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Favorite Edition Rewind: 1998

[Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea]

A decade ago, I wrote a series of entries ranking my favorite albums from 1985 to 2004. My collection has expanded greatly since then, particularly in the last five years. So I wanted to see what has changed in 10 years.

As much as I loved the ’80s, I can’t say the ’90s holds as much sentiment. I feel more affinity for the Aughts than I do the ’90s. That said, 1998 has proven to be rich with favorites, and I would consider it the pinnacle year in the decade. This list has gone through extensive revision from the original.

  1. Neutral Milk Hotel, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
  2. Madonna, Ray of Light
  3. Lauryn Hill, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
  4. Lucinda Williams, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
  5. Fastball, All the Pain Money Can Buy
  6. Patty Griffin, Flaming Red
  7. SUPERCAR, Three Out Change
  8. Various Artists, For the Masses: A Tribute to Depeche Mode
  9. Bruce Robison, Wrapped
  10. Cocco, Kumuiuta

Other favorites from the year:

  • Shakira, ¿Dónde Están Los Ladrones?
  • Wendy and Lisa, Girl Bros.
  • Midnight Oil, Redneck Wonderland
  • 8 1/2 Souvenirs, Happy Feet
  • UA, Ametora
  • Kronos Quartet, Alfred Schnittke: The Complete String Quartets
  • the brilliant green, the brilliant green
  • Bang on a Can All-Stars, Music for Airports
  • Craig Armstrong, The Space Between Us
  • Julieta Venegas, Aquí
  • Aterciopelados, Caribe Atómico
  • Macha, Macha
  • Idlewild, Hope Is Important
  • Pansy Division, Absurd Pop Song Romance
  • Orgy, Candyass

A number of titles that held positions in the Favorite 10 switched places with ones in the extended list.

I didn’t give Fastball much credit 10 years ago because the album had been all over Austin at the time of its release. I got caught up in that hype, then dismissed it as such later. I was wrong. All the Pain Money Can Buy needs to be in the Favorite 10.

For the Masses actually turned me into a Depeche Mode fan. Some of the covers on the tribute album rival the originals. In the case of “Shake the Disease” and “Everything Counts”, they straight up improve them.

Madonna dominated the top position of this list for 10 years before Neutral Milk Hotel nudged her down a notch. SUPERCAR makes another revisionist ranking, pushing 8 1/2 Souvenirs off.

Idlewild makes an appearance with a debut album that’s at times bratty and tuneful. It’s a mess compared to its follow-up, 1000 Broken Windows. But it’s a riveting mess.

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Purchase log, 2018-11-20

[Hajime Chitose - Hajime Uta]

I catalog my music purchases on Collectorz and Discogs, but they don’t give me a sense of change over time. So I’m noting them here weekly as well.

New releases

CD
  • Hajime Chitose, Hajime Uta ~Hajime Chitose Amami Shimauta-shuu~
  • Midnight Oil, Armistice Day: Live at the Domain, Sydney

Catalog

CD
  • ABC, Absolutely
  • Brooklyn Rider, Spontaneous Symbols
  • Dead Can Dance, Spleen and Ideal
  • Franz Josef Hadyn, String Quartets, Op. 20 “Sun”, 1-3 (Kodály Quartet)
  • Franz Josef Hadyn, String Quartets, Op. 20 “Sun”, 4-6 (Kodály Quartet)
  • Godspeed You! Black Emperor, F# A# ∞
  • Scissor Sisters, Ta-Dah
  • The Notwist, Neon Golden
  • The Rustavi Choir, Georgian Voices
Vinyl
  • Olivia Newton-John, Physical
  • Renée Fleming, Dark Hope
  • The Pointer Sisters, Break Out

Reissues

CD
  • Art of Noise, In No Sense? Nonsense! (Deluxe Edition)
  • Fastball, All the Pain Money Can Buy (Deluxe Edition)
Vinyl
  • Eurythmics, Peace
  • Fastball, All the Pain Money Can Buy (Deluxe Edition)

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Looking ahead, August-November 2018

[Perfume - Future Pop]

A few titles didn’t get included in the last round-up of new releases, and the release schedule for late autumn hasn’t quite yet coalesced. So this list is thinner than I prefer.

