Year 3, Day 40: The Who -Who’s Next

Year 3, Day 40: The Who – Who’s Next

Track List

  1. Baba O’Riley
  2. Bargain
  3. Love Ain’t for Keeping
  4. My Wife
  5. The Song is Over
  6. Getting in Tune
  7. Going Mobile
  8. Behind Blue Eyes
  9. Won’t Get Fool Again

About the Album

Who’s Next is the fifth studio album from English rock band, The Who. Recorded from April 1971 through June of the same year, the album was released mid-August of the same year through Track Records in the United Kingdom and Decca Records in the United States. The album was a massive critical and commercial success, peaking at the top of various charts worldwide including number four on the Billboard 200 in the United States and number one on the UK Top Albums chart. In the United States alone, the album is certified three times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of American (or RIAA).

Thoughts on the Album

So here we are, the last day of the project, day 40. I figured I needed something epic to end the project with. So why not end it with some Who. No, no, no, not “who?”, The Who. Today’s album is the 1971 release, Who’s Next. As stated above in the “about the album” section, the album was a massive critical and commercial success. Not to mention it spawned probably two of the greatest rock songs ever recorded: the anthemic Won’t Get Fooled Again and Baba O’Riley

Who’s Next opens and shifts into first gear with the iconic and anthemic, Baba O’Riley. If you have listened to albums from The Who before this one, then Baba O’Riley was unlike any track from the band you’ve heard before. It’s opening synth riff is immediately recognizable. It’s the three note bass riff, the pounding drums from Keith Moon, the power chords from Pete Townsend’s guitar, and Roger Daltry’s powerful voice give the song it’s feeling. It’s a song that receives regular airplay on FM Classic Rock (and in some cases general rock) radio stations today.

From the beginning of Baba O’Riley to the end of Won’t Get Fool Again, the album doesn’t let up. The songs on this album are loud and in-your-face… even the ballads share this feeling. Where there is anger and sorrow, humor and regret, passion and tumult, are all mixed together and combined then wrapped up into one package where the seething rage is just as potent and reaching as the heartbreak is. Most music critics also seem to agree that Who’s Next, despite not having any real discernable theme to the songs, is a much stronger release than Tommy.

The last track on the album, is probably not only the band’s most iconic, but one of rock and roll’s most iconic tracks. It’s the hard hitting and powerful, Won’t Get Fooled Again. It’s approximately eight plus minutes of eargasms. The song opens with a power chord and synth riff. This is all before the bass and guitar come back together in pulling off a grandiose and epic riff that soars. Over top of the instruments, is Roger Daltry’s roaring voice, wailing away. (Side note: if you ever get to just hear the bass in this song by itself, do it, listen to it. It’s so powerful, it may blow your mind.) The beautiful thing about this song is that there is an “ambient” section were rest of the band except the synth mellow out. Don’t let it fool you though, it’s only luring you in more. It lures you in, and then explodes. Just explodes. The ambient synth gives way to a pounding drum solo. All before Roger Daltry bellows out the most iconic scream “YEAH!!!!” in rock history. The album ends on a powerful note, a hell of a way to end.

Conclusion

It’s not that other songs on this album are slouches, they are not. But It’s obvious which ones were the most famous ones. This is a hell of an album. The production, the instrumentation, the composition, everything is next to perfect. It is an iconic rock album that has and will continue to, hold up to the test of time.

And that is how you end this project, go out on a epic and powerful note.

Year 3, Day 39: Europe – The Final Countdown

Year 3, Dav 39: Europe – The Final Countdown

Track List

  1. The Final Countdown
  2. Rock the Night
  3. Carrie
  4. Danger on the Track
  5. Ninja
  6. Cherokee
  7. Time Has Come
  8. Heart of Stone
  9. On the Loose
  10. Love Chaser

About the Album

The Final Countdown, is the third studio album from Swedish glam rock/hair metal band, Europe. The album, recorded from September 1985 to March 1986, was released in late May 1986 through Epic Records. The album was a massive commercial success, going triple platinum in the United States alone. The album peaked at number eight on the United States Billboard 200.

