Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I’ve got a couple of crates full of old vinyl albums that I haven’t listened to in years due to lack of equipment to play them. Over a period of about a year and a half I revisited each album on the internet or bought the CD and ranked the songs. I also recorded some brief thoughts, rated the album, and posted the results on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Artists comment section. I’m recycling and categorizing/grouping the posts on this website.

Dark Side of the Moon
No other album comes close to drawing as many “not ranked high enough” comments on this site as this one from Pink Floyd. The epitome of a ‘concept’ album.  As was my intention, and as is the purpose of this “crate” project, I actually did rank the songs. But by the time I got to the end of the album I realized that judging an individual song from this album is the equivalent of tearing out a portion of a painting and trying to evaluate it. These songs are dependent on each other; lyrically and musically (the chord structure from “Breathe” shows up in at least three of the songs).  I will say that “Great Gig in the Sky” was the highlight for me; no words (other than a couple of spoken sentences) but obvious what was being said. I also like the chaotic buildup and the opening chords to “Breathe” – I used to love rattling off a couple of “bings” and listening to that one thru the headphones back in the day. I also like “Time”, so I guess side one would be my favorite, but still I’m reluctant to separate them even by sides. “Money” is one song that kinda stands on its own - although it still fits in the album - and consequently got airplay as a single. Never cared for it much back then and still don’t. This is definitely a “mood” album and for me, doesn’t hold up so well to repeated listenings. It’s like a movie; I can only watch it so many times before I have to shelve it long enough to forget some of it. Oh, and as a “by the way” comment, I don’t think “digital” is an improvement to this album.
Scale of 1 to 10:  A

1- Just About the Whole Album
2- Money

Too Old to Rock ‘n’ Roll: Too Young to Die!
This is the only Jethro Tull album I have in the crate. I don’t remember buying it. Either someone gave it to me or I bought it as an afterthought for a discount at a record show. I’m guessing I didn’t listen to it more than once or twice so this is hardly a revisit for me but more like a first listen. And first listens usually aren’t enough to evaluate. But it wasn’t so great that I’m inclined to immediately listen to it again, so I’m gonna go with what I got, here. Two songs into the album and I thought I was in for I long ride ‘cuz I didn’t care for ‘em. An acquired taste that I’ve yet to acquire, I figured. But from the third song (“Salamander”) on, it got much better. Or maybe I was acquiring my taste for Tull on the fly. At any rate, there’s some pretty good guitar work on some of the songs; and I can’t say that I hate it. Well, maybe in a couple of spots, but for the most part, not bad.
Scale of 1 to 10:  C
1- Salamander
2- From a Deadbeat to an Old Greaser
3- Taxi Grab
4- Bad Eyed ‘N’ Loveless
5- The Chequered Flag (Dead or Alive)
6- Big Dipper
7- Too Old to Rock ‘n’ Roll: Too Young to Die
8- Pied Piper
9- Crazed Institution
10- Quizz Kid

Aside from a pretty good live album, this is the only Yes album in the crates. It was in my listening rotation for only a short period back in the vinyl days, so this is another one I was gonna skip over for this project. I remember liking “Don’t Kill the Whale”, and I’m ranking it first on my list. This album is different in that the songs have kind of a classical format – multidirectional, ‘non-rock’ time signatures and scales – with rock ‘n roll instruments. Like the music itself, my opinion is all over the board on this one. There are parts that are very good, parts that I didn’t care for much, parts that were cool in a “background music for scenery” kinda way, and parts that I thought were a bit overdramatized. All in all, a good revisit considering it was an album I was gonna skip. But not my first choice of styles, so probably not an album that I’ll go back to often.
Scale of 1 to 10:  C -  

1- Don’t Kill the Whale
2- Future Times/Rejoice
3- Onward
4- On the Silent Wings of Freedom
5- Madrigal
6- Circus of Heaven
7- Release, Release
8- Arriving UFO

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