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.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Tupelo Honey - Van Morrison

Today I finally sat down and decided to review, or finish, this album. I've heard songs and parts but here it is, front to back, in all its glory. This is the fifth studio effort by famed Irish songster George Ivan Morrison. This album was released in October 1971 and is the only album not on Spotify he's released. What the hell bro, there has to be a reason for that. Legal stuff most likely, but I like to think of it like this. Either the albums a hidden gem, or it's a piece of shit. There are also a number of notable musicians whom I know like Ronnie Montrose, Ted Templeman (who also produced this), Luis Gasca and Connie Kay.
  1. Wild Night: I genuinely love this tune. The first time I heard it, I feel in love. This is one of those just, if you can't feel it I don't know. Remember Sir Duke, what's the line "You can tell right away from the letter A, When the People start to move. They can feel it all over". That could be incorrect, but this is one of those songs. The backing band is so damn amazing I kind of, I wish I could find players to be this nice tight and make it sound as if it was on the spot as this. It's kind of the perfect opening and its kind of a flawless track. Even when I get into the arrangement of the bass line and the guitar notes it still works quite well and I'm glad that it is what it is. The horns even accent what they're supposed to and add an extra texture that makes the song more interesting than just a straight forward rocker. I wouldn't and you shouldn't, change a thing about this. While I prefer my radio when I hear this, the guitar seems louder and the horns are a bit more subdued, I still think this works. Plus that saxophone solo is something that I'm glad wasn't a guitar solo, but could have been you know.
  2. (Straight to Your Heart) Like a Cannonball: I like this title, and think it's rather funny. The song it self has a very country twang to it, but it's not straight country. John McFee (I checked he plays the pedal steel) has a sort of bar band sound to his guitar, but I like the added acoustic guitar and the sort of extra vocal harmony part. I really like the flutes in the track and it's nice. I wish the track was maybe a bit slower, not much but just a bit to sort of let you soak everything in possibly. I don't think it's the greatest track ever, but I do think it works and keeps me listening the whole time.
  3. Old Old Woodstock: This track's refrain very much reminds me of Caravan. Not the one with the drum sola, but the one he did two albums prior. I do like the laid back feeling of this track, but I don't think its really does all THAT much for me on my initial listen. It doesn't really go anywhere, but it's not terrible.
  4. Starting a New Life: This has a sort of nice country shuffle to it. I like the bouncing bass line, and the drums sound pretty solid. I also like the chord progression, I mean it isn't anything that crazy, but I like it. The harmonica sounds pretty good, not phenomenal, but it fits the tone of the track. There's something about this that appeals to me, kinda like the same way Country Dreamer (outside of the musicality) does. I know the idea of starting a new life with someone very special and being able to just be with the pulls a chord with me. But I don't know for sure. 
  5. You're My Woman: This song has a nice vibe to it, but there is a feeling to it that reminds me of maybe Chicago, or something. Soft rock, that isn't a complaint just an observation. The only thing is the beginning of the song doesn't do much for me. Yeah I like the build and the tension that happens in the pre-chorus, but it still doesn't completely pay off for me. I mean I like the vibe, but I just don't think it really pays off so much. Plus it's kinda long, in the same way the following song is long.