Thoughts on the Album

Welcome to the second-to-last day of the third year of the project; otherwise known as Day 39. We have went on a musical journey across the world, so why not continue that journey? We all have that one album in other music collection that some don’t like admitting they own. Yes, even me. For me, that album is none other than Swedish glam rock band, Europe‘s The Final Countdown. The album is your quintessential, prototypical, and archetypical 1980’s glam rock/hair metal band album: full of cheesy lyrics, big guitar riffs, even bigger synth riffs, and soaring choruses. Essentially, it is the epitome of 1980’s hair metal albums (looking at you Jon Bon Jovi).

Let’s face it, this album wouldn’t be as well received today as it was back then. I’ll admit it, this album is pretty bland and blah rock that it makes the garage band down the street have full Slayer-status. But while we’re at it, also admit that, we’ve probably rocked out to this album at least once or twice.

If you haven’t heard the titular opening track, then I have no words for you. If you’ve gone to a sporting event, or seen a cheesy comedy movie, or played Guitar Hero or Rock Band, then you have heard the title track, The Final CountdownThe Final Countdown opens the album with such bombastic brilliance, such majestic and glorious garbage, that it is the epitome of the 1980s. However vapid and vacuous the song’s lyrics are, the instrumentation is pretty good. The majestic and booming bass synthesizer, brass-like synth riffs, pounding drums, and heavy hitting guitar riffs (and the solo) helped make this song an anthem that everyone knows and sings along to. Of course, The Final Countdown, is probably one of the weaker tracks on the album too.

One of the problems with this album is it’s genre. It’s definitely not hard rock. It’s rock, but not hard rock. This album is more of a stereotypical (radio) pop/rock album of the time period. Of course, while you do get heavy riffs and technical solos on tracks like Rock the Night and On the Loose; and Carrie is your quintessential 1980s hair metal ballad. But everything else is more closer to the synthpop that was predominantly featured on the airwaves during that time. That includes the title track.

Listen to: The Final Countdown for it’s cheesiness; Rock the Night for it’s pounding drums and heavy riffs; Carrie if you are looking for a 1980s hair metal ballad that backs some heat; On the Loose for the heavy guitar riffs and technical guitar work.

Conclusion

Keeping it relatively short and sweet. If there was a “King of 1980s Cheese” music list/crown, then The Final Countdown, both album and title track would rank close to number one on it. But, the album is a product of it’s musical time period were cheese and commercialism ran rampant. It’s definitely not and would not be considered a form of “high art” by any means. If The Final Countdown had less of the cheese and brought more of fire, then I’m pretty sure more would love this album.

I swear, this probably has been the most negative about an album I’ve posted about on this project before.

But all that said, it’s still an enjoyable listen. So give it a listen!

Year 3, Day 38: Paramore – brand new eyes

Year 3, Day 38: Paramore – brand new eyes

Track List

  1. Careful
  2. Ignorance
  3. Playing God
  4. Brick by Boring Brick
  5. Turn it Off
  6. The Only Exception
  7. Feeling Sorry
  8. Looking Up
  9. Where the Lines Overlap
  10. Misguided Ghosts
  11. All I Wanted

About the Album

Brand New Eyes is the third studio album from American rock band, Paramore. Recorded in early 2009, the album was released in late September the same year through Fueled By Ramen Records. The album topped the charts in many different countries worldwide, as well as debuted at number two on the United States Billboard 200. It is the band’s highest charting album to date and has been certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (or RIAA).

Thoughts on the Album

I have no qualms about listening to Paramore. None whatsoever. I love Hayley Williams’ voice. It is a powerful voice that can carry an album. I’m pretty sure Hayley Williams’ voice could help her lead an army of infantrymen, just based off of her trills alone. Williams is one dynamic frontwoman who regularly commands and captivates audiences at live concerts. Of course, the rest of the band are no slouches either. But it’s with this album that the rest of band plays alongside not just behind her. That is an important distinction to make… and this no better made by today’s album, brand new eyes.

As with most albums, the key is momentum. How does the album open? The opening track makes all the difference between someone listening to the whole album, or someone just pressing skip. brand new eyes‘ opening track, Careful, opens with streamlined punchy, yet clean guitar lines and aggressive drum lines. The track brings those same damned punchy hooks that Riot! packed only with renewed vigor.

