Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Beatles - The White Album

I didn't pick up my first copy of The White Album until late 2013. I never knew some of these songs until recently, or the original renditions in some cases. The biggest reason is neither of my parents were into The Beatles. They were a bit too mellow for my dad, and my mom was one of those people that had issues with that one comment. Also for the longest time, the two CD set was way too expensive. I mean, whoever was in charge of coming up with the pricing on The Beatles catalogue, during the time in which Michael Jackson owned it, really needs to be skull fucked. You want to know why Michael Jackson was worth so much money, and could afford to have his own zoo and amusement park? Because it cost almost forty dollars a copy for the white album up until 2009.

The only reason I ended up picking up the album was I needed an original copy of Happiness Is A Warm Gun and it was about time I bought this album, since it was now a decent and respectable price. Not to mention it was fully remastered. According to the back it's also an enhanced CD, but I've never bothered to put it in the computer to see what's on it.

I'm also pretty sure that this album could have been cut down from a double to a single. I really think Lennon was allowed to run too wild on this album, and some of the tracks should have been left for solo projects. I do believe that the fact that it was allowed to be a double album is what leads to so much extra and fluff. At the end I'll give you my list of what would have made the perfect White album, but for now let's get to the songs themselves.

The double album set opens with Back in the U.S.S.R. Now while I understand why people find camp value to this song, I think it's a great opening track that makes you want to get up and boogie. I don't think any other song could have opened up this album better. Also I'd like to point out some of the speed and attack on the guitar leads on this song.

The very first time I ever heard Dear Prudence, was in Across The Universe. Which is the case with a few of the tracks on this album. I do enjoy this song and the musical arrangements that make it both whimsical, and off kilter, and has a very unique depth in the low end.

Interestingly enough Glass Onion is one of those really trippy Beatle's song I didn't discover until my adult years, but before picking up this album. I did some music sharing with one of my bosses and picked up this gem. I love the idea behind the entire song was just to screw with people. "I told you about strawberry fields, / You know the place where nothing is real / Well here's another place you can go / Where everthing flows. / Looking through the bent backed tulips / To see how the other half lives / Looking through a glass onion. / I told you about the walrus and me-man / You know that we're as close as can be-man. / Well here's another clue for you all, / The walrus was Paul. / Standing on the cast iron shore-yeah, / Lady Madonna trying to make ends meet-yeah. / Looking through a glass onion. / Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah. / Looking through a glass onion. / I told you about the fool on the hill, / I tell you man he living there still. / Well here's another place you can be, / Listen to me. / Fixing a hole in the ocean / Trying to make a dove-tail joint-yeah / Looking through a glass onion". But, on top of that the music itself is just really well done and arranged.

I like Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, but I just don't think I like it enough. It might have something to do with every vocal class in high school I know of did this song. It may have killed it for me.

Seriously Wild Honey Pie? Was this a joke that no one else gets? It may be just about the worst track I have ever heard from the Fab Four.

I'm on the fence with The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill. It's a great song for children, and really I'm surprised it wasn't on some type of kids show growing up.

My favourite song from The Beatles is While My Guitar Gently Weeps. This is George Harrison's masterpiece, and will go down as one of my favourite songs of all time. Between Geogre Harrison and Eric Clapton the guitar in this song is just amazing. Then there`s the lyrics which draw me in everytime. "I look at you all see the love there that's sleeping / While my guitar gently weeps / I look at the floor and I see it needs sweeping / Still my guitar gently weeps / I don't know why nobody told you / How to unfold your love / I don't know how someone controlled you / They bought and sold you / I look at the world and I notice it's turning / While my guitar gently weeps / With every mistake we must surely be learning / Still my guitar gently weeps / Well…/ I don't know how you were diverted / You were perverted too / I don't know how you were inverted / No one alerted you / I look at you all see the love there that's sleeping / While my guitar gently weeps / Look at you all / Still my guitar gently weeps / Oh, oh / Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh / Oh, oh, oh, oh / Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah / Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, oh, ooh" The melody and the simple beauty of a very elegant song is just pure mystisism to my ears. Then there's Eric Clapton's solo, oh my God. This is one of those songs that leads me to believe there's more to the universe. This is a track that's tapped into the great cosmic vibe.

I had never heard Happiness Is a Warm Gun in it's original form until I picked up this album. It's pretty much the same as any other version I had heard, at the core, and that's cool. I can also understand why people have wanted to cover this song. This is really a fun track, and I'd personally love to do this one myself. It's just one of those songs that would be a blast. Martha My Dear kicks off the second side of the original vinyl. I think Paul McCartney should have saved this one for a solo album, or better put, should have been forced to keep it for himself. I have nothing against this song, it's decent enough, but it's not what I'd want to hear. It's very McCartney to me.

