Thursday, December 29, 2016

Christmas with Tammy

What better a way than to close out the year with my main girl Tammy. While Ill never be one of her husbands, sad I know, I can still admire her and her music. So I wanted to say that while I am not expecting much out of this album, I still think it is a fitting ending you know.
  1. Silent Night, Holy Night: This is an ok version of the song, it isn't anything new but I like it. It give you that warm feeling that you are supposed to get from the song. It makes me want to look at a fire and makes me think of christmas. Plus I like that organ. The harmonies and the echo sounds quite good.
  2. O Little Town of Bethlehem: This feels like a Tammy version of the song. It's got the twangs that I've grown to become accustomed to on albums like Stand By Your Man. The strings here are phenomenal, and this is possibly the best version of the song I have yet to review. I think her voice works, I like it, the organ comes band and kind of peaks it's head out at different points. The swells are fucking great. Really, there is a punch to it, and the transitions are also very well. Honestly I'm surprised it's this good.
  3. It Came Upon the Midnight Clear: A song I love done in a manner that I is similar to that last track but not as effective. I much prefer the last track done in the country manner than this one, or the Nashville Sound rather. That's not saying it's bad I'm just pointing out it isn't anything terrifically mind blowing or 
  4. Joy to the World: This is a christmas classic, and it's done in a manner that I think is fitting of the song. This works for what it is, and I think the Jordanaires are for more effective here than on Elvis' album.
  5. Away in a Manger: This is a first for the blog. I have yet to review this track, which is kind of weird. I have heard this song so many times at church its weird I am not hearing it more on record. The album is more or less what you'd expect at this point from the sound and style. It's solid enough, maybe like a 6.
  6. Gentle Shepherd: I don't recall a song with this title. But it closes side one of the vinyl pressing of the original record. It's not that bad of a song, and it's pretty inoffensive. It's not overtly bad or anything annoying. But I'm pretty sure I'll forget it once the albums over. It's again not that bad.
  7. Blue Christmas: I'll have a pleasant experience with this track. Like it's honestly inoffensive.
  8. (Merry Christmas) We Must Be Having One: I don't think I have heard this song before. And honestly I don't mind this song, I got to say it's a nice change of pace. I mean it's a new song that works, for me at least. And the harmonies work also quite well.
  9. White Christmas: This is another Nashville Sound rendition of a classic christmas tune. I like the strings on this and the arrangement is pretty solid. It's not mind blowing, as I've said before, but I like it. I could see myself coming back to this version.
  10. One Happy Christmas: Eh, I don't know if I'm digging this tune. It's okay I guess, but I don't want to get 100 percent on board or give it a complete pass.
  11. Lonely Christmas Call: This isn't a bad song, but it's kind of a sad song. Sadly at this point I've run out of things to say other than I like the vocals and the way she says the words. I like the backing instrumentation, but it isn't the best you know.
  12. Let's Put Christ Back Into Christmas: I wonder what would happens if someone made this song today. This song is kind of stupid, if I'm being honest I don't really care for it. I mean this isn't really a last track, outside of the title. The rest of the song is a pretty bland arrangement considering what is on the rest of the album. It's not that it sounds bad, but it's just lets go out luke warm.
Overall I have to give this album a 6/10. This is a Tammy album, what did I expect. Something I wanna say is we lost a lot of talented musicians who, while I may not be fans of every single one of them personally, they played on something that some how helped shape the music that got me to where I am today. So I wanted to take this paragraph to just name them as a way of respect I guess and to condense this I decided to mention only those whom I haven't already mentioned earlier in past reviews. Paul Bley, Pierre Boulez, Jimmy Bain, Dale Griffin, Alan Haven, Al Caiola, Ray ColcordMaurice White, Keith Emerson, Phife Dawg, Merle Haggard, Jimmie Van Zant, Lonnie Mack, Billy Paul, Isao Tomita, Candye Kane, Gayle McCormick, Nick Menza, Marshall Jones, Henry McCullough, Dimitri Tiomkin, Bernie Worrell, Don FriedmanScotty Moore, Alan Vega, Bobby HutchersonBob CranshawTJ Tindall, Toots Thielemans, Rudy Van Gelder, Rod Temperton, Leon Russell, Mose Allison, Joe Esposito, Allen Zavod, Pauline Oliveros, Greg LakeGeorge Michael, Alphonso Mouzon, John Thomas, Carrie Fisher

Thursday, December 22, 2016

World Percussion Christmas - Andrea Centazzo

So I decided to shake things up and throw a curve ball. The other albums were, and have been, a bit dry. I also don't want to run out of James Brown christmas albums just yet. This is a sort if bizarre idea for an album. I mean in reality it isn't that bizarre, I just wish there was more information about it. I guess it would make sense this guy would make this album, after all he is one Elektriktus. So without further ado, Andrea Centazzo.
  1. Jingle Bells: This track features, marimba and Togo drums. I fucking love the marimba with a passion but am unaware of the Togo drums. But also, fuck this song. No really fuck it. The only time give heard a version I like is the short quote on Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life. And actually, I can really jive with what I'm hearing. Like honestly, this is the first time I can't really find something to nit pick for a christmas album. I have heard the song, but this is kind of honestly a breathe of fresh air. I really like these Togo drums and the marimba. There sounds like there is other instruments used, but it is very good. It gives me a synclavier vibe, but much more sophisticated. Which it should, it's 20 years after the release of Jazz from Hell.
  2. Silent Night: I almost didn't recognize the track with the introduction. I like it. My only thing is I don't like how it repeated the first verse twice before going to the second. Maybe I spaced out for a second, but this is still much more enjoyable. I love the percussion and the different rhythms and it sounds great. It says that Bali sarongs, Indian drums and contemporary mallet keyboards where used in this track. I'm gonna have to buy some of these when I get rich :D. It does go a bit long, but it's forgivable.
  3. Feliz Navidad: I don't jive with this tune. I think its kind of a stupid and annoying song, but maybe this version will give it fresh eyes for me. Or fresh whatever the phrase is. This has another great introduction and is probably my favorite version of the track. It says it uses samba drum ensemble and Latin marimbas... I don't care what it uses, this sounds freaking great. It's got a playful feeling to it and the rhythms are so fucking good.
  4. White Christmas: There is a nice feeling here, though it doesn't feel all that new. The reason I say is this has kind of begin to run out of ideas. I mean not in a bad way, but it's not something I'm that excited about. Like there isn't anything making anything stand out thus far. This track is okay, and it's well enough, but I don't feel that rush I felt from the other preceding tracks you know. The instruments used are Mali drums, Javanese mallet keyboards, vibes and marimbas.
  5. Sleigh Ride: I actually like this much more than the last track. While you can argue, it sounds all the same, but I really like way the melody is played on those contemporary mallet keyboards. I also like the African drums and what sounds like a midi bass. I really like when the melody speeds up and it reminds me of why I love when you use percussion effectively.
  6. Holy Night: This features the Bell's ensemble. I have no fucking idea what that is, unless it's an ensemble of bells or an ensemble called the Bell's Ensemble. Either way this opens with chimes and rain, reminds me of Black Sabbath. I do like this version quite a bit, it feels like a lullaby. On Spotify this is titled the Rainy Version, but on Discogs it's titled Holy (Rainy) Night. I like it and it's solid.
  7. Greensleeves: I happen to love this tune. There are a number of old traditional/public domain songs that I love. This one is one of my all time favorites, its a gorgeous melody I was excited to see it played on Trinidad steel drums and Caribbean percussion. This is fun and has a bit of a spy feeling to it. Honestly this is the best track here and reminds me a bit of Goldeneye 64.
  8. Silver Bells:This Javanese  version uses gamelan. I was excited for it, I have an interest in gamelan, and how it works. There is a very peaceful track and I quite enjoy it. Damn, this thing is quite fun. There is a lullaby feeling. I can jive with this.
  9. The Little Drummer Boy: The use of a Japanese Taiko drum ensemble and Kabuki instruments really work well for this track. I like the melody instruments and the textures work quite well. Giving it a surprising twist, you'd think it'd be more Arabian sounding or eastern. Though it does has a bit of a Macedonian feeling.... I think if I remember humanities class right. This goes a bit long, but it isn't terrible.
