Jirin's Listening Music Discovery Game

Jirin
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Jirin's Listening Music Discovery Game

Postby Jirin » Wed Nov 02, 2016 2:21 pm

As many of you know I'm a dork who likes making music listening into games. Here's an idea for something I might try next year.

Select albums by the following basis.

-For any artist with an album in my top 200, pick the highest ranked album I have not heard or not given a chance in a while.

-For each year 1950-2016, pick the highest ranked album by the same rules.

-Fill the list up to 256 by picking from the overall rankings the same way.

Any album not on Spotify and not available cheapo used on Amazon, pick next down the list for its qualification criteria.

For any qualification that takes me into Bubblers, tie goes to the earlier released album. Anything with nothing even in Bubblers, go to allmusic stars, same tiebreaker.

Seed randomly into a 4:1 elimination bracket (256-64-16-4-1).

Listen to these albums, advance the one I enjoyed the most, comment on the album on a thread here.

Does this sound like something that would be fun?
Last edited by Jirin on Fri Nov 03, 2017 1:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby Jirin » Sat Nov 05, 2016 12:50 am

So in case anyone's interested, if I decide to do this, this will be the field:

Led Zeppelin - How The West Was Won
Dave Brubeck Quartet - Time Out
Mac DeMarco - Salad Days
Joni MItchell - Joni Mitchell - Song To A Seagull
The National - The National
Duke Ellington - Ellington At Newport
Robert Johnson - Come On In My Kitchen
Tim Buckley - Greetings From LA
Elvis Costello - Painted From Memory
Justin Timberlake - FutureSex/LoveSounds
My Bloody Valentine - This Is Your Bloody Valentine
Pink Floyd - The Wall
Bill Evans - Sunday at the Village Vanguard
Yes - The Yes Album
The Beatles - A Hard Day’s Night
Randy Newman - Good Old Boys
Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath
Jacques Brel - Brel
The White Stripes - Under The Great White Northern Lights
Bibio - Ambivalence Avenue
The Housemartins - The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death
Gang Gang Dance - God’s Money
Pet Shop Boys - Actually
Savages - Silence Yourself
PJ Harvey - Is This Desire?
Boogie Down Productions - Criminal Minded
Velvet Underground - 1969: Velvet Underground Live With Lou Reed
Saturday Night Fever
Neil Young - Harvest
Scott Walker - Scott 3
Saint Etienne - Tales From Turnpike House
Drive By Truckers - Alabama Ass Whuppin
The Stone Roses - Second Coming
Jeff Buckley - Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk
Muddy Waters - Muddy Waters At Newport 1960
Thelonious Monk - Genius Of Modern Music
Bob Marley - Exodus
Portishead - Portishead
Santana - Santana
The Undertones - The Undertones
AC/DC - Back In Black
Radiohead - Pablo Honey
AC/DC - Highway To Hell
The Jam - In The City
Aerosmith - Rocks
The 2 Bears - The Night Is Young
Pixies - Bossanova
Teenage Fanclub - Bandwagonesque
Adele - 21
The Doors - Strange Days
The Magnetic Fields - i
The Rolling Stones - The Rolling Stones
Kevin Coyne - Case History
Game Theory - Two Steps From The Middle Ages
Godspeed You Black Empreror! - Yanqui U.X.O.
These New Puritans - Hidden
Lauryn Hill - The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill
The Mothers Of Invention - We’re Only In It For The Money
Fennesz - Venice
Ian Dury - New Boots and Panties!!
King Sunny Ade - Juju Music
Van Morrison - It’s Too Late To Stop Now
REM - Reckoning
The Quintet - Jazz at Massey Hall/The Greatest Jazz Concert Ever
Stevie Wonder - Fufillingness’ First Finale
John Mayall - Blues Breakers With Eric Clapton
Pink Floyd - The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn
Benny Goodman - The Famous 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert
Billie Holiday - Lady In Satin
Patti Smith - Easter
John Coltrane - Giant Steps
The Mothers Of Invention - Freak Out!
Bjork - Medulla
The Good, The Bad and the Queen - The Good, The Bad and The Queen
U2 - The Unforgettable Fire
Dexy’s Midnight Runners - Searching For The Young Soul Rebels
Bruce Springsteen - Tunnel Of Love
Grateful Dead - Workingman’s Dead
Erykah Badu - Mama’s Gun
Wire - Send
Burning Spear - Marcus Garvey
The Chemical Brothers - Exit Planet Dust
Alain Bashung - Fantaisie Militaire
The Libertines - The Libertines
The Pogues - Rum, Sodomy & The Lash
Lou Reed - Rock N Roll Animal
Kraftwerk - Computerwelt/Computer World
The Orb - The Orb’s Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld
The Police - Regatta de Blanc
Frank Sinatra - In The Wee Small Hours
Lucinda Williams - Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone
The Psychedelic Furs - Forever Now
Slint - Tweez
New Order - Low Life
Genesis - The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
The Ramones - Rocket To Russia
Suicide - Alan Vega/Martin Rev - Suicide
Scritti Politti - Songs To Remember
LCD Soundsystem - 45:33
Prince - Parade
Basement Jaxx - Remedy
Elvis Presley - From Elvis In Memphis
Green Day - Warning
Fatboy Slim - You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby
Charles Mingus - Mingus Ah Um
Fela Kuti - Sorrow Tears And Blood - Black President
Quicksilver Messenger Service - Happy Trails
The Roots - Phreneology
Thin Lizzy - Live And Dangerous
Al Green - I’m Still In Love With You
The Byrds - Mr Tambourine Man
James Brown - Sex Machine
TLC - Crazysexycool
Lloyd Cole and the Commotions - Rattlesnakes
The Slits - Trapped Animal
Bloc Party - Silent Alarm
Wilco - Mermaid Avenue
Queen - A Night At The Opera
Beastie Boys - Check Your Head
Little Richard - Here’s Little Richard
The Kronos Quartet - Salome Dances For Peace
Beastie Boys - Licensed To Ill
Johnny Cash - Johnny Cash with His Hot And Blue Guitar
The Beatles - Help
Suede - Suede
Black Sabbath - Paranoid
Sonic Youth - Goo
Billy Joel - The Stranger
Clifford Brown & Max Roach - Daahoud/Clifford Brown & Max Roach
Simon & Garfunkel - Sounds Of Silence
The Smiths - Meat Is Murder
Sex Pistols - Never Mind The Bollocks - Here’s The Sex Pistols
Steve Earle - El Corazon
Buffalo Springfield - Buffalo Springfield
The Last Shadow Puppets - The Age Of The Understatement
The Clash - Sandinista!
Dizzee Rascal - Boy in da Corner
Albert Ayler - Spiritual Unity
The Chemical Brothers - Dig Your Own Hole
Thelonious Monk - Genius Of Modern Music, Vol 2
Townes Van Zandt - Flyin’ Shoes
Miles Davis - In A Silent Way
Talking Heads - Little Creatures
The Notorious BIG - Ready To Die
The Go! Team - Rolling Blackouts
Fever Ray - Fever Ray
Randy Newman - 12 Songs
Bobby Bland - Two Steps From The Blues
Dr Dre - The Chronic
The Mahavishnu Orchestra - The Inner Mounting Flame
The Kinks - Arthur
Disclosure - Settle
Outkast - ALTiens
Mahmoud Ahmed - Soul Of Addis
Otis Redding - The Dock of the Bay
Oliver Nelson - The Blues And Abstract Truth
Belle & Sebastian - Dear Catastrophe Waitress
Queens Of The Stone Age - Rated R
GZA - Beneath The Surface
Creedence Clearwater Revival - Cosmo’s Factory
Black Flag - Damaged
The Pogues - If I Should Fall from Grace With God
Rage Against The Machine - Rage Against The Machine
Theloneous Monk - Brilliant Corners
The Crickets - The “Chirping” Crickets
Slayer - Reign In Blood
The Watersons - Frost And Fire
Animal Collective - Here Comes The Indian
Jay Z - The Black Album
The Wailers’ - Burnin’
Frank Sinatra - Songs For Swinging Lovers
Loretta Lynn - Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind)
Kaki King - Until We Felt Red
Nirvana - From The Muddy Banks Of The Wishkah
The Smiths - Strangeways, Here We Come
Run DMC - Raising Hell
Violent Femmes - Hallowed Ground
The Loud Family - Attractive Nuisance
Iggy Pop - The Idiot
Grimes - Halfaxa
Missy Elliott - Miss E… So Addictive
The Who - My Generation
Roy Harper - HQ/When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease
Nick Cave - Murder Ballads
Leftfield - Leftism
Tricky - Pre-Millennium Tension
Liz Phair - Funstyle
The Beatles - Please Please Me/Introducing… The Beatles
Pere Ubu - New Picnic Time
Caribou - Our Love
Tom Waits - Heart Attack And Vine
Steely Dan - Countdown to Ecstacy
Oasis - Definitely Maybe
Eric B & Rakim - Follow The Leader
Howlin Wolf - Howlin Wolf
The Beatles - With The Beatles/Meet The Beatles
Bob Marley and the Wailers - Live!
Herbie Hancock - Head Hunters
The Modern Lovers - Rock N Roll With The Modern Lovers
New York Dolls - New York Dolls
MC5 - Kick Out The Jams
The Replacements - Pleased to Meet Me
Sleater-Kinney - Call The Doctor
Bob Dylan - John Wesley Harding
Pretenders - Learning To Crawl
Beck - The Information
Soul II Souls - Club Classics Vol. One / Keep On Movin’
Crosby, Stills & Nash - Crosby, Stills & Nash
Pet Shop Boys - Behavior
Sonny Rollins - Saxophone Colossus
Howlin’ Wolf - Howlin’ Wolf
Laura Nyro - Gonna Take A Miracle
Tortoise - Millions Now Living Will Never Die
Public Enemy - Apocalypse ’91 - The Enemy Strikes Back
The Happy Monday - Bummed
Sufjan Stevens - Enjoy Your Rabbit
Rev Gary Davis - Pure Religion And Bad Company
Kendrick Lamar - Good Kid, m.A.A.d. city
TV On The Radio - Seeds
Donald Fagen - The Nightfly
Arvo Part - De Profundis
Brian Eno - Wrong Way Up
Julia Holter - Tragedy
The Cure - Three Imaginary Boys - Boys Don’t Cry
The Knife - The Knife
Captain Beefheart - Clear Spot
The Police - Outlandos D’Amour
Mott The Hoople - Mott
The Smiths - Hatful Of Hollow
Husker Du - New Day Rising
Bob Dylan - Desire
Elvis Presley - Elvis
Creedence Clearwater Revival - Willy and the Poor Boys
The Band - The Last Waltz
Roxy Music - Country Life
Snoop Doggy Dogg - Doggystyle
Massive Attack - Protection
Anais Mitchell - The Brightness
The B-52s - The B-52s
Peter Gabriel - So
Eric Dolphy - Out To Lunch!
Michael Jackson - Dangerous
Feist - Metals
Aretha Franklin - Amazing Grace
The Flaming Lips - In A Priest Driven Ambulance
Wu Tang Clan - Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
Parliament - Mothership Connection
Fugees - The Score
The Stooges - The Stooges
Blur - Parklife
Jimi Hendrix - Monterey International Pop Festival
David Bowie - Young Americans
Carole King - Tapestry
Jane’s Addiction - Strays
De La Soul - De La Soul Is Dead
The Police - Synchronicity

