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  • Essential Albums: Trip-Hop   14 years 1 week ago

    Furthermore, lester and iggy, let me explain what I mean by this list and its "essential" title. I think that the albums listed represent a good sampling of the different strains of the genre, as well as the ones that are the most pioneering. I did not say "best." Now, in most cases, I am fortunate that what I believe is "essential" and "best" coincide. However, even though i am confident enough in my musical tastes to say that a critically-loved album is actually not that high of quality, or vice versa, I also realize that personal taste is not always a sure-fire way to decide what is truly "best." For example, I can tell that the Velvet Underground is a groundbreaking and innovative band, and that their music and lyrics are excellent; however, my personal taste doesn't lie with their music. I think it would be highly presumptive and arrogant for me to dismiss them as low-quality music because i don't care for them. Similarly, despite my fondness for Amy Grant or DC Talk, I will never hold them up as paragons of quality; I simply recognize that at times, quality and taste are NOT going to coincide. So although I agree with you mostly lester, I think that you go a little too far with your equating of quality and taste. I'm sure there is music you enjoy that you recognize isn't of the highest quality, nut it does connect with you on some level. Likewise, surely there is some music that you don't love, but still recognize its inherent quality. I believe only a robot programmed with agreed upon taste/quality standards would find that these two coincide in EVERY SINGLE instance.

    Johnny Waco

  • Essential Albums: Trip-Hop   14 years 1 week ago

    It was simply my opinion, Johnny, and says more about how good I believe Headz to be than about any of the other albums being poor. Except for the initial comment admitting my lack of excitement over Presage, I'm not making a negative comment on any of your choices. It seems you choose the number 10 as a limit for the list, being such a round number that many lists use as a limit, rather than created a list that just happened to have 10 albums on it. If you simply wish to add Headz and make it 11, cool. If you don't want to add Headz, cool. In my opinion, it is much better than the numbers I listed, but I'm not saying those entries are rotten albums.

    As for Portishead, true, they haven't come near the quality of their debut, but their live album did work some new ground with the orchestra added. I'm not sure they're in a rut because they're not trying to expand. They may just be having difficulty creating new material; they are starting to explore a bit.

    If the word easily bothers you, you have my permission to ignore it. ;)

    Shalom, y'all!

    L. Bangs

  • Essential Albums: Trip-Hop   14 years 1 week ago

    Lester, I have to take issue with something you've just said; I find the use of the word "easily" to describe the way "Headz" could replace some of my choices to be a bit too dismissive. Maybe I'm being a little too sensitive, but although it COULD replace Enigma (a controversial and perhaps inappropriate choice anyway) and The Sneaker Pimps ("Pop-Trip-Hop"?), I disagree that it would "easily replace" Presage or Morcheeba. Maybe it should be added, yes, but not as though it were criminal that these later two would be here to the exclusion of "Headz." I think Morcheeba especially is an underrated band that has sought to expand the parameters of trip-hop in some interesting directions; their attempts to merge rootsier elements to their music, whether it be a country slide guitar or more soulful vocals (rather than house diva or breathy) is quite impressive. When it comes down to it, Morcheeba has shown a willingness to grow and not get stuck in a rut, the way that a band like Portishead, unfortuneately, has.

    Johnny Waco

  • Essential Albums: Trip-Hop   14 years 1 week ago

    Ooohhhh. We're just going to have to agree to disagree here. If a critic wishes to point out important albums in the development of a genre, he or she should make a list for that. If a critic wants to praise great or essential albums, that's another list. I do not agree that a critic should factor in historical importance or influence when making quality assessments of an album. That's the historian's job, not the critic. Of course, one can be both, but one should also not confuse the two or try magically to mix the two in the same list. The two factors are entirely too often unconnected, and many critics use historical knowledge as a crutch when critical prowess fails them.

    "Critical objectivity" is too often bowing to history rather than quality or giving too much wieght to the critical mainstream. The tempering you speak of is usually simply watering down one's personal assessments with the majority, and that serves little purpose. There are enough places to discover the critical mainstream, including my very own CC lists. A critic's job is much braver and tougher than that, and a critic should be learned and confident enough in his or her own skills not to rely on safety catches such as the critical mainstream or history.

    Shalom, y'all!

    L. Bangs

  • Essential Albums: Trip-Hop   14 years 1 week ago

    Lester,

    I just want to clarify my point about not enjoying a particular artist while still conceding their importance in a given genre or style. I wasn't saying that Tricky, for example, was a bad musician as much as I was trying make the point that I could dislike Tricky's collective output, yet still have enough "critical objectivity" to give him his due in a musical genre he has contributed to. And on a personal note, I think a good critic must temper their subjective predilections with the more objective events of history, which often means acknowledging value where there does not seem to be much substance. The combination of the two, and especially their resulting tension, are the essence of any worthwhile critic's output.