Take everything I said about the last song and change the name to John Lennon and that's how I feel about I'm So Tired. The difference is I'd enjoy this song on a Lennon album. In fact I'd even enjoy doing my own version of this song.

I know there are people that love Blackbird. I am not one of them. It's a good song, but I don't overly care for it, and at this point in the album I find it only slows things down.

Piggies is a commercial. It's seriously like a hotdog want to be, extravagant royal like sounding commercial. This should have been on a b-side somewhere, but not on here. It's one of the few misses I've ever heard from George Harrison, my favourite.

People can say what they want about Ringo and his child like nature, with songs like Octopus's Garden, but Paul wrote more than his fair share of kid like tracks. Rocky Raccoon is the third one on this album, off the top of my head, that sounds like it might be a kids song. However, this track is actually excellent in it's musical arrangements, and even just what's being played.

Speakinging of Ringo Don't Pass Me By, is one of two of Starr's contributions to this album. It's a fun little jaunty tune. It's makes a decent filler, but I'm not entirely sure how much I would have included it on the album.

Why Don't We Do It in the Road? is a much needed pick up, as far as I'm concerned at this point. I like when The Beatles get all heavy with music. The only downside to this track is that it sounds totally undeveloped. It could have gone somewhere, anywhere, and pretty much just stayed with doing it in the middle of the road.

I Will is a ballad. A nice sticky sweet, rots your mouth out ballad.

I enjoy Julia musically. Lyrically, it's so-so. It's a bit more lovey dovey than I care for, and at this point I've had enough of this soft stuff. I also think it should have gone on a Lennon album.

I know and understand that in this day and age Birthday seems a little cheesy, but really it's some just clean and wholesome fun as far as I'm concerned. Also if you remove the lyrics and listen to just the music it's still a well crafted song.

I totally love the blues that comes dripping of Yer Blues. Lennon taps the line and just rides it all the way home, giving out one hell of a passionate sounding performance. There's a small part of me that thinks it's a song that should have been put on a solo album, but I like the dynamic it adds to this album.

Mother Nature's Son, is a decent filler, but I seriously can never remember it from one moment to the next.

I don't mind Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey, and enjoy it on the album, as a very solid album track.

I really dig Sexy Sadie. Not only does it have such a teasing musical under current, but also Lennon's delivery is so believable that you would think Sadie was sitting right in front of him while the song was being recorded.

Forget all the bullshit that came after Helter Skelter. Forget that this song is about a type amusment park slide. Forget how many covers you've heard done of this song, both good and bad. Listen to the way this song thunders out of the speakers, helping give birth to Heavy Metal. This may or may not have been the first song to be credited as being the genesis of Metal, but really it doesn't matter. This song at it's core is just bad ass beyond belief. It also proves that if you make a song heavy enough you can sing about anything.

Long, Long, Long is honestly a very good follow up after Helter Skelter. It's nice and mellow, but without being the suger dripping sweetness, you typically get. In fact if you listened to this one you may be more prone to think it was a Lennon track, instead of being a Harrison tune. Except for the Sitar give away.

Then it's on to the last half of the second record. Which kicks off with a version of a song that I never knew. It would seem that the wild crazy, off the wall version of Revolution came after John left the band. Revolution I is a hippy love in, and seems to be more to the point of the lyrics. This is a much more friendly, hippies sitting up on a hill blowing dandelions and breaking out into a love in. Not the version I'm into, but I totally understand what they were going for here, and it works very well.

Honey Pie just nails home the point to me that some would one should have forced McCartney to release a solo album. His old timey kick, that makes up half the tracks on this album should have been on their own collection, which would have made more sense.

I totally dig Savoy Truffle. This song is Rock through and through. There's just such a sharp and dangerous edge to this track, and yet it somehow leaves you feeling up lifted, even though there are points, where it almost feels like you are being literally hammered.

I love Cry Baby Cry, even though is might be considered a little stock sound for The Beatles. In some ways it's a little cliche and might be considered a little filler. I wanted to make it very clear that most bands could only dream of making filler that's honestly this respectable and awesome. It's one of those songs that I really love, but the last twenty seconds on unrelated music can go.

Revolution 9, 8:22 of album filler. This was an experiment much better suited for a Lennon album. I get what John was going for here, but at the same time I really think that as ahead of it's time as it was, it's really nothing more than a throw away track. If this track had been recorded in this day and age I would have suggested that it be released as a special website download.

The album ends with Good Night, and this is a wonderful Ringo Starr song. While I find it completely out of place, and way too Musical sounding for me I think that it closes the album perfectly. I enjoy this song so much that I made sure to include it in my list below.

