Recent comments

  • 0014: The 100 Best Rock Albums (91-100)   14 years 13 weeks ago

    Hmmmmm....I like this list, but I must confess I also loved the "Human Wheels" single, too...of course, I am a Hoosier...which creates an incredible bias. :0

  • Excellent Fiction   14 years 13 weeks ago

    I was intersted to see you liked Ishmael. Did you see the HORRIBLE (I hope you didn't like it) adaptation called Instinct, which basically cast Anthony Hopkins in role of Ishmeal (only he was a human), and Cuba Gooding Jr, in the role of the author? What did you think?

  • 0005. Some Under-Rated Films   14 years 13 weeks ago

    I'm glad we agree on many films here. As for my love of Emma, I am equally shocked hearing people praise the lame Sense and Sensibility. What do people love here?

    I know what I dislike in it.

    1) Miscasting: Several actors simply are in the wrong roles, while others ham it up to high heaven.

    2) Script: This is what high schoolers see when they read an Austen novel - a period piece with great costumes and fine manners on display. Austen, however, is much smarter than that. She writes with hidden razors, and if she never cuts too deep, she does indeed occasionally draw blood. Thompson's screenplay doted on manners and style while missing the the very qualities that elevates Austen from, say, modern romance novels. Additionally, the film's humor is broad and banal where Austen's was subtle and brilliant.

    3) Hollywood: Hollywood has a certain structure it tends to require out of films, and S&S simply does not fit well into this structure. This is most obvious at the end, where the film acts as if we are in suspense about the outcome. We're not (anyone who has seen or read much could guess this 'mysterious' ending a mile away), but Hollywood must have a huge climax. As a result of the need for climax and a '3 act' film, Austen is very ill-fit for this type of conventional film, and it shows in bizarre pacing and uncomfortable transitions.

    On the positive side, a few of the actors were great, and the cinematography was beautiful.

    Emma, on the other hand, didn't have a single one of the problems i listed above and also had great actors, plus cinematography that looked great without stealing away the entire film.

    Anyway, that's my long-winded take on it. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree!

    Thanks for the great comments. I'm especially glad to see at least one other person enjoyed A Life Less Ordinary.

    Shalom, y'all!

    L. Bangs

  • CC00033: Peter Gabriel   14 years 13 weeks ago

    I gather that Us and So would have fared better if this list was put together a few years ago. A few older sources I consulted definitely held Garbriel's work in higher esteem than current critics. These critical trends go up and down, and it is very frustrating when a favorite artist is on the way down. Blur, one of my favorites, is currently suffering a similar fate. Hopefully, both artists will bottom out and begin to rise soon.

    If I can gather enough critical input about a greatest hits album, I include it. This usually limits compilations to either famous or important collections or best-ofs currently in print. Since Shaking the Tree is (I believe) Gabriel's only compilation and is still in print, I was able to find plenty of opinions on it; I included it on the list.

    I'm going to have to hear Passion. While some critics found it poor, many others (particularly European critics) cited it as a favorite.

    Shalom, y'all!

    L. Bangs

  • 100 Best American Rock Albums (2000 Edition)   14 years 13 weeks ago

    I started to reply to this, and realized that I have to give more thought to the issue myself (one of the things I love about this site is that it often forces me to do that). I'll get back to you.

  • CC00004: R.E.M.   14 years 13 weeks ago

    Thank you, Jim. I greatly appreciate your comments; they help alot. Ordering these lists is possibly the hardest part of creating the CC lists. Averaging the views of the critics is an easy, straight-forward (if long) process, but decided the order to recommend the album in is very difficult, and the Out of Time album was one of the hardest to place. Hearing your comments, I feel a bit more confident about it now than I did. For now, I'll leave it where it is.

    Keep me on my toes, Jim!

    Shalom, y'all!