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prosecutorgodot
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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby prosecutorgodot » Sat Nov 05, 2016 6:21 am

I was going through your list lol, noticed you put Howlin' Wolf - Howlin' Wolf twice.

Also, I'm curious how Green Day - Warning got on your list? It's an interesting choice is why I'm asking. Also, it's not on AM...?

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby Jirin » Sat Nov 05, 2016 2:14 pm

For Green Day:

Dookie is currently #148 on my AT list, I heard American Idiot very recently, nothing else is on AM so go to allmusic next. Warning is the highest rated on allmusic other than those two, and I haven't listened to it since I was in high school.

So basically same reason things like The Knife - The Knife and The National - The National are on the list. Bands who have albums in my top 200 but I've heard all their most acclaimed albums.

Thanks for pointing out Howlin Wolf. Next one down on the list is Herbie Hancock - Maiden Voyage.

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby Jirin » Sat Nov 12, 2016 12:18 am

Decided to start a little early, though I'll probably be very slow getting through this.

First matchup.

Led Zeppelin - How The West Was Won

I never know how to evaluate live CDs and compare them with studio releases. Most of the time you hear them you're already very familiar with all or most of the songs, and these are some damn great songs. This is a strong performance and seems geared toward the hardcore fans. A few of the songs are drawn out with long pop-unfriendly improvisation sequences of the sort that the kind of person who spent the last forty years trading Zeppelin concerts lives for. You can tell the band had fun recording this show, but to a fan at my level it occasionally had me wishing the band would just move on.

Dave Brubeck Quartet - Time Out

I don't have much to say about this one. It's good music that doesn't emotionally resonate with me much.

Mac Demarco - Salad Days

I like this one, I'm not sure what didn't appeal to me the first chance I gave it. Maybe I was listening through some long list I made and was in the wrong mood for it. It gets into this weird quirky groove with the emotional inflection of some of the big early 90s indie acts and the trippy distortion of later indie.

Joni Mitchell - Joni Mitchell / Song To a Seagull

This is the earliest Joni Mitchell I've heard. It's got the beauty of her later works but kind of feels like they hadn't quite figured out how to mix her yet as some of it is a big grating.

Winner: Salad Days.

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby Rob » Mon Nov 21, 2016 9:22 am

Nice idea, this project. I always enjoy topics were people write about their listening experiences, so I hope you keep this up.

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby Jirin » Tue Nov 22, 2016 2:50 am

Another correction, looks like I mistook Robert Johnson - Come On In My Kitchen, which is on the songs bubbling under list for being on the albums bubbling under list. Since pretty much any other Robert Johnson album has pretty much the same songs as King of the Delta Blues, this gets replaced by next down on the all time list, Metallica - Kill Em All.

The National - The National

The National's unheralded debut is the only National album I had not heard. And, here's where I rank all their other albums on the all time list:
#28 High Violet
#82 Boxer
#136 Trouble Will Find Me
#240 Alligator
#514 Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers

It's surprising how similar their debut sounds to their later work. They really haven't changed their sound much. There's more backup vocals, less powerfully sardonic lyrics and melancholy hooks, but it's basically the same sound. Which, *gestures to all time list*, obviously appeals to me.

Somebody dare me to listen to A Lot Of Sorrow. On a long car trip.

Duke Ellington - Ellington At Newport

Like How The West Was Won, this album sums up the trouble I have with uncut live albums. Live performances are paced differently than studio albums. They're geared toward pleasing the aficionados, tend to be very long, and are paced to create a feedback loop of energy between the performer and the crowd. It's amazing if you're there in the crowd experiencing the energy but loses something in a recorded context. Especially because in the album listening context you're accustomed to jumping between sounds and styles every 45 minutes to an hour. No matter how awesome the album sounds, live albums that aren't edited down can be hard to get through.

Metallica - Kill 'Em All

Metallica's discography is interesting in that it draws two opposing curves. The early albums are really raw, explosive and energetic, filled with virtuosic solos and guitar noise. The late albums are focused, structured and hooky. As you go down the gradient, you get less and less raw and energetic, and more and more focused and structured, probably driven equally by their developing maturity and developing desire for money. Only in the late eighties and early nineties between Master of Puppets and Black their sound hit a sweet spot where they had enough of a balance of both to have a strong identity. Kill Em All represents the end of the gradient where they are full of power and energy but lack direction.

Tim Buckley - Greetings From L.A.

Tim Buckley's another artist where I generally love everything I've heard from him. In this case, I've heard is first six albums and nothing later. Here's my current ranking of Tim Buckley albums:
#1 Happy Sad
#52 Starsailor
#172 Blue Afternoon
#438 Goodbye And Hello
#568 Lorca
#630 Tim Buckley

Greetings From L.A. is a starkly different album from his avant-garde folk experimentation of his previous albums. It's a more straightforward style with a honky tonk vibe.

Deciding which advances is difficult in this case. While I think that Ellington At Newport is objectively the best album of the four, The National is the one I most want to listen to more. Since this is my own completely subjective discovery game, I have to say, the winner is The National.