  10. Silver Bells (African Version): Finally to close we get some Senegal drums and rattling kalimbas. Kalimbas are finger pianos, for those who don't know. Now to sound less pretentious, I don't know what senegal drums are by name. I know what they are but I had to double check. The African drum, and actually I enjoy this opening. It's setting up a groove in a similar way that Fela does. Except it isn't as explosive, loud or not percussive. This feels like it could be a cover almost, kind of. The non melody parts you know. Like just re arrange the lead with a saxophone and add other instruments and your there. It isn't half bad to be honest. I dig it.
Overall I have to give this album a 7.5/10. This was a lot of fun and kind of revitalized my hope for other christmas albums. Plus it will definitely survive past this review of the album, and I will revisit this in the future. Solid effort. I don't have more to say other than listen to this if you don't give a fuck about christmas music or you want an breathe of fresh air, or you like world music, or you are a percussionist.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Christmas '64 - The Incredible Jimmy Smith

This is the first and only Christmas album released by Jimmy Smith. I kind of decided to review this album because the first time I did this I decided to do a Jimmy McGriff album, oh whom I'd mix up with Jimmy Smith. To be fair they both play the same instrument and genre of music, so not that much of a stretch. I also find it fitting to do this because Rudy van Gelder was the recording engineer on this, and he passed away earlier this year. So while not a proper tribute, it'll hopefully be a fair one to review with his name in the credits. I also want to point out there are some people whom I recognize, like Kenny Burrell, Al Cohn, Art Davis and Billy Hart along with a number of people whom I don't recognize, but have played on records I want to or have heard.
  1. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen: I really dig the rendition of this track. I mean I do enjoy this song. This is a track that seems to be a quintet (organ/guitar/bass/drums) with a horn section (4 trumpets/1 flugel horn/2 trombones/2 bass trombones/4 french horns/1 tuba) and a percussionist and a harpist. The timpani in the beginning sets the song for a large feeling. Almost the same way Thus Spoke does. The track is a bit odd, and I think would take a few listens to get my first time through. But I do like what I'm hearing, it just might seem a bit over blown. Like there is a very big band feeling to this track. The unfortunate thing though, is I knew how I felt about this arrangement by the ending of the album.
  2. Jingle Bells: Ah we meet again for round number four. This time though, it's only a trio. With Quentin Warren on guitar and Billy Hart on drums. This is much different than the last track and feels much less. Not in a bad way, but less going one. I actually prefer this to that last track. I don't think that was arranged as well as this. This feels nice and is quite enjoyable to be honest, but when it switches orchestra it just doesn't work for me. Like I have no interest.
  3. We Three Kings of Orient Are: Another Christmas song I dig and don't wanna kill myself during. There are moments I like in this big band sort of arrangement, but I'm not completely sold. I think it works a bit better than the opener. I mean I don't think it's really anything that mind blowing, but it's well enough. I do like the organ though, and the band without the orchestra is by far the highlight, but I don't know, I think the 
  4. The Christmas Song: Fuck this song, I think it's so stupid it's called this. Chestnuts really, fuck you. I do like how it feels a bit darker, but I mean this arrangement should have a singer. I mean again, nice organ playing, but I don't want to only enjoy the band. Honestly again, the group works so much better than the orchestra. I like the drums a lot, but I think it blows it once the orchestra comes to the forefront.
  5. White Christmas: This is a decent version of the song. And I do have to say this is nice, I like how the other instruments are in the background. They are accompanying, not in the forefront.
  6. Santa Claus is Coming to Town: This is a cover of a song later covered by Bruce Springsteen. Useless fact of the day. This is a trio version, and it's nice. Finally a track that doesn't feel overblown. This is actually a solid track that I can jive with, I probably won't revisit it, but I do dig it. The guitar sounds good at the ending and I like the fade. This is what I want the album to be like.
  7. Silent Night: I did like the version on Jackie's album. And this is the orchestra again, it's almost like they got him to guest appear on his own album [Jimmy]. I do like the song though, once the pesty orchestra gets out of the way. Keep it that way, because this is a great version of the song. The ending works too.
  8. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen: This is a trio track, and is probably the reason it's on the album twice. Once orchestra, one trio and works as a book ending. After the rest of the album, I was looking forward to this. I am very glad to say, this track works quite well. Though it makes me want to do a re arrangement of the first track. Honestly, this track is great. It's not perfect, but the album would have been far better if it was in this vein for most every track.
Overall I have to give this album a 4/10. This was an okay album, while I've come to expect nothing more than a 4 or 5 out of a christmas album, you never know. The album would be a solid 5 or 6 if they'd have stuck with the trio or orchestral accompaniment, not fore front. It's not the worst thing I've heard, just a lot of moments that ruin songs for me or ruin them in the context of enjoyment and a higher score.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Merry Christmas from Jackie Wilson

Last time I reviewed Elvis, this time I'm doing the guy who Elvis called the Black Elvis. With that being said, this is Jackie Wilson's sole Christmas album from 1963. Now unlike the James Brown Christmas this is all covers, and while I love Jackie, I don't know if this'll hold up. I have heard a song or two from the album here or there, but front to back... That's a whole different story. Let's delve into my second of four, possibly five, Christmas review(s). Note: of the 12 tracks here 5 are in common with the Sinatra Christmas. The album was conducted by two guys, Dick Jacobs (1-3, 6, 8, 9) and Alan Lorber (4, 5, 7, 10-12)
  1. Silent Night: Ah we meet once again.This is a very chill version, that I think honestly works well. There is a white noise in the version I hear, but if that was cut it'd be perfect. The bells really work in this arrangement, and I honestly think this is what helps a bit. Or at least adds to it for me. I love the organ and the chorus sound great. I also like that guitar you hear towards the ending. The arrangement is great, though I wish I could hear all of the instruments. Strings might have helped.
  2. White Christmas: I think I've grown to find humor in this track. Probably because of Uncle Bernie's Farm, but this rendition isn't half bad. I like that organ, and the swells in the track take up a lot of the white noise that was in the last track. I feel like his vocals were recorded over the track, there is a distance, but the piano sounds good when you hear it.
  3. O Holy Night (Cantique de Noël): This is a standard version of the song. But the vocals are great and you feel Jackie singing in it.This isn't the These Arms of Mine. I do kind of wish they went into a gospel feeling though, like. "Oh night de------ vine!" he holds the "ine" and the backing section turns to a gospel choir type song like The Jefferson Theme. You know what I mean? I think it'd be a nice touch.
  4. The First Noel: I also think this is a standard arrangement. Nothing to crazy here, but there is something endearing about the monologue. I mean, I don't know, I like his delivery. And he gives a solid vocal performance.
  5. Deck the Halls:  I don't know how this will go over, honestly I was a bit nervous. Not that I doubt him, but you never know. And if I'm being honest, this is too light. Also it just doesn't feel like Jackie fits. I kind of can say this when you turn a rock song into a soul song and don't do it properly. You know, if you go on a covers website, look up your favorite soul/jazz artist and they do a cover of a Beatles or folk tune and the arrangement doesn't work. You end up with a sort of "this is...... kinda good? right?" feeling. Billy Paul's Magic Carpet Ride for example.
  6. Silver Bells: I never cared for this sing. It is kind if stupid if I'm being honest. This has this sort of Felice Navi Dad feeling to it in the response to the "ring a ling" lyrics. This isn't a terrible version, but I don't think it really works perfect. Like it has it's short comings I guess. But I also don't like this song either in general. So that could also affect my outlook.
  7. Joy to the World: You know this song, and nothing new is here. I like the guitar strumming you can hear, and I like the timpani and the backing vocals. The triangle is nice too. I wonder if his vocals weren't meant for this song. Like I feel like this is a bit of a nightmare, but like it's not his fault.
  8. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear: So this track, while not done particularly crazy or different or even new... Works. How you say? Jackie has a great voice and he just oozes charisma. I do actually like this, and it works quite well. The tremolo strings actually work very well and I think he sounds like he fits on this track.
  9. Adeste Fideles: Sinatra, did it first. Honestly, I like the church feeling of this song. I just feel the vocals need to be much larger, he sounds like he is in front of the mic and everyone else is in the other room singing into the same mic. There aren't enough swells and it isn't powerful enough for me to feel anything really. The second verse should get larger and add other things, and the way he says "given" sounds weird. I do like this rendition, I just feel it's to bare. But I like it well. And that last note sung, I'm not sure how I feel about it. Kind of indecisive.
  10. I'll Be Home for Christmas: Fuck this song, but whatever. This has a nice shuffle feeling to it, but the damning thing about that is I wanna hear solos. It's almost like a sequence, for me. Not that it is one, but how it takes you from one thing to another.
