Top Ten Teen-years Albums

This was floating around facebook the last few days.

List 10 albums that made a lasting impression on you as a TEENAGER, but only one per band/artist. In approximate chronological order of when I found them.

1. Aerosmith – Get a Grip (1993) – I wasn’t sure this fell into my teen years, until I looked up the release date, and saw that it had to. This is the first CD I remember wanting to buy on my own. My clique of friends all had it, and we were scandalized that there were nipple prints on the CD.
2. Salt n Pepa – Very Necessary (1993) – I loved this record, I listened to it a ton with headphones when I got my first portable CD player, in my room, doing my homework, even though I had a perfectly working stereo. Thinking of this record got “None Of Your Business” in my head last night. Awesome.
3. Stone Temple Pilots – Purple (1994) – While I still don’t really think of them as “grunge”, I guess this is the first grunge cd I loved and listened to all the time (I owned Pearl Jam’s “Ten” but never listened to it).
4. REM – Monster (1994) – I listened to this, and the STP record, all the time when I was playing my Super Nintendo. In retrospect I’m not really sure why I liked this record, but at the time it was great.
5. The Cranberries – No Need To Argue (1994) – Zombie still is a fantastic song. The rest is a bit mellow, but it holds up.
6. Elastica – Elastica (1995) – I heard the song “Connection” while hanging out in Media Play and bought the CD. I remember writing song lyrics on the desk in study hall, only to see that someone had written the next line after. Turns out that someone was Marney.
7. Michael Jackson – HIStory (1995) – 2 records have changed my life. This was the first. It led me to travel, spend a lot of money, and most importantly, led me to meet some of the best friends who I still have to this day. Awww.
8. U2 – Achtung Baby (1991) – Not discovered until I was at Geneseo, and not appreciated upon first listens, when I listened to it months later, it’s brilliance blinded me. So amazing.
9. Nine Inch Nails – The Fragile (1999) – The 2nd life changing record. Even if it took 6 years for it to make a huge impact as far as leading me to travel and meet great people, this was an emotionally impactful record. I really don’t know what my life would be like if I had never fallen down the NIN-hole.
10. Orgy – Candyass (1998) – Orgy was the first band I met, and was the band responsible for getting me into seeing concerts, and following tours, and trying to meet bands and get autographs. They were fun, and super cute, yay boys in makeup.


So, Prince died. That was a surprise. I can’t say it’s affected me at all, as I was never a Prince fan. I didn’t dislike him, I liked all the big hits, but for whatever reason he never appealed to me the way other pop stars from that era did, and I didn’t pay much attention to him. He was a great musician, and he’ll be missed.

new music!

I always said I wasn’t going to be one of those “old” people who wasn’t in touch with new music, but, here I am, and I’m that person. I realized the other day I haven’t bought or even really listened to music from a band that’s come out in the last decade. Sure I’ve listened to new music, but from old bands. Ugh. And I hate to say new bands suck, but…nothing that I *have* heard on the occasions that I’ve listened to the radio has caught my fancy. So I’ll just put in my decades old music (god, how is it possible that I can even say that!?!), or new music from decades old bands, and enjoy.

Which brings me to this week. New music from one of my fav bands, The Tea Party. Their first in a decade! I was excited and scared all at the same time, as their last album Seven Circles was mediocre, and their live release from last year, or the year before was pretty freaking terrible (the mixing not the performance). But holy crap this record is pretty good. I borrowed it from the internet last week, but crossed over to Canada the other day to pick it up from HMV since American amazon wasn’t offering it. Of course like any record, a few songs I could leave, like yet another Daniel Lanois cover (The Maker), a throw away hidden instrumental at the end, and one I’m not sure of (Black Roses) but over all, the songs go back to their roots, covering all the different sounds they’ve had over the years – zepplin-esque, eastern influenced rock. Thankfully they lost the Tom Morello guitar tone from Seven Circles and went back to the style Jeff Martin is best at. I wasn’t impressed with the initial single, Water’s On Fire, because it’s a ballad, and I thought a poor choice for a first single in a decade, but it’s grown on me and it’s not that bad. Brazil has great rock guitar in it, that we expect from them, Submission sounds like a Gary Numan cover (specifically Cars, and I guess it was intentional) and thus is cool, and the “required” long song The Ocean At The End is reminiscent of Correspondences, and really very nice. I’m very happy with it and excited to see them live again – AS LONG AS THEY PLAY A DIFFERENT DAMNED SETLIST! In looking through my blog archives in search for a date for one of their shows from 05, I discovered Eric and I bitching about them playing the same setlist ALL THE WAY BACK THEN!

