Friday, March 27, 2009

Weekend Listomania (Special That's So Five Minutes Ago Video Edition)

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental testicular maintenance engineer Gal Friday Fah Lo Suee and I will be travelling to a volcano monitoring station in snowbound Alaska for the annual Krakatoa -- East or West of Java? festival. Governor's Jindal and Palin will be hosting the proceeding, which I'm told will feature some of the finest Creole moose hors d'ouevres you can possibly imagine.

In any case, posting by moi will necessarily be sporadic for a few days.

But in my absence, here's a fun project for you all to contemplate:

Post-Beatles Album or Single That You Used to Really Like But Now Think Has Dated Particularly Badly!!!!

Self-explanatory, obviously, so no arbitrary rules this time. Except it has to be something you actually listened to and dug once upon a time -- NOT some record that you thought sucked then and hate even more today.

Thank you.

Okay, here's my totally top of my head Top Five:

5. Journey to the Center of Your Mind -- The Amboy Dukes



Obviously, there's a ton of psychedelia that hasn't aged well, but this one just cracks me up. I think it's the particularly portentous way (with echo) they intone the line "Come along...IF YOU DARE!!!!" that particularly sinks it, as much fun as the record was when it was new. What was it that Lester Bangs said about 60s garage rock -- a bunch of virgins desperately trying to sing about fucking without giving away their total lack of experience?

4. Pickin' Up the Pieces -- Poco



The Buffalo Springfield pedigree notwithstanding, I can barely tolerate anything these guys did anymore, although I actually used to listen to this song and a few others of theirs a lot. The grinning optimism just seems totally divorced from reality now. For me, anyway.

3. Remain in Light-- Talking Heads



You know, there was a part of me that thought David Byrne was kind of full of shit even back in the day, as much as I enjoyed this album at any number of oh-so-80s hepster parties. Then again, otherwise sensible people were proclaiming him one of the most significant composers of the 20th century...

2. Making Movies -- Dire Straits



Boy, did I love this record back in 1980. Now? Knopfler's still a great guitar player, but this kind of overheated Springsteen-on-steroids-under-the-boardwalk romantic stuff strikes me as faintly embarassing.

And the number one record that just doesn't get me off the way it used to, and I suspect we're in agreement about this for a change, is obviously --

1. Graceland -- Paul Simon



I include this one with genuine regret, but the album is pretty much unlistenable for me now and for a really stupid reason. To wit -- despite the great songs, that gated 80s drum sound just drives me up a fricking wall.

Awrighty then -- what would your choices be?

[Shameless Blogwhore: My parallel Cinema Listomania -- theme: blue collar movies -- is now up over at Box Office. As always, I'd really appreciate if you could see your way to going over there and posting a comment, thus convincing management I'm worthy of the AIG-style salary they're paying me.]

42 comments:

dSmith said...

"You keep me hanging on" by Vanilla Fudge.
Anything by Bachman-Turner Overdrive.
Anything by Don Ellis

TJWood said...

The '80's drum sound, I suspect, will be responsible, for a few entries with this week's Listomania.

First up:

Bruce Springsteen--Born In The USA:

To be honest, never my favorite Bruce album, but did get a lot of listens back in the day. Would probably be the last of the E-Street albums I would listen to now.

U2--War:

Perhaps just because of the prospect of having to hear "Sunday Bloody Sunday" again right out of the box--and "New Year's Day" two songs behind it. Maybe just because it's of an ilk with other politically aware rock of its time that really has not aged well. But the only thing I really have any urge to hear from that album right now would be "Drowning Man", a song the band has never played live.


Pink Floyd--The Wall:

I thought it was genius for a while myself. Perhaps mainly because of the overkill of its best-known songs on classic rock radio, but I'd actually find myself putting on either of the two post-Rogers Waters PF albums in lieu of this.

dSmith said...

btw, ever notice the opening riff on "Journey to the Center of the Mind" is the theme from "Bonanza"?

dSmith said...

"In the Wake of Poseidon" by King Crimson

Anonymous said...

"Winds of Change" and/or any other "psychedelic" Eric Burdon. (But I still love Donovan, go figure...)

An awful lot of Louis Reed's corpus, most particularly "Berlin."

