Nightman Listens To – REM – Life’s Rich Pageant (Top 1000 Albums Series)

When I started writing this series of Listens To! posts, my idea was to:

A: Listen to the tonnes of albums I have acquired over the years that I hadn’t bothered to actually listen to yet and give my thoughts as I listened for the first time.

B: Catch up on those artists that I was aware of/liked certain songs by, but whose albums I had never listened to in their entirety.

C: Potentially get some new favourites based off what I heard or by recommendations from my billions of readers.

D: Because there are a tonne of albums which always appear on best of lists which I have never heard.

As a musician, music fan, and human with working ears, I feel that I should give these a go. To get some focus, I decided to go to 2000 Edition of ‘Colin Larkin’s All Time Top 1000 Albums’ because it looks fairly comprehensive (and there are a few extra sections listing top 100 albums by genre which cover selections left out of the main 1000 which I will also try to cover).

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Greetings, Glancers! In today’s edition of Nightman Listens, I, Senor Carlos Nightman, listen to an album by indie, enviro-weirdos REM. REM always pop up on best album lists and they are generally spoken of by bands and artists I like. I’ve never felt a desire to listen to them much beyond the few singles I’ve heard, and although a few friends rate them very highly, most of the people I know who are big fans, are dicks. It’s time for me to learn a bit more abound them and decide for myself, and the best way to do that is to have a gander at one of their albums.

What I Know About REM: For a while in the mid nineties, REM were one of the biggest bands on the planet. They were around long before then, and have been around since. Michael Stipe is the lead singer and both his face and voice annoy me. They are a little too preachy and whiny for my liking, but they have made a number of songs that I’ve enjoyed. I admit I know very little of their catalogue as a whole, and have only heard one complete album – Automatic For The People – it’s good, but not as amazing as people like to say. That should do it.

What I Know About Life’s Rich Pagaent: It’s an album by REM. Looking down the track list I don’t recognise any of the names.

Begin The Begin: Riff. Strangled chords. Annoying Stipe voice. Fine melodies. Everything a little tinny or plain. Growing. Hiccups. Birdy. More music. End.

These Days: Fast. Sounds like The Bangles. Annoying Stipe voice. Nice drums. Annoying Stipe howl. Again okay melodies, but nothing grabbing, nothing emotional, nothing memorable. Attempt at a solo. Back around for repeat. End.

Fall On Me: Softer and acoustic mix. Lower vocals. Attempts at emotion. Failed attempts. Ok chorus, but nothing great. The best moment was the opening 8 or so seconds. Decent middle section, but too light. Sounds like faux hippy happy balls.

Cuyahoga: Decent opening. Ruined by appearance of boring drums, usual guitar, and annoying Stipe voice. Crappy idealistic lyrics. Bell. Bored already. Same melodies churned out on each song so far. Decent middle section. More whining.

Hyena: Laughter. Smiths-esque pacing. These drums are horrendous. Stipe howls. Jangling guitars. This is probably the least interesting, least inspired album I’ve listened to so far in this Top 1000 run through. I just feel into a mini-coma during one of the verses, then yawned and re-emerged for the final chorus.

Underneath The Bunker: Nice rip off riff. Is this an instrumental? The guitar isn’t great, there are quite a few notes which don’t quite connect. Voice. End.

The Flowers Of Guatemala: Nice intro, but oh so twee. Sounds like a One Direction ballad. Not long before Stipe’s howls come along. One trick Stipe. How much more of this crap is there? Ok, very basic solo. I get the simple solo thing, I do, but here it sounds like people who can’t play their instruments thinking they’re amazing.

I Believe: Banjo. Finally, someone can play. And replaced with more Smiths licks. Same old tempo, same old melodies, same old drums. Come on, raise the bar. Give me a hook. No no, not a howl Stipe. Jeebus. More dodgy lyrics culled from other places. It’s isn’t clever. France. To be fair, I can’t say that any of the songs have been bad, but I certainly can say that every one sounds like a copy and paste of the one before, and that none stands out. It’s as coherent as a blood spill.

What If We Give It Away: Drums. The Drums, as Brando once said. Moaning about money. What if you did give it away? Another howl. You know, if they changed the tone of the guitar, changed the drums completely, and replaced Michael Stipe with a singer, some of these songs might be good. This is what we have though. Another middle section which is better than the rest of the song. YAWNING.

Just A Touch: Shit, I was doing something else and didn’t realise this had started. Faster, drums finally better. There’s about 1% of Nirvana in the chorus. Organs and by God more murderous howling from Stipe. Who the fuck handed this eejit a microphone? Someone needs to Delorean that shit. I give up. Even when it’s different it’s the same. Is this them thinking they are being heavy? I’ve taken heavier dumps.

Swan Swan H: A little different, but the same effing melodies and Stipe balls.

Superman: Bla bla bla.

Colin Larkin’s Ranking: 162/1000

What I Learned: Not a lot. 80s REM sounds an awful lot like 90s REM, and Stipe’s voice is still as annoying as a wasp behind your eye.

Does It Deserve Its Place In The Top 1000 Albums Of All Time: Absolutely not. There is, for me, nothing original, nor anything memorable here. It sounds like a thousand other half-assed soft rock albums. Out of the few albums I’ve virginally listened to from Larkin’s list, this is the weakest, and to think it appears at number 162 (and that there are 3 REM albums higher on the list) is a shocker. Does this hold some cultural significance? I can’t think of any reason why this should be included in any Best lists. And I am right.

Let me know in the comments why you think I’m wrong and why this does deserve a place in the Top 1000 albums of all time. Is it one of your favourites? What happened to you to make you say such things?

Nightman Listens To – Blur – Blur (Top 1000 Albums Series)

When I started writing this series of Listens To! posts, my idea was to: A: Listen to the tonnes of albums I have acquired over the years that I hadn’t bothered to actually listen to yet and give my thoughts as I listened for the first time. B: Catch up on those artists that I was aware of/liked certain songs by, but whose albums I had never listened to in their entirety. C: Potentially get some new favourites based off what I heard or by recommendations from my billions of readers. D: Because there are a tonne of albums which always appear on best of lists which I have never heard. As a musician, music fan, and human with working ears, I feel that I should give these a go. To get some focus, I decided to go to 2000 Edition of ‘Colin Larkin’s All Time Top 1000 Albums’ because it looks fairly comprehensive (and there are a few extra sections listing top 100 albums by genre which cover selections left out of the main 1000 which I will also try to cover).

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Greetings, glancers. Today we return to Colin Larkin’s Top 1000 albums and our first Blur entry. I’m hopeful that I’ll enjoy this one as by and large I’ve liked what I’ve heard over the years from Blur and they are a pretty large missing piece from my musical knowledge, outside of their biggest songs. I just hope the accents don’t annoy me.

What I Know About Blur (Band): Britpop darlings, massively successful, one half of the infamous Oasis versus Blur Civil War in the 90s, built around Coxon, James, Albarn, and probably another one. I know most of their singles pretty well, but I’ve never owned or heard any of their albums in full. I was always on the Oasis side of the argument. Something about Blur in the early days seemed too cheery, too happy and silly, and Damon’s face and singing style/voice annoyed me. Later songs I enjoyed more and the band grew on me, but still I never actually went back to listen to any albums.

What I Know About Blur (Album): Nothing, I wasn’t even aware they had a self-titled album. I would have assumed this was their debut, until I saw that it wasn’t. Looking down the track list I recognise, and like, two of the songs, but aside from that I don’t know anything else about the album.

Beetlebum: Has a short scratchy intro before the famous distorted riff comes in. The vocals and melodies have a Beatles feel, a drowsy post-grunge appeal with an exuberant melancholy pop chorus. I’ve always liked this one.

Song 2: This one everyone knows. I remember mocking and appreciating the Smells Like Teen Spirit stylings of the song when it was first released, and the song has continued to hold worldwide popularity, always popping up some movie or TV show. Good start to the album, but that’s the two songs I recognise out of the way.

Country Sad Ballad Man: Another scratchy opening. Twangs and drums. Eventual tune. Distant vocals. Weirdo vocals. More droopy, sleepy vibes. Interesting enough. Solo with unrelated string bending. Alien noises. Explosion. Wasp trapped in an eye socket. Flipping a pancake into a toilet.