Next group:
Elvis Costello - Painted From Memory
Justin Timberake - FutureSex/LoveSounds
My Bloody Valentine - This Is Your Bloody Valentine
Pink Floyd - The Wall

Just looked up the review for the MBV album on allmusic:

"My Bloody Valentine's debut album, This Is Your Bloody Valentine, is an unfocused and derivative collection of post-punk goth rock that offers no indication of the revolutionary guitar sound the group would later create."

This should be fun. Though it's not on Spotify so may need to look for it on Youtube.

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby spiritualized » Tue Nov 22, 2016 7:40 am

Jirin wrote:
Just looked up the review for the MBV album on allmusic:

"My Bloody Valentine's debut album, This Is Your Bloody Valentine, is an unfocused and derivative collection of post-punk goth rock that offers no indication of the revolutionary guitar sound the group would later create."

This should be fun. Though it's not on Spotify so may need to look for it on Youtube.


Ha ! Good luck with this one. You might as well forget everything you knew about MBV and toss it in a ditch. It's less than average garage rock, completely unrecognisable. At least you'll live to tell the tale :)

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby Jirin » Tue Nov 29, 2016 5:10 am

Elvis Costello - Painted From Memory

I don't have much to say about this one. A lot of nice melodies that don't particularly stand out.

Justin Timberlake - FutureSex/LoveSounds

I think I finally get this album. The lyrics are kind of cheesy, sexually charged narcissism. But musically it gets in a groove that pretty much defines modern pop. I enjoyed it, for the first time.

My Bloody Valentine - This Is Your Bloody Valentine

You kind of hear a hint of something that might sound kinda good. Then it gets hilariously stupid. I was laughing through most of this album. I don't know what's more surprising. That they got a record deal through a demo that appeared on this album, or that they produced three great albums after.

Pink Floyd - The Wall

This might be the highest AM ranked album I've never listened to start to finish. The reason is simple, I don't like Another Brick In The Wall. I like Comfortably Numb, but it's not the title track that advertises the album. Other than Wish You Were Here I've never really connected with Pink Floyd. My uncle is super-obsessed with them to the point he has Pink Floyd tattoos. I kind of see the possibility of connecting with them if I had gotten into them as a teenager but I didn't really start exploring 60s/70s music until I was in college. Another Brick In The Wall broadcasts to a certain kind of anger about being controlled. I feel that anger, but something about it seems a bit too...marketed. Like it's designed to take advantage of the emotions I felt when I was 15. If you weren't Pink Floyd's target demographic when the album came out, though some of the individual songs are awesome, it's hard to feel that connection.

Surprisingly, Justin Timberlake wins.

Next group:

Bill Evans - Sunday At The Village Vanguard
Yes - The Yes Album
The Beatles - A Hard Day's Night
Randy Newman - Good Old Boys

Obvious favorite here is Hard Day's Night. I haven't listened to this album as a whole for a while but based on existing knowledge it will probably be my favorite.

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby Jirin » Sun Dec 18, 2016 12:26 am

Bill Evans - Sunday At The Village Vanguard

I love the nuanced jazz groove this album sinks into. This kind of music tends to be hit or miss for me, particularly with previous Bill Evans I've heard, but this one is absolutely a hit.

Yes - The Yes Album

It's always intriguing to hear that one early album of an artist from before they hit it big. Sometimes you get a less catchy or less polished version of their later work, and other times you get something completely out of field like an absurd attempt at a fashionable genre before they found their niche. The Yes Album (Though I know it's their third album) gives a major taste of the direction the band would head with a bit of a more countryish feel.

The Beatles - Hard Day's Night

Listening to this reminded me of two things. That Hard Day's Night is an incredible single, and the reason I'm not into the Beatles' early albums. Other than the title song, the tracks on this album aren't all that special. Lyrics still tend to be unthreatening courtship songs about some generic girl the female part of the audience can imagine themselves as. At this point in the band's history they were still beheld to Focus Grouping 101. The characters the Beatles played at this point are far less interesting than the characters they chose for themselves soon after. I've seen the movie before and I am one hundred percent convinced that it is specifically what inspired Animaniacs.

Randy Newman - Good Old Boys

I've had trouble in the past with Randy Newman. His lyrics constantly teeter on the line between 'Overly clever' and 'Actually clever', more often than not falling just on the wrong side. He focuses on what in modern culture is Jon Stewart's bread and butter, identifying hypocrisy in a sarcastic manner. Sometimes he strikes gold as when he calls out hypocrisy on racism ("We're rednecks, we don't know that it's freedom if the cage is in New York City!") Other times he comes off to me as smug and for it to have any real traction with me, he'd have to do more musically than plug it into off key carnival melodies.

Winner: Bill Evans.

Which makes the first matchup in the round of 64 Mac DeMarco - Salad Days, The National - The National, Justin Timberlake - Futuresex/LoveSounds, Bill Evans - Sunday At The Village Vanguard.

Next group:
Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath
Jacques Brel - Brel
The White Stripes - Under The Great White Northern Lights
Bibio - Ambivalence Avenue

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby Jirin » Tue Jan 10, 2017 1:52 am

This turned out to be a great group.

Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath

This is the reason I included albums I'd heard before but haven't given a chance for a while. Connected with Black Sabbath for the first time. Maybe I'll say the same later when Paranoid comes up. Don't know what changed about my taste, maybe my attention drifted away from the lyrics and melody and more toward the instrumentals.

Jacques Brel - Brel

I think I have the same trouble connecting with Brel the same reason Romain has trouble with Dylan. A lot of the appeal of some of these French musicians is the lyrics so not having fully smooth song-speed interpretation of the lyrics it's lost on me. Same with Serge Gainsbourg. Also Olympia '64 is in my rotation, this has a lot of the same songs but not as strong versions. Still, a good album.

The White Stripes - Under The Great White Northern Lights

I usually post I have trouble with live albums but this is an exception. Albums that sound substantially different from the studio version, have a completely different energy, and are edited to a length that maintains its welcome. Same with Nirvana Unplugged in NY. I saw White Stripes in concert once and it was one of the best concerts I'd ever been to. They have amazing energy life, and this album manages to preserve it.

Bibio - Ambivalence Avenue

Good album. I see the 'ambivalence' in the theme with indie pop melodies that harmonically go in happy and sad directions, and that's neat. I don't like it as much as Mind Bokeh.

Winner: Under The Great White Northern Lights. But I think Black Sabbath would have won any other block so far.

Next group:
The Housemartins - The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death
Gang Gang Dance - God's Money
Pet Shop Boys - Actually
Savages - Silence Yourself

This should be an interesting group. Three of these are in because they have albums that snuck into my top 200, and Pet Shop Boys I've never really listened to much. I have literally no expectation for any of these as I think other than Actually they're all early career albums of bands that got bigger latter. All on Spotify.

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby prosecutorgodot » Tue Jan 10, 2017 4:26 am

Hm, I listened to Actually pretty recently. I am interested to see what you think of it.

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby Bruno » Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:03 am

I really like this topic. Great job, Jirin!

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby Jirin » Mon Jan 23, 2017 11:31 pm

The Housemartins - The People Who Grinned Themselves to Death

I'm having trouble deciding what to say about this album because I'm having trouble remembering much about it. Even though I relistened to parts of it an hour ago. I remember enjoying it but ultimately it's a pop album without very memorable hooks.

Gang Gang Dance - God's Money

An electro-pop album with Knife-esque rythyms and exotic vocals. At this earlier point in their career, though it has some brilliant moments it comes off as an unstructured stream of consciousness. By Eye Contact they took the same sound and added more focus to their brilliant moments.

Pet Shop Boys - Actually

Actually is what I refer to as 'Candy music'. Music with fun energizing melodies but not a lot of depth. It's fun and 80s-synthtastic in the vein of Human League, but without much in terms of emotional message or instrumentation.

Savages - Silence Yourself

When I started listening to it I remembered it more than I thought. It sounds very similar to Adore Life, charisma driven Post Punk about introverted anger and frustration.

I'm not sure what to pick in this matchup. I'd give them all a 7/10. Maybe slight edge to Housmartins.

