Jun. 15th, 2016

csberry: (pumaman)

I never got into Pavement when they first came out. For me, the low-fi production was appropriate for their style but low-fi was not a sound I really enjoyed much (other than Steve Albini's production on PJ Harvey's Rid of Me). Pavement was one of those bands that my friends enjoyed and I listened to when around them. I'm listening to the album for a second time now and I am surprised with how little this music does for me. It just isn't clicking with me. There are moments like “Conduit for Sale!” where they remind me of The Minutemen or sound very iconic (knowing the album predates the songs I know which sound familiar). But I can't get into Slanted and Enchanted for some reason.

Maybe it is the disaffected vocal delivery of so many of the songs... Maybe it is the low-fi production... Maybe it is the slack and loose playing where everyone seems just a partial beat off from everyone else... I dunno. The Replacements were sloppy and I enjoyed it. What is the difference between my liking that and not enjoying this? Maybe it is because The Replacements seemed like they were aiming for a rocking performance and just did a sloppy job. Pavement isn't sloppy just in the performance, the whole process of song creation has a slacker take. The Replacements' not caring vs Pavement's intentional off-kilter – maybe that's the difference in how I'm reacting.

The closest I came to liking a song was “Two States” and its marching rhythm.

Songs I Knew I Liked: None

Songs I Now Like: None

Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: “No Life Singed Her” and “Fame Throwa”
csberry: (pumaman)

Ready to Die gets praise for me with its autobiographical “concept”. I understand that the recording was done in two sessions and that Biggie tweaked his style a little between the two sessions. That may be part of the reason why I don't have a consistent opinion on his rapping. I like his occasional dense rhyming but there are times he gets aggressive and he loses his calm “coolness” to me and seems kinda lame.

The sampling is interesting. It seems more transitional from the gangster rap template put together by Dr Dre to the larger pop sampling Puffy was evolving towards. There are times the samples reiterate a documentary feel. The standard of having a female singer as an angel juxtaposed with the rapper as a devil just doing the best he can in the hell he's in is used a good bit here.

Songs I Knew I Liked: None

Songs I Now Like: None

Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: None
csberry: (pumaman)

I think I'm willing to say that this is the first Bruce Springsteen album I didn't dread. I wouldn't want to listen to it a lot, but when it would come time to listen to The Wild, the Innocent, & the E Street Shuffle, I actually chose to give this album repeat listens rather than taking either of the next two albums in the list (Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack and Black Sabbath's Paranoid) a spin since “it's actually not painful.”

Sorry, but this big band style of rock may have Meatloaf to blame, but that's what I am constantly thinking of during so many of the 70's rock band-Springsteen songs. It is tainted as cheesy and a bit over the top in my mind. I think part of what I like about WI&ESS is that Bruce demonstrates a good sense of humor in several of the songs. Maybe that permission for me to laugh at the song and not to have to take it seriously allows me to relax a bit about it?

Taste preferences aside, the performances on this album are done by an enthusiastic and tight musical unit. There is a raw, bar band, jam-based energy that makes this album glow. Some really jazzy elements permeate tracks such as “Kitty's Back”. When wanting to analyze why I enjoy the “E Street Shuffle”, I start noticing all of the disco in the song - with the wah-wah pedal, a Meters-inspired bass, the keyboard choices, and the Latino percussion breakdown at the tail end. It sounds as if the band is having a blast during so many moments on WI&ESS and I think I found it contagious on occasion.

Songs I Knew I Liked: None

Songs I Now Like: “The E Street Shuffle” and “Kitty's Back”

Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: None
csberry: (pumaman)

It is a shame that this isn't a proper album for The Bee Gees, but a soundtrack of various artists instead. About half of the songs on this collection were written and/or sung by The Bee Gees. It sold more than any of The Bee Gees' proper albums, and so there is a level of credit and money which the group misses out on because of the release's circumstances. It's a shame. If you remove the Brothers Gibb from this soundtrack, it would be a nice time capsule, but it wouldn't be the source of adoration or inspiration which it is.

It starts off with four Bee Gees tracks, wanders through other artists such as Kool & the Gang, KC & the Sunshine Band, Yvonne Elliman, and The Trammps. There are some instrumentals such as "A Fifth of Beethoven" and "Night on Disco Mountain" that combine classical with disco. This album really is a historical snapshot of a time and place; one good enough to inspire much of the general public in the late 70's to revive the already declining disco movement.

Songs I Knew I Liked: “Stayin' Alive”, “How Deep Is Your Love”, “Night Fever”, “More Than a Woman” (both versions), “If I Can't Have You”, “Manhattan Skyline”, “Night on Disco Mountain”, “Open Sesame”, “Jive Talkin'”, “You Should Be Dancing”, “K-Jee”, and “Disco Inferno”

Songs I Now Like: Nothing new

Songs I Don't Want to Ever Hear Again: None

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Cory Berry

June 2016

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