MOR: Nice guitars. Building. Bowie vocals. Chorus. It’s certainly loud and bouncy. The vocals and singing accent don’t do it for me. Chorus is okay, I’d say after a few listens of this this would either completely piss me off or finally click with me, not sure which but I’m veering towards being pissed off.

On Your Own: Spaceman intro. WipEout. Robots eating and crapping guitars. More Bowie vocals. ‘Ooooh-ooooh’ harmonies. It’s all a bit too drunken and chanty for my liking, one to sway about to with ‘the lads’ as you fall out of ‘the’ pub. ”.

Theme From Retro: Throb in. Drums. Circus funeral. Ghosts bobbing for apples. This is just one big Bowie wank fest, innit?

You’re So Great: Better start. Basic stuff at a pleasing tempo. Vocals not quite right of course. Nice bonus guitar. Rinse and repeat.

Death Of A Party: More distortion and organ mishaps. Okay verses, more drowsiness. Chorus is better but misses a trick by not going on for another few moments, another line and another progression from ‘gently on the shelf’. It goes on for another verse, then goes on a bit more, then stops.

Chinese Bombs: Faster guitars. Drum disaster. Clearly a joke song, but it’s better than most of their serious ones on this album.

I’m Just A Killer For Your Love: Funk. Drum mess. Scratchy guitars, why not. More drowsy verses and chorus. Getting sleepy. More noises for the second half of the song. Sounds like a bunch of knobs let loose in a studio for a few hours with no idea what they’re doing.

Look Inside America: Another acoustic start. Big vocals. Strings bonus. Rest of band appears. Bowie chorus. Can’t shake off those drowsy tones and melodies. There are a few good moments here, but outweighed by the guff. Surprise harp and guitar ending. Because we haven’t had a song with a harp on it yet.

Strange news From Another Star: Continuing the loose tonal theme. Change to acoustic, much better. Good verses, lets hope it doesn’t get thrown away. Much better chorus, still drowsy, still Bowie, but keeps the best moments of both. Easily the best song since the 2nd track. Even gets the ending right.

Movin On: Good intro. Jaunty riffs. Fun enough, doesn’t go anywhere but not too offensive. Comedy ending.

Essex Dogs: Apparently this includes ‘Interlude’. That should be good. Throbbing. Tin cans. Like an old Spectrum racing game. Words. Is it about Essex? I’ve no idea, but I know I never want to go there. Guitars and lasers. More words. Distant singing and bass. Robot orgy. Bits and pieces. It’s fine, works well as an experimental piece. Here come Interlude. It’s okay too, repeating the same weirdo sounds.

Colin Larkin’s Ranking: 271/1000

What I Learned: That the first Blur album I listened to contained far fewer pop and commercial songs than I was expecting. That singing in your speaking accent will always annoy me, especially when it’s wanky posh English. That Blur tried to experiment and, well, failed.

Does It Deserve A Place In The Top 1000 Albums Of All Time: Not in my opinion, no. I understand now, after reading some of the album’s wiki page that this was a departure for the band in almost all departments. It seems like a strained attempt at a magnum opus, of being something they were not, or at least had not been. They tried, but it doesn’t work for me. There are maybe three or four songs here I’d gladly hear again, with another one or two being passable, but the rest is pretension by a group who don’t appear to have the skills to be pretentious.

Is this your favourite album? Do you think it deserves a place in the Top 1000 Albums of all time? Let us know in the comments!

Nightman Listens To – Tracy Chapman – Tracy Chapman! (Top 1000 Series)

When I started writing this series of Listens To! posts, my idea was to:

A: Listen to the tonnes of albums I have acquired over the years that I hadn’t bothered to actually listen to yet and give my thoughts as I listened for the first time.

B: Catch up on those artists that I was aware of/liked certain songs by, but whose albums I had never listened to in their entirety.

C: Potentially get some new favourites based off what I heard or by recommendations from my billions of readers.

D: Because there are a tonne of albums which always appear on best of lists which I have never heard. As a musician, music fan, and human with working ears, I feel that I should give these a go.

To get some focus, I decided to go to 2000 Edition of ‘Colin Larkin’s All Time Top 1000 Albums’ because it looks fairly comprehensive (and there are a few extra sections listing top 100 albums by genre which cover selections left out of the main 1000 which I will also try to cover).

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Greetings, Glancers! It’s time for another round of ‘point at the idiot’ as I wrap my ears around an album that I’ve never heard. Today, it’s the turn of Tracy Chapman to prove that she is worthy of a place amongst the greats. Colin Larkin seems to think she is, but as I’ve never met the dude I’m going to decide for myself, so Tracy, do your best – and if yo best ain’t good enuff, then do your worst.

What Do I Know About Tracy Chapman: She’s a singer, and I used to get confused over whether she was a man or a woman. I only ever saw the briefest of snippets on TV, and from the look and the sound, I couldn’t tell. She has a song called ‘Cars’ or something like that? Is her genre some mix of soft blues, light jazz, and easy pop? I’m pulling teeth here. All I know is that what I heard made me think I’d never have the desire to listen any further.

What Do I Know About Tracy Chapman: She’s a singer, an- what? Oh right, what do I know about the album…. nothing. Maybe there’s a song called ‘Cars’ on it.

Talkin’ Bout A Revolution: Acoustic guitars. Nice. Weirdo vocals. See, is it a man or a woman? I still have no idea. I like the melodies, I like the politics, but I just can’t stand the vocals. Better in the chorus. Repeat. Organ. A decent enough song, I’d probably like it more if it was covered by someone else.

Fast Car: Ahh, yes, this is the one I was talking about. Near Joni guitars in the intro. Nice melodies, more nice ideas about running away. The vocals are still annoying. The riff is overplayed with no break – needs a chorus or something else to give us a rest from the twiddly dee dee, doo do doo. More. Finally, I knew there was another part of the song. I-e-I-be someone. Hmm, didn’t last long, but still some respite. Yes, I realize the irony in the lyrics. Good song, a little too plain or empty or something – there’s definitely something missing here for me, but I understand why it’s so loved. Seems a minute too long.

Across The Lines: Another good riff. Ooh, backing instruments too, see this is what was missing from the last track – needed somthing extra, a violin, a cello, something. Even here it isn’t used to its fullest potential. Good messages. Nice melodies again, the vocals may be getting less annoying with each track. Lyrics a little repetitive.

Behind The Wall: Sounds tribal, melodically. Well, there is no music, yet. Someone’s getting a slap and sounds like no-one cares. Sounds like she has heard my complaints about not enough backing music and is flipping me the bird. Good on you.

Baby Can I Hold You: Chords softer. Wait a minute. I know this. It ain’t Ronan Keating’s warbling out the side of his neck. So she wrote this, or is it a cover too? It doesn’t fit with everything else so far, lyrically. Still it’s a nice song, still a little plain and bare, though there are some humorous Motown things going on in the background. It’s a good song, but I don’t think anyone has done it justice yet.

Mountains o’ Things: Plinky plonk. Maybe going for the full instrumentation here. Samey melodies. Here the backing music is too 80s and doesn’t work. Lets keep things classy, please. Yes yes, dreaming of the things which she no doubt has now. Lets hope she hasn’t forgotten her own message. Only halfway through this one… not great people, not great. Things are wonderful. It’s always better having things. A complete lack of anything catchy makes this a painful five minutes, like hearing someone with an awful voice speaking loudly beside you on the bus for five minutes.

She’s Got Her Ticket: Drum surprise. No guitar, only vocals again, and that is not a good sign. Guitars. Country. Dire Straits. Reggae. So this is basically another version of Fast Car. Just a bunch of lyrics with no real melody and some guitars slapped on in the background.

Why?: Groovy enough. Again, easy thoughtful lyrics. Nothing new that hasn’t already been said in a hundred songs, but that in itself is a travesty. Better melodies in a couple of places. All of this sounds very amateurish – just, like someone heard a demo and thought they would have a hit single then said go ahead, have an album written and recorded by next week.

For My Lover: Drums. Guitar. Sounds familiar. Different guitars. Too many yous. It’s ok, one of the better ones so far, but still I see nothing here that makes me want to listen again.

If Not Now: Softly softly. Piano. Similar melody followed by beautiful melody. Surge. Drums. This one is better, but again it just doesn’t go in the direction I’d like it to. Probably my favourite here.

For You: Samey guitars. She ain’t much of a player, at least what’s on display here. Vocals and nowt else again. I don’t mind that, but I need to like the vocals, and the melodies need to be present, but for too much of this album there are no melodies worth speaking of and the vocals are irritating. Nothing interesting here, just more of the same, I’m afraid.