  11. O Little Town of Bethlehem: This is just okay, this doesn't do much for me. It's nice, but I've heard it before I guess. Like nothing that new is added. It's not that compelling.
  12. God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen: Hey, guess what. Next we have one Jimmy Smith who plays a fucking killer version of this track. Like in the next review, not on this track. I do like the harpsichord, it's a nice addition. But I wanna make a suggestion, instead of the bells why not add timpani or a percussion instrument that is a bit more eastern.
Overall I have to give this album a 6/10. There is a sort of soul-jazz feeling through out, like I'd heard on Jimmy McGriff, Jimmy Smith and so on. It's very hard to breathe new life in these songs, especially now. While this isn't mind blowing, I gotta say it's more enjoyable than most other albums that cover this music. Well at parts at least. His voice also helps the album a lot. Don't get me wrong, but there are moments I felt, this is a Ain't that Good News Christmas nightmare isn't this. I guess I think the biggest disappointment was two things. He's great, so I can't imagine him not making at least a 7 or 8. Second, I feel like this soul jazz/vocal jazz christmas thing would work phenomenal. I guess it sound be revisited another day maybe. Also I wanna have a shout out to "Awaken, My Love!". I can't believe how much I'm digging this thing.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Elvis' Christmas Album

So last year I did this Christmas themed thing, and while I did it I came across about a million different Christmas themed albums. Some look like shit, some might be okay (but probably will be shit), and some I don't know why but I want to hear. I'll probably kill myself after this, but why not do Christmas again this year, and maybe I'll get more than four done. This album, being Elvis' Christmas album, released on October 15th, 1957 (I don't really know why), but it is sure to have some classics. I mean look at the track listing. Something I wanna point out too is the last 4 tracks were released on Peace in the Valley Ep that was released earlier that year (in April). Let's see how many songs the albums have in common from this and last year. After looking I saw four songs, one of which was on three of the albums.
  1. Santa Claus is Back in Town: Not to be mistake with one of a number of songs related to this holiday that makes me want to kill myself. Wow that's a run on. But anyway, this opens and it isn't what I thought it would be. It's a blues number and to be honest it isn't the song I thought it would be. Like I was expecting something horrific. It's well enough, not that the whole album should be like this, but it ain't terrible.
  2. White Christmas: Last year I did Sinatra's Christmas album and this song was featured in it. The vocals on this kind of bother me, but again it isn't terrible. I mean it's not like I'll revisit it the same way I do Hey America, but it's well enough. Only real major complaint, why can't my Christmas be yellow or black or red or insert other colour relating to race.
  3. Here Comes Santa Claus: This is a song that I never really cared for any version of, this is kind of a bland song that does nothing for me. I could see people eating this up at one point, but I don't. There is a feeling of Christmas though from this song. 
  4. I'll Be Home for Christmas: Another song I don't think i ever liked. This has a jazzy feeling, but it's like fucking bland. It's more bland than the Sinatra album. Now that's not to say I hate it, it just doesn't have any flavor.
  5. Blue Christmas: This is a famous song that I know without even hearing it. For the review I'll listen, but I've heard this so many fucking times. I don't really care for this song, and I think it's a bit boring. There isn't even anything appealing to me about this. I mean I don't really have anything to say about this. I like the way he sings, and they harmonies. But it's not like I love this. And I guess it's nice to kind of focus on everything going on for once. I think the acoustic guitar sounds pretty good.
  6. Santa Bring My Baby Back (to Me): Now I'm pretty sure I've heard this song before, but I do know the title interested me. Like is this song about the war, is this song about something that could be deeper than just a break up. This actually makes me think of Weird Al. Like I could see him doing a parody and this being the outline but instead it's something over the top and absurd. But done straight.... This isn't really anything special. And it's not pulling me in at all. I guess it's nice to hear a new song.
  7. O Little Town of Bethlehem: I know this song, and I think it's an okay song in general. There are versions I do enjoy, and this isn't terrible. I feel like the song should be much larger, and the vocals should overwhelm, but in a good way. The organ sounds nice and I like that.
  8. Silent Night: So this fucking song, why is this on every Christmas album? Like really I don't quite get it. It's not that phenomenal of a track. This rendition, well honestly, it ain't anything special either.
  9. (There'll Be) Peace in the Valley (For Me): While in opposed to reusing tracks, this is nice. In glad it isn't just a spew of the boring Christmas standards. This title also reminds me of the one Dylan song, Down in the Valley Below, or something like that (it's off Desire). This isn't that bad of a song, and to be honest it's probably my favorite song here. It has a gospel feeling to it, but there is also a doo wop feeling to it. So it does pull on my heart strings a bit. But not in the same way others of the style do.
  10. I Believe: This track has a very large feeling, and I think works. Do I think it works as well as it could...... probably not. But it is a breathe of fresh air. This song has so much potential, but it just doesn't reach that for me.
  11. Take My Hand, Precious Lord: This is another song that ain't half bad. But again, the high I need from this isn't reached. It's so close, and I'm pretty sure if I was to hear a cover or another rendition it would hit that. This isn't terrible
  12. It is No Secret (What God Can Do): This is a nice closer, but again nothing crazy
Overall I have to give this album a 5/10. So at no point did I really feel anything, outside of feeling of Christmas on a few songs. The only songs of quality were from that fucking EP. But there was nothing at all, like not even me being bothered. By definition I felt what I'd consider a 5. But it just is so bland I don't think I can give it a neutral feeling. Maybe I'm cynical but if I feel nothing then I think that's negative. I like that there might be some originals, as in new songs for this, but yeah. I'm not a huge fan of Elvis, I only truly love a handful of his later songs and some earlier songs but nothing like this early. Ill probably do another Elvis one next Christmas. I mean I probably set myself up for failure considering I'm not a fan of that period of his music or his music in general. I respect him, but next week... Oh boy. I got something good planned.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Chicago '78 - Zappa

I wanted to fit in one last one before I had to do the Christmas reviews. This is one of the newest Zappa records to drop, I'll not acknowledge the existence of Zappetite, but this was released on November 4th, 2016 and was dropped alongside Little Dots and Meat Light. The album is the September 29th concert at the Uptown Theater in Chicago. Now I was excited to see this being released, it's a Chicago show and I live not far from there. While I've heard official releases from this band, the Fall '78 band is featured on Beat the Boots albums Saarbrücken 1978 and At the Circus, plus a number of various live tracks on different albums (On Stage and Tinsel Town) here and there and the Halloween album from 2003. But I still have hope, I mean look at the line up. Vinnie on drums, Denny on guitar and vocal, Ike on vocal and guitar, Arthur on bass guitar, Tommy and Peter both on keyboards and to wrap it up..... Ed Mann on percussion and rat. I mean that's a pretty solid line up of you ask me. Yeah, it maybe true I didn't like Saarbrückennor am I crazy about At the Circus or the Halloween album, but who knows. To be fair; Halloween does have a minor line up difference, No Ike, L. Shankar or Arthur, but still. I mean in reality most of this I've heard other versions from this period, so I'll have a general idea ahead of time what is being played. But I could always be surprised. 
  1. Chicago Walk On: This opens with the Lather conversation, and you hear the introduction in the background. I'm wondering if they actually played this while they got on stage. I like the drums I'm hearing but I'm not sure what's live and what was before hand you know.
  2. Twenty-One: At first I wondered if this is something along the lines of Thirteen. It wasn't until I revisited Halloween I realized, it's probably more in line with Ancient Arnaments. I mean it's basically the same track listing for the first 4 tracks. This is an instrumental track and I'm liking the vamp I'm hearing so far. The solo from this actually isn't half bad, I mean I'm digging what I'm hearing. So far I think this might have been a solid choice to use for a release and I'm glad and feeling confident. This sounds like it wouldn't have been out of place on Shut Up N Play Yer Guitar, any of them. The only complaint is it doesn't really go anywhere. But it is enjoyable.
  3. Dancin' Fool: Ah Dancin' Fool, a track that was featured on the famous Sheik Yerbouti record. This is, more or less, the same as the album version. The deviations come from differences to side commentary and other little tiny things. The drums sound a bit different, but that's obvious, different drummer. The song has a bit of a different vibe to it, but it's still done the same way it is from the original album. Where a track like Uncle Remus - Mix Outtake revived my love of the song, I never was tired of this track so something like this doesn't do much for me. 
