Theft and Blood on the Tracks as among his finest. Gotta Serve Somebody, which was the hit single, is actually by far the weakest track on the album. On other tracks, like the title track and When You Gonna Wake Up, Dylan has a focus and a fire-breathing utterance that he hasn?t had since the best of his sixties protest music. This is impassioned music about corruption in high places and in our own minds too and it?s some of his best protest music. Other tracks, like the hilarious Man Gave Name to the Animals and the witty Do Right to Me Baby, are smart, clever, funny deconstructions of Biblical phrasings, which, of course, Dylan was doing from the very beginning. This album, despite it?s placement as one of the Christian albums in his career, is actually very much of a piece with his earlier work (and a lot of his later, too). The Bible and apocalyptic doom have always figured in Dylan?s work, from the very beginning; this is because, of course, they figured in the folk songs that he learned his art from. If you?re skipping Dylan?s Christian period, I understand; Saved is a disaster. But give this one a listen at least; it?s a masterpiece. And, like Saved, this one features one of his most beautiful love songs, the absolutely gorgeous Precious Angel.

    Worship & Faith (2003) ? Randy Travis

    One of the best gospel albums you?ll ever hear. Travis covers the old hymns, throws in a few modern songs and does it with the wit and flair that he?s come to be known for. I?m a huge fan of Travis; I think he?s country music?s best singer since Willie Nelson. Nelson & Travis share an eccentric approach to phrasing and a rootsy acoustic vibe. This CD states flatly, ?No electric instruments were used in the making of this CD? and you can tell. He undoes one of the most pernicious myths of country music here,
  20. King_of_Red_Lions Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 28, 2003
    star 3
    Almost Alice - Various Artists

    The soundtrack to the Alice in Wonderland movie. Nearly every song is good. I was disappointed that Robert Smith phoned in a lackluster contribution to the album b/c The Cure is one of my favorite band.


    Only By The Night - Kings Of Leon

    This album stayed in my CD player for months. I haven't bought an album this good in a long time.



    Save Me, San Francisco - Train

    Train is overplayed on the radio these days but I like this album much better than their last. The title track may be the best entry.
  21. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    Kill ?Em All (1983) ? Metallica

    Metallica?s debut is pretty well a masterpiece. Hetfield hasn?t quite found the sound he?s going to want with his voice, but it?s still one of their best albums. I rank it above even Ride the Lightning and possibly even the Black Album, though of course it isn?t as good as Master of Puppets. But it?s high energy, brilliantly atmospheric and hard rocking all the way through. Jump In the Fire, Seek and Destroy, Phantom Lord . . . these are among their most stunning recordings. And let?s not even get into Pulling Teeth; yes, I play the bass; but not like this.

    The Complete Decca Recordings (1992) ? Count Basie & His Orchestra

    So, what we have here is three CDs, 63 songs, three years in the history of one of the greatest jazz bands in the history of the medium. The first CD covers 1937, the second 1938 and the third 1939 and so brilliant are they that you won?t be able to pick a favorite. It?s all here, from the mellow vocal songs to the hopped up, raving swing instrumentals. But it?s the man himself that may just make this worth the price of admission; on the second CD, there?s a run of recordings featuring Basie alone (or with some very, very light bass and drums) on the piano and he quickly establishes himself as one of the great piano stylists of all time. But take my word on it; no dead periods and it?s worth your time. Get this one and get it soon.

    Devotional & Love Songs (1992) ? Nusret Fateh Ali Kahn & Party

    Maybe you?ve heard Ali Kahn in collaboration with Bruce Springsteen or with Eddie Vedder or with one of the countless other western rock musicians he?s worked with. But if that?s all you know, then you need to find this album and hear the man with perhaps the greatest voice in human history in his natural milieu. The tracks are all around eight minutes long and while they range in lyrical content from praise to Allah and his Prophet to secular love songs, they all sound more or less the same. The Party sets up a hypnotic groove and Ali Kahn rides it like a surfer, sending his voice through acrobatics that are absolutely unbelievable. I am a Christian from Middle America, not a Muslim from the Middle East, but that could not matter less; staggering music that transcends all genres; as transporting as anything could ever be.