    I suppose what spawned my comment in the first place was that you made the assumption that because I agreed with Tricky's presence on the list that this implied I liked him after telling you previously that I didn't. While it is true I like one of his records now, I don't feel it is fair to infer that I either liked or disliked him given my initial comments on the subject here.

    I'm sure you know where I am coming from, but I just wanted to clarify myself for the sake of future discussions because I may post a list on a certain genre in the future and list within its ranks a band I dislike, yet cannot dispense with for reasons of relevance and/or influence.

    Now it's my turn to shut MY big mouth and get to work some lists! ;)

    Pontificatously Posted,

    Dr. Nut

  • Favorite Movies with a Disability Focus/Storyline   14 years 1 week ago

    Totally forgot, sorry. It was so short-lived it completely slipped my mind.

  • Songs I've Gotten Stuck in My Head While Being a Meter Maid this Summer   14 years 1 week ago

    my testimony stands: la cucaracha. how much of the song is there to know? no matter what i do, this song will not leave my head. researching the lyrics, i'm afraid, just doesn't seem to help. but i bet that works on some songs...

  • Essential Albums: Trip-Hop   14 years 1 week ago

    One more comment, then I shut my big mouth. I do realize an artist can be extremely influential and important without being very good, but it seems to me that a list claiming to display essential items should certainly use quality as well as the aforementioned elements in selecting albums for the list. Tricky is pivotal to trip-hop, but if he was not a good artist, I couldn't really justify his appearance on a list such as this.

    Shalom, y'all!

    L. Bangs

  • Essential Albums: Trip-Hop   14 years 1 week ago

    Aside from Maxinquaye and the little-heard Nearly God, I actually agree. As I mentioned on my Top 100 list, he drove himself down a dead-end, and he really hasn't found an interesting escape route yet. The above discs (especially his debut), however, are exciting enough to praise the man quite highly.

    I was wondering if this site would ever lure you in. I am very happy it has. Give us some lists!

    Shalom, y'all!

    L. Bangs

  • Essential Albums: Trip-Hop   14 years 1 week ago

    Lester Bangs,

    You should know that it is not necessary to actually enjoy a particular artist in order to concede their importance in a given genre or style. I still think Tricky is somewhat overrated, not to mention quite pretentious, but to ignore his contribution to this style would be criminal. And while I am man enough to admit that I rather do now enjoy "Maxinquaye", I still think Tricky's other solo efforts smack of mediocrity.

    It's good to hear from you again, Lester. I hope you are doing well and look forward to future lists and discussions. :)

    I remain unmoved,

    Dr. Nut

  • Essential Albums: Trip-Hop   14 years 1 week ago

    Ah, I forgot the praise. Great suggestion, and welcome to site. I'm anticipating your lists.

    Shalom, y'all!

    L. Bangs

  • CC00004: R.E.M.   14 years 1 week ago

    Molest me again, sir, and you shall feel the lash of my biting wit and searing logic against your pitiful shoulder!

    Take you heed!,

    Dr. Nut

  • Science And Philosophy   14 years 1 week ago

    Nadine,

    Bertie's right out about the Philosophy of Religion. When I was getting my degree in the aforementioned subject, I took a class mainly for the reasons you stated you were interested in it. Boy, was I disappointed.
    A couple of books that you might find interesting, from a more "Philosophy of Life" perspective are Walter Kaufman's excellent anthology "Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre" and William Barrett's well thought out book "Irrational Man". These books are both staples in the Existentialist movement in philosophy and very good because there is a lot of overlap with religion, mainly Judeo-Christian concepts, and disucssion of the human understanding and reaction to the Divine. So often people only know Existentialism for it's athestic proponents, e.g. Sarte and Camus, but as the aforementioned books will show you, it was, first and foremost a theistic movement, e.g. Kierkegaard and Jaspers.

    May you find your way steady and true,

    Dr. Nut

  • CC00007: John Lennon   14 years 1 week ago

    Hey, did AC/DC rip off the beginning of John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band for the beginning of Hell's Bells, or what? A tribute from the strangest place...

    Johnny Waco

    PS Of course, the bells on POB are more disturbing than AC/DC's could ever wish to be.

  • CC00004: R.E.M.   14 years 1 week ago

    So you want a response, do you Mr. Marsh--I mean, Bangs. Well I'm back on the planet and convinced more than ever that Monster is a neglected gem. Not every song is a standout, to be sure, but the album is very much a mood-piece, a rare thing among albums that rock like this one does. It's almost like REM's glam-rock period, an overdose of T-Rex and their fuzzy take on this thing called rock. Shoot me if i've gone insane, but the amount of distortion cloaking the melodies makes me wonder if our friend Stipe wasn't listening to more than a little lo-fi, specifically Pavement...

