Sunday, July 27, 2008

COMING FULL CIRCLE (AND LOVIN' THOSE EARLY SEVENTIES GUITAR RIFFS), AKA, MY LIFE IN MUSIC

Finishing this thing off, I present to you Part Three of My Lifetime In Music Meme. We've done Part I, and we've done Part II.

Funny how those three part things work.

Late in Part II, after 40 years in the desert, we arrived at the Golden Years (Part II) that I know as 1986-94, with the goldenist golden year of them all, 1991.
But by 1995, the music biz what it is and all, things started coming back to earth. Not that there weren't gonna be some outstanding releases. There were.

And, more importantly, in terms of the quality of music on this list, by the late 90s, the combination of a burgeoning career and a marriage meant that my music fanaticism was about to take a hit. But don't let me tell you that. See for yourself:

The Dark Years Don't Quite Return, But Let's Call 'Em The Shadowy Years:


1995: The Bends - Radiohead
Runners-up: Elastica - Elastica; Garbage - Garbage; (What's The Story) Morning Glory - Oasis; I Am An Electric Firecracker - Tripping Daisy

1996 (Tie): Odelay - Beck; Tigermilk - Belle & Sebastian
Runners-up: Call The Doctor - Sleater-Kinney; Tidal - Fiona Apple; From The Muddy Banks Of The Wishkah - Nirvana; If You're Feeling Sinister - Belle & Sebastian; Viva! La Woman - Cibo Matto

The "Mike Gets Old And Has No Idea What's Going On In Music" Years:

1997: OK, Computer - Radiohead

1998: In The Aeroplane Over The Sea - Neutral Milk Hotel
Runners-up: Whitecholcolatespaceegg - Liz Phair; Moon Safari - Air; The Boy With The Arab Strap - Belle & Sebastian

1999: Magnolia - Various Artists
Runner-up: 69 Love Songs - The Magnetic Fields; When The Pawn . . . - Fiona Apple

2000: All Hands On The Bad One - Sleater-Kinney
Runner-up: Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea - PJ Harvey; O Brother, Where Art Thou? - Various Artists

The "Mike Completely Loses Touch And Knows Nothing But Retro-ish Guitar Bands And A Random Brazilian Or Spaniard Here-Or-There" Years

2001: White Blood Cells - White Stripes
Runner-up: Is This It - The Strokes; Próxima Estación: Esperanza - Manu Chau

2002: Os Tribalistas - Tribalistas
Runner-up: A Rush Of Blood To The Head - Coldplay; One Beat - Sleater-Kinney

2003: Elephant - White Stripes
Runner-up: Youth & Young Manhood - Kings Of Leon; Get Born - Jet

2004: American Idiot - Green Day
Runner-up: Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand

2005: Wolfmother - Wolfmother
Runners-up: Extraordinary Machine - Fiona Apple; Sunlandic Twins - Of Montreal

2006: Broken Boy Soldiers - Raconteurs
Runner-up: Return To Cookie Mountain - TV On The Radio; Alright, Still - Lily Allen

2007: Sky Blue Sky - Wilco (Nice enough album, but this is really a default selection; not sure I know any other 2007 release well enough to judge. Well, maybe one and I'm not that crazy about it)
Runner-up: Icky Thump - White Stripes

2008: Consolers Of The Lonely - Raconteurs
This is the only 2008 album I have, so of course it's number one. I happen to like it though.

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7 Comments:

Blogger Smitty said...

Maybe I should finally get off the stick and check out the Raconteurs phenomenon?

Love this list. I thought Wolfmother was a blast...like an amped-up 70s hard rock band. They're Aussie, right? Some good rock coming from Down Under. I got turned on to a metal band called Parkway Drive. Great riffs.

9:30 AM  
Anonymous Applesaucer said...

Mike, thanks for doing these lists. The effort is appreciated!