As I said I find this album an exercise in excess. I really think that the tracks left off of the list below are better left off on solo albums. While I can understand and respect the need to experiment and perform with different styles, I don't think this album benifitted from much of McCartney's early Americana sounding tracks, or the various sappy sweet tracks.

I can see why many people think this is the album that cemented the end of the band. While Harrison and Starr have some representation, Lennon and McCartney just over dominated the album with songs they really should have just used for themselves.

As for how I would have put the album together, well if I were one of the big wigs in charge the following would have been my final call for the album, right down to the order. I should also mention that there are two more songs I did really want to include on the track list below, but in the end I cut them purely for time constraints.

7/10 - content

7/10 - production

7/10 - personal bias

First Half

"Back in the U.S.S.R." McCartney 2:43
"Glass Onion" Lennon 2:17
"Rocky Raccoon" McCartney 3:33
"Happiness Is a Warm Gun" Lennon 2:43
"Sexy Sadie" Lennon 3:15
"Savoy Truffle" Harrison 2:54
"While My Guitar Gently Weeps" Harrison 4:45

Second Half

"Birthday" McCartney and Lennon 2:42
"Revolution 1" Lennon 4:15
"Cry Baby Cry" Lennon, with McCartney 3:02
"Helter Skelter" McCartney 4:29
"Long, Long, Long" Harrison 3:04
"Good Night" Starr 3:13

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Metallica - Load

I always hate discussions that involve discussing Metallica's Load and Reload albums. Reload I've reviewed already, and if you read the review you'll see how much I love that album. I don't love Load the same way, but I really do hate the bad rap it gets. Most people foolishly started claiming that Metallica went alternative, and sold out even worse than they had on The Black Album, and that this was crap, and I don't know how many people became turned off because of this album.

Let me start by saying that those people have never really listened to this album, and have very little understanding of Heavy. They all get Metal, but forget that there is much better things out there than just Thrash, Death, Black, or whatever, screaming, boring same old cliche Metal you wish to use. However, it's also because of those bullshit bands, and the people that cling to those ideals that keep Led Zeppelin from wanting anything to do with being assosiated with Metal. But that's okay because Zeppelin was Heavy. Black Sabbath was Heavy, and by today's standards not Metal. Deep Purple, same thing going on there.

My point is that this album isn't Metal, in the worst stereotypical way. This album is Heavy. Every track, for the most part, roars out of the speakers. It just doesn't come out as a barrage of shrapnel. Instead it's a group of guys carrying a cluster fuck of blunt weapons that will bludgeon your auditory sense with heavy riffs and deep thoughts. It's Physical Graphitti and Masters Of Reality all rolled up into one.

The album kicks off with Ain't My Bitch, which is a fantastic way to kick off the album. It's a straight forward rocker that's got some depth, minor arrangements and really comes off as one hell of a blues song if you really pay attention. Strip out all the fancy guitar sounds, and break it down to it's core and you'll find a song that could have come out of the Mississippi Delta, or bad lands of Texas, and that's before the slide solo kicks in.

From fast paced straight ahead rock to thick and heavy bad boy boogie, that's the best way to describe 2X4. This one has such a menacing vibe and flavour to it. I do honestly love this track. It's Metallica's Dirty Deeds. "Yeah / I'm gonna make you, shake you, take you / I'm gonna be the one who breaks you / Put the screws into you , yeah my way / Yeah, come on, come on, come and make my day / Make my day / Yeah / Got some hell to pay you , I steal your thunder / The joy of violent movement, pulls you under / Ooh bite the bullet, well hard / Yea, but I bite harder, so go too far / Too far / Friction, fusion, retribution / I can't hear you... talk to me / I can't hear you... so talk to me / I can't hear you are you talkin' to me / I can't hear you are you talkin' to me / I can't hear you time to meet my lord / I can't hear you talk to 2x4 / I'm gonna make you, shake you, take you / I'm gonna be that one who breaks you / Put the screws into ya, my way / Hey come on, come on, come and make my day / Make my day / Friction, fusion, retribution / I can't hear you ... talk ta me / I can't hear you ... come talk to me / I can't hear you are you talking to me / I can't hear you while your talking to me / I can't hear you time to meet my lord / I can't hear you talk to 2x4 / Talk ta 2 by 4 / It don't take no more / Come on yeah / Come on, come on / Talk ta 2 plus 4 / Talk ta 2 plus 4 / Friction, fusion, retribution / I'm going to make you... talk to me / I'm going to take you... so talk to me / I can't hear you are you talking to me / I can't hear you you talking to me / I can't hear you time to meet my lord / I can't hear you talk to , talk ta 2x4".

The House Jack Built was a bit of a shocker when it first came out. This would have been Alternative in it's time. You can hear, feel and sense a lot of Alice In Chains in this track. It's not a song that I'm a fan of, but I can hear the merit of this track. I also am a sucker for guitar talkbox.