And then came the surprise. U2 released their album with no fanfare or build up on itunes as part of Apple’s iphone 6 press conference, for free. Called “Songs of Innocence” it’s been 5 years in the making and is rumored to be only one of several releases coming up. Dave Fanning, friend of U2 and radio guy (?) suspects it’s one of 3 coming releases chronicling U2 decade by decade as this one is all about the 1970s and the band themselves have claimed to have more material ready to be released. My first impression is…we’ve heard this all before. It’s the same sound, same style, same…thing. Even though Eno and Lanois had nothing to do with it, it’s just….U2 I guess. I hate to say it, I’ve been denying it for years, but I don’t want U2 to sound like U2. I like 90s U2 when they did something different and ground breaking, and didn’t just repeat themselves ad nauseum. I was excited when they were working with new people on new music, but in the end, it’s just them. Still. There is nothing exciting on this record, nothing catchy, nothing fun. I hesitate to say it’s depressing, it’s just not exciting. The first song The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone) held potential that very quickly went away, devolving into the usual, what I like to call “Miracle Drug”ing of the album. It has the same vibe as How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb and Electrical Storm. It is rather minimal, with no weird random out of place Eno-esque organs or horns, which is fine by me, but there isn’t anything else there either. (I just looked at a review of the album when looking for the track titles and it said that the album sounds like U2 ripping off all the bands that rip off U2 which reminded me that I had the thought that the album sounded like Coldplay LOL)

So that was my first impression. After listening a few times, I will say the 2nd half of the album is much better than the first because it sounds different! There is some “weirdness”, or well weird for U2. There is strong bass lines that remind you Adam exists, there are female vocals from someone, there is interesting guitar work from Edge, and slow synthy stuff. While there aren’t any lyrics that stand out as cringe worthy, like “people get squashed crossing the tracks” from Bomb, the lyrics aren’t good either. Bono used to be a poet, wtf happened to him? And while there aren’t any songs I out right despise like Moment of Surrender or Yahweh to name a few, there aren’t any at this point that I can say I like either. And that’s sad. I could easily never listen to this again and not miss it. Susan had listened to it before me, since she has itunes, and had said it was edgier than their last one. I’m not sure what she was listening to LOL.

But I will keep listening until I know every word, as I have a history of not liking U2 albums at first listen – yes even Achtung Baby, the greatest album ever made, I didn’t appreciate at first. I’m sure it will grow on me some, but a classic or brilliant album it is definitely not.
In other news. I’ve been struggling with my head big time. Since July my headaches have become intolerable. I finally went to see neurologists again, and they gave me a nerve block in my head which was a failure. So now I’ve been put on another preventative rx, topamax. Starting week 2, I’m not sure of it’s efficacy yet. I can up the dosage 2 more times, so we’ll see. I’m not sure I’ll be able to handle the side effects if they get worse with the increased dosage though, as it makes my hands and face tingle, a bit of dizziness and stupidness lol. I’ve started taking dice class, finally after 11 years, so tingling hands and stupidness isn’t really good for that hah. Failing that, I already qualify for botox treatments, as I have a 30 year history of failed treatments, but that also takes time to start working so it’s best to have them under control before starting botox to bridge the gap. I just know I need something to work, and soon, cuz I can’t handle it anymore.