    Christmas Moods (1998) ? Various Artists

    An attempt to marry the new age aesthetic with Christmas music in a series of instrumental, somewhat ambient, very loose limbed reinterps of classic Christmas songs. When the album succeeds, it?s absolutely gorgeous and luminous music; Ira Stein contributes a song called Christmas Eve and Spencer Brewer gives us a piano based First Noel that is perhaps the most beautiful version of that carol I?ve ever heard. When it doesn?t work, it is, to quote Zaz, ?Music for the Burning Log Channel,? if you know what I mean.

    Spoken For (2002) ? MercyMe

    Following up their massive success with I Can Only Imagine with a low key, unpretentious little album, which I respect. Nothing here leaps out of the radio and either throttles or beats you over the head, so that?s nice that they didn?t just go whole hog for another big hit. Pleasant album, though. Best song: the achingly quiet Word of God Speak. Second best: their cover of the old hymn The Love of God.
  22. RC-1991 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2009
    star 4
    Ummagumma- Pink Floyd. It is decent. Not "The Wall" or "Dark Side of the Moon" or "The Division Bell" (yes, I love the Division Bell. It feels like a farewell for Pink Floyd, and pulls that off rather well). A little too trippy for me, though not as much as, say, "A Saucerful of Secrets."

    Complete Control Sessions- Flogging Molly. Really more of an EP than a real album. Just some acoustic versions of 6 of their songs. "Requiem for a Dying Song" isn't that impressive, but I've never liked the song that much anyway. On the other hand, the acoustic version of "Float" is rather well done. The rest of the tracks are fine; they don't really stand out against the rest of the FM library, but that isn't always a bad thing.
  23. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    The Ministry Years, Vol. 2 (1988) ? Keith Green

    Two CD set (or second half of a four CD set) released six years after Green?s untimely death in a plane crash. The man wasn?t much; just a prophet. His tirades could be absolutely vitriolic and his main target, oddly for a devout Christian, was institutionalized religion. Green?s music always stirs me deeply, troubles me and moves me. He once said, ?I?d like to be God?s hands, but he?s made me His elbow,? which about sums up the kind of protest music you get from him. Small wonder Dylan once said that Green?s debut, For Him Who Has Ears to Hear, was his favorite album; Dylan also played harmonica on Green?s third album, So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt, an album that Green gave away for free because he didn?t believe Christians should profit from their ministry. Obviously, Green was an iconoclast, but his music stands up. Included on this broad ranging set are moments of quiet tenderness and self-criticism (Green was always just as hard on himself as he was on anyone else). Essential listening.

    Appetite for Destruction (1987) ? Guns?n?Roses

    Just a constant evergreen. I?ve never found it anything less than stunning. Not just one of the greatest debuts ever, but one of the greatest albums full stop. Most bands could record for twenty years and still not have this many great songs on a Greatest Hits album. GNR never lived up to this album, which is sad in a lot of ways, but I choose to focus on the incredibly high benchmark they set. A masterpiece in every conceivable way.

    E.S.P. (1965) ? Miles Davis

    Not ever mentioned as one of the essential Davis albums and I suppose that?s mostly right. But then Davis was essential even when he wasn?t Essential, if you know what I mean. This isn?t as good as a lot of his other albums, but it?s still a great listen. Particularly toward the end when the tempo slows way down and the music gets almost Zen in its quietness and solitude. Some beautiful stuff here.

    Slowhand (1977) ? Eric Clapton

    I suppose Cream throws everything off and then there?s Blind Faith and Derek & the Dominoes, but I think I can say this without any hesitation: this is Clapton?s best solo album at the very least. It may be behind only Layla in his considerable body of work. This, like Appetite for Destruction, plays like a Greatest Hits album. Every song on it is a five star effort; the chilling Next Time You See Her, the lovely benediction May You Never, the storming Cocaine, the pop uplift of Wonderful Tonight, the stretched out epic The Core . . . I could go on, but why bother? Just go hear this one.

