Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Sting - Mercury Falling - Disc Two - 1996

My best friend got Sting's Mercury Falling as a Christmas gift for my wife and I on our first Christmas.  My wife and I had been married about 6 months, and he was still struggling through medical school, so he was pretty much broke.  We appreciated that he got this for us.

Unfortunately, this was probably my least favorite Sting album for a long, long time.  I was very disappointed when it came out, after his three previous gems.  To me, this was adult contemporary elevator music.  And, in 1996, the music scene was going wild with Electronica, Britrock, American Alternative, and I'm sure some other genres that I didn't care too much about.  All I'm saying is that the music choices at that time were broad and all extremely good, Especially for someone in their mid to late 20s.  So, to decide to listen to this....  well, it wasn't high up on my list.

His Brand New Day album really changed things for him, and for me, and my wife and I saw him the summer of 2000 for that glorious tour.  The best show we saw that summer, beating out both Duran2 and Cure.  In fact, sweaty Simon and Fat Bob could hold a torch to him.  (And, Simon really was sweating through his t-shirt, leaving dark sweat marks in his pits and on his belly.  Gross.)

Having changed my thoughts on Sting after Brand New Day, I went back and gave Mercury Falling another shot.  Yes, the album isn't the most exciting one out there.  But, it is sincere, well-written, performed gracefully and succinctly, and showed Sting's growth and maturity.  The song hooks were subtle yet lasting, the mood was one of happiness and sadness, but ultimately human.

I was going to do the original album with the extra tracks, but it just worked out better to do everything BUT the album, so a disc two to be precise.  Just line this disc up beside/behind the original, and now you have everything.

Yes, this may not have been one of Sting's best ones.  But, it's still better than most out there, and still a necessity for any Sting collection.  He's not just Fields of Gold....

Friday, August 11, 2017

Orchestral Manoeuvres In the Dark - Architecture & Morality - 1981

 
I've been looking forward to posting this one for quite some time.  This album is quintessential OMD.  This is OMD at their most creative.  When I think of OMD, this is the album that I go to.

I've mentioned previously that If You Leave and The Pacific Age were essential listening for my Freshman and Sophomore years in High School.  This one didn't come until my Freshman year in college, and that was only because I was horribly disappointed with Sugar Tax and needed to purchase something new (to me) and different by OMD.  Sugar Tax had resparked my interest in them, and I went on a hunt after being let down by such a lousy album.

Needless to say, this album did not let me down.

SO.....

When they re-released this album back in....  2003 (?) I noticed right off the bat that their "Deluxe Version" had left off a few key points.  After years of listening and research and collecting, I realized that there was more than enough material to make two discs worth, well more than they had released on the Deluxe.  Add on to that, you had that delicious Dreamtime mix of Maid of Orleans, and then that Deno mix which isn't that bad.  So, had to gather it all up together, and put my deluxe stamp on it.  I'm not sure about the color of my version, as every version seems to change color anyway, but I held true to the design.  And, as for the bonus disc, I used some 7" sleeve graphics that are fan made and were never actually released.  Still looks pretty damn good.

Again, I'm 99% certain I have everything there, but let me know if you find something I missed.....


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Miles Kane - Don't Forget Who You Are - 2013

By the time this posts and you read it, I will be two days into my next week on the road.  I finally figured out how to schedule out the posts, that way they are available on the days I promised without being here.

Miles Kane is an anomaly to me.  Here is a young British gent with talent galore yet he's writing and singing pop songs that sound as if they were from the sixties.  It's mind blowing.  Every track sounds as if it was written more than 50 years ago, with it's upbeat, bubblegum sound, yet it still captures that flare of modern Brit Rock that I find so attractive.  He started out in 2007 with the Little Flames, then the Rascals, and then the Last Shadow Puppets with Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys.  His solo releases have been spectacular and well written.  They have that perfect 3-chord magic of the sixties and very simple melodies.  And it still sound fresh and relevant.  Really incredible material. 