Next matchup:

PJ Harvey - Is This Desire?
Boogie Down Productions - Criminal Minded
Velvet Underground - 1969: Velvet Underground Live With Lou Reed
Saturday Night Fever

This should be an interesting group. I have several PJ Harvey albums near the top of my all time list, VU is one of my favorite bands, and the others are high praised albums in genres I'm hit or miss about.

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby Jirin » Sun Feb 05, 2017 2:33 am

PJ Harvey - Is This Desire?

Placed in between the early PJ Harvey albums that succeeded through raging post-punky guitar and raw emotionality and the later PJ Harvey albums which expanded her dark poetic lyricism with ragey folk elements, Is This Desire feels like an album that hasn't quite found the identity that she later found in Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea.

Boogie Down Productions - Criminal Minded

To me this is an album with more historic signficance than aesthetic appeal. The album was one of the first rap albums to depart from the fun partying topics of earlier rap and mention the harsh conditions of the inner city. Musically though, it's still got the 80s aesthetic and the simple drum loops being rapped over are kinda boring, especially compared to the ones they use now. So I guess, for me it's an album that gets most of its credit for its influence on the genre.

Velvet Underground - 1969: Velvet Underground Live With Lou Reed

I don't think I've ever heard a live VU performance before. I saw Lou Reed live before he died, so I have some basis for comparison. Some of the songs originally sung by Nico he sang himself now whereas in the early 2000s he brought on a female singer. I like this album as some of the performances have a jam bandy quality to them and there's a raw energy you don't see in their studio recordings.

Saturday Night Fever

A nice compilation of some great singles from the unjustly maligned genre of disco. It's not the music's fault everybody dressed stupid while dancing to it.

Winner: Velvet Underground

Next group:

Neil Young - Harvest
Scott Walker - Scott 3
Saint Etienne - Tales From Turnpike House
Drive By Truckers - Alabama Ass Whuppin

Don't know why I've never connected with Harvest. I like all his other major albums.

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby babydoll » Sun Feb 05, 2017 3:53 am

Jirin wrote:Pet Shop Boys - Actually

Actually is what I refer to as 'Candy music'. Music with fun energizing melodies but not a lot of depth. It's fun and 80s-synthtastic in the vein of Human League, but without much in terms of emotional message or instrumentation.

I actually disagree with your thoughts about Actually. "It's a Sin" is a song that packs a lot of depth. "What Have I Done to Deserve This?" is a legitimate question on the mysteries of human nature, particularly evident in break-ups. It's actually a surprisingly deep '80s pop album. The '80s-ness is also very well-done and just illuminates the album.

Okay, I'm a huge fan of this.

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby prosecutorgodot » Sun Feb 05, 2017 4:04 am

I sort of think of Pet Shop Boys as a more accessible/mainstream version of Kraftwerk. Not that Kraftwerk weren't accessible, but while Kraftwerk often mulls over technology and very eccentric electronics, Pet Shop Boys talk about more everyday topics (like Shopping and Rent, very relatable) and over very anthemic and clean-sounding synth production.

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby veganvalentine » Sun Feb 05, 2017 4:18 am

Like many Pink Floyd superfans, I'm not that into Another Brick in the Wall either at this point, but you didn't like anything else on The Wall? Hey You, Nobody Home, or Mother (one of my all-time favorites)?

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby Jirin » Sun Feb 05, 2017 2:46 pm

I like some of the guitar parts on The Wall, just personally I find the overarching emotional themes of the album a little bit forced. A couple of the songs are easier to like as singles than in the context of the full album. That's probably the reason Wish You Were Here is my favorite Floyd album, it has the same quality of guitar riffs but instead of trying to have some complexly engineered cultural theme it's personal emotional songs.

Referring to the lack of depth on Actually I was referring more to the instrumental parts than the lyrics. The production is a bit overly sterile.

So I suppose the thing about each of these two I didn't like are opposites of each other. In one case liking the instrumental parts but not the melodies and lryics and in one case liking the melodies but not the instrumental parts.

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby veganvalentine » Sun Feb 05, 2017 8:54 pm

Jirin wrote:I like some of the guitar parts on The Wall, just personally I find the overarching emotional themes of the album a little bit forced. A couple of the songs are easier to like as singles than in the context of the full album. That's probably the reason Wish You Were Here is my favorite Floyd album, it has the same quality of guitar riffs but instead of trying to have some complexly engineered cultural theme it's personal emotional songs.

Referring to the lack of depth on Actually I was referring more to the instrumental parts than the lyrics. The production is a bit overly sterile.

So I suppose the thing about each of these two I didn't like are opposites of each other. In one case liking the instrumental parts but not the melodies and lryics and in one case liking the melodies but not the instrumental parts.


It's interesting that you find WYWH's songs more "personal" and "emotional" than The Wall's. I prefer WYWH's music (and the album as a whole), but I find The Wall's concept fascinating and heart-breaking: all the traumatic events in Pink's life leading him to isolate himself from society ("I don't need no arms around me"); I'm not really sure what you mean when you refer to a "complexly engineered cultural theme."

WYWH has interesting lyrics, but this was Roger Waters' last album in which he still relied on excessive rhyming. Take Welcome to the Machine, for example: "You dreamed of a big star / He played a mean guitar/ He always ate in the steak bar / He loved to drive in his Jaguar."

As for The Pet Shop Boys, I love them, but I don't know if I've ever listened to Actually all the way through. It's a Sin is one of their best songs though, and tragically, still very relevant.

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby Jirin » Sun Feb 05, 2017 9:43 pm

It's also entirely possible I am overly hard on Pink Floyd because they remind me of myself at a time I didn't like myself.

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby veganvalentine » Mon Feb 06, 2017 8:36 am

Jirin wrote:It's also entirely possible I am overly hard on Pink Floyd because they remind me of myself at a time I didn't like myself.


Yeah, I think it took me awhile to get into Radiohead partly because they were my ex-girlfriend's favorite band.

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby Jirin » Fri Feb 10, 2017 8:51 pm

I mean, I was extremely antisocial and kind of angry and selfish when I was 15, and Pink Floyd lyrics kind of remind me of how I thought at that time.

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby Jirin » Wed Feb 22, 2017 4:23 pm

Neil Young - Harvest

Neil Young is one of my favorite artists who at some points has had multiple albums in my top ten. Yet I've never cared much for his second most acclaimed album, other than Old Man.

There's nothing wrong with the album, it has a bunch of solid songs. It's the most poppy of his albums I've heard, like he's keeping the wailing emotional aspects of his voice under restraint. I've never been a fan of Alabama as it strikes me as the kind of unproductive reaction-groupism that we're seeing lots of now. (Reacting to a racist group by stereotyping the entire demographic they are associated with as racist). I like the Drive By Truckers' analysis of the song in 'Ronnie and Neil'. I heard Neil stopped playing it after it led to audience violence and in a live tape I heard when he was asked to play it he responded 'If you can go back to the place you were two years ago, I'll go back to the place I was two years ago'.

Scott Walker - Scott 3

Something about this album makes me keep thinking of Frank Sinatra. Something about the echoey production and the way the melody interacts with the music. Good album.

Saint Etienne - Tales From Turnpike House

I like this album more than I remember liking it the first time I heard it. Something about the pillowy melodies and catchy hooks makes the album irresistible.

Drive By Truckers - Alabama Ass Whuppin

Speaking of the Drive By Truckers, here's a live set recorded before they had any of their recognizable hits and before they sang critical analyses the musical and cultural traditions of the south they grew up in. I've seen them live twice, even this early they brought that awesome energy to the stage. Problem is they didn't have a full set's worth of good material yet. Still a fun listen.

Winner: Saint Etienne

Next match:
The Stone Roses - Second Coming
Jeff Buckley - Songs For My Sweetheart The Drunk
Muddy Waters - Muddy Waters At Newport 1960
Thelonius Monk - Genius Of Modern Music

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby Jirin » Tue Mar 14, 2017 4:49 pm

The Stone Roses - Second Coming

I know this record mostly as the five year followup to an all time classic with a reputation for being disappointing. I can't help but think if it didn't have such a high bar to meet based on its predecessor, it would have been received better. Sure, it's no Stone Roses. But it's fun and weird, almost in the direction indie pop was taken in the 2000s. Very good album.