Until It Sleeps is one of those songs that's not for everyone, and not for your standard Metallica fan. This is for the ones that would rather hear Unforgiven instead of Nothing Else Matter, if you don't mind Unforgiven to start with. This was probably the biggest blasphamy that Metallica could have released as a radio single (most would say), but it was a pretty cool video.

King Nothing is, big and heavy and really is so enjoyable on so many levels. This was a favourite of mine to see and hear live. There is just so much groove and digability on this one that you can't help but want to get all big bad and funky while it plays. I also really love the simple lyrical depth to this one. "Wish I may / Wish I might / Have this I wish tonight / Are you satisfied? / Dig for gold / Dig for fame / You dig to make your name / Are you pacified? / All the wants you waste / All the things you've chased / Then it all crashes down / And you break your crown / And you point your finger but there's no one around / Just want one thing / Just to play the King / But the castle's crumbled and you're left with just a name / Where's your crown, King Nothing? / Where's your crown? / Hot and cold / Bought and sold / A heart as hard as gold / Yeah! Are you satisfied? / Wish I might, Wish I may / You wish your life away / Are you pacified? / All the wants you waste / All the things you've chased / Then it all crashes down / And you break your crown / And you point your finger, but there's no one around / Just want one thing / Just to play the King / But the castle's crumbled and you're left with just a name / Where's your crown, King Nothing? / Where's your crown? / Huh! / Wish I may, wish I might / Have this wish, I wish tonight / I want that star, I want it now / I want it all and I don't care how / Careful what you wish / Careful what you say / Careful what you wish you may regret it / Careful what you wish you just might get it / Then it all crashes down / And you break your crown / And you point your finger, but there's no one around / Just want one thing / Just to play the King / But the castle's crumbled and you're left with just a name / Where's your crown, King Nothing? / Where's your crown? / Oh, You're just nothing / Where's your crown King Nothing? / Oh, you're just nothing / Absolutely nothing / Off to never, never land".

I live Hero Of The Day performed live. I loved the way the the stadium use to glow orange from all the lighters. I don't really care one way or the other about the song on the album. It's an enjoyable track, but I feel it can be skipped during basic play. I've covered this in the past, in a previous review. "Let me start with Hero Of The Day. The Metal side of me goes, 'What's this Alternative shit!?' The Hard Rock side of me goes, 'This is a bit too mellow for me.' The Classic Rock side of me goes, 'This isn't too bad. Not great, but okay.' The side of me that listens to everything else goes, 'Ummm, hmmmm.'"

The first half of the album finishes with Bleeding Me. Musically the song is slow and a little drawn out at times. However, this is one of those songs that's all about the singing for me. I love the way James opens up on this one and let's the beast out. I really think that Bob Rock should have poked the beast a little harder and force Hetfield to howl during some parts, but overall the production on this track alone sucks me in everytime. There's a part of me that feels the vocal performance on this track is very much like Alice Cooper's on Ballad Of Dwight Fry.

To this day I'm not sure how I feel about Cure. This is another Heavy track, rooted in Blues, but other than that I find it to be nothing more than just a solid album filler.

So, Cure was pretty much a warm up for the more Bluesy and kick ass Poor Twisted Me. This is one of those songs that is multiversatile, genre crossing, and border busting. You don't have to touch the arrangements, or even a single note, just the guitars being used, and this song could be on a Blues album, or Country and I'm talking the killer old school stuff, like Johnny Cash or Hank Williams. Then there's the more obvious stuff too.

Okay, there are some songs you really enjoy from an album, and some songs that you fall in love with and they help take you through the gates of Hell, take over the fields of fire and make Satan your personal bitch. Wasting My Hate is that track for me. Were it not for the song that finishes off this album, this would have been my favourite song on this album. To this day I still don't understand why it wasn't a radio single. I'm just very, very, very thankful that when I saw Metallica on the Load tour I was at one of the few shows where they played it live.

Yes, I really do like Mama Said. Yes, I understand that it's pretty much a Country song. Yes, I don't give two fucking shits. Yes, this song is a million times better, sweeter, and more heartfelt than Nothing Else Matters. And yes, I think the entire band are complete assholes for not playing this song live instead. Yes, I understand that most people will think I have no clue what I'm saying, and am talking out of my ass, but those people have never really listened to this song.

Thorn Within is another track that is a good solid, and really heavy, album filler. That seems a little unfair to say, because it really is a well done song, but it's one of those songs that only very specific people will claim to be a favourite.

