I Saw You, I Met You, I Loved You, I Left You

For more than a year, some of my friends and I have been sharing music. We’re supposed to review/rate what gets shared with us, and share those reviews with the group, but that doesn’t always happen.

The Young Veins – Take a Vacation! (2010)

This is a Panic! at the Disco off-shoot. These guys wanted to have more retro rock material while the rest of Panic wanted to have more dance-oriented music. Of the two, I like this retro rock more. It sounds very ’60s despite being released 40 years later. But they’ve had less success. They just released this one album, decided they’d done all they set out to do and went on indefinite hiatus. A no-hit wonder perhaps, but the album is good. Continue reading

Reflections in the Waves Spark My Memory

For more than a year, some of my friends and I have been sharing music. We’re supposed to review/rate what gets shared with us, and share those reviews with the group, but that doesn’t always happen.

Styx – The Grand Illusion (1977)

It’s Styx. And literally half of these songs are on every greatest hits album of theirs I’ve ever seen. This is the album before Pieces of Eight (which I reviewed about nine months ago) and the album that really changed Styx from being just another prog rock kind of band to one of the leading acts of the time.

I’ll spoil the minor surprise by telling you that after Spencer shared this, Tim shared REO Speedwagon and it made me want to change what I had shared to someone who would have toured with these two bands. There are some other bands I put in this category of classic stadium rock from the ’70s and ’80s: Boston, Chicago, Foreigner, Journey, Kansas, .38 Special, Yes, and maybe some others I’m forgetting right now. Continue reading

I’m Busy in the Blissful Unaware

For more than a year, some of my friends and I have been sharing music. We’re supposed to review/rate what gets shared with us, and share those reviews with the group, but that doesn’t always happen.

Chicago – The Transit Authority (1969)

In case you didn’t know, the band Chicago was originally The Chicago Transit Authority and this was their self-titled (eponymous) debut album. But then the actual transit authority of the city of Chicago brought legal action against the band. So they became just Chicago and this album became known as The Transit Authority. Most Chicago albums are only numbered with roman numerals – they have no titles per se, so this is also I.

I feel like a lot of Chicago’s stuff (especially their later, and maybe more well-known stuff) could be classified as progressive soft rock … or should that be soft prog rock? Anyway, I was surprised how this record wasn’t really a surprise. It was exactly what I expect from Chicago, except funkier (especially the last half hour). It’s like these guys were younger and had more energy. Continue reading

If You Don’t Mind Your Mother’s Words a Wicked Wind will Blow

For more than a year, some of my friends and former coworkers have been sharing music. The idea is that we’re supposed to review/rate what’s shared with us, then share those reviews with the group, but that doesn’t always happen.

The Decemberists – The Crane Wife (2006)

I’ve been listening to these guys for a long time, and I really like them. And I think this is their best album. Although I think the album artwork is a little creepy.

I feel like they’re a lot like Arcade Fire, but maybe more acoustic. But both The Decemberists and Arcade Fire are the kind of band I have to mix in with other bands. For something like this it’s fine, because it’s been a while since I’ve listened to just them in one sitting and I’m really focusing on the music, but I think because I’ve been listening to them so much over the past 10+ years, I get a little bored with the just alright stuff. Does that make any sense? Continue reading

Everybody Knows It Hurts to Grow Up

For more than a year, some of my friends and former coworkers have been sharing music. The idea is that we’re supposed to review/rate what’s shared with us, then share those reviews with the group, but that doesn’t always happen.

Ben Folds – Rockin’ the Suburbs (2001)

I’m sure that Ben himself wouldn’t really care at all about this, but I used to listen to more of Ben Folds Five and his solo stuff. I don’t now because I feel like he casually swears quite a bit. It would be one thing if there was some emotion behind it (at least I could credit him with passion), but it seems like he does it because he can – because he’s not in junior high any more – which I don’t really care for.

I don’t know. Maybe I was overly sensitive as a teenage. This album isn’t that bad, but my general impression of him is that he’s just kind of flippant about his language. Moving on… Continue reading

I was Lost ’til I Heard the Drums

For more than a year, some of my friends and former coworkers have been sharing music. The idea is that we’re supposed to review/rate what’s shared with us, then share those reviews with the group, but that doesn’t always happen.

I decided to share a musical movie soundtrack this week because of a few factors. My wife and I were talking about Glee and its influence in TV as a musical show. And Permanent Revolution almost felt like a soundtrack to a musical theatre documentary. And we watched (and were disappointed in) the new Annie movie. That actually got us talking about what a good musical was. Obviously it has to have good music (not just one or two songs, but 10 or so), but for me (having acted in a few musicals) it’s not just about the singing. It also has to have good choreography. We were trying to figure out what the best musical movie was. But before I talk about what I shared, let me get into what my friends shared.

The Who – Tommy (1969)

The Who is a band that I’ve only ever heard radio hits from, but I’ve liked everything I’ve heard (there are some bands that I don’t even like their hits). I don’t know why I’ve never bothered to look into them more. It’s a shame. Continue reading

Into the Half Light

For more than a year, some of my friends and former coworkers have been sharing music. The idea is that we’re supposed to review/rate what’s shared with us, then share those reviews with the group, but that doesn’t always happen.

The Aristocrats – The Aristocrats (2011)

Apparently the band got their name from a somewhat dirty jokes, and that shows in some of their song titles.

Spencer wasn’t kidding when he said this was an instrumental hard rock album with jazz influences. I can’t think of a better way to describe it. Except maybe instrumental prog.

Instrumental albums all seem to have the same upsides and downsides. The main downside is that everything blends together. A potential upside (if done well – otherwise it’s another manifestation of that main downside) is that they have to be musically interesting to be more than background soundtrack to whatever else you’re doing while you listen to them. Continue reading