Jeff Buckley - Songs For My Sweetheart The Drunk

Like Second Coming, the second album I've ever heard for an artist for whom the first is one of my all time favorites. Good album, but kind of feels like a less perfectly executed Grace.

Muddy Waters - Muddy Waters At Newport 1960

Great album. I'm so bad as describing genre music from this period. So many of them mostly play familiar blues standards, so it's hard for me to remember what made it individually distinct besides general emotional impressions.

Theloneus Monk - Genius of Modern Music

Even more so when it's totally instrumental. Very good album. I remember not liking it quite as much as At Newport, but I just don't know how to describe the nuances of jazz.

I'll probably listen to Second Coming more in the future but Muddy Waters is the winner.

Next matchup:
Bob Marley - Exodus
Portishead - Portishead
Santana - Santana
The Undertones - The Undertones

I think I've heard all of these before except Santana, but none for several years, so should be interesting. Four very different styles.

Edit: It's neat that Undertones happened to come up in both this thing and BMAA at almost exactly the same time.

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby Bruno » Tue Mar 14, 2017 5:45 pm

Good choices the last four.

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby Jirin » Sat Mar 25, 2017 3:05 am

Bob Marley - Exodus

I'm not sure what made me pass on this the first time I heard it. Every bit as great as his other classics like Natty Dread which is in my top 500 AT. Maybe because I heard Natty Dread later than I first heard Exodus.

Portishead - Portishead

I'm a little confused by Spotify's version of the album. I distinctly remember the song Only You as the standout single from the album, but it's not on Spotify. So I go to Allmusic to refresh my memory, and both that and Western Eyes are on the Allmusic listing but not on Spotify. Is this some weird US/UK versioning issue or is Spotify silently excluding specific songs from full albums? Makes me wonder if there are any songs missing from any of the other albums I've been listening to.

Anyway, this album seems vocally similar to Dummy while starting to introduce some of the glitchy tempo shifting electronic background they later brought to Third, but while somehow not making it all get in sync yet.

Santana - Santana

I think of Santana (Other than Supernatural) as a technique-oriented guitar player. You can tell he's one of the absolute best at what he does, but in a way that appeals to guitar players and doesn't necessarily emotionally resonate.

The Undertones - The Undertones

Not a fan of this one. The reason post-punk with simplistic riffs can work is all the emotion and energy it brings to the table, but this album just seems subdued.

Winner: Exodus

Next matchup:
AC/DC - Back In Black
Radiohead - Pablo Honey
AC/DC - Highway To Hell
The Jam - In The City

No, I did not check after I randomized the matchups whether any artists were facing themselves. May consider randomly switching one of them with one of the other albums left in the game.

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby babydoll » Sat Mar 25, 2017 3:16 am

Jirin, Spotify doesn't have "Only You" and "Western Eyes". That's on Spotify and whatever rights issue there is preventing those two being on that streaming service. It is available in full on YouTube which is how I've been recently listening to it.

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby Jirin » Mon Apr 03, 2017 11:43 pm

If Spotify doesn't have a complete album, why don't they flag it when you search for the album, with a message "This album is not complete"? If you don't have the rights, you don't have the rights, but then don't present the album to me like it's complete, give me some indication it's not. If it's not an album I'm familiar with I may not even know the songs are missing and then I'm forming a false impression of the album.

I'm not mad the songs are missing, I'm mad Spotify doesn't tell you they are.

I decided to randomly swap Highway to Hell with another album remaining in the game, to avoid having two AC/DC albums in the same matchup. Ended up switching with Beatles - Help.

Currently listening to the very beginning of the first song on Back In Black. How did I not know how blatantly Live ripped this song off?

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby Rob » Tue Apr 04, 2017 12:41 pm

Jirin wrote:If Spotify doesn't have a complete album, why don't they flag it when you search for the album, with a message "This album is not complete"? If you don't have the rights, you don't have the rights, but then don't present the album to me like it's complete, give me some indication it's not. If it's not an album I'm familiar with I may not even know the songs are missing and then I'm forming a false impression of the album.

I'm not mad the songs are missing, I'm mad Spotify doesn't tell you they are.

I decided to randomly swap Highway to Hell with another album remaining in the game, to avoid having two AC/DC albums in the same matchup. Ended up switching with Beatles - Help.

Currently listening to the very beginning of the first song on Back In Black. How did I not know how blatantly Live ripped this song off?


You can always see which tracks are missing, can't you? They are turned grey. Works for me.

It seems to be a regional thing with Portishead; the album is completely available here.

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby Jirin » Tue Apr 04, 2017 4:20 pm

I just looked again and full album is there now. In the past I've seen missing tracks greyed out but that was not the case last week. Maybe a temporary bug that sinc got fixed.

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby Jirin » Fri Apr 07, 2017 12:26 pm

AC/DC - Back In Black

I've never cared much for AC/DC. The biggest barrier for me has been the lyrics and the screechy delivery: Every bit as violent and boastful as gangster rap only without a trace of irony, humor or personal damage. "I used to love her, but I had to kill her, she drove me NUTS!" Like they're cynically pandering to a demographic of teenagers who want to piss off their parents. On this attempt to get into them I enjoyed the guitar riffs more but still roll my eyes hard at the lyrics. They portray the character of the violent amoral super-masculine hedonist you see to a lesser extent in Appetite For Destruction and it's just not an interesting character, especially because you get the sense the character is all about extracting cash from 1980s teenagers.

Radiohead - Pablo Honey

Not a bad album, a few good songs such as Creep. Songs like the sound they hit on in The Bends but in most cases without the hooks that make that album.

The Beatles - Help!

Recently Help gets referred to as a transition album between the Beatles early sound and later sound. My assessment is that it has the cloudy folky melodies of later songs, for example Hide Your Love Away hearkens Norwegian Wood. But I think it takes away some of the powerful guitar riffs of the earlier works for more minimal arrangements that later got added back to those cloudy melodies in Rubber Soul. The songs are beautiful and catchy but in my opinion are missing that power from the stronger guitar parts.

The Jam - In The City

This album has the emotional power of the post-punk songs that crystallized more in their later albums but has more R&B influenced rhythms than their later work.

Winner: In The City

Next match:

Aerosmtih - Rocks
The 2 Bears - The Night Is Young
Pixies - Bossanova
Teenage Fanclub - Bandwagonesque

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby Jirin » Wed Apr 12, 2017 12:46 pm

Aerosmith - Rocks

Great guitar riffs, boring songwriting. After Toys In The Attic contained the last of their early hooky hits with Sweet Emotion and Walk This Way, Rocks is creatively dull and just full of the dumb posturing of the hard rock genre. Like at some point in the 70s they got fatigued and forgot how to songwrite until Run DMC reminded people they existed.

The 2 Bears - The Night Is Young

This is on the list because Be Strong is one of my favorite albums of its year. I naturally assumed it came before Be Strong, then found out it came after, which makes me wonder how the hell I missed it. Makes me wonder how many other less known bands who put out an album that found it's way to a year end top five of mine later put out other albums I missed. The Night Is Young is very similar to Be Strong. The beats are more clubby in a Hercules and Love Affair Way and the lyrics are a little less goofy, though they are delivered in a sort of British accent it's hard not to hear a little comedy from.

Pixies - Bossanova

This album sounds melodically a lot like their earlier classics, but lacks the aggression.

Teenage Fanclub - Bandwagonesque

A nice album that is reminiscent of the heyday of 90s style indie, but doesn't emotionally stand out much like the best albums of that wave do.

Winner: The Night Is Young

Which makes the third second round match:
Muddy Waters - Muddy Waters At Newport 1960
Bob Marley - Exodus
The Jam - In The City
The 2 Bears - The Night Is Young

Next match:
Adele - 21
The Doors - Strange Days
The Magnetic Fields - i
The Rolling Stones - The Rolling Stones

Didn't know the Stones had a self titled album.

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby Jirin » Sat Apr 22, 2017 12:09 am

Next group.

Adele - 21

I enjoyed this more than I expected. I knew I liked Rolling In The Deep but had the expectation that like many pop albums the rest of the album was a couple more hits and a lot of filler, but the album was remarkably consistent. Lots of well produced catchy pop whose gloss didn't manage to strip the emotion.

