From the MoSS? Pit: Fleetwood Mac

This will hopefully be the last concert photo I have to take with my shitty iPhone 4S camera, which made my seats to this show (which were awesome) look super sucky. Hurry up and get here, iPhone 6!

This will hopefully be the last concert photo I have to take with my shitty iPhone 4S camera, which made my seats to this show (which were awesome) look super sucky. Hurry up and get here, iPhone 6!

 

A couple of months ago, I saw Alice Cooper in concert (not the enshrined classic-lineup Alice Cooper Band, mind you, but it still counts in my book), making him, at the time, the latest member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame I’ve seen live. By my best guess and after much obsessing, I believe this is the complete list: The Rolling Stones, Van Halen (Van Hagar, technically), Metallica, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, B.B. King, Neil Young, Buddy Guy, the Pretenders, Black Sabbath, U2, R.E.M., Beastie Boys, Guns N’ Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Public Enemy, Kiss and Nirvana.

In addition, I also caught the last song of Run-DMC at Hubbard Park in Iowa City in 1996 or ’97 (I’m calling that a reach), and even though it wasn’t Parliament-Funkadelic, I DID see George Clinton and the P-Funk All-Stars. At Lollapalooza 2009, I caught a set by Lou Reed (in with the Velvet Underground, but not solo), and a few weeks back, even though I was in horrible position 150 yards from the stage, I caught Patti Smith at Riot Fest (counts in my book, since I was able to rock out to “Rock and Roll Nigger” just fine from where I was standing, thank you very much).

But last weekend, I knocked one of the biggest white whales off that Hall of Fame list when I saw Fleetwood Mac at the United Center in Chicago. For a guy who had Rumours in his ears as a small child, on to absolutely falling head over heels in love with Stevie Nicks and her solo records at the dawn of MTV, and finally getting smitten all over again when the reunion tour and album dropped in 1997, this was a long time coming.

And here are the reasons why this show scratched an enduring itch:

The world’s most underappreciated rhythm section

When you have bassist John McVie and drummer Mick Fleetwood, you have songs that have so much bottom, it almost makes you forget that they’re selling you this juggernaut of almost-sunny Southern California-style pop that took the universe by storm in the late 1970s and into the ’80s. There are doom metal bands that don’t get that much sturdy backbone from the rhythm section. It’s the most enduring part of the show, hands down.

Lindsey Buckingham, motherfucking guitar god

I don’t know how he does it. The way he plays. He doesn’t use a pick. He just does this thing, palm down, where he puts his thumb on the top string and flicks the other strings outward with his fingers. It kind of reminds me of the way my pal Jeremy (the one and only Citrus Head) used to pathetically try to play Iron Maiden’s “Wasted Years” on the guitar when we were 13. Except when Lindsey Buckingham does it, it’s pure shred. Listen to the solos on “The Chain” or “You Make Loving Fun” sometime, and then after that, WATCH him play those same solos. It’s insane. And then when he pulls out his acoustic guitar for his signature piece “Big Love,” it’s just a master class of guitar virtuosity. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. Well, at least not until …

Top 5, eternally

Top 5, eternally

 

 

My dark princess

You know those lists married people started making of “five people you can sleep with and NOT get divorced” (the Friends episode, you know you saw it)? Well, I always used to joke that the 1978 version of Stevie Nicks was at the top of my list. Hell, the 1981 version, at the dawn of MTV, when she made “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers and “Leather and Lace” with Don Henley – those are perfect goddamn rock and roll songs (yes, let’s pause and reminsce for a second):

Anyway, back to the present. Oh my. On Friday night, she sang “Dreams.” She sang “Rhiannon.” We got “Gypsy.” Who can forget “Landslide”? Jesus, her voice is still unique and strong. But the night was complete when she emerged from the shadows – in her gold shawl and fingerless lace gloves, doing her witchy pirouette as wind chimes rang out – for “Gold Dust Woman.” Lord have mercy, she was sex on a stick.