  6. Tupelo Honey: On paper, and lyrically, this look like a great tune. I've actually hear other versions and it is a great tune, sadly the thing about this is just...... I don't think it's the tune everyone says it is. At least based on the sole performance used on this album. To be honest, I couldn't even listen to the whole thing at first. It took multiple tries to even get a minute in.... Honestly. Once I heard it I liked it, but the reused Crazy Love melody hurts it a lot for me. I mean it's great tune, just no click for me. I prefer Crazy Love if I'm being honest. But for being as praised as it is..... I don't get it. Then again the only song that "doesn't fit" on Astral Weeks is my favorite, and only one I like. So.... I once read that Bob Dylan said this song has always existed and Morrison was the only who happened to have the song go through him, that's a load of bullshit. At no part in the performance do I feel it needs to be 6 minutes or do I feel elevated. Fuck, Wild Night is more natural and flowing than this track. I mean it does flow in one ear and out the other, but I don't get it. I just ain't diving his version bru. I mean as time has passed I've warmed up to it, even to where I can forgive the CL thing, but it's still not the master piece people say it is in my mind. Lyrically though, I do enjoy the imagery and I like the sax solo. It's more when he sings and what not where I can't get behind the track. The instrumental sections are gorgeous and I wish there was more moments like that. When the vocals come in something just isn't right. I guess it might not work as well if there was no words, but I just don't feel when he's singing. Maybe its a drop out or a mixing problem or editing problem more noticeable on the CD version, but I don't know. Also I feel the song could have ended at around the 4:30 mark and it could have slowed down or faded out but this feels like a live jam that lasts too long. You know those, where they keep going or ad libbing. I'm just not as sold on the song as some others I guess. Also once I played it on guitar I was like, this reminds me a lot of People Get Ready. But whateva... also I'm not sure if the organ, played by Ted, is all that necessary.
  7. I Wanna Roo You (Scottish Derivative): This song makes me wanna do a country jig or whatever it's called. I'm actually surprised that this isn't a Dylan song, like if it was slowed down I could see it being on one of the early 70's albums, or one with The Band backing him. This isn't a terrible song, and I kinda like the change of pace. This isn't the best song ever, but it's well enough.
  8. When That Evening Sun Goes Down: I really like the piano in the beginning, the kind of ragtime/honky-tonk. It's also nice that it's only 3 minutes long and not 6. This is a country number that kinda actually wouldn't sound out of place if played by The Stones. I mean, if you like Exile or Beggars you might like this track. I like the latter, I'ven't heard the entire former. Also I fucking love this title. 
  9. Moonshine Whiskey: This is another driving country tune, that again isn't that bad and feels kind warm.This is a decent song, the only problem is it keeps going for almost 7 minutes. I do like this track, but really like what the fuck. This song could have so easily been edited to the three main sections being condensed to 4 or 5 minutes.
Overall I have to give this album a 7/10. I guess you could compare this to a Nashville Sky or a more country folk record. It isn't that, but there is a sort of secluded and more mature, less fiery feeling I am getting here. It's easy to listen to and comfortable, and that's not a bad thing. As if he's at peace with life. I mean, like Cat Stevens, I find their beliefs and song topics more interesting than the music itself. While I've grown more found of Stevens I've also grown more found of Morrison. But I like Cat more.

Even thought I felt as I do I still feel I should review the first string of records to at least Common One, or maybe up to Veedon Fleece and then some albums that I think are worth after that. But I can't imagine myself really reviewing anything post The Philosopher's Stone, or Back on Top.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Braver Than We Are - Meat Loaf

So the last 2016 album I did was pretty solid. I mean not much of a point, but I enjoyed it none the less. Now on to an album that sucks. This is the new Meat Loaf album that was released a few weeks ago. This follows his 2011 album Hell in a Handbasket and is the fifth album to feature songs written by Jim Steiman, though he did co-writer tracks 2 and 7. Now while I could be wrong, their last collaboration was kind of.... it wasn't that great. I haven't heard all of it but what I heard I didn't like. I'll still review it, and the other Bat out of Hell II but this is kinda like (or 5 if you count Dead Ringer). Well I looked into the credits to see something, what I found was this album was produced by M.O.D. guitarist, and features a number of people who have been playing with him for a number of albums.
