Sleater-Kinney is something I’ve never heard of before. Apparently, it was (and maybe still is) an American feminist punk band formed in Olympia, Washington around 1994. Their third album is the one that makes the list. It’s called Dig Me Out and was released in 1997. Critics seem to love it and it looks like who ever the listening audience for KEXP 90.3 (public radio in Seattle) also enjoyed it. I think we all know how much I just love punk music and this album doesn’t change my mind one bit.
Too much time had passed from the time I first listened to this and the time I sat down to write a few lines about it. This has happened before. I listen to something then I get busy and don’t have time to write about it. Usually, I remember enough of what I thought about the album to write something. Occasionally, and in this case, I remembered listening to the album but had zero memory of the music or my thoughts while listening to it. That bode well for the album, because then I have to listen to it again and remember that I didn’t like it and there isn’t really anything memorable about it. I’m sorry Smokey.
Going to a Go-Go is a 1965 album from the Miracles and the first one to call the group Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. It topped many charts and everyone seemed to love it. At least they did in 1965. I don’t. Even after listening to it a second time, it has left absolutely zero impression on me.
So, here’s something I didn’t know. “Lady Marmalade” is actually by an all-female singing group called Labelle, which Patti LaBelle happened to be a member of. I always just thought the song was by her. Anyway, it’s home is on Nightbirds, a 1974 album by the group Labelle. “Lady Marmalade” is the group’s most successful hit. It’s a decent album but hey sister, go sister, soul sister is what I like the best about it.
I was a little surprised to find that The Slim Shady LP wasn’t already in my library. I like Eminem and I like this album, violence and misogyny aside (I know, bad feminist, whatever). It was the second studio album from Eminem released in 1999. It was his first on a major label. And it brought him both commercial and critical success. Rolling Stone mentions that Eminem’s mom sued him over this album. I’m not surprised. But, still, it's catchy.
Parliament’s fourth album dropped in 1975 and was called Mothership Connection. Never heard of Parliament? Me neither, but have you heard of George Clinton and the P-Funk Band? No? Where the hell have you been? Anyway, it’s basically the same thing. George Clinton led both Parliament and Funkadelic. It was the first P-Funk album to be certified gold and platinum. It’s a weird fun album and home "Give up the Funk". I might have danced around the house with this one.
When I was in my 20s I thought it was so cool to hang dry clothes. I started doing this while living in Italy and it was just easier than waiting on my tiny dryer to do its thing. Then I moved to California and then it just seemed like the save the planet kind of environmentally friendly thing that I should do. I had this cool drying rack that would hold lots of clothes and fold up to a not so small thing I could prop into a utility shed on my balcony. I don’t know what happened to that drying rack. Today, I kind of miss it. Kinda. I don’t hang dry things much anymore. I have a high energy star rated dryer with more settings than my car. It even tells me how energy efficient I’m being. Post Irma, it might have saved me from a house fire.
I did a bunch of laundry the day before Irma tried to blow Florida off the planet. I wanted everything I owned to be clean before I lost power for an indeterminate amount of time. Turned out to be a good plan because that indeterminate amount of time became 107 hours. I’m not totally opposed to camping. I’m good with cabins, even those without electricity. But, like, not in Florida. I hate it here. I definitely don’t like it inside my own house. Thank you, linemen. You’re the best. Anyway, the last load of laundry I did was some delicates that I only stuck in the dryer for a bit, then I was gonna hang them to dry the rest of the way. So, I wasn’t surprised to find the clothes still damp when I took them out. I just hung them up and went about my impending hurricane day.
The first thing I did when the power came back on was to start a load of laundry. The bed sheets to be exact. They had been on the bed a week too long. Once they were spinning round and round in the dryer, I started a second load. More sheets, these from the couch. When this load finished in the washer, I checked the dryer and found a very wet load of sheets. Hmmmmmm. That’s odd. So, I started the dryer again. After a few minutes a PF code popped up on the machine and a few minutes after that it stopped. I Googled PF codes for my brand of dryer and found that it means the obvious, power failure. My first thought was that the house had a surge when the power came back and the dryer got the brunt of it. But it seemed like it wouldn’t work at all if that had happened. I put in a request for an appointment with a local appliance repair company to come check it out. Then, of course, I played with it some more. I changed up the settings and tried again. This time, I got an AF code. If you’re thinking that means ‘air flow’ you’d be correct. I inherited this washer and dryer set from my mother. I don’t know that they were part of the remodel of the house but if they were, they have sat in their current location for at least 6 years. I bet that the vents have never been cleaned. Sigh.
The next time I was outside with the dog I checked the vent and found it to be packed with whatever dryers pack air vents with. Then I went off to do laundry at the local Mr. Bubbles. I called the appliance fixing people once they were open again and told them that I didn’t really need any diagnosing of problems, just clean the vents or ducts or whatever they are called. I know that I could probably do this myself except that I can’t move the dryer and getting behind it might require a contortionist. I decided to let the pros handle it. The pros didn’t show up when they were supposed too. I had several appointments set for the day they were supposed to show up so when they didn’t show up by noon, I had to reschedule the appointment.
I don’t really have a happy ending to this to report on right now. My dryer still isn’t working. One of the things I ended up doing on the day my dryer was supposed to be fixed was to pick up a new drying rack. It is not a cool or big as the one I used to have. It took all weekend to do three loads of laundry and one of them is still hanging to dry. I just didn’t feel like going back to Mr. Bubbles. Probably gonna have to break out the iron, too. Sigh.
This is sooooo, totally, 1989.
Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 dropped in September 1989. It was her fourth studio album. Much of the subject matter, if not all, is still relevant today. I don’t think I ever listened to the entire album at the time of its release. It isn’t really what I listened to at the time. Still isn’t. Looking at the track listing, I only recognize three songs, out of 20! There was a fourth that I recognized upon hearing it. It appears to have been a critical and commercial success for Jackson. She received nine Grammy Award nominations, including becoming the first female artist to be nominated for Producer of the Year. I don’t know how well it has held up. The songs I recognize are pretty much the only ones I like. Although, I’m not racing to make sure they are in my personal music library. I don’t mean to imply that I didn’t like the rest of the album. I understand that some of the lyrics are bigger than me and not for me. I appreciate that. Ms. Jackson had something to say and it still resonates.
In at 278 is the Anthology of American Folk Music edited by Harry Smith. My mom grew up listening to folk music and I was looking forward to listening to this. I can’t find a copy of it. I’ve found a ton of others, but not the one on the list. Sorry.
I don’t wanna not like David Bowie. I don’t. He’s amazing. Just because something is older than me, sorta, doesn’t mean I can’t like it. But, I didn’t like Aladdin Sane. It was Bowie’s sixth studio album released in 1973. It became his most successful album on both sides of the pond at that time. The only thing that I recognized about it was the cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Let’s Spend the Night Together.” I didn’t even like that. Ugh. I’m a tad bummed about this. I dunno why. I’m not really familiar with the glam rock era of David Bowie so, maybe, I shouldn’t be. But I had been looking forward to this and I’m bummed I don’t like it.
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?