    Johnny Waco

  • CC00049: Buffalo Springfield   14 years 1 week ago

    Mr. Bangs, it's time for a Neil Young list, as expansive as it may be...Despite a limited amount of Young knowledge, I think I like Rust Never Sleeps better than Tonight's the Night (although don't get me wrong--Tonight's great). Powderfinger is one of the most disquieting songs I've ever heard; The ambiguity of the situation just makes me feel anxious every time I hear it. BTW, since this IS a Buffalo Springfield list, I've surprised their first album would be rated so highly; I would expect it to be no higher than a 7.5, or maybe 8.

    Johnny Waco

  • 0012: My Favorite Romantic Comedies (in chronological order)   14 years 1 week ago

    I considered both Some Like It Hot and Sullivan's Travels, but eventually left them out. They're both great, but I had trouble calling them romantic comedies. Looking over my list now, however, I'm starting to wonder if Some Like It Hot is at least as much of a romantic comedy as Manhattan or Roman Holiday. Hmmm... Let me think a bit on this.

    I like My Favorite Wife, but a bit less than most on this list. While I love The Graduate, I definitely do not see it as a romantic comedy. I may feel the same about City Lights, but I'll think about the Chaplin movie some.

    Thanks for the suggestions, and don't be surprised to see a few of them join the list by the end of the day!

    Shalom, y'all!

    L. Bangs

  • Essential Songs: Late Byrds   14 years 1 week ago

    I've heard most of these, and I must give kudos for choosing such great songs from the less-than-stellar period of their work. I believe Untitled might well be the most unfairly over-looked gem in their crown.

    Shalom, y'all!

    L. Bangs

  • CC00049: Buffalo Springfield   14 years 1 week ago

    I've mentioned I've been working on the Young list for awhile now. I completed it and posted it this morning. Enjoy!

    I can not say enough great things about Powderfinger, even if I still prefer Tonight's over Rust. Maybe I should listen to Rust more.

    As for that debut, most critics actually like it quite a bit. A few rather visible sources differ (AMG, in particular), and everyone agrees that Again is clearly their masterwork, but most sources actually hold the debut is quite high esteem. I love the songs I've heard off of it, but those may well be the best songs on the album. I'll have to hunt down a copy to borrow.

    Shalom, y'all!

    L. Bangs

  • CC00004: R.E.M.   14 years 1 week ago

    I can dig that you enjoy it (I wish I did more), but I can't buy the Pavement comparison. Monster doesn't strike me as rough and ragged. It strikes me as over-produced and ill-produced. The melodies aren't really cloaked, they're just played on guitars that glide more than bite. The fuzz sounds sterile instead of cheap and dangerous. Perhaps they were trying to create a new glam. Perhaps the producer just blew it...

    Shalom, y'all!

    L. Bangs

  • CC00007: John Lennon   14 years 1 week ago

    I'd certainly love to be able to give AC/DC enough credit to think they did. If they didn't, I bet their producer, Mutt Lange (whom I'll be nice enough not to say more of), did.

    Shalom, y'all!

    L. Bangs

  • CC00050: The Byrds   14 years 1 week ago

    I guess I really need to hear all of Easy Rider, eh?

    Thanks for the order. I may have to act upon this soon.

    Shalom, y'all!

    L. Bangs

  • 50 essential albums   14 years 1 week ago

    I haven't heard November Project yet. I'll have to track it down. Thanks for the suggestion!

    It's nice to see the new additions (for me? Aw, shucks...) Have you heard Simon and Garfunkel's Bookends? While I enjoy Bridge, I've always enjoyed Bookends a bit more.

    Shalom, y'all!

    L. Bangs

  • 0008: Harrison Ford's Ten Best Films   14 years 1 week ago

    I'm not a big fan of either film. Clear and Present Danger seemed a bit muddled, and it forced the main character to act out of character too often. On the other hand, the single set piece involving the cars and missle launcher was excellent. Had the entire film been that good, it would have made my list. As it is, I believe this ten films to be better.

    Shalom, y'all!

    L. Bangs

  • 0007: My Ten Favorite 2000 Films   14 years 1 week ago

    I was extremely disappointed with Gladiator, but I have not seen The Patriot yet. U-571 was much better than it had any right to be, but I felt it a notch below these films. Perhaps I'll eventually add it. I have not seen Final Destination.

    Shalom, y'all!

    L. Bangs