  1. Who Needs the Young: Opening with a bluesy feeling, which to be honest it isn't a bad beginning. I don't really jive with it, but its not a terrible opening. Well for all you fans of blues, don't get to comfy. The song changes to a different style completely. I will point out that transition from the introduction to the horns.... ewwww. I feel the doo-wop/50's vibe that kinda reminds me of Valarie (The Mothers cover), but like what the fuck is this. It kinda sounds like fucked, and not in a good way. Like it kinda slows down and moves the speed of everything around as if the tape is being manipulated. Which could be very interesting, if this was on tape and done more better. The song then goes into a sort of slick jazzy, somewhat cabaret track that I hoped would be really neat. The music is fine, but the vocals.... oh shit. I've heard this song three times now, and it doesn't get easier to listen to. I think the effects on the backing vocals are stupid. I mean I'm glad that he's having fun, but this is just like weird, using it in a negative connotation. It doesn't feel like someone experimenting and doing something fun. I want the flair, and confidence and power... but nothing. You know Bowie'd do a great job with this, song and arrangement. It kind of reminds me a bit of Alabama Song. The song doesn't really ever click together, making that 5 minutes feel even longer than 5 minutes. Yeah there's tons of ideas that happen and this could have been stretched out to 11 minutes and have been an overture.... But it doesn't click ever. Like there are parts where it sounds like they're either intentionally off or they just can't feel the groove. I do see potential in the song though, the doo wop parts in particular.
  2. Going All the Way (A Song in 6 Movements): This track is supposed to be the epic one. I mean they kind of all are, but this is, even based off the title, kinda "epic". You know the double digit, and almost double digit, tracks likes Bat Out of Hell, I'd Do Anything For LoveParadise by the Dashboard Light, For Crying out Loud and well that's kinda it. It features Ellen Foley (the girl in Paradise on the album) and Karla DeVito (the girl on who toured with him and would sing that song with him live). They've done other things, but off the bat there are similarities, almost set against it to have to live up to at least Paradise, a song with three movements (though I think it's more like three movements, but there are four or five sections). I mean I can dig into why I think this doesn't work, each individual part but I think I'll try to keep it simple and be straight. The vocals from Meat hurt my ears, this songs no where near as engaging or charming as past songs and I won't be singing any of the lyrics here ever.  The most important thing in one of thoses is to take me there, this doesn't.
  3. Speaking in Tongues: This track features Stacy Michelle and is obviously is a nod to the Talking Heads album cover. The picture on the front of the 1983 album, not the music. No who would do such a crazy thing as that? Actually, the vocals kinda remind me of a white Blowfly. And if the lyrics were dirty and there was no acoustic guitar, this could be a newer track by him. This is a pretty generic track that does absolutely nothing to be honest. The female vocalist who has a bit of flambe reminds me of Feel Inside.
  4. Loving You is a Dirty Job (But Somebody's Gotta Do It): Before I get into the cringe that is this title, this track also happens to feature Stacy Michelle. Okay, so where was I.... Oh the title. Are you fucking kidding me? I know Faith No More don't own that phrase, its a dirty job but someone's gotta do it, but like what the fuck. Really, even if he didn't know of that tracks existence or the fucking TV show (which sucks) this title still is a cringe. The only time I'd give this a pass is if the song was about being in love with some who has klismaphilia or whatever the correct tense would be for this sentence. If that was the case I think this entire album would get a pass for how hilarious the song would be. Actually.... Holy shit I have an idea for a song. But as for the song it's self, it opens and is kind okay. I mean I am not digging the keys or synth sound but whatever. This kinda feels like a Paramore song. Like I am in visioning them more or less, but if they had a guest pianist. I like the cadence in the song. Other than that, I don't really know. I mean it's not a terrible song, but there's so many things that sound terrible in the song. I think this works better with older production, this is too clean and clear.... I don't know, where's the bite. This is like nothing, I want a tear jerker or a punch in the gut. I'm not getting that, like the only response here is boredom and I'm more thinking about the cute girl I saw while driving today. Like the girl who I saw for about two minutes, not even, is having more of an impact than the supposed tear jerker of a Meat Loaf album.
  5. Souvenirs: This might be the only song, so far, I'll revisit out of the review. This has a very Lean on Me comrade feeling to it. There's also a very prevalent soul feeling. Well maybe not that, but more of a closing SNL theme. This song isn't terrible, and I kinda like it. I mean it doesn't really feel like it's a great or even satisfying song. But I do like the horns, the saxophones are nice. And over all this is the track I have the least problems with. And if you forget about the horrible fx on the harmonies, the sax solo is satisfying. That doesn't mean it's hard to praise this song, or be positive for me, but I still think it's the best one here. And I like that organ on the track, or the organ sound at least. I guess I hear a great Meat Loaf song in this track, something like All Revved Up with No Where to Go, but it just isn't there. Also a negative, it just keeps fucking going.... and leading no where. I don't care if the sax is pay off... it's not enough to warrant this length.
