Archives

Looking ahead, May-June 2019

[Shiina Ringo - Sandokushi]

Sting, My Songs, May 24

I had high but cautious hope for 57th and 9th. That will learn me.

Shiina Ringo, Sandokushi, May 27

This album adds six new tracks to the seven already released in various downloads and singles. Does anyone else get the sense Ringo-chan is phoning it in? I would think a 20-year anniversary would warrant a big reissue campaign in addition to a new album.

Eluvium, Piano Works, May 31

The deluxe edition vinyl release of this new album of piano works includes a sheet music book of Eluvium’s keyboard works.

Madonna, Madame X, June 14

Rebel Heart turned out better than I expected, but that seems to be the exception than the rule in recent years.

Prince, Originals, June 21

This compilation brings together demos of songs Prince wrote for other singers. I wonder if in the distant future we’ll hear The Family with Prince’s vocals.

Sigur Rós, Ágætis byrjun (Deluxe Edition), June 21

I like Sigur Rós, and Ágætis byrjun is a fine album. I’m not sure I love it enough for 4-CDs or 7-LPs.

Vinyl

James Blake, Assume Form, May 31

I hesitated on getting James Blake’s latest album till I found an unopened copy at the thrift store for $3. It’s turned out to be one of the better releases of 2019.

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Favorite Edition Rewind: 1984

[Thompson Twins - Into the Gap]

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.

And now we enter some new territory. I didn’t start collecting music in earnest till 1985, and I wouldn’t start exploring catalog music till 2005. Raiding thrift shops has allowed me to fill in a lot of history, which is why were expanding the range of this retrospective to as far back as 1978. Today, we start with 1984.

  1. Stephen Sondheim, Sunday in the Park with George
  2. The Replacements, Let It Be
  3. Soundtrack, Amadeus
  4. Andersson / Rice / Ulvaeus, Chess
  5. Art of Noise, Who’s Afraid of? … the Art of Noise!
  6. Madonna, Like a Virgin
  7. Prince and the Revolution, Purple Rain
  8. Bruce Springsteen, Born in the USA
  9. Arvo Pärt, Tabula Rasa
  10. Thompson Twins, Into the Gap

Other favorites from the year:

  • Guadalcanal Diary, Walking in the Shadows of the Big Man
  • Nena, 99 Luftballons
  • Eurythmics, 1984 (For the Love of Big Brother)
  • Sade, Diamond Life

I was much more into arcade video games — the classic era of Pac-Man and Galaga — than music in 1984. The only album I owned from that time is 99 Luftballons. Everything else I would discover later.

My 12-year-old self would not have known what to make of the Replacements or Arvo Pärt. He would have scoffed and wretched over the idea that Madonna or Prince could rank on such a list. They were his brother’s albums, after all.

He certainly did not have the sophistication or patience for two LPs of Mozart, although he might have really liked watching Amadeus.

And he would have definitely protested the inclusion of Bruce Springsteen on the list, all the while gazing lustily after the cover of Born in the USA.

He would have totally understood the Thompson Twins, though.

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Favorite Edition Rewind: 1989

[De La Soul - 3 Feet And and Rising]

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.

It shouldn’t be a surprise the largest expansion in my collection focuses on the late 1980s, i.e. my high school years. The Favorite 10 list from these years won’t see much change, as 1989 demonstrates, but the expanded lists risk becoming ridiculously long.

  1. The B-52’s, Cosmic Thing
  2. Camper Van Beethoven, Key Lime Pie
  3. Julee Cruise, Floating Into the Night
  4. Faith No More, The Real Thing
  5. Steve Reich, Different Trains/Electric Counterpoint
  6. Fugazi, 13 Songs
  7. Emmylou Harris, Bluebird
  8. Tears for Fears, The Seeds of Love
  9. Madonna, Like a Prayer
  10. Janet Jackson, Rhythm Nation 1814

Other favorites from the year:

  • The Replacements, Don’t Tell a Soul
  • Hoodoo Gurus, Magnum Cum Louder
  • All About Eve, Scarlet and Other Stories
  • XTC, Oranges and Lemons
  • De La Soul, 3 Feet High and Rising
  • Nirvana, Bleach
  • Pixies, Doolittle
  • Wayne Horvitz / The President, Bring Yr Camera
  • John Zorn, Spy Vs. Spy
  • Bulgarian State Radio and Television Female Vocal Choir, Le Mystère de Voix Bulgares, Vol. 2
  • Nakamori Akina, CRUISE
  • Depeche Mode, 101

Fugazi displaces The Replacements, who made a shot for the charts by cleaning up their sound.

