I love music. Maybe that’s why I’m mildly addicted to SongPop. I still have my weak genres :(. Anyway the format of this series of blogs is simple. I write my thoughts about five artists or bands. There may or may not be a connection.
The myths, the legends. Honestly at the risk of sounding like a Luddite I wouldn’t put The Beatles in my personal top 10. I like them, top 50 without a doubt. On the strength of the stuff on Rubber Soul and what followed. If their career had stopped before Rubber Soul I don’t think I’d be a fan although a few of those songs were good (like “Help!” and “A Hard Day’s Night”). I consider Sgt. Peppers and Abbey Road as personal favorite albums.
I think the thing for me is that The Beatles have a winsome, happy tone that doesn’t resonate with me as much as more “serious” stuff. That probably explains why some of my favorite Beatles songs are “Yesterday”, “Eleanor Rigby” and “A Day in the Life” (especially the last one). I do like “Here Comes the Sun” and you can’t get much happier than that.
My first music memory is I or my Mom winning The Beatles 1962-1966 (The “Red Album”) set on vinyl from WTSN. I remember the drive and picking it up. And thus a life of musical obsess … appreciation started.
See, nothing in common. Blind Guardian is a heavy metal band with fantasy based lyrics (think Lord of the Rings). Lyrics like that are considered cheesy by many and often times end up that way. Blind Guardian escapes that trap because their lyrics express feelings and truths we all experience, just couched in psuedo medieval / magical trappings. One example is “A Past and Future Secret”. The song is about a bard (medieval musical storyteller) predicting the fall of Camelot (I love me some Camelot). But it also expresses that sorrow we feel as a part of our lives comes to an end. The phrase “It was nice but now its gone” comes to mind. Very poignant even with the fantasy trappings.
BTW: I don’t have a favorite band but if I did Blind Guardian would be a finalist for sure. Best albums are Imaginations From the Other Side and Nightfall in Middle Earth. Musically I prefer the latter but for meaningful lyrics the former gets the nod. Nightfall falls (sorry) into the trap of the story taking over and lacks the degree of real world connection that made Imaginations so compelling. Their latest At the Edge of Time is a quality return to form after a couple of lackluster efforts.
One of the more prominent new wave bands. Add a female singer that was considered 70s H-O- double TT hot and you got a successful formula. Another band I respect and realize their place in music history more than Ilike. I do like Parallel Lines (best songs are “Hanging on the Telephone” and “One Way or Another”). I enjoy some of Autoamerican (“The Tide is High” especially). My favorite song from them is “Call Me”. The Autoamerican CD has a long version. A rare example where i like the shorter version better, the longer version meanders too long and repeats itself. I might pick up Eat to the Beat when I can find it cheap.
Ever heard of a one hit wonder? Boston is almost a one album wonder. Not quite. Their self titled debut was considered a fresh breath of rock power in a sea of disco. Back in 76 my 6 year old self had two music genres: suck and not suck. Boston was not suck but so were Shawn Cassidy (who came later, lets not get hung up on details), Barry Manilow and the Bee Gees. Actually “More Than A Feeling” was close to the top of my “not suck” chart. My 12 year old self heard “Peace of Mind” and it was over. Great debut, almost all the songs got on the radio.
The followup Don’t Look Back (which I bought first not being great with song names) was OK. More of the same, lesser but a decent Boston fix. Eight years later they followed it up with The Third Stage. Not as bad as some Boston fans say, it was definitely Boston but more mature (especially lyrically but musically as well). It actually talked about settling down as you get older and how things change.
After that I lost track, just as well but the first one was great and the latter two were pretty good.
Oh and I’ve reverted back to the two genres: suck and not suck.
Note: see any pattern with the first four? Lets see iof it continues.
As I finally got off my hard rock or nothing kick I was looking into bands with interesting sounds. I heard New Order on MTV’s old show 120 Minutes. They played “Perfect Kiss”, now this was something I could get into. Very electronic but with stadium like epic production. I bought Substance (a compilation of remixes and non album singles) and I was hooked. “Perfect Kiss” was even more epic but all the songs were good. Especially “True Faith”. This is a rare time where I prefer the remixes to the originals. I also have (The Best of) New Order which fills in some loose ends (many of which are songs recorded after Substance was released). To me New Order has more depth than many of their contemporaries. “1963” is a very dramatic, touching song.
One quick story: as I started upgrading to CD I rebought Substance from Columbia House (get 8 free, buy a few at regular price and by all means return those cards unless you want Jesus Jones’ new album on your doorstop). Sometimes tapes and CDs had bonus tracks, Substance had a BONUS CD! I was very impressed.
I thought about including Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, Badfinger or Bread but they weren’t a good. fit thematically.
Until next time,watching the skies, take me away!