I mostly enjoy U2. Admittedly, I do enjoy the early ‘80s stuff more than the current stuff. Well, that might not be true. I don’t know what the current stuff is. They even gave me an album via iTunes a few years ago and I never listened to it. A lot of people got pissed off about that free album but that’s another story that I don’t care about. All That You Can’t Leave Behind is the bands tenth studio album (released in 2000) and I don’t remember it being released. I was living in Italy and traveling too much to pay attention to a band that I’ve never really followed before. This album wasn’t on my radar until 2005 when I began to hate “Beautiful Day.” Why? Because I was deployed with a squadron onboard the USS CARL VINSON and some jackass liked to play “Beautiful Day” every damn morning during FOD walk down. For some reason, it was play inside the skin of the ship and I worked nights. This means that during the morning FOD walk down I was usually in my rack trying to get to sleep and the last thing I wanted to hear was Bono singing about what a beautiful fucking day it is. I do, however, like “Elevation,” a lot. Mostly because a version of it was released as a Tomb Raider mix for the movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. I don’t have many thoughts about the rest of the album.
I switched up my work schedule last week. My “weekend” is now Friday and Saturday, at least, for a little bit. I’m just trying a Thing at work. Anyway, this past Friday started my new weekend and I had Things to Do.
I started with a trip to the local Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram dealership for a recall service appointment that went fairly smoothly until they violated the privacy of the former owner of my truck. That’s a different story for another time, maybe. Next up was a trip to the pet store for cat food and litter. There were no violations of privacy here so it was on to the dump. My neighbor’s tree has been dropping limbs and I’d had them in the bed of my truck for some time. It cost me $2 to drop them off in the yard waste section of the landfill and, because of all the rain, I got to do a little mudding, too. The mudding made decide to stop at a self wash car wash place on the way home.
Between soaping up the truck and blasting it with high pressure water, I decided to text a friend for brunch. Yes, brunch on a Friday. My friend works four 10s so she has three day weekends every weekend and I’m a little jealous. Anyway, after blasting the truck, I went to her house and we all went to lunch (her hubby went with us). So far, I was on track to get lots of things done. I only had one more thing on my list of Must Dos, everything else was a Well, Maybe.
After brunch, we went back to her house for a bit, where she asked me to tag along with her to pick up her nephew. My last Must Do was a stop at the post office to check the box and it happened to be on the way, so I went. This is when things went sideways. As I was walking into the post office and pulling my keys out of my pocket, something about my keys seemed wrong. Closer inspection revealed that my house key was kind of broken and kind of missing. The key was one of those keys with a plastic case at the top that has a little light in it. I could press a little button in the center of the head of the key to shine a light on whatever I was trying to unlock, you know, my house. The plastic part was still on my key ring, but the light and key were gone.
We went about collecting the nephew and headed back to my friends house. I immediately searched my truck to see if the key had dropped on a floor board or something. No joy. I thought about calling the dealership I had been at but there had been a small fiasco there that morning which lead to them not knowing who I was. My friend, who has been my In Case of Emergency since my Mom died was spouting off logical things like, “Why don’t I have a key to your house?” My only answer for this was, “Probably for the same reason that you don’t actually have a list of my family and their phone numbers should you actually need to be in charge of me in an emergency.” Yeah, I just haven’t done any of that stuff, yet.
There was actually someone that Mom had once given a key to for iCat sitting. I’ve never asked for the key back from that person so I text them and explained the situation. I got the okay to go to their house and collect the spare key. During that 20 mile drive, I thought of all the places I could have dropped that key: dealership, pet store, landfill, car wash. I didn’t think I’d actually ever find it and I was coming to terms with the fact that I’d have to replace all the locks on the house.
The House. hmmmm
I was almost to the Keeper of the Spare Key when it occurred to me that the key could very well be securely in the lock of the back door of my house. That would be the last place that I actually used the damn thing and the last clear memory I have of seeing it. Interesting thought. I kept driving, collected the spare key, had a nice chat, and drove another 20 miles home.
And when I got home...
Mary J. Blige was obviously going through some stuff while recording My Life, her second studio album released in 1994. Apparently, it was her breakthrough album and I had many bad things to say about it but I’m going to refrain. This was the last album from the Rolling Stone list that I listened to during a road trip to North Carolina. I hated it. I thought I might have liked it if I was a moody teenager. Which kinda makes sense when I started reading about it and found that the depressive, moody songs were biographical and Mary J. Blige was dealing with depression, drugs and alcohol, and an abusive relationship while working on this album and It does shine through. The writing gets the point across. I still don’t care for it. It just didn’t appeal to me.