Hesitation Marks Review

It came in the mail today so now I’m allowed to listen. I really don’t know what to say.

the eater of dreams – instrumental to start the record.

copy of a – not bad, but having heard came back haunted, it’s very very similar.

came back haunted – first listen when it was released i was like….*crickets* jason asked “was that the dance remix?” no, no it wasn’t. but i listened on repeat one day and it grew on me. it’s ok.

find my way – initially makes me think of beside you in time, or something from the end of With Teeth. and first How To Destroy Angels EP. it’s sorta boring.

all time low – i liked this one at first listen. it’s got a groove to it. a dance vibe that isn’t based on a boring drum machine, more like the vibe from god given. trent should do a funk record lol. this might end up being my fav on the album.

disappointed – moooore drum machine. yay. not. under the covers sounding vocals like right where you belong. guitar like The Slip. i think he needs to get rid of that effect pedal along with the drum machine (see below). builds into a chorus that again is similar to came back haunted.

everything – i wish someone was here listening with me so they could see my face. brows furrowed, wtf is this? it doesn’t sound like any other nin song and it doesn’t fit the vibe of the album. and trent needs to throw out that drum machine that he bought before The Slip cuz i hate it. and i will probably hate this song. (listening a 2nd time, immediate thought, WTF! i feel like it’s a joke or something.) for one second it sounds like some band (i can’t think of), then the guitar has this 80s vibe to it, then the backing vocals are just…w.t.f. then guitars like getting smaller. and it’s so loud, nothing on this record is loud except this song. then everything stops. then 80s guitar again.

satellite – i like it, but it reminds me of something from the first How To Destroy Angels EP…BBB maybe? yes.

various methods of escape – i like the chorus. i like it. nothing else to say. (yeah, definitely like it)

running – druuummm machine, african feel?…repetitive and…meh. dare i say cliche? as a 33 year old with no angst do i just not relate anymore?

i would for you – and more drum machine. “ballad” of the album? “love song”? nice transition into the next song. with teeth era sound.

in two – he has an affinity to writing songs with only a few words per line. i don’t know that i like it. or rather, i don’t dislike it, but it’s being used too much. i think i’ll end up liking this one. there is some noise in it at the end that i can’t figure out if it’s in the song or my speakers messing up…thinking it is my speakers, cuz copy of a has it too.

while i’m still here – drum machine makes me think of Zero Sum. random saxophone all of a sudden. weird.

black noise – instrumental to close. i was waiting for it to start, but it transitioned so smoothly from the previous song, i don’t actually know what this exact song was lol.

i didn’t listen to the remixes, don’t know that i ever will.

Definitely not your “typical” nin record, but then again, what does that even mean? Every album sounded different from it’s predecessor and none really repeat the sound of any previous one. The comparisons of this to Pretty Hate Machine must be based on the extensive (overuse?) of drum machines instead of live drums (I think only one song credits Ilan Rubin for “live drums”. Lots of “percussion” and “electronics” credits instead.) And the reason I’m not into electronic music is that I find drum machines and electronics to be so repetitive that it gets boring. Please throw out that drum machine! I may like it better than The Slip, but “best album since The Fragile” as someone proclaimed on the nin hotline….it certainly is not.

i have my nin records in mp3s on 2 cds for my car. the 1st is PHM through Year Zero, plus a folder of bsides and stuff. the 2nd disc is ghosts, yz remix, the slip, and this. guess which one is going to continue to get the most play?

Lacuna Coil – Dark Adrenaline review

I am not going to do a “full” review of this album, because I just don’t have a lot to say about it. This band has changed a lot from when I started listening to them 9 years ago (that long?!?). I was attracted to them because they brought some metal heaviness to melody and had a mysterious “goth” sound with amazing female vocals. Those things that made me like them have been completely lost over the last 3 albums, to now, Dark Adrenaline which has absolutely none of those qualities. They’ve become just a generic, droning guitar heavy, metal band. I’ve been through the album 3 times, and I can’t think of a single song that I want to listen to again. There is nothing catchy, nothing risky, nothing interesting. Their cover of REM’s “Losing My Religion” is unrecognizable to the original beyond the lyrics – not that it’s bad, it’s just sooo different – but not particularly intriguing. I wouldn’t say the album is awful, I’m sure metal fans will like it, it’s just not what I want out of this band.

Julien-k – We’re Here With You review

Julien-k’s new album “We’re Here With You” was released this week and arrived in my mailbox on Monday. At first listen, I liked their first one “Death To Analog” better, but after 10 or so listens, it has grown on me.