Ah! The Big Drum era! - Dylan's "Empire Burlesque," Joe Ely's "Hi-Res," any number of cheesy New Wave one-offs that I thought were godhead when I was too young to know any better. (Still love "Field Day" tho...)

And (although it pains me to say it) quite a bit of Hendrix - unless he's playing a slow blues, and not just showing off.
- bill buckner

Peter said...

People are gonna hate me for this, but, Nick Drake. What I once thought was heartbreakingly melodic melancholy now just seems precious.

They'll hate me for this, too: Lucinda Williams. Actually that whole Townes/Lyle Texas songwriter thing is starting to feel a little phony to me now that I realize that cowboy boots are always gonna hurt my feet.

And here's the big one....Blood on the Tracks. Maybe because I loved it so extravagantly when it first came out I couldn't see that for all the passion he was, in fact, a little rusty as a writer. ("Crimson hair"? I don't think so.) For my money, he didn't really get his chops back until he started writing about Jesus, perhaps because he finally had a subject worthy of his talent.

"Tangled Up In Blue" is still a great song, though.

Noam Sane said...

Those first several Prince albums just don't do it for me. Vestigial synths - the equivalent of the drum sound you mention. Just too much sugar.

I'd defend Byrne, though. I wouldn't claim he's up there with Gershwin or Copeland or Zappa, but his hit-to-miss ratio is pretty good. Fear of Music is a high point. I'm still a fan, glad he is/was around.

megisi said...

Aztec Camera's Oblivious - thought it was a fine tune when it came out and I can't listen to it today ... too cute by at least half.

Much of the Pretenders stuff sounds thin and disjointed to me today and I can't totally explain it. A few gems in the stack, but most of it, like Back on the Chain Gang gets a mute from me.

The Stooges' 1969 just sounds like senseless braying to me today.

steve simels said...

he didn't really get his chops back until he started writing about Jesus, perhaps because he finally had a subject worthy of his talent.


That's actually very funny, even though I couldn't disagree more.
:-)

The Phantom Creep said...

I'm waiting for somebody to mention something from the 90s. Surely there's a grunge reappraisal lurking out there.

reddyrooster said...

Pretty much mosta what TRex did. Loved 'em as a kid, thought I still did, but hearing a Best Of recently ... yawn.

Sorry-- I have to TOTALLY disagree with you on Remain in Light. Like you, I remember it being the soundtrack to a lotta parties in the '80s, and I've remained fond of it. That was reinforced when I saw DB this fall. "Houses in Motion" was fecking amazing-- brought down the house with a nearly 5 minute standing O.

steves said...

Billy Idol - Never that wild about him, but now he either makes me laugh out loud or cringe in disgust.

Most of the Doors' music - Ditto.

Nirvana - Still like the hits and Unplugged, you can keep the rest.


(verification word: eysill.)

Gummo said...

Most of Donovan's opus. Loved it when I was a young impressionable teen. Still brings on a nostalgic glow, but geez.

The first American Elton John album, the one with Your Song on it. As if the songs themselves aren't precious enough, Paul Buckmaster's string arrangements really take it over the top. Great in junior high, but....

And much as I hate to admit it (and Brooklyn Girl is sure to sneer at me), it's hard to listen to Lennon's "Imagine" now uncynically. "Imagine no possessions" from a guy living in the Dakota, and whose wife was wearing furs and making big money on the cattle market? I don't think so....

And I'm with reddyrooster on Byrne, the Heads, and Remain in Light. Amazing breakthrough album then, just as good now.

David said...

The Pretenders: Get Close (suffers from really overblown production, although Hymn to Her still sounds great)
Let's Active; all of them. Adenoidal white-boy singing never used to get in the way; now it does
XTC: The Big Express...still one of my favorite bands, but the production is just too harsh, and it wasn't a songwriting peak for Partridge and Moulding
Peter Gabriel: Security...kind of the same complaint as with XTC: the harsh digital production is alienating
R.E.M: Out of Time

Anonymous said...

Dancing with myself - -billy idol
Money For Nothing - dire straits

steve simels said...

I'm actually a little hurt that nobody has given me props for that clip of Kermit singing David Byrne.
:-)

TMink said...

I have major disagreements with a lot of the previous mentions, but I can see most of your points.

In high school, I KNEW that Paul was the coolest Beatle. That amazing bass line to "Sill Love Songs," Venus and Mars certainly were alright most nights on my record player, and later, oh my goodness, "Coming Up" was what new wave really needed.

