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.
Last week, Tim said he was going to share Queen’s self-titled debut album, and suggested we all share a band’s first offering.
Queen’s self titled (1973)
Here is where Queen started, although Freddie wasn’t convinced until their next album.
I’m not sure I realized Keep Yourself Alive was the first thing many people heard from Queen. The first track on their first album really starts things out right. It’s a solid rocker.
And it’s the perfect example of this album as a whole; while Queen went on to have their own distinct style, this is both not exactly it and also not incongruous with that style either. Looking forward, there was no way to predict where they were going to go (I can hear a lot of similarities between this album and Black Sabbath‘s Paranoid, but that might just mean Queen and Sabbath had similar influences), but looking back everything here still fits and all of the elements were here. Maybe I just never realized how old it was, having only heard it mixed in with their other hits, but it holds it’s own among those other hits. It and Headlong, off Innuendo (their last album released while Freddie Mercury was still alive) were cut from the same cloth.
Another song which exemplifies this whole album is Doing All Right. It’s like the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland. It’s a little rough and you get jerked around, instead of a roller coaster which just has mostly smooth and mostly predictable ups and downs.
Despite being a little rough (understandably, as this is 1973 and the band’s first record and they weren’t actually paying for the studio time), there are no bad songs. The closest thing was either Seven Seas of Rhye, mostly in comparison to the vocal version, or Modern Times Rock ‘n’ Roll, which just passed by too quickly to make much of an impression. I had to go back and listen to it again after Son and Daughter was over just to know what I had listened to. My Fairy King, on the other hand, was the only song that was new to me that I wanted to listen to again right after because it was so good. Keep Yourself Alive is another obvious highlight, but every song has great moments.
I also listened to Mad the Swine, the track from these sessions which didn’t make it to the final album. It was interesting and fits in with the rest of the album. I’m not sure why it wasn’t included originally (although now that I write that, I get that I may be hearing a cleaner, remastered version). 3.18/5
The Velvet Underground and Nico’s self titled (1967)
We listened to this album about two and a half years ago when we first looked at albums on Rolling Stone‘s top 500 albums of all time. I hadn’t listened to it before then and I haven’t listened to it since.
There’s something about his voice that reminds me of Bob Dylan, but he’s better than Bob. When I first heard this album, I was kind of surprised how much it reminded me of a mix between The Rolling Stones and The Mamas and the Papas. It is pure, unadulterated psychedelic folk pop rock. And I’m kind of amazed I didn’t listen to this growing up; I listened to oldies and classic rock, but somehow I totally missed this album.
Perhaps by the time I was listening to classic rock radio, there were better songs; bands who took ideas presented in this album and improved on them over the almost 30 years in between. Nothing on this album really caught my attention. Nothing was bad; a little low quality in the mix, but like I said with Queen: it was 1967 and it’s their first album. They probably didn’t have the money to smooth it out. 3/5
There are also a ton of bonus tracks, which I didn’t bother to look up.
Cherry Poppin’ Daddies – Ferociously Stoned (1990)
The ’90s saw a myriad of different genres. Along with grunge, gansta rap and boy bands, we got a ton of bands with horns. I would venture to say that no swing revival song got more airplay than Zoot Suit Riot. Although, that song was only ever released in a compilation. So this week I’m taking you guys back to the beginning of the Daddies.
Don’t be fooled by the introduction, or what you already think you know. The Cherry Poppin’ Daddies have a decently wide range of styles, while still being mostly horn-based. Teenage Brain Surgeon is very Oingo Boingo-esque, for example.
They released this in 1990, then a censored version was released again that year. In 1994, they re-released it and added their first EP as bonus tracks at the end.
I’ll admit it isn’t the best thing I’ve ever heard. His voice takes some getting used to. But I love their keyboard work and their stylistic variety.
If my friends ever tell me what they thought, I’ll post their reviews here. In the mean time, please leave your own comments in the appropriately named section down below.