Colin Larkin’s Ranking: 273/1000

What I Learned: That after finally listening to a whole song, and a WHOLE ALBUM by Chapman, that I still don’t like her voice. That I’m probably a horrible person for saying such things. That songs with a message need to be catchy enough so that message is conveyed and spreads. There’s no point in singing a protest song if it’s just a bunch of words strung together like worms in a toddler’s mouth.

Does It Deserves Its Place In The Top 1000 Albums Of All Time: Absolutely not. I was really looking forward to this one, hoping that it was going to deliver some hidden joy to me, but it’s boring, repetitive, plain, empty of music, hell it almost feels like its empty of soul and emotion even though I’m sure that’s not the case. There are a few good songs in here but the production is all wrong, and the vocals are worse.

You may now commence the name-throwing in the comments section, though I imagine Tracy Chapman fans wouldn’t stoop to that level. Tell me what I’ve missed? What makes this so special? Does the album hold a special place in your heart, or a hallowed spot on your shelf? Pray tell.

Nightman Listens To – Queen – A Night At The Opera (Top 1000 Series)

When I started writing this series of Listens To! posts, my idea was to: A: Listen to the tonnes of albums I have acquired over the years that I hadn’t bothered to actually listen to yet and give my thoughts as I listened for the first time. B: Catch up on those artists that I was aware of/liked certain songs by, but whose albums I had never listened to in their entirety. C: Potentially get some new favourites based off what I heard or by recommendations from my billions of readers. D: Because there are a tonne of albums which always appear on best of lists which I have never heard. As a musician, music fan, and human with working ears, I feel that I should give these a go. To get some focus, I decided to go to 2000 Edition of ‘Colin Larkin’s All Time Top 1000 Albums’ because it looks fairly comprehensive (and there are a few extra sections listing top 100 albums by genre which cover selections left out of the main 1000 which I will also try to cover).

Greetings, Glancers! Today in the never-ending Nightman Listens To series, I visit my first Queen album. Are you excited? I certainly am, and I’m looking forward to discovering some new favourites. You may know that I’ve never been a massive Queen fan, I don’t have anything against them and I do love plenty of their hit singles. Maybe after I listen to one complete Queen album, the floodgates will open and I’ll be a convert.

What Do I Know About Queen: What a silly question. One of the biggest rock bands on the planet, even decades after their peak and after the death of vocalist Freddie Mercury their popularity endures and their music has lost none of its power.

What Do I Know About A Night At The Opera: I have heard a few people name this as the best Queen album. Does it feature Bohemian Rhapsody? The title suggests a concept album, or songs loosely tied together with an operatic approach or theme? In other words, I know nothing about it. It will take some beating to be better than Blind Guardian’s masterpiece of the same name. Insert link to top 15 albums.

Death On Two Legs: Piano. Twinkling. Sounds like an opera so far. Flash Gordon noises. Threatening. Growing. ALien attack. Scream. Gone. Soft. Guitar fun. Guitar madness. Vocals. Doing a Hetfield. Narrow minded cronies. Unusual pauses. Has the Queen sound, harmonies, May’s signature guitar. Great stuff. Surging and fading vocals. Actually reminds me of Blind Guardian, so I assume this was a template for them in more than name. End.

Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon: Jaunty piano, arcade music. Ringo. Weirdo vocals. London town. Louvrrrre. Weirdo guitars.

I’m In Love With My Car: Revs. Future sounds. Clean machine. That ain’t Mercury. Duet? No idea. Plodding but heavy. More good stuff. Odd ending. End.

You’re My Best Friend: I know this one, of course. I always thought this was a little twee, but damn catchy any. Too many adverts have used this. Just a nice, happy song to put a smile on your face without being crap.

39: Led Zep 3 esque. Roy Harper. A little bit country, a little bit folk. Bonzo thump. Nostalgia. Is this a dedication to Zep, or folk in general? Howling. Protest song melodies. I think I’m converted. Not Mercury either. I didn’t realise others sang on their albums, is it a guest or one of the other band members?

Sweet Lady: Riff. Drums. All present, sir. Stones. Catchy again. I’m amazed I haven’t heard more of these. Cheese, but not that. Funky breakdowns. Howls. Faster. Solo. Woo. Headbang. Yay, Queen rock!

Seaside Rendezvous: Jaunty. Seaside. Clementine. See, they could probably do without these fun throwaway songs. Mouth mess. Weeeeeee. Whistle.

The Prophet’s Song: Twinkies. Guitar. Western. Atmosphere. Brooding stomps. Some sort of story. Flash Gordon. More words. People. Plant vocals. Voice collapse. Now I know. Indeed. Lalallalalalalalala, broken ears headphone disgrace. Man man. Crunch. Guitars return. Noise. Growth. Harp. Wind.

Love Of My Life: Piano and acoustic guitars. A classical feel. I believe I’ve heard this one before, yes yes. Lovely melodies, and feels a little like the quiet moments of Bohemian Rhapsody. Ghost voices. Guitar like a cello. Very nice, though a strange amount of instrumental moments without vocals for such a short song.

Good Company: Teeth. Cleaning windows. Faster. Drums and guitars. Sounds like a lost McCartney. Phasing. Moon man. Singing through a tube. Weirdo guitars. Jam. End.

Bohemian Rhapsody: I think we all know this one, right? Nothing more to say really.

God Save The Queen: Rushing in. Guitar anthem. I see. An odd ending, but apt.

Colin Larkin’s Ranking: 96/1000

What I Learned: Queen knew how to rock, and fairly heavily. I knew this of course, but most of the songs I was familiar with always had that pop edge and I didn’t think they’d really gone beyond that. This album showcases both the commercial pop side, a heavier side, and a lot of experimentation with guitars and vocals. I’m not sure if the album does all tie together in some sort of single concept and I’d need to go back and listen to the lyrics of each track. Overall, I learned that this is a fantastic album.

Does It Deserve Its Place In The Top 1000 Albums Of All Time: Well, that’s easily my favourite album out of the few I’ve listened to since kicking off this endeavour. A very fine album indeed, with only a couple of tracks I knew of, and a bunch I’m already looking forward to listening to again. I can’t say how influential this particular record was, but for the mid seventies it was pretty heavy and featured a lot of harmonic vocals in a wall of sound which it appears had an impact on Blind Guardian. Quality wise, this is a solid rock album and one I thoroughly enjoyed, and it is a lot better than other so-called great albums at least on first listen.

What you think of this album – when did you first hear it? Does it hold a special place in your musical history? let us know in the comments section!

Nightman Listens To – Cocteau Twins – Heaven or Las Vegas! (Top 1000 Albums Series)

When I started writing this series of Listens To! posts, my idea was to:

A: Listen to the tonnes of albums I have acquired over the years that I hadn’t bothered to actually listen to yet and give my thoughts as I listened for the first time.

B: Catch up on those artists that I was aware of/liked certain songs by, but whose albums I had never listened to in their entirety.

C: Potentially get some new favourites based off what I heard or by recommendations from my billions of readers.

D: Because there are a tonne of albums which always appear on best of lists which I have never heard. As a musician, music fan, and human with working ears, I feel that I should give these a go.

To get some focus, I decided to go to 2000 Edition of ‘Colin Larkin’s All Time Top 1000 Albums’ because it looks fairly comprehensive (and there are a few extra sections listing top 100 albums by genre which cover selections left out of the main 1000 which I will also try to cover).

Greetings, Glancers! It’s time once again to marvel at my ignorance and give me a pat on the back for trying, as I listen with virgin ears to an album that has thus far passed me by on my listening travels. Today’s should be interesting as I don’t really know anything about the band, I haven’t heard of the album, and I’m not even sure what the genre of music is. I apologise in advance to any fans who may be reading this, but you never know, maybe you’re about to be joined by a new recruit. Alls I gots to do is hit ‘play’.

What Do I Know About The Cocteau Twins: I’ve heard the name, I believe they are Scottish, but I don’t know if there actually are twins in the band (I assume not).

What Do I Know About Heaven or Las Vegas: Absolutely nada.