So yeah, I don’t need 1978 Stevie anymore. I’m just fine with 2014 Stevie, thanks.

And as incredible as she was, she was only the second best part of the night.

Christine McVie, thank you for coming back

I’ve been trying to see Fleetwood Mac live ever since that 1997 reunion. For whatever reason, it never seemed to work out. I see now that was a blessing in disguise.

You see, Christine McVie retired from the band after that outing and stayed sidelined for 16 years. I love Stevie, but I can’t imagine hearing “Don’t Stop” or any other Mac anthem on which Christine is featured prominently with anyone’s voice BUT Christine’s. Thankfully, I didn’t have to find out.

We got everything we wanted from her this weekend (well, except “Hold Me.” My favorite Mac song. A Christine staple, in my book. Unfortunately, they didn’t play it. So I’m just gonna tuck this here so my experience with the band can be all-inclusive):

But yeah … “You Make Loving Fun” was majestic. “Say You Love Me” and “Everywhere” were enchanting. Even “Little Lies,” which has never been one of my favorites, sounded bad-ass and downright heavy live.

But when she closed the show with “Songbird,” her signature piece, it made me thankful I had to wait 16 years to experience this band. I can’t say this enough: If you want to see this band, do it. Now. Don’t wait. You may have seen them before, but maybe it was without Christine. Right now? She’s back. You might not get another chance.

Waited a lifetime to see this band. It was worth the wait.

Fleetwood Mac was an enormous part of a memorable night. But they weren’t the only part …

Talk about a lifetime meeting

Once upon a time, I had this friend named Molly. We met when I was still wet behind the ears, still trying to figure out who I was gonna be as a freshman away from home for the first time at the University of Iowa.

Molly when I first met her … and me when I first met her.

 

I met her when I was taking freshman rhetoric (which is strange, because she wasn’t a freshman), one of those classes that are interactive and encourage people to share ideas (I always justified her being in this class as her being awesome enough to say, “Fuck it. I’m just gonna take my rhetoric requirement when I’m a sophomore because I can do whatever the fuck I want.”). Anyway, instead of just lumping myself in with the other kids I assumed were like me, this blonde bombshell locked eyes with me and motioned for me to come on over. What the actual fuck? Girls like this who didn’t already know me from before do NOT seek ME out. But for reasons I still don’t understand, this girl wanted to be friends with me, not the other way around.

As I got to know her, she just killed me. She was funny. She was inclusive and engaging. Witty and articulate. Intelligent. And oh yeah, hot. Always with the black leather jacket. I seem to remember she liked to drink whiskey and take shots of Jager. One day, some dude picked her up in front of the English-Philosophy Building on his motorcycle, like she was the bad girl in Grease or something, and I just remember saying, “Jesus Christ, she’s so fucking bad-ass.” I shook my head and chuckled and just kept walking to class, realizing I had some work to do in life if I ever wanted THAT.

We were never the kind of friends who called each other or made plans together. But for the next two years, we didn’t just keep walking if we saw each other on the street. Every single time, we stopped and talked. If we saw each other out and about, we ended up getting drinks and ignoring everyone else we went to the bar with. Because of her and who she is and how she acts and because she invited me over upon seeing me in that class after 25 seconds, I’ve never really been afraid to approach anyone if I felt like I wanted to know them, even if they were “out of my league.” That was Molly.

In the fall of 1994, I remember seeing her on the street between Van Allen Hall and the Que Bar. We talked. I remember I was holding a poster I had just bought for my first apartment (I think it was of Janis Joplin at Woodstock). After a few minutes, we said, “see ya later.”

Then … whoosh, she was gone. I never saw her again in the entire time I was at Iowa. I figured she must have graduated. Or transferred. Whatever …

And then 14 years came and went. I mean, there wasn’t always Google. Or Friendster or MySpace. Once she was gone, I had no idea how to find her. She was gone.

