Have I mentioned that I finished first semester last week? Of course you have, I hear you mutter, wagging an accusing index finger at me. You haven’t shut up about it. Right. But I’m still basking in the glow of what amounts to my first “holiday” since, well, summer ended…and being in no hurry to see it end, I’ve decided to take this weekend as well in order to pay maximum attention to Bri as she descends yet again upon my fair city. I’ve also decided to celebrate by going out and blowing my well-earned money on improving my music collection with five, count ’em five, new purchases. The following list isn’t a ranking per se, but a few scattered thoughts on four albums and one box set; some of them are new releases, some not, but all five are new to me. That’s what matters, right?
- Kanye West, College Drop Out. Yeah, I succumbed to the hype–and guess what? This disc kills. Such a solid collection of tunes–and the song about the absurdity of owning multiple degrees (whose name I don’t know off-hand) not only employs some incredibly phat beats, but it also speaks to me with uncomfortable degrees of insight.
- The Beatles, Revolver. This is the album that turned the Beatles’ career on its head. I’ve listened to it once through, but still haven’t thought enough about it to offer more than a cursory nod. Plus, I mean, I’ve known most of these songs my entire life…it’s kind of hard to put that kind of familiarity into writing.
- The Beatles, Magical Mystery Tour. Another album whose acquisition was long overdue…I mean, have you seen the track listing?? I don’t think it tops Sgt. Pepper as my favourite Beatles album, but it’s close.
- Nirvana, With the Lights Out. Listening to Disc One of With the Lights Out, it suddenly occurred to me that hey, this might be the last new Nirvana music I ever hear. It was a sobering thought. I know virtually every song they’ve ever written, whether they were released on albums, soundtracks, greatest hits compilations, bootlegs, b-sides…whatever. Yet here I am, two discs into the three-disc (plus DVD) collection, and facing the very real possibility of never hearing a new Nirvana song ever again once the final disc runs its course. More to the point, however, With the Lights Out serves to remind us just how good Nirvana was when it was clicking on all cylinders. The thing is, too, that while the band is best-known for its middle era–the one that spawned Nevermind, “Teen Spirit” and the like–it’s the first and third eras which, in my frequently humble opinion, are the band’s shining moments in time. Moreover, I’m also a sucker for Kurt Cobain’s acoustic demos, and this set is rife with them–not to mention a bunch of rough n’ ready Nirvana demos that merely hint at the finished product (such as the current “Smells Like Teen Spirit” demo that’s blasting through my speakers). Translation: this is one rude collection of songs. I never really bought into the Nirvana hype, reasoning that while the band’s output was impressive it wasn’t quite worthy of the legendary accolades being foisted upon it. Consider my mind changed: this band rules, and there’s nothing like a $65 CD box set to reinforce that notion in my mind.
- The Hives, Tyrannasaurus Hives. The Hives really let themselves go with this, their follow-up to the wildly successful Vini, Vidi, Vicious. That album clocked in at 28 minutes; this one, sporting the same number of songs (twelve), is a gaudy 29:59. And every song sounds the same! Is this a complaint? Not at all, because each and every one of them rocks as hard as a retirement home on a collective Viagara overdose. And if that sort of lame analogy isn’t an indication that it’s time to stop writing, I don’t know what is.
And that’s it! I’ll throw down some thoughts about The Phantom of the Opera later this week. In the meantime, I got Charity Ball plans to lay!