Friday, July 18, 2014

A Second Spinning (Round 2)

I've been buying albums like crazy ever since I was in 3rd grade. There's been albums I've loved and albums I've hated. Some from local bands, some from big names and even more from my 8 year Christian Music age. I've decided to take a stack of 20 albums that I disliked in my collection each month and give them another listen to see if over the years my opinion has changed.

Here's my breakdowns and reasons why

My Opinion Didn't Change On:

Green Day: American Idiot Green Day was the first band I ever loved and they have remained one of my top 10 favorite bands ever. Despite this I could never get into American Idiot (an album many call their masterpiece). What's weird about this is I'm not a hater of new Green Day. I loved Uno, Dos, Tre (I might be the only person who did) as well as 21st Century Breakdown. I thought that maybe American Idiot took me off guard and that going back I'd like it more, but that was not the case. My opinion remains the same it's too stylized and the concept too heavy handed. The song American Idiot is still my least favorite Green Day single, the rest of the singles are great as is Jesus Of Suburbia but I think the rest of the album is just forgettable.

R.E.M.: Automatic For the People I'm a big R.E.M. fan when it comes to their singles, however every album I've purchased by them I disliked (excluding Document). The band is capable of writing great singles but in general their music ends up boring me more than anything. This will not be the only time they pop up on one of these lists as I have about 4 other albums by them to revisit.

Primus: Pork Soda Much like Green Day Primus is one of my all time favorite bands. Pork Soda is one of their most popular albums yet it's always been my least favorite album by them. It's mostly an issue of being too long with not enough catchy material to carry the album. I love stuff like Welcome to This World and My Name Is Mud but the album hits a drawn out part midway through.

Albums I Appreciated More But Still Don't Love

Mae: Destination Beautiful This was the last Mae album I purchased and I think that had a helping hand in me not loving it the first time around. This is a perfectly fine album and all things considered a great debut. It's unfair of me to have compared it to their masterpiece The Everglow, if I heard this album before The Everglow I probably would have loved it. Regardless of my opinion the song Sun is a masterpiece.

Collective Soul: Dosage I always had a love hate relationship with Collective Soul. I adored their self-titled album and felt "meh" towards everything else they ever released. With Dosage I remember only liking two or three songs but I actually found myself enjoying this album when listening to it. Afterwards though I couldn't remember any songs I liked beyond the two or three I've always loved as a kid. However I will be giving this album another spin sooner rather than later.

Bright Eyes: Fevers & Mirrors I find myself frequently getting bored with Bright Eyes midway through his albums.  Regardless if it's an album I love or an album I hate there's always a song or two that just goes too long or gets too weird or is too stripped down. I remembered Fevers & Mirrors being all songs like that (with the exception of The Calendar Hung Itself which is why I bought the album) but actually the whole albums is filled with someone interesting stuff. The issue is mostly that the opening and closing songs are what I was remembering. As the end caps of the album it makes it feel like the whole album was like that.

Ace Troubleshooter: Madness of the Crowd The biggest issue with Ace Troubleshooter is that while every song is great, 90% of them are completely forgettable. I loved listening to this CD and by the time it was over all I remember was 2:00 Your Time

Audio Adrenaline: Some Kind of Zombie The last Round Audio Adrenaline's Bloom fell into this exact same category. That being said I enjoyed revisiting this a little more than Bloom. I remember loving the album as a kid, then as I got older hating the album and now I like it more than I used to… but I don't love it as much as I used to (if that makes sense at all). I will say that I forgot how weird the background noises were or how People Like Me is arguably the best song The Rentals never wrote.

Busta Rhymes: When Disaster Strikes Busta Rhymes is an awesome rapper (or was before Pussycat Dolls came into his life) but his CDs always felt too long. I remembered liking two songs (outside of the two singles) when I got this album but in retrospect there's a ton of great material here. The album suffers from the same thing many rap albums of the 90's suffer from, terrible skits that run too long. That being said So Hardcore is the best song Busta ever recorded.

Albums I Really Enjoyed More Than I Remember Being Possible

The Offspring: Conspiracy of One I always loved The Offspring but for some reason this album and it's follow up Splinter never sat well with me. Not sure why though, beyond the fact that it has Want You Bad (one of the best songs the band ever wrote) on it, the album is every Americana was. I will definitely be listening to this album again in the near future.

