K.C. and The Sunshine Band
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Frampton Comes Alive!
Gold (Expanded Edition)
Prelude/Angry Young Man
(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty
Hots On For Nowhere
You Make Me Feel Like Dancing
Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker)
Show Me The Way
Somebody To Love
The B-52’s – Cosmic Thing
This is one of the groups strongest records. It has the hit single Love Shack. This is the first record that the group did after their original guitarist died of AIDS related health problems. This album was released in 1989, while I was still in middle school. I remember the middle school having school dances in the gym. They had a DJ that played the music and there was also a video screen. I can only assume that he was playing video CDs or had popular collections on LD (that is Laser Disc for those that don’t know). This video was played at these dances frequently. I also remember seeing the video on MTV. I remember going to these dances for the fun of it. I may have had a girl friend but I think that there was more sitting on the benches or playing air guitar with friends than dancing with other girls. I think that the exception was when the slow songs were played. I remember “slow” dancing with girls on the slow songs for sure. I had no idea how to dance at all as these were my first experiences with school dances. Not that I have any better clue how to dance now. What I mean is that I have rhythm but do not know any dance steps to make myself look cool at all. I was a boy with raging hormones anyway. It was hard enough to try to control my sexual urges let alone learning how to dance to look cool at a school dance. I did have 5 years of floor gymnastics but that would not have gotten me very far at a school dance.
Anyway, this album is absolutely fantastic. It all flows together and envelopes you in a warm blanket of B-52’s goodness. I especially loved the guitars sound; Mosrite guitars have such a unique deep sound. Second was the bass guitar with its deep bass sound too. Well, that is if you take out Love Shack. That song sticks out like a sore thumb on this album. It is a great song but it is way to poppy for the mellow tracks on this album. I also remember watching the movie Earth Girls Are Easy. About half of this album is on the sound track for this movie. I own this movie now. Every time I watch the movie I want to listen to this album. The tracks on the album are so clean and laid back. It really makes it easy to learn the lyrics and sing along with the vocals. What I mean to say is that half of the lyrics are spoken/sung by Fred Schneider and the other half are sung by Cindy Wilson and Kate Pierson. It is a combination that is truly spectacular. I remember getting this album and a sweater from an aunt on my father’s side for my birthday in 1999. She did not give me a new purchased copy but a copy recorded on a cassette from an original. I never told my aunt or any of my family but I always thought that this was the cheapest thing I had ever gotten in my life. It was a diminished sounding copy, typical of making a recording on a recordable cassette. I had to crank the volume on my boom box to even hear it. I listened to the tape every night for a long time even though it was a copy. I still loved the album even still. It was not until last year that I finally purchased the album on CD.
Better Than Ezra – Deluxe
I bought this album when it was new in 1993. I remember hearing the single, Good, on the radio before I bought the album. I thought the chord progression was very interesting and I really liked the sound of the bass guitar in the single. It had a rubber band sort of a sound. This single is part of the reason that I wanted to start playing the bass guitar. The songs seemed easy enough to follow and memorize. I have used this model ever since I started writing my own songs too. I was very impressed with myself that I had figured out how to play the bass line for the song. I was so impressed that I brought it to my friends, who I was in a band with, to show them. They liked the song but the drummer had made a proclamation before we started playing together that we would not be playing any covers together. He only wanted to our own creations as a group. I remember that the three of us would have arguments about what the band would be called. The guitarist couldn’t come up with a good name but the drummer and I wanted to call the group Moncel Craswell and The Electronic Mayhem or something like that. I wanted to call the group Electronic Mayhem after the Muppet rock band Electric Mayhem. It all fell through anyway so I guess it doesn’t matter. I have copies of all of our practices that we recorded just to have back up files on hand to learn what we have been practicing at the time.
Let’s get back to the album. The sound is a general southern sounding album. They did come from the south US of course. There were three singles from this album, the first being the song Good. The second single is called in the blood. This song has some great singing guitar parts on it. The lead singers’ voice has a nice smooth sound on it that I really like. I don’t remember this one being on the radio but it is good enough to have been. The third single off the album is a song called Rosealia. This is a song about a woman in an abusive relationship. This song is just a well crafted song. There is nothing really spectacular about the song except for the good craftsmanship musically speaking. This is just a really good alternative album from my high school era. It brings back good memories. Not just of playing music with my friends in the band but also of being a boy in high school and living my life during that time. All in all, it is a good album with good memories associated to it.
