Thursday, November 19, 2009

Track of the Week: Starry Eyes by The Records

I can't believe I had never heard this song until last week! Thanks LastFM recommendation radio station! This power pop classic, which I guess it is somewhere where I don't live, certainly deserves a place among the better rock 'n' roll songs of the 70's. Released in 1979, "Starry Eyes" was a near hit for The Records, peaking at #56 in the U.S. While it did not set the world on fire, it became a cult classic and eventually landed on the Pitchfork 500 (the online music critic site's list of the greatest 500 songs of the past 30 years).

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Rolling Stone 500: (493) That's the Way of the World by Earth, Wind and Fire [1975]

Finally, some funk and soul! You can tell just from the fantastic album cover that these songs will groove along. And they do, but what sets That's the Way of the World apart as a funk/soul record is the song writing and musicianship. Not only a fun record, Earth, Wind & Fire succeed in making an interesting one as well. There are certainly some elements of jazz here. Fortunately, the band manages to almost completely avoid the self-indulgent side effect of most records which blend jazz and pop, soul, rock, etc.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Track of the Week: "Stay Forever" by Ween

Ween can pretty much do any music style ever and do it well. Not many bands can do that and maybe only the Beatles did it better. On "Stay Forever," Ween do the whole pretty Beatles ballad and it works. Boy does it work. Actually, I think if John Lennon hadn't been murdered and the Beatles had been able to get back together they would have sounded like the album this track appears on, White Pepper. (And if you believe an uncited source on Wikipedia, the album title is in reference to the Beatles' The Beatles a.k.a. "The White Album," and Sgt. Pepper's)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Rolling Stone 500: (494) She's So Unusual by Cyndi Lauper [1984]

I remember hearing a few of these songs on the radio in the early to mid-90's. The singles were good, but the overall record is even better. Simply put, if today's pop music sounded more like "She's So Unusual," it would be a billion times better than it is. Cyndi Lauper's sound here is peppy and fun, the lyrics generally straightforward and simple, but all of it is earnest and good. And for an 80's record with a certainly 80's sound, it has worn well and still sounds fresh 25 years later.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Rolling Stone 500: (495) New Day Rising by Hüsker Dü [1985]

So I tend not to like hardcore punk because what I know about it is contemporary. But "New Day Rising" is really, really good! The guitars are fuzzed out. The singing is, well, actual singing. I mean, I like 70's punk, but contemporary hardcore punk sounds pretty stupid usually. This sounds like sped up garage rock and I love garage rock...and speed (or not). The vocals sound a bit pop-y, but not whinny like contemporary bands. Another plus.