Friday, August 22, 2014

A Second Spinning (Round 3)

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

KJ-52: 7th Avenue - In the world of Christian Hip-Hop KJ-52 provided the industry with an artist they could finally compare to Eminem. While I genuinely enjoy his later records even when I first bought his debut I was kinda let-down. Later albums showed a nice blend of funny songs, serious topics and great beats. However on his debut he was so focused on sounding "tough" that his decent flow suffers in a general lack of authenticity.

"Weird Al" Yankovic: Alapalooza - This has always been my least favorite Weird Al album. Something just always feels off with it. I think at the end of the day it feels super rushed and in a weird way… a bit of a sell out record. Every song feels like it was written for a different purpose than simply being a genuine idea (we know that Bedrock Anthem was for the Flintstones movie and Talk Soup was a rejected attempt at writing a theme song for the TV show for example). The only songs I truly love on the record are Frank's 2000" TV and Bohemian Polka (however this listen I enjoyed the prince style parody Traffic Jam).

All Star United - I honestly don't know why I bought two All Star United albums since they were far from a band I ever loved. I always really enjoyed their sophomore album International Superstars... however the self titled album never did anything for me. What's disappointing is that the only song La La Land is an INCREDIBLE song. It's definitely worth checking out if you've never heard it before.

Green Jelly: Cereal Killer Soundtrack - This is a tough one to discuss. It's not like Green Jelly was meant to be taken seriously… but they can write good songs! I know that they are capable of it, there's at least four really entertaining songs on this album. But just like when I first bought it the rest of the album just isn't enjoyable. I don't mind so-bad it's good… but usually that involves being more entertaining than this. 

Pearl Jam: Ten - Controversially for people who know me, I never really liked Pearl Jam that much. Of all the 90's grunge groups they were always my least favorite. They wrote some great singles but I always struggled to get into a full album of theirs. I decided to give their massive debut a second spin but in the end I still found myself only really enjoying the singles (specifically Black which might be the best song they ever wrote).

Albums I Appreciated More But Still Don't Love

Audioslave - When Audioslave came out I couldn't have been more let down. I loved Rage and Soundgarden and wanted something incredible. Instead I felt like the album was just bland radio rock. While that assessment isn't necessarily incorrect but they did a really awesome job with radio rock (including some pretty cool guitar solos). I still don't think it's a great album but I could see myself listening to it again sometime.

The Get Up Kids: Four Minute Mile - I have a friend who thinks this is the best Get Up Kids album. Don't get me wrong there's at least three songs on this album that are strong contenders for best song the band ever wrote. However when you hear this album after Something to Write Home About it's already up against the impossible. The biggest issue with this album is simply that it's terribly mixed.

Guns N Roses: Lies - I actually don't mind this album too much. I think it's better than either Use Your Illusion album but I'm also not the world's biggest GNR fan. I definitely prefer the second half of studio recorded acoustic songs (including one of my all time favorites Patience) over the (fake) live songs. In general it's just an uneven album that has both the best and the worst of this legendary band.

Creed: My Own Prison - I used to love Creed than I hated Creed. Now I just kinda like Creed. My Own Prison is half of a great album. Songs like Torn, One, What's this Life For and the Title Track are great songs, however there's a lot of forgettable songs on there as well. Maybe next time I'll revisit Human Clay.

Huey Lewis & The News: Sports - The first time I bought this CD it was because I was obsessed with the song If This Is It. I loved the song still but didn't like the other songs (excluding the other two singles of course). This time around though I found I enjoyed 75% of the album. That being said If This Is It is still the best song.

Albums I Really Enjoyed More Than I Thought Was Possible

Joy Electric: ChristianSongs -  I always loved seeing Joy Electric live. They put on a great show and were always a favorite for me at christian music festivals but I never really dug their sound on CD. However now that I haven't seen them live in almost a decade that doesn't seems as much of a hindrance to the album. The albums simply has good catchy songs on it and what more can I ask for?

Classic Disney Volume 1 - I bought this on my senior class trip to Disney as a souvenir. At the time I wasn't into musicals or a huge fan of those Disney films from my past. Now at 28 when I have that overwhelming love of both showtunes and the nostalgia of classic Disney films I regret not relistening to this sooner.

Last Tuesday: Distractions & Convictions - I don't remember how I found Last Tuesday but they were the first band I ever booked that I wasn't friends with. The put on a great live set despite there being like 15 people at the show. I picked up their album Dear Jessica (which will be on a future second spinning) and enjoyed it for the most part. I then picked up every album they released after that and never totally loved the records until their last album. Revisiting this CD this week however I found it packed with awesome, fast and raw punk songs.

Shorthanded: Forever Yours -  The issue with Shorthanded's album was that I fell in love with the band  based on demos from various Tooth & Nail comps. I preferred the songs in their demo versions and wrote off this album for not sounding close enough to the demos. This might have been the first time I actually listened to at least half the songs. The band isn't anything special but they could write a good catchy song when they wanted to.

Tim Blane: In the Meantime - Like some artists on previous Second Spinning articles I discovered Tim Blane via free live music at my college. I bought it strictly for the catchy title track. This was an extremely fun listen and I can't wait to revisit it again soon.

Slick Shoes - There's really nothing to say about this album except it's as good as previous Slick Shoes albums. I don't know why I didn't like it but loved their previous albums. Also the song Alone is one of the best songs the band ever wrote. If you like Slick Shoes and don't already own this then you're doing something wrong. 

90lb Wuss: Where the Meager Die of Self Hate - When I was kid I didn't know what to think about this band or this album… now in my late 20's I sell don't know what to make of them, but I like them a lot more. In a strange blend of Indie rock, Post-Hardcore and Old School Punk this album is bizarre, angry and completely chaotic in the way it shifts between genres.

Now I Love This Album

Jeff Buckley: Grace - When the only song you know by Buckley is his beautiful rendition of Hallelujah going into this album is tough. There's really nothing that sounds quite like that song (arguably the best cover of all time) and that turned me off right away. Relistening to it though I found it the be an insanely powerful album and much like Blind Melon was in the past I can't help but wish we could hear what more Jeff Buckley had in him.

Saves the Day: Stay what You Are - This album committed the cardinal sin of not sounding like the old albums. There's something about when a band changes their sound that makes you refuse to give them a fair chance. I'm glad I got my head out of my ass to finally give this album the listen it deserved. It's a great and catchy record. Certain Tragedy is my new favorite song Saves The Day ever recorded.

The Beastie Boys: To The 5 Boroughs - I have absolutely no answer to why I disliked this album to begin with. I must have been angry or distracted or something. While this isn't their greatest album it's full of everything that made that Beastie Boys great.