  6. Only When I Feel: What kind of a title is this....... okay so I listened to this. If I didn't know him prior, I'd think Meat's got a disability. I'm not trying to be funny, I'm being serious.
  7. More: Alright, this totally reminds me of 2001 A Sex Oddysey. I'm not even kidding, like that albums kind of.... bad and cheesy, and this song could be a more serious lyrical cut from that album. So I've heard this song three times, and I'm still speechless when it gets here. Like I'm not even kidding, my eyes just pop out of my head like someone just out of the blue goes "I wanna fuck you". I swear I would hear this on a song from the 90's I just stumbled upon while looking at samples on Whosampled. And this just keeps on going.
  8. Godz: This song is, to be honest at this point, fucking corny. Like I'm not jiving with this. Maybe it's supposed to be fun tongue and cheek.... but this is just kinda like lame. Was he trying to make his version of Hamilton.Though there is a part that does remind me of a watered down Residents.
  9. Skull of Your Country: This is the last track to have a feature, the feature being Cian Coey. And during my first listen I had kind of checked out for a second and then all the sudden I hear, the "turn around" response to the call from Total Eclipse of the song Meat Loaf turned away before it was given to Bonnie Tyler and made one of my all time favorite songs ever and included in this run on. Now besides the total jarring nature of why; as mentioned he originally turned down the song before it was given to Bonnie Tyler, how does this help this song. Now yeah, Jim wrote the song and its not like he's stealing lyrics or quoting someone else's song for no reason like King Kunta (IMO). Sometimes call backs are really cool, Zappa does them and Aerosmith kind of did... Though the latter I'm not as found of the why they'd do it now as I was before. But like... Why? I'm pretty sure this explanation makes as much sense and I've gotten out of this song. So the second time around this is almost completely un listenable. There is so much happening, but it's not to create chaos it's just a terrible arrangement. Kinda like a jumble fuck, but not in a good way. If you wanna hear what I think they were going for with the drums done right listen to  Packard Goose's solo.
  10. Train of Love: This features a slide solo from Rick Meadlocke who was a member of Blackfoot and Lynyrd Skynyrd. To be honest, this introduction isn't half bad. But it's the vocals that kill the song for me, this could have been great but it goes down fast. Here's a visual representation *intro** (vocals)*|_rest of song_. Potential, but it just got ass fucked.
Overall I have to give this album a 3/10. There is way too much off, pitch, tempo, energy, to say this is a good album. This album is kind of a mess and not in a good way, I can't really suggest this in good conscious, what happened. There's no charm, charisma, heart, soul, enema jokes, epic numbers, colostomy bags, fire, enema jokes. I don't know what happened, but like this kinda sucks. Also if Hilary is elected I think I'm gonna drink myself to sleep and cry on the inside. Not that Trump's any better, but for the fact that were at a point the spectacle that was the election even happened.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Crux of the Biscuit - Frank Zappa

This is an album I probably shouldn't be reviewing but I do have a few things to say about it so why not. Plus I might actually review all the Zappa albums released in a year, during that year. Something that was to be possible, until the announcement of Meat Light, Chicago '78 and Little Dots all on the same day. That day being this upcoming Friday. I might be able to do Chicago '78 but not sure about the others before December. This was released to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Apostrophe (') , which dropped on March 22nd, 1974. Now this on the other hand was released the same day as Frank Zappa for President, June 15th 2016. So they are a bit late, but whatever, that's not the sort of frustrating part. After all it took some 40 years to release Roxy the Movie. The part that seems to be bothering people, along a bit with me, is this is the third release this year from Frank Zappa (the first being Road Tapes, Venue #3). Now so far they have all kind of been pointless, and just seem to be released to make some money off of the fans. Now I really know that's shitty, but let's delve into this album and just talk about it, I don't want to get off on the whole money aspect.