The Doors - Strange Days

I've loved every Doors album I've heard but haven't heard them all yet. They have a unique way of using organ to give every song an tone of epicness which mixes perfectly with the themes of apathy and self-destruction. Strange Days is no exception, more awesomeness.

The Magnetic Fields - i

Nobody sounds quite like the Magnetic Fields. Their distortedly ornate flourishes and tongue in cheek but still profound lyrics are catchy and engrossing in a way nobody else quite manages. I don't however feel like i is their best work. The album feels a bit fatigued. And I think one of the things that makes 69 Love Songs work so well is the variety of vocalists which everything since then is missing. Not that anything is wrong with Stephen Merritt's voice, just the style of arrangement lends itself better to multiple voices. This is also kind of an issue with 50 Song Memoir. When you're wading through three hours of songs, the more variety the better in staving off tedium.

The Rolling Stones - The Rolling Stones

Looks like The Rolling Stones always sounded good. They always had energy and incredible musicianship. But at this point they sounded like a really good cover band. They were the kind band that would easily get me in the door of a bar when I'm wandering down Bourbon Street, but not necessarily one I'd sit down at home and listen to.

Winner: The Doors - Strange Days

Next group:
Kevin Coyne - Case History
Game Theory - Two Steps From The Middle Ages
Godspeed! You Black Emperor - Yanqui U.X.O
These New Puritans - Hiddden

And just to make sure...yep...Two Steps is not on Spotify. If I can not find some other source for this may need to switch it to Dead Center or Blaze of Glory.

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby Jirin » Sat Apr 29, 2017 3:12 pm

So apparently Two Steps From The Middle Ages is next to be reissued this June in the same series that Lolita Nation and Big Shot Chronicles, so I have decided to randomly switch its position with another album in the draw.

So now, Sex Pistols - Never Mind The Bollocks is in this group instead. And Two Steps From The Middle Ages will much later be against Steve Earle - El Corazon, Buffalo Springfield - s/t and The Last Shadow Puppets - The Age Of Understatement.

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby Jirin » Tue May 02, 2017 9:46 pm

Grr, did entire writeups and they got wiped out because by the time I hit submit the session had timed out! Wish they'd update the board to preserve what you've written in that scenario.

Kevin Coyne - Case History

I've been a fan of Kevin Coyne ever since I discovered Marjory Razorblade in BMAA. Now it sits in the top 20 of my all time list, and I haven't found a Kevin Coyne album I haven't liked. He's got a twangy-wailey brand of folk-rock in the vein of Tim Buckley and usually covers subjects of alienation and bad experiences in the psychiatric industry. The themes of outsiders being treated as aberrations resonates with me directly based on my experiences in middle school and high school. The only criticism I would have for Kevin Coyne is that he's starting to seem like a one trick pony. There's very little variety between the albums of his I've heard, but they've all been very good.

Sex Pistols - Never Mind The Bollocks, Here Are The Sex Pistols

I've been overly hard in the past on the Sex Pistols. I've never connected with them and have never understood why they have their top ten all time status. Part of it is that I find the hard enunciation of all their consonants a little bit grating and part of it is that I think the anger they express could be a little more focused. On this listen, there's really nothing wrong with the album, it's a good album. It has good energy and it's exciting. They're not as fun as similar bands like the Ramones and there isn't as much substance to their counterculturalism as in some other punk bands, but they're a perfectly good punk band, and deserve at least the progenitor credit they get.

Godspeed! You Black Emperor - Yanqui U.X.O.

Godspeed might be my favorite instrumental band. I was the one who nominated Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress in BMAA. This is the only main album of theirs I haven't heard. The tone of this album reminds me of the creeping tone of a heavy metal band only without the growling vocals and main guitar, and more gentle, deliberate orchestration. Good album but not my favorite of theirs.

These New Puritans - Hidden

These New Puritans are a difficult band because they're one of those indie rock bands that evades accessible melodies. It's stripped down and deliberately offputting, and a good deal of it works well and a good deal of it doesn't.

Winner: Case History

Next:
Lauryn Hill - The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill
Mothers of Invention - We're Only In It For The Money
Fennesz - Venice
Ian Dury - New Boots And Panties

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby Jirin » Sat May 13, 2017 2:42 pm

Lauryn Hill - The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill

I may have had trouble connecting with this album because of the way I was first exposed to it. Took me a while before I heard the full album, but I did watch a lot of MTV in 1998, so I saw the music video for Doo Wop (That Thing) several times. That video is a bunch of sanctimonious nostalgic cultural revision, and because of the way I 'watched' music back then I've subconsciously held it against the song.

Listening to the album now, I like it a lot more. Still not one of my favorites, but it's raw and personal and lacking the pretense of popular music.

Mothers of Invention - We're Only In It For The Money

This album is probably the one in this game that I'm most previously familiar with. Ten years ago it was in my top 100. Gradually it slipped and I just didn't want to listen to it anymore. The same sarcasm that appealed to me as a teenager and college student I found offputting as a young professional. Taken as a whole the album is a brilliant satire on both sides of the cultural revolution of the 60s. "They looked too weird, it served them right" brings up the casual barbarism of the cultural norm dealing with dissent that's been revived and re-empowered through Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions. We're Only In It For The Money has new relevance as it refers to the same kind of cultural distress that makes you worried we're heading toward another Kent State shooting. Musically, I don't know. The aggressively sarcastic tone eclipses the melody so much it's hard to judge it musically. The melodies are chosen around making the parodied subject matter seem more pretentious and meaningless. It's a brilliant spoken word album that happens to include music.

Fennesz - Venice

I haven't heard an Fennesz album I don't like. It's hard to describe exactly what I like about it. Minimalist electronica that's relaxing but unlike some more droning electronica, changes stimulus frequently enough to keep you from slipping into a trance and tuning it out. This one's no exception.

Ian Dury - New Boots and Panties

This is another album I listened to once and decided I didn't like. I picked it up for like $3 used when I first found Acclaimed Music. I'm not sure what I didn't like about it back then, I enjoyed it this time. One thing I don't like about it is the vocal inflections used to accentuate the vulgarness (Same thing that rubs me the wrong way about some Kendrick Lamar), but it bothers me less than it did back then. The album has a great punk rock energy.

Winner: Venice

Next:
King Sunny Ade - Juju Music
Van Morrison - It's Too Late to Stop Now
REM - Reckoning
The Quintet - Jazz at the Massey Hall/The Greatest Jazz Concert Ever

I'm surprised I added Reckoning to this. It's never been my favorite REM album but I've listened to it pretty recently.

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby Jirin » Thu May 25, 2017 12:52 pm

Don't have a lot of time to type things up today so these will be brief. These albums are hard to talk about because they were all really good and also all pretty much what I expected.

King Sunny Ade - Juju Music

Very good example of Afro-Pop, has the distinct beat of the genre without the excess repetition that sometimes comes with it.

Van Morrison - It's Too Late To Stop Now

Strong performances of Morrison's iconic songs.

REM - Reckoning

I think the reason I don't connect with this album like I do a lot of REM's other stuff is that REM is a band that often thrives on hooks and the hooks on Reckoning aren't as strong. It still has that same enthralling energy as other REM albums.

The Quintet - Jazz At The Massey Hall

Five jazz greats and spectacular performances of standards.

Winner: Juju Music

Next:

Stevie Wonder - Fulfillingness First Finale
John Mayall - Blues Breakers With Eric Clapton
Pink Floyd - Piper At The Gates OF Dawn
Benny Goodman - The Famous 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby Jirin » Wed Jun 07, 2017 3:46 am

Stevie Wonder - Fulfillingness First Finale

I heard this one time before. When I was in college I asked my father to introduce me to 60s/70s music and for Stevie Wonder he gave me Talking Book, Innervisions, Songs in the Key of LIfe, and this. This is the only one of the four that didn't resonate with me. Listening to it now, I kind of see why. It sounds so much like Innervisions and Songs in the Key Of Life only without standout songs. It doesn't have extremely catchy hooks or the powerful protest songs of the other three.

John Mayall - Blues Breakers With Eric Clapton

This album is incredible. Raw and powerful blues. I like almost everything I've heard that involves Eric Clapton but isn't a solo album of his, and this is near peak of genre.

