I’m kind of a music slut and have been since my first Album (yes, LP) purchase at the local Meijer’s Thrifty Acres back in 1981. In the spirit of full disclosure that was Rick Springfield’s Working Class Dog. I can tell you that because:
- No one actually reads this
- We all experiment in our youth
- Who here has never made poor life choices. Not purchasing that LP may have cause an eventual love of Duran Duran, Madonna, and Wham! (Which it did, but only for a couple rough years of adolescence.)
- It was 27 years ago – give me a #*%@ing break.
Now that I’m actively blogging I’m getting around to doing here what I’ve done almost every year since 1981 – list my picks for best, worst, and most-disappointing music releases for the year. Again, these are based upon my musical tastes which, though broad, are devoid of a tolerance for New Country, Disney-Anything, Tibetian Throat Singing, or any genre involving children’s choirs. I’ve been reviewing my lists from every year I’ve been doing this. Since I’ve already embarrassed myself I may as well list some of those here just in case my Mead spiral bound notebooks stored with my Star Wars figures, Matchbox cars, and old Playboys ever get destroyed in a fire.
1981: Rick Springfield – Working Class Dog.
What makes this even more embarrassing is the listing of some of the other releases from this year. Queen – The Game, Bob Seger And The Silver Bullet Band – Against The Wind, and OMFG Pink Floyd – The Wall. (I did not get into The Wall for another 5 years despite wearing out the 45′ for Another Brick In The Wall Part II.)
1982: J. Geils Band – Freeze Frame.
Okay, getting better. I also apparently liked Asia – Asia and Men At Work – Business As Usual. A slight relapse with The Go Go’s Beauty And The Beat, though that was mainly because I thought 3/5 of the band was hot, not knowing yet about lesbians and their lack of interest in 13 year old boys.
1983: The Police – Synchronicity.
Finally starting to make good life decisions, even though I also enjoyed Quiet Riot’s Metal Health. Interesting side note on that. I still remember that gym was mandatory then, and having to do warm ups to Cum On Feel The Noize. This is public school, so I can not fault them for not choosing a song that used proper spelliing and grammar. Another release that year was Michael Jackson’s Thriller. I was working at the high school radio station at the time and had to do a two hour show on this album. Do the math: two hours for what was most-likely a 60-minute album. I was not a big fan of MJ, did not know much about MJ. So I made shit up. That was my last shift on WKDS.
1984: Prince – Purple Rain.
Relapse alert, but in the context of the time this was a great year for theatrical musicals. You also had Footloose. I probably saw Purple Rain at least 15 times in the theatre, because that is mainly what you did on a weekend night in 1984. Take a girl to the midnight movies and watch Purple Rain. Purple F***ing Rain! Don’t judge me b****es!
1985: Miami Vice – Soundtrack.
I have no excuses, only lies to myself that are 23 years old. Let’s move on. (Note: I did have a girlfriend that liked to dress up like Madonna, so I feigned interest in Like a Virgin for the next 6 months or so, but mainly because I liked it when she dressed up like Madonna.)
1986: Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet.
Mainly because you could not walk around University without hearing this CD or seeing a video. I have to think that Manuel Noriega eventually started to like Ratt after being exposed to their music courtesy of the Central Intelligence Agency. Same diff. Boston made a comeback with Third Stagethat year. Great concert. I had a friend who liked to queue up side 2 of that CD when his girlfriend came over to our apartment though. Since all I can now do is correllate that to the music I must say it’s lost its appeal.
1987: Rush – Hold Your Fire.
Yep, big fan of Rush for over 20 years. Even though I remember having discussions with the same friend above who liked doing his girlfriend to Boston about who was more talented: Wham! or Rush in the early stages of high school. (With me taking the most-embarrassing side of that arguement.)
1988: Guns n’ Roses – Appetite For Destruction.
Finally, nothing to be ashamed of. This CD still rocks 20+ years after its release. You can’t say that about many albums, or those acid washed jeans you were pegging the legs on in 1988 either.
