Greetings and salutations, Fire Enthusiasts. I hope this new week finds you and yours well. I continue to be crazy busy with everything but writing, I'm afraid. The day job just continues to time suck everything around it. I logged another 64 hours this past week (8 hrs on Saturday). I only hit the treadmill twice and I find myself this Sunday morning, sitting out on my patio, skipping church and taking some "me" time. My wife didn't sleep as she waited for our boys to come home from Southern California where they took a day trip with some friends to a concert. I'm pleased to report that they made it home just fine. The oldest is 19 and has made many a day trip, so I trust him. That's why I slept just fine. *evil grins*
Don't let me kid you, however. There's always a lot of praying before and during their time away.
If you know me at all you know that if anything is more important to me than books, it is music. I could go weeks without reading. Without music, however, I would curl up and die a lot faster than I would without water or food. Believe me! I have the 120GB iPod and have *runs to check* 7400 songs on it. With that in mind I thought we could discuss music this week. Specifically I would like to talk about albums that can and perhaps should be played all the way through without skipping. It wasn't always that way, was it? There was a time when albums were just records to hold that one song, and then the record company ushered the band or artist right back into the studio to do the next one. It wasn't until the 70's that the album begin to take on a bigger meaning. In the 80's we suddenly milked that album for every hit we could possibly get.
The debut from Boston is arguably the greatest debut of all time. I bet you've heard each and every cut on the radio at one time or another.
What's Going On from Marvin Gaye turned Motown and music in general on its collective head. I came to this one late, taking a chance on it one day. I was blown away. If you read the history, you'll find that this record was almost never made. It's a personal cry from Marvin that strikes a chord in all of us. Trust me.
This Is War by Thirty Seconds to Mars is brilliant. My oldest turned me on to these guys and I love them. The band and I probably don't agree on a lot of subjects in life, but their record hits each and every one of my buttons and I can't stop listening to it.
Three Sides to Every Story by Extreme is a triumph. This one didn't have the hit singles that Pornograffitti did, but it has a spirit that will drive you to tears. It is a deeply personal and spiritual record that should be taught at Berkeley. As a Christian, I recognize all the Biblical references, but it is done so in a way that doesn't hit the non-Christian over the head.
Songs From the Big Chair by Tears for Fears is still magic all these years later.
Asia by Asia. I played the heck out of this thing back in '82 and it's what I'm listening to now as I pen this post. Supergroup indeed!
Pyromania by Def Leppard was a record that my younger brother bought while I picked up Frontiers by Journey. The reason that I recall that particular trip to Tower Records is due to my insistence that my Journey record would blow his away. Well, Frontiers was and is very good, but Pyromania proved to be a monster. You may disagree that the Hysteria album was far better - it certainly had the hits. There's just a couple of those hits that played so much that I don't need to hear them again. *laughs*
This Fire by Paula Cole is something that I listened to just recently while doing yard work. I had forgotten how supremely talent this artist is. I don't believe she had the success before or after this album, and many of you probably laughed at some of her lyrics, especially during the "Where Have all the Cowboys Gone". However, she hit the proverbial home run with this one. It rocks, strokes the heart strings, and is incredibly brave at times. She really nailed it here.
Don't Say No by Billy Squier was his biggest hit and there's a reason for this. The whole thing is fantastic. Sometimes his whole need to rhyme everything can get old, but not here.
Shake Your Money Maker by the Black Crowes was everything we needed to shake rock music up. It put some Rolling Stones-kind of Blues swagger back into rock music. It had the three hits, but some of these others may actually be better. I don't care for the changes that were made with regard to the addition of horns. Stay with the classic, my friends.
The Stranger by Billy Joel. I really didn't know Joel until An Innocent Man. Those songs were fun, but not moving like the stuff that came before. This was the first cd I bought as I investigated who Billy was in the 70's. Since then I have trolled iTunes and snagged nearly everything he did back then. I have some stuff from the 80's too, but oh those 70's!
Destroyer by Kiss. I hate short versions of songs with a red hot passion, so please don't play me "Detroit Rock City" unless it's from here. I saw these guys right after they took off the makeup back on the Lick It Up tour and thankfully saw the first reunion tour when they put it back on. Great shows! Great songs! Great career! You could make an argument for their debut here, but I chose this one.
The Black Parade by My Chemical Romance was introduced to me by my oldest son. As you might have noticed I'm not one of those stuck on one kind of music or decade. If you've got something good, please share and I'll check them out. So it was that my son begged me to take him to see My Chem when they came to our neck of the woods. I didn't think I'd enjoy myself at a show where I was unfamiliar with the music, but I was wrong. At the show they played this album from first song to last - and so should you.
Under Lock and Key by Dokken is everything that was good about hair metal.
Rumours by Fleetwood Mac is astounding to me. How did they make such magic when the flame of their personal lives was being snuffed out so profoundly between John and Christine and Lindsey and Stevie? Incredible!
I would be remiss if I didn't include Sports by Huey Lewis and the News, wouldn't I?
My wife would kick my rear if I failed to list Kick by INXS. We still miss you, Michael...
My oldest will tell you that Continuum is his best, but I still find myself going back to Room for Squares. Please, John, enough of the country stuff you seem to be stuck in at the moment. Oh, and no more girl talk, okay. Just play...
Screaming for Vengeance by Judas Priest was great back in my heavy metal days, and it works very well while I'm hitting my treadmill. :)
The untitled fourth album contains the greatest song ever written, but the brown bomber cemented The Mighty Zep as the masters.
I don't care for much of what Maroon 5 is doing these days, but Songs About Jane is an incredible record. They toured for about five years on this record, going from indie to the top of the world - and there is a reason for it.
I have seen Matchbox Twenty three times in concert and they never get old! Everything they do is great; however, More Than You Think You Are is the one that cannot be skipped. Just play it and forget about it.
I love Train, but sometimes they can get a bit silly. Drops of Jupiter is the cd that sucked me in. I've seen them three times too, and give them a pass on whatever they want to do.
I guess I'd better call it a day right here. There's a lot more albums out there, I know. What did I fail to list? You don't have to leave a long comment. In fact, just list the album and I'll go find it or shake my head right along with you that I can't believe I forgot about it. Before I do, I'd better list The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd. This thing was on the Billboard top albums chart for 741 weeks!! That's from 1973 to 1988, people. It was the first cd I ever bought when I wanted to test just how fabulous my first cd player was compared to my old record player back in the day. Play it at night with headphones while laying in your darkened bedroom. It really is the only way. You don't need chemicals or booze. Just lay back and enjoy.
We'll talk soon.