Pink Floyd - Piper At The Gates Of Dawn

Meh. This was another one of my father's picks I haven't listened to much likely. I liked it at first but the more you listen to it, the more it seems like a genre replica of psychadelic rock.

Benny Goodman - The Famous 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert

A great jazz album but not in a way I can talk about much.

Winner: Blues Breakers With Eric Clapton

Six months and I'm just over a quarter of the way into this. Need to pick up the pace.

Next:
Billie Holiday - Lady in Satin
Patti Smith - Easter
John Coltrane - Giant Steps
The Mothers Of Invention - Freak Out!

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby Bruno » Fri Jun 09, 2017 3:18 am

Cool stuff, Jirin! :music-listening:

Do you plan post your top albums on the poll this year?

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby Jirin » Fri Jun 09, 2017 6:29 pm

Thought I already did.

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby Jirin » Mon Jun 19, 2017 3:59 am

Billie Holiday - Lady In Satin

Nobody sounds quite like Billie Holiday. She's the iconically soulful but weathered beauty that defines the image of a lounge singer.

Patti Smith - Easter

Horses has always been in my top 20 albums all time. When I first got into 70s music my father also introduced me to Easter and Wave, neither of which I got into so much. Revisiting Easter, I see a lot in it that I didn't before. It's an uneven album, it's got a lot of the poetic sound that defines her later work but also really hooky songs like Because The Night which I completely forgot the cover I kept hearing was Patti Smith. Good album but doesn't quite find that emotional energy of Horses or strike a consistent identity.

John Coltrane - Giant Steps

Not much to say about this album, it's just beautiful.

Mothers Of Invention - Freak Out!

I might rehash a lot of the things I said about We're Only In It For The Money. Lyrically I find Frank Zappa incredibly but musically the same poignantly sarcastic tone I love about his lyrics I find offputting about his melodies. Every time I find a Frank Zappa quote I love it, like "Politics is the entertainment division of the military industrial complex". But it gets into his singing voice and I just don't like it.

Winner: Giant Steps

Next:
Bjork - Medulla
The Good, The Bad and the Queen - s/t
U2 - The Unforgettable Fire
Dexy's Midnight Runners - Searching For The Young Soul Rebels

Jirin
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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby Jirin » Sun Jun 25, 2017 3:14 am

Bjork - Medulla

This is the most different of all the Bjork albums I've heard. It's less airy, more glitchy in its weirdness. Sampled vocals layered on top of her own. Something not quite like anything else I've ever heard.

The Good, The Bad and The Queen - s/t

I think I listened to this a bit when it came out, I vaguely recall having it at about #30 of that year in my year end list. I don't know what I didn't connect with about it the first time. Distortiony guitar on top of off-beat indie rock melodies, all very well executed.

U2 - The Unforgettable Fire

Sounds like a B album of War. Nothing wrong with it, and it has Pride, but in U2's catalog doesn't have much that's distinct or special about it.

Dexy's Midnight Runners - Searching For The Young Soul Rebels

This is an album that for some reason I really want to like it. I'm not sure why, maybe it's one of those hipster appeal albums ("Yeah, I'm not a fan of their more poppy stuff, I prefer their early stuff.") The problem is, I do prefer their more poppy stuff. It's got some interesting woodwind parts and soulful melodies layered on them in unique ways, but it's not enough to make up for being pop music that's not that catchy.

Winner: Medulla

Next:
Bruce Springsteen - Tunnel of Love
Grateful Dead - Workingman's Dead
Erykah Badu - Mama's Gun
Wire - Send

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby Jirin » Fri Jun 30, 2017 11:40 pm

Bruce Springsteen - Tunnel Of Love

Slower and twangier than Springsteen's other works around the time, Tunnel of Love comes about as close to a southern sound as he did in Nebraska and about as personal as you hear from him. It's a good album but has a lot of better albums to be compared to.

Grateful Dead - Workingman's Dead

I enjoyed this album. I think I enjoy Grateful Dead now more than I did ten years ago. Of course if I ever REALLY got into Grateful Dead, my father could never be allowed to find out. If I ever wound up on his Deadheads mailing list, that would be the end.

Erykah Badu - Mama's Gun

I got really into Erykah Badu through her New Amerykah series. Funky, soulful songs about racial identity in a dystopian near-future, with that voice that starts out offputting but the more you hear it the more quirky and endearing it gets. Mama's Gun feels less like those and more like a funkier sequel to Baduizm.

Wire - Send

It's hard to describe what attracts me so much to the entire post-punk movement. The distorted and simple garage rock guitars, stripped down disorganized arrangements, more melody than punk but less melody than pop, insane amounts of energy, anti-authoritarian and youthful with the right mix of fun and sarcasm. Something about that combination has a chemical reaction that makes me love almost every album I hear in that style. This is a post-reformation album they released in 2003, and feels like an evolved take on their older work. (Also the latest album from a post-punk band that still sounds like post-punk).

I'm going back and forth between Mama's Gun and Send here. I'll go with Mama's Gun as the winner.

So the 5th second round matchup will be:
John Mayall - Blues Breakers With Eric Clapton
John Coltrane - Giant Steps
Bjork - Medulla
Erykah Badu - Mama's Gun

Next:
Burning Spear - Marcus Garvey
The Chemical Brothers - Exit
Alain Bashung - Fantaisie Militaire
The Libertines - The Libertines

Jirin
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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby Jirin » Tue Jul 11, 2017 12:46 am

Burning Spear - Marcus Garvey

When I was 18 I asked my father to introduce me to 60s music starting with 1965 and moving forward. At the time I found the grunge period to be the height of rock music and needless to say this exploration was the first step toward the diverse tastes I have today. At the time Marcus Garvey was on the list of albums he introduced me to, but although I liked it a little more than the other raggae albums, the genre still didn't jive with me much. It wasn't till later I started to get into Bob Marley, and this is my first time listening to this album since back then. It has definitely grown on me. It's more immediately accessible than some other raggae, and reading the allmusic review it makes sense, saying that the original more rootsy mix was ditched to make it more commercially viable. I suppose that's why I connected with it a little more than other raggae at the time. Now I'm wondering if the original mix still exists somewhere. It's still a strong album with a great energy to the vocals.

The Chemical Brothers - Exit Planet Dust

Great album to dance to at a night club, not so great an album to sit down and listen to. The same droning loops with an alluring emotional surface but not a lot of sonic depth which make it perfect in the former context makes it boring in the latter. Which I suppose is what the band was trying to do, so it's not at all a mark against the album, but in this game I'm auditioning albums for future sitting down and listening to.

Alain Bashung - Fantaisie Militaire

As with all French rock albums, as a person who doesn't speak French, I'm losing half the album's appeal. So much of the famous French rock singers, much like Bob Dylan, twine the melody so much with the lyrics and charisma, that more so than other genres a non-French speaker only gets half the story. Nonetheless, Osez Josephine is one of my favorite albums of all time. This one, I'm just kinda not feeling. Maybe I'd like it if I spoke French.

The Libertines - The Libertines

I don't have much to say about this one, it's a decent but unmemorable entry in the British garage rock movement.

Winner: Marcus Garvey

Next:
The Pogues - Rum, Sodomy and the Lash
Lou Reed - Rock N Role Animal
Kraftwerk - Computerwelt/Computer World
The Orb - The Orb's Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby Father2TheMan » Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:54 am

Jirin wrote:Elvis Costello - Painted From Memory

I don't have much to say about this one. A lot of nice melodies that don't particularly stand out.


Though I love both these artist's work solo and had high hopes for this, my reaction was much the same. Only "Toledo" and "I Still Have That Other Girl" really grabbed me.

EDIT: And "God Give Me Strength"
"The laughs come hard in Old Lang Syne....."

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby Jirin » Fri Jul 14, 2017 4:30 am

The Pogues - Rum, Sodomy & The Lash

This is another of the ones I tried to like ten years ago and didn't. I definitely like it more this time. There's a distinct melody style of Irish music, and it's beautiful. I think it was the same reason I didn't originally like New Boots And Panties, there's a vulgar tone to it with lots of jarring hard consonants. It still bugs me a little but not as much as it did ten years ago.

