Sell me your favorite album.

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Andrew 'Ange Hamm' Hamm, Jan 30, 2002.

  1. Andrew 'Ange Hamm' Hamm

    Andrew 'Ange Hamm' Hamm Supporting Actor

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    I'm not talking about literally selling it for cash. I have noted that there are some really passionate music fans on this forum. (There are a lot of imbeciles, too, but that's bound to happen. I like that word: "imbecile.")

    We have a lot of guys who really dig jazz and speak very passionately about it. There are the Beatleheads who wisely discuss what makes Revolver a better album than Sgt. Pepper. We have the modern prog fans who dazzle us with names of bands I've never heard like Spock's Beard. (What a great name for a band: Spock's Beard.) We have a lot of modern rock fans. We have the complicated Crimheads. We even have a few musicians and songwriters.

    I have learned to listen closely to what some of you have to say (and to completely ignore a few). So here's what I want: Tell me about your favorite album and tell me why I should listen to it. It may not even be your favorite, just an album that you can really write passionately about, one that has merits so great that I owe it to myself to pick it up. One album only, please, and if all you can say is "it just rules," then post that somewhere else. You have to be passionate and observant enough to write at least a hundred words on the subject, preferably more.

    I'm going to post this starter before I start to write mine. Actually, I have to choose an album. Hell, I'm the thread starter, I can do as many albums as I want.
     
  2. Andrew 'Ange Hamm' Hamm

    Andrew 'Ange Hamm' Hamm Supporting Actor

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    Joe Jackson and Friends - Heaven and Hell
    Part pop, part classical, part experimental, part rock, Heaven and Hell is an album that will challenge your ideas and preconceptions about what music can be. Jackson's 1997 magnum opus focuses on the seven deadly sins with relentless lyrics, unsettling string arrangements, unusual percussion, and a brilliant ensemble of soloists (Joy Askew, Brad Roberts, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Jane Siberry, and Suzanne Vega).
    The musical styles range from the strings and bongos of the prelude (featuring Salerno-Sonnenberg's demonic bowing) to the driving rock-ish "Right" (anger is represented by a drum-bucket player recorded in Times Square), to the most haunting number of the lot, "Tuzla," which represents avarice in war profiteering. Jackson sings through a military walkie-talkie on this one; it's a great effect.
    My favorites are the last two songs: "The Bridge" is sung by the wonderful Jane Siberry, a tale of jealousy told from the perspective of an envied sister. The string arrangement is sweeping and beautiful, and Jackson's piano work is breathtaking in its melodic perfection. The last song is Joe and strings alone, "Song of Daedalus," the greatest sin of all: pride. It culminates in a plaintive, "Call me God!" which is apparently the last straw as it ends the song abruptly and brings in the Devil-violin from the introduction.
    Why should you listen to this? Because you've never heard anything like it before, and probably never will again. Because it will challenge your views of what songwriting is, and what sin is. Because rock is one of the only musical genres that criticizes its performers for maturing and growing up, and mature songwriting should be rewarded. Because it's so hard to describe that I'm finding it almost impossible to do so. Keep in mind, this is the guy who did "Steppin' Out" and "Is She Really Going Out With Him."
    This is not an easy one to find in stores any more, but Amazon.com should help you find a copy easily. Go get it. No fooling.
     
  3. Tim Hoover

    Tim Hoover Screenwriter

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    Well, to kick this thing off, I'll write about TWO albums.

    Bruce Springsteen's "Nebraska" - IMO, the most haunting album of the Boss's career. The sense of loneliness and desparation just crawls through the entire album. I love the fact that although the songs are often about violent emotions, the tone is a very somber and meditative detachment, which only lends more terror to the whole thing. It's as if a killer has entered your house and calmly stopped to examine the quality of your kitchen cabinets before attacking you. The sparse instrumentation and lo-fi recording only add to this. The album also deals with the idea that the sins of the father are passed on to the son. In this case, the son feels trapped by this, and thinks it is his destiny to succumb to these terrible things. The helplessness and apathy make it very pitiful and heartbreaking.

