All posts tagged: Pink Floyd

eagles

You’re Dead to Us…Blockbuster Greatest Hits Albums

In which we look at once common curiosities of pop culture that don’t exist anymore, be it because of changing tastes, the fragmentation of culture, or merely the fickle nature of fads.  In the ‘50s and early ‘60s, the singles market and the albums market were two separate entities and rarely did they meet. Logically, singles (or 45s) were cheap, and directed at teenagers, because teenagers don’t have much money. Albums cost more, and directed at adults. That’s why Elvis Presley had #1 hit after #1 hit, while Harry Belafonte and Broadway cast albums dominated the album chart. Today, singles essentially serve as a taste of an album – they’re promotional tools. Like the single you heard on the radio, or YouTube, or Spotify? Then you’ll love the rest of the album, which will have that leadoff single on it. That wasn’t a universal in the middle of the 20th century. An artist released singles, and then they released albums of completely different material. In 1958, some evil genius at Columbia Records had a brilliant …

happyend

Greatest Un-Hits: Happy End’s “Kaze wo Atsumete” (1971)

An unlikely song hit #1 on the U.S. in 1962: “Sukiyaki” by Kyu Sakamoto. It’s the only song in Japanese to top the charts in America, and that’s especially surprising since it’s not in line with Western music tastes of the time. It sounds like a traditional Japanese folk song or weird foreign pop song, or totally stereotypically Japanese. Speaking of stereotypes, the producer that got the song released in the U.S. in the first place renamed it “Sukiyaki” for Americans, after the Japanese dish so they’d have a frame of reference. It’s fairly racist. The song’s real title is “Ue o Muite Aruko,” or “I Look Up When I Walk.” Americans hate looking up while they walk.

This should have opened the door for eventually more Japanese music in the U.S., or at the very least, Japanese music that sounded more like Western rock and pop music, because “Sukiyaki” was at its worst a novelty song, and at its best an entry point for a Japanese Invasion. …

Greatest Un-Hits: Class of ’99’s “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)” (1998)

Grunge rock came out of the punk tradition, sidestepping the decade and a half of corporate rock that came in between punk’s prime of 1977 and grunge’s rise in 1991. The genre thus traded on the premise that it would never do the things that more commercial rock would never do, like objectify women, learn to play their instruments well, or make a sell-out ‘70s rock move like form a supergroup for a quick paycheck. That’s why it’s confusing and surprising that a bunch of grunge guys would form a one-off supergroup to cover, non-ironically, a technically proficient, ultra-popular rock classic for the soundtrack of a teen horror flick. It’s even more confusing and surprising that this bland project wouldn’t bring bland mainstream success, especially since in 1998 Pearl Jam had scored a #2 pop hit with its semi-jokey cover of the ‘60s teen-death-pop gem “Last Kiss.” Class of ’99 was made up of Jane’s Addiction drummer Stephen Perkins, Porno for Pyros bassist Martyn LeNoble, Rage Against the Machine’s way-too-Marxist for this guitarist Tom Morello, and …

Desert Island Discs with Trey Lockerbie

If you had to go away for awhile and you could only take five of your favorite albums with you, which ones would you choose? Yes, we know it isn’t a fair question, but that hasn’t stopped us from asking music fans who happen to be recording artists in their own right. This edition of Desert Island Discs comes courtesy of Trey Lockerbie, whose latest EP, Light Therapy, is out now. Visit his official site for samples of Trey’s music — after reading his Desert Island picks, of course! I’d say albums are more like chapters in my life than the story that lasts the entire book. These made an impression in some profound way and even if I don’t celebrate them every day, they’re still favorites: Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon – this record absolutely changed my life. For an 11 year old growing up with nothing but James Taylor being played in the house, this flipped my universe upside down. It was a major catalyst for pursuing music, after realizing how …

50Prog50: The Best Prog Albums, Part Five

There’s been a lot of comments about this series and I want to thank everyone, even the folks who are incensed that I didn’t make The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway the #1 choice. The beauty of the Internet democracy is that you can make your own list and I will look forward to reading it. The most comments I’ve been getting from various outlets (comments, Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, rock through the window) have been like this: “Why do you hate Emerson Lake and Palmer?” I don’t hate ELP, but one of the necessary ingredients for my list candidates was that you had to appreciate the album straight through, even if some of the songs don’t scream “Prog!” When I was a teenager, it was cool that the band rocked-up classical pieces. Nowadays, it just doesn’t seem as clever anymore, and they come off like audio Cliffs Notes rather than good ideas. That wouldn’t be a problem if they didn’t stuff almost every one of their albums with a redux. Heck, Pictures At An Exhibition …

50Prog50: The Best Prog Albums, Part Three

So after having posted a couple editions, and having offered up some wildly unorthodox examples of what I believe progressive rock to be, it now falls on me to clarify my choices. The first indicator is always that the band is chasing after an idea that is different than the accepted form. That idea can be to write a multi-part suite of songs that combine into a long piece, but length does not necessarily make you prog. Sometimes it just makes you a bad editor. Another common indicator is the “concept album” and the “rock opera” — a concept album usually has a central topic and then each song finds a different spin on that topic (i.e. the Alan Parsons Project’s The Turn of a Friendly Card is about gambling, but looks at the topic in a much different way when it comes to the song “Time”). A rock opera follows a distinct narrative all the way through (i.e. Marillion’s Misplaced Childhood.) These terms get bounced around a lot, and if you’re being hard-nosed about …

Basement Songs: Pink Floyd, “Wish You Were Here”

I have a hammock. Last week, upon returning home from work, I shut off the Jetta and got out of my car, sweating and tired. The side gate was open. As I retrieved my things from the backseat, Julie called out from behind the house. “Come here! Something happened in the back yard.” Great, I thought, probably a tree branch that brought down the phone wire, or one of the sprinkler valves had burst. I trudged back to see what was up. To my surprise, and the delighted giggles of my children, set up in the yard was a new hammock, an early Father’s Day present. I’ve always wanted a hammock. The idea of gently swaying side to side while reading the newspaper with a cup of coffee or staring at the night sky while sipping on a beer has always been appealing, reminding me of the years spent rocking in the grungy yellow recliner down in my parents’ basement. Perhaps if I had a hammock I would be able to return to that place …

CD Review: Bettye LaVette, “Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook”

I had never heard of Bettye LaVette until about four years ago. A friend had made me a mix CD to listen to on a road trip and on it he had included LaVette’s take on Aimee Mann’s “How Am I Different?” I was immediately intrigued by how her gritty, soulful voice had transformed one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite artists into something completely different. I was also a little ashamed that, as a soul/R&B/funk fan, I’d never heard of her before. When I learned that LaVette was planning to release a record of covers of British classic rock songs, Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook, I was both excited and skeptical. I was excited because I had been looking forward to a new album from her, and this sounded like an interesting project. But I was a bit skeptical when I saw the track listing — it’s pretty Beatles heavy, with a track from Rubber Soul as well as solo songs from Paul, George and Ringo, and it also contains versions …