Folk Singer is Muddy Waters fourth studio album released in 1964. Doesn’t look like it sold that well but it received critical acclaim. It’s an acoustic album that tried to appeal to fans of folk music with the title. I dunno. This is another one that I listened to during my road trip and it didn’t help that much. I mean, yeah, it’s the blues and it feels like it but I just couldn’t get into it.
Barry White’s Can’t Get Enough (1974) is best listened to while attempting to set some sort of romantic mood with your significant other, I suppose. I’m not really an expert in that department. I know that hurling down the interstate at above speed limit speeds is not the best time for me to listen to Barry White.
Can’t Get Enough is White’s third studio album and, obviously, he was very much in love when it was written. Rolling Stone says that he had just gotten married, which was not surprising to learn. The album topped charts and had two number one hits. “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe” was one of those hits and is, maybe, the song you know best by Barry White. At least, it is for me. Not a great road trip song though.
Let’s talk about cars. Personally, I drive a gas saving Prius and a gas guzzling RAM truck. They offset each other and because I drive the Prius more days out of the week than the truck, I don’t really spend that much on fuel.
Wait. No. I meant The Cars.
The Cars are an American rock (really? New wave, maybe?) band formed in 1976. Their self titled debut album hit the record stores in 1978. With songs like “Good Times Roll,” “My Best Friend’s Girl,” and “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight” the album was a success for the band. While I remember many of these songs from my youth, they are not the first songs I think of when it comes to The Cars. The ones that standout for me came in 1984 (“Drive” and “You Might Think”). This is still a fun album.
Stevie Wonder has been makin’ music for longer than I think I knew. He signed with Motown at the ripe old age of 11. He’s got a slew of hits (30+) and almost as many Grammy Awards (25). Music of My Mind is his 14th studio album, released in 1972 to modest success. He played almost all of the instruments on the album. It’s impressive. Stevie Wonder in general is impressive. I was unfamiliar with everything on the album and can’t say that I liked the entire album but parts of it were fun. I’d definitely say that you should check it out for yourself.
Look who’s back. Back again. It’s Al Green. My house didn’t get cleaned this time. I’m Still in Love with You is the fifth studio album from Al Green, released in 1972. This one came after Let’s Stay Together and Rolling Stone claims this one is an “even more sensual experience.” I think Rolling Stone hasn’t gotten laid in a while. Or maybe I haven’t. I dunno. I didn’t find there to be anything sensual about it. It’s a decent album but I’m not really sure when I’d want to listen to it. It’s not really chill, not really, well, anything else. Whatever.
I kinda feel like this next album is the polar opposite of the last one. It’s punk, so you should already know that I didn’t care for it. X hails from the LA area forming in 1977. They were part of the American “first wave” punk. I don’t really know what that means. Los Angeles was their debut album that dropped in April 1980. They enjoyed critical success from the get go. Of course, there is a re-released bonus track edition that I didn’t listen to. I stuck to the original 9 songs, which clocked in at around 28 minutes. This stuck in my head because the Grateful Dead could only get 5 songs done in nearly 40 minutes. Have you ever known punk songs to be long?
Is there an in-between with the Grateful Dead? I don’t like them. I don’t know that I’ve met anyone that was like, “meh, they’re okay.” It seems to be an all or nothing kind of thing. And the “all” side seems to be a tape trading lifestyle. I don’t know what they trade these days. I dated a Deadhead in the ‘90s and during that time it was DAT tapes. Can Dead concerts just be downloaded now? Don’t tell me. I don’t actually care.
Anthem of the Sun is the second album from the Grateful Dead, released in 1968. According to wiki the album “combines multiple studio and live recordings of each song. The result is an experimental amalgam that is neither a studio album nor a live album, but both at the same time.” Rolling Stone quoted Jerry Garcia as saying, “We really mixed [the album] for the hallucinations, you know?” Sure. Whatever.
The album is only 5 songs long, but for those that don’t know the Grateful Dead those 5 songs clock in at almost 40 minutes. Sometimes it seemed almost never ending. I imagine it’s hard for a jam band to make a studio album and maybe that’s why they combined the live and studio concept. I dunno. Doesn’t matter. I don’t like it.
“Lola” is the only thing that comes to mind when someone says The Kinks within ear shot of me, so Something Else by The Kinks came as a little bit of a surprise. Something Else was released in 1967 and is The Kinks fifth studio album. Rolling Stone says that “it tanked in the US.” It doesn’t look like it did that well in the UK, either. I listened to it while trimming a hedge in my backyard. It reminds me of the Beatles. Not so much the lyrics, but just the overall sound. Maybe the trimmer was drowning out something important. I dunno.