Perfume, Future Pop, Aug. 15

We probably reached peak Perfume two albums ago, if the cool reception to COSMIC EXPLORER is any indication. Imaginative videos can’t quite make up for the weakness of the last few singles, but will either stop me from placing a pre-order? Unlikely.

Blood Orange, Negro Swan, Aug. 24

How did I miss news about a new album by Dev Hynes?

[Checks date of Instagram post.]

Oh, he announced it when my mom was in town and caught the flu, about a week before I would become briefly unemployed. Has it really been two years since the release of Freetown Sound?

Mandy Barnett, Strange Conversation, Sept. 21

I’ve Got a Right to Cry is a classic album that has been relegated to bargain bins and thrift store shelves. The Owen Bradley-produced album probably did too good of a job calling up the ghost of Patsy Cline, whom Barnett has portrayed on stage.

Barnett recently did a duet with Kenny Chesney, which … whatever. But I would still check out this album because I’ve Got a Right to Cry is an album that just doesn’t wear out, even after nearly two decades.

Jason Isbell and 400 Unit, Live from the Nyman, Oct. 19

It’s easy to marvel at how effortlessly it seems Jason Isbell spins his tales, but when he shreds on stage, it’s a sight to behold.

Fastball, All the Pain Money Can Buy (Deluxe Edition), Nov. 9

Oh, hey, it looks like part of my wish is coming true — All the Pain Money Can Buy is headed for a vinyl release, albeit saddled with bonus material for its 20th anniversary, which I’m pretty sure I’ll be getting anyway.

Vinyl

Janelle Monáe, Dirty Computer, Sept. 28

Yes, please.

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A wish list of vinyl reissues

[Fastball - All the Pain Money Can Buy]

When you can find a second-hand vinyl copy of Suzanne Vega’s Solitutde Standing for $1, does the world really need a reissue that costs $30? Same goes for the soundtrack to Top Gun — was it really such a cultural watershed?

Vinyl reissues make up just a sliver of recorded music sales, but it’s the only sector experiencing rapid growth. So if Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em by MC Hammer can get a reissue, then nothing should stop the following titles from showing up on wax. From what I can tell, none of these titles have ever been issued on vinyl.

Fastball, All the Pain Money Can Buy

The stars aligned for Fastball on this album, but tensions in the band prevented them from capitalizing on that momentum. It still holds up well after nearly 20 years.

Patty Griffin, Flaming Red

You need look no further than Silver Bell to hear how well Flaming Red would sound on vinyl. Griffin doesn’t usually indulge her rock side, but like the title of this album, she burns when she does.

Freedy Johnston, This Perfect World

This album was in constant rotation on my player back in 1994, and I didn’t care if it storm up the charts. It didn’t, so the likelihood for a reissue are slim.

Hajime Chitose, Hainumikaze

I’ve so far not been impressed by vinyl pressings of domestic Japanese albums. The market is still driven mostly by CDs, so Japanese labels don’t put much care into the sound of vinyl releases. In my fantasy world where they did, I would so want to hear Hajime Chitose’s voice on vinyl.

Onitsuka Chihiro, INSOMNIA

All the ballads on this album should make remastering it for vinyl not insurmountable. Right?

Hem, Rabbit Songs

I’m surprised the only album in Hem’s discography available on vinyl is Departures and Farewells. I would have thought Rabbit Songs had been reissued a long time ago.

Utada Hikaru, Ultra Blue

The last Utada album to be issued on vinyl was DEEP RIVER.

Duran Duran, Medazzaland

The masters for Duran Duran’s most underrated album is owned by the band, so the fate of a vinyl reissue is entirely up to them. Nick Rhodes has mentioned he would love to see it happen.

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