Jason LeVasseur: Driver is the DJ Since I was such a big fan of LeVasseur's Watching the Girls Go By last time I decided to revisit its follow-up. This album is more polished and packed with even more catchy songs. The only crime is that it didn't have Steps of Saint Patricks on it. Seriously if you haven't yet look that song up. It's a masterpiece.

Semisonic: Feeling Strangely Fine I'm sure you're familiar with SemiSonic for their lone hit Closing Time but that's not why I bought this album back in the day. Don't get me wrong, it's a great song but I was a bigger fan of their less popular follow-up single Singing In My Sleep.For a while the two singles were the only songs I liked off the album but looking back on it there's a ton of really great catchy songs. It's not a perfect album but it's definitely a good one.

Barenaked Ladies: Maroon It's weird to me that the reason I disliked this album was that it didn't sound enough like Barenaked Ladies. The fact of the matter is that BNL never had a specific sound, it evolved every couple albums. This album actually was part of my favorite sound so I'm not sure why I walked away from my first listening thinking it had two good singles and a bunch of forgetful tracks. This album is all great tracks minus one or two forgetful songs.

Cat Stevens: Mona Bone Jakon I wrote about this album a few days ago so I'll keep it short. Beyond the person connection it's a great album. I still dislike Lady D'Arbanville but the rest of the album is pretty great. The best part is that at least half the album was written for my all time favorite movie Harold & Maude. That alone is enough to baffle me on why I didn't like this album from the start.

Nerf Herder: My E.P. This one I understand. This was my first ever Nerf Herder album and they are a band that takes some time to grow on you. Plain and simple. I heard the song High School, I liked it, I bought the album. You also have to factor that I bought this when I was still pretty religious and why I don't remember being offended… I'm sure there's a chance I was by the vulgarity of the songs. Now I love them all.

Ben Folds: Songs for Silverman I loved this album from it's first track, then I hated the rest of the album. Not sure why that was because now I listen to it and of all of his solo albums this is the one that sounds the most like a Ben Folds Five album. While nothing on this album could be considered Ben's best, none of them are his worst either. That being said Bastard and Landed are the stand out tracks for sure.

David Gray: White Ladder This is another one of those CDs that my general childhood attention span made me miss out on. I picked up this album because I loved the song Please Forgive Me but was bored by the slower songs and never listened to it again. This is a beautiful album plain and simple, it's only crime is a song or two that overstays its welcome, but otherwise I need to track down more David Gray albums.

Now I Love This Album

Arrested Development: 3 Years, 5 months and 2 Days in the life of… For years I told people this album was boring and that Tennessee was the only good song. I have no clue what the fuck I was thinking of (maybe I confused this album with the PM Dawn album I bought around the same time). This CD is everything I love about 90's hip-hop. It's the perfect laid-back summer album for a long car ride. Maybe that was my issue? The first time I listened to this was in a basement while playing a video game. This is 100% a driving album.

Katie Todd: Changing Faces Just like Jason LeVasseur I heard Katie Todd through my college concert series. There's a song on this album called Unreachable that is beautiful. I bought the CD because I loved that particular song. Much like Steps of Saint Patricks by Jason LeVasseur that song was so good that it set a high standard for the rest of the album that was impossible to reach. Revisiting the album though I found the whole CD to be a  beautiful album. If you're a fan of Regina Spektor and early Fiona Apple you should definitely check out Katie Todd.

The Cars: Heartbeat City There isn't even a doubt in my mind that this was the best album of the 20 this time around. I bought this CD for one reason You Might Think and I think that was the only song I listened to. That's the only way to justify how this hasn't been one of my favorite albums of all time. The saddest thing is knowing that for years I've not been obsessing over how perfect the song Magic is. Seriously, that song should have been on every MixTape I ever made for a girl who had no interest in me.

Matt Kelly is the host of the popular podcast The Saint Mort Show, a frequent contributor to, the founder of Chords for Cures and the co-writer/co-director of the upcoming comedy Describing the Moon.

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