As a project, the idea of listening through all the entries on the Q250 ‘Best Albums of Our Lifetime’ should be an easy and pleasurable experience. I’m listening to music all the time so adding in those that made the list is not really a burden or a chore, although as is clear from the sparsity of entries on the blog, actually expressing something about the process has proved tricky. So just to say that the listening continued, it was the writing that stopped. But then the listening drifted away too. To much else to listen to I reckon.
Momentarily I considered dropping the whole thing, or maybe summarising only the albums that I fancied listening to and skipping the others. But looking back at the last entry I noticed that it included F#A#∞ by Godspeed You! Black Emperor and without this project it is very unlikely that album would ever have entered my ears.
Also, visiting with a friend last week I was quite excited to see that not only did he have an extensive collection of music on CD, but also a huge range of vinyl out on display and an actually plugged in and ready to go turntable. Now, you don’t see that much these days, and it reminded me of the sheer joy of discovering and sharing new or previously undiscovered music. We can’t all like the same stuff, but it sure as hell won’t stop us hoping that there’s someone out there who will feel the same way you do about that special track, and that there will be that moment of communion when you just know that you get each other.
Music does that. It does. You know it does.
So resisting the temptation to think that too long has passed and that I should move on to something new, I will persevere in search of each of the listed albums and seeing what they mean to me. Whether my comments will actually be related to the music or not is generally a bit hit and miss. What the hell, it’s my blog…
EXTRICATE – THE FALL (1990) The ultimate indie band for cool people. It still appears to me that you kind of have to like The Fall at least a bit if you want to be taken seriously. Maybe that’s the John Peel effect, as he quite often cited them as his favourite band. Curiously, Extricate is the album that was released just after the period when I liked them a bit (see!) which was during the time of singer Mark E. Smith’s marriage to Brix, when the band were generally a bit more commercially accessible than at other times in during their career. I’ve never owned an album by The Fall, but have very fond recollections of two singles that I bought – ‘Mr Pharmacist’ and ‘Hit The North’ – both of which were getting heavy rotation in the The Mission on Victoria Street. As far as I remember we were there pretty much every Friday night. There’s a pub above the club (at least there was, no idea if either are still there) where I had the ‘pleasure’ of first seeing The Proclaimers long before they became Shrek sponsored National Treasures.
Extricate sounds pretty much like I expect The Fall to sound, and that’s not a bad thing. I can easily see why this made the list and has some great early 90’s style bass grooves that pitch it alongside the likes of Happy Mondays and The Stone Roses material from that time.
Happily it also reminded me that I loved this track ‘Incense and Peppermints’ from Brix Smith’s side project The Adult Net. It’s a cover, it’s very 80’s and not nearly as good as I remember – but was worth seeking out for a brief hit of nostalgia. The Adult Net also featured Craig Gannon of The Smiths and Clem Burke from Blondie fact fans. In a bizarre coincidence, I’m pretty sure I saw Brix on the telly box the other day in ‘Gok’s Fashion Fix’.
AMUSED TO DEATH – ROGER WATERS (1992) I studiously avoided all things Pink Floyd for many years, perhaps with the exception of ‘Another Brick in the Wall’ as it’s pretty irresistible for anyone who’s ever experienced a full time education. The main problem with Pink Floyd was that I considered it to be a bit wibbly, really long and serious music for proper musos and that had never been my thing. I remember sitting through ‘The Wall’ with a girlfriend but was pretty happy for any distraction. Mind you, this same girlfriend was in love with Jon Bon Jovi and didn’t think Spinal Tap was funny so perhaps it’s not a surprise that one didn’t last.
The moment I remember that attitude changing was being on a long car journey on a bank holiday when the radio had one of those countdown ‘best album ever’ things going on, and of course tracks from ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ featured pretty high up the list. For whatever reason I suddenly realised how stunning it all sounded. So I lost my resistance and over time have absorbed a bit more, although it’s still not something I could profess as deep love.
Also worth a mention is that in my view Zane Lowe did a great thing introducing the classic album on radio, where I think he featured DSOtM as one of his first selections. One of the side benefits of this project is listening to an album all the way through, and being reminded that it really is a great way to listen to music, as an alternative to the playlist pick and mix that is an admittedly brilliant and convenient feature of the download culture.
Roger Waters is such a key part of the Pink Floyd sound, particularly some of that better known stuff from ‘The Wall’, that for me it’s hard to differentiate the solo stuff from the band. In any event ‘What God Wants, God Gets’ is a great title and a great track.