Monthly Archives: August 2017

Rewind: Sugababes, One Touch

[Sugababes - One Touch]

Rewind takes a look at past Musicwhore.org reviews to see how they hold up today. The albums featured on Rewind were part of my collection, then sold for cash only to be reacquired later.

What happens when you want to write about mainstream pop music without knowing anything about mainstream pop music? You get something that looks like my review of Sugababes’ One Touch.

The then-teenaged trio hooked me in with “Overload”, a single as infectious today as it was back in 2000. I picked up the album on the strength of that song alone, and I ended up liking it.

And as any good music blogging cheerleader should do, I wanted to share that enthusiasm. Just one problem: I was a raging rock snob back then. I knew of Destiny’s Child and TLC only indirectly — I owned nothing by either group, but it didn’t stop me from using them as straw women.

Back then, Disney pop from the likes of Britney Spears, ‘NSync and Backstreet Boys shoved aside alternative rock, which had devolved to Creed and Nickelback. In retrospect, that may have been a blessing. Still, it was tough covering music at the turn of the century when most of what flew off shelves held little to no interest for me.

So I sought refuge in Japanese indie rock and rock en Español.

Nearly two decades later, I’m merely a rock snob instead of a raging rock snob, and my collection now includes TLC and En Vogue. I don’t have any Destiny’s Child, but I do have Beyoncé’s Lemonade. After listening to these groups, the folly of my earlier comparison is writ large.

Sugababes come from a different club culture than En Vogue and TLC. Comparing them would have been as helpful as pitting Perfume against Adele. I do stand by the assessment that the rougher production on One Touch is a softer sell. It’s probably why I preferred Sugababes over American pop acts.

Of course, that reveals a deeper problem. If I knew nothing of American pop music, I would know even less about UK pop music. So I wrote the review I’ve got, not the one I want.

Two months after publishing that review, I lost my job, and Sugababes went on the chopping block when cash got tight. But every so often, I would find myself humming the opening bass line of “Overload”. It reached a point where I found a cutout of One Touch on Amazon and welcomed the album back in my collection.

 

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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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Vinyl find: Boom Crash Opera, self-titled

[Boom Crash Opera - Boom Crash Opera]

Between INXS and Midnight Oil, you couldn’t blame a major label artist and repertoire representative for trying to mine Australia for the next college rock success story.

I’m not sure where I heard about Boom Crash Opera, but I suspect it was probably in Pulse! magazine. Similar to Love and Money, I spotted a single for “Onion Skin” at Tower Records and thought, “This looks interesting enough.”

I was expecting Midnight Oil or Icehouse, but I ended up with something funkier and way more boisterous. I thought about picking up the band’s 1989 album These Here Are Crazy Times, but it lost out to many other releases that year.

Boom Crash Opera fell off my radar completely till I spotted the band’s self-titled debut at the Lifelong Thrift Shop. For $1, it seemed worth the risk, plus Alex Sadkin was listed as one of the producers. Sadkin worked with Duran Duran on Seven and the Ragged Tiger.

True to form, Sadkin’s studio wizardry coats Boom Crash Opera with an appealing sheen, but he doesn’t water down the band’s hard, funky sound. If I had been introduced to Boom Crash Opera with this album rather than “Onion Skin”, I might have become a casual fan. The writing on Boom Crash Opera is solid, and while the album’s production is an artifact of its time, it skews toward the era’s better angels.

Boom Crash Opera is still around and pretty much sticks to Australia these days. None of the band’s international releases are in print, nor available on streaming services.

 

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Looking ahead: August-September 2017

[Shawn Colvin - A Few Small Repairs]

Is there even anything left after June and July sucked all the air out of the release schedule?

Emmylou Harris and the Nash Ramblers, At the Ryman, Aug. 4

Nonesuch reissued this live album on vinyl in May, and now this remastered pressing arrives on CD.

Grizzly Bear, Painted Ruins, Aug. 18

I have an ambivalent relationship with Grizzly Bear. Veckatimest was overrated, but I love Horn of Plenty. Everyone seems to like Yellow House, but I prefer Shields. I also think Department of Eagles does a better job at being Grizzly Bear than Grizzly Bear.

Queens of the Stone Age, Villains, Aug. 25

Not that I particularly liked Nick Oliveri, but I haven’t paid much attention to Queens of the Stone Age since his departure. And yet, I still have a crush on Josh Homme.

Living Colour, Shade, Sept. 8

Nobody noticed, but Living Colour’s 2009 album Chair in the Doorway was a return to form. It seems Living Colour runs on a six- to eight-year release cycle now.

Shawn Colvin, A Few Small Repairs (20th Anniversary Edition), Sept. 15

I wondered why this album hadn’t yet received a vinyl reissue. Do you think maybe the labels would do the same for Fastball’s All the Pain Money Can Buy?

Prophets of Rage, Prophets of Rage, Sept. 15

(Rage Against the Machine – Zach de la Rocha) + People who are not Zach de la Rocha. Yes, yes, I know Chuck D is one of those people who is not Zach de la Rocha.

Trio de Kali and Kronos Quartet, Ladilikan, Sept. 15

Kronos sure has been flooding the store shelves with new recordings. I haven’t gotten around to the albums they released in 2016.

Behind the Shadow Drops, Harmonic, Sept. 22

Another solo project from MONO’s Takaakira Goto. Hey, Temporary Residence, how about a US release for Taka’s solo album Classical Punk & Echoes Under The Beauty while you’re at it?

Vinyl

… And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, Source Tags and Code, Aug. 11

Conundrum: I found a used copy months ago, but … bonus tracks, etched side.

Midnight Oil, Bird Noises, Aug. 11
Midnight Oil, Species Deceases, Aug. 11

It looks like The Complete Vinyl Box Set is getting split up. I’m keeping my eye out for Redneck Wonderland and Breathe.

Craig Armstrong, The Space Between Us, Aug. 25

A Massive Attack track here, a film score excerpt there, and, oh, Elisabeth Fraser.

Enya, The Very Best of Enya, Aug. 25

I don’t need this compilation on vinyl. I want this compilation on vinyl.

Geinoh Yamashirogumi, AKIRA Original Soundtrack, Sept. 15

Previous vinyl reissues of this soundtrack were bootlegs, so it’s nice to see Milan Records give it an official release. Also available on CD.

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