Albums as Albums

Take a picture of yourself and what do you have?

Well, in some existential way, you have a silent explanation of everything that’s ever happened to you leading up to why you look that way at that moment – but it’s one dimensional. Now, take a few pictures of yourself. In fact, make it a photo shoot. Go sit in different places around town. Dress up. Cry and take a picture of your wet cheeks. Smile fake. Smile for real. Hold your breath. Take pictures of it all. Now, with all those pictures together you’ve got yourself an explanation, a handful of facets that play off of each other.

Later, you could do that again, but the new pictures would belong together, just like the older pictures belong together. That’s an album. Of course, some albums are more expository than others, but they all show you, from different angles, where the band is at at that moment. To really get the whole picture you’ve got to listen to the whole album. Exception: greatest hits ‘albums’ – I despise them. There’s no easier way to undermine someones life’s work, no better  method to take a song completely out of context, and no quicker scheme to cash back in on old idea. Greatest hits albums are rot. Anyways, against everything I’ve just said I’ve only posted one song from each album but here are three albums that work as albums…

Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine hasn’t released an album since Loveless. He has recorded enough – he claims to have numerous albums sitting on his shelves – but he doesn’t want to put out something less than Loveless. The album’s conception was a nightmare starting early in 1989 but  two years, a handful of producers, even more engineers  and 250,000 pounds later and  MBV had  finally created something even Sophia Coppola could get excited about. It’s essentially their only album.

My Bloody Valentine – Sometimes

Remain in Light, 1980, was produced by Brian Eno and recorded mostly in Nassau, Bahamas with vocals done later in New York and California. Eno, of course, brought along his novel tricks and philosophies and for as pensive a man as he is he worked fast (recording started in July, album released in October). I’ve heard that bassist Tina Weymouth was pregnant and actually birthed her child in Nassau, sired by drummer Chris Frantz, but I can’t find any proof. Regardless, the album is African’y with just the right amount of narrative from David Byrne.

Talking Heads – Listening Wind

Michael Jackson’s Dangerous has it all: awkward skits, Quincy Jones production, moments where Jackson is so distraught he is literally about to cry on tape, the beginnings of the ‘do it for the children’ campaign and, most importantly, hot tracks. It wasn’t as fierce as Thriller, it wasn’t as natural as Bad, but Dangerous is the essential last piece of Jackson’s legacy.

Michael Jackson – Black or White

  1. Great entry. I MIGHT actually listen to an MJ album for once…

    I’m still reading these, BTW, I’ve just been busy with school and comps.

    Thought I’d weigh in on the new Band of Horses: Fantastic. “Older” is one of my favorite songs of the year.
    “All I Want” by LCD is another great song that’s been released this year.

    • Hogan I enjoy few things more than reading your rants. I’ll wait as long as it takes. Speaking of rants, I was at a party last night and some girls ranting about MJ and another kid walked up and said something about how Charles Darwin was wrong, how MJ is the perfect example of devolution. I thought the song and dance were quite good, (it was something from thriller, I can’t remember what) but it had been anything from Ben, especially the eponymous song, I might have agreed. It’s absurd and it gets people so teary. Anyways, maybe for the reasons of how bad it is I’d love to see your bride sing “Ben” to you at yall’s wedding.

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