    L. Bangs

  • CC00033: Peter Gabriel   14 years 13 weeks ago

    I'm surprised Us fared so poorly (relatively). From this list, I've only heard Us, So, Security, Passion, and Shaking the Tree, and I'd personally have a very hard time ranking them in any kind of order. But if forced to, I'd have to go with:


    1. Us
    2. So
    3. Passion
    4. Security


    I wouldn't count Shaking the Tree. As much as I enjoy the new song and remixes, I don't think there's enough new material on it to keep it from being a "Greatest Hits" album (albeit my favorite GH album). Do you have a CC policy regarding GH albums?

  • CC00004: R.E.M.   14 years 13 weeks ago

    All right! You've made room for 99,999 CC lists! I like a man that sets his sights high.

    Based on this description, I agree completely on your ranking. When I suggested moving Out of Time and Nirvana's live MTV album up on their respective lists, it was based on your comment that the CC lists help form a "recommended purchasing order." When I first read that, I thought that "accessibility" would have to weigh in quite heavily, and it hadn't occurred to me that it wouldn't be fair if accessibility outweighed "representative work." To put a non-representative work too high creates false expectations. It makes sense to temper "accessible" with "representative", and thus I'd agree that Out of Time belongs where you put it (and I also agree that's it is perhaps the easiest REM album to listen to).

  • My Favorite Albums   14 years 13 weeks ago

    I believe Forosoco is supposed to be a concatenation of Folk, Rock, Soul, and Country. From your lists (and I had no idea there were so many rock genres until I saw your lists), I'm thinking "Folk-Rock". However, I'm fuzzy on what "Rockabilly" is; can you give me some examples?

    And yeah, because of Kevin Bacon's association with the band, I think everybody assumed it was a vanity project. However, his brother (Michael) was a serious musician (perhaps a Grammy winner, even?) long before they started the band. I've gotten alot of mileage out of Forosoco. Their second album hasn't really grabbed me yet, but I haven't given it much of a chance.

    Wrecking Ball might be my favorite album of all time. But I get weak in the knees every time I come close to locking myself in so thoroughly. So I'll stick with might be for now.

  • 0007. L. Bangs' Great Lyric Challenge   14 years 13 weeks ago

    A new list sounds good to me! Also, I thought you might be interested in an alternative layout for this list and the new one: you could put in a dividing line, and put all the unidentified items above the line. Here's what you'd type to achieve this effect (needed HTML in bold):

    First unidentified line

    Bunch of other unidentified lines

    Last unidentified line<BR><HR SIZE="2" NOSHADE>

    First identified line

    Remaining identified lines

    You can see this effect in action on this list.

  • 0007. L. Bangs' Great Lyric Challenge   14 years 13 weeks ago

    i'm up for a new list! (although i'm already doing poorly since i don't recognize any of ender22d's suggestions...)

  • 0007. L. Bangs' Great Lyric Challenge   14 years 13 weeks ago

    hey, don't feel bad! These quotes I picked off my mp3 (legal, of course...hehehe) list last evening. All good songs, of course, but they may be only that way in MY opinion. I'll come up with some more weird ones here shortly...

  • Arthur C. Clarke's Best   14 years 13 weeks ago

    I agree with your assessment, Johnny, but as a point of order, in an introduction I have read, Clarke states that he never meant to make more than the orginal "Redezvous...". He thought the last line of "Ramans always do everything in threes..." was just a good intreguing way to wrap it up. I think he should have stopped after the original.

  • Rock-era genres I like   14 years 13 weeks ago

    -ding- Now I understand your distinction, and I do see use in it. I notice, however, that many bands that would begin in your AltCountry category are now shifting to your Americana category. Wilco and Whiskeytown leap to mind. Are people jumping ship and fleeing from AltCountry, or having learned country's conventions, are they know attempting to expand the music as part of a natural progression?

    I guess I tend to see the later, and as such, I also tend to blur the two terms together. Perhaps it is laziness - otherwise, when describing Wilco or Whiskeytown's body of work, I'd have to use two terms (AltCountry/Americana) instead of one (pick either). We know how lazy I get at times!

    Thanks for working with me to understand you here.