1. We’re Here With You – A good intro song to the album, it’s pretty representative of what you are going to get with the rest. There is a similarity to most of the songs, maybe the programmed drums, and a specific guitar tone that goes through it all. It’s catchy and upbeat, and has the ability to get stuck in your head. 3.5/5

2. Surrounded by Cowards – This is the most “pop” song of the whole album, I think it would have the most general appeal to someone unfamiliar with the band (or with Orgy). I don’t really dig the vocal pauses in the chorus, but I guess it’s trendy. The lyrics are quite relatable. One of my favs. 4/5

3. Cruel Daze of Summer – Another strong song, good melody, easy to sing along. But another song with oh oh ohs…that makes 3 of 3. It has a very long intro before the vocals start (over a minute), and even after a week of listening I keep thinking it’s an instrumental (and that said, they could probably do a very cool instrumental record). I like this one quite a bit though. 4/5

4. Breakfast in Berlin – Upon first listen when the video was released a few weeks ago I was underwhelmed. It seemed very different from “Death To Analog” and I didn’t like the direction. But like the whole album, it has grown on me. It’s not a fav, but it’s ok. Another song with ah ah ahs….4 of 4 now. It’s like a U2 record lol! 3/5

5. Palm Springs Reset – For a ballad (recall, I tend to dislike ballads by anyone), it’s not bad. It’s very nice lyrically, the vocals are pretty. The better of the 3 ballads on the album. 3.8/5

6. Colorcast – I hate this song. I’m still listening to it in this initial listening period, but after this, it’ll get fast forwarded. The verses are channeling Depeche Mode (newer DM), and then you get to the chorus which is channeling Ke$ha, and there is nothing good about reminding people about her. The auto tuned vocal pauses are just so horrific, they make me cringe. Ugh. 1/5

7. Close Continuance – The low range vocals remind me of Michael Hutchence, which is always nice. After 2 slower songs, we’re back to a more upbeat track. The guitar makes me think of Earl Slick (Bowie) on a bootleg of the Reality tour I have. Not much else to say, it’s a decent track. 3/5

8. Nights of Future Past – My favourite on the record. I like my electro to have some heaviness to it, and this track is delightfully dark. The verses have a bit of a DM vibe to them again, and they build up to the chorus very nicely. Love. 5/5

9. Flashpoint Riot – My 2nd fav. It initially has a NIN’s “Survivalism” vibe to the guitar, but beyond that it is it’s own beast. It’s gritty and heavier, my kind of music. More guitar, less prominent drum programming. I think it’d be a fun song live. 4/5

10. I’ll Try Not To Destroy You – The album closes on a ballad, which I think is always risky. Do ballads make people want to come back for more? I dunno. People always think bands best songs are ballads, and I just think that’s a bunch of crap. It definitely has lyrics that seem personal (it appears to be a love song). I find it sort of boring though, but that’s me and my dislike of ballads. They’re all boring haha. It’s not a bad song, just not my thing. 2.5/5

I still have trouble reconciling Ryan the guitarist from Orgy (as I originally knew him) and Ryan the vocalist. I just keep being amazed that this voice comes from that person haha. Even after seeing them live with CombiChrist in 09, and seeing that he really is doing the singing (lol), it’s just…I need to rebrand my vision of him from guitarist to frontman. I find it amusing.

Overall it’s a good listen, and I enjoy it, but I feel like there is something lacking from the first one. I don’t dance but I like music that makes me wish I could, and this sorta doesn’t. I feel like it lacks a groove that makes you bounce around in your seat while driving. It has the dance club programmed drums, but I feel like there is no appropriate bass line to go with it and get you moving. And then there is the over abundance of ah ah ahs/oh oh ohs, and the horrible ke$ha vocal pauses. I like my dance music to be a bit heavier (think kmfdm), and this album is definitely more straight club, but that’s just my personal taste.

The lyrics have grown from the first album and seem more personal and relatable. It has nice vocals and melodies, and I find the songs getting stuck in my head. I recommend it to anyone familiar with the band, or who likes electronic music with some depth (other than 20 minute long straight programmed drum club songs).