    Catherine Wheel's "Adam and Eve" - this is sadly out of print, although it may be CW's master work. The pervading theme seems to be that of a man who is so smitten by a woman that he blinds himself to her worse attributes and tries to do anything to be with her. Erotic and sad at the same time, the central character knows he should stay away from this person, and yet desires her more than anything. It also has references to unattainable love, like the pinup queen who you are madly in love with but will never get to meet. By the end, the narrator realizes that his perfect ideal can never come true, and it leaves him with a crushing heartache.
     
  4. Andrew 'Ange Hamm' Hamm

    Andrew 'Ange Hamm' Hamm Supporting Actor

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  5. Tim Hoover

    Tim Hoover Screenwriter

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    Believe me, my life IS Southern fiction [​IMG]
     
  6. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Wow, cool thread!
    Charles Mingus- Blues and Roots
    I have never heard the culture of jazz, the spirit of American music, and the yearning of a tortured soul expressed so elegantly, so brutally, so passionatley, and with such curiously self-deprecating humor as in Charles Mingus' Blues and Roots.
    Mingus made a name for himself playing experimental, intricate jazz music. Critics accused him of not being a good blues player (bass) and not being true to his roots. Reading these criticism was one of the things that made me hate critics. In everything Mingus did, there was always soul, always a fierce passion, and deep spiritual connection to gospel and blues. Here, he digs deep and cuts straight to the core.
    The album begins with Wednesday Night Prayer meeting, a rollicking, powerfully uplifting song. Mingus' superhumanly powerful bass line drives the other musicians like a tow truck hauling away a Honda. As throughout the album, Mingus can be heard playing anything from dominating blues walks, sparse statements, and his trademark sliding that has to be heard to be believed. Various breaks in the tune involve shouting and hand claps. Mingus cannot contain himself as the music flows through him and his partners, and neither can this listener. It captures the spirit of a revival church session without any words. Go ahead, I dare you to listen without clapping or shouting, "Amen, brother!" It sure works on this Jewish white-boy atheist.
    Cryin' Blues is a necessary respite from the furvor of the last track. Any question as to Mingus' sincerity for the blues is destroyed here.
    Moanin' and Tensions find Mingus and his band playing his legendary blend of mind-boggling experimentation on top of soul-jazz. Listen to musicians look back and forward at the same time. In Tensions, one hears the tensions of a man who doesn't belong, a man wrestling with his passions and demons- all without a single word uttered.
    Think you've heard it all? Enter the next track: My Jelly Roll Soul. A tribute to the legendary New Orleans pianist Jelly Roll Mortin, the song's theme is both a loving admiration and gentle mocking of the music of his artistic ancestors. In a simple melody, he accurately sums up how a modern listener may listen to Louis Armstrong or Sidney Bachet- admiration for their pioneering work, but not an intimate connection with a music from another time. Mingus brings the playful qualities of old up to date in his unique, visionary style. End result: the most fun track on the album. You don't need to have heard Jelly Roll to get what Mingus is doing- you've all heard that kind of thing in movies and whatnot. The feeling is recognisable to all listeners.
    E's Flat Ah's Flat Too sums up the entire album in a closing fit of anarchic, passionate mayhem.
    Ken Burns didn't need to make a 14 hour documentary on jazz. He could have just listened to his album.
    Throughout the album, the contrasts of discipline and mayhem, traditionalism and experimentation, and soul and intellect make for an engaging, entertaining, and even spiritual listen.
     
  7. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    I've read nothing but good things about "Nebraska", it's an album I'm intrigued by, though I'm not a Boss fan.
     
  8. Andrew 'Ange Hamm' Hamm

    Andrew 'Ange Hamm' Hamm Supporting Actor

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    I'm in with Phil on Nebraska. Never heard the album, but I've also never heard anything bad about it.
     
