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Archive

2008Edit

JuneEdit

Anchored by the eight minute opus "Foreplay/Long Time," Boston's debut album is one of the most popular albums of the last 30 years. Most of the album's guitar, bass guitar, and keyboard work was done by Tom Scholz in his basement studio, while Brad Delp recorded the vocals at a professional studio in Los Angeles. The album's eight tracks (including "Rock and Roll Band," "Smokin'," and "Hitch a Ride") all remain popular staples on classic rock radio stations, while "More Than a Feeling," "Foreplay/Long Time," and "Peace of Mind" all reached the Top 40. In a remarkable space of time, the album was certified Gold within two months of its release, and Platinum a month later; it remains the fastest selling debut of any American group. And interestingly, "Foreplay/Long Time" and "Let Me Take You Home Tonight" were the only two tracks recorded by the whole group at the same time. I think the album is a must-have for any classic rock fan.
Blind Faith's only album may be just six tracks long, but its influence will last forever. Beginning with the bass-driven riff of "Had to Cry Today" and ending with the fifteen minute jam "Do What You Like," the album is flawless. "Can't Find My Way Home" remains a radio staple, and "Presence of the Lord" ranks against Cream's "Tales of Brave Ulysses" as the best example of Eric Clapton's use of the wah-wah pedal. Upon its initial release, controversy arose regarding the cover, which featured a topless prepubescent teenage girl holding a phallic model airplane. Despite the controversy, the album hit #1 on both the Billboard and UK album charts. An expanded edition of the album was released in 2001 with nine previously unreleased tracks. I definitely recommend this album to any Cream or Traffic fan.
Additional comments were made about this album here
This album is a great album with lots of range. It goes from songs that have a strong meaning and are upbeat such as "Unbreakable," "Invincible," "2000 Watts," and "Heartbreaker;" to songs that are more soft and sentimental such as, "Don't Walk Away," "Butterflies," "Speechless," and "Whatever Happens." This is a wonderful album that fits your every mood and is perfect for dancing or just kicking back! Definitely deserves to be Album of the Week!
For all of you who believe that Christian music can't be good, or can't be heavy, this is an album you need to listen to. I have been listening to Demon Hunter for quite a while, but each time they release a new album I am continually more impressed at their work. Where The Triptych was an attempt at more mellow music, Storm the Gates of Hell opens up the most bone-crushingly heavy music I have heard from them. Not only this, but each lyric has a specific spiritual purpose for our lives. I cannot mention any specific song as being "good," because every track is excellent. "Wake the lifeless. Die to fight this. Stand beside me. Storm the gates of Hell."
Additional comments were made about this album here

MayEdit

This album, released on March 21, 2006 was, in my opinion, the best album of the year. Filled with some very dark tracks that are about religious obsession ("Rapture"), pain in love ("Falls Apart," "Unkind"), and drug problems ("Overdose"). Combining hard rock with violin (played by Hurt front man J. Loren Wince) you get this extremely dark sad sound that penetrates your heart and soul and makes you feel the pain that the singer feels throughout the album. This is a must have for all fans of the dark and hard rock and I think you will be very pleased with this album.
It may be the Sex Pistols' only official studio album, but for the past thirty years, it has been hailed as one of the most important and influential albums of all time. Released amid a mound of controversy (caused by songs like "Anarchy in the U.K." and "God Save the Queen"), the album ended up hitting #1 on the UK charts. And while it only reached #106 on the American charts, it wound up earning Gold status in 1987 and Platinum only four years later. Also in 1987, Rolling Stone magazine called it the second most important album of the previous 20 years, and the same publication ranked it #41 on its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. In a 2002 interview, an RS journalist commented "Never Mind the Bollocks changed everything. There had never been anything like it before and really there's never been anything quite like it since." While I don't know the album as a whole, I can say that, judging from "Anarchy in the U.K.," I can't see any reason to disagree.
Additional comments were made about this album here
Released in 1997, it's one of the most recognizable Rainbow compilations. While not quite as comprehensive as 2003's The Anthology, it still has all of the essentials to keep fans interested. Covering the Ronnie Dio era, popular hits present are "Man on the Silver Mountain," "Stargazer," "Kill the King," and "Gates of Babylon." From Graham Bonnet's tenure there are more commercial, pop-oriented hits including "Since You Been Gone" and "I Surrender." And last, but not least, is the Joe Lynn Turner era, which featured the band's only Top 40 hit, "Stone Cold." My personal favorite from Turner is "Jealous Lover." It's just very bouncy and upbeat; a stark contrast to the sword-and-sorcery images painted by Dio. All in all, I think it's a great album, and a must-have for any fan of Ritchie Blackmore's music.
In 1997 this CD was released, containing 14 tracks all written by the lead singer Stephan Jenkins. The CD went 6x Platinum and included Third Eye Blind's most popular singles: "Jumper" which reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100, "Semi-Charmed Life" which reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, and "How's It Going to Be" which reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100. This album has sold over 6 million copies and put Third Eye Blind on the map as one of the most popular bands in the late 90s. I personally have run through two copies of the CD and I especially enjoy listening to it in my car because its upbeat lyrics entwined with some great guitar work. Unfortunately, after this CD Third Eye Blind never really made anything else worth listening to. Thus, if you want to hear more from this band you're pretty much out of luck.
Additional comments were made about this album here