I saw this ad in Pulse magazine and scoffed at it:

[I came in for U2. I came out with De La Soul]

Today, I nod my head and say, “Yeah, that’s about right.” But it took 30 years before I had enough life experience to understand how breathtaking 3 Feet High and Rising is.

Nevermind introduced me to Nirvana like the rest of the world, but I prefer Bleach.

The events in Nakamori Akina’s life at the time CRUISE was released overshadowed the maturity of the album. It’s not ground-breaking the way Fushigi is, but it’s an album that could have only been recorded after it.

I saw Depeche Mode in concert in 2017, and 101 ruined my experience of it. I had been listening to 101 in the weeks leading up to the concert, and understandably, the band stacked the set list more toward recent work than “the hits”.

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Favorite Edition Rewind: 1990

[Uncle Tupelo - No Depression]

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.

1990 has always felt more like 1989 v.2.0 than 1990 v.1.0. It was clearly the start of a pivot that wouldn’t really end till 1992, but the ’80s held its grip on that first year of the decade (if you’re using a 0-based system.)

  1. Kronos Quartet, Black Angels
  2. Robin Holcomb, Robin Holcomb
  3. John Zorn / Naked City, Naked City
  4. Midnight Oil, Blue Sky Mining
  5. Sonic Youth, Goo
  6. The Waitresses, Best of the Waitresses
  7. Geinoh Yamashirogumi, Akira Original Soundtrack
  8. Madonna, I’m Breathless
  9. The Sundays, Reading, Writing and Arithmetic
  10. Living Colour, Time’s Up

Other favorites from the year:

  • Duran Duran, Liberty
  • Depeche Mode, Violator
  • Deee-Lite, World Clique
  • Enigma, MCMXC a.D.
  • Meredith Monk, Book of Days
  • Joan Tower, Silver Ladders / Island Prelude / Music for Cello and Orchestra / Sequoia
  • Uncle Tupelo, No Depression
  • Jane’s Addiction, Ritual de lo Habitual
  • Fugazi, Repeater
  • Information Society, Hack
  • Björk, Gling-Gló
  • Wendy and Lisa, Eroica
  • Lisa Stansfield, Affection
  • Sinéad O’Connor, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got

1990-me would have protested the inclusion of Uncle Tupelo on this list. 1995-me would have had to slap some sense into him.

1990-me would have also questioned the addition of Lisa Stansfield, and 2008-me would have had to confront him about how he secretly loved “All Around the World.”

1990-me would have also wondered why 2008-me didn’t include Jane’s Addiction the first time around. 2008-me would have shrugged.

I would like to think 2008-me relished introducing 1990-me to Fugazi. 1990-me would not have been prepared for them, however.

All of us are still wondering how I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got manages to stay on the list.

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Purchase log, 2018-11-27

[Kate Bush - Rematered Part I]

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.

Catalog

CD
  • Anthrax, Persistence of Time
  • Anthrax, Spreading the Disease
  • Deafheaven, Sunbather
  • Death Cab for Cutie, The Forbidden Love E.P.
  • Hüsker Dü, Land Speed Record
  • Hüsker Dü. Zen Arcade
  • Johnny Cash, At San Quentin (The Complete 1969 Concert)
  • Led Zeppelin, III
  • Mastodon, Blood Mountain
  • Mastodon, Crack the Skye
  • Mastodon, Leviathan
  • Ministry, The Land of Rape and Honey
  • Siouxsie and the Banshees, Superstition
  • The Beatles, The Beatles (White Album)
  • The Jesus and Mary Chain, Automatic
  • The Julianna Hatfield Three, Become What You Are
  • The Mars Volta, Amputechture
  • The Mars Volta, Frances the Mute

Reissues

CD
  • Kate Bush, Remastered Part 1
Vinyl
  • Bill Frisell, Nashville
  • Kate Bush, The Red Shoes
  • Madonna, Ray of Light (RSD Black Friday 2018)
  • The B-52’s, Cosmic Thing (RSD Black Friday 2018)

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Favorite Edition Rewind: 1994

[Soundtrack - Interview with a Vampire]

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.

The original list from 1994 didn’t even include an extended list. That’s how austere the selections from the year were.

  1. Talitha Mackenzie, Solas
  2. Freedy Johnston, This Perfect World
  3. Wayne Horvitz/Pigpen, V as in Victim
  4. Harry Connick, Jr., She
  5. Guided By Voices, Bee Thousand
  6. Everything But the Girl, Amplified Heart
  7. Kronos Quartet, Night Prayers
  8. Jayne Cortez and the Firespitters, Cheerful & Optimistic
  9. John Zorn/Masada, Alef
  10. Madonna, Bedtime Stories

Other favorites from the year:

  • Prince, The Black Album
  • Blur, Parklife
  • Pizzicato Five, Made in USA
  • Shudder to Think, Pony Express Record
  • Elliott Goldenthal, Interview with a Vampire

At the time of its limited release, I was actually very curious about The Black Album. Part of it was all the hype surrounding its initial aborted release, but I was still mostly ambivalent about Prince to pass on it. Its underdog status among Prince’s work makes me like it just a bit more.