  9. Greg_Y

    Greg_Y Screenwriter

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    Nebraska is an album that even those of you who don't like The Boss might be into. It's much different from his bar-band rockers. As Tim described so well, it's sparse and somber, but it is full of hope, even if some of that hope is misplaced. The song "Mansion on the Hill" illustrates this point, and it, along with "The Line" from Springsteen's The Ghost of Tom Joad, can bring me close to tears when I invest myself in a good listen. No other songs have this effect on my usually. Also, Nebraska was chosen as the 2nd most depressing album of all time a few years back in a British poll*. That's gotta mean something, right? [​IMG]
    Bob Dylan - Blood on the Tracks
    I wouldn't say this is my favorite album, as I'm a different person on different days with differest tastes and emotions, but this would certainly be a desert island disc. An album about love. It's as simple and complicated as that. Much of the album is filled with the contradictions of love that we all experience. From "Buckets of Rain":
     
  10. Brian Bunn

    Brian Bunn Second Unit

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    I don't know about you guys but the most enjoyable musical experience for me is when I find an album from a little known band or artist that just blows me away upon first listen; that can actually send shivers up my spine with the sounds coming out of my speakers. The fact that hardly anyone else even knows about this wonderful little band or performer only magnifies the excitement.
    Back in 1999 I discovered a (very) little known band called Cherry Twister that depicts just such a phenomenon as described above. The album is At Home With Cherry Twister and it was and still is one of the best albums I have EVER heard. I realize that is saying a lot. I have listened to A LOT of albums in my time. But still, At Home With Cherry Twister rates right up there among the best.
    How do I describe the Cherry Twister sound. Hmmmmmm. Well, four words immediately pop into my mind: CATCHY AS HELL POP! Kind of a mix between power pop and retro pop, with enough hooks to supply a tackle store for life! If you are at all interested in hearing catchy little pop/rock ditties then you really can't help but like At Home With Cherry Twister. They harken back to the pop sound of the 60's and 70's, yet the sound is as fresh as anything you will hear today. And there is not a mediocre tune in the 16 tracks. Well, maybe one, "American Nightlife", which is not really a song but just a 50 second musical interlude of sorts. But the rest ranks right up there with the best pop/rock tunes I have ever heard.
    The creative force that makes Cherry Twister go is Steve Ward. I have written about him here before, hyping his just as equally outstanding and chill inducing solo album from 2000, "Opening Night". He is a man with an impeccable ability to write catchy as all get out pop tunes. And as of yet he records and produces these magnificent pop/rock gems from his home recording studio in Lancaster, PA. Man, what I would give for that kind of incredible talent! I just love the guys music! And it needs to be heard by many more people than is currently hearing these glorious sounds.
    What else can I say about Cherry Twister to maybe encourage a few here at the ole HTF to pick up this wonderful, obscenely overlooked album? Well, I'm not sure. I have tried here before but with little success/response. But if you like toe-tapping, catchy, melodic pop/rock tunes with heavenly vocal harmonies and hooks galore that is guaranteed to bring chills up your spine and a smile to your face, then by all means pick up a copy. And while you're at it go ahead and get Steve Ward's solo album. Trust me...if you are at all interested in the type of music described above you will be one happy music listening camper.
    Cherry Twister, and Steve Ward, is a breath of fresh air (pardon the cliche!) in the mostly stale musical landscape of today, covered up by all the mediocre, teeny bopper stuff that is forced on most of the music listening public these days, sheilding them from the delights of bands like Cherry Twister. But once the sounds of Cherry Twister/Steve Ward are uncovered it releases that fresh air and absolutely reinvigorates your zest for music again. I simply cannot make a better musical recommendation than this.
    The album is available at http://www.Amazon.com or from the Cherry Twister/Steve Ward web site (link below). Check out the small number of reviews at Amazon.com for more great words of praise from others who have found this wonderful album (including my own), and also check out Steve Ward's "Opening Night" on Amazom.com, with only two reviews (a crying shame!), one from me and one from my internet music buddy Mike, whom I led to the Cherry Twister light a year or so ago.
    Check out the Cherry Twister/Steve Ward web site
    http://www.steveward.org
    for more info and sound clips from the albums.
    Do it! Get it!
     