Most people I know can't stand Ronnie. I can't stand having to defend this song to them. Let me start with this is some basic bad ass Blues. I can hear ZZ Top all over this track. I'm talking the early days stuff, like Just Got Paid or Brown Sugar. Then there's the lyrics. "Story starts, quiet town / Small town boy, big time frown / Never talks, never plays / Different path, lost his way / Dead streets are red, red I'm afraid / No confetti, no parade / Nothing happens in this boring place / But oh my god, how that all did change / Now they all pray / Blood stains wash away / He said "lost my way" / This bloody day / Lost my way / I heard him, he said "lost my way" / This bloody day / Lost my way / All things wash away / But blood stained the sun red today / I always said, somethin' wrong / With little strange Ronnie Long / Never laughed, never smiled / Talked alone, for miles and miles and miles / Gallow calls, son I say / Keep your smile, and laugh all day / Think once again, in this boring place / For little boys, how they soon change / Now they all pray / Blood stains wash away / He said "lost my way" / This bloody day / Lost my way / Yeah, I heard him, he said "lost my way" / This bloody day / Lost my way / All things wash away / But blood stained the sun red today / Yeah, well all the green things died / When Ronnie moved to this place / He said, "Don't you dare ask why / I'm cursed to wear this face" / Now we all know why children called him / Ronnie Frown / When he pulled that gun from his pocket / And they'd all fall down down down / He said "lost my way" / This bloody day / Lost my way / Yeah, I heard him, he screamed "lost my way" / This bloody day / Lost my way / All things wash away / But blood stained the sun red today". I would almost swear that this song is actually about Roland Deschain from the Dark Tower series, but for legal reasons they opted to change the name. In fact at one point my buddy Drew and I had a theory that this entire album may be, in fact, inspired by the character and the series. Let's call it a real clever concept album, hidden in plain sight.

The album finishes with one of my top five favourite Metallica songs, it may even be top three. The Outlaw Torn is one of the biggest, most bad ass epics I have ever heard. The groove on this track is so thick that it would make a porn star blush, and so heavy that a stampeding herd of elephants would stop in their tracks. Let me start with Lars Ulrich and the fact that this might honestly be the best drumming he has ever done. Sure it's not Bay Area Thrasher fast, but it's John Bonham When The Leeve Breaks thunderous. Jason Newstead's bass is just infectious with the way it slithers through out the core of the track. James Hetfield gives one of the most soulful performances of his life. Then to top it off Kirk Hammet busts out one of the most insane, out of control, full throttle solos that sounds more like Angus Young live, than it does Kirk. That doesn't even begin to scratch the surface as far as I'm concerned either. The only downside to this song is that the album is so full they had to fade out at the end, because they couldn't leave in the bitching jam due to manufacturing restrictions. I have the full version on a single.

One of the best parts about this album is Bob Rock's prodution. Seriously this album sounds amazing and is so well put together, and not in a way that sounds over produced either. He brings a full rich sound to a band that really benifitted from it in my perspective, and after re-listening to this album, it makes me think that maybe he should have done Beyond Magnetic.

7/10 - content

10/10 - production

7/10 - personal bias

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Megadeth - So Far, So Good... So What!

I wouldn't call myself a Megadeth fan. I enjoy the music, and respect the hell out of the various incarnations under Dave Mustaine's direction. The thing is I'm not really a Thrash Metal fan. I don't mind it, and respect it, but it's not really my thing. That doesn't mean I don't like certain albums, and I'm not even talking about the commercial stuff.

I've had So Far, So Good... So What! in the CD player for about a month or so now. The idea is to Give the album a good relisten, both on it's own and in mix. It's been interesting the various experiences I've had with this album. One thing I did truly discover is that this album doesn't go into the player very often.

The experiences that help drive this review are in no particular order, as each happened at different times when sitting about the house. Some were on jam nights, and all are with fellow musicians, and family.

Let me start with this album always had a bad rap that I didn't understand. I was talking with Drew one day about it when he had remarked "I didn't know you owned this album." I own all Megadeth albums up until Cryptic Writings, and this one has most likely gotten the third highest numbers of replays. Drew basically summed it up as nothing more than suffering from being the follow up album to Peace Sells. I think that's a good way to explain it as well.

I don't remember when or where I got this album. I know it was a used copy, and for some reason I want to say I bought it off some one I was hanging out with back around 1995, or so. I wasn't as much of a fan of the album then as I am now. It was a good background album witha few decent tracks. While I still think that is sort of right, I pay more attention to the album now then I did then.

The album opens with Into The Lungs Of Hell, which has what I would call a very Patriotic American opening. From there it moves into this wild guitar solo, that pretty much makes up the rest of the song. I think it takes some major major brass balls to open an album with an instrumental, especially out side of the 1960's and have it be a full length track. All that being said what a great way to open the album. It's a great track, with some amazing guitar playing. Although, it is a bit cliche in retrospect, at the time it was a top notch effort to be applauded.