Lou Reed - Rock N Roll Animal

I didn't even know this was a live album. Really cool versions of classic VU/Lou Reed songs. Slightly different arrangements that make them more energetic.

Kraftwerk - Computer World

I feel like I could repeat a lot of the same comments for a lot of these big electronic albums. With Kraftwerk I would add a bit about how important and influential they were. I've tried so many times to like Kraftwerk. It's not that they sound bad, just they're just so repetitive and so lacking in emotion. Unless the goal is to dance, I don't see how you can sit down and listen to music that's just a couple seconds of cool sounding stuff looped over and over with progressively building slight variations. There's only so far founders' points will get you.

The Orb - The Orb's Adventure's Beyond The Underworld

See Kraftwerk comments.

Winner: Rock N Roll Animal

Next:

The Police - Regatta de Blanc
Frank Sinatra - In the Wee Small Hours
Lucinda Williams - Down Where The Spirit Meets the Bone
The Psychadelic Furs - Forever Now

Should be interesting matchup, I've never heard any Psychadelic Furs besides Talk Talk Talk. Need to figure out how to hear Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone. For whatever reason recent Lucinda Williams albums aren't on Spotify.

Jirin
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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby Jirin » Fri Jul 21, 2017 3:24 am

The Police - Regatta de Blanc

I have mixed feelings about The Police. On one hand I love their resonant guitar riffs. Beautifully concise ringing backdrops to every song. On the other hand, I find the lyrics really overly melodramatic, and I think Sting's lead vocals are overacted and I can't abide the fake Jamaican accent. You don't need a fake Jamaican accent to make your music sound like raggae, sing with your own voice man! And it doesn't quite sound like a Jamaican accent, it sounds like somebody affecting one. And his vocals don't sound meaningful and profound but they sound like they're desperately trying to be. These kinds of guitar riffs with more genuine, less melodramatic music would be wonderful.

Frank Sinatra - In The Wee Small Hours

Having trouble thinking of things to say about this. I like Frank Sinatra but not quite enough to put him on repeat. Watertown is the only Sinatra album in my ranking system. I like this album, sounds like Sinatra. Lonely, yearning songs that make you think of a certain lifestyle men instinctively feel like they aspire to.

Lucinda Williams - Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone

Ended up just buying the album to listen to it. It's been compared to The Ghosts of Highway 20 which was one of my top ten of the year last year. I can see the resemblance. It's a double album with one album's worth of good songs. I'm not entirely sure why Lucinda Williams is suddenly releasing a lot of double albums. The standout singles are wonderful. East Side Of Town is like a less aggressive, more thoughtful Common People. West Memphis sounds like it was written by the Drive By Truckers, describing police unchallengedly planting evidence as the norm. The songs have a really personal, emotional touch and it makes it a good listen, I just don't know why it needed to be a double album.

The Psychadelic Furs - Forever Now

Always an adventure listening to a second album from a band you've only heard one album from. Talk Talk Talk is an incredible album, probably in my top 200 all time. Forever Now is quite similar, a little more raw, a little less catchy.

Winner: Forever Now

Next:

Slint - Tweez
New Order - Low Life
Genesis - The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
The Ramones - Rocket To Russia

This should be interesting because it's three albums I've heard years ago and decided for whatever reason I didn't like, and another second album from a band I've heard one album from. Is there good Slint other than Spiderland? I'll find out. Otherwise I'm not sure what the favorite would be, probably Low Life because it's an album that was previously in my ranking system and removed.

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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby Jirin » Thu Jul 27, 2017 5:09 am

Slint - Tweez

My verdict on this is awesome. Makes me wonder why only Spiderland gets attention. It's not like Spiderland, it's got that bombastic sardonic post-punk vibe. It's not as unique as Spiderland and being released in 1989 maybe late for its sound, but something I'll absolutely be listening to again.

New Order - Low Life

Currently I've got a list of about 700 albums inputted into an algorithm that helps me list and rank them. Low Life was in the list previously but I took it out. Now it's going back in. I don't know what I'm hearing in it now that I didn't hear the previous several listens. It's got more of a Happy Mondays vibe than New Order's other stuff which adds a slight dance aspect to the Joy Division vibe. Maybe it syncs with my emotions more than it did before.

Genesis - The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway

Genesis and Phil Collins I've just never jived with. I've listened to this album a few times and never really liked it. I like it a little more this time. It has interesting harmonies between the piano and the vocals. Lyrically and structurally maybe they're trying a little too hard to be intricate and proggy without quite the chops to execute. But this is the most I've ever enjoyed Genesis.

The Ramones - Rocket To Russia

Simple straightforward punk is a lot of fun to listen to, but it needs to have raw energy, and this album lacks the raw energy of their earlier albums and that drives the genre.

Winner: Low Life

Next:

Suicide - Alan Vega/Martin Rev
Scritti Polittl - Songs To Remember
LCD Soundsystem - 45:33
Prince - Parade

Two albums both in the new wave umbrella from bands I've only really listened to one album from. This should be a fun group. And never know if the other two will surprise me.

So full list of albums that have advanced to second round:

Mac Demarco - Salad Days
The National - The National
Justin Timberlake - Futuresex/LoveSounds
Bill Evans - Sunday at the Village Vanguard

The White Stripes - Under The Great White Northern Lights
The Housmartins - The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death
Velvet Underground - 1969: Velvet Underground Live With Lou Reed
Saint Etienne - Tales from the Turnpike House

Muddy Waters - Muddy Waters at Newport 1960
Bob Marley - Exodus
The Jam - In The City
The 2 Bears - The Night Is Young

The Doors - Strange Days
Kevin Coyne - Case History
Fennesz - Venice
King Sunny Ade - Juju Music

John Mayall - Blues Breakers With Eric Clapton
John Coltrane - Giant Steps
Bjork - Medulla
Erykah Badu - Mama's Gun

Burning Spear - Marcus Garvey
Lou Reed - Rock N Roll Animal
The Psychadelic Furs - Forever Now
New Order - Low Life

Jirin
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Re: Thinking of listening project for 2017

Postby Jirin » Sun Jul 30, 2017 1:23 am

Suicide - The Second Album

The album of a million names. One of the ones that makes me check allmusic.com to make sure I'm listening to the right album. It doesn't have the desperate drug raddled screechy narratives of the original, but it fits well into the more centrist part of the post punk movement. It retains the dark bass-lines that also give it an electronic feel and conjures the 'back room of a night club at 2AM' vibe of the debut. Less unique but still a strong sophomore album. That I will henceforth refer to as The Second Album because that's what it's listed as on Spotify and because it sounds better than 'Alan Vega/Martin Rev'.

Scritti Politti - Songs To Remember

Lesser known debuts are always a crapshoot. In some cases (Jackson Browne) you get emotionally rawer, less polished gems from albums that are more genuine and less concerned with living up to the band or artist's later image or later ambitiously conceptual aspirations. In other cases (My Bloody Valentine) you get unlistenable derivative dreck from people who obviously had no idea they would later hit on something special. In other cases, such as this one, you see a prosaic version of their later sound. There's something special and unique about the approach to vocals in Cupid & Psyche 85. It takes simplistic poppy raggae beats and sinks into this enticing groove, emoting out sometimes bizarre but fascinating lyrics. Its predecessor doesn't quite get into those grooves. To get there it needs to make minor changes, slow down the delivery a bit, and it almost gets there in a few tracks such as Rock A Bye Blue, but since it doesn't get there the album is a miss.

LCD Soundsystem - 45:33

Not sure I get this album. The one line flippant review is "Karaoke Sound of Silver laid end to end". It's not really a 'Sit down and listen' type of album, and if it's not that I don't see where LCD Soundsystem's niche of "Electronica you can't dance to" fits in. The allmusic review says it was commissioned as workout music, but seems kind of slow for that.

Prince - Parade

Any soundtrack album is almost guaranteed to be uneven (Though Purple Rain amazingly avoids that). Parade sounds different from any other Prince album I've heard, which speaks to his talent as musicianship as I've heard about a dozen Prince albums. Makes use of psychadelic flourishes in Prince's particular way. All in all good-not-great album.

Winner: The Second Album

Next:
Basement Jazz - Remedy
Elvis Presley - From Elvis In Memphis
Green Day - Warning
Fatboy Slim - You've come A Long Way Baby


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