Maybe the 80′s Weren’t So Bad After All August 26, 2011Posted by Matt in music.
Tags: 1980's, Beastie Boys, Prince, public enemy, R.E.M., Sonic Youth, top 50 albums
Helping my daughter put together a 1980’s playlist for her birthday party caused me to take a few moments to reflect on the music from that much-maligned decade. It’s a time that can be easily discarded (believe me, I’ve done it) for being full of frivolous pop music, a label it most certainly deserves. But, at the same time, there were a multitude of great things being done below the surface, where weirdness and creativity thrived. So, I decided to put together a top ten albums list for the 80’s, but that proved to be quite difficult when I considered the sheer volume of tunes, so I soon discarded that as well as a top twenty, before finally settling on a top 50 albums of the 1980’s list. At this time, I don’t have time to tell what attracts me to each of the choices on this list, so I’ll have to leave it up to you to listen to them and make your own decision.
50. Living Colour – Vivid (1988)
49. Violent Femmes – Violent Femmes (1982)
48. Anthrax – Among the Living (1987)
47. N.W.A. – Straight Outta Compton (1988)
46. Nirvana – Bleach (1989)
45. Motley Crue – Dr. Feelgood (1989)
44. Pixies – Doolittle (1989)
43. Sonic Youth – Evol (1986)
42. Husker Du – Zen Arcade (1984)
41. Mudhoney – Superfuzz Bigmuff (1988)
40. Iron Maiden – Powerslave (1984)
39. Grateful Dead – Reckoning (1981)
38. Dinosaur Jr. You’re Living All Over Me (1987)
37. The Cure – Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me (1987)
36. Bad Religion – How Could Hell Be Any Worse? (1981)
35. The Police – Ghost in the Machine (1981)
34. U2 – War (1983)
33. Dwight Yoakam – Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc. (1986)
32. Eric B & Rakim – Paid in Full (1987)
31. Joy Division – Closer (1980)
30. Motley Crue – Shout at the Devil (1983)
29. Nine Inch Nails – Pretty Hate Machine (1989)
28. Steve Earle – Guitar Town (1986)
27. Metallica – Ride the Lightning (1984)
26. Peter Gabriel – So (1986)
25. Ozzy Osbourne – Blizzard of Oz (1980)
24. Prince – Purple Rain (1984)
23. Megadeth – Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying? (1986)
22. Bruce Springsteen – Born in the USA (1984)
21. Pixies – Surfer Rosa (1988)
20. The Cure – Disintegration (1989)
19. The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses (1989)
18. R.E.M. – Murmer (1983)
17. Elvis Costello – Imperial Bedroom (1982)
16. Metallica – Master of Puppets (1986)
15. Run-DMC – Raising Hell (1986)
14. Tom Waits – Rain Dogs (1985)
13. Talking Heads – Remain in Light (1980)
12. The Smiths – The Queen is Dead (1986)
11. The Jesus and Mary Chain – Psychocandy (1985)
10. Jane’s Addiction – Nothing Shocking (1988)
9. U2 – The Joshua Tree (1987)
8. Guns N’ Roses 0 Appetite for Destruction (1987)
7. The Clash – London Calling (1980)
6. Bruce Springsteen – Nebraska (1982)
5. Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation (1988)
4. Prince – Sign ‘o’ the Times (1987)
3. Public Enemy – It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988)
2. Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique (1989)
1. R.E.M. – Fables of the Reconstruction (1985)
What would you add to the list?
A Playlist for the Apocalypse May 20, 2011Posted by Matt in music, top ten.
Tags: AC/DC, Apocalypse music, Beck, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, end of the world, Hayes Carll, John Prine, Johnny Cash, May 21, Nirvana, Oasis, Pearl Jam, Pink Floyd, playlist, Prince, Radiohead, Soundgarden
My friend Susan gave me an idea today when she posted R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” on my Facebook wall in celebration of the global apocalypse scheduled for tomorrow (Check your local listings). I think we need a good playlist to celebrate our last day on earth. Here are some choices from my iPod.