  4. Easy Meat: I love this song, really I honestly do, it's just there isn't a version I think completely works... For me at least. The TTR version is great, it just goes on to long, and the extra sections definitely hurt the song for me. On Stage 5's version is also great but the song section isn't as strong as the original. So I can kind of assume this is sung by Ike and a bit slower than on the 80's versions of the song. There is a heaviness that I feel should be here, it kinda feels like a hard rock/heavy metal song. This is a solid version and I think the solo is so much better here than on the original album. The original just kind transitions into the orchestra part of Sink Trap then comes back and the guitar just doesn't stop, its like if (since hearing this live album, not the tracks original version) the Yo Mama solo drained you to the point where the pay off doesn't even register. Like you were done before it even gets to the good part. I wish the song was maybe faster and we got this type of solo on the original. Though I guess it could work faster then slow it down, to this tempo, for the vamp. I'm probably just being picky, this track is still overall really good (and flows better than the original I think). This is also a bit more hard rock (70's rock) vs heavy metal (or 80s rock). I'm an idiot, I can't believe I forgot about the best version of the song, the Crush All Boxes version. 
  5. Honey, Don't You Want a Man Like Me?: A ZiNY cut, I fucking love this one. This is a great version of the song, though it's nothing I haven't heard already. I do like the drums on this one though. But sadly I don't have much more to say about it. My one complaint is Terry had a personality and Vinnie doesn't really. He's an amazing drummer and has a personality when he plays, but I can't imagine him singing about Punky Meadows. Though he didn't make seal calls for whatever reason. I miss Terry's shrieks and that makes this not as engaging. I do like Denny, Tommy and Ike but they don't do what Terry does with Patrick and the other members who were with the band while they were. It's like those two are the best friends in High School who have been away from each other for years and meet up again and just play off each other perfectly like no time has passed. I don't feel the same chemistry with this band's vocalists.
  6. Keep It Greasy: I have heard the live version from On Stage 3, and it's more or less faithful to the album.... But no where near as good. Kinda like when a band is on their fourth decade and they play the songs they wrote on their first album, probably not as good. Hopefully this cut will either be different, or a solid enough version in its own right. Well, this version is like a slower version of the album version. Not significantly, just enough to where it's like why? It's also not as big or engaging. Like it doesn't suck me in and make me wanna play along or be a part of it, the same way Joe's version does. 
  7. Village of the Sun: I don't think I've heard a version of this from this period. I do really like Napi's vocals on the Roxy album, and also on later versions from '74 (Token, On Stage 2). I'm figuring, based on my knowledge of his vocals, Ike will l be singing the song for the performance. Right before this was released, I re-stumbled upon the Saarbrucken 1978 track listing. Whrn I saw it I was like, "I don't remember at all this track on there". This is similar to the original and I'm glad they did it that way. This is a pretty solid version and Ike gives a great performance. There are parts that do feel a bit bare, but I still enjoy this overall rendition. The ad-libs also work quite well. Yeah there is five extra minutes in this version, but I'm not growing tired of the track. I really like the vamp in the track. The solo is nice, and there's this weird twang that I really like in the background.
  8. The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing: I kind of have an idea of how this song will go, but that doesn't take away form the track. I do like the slide guitar on this, and this is a far more laid back version of the track. This doesn't really get me into is as much as the other album version, or even the SNL version, but it still works.
  9. Bamboozled by Love: Again this feels a bit slower than the album version. I'm glad some of these weren't released until Vai joined because they are not heavy metal enough. This feels more like a blues number. Yeah I like the solo, but by the point it comes in I've kind of been checked out. Not like, I'm not paying attention, just I've been bored and am done with the song. The coda or ending is the most interesting part of the song.
  10. Sy Borg: It'll be nice to hear a live version of this song, I haven't heard one yet... at least from my recollection. I remember reading it was originally an instrumental, I'm thinking something along the lines of Tush Tush Tush maybe. But wouldn't that be at the beginning of the concert then? I mean the lyrics to that are so much a part of the story, in the same way A Token of My Extreme's are, I can't imagine he used them. So it'll probably be a vamp with a solo or maybe different lyrics. Wow, I'm surprised this is more or less the album version. The only real difference is the slick and lush production of the album. And the percussion is very audible in this. The guitar on this track is really great and subdued too, or is that keyboards. I don't know, and it doesn't really matter, this track is worth a few listens alone. Really I've listened to this a few times since listening to the album, and posting the review. I love this cut and it's a lot easier to digest maybe than the album version. It doesn't have Sy talking, which I think is appropriate in context of the album, but not if I just wanna listen to the song.
Now on to disc 2. There are more songs here than on the Halloween album but I do also want to point out (including an introduction) 7 of the 17 tracks are on both of the albums. They're in common. But on the Saarbrucken album there are 12 tracks in common.
  1. Little House I Used to Live In: During this period, from the boots I've heard, this is a stand out. I generally like this tune, but I really dig it during the late 70's live. My favorite being from the Poughkeepsie show from the 21st of September 1978 (8 days before this show). They should release that show at some point. I really like this introduction, and it makes me a bit excited for what to come. It grabs my attention and I'm like what I'm hearing. I really like the differences between the parts. The band is doing a really good job on this and I really enjoy the keyboard sounds on this. It's shit like this that makes me forget about Bamboozled and the other tracks that don't do much for me, well in the context of the album not in reality. I really like the changes and I really like the part where it goes into double time. It's been a while since I've heard the '78 version of this but I gotta say I'll be revisiting this. That vocal keyboard matching thing they George Duke did on Bebop Tango isn't bothering me here. I mean I could easily see myself being annoyed but I dig it. There is also a sort of progressive rock feeling I'm getting to this, but this feels far more interesting than a lot of those old records I heard loved and grew away from. I also really like the gospel organ sound they got in that one section. Really digging the jazzy feeling and Vinnie is doing a great job here, and impressing me. It doesn't even sound like he's trying.
  2. Paoxysmal Splendor: I'ma take a shot in the dark and guess this is either a solo or an instrumental. Most likely a solo, though it could also be a talking track or an intro/audience participation. I really dig the Greggory name drop, didn't expect that. I also really enjoy the waltz or tango. The guitar reminds me a tad of Love is Strange. This is a fun track and I'm glad it's here. This is kinda like a proto '88 tour goof around you know where it's like they'd just throw in sounds and burps and what not and try to make each other laugh. I also like the Beautiful Guy quote, the bass line is great and the solo has nice overdrive. I don't think it's his best but I wonder if this is where the riff is derived from (the vamp). There's something he's doing on guitar I've heard somewhere before but I'm drawing a blank. I also love the keys sound on this track. This is probably the highlight and the boogie section's solo so makes up for the lack of one in the Beautiful Guy one. This actually kinda reminds me, his guitar, of Deep Purple. They also play Crew Slut in the track. I don't really know how to feel about this. It's like a gift from heaven. 
  3. Yo Mama: This is actually on an album I plan to do next March, and the only other version I can recall (outside of one of the shows it was made up of) was from, I wanna say, '88. But regardless it'll be nice to hear a non overdubbed version and being a whole version of the song, not made up from different shows. Maybe that'll hurt it, who knows, but I think it'd be nice. The song section of it works and I enjoy what I'm listening to. I don't think its as good as the album version so far, but it's pretty faithful to it. Well with the exception Ike. The second that solo starts I get nervous, like it's so bare and he better do something great or I'll check out. I am not sure, but it sounded like he quoted Zoot Allures at one point. The solo is better than I expect it would be, but it's not like it really does anything. It sounds like he's quoting a few songs in other parts, I think it sounded better when the drums come in, along with the bass, but I don't know. I like that the drums are speeding up, but that doesn't particularly sell me on the live cut. I feel like if the solo was a bit more focused this would be phenomenal (before 8 minute mark maybe 7:30). The song kind of comes into focus and we get something really nice and I'm glad we eventually got here. Did it take a while.....yeah. But the pay off is worth it I guess. I mean it's a more grand pay off than Tupelo Honey. I like the ending of the track and it was good enough. I mean I'm not sure if I liked it enough to bold, but I don't know. That outro solo is great with the vocals. I'm glad this is here.