Björk – Vespertine
This album was released in 2001. This is another important album for me from that strange time in my life where every thing was dark. This album was a ray of light for me. It was released at the height of summer but the sounds that are used on the album remind me of winter. The lead off track,Hidden Place, reminds me of being in a mountain valley in the chill of winter where even light talking reverberates on the mountainous snow caps and you can see your breath freezing as you are talking and listening to the echoes bounce between the mountains. It is really a glorious thought and would be fantastic to hear and watch.
The second song, Cocoon from the album reminds me of being in a snow fort with a friend during a sunny day where the sun shines through the roof of the fort so you can see the weak points in the roof. I remember during these times as a kid growing up the complete silence that is in the snow fort. The silent conversations that happen in these snow forts as a kid were exhilarating as well. I use to go out after my father was finished plowing the driveway and digging out as much snow as I could with out having the fort fall in on me in the late night hours. The only tool that I had was a big metal shovel to get the hole started. Then I would pound out the hole with my feet and shovel out the fallen snow with my hands. It usually was not until the next day that I could finish up the fort because you needed to see how thick the top was by seeing how much light the sun was shining through the top.
The third song, It’s Not Up To You, could have been a great single but it was not released as such. It has that same echo that is used in the first song off the album but does not feel as wintery.
The fourth song, Undo, was not a single either. The chorus struck me in a personal way. I was having a difficult time in my life. The chorus she sings reads as such: “It’s not meant to be a strife, it’s not meant to be a struggle up hill.” This is part of what I wanted life to be and she reminded me that I am the only one making my life hard. It was just so difficult to make a change at that time in my life. It was still an important lyric that I understood but couldn’t change at the time.
The next song, Pagan Poetry, was a single. It featured a harp that was played beautify but the song itself did not mean much to me. The video was too risky to be played on MTV simply because it featured Björk at certain points completely nude. For the most part the video was a complete blur but there were those few seconds periodically that were focused. It did still have a chimey sound that still had the winter time sound to it too.
The beginning of the next song, Frosti, uses what seems like the sound of a grand music box. I have always thought of music boxes as a winter time item and something from my childhood. My sister always had one and at one time I even had one. Maybe it was that when we had them they were Christmas presents. This is a short song with no lyrics.
Aurora is a song that starts off with a single person walking through what sounds like snow. Obviously, with the title of the song it is reverencing the northern lights. Björk sings with a group of female backing singers that sound like angels in the back ground. She really captures in sound what looking at the northern lights in the middle of winter in an open field would be like. At least that is how I envisioned the song anyway. I have a tendency not to pay attention to the lyrics when the music is so beautiful. The song could be about something completely different and I would not know because the music is so pretty.
Crabcraft, is a song about dreaming that you are sick and in the dream your family make you some home remedies to help you get well. The song reminds me of being inside on a cold winter day and having a head cold. There is nothing that anybody can do for me but they try. They would make hot tea and chicken noodle soup in hopes that I would start to feel better. It was always good food for a cold and it did make me feel better but I still had the cold. I can remember sleeping under multiple blankets to keep me warm during day time hours too. This song reminds me of all of that and more.
Coldplay – Rush of Blood To The Head
This is the second album from the band. It was released in 2002. This was the peak of the darkest time of my life. I can remember driving home with this album blasting in my car. I can’t remember listening to it on the way home from work but for sure on the way home. I remember starting the car and starting the album. I would listen to all of the first track before leaving the lot. This is probably why I have a memory of the parking lot. That first track, Politik, has such simplicity and elegance adding to the memory as well.
The next song, In My Place, is just as good but a bit more wishy washy. I remember seeing the video for this song on MTV. Very plane, everything was white with shades of grey because of the shadows on the walls. It was just a white, oddly shaped room. This is why there were shadows causing the greys on white. The song itself is nice. I was going through a divorce/separation when this came out and I would cry because I felt like my wife was not willing to wait for me or to help me through my tough time. She wanted out and knowing this hurt very badly. I loved her and I tried to work out of the darkness that I was in but it would not be until years after the divorce that I felt that I was out of that hard time. She completely gave up on our lives together long before that.