AprilEdit

Tesla's sixth studio album is one of their most unique. Made up entirely of cover versions, it features a wide range of the band's favorite music from the 60s and 70s. The band follows the original arrangements fairly closely, but bring their own uniqueness to songs ranging from Robin Trower's "Day of the Eagle" and Deep Purple's "Space Truckin'" to The Temptations' "Ball of Confusion" and UFO's "Rock Bottom." Only four of the songs on the album are songs I had never heard (of) before ("Hand Me Down World", "Ball of Confusion", "Rock Bottom", and "Stealin'"), while the rest of the album is first rate. I especially like the covers of "Dear Mr. Fantasy" and "Bell Bottom Blues." And that's saying something; although they're starting to grow on me, I was never a big Tesla fan to begin with.
It's the last Nightwish studio album to feature former vocalist Tarja Turunen. Not only that, but it is also the album that launched the band into fame with hit singles "Nemo" and "The Siren." Fantastic, powerful vocals by Turunen, and powerful chords from the band dominate this album, and the orchestras are mixed in beautifully. If you want to know what Nightwish sounded like before Anette Olzon, look no further than Once.
Robin Trower's second solo album is both one of his most popular and one of his most enjoyable. From the driving riff of "Day of the Eagle" to the guitar solos that anchor "Too Rolling Stoned," I find it hard to fault any of the songs here. And I had always believed that in the track listing, "Stoned" followed the title track; but when I finally got the album, I learned that the song instead bleeds into "In This Place." The howling winds that carry over are so fluid, you can't tell the track number has changed. Trower credits the album's popularity in part to the output of vocalist/bassist James Dewar. Trower also credits that the songs were great, but were made better again by the vocals. And before being included on the album, a select few songs had wormed their way into the band's live sets, which Trower also credits as a contributing factor. I can't speak about the album as compared to his other albums, but this is certainly one of my favorites in my collection.
Limp Bizkit's debut album not only brought out another new Nu Metal record which by this point had only been around up to the creation of KoRn in 1993, but it also brought along a new band: a band discovered by KoRn who passed their demo tape to the then KoRn producer, Ross Robinson. He, in turn, signed LB and helped produce this album. This album featured the most heavy album Limp Bizkit ever produced with a raw energetic musical interigity and lots of energy. This album contained the first two LB singles: the heavy brooding "Counterfeit" and the Nu Metal take on a cover of George Michael's "Faith". "Counterfeit" was not very popular but remains the best song Limp Bizkit has every produced and with the greatest message. "Faith" became a hit and eventually aired on MTV becoming a retired video on TRL. Limp Bizkit had risen from being a local band to right at the top of the Nu Metal chain with KoRn. This album set the course for the everlasting legacy of Limp Bizkit.
Additional comments were made about this album here