10. Hayes Carll – She Left Me For JesusIt’s time for those last minute conversions and this is the perfect song for it.
9. Beck – Earthquake WeatherAccording to the apocalyptic prognosticators, we can expect a global earthquake tomorrow that should reach us around 6:00 pm. I think we should dance to Beck.
8. Prince – Sign O’ the TimesYes, we should have been looking for the signs, I know, I know…
7. Radiohead – How to Disappear CompletelyWell, that is what happens in the rapture, right? Cars will veer off the road unattended and suddenly unpiloted planes will crash and burn. Well, either that or it will just get a little more pleasant for the rest of us.
6. Pearl Jam – Given to FlyThen again, maybe we’ll actually see people ascend bodily into heaven. That would be much cooler.
5. Johnny Cash – The Man Comes Around / Metallica – The Four HorsemenYeah, worldwide destruction is what’s in store for those of us left behind. At least we have some diverse music choices dealing with it.
4. Soundgarden – Black Hole SunThe sun will turn into a black hole? I think they’re reading of Revelation may be a little off.
2. John Prine – Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven AnymoreMaybe extreme patriotism isn’t the best way after all…
Most likely, though, I think this song will be appropriate for those actually expecting the world the end tomorrow.
Bob Marley – Waiting in Vain
What songs would you put on the End of the World Playlist?
Ten for Tuesday: 1980 July 27, 2010Posted by Matt in top ten.
Tags: 1980, AC/DC, Bob Marley, Bruce Springsteen, George Jones, Joy Division, Ozzy Osbourne, Prince, Talking Heads, The Clash, top ten albums, U2
This week we hop back into the top ten time machine and set our course for 30 years in the past, to 1980. It was the year my brother was born, when I turned 3, and when several top-notch pieces of entertainment were released to the public. So, without further, ado, let’s get on with the lists.
Top 10 Albums Released in 2010
10. George Jones – I Am What I Am
Truthfully, I don’t actually own this album, but I do know that two of the songs contained on it are among No-Show’s best, “He Stopped Loving Her Today” and “If Drinkin’ Don’t Kill Me (Her Memory Will).” Now that’s what country music is all about.
9. Bob Marley & the Wailers – Uprising
Marley’s last studio album before his death the following year was one of his best, with well-known tracks like “Could You Be Loved” and the acoustic classic “Redemption Song,” leading the way.
8. U2 – Boy
When U2 burst on the scene in 1980 with their debut album, Boy, nobody could have known that Bono and the boys would go on to become one of the biggest bands in the world. Songs like “I Will Follow” and “A Day Without Me” helped solidify their spot in the post-punk movement and served as a good first step to superstardom.
7. Prince – Dirty Mind
The Purple One’s third album, released when he was only 22, proved to be the catalyst for one of the greatest careers in American music. His mixture of funk, dance, and rock styles with obvious sexual overtones proved to be a winning combination and a star was born.
6. Talking Heads – Remain in Light
This early 80s classic is a must-hear to understand the New Wave phenomena of that time period. The critically-acclaimed collaboration of David Byrne and Brian Eno was an inspired one that can be best heard on tunes like “Once in a Lifetime” and “Houses in Motion.”
5. Joy Division – Closer
Joy Division’s downbeat, post-punk sound was made even more poignant by the untimely suicide of frontman Ian Curtis just before this work was released. This isn’t uplifting stuff by any stretch of the imagination, but it is still very good, particularly on songs like “Atrocity Exhibition” and “Isolation.”
4. AC/DC – Back in Black
There are few bands in the history of rock music that can survive the death of an integral member, especially if that person happens to be the frontman, but, following the death of Bon Scott, AC/DC proved that it was possible to not only survive, but thrive. Back in Black proved to be not only their best album, but one of the most important albums ever in rock music. Their combination of riffs, sexual energy, and suggestions of evil in songs like “Hells Bells,” “You Shook Me All Night Long,” and “Back in Black” proved to be the key to a long, successful career.