I have all the b-sides, some instrumentals, and even a song working with Professor Green (which is interesting unto itself.)  The cover is a better representation of his handsomeness, as the original cover makes him look sort of ugly.  He's a great guy, and someone to pay attention to in the future!!!!

I'll see you on Friday....

Part One          Part Two

Friday, August 4, 2017

Beastie Boys - Licensed To Ill - 1986

I truly have to admit that I didn't get into this album enough to actually purchase it until after I moved from Chicago to Nebraska.  In Chicago, with such a wide variety of styles and cultures, I was able to explore many different genres of music unfettered and choose the ones that I liked most, and find like-minded people with whom to associate.  That's why I settled in firmly to Post Punk.  But, once I moved to Nebraska in 1988, I was faced with a dramatically different scenario.  In Nebraska in the late 80s you were only allowed to listen to four different genres of music - Classic Rock, Hair bands/Glam Rock, Country or Rap.  That was it.  If you listened to anything else, you were ostracized and sent to the wood shed.  There was no tolerance or yielding at all.  Those very few that I knew who liked the music that I did kept it very hush-hush, like we were living in Nazi Germany hiding from the SS.

So, if I went out with the guys in Nebraska to cruise the local strip, I was forced to listen to these genres repeatedly.  Now, I don't have a problem with any of those genres...  well, yes, I do.  I hate Rap and Country.  So, it wasn't all that fun.

When one of the guys put this album on, I rolled my eyes and tolerated it silently, as I didn't want to rock the boat.  I was new in town, and I was trying to find new friends, and the last thing I wanted to do was be overbearing about what music we listened to, especially when all the rest of the guys loved it.

Over the course of the next year, year and a half, I heard this album about 25-30 times.  And it grew on me.  Really grew.  I started to truly enjoy it, despite it's sexist overtones and drug references.  Not that I condoned that sort of talk or behavior (even though today's Rap music - dominated by truly liberal or left-thinking people - is chock full of sexism and drug reference.  They treat women like dogs and exploit them horrendously.  I don't know why Democrats/Leftists/Liberals tolerate it.  Heaven's to Betsy if I talk about my faith in Jesus it's a mortal sin)

This album really sees the boys starting off at their best and at their worst simultaneously.  They are raw, inexperienced and performing without thought or consideration.  They were all about the parties and the girls and the Brass Monkey.

But, this album opened up a new aspect of music that previously had been relegated to niche stations and not at all mainstream.  It explored the newly developing Rap genre in ways that hadn't been done so far.  And I feel it led to a different, more substantial take on the controversial genre.

From here on out, the Boys would only get better.  Each album progressively found them breaking new territory and sound.  It's just hard to believe they started like this.

I added their first mainstream single, some bonus cuts, and all of the remixes (I think).  And it still comes in under 80 minutes!  One disc!

Last but not least, this is one of my favorite and most iconic album covers that I know of.  Even when I didn't care for these guys, I still loved the cover and it was instantly recognizable.  It's difficult to find a good scan of it on the internet, though.  Hopefully this one meets your standards.

SO, it's Friday night.  Load this on your music format of choice and go out for a drive shortly after sunset.  Turn it up, and have a little fun like you did when you were young.....


This last week has been a week from hell for me.  I had my wife's car break down in Oklahoma City, my car got hit in OKC while I was there trying to help my wife (completely ripped off the back bumper) and the driver speeds off before the cops can get there.  Then, when we finally get back home, two days later, I find that my dog's health had declined so much that we had to take her in to get put down.  And the washer broke.  I mean, my wife still is out of work, so we are operating on half of an income, and we have to dump almost 2K in four days on shit that we weren't expecting.  What the hell am I supposed to do?!  Fortunately, we both have families that are always there to help, and they gave us some assistance, but it didn't cover everything.  So, we are still in the red and trying to find a way to make it back up.  Anyone got an extra 10 large laying around, feel free to send it my way....