I hate giving it too much credit, but what’s true is true – Facebook changed it. Mark Zuckerberg will always have my eternal gratitude for that. I found her there six years ago, in an exchange that will always makes me smile when I think about it. Ever since then, we share birthday greetings. We talk about the Hawks. I see photos of her doing BTN fun runs in Iowa gear, complete with knee-high gold Hawkeye socks. She sees me posting links to my blogs at Music or Space Shuttle? and blathering on about whatever movies, TV shows or records I’m currently loving or hating.

But we still never talked, let alone actually saw each other.

What does this have to do with Fleetwood Mac?

Friday night, for the first time in 20 years, Molly and I hung out again. In person. The Mac brought us together. We had drinks. We caught up. I got to hang with her and her girlfriends, one of which went to Riot Fest like me … however, she did NOT skip Slayer for Jane’s Addiction like I regretfully did (which, by the way, when she said it, was the sexiest thing I’ve ever heard. Chicks who dig metal … swoon).

So it was a glorious night. I just hope I don’t have to wait 20 years to do it again.

Let us know what you think. Sound off in the comments here at Music or Space Shuttle? Have your say on our Facebook page. Yell at us on Twitter.

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From the MoSS? Pit: Fleetwood Mac

fleetwood mainIf you’ve read some of my posts over the last year or so you may remember that I am a big Fleetwood Mac fan. Their Rumours album was the #10 selection in my part of the “MoSS? Undisputed Top Albums Ever” lists Chris and I made last year. My wife is a huge fan too so when I saw they were coming to Des Moines this summer there was no way we were going to miss it. In need of additional support crew, we looked no further than our Pygmalion Fest/Best Coast concert pals. I’m pleased to report that thanks to their help… No wrong turns this year baby! Although, I wouldn’t have minded making a small 90 minute detour to the Missouri border for some fireworks (this trip being pre-4th of July and all.) Sadly, Iowa does not sell the good stuff.

Anyway, upon arrival in the big city of Des Moines we started our evening off at a martini bar called The Standard. They have excellent food (Tapas baby!), very good/not too pricey drinks and horseshit service. Concert night with one waitress? Come on The Standard! You can do better. They did have a cool little guy/girl band performing while we ate. They did excellent covers of some very random groups. Weezer, Timberlake, Marvin Gaye are just a few examples. I wish I could remember their band moniker so I could give them a plug but sadly, I don’t. Too many boozie drinks that night I suppose. So would I go back to The Standard for another pre-concert dinner?… Probably.

Since there was no opening act, all we had to worry about was getting our first concert beer and finding our seats. Price tag on a can of beer at the Wells Fargo Arena was a shocking $8. 8 bucks? For Coors (Pronounced Kerrs in my house) Light? I was a bit taken aback until the beer wench handed over two ice cold  20 oz. cans. 20 ounces? Shit lady, that’s all you had to say!  I could barely carry them to our seats which were not exactly close. That’s the one bummer about this trip. I can add up the total ticket cost of my last five shows and they are still just under the ticket price for Fleetwood Mac and we were still midway to nosebleed land. Still, there was no way we were missing this one.

fleetwood liveWhen we finally sat down I noticed that the crowd was pretty large. If they didn’t sell out the venue I would be surprised. I was also surprised at the age range of the audience. Since the band members are in their mid-60s, I assumed our thirtysomething foursome would be at the young end of the spectrum. That was not necessarily the case. While there was no shortage of baby boomers, there was probably almost as many 30-40 year olds on hand as well. I even saw a few teenagers wandering around getting a rock and roll history lesson from parents.