After the openning track Set The World Afire seems so boring. This is a very basic Megadeth track. The overall vibe and sound is very stock for Mustaine. You can find this format as early as Killing Is My Business.

Anarchy In The U.K. is where one of the other stories related to other people comes into play. When this came on the stereo my daughter, with a slightly confused expression on here face, pipes up with "Is this the Sex Pistols." I would have smacked her (not really) until I thought about it for a moment and came to the conclusion I failed Ashlee as a parent. She doesn't really know Megadeth at all, and that is entirely my fault. She knows the Pistols well enough to know it didn't sound right, but not who was actually doing this version. As for the song itself, it's a decent enough cover. Let's face it, you'd really have to try to fuck up this song. I can also forgive the goofy song lyric changes. I get it, I've done it while performing this song live as well.

Mary Jane is one of those songs I like much more now then I did when I first bought this album. At first I took the song at face value, and said yep, it's another song about pot. Then I started really listening, and paying attention to the lyrics. "Forgive me father for I have sinned / I'm a child of air, I'm a witch of the wind / And I'm still wide awake... Mary Jane / From the earth, up through the trees / I can hear her calling me / Her voice rides on the breeze / Oh, it's haunting me / No, I can't get away / No, there's no escape / If I know I'm going crazy / I must not be insane / Beware my friends, as you pass by / As you are now so once was I / As I'm now so you must be / Prepare my friends to follow me / Forgive me father for I have sinned / I'm a child of air, I'm a witch of the wind / Fingers gripped around my brain / No control my mind is lame / I'm in the astral plane, and I'll never be the same / Never, never, never, never, never, never / Never, never, never / Beware my friends, as you pass by / As you are now so once was I / As I'm now so you must be / Prepare my friends to follow me / It hurts so bad I can't breathe / Prepare to follow me". That mixed with the music, and how the song starts off haunting and quickly turns to a paranoid freak out I would take the song as more of a super natural spiritual experience than an escape with Mary Jane. Either that or Mustaine is a pussy about his marijuana usage.

I really enjoy the vibe and production effors of 502, but other than that it's Dave and his band playing really fast in a song about going really fast, sort of. Not a song I would go out of my way to listen to, but I do enjoy it in the mix.

The only song I really remember anyone talking about over the years on this album is In My Darkest Hour. Mainly because it was inspired/influenced/mused by the passing of Cliff Burton. It's a great song all the same, but I sometimes think it was more hype than content. All that being said I like this song for a few key elements. First off it has a true riff that stands out. It's nothing complex, but it doesn't need to be. This song isn't about being complex, it's about dealing and coping. This song also is the perfect mix of what had already been done in Megadeth, and what was still to come. You can hear bits of Rust In Peace as well as Symphony Of Destruction through out the entire songs.

Liar is a track ahead of its time, but that doesn't make it a saving grace. It would have been an album filler on Symphony Of Destruction, but fit in perfectly. On this album it's still a bit of a filler, but one a few years ahead of it's time. I also enjoy this in the mix as well. My only real complaint about this song is how the solo pretty much sounds like it's just thrown in there and has nothing to do with the song.

Then there's an abrupt cut to Hook In Mouth to finish up the album. It is a good and solid end to the album, but while the last two songs showed where the band was going this song takes them back. This is yet another track that sounds more like it should be on Killing Is My Business than it should be on Mustaine's third album.

The album was produced by Dave Mustaine and Paul Lani. I really think they should have found someone proper. This album really suffers because of the production, and the fact that no one was there to really tell Dave that he needs to work more on ironing out certain tracks. Yes, Mustaine can play guitar, and shred with the best of them, but who cares when it just sounds thrown together. You can tell every solo that was punched in, hear so many different cuts and splices, and there is no uniformity. This has all the sounds of an overly produced demo, instead of a well produced studio album.

And yet this is still the third most played Megadeth album in the house over the last decade. Go figure. I think I should revisit some other albums, and possibly correct that issue.

6/10 - content

4/10 - production

8/10 - personal bias

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Pink Floyd - The Wall

So, I figured I would finally break down and rip into Pink Floyd's greatest album, or so they say. I understand clearly why it has become as huge as it has, but I personally will throw on the movie most days before I put on the album. I can also understand why this was pretty much the album that ended the band's run with Roger Water. I mean I know they did do another album together, but if you read about it, it was mainly left overs from this one anyway.

The Wall is, and forever with be Roger Water's shining master piece. I hope that one day it becomes a broadway musical sensation, as it should be. I hope it is performed much like Roger performs it now. However, this is about the album, just the album, and nothing but the album.