A top 10 list I would have compiled in 1994 would have listed the Interview with a Vampire soundtrack. It’s actually a really good score. It’s too bad the movie sucked eggs. I watched twice — the first time to evaluate its faithfulness to the novel (somewhat), the second to evaluate it as a film (awful). The only thing that mars the soundtrack is the unfortunate cover of Sympathy for the Devil by Guns N’ Roses.

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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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Favorite Edition Rewind: 2005

[Antony and the Johnsons - I Am a Bird Now]

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.

I remember not being much impressed with 2005. So much so, I made a half-arsed attempt at a Favorite Edition list and didn’t even call it such. It’s taken a lot of sifting to arrive at the present form of the list.

  1. Sigur Ros, Takk …
  2. Antony and the Johnston, I Am a Bird Now
  3. Ann-Sally, Brand-New Orleans
  4. Kate Bush, Aerial
  5. … And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Worlds Apart
  6. Bob Mould, Body of Song
  7. Sleater-Kinney, The Woods
  8. Yorico, Cocoon
  9. Duran Duran, Beautiful Colours
  10. Kawai Kenji, TV Animation BLEACH Original Soundtrack 1

Other favorites of the year:

  • Enya, Amarantine
  • Grizzly Bear, Horn of Plenty
  • Levi Kreis, One of the Ones
  • Madonna, Confessions on a Dancefloor

The list goes through much shuffling due to some late discoveries. I didn’t pick up Anthony and the Johnsons till 2006 and Ann-Sally much later. BLEACH wouldn’t be appointment viewing till the following year.

The extended list gets pared down a lot. Fuji Fabric, Sasagawa Miwa and toddle make room for Grizzly Bear and Levi Kreis.

I was so desperate to find entries, I included catalog titles from Gang of Four and John Zorn. In hindsight, that was the signal my priorities were starting to shift.

Toward the end of 2005, I relaunched this site as a traditional blog instead of the interactive zine it had been. My interest in Japanese popular music started to wane, and I reached an age where the music of my youth was being reimagined — some would say misinterpreted — by up and coming bands.

2005 marked the beginning of the end of Musicwhore.org ver. 1.0.

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Favorite Edition Rewind: 2015

[Gaytheist / Rabbits - Gay*Bits]

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.

2015 started strong with the return of Sleater-Kinney, and it stayed strong all the way through the release of the Hamilton cast recording. That said, the list goes through quite a number of changes, consolidating some stragglers and bouncing a few titles off.

  1. Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton: An American Musical
  2. Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly
  3. Sleater-Kinney, No Cities to Love
  4. Jason Isbell, Something More Than Free
  5. Torche, Restarter
  6. Björk, Vulnicura
  7. Deebs and Jarell Perry, Shift
  8. Steve Grand, All-American Boy
  9. Janet Jackson, Unbreakable
  10. Gaytheist/Rabbits, Gay*Bits

Other favorites from the year:

  • Software Giant, We Are Overcome
  • Miguel, Wildheart
  • Madonna, Rebel Heart
  • Duran Duran, Paper Gods
  • Enya, Dark Sky Island
  • The Weeknd, Beauty Behind the Madness
  • Courtney Barnett, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit
  • ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION, Wonder Future
  • Andrew Norman, Play
  • Troye Sivan, Blue Neighborhood

The Favorite 10 sees one title switched out — Gaytheist and Rabbit’s split EP for Miguel’s Wildheart. Father John Misty, Takaakira Goto, Seattle Symphony and Kronos Quartet make way for Andrew Norman, Troye Sivan and Software Giant.

Eight years into 2010s, 2015 is so far turning out to be my favorite year for the decade. The hierarchy of the list gives a false sense of preference — some of the albums outside of the Favorite 10 got as much play time as those at the top of the list.

Duran Duran and Enya could have occupied spots in the Favorite 10 if the field weren’t so crowded.

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Purchase log, 2018-03-13

[Tracey Thorn - Record]

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

CDs
  • Tracey Thorn, Record

Catalog

CDs
  • Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band, Trout Mask Replica
  • Elvis Costello, Brutal Youth
  • M.I.A., Arular
  • Madonna, MDNA
  • Robert Palmer, Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley
  • Radiohead, In Rainbows
  • The Roots, Things Fall Apart
  • Stephen Sondheim, Company (Original Cast Recording)

 

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