For a couple of years, some of my friends and I have been sharing music with one another. We’re supposed to review/rate whatever’s shared with us, but that doesn’t always happen.
Alpha Male Tea Party – Droids (2014)
And like Tool, the highlight is the instrumental arrangement aspect of the album. I feel like their music, while still progressive, is more accessible than other math rock bands like Piglet. Not always, but mostly. There were still some tunes that just felt a little disjointed.
I like these vocals (of which there are not many) more than Tool’s. I still don’t love them, but I like them more. And the song names were … interesting. Your Happiness was Stored on a Hard Drive and is Now Corrupt was especially applicable to some small things in my life. It was also one of the most “normal” of the tunes. It was relatively relaxing, which I wasn’t expecting, and a nice change. They’re pretty hard sometimes, and I might not always be in the mood for that, but I was this week. God is Love… was also a mostly pleasant change, and I liked the spacey feel, but I didn’t like it as much as Your Happiness…. The closing track did a good job of bringing us out of that spacey feel and back into some of the hardness, giving it a nice finish without being too crazy.
I may look into these guys a little more. 3.5/5
Here’s what my friends had to say:
“This was a good album overall. As I’ve said many times before, I think music needs to tell a story, and I had a hard time hearing, or feeling, a story. At times it just felt like background music…like something you would play in the background of a movie. So while I could see the talent, it wasn’t something that really hooked me.” 3/5 – Tim
Jethro Tull – Aqualung (1971)
Tim was going to share something from the band I shared, but I beat him to the punch. Instead he went with another ’70s prog-ish band we’re all kind of surprised hasn’t been shared yet.
I’ve listened to some Jethro Tull, but not a ton, so I’m kind of excited. One of the tunes I had heard is, of course, the title track. And it was pretty sweet, but maybe because I had heard it before, I was more impressed at some of the tunes that were new to me.
There was one recurring riff in Cross-Eyed Mary that reminded me of The Beatles’ Day Tripper. Mother Goose was almost cool, but I felt like trying to cram in that many cultural references was a little distracting. Up to Me had one of the best grooves on the album. Simple but catchy.
I also took the time to listen to the bazillion bonus tracks, and … it wasn’t really worth it. There were some new songs (or new versions of songs off other albums, like Fat Man or their interpretation of Bach’s Bourée which were great), but most of the tracks were just different versions of the standard album tracks and I didn’t really notice much difference between them. I didn’t listen to the same song back to back, so maybe that would change what I heard (or didn’t hear).
I liked this, but not as much as AMTP which surprised me. 3.27/5
From my friends:
“This is a classic. The guitar riffs (like the iconic opening) rock with great melodies throughout. I love the flute in there too.” 4.5/5 – Spencer
Radiohead – Ok Computer (1997)
Chris shares Radiohead again! Apparently at the behest of Tim, who isn’t a Radiohead fan, but started listening to them from the beginning (and thinks that is the best way to listen to them, and Chris agrees).
I feel like this is one of the more thought out albums. Instead of just a collection of songs, there was thought put into the order. Chris said he really likes the three opening tracks, and I don’t dislike them, but the bookends of the album didn’t seem super special to me.
The middle had some of the best stuff. And the not so best stuff. Those songs were either really good or things I wouldn’t come back to. Let Down, Karma Police, Electioneering and No Surprises were great.
Fitter Happier may have been better as an actual song, instead of music with a text-to-speech program reading … whatever that was. I didn’t really care for Climbing Up the Walls either. I also listened to most of the bonus tracks; the ones bundled with the singles off this album. Most of them I didn’t really care for either, including the two remixes for Climbing Up the Walls. They were just alright. Melatonin, Lull, Palo Alto, and How I Made My Millions were good though. Lull is especially worth looking up.
There were other bonus tracks, BBC1 sessions of songs on the standard album, and like Jethro Tull, I couldn’t really hear much difference (although I wasn’t listening to them back-to-back with the standard versions). And there were two live tracks I couldn’t find.
I get why this is a landmark album. I liked it more than I anticipated I would. 3.16/5
From my friends:
“This album seems a bit harder to review for me. This is much better than a pop album, its got good depth and variety, though the prevaling mood I thought was pretty chill. I wouldn’t describe this as a rockin’ album. Honestly I think I’ll come back to this more because I know it has more to offer than one listen gleaned, but the first impression was kinda bland.” 4.1/5 – Spencer
Kansas – Audio-Visions (1980)
This has been a long time coming. Like since we first started this game and I put together a list of bands I wanted to share, Kansas was on there. They’ve been mentioned from time to time, but we’ve never shared an album. Like Bob Marley, I’ve just had a hard time deciding what to share.
I thought about sharing Always Never the Same, which is Kansas rerecording some of their stuff with the London Symphony Orchestra, but I decided to go with one of my favorite “standard” studio albums of theirs. This isn’t Leftoverture (which has Carry on Wayward Son) or Point of Know Return (with Dust in the Wind). Those are fine albums, but are really carried by the big singles. This album is more even. The hits you might recognize from this album are Hold On, Got to Rock On, and (my favorite from the album) No One Together.
Here’s what my friends had to say:
“I actually haven’t listened to a ton of kansas, though I think Carry On Our Wayward Son is one of the greatest rock songs ever written. I’m sure I haven’t listened to this one anyway. I liked it but every time I listen to kansas I feel like the violin in there kinda pokes out a lot, it doesn’t seem to fit in naturally. I’m not sure what it is, but it sometimes doesn’t seem as well incorporated as the flute in Jethro Tull for example. Regardless though I really enjoyed it.” 4.4/5 – Spencer
“I’ve never listened to a whole Kansas album. I own the greatest hits, and really like that, but the over all length of the songs one after another always turned me off to a whole album.
BUT, this was a great album and I feel I made a mistake by not listening before. The arrangement of songs is fantastic. It was so good in fact, that several songs I didn’t like on the greatest hits were much more enjoyable within context.
One thing I’ve always liked about Kansas is the complexity of the music while still feeling modern and classical at the same time. This was definitely true on this album.
Overall I think I need to take this lesson to heart, and not let the greatest hits drive my opinion of the music overall (which I rarely do, but rarely is apparently too much)” 4/5 – Tim
We also had a very lively conversation about which Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle/Beatle/X-Men (X-Man?)/G.I.*Joe/Power Ranger we related to most, but that doesn’t really have much to do with the music we shared. If you want to let us know which X-G.I.*Power Ninja Beatle you feel best represents you, or what you thought of any of these albums, you can do so down in the comments.