Remember walking down the street without having to worry about silly things like masks or murder hornets? Here’s what I was listening to this past week.
Turns Into Stone – The Stone Roses (1992)
On their seminal track “She Bangs the Drums,” lead singer Ian Brown exclaims “the past was yours, but the future’s mine” – an apt statement because only half a dozen years later, his band, The Stone Roses, were no more. That makes the two dozen or so songs on their debut album The Stone Roses and this collection, Turns Into Stone staggering – not only for their genre-defining brilliance, but for influencing an entire generation of British music. I’ve written about this album in the past, and the more I listen to it, the more I think that it just might be better than their debut album. That’s a ridiculous thing to say, considering that most of these songs that had been passed over and relegated to being b-sides.
Viral Tracks: Going Down, Standing Here, Elephant Stone
Disraeli Gears – Cream (1967)
Eric Clapton had been turning heads for a while doing that whole revolutionary blues rock thing, but with Cream, he really harnessed something special. There’s a driving, fuzzy wah guitar tone on Disraeli Gears that gives it that perfect, hazy, “smoke filled room” sort of vibe. But, Cream wasn’t all about Clapton – it was a supergroup of three ridiculously skilled musicians (Clapton, Baker, and Bruce) who helped redefine the sound and shape the era, and just sounded so great together. I can only imagine the number of people listening to Jack Bruce’s instructions to “please open your mind/see what you can find,” getting lost in the music and in that artwork sitting in some smoky rooms through the years.
Viral Tracks: Tales of Brave Ulysses, SWLABR, World of Pain
Blonde on Blonde – Bob Dylan (1966)
Everything that’s needed to be said about Bob Dylan has already been said in the past 50+ years, so it feels like writing anything extended about him is just a re-tread. People have been debating about him for decades, they’ve analyzed, re-analyzed, and over-analyzed all of his lyrics, making arguments about whether or not he was a “good” singer, and back in the day, even got into it about Dylan having the nerve to “go electric.”
But those arguments aside, I’d like to make an argument of my own – that Bob Dylan’s discography is wildly overrated. I’ll stir some pots by saying that the only three Dylan albums you’ll ever need to listen to are Blonde on Blonde, Blood on the Tracks, and the 1967 compilation Greatest Hits Vol. 1. That’s it. I’m not saying that from a lack of experience; years ago, I listened to the entirety of the Rolling Stone Top 500 albums of all time list, and there were eleven Bob Dylan albums on that list. Sure, his music was essential at the time it was written, and maybe he’s deserving of all that praise…or maybe the list was created by a bunch of old guys who really “lived through it, man” and spent all those years in coffee shops debating about what Bob Dylan really meant when he said “she’s a hypnotist collector/you are a walking antique.”
Viral Tracks: I Want You, Just Like A Woman, One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)