3. Ozzy Osbourne – Blizzard of Ozz
Ozzy has been around a long time and has released copious amounts of music both as a solo artist and with Black Sabbath, but this is widely regarded as one of the, if not the, best. On this solo debut Ozzy teamed with a young hotshot guitarist named Randy Rhodes and blazed through some of the greatest heavy metal recordings in history. From “Crazy Train,” to the controversial “Suicide Solution,” to the insane guitar work of “Mr. Crowley,” this is the Prince of Darkness at his best.
2. Bruce Springsteen – The River
Double albums are hit-or-miss affairs in rock music, generally seen as vanity projects by artists who have achieved sudden stardom. Sometimes, though, they work to near perfection – and this is one of those rare occurrences. It is quite a collection of music, combining songs like the keyboard-driven, 80s sound of “Hungry Heart,” with the acoustic title cut and melancholic tunes like “Independence Day, and it is both the quality and diversity of the music contained here that make this a must-own.
1. The Clash – London Calling
It may not be possible to overstate the importance and influence of this punk rock masterpiece. Its perfect mash-up of rockabilly, ska, rock, and a host of other styles and its socially relevant content propel London Calling to the top of the list. Joe Strummer and the band were at the top of their game in 1980, leading them to be widely referred to as “The Only Band That Matters.” A truer statement may not have been spoken in 1980.
Random Five #2 August 19, 2009Posted by Matt in Random Five.
Tags: Al Green, Amy Winehouse, Beastie Boys, cleaning, housework, Jane's Addiction, music, Prince
1 comment so far
Yesterday I was playing the role of a stay-at-home dad with our seven month old, Jackson, who has been battling a case of conjunctivitis this week. In between taking care of him and shuttling around the city for various needs, I was engaged in some much-needed house work, mostly centering around our kitchen and dining areas – which, as many of you know, are areas that need constant supervision when you have young children prone to dropping food and who dirty a seemingly-impossible number of dishes.
As most of you know, I’m pretty obsessed with listening to music and there are few moments of my day that pass without one thing or another playing from my Ipod or other available sources. So, as I washed unloaded and loaded the dishwasher, wiped down counters, and swept the floor, I was listening to a certain album that made me start to think about this phenomena a bit more, and, as my mathematical mind often does, I began formulating a list that I thought to share with you: My top five albums to listen to while doing household chores.
Now, there are certain requirements for albums to make this list. The music has to be sort of upbeat and either singable or danceable as work your way around the house. It has to keep you moving, so it can’t be brooding or sullen like many of my musical choices to be. Let me know what you think.
5. Prince – Sign O’ the Times
This 1987 double album from everyone’s favorite purple-clad poster was my choice for yesterday’s cleaning. Though it lacks the huge hit songs of Purple Rain, it is still quite the showcase for Prince at his funky best and it definitely makes washing dishes much more tolerable.
4. Amy Winehouse – Back to Black
Using her brand of blunt language, this soulful work is one that I have listened to over and over again for the past few years and of which I have never grown tired. If she wasn’t such a crackhead I would be totally in love with her. It’s great for swinging around on a broom – especially if you know every word to every song like I do.
3. Jane’s Addiction – Nothing’s Shocking
From the hard-hitting opener Had a Dad through the still-amazing Mountain Song and all of the rest of Perry Farrell’s vocal meanderings this is one of the most amazing works of the past 20 years and it is one that you just have to turn up loud and move to. It makes for a perfect accompaniment when doing household chores, just try it out.
2. Beastie Boys – License to Ill
While it may not be my favorite B-Boys album, it is great, mindless music for mindless work and helps pass the time quite well. With songs like Rhymin’ & Stealin’, She’s Crafty, Fight for Your Right, Brass Monkey, No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn turned up loud you can’t go wrong.
1. Al Green – Greatest Hits
How can you do better than the soul master, Memphis’ favorite reverend? In no time you’ll find yourself dancing around the room singing along with favorites like Tired of Being Alone and Let’s Stay Together. It’ll carry you away and, before you know it, it will seem like the room has just cleaned itself.
What about you? What do you listen to when you clean the house?