  4. Magic Fingers: This is a track that I'm glad they brought back from the grave. It was originally on 200 Motels and I remember digging the Halloween version. I'm a bit surprised this is basically faithful to the original version, with differences to instruments and sounds. I'm not complaining, but I'm just a bit surprised. Plus they really sound like Flo & Eddie. Solid hard rock number. I really like the sort of kookiness of the ending and I like the Louie Louie quote
  5. Don't Eat the Yellow Snow: There exists no version from the late 70's revival of this song, I care all that much for. In fact, though I love it, it never reached the highs it would during those 73 shows.  So I'm hoping it's just Yellow Snow and not the entire suite. Well fuck me, because we got all 18 fucking minutes. Also it's fucking 2:26 in the morning, not looking forward to being up another 34 minutes because of this track. I don't know what it is but I get bothered by the keyboards playing the marimba part. I mean this is superior to the On Stage #1 version, but I far appreciate the Crux the Biscuit live version and my favorite version Apostrophe. Like I honestly get very little out of this track. The one highlight for me, if I'm being honest, is the Chicago name drop in "unknown to the people on this area" part. I'm glad the audience participation isn't a poetry reading. And the voting comment did make me laugh, but I don't know. Part of the charm of the track for me is the commentary and his ad libs and jokes to the audience, in the live versions. This one has some nice little things that do make me laugh. The marimba works, but the keyboards in the St Alphonso into bother me and I'm not jiving at all with this version of St Al. There' only like two parts I like, the part where they repeat it before the "stole the margarine" line and that instrumental section following because they keys aren't so prominent. Father Oblivion is good enough, but I feel like something's missing. Napi does a really great version with his vocals. I don't know, they changed enough to make it this bands, but it just doesn't have that charm. The "domnius vo-bisque" section is okay enough. This includes Rollo, and while I dig it I don't dig the lyrics to the song. It kind of ruins the subtlety. I know, Frank and subtlety that's a joke right? But in the original you could tell he was jerking off, they didn't come out and say cock. They make it kind of obvious but don't say it. I don't know, it's just kinda like. Oh in case you're a fucking idiot, he's masturbating.
  6. Strictly Genteel: I was really looking forward to this one too, and this is the encore. This was worth the wait, though it doesn't really differ from the On Stage #6 version. I do wish this was the closer though, but I do like the shorter versions of the following track anyway, so this should be a nice ending.
  7. Black Napkins: Closing is an appropriate number, and a classic, Negro Nakins (in a Thing Fish vernacular). I guess this is shorter maybe because of the shitty version of Yellow Snow. This is a solid version of the track and doesn't over stay it's welcome. A nice closer.
Overall I have to give this album a 7/10. I mean I guess in theory, this isn't anything new. The earlier albums I mentioned  all have this so you're not really getting much new. I mean if you like this period it's solid, but I don't think I'll revisit this outside of the bold tracks. I will say there exist version of all the songs here I do enjoy listening to, it's just some of these aren't the ones I'd go to or really even like enough to revisit. I think the best comparison is to a film. A really good film pulls you in and you forget what's going on other than the Film. It's as if your a part of it, these songs for the most part don't do that. Some do. But most don't. One thing I also want to point out is of all the tracks released this year; all 153 (including alternate takes/versions) the best, outside of Meat Light, were tracks like Twenty-One, Little House, King Kong/Igor's Boogie, A Piece of Contemporary Music and the other longer instrumental tracks. Why not just put those in a compilation a llah On Stage. I mean I why release complete concerts if the material is 90 been heard in other shows. Maybe make Joes Solage an album of solos a llsh Shut Up/Guitar/Trance Fusion. Or make a new album with goodies weve never heard. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Stage - Avenged Sevenfold

This is new studio album from Avenged Sevenfold. It happens to be album number 7 and is their first for Capitol after a stint of 4 albums with Warner. This is also their first with new drummer Brooks Wackerman, brother of Chad Wackerman who drummed with Zappa for almost the entirety of the 80's (81-88) but then also did some overdub work from him I believe in 1993. Whatever he was Zappa's last drummer. I'm kinda glad they dropped in in October instead of December, though... the name is kinda... it's really stupid. Once I saw the credits I'm glad they have a nice variety of instruments that's probably a stupid thing to note but I think it works.
  1. The Stage: So the first time I heard this I was not really excited. I saw the title and the single cover and though it was kinda dumb. Once I heard the song I didn't hate it, but I didn't like it either. I mean it isn't a bad song... but it felt like they were doing what they've already done before but not as effectively. Like where are the "chances" being taken and what not. I hear the melodic direction, and the aggression but I don't really feel the aggression or the punch. I really do like the ending though, with the nylon string guitar. Thought I feel like that could have been worked into the song better maybe. Like I don't know, it flows but not as well as it could have.... I don't know. The biggest fault though, imo, is the vocals. They don't really work with the delivery for this track. The opening reminded me of Not Ready to Die, played by Jason Freese, and the song portion kinda reminds me of Carry On or Flash of the Blade at first. The song isn't a travesty but I just don't jive with it the way I do with even Heretic. While Requiem is a song I still dig, and needed a dozen or so listens to appreciate.... I'm not getting anything here. The introduction should pump you up and take you there and it should only grow in its awesomeness. This just kinda doesn't go anywhere and the more I listen to this the less I feel a connection to it. Though I like the drums. The solo is pretty solid and I like how it slows down for a sort of feeling that I've heard on, Victim if memory serves. But again it's okay, but does nothing for me. And most insulting is I barely remember anything once it's over. Even right after I hear the album. I also wish the transition into the nylon string guitar was done a bit better maybe. 
  2. Paradigm: This is pretty aggro, but again I'm finding error with the vocals. The feeling I get is there should be a swagger with the vocals in that intro, but I'm not quite feeling it. The drumming sounds great, and that growl sounds tasty but one of my initial impressions was "I feel like this needs more listens". The solo is pretty nice though, even though the first part doesn't do much. The second part has a punch and some power behind it, but it seems too buried in the mix for it to be fully aggro. I definitely think it should be turned up in the mix. 
  3. Sunny Disposition: This introduction reminds me a bit of Waking the Fallen. I'm thinking Radiant Eclipse but heavier. The first time thought it seems a bit dizzying and I'm assuming this is intentional. The horns are a nice touch you wouldn't expect, though I feel strings could also add to the song at accenting the vocal line. There's also this Planets feeling to it a bit. Like it feels like a few different songs mixed together and blended to make this song that I don't know if it's a mess or if it's weird in a good way. I mean I get they wanted horns but not sure if they fit this track. It almost feels like ALPoH. It's kinda a jumble fuck. But worst of all it's too long. 
  4. God Damn: What a bland song title. Whatever happened to Warmness on the Soul, Desecrate Through ReverenceClairvoyant Disease, Lips of Deceit. While you may go, corny or lame, you can't deny those paint a picture in your head and make you think for a second. God Damn makes me go " okay, well I don't know if this'll be good but I don't care for the title". The song part is okay and the music isn't half bad. In fact the music during the chorus I've even warmed up to. I'm just not feeling these chorus lyrics, though as I've said I do like the harmonies and the sort of contrast to the verses music. It's lightens up, apposed to the aggression. And they just pulled on my nostalgic heart strings ah-lah, Desecrate Through Reverence/Heretic. Those fucking drums. I don't mind the solo, and I don't mind that Spanish Sidewinder section. But again this doesn't really do anything. 
  5. Creating God: I can feel the weird feeling of this, and I like the four on the floor but I'm feeling like I've heard something like this somewhere else. This reminds me of a radio friendly type song, that while not really that weird people might go.... hey that's weird. I feel like, this'll be single. I'm calling it, this sounds like it was written for the radio. Especially the chorus, even though I think it's probably one of the weaker songs and isn't really challenging to me. I know I haven't read the lyrics to this song but the words I hear are having me scratch my head. Not in a I don't get it, but more of a I don't like this. The solo works, but I'm not feeling this one overall. The vocals are what kill it for me, the music is just okay, but the vocals kind of put it in this coffin. Though I guess that riff doesn't work to my savor. That's correct use of that right? Who cares.
  6. Angels: This song, I don't know. I do like the eerie atmosphere to this one, it's kind of something I didn't expect and I'm glad they kinda keep in for the entire track. The solo is a nice solo, this could have used strings though. The second solo, played by the good old Papa Gates, is much more interesting I think than Syn's. I will say this track would benefit from that nylon string guitar at the ending more than the title track did. Though I'm not sure they would have worked with the next track as a segue. I want to point out the thing that kind of warms my heart a bit is that chorus, it sounds a bit like a mellotron is being used. I'm pretty sure they aren't using one, but it reminds me of one a bit. Like sampled strings, but a primitive one.
