Saturday, September 24, 2016

Mona Bone Jakon - Cat Stevens

So I've been super busy and haven't had time to do reviews. So I figured I'd do an album I could knock out pretty fast. So I picked the third studio album by beloved singer/songwriter Cat Stevens. Released on April 24th 1970, this was recorded after he almost died because he contracted TB. No really, look it up, he was in a hospital for like a year I believe, and he wrote songs there.
Also as a side note, Who Can I Be Now? [1974-1976] is fucking great.
  1. Lady d'Arbanville: This opens the album, with a completely different Cat Stevens. A much more mature and grown up version. sort of dirge, there is a Spanish feeling to the song. I really like the percussion in the track and this is one of his best. The song is very bare and it really has a close feeling, there is a driving force with the percussion that I love and the two guitars sound fucking great together. I love the organ, I wanna say, that accents the guitar later on in the song and how it progressively gets louder. I think it's a pipe organ. This really is a fucking great tune and it you just feel the feeling in it. I also dig the double tracked vocals, and it just takes you there you know.
  2. Maybe Your Right: This feels like a bit more of a busy version of say, If You Wanna Sing Out. Now I dig the piano in the track, and I think this is a solid tune none the less, it's just I feel there's a lot happening and there's stuff that can distract maybe. It's not like it adds to it though, I think it kinda is just there. I do like that piano roll though, fucking nice sounding. I do like the brushes used and I like the strings. While this is decent enough, I feel like it's a deep cut more than a stand out.
  3. Pop Star: From what I've read, this is a satire about the triviality of celebrity and what not. I can get with that, I mean fuck everyone. Now because I'm not fucking retarded, I know satire isn't usually funny and it more points out the short comings of people. Based on the lyrics, I guess I can say it's satirical. I like the song, though it kinda reminds me a bit of Six String Orchestra, especially the part where the band comes in and plays. I also wanna say, Fuck! that double bass... I love it. This is a solid tune, thought I wish maybe it was a different take. Like it doesn't feel as confident(?). There something missing from keeping this phenomenal you know, but I'm thinking it's probably the fact this is the first time they've done this.
  4. I Think I See the Light: The second this starts I go, White Stripes? This so could be a White Stripes song, you know a piano or more novelty try songs. Not to say this is a novelty song, but that's to get in your mind. I mean this is way more interesting and has a ton more going on than one of theirs would have, but it's pretty great. I also like the motif that plays as an instrumental during the choruses. I also gotta say, great organ solo. It's a solid track.
  5. Trouble: A soft song, also one of my favorite songs he's ever written. Elliott Smith did a great cover of this, but I gotta go with the original. So I guess this song is written about death, and pushing it away. I could see that, there is a very somber feeling to this track. The harmonies in the background are great, and I love they mostly guitar and vocals. The double bass and drums are there, but they aren't as prominent, I wanna say.
  6. Mona Bone Jakon: Slang for a hard on, I really like the percussion in this track. There is some type of bongo or animal skin thing being played. And there sounds like he might be hitting his guitar. This song is kinda filler, and it's a bit disorienting, but I still can dig it.
  7. I Wish, I Wish: This song is just okay, I mean it isn't anything new but there is a bit of a different feeling to it. I do think the highlight though is the solo that is either double tracked or a duel lead. It's pretty great. The piano also sound pretty great, this has a nice energy to it.
  8. Katmandu: Fun fact, that flute was played by Peter Gabriel. There is a great relaxing, sort of Moonshadow feeling to this song. That flute is really great by the way, but I think this is a pretty romantic sounding track. I think this is about the town or city, but I could just as easily see this being a love song. I also love the atmosphere. It's pretty beautiful and one of his best I think.
  9. Time: This is an introduction to the next track, and I really like the sort of Pink Floyd vibe to the track. Like maybe a slightly less progressive version of something like Dogs. Like the acoustic part or something like that. I do dig this though and I love how it's so short and sweet. Plus that ending, damn.
  10. Fill My Eyes: While I wish the chords held over into this track from the last, this is a great second part to it. Maybe it's just my copy but it didn't do that well with it. I mean it worked, but not perfect. But that aside, this is another solid tune Cats. I love when the piano comes in, thought I wish it didin't leave as quick as it came. I would have possibly rearranged the track, but that's me.
  11. Lilywhite: Closing the album is a ballad, that to be honest isn't anything you haven't heard earlier in the tracklisting. I mean the strings really work well here, but it isn't anything that crazy. But that being said, I gotta say, this still works. I love the feeling of the strings and how they play and could almost be floating. The vocals are a great and I think I'm out of things to say :D. But It's solid. The best part tough, is the ending with the string arrangement by it's self. It kinda reminds me of minimalism a bit. With the droning one.
Overall I have to give this album an 8/10. This is a solid record, and I think you should check it out. Really good singer/songwriter tunes and it's not a boring listen. It kinda moves pretty fast and has memorable songs. It's pretty damn good if I do say so myself.