1989: I had nothing. I must have been driven to the brink of a deep depression by what music was out there in 1989. A forshaddowing of the horrible music of the 1990s that included Debbie Gibson, Milli Vanilli, Paula Abdul, Motley Crue, New Kids on the Block, Bobby Brown, and Richard Marx. If a year was a woman, this would be the one the record producers and artist alike would never admit to sleeping with. The only consolation is that the next year brought about an unexpected and radical change with the advent of Grunge.
Let’s take a quick rundown of some of the years between then and now. The 90’s kind of sucked for music anyway (with exception of some obvious hilights) so I don’t want to linger there too long:
1990: Queensryche – Empire. I wore this CD out! I can not say that about any other release. To this day still has some great tracks. It got me through a really bad breakup.
1991: What a year for music! It made up for 1989 in spades. Pearl Jam – Ten, Metallica – Metallica, and of course Nirvana – Nevermind.
No explanation required.
1992: Singles – Soundtrack.
And so started my love affair with Seattle. This movie came out right after my first trip out there. To this day, my biggest regret was not simply quitting my job of 3 months and moving there. A great movie at the time by Cameron Crowe. It’s a shame it does not hold up better 16 years after-the-fact.
1993: Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream / Aimee Mann – Whatever / Rush – Counterparts.
1994: Rusted Root – When I Woke / Burning for Buddy – A Tribute To The Music Of Buddy Rich / Ben Harper – Welcome to the Cruel World / Jeff Buckley – Grace.
1995: Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness / Radiohead – The Bends.
1996: Cowboy Junkies – Lay It Down / Beck – Odelay / Metallica – Load.
You begin to see my split personality emerge here. His name is Thør. He likes to rock.
1997: Radiohead – OK Computer / Foo Fighters – The Colour And The Shape.
1998: Kid Rock – Devil Without A Cause / Burt Bacharach and Elvis Costello – Painted From Memory / Garbage – 2.0.
Because Kid made Detroit rock relevant again, Burt and Elvis were a perfect pairing, and Shirley Manson was and is HAWT!
1999: Chris Cornell – Euphoria Morning / Caroline’s Spine – Attention Please.
These two CDs were just about all I played on a solo car trip out to Moab, UT to meet up with friends for a week of biking on the slickrock trails. It’s a shame that Chris briefly recaptured the fire of Soundgarden with Audioslave and is now the latest talent to go in the shitter. Caroline’s Spine is a release I still love to this day. Both this and Monsoonwere stellar CDs. It’s a shame they only lasted a few years.
2000: U2 – All That You Can’t Leave Behind.
2001: Incubus – Morning View.
2002: Foo Fighters – One By One / David Cross Shut Up You F***ing Baby / Rush – Vapor Trails / Beck – Sea Change.
2003: Michael Franti – Everyone Deserves Music.
2004: Mitch Fatel – Miniskirts and Muffins / Killers – Hot Fuss / Jem – Finally Woken / Snow Patrol – Final Straw/ Rilo Kiley – More Adventurous / Various Artists – The Marijuana-logues.
I’ve always had a penchant for comedy and these two releases from 2004 are akin to classic George Carlin: they can be listened to over-and-over. They are also the Anti-Dane Cook in that they’re funny and original. Suck it Dane!
2005: Jay-Z and Linkin Park – Collision Course / Jack Johnson – In Between Dreams.
Absolutely brilliant mashup. Bring on more! Pefect for mowing, working out, or punching kittens. (Note, I do not advocate punching kittens unless they get the first punch.) Jack gets an honorable mention as it’s the perfect Sunday-Morning-Coffee-Pancakes-Newspaper CD.
2006: Kooks – Naïve / Kid Rock – Live Trucker / Pearl Jam – Pearl Jam / Red Hot Chili Peppers – Stadium Arcadium / Incubus – Light Grenades.
Kid put out the best live release since the 1970’s. Just like he wanted. A simply fantastic CD start to finish with very few flaws and amazing sound quality.
2007: Storm Large And The Balls – Ladylike / Once – Soundtrack / Rush – Snakes And Arrows / Bruce Springsteen – Magic/ Rilo Kiley – Under the Black Light / MIA – Kala.
My next post will highlight my skew on what 2008 had to offer; good, bad, and just plain disappointing.