  11. Camp

    Camp Cinematographer

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    London Calling
    Listen to it.
    I'm not much of a salesman. [​IMG]
     
  12. Greg_Y

    Greg_Y Screenwriter

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  13. Brian Bunn

    Brian Bunn Second Unit

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    Greg--I thought you did a pretty darn good job! If it weren't for the fact that I have possesion of and have heard the albums you were "selling", I would have been inclined to run out and get 'em!
    Which, come to think of it, only goes to show you even more just how much I love At Home With Cherry Twister. If I can rank it right up there with an album like Blood On The Tracks then, well, enough said. [​IMG]
    (I am determined to "sell" this record until I get someone to bite!)
     
  14. Brian Bunn

    Brian Bunn Second Unit

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    By the way, Andrew, this is one of the best ideas for a thread on the HTF that I have come across in the 2 1/2 years I have been lurking around here! I hope that it gets many responses as I am very interested in reading of others selling some of there favorite albums.

    Thanks.
     
  15. Tim Hoover

    Tim Hoover Screenwriter

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    If you guys dig Nebraska, then I would also recommend anything by Mark Lanegan. Lanegan is better known as the singer for the Screaming Trees, a pretty damned good psychedelic rock band. However, his solo output changes all that. He does the creepiest acoustic music I have ever listened to. I would start with Scraps At Midnight which was his third solo disc. Recorded when Lanegan was in the midst of cleaning up an absolutely staggering drug and alcohol addiction, the album is filled with the guilt of a man who has seen and done just about every bad thing imaginable. It's not a complete downer, though. Through the songs, Lanegan lets on that though his life may have beaten him down, it hasn't broken him, and there's a hard-fought optimism on it. But all this philosophy just gets in the way of the best part: the music. Lanegan's voice is very deep and full. The phrase "whiskey-voiced" seems to have been coined for this guy. He's got the kind of rough, gravelly voice that bluesmen would kill for. The instrumentation perfectly suits it, too. The album is full of plaintive guitars that howl their loneliness, and other creepy sounds of the night. The final song, "Because Of This," is the standout. Over a long, slow-burning jam (8+ minutes) Lanegan goes from whisper-quiet to furious screams that make every hair on the back of your neck stand up. The band follow suit, matching the song's rise and fall and piercing it with shreiking guitars and exploding percussion. Overall, one of the most underlooked albums, and performers, of the past decade.
    Lanegan's new album, Field Songs , is also very good but somewhat different. If you follow the man closely, you'll know that he's been clean for a few years now and reentered what he terms "polite society." The album still has the regret of his previous works, but it is now tempered with a soft sorrowfulness. It's as if you have come to grips with losing a lover or close family member. No longer are you raging mad and bitter, but rather just sad and at the same time hopeful about the future. Strong stuff!
    Sorry for the long posts, but it's rare that I can talk about music that I feel is extraordinary. Even stranger is the fact that I'm a musician. Most musicians want to talk about amps and cymbals and such, and not about the music that has affected their lives so much! Hopefully, more musicians will realize that great art is about the soul you pour into it, and not about which amp simulator is more realistic. That said, I like Line 6's gear [​IMG]
     
  16. Andrew 'Ange Hamm' Hamm

    Andrew 'Ange Hamm' Hamm Supporting Actor

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    I just got a new crash cymbal yesterday. It's awesome. Does that count as tech talk?
    I'm not so sure this thread is such a great idea. Along with the Dream Theater thread that's focusing on Spock's Beard, it's going to bankrupt me. Here comes my second contribution.
    Sam Phillips - Fan Dance
    Like Heaven and Hell, this is an album that I recognized the uniqueness of at first listen. Phillips has been one of my favorite songwriters for years, stretching from the girl-group-pop of The Indescribable Wow to the Lennon-influenced Cruel Inventions and Martinis and Bikinis. Her last full album took me a while longer to digest; Omnipop (It's Only A Flesh Wound Lambchop) is a dense, aggresive acid-pop song cycle with as much noise as music sometimes.
    When Zero Zero Zero, her singles compilation, came out a couple years ago, I was pretty perplexed by the handful of new songs on it. The arrangements were sparse, even harsh, with odd distorted percussion and strange-sounding instruments. I couldn't see how it fit in with the sweet, melodic songwriting I had gotten used to from her. With 2001's Fan Dance, it all fell into place.
    Produced as usual by Phillips' husband, heavyweight T-Bone Burnett, Fan Dance is an unusual listening experience to say the least. The instrumentation for a song might be acoustic guitar only, or piano and banjo, or a pop combo; you never know what's coming next. What fills the album consistently are two things: Phillips' unbelievable melodies, which seem to be plucked out of thin air, and her mysterious, evocative lyrics.
    The melodies are what grab you; it's like she's making them up as she goes along, but when the phrase is finished you realize that this was the only possible way the song could have gone. The sparseness of the arrangement, her unbelievably sexy voice, and the fact that her vocals have little or no effects on them all contribute to draw more attention to the melodies and structure of the song, which is wonderful with a genius like Phillips writing. At the end of each song, I can't wait for the next one to begin.
    After you've been grabbed, her lyrics sink their claws in:
     