Cherry-Coloured Funk: Hold on, postman just came to my door….Ok, he’s gone. Soft, My Vitriol guitar sound. Oh Lord, I hope it doesn’t become like My Bloody Valentine. Hmm, lady vocals, nice. Is this all female-fronted? If so, I think it’ll be the first female fronted album we’ve covered so far on Larkin’s list. Dreamy pace. High pitch, can’t make out the lyrics, something about tigers and colours. Soft and sort of catchy, I may get into it after more listens, nothing overly memorable, but good start. Sudden end.

Pitch The Baby: Warble. More fairground effects on the guitars, wavey and watery. More lady vocals, still can’t quite make them out. A sultry song for drunken dancing or stoned ceiling stares. Again, it’s sort of catchy in its repetition, and waves of sound bouncing around have their charm, but no obvious melody that would stick with me.

Ice-blink Luck: 80s pop sound. Uppy downy vocals. Defo an MBV vibe, but without all the crap. Interesting melodies, just wish the vocals were more prominent in the mix, too much swirling getting in the way. Bass has similar tone to New Order. Lots of words. Cherry cola. Drum interlude. A traditionally commercial structure buried under wall of sound. That was nice.

Fifty-fifty Clown: Throb and drum. More drums. Dark underwater. I see much of what would influence How To Measure A Planet by The Gathering here, which is one of my favourite albums – that period they were influenced by Slowdive, Dead Can Dance etc, and this sounds pretty similar. I guess people will call this ethereal, and it is. I appreciate the vocals and the melodies, but still waiting for something to really grab a hold of me.

Heaven Or Las Vegas: Some sort of cascading riff. Title track. More vocals I can’t understand. Lots more swirling and plenty of sound trapping out space. I imagine there are some disasters with people not knowing the lyrics and trying to sing along or guess. Again it is catchy, but more in an airy way than an obvious way, which means it will likely take me a few listens to remember anything in particular.

I Wear Your Ring: Slight Eastern sound. Something looming on the sun-kissed horizon. Ha ha, sunrise sunset lyrics. Now, this is more like it, wonderful stuff. Can slip away and never want to come back. Slight trumpet or some such. Gone. Slight no clue what is being said. Some of vocals sound a little off, especially on the lower vibrato, like one of those wheels you used to get on the side of a keyboard to bend notes up and down.

Fotzepolitic: Surge. My dreams are something. A lot of these songs have similar melodies in the vocals – build up to very high point then immediately drop to low note. Still, it’s nice enough. La la las. More jangling guitars. All very pleasant. Refrain. Repeat. See and saw and me back to ya? Oh Lord, a guitar solo of some description. Fade.

Wolf in The Breast: Riff sounds like something else I know. Can’t place it. This is all a refreshing change from other stuff I’ve been listening to recently, and more importantly, from the drivel in today’s charts. Soothing. Again dreamy melodies that flutter away before they take hold. It’s very easy to get caught up in this and forget to write, but then I don’t really have much to say about it.

Road, River And Rail: Jangling guitars. A bit more ominous and atmosphere. Lets try the lyrics…. Eddie fell away, and his choices can’t be toes, making clothes on the hill where I sent him. Road river rail, something something century. Can’t keep up. Floating through ancient flaps of light.. lay on a crapper of bless. Seeing an apple and pants…. from out of the barnyard. Seventeen. I don’t know. Am I close with any of this? Mother’s daughter. To a tissue falling? This is nice as well.

Frou-Frou Foxes In Midsummer Fires: Dark and atmospheric opening again. Funeral march, nice. Howling guitars. Swirly swirls. Vocals more prominent now. Building to something. No. Again. Now. Explosion of sound and Spac words. Scatman. Sounds like Family Ness theme tune. Rounder. Rounder. Back to start. Good stuff. If I listen to this again I imagine it will have more of an impact.

Colin Larkin’s Ranking: 218/1000

What I Learned: That Cocteau Twins have a lady singer, that they make ethereal pop that sounds like anything from mid 80s to late 90s. That the lyrics are either indecipherable or nonsense or both. That they, at least on this album, have a very distinct sound and never veer away from it. That it’s all very nice, soothing, and repetitive in a good way.

Does It Deserves Its Place In The Top 1000 Albums Of All Time: It’s another strange one because I can’t imagine this would have sold bucketloads as it doesn’t strike me as particularly commercial, unless it was released in one of the indie peak periods. I don’t recall hearing any of the songs before so I don’t think any of the singles were hits, and I don’t remember hearing any of it on TV shows or movies, so I don’t know how influential it is, or was. There are a few bands who have a similar sound, so maybe these guys were first, or its one of the best examples. Musically it is strong, though I don’t usually go for the wall of sound when it so clearly crushes everything else. I’d definitely listen to it again, and I imagine that it is indeed something I could easily get hooked on. So in short, upon first listen, for me it’s a MAYBE.

Did I get this right, or have I missed the point? What are your memories of this album – feel free to share some stories, and recommend some other stuff by the band. Have you seen them live? What’s your favourite song by them, or on this album? Let us know in the comments!

Nightman Listens To – DJ Shadow – Entroducing (Top 1000 Albums Series)

When I started writing this series of Listens To! posts, my idea was to: A: Listen to the tonnes of albums I have acquired over the years that I hadn’t bothered to actually listen to yet and give my thoughts as I listened for the first time. B: Catch up on those artists that I was aware of/liked certain songs by, but whose albums I had never listened to in their entirety. C: Potentially get some new favourites based off what I heard or by recommendations from my billions of readers. D: Because there are a tonne of albums which always appear on best of lists which I have never heard. As a musician, music fan, and human with working ears, I feel that I should give these a go. To get some focus, I decided to go to 2000 Edition of ‘Colin Larkin’s All Time Top 1000 Albums’ because it looks fairly comprehensive (and there are a few extra sections listing top 100 albums by genre which cover selections left out of the main 1000 which I will also try to cover).

Greetings glancers! It’s time once again to delve into some of the nearest music ever made according to one critic to see if I agree land find something new to love, or if I disagree and add another be to the ‘avoid swamp’. Today’s album takes us into the murky world of dance music, a loose term for sure, but one which best suits our purposes for now. It’s a genre I am not overly familiar with, knowing mostly the chart and club trash which is inescapable these days.

What I Know About DJ Shadow: He’s a DJ. I know some of my friends who aren’t traditional listeners of dance music listen to him. I don’t know if they are doing that because the music is genuinely good or because it’s a cool name to drop. I usually avoid anything with DJ in the name as everything I have since been exposed to has been awful. I’m cool. I’m also aware that his albums are frequently critically acclaimed.

What I Know About Endtroducing: Absolutely nothing. Is this his most critically acclaimed album? I’ve heard friends talk about one of his albums in particular, but I’ve no clue if this is it or not.

Without further Apu, let’s get listening.

Best Foot Forward: Speaking. Samples. Too many. Am I going to have to guess all of these? End?

Building Steam With A Grain Of Salt: Piano. Nice. A Pink Floyd vibe from the merging of music and speaking. Sounds like this may have appeared in a movie. Or a BMW advert. More talking, not quite loud enough to make out. See, I appreciate this sort of thing but not if it’s repetitive. Ok, some shifting. Drums collapsing. Shaft guitar sounds. More piano. More words. Fading. Fine.

The Number Song: Counting. Drums. I know that thrumming. Scratching and some rap words. Good enough to blast from car, not quite as good as blasting my own screeches. Shift. Sesame street. Echoes. Metallica thrumming. More counting. Collapse. Bubbles and gulps and drums.

Changeling/Transmission#1: Bong bing boong. Bong bing bonnng. More drums and hissing symbols. Radiohead beats. Collapse. Classical. Smooth. It’s all very mellow so far, not a full on bass attack. Some sort of singing. Trumpets. Collapse again. Stutters. Sudden guitar. Fading. Strings. Astronauts. Lasers. Ha ha, John Carpenter, one of my faves.

What Does Your Soul Look Like (Part 4): Funk and smooth. Sex trumpets. Sooty and Sweep. Dalek. Shouting. Piano and other mistakes. Fading.

Untitled: Hmm. Funky. Ass. Jolly Ranchers. Pointless.

Stem/Long Stem/Transmission #2: Oh, I know this of course. But is this the original, or Shadow’s take? Assuming it is Shadow messing with the piece that I know. Sudden funky shift. Violins. Beer adverts. More funk. Speed collapse. Headbang. Silence. Organ. Dings. Outstanding warrants. Guitars. Soothing. Sunrise. More beer. Fading. More soothing wavey sounds. Pianos. Prince Of Darkness again.