    Shalom, y'all!

    L. Bangs

  • Rock-era genres I like   14 years 13 weeks ago

    I don't see the "Alt" in Alt-Country being an expansive thing, taking in other genres. In my mind, it's severly limiting, requiring the artists who embrace the "No Depression" moniker to go back to an earlier set of conventions and hold tightly to them. These conventions seem to include use of traditionly country instruments (steel guitar, fiddles, slide) and what they feel are traditional themes (usually downbeat). It reminds me of early white blues players from the sixties, who tried so hard to recreate something from the past that they could rarely breathe life into it in the present. To keep the difference in the terms, i would still say that i don't see artists like Lucinda Williams, Victoria Williams, or Shelby Lynne lumped together with the Old 97s, Son Volt, or Uncle Tupelo. The reason seems fairly clear: the former artists don't hem themselves in by trying to restore country to what it once was; they simply take a wide variety of musical styles and meld it together in their own unique, rootsy ways.

  • 100 Best American Rock Albums (2000 Edition)   14 years 13 weeks ago

    Well, this is what I'll say about my criteria; lbangs has helped me screw up my courage: my criteria, I suppose, really is what I think is best. I can't escape knowledge of historical importance or critical consensus, but the way I ranked the albums is the way I like them. For instance, as the list came into clearer focus, I did eliminate albums that I thought were good but I didn't necessarily like to listen to. Every album here is one I love and love listening to. So I consider these albums the best according to my personal criteria, i.e. my own opinion of their quality. How does that sound?

  • The long weekend is upon us (at least here in the   14 years 13 weeks ago

    Chicken Run, definitely. Then again I haven't seen the other two. But how can you pass up quality claymation!

  • Arthur C. Clarke's Best   14 years 13 weeks ago

    I thought the Rama series started off spectacularly, especially the first two books, but it sure seemed to nosedive after that. What are your thoughts on that whole series? Maybe he should have just left it at a trilogy, the way it was first proposed.

    Johnny Waco

  • The long weekend is upon us (at least here in the   14 years 13 weeks ago

    Whew! Checking Rotten Tomatoes for each (1, 2, 3), the choice seems obvious.

  • Underrated 90s albums   14 years 13 weeks ago

    Thank you for listing R.E.M.'s "Monster". I saw in the latest Maxim (a friend's! a friend's!) that Monster is on list of something like "worst albums ever". Personally I think it is one of their most atmospheric and one of their best. "Strange Currencies" is a great love song, and I like the message of "Tongue" and "Let Me In". I'm afraid I don't know many of the others on this list...looks like I need to get crackin' on some tunes...

  • Excellent Fiction   14 years 13 weeks ago

    oh dear god that wasn't what Instinct was about, was it? That makes me sad. No, I haven't seen it and now really , really, really don't plan to. Thanks for the warning...

  • CC00010: David Bowie   14 years 13 weeks ago

    I agree; his work with U2, Eno, and Gabriel is excellent, and his production / co-re-invention of Emmylou Harris on Wrecking Ball ranks as one of the greatest jobs behind the knobs I've heard in quite some time. I do think he went a bit far with Dylan's Time Out of Mind, layering sparse echoes and effects at points I would have prefer the sound brutally stripped down to Dylan's voice and instruments, but considering his excellent body of work, this is a very minor quibble.

    Shalom, y'all!

    L. Bangs

  • Some Films You Might Find Confronting   14 years 13 weeks ago

    Yeah, I've been trying to think of a logical explanation for that one. Can't do it. "You'd have to be able to have both doors open to get something bigger than the airlock on the ship" was the best I came up with, but it doesn't quite cut it for me.

  • If you enjoy movie trailers as much as I do (they,   14 years 13 weeks ago

    I like the "no second half" rule. There should be a law.

  • CC00010: David Bowie   14 years 13 weeks ago

    While it's hard to know how much credit to give a producer, I've found alot of the stuff Daniel Lanois has worked on to be exceptional.