The next song was a reminder to me that God is out there and is still watching over me and walking me through this hard time. It was a lead for me to seek him out. The song is all about showing one that there is no way to be better than anyone else. God just wants you to be as good as you can. This is exactly what brought a light, a small spark to my life to start searching out God. I realized that he was the only one who would have the answers. It took me a while to realize this through this song but it did finally dawn on me after some time.
The next song was a good single from the album. It was a request to start over in a relationship. I could only have wished for that with my wife at the time. The problem is that you can’t rewind your life to start over, you nave to live with your mistakes and move on. You can only learn from your mistakes and I had made a few big ones. I can only hope that I have learned from those past mistakes as I move forward with this new marriage. The biggest thing that I have learned from this time in my life is that life is hard but you have to make the best of it. Think out side of the box, as they say, in tough times to find the unseeable answer that works for everyone involved. I do my best to see every situation from multiple angles, not just my own.
The last single off this album is Clocks. A great song that is very easy to sing along with. Actually most of these songs are very easy to sing along to. It is a very good album. The only song off the album that I don’t really like is the title song. I have no interest in hearing the complaints on life and how not to live it. For the most part this is a great album that is fun to sing along with. This is one that I would recommend to any body in a tough spot that is not a religious person. There are Christian over tones but they are so vague in my opinion that anybody would not mind.
Nine Inch Nails – The Downward Spiral
I remember when this album came out and the ridicule that I received for not knowing what Nine Inch Nails was but liking the first single off the album, Closer. I liked the single so much and to have been ridiculed that I liked a single blindly really made me think about the music that I listened to and weather I knew the background to any of the music that I listened to. I guess this was sort of a push in the direction that I have been continually been moving down. I started getting into the history of the musicians that I listened to and finding out what their back catalogs are. In many cases I started buying the back catalogs of my favorite artists. I remember the instance of this accusation too. It was in the only art class that I took in high school. I had mentioned to someone that I liked the song and one of the regular art geeks in the school said that I had no right to like the band based on the one song. I told him that I could like any band and or song that I wanted and he couldn’t control that. That sort of shut him up. The thought did stick with me though.
The first track starts out with a sound clip from the movie THX 1138. It is from the scene where the male lead is watching the “TV”. I did not know this until I watched the movie this year on the Netflix download. I happened to look away when this scene came on the screen. I had listened to The Downward Spiral so much that I instantly recognized the sound clip. I thought that it was so cool that Trent Rezner was up on his movies and was so into where techno music was going that he put that clip into the beginning of the track.
The first single was March of The Pigs. The song goes through a series of distorted sounds then to peaceful quiet parts. It is an interesting song. I don’t remember this being the first single though. I remember seeing the video after hearing the second single. This is why I thought that this was the second single. The second single is Closer. This song got to me because, in my opinion, talks directly about how I felt about the girl that I was dating. All that I wanted was to have sex with her. It was purely animalistic emotion and I did not have the urge to do so as I could let out my desire through this song. It was really an amazing thing that this song was released on the radio at all considering the chorus to the song. There was a third single from this album but was not quite as popular as Closer or even March of The Pigs. This was the single called Hurt. The song was never officially released as a single but there was a video released for the song. It featured decaying animals and plant life. I remember seeing this on MTV. The song was later covered by Johnny Cash. He rewrote some of the lyrics to fit his style. It is a very good rendition of the song. I think that it was actually more heartfelt than Rezners’ version.
I remember going to the concert at the target center for this concert. I believe that I sat in the lower area of the balcony across from the stage. The one thing that I remember from the concert was the closing song, Hurt, with a huge fabric screen playing the video. Trent sang the song perfectly in time with the video. The other thing that I remember about that concert was that he was having troubles with his keyboards. They were not functioning to his expectation and he got so pissed that he was jumping on the keyboards. It was really disappointing to see a musician treat his instruments with such abandon. I could understand his anger at the same time though. I think this was one of the best concerts that I had been to in my life. That is next to the Jonsi concert last year.