  1. Cosmik Debris: This is a part of the four tracks under the "FZ Early Sequence for Apostrophe' Side 1, Dated 6/30/73". The next 3 tracks are also a part of this. Now this is a very disappointing thing, yes I know its how it was to be set up originally but still you know. How would you like it if your handed something and basically it starts off with a track and the only difference is there's like a spoken word intro or something. It's like the alternate mix of Movin' Out on Pandora's Box. The difference is the intro plays like three times instead of two. How's that different. Now does that take away from the original, not really, but it adds nothing either. So far not off to a good start. To prove my point this version sits are 4:21, the original album version sits at 4:13. So 8 extra seconds we get people, 8 fucking extra seconds.
  2. Uncle Remus (Mix Outtake): Okay, in going to be honest this track is one of three reasons I reviewed this album. This is a great song on both versions but there are some slight differences. For one, the Ikettes are more pronounced in this mix and some vocal "commentary", for lack of a better word, only heard in this mix. The commentary being like in Dinah-Moe Humm or Cosmik Debris. When they actually are a part of the world in the song and reply rather than just doing backing harmonies and vocals. Kinda like breaking the fourth wall a bit I guess. Or made there's an aside in the song, kind of breaking out of that. Like a peanut gallery within the song. Plus I like the guitar solo, which probably is the same, but I guess I like it more here. It seems different to me, but I could be remembering wrong. These stupid little things kind of refreshed my interest in a track that I loved, but had grown tired of. Not that it's bad, I just heard it so many times, this alternate mix kind of was a fresh breathe of air to me. You know, and it made me laugh. 
  3. Down in de Dew (Alternate Mix): This track is, as the title states, an alternate mix of Down in de Dew. I also wanna point out this was released as a Record Store Day vinyl a few years back, and was included on the AAAFNRAA 2014 Bundle. Like the exact same version of the song, which is just a different mix/edit of the version of Lather. I recently got back from a wedding, three hour drive, where I listened to that album in it's entirety and it's really fucking great. Worth the three hours, but that's besides the point. This is a song that is pretty rewarding, and I enjoy but I don't really think it's anything that you can't hear else where. I do like this but I don't know, I don't know how to feel when the next track uses a lot of the same stuff in it.
  4. Apostrophe' (Mix Outtake): This is the full length version of the Apostrophe' title track. The only real comment is its like an extended version of the album version. I do think the segue into this track works well, even thought it is the same basic track as the last with different overdubs. I do enjoy this, don't get me wrong, but only on the occasional listen. I know this would grow old if I listened to this and this album from to back.
  5. The Story of "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow/St. Alphonzo's Pancake Breakfast": This is part of an interview where in Zappa mentions, the idea kinda came from. It's a beat little thing to have before the suite in the next track. 
  6. Don't Eat the Yellow Snow/St. Alphonzo's Pancake Breakfast (Live): This is reason two for my review. This was taken from the June 24th 1973 show in Sydney where I wanna say they premiere the suite. I love this, and I loved the Australian Yellow Snow off One Shot Deal, recorded the next day but that kind of feels a bit pointless now since we have this whole things. Sadly the only part we didn't get was the Farther Oblivion, but you can hear that on Imaginary Diseases, Pipuantique, and Road Tapes, Venue #2. I love this though, and I love the little ad-libs and what not and him commenting to the audience. This is the fun Zappa that 1979 live recording that pooped up (intended spelling) on You Can't Do That On Sage Anymore 1. That stands at 20 minutes and this is far superior in it's ability to keep you interested in the track. Once I actually mixed bootlegs and the Australian Yellow Snow track together and the Farther Oblivion together to make the full suite. It was like 40 minutes long and I must have listened to that a dozen or so times. So this is nice that there actually is a version released, though not "all" of it. This is good enough though. This is also a bit more laid back in nature than the album version. I really like this track, though because of it's length I won't listen to it all that often, and the fact I've heard it already so many times. I do like the Father O'Blivion track, thought I prefer the fast and exciting one more but this ain't half bad. Thought that did show they could play it fast later on.