Mutual Slump: Drums. Organ. Chaos. Xanadu. Vader. Trumpet screeches. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Robots eating spaghetti. Lasers bouncing around a U-bend.

Organ Donor: More ghetto bits. More organ. More drums. Organ solo. Funhouse drunkage. Back around for more.

Why Hip Hop Sucks in 96: Seventies cop shows. LA skyline. Flat streets with faded yellow marking.

Midnight In A Perfect World: Soothing synths again. I sense a pattern here. Guitars. Woman singing. Clocks. Midnight!

Napalm Brain/Scatter Brain: Grunting. Laughter. Checkers. Drums. Silence. Drums. Guitars and throbbing. Typewriter drums. Tribal bongs. Knocking. Faster. Groovy. WipEout. Funky sounds return. Nice strings. Nice guitars. Saying goodbye, Hollywood style. Sounds familiar.

What Does Your Soul Look Like (Part 1 Blue Sky Revisit)/Transmission #3: Guess what? Soothing sounds and hissing symbols. Repeatrepeatrepeatslightshiftrepeat. Scratch. Carpenter again. Great film. Oh, Twin Peaks Mr Giant. Twin Peaks – a sampler’s wet dream. End.

Colin Larkin’s Ranking: 208/1000

What I Learned: I know a thing or twelve about sampling (I don’t). If you’ve ever visiting my Youtube Channel (and may God have mercy on anyone who has) then you’ll know that I have created a number of mega hits entirely built from samples of other tracks, my own voice, and text to speech software. I needed no fancy software or skills, in fact the only tool used was a simple Windows Media Recorder with record, slow down, speed up, and reverse capabilities, absolutely nothing else. But I do that for my own amusement and to satirize exactly this sort of music. All sorts of music really, but particular the good old bedroom samplers. I haven’t done one a while, I must make another (Here’s a handy link if you want your ears to be scarred – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPvfbVJtjfw note – I have hundreds of these things made already, but when uploading to Youtube I usually make a silly accompanying video too). Anyway, the guy likes to use samples from a variety of places, and here has created a set of soothing tracks that don’t have a lot of variety. I imagine you can gleam whatever meaning you want from atmospheric music such as this; I’m leaning to wards urban alienation. I can understand why people love this. It’s fine for me, just not my bag.

Does It Deserve A Place In The Top 1000 Albums Of All Time: Once we again we’ll have to fall back on the old ‘importance’ argument rather than the quality of the music. Samples had been used in music for decades before this, but I assume this took things to a new level. The production sounds superb, and there is a terrific range of samples. To me though, each track merges a little too neatly into the next and it’s difficult to differentiate each track from the other. That may have more to do with my tastes and the fact that I’ve only just listened to it once in a single sitting. I can credit DJ Shadow for mashing it all together, but still much of the credit has to go to the original writers. If anything, these types of albums and tracks make me want to go back and listen to the original. That’s no bad thing, but I wouldn’t consider it a plus for the remix/sample mash-up/whatever the term is. Would it appear on my list of top 100 albums? Not a chance, but then I weigh qualities evenly (See my Nightman scoring system – https://wordpress.com/post/10989249/632/) so that importance and influence are equally important to a variety of other categories. If this was indeed influential and creating a number of new recording and sampling techniques, then good job. It’s not the sort of thing I can see myself listening to again, but at least now I can say that I have heard a DJ Shadow record. Yay me!

Let me know what a Neanderthal I am in the comments for not appreciating how groundbreaking and provocative this album is and offer some suggestions on what I should do to better my life.

Nightman Listens To – Lou Reed – Transformer (Top 1000 Albums Series)

When I started writing this series of Listens To! posts, my idea was to:

A: Listen to the tonnes of albums I have acquired over the years that I hadn’t bothered to actually listen to yet and give my thoughts as I listened for the first time.

B: Catch up on those artists that I was aware of/liked certain songs by, but whose albums I had never listened to in their entirety.

C: Potentially get some new favourites based off what I heard or by recommendations from my billions of readers.

D: Because there are a tonne of albums which always appear on best of lists which I have never heard. As a musician, music fan, and human with working ears, I feel that I should give these a go.

To get some focus, I decided to go to 2000 Edition of ‘Colin Larkin’s All Time Top 1000 Albums’ because it looks fairly comprehensive (and there are a few extra sections listing top 100 albums by genre which cover selections left out of the main 1000 which I will also try to cover).

Greetings, Glancers! It’s time once more to treat myself to some of the bestest notes ever recorded and see if they are agreeable to my superior listening abilities. This time around it looks like I’ll be dealing with a bona fide classic – not one which simply makes a single list of greatest albums and then fades into obscurity.

What I Know About Lou Reed: He’s dead. That he was one of the members of The Velvet Underground. That his gruff, flat, deep voice is distinct and that he was known for poetic lyrics and worked with a wide variety of performers in many genres.

What I Know About Transformer: If I know my teenage self (and I think I do) then I know that this is an album that my teenage self should really have listened to all those years ago. I was aware of it then, I knew some of the songs, but for reason I never actually made the effort to seek out the album and listen to it all. I know plenty of my friends owned it, but again the time was never right to say ‘stick that on and let’s have a go’. I’m aware that it isn’t a party album. I’m aware that some people, critics included, absolutely despise this album, though not to the extent of Metal Machine Music.

Vicious: Clanging chords. Distinct voice. Rapping without rapping. Vocals getting a little lost in the mix. Manic guitars. Hit me with a flower. Fairly simple, though with an ocassional slight change in the beat or guitars in each verse to catch you off guard. More manic guitars, decent first track.

Andy’s Chest: Softer. Reminds me of Bowie. Good lyrics. Drums. Growing. More weirdo lyrics. Funky enough, nothing outstanding for me, nothing bad.

Perfect Day: Obviously I know this one, but I can’t help hearing the Children In Need version. A fantastic song all round, perfectly suited to Reed’s voice, moody, false grandeur, nostalgic, bleak and glorious. Fantastic strings which, of course, I’m a sucker for.

Hangin Around: Sudden shift in tone. Fast, rocking, glam. Amusing lyrics. Jeanie. No overall hook or melody, but energetic and interesting.

Walk On The Wild Side: And of course we all know this one. It always irritated me when I was younger (I’m talking before I was 10), but quickly grew on me. I’m still not a huge fan of it, but it’s clearly a great song.

Make Up: Trumpets. Bump. Bump. Funny lyrics. Sardonic. Sarcastic. Horny.

Satellite Of Love: Sudden start. Sounds immediately like Bowie. Piano led. Sounds familiar. A more traditional melodic approach. Someone’s been naughty all week. Distractions. Avoidances. Jaunty end. Sounds like Bowie has joined in the vocals.

Wagon Wheel: Rolling rolling, rawhide, more glam guitars and rhythms. Odd backing vocals. Drums coming in and leaving and shifting at unusual spots.

New York Telephone Conversation: Jaunty beats and melodies. More mocking and sarcasm.

I’m So Free: Bouncy. Woo Ooh. Another up-tempo, simple song. Good guitar, good drums, ok melodies.

Goodnight Ladies: A slow, drunken, jazzy ending. Some shifts in tempo, more good lyrics. Another decent song, though nothing which I would particularly find appealing.

Colin Larkin’s Ranking: 58/1000

What I Learned: The early Seventies were a crazy time, with a number of outspoken musicians taking music and lyrical content in new directions. Well, I knew that already. I don’t think I learned anything aside from that most of this really sounds like a Bowie album.

Does It Deserve It’s Place In The Top 1000 Albums Of All Time: From a cultural and historic point of view, yes. It was a big hit, launched Reed’s solo career, and had a couple of huge singles. It went on to influence any number of artists. The songs themselves are all of a good quality, though the glam genre gets on my nerves quite a bit as it feels so samey – throw a bunch of poetry into the blender and add basic, lightly distorted chords over the top. From my perspective, it’s all good, there aren’t any weak songs, but a number of them repeat the same sounds and ideas without being distinct enough, at least on first listen. I’d listen to it again, but I couldn’t call it a favourite.

Let me know what your thoughts on this album are. Do you feel it deserves its place in the top 1000 albums of all time? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments.

Nightman Listens To – De La Soul – 3 Feet High And Rising (Top 1000 Albums Series)

When I started writing this series of Listens To! posts, my idea was to:

A: Listen to the tonnes of albums I have acquired over the years that I hadn’t bothered to actually listen to yet and give my thoughts as I listened for the first time.