We didn’t have to wait more than a few minutes for the show to begin.  Fleetwood Mac came on stage a mere 15 minutes after the designated start time. I can deal with 15 minutes. That’s basically on time in rock and roll land. Maybe “The Mac” have given up the rock diva thing after all these years. Or maybe they just wanted to get the show done before the 11PM Matlock episode started. I’m kidding of course. Over the period of the two and a half hour show, not one of the members of the band showed any signs of slowing down. In fact, they seemed to have endless energy.

fleetwood live 2

Guitarist/Vocalist Lindsey Buckingham was onstage for almost every song and still plays flawlessly and ferociously. One of my favorite Lindsey songs is “Never Going Back Again” which showcases his unique guitar work. The live version that night was slowed down a bit from the original but it still shows he has the skills.

[Side note on the video: Although I did upgrade my mobile to the highly superior iPhone, this could not help my videos from the night. Shitty seats = Shitty video. I was able to find a few YouTube clips filmed by some cat named Jason Smith. Luckily, he recorded some of my favorite performances of the night. Thanks Jason!]

fleetwood live 3Stevie sounded great too. Her voice may not be able to hit the higher notes perfectly anymore but she can still belt out the hits. One of my favorite Stevie songs is “Sara” and I was singing it all afternoon in anticipation of hearing it live as my annoyed support crew can attest. After a couple of those 20 oz. beers I was talking about earlier, I had to take a restroom break. As I was doing my business, I heard the opening lyrics of “Sara.” Talk about bad timing! I was able get  to my seat to in time to catch the last half of the song though. Check out the video below.

Another Stevie highlight from that night was the performance of her solo tune, “Stand Back.” She pulls out all of the trademark Stevie stuff. Air keyboards. Flowing witch/gypsy dress. Waving scarves. And my favorite, the Stevie Spin. That’s right. The Spin. What other rock star can whip the crowd into a frenzy solely by spinning in a circle like a little girl? No other rock star. That’s who. I got caught up in it too. At the sight of the first Stevie Spin of the night, my wife and I turned to each other and simultaneously shrieked “SHE’S SPINNING!!!” Check out the video below.

Every current member from the Rumours lineup (except for John McVie who has never been particularly talkative) spoke to the crowd during breaks in the action.  They all seemed to have the same theme…Gratitude. They appeared truly touched and humbled by the years of love and applause. Even though the ticket price may be a bit high, I suggest you go out and see Fleetwood Mac. Before we know it there won’t be too many bands like them left.

Setlist:

Second Hand News
The Chain
Dreams
Sad Angel
Rhiannon
Not That Funny
Tusk
Sisters of the Moon
Sara
Big Love
Landslide
Never Going Back Again
Without You
Gypsy
Eyes of the World

Gold Dust Woman
I’m So Afraid
Stand Back
Go Your Own Way

Encore:
World Turning
Don’t Stop

2nd Encore:
Silver Springs
Say Goodbye

MoSS? Presents… The Undisputed Top Albums Ever, #10

Yep, we’ve made a list. Two separate lists, actually, so the above graphic is a bit misleading. Accounting for the limited overlap in Todd’s and Chris’ lists, it’s more like the top 174 or something like that.

Anyway, after months of scientific analysis, hours of listening and re-listening to albums from years gone by, we have arrived at a definitive list of the top albums ever recorded. Our research is not open to interpretation, but you’re more than welcome to complain about the fact that your favorite albums aren’t on this list; we’ll simply respond by telling you that your favorite records aren’t really all that good.

We’ve reached the really good stuff: our top 10s. We’ll roll these out one per day (Monday-Friday) over the next two weeks, reaching #1 on Friday, Dec. 14. The following week, we’ll unveil our favorite music from 2012.

Let’s get on with it…

Chris’ #10: The Cure, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me

(click play button below to sample this album)

kiss me kiss me kiss me coverThis is when it all started for me. No, this isn’t my highest-ranked Cure album (not a spoiler for anyone who’s known me for a long time) but had I not heard this wide-ranging double album, I might not have subsequently bought Standing on a Beach and pounced on the release of Disintegration and I might be pining for a Skid Row reunion or something like that. (Or I would have heard “Fascination Street” or “Lovesong” in 1989 and gone down the Cure path anyway…who’s to say.) But the album with the lips on the front cover and the eyeball on the back cover got this all started.