MarchEdit

Okay, it's a strange little movie with a surprising number of big names lurking inside. But it gave us one of 1989's best soundtracks, if an overlooked one. Earth Girls takes an odd cross-section of artists and pulls some rather unique contributions from them. Royalty's "Baby Gonna Shake" should have been a monstrous hit, and might have been with an earlier release. The B-52's had better timing, offering the titular track to their breakout album Cosmic Thing and seeing mainstream success in the year after. There are a couple of guilty pleasures from Julie Brown that have become cult classics, and an excellent trance-a-delic groove by the Information Society. And guess what famous Chic founder supplies the title track? People lucky enough to own the movie hear snippets of other great music sadly missing from the soundtrack (including Geena Davis' surprisingly good rendition of "The Ground You Walk On", replaced with a slightly-inferior Jill Jones version). But there's plenty of fun music here, and you'll be singing it long after you stop wondering how Jim Carrey learned to say his obscenities backwards...
Additional comments were made about this album here
One of the lesser known great bands from the golden age of music, Electric Light Orchestra (or ELO) had their best success with their double-album Out of the Blue. Now, I must admit, if it weren't for my father, I would have never heard of them, or many other great artists, so I pass on my knowledge to you. The album was written in three and a half weeks, the result of a creative explosion for Jeff Lynne, who wrote all of the songs on the album and nearly all of ELO's catalogue. Out of the Blue is considered by him, and many others, one of the band's crowning achievements. The album has reached platinum certification by the RIAA and has won several awards, including Capital Radio's "Album of the Year" and The Daily Mirror Rock and Pop Awards (forerunner to The Brit Awards) awarded the album with the top gong. The music is a delightful symphony of rock and pop, with an appropriate artsy flair. Songs that I particularly enjoy are "Turn to Stone;" "It's Over;" "Sweet Talkin' Woman;" "Wild West Hero;" "Latitude 88 North," which has only been released in the remastered edition of this album; and the epic Concerto for a Rainy Day. Concerto for a Rainy Day chronicles the effect of weather on mood change. The nineteen minute suite is capped off by one of ELO's best known works: "Mr. Blue Sky." "Please turn me over."
Additional comments were made about this album here
Led Zeppelin's untitled fourth album is frequently hailed as the greatest rock record ever released. With cuts like "Black Dog," "Rock and Roll," "When the Levee Breaks," and the epic "Stairway to Heaven," I find it's hard to argue with that. The album is one of the best selling albums in the United States, and has been certified 23x platinum by the RIAA. The album also gained noteriety for the lack of a title or information about the artist; after the lukewarm reception of Led Zeppelin III, this was a concious decision made by the band so that the album would sell on its content rather than its personnel. The album reached #2 on the Billboard 200, and "Black Dog" peaked at #15 on the Hot 100 singles chart. Also, "Stairway to Heaven" has become both the most requested and most played song in the United States, even though it was never released there as a single. I think this is certainly an Album of the Week and, given its popularity, I'm surprised it hasn't been nominated before.
I DECAY is an up-and-coming band from the small town of Clio, Michigan; right above the 3rd most dangerous city in the U.S. The band is "Flint's Best Kept Secret"; one of the most popular bands in Genesee county. Here is a description from their MySpace: "If you are looking for straight forward, raw, intense, make the hair on the back of your neck stand straight up metal, then I Decay is the band for you. They will beat your ass, sell you a record, and screw your mom all at the same time.
You can be sure you will be picking up your teeth with broken fingers after witnessing the on-stage explosion that is I Decay. They have an incredibly tight melodic metal sound that will only leave you wanting more. The powerhouse that is I Decay hails from Clio Michigan and is ready to blow through the venue near you.
The founding members Bret Williams and Mike Anderson started I Decay's rampage in late 2003 to early 2004, and since then, several lineup changes have been made but it's now finally complete. The face melting guitar riffs are composed and impeccably performed by Bret Williams and Mike Anderson, the lows are hammered out by bassist Nick Thodoroff, Chris Whipple abuses the drums, and audiences everywhere are left with bloody ears from the growls of Kyle "Gumby" Gunther.
This band is very hard working with practices 5 days a week and shameless promotion with the rest of their natural born lives. After playing with the likes of All That Remains, The Black Dahlia Murder, Hatebreed, Kittie, God Forbid, Mushroomhead, Trivium, and (216), I Decay has built quite the local following in the mid-Michigan area. Just check out any I Decay show and you will soon find out that I Decay fans of mid-Michigan show up to bring the disorder.
I Decay played several festivals including Dirtfest in '05 and '06 and Bled Fest in '07. The I Decay machine has torn through places like The Machine Shop, Harpos, Clem's Poor House, The Hayloft Liquor Stand, and Shooters of Saginaw. They have recently recorded at Filthy Hands Studio in Cleveland OH, after winning a battle of the bands at The Machine Shop. This band is always ready to play and they can always be counted on to tear the place down. So bring your Hardhats!"
I DECAY should be known for bringing a new age to classic metal. The front men of Michigan Metal, I DECAY has been playing with the Flint Death Squad for years now. The metal bands in Michigan play and grow together like a huge family. I DECAY is always the main event of any local metal show, and after going on tour with Mushroomhead they are gaining fans all over the United States. I have been to many I DECAY shows and they always prove themselves as a force to be reckoned with. Brett Williams and Mike Anderson play in sync, bringing elegant Guitar riffs and intense solos. Nick rocks out on bass triumphantly, giving a rock hard base for the Guitars to jam with. After every show Chris drips sweat from head to toe, pulling off an intense beat that brings the band together. Kyle "Gumby" Gunther, the vocals of I DECAY is what makes I DECAY, I DECAY. His screams rip through the air, though, instead of noise, the screams sound elegant songs of self reliance, following your own path, and choking on your own tears. Gumby changes vocals from high to low through out songs, that when mixed, creates a perfect balance. If you're around or in Michigan, I DECAY is a must see. I don't doubt you'll see their names next to some of today's hugest metal acts. I nominate I DECAY because they are an up-and-coming band that have worked their ass off to get to the point they're at, instead of just getting lucky and hitting the top. They are the best metal in Michigan and the best music in Mid-Michigan; bands coming from all over the state to play under I DECAY's headline.
Additional comments were made about this album here
Holy Diver is the debut album of heavy metal band Dio. Released on May 25, 1983, it has been hailed by critics as Dio's best work and a classic staple in the heavy metal genre. The album was eventually certified Gold in the US on September 12, 1984 and Platinum on March 21, 1989. The most notable addition to the original album is an audio interview with Ronnie James Dio. Tracks 10-19 on the 2005 edition are Dio's answers to various questions about the album. The questions are not posed during the interview itself, but can be found inside the CD's booklet instead. The cover was controversial, featuring what appears to be a monster killing what appears to be a Catholic priest. Dio was quick to argue that appearances are misleading and it could just as easily be a priest killing a monster.