  7. Simulation: So I do like the sound effects and the sort of electric piano sound that happens during the verses and the whole atmosphere that is created here. It sounds more like an organ, but whatever. It works for this type of album cover, well the intro at least. Now I feel like the two sections should flow better. Like the effects sound hold over into that drum roll for a few seconds before he starts talking. I think the whole drill sergeant thing doesn't really work that well, but they're going for chaotic. I'm not sure if this works though...... the idea is a cool idea and it kinda of reminds me of a variation of the Nightmare music video. Like maybe what they were saying but you couldn't hear because of the song. The nurse is actually Val, Matt's wife. I wanna point out the more I hear that part the more I cringe. I do think they achieved chaos in the song but I kind want more. I've recorded more chaotic stuff, though it's not complete yet, in my basement. They say that River James Sanders, who's Val and Matt's son, and Tennessee James Baker, who I assume is Zacky's son are backing vocalists on this track. I didn't hear their voices the first time though. I assume it might be mixed in though to the chaos. I guess the whole AI thing has to do with this track, whatever I'm not really digging into that bullshit. I'm more interested in the music and the profound nature of the lyrics. The most upsetting this is like nothing, I mean yeah the chaos sounds cool, but like I'm not feeling anything. I mean, to be honest, I'd much rather listen to Oxygen or For Adolphe Sax or I don't know something more chaotic. I will say though, after Val talks that solo is fucking tasty. Top notch and it is almost worth playing this song to get to it. Almost, but again, not completely. I mean I guess the evil prayer on Requiem is cheesy, but that song is not only bad ass but it works.
  8. Higher: I don't think this works on spotify, you can't have interruptions in the middle of the songs. Like I feel like that completely ruined my impression of this song, given how it started. Fucking asshole commercials. I do like the song, but I didn't get the full impact until I picked up my CD copy. I did like the ideas going on and what was happening in the song, like the different flavors mixed in there. The piano and the multi tracked vocals work I think. I mean there is a bit where I'm like... eh, but for the most part I liked that introduction. Now the song starts and I'm not feeling that as much, I do like the sort of odd time to the riff. I can't pin the time signature, but it sounds like there is an extra 8th or 16th note. I like it. The chorus is nice, but first time thought it's too short. The vocals though, like they hurt my ears at parts. I like the sort of choir that is behind the prelude to the solo. I could be wrong, but did I correctly count 4 over 3. The choir that sound like its out of an 80's or 90's song. It kinda reminds me of Like A Prayer a bit. I don't really approve of the effect on his vocal, but I think it works. I like that piano that has a little part for just like two seconds. There are a lot of nice details in this song. It isn't prefect, but I like parts. And the piano towards the ending reminds me of Epic. It's a decent track {7/8}.
  9. Roman Sky:  This opens promising, with a guitar that hark-ins to the ballad off the last album. So why are they fucking with his vocals. This feels like a shitty version of Crimson Day, or at least a version that doesn't click. I will say, the guitar is still pretty solid and I wonder what key or mode or scales he's using for this. But the strings are a bit irritating me, like the best part of the song is getting burried. And I guess as it progresses the instruments balance much better and the song unfolds into a solid track. But that first minute and a half or so is like a bit cluttered. The balance is all fucked. And I guess I could nit pick the balance with those strings are very fucking. Okay it's supposed to be gorgeous and heartfelt and pretty, and it feels generic. They are pretty, but it's not pulling on my heartstrings the same way Acid Rain does. It has it's moments, like during the solo, the arrangement works very well. In fact I hear some Malmsteen in the solo. But like I don't know, I don't think I can bold this track, there are to many moments it's off for me. And those two songs I compared this two, I actually went back and revisited them to hear why they work and it's because the lyrics are much better first, the vocals also are more effective. But you feel the emotion and the guitar doesn't come in and out it kind of plays it quite, until the solo. It's kinda like too much at once isn't good. Both of those ballads have phenomenal arrangements, this isn't really. Simple but effective, this is not simple and not effective.
  10. Fermi Paradox: The drums introducing this song has a nice feeling to them and I like energy of this track. The intro also reminds me a bit of a not stripped version of something off Hail to the King. I still think the guitar should have more punch, but it works..... But I'll admit, the second the vocals started I made a fact that was like "did someone just shit down here". The vocals ruin this song, and the energy just dies. Like instantly, though I do like they guest guitar work from Yngwie. That's a joke by the way, but it sounds like something I could hear on one of his record. I like the vamp for the solo, and the solo itself works fine. Also I am aware of the Fermi Paradox, but I forgot what it was called. Like I have heard of it, I just didn't recall what it was called... if that makes any sense. The whole, we can logically assume this exists but if it does then why don't we have enough proof to suggest that it even could exist. Also I can't be the only one to cringe when I hear those "AMSR" vocal part. No, not good.
  11. Exist: This albums sonic attempt at making a Save Me, or rather an epic closer kinda. I will say it's a pretty solid track that needed multiple listens, it's much more effective than Book of Souls.  longer cuts, and the composition is pretty nice. There are lots of sequences and classical touches and I think it's a well arranged track. There are parts in that intro where I feel it's up to the power of Save Me.The dual lead in the one descending riff is awesome. I also like the other descending riff, even though it also ascends. The horns reminds me a bit of Planets. Actually this could be a mix between Save Me and Planets. There is this sort of solo before the vocals section come in and it give me goosebumps. Loving that tone, and then I really love the electric "acoustic" guitar that leads introduces the vocals. I think the vocals are fine here, and this part in and of it's self is a great song. Kind reminds me a bit of Gunslinger. It's also a nice contrast and way more relaxed, and is a nice contrast of what happens later. Everybody sounds good here, though I am not crazy about the effect on Matt's voice. It doesn't ruin the vocals though, just a slight nit pick more than a real problem. I also love when the strings come in and I'm glad they had them come in... thought I'm not crazy about the drums at that part before the chorus. It kinda felt odd, or maybe off a bit. Like kinda oh lets put something rather than work I guess. I don't know. I really like the bass line in the track and everything works together to progress the song and the details are really nice. The transitions and developments into the solo are nice too, thought I don't think the solo is mixed loud enough, but that's just me. I do like the keyboard sequence here, the guitar also has a nice accent feeling. And I really like what's happening here. When I saw Neil deGrasse Tyson I kinda rolled my eyes. I was like wow, they would.... or anyone would really. I understand what he's saying works, but I don't think it sonically sounds that good. Like the way it is like it was over the phone in the background. Not really feeling that, but I think the words work I guess. The only thing is eventually there should be a part where Syn just fucking shreds. They probably kept it out to have the focus on the the words, but I don't know I kinda what that solo to add so there's something more to hear beyond listen 3 or 4. Also I mean I get what he's saying but I kind of disagree. Basically people are very shitty and self absorbed partially because we only see us. We need to realize how truly insignificant we actually are, and maybe then we'd "grow up". He uses bigger words to convey what he's saying, but I don't think people'd be less shitty if we did that. Maybe I'm misunderstanding that, maybe he's just saying he doesn't get caught up in the retardation that is us. But people have been around for how long? We still have many of the same problems like war, corruption/manipulation, intolerance, pride, ignorance, willingness to be ignorant among many others. So I doubt that'll ever change. If it somehow did, it would eventually crumble and we'd be fucked in the ass again, its only human. Well never be a Star Trek society unless you force us to be against our will. But this is a great tune and probably the best one here. The 15 minutes is justified. {8/10}
Overall I have to give this album a 7/10. My initial listen I was unsure if I liked, it was okay and I was satisfied. The one thing though is it didn't feel like Avenged. That's not a bad thing, but that's also not a really good thing. After a few listens, like enough to where I was like... "Okay, this is what I think" I realized something. I don't think I'm gonna be listening to this album by the time the next one comes out. Hell two months from this review I probably won't. There is something about it that just doesn't click for me. The other bands I've out grown almost completely, I like this more than them. But like, Brooks is a solid drummer, but I'm not sure he should have wrote with them. Though they kind of have to change their sound because they don't have The Rev anymore, and Arin's gone, so I don't know. I will applaud them for kind of throwing me off the trail of predicting what will happen next. So many bands make albums and I can listen to 10 seconds or 30 seconds and know what's gonna happen or have the basic idea. In fact, most of those bands you can listen to three songs and you've gotten more out of that than listening to the 11-15 tracks. I respect they aren't going back, or stripping down, they're pushing ahead. There's a lot of good ideas on this record, but like so close. I wonder if they were trying to do a more complex version of the last record. But they also made a less effective one, the tracks on that that are good still are good. I don't know, I think I'd rather revisit "We got it from Here.... Thank You 4 Your service." or for sure Blackstar and maybe untitled unmastered. I guess it's just depressing I bought two CDs this year, and one of them I only have to complete my collection. Ill probably do the next album by these guys but my stance on my fan hood has been shook. Maybe l'l do my favorite album of their next.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Outlandos d'Amour - The Police

Today I have a very easy, simple review to do here. This is the 1978 debut album by The Police, the UK's best at mixing Reggae and Punk and also new wave. This cover I have is the original UK version, and while I prefer the US version, it is what it is. For the longest time, I've considered to one of my favorite albums of all time. I actually don't have much to say about this album other than I hold it dear to my heart and it has memories for me. Now not all memories are good, and can often be debunked. That made no sense, point is let's see if this holds up.