B: Catch up on those artists that I was aware of/liked certain songs by, but whose albums I had never listened to in their entirety.

C: Potentially get some new favourites based off what I heard or by recommendations from my billions of readers.

D: Because there are a tonne of albums which always appear on best of lists which I have never heard. As a musician, music fan, and human with working ears, I feel that I should give these a go.

To get some focus, I decided to go to 2000 Edition of ‘Colin Larkin’s All Time Top 1000 Albums’ because it looks fairly comprehensive (and there are a few extra sections listing top 100 albums by genre which cover selections left out of the main 1000 which I will also try to cover).

Greetings, Glancers! I know it’s been a while, but once again the enemy scourge has meant my time to relax and criticize classic albums has been severely limited. But on this crisp late autumn night, it just so happens that I have some time to kill; so lets get to the killing.

What I Know About De La Soul: Aside from the name, and a few vague recollections, I don’t really know anything. I know they have been around since the 80s, and I know they are a rap/soul/R’n’B act. Did they have a female singer, or a famous song where a woman sings? Yeah, I’m clutching at straws.

What I Know About 3 Feet High And Rising: Not a thing. I’ve never heard of the album, but if it’s in the Top 1000, I’ll assume I’ll recognise at least one song. Maybe….

Intro: Wow, I didn’t realise there were so many songs. I’m assuming, like this intro, that a few will be spoken word skits. This is in the vein of a cheesy gameshow poking fun at… idiots. It’s all very funny and unusual, though the production, on the version I’m listening to, is a little tinny. Will we return to this gameshow?

The Magic Number: Well, of course, everyone knows this. Isn’t this a Beck song? Oh well, Beck is for Hipsters. He’s probably in the Top 1000 list somewhere. This song always irratated me a little, though I’ve never listened to it properly before. The rhymes come thick and fast and I imagine it would take a few listens to fully absorb the lyrics. On first listen I’ve no idea what it’s all about. A fine song, obviously a hit, though musically it’s a little too bare, all percussion and not a lot else.

Change In Speak: Now this sounds familiar too, but I don’t know if it’s because the intro is maybe a sample? I get a James Brown feel from it. Again, the lyrics are dense and it’s not easy to follow them on the first turn. It’s funky once again, it’s a little bare once again, maybe it’s the production, but aside from the brass and the odd little flurry, it feels a little too quiet. No complaints though, I’m just being picky.

Cool Breeze On The Rocks: A blast of samples and weirdness, plenty of pieces I recognise, all a bit weird and pointless, and a little blast of the gameshow quips again.

Can U Keep A Secret: Whispering and funk, people needing haircuts. I’ve heard these lines being quoted before, either in a meme, or from a friend in some drunken conversation. These are important secrets, keep them to yourself. Not much to say about this.

Jennifa Told Me: An interesting one, with a lot more going on musically, not a lot of empty space here. A song about a girl, I guess, told in tongue in cheek style and with a deliberately off-tune series of notes. This one is vaguely familiar, and then it all takes a turn for the weird with a bizarro interlude, all good. I’ve probably heard this in a club or at a party, but paid it no mind.

Ghetto Thang: I don’t recognise this one. Again, it’s difficult to catch the lyrics as I’m listening and typing at the same time, but seems to be satirical, and critical of slum life and dreams. More percussion and squeezed beats, noises, and things that I’m sure have correct terms within the genre but that I have no interest to learn. It’s definitely one to move to

Transmitting Live From Mars: French nonsense. Samples apparently from the cassettes they used to use in my French classes in school. I recognise the music, but not enough to tell if it’s a sample or not.

Eye Know: Yes, I know this one, obviously. Again, this one would have annoyed me when I was younger, but I must be more tolerant these days. The whistling part in particular would have pissed me off greatly, now it’s just a thing. It’s a fine song, another one I expect I would be quite happy to sway to if I was under the influence. The guy’s voice in a little too plain, I’m used to my rappers being very expressive, in the mould of Eminem or Chuck D, or even Snoop. This is all too one level for my liking – hearing the songs as a one off would be fine, but for an album, it becomes not repetitive, but a little… boring?

Take It Off: Another comedy one, poking fun at blokes…. misogyny? Something. Fine yes, but it’s not one I would listen to more than a couple of times and smells an awful lot like filler.

A Little Bit Of Soap: More recognisable notes. More funny lyrics. Probably the last two tracks could have been merged into a more coherent whole.

Tread Water: Interesting lyrics. I must say that it’s all more light-hearted than the handful of rap artists I listen to, and so far not a hint of violence or bling bullshit. Of course I can’t say for sure what any of the songs so far have been about without going back to check out the lyrics, but I think it’s obvious that this is a counterpoint to what was popular in rap both when it was released, and now. That should be a good thing of course, but as a whole it’s not something I think I’ll return to often.

Potholes In My Lawn: It gets more manic as it goes along. There’s a charm to it, and you can’t help but smile. It’s another fine track, nothing too memorable for me though – I have nothing against it, I don’t hate it, I wouldn’t moan if it was played to me all day, but it’s not something I’d choose to put on.

Say No Go: I don’t know this one, but it seems to be packed with samples and sounds, and I think I’ve heard pieces of this on Fresh Prince. It appears to be about drugs as ‘Crack’ is mentioned a few times.

Do As De La Does: An odd one. with a lot of shouting, swearing, strange timings and beats, interesting and curious, and a little bit of gameshow.

Plug Tunin: A slower track, though the lyrics still come quickly. I’ll to follow them this time. Chuck D? No, I’m not following the lyrics at all, partly because I can’t make them out, and partly because what I can make out spins all over the place, which is fine.

De La Orgee: Ok, a bunch of sex noises. I would happily blast this one from the people carrier on the school run.

Buddy: Say what? More banter. More sex words it seems. More chilled from a musical standpoint, and there seems to be a few different voices coming in here at different points. It’s ok, nothing great, nothing bad, plenty of funny lyrics from what I can make out. Jennifa makes another appearance, and a disturbing outro.

Description: 80s videogame noises. Much slower. The lyrics are deliberately slow as the group are clearly making fun of me at this point for being to white to know what the hell is going on. Have they seen the crap I upload to youtube? It seems I am more De La Soul than De La Soul are.

Me, Myself, And I: Righto, I know this one, or at least I recognise the samples, the obvious Funkadelic one standing out. Indeed, this one seems much more sample heavy than the other tracks on the album so far. That means that it isn’t as empty as others, but loses a bit of originality. The lyrics are stuttered slowly again, and the main guy’s voice really comes across as plain on this one.

This Is A Recording For Living In A Fulltime Era: At this point, yes, the same climb and fall of the vocalist is getting a little annoying – very everyline starts up here, and ends up down there. It’s almost like a white man’s bad mockery of rap, which is probably the biggest insult anyone can give. No doubt it’s still funky, but like Ive said, I prefer my vocalists to have a bit of emotion, or at least not sound identical on every track. No idea what they’re going on about here again, of course. Must be near my bed time.

I Can Do Anything: Do do. More madness.

Daisy Age: Very clicky. Lots of bin lids being jammed together. Nice lyrics. Packed with sounds and scratching, but ending a little too bland and bare for my liking. It gets more dense as it goes along, with backing singers, and ends with more gameshow banter. It’s quirky, but quirky in the way people who think they are quirky, are quirky. Is that it? Are we done?

Colin Larkin’s Ranking: 138/1000

What I Learned: That rap isn’t all about rape, murder, money, and bitches! It’s also about Mars, numbers, potholes, and monkeys.

Deserving Of A Place In Top 1000 Albums Of All Time: It’s a decent album, with many strong tracks, plenty of songs I recognise, and a lot of great ideas, funky beats, funny parts, good lyrics etc etc. I can only imagine that this was groundbreaking for the time – I don’t know enough about the genre to say otherwise, but it’s certainly among the best albums of its type that I’ve heard. I can see why critics fawn all over it, and if it was indeed influential, then it likely deserves its place. But I don’t see its influence anywhere today. I can’t say that it would make my list, but I understand why it seems to make many others. Give me your thoughts in the comments section below – is it one of your favourites? What were you doing when it was first released?