The shame.

I still listen to and enjoy his first solo record though, and he was great with the guys to balance him obviously.

One thing that David Byrne never gets proper for is his guitar playing. That herky jerky style is key to Talking Heads and much more difficult to do than it sounds.

And he could do it while singing.

Trey

TMink said...

And yes, the Kermit clip is priceless. I have this horrid sinus headache and a day full of patients to see. I think the clip will save me.

Trey

FeralLiberal said...

The appeal of a lot of music that caught my fancy as a young'un has faded, such as Mason Profitt, early Chicago, Bowie, and a lot of prog rock that I find mildly embarassing now (ELP anyone?). But I second Gummo's comment "Still brings on a nostalgic glow" and still get a kick out of an occasional spin of that stuff...

Brooklyn Girl said...

And much as I hate to admit it (and Brooklyn Girl is sure to sneer at me), it's hard to listen to Lennon's "Imagine" now uncynically. "Imagine no possessions" from a guy living in the Dakota, and whose wife was wearing furs and making big money on the cattle market? I don't think so....

I totally agree with you. I've never liked Yoko, and I always thought her "art" was a joke. I have the same reaction you do. "All You Need Is Love" ... uh-huh.

As far as music I used to like and now hate (and now you'll sneer at me!) I went through a Phil Collins phase in the 80s ...

The Cars sound pretty dated, too.

And I can't tell if "Tommy" is genuinely dated, or if I am just sick to death of it.

Gummo said...

Feral Liberal, oh, how I wish you hadn't reminded me! I had the 2nd Chicago album when I was in high school and listend to it incessantly.

*blushes*

And TMink, I've been reevaluating McCartney's career lately and find myself respecting him a lot more than I used to, for his early realization that Allen Klein was bad news, for his work ethic, and his dedication to performing live for his fans.

Of course, Red Rose Speedway is still one of, if not THE, most embarrassing record ever released by a major artist....

The Kenosha Kid said...

Pink Floyd - Animals (though The Wall is a good choice too)

Jethro Tull - entire oeuvre

Adam & The Ants - Dirk Wears White Sox - I don't know what I saw in this, maybe it was the 'i listened to them before they were cool' thing.

steves said...

It really pains me to say this, but
"All Things Must Pass." I still think the songs are fantastic, and I still like the stripped-down bootleg versions a lot, but I find the album to be practically unlistenable these days.

In fact, most things that Phil Spector produced don't date well at all (with the notable exception of John Lennon's "Plastic Ono Band" album).

Anonymous said...

Homosapien- Pete Shelley
Human League - Dont you want me baby

Brooklyn Girl said...

Anything by the Culture Club.

Libby Spencer said...

I've been debating with myself whether to confess this, but since I've already established my clueless dork creds here, I guess I'll just mention that I had a mad crush on Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits when I was a teen and adored their songs.

I used to sing them out loud. All the time. I cringe now to think about it.

midnight caller said...

I would say most of the stuff from The Police, Message In a Bottle especially. They seem so fucking pretentious to me now.

Jeff said...

Re Remain In Light: Still like it, but don't love it anymore (but do love that Kermit video), though I always did find most of side two rather boring. The playing sounds somewhat tentative to me now, and nowhere near matches the greatness of James Brown's bands (listen to live in Dallas in '68 or Paris in '71 to see what I mean), the latter of which I was mostly unfamiliar at that time.

It's hard for me to say this, because he was my idol, but most of Richard Thompson's solo records in the '80s (post-Linda) no longer appeal. By the time of You/Me/Us? I'd burned out on his newly confident but much too mannered (to my ears) vocal style; now, excepting a few tracks here and there (and Strict Tempo), I have no desire to hear Across A Crowded Room or the like. Still love and admire the guy, but there it is. (Might add I never did like Amnesia but for a couple of tracks, and would still nominate the cover as "most embarrassing" by any artist I'm a fan of - even James Brown.)

Gummo said...

It really pains me to say this, but
"All Things Must Pass." I still think the songs are fantastic, and I still like the stripped-down bootleg versions a lot, but I find the album to be practically unlistenable these days.