    Time Out of Mind (1997) ? Bob Dylan

    By my lights, Dylan?s absolute best work. Marked a surprising return to form which he continued with the very nearly equally brilliant, if completely tonally different, Love and Theft and the solid and likable Modern Times. Brought Dylan to a whole new generation, got the critics back on his side for the first time since Blood on the Tracks, and reminded all the old school Dylan fans of why they?d loved him in the first place. An album of incredible darkness, angst, dread and sorrow, it?s a work of something like absolute despair. But Dylan?s lyrics haven?t been this sharp since Slow Train Coming and Lanois produces a dark, cosmic fog around him. Also, his voice, while incredibly ravaged, still has what kept me coming back all those times: the most incredible phrasing in music history. Period. I never get tired of this one. Five stars all the way. It may be my very favorite album, which says all kinds of things about me that I?m not sure are true. Dylan, cantankerously, didn?t fulfill everyone?s musings on this being his ?death album,? and you can understand why he didn?t. Still, what a perfect album. Love and Theft, Slow Train Coming, Biograph, Blood on the Tracks; these albums are just a hair short of being as great as this one. But I doubt he?ll ever top Time Out of Mind. And I doubt I?ll ever stop listening to it. Welcome back, ol
  24. duende Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 28, 2006
    star 5
    The live disc is astonishingly potent. I used to listen to it at earsplitting volume while lying on my bed in absolute darkness - it never failed to move me.
  25. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    Automatic for the People (1992) ? R.E.M.

    Another masterstroke; last time I talked about the best album by Guns?n?Roses, Clapton and Dylan. Now, the best album from this Athens, GA group. An astounding meditation on sadness and death, this album still staggers me. It?s hard to believe R.E.M. had it in them; I mean, they?d always been a great group, in their own way. But this is an album on such an entirely higher level than anything else they?ve ever done that it?s flabbergasting and plays like a gift from God to them and to us. It?s their most melodic album, their quietest and their most emotionally naked. There?s hardly a song worth discarding here; the only one not up to par is the odd instrumental at about the half point. Besides that, the album is absolute perfection. I once listened to Find the River over twenty times in a row; I will probably have it played at my funeral.

    The Jesus Record (1998) ? Rich Mullins & a Ragamuffin Band

    Mullins, a singer/songwriter with an aching tenderness to his voice, a folky tinge to his music, an aversion to ever wearing shoes and a literal vow of poverty to keep him humble, used a Wal-Mart cassette recorder to record nine demos for his upcoming album in a small country church. Two weeks later, he was dead, killed in a horrible car accident. His backing band recruited Mullins? friends (Michael W. Smith, Phil Keaggy, Ashley Cleveland and others) to come into the studio with them and record the songs Mullins had been prepping for his next album. Three months after Mullins? death, his friends were in the studio, recording. Mullins? nine demos were cleaned up, as much as they could be. Together, the Jesus Demos and the Ragamuffin Recordings make up The Jesus Record. The songs are the strongest set Mullins ever had, I think. If you only know Mullins by his annoying Awesome God (a song even Mullins disliked), listen to this album. Hearing his voice, accompanied only by piano and acoustic guitar is a moving, beautiful experience. This is my favorite Mullins album and one of my favorite albums ever. Mullins was always brilliant, but never more so than here. Goodbye, old friend; I?ll never stop missing you.

    Waiting for the Spark (1995) ? Gayla Drake Paul

    Unrepentant folkie, but a good one. Some of the songs really sound like folk standards, even though they aren?t, like the wonderful These Ole Feet and the luminous Mississippi by Twilight. Planxty Don Gallagher is an instrumental that proves that Paul is more than a singer/songwriter, but also an incredibly good, if decidedly unflashy, acoustic guitar player. Her best moment, however, is the last one here, a closing, quiet, aching cover of Auld Lang Syne. Ugly album cover though.

    Deuce (1971) ? Rory Gallagher

    Gallagher?s second album; I?m only just getting into Gallagher, but this is amazing stuff. He?s a master of both acoustic and electric guitar and the sparks really fly. Now, this is showboating, but when you?re this good, you?re entitled. It?s worth mentioning that despite the blues base that underlies almost every song on this album, that it?s one of the most exuberantly joyous albums I?ve ever heard. Songs like Maybe I Will and Used To Be feel like the soul taking absolute flight. Even when Gallagher sings the line, ?These blues are out to kill,? you can tell he?s grinning like the Cheshire Cat. Brilliant, essential album. Now this is guitar playing; songwriting, too.

    The Complete Blind Willie Johnson (1993) ? Blind Willie Johnson

    Life changing. Two cds of some of the best music you?ll ever hear. Johnson?s voice is the rasp of boulders rubbing against each other, his slide guitar the sound of lines being drawn in the fabric of time. The songs here are all gospel numbers, some written by Johnson, others standards he covered. The experts supposedly can recognize certain sessions when he wasn?t on top of his game; I say he?s on top of his game as I?ve ever heard anyone be all over this set. He?s been covered by everyone from Dylan to Clapt