I kinda think Something Else has also been ruined by corporate greed or something. This is another album that is difficult to find with only its original track listing. It is now a two disc, 30+ song, wtf am I listen to, when will it end, monster. The original album had 13 songs on it. I listened to the original 13, plus a few extra before I realized I was about to get a bunch of some record labels money grab. If you can find the original and you like things that sound like the Beatles, it is fun.
Call Me, released in 1973, is Al Green’s sixth album. Wiki claims that it is “widely regarded as Green’s masterpiece.” I have no idea if this is true or not. I don’t know much (anything) about Al Green. There was nothing on this album that I had ever heard before but I thought it good butt shaking, house cleaning kind of music. Seriously, I felt like cleaning my house. I hate cleaning.
The debut album from Talking Heads was released in September 1977 and was called Talking Heads: 77. It hit number 60 on the UK charts and the song “Psycho Killer” hit number 92 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The 2005 reissue contains 5 bonus tracks. I only listened to the original 11 tracks. I’ve always enjoyed the Talking Heads but never really loved them. This album didn’t change my mind.
The Basement Tapes is a studio album from Bob Dylan and The Band. It was Dylan’s 16th studio album. It was released in 1975, eight years after it had been recorded. Many of the songs had already been bootlegged by the time of the release but The Basement Tapes was the official release. If you’re a Dylan fan, you probably know that these songs were written post motorcycle crash. If you’re me, get out of my head, and you knew nothing about the motorcycle crash and the apparent impact it had on Dylan’s life and writing. I don’t really care. I know that it’s a double album that started off kinda cool but went off the rails quickly and I’m glad I never have to listen to it again.
White Light/White Heat (1968) is the second album from the Velvet Underground. It only has six “songs” but it clocks in at 40ish minutes. One of the songs is over 17 minutes long. I don’t know how to describe this album other than noise. Just noise. I don’t like it. Not even a little bit. The last song, “Sister Ray”, is a story told over the band play, idk, stuff for 17 minutes. Whatever. Did not like.
Has MC5 been on the list once already? I kinda feel like they have and I didn’t like them. Kick out the Jams, from 1969, is the band’s debut album. It’s a live album that was recorded over two nights (Devil’s Night and Halloween) in Detroit, which seems kinda cool. Maybe that’s what contributes to its kick assness. It does kick ass and I, for the most part, hate live albums. This seems like it was a great show and I almost wish I had been there for it.
I think I’m supposed to like Leonard Cohen. I kinda wish I did. He’s got this great voice that I just love. But, I find that I frequently like the covers of his tunes more than I like his versions. Songs of Love and Hate was his third studio album released in 1971. The album didn’t do that great here in the US but was a commercial success in other countries. It’s another one of those albums that didn’t leave any impression on me. I remember listening to it during a morning walk, but nothing from it has stuck with me.
I listened to The Smiths, Meat Is Murder (1985), while on a cruise ship circling itself off the cost of the Bahamas before heading back to Orlando. It seemed kind of fitting as the ship wasn’t very vegetarian friendly, even less so vegan. Luckily, I was only on board for 3 days. Meat is Murder is the band’s second studio album and was the sole number one album in the UK while the band was together. There were different track listings for the UK and US release. The US release originally included “How Soon Is Now?”. The song was added to the post-1992 UK re-issues, but the album was remastered in 2011 and returned to its original UK track listing.
I enjoyed this one in a mellow, swaying in the ocean kind of way. I might have taken a nap after listening to it. Anything that helps me take a nap is a favorite.
I don’t really know what to say about the Mothers of Invention except Frank Zappa. Does that explain anything or everything? They were formed in 1964 as the backing band for Frank Zappa. We’re Only in it for the Money is their third studio album and was released in 1968. The words rock, experimental, and psychedelic were all used to describe the album on several different websites. I hated it. I cannot express how much.
The College Dropout is the debut studio album from Kanye West. It was released in 2004, and clocks in at a little over 76 minutes. Yup, kinda long. Sometimes a long album is a good thing. Sometimes. It took 4 years to record this album. West was producing at the time and had difficulty in getting his own deal. Thanks, Roc-A-Fella Records, thanks. Needless to say, it was a huge success. There’s a bunch of hits here and critics loved it. It was nominated for 10 Grammy Awards and brought home Best Rap Album. “Jesus Walks” won Best Rap Song.
I have no feelings about it. Nothing about it stands out for me. Several days after listening to it I remembered nothing about it other than wondering when it would be done. I liked My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy better.