The first side, of the first record, of the original vinyl release of the two album set, which is also a two compact disc set, begins with In the Flesh? This is a very strong and positive start to the album. It gets a vibe established right away, and draws you in. It does exactly what the first chapter in any story should do, it grabs the audience. I do find it interesting how heavy this track is, for a Floyd song.

There is one thing I notice right away when I start listening to the album, after listening to the remasters, I need to get the remastered version of this album. The original CD release is just so quiet.

The Thin Ice is the second track on the album and it's a nice little song, but only works when listening to the album in it's full story. As it's own song I find it decent, and enjoy David Gilmour's guitar work, but that pretty much is it for me.

I can only imagine what it would be like to grow up without a father. Thanks to Another Brick In The Wall (Part I), I can tell how much it ripped apart Roger Waters. As for the song itself, it's never been much in the grand scheme of things. It's a very essential part to set up the story of Pink Floyd (the character) as he's growing up, but like many I prefer the childhood anguish of the next two tracks.

The Happiest Days of Our Lives and Another Brick In The Wall (Part II) are one song as far as I'm concerned. I don't think they should ever be played separate especially since I prefer the first song over the second one, but it doesn't work without Pink Floyd's most radio friendly and commercially successful Another Brick In The Wall (Part II) which is pretty much nothing more than an on running chorus. The thing is when the two parts are played together it creates one great song that every child should learn and be taught.

I understand Mother, I get the point to the track, and it works very well within the story. This is what it was like growing up for a fatherless child in the 1950's. As long as they aren't bastards. "Mother do you think they'll drop the bomb / Mother do you think they'll like the song / Mother do you think they'll try to break my balls / Ooooh aah, Mother should I build a wall / Mother should I run for president / Mother should I trust the government / Mother will they put me in the firing line / Ooooh aah, is it just a waste of time / Hush now baby, baby don't you cry / Mama's gonna make all of your / Nightmares come true / Mama's gonna put all of her fears into you / Mama's gonna keep you right here / Under her wing / she won't let you fly but she might let you sing / Mama will keep baby cosy and warm / Ooooh Babe Ooooh Babe Ooooh Babe / Of course Mama's gonna help build the wall / Mother do think she's good enough for me / Mother do think she's dangerous to me / Mother will she tear your little boy apart / Oooh aah, mother will she break my heart / Hush now baby, baby don't you cry / Mama's gonna check out all your girl friends for you / Mama won't let anyone dirty get through / Mama's gonna wait up till you get in / Mama will always find out where / You've been / Mamma's gonna keep baby healthy and clean / Ooooh Babe Ooooh Babe Ooooh Babe / You'll always be a baby to me / Mother, did it need to be so high." I must say that I don't care for this song though. I find it very slow, depressing, and from a vinyl listeners point of view, I would have prefered that this song came before the last two, because I would have liked a more solid ending before having to flip the record over. For the sake of story flow with the way Waters chose to tell it, it does make more sence this way. I just would have changed the story myself.

As I stare at the track list for side two I notice that the bulk of this half of the first album contains the bulk of my favourite songs. If I were to go just on the pure numbers. This would be my favourite section of the double LP story.

I would not call Goodbye Blue Sky my favourite Pink Ployd song, but it would be in the top ten. I'm pretty sure my top five is mainly sucked up by the Whish You Were Here album, but this song is top ten for sure. It's also my favourite song to perform live, aside from karaoke. To this day it's still my go to Floyd track for live performance. I love every word, every syllable and every strum of that accoustic. "Oooooooo ooo ooo ooooh / Did you see the frightened ones / Did you hear the falling bombs / Did you ever wonder / Why we had to run for shelter / When the promise of a brave new world / Unfurled beneath a clear blue sky / Oooooooo ooo ooooo oooh / Did you see the frightened ones / Did you hear the falling bombs / The flames are all long gone / But the pain lingers on / Goodbye blue sky / Goodbye blue sky / Goodbye / Goodbye". This song paints the true horrors of war, while doing it in meloncholy manner befitting of a child torn up by living through such a hell.

I love Empty Spaces. They are short and sweet, and right to the point. In retrospect it seems like the whole world has turned into Pink. "What shall we use / To fill the empty spaces / Where we used to talk? / How shall I fill / The final places? / How should I complete the wall..." I personally wish the extended movie version of this track was on here, but I love this one's quick cut to the next track.

Young Lust is the true reason why every boy dreams of being a rock star. This song is all about the town to town and woman to woman. However, when they mention dirty, they don't mean skanky.

The next track is one of those songs where I never know the name of it. One of My Turns is a great track for the purpose of telling the story. I love the spoken lines, that help produce the vibe needed. I also like how this song is the truth of how you become after so much time on the road, being dragged from one town to the next, begging to find anything to help fill the void. If you've ever been the storm in the last track, you understand Don't Leave Me Now that much more. My biggest complaint about this track is the vocal performance. I would have prefered that the first half had been more sung.

