300 Up

Well this is album 300 visited in this blog. I deliberately held back on this album a few weeks ago when I discovered I had not covered it yet because it is from one of my favourite bands; “Hail to the Thief” by Radiohead.

I never thought I would reach 300 albums when I started as it was just a way to have a reason to go back over old music. Now that it’s reached a phase where I’m going back over quite old stuff; many on vinyl or cassette. So as long as these old albums are on Spotify and I keep buying new CDs there should be enough music to keep me going for a bit longer.

This album is quite a fitting choice as my first post was “Kid A” by Radiohead; so sort of a complete circle. This is one of my favourite Radiohead albums. By all accounts the making of this album went very well by their standards and it shows in the tracks. The tracks have a “warmer” feeling than the previous “Amnesiac”.

Radiohead performed a great version of “There There” on Jools Holland when the album was released. It’s a brilliant performance especially round the transition from the drumming to the guitar based section.

This was a bit duller than I remembered

Something quite run of the mill today driving to work; “Forever Delayed” by Manic Street Preachers.

I describe it as run of the mill because surprisingly I found quite a few of the tracks a bit dull. Now I’ve already blogged about other Manics albums and how much I like them but this compilation doesn’t carry the same feeling. Generally I think the upbeat tracks are good on this album but the slower ones I found dull this morning. It could of course have been my mood when driving to work. Maybe if I listen to it again I might have a better feeling.

The track selection is quite odd as well. Most tracks come from the albums “Everything Must Go” and “This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours” which I own already. Only one track, “Faster” is taken from “The Holy Bible” which is a surprise as it was critically acclaimed by the music press on it’s release.

I do like the Manics’ music but also them as a band. Whenever interviewed they come across as a well grounded set of guys; although I don’t think I’ve ever hear the drummer speak.

Too warm for this time of year

Out running tonight I picked a compilation for a night run “Greatest Hits” by Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Great album of hits this one. I find greatest hits albums a perfect accompaniment when out on the road. This one is a good example as most of the tracks are fast and perfect for “pushing on”.

The track choice is heavily influence by the “Californication” album which is fine because I think that is when I started appreciating the Peppers. In fact that spawns my 2 favourite tracks on this compilation, “Californication” and “Scar Tissue” although it’s a pretty good solid collection. Even the new tracks are good; surprisingly as sometimes the new extra tracks come over as a bit of album filler. One glaring omission is their great cover of “Love Rollercoaster” which was not recorded with Warner Brothers so could not be included.

I’m trying to introduce the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ music to my son. This is part of my campaign to expose him to great bass players and there isn’t a much better example that Flea. He certainly shatters the image of the bass player who stands at the back strumming away. “Give It Away” being a great example of his style of playing.

Running tonight was a bit strange because last week I had announced the arrival of winter requiring hat, gloves & tights. Generally I prefer running in the winter to the summer. However the last few days the weather has turned mild again to such an extent it was even OK for shorts tonight; agreeably only just warm enough. If I had stopped I would have been frozen probably. Went for a shorter run than normal but did a cracking time.

Something mellow

A quick post on yesterday’s choice; “O” by Damien Rice.

It seems the music media is going mad with the new Damien Rice album after an absence of 6 years. So I thought I would jump back to his debut album of 2002.

This is a pretty mellow album, quite folky. It reminded me of Nick Mulvey in places although I didn’t like it as much as his album. In fact I find the single “The Blower’s Daughter” quite slow and doesn’t appeal to me. The big single off the album was “Cannonball” that was released three times.

No idea why I bought this

Today was a throw back to my cassette buying era that lasted for about 12 months when I went through a phase of buying cassettes instead of vinyl (no CDs yet). Now 20+ years later it turns out it was a disaster because none of those cassettes really have any music of any quality left after laying in boxes for years. They have mostly deteriorated.

One album that symbolises that time for me is “Treasure” by the Cocteau Twins. I have no idea what inspired me to buy this album at the time. They were certainly not mainstream; were they ever? So I can only imagine I saw them play on The Tube as I can’t imagine them being played on radio in the 80s; alternative music was just never heard at that time. However I’m glad I did buy this because I bought lots of Cocteau Twins over the years.

This is just typical of the “shoe glazing” style; strong repeating beats with heavily distorted guitars over dumped to hell. I loved this album when it first came out because it had a sound like nothing I had heard before; why would someone sing with noises and words that didn’t make sense? It puzzled me at the time trying to understand what was being sung. The other factor that I loved was it was original and it was one of the first time I had experienced the feeling of getting into some music that not many people knew about. You get that special feeling of being “in the know” or knowing a secret that no one else does. And when you met someone who is into the same select music it’s like a secret club.

The album feels pretty evenly balanced across the tracks with not one particularly standing out as the hit single. For me a couple of tracks are worth mentioning; “Beatrix” for the Indian guitar sound, “Persephone” for the very basic but catchy drum machine beat and “Pandora” for the mellow feel it has. If you’ve never heard this album give it a try.

A reflection on what I have listened to

As I’m approaching the 300 album mark I thought it would be interesting to see the spend of music over the years. Not the year I bought the albums because I can’t remember but the year they were released. Of course I didn’t buy all the albums as soon as they came out some years later.

I added an extra list to the Album List page. It throws up some interesting situations. For example in 1980 I bought “Sandinsta!” by The Clash, “Permanent Waves” by Rush was released but it was many years until I discover the latter album.

The albums in the 1980s are lower than the other decades but this is due to still a few older albums on vinyl or cassette that I’ve not covered yet.

A dark, dark night

Out running tonight in the dark, damp and windy weather I had “Debut” by Bjork.

This album had such a unique sound when it was first released; a massive contrast to her work in “The Sugarcubes”. This was one of the first CD I ever bought and therefore played it quite a lot when it was released because there weren’t many other CDs around to play. I think it was my wife who got me to buy it because she had been into The Sugarcubes.

My favourite track is “Come to Me” as I just like that atmospheric sound it has; I good match to a run in the dark. Many of the other tracks on the album have a dance beat to them.

When out running on a night like this I always think “what the hell am I doing” when cars drive past and the passengers look dry and warm. But when I struggle through and then finish with a good time it’s such a buzz that all the cold and wet just disappears.