Don’t Let Them Applaude

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.

Jefferson Starship – Red Octopus (1975)

Tim was going to share Queen’s The Works, but after realizing he shared that album last November, he went with Jefferson Starship. They’re a classic rock radio staple, but I’ve never really taken a dive into their catalog. Continue reading

We Were Rocking Out

Some of my friends and I share music with one another to listen to at work. We’re supposed to review/rate whatever’s shared with us, but that doesn’t always happen.

This week marks three years we’ve been playing this game. To commemorate this occasion, we did a “best of” – we shared our favorite albums originally shared by somebody else that we wouldn’t have shared ourselves. Does that make sense?

For example, I could only find five times I gave out a perfect score. Once, Tim shared an album I would have gotten around to sharing, but he beat me to the punch. Another time, Spencer shared an album I had suggested before he joined the game. Of the three other albums, I had never heard of one band (perhaps I would have discovered them eventually and shared them, but who knows), had heard of another but never listened to them, and the last album is from an artist I listened to on the radio in the ’90s/early ’00s, but after getting burned copies of the whole albums, I wasn’t super impressed. So when a new album came out a couple of years ago, I wouldn’t have given it a chance unless (like Chris did), someone suggested we listen to it for this game.

Basically, it means there was a ton of great music shared this week. But before we get there, here’s what my friends thought of as the best things shared in this game over the past three years.

Grouplove – Never Trust a Happy Song (2011)

Spencer went with the album that has most entered his regular listening rotation (though he did say it is probably tied with Toh Kay’s Hand that Thieves, but went with this one). Continue reading

The Promise of a Brave New World

Some of my friends and I share music with one another while we work. We’re supposed to review/rate what gets shared with us, and share those reviews with the group, but that doesn’t always happen.

With the Grammy’s coming up, we thought we’d go with one of the past nominees for album of the year:

Pink Floyd – The Wall (1979)

Here is a monster of classic rock. This is the album I’d listen to while I shoveled snow off my parents’ driveway. Not because of any messages in the songs, it just took me more than an hour to clear the driveway and sidewalks (my parents have a big driveway). Continue reading

Nothing is New

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.

The Black Keys – Turn Blue (2014)

After I shared what I did for the week, Tim suggested we all share our favorite album that has come out in the two years since we started playing this game. And it’s a great idea. Except I already shared (and I don’t listen to a ton of new music, so I’d have to think about it a little more). But here’s Tim’s: another Black Keys album. Continue reading

Feel your Insides Churning

For almost two 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.

Some weeks are $1 chicken tacos from a street vendor. This week was dutchoven steak, potatoes, carrots and onion. With a little rosemary (which is both metaphorically and literally true).

The Notwist – Neon Golden (2002)

A German “indietronica rock” band. Sure. Why not? Continue reading

I was Looking for a Piece that Fit

For more than a year, some of my friends and former coworkers have been sharing music. The idea is that we’re supposed to review/rate what’s shared with us, then share those reviews with the group, but that doesn’t always happen.

This week, my former co-worker Tim suggested we all share something from the past couple of years that we haven’t listened to. Ok. Sure. This is a little different. My band mate Spencer went through bands that he used to listen to, but hasn’t really kept up on to find something. I thought about doing the same thing, except it seemed overwhelming. So I just went through bands that I’ve already shared with the group looking for side projects.

One that I really wanted to share was Andrew Stockdale’s solo album he released while Wolfmother was on hiatus. But he writes all their stuff anyway, and, as it turned out, they recorded it while they were still together. Really it’s just a Wolfmother album with a different name, so I guess that’s not going with the spirit of this week’s “theme.” Not that we always have to have a theme. But, it’s not on Spotify anymore anyway.

Before I get into what I did find, let me get into what everyone else shared.

Bette Midler – It’s the Girls (2014)

Tim’s whole idea behind suggesting we share something we haven’t heard that’s been recorded and released in the past couple of years was so it will help us stretch our selections and have a dose of what is being recorded “today.” Yet he shares an album from a woman who’s been recording for the past 50 years. Not only that, it’s a cover album of songs that inspired her to start singing in the first place. So an old woman singing old songs is supposed to have a dose of what’s being recorded today? Continue reading

Cut Me Down to Size So I Can Fit Inside

If you’ve read my blog at all in the last nine months or so, you know why I’ve been sharing what I have. Every week, some of my co-workers and I have been sharing some of our favorite music with one another. Except, they’re not my coworkers anymore.

And we’re supposed to review it, rate it, and share that with one another, but that doesn’t always happen.

grammyAnd I was going to share one thing this week, but since The Grammys were last weekend, Chris beat me to the punch and shared an Album of the Year winner. So we’re going with that theme this week.

So, first of all, let’s tackle the Grammys for just a second. I don’t think much of them. It’s a fun honor, and a pretty big footnote on Wikipedia, but the Grammys rarely reflect the true “best music of the year.” I know, that’s a subjective opinion, but I feel like the Grammys (well, all award shows do this, really) consistently choose from a limited pool of mainstream artists, and then predictably choose the safe choice. But it doesn’t mean what they choose is bad. In fact, most albums that get nominated are very good. But they’re predictable. Safe. Boring. Some prefer that, I suppose. I just think it’s the mainstream patting itself on the back. I think – at least for artists, musicians, etc. – that doing what you do and doing it well is more important than trying to do what everyone else thinks you should do. I think things like the Country Music Awards are a better idea. But even genre specific awards may still not be the best idea. And if people still want a showdown between the best-in-class, then we can have a Grammy shootout show.

But I don’t want to get into a rant, so I’ll move on.

I was surprised how few of the Albums of the Year (Album of the Years?) I’ve enjoyed. The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is one, of course. But while it may have been a huge deal when it was released, I don’t think it’s their best work. They had other albums nominated that didn’t win: Help!, Revolver, Magical Mystery Tour and Abbey Road. You know what I think of Abbey Road, but I also think Help! and Revolver are better than Sgt. Pepper. And Magical Mystery Tour is kind of an even wash.

And we’ve already covered some during the course of our little game, like Carol King’s Tapestry, Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors, the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack, and Mumford and Sons’ Babel. Unless you want to count nominees, too, in which case Don McClean’s American Pie, Lady Gaga’s Born this Way, John Mayer’s Continuum, the Grease soundtrack, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ The Heist, Radiohead’s In Rainbows, Sam Smith’s In the Lonely Hour, and MC Hammer’s Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em are also on our list.

There are others I thought about sharing, but most of my Simon and Garfunkel listening has been greatest hits. Same with Crosby, Stills and Nash – although they were only ever nominated and never won.

That leaves the Alison Krauss & Robert Plant collaboration, Raising Sand, and one other – which I ultimately shared because I think it’s less likely to get shared, as well as in hopes that someone else will share Raising Sand. But first, the other suggestions.

Beck – Morning Phase (2014)

Beck is a musical chameleon. He can convincingly make folk, rap, dance, electronic, or rock, and sometimes fuse them all into one song. Not only that, but he convincingly portrays a wide range of emotions too – humorous, subtle, wacky, sad, happy, euphoric, thoughtful and occasionally heartbroken.

Sometimes he gets in a certain mood, and decides to make an album full of a focussed sound. And that’s what Morning Phase is: a desert folk album primed for road trips. Continue reading