FebruaryEdit

With only a single title to their name, Amazulu pulled off an ever-so-brief flash of brilliance with their eponymous album. Mixing reggae and early ska with New Wave sensibilities, the ten songs on Amazulu proved successful at combining diverse genres into something fresh and enjoyable. Hits like "Too Good to Be Forgotten", "Excitable", and "Don't You Just Know It" are sunny and great to sing along with, but it's the other tracks that show Amazulu's depth. First hit "Cairo" turns a Middle Eastern vibe into an amazing reggae rocker, while "The Things the Lonely Do" throws some beautiful shade into all that sunshine with its self-pitying lyrics. "Moonlight Romance" (in a markedly different version than as performed on The Young Ones) is fun, but by far, the crowd-pleaser is the cover of "Montego Bay" which lends fond Jamaican memories to people who have never even visited. Sadly, only three scant singles followed the album, and the band is no more. But what fun while it lasted — sing out!
Guns N' Roses' debut album is one of the most celebrated hard rock albums. It hit #1 on the Billboard 200, and featured three songs that hit the Top Ten on the Hot 100 singles chart: "Welcome to the Jungle" (#7), "Paradise City" (#5), and "Sweet Child o' Mine" (#1). The album was certified 15x platinum (15 million copies sold) by the RIAA, was ranked #61 by Rolling Stone magazine on its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, and is the fourth best-selling album in the United States. The album also gained notoriety for its original album cover, a controversial image based upon the Robert Williams painting "Appetite for Destruction," which featured a woman being advanced upon by a robot rapist. Because of the controversy, the cover was changed to the now famous cover depicting a cross and five skulls, each skull representing a member of the band. Appetite began what was to become a lucrative career for GN'R, and the album has influenced numerous artists since its release.
Considered to be Eric Clapton's magnum opus, the album was written largely about Clapton's unrequited love for George Harrison's wife Pattie. The title track was not a big hit on the charts upon the album's release, but has since been hailed as one of the quintessential love songs. Along with "Layla," the album contains the AOR favorite "Bell Bottom Blues," in addition to a cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing." Having learned of Hendrix's death days earlier, Clapton decided to add the song as a tribute to Hendrix. The album has also been hailed for the interplay between Clapton's lead guitar and the slide guitar of guest Duane Allman. The album peaked at #16 on the Billboard charts, but surprisingly never charted in England. In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine ranked the album #115 in its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. While I think it certainly could have been ranked higher, there's no doubt that it belongs on that list.
The Beatles' final album (not counting the turbulent Get Back/Let It Be, which was actually mostly recorded before Abbey Road), Abbey Road features one of the most famous (and most lampooned) photographs of all time: the historic album cover featuring the Fab Four traversing the zebra crossing in the street outside of their studio. Side one opens with "Come Together," which, somewhat ironically considering the deep rifts within the band, became one of their last hits. The album continues through George Harrison's widely celebrated Something," the quirky "Maxwell's Silver Hammer," Paul McCartney's anguished ballad "Oh! Darling," Ringo Starr's lone singing and songwriting contribution for the album, "Octopus's Garden," and John Lennon's progressive-influenced "I Want You (She's So Heavy)." This song, which jarringly ended side one with a cut chord, also marked the last time the four Beatles worked together in the same studio.
Side Two began with the song that is widely considered to be George Harrison's definitive work: "Here Comes the Sun." The next track, "Because" features a nine-part vocal harmony, which was achieved by Harrison, Lennon and McCartney recording a three-part harmony, which was then triple-tracked to achieve the product on the album. The remaining tracks are a sixteen-minute collection of short songs that collectively form what is known as the Abbey Road Medley or the Abbey Road Suite. The medley features Starr's only drum solo in the entire Beatles catalogue (in "The End," which also includes the now-famous phrase "the love you take is equal to the love you make"), as well as chorus vocals from all four Beatles in "Carry That Weight." The album also includes the very first hidden track, the twenty-three second "Her Majesty," which originally was to be nestled between Mean Mr. Mustard" and "Polythene Pam," was found on the cutting room floor and added to the end of the album after 14 seconds of silence following "The End." It was uncredited on the original pressings of the album sleeve.
Overall, the album is regarded as a huge success, both musically and commercially (it trails only Sgt. Pepper as the most commercially successful Beatles album). It is widely praised for its tight construction (amazing considering the aforementioned rifts within the band) and its stellar display of musicianship. Abbey Road is considered by many as the crowning achievement of The Beatles' storied career.

