Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The 15 albums that made me who I am - Part 2


And now we skip a few years. When we last left our hero he was stuck in December 1980. John Lennon had just been killed and he became Obsessed with all thing Beatle related (an obsession that continues to this day). As the 80's dawned I was kind of stuck between two worlds.......I was still listening to classic rock radio, but there was this New Wave thing happening that caught my attention. It wasn't until I finally got Cable TV (and MTV was constantly on) that I was exposed to all those freaky English bands and I had now truly found my place.

#4. R.E.M. - "RECKONING"

The first video I saw on MTV was the Talking Heads "Once In A Lifetime". I have that image stuck in my mind.....hanging out at my friend Vinny's house....watching the Rutles (on a very bad quality video tape) and staying up late to watch non-stop MTV videos. The very early years of MTV were fantastic.....they just played whatever they could get...videos that they never would touch again once the channel got popular....yes, those early years were filled with the strangest, colorful, MOST unique videos ever......then EVERYONE had a video on MTV, and the video itself, once an expressionistic canvas of flowing artwork and ideas, had become as generic as the many Duran Duran clones that were now littering the airwaves. But there was ONE band that just did not fit in with all these pretty boy posers, and that was R.E.M. I think their second album "Reckoning" is light years ahead of their debut LP. "Harbourcoat" , "South Central Rain" and of coarse, the best song on the album, "Pretty Persuasion". R.E.M.'s videos were dark, strange, and not at all glammy and over produced. And because of this I think they have aged WAAAY better than almost anything Else released in 1984. Except for perhaps maybe.......

#5 - U2 - "The Unforgettable Fire"

...A classic when it was released, and perhaps my favourite U2 album. OK, there's a BIT of filler on it....I can do without tracks like "MLK" or "Elvis Presley & America" (...and , as good as it is....If I hear "Pride In The Name Of Love" one more time I might just grow my mullet back in protest) but there are such beautiful, BIG, fantastic tracks on this album. Co-incidentally, the 25th anniversary edition has been released and it includes some great B-sides. "Boomerang II" is one of the better ones. Think of it as a sister to Tom Tom Club's "Wordy Rappinghood", only instead of a girl rapping, it's Bono singing.......OK, perhaps that might not make this track sound all that appealing.......just listen to it....and then you just might be ready for....

#6 - FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD - "Welcome To The Pleasuredome" (1984)

Remember...I said this list will includes those albums that inspired me, or records that I associate with certain memories...they are not all going to be winners. Having said that, I remember the anticipation I (and my friend Vince) had when this album was released. We were huge Trevor Horn fans and loved everything he laid his production ears to. I remember going to Titus Oaks in Huntington and we each wanted to buy a copy of this....he bought the US version of the album, and I wanted to Import. Then we brought it over to my house and listened to it. The first track is over 23 minutes long and to us this WAS out Sgt Pepper....our White Album...our Dark Side Of The Moon....this was going to be the best album EVER recorded. That feeling didn't last, but listening back to it now, there were a couple of cool tracks on it...like "Black Night White Light" (always an underrated track), or "Happy Hi".

#7. NEW ORDER - "Low Life" (1985) / CHINA CRISIS - "Flaunt The Imperfection" (1985) tie

The one year period from 1984 to 1985 was a whirlwind year for me. I graduated High School, moved out of my house, was briefly homeless, got a room in a house in a very bad neighborhood, and FINALLY got my own apartment. Nothing reminds me of this time like these 2 albums. Both classics, both timeless. Both should me part of a balanced breakfast