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.
WAR – The World is a Ghetto (1972)
It’s War. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing.
That’s not true. It’s really good for long jams, and there are some other good things, too. You just have to look past the length of the songs.
Which is hard to do sometimes. Four Cornered Room was just slow, and with a run-time of 8:30, you can be sure I began to tune some stuff out. That was the real killer for me. I think I would have liked this whole album more if there weren’t three really long jams that didn’t really go anywhere.
Musically, I think The Cisco Kid was the best, but I think there were some balance issues. The claps and keyboards seemed really loud in the mix. I also really liked Beetles in the Bog. It was weird, but I liked the groove.
Also, because there were only six songs, I feel like my review is really short. This album was just alright. I don’t love it, but I would mix the three shorter songs in with other stuff. I’d mix in radio friendly versions of the others in, too. Aside from the length, they were fine tunes. I’ll round up and give this album 3/5.
Maroon 5 – V (2014)
So my friend Scott just suggested we listen to Sugar this week. He wasn’t playing this game back when I shared a playlist of things I’m surprised other people hadn’t shared yet. Since that wasn’t all that long ago, I decided to extrapolate his suggestion and listen to this whole album. Other than that one song, I haven’t listened to Maroon 5 in a long time.
Maps surprised me as being more electronic than what I usually think of as Maroon 5. That turned into a recurring thing. This whole album felt super produced. It seems like it would be hard for these guys to replicate this sound in a live setting. There’s a place for that, but when they used to be more “analog,” my respect for them as musicians diminished. Plus, I don’t remember them using the f-word so much in the past.
I don’t know if they meant to or not, but Animals felt like they were going for a What Does the Fox Say? kind of feel, without the rather odd chorus. And (as far as I know) music video.
New Love just felt weird. The “Forgive Me”s especially. There was just something about it that felt wrong. I mean, if it was a remix of a Disney song, it might make more sense. But as it was, it was off-putting. And there were some weird scoops in the background synths that sounded like cheap mistakes. Feelings had a similar, but not as severe feeling.
I don’t feel like this review has been super positive. I’m only giving this a 2/5, but it was this close to getting a 3/5. It’s not a terrible album. It’s more pop than I really like, but there’s some stuff on here I’d listen to again. It was Always You, Unkiss Me and Leaving California weren’t bad. And I really liked My Heart is Open. I thought adding Gwen did a lot for the song. But most of the album isn’t really for me.
Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973)
Ah. This album. This was given to me by a friend of a friend when I admitted I had never listened to a whole Elton John album. Meat Loaf was also a part of the conversation, so he actually gave me a choice between this or Bat out of Hell. I chose this. But when Tim shared Meat Loaf, I knew it was only a matter of time before this album showed up. I’m actually surprised it took this long.
It’s not that I’m not a Marilyn Monroe fan (although in fact I’m not) or a Princess Diana fan (I’m neither here nor there, although I totally don’t get the British fascination with their Royalty), but I don’t really like Candle in the Wind. It just think it’s a sappy song.
And maybe it’s a saturation thing, but I don’t understand how Tim can like Jamaica Jerk-Off and not any of the other reggae/ska stuff I’ve shared. This is exactly the same, except there’s also a Casio keyboard drum machine in the back of this to cheapen it.
The title song is just great. So is Your Sister Can’t Twist and Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting. I also really like the Honky Tonk feel of Social Disease.
Musically, Dirty Little Girl sounded like a variation on the theme set up by Bennie and the Jets, so that’s admirable. Except I don’t think it was as good. So that’s not, so much.
I haven’t listened to enough Elton John (still) to tell you how this compares to all of this other stuff. Some of his songs have influenced me, but three of my favorites of his aren’t on this album. This album isn’t bad. I’ve listened to it off and on for the past 10 years since I got it, but it’s not something I love. 3/5
Stone Gods – Silver Spoons and Broken Bones (2008)
This is kind of a side-project for the guys from The Darkness. When The Darkness’ lead singer, Justin Hawkins, decided to take a break, the rest of the guys still wanted to rock. So they called some other guys, wrote some new songs, and were awesome.
Due to Justin Hawkins having the majority of influence of the The Darkness’ music, Stone Gods didn’t have as much (or really much at all) glam rock. They’re just solid hard rock. Much like Wolfmother, these guys have a retro feel.
There are a couple of songs (Burn the Witch and You Brought a Knife to a Gunfight) that have language not suitable for little ears. Some of the harder stuff (like those two and Defend or Die) aren’t really my favorite, but there are tracks on here I absolutely love (Don’t Drink the Water and Magdalene Street, especially).
There are also some tracks on the Burn the Witch EP (Breakdown and Heartburn) that are worth checking out. I haven’t listened to the Knight of the Living Dead single, but there’s some additional tracks on that, too.
Bittersweetly, when The Darkness got back together, Stone Gods got put on hold. And so did their fully recorded second album.
Don’t get me wrong, I really like The Darkness, but anything I can foresee writing or performing would sound more like these guys, and less like The Darkness.
Here’s what my friends thought:
“I could really listen to this stuff more (if it weren’t so cussy). I’m usually not too into hard rock, mostly because I cannot abide “death metal” type vocalizations. This was great musically though. Vocals were edgy and intense without being grating. Good guitar riffs, nice song structure and flow. Reminds me a lot of a modern AC-DC but with less reputation so if they score higher than I gave AC-DC, that’s the only reason why. Don’t drink the water for some reason didn’t really do it to me, not a lot of movement in the song, but Defend or Die, thats a good track. I really liked the rhythm and sound of You Brought a Knife, but the F-bomb laced lyrics ruined it. Magdalen Street was a perfect change of pace, Lazy Bones too. I’m with the Band had nice structure with the building intro, though the lyrics weren’t my favorite. Knight of the Living Dead seemed to get a little too-loud too-long. This isn’t my new favorite band or anything but I liked it a lot more than I expected. A fun listen.” 4/5 – Spencer
“This was an interesting album. Way more F-wordy than I’m used to from Paul (you must have listened to an edited version 😉 ). It was structured well, and as with their work with The Darkness, the instruments really play well together and blend for a good sound. But, I think I liked the Darkness better. I’ve listened to the one you shared last year (Permission to Land) a least a dozen times. But I don’t think I would seek this one out again. I think the difference is The Darkness is fun, and doesn’t try to be anything more than a band playing classic rock style music. Where this album tried hard to be…I don’t know…more legitimate in their rock and roll? So while they played well, and the album had good structure overall, it was just missing something for me to go from appreciating to loving.” 3/5 – Tim
Feel free to leave your own thoughts about jam bands, soulless-dirty-massproduced-pop music, classic albums, bands with retro sounds, side-projects, or really whatever else you want in the comments below.