I respect that the band wanted to do what they liked, and screw labels and charts. That’s always a good thing. I’m just glad for new music from them, glad it’s doing well on itunes, and hope to see them on the road soon!

My big pet peeve of recently purchased albums, not just this one, is the length. This one is 10 songs, and 49 minutes. Historically album length was dependent on the medium, with vinyl holding about 25 minutes per side, cds holding 79 minutes, and now digital albums are limitless. But everything recently released by bands I follow have been under 50 minutes (some WAY under), and it is aggravating haha. Sometimes it’s been years between albums, and all fans get is 45 minutes of new music? I don’t expect a double album from everyone, I don’t even expect 79 minutes, but I think an hour is do-able. Maybe it’s a money thing, most of these bands don’t have label support, so maybe the cost of studio time is the limiting factor…The new Lacuna Coil record I also got this week is 45 minutes. The Dreaming’s “Puppet” is about 40 min. Econoline Crush’s “Ignite” is 39 minutes!! I just don’t get it.

Keith Richards quote

currently reading on my phone “Life” by Keith Richards. i had to stop because I needed to record this passage:

“Mick and I had a totally identical taste in music. We never needed to question or explain. It was all unsaid. We’d hear something, we’d both look at each other at once. Everything was to do with sound. We’d hear a record and go, That’s wrong. That’s faking. That’s real. It was either that’s the shit or that isn’t the shit, no matter what kind of music you were talking about. I really liked some pop music if it was the shit. But there was a definite line of what the shit was and what wasn’t the shit. Very strict.”

and that is how i feel about music.

currently reading in real book form, “Just Kids” by Patti Smith. I guess it’s a few weeks of music related autobios haha.

Michael, a cd review.

My running review of Michael Jackson’s new CD “Michael”. Obviously, he’s dead, so the album was put together from unfinished demos and other recordings.

1. Hold My Hand (duet with Akon) – Not listening to pop music except for at work, I don’t really know Akon (except I think he threw a fan who got on stage into the crowd and was sued or something). It’s not amazing, it’s fairly catchy, pretty “vanilla”. But it stands out on the album, and sounds like the most finished of the bunch.

2. Hollywood Tonight – Again, nothing special. Classic MJ beat box. Album liner lyrics are wrong, which is always irritating to me. Proofread people, proofread. Vocals are clearly demo, I don’t think it’s “production” or an autotune making it sound weird to me, it’s just MJ not being perfect.

3. Keep Your Head Up – beginning already sounds sappy and lame. Boring, so boring. I don’t hate it, it’s just boring. There are much better “uplifting” MJ songs to choose from if you need one.

4. (I Like) The Way You Love Me – I was attempting an unbiased review, but maybe that’s impossible since I just find pop music to be so boring. Sounds like it’s been sung over a telephone. The auto tune production, which I understand was probably necessary, is annoying. Does nothing for me. Kinda annoying.

5. Monster (featuring 50 cent) – more upbeat, but played out subject matter (paparazzi). More my style, might actually listen to it again haha.

6. Best Of Joy – gag. 50 seconds in and i’m not even going to bother finishing it. next.

7. Breaking News – the first “single”, the most controversial with people claiming it’s not him. Sounds like him to me, Hollywood Tonight sounds less like him than this one. But clearly it had to be worked into a complete song, with vocals added in sections. Whatever, doesn’t make it not him. Again, played out subject matter about the media/paparazzi/tabloids. It’s not bad, upbeat. I’m indifferent, leaning towards it being ok.

8. (I Can’t Make It) Another Day (featuring Lenny Kravitz) – clearly the best song on the album, written by Lenny Kravitz. Guitars, upbeat. Like. Dave Grohl on drums, neat.

9. Behind the Mask – not what i was expecting. It’s faster and upbeat, and I assumed it was some lame song about himself ha. It’s strange, can’t say if I like it or not. It’s the type of vocals I like, strong and clear. One of the songs that seem older to me, a mix of Off The Wall and Bad (ha sounds strange eh?). I think I like it, definitely deserving of more listens.