Nightman Listens To John Coltrane – A Love Supreme (Top 1000 Albums Series)

When I started writing this series of Listens To! posts, my idea was to:

A: Listen to the tonnes of albums I have acquired over the years that I hadn’t bothered to actually listen to yet and give my thoughts as I listened for the first time.

B: Catch up on those artists that I was aware of/liked certain songs by, but whose albums I had never listened to in their entirety.

C: Potentially get some new favourites based off what I heard or by recommendations from my billions of readers.

D: Because there are a tonne of albums which always appear on best of lists which I have never heard. As a musician, music fan, and human with working ears, I feel that I should give these a go.

To get some focus, I decided to go to 2000 Edition of ‘Colin Larkin’s All Time Top 1000 Albums’ because it looks fairly comprehensive (and there are a few extra sections listing top 100 albums by genre which cover selections left out of the main 1000 which I will also try to cover).

Greetings, Glancers and Music Fans! Today, I’m going to ‘Live Review’ John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme, which comes in at number 85 on the list. This is the first review I’ve written specifically for the Top 1000 Albums series. I’m excited to get started, to have my mind expanded by new sounds. I’m also a little agitated by the fact that this is a Jazz album – there are only a handful of genres of music that I can’t stand – Irish, Country, Swing, and Jazz. So far I’ve never heard a single Irish song I’ve liked, Country has a handful of artists I appreciate, Jazz I’ve never truly listened to offer an informed opinion, and Swing is the worst atrocity ever inflicted upon humanity.

As this is my first review, I’ll mention a few preliminaries: Each review will contain a few sections – What I know of the Artist, What I know of the Album, the review itself, What I Learned, and whether or not I feel it deserves its place in a Top 1000 albums list. So, without further Apu, let’s get it on.

What I Know About John Coltrane: He is/was a Jazz musician of some sort. I want to say piano, but I’m guessing he was involved with trumpets. Nut not like that. To be honest, most of what I know about Jazz comes from Haruki Murakami books.

What I Know About A Love Supreme: Absolutely nothing. I’m sure I’ve heard the name before, but I don’t know what it’s about, I’m guessing I don’t know any of the music. I imagine there will be some long pieces here and I won’t know when 1 track ends and another begins.

Review: Woo hoo!

Part 1: Bong. Cymbals and sax of some sort.Rhythm and piano playing out of time with each other. Saxophone going all over the place. Yes, this is pretty much what I expected, mostly seemingly freestyle and tuneless. The backing piano tried to lend some foundation, but it may as well not be there, shoved as it is underneath the damaging cymbals and sax. So, this is meant to be one of the best jazz albums ever? It’s not making me hopeful for what some of the lesser albums will be like. I can only imagine this was influential within the genre. This wee bit around 5 minutes with the four note sax is quite entertaining, but I can’t tell if Coltrane is taking the piss or not. Aah, now they’re singing ‘A Love Supreme’ in place of the four notes. But too many times. Slowing. Calming. Piano taking lead now, but those cymbals and drums are still flapping. Fade. Bass. Has it stopped? Someone appears to just be playing random notes badly.

Part 2: Explosion. Lets assume this is now the second track due to that quite part above. It sounds just like the first, except the drums are more pronounced now. The sound of being shrunken, then trapped in a jam jar with a wasp. Imagine falling down a never-ending set of stairs while monks shoot fireworks at you. Now piano insanity. Sounds like a chase scene in some old spy movie. Lord, this is disastrous. Imagine a whale masturbating into your eye socket. Like chewing a CD. Like replacing your tongue with 4 strips of velcro and removing all the paint from your walls by licking it off. Like trying to connect to the internet with a bran flake instead of a laptop. Silence.

Part 3: Drums. Sounds like Bonham, fair enough. Come on Jimmy, come in with a riff to save us. Decent drumming, but without backing music it’s just tribal balls. They’ve copied and pasted the backing, damp piano from the first track and copied it here. Now racing piano over the top. It’s essentially the same as the last 15 minutes. Actually no, this one is more like watching people dancing on top of a very shallow pool of lava. Everything is so one paced. Now more saxophone, but where does it go? What does it mean? If this was guitar, critics would moan. Imagine climbing up a water slide whilst an angry mob of rat people chomps at your feet. The 3rd time I died, it sounded an awful lot like this. Butterfly bun. 404 error. Must be over halfway by now. Oh, there was a slight hint of something resembling a motif there, but it was shot down by another arsetastic drum solo. The drums are easily the best part of this whole mess. Now bass. It must be a poor recording, because the background hiss is almost as loud as the bass. This sounds almost identical to the stoned bass guitar playing I recorded on an old 4 track, and I can’t play the bass, but the similarities are astounding. I’ve no idea what is going on so I’m going to keep talking in

Part 4: where the awful bass and hiss just keeps going. Tuneless shite. I swear if someone had played this part alone to me I would have asked them how the hell they got their hands on a demo cassette I recorded over ten years ago in an attic when I had taken too much beer and Percy. This leads me to believe that I must be one of the greatest bassist of all time. Now piano and softly softly sax. This is much more pleasant, sounds like the tail end of a storm. Reminds me a little of Quadrophenia. Breathy sax. More breathy sax and gongs. Oh lord, is it over?

Colin Larkin’s Ranking: 85/1000

What I Learned: That I still think Jazz is balls, and that I’m still right.

Deserving Of A Place In Top 1000 Albums Of All Time: If we are looking at this purely from the point of influence, cultural relevance, impact on the genre, then… possibly. I don’t know enough about the history to say one way or another. Looking at it musically, then the answer ir a resounding fuck off.

Ok hip cats, Trumpet The Bloated, and other unfortunate Jazz related epithets – tell me what I’m missing in the comments. Why should I give this another go? Why is it good? Why am I an idiot? Mummy?

Nightman Listens! Update (Best Albums Ever 601 – 800)

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When I started writing this series of Listens To! posts, my idea was to:

A: Listen to the tonnes of albums I have acquired over the years that I hadn’t bothered to actually listen to yet and give my thoughts as I listened for the first time.

B: Catch up on those artists that I was aware of/liked certain songs by, but whose albums I had never listened to in their entirety.

C: Potentially get some new favourites based off what I heard or by recommendations from my billions of readers.

I have really only dealt with 3 artists so far – Bowie, Bryan, and Bon. I have decided to branch out a little, as I am getting tired of going through Bowie at the moment. To get some focus, I decided to go to 2000 Edition of Colin Larkin’s All Time Top 1000 Albums because it looks fairly comprehensive (and as there are a few extra sections listing top 100 albums by genre which cover selections left out of the main 1000 which I will also try to cover). I am going to post the list below but I won’t discuss whether or not I agree with the list (at least not here), cry because something is missing, or complain that there is too much REM (Auomatic fot the people 6th best album ever? No, no, NO). The reason I am going through this list is:

D: Because there are a tonne of albums which always appear on best of lists which I have never heard. As a musician, music fan, and human with working ears, I feel that I should give these a go.

Now, most of the albums that I haven’t heard I will be aware of, and will likely have heard at least a couple of songs from each. For example – I’ve never listened to Sign O’ The Times by Prince, but I know the title track. I don’t know if I will go through the list in order or dip in and dip out with whatever takes my fancy. Feel free to join me in my journey and let me know which albums you haven’t yet heard. I hope to gain some new favourites and maybe you will too. I know it will be a challenge in some places, as there are plenty of ‘artists’ below who I can’t stand (I’m looking at you country, jazz, Sinatra…). For now, I present the list. The ones in bold are albums I have already heard and will not be covering in my usual stream of conciousness fashion. *Note* as of 2015 I have adding a basic score for each album I have heard – 1: Should definitely be included in Top 1000 albums. 2: Could be included. 3: Should not be included.