  7. Excentrifugal Forz (Mix Outtake): I do enjoy the album version of this track, its pretty solid.  But this is basically the same thing, and I feel like it's there to segue into the next track. And also the different lyrics. But it's okay.
  8. Energy Frontier (Take 4): Okay, this is probably the hardest part of the album to get through. The next three tracks vary, but not all that much. This has a flute in it quite prevalent, played by either Tom Malone or Earle Dumler. There also is Jack Bruce on bass, Dave Parlato on acoustic bass, Jim Gordon on drums, Tony Duran on rhythm guitar and Frank on lead. This doesn't have the same power or confidence the others have. It feels like a rehearsal more than the actually moving instrument it would become.
  9. Energy Frontier (Take 6 with OD's): This is Apostrophe, but with a flute. I really like the flute on this and it is an interesting little addition. There's some nice bass overdubs and it's only four minutes long. This is from the same session that the prior track was from, this time it features overdubs from Zappa, cutting out Dave's acoustic bass and overdubbing bass himself. I do like this, again, but I feel the flute takes away from the punch of the song.
  10. Energy Frontier (Bridge): Now this is interesting, this is the original un-overdubbed version of Apostrophe' (Mix Outtake) which is the full version of the album version of the track (just the album version is shorter).Does that make any sense? Hopefully it does because it's kind of confusing a bit, but there isn't terrible much different here than there other than overdubs. But it's basically the same thing, same drum track and same changes. So it's kinda like hear a stripped mix.... kinda. There isn't the same punch the other one has, or the fuzz. This sounds a lot more open and not filing up the track.
  11. Cosmik Debris (Basic Tracks - Take 3): So basically an instrumental version of the album version with different solos. There isn't really much more than that. Because of that it kinda of makes it far less enjoyable. I mean it's neat to hear everything, but still. Also this is the best you'll hear the Hendrix quote.
  12. Don't Eat the Yellow Snow  (Basic Tracks -  Alternate Take): This has vocals, but feels so bare. Where's the atmosphere, this is kinda lame without it. The double time drums don't come in until right before the track ends.
  13. Nanook Rubs It  (Basic Tracks - Outtake): This again has not the same atmosphere.
  14. Nanook Rubs It  (Session Outtake): This a 48 second snippet of the album version, but instead they goof or something. 
  15. Frank's Last Words.....: I guess it's a nice touch, but really it's not needed. It's sixteen seconds long and has the man saying they got the take, then I think George Duke laughs and Frank laughs and says stop the tape. That's literally it. Oh also there's some marimba in the background playing part of St Alfonso. 
Overall is this really worth a release..... I don't know. I mean I think it's a solid release, but that's because I love the album this is acting as a deluxe edition of. I would almost be happier if they just pulled a 1970: The Complete Funhouse Sessions or The Cutting Edge: The Bootleg Series Vol. 12 where they literally release the entire tapes from the sessions for the album. This kind of feels like the Raw version (2 disc) set of The Basement Tapes. Like just give us the full fucking thing, that'd be a much better gift for a celebration right. I know about the oxidation and the tape and what not and the problems with the vault, but I mean I'd honestly be fine waiting for the 50th to get the full session tapes vs this. But on that note I still love stuff like this, and I really do like how this works... but I hate my fucking self for that. I think this is best to give you a taste of the other options and things he did while making this, but as far as the audio documentaries this is probably the weakest, though Greasy Love Songs should have more material. (I'll just keep this kind of dated back before the announcement of Chicago '78, Meat Light, Little Dots and the absolutely pointless - like no really there's no reason at fucking all for this to exist it's fucking retarded - Zappatite.) I hate myself for doing this but I do really enjoy the entire thing, while it does drag a bit I love the original so much that this is kinda of fucking awesome. I wish there was more, I wish there was a bit different, it wasn't really necessary but I do like it and don't get bored. 8/10.