Tracks like Ignorance and Brick by Boring Brick help bring the energy and power in the first half of the album. Both tracks, along with the fourth track, Playing God, carry the momentum that Careful brought. But whereas Ignorance and Brick by Boring Brick are more aggressive songs in both sound and pace, Playing God slows it down slightly. But the beauty and allure of this album isn’t just the fast-paced and heavy-hitting tracks. There is magic found in the slower tempo tracks like Playing God, Turn It Off, The Only Exception, and Misguided Ghosts. It is these tracks that highlight Hayley Williams’ abilities as a songwriter and lyricist.

Of course, it is not until the track The Only Exception, where Williams slows down (and tones down) the sonic assault. The band’s centerpiece ballad is an quiet, acoustic number that while contrasts with the rest of the generally heavy-hitting tracks. Williams on The Only Exception has no problems hitting both low and high notes, as she shows off an incredible vocal range.

Conclusion

If you’ve since listened to RIOT! and All We Know Is Falling previous to that, you could see the progression from those two albums. It is akin to growing up and maturing. While we’re at it, lets be honest here, if it was any other female vocalist singing, then this band wouldn’t be Paramore. It would completely different. A down-to-earth and simultaneously top-of-the-world effort that was clearly the band’s best album as of 2009. brand new eyes is a perfect combination of heavy-hitting tracks that pack muscle and melody and harmonies. Give it a listen!

spotify:album:27UqZoE1kV6sIV6uQcI28A

Year 3, Day 37: Hall & Oates – Voices

Year 3, Day 37: Hall & Oates – Voices

Track List

  1. How Does It Feel to Be Back
  2. Big Kids
  3. United State
  4. Hard to Be in Love with You
  5. Kiss On My List
  6. Gotta Lotta Nerve (Perfect Perfect)
  7. You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’
  8. You Make My Dreams
  9. Everytime You Go Away
  10. Africa
  11. Diddy Doo Wop (I Hear the Voices)

About the Album

Voices is the ninth studio release from Philadelphia native blue-eyed soul group, Hall & Oates. The album was recorded from April to May and September to November of 1979. The album was released in late July of 1980 through RCA Records. The album spent 100 weeks on the Billboard 200.

Thoughts on the Album

I can’t believe I almost went a full 40 days on this project without showcasing a Hall & Oates album. I feel so ashamed and less of a Philadelphian. But anyway, today’s album is none other than Hall & Oates‘ 1980 release, Voices. Considering towards the end of the 1970’s the music scene was quickly shifting to punk and new wave from R&B and Disco, this is album that helped the duo from Philadelphia develop and find their groove in the scene.

It this with this album that helped make Daryl Hall and John Oates one of the most successful duos in pop music history; and one that ruled the charts and airwaves in the first half of the 1980s. The beautiful thing about this album is that, it is a fun one. Rather than trying to make this grand statement, the duo made this sleek, stylish, and fun album. Look no further than the track, Kiss On My List. If you read the lyrics, it is a rather cynical song, stating that “your kiss” was merely on a list and it’s apparently “one” of the “best things in life”. This is the track that maps out the duo’s signature sound for the decade, with harmony rich, heavily crafted songwriting, and excellent instrumentation.

If you are looking for more of a rocker, well look no further than You Make My DreamsKiss On My List and You Make My Dreams are arguably the two biggest singles and pop songs of the 1980s. Of course one can’t forget about the their rendition of the Righteous Brothers‘ You Lost That Lovin Feelin’ and the original version and heartbreaking, Everytime You Go Away. It is with these tracks that helped the duo become more accepted by mainstream. Everytime You Go Away, which would later be made a hit by Paul Young, is a straight up gospel organ, 1960s soul influenced track. The track is one of the duo’s strongest compositions on the album.

Conclusion

Seriously you guys, aside from the blockbuster singles that packed a hell of punch, what makes this recording so awesome in hindsight is probably just how amazingly fantastic it is. The sound of this album is perfect spread out to cover many different genres from guitar based power pop blended with contemporary new wave and blue-eyed soul. But it was with the momentum created by this album that helped future Hall & Oates releases become even bigger hits. But this album in its own right stands up as one of the duo’s best records ever.

spotify:album:4LniALl9S6YedTFdiZWOMS