Like I said yesterday, I agree with you in all significant ways on music, except for the '87-'95 period. I think there's a good possibility that I'll come around on bands like Sonic Youth and the Pixies (I actually have had the toughest time with Doolittle, believe it or not); however I don't see it happening with Teenage Fan Club, the Bends (the album, I mean), and Smashing Pumpkins. I'll throw Coldplay into the mix, as well.

Why? Because when I listen to it, what I hear mostly are mid-tempo, generic melodies hiding behind guitar walls of sound. Back then it was called "alternative;" and it reminds of today's "EMO." Scruffy, messy-haired pretty boys wailing on their guitars, but doing pretty placid stuff, at bottom.

But I don't come here to slag.

Here's my list:

1995
1. Portishead - Dummy. What, this came out in '94, you say? I know; I simply missed it going through the wiki entry. Oh, and as long as I'm correctin things, strike Van Halen's 5150 from the record, will ya?, as I just remembered that by the time I got to college I HATED that album.

On the subject of revisions, I realize that there's a lot of stuff I put here, left out, put in an order, etc. that I'd change after reflection, revision and re-consideration. But to ask for such things is to ask too much. Besides -- nobody asked!

2. Elastica - Elastica;
3. Garbage - Garbage. My scathing above-comment applies to Garbage, but I enjoyed their melodies and production more and, most importantly, Shirley Mansion's vocals...well I don't want to gross you out.

1996 -- This was a GREAT year for music, IMHO.
1. I agree -- tie between Odelay and Tigermilk;
2. Stereolab -- Emperor Tomato Ketchup;
3. Belle & Sebastian - If You're Feeling Sinister.
Honorable Mentions: Fiona Apple - Tidal; REM - New Adventures In High-Fi.

1997
1. Radiohead - OK Computer. THIS is where Radiohead transformed themselves from an Alternative Boy Band into artists;
2. Stereolab - Dots & Loops. Treat this as you would a dinner party jazz album.
3. Yo La Tango - I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One.
Honorable Mentions: Led Zeppelin -- BBC Sessions; Of Montreal -- Cherry Peel.

1998
1. Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over The Sea;
2. Air -- Moon Safari;
3. Belle & Sebastian - Boy With The Arab Strap.
Honorable Mentions: Beck - Mutations.

1999
1. Flaming Lips - The Soft Bulletin;
2. Magnetic Fields - 69 Love Songs;
3. Of Montreal - The Gay Parade.
Honorable Mentions: Wilco - Summerteeth; Fiona Apple; Beck - Midnight Vultures.

2000
1. Jimmy Page & The Black Crowes - Live At The Greek;
2. Radiohead - Kid A;
3. White Stripes - De Stijl.
Honorable Mentions: Belle & Sebastian - Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like A Peasant.

2001
1. The Strokes - Is This It. The Saviors of Rock 'n Roll! OK, it didn't turn out that way, but a really great album;
2. White Stripes - White Blood Cells;
3. Shins - Oh Inverted World.

2002 - An excellent year in what was an excellent, first half-decade.
1. Libertines - Up The Bracket. Too bad about these guys; they had talent. A must if you like The Strokes and The Arctic Monkeys;
2. Beck - Sea Change - Beck goes from doing goofy, interesting stuff to doing beautiful, interesting stuff;
3. Spoon - Kill The Moonlight. Maybe they're nobody's favorite band, but almost anyone who's heard them likes them.
Honorable Mentions: Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot; Flaming Lips - Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots; Of Montreal - Aldhils Arboretum.

2003
1. White Stripes - Elephant. Jack Whites' masterpiece, IMHO.
2. Belle & Sebastian - Dear Catastrophe Waitress -- B&S' "comeback" album, with some really slick production, for better and for worse;
3. Kings Of Leon -- Youth and Young Manhood.
Honorable Mentions: The Black keys - Thickfreakness (Mike, you would love these guys); Rooney - Rooney (a guilty pleasure); Shins - Chutes Too Narrow; The Strokes - Room On Fire (not much spunk here, though).