Again, I must give my cousin Josh credit; he’s the one who hooked me up with Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me all those years ago. Not only did he have Cure albums aplenty in his music collection, his room was adorned with some really cool black-and-white posters featuring the wild-haired singer, Robert Smith. So in addition to the other stuff he provided me (Slayer, Beastie Boys, etc.), I asked him for a copy of the latest Cure album.

I remember putting it on the stereo when we got back to Waukon, and being a little bit confused. I had this preconceived notion that this band was basically some sort of keyboard-heavy new wave kind of thing. So when the opening track, “The Kiss,” with its blistering guitar work by Smith and Porl Thompson, came screaming out of my speakers, I had to wonder if Josh had recorded the right band. Of course, when Robert starting singing, I realized the band was right and my preconceived notions were wrong.

This is definitely an album where Porl Thompson, who departed the Cure in 1994 to play in the Page/Plant band that performed on MTV Unplugged and later tour in support of the reunited Led Zep greats, was allowed to showcase his skills. And after an album where Robert wrote everything (The Head on the Door), all five members of the band were asked for input. Robert stated that the tapes he got from the others ranged from your typical guitar and guide vocal stuff to drummer Boris Williams submitting a demo that Robert described as “vampire drumming.”

And even though the resulting 18 songs are over the map stylistically, the quality level never dips. After “The Kiss” and its guitar showmanship (and lyrics that conclude with “I wish you were dead”), we hear bits of strings (“Catch”), some Eastern accents amid what I would consider to be “vampire drumming” (“If Only Tonight We Could Sleep,” awesomely covered by Deftones, by the way), the brassy compliment song “Why Can’t I Be You?”, a song with so many simple layers that when assembled come across as a song that is one of the most beautiful songs the band has penned (“How Beautiful You Are”), a dark, somewhat hypnotic tale about being “a mile under the ground and thinking that it’s Christmas” and being “out in car and it’s full of stupid girls and I try to speak and I just can’t remember a word” (“The Snakepit”), and more blasts of brass (“Hey You!”, “Hot Hot Hot!!!”, “Icing Sugar”) and an electric, up-tempo blast (“Shiver and Shake”) and one of those songs that I guess I always presumed the Cure did (“The Perfect Girl,” with its toy piano accents and no shortage of “doo-doo-doo” lyrics).

The album also has one of the greatest songs ever recorded, the song that even non-Cure fans probably are familiar with: “Just Like Heaven.” The song structure is similar to the aforementioned “How Beautiful You Are” in that it’s not a complicated song by any stretch of the imagination, but each little element comes together to create an amazing whole. It’s a song I’ve heard so many times and not once have I been “sick of it.” And the lyrics aren’t sappy but they’re not overly abstract, either. It’s a wonderful love song about how special an embrace can be and how dancing can be like “spinning on that dizzy edge” and how being with that special someone is just like heaven. And the video, set atop an oceanside cliff, is pretty cool, too.

The album also has “Like Cockatoos,” a song that features some really cool percussive effects around a slinky bass line, cool keyboard work, and an amazing way of describing the ending of a relationship. The whole song has a novel’s worth of emotion in about 100 words. The lyrical work on this song (throughout the album, really) is nothing short of stunning. It’s a skill of Robert’s that made the Cure so incredible during the band’s peak.

One funny thing about this album, a story that seems like a nice way to close this entry: my dad was listening to this album with me when we were driving somewhere. The song “If Only Tonight We Could Sleep” came on, and my dad remarks, “They ripped this off from the Eagles.”

Let’s get one thing straight: much like The Dude, I hate the fucking Eagles, so you can imagine how well that statement went over with me, especially teenage version of me. I’m sure I insulted him in some way, to which he said, “Listen to ‘Journey of the Sorcerer’ and then tell me I’m wrong.” He had One of These Nights on LP, so when we got home, I gave it a listen. To call them similar is a stretch; to say one ripped off the other is flat-out wrong.