  17. Carlos Mendoza

    Carlos Mendoza Stunt Coordinator

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    I really love the self titled release from Pushmonkey. It's hard rock, and I think every song on this album is spectacular, especially "Limitless" and "No Dumb Wrong".

    Take a look at Amazon.com and read some of the reviews. They do a much better job at describing it than I could ever do.

    It's really cool to hear a trumpet in a hard rock band, too. (not every song)

    And if you ever get the chance to check them out live, do not miss it!
     
  18. Brian Bunn

    Brian Bunn Second Unit

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    Andrew--I also am a big fan of Sam Phillips, but have not yet picked up Fan Dance. You best believe I will now! I have most of her albums, except Omnipop, Zero Zero Zero, and 1987's The Turning (released under her given name Leslie Phillips). My favorite is Cruel Inventions.

    You sold me! I will pick up Fan Dance this afternoon.

    From reading your posts in the music section you seem to be a big fan of some of the Christian pop/rock stuff. Ever heard of The Choir? They have been around since the mid/late '80's. They're latest album is Flap Your Wings and is very good. Also check out the album Chase The Kangaroo. They will be hard to find but if interested I can point you in the right direction.

    Check out The Elms too. The album is Big Surprise and it is seriously good.
     
  19. kevin_tomb

    kevin_tomb Stunt Coordinator

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    VAN MORRISON:ASTRAL WEEKS... Got this album about 15 years ago by recomendation of a rolling stone record guide. Of all the things I owned at that time ASTRAL WEEKS is one of the few that still hits. As anyone knows who has listened to this album, its very hard to catergorize....VERY HARD. This alone makes it very interesting cause you can just listen over and over and it never gets old. Van the man combines Jazz, folk, spiritual, Irish and Soul in a way that NOONE has ever come close to duplicating. I rank this album up there with any of the beatles stuff, so you can rest assured its awesome. Astral WEEKS makes you feel like youve gone on some kind of journey of the spirit or something similar, like I said hard to describe......
     
  20. Ray R

    Ray R Stunt Coordinator

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    The Clash - Sandinista is an album I never get tired of. Forget everything you know about the Clash. It really doesn't apply to this album. Although several traditional Clash style songs are on this two disc effort, most of it is the band experimenting.
    The first two songs are in the standard Clash style, but the third track, Junco Partner, makes an abrupt left turn with a broken down calliope and violin sound. Ever heard a war song sung to the tune of a waltz? That's what you get with the track Rebel Waltz. That track is followed by Look Here which is a great jazz song. The stand up bass just walks along through the whole song.
    Another left turn with The Crooked Beat. The Clash have played around with raggie on several albums and on this one they offer a song called One More Time. Another interesting song is Let's Go Crazy. Not a raggie song, but it has an island kind of sound. Disc 1 finishes with what else, a gospel type song.
    Disc 2 has several rearrangements of songs from the first disc plus other very cool songs. If you watched the MTV New Years Eve show, you heard Sub 41 playing the first track on disc 2 called Police On My Back. Another one of my favorites on this album is Charlie Don't Surf.
    If I've peaked your interest enough to purchase this disc, buy the remaster. It is much cleaner.
     

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