In fact, most things that Phil Spector produced don't date well at all


I remember there was a note in the original booklet that came with The Concert for Bangla Desh album that noted, "This recording was made with up to 44 microphones at one time" as if that was a GOOD thing.

steve simels said...

libby Spencer:

Herman's Hermits "No Milk Today" remains one of the most beautiful pop records of the 60s.

Not to worry....

cthulhu said...

I now find Lou Reed's New York disc unlistenable except for "Dirty Boulevard".

I'm as big a RT fan as most of the people who read this blog, but when a lot of the Mitchell Froom-produced Richard Thompson cuts come up in shuffle mode on my iPod, I skip right past them. And it's not just the production - it seems like half the songs on "Amnesia", "Rumor & Sigh", and "Mirror Blue" are either about women past their prime, or our wicked consumer culture. The other half are still really good, though.

And I confess that me and my high school crew got seriously into Billy Joel songs like "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" and "Captain Jack" - is it any wonder I use a pseudonym here? :-/ But 52nd Street still holds up...

Gummo said...

cthulhu said...
I now find Lou Reed's New York disc unlistenable except for "Dirty Boulevard".,


Thank Jebus, I thought it was only me.

The Kenosha Kid said...

I guess I'll just mention that I had a mad crush on Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits when I was a teen and adored their songs.


"I'm Henry the VIII I am" is the first punk rock song. Discuss.

Anonymous said...

Steve

Kudos on
1. the Kermit video
2. this topic! Brilliant.
Half of my music collection has spent time in this category.

David said...

Steve, thanks for the tout on No Milk Today--I just paid a buck for it on itunes...right up my pop-loving alley...

Noam Sane said...

Herman's Hermits did some nice stuff - I remember having a greatest-hits album when I was a kid and listening to it a lot. Many of 'em still sound good to me.

Jimmy Page played guitar on a bunch of those songs.

Dylan on a recent "Theme Time" played the original version of "I'm Into Something Good". I'd never hear it, but it was fantastic, by Earl-Jean McCrae. He then said that when Herman's Hermits sang it, he thought it was about a bowl of ice cream or a ride on a ferris wheel...but when he heard Earl-Jean sing it, he knew exactly what she was talking about.

David said...

Wow, I love the Dylan anecdote. Marianne Faithfull covered "I'm Into Something Good" a few years back, and there are all sorts of interesting undertones to her reading, but mostly it's quite joyous. Definitely not about ice cream.

Libby Spencer said...

To be clear, I cringe at the hugeness of that crush more so than loving the music. I used to practice writing my married name...

I still like some of the songs myself.

steve simels said...

Noam Sane said...
Herman's Hermits did some nice stuff - I remember having a greatest-hits album when I was a kid and listening to it a lot. Many of 'em still sound good to me.

Jimmy Page played guitar on a bunch of those songs.


Including, if I'm not mistaken, the wonderful twelve-string (or maybe octave, not sure) lead stuff on their cover of Sam Cooke's "Wonderful World."

Culture of TrÜth said...

I assumed this was a topic for old people - since you have to have been around long enought for faves to date, but I have to say I loved "Graceland" when it came out, and I listend to the album recently I think it still holds up. Even "Call Me Al," which I didn't like that much, but still is ok because of the implied sense of humor.

I would say Culture Club, Prince, or the Police, but I was not a big fan to begin with. So I'll have to go with Bonnie Tyler.

Steve Simels said...

Actually, I believe the saying is -- and I don't know who said it, but it is doubtless true -- that NOTHING is as dated as the recent past.

So, I didn't conceive this solely as a project for people from my demographic....
:-)

Dave said...

For some reason, I'm totally blocked on this topic. Offhand, I can't think of any song or album I've abandoned because it feels outdated.

On the other hand, if I go back the 50+ years I've listened to rock/pop music, I think I would have been shocked to know that in 2009 that:

I rarely listen to the Beatles or their solo output, whereas I'm still just as moved by Beach Boys/Brian Wilson.

I'd never think that I'd listen more to James Taylor than Bob Dylan.

That I'd listen much more to the one-hit wonders of the 60s and 70s more than the "heavy" albums from rock's so-called golden age.

That quote about the datedness of the recent past is right on. It bothers me that I feel disconnected from most hiphop and pop music these days, and I don't find myself listening to as much music from the 90s and 00s as I would like.

I'm always happiest when the current music I like is also popular and that's not where I'm at. I hate it that I'm listening overwhelmingly to old music.