But to my dad’s credit, he wasn’t completely off-base. In an interview, Robert talked about recording some of the stuff in Southern California, and as a result, he felt at times they sorta sounded like…you guessed it, THE EAGLES.

I guess I should give my dad props for recognizing it, even if he won’t acknowledge the Cure is 1,000,000 times better than the Eagles.

Todd’s #10: Fleetwood Mac, Rumours

(click play button below to sample this album)

FMacRumoursWhat do you get when you take a band with two broken long term relationships, throw in an affair with another band member, and mix with lots of drugs and alcohol? The 10th best album of all time of course.

Like everyone else their age in the ‘70s my parents had this Fleetwood Mac Rumours album. For a long time this was the soundtrack to our weekends. My parents would be doing one of their typical projects around the house and when I wasn’t busy getting in the way or snagging my Dad a fresh beer, I would listen to Rumours and stare at the album cover.

When I hear the song “Dreams”, I’m always reminded of those lazy weekends and the brief time when you are very young that your life revolves around your parents. You go about your business secure in the fact that they have everything under control and nothing bad is ever going to happen. Of course, as you grow older you lose that feeling and realize they were winging it just like everyone else.

Anyways, I must have looked at the album cover a million times. Specifically this picture.

rumors

Quite an odd collection of people there. Singer and lead guitar player Lindsey Buckingham had the biggest hair I’d ever seen. He doesn’t look too happy to be next to his ex-girlfriend Stevie Nicks in the middle there. The McVies are nowhere near each other and Christine won’t look in John’s direction, which sort of tells you everything about the status of their relationship at the time. And what to say about Mick Fleetwood standing behind Stevie? Apparently they were banging around that time so maybe the look on his face makes sense in that respect.

Rumours has to be the most emotionally charged album in history. I can’t imagine being in the studio for the recording of some of these songs. Especially the songs like “Go Your Own Way.” I imagine Lindsey came in and said “Hey everyone, I have this great song. Stevie, It’s about how you broke up with me and started banging Mick. No hard feelings though Mick. Here’s how it goes.”

Loving you
Isn’t the right thing to do
How can I
Ever change things that I feel?
If I could
Maybe I’d give you my world
How can I
When you won’t take it from me?

That’s maybe my favorite lyric in music history.

If I could
Maybe I’d give you my world
How can I
When you won’t take it from me?

It always gets me going. Just ask my wife. When that part of the song comes on I always go crazy. “You see! He’s trying to give her everything but that bitch won’t take it from him!” She just laughs but I think she gets my outrage. The dude put it all out there but Stevie still fucked the drummer instead. The guitar solo at the end of the song is awesome too. Side note there: When I was at music school, the faculty put on a concert and I ran sound. One of the songs they played was “Go Your Own Way.” When that guitar solo came up, I raised the levels on the lead guitar and started rocking out pretty hard. Afterwards, I noticed that most everyone around me was watching me instead of the guitarist. I guess they didn’t think it was as cool as I did.

Rumours has a ton of amazing guitar work though. Take “Never Going Back Again” for example. Sometimes it sounds like three guitars instead of one. Once and awhile I listen to it and think “Hey, that’s really awesome. I could probably play that“. Then I remember I can’t. I have this Fleetwood Mac guitar book and when I look at the tablature on the page my head spins. It’s like doing musical calculus. Guess I’ll just stick to the Ramones songs where I just bang out 4 chords as loud as I can.

maddenThe Lindsey and Stevie songs usually get most of the airplay from this record but I like them all, even the Christine McVie tunes. I went through a period in college when I would listen to Rumours every afternoon. Guys used to come in and out of my room and I would usually end up playing someone in Madden 96’. They would complain when the Christine songs would come on. I thought it was great. Just when Christine lulled my opponents to sleep with “Songbird” or “Oh, Daddy”, Mike Alstott would blast through their defensive line for a Tampa Bay Buccaneers touchdown. All kidding aside, I really do like the Christine songs a lot. Well, sometimes I skip the Clinton/Gore fightsong “Don’t Stop”, but who doesn’t?

