For a couple of years 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.
Billy Joel – 52nd Street (1978)
Tim shared another Billy Joel album.
The two most well-known songs off this album are Big Shot and My Life. While I love the album opener, I’m not sure My Life (despite the guest appearance of two out of the three vocalists for Chicago at the time) is really one of the best tracks on the album.
I know Rosalinda’s Eyes is kind of about his mom, but the whole song sounded like prog-Jimmy Buffet and I didn’t love it. It just kind of kills the energy. Until the Night should have switched places with the gospel-jazz Half a Mile Away (which reminded me of the Sister Act soundtrack) to help build it back up more naturally.
Zanzibar was also pretty unique. I thought it and Stiletto were some of the better tunes. 3.2/5
Here’s what my friends thought:
“Great stuff. I love Billy’s stuff. Honesty has long been a favorite track I think is underrated. I was surprised how dirty zanzibar was. Super catchy song, fit right in the tone of the album, but ya. I don’t have much of his deeper album stuff. Mostly just the hits. I should check out more.” 4/5 – Spencer
Van Halen – Van Halen (1978)
It’s been a while since we had some Van Halen in this game.
I totally get that Van Halen isn’t for everyone, and just like any band of the era, they can come off as obsessed with sex. But this is a great album with some delicious guitar licks. Even Atomic Punk, which I think is the weakest on the album, is pretty good.
Of course Eruption is one of the highlights for me. It’s one of those tunes that makes me want to be a better guitarist. Face-melting guitar solos aren’t always needed, but it’s nice to know you can when you need to (and I’m not quite there yet). I like the originals, but I like their covers of The Kink’s You Really Got Me and John Brim’s Ice Cream Man better. Ain’t Talkin’ ’bout Love is probably my favorite vocal tune on the album (although Little Dreamer is a very close second). I just like the energy and emotion. And I like Little Dreamer for kind of the opposite reason. Except for the guitar solo, it’s one of the more reserved tunes on the album. It’s a nice change of feel without being a total dead spot on the album. I love the jumpin’ groove of I’m the One. I think it would work as a big band jazz tune. 3.9/5
Leo Kottke – 6 and 12 String Guitar (1969)
Last year I shared this album and everyone ignored it. Probably not on purpose. We used to play this game via email and I think it just got lost in the shuffle (we’ve since shifted to a Facebook group). There have been other times my album hasn’t been reviewed, so I’ve shared another album by that artist later, or maybe just something similar. But since other albums got reviewed that week and only this one got missed, I’m just re-sharing this album.
Here’s what my friends thought:
“I was trying to decide if he was flat picking. It was some pretty fast picking if so. I think it was finger picking probably. Still fast, and a good listen. Didn’t really grab me, so I’ll go with 3.8/5” – Spencer