601 – 800

601. Smiths – Strangeways, Here We Come                  

602. AC/DC – For Those About to Rock, We Salute You
603. Roxy Music – For Your Pleasure

604. Thompson, Richard & Linda – Hokey Pokey
605. Zappa, Frank – Apostrophe (‘)

606. Family – Music in a Doll’s House
607. Jefferson Airplane – Volunteers

608. Silver, Horace Quintet – Song for My Father
609. Santana – Caravanserai 

610. Aerosmith – Nine Lives
611. Hootie & the Blowfish – Cracked Rear View Mirror

612. James – Stutter
613. Siouxsie & the Banshees – the Scream

614. Squeeze – East Side Story
615. Raitt, Bonnie – Nick of Time

616. Sinatra, Frank – Come Fly With Me
617. Public Enemy – Fear of a Black Planet                    

618. Wilco – Being There
619. Presley, Elvis – Elvis Presley (1956)

620. Flying Burrito Brothers – Gilded Palace of Sin
621. Joel, Billy – 52nd Street

622. Beatles – Please Please Me (2)
623. REM – Document

624. Teenage Fanclub – Grand Prix
625. Traffic – Low Spark of the High Heeled Boys

626. U Roy – Dread Inna Babylon
627. Happy Mondays – Pills ‘n’ Thrills & Bellyaches

628. Rush – Permanent Waves
629. Johnson, Robert – King of the Delta Blues Singers

630. Morrison, Van – His Band & Street Choir
631. Eagles – Desperado

632. Joplin, Janis – Pearl
633. Enigma – Cross of Changes

634. Braxton, Toni – Secrets
635. Stone Temple Pilots – Purple

636. Fitzgerald, Ella & Louis Armstrong – Ella & Louis
637. Zombies – Odyssey & Oracle

638. Mayall, John – A Hard Road
639. Cocker, Joe – With a Little Help From My Friends

640. Human League – Dare
641. Tosh, Peter – Equal Rights

642. Fitzgerald, Ella – Sings the Rodgers & Hart Songbook
643. Redding, Otis – Sings Great Soul Ballads

644. 10,000 Maniacs – In My Tribe
645. Wonder, Stevie – Music of My Mind

646. Cure – Wish
647. Offspring – Smash

648. Beach Boys – Holland
649. Jansch, Bert – Bert Jansch (1965)

650. Eminem – Slim Shady LP (1)

651. Springsteen, Bruce – Greetings from Asbury Park

652. Dylan, Bob – Time Out of Mind
653. La’s – La’s

654. Belle & Sebastian – If You’re Feeling Sinister
655. Brand Nubian – One for All

656. Bon Jovi – New Jersey (2) Reviewed here
657. Tangerine Dream – Phaedra

658. Spirit – Spirit
659. Gill, Vince – I Still Believe in You

660. Blood, Sweat & Tears – Blood, Sweat & Tears (2nd Album)
661. Captain Beefheart – Strictly Personal

662. Beach Boys – Friends
663. Davis, Miles – Complete Live at the Plugged Nickel

664. Stewart, Al – Love Chronicles
665. Thompson, Richard – Rumor & Sigh

666. Eels – Beautiful Freak
667. James, Etta – Tell Mama

668. Moody Blues – On the Threshold of a Dream
669. Metheny, Pat – Offramp

670. Black Crowes – Southern Harmony & the Musical Companion
671. Williams, Robbie – I’ve Been Expecting You

672. Eno, Brian – Another Green World
673. Thin Lizzy – Jailbreak

674. Grateful Dead – Aoxomoxoa
675. Wire – 154

676. Miller, Steve Band – Brave New World
677. Cash, Johnny – At Folsom Prison

678. Eagles – Eagles
679. Smith, Jimmy – Got My Mojo Workin’

680. Allman Brothers – Eat a Peach
681. Genesis – Duke

682. Eve6 – Eve6
683. Hill, Lauryn – Miseducation of…

684. Martyn, John – Bless the Weather
685. Styx – Grand Illusion

686. Deep Purple – In Rock
687. Coltrane, John – Impressions

688. Fairport Convention – Unhalfbricking
689. Forrest Gump – Original Film Soundtrack

 690. Talking Heads – More Songs About Buildings and Food
691. Newman, Randy – 12 Songs

692. Def Leppard – Euphoria
693. Morrison, Van – It’s Too Late to Stop Now

694. Armatrading, Joan – Armatrading
695. Suede – Coming Up

696. Jethro Tull – Aqualung
697. Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation

698. Bowie, David – Space Oddity (2). Review here: https://carlosnightman.wordpress.com/2013/06/05/nightman-listens-to-david-bowie-space-oddity-david-bowie-1969/
699. Sugar – Copper Blue

700. Guy, Buddy – Damn Right I Got the Blues

701. Green Day – Nimrod

 702. Dire Straits – Dire Straits
703. Barrett, Syd – Madcap Laughs

704. Band – Stage Fright
705. Amos, Tori – Under the Pink       (2)                              

706. Style Council – Our Favourite Shop
707. Sade – Diamond Life

708. Costello, Elvis – Trust
709. Dixie Chicks – Wide Open Spaces

 710. Bragg, Billy – Talking with the Taxman About Poetry
711. Hardin, Tim – I

712. Twain, Shania – Woman in Me
713. Smith, Jimmy – the Cat

714. Zappa, Frank – Joe’s Garage
715. Soft Machine – Volume 2

716. Newman, Randy – Randy Newman
717. Pearl Jam – Vitalogy                                                       

718. Little Feat – Feats Don’t Fail Me Now
719. Pink Floyd – Division Bell      (2)                               

720. Everclear – Sparkle & Fade
721. Massive Attack – Mezzanine

722. Pretenders – Pretenders
723. Smashing Pumpkins – Adore

724. Marilyn Manson – Antichrist Superstar
725. Blur – Great Escape

726. TLC – CrazySexyCool
727. Hole – Celebrity Skin

728. Oldfield, Mike – Hergest Ridge
729. Korn – Follow the Leader

730. Folds, Ben Five – Whatever and Ever Amen
731. Mitchell, Joni – Ladies of the Canyon      (1)                 

732. Beastie Boys – Hello Nasty
733. Big Star – Third/Sister Lovers

734. Fugees – the Score
735. Stills, Stephen – Manassas

736. Notorious BIG – Ready to Die
737. Pantera – Vulgar Display of Power      (1)                   

738. Rush – 2112
739. Brooks, Garth – No Fences

740. Houston, Whitney – Whitney Houston
741. Bon Jovi – Crossroad: the Best of          (3)                     

742. Cole, Nat ‘King’ – Love is the Thing
743. Jewel – Spirit

744. Aerosmith – Pump
745. Kiss – Destroyer

746. B-52’s – B-52’s
747. Monk, Thelonious – Solo Monk

748. Hot Tuna – Burgers
749. Queen – A Day at the Races

750. Beastie Boys – Ill Communication

751. Divine Comedy – Promenade

752. Beck – Mellow Gold
753. Pearl Jam – No Code

754. O’Jays – Backstabbers
755. Young, Neil – Harvest Moon

756. Buckley, Tim – Dream Letter (Live in London 1968)
757. Cream – Wheels of Fire

758. Brooks, Garth – Ropin’ the Wind
759. Rolling Stones – Tattoo You                                           

760. Walker, Scott – Scott 4
761. Dylan, Bob – Desire

 762. Weller, Paul – Heavy Soul
763. Metallica – Load            (3)                                                  

764. Coltrane, John – Giant Steps
765. Harvey, PJ – Rid of Me

766. Stranglers – Rattus Norvegicus
767. Lovin’ Spoonful – Daydream

768. Pet Shop Boys – Actually
769. McGraw, Tim – Everywhere

770. Simon, Paul – Still Crazy After All These Years
771. Harvey, PJ – To Bring You My Love

772. REM – Eponymous
773. Blur – 13

774. Fatboy Slim – You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby
775. Cure – Boys Don’t Cry      (1)                                                 

776. Mitchell, Joni – Hejira
777. Nirvana – Bleach         (2)                                                      

778. Spears, Britney – Baby, One More Time
779. Green, Al – Let’s Stay Together

780. Matthews, Dave Band – Crash
781. Depeche Mode – Songs of Faith and Devotion Live

782. Moby – Play
783. Iron Butterfly – In a Gadda da Vida

784. McLachlan, Sarah – Surfacing
785. Davis, Miles – Porgy & Bess

786. REM – Monster
787. Boston – Don’t Look Back

788. Clapton, Eric – Unplugged
789. Pink Floyd – A Momentary Lapse of Reason            

790. Crow, Sheryl – Globe Sessions
791. Redding, Otis – Dock of the Bay

792. Matthews, Dave Band – Under the Table and Dreaming
793. Folds, Ben Five – Ben Folds Five

794. INXS – Full Moon, Dirty Hearts
795. Joel, Billy – Piano Man

796. Everclear – So Much for the Afterglow
797. Rundgren, Todd – Something/Anything

798. Vega, Suzanne – Suzanne Vega
799. Adams, Bryan – Reckless          (1)                                     

800. Tool – Aenima