I guess we should give thanks to Slick Willie. He’s the reason for the Fleetwood Mac reunion in the ’90s. I actually bought my wife the Fleetwood Mac reunion concert album The Dance on our first date. I knew that I was going to marry her for two reasons after that date.

  1. She said she loved Fleetwood Mac.
  2. We ended up at a record store on our first date.

Yep, I’m a simple man.

Previous installments:

#100-91

#90-81

#80-71

#70-61

#60-51

#50-41

#40-31

#30-21

#20-16

#15-11

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MoSS? Presents… The Undisputed Top Albums Ever: Ineligible Albums and Those That Missed the Cut

We’re taking a little break from our Undisputed Top Albums Ever countdown during this busy holiday week. Instead, we are going to share with you a few albums that didn’t make the cut and a few albums that we’ve declared ineligible for selection. When we were first tasked with making these lists, we decided to limit our top 100 albums to proper releases. This meant no soundtracks, no live albums, no compilations etc. Some great material had to be omitted. Take a look at what didn’t make the cut. Your favorite record could be in there somewhere.

Don’t worry, the countdown continues next week with #20-16.

Chris’ 5 That Missed The Cut

Alice in Chains, Dirt

INXS, Kick

Led Zeppelin, Physical Graffiti

Nine Inch Nails, The Downward Spiral

Van Halen, 1984 

A CLOSER LOOK AT…

INXS, Kick

cover for kickOnce I realized that Kick was not in my top 100 albums, I nearly chucked all of my analysis out the window. Not sure how this one landed at #102, given how much I worshipped this album growing up. I swear my friend Jeff and I listened to this album 800 times one year, doing SWEET DANCE MOVES more often than not (and changing the lyrics to fit our ridiculous sense of humor…we won’t go into that here). I even bought an INXS t-shirt (and it was tie-dye, naturally).

This was a more overall satisfying disc compared with Listen Like Thieves or The Swing, with song after song tailor made for modern radio but dissimilar from one another as well. “New Sensation” sounded nothing like “Devil Inside,” which sounded nothing like “Need You Tonight,” and then there was the one with the strings (“Never Tear Us Apart”). And then you had the leadoff track, “Guns in the Sky,” which is probably a bit flimsy as far as political commentary goes but sounded pretty kick-ass back then. And that monotone rhyming thing on “Mediate” was pretty cool…

Anyway, listen to my favorite song from the album below.

Chris’ 5 Ineligible Albums, Soundtracks or Live Albums

Descendents, Liveage!

Ramones, Hey! Ho! Let’s Go!: The Anthology

Wings, Wings Over America

Various artists, Pulp Fiction soundtrack

Various artists, No Alternative

A CLOSER LOOK AT…

Descendents, Liveage!

cover for liveageOne of the albums that created the era known as BMCJMMC (Before My Cousin Josh Made Me Cooler) was this wonderful 20-song blast of live ’80s punk by Descendents. (You can’t go wrong with the studio compilation, Somery, either.) Now, granted, my 13-year-old ears perked right up once opening track* “I’m Not a Loser” unleashed an avalanche of profanity (the last four lines or so are right in the wheelhouse of a junior high kid). But once I finally stopped laughing and rewinding that song (yep, cassette era), I discovered some of the greatest punk/pop moments from a band that had street cred.