Another Brick in the Wall Part III is my favourite brick. It's the only other song on this album I have ever wanted to do live, with a band. I think it would be a great opening to a set list. Also I dig and relate to the words so well. "I don't need no arms around me / I don't need no drugs to calm me / I have seen the writing on the wall / Don't think I need anything at all / No don't think I'll need anything at all / All in all it was all just bricks in the wall / All in all you were just bricks in the wall".

Goodbye Cruel World is just too short. If you blink it's gone, and it's just such a pretty track, considering how sad it is. If side three is my song for song favourite, then side three would be it's opposite. The only song I truly like on this side is the last one.

Hey You opens up the album, and has a wicked solo. I mean David Gilmour lays down a beauty of a solo, a ray of shining light in an otherwise very depressing song. I so also enjoy the classic Pink Floyd exploration like section just slightly after that. This does help continue the story, but my problem here, is the underlying wallowing in self pity that is found in Is There Anybody Out There? Once again it's the music that saves this track for me. Were it not for that I would pretty much feel a need to skip it. Nobody Home is pretty much rock bottom. It's when you can't fall any further from grace, and realize that the rock star dream isn't so fun anymore. Then you try to call home and well, when you need to hear that voice the most, it's not there.

Vera is the song I care for the least on the entire double album set.

Which is followed by the most useless song on the album as far as I'm concerned. Bring the Boys Back Home, is just an over indulgence in Roger Water's personal issues.

When I was in my teens I pretty much had no use for this entire section of The Wall. Comfortably Numb I even found bothersome. Once I got a little older I grew more of a liking for it. However, I do hold to the fact that if it were not for the music I would have no use for this song.

The biggest problem for me when it comes to side three is that it's just Water's sitting there feeling bad for himself, and disconnected from the world. Nice for the story, but way over drawn.

Side four starts off a little slow with The Show Must Go On. It's a continuation of the disconnect, but the disconnect looking the audience in the face and saying "You bore me."

This is the song for that freak out on stage. In the Flesh is when the vocalist finally has enough and goes off on the crowd for being unruly little bastards. The problem with this song is how the general public perceives this song. They miss the underlying concepts and meaning. The words being used, are being used as profanity, they aren't being used as an expression of opinion. When those vulgar terms are spit out, they are being spit out to be vulgar, not to be a biggot, or prejudice.

At this point it's become a call to arms to strike down the tyranny and wretchedness that plagues modern day man (1978) in England. However, Run Like Hell is such a monster of a beastly song that all areas of Rock can dig into it. This song, while not being Metal, is bloody Heavy.

Waiting for the Worms is one of those songs that I just love. It's seriously what it's like, when you feel like you are losing your mind. I feel this song captures the peferct meaning of a man marching towards the abyss.

Stop, is that moment right before you step into the previously mentioned abyss.

The Trial is my favourite part of The Wall. I love the dramatic performance, as man reflects over everything he's done, had done to him, or should have had done to him. I love the choruses, and the gentle madness of them, and how it leads into my favourite part of the song. When the Judgement is passed down and the wall comes crashing down and the man is forced to continue performing for the world because that is the life he fought for and chose to pursue over and over. Oh, yeah the Judgement is also some really heavy Floyd. I mean wow, very surprising for them.

Outside the Wall finishes off the story by pretty much making it very clear that because Pink put up the giant wall in the first place. Now that it's down, not everyone has been able to hang on, or hang around.

I can see why this album ended Pink Floyd (the band). The problem is the times really. People from my generation on the whole, have no clue what it's like to grow up without a father. Even those with divorced parents still tended to at least have weekend dads. It's even worse for boys. This isn't the first album to touch on the subject either. Tommy, from The Who used a very simular idea the whole way around, a decade earlier. Seriously, if you can't find it listening to the albums, go watch the movies. Same basic themes and concepts. But you have to take into consideration the state of affairs in the U.S. and U.K. at the time.

To me this is a once in a while album, but for the most part I find it carries on for too long. If it was cut down, like it was recorded in the days of the compact disc, and was only one album. I think it would be much better. This is one of those times, when having to fill two records is a problem, because the artist demands that they fill it.

From an artistic stand point it's a fantastic album. It really is. The Production is beyond amazing and is put together in a beaturifully seemless fashion. Then again, Bob Ezrin pretty much perfected the art of concept album production by this point. When you consider he just finished From The Inside with Alice Cooper the year before. At least going by release dates. If I could afford Ezrin as a producer I would hire him in a second. He makes a story come to life.

8/10 - content

10/10 - production

6/10 - personal bias