  1. Next to You: Opening we get a solid number with some nice drums. This is a punky feeling song and has such a catchy chorus its so good. I love the drums in this track and think everything about this track is a great opening to get you excited for this record. It sticks with you and the track slows down a bit for the solo, which sounds out of the Joe Perry playbook on like Draw the Line. The transition back into the drums and the sing works very well and the song goes by quite fast. Great opener. 
  2. So Lonely: Great great tune and a favorite of mine. I love the guitar tine and can inky imagine how it sounds in vinyl. The drums are solid and the sort of ska feeling is great. I fucking love this chorus and I can't tell you how engraved in my memory this song is. The second it started I was like fuck yes. I love the little touches and the lead during the verses. The harmonies are great on this and so far there batting 2 for 2. Another great solo. While maybe not as good as the last, there are parts that are great in this one. And once it picks up and is in the feeling it works and the bass you hear. Also I wanna say that two seconds of harmonica actually is a nice touch. I know its super short but I think it works. The breakdown is very nice and I love how Gordon is joined by other members. It feel like an angry teenager who is lonely and mad because of it. 
  3. Roxanne: The, some could say, over played hit by the group. I myself have over played it, and haven't actually listened to it for a very long time. I mean I still love this and it is also engraved in my consciousness but I think the reggae beat and the laugh at the beginning works very well. The lyrics to me work very well and I almost picture someone playing on the streets singing to or about his lover who works the streets. The baseline in this is also freaking great and I love how its on their two 8ths on the first two of the 1. Does that make sense. I hope its in four four and NY math is correct. I don't know and don't care. I fucking give this song. 
  4. Hole in My Life: This song may not be as good in my opinion as the others but us a great change of pace. I love the vocals on this and they works very well. The reggae beat and the punk vibe to the drums. Is this actually ska, correct? I really like the chorus and I love that bass tone. This actually kind if reminds me a but if The Beatles on say...... Revolver. I don't know why, or exactly what song but if you read this and hear The Beatles in this track let me know. This is a very well constructed song and I live the piano in the track. I am glad it want just done straight you know, they add to the sings and have it grow. The bass reminds me a but of Zappa's 80's bands but also Macca on a later Beatles record. I ale love the ending a great thing I didn't expect. 
  5. Peanuts: This always made me laugh a bit. Like what the fuck. I actually really dig this drum beat and I like the sort if proto-Synchronicity feeling to this. This is also one of my favorite songs by the band. I love how everything sounds together and it is like a sped up version or a faster version if the track mentioned. I also love the noise that is the solo. Honestly, its freaking great. I wonder if Frank came in and played the solo for this. Kinda reminds me of Zomby Woof a bit. Its pure emotion. The electric piano/synth on the track is something I forgot about but I'm glad its there and I really like that part, though it doesn't do much. And I love how I get exactly what I wanted at the ending. Chaos, though is wished they guitar came back. 
  6. Can't Stand Loosing You: This is another song I've listened to so many times I might do legit review without even listening to it while I do it. Originally I dug the song, but now looking back i find a humor to it. Where it was once, kind of dark I have grown to have a dark sense of humor since those initial listens. I really like the sharp guitar on this track and find the lyrics to be humorous. I also love the catchy chorus and it comes and goes quite fast. 
  7. Truth Hits Everbody: I really dig the riff to this song and this this is a nice change of pace. While its nothing completely different it kinda has a different vibe than the other tracks. I really like the harmonies on this and love the new wave feeling. Its a rocker. 
  8. Born in the 50's: This is another rocker, but more of a rocker. This has a bit of nostalgic I'd assume for the band. The song its self is just okay, one of the weaker songs. I do think again though its welcome as a change if pace. Its a lighter type of track without such sharp guitar. It isn't that different than Can't Stand Loosing You, with that in mind. 
  9. Be My Girl - Sally: I like this song and it kind makes up for the last track. The guitar intro is awesome and the bass accompanying it works very well. The vocals in the beginning are okay and it isn't anything on here you haven't heard really. But what I like about this track id the weird as spoken word thing that I wanna say comes out of nowhere. I like that piano in there, and it takes you by surprise. Its got this weird ass feeling to it, but I won't say who sally is. Then the sing fades back in and you just laugh now that you know the who Sally is. This ends with a weird shriek and is fitting to come before the instrumental track. 
  10. Masoko Tango: Closing is an instrumental that time has only done this in its favor for me(?). That's not proper English, but who fucking cares. While there are vocals I don't know if its actually anything. The bass on here is phenomenal and the drums keep the beat very well. I really like the guitar on here and this has a odd feeling to it. There's also these swipes of effects that come and go in different places. Almost like sped up/reversed feedback. I like how it kind of gets drowned in the effects almost as the song progresses. The effects wouldn't sound out of place in Revolver. I really dig this track and live the drums and that weird ending that fades out. 
Overall I have to give this classic at 8.5/10.  I think this holds up and is a really fun and simple record that is worth checking out if you haven't heard it before. Solid record and really good.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Expensive Shit - Fela Ransome Kuti & Africa 70

This happens to be studio album number 12 by Fela Kuti, backed by his Afrika 70. This is among a string of albums during the 70's where, essentially, he could do not wrong. Yes there are ones I prefer, but this might be his best album. I've already reviewed Zombie and I plan to review some of his other albums from his discography, but I know how I feel about this (I've heard it a number of times) and cus its a quickie. I still have three more reviews to do before December so I can post this Chicago '78.
  1. Expensive Shit: This opens the album, hahahaha its only two tracks. This track opens with clapping of what i think is like a castanet or something and a guitar setting up a grove. Then we get some tasty electric piano that propels the track forward, with drums keeping it sort of grounded. Bass comes in and the grove is set for a solo on the, I wanna say Rhodes. Tension builds until the horns come and and fucking take you there. The horns are truly something else, and the alto sax plays a solo building up this groove with the other horns backing it put. Damn is Fela good at setting up interesting music. The horns stop, and let the alto play a bit of the solo alone (with the groove still in place. Then we get a sort of call back to the head. I also wanna say the percussion on this track is out of this world. I hope I can build something a quarter as good as this. Its very dancable and very rhythmic. Once the vocals come in you get some pidgen where it talks about shit not smelling. This was inspired after he was arrested for drugs, you know just read the album covers sticker. Its a neat story. Once the vocals are over with the call and response the sort of refrain comes in and the instruments come to the for front again. The piano plays for the last three minutes or so and the groove still goes and is going strong. 
  2. Water No Get Enemy: The horns start right out of the gate for this darker sounding track. Its more laid back and kinda makes you think. There is a sort of sadness in this track. It isn't as exciting as the title track. The vocals that sing with the horns almost make this sort of Ennio Morricone feeling. I like the solos and the groove here is also great. I really love the textures on this track. This is a solid track. Once Fela comes in it almost feels like he's mournful. I think this did what Mr Follow Follow did wrong. This might be a change of pace, but its still one if the best mellow songs his ever done. Its also one of the best songs his ever done. Its a shame the second side if Zombie want better. I really like the piano at the ending of this track and I don't really know how describe this except a nice ending and darker. He would continue with this type of track, before this album and after it too.
