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.
Queen – The Works (1984)
And now for some more Queen. I’ve heard a lot of Queen – more than just the hits anyway – but not all of their stuff, as every album Tim shares seems to have some surprises on it for me.
This album is more straight forward rock than previous albums. Some (like Radio Ga Ga) are more poppy. Some (like Hammer to Fall) are harder. But they’re all less operatic or even proggy than some other stuff.
Of course Radio Ga Ga, I Want to Break Free and Hammer to Fall are some of the highlights. It makes sense they’ve shown up on Queen compilations over the years. I do have to say I prefer the single edit of Hammer to Fall. The standard album version’s bridge/solo section is a bit distracting.
But Tear it Up and Keep Passing the Open Windows are both great tunes. I don’t understand why they haven’t shown up. In my opinion, they’re better than Radio Ga Ga.
I thought It’s a Hard Life seemed like a follow up to Play the Game from two albums earlier. And as it turns out, that was the intention. I think I liked the bonus track live version a little more. The same is true for Is This the World We Created…? (which I don’t know how to punctuate). While the song is fine, they’ve had better songs that have a similar musical feel (albeit with less socially charged lyrics).
But the only song I didn’t really care for was a bonus track: Thank God It’s Christmas. Both the writing and the performance just felt a little phoned in. 3.76/5
Here’s what my friends had to say:
“I could only give this a few halfhearted listens. Its very Queen. Tear it up was a good rocker. Great stuff. Though there were several songs that I felt sounded exactly like other songs of theirs. For example its a hard life the chorus is exactly the melody of the chorus line “Its your life” in Play the Game. Another track reminded me very very much of Bohemian Rhapsody. I suppose that could be seen as them being consitently “Queeny,” but for some reason it put a damper on it for me. Still, 4.0/5 for more than just the hits.” – Spencer
Good Charlotte – Good Charlotte (2000)
Spencer pretty much echoed my sentiments about this album (and the one that follows) when he announce what he was sharing:
“I HATED this stuff back in the day. Mostly because I couldn’t like something that was cool and popular…. Yet there are so many memories of driving to school, to parties, to friends houses listening to this and their next album that I can’t help but listen to this fondly…. Sure, its all a bunch of youthful angst, whining about how they get picked on and their dad left (which would be hard to get over to be fair), and its really more like pop than pure punk, but I think there actually is some good catchy stuff in there. I like the brother’s harmonies ….”
Personally, I like their second album more. This one starts out strong, and is mostly pretty good, but the last couple of songs lose me. Thank You, Mom is probably one of their most poignant songs, but that’s not why I listen to them. Pop Punk anthems (like the album opener) and great harmonies is why I listen, along with a healthy dose of nostalgia. Even then, I think Sum 41 did the pop punk thing better. And if I want daddy issues, I’ll turn on Everclear.
Still, the bonus track If You Leave was a new to me and I liked it. Another highlight for me was Waldorf Worldwide, although after 15 years, I’m still not sure what that song is about. Change was a lowlight. Everything else was good although not super noteworthy. This is one of those things I’ll probably never turn off and always keep around, but probably only listen to mixed in with other (probably similar) things. And crank the hits when they come around. 3.06/5
From my friends:
“This was a good album. I enjoyed it overall. It avoided the pitfall most Punk/Ska albums fall into, where the songs and sounds start to sound repetitive.
I give them huge props for writing what they knew, and making it very personal overall in their lyrics, but I think they went too far often, where the songs became just too unique to their experiences personally and not very universal overall.
For a first “out of the gate” album it was very good. I might listen to more.” 3/5 – Tim
Blåmann Blåmann – Blåmann Blåmann (2001)
And now for something completely different.
In the past, we’ve had our share of folk music, but it’s been American folk music. We’ve had some non-English-speaking bands in the past as well, and while I’m sure their music has been influenced by their own “local” folk traditions, no examples come to mind. We really haven’t branched out. Which is fine. The point of this game is to share music we like.
So this week I’m sharing a modern group that plays Norwegian folk music, fronted by a man named Odd Nordstoga. Not that you’d know, but Nordstoga and the others (Lars Underdal, Silje Hegg and Asgaut Bakken) are all noted solo musicians from Vinje, Telemark. They don’t tune their instruments the way we would. They don’t choose their melodic lines or harmonies the way we would. They don’t use the same timing or meters we would. It comes across as almost a little proggy.
My favorite tune is Storebror og Lillebror – a melancholy story of two brothers. Tippe Tippe Tuve and Skuldalsburi are pretty good too.
Here’s what my friends had to say:
“I enjoyed this more than most american folk music to be honest. I was expecting more exotic elements I guess, but the keys and meters and everything seemed quite digestible to me. Perhaps I’ve overdosed on prog and jazz. Anyhow this, while not being my new favorite thing, was a very enjoyable, welcome break from the norm. I’ll welcome more world music in the future.” 3.8/5 – Spencer
“This one didn’t click with me. I liked the music overall, and the vocals really blended well with the instruments. I felt like this was really more of a “western influenced” album than native…if that makes sense? But I will say as the album went on I liked it less. And the flute was just plain annoying.” 2/5 – Tim
Use the comments section down below to let me know what you thought about Queen, Good Charlotte or Blåmann Blåmann.