10. Much Too Soon – gag. boring. will never listen again.

I don’t think I can even venture to give it a grade. It’s not groundbreaking or mind blowing, and in general is kind of generic. Overall, the thought of listening to it doesn’t make me cringe like Invincible. Maybe it’s because MJ DIDN’T have a final say in the songs, that they don’t sound like he is an old man trying too hard to fit into current music (like Invincible). But on the other hand, I’m not sure he’d be happy having the world hear these songs unfinished, or finished by other hands. I have little to no interest in listening to the album again, and after I copy a few songs for the car, it’ll sit on the shelf.

I wish the liner notes had dates listed…like, year the demo was made because some sound like they might be recent and some older, and it’s something I’d just like to know.

So much controversy regarding, is it him singing, is it not him, was it all faked…I guess I don’t understand what all the shock and surprise is, regarding it sounding “funny”…They weren’t finished songs, they weren’t finished vocals, they sometimes are clearly demos. So what did people expect? It wasn’t a finished record MJ was just sitting on when he died, and people had to take what was there and make it into a finished product for release. So that might have meant adding old MJ vocals, running them through autotune and other processing techniques, having other people fill in vocals as backup or for layering. To me, this is not a shock, and it doesn’t mean they are fake. Maybe I just know too much about what goes into making an album that I am just not surprised. It is completely what I expected.

And for those who point to the Jackson family claims that it is not MJ singing…what the hell would they know? When was the last time a Jackson who is not Janet, was involved in MJ recording (and even that was 15 years ago)? Thriller? Even before? Joe Jackson was fired a long long time ago, and MJ wasn’t exactly on good terms with his family the last few years. So what would they know about how or when he recorded any of this. So of ANYONE’s claims that it is not really MJ singing, theirs would be the least reliable.

Kinda sad that I know this is not full of the best demos that MJ had to offer. Disappointed that Blue Gangsta, which can be found on youtube, is not on the album. But I guess Sony has a contract for 29738629727 MJ albums, it’s bound to end up on one of them. I hope the estate can find more (better) archival songs to release. I may not listen to this record ever again, but I will still pay attention to future releases in the hopes of finding a gem. This one doesn’t have any.

How To Destroy Angels – EP

my attempt at an unbiased review

the whole album is NIN with a chick. trent + atticus and this is the music you get (which is great as expected), but a girl sings on it. and i don’t like chick singers most of the time. over all i think most of these could have been ghost instrumentals, and would be better that way.

1. The Space In Between – it’s ok. sleepy chick singing. it’s a little on the boring side, but it does build. as far as the video goes, let’s hope life doesn’t imitate art.
2. Parasite – the one i like the most on the album. no, not just cuz trent sings on it. i do think their voices mesh well in this context.
3. Fur Lined – hate. it’s obnoxious. it sounds like a With Teeth reject, same drum machine as “only” and a strong baseline creates the same feel. and the vocals, ugh, seriously they hurt my ears. no thanks.
4. BBB – it’s amusing, it got stuck in my head before i had even finished listening to the whole song. the end sounds like people meowing in the background. haha
5. The Believers – a definite instrumental, that disappontingly isn’t. a shorter version could have easily fit in anywhere on Ghosts. anyone can whisper, this isn’t a special talent.
6. A Drowning – this song makes me sad, because if this was a NIN song with trent singing, it would be a “classic” along the lines of hurt/the day the world went away/right where it belongs/in this twilight. anyone else singing with the slightest bit of emotion would make this song incredible. but sadly we get quiet emotionless singing. it’s very “year zero” to me, musically.

listening again, GOD it’s just SO NIN but…disappointing that it’s not really. i don’t know that trent could ever do anything seriously different than NIN, that’s just who he is and the sound he produces. i can’t stand whispery girl singing, no matter who is doing it, it’s just so boring. it can’t convey any emotion, and anyone can do it. i feel like i have to buy it though, because i have listened more than twice and i can see myself listening again. i don’t hate it, but it’s not great. i need the multitracks to make instrumental versions 😉

metallica everywhere

on a normal day i drive 15 min to work and 15 min home. ive been trying to listen to the radio (it’s difficult) and it seems that everytime i am in the car surfing my 6 stations i can find a metallica song on. if I’m lucky i can find 2 ha ha got 2 last night and 2 just now.