Overall I have to give this album a 8/10. The reason I would go as far as saying this could be his best is usually the records are split into side A track and side B track. This is the only one, in my recollection, that has a solid A and B track. I mean I could be stupid and recalling falsely or lacking something I remember. But from the top of my head this is the most consistent album of his. At least of the 20 or so I've heard. I think next will be either Teacher No Teach Nonsense and Beasts of No Nation.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016 Self-Destruct - Metallica

So originally I was not expecting to have this done so quickly. I expected it would at least take until January, when I Finish Up Reviews Month. But by the time Moth into the Flame dropped, I knew the albums fate. Not to say I wasn't hopeful, open minded or even kind of desperate, but I'd been down this road before. More times than I could imagine (a plethora of times I don't feel like counting). But then again I didn't like Blackstar's title track at first and TPAB has grown on me and continues to with each listen, so you never know. Okay so this is the long awaited follow up to 2011's Lulu, which the more I listen to that the more I happen to like. There are some people who like to pretend that never happened, but fuck them they suck. Part of what makes Metallica great is that they aren't afraid to try new things, while it doesn't always work out, sometimes it pays off. Now that's really the only thing that gave me faith for this album. That was the thing that kept me going... So to say. This is also the second album to be produced with Greg Fidelman, the first being Lulu. He's also worked on a number of other albums such as Repentless, I'm With You, Unearthed, Death Magnetic, 21, 13 and so on. So out of those aforementioned albums, I can say only one had songs I genuinely think are solid and worth re-visitation, well two including Lulu.
  1. Hardwired: This was the first single that dropped and was released to promote the album. Off the bat this reminds me of Death Magnetic, but the vulgarity reminded me of St. Anger. But the lyrics are kinda stupid, and I can't get with them but the song is well enough. It's nothing special or all that great at this point. When I revisited the track, after hearing the other singles that dropped I liked it more than my original reaction. Again its not that its particularly. Good, but compared to say the other singles......... You know what I mean. Now when I finally sit down to hear it on the album it ain't terrible, it's not like I'd keep it on my iPod, but if I some how stumbled upon it or just a curious listen I'll revisit it.
  2. Atlas, Rise!: Is this about the book Atlas Shrugged. The third single to drop, and nothing. If anything why not move those double time drums from Moth to this songs refrain or chorus. It's a bit baffling they've yet have any songs that do anything at all. This sounds like it could be a song from Load or ReLoad. I mean like the second that verse riff comes in  it just feels awkward and this song just don't sit right with me at all. I don't know this song just don't jive with me bro. The riff in the chorus reminds me of ...And Justice for All in a good way, but I don't know. This kinda feels like if that album had bass maybe. Also the song could be a bit shorter, in my opinion. I get there's Maiden worship.... but still maybe it should be shorter. To be honest you I felt like the song was over by the 4 minute mark, but we still get two an a half minutes more.
  3. Now that We're Dead: What the fuck am I listening to. Okay I mean, oh cool it sounds like a motor reeving or a motorcycle for all you hog riders. You know what this song is. When you watch a shitty movie from the 80's/90's and they have a motorcycle montage and you get the now a days, cringy tough/badass song.... that's this. Also the vocals reminds me of ReLoad, wait Fuel. Wait do I also hear hints of Search and Destroy in the verses. I kinda wanna kill myself. I also hear hints of Outlaw Torn, but I mean I guess that's there to trick me into thinking this is really cool or badass but you can't fool me. I picked up on that shit. I will never listen to this song ever again in my life.
  4. Moth Into Flame: The second single to drop, I was hoping this would be better than the last one. But sadly it's a very generic and nothing is memorable about it. I can see how "man this is brutal, so punchy. Got that punk vibe that was prevalent on Kill em All", but this song kinda sucks. No really, the chorus lyrics are so awkward and the structure of the song seems off. It doesn't really click. I can't be the only person to not hear a click, now maybe it's Lars... In some live tracks in the deluxe remasters I noticed he... He ruined some of those songs because he was off a bit. But I don't think it's only him, James sounds off too. There's also a weird effect on his vocals and that chorus just, I think they touched his vocals up digitally. I don't really know anytime he's ever really sang, but his harmonies are so tight... Odd. The guitar solo, I don't know, just doesn't really have anything to hold on to. There's no meat to this or those. It just seems awkward. When I got to this track on the album I just went, what that fuck am I doing with my life. I mean nice guitar work I guess.
  5. Dream No More: By the way I was being sarcastic, and when I heard this intro I rolled my eyes and just waited for the sorry that was to come. The riff has a heaviness that reminds me of Sabbath maybe, but more Uncle Acid. Maybe I'm wrong, but I do know I'd rather listen to that Night Creeper album than listen to this. Then the vocals come and I cry a bit on the inside. It's like they took the stupid shit from Load/ReLoad and were like.... well it's been twenty years, so it's retro. Nice inhale, wonder how many takes that took to do. Also this songs too long.
  6. Halo on Fire: This sounds like a title I would have came up with when I was 12 and into Halo. This might be a stupid comparison, but I totally hear Avenged Sevenfold in that riff. As the song progresses I hear some call back to older ballads. The song isn't terrible, but I definitely wont revisit it. Also what the fucks up with these vocals. I do like how parts of the solo remind me of some other guitar player whom I can't think of. I get that this could warent this massive 8 minutes but it isn't epic. You know, I know they still have it in them too.... The Day that Never Comes.
Now on to disc two. I wanna point out a lot of these titles are just..... Cringe. 
  1. Confusion: Am I Evil? If I'm being honest, if the instrument was expanded upon this would work better along the lines of a Call of Ktulu. But instead we get another 6 minutes and 43 seconds of nothing new. Nothing fresh, nothing worth listening to if you're a fan and have heard their past albums.
  2. ManUNkind: What is this a title left over from ReLoad. This also happens to be the only track that features Robert as a co-writer. Everything else was co-written by Lars and James. I don't know how to fell about this other than.... no. At this point I'm so fucking bored. Okay, these fucking songs are so fucking long.
  3. Here Comes Revenge: This song isn't terrible, but again it isn't anything new. 
  4. Am I Savage?: This title seems as awkward as the last songs chorus. You know this kinda sucks, my initial predicition was this will be a long double album. To be honest this could have been cut at track 6. There is also a Megadeth vibe to this track. These vocals also happen to suck.
  5. Murder One: Is there a subtext, did they kill famed music producer RedOne? Nice Fade to Black call back with the distortion on the intro guitar. But nostalgia doesn't work on me. This again is okay I guess.
  6. Spit Out the Bone: Really, Juniors Dad has a far better ending track in it and the last 10 minutes is more or less filler. Yes I dig that track, but I don't think you need to have a ten minute drone on a Metallica record, maybe 3 minutes or 4. Hell maybe 5 if you add to it... I'm getting off topic. What the fuck is this though, really this just kinda blends in with the others. It doesn't feel like an epic ending, it just kinda blends. While I guess the harmonies might be slightly different, this is nothing new.
Overall I have to give this album a 4/10. Okay so I'ma be honest, what the fuck happened. I am a fan of this band, but I remember more songs on St. Anger than I do on this and I just listened to this five minutes ago. Honestly, I kinda remember words that pertain to the titles of the tracks, and certain things that happen (double time) but nothing to where I could play a riff (or want to learn one for that matter) or actually retain anything. Even though I go back and forth with the last [band oriented] record there are still some solid and memorable tunes on it. Like let me stress, I had no pleasure listening to this album at all. Well, other than thinking of way to make fun of this thing. This albums on par with Book of SoulsIt sounds like a lamer, older, awkward version of a once great band trying to still seem cool and creative and epic. But did they really not know to push youself. Instead they made St. Anger 2: Ride the Loaded Lulu to Master 'Em All - The ReBlacked Edition. Experiment! don't go back and what not. The single greatest quote to live by as a musician is, "without deviation from the norm, there is no progression". That is paraphrased and I don't know the originator (I've heard Zappa say it), but who said it isn't important. What is is the fact that you need to grow and master your craft and then grow and leave it. Metallica usually is creative and are willing to try something new. Fuck the fans who are idiots and want the same shit over and over. Show your artists and create. Be willing to sacrifice for your art and don't just give in. Be the Metallica you wanna be, not that your expected to be. Maybe this is where you wanna be, but why try to relive the past when you'll almost never be able to period. It's gone for a reason. Also what the fuck a double disc that's 77 minutes long... fucktards you can fit 80 minutes on 1 CD. I mean I get that not everyone knows this, but you fucking cut some of Outlaw Torn because of the time constraints... You should know this shit. Or do you just wanna say it's a double album/make more money. Well on the bright side, Hilary isn't president..... ;p see what I did there.