JanuaryEdit

Often pushed aside when compared to Disraeli Gears, Cream's first album showcased their talents. Devoid of the long concert jams Cream would become known for, it contains some fan favorites, including the pop rocker "I Feel Free," and "N.S.U.," Jack Bruce's first written composition. At Eric Clapton's suggestion, the album also featured several blues covers, ranging from Skip James' "I'm So Glad" to Robert Johnson's "Four Until Late." It also featured Ginger Baker's "Toad," one of the first drum solos in rock music. I think it stands up well, both by itself and within the whole Cream catalog.
It seems that the more emotional storms in their personal relationships, the better Fleetwood Mac's music becomes. While not as respected as legendary predecessors like Rumours, the group's 1987 masterpiece Tango in the Night reveals the lineup imploding, and turning it into incredible music. Lindsey Buckingham's co-production with Richard Dashut is almost surreally perfect, as is his masterful guitar work. And it brings out every nuance, from Stevie Nicks' now-mature voice to Christine McVie's smoky alto. All underscored by arguably the best playing Mick Fleetwood and John McVie have ever done, silky-smooth and solid as stone. Criticism for the polished (even slick) production aside, the songs seem to be almost woven instead of layered, with not one note wasted. And the turmoil is clear, from wistful songs like "Seven Wonders" and "Little Lies" to the magnificent darkness of "Caroline" and the title track. Buckingham's exit prior to the supporting tour shattered the magic, and unless Christine McVie changes her mind about things some day, this could possibly be the last Fleetwood Mac album of all-new material to feature the entire "Fab Five". But if it's a swan song, it's a beautiful one.
Radiohead's seventh attempt at an album is easily their most melodic and impressive. From the whirring percussion of "15 Step", to the bubbly guitar of "Weird Fishes/Arpeggi", moving forth to the amazing acoustics at "Jigsaw Falling into Place" and ending at the beautiful "Videotape", this album is one of the greatest albums of the new century. I've seen grown men cry upon their first listen to this album out of beauty.
k.d. lang's life was no doubt unpleasant when she made this stunning album: her revelation of her sexual orientation and her increasing animal rights and vegetarian activism had caused considerable controversy with her traditional country and western audience. So she turned her back on the C&W crowd and reinvented herself as an adult contemporary artist, and the results speak for themselves. Ingénue provided the biggest hit of lang's career, the aching "Constant Craving", plus minor hits with the salsa-flavored "Miss Chatelaine" and the curious talking-to-herself ramblings in "The Mind of Love". It's easy to get lost in songs like "Wash Me Clean", but it's when she opens up that voice to its fullest in "Outside Myself" that you begin to marvel at how well she controls all that power. The entire album shimmers with her incredible warm voice, driven by heavily-acoustic arrangements that are brazenly beautiful—sometimes even forlorn. Definitely one that will tug at your heart long after the last track ends.

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