2004
1. Brian Wilson - SMiLe. A classic and you can get the original SMiLe sessions as a distinct playlist on iTunes.
2. Green Day - American Idiot;
3. Libertines - The Libertines (obviously slapped together, though).
Honorable Mentions - Keane - Hopes & Fears (very syrupy); Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand (a really good band, but something sterile about them, kind of like the Strokes' Room On Fire)

2005 - Another excellent year
1. Of Montreal - The Sunlandic Twins (carried by a handful of great songs);
2. Sufjan Stevens - Illinois. An astounding album that could easily be Number 1.
3. Spoon - Gimme Fiction;
Honorable Mentions - Many of these are actually Number 1 from time to time. Wolfmother; Beck - Guero; Hot Hot Heat - Elevator; White Stripes - Get Behind Me Satan (has really grown on me); Death Cab For Cutie - Plans; Michael Buble - It's Time.

2006 -- Another Great Year (and this is the end of the half-decade)
1. Lilly Allen - Alright, Still. what can I say? Fun, fun, fun.
2. The Fratellis - Costello Music. Another fun one.
3. The Strokes - First Impressions of Earth (why did they make this a nearly hour-long record? Cut it in half and you have a great album, with lots of cahones);
Honorable Mentions: 3. Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say... OK, not quite as great as I and others hyped them up to be. I admit it; Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers; Hot Chip - The Warning (a real departure for me; but something about these techno geeks catches my ear).

2007 - OK, a not-so-great year.
1. Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga;
2. Radiohead - In Rainbows;
3. None.
Honorable Mentions: Apples In Stereo - New Magnetic Wonder (for those who like highly produced Lennon-McCartney-Brian Wilson knock offs); Arctic Monkeys - Favourite Worst Nightmare; Grinderman - Grinderman; White Stripes - Icky Thump.

2008
1. Raconteurs - Consolers of the Lonely;
2. Portishead - Third;
3. Ting Tings - We Started Nothing - More fun.
Honorable Mentions: REM - Accelerate - Fun (have I used that word enough?), but almost like a tribute album to their commercial peak period (as if to write off the very early -- unfortunately -- and very late periods -- fortunately (for the most part)) -- nothing new here.

Many thanks, again!

Applesaucer

10:19 AM  
Blogger Otto Man said...

Nice work. And as long as you're into Sleater-Kinney, the old fogey label can never be applied.

12:23 PM  
Blogger George said...

Is it a good or bad sign that we most agree in the "Mike Gets Old And Has No Idea What's Going On In Music" Years? I am older than you, after all.

12:56 PM  
Anonymous wfta said...

Obviously one's musical tastes play next to no role in one's intellectual and social development.

The only thing on you last list (or possibly the last two) that I've heard is O Brother Where Art Thou, yet I consider you my internet pal and we do share an abiding love for the U.S. constitution.

Now if global warming has left us any surviving ice floes, I'll go set myself adrift. Ciao.

2:57 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Maybe I should finally get off the stick and check out the Raconteurs phenomenon?

Yes.

Wolfmother . . . They're Aussie, right?

Yes.

mid-tempo, generic melodies hiding behind guitar walls of sound

Exactly. And exactly what I like.

Radiohead - Kid A

I LOVE "Everything In It's Right Place." Unfortunately I don't think the rest of the album keeps up.

as you're into Sleater-Kinney

I really need to check out The Woods.

we most agree in the "Mike Gets Old And Has No Idea What's Going On In Music" Years?

We agree on the selections? Or that I had no idea what was going on?

musical tastes play next to no role in one's intellectual and social development

Exactly. My excellent musical taste and my awe-inspiring intellect developed independent of each other.

10:13 PM  
Blogger George said...

Oops, I meant the selections.

1:02 PM  

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