Listen With Prejudice – #41 Arcade Fire – The Suburbs – Album Review

#41 Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
Before: Perhaps overworthy mild angsters
This is really something. Starts off sounding like Badly Drawn Boy then sounds like no one else, but instantly familiar. Some 70s, some 80s, 90s, 00s and right now. All of it. We go back to childhood, we see relationships now, growing up, adolencence, going back again. We have prisons of the mind and the environment. An environment of sprawl, where potential is stifled. Often the music sounds purposefully held back, like the neighbourhood itself, as if it is recorded right there in a garage, next door neighbour’s curtains twitching. Perhaps overlong at one hour but the tempo changes, the lead vocalist changes, the guitar based sound turns to electronica with keeping somehow a sustained overall feel. A concept album that never sounds forced but natural, life’s moments set within a perhaps unatural setting for human life. Their most accessible album and their best yet.
After: Rich, genuine; modern life sealed within an album or suburb

 

Counting down the Top 50 over at Best Ever Albums. They’ve taken 6,600 greatest album charts and compiled them into an overall chart.

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Listen With Prejudice – #42 Guns ‘n’ Roses – Appetite For Destruction – Album Review

#42 Guns ‘n’ Roses – Appetite For Destruction

Before: Big hair, big noise, big hits

Like being forced to take too much coke and then licked and then drooled on with Coca-Cola and then having cheap bourbon poured in your ears and up your nose and being left out to dry in some west coast hell. Sung by Cartman from South Park. A few moments of relief in some of the intros before the insane zipping up and unzipping continues. I suspect the best thing is the drumming. The rest is – what? – empty energy.

After: 80s horrorshow

Counting down the Top 50 over at Best Ever Albums. They’ve taken 6,600 greatest album charts and compiled them into an overall chart.

Listen With Prejudice – #44 Nirvana – In Utero – Album Review

#44 Nirvana – In Utero

Before: Infamous grunge before they were really big.

Quiet-loud-quiet-loud but mainly just loud manic depressive grungyness. It felt like being mini tazered in both ears, a zapping shock connecting live through the head. Or a scuzzy cauldron of lava being rained on hard, in Seattle, fizzing and spitting, burning. Much shouting, screaming, wailing, under the supremely ironic name Nirvana. Masterful drumming throughout, somehow managing to sound relaxed through the wall of noise intensity. There are tender moments, but mostly there’s not, just a lot of heavy guitar and bonus feedback. Vocals like a pack of sandpaper, different grades of rough and broken, voicing variations of self and society-hatred, although most of the time I had no idea what was being sung. Does it help to know? Eating cancer was mentioned. Surprisingly punk in places and a sublime passage toward the end of Radio Friendly Unit Shifter.

After: Failed electroshock treatment with noisy ironic despair.

Counting down the Top 50 over at Best Ever Albums. They’ve taken 6,600 greatest album charts and compiled them into an overall chart.

Listen With Prejudice – #45 REM – Automatic For The People – Album Review

#45 REM – Automatic For The People

Before: Likeable singles, before they went bland

Chamberpop Americana, with any indie creases of old ironed out. The album is very much a CD album, polished to within an inch of its digital life, the crystalline production making the sound see-through and brittle. Much like the lead vocals although they have some heart. Perfect playing and a sense of middle of the road blandness, the contrived oddity of some of the lyrics not helping much. But there is splendid atmosphere in places, and beauty and humour, and a breakfast mess. Often sounding ploddy and a little insipid. Yes, I believe they put a man on the moon, no I don’t believe there’s nothing up his sleeve. I’m not sure where this leaves me.

After: They were already quite bland. A kind of bland perfection.

Counting down the Top 50 over at Best Ever Albums. They’ve taken 6,600 greatest album charts and compiled them into an overall chart.

Listen With Prejudice – #46 U2 – Achtung Baby – Album Review

#46 U2 – Achtung Baby

Before: Annoying jangle rock ‘n’ pop and pretentious hoo-ha.

U2 reinventing themselves desperately. Hard to listen to. Persevered, wanting to hit stop pretty much every second. The reinvention leads to a clutter of ideas piling on top of each other until the thing seems about to topple over itself in a silly heap. Each lyric seems like a cliche. Each strum of the guitar aches my gums. I don’t like it. Except for So Cruel, perhaps, at a stretch. Horrible title.

After: Annoying jangle rock with added electronic pants. With poo in.

Counting down the Top 50 over at Best Ever Albums. They’ve taken 6,600 greatest album charts and compiled them into an overall chart.

Listen With Prejudice – #47 Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures – Album Review

#47 Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures

 

Before: Rainy jerky doomsters with one actual tune, intense and a bit scary

 

Like a British The Doors, somehow, but glomier, vocals deep and distressed. Angualr rhythms, strange sound effects, throbbing driving bass driving, and those druggy, foresty English guitars. A band on the edge of something, no one is sure what, but it probably isn’t going to be pretty, and improbably a bit beautiful. Shambolic preciceness abounds.

 

After: The north of England through and through. Although Curtis does sound like he’s trying to be a bit American. One long demo?

 

Counting down the Top 50 over at Best Ever Albums. They’ve taken 6,600 greatest album charts and compiled them into an overall chart.

Listen With Prejudice – #48 Led Zepellin – Led Zepellin – Album Review

#48 Led Zepellin – Led Zepellin

 

Before: Hard rock, long hair, darkness, riffs

 

Some kind of rock blues (soap) opera. Lyrics are all baby baby baby pining and whining. Amazing drumming backing a tight band playing closely together. Guitar echoing the vocals, and the riffs another voice itself. Heavy… early heavy metal with a psychedelic edge. The 70s in the 60s.

 

After: Tight. Mighty riffs of guitar and voice

 

Counting down the Top 50 over at Best Ever Albums. They’ve taken 6,600 greatest album charts and compiled them into an overall chart.

Listen With Prejudice – #49 Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation – Album Review

Before: Dreary grungers, no tunes.

Nightmare Nation? Loud. Fast. Aggressive. Messed up guitars, vocals, lyrics, the occasional melodic elements a relief from the onslaught. Conjured some sort of hellish future city with monsters nearby in the dark. I managed to listen to it all, except for Trilogy which apparently lasts for ever.

After: Fast grungers, no tunes.

Counting down the Top 50 over at Best Ever Albums. They’ve taken 6,600 greatest album charts and compiled them into an overall chart.

Listen With Prejudice – #50 White Stripes – Elephant – Album Review

Before: Hip comicbook thump/guitar merchants with a compelling attitude

Minimalist banging with unpredictable fuzzy buzzy guitars. Passionate voices defiant and vulnerable, honest and not without humour. It’s surprisingly tender at times, before second half of the album belters kick in. Hard to know how serious it all is; it seems sincere but an ironic twist runs deep. Often I found myself smiling; the spontaneity of the guitars almost comical, the sound produced not quite like anything else I’ve heard. Loudness is tempered by the sparcity of instruments and production. A blues punk mix somewhere in a lost American garage.

After: More varity than expected, and more fun, despite the intensity.

Counting down the Top 50 over at Best Ever Albums. They’ve taken 6,600 greatest album charts and compiled them into an overall chart.