Friday, September 2, 2016

"Weird Al" Yankovic in 3-D

This is the second album by Al and is followed by my favorite album of his Dare to Be Stupid. This album thought was released February 28th, 1984. I originally planned to do this before the release of Mandatory Fun, an album I still occasionally listen to tracks off of to this day. Since it's been a while why not do one of his classics. This album is fun too and why not, I mean everyone's back at school we could use some fun.
  1. Eat It: I love this song, and to be honest, still find it really funny. This is a parody of Beat It by MJ. I used to love that track, back in my early days of getting into music. Now I'm not so keen on it, nor am I that keen on really anything by MJ, with the exception of the classics (Got to Be There and Ben). Rather than being about disagreements, and gang shit or whatever the fuck this is about (being tough?), Al makes it about eating. You really can't go wrong there. The honest truth of it is, looking now, I like this version so much more. It's like hilarious, the silly little intro and solo still make me laugh. Those backing vocals too, they did a really good job with this one. I don't know how I can still love this, but like when I hear the original I can't even sit though it anymore. Really, that's kinda of a a fact. But back to the solo, I love it so much and that explosion. 
  2. Midnight Star: This is an original, this song is an "ode to" a made up tabloid. Like a magazine and what not you'd find at a store or something. While this isn't as great as the last track it's still a solid tune and I think it works here. I think this is a pretty funny and silly song, and I like those keyboards on the song. You can tell it's from the 80's or so. This is a pretty decent song though, and I looked it up and he said most of these headlines were real. I really like the arpeggios at the ending and the outro to the song is pretty fun and this is a solid 7 or 8. Probably more liek a 7.5 or so.
  3. The Brady Bunch: This is the Brady Bunch theme. kinda, to the music of Safety Dance. I like the original version of the song, but to be honest I don't know. I'm not really feeling this song so much, I get the joke but I'm not feeling it. I've seen the show before and it kinda fucking sucks. So yeah, but whatever. They did a solid instrumental cover though.
  4. Buy Me A Condo: This is a style parody of reggae music, and I really dig it. Like in all honesty this song kinda got me into reggae :D.  I mean I've heard other bands and songs I've liked, but it wasn't until this that I was able to get into Marley. I'm not a huge fan, but this song is great. I kinda love every aspect of it.
  5. I Lost on Jeopardy: This is a parody of one of my favorite songs, Jeopardy by Greg Kihn Band. I love that sort of funk feeling to the keys and the instrumental cover is such a good fucking cover.... damn! If not for Al it'd be easy to mix the two up, well that and Don Pardo. This song is hilarious and it's really fucking great.
  6. Polkas on 45: This features a bunch of songs, it's a polka melody. The tracks here are Jocko Homo, Smoke on the Water, Sex (I'm A...), Hey Jude, L.A. Woman, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, Hey Joe, Burning Down the House, Hot BloodedBubbles in the Wine, Every Breath You Take, Should I Stay or Should I Go, Jumpin' Jack Flash, and lastly My Generation. This also happens to be one of the best ones he has ever done, and the only song I was unfamiliar with at the time of this review was Bubbles. Actually it also has some of my favorite songs here, I love Jocko Homo and Smoke on the Water is still pretty solid. I LOVE Sex, Hey Jude and L.A. Woman. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida is a song I've kind of grown tired of, but I like this rendition quite a bit. That goes for Hey Joe and Should I Stay/Jumpin' Jack. I know I basically said a whole lot of nothing, but this is a lot of fun and a great track. Plus it's super catchy and makes you wanna revisit it right after it happens.
  7. Mr. Popeil: This is a style parody of the B52s, according to Wikipedia. But it also mentions that Al said it's not a style parody. This is also is a song about Sam Popeil, who's daughter sings on the track and has sang with Zappa. This is a fun enough song, and I mean it's not something I listen to outside of the context of the album but I do like it. The female vocals on this remind me a bit of God in 3 Persons. So obviously that makes me smile. :)
  8. King of Suede: This is a parody of the King of Pain by The Police and is about the owner of a clothing store, who is the King of Suede. This is a good "cover" and while I'm not in love with the original version I do like it and this one. Plus this is so fucking goofy. Where the original was written after separating from his wife [Sting], this is basically a commercial that I could imagine seeing on TV if this was the 80's or 90's or even cheesy ones today. The Perkins reference made me smile too.
  9. That Boy Could Dance: You know this is an original. The one thing that I have to say is that it isn't as good as the originals of Dare to Be Stupid, but still enjoyable. This is another number that's well enough and it's fun. I dig the saxophone in this and it screams 80's. I could imagine hearing this in an 80's film that someone was playing in the intro or on their boombox.
  10. Theme from Rocky XIII (The Rye or the Kaiser): This is a parody of Eye of the Tiger, and now I think is funnier to listen to than it probably was back when this came out. It's making fun of how many films there were, and kind of like eventually he'd be too old to fight and the movie would be him doing something not as exciting. For example, buying a deli and working there. I kinda don't wanna say anything else, because I love how un-Epic these things he does are, over the music to the Epic pump up song people love. I dig the tune well enough, but this makes me smile. Now I know he in the one film he still boxed, but it's funny because they resurrected it and he kind of was "to old to fight". Al predicted the future :D.
  11. Nature Trail to Hell: This song starts out reminding me a lot of the intro to Black Sabbath and Mother. This is I think the best original he did, thus far in his career. Digging the "strings" solo, and damn is this cheesy. Thus making it the sweetest ear candy known to man, to me at least. This song is proabably the best original song here, and it's proabably one of the best originals he's done. I love horror films and I could see this being an 80's slasher film. The instrumental is also really neat, like they did a really good job there are sections and kudos Al.
Overall I have to give this album a 8/10. This is a solid album, fun to play and has some memorable parodies of great tunes. I know I didn't talk it up that much, but really it's fun and reminds me music shouldn't always be serious. Harmless fun isn't a bad thing, I just wish people who did that today did it as good as him. At the end of this album there's really only one thing to think, Does Humor Belong In Music? it's up to you to decide