(* – technically, the first track is the one word/one note blast called “All”)

The music is tight, lean, and full of wonderful lyric topics like suburban homes and funky vans that function as homes and silly girls and not being a cool guy anymore and wanting time to woo a woman and, um, dumb stuff like “I Wanna Be a Bear” and “Weinerschnitzel.” I remember Josh and I figured the singer, Milo, was probably lying in a drug-induced coma in some gutter somewhere, when it turns out he holds a doctorate in biochemistry. Milo Goes to College, indeed. Listen to “Silly Girl” below…

Todd’s 5 That Missed The Cut

Frank Ocean, Nostalgia Ultra

U2, Achtung Baby

Massive Attack, Protection

Pixies, Bossanova

M83, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming

A CLOSER LOOK AT…

Frank Ocean, Nostalgia Ultra

I had two issues with this record being on the list.

Issue #1. It was too new. I have a very hard time ranking an album that is only a year old in my top 100. I need time to really decide if it is worthy. Check with me in two years and I bet it will make the cut. In the meantime, watch out Bjork, Frank is coming to take your spot.

Issue #2. That fucking “American Wedding” catastrophe near the end of the album. It’s basically him singing over the music of The Eagles “Hotel California.” A song I loath. Don Henley threatened to sue Frank Ocean if he didn’t quit sing the song. I think the world should threaten to sue Don Henley if he doesn’t stop singing it.

Here’s an example of a good song from the album.

Todd’s 5 Ineligible Albums, Soundtracks or Live Albums

Guns N’ Roses, Live Era ’87-’93

Fleetwood Mac, The Dance

Various Artists, Grosse Pointe Blank Soundtrack

Various Artists, Once (Music from the Motion Picture)

Various Artists, Singles Soundtrack

A CLOSER LOOK AT…

Gross Point Blank Soundtrack

I know this soundtrack is really just an ’80s music playlist but I love it. So many great artists on it. Violent Femmes, Guns N’ Roses, The Clash, Queen with David Bowie. How can you go wrong? Not only are the artists great but the songs they chose by those artists are some of my all time favorites. Examples: Queen’s “Under Pressure”(Not Rob Van Winkle’s “Ice Ice Baby”), The Clash’s “Rudy Can’t Fail” and one my top five favorite songs ever “Pressure Drop.” Many people have covered this Toots and the Maytals classic. The Clash actually have an A+ cover version that I love. My favorite version is on this soundtrack and it is done by legendary ska band The Specials.  Check it out below.

Previous installments:

#100-91

#90-81

#80-71

#70-61

#60-51

#50-41

#40-31

#30-21

MoSS? Madness 2012: The Round of 32

Thanks to your votes the impossible happened. A #1 lost to a #16 in March! That’s right, by one single vote, Pearl Jam handed Elvis Presley a first round defeat. That wasn’t the only highly ranked artist to get knocked out in the first round. Much like Hampton over Iowa State (That one still stings), 2 seeds were dropping like flies. My beloved Smashing Pumpkins easily handled rock and roll legend Chuck Berry.  The Cure squeaked out a 1 vote victory over  “Soul Brother Number One” James Brown (Chris should be very pleased). Nine Inch Nails narrowly escaped their pairing with Little Richard. The only victorious #2 was guitar god Jimi Hendrix who put a beat down on Journey. I guess you can stop believin’ now Steve Perry.

The upcoming Round of 32 should be equally as exciting. There are going to be some great match-ups. Can the straight forward hard rock of Van Halen prevail over Metallica’s overpowering heavy metal? Can Pearl Jam pull off another Cinderella-style victory and beat glam rock icon David Bowie for a spot in the Sweet 16? You, the readers, will decide. All four regions’ match-ups are ready to go. Please make your selections below.

MoSS? Madness 2012: The Round of 64

The match-ups for the round of 64 are set. Dexy’s Midnight Runners survived a late rally by Right Said Fred to earn the last #16 seed. Dexy will be going up against the Beatles in the first round. Can they pull a spectacular upset over “The Fab Four”?  It won’t be easy, but your votes could move them on. All four regions’ match-ups are ready to go. Please make your selections below.