ALBUM REVIEWS (to be continued...)

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  • BRINGING IT ALL BACK HOME-BOB DYLAN (1965)

  • RATING: 8.3/10

  • MY FAVORITE TRACKS:
  • 1. SUBTERRANEAN HOMESICK BLUES
  • 8. MR. TAMBOURINE MAN
  • 10. IT'S ALRIGHT, MA (I'M ONLY BLEEDING)
  • 11. IT'S ALL OVER NOW, BABY BLUE

  • GREATEST STRENGTH: Dylan's impossibly evocative and incredible lyrics, simultaneaously personal and universal, while concurrently providing a perfect encapsulation of our mid-60's sentiments.

  • GREATEST MOMENT: The final verse to Mr. Tambourine Man when Dylan spits out a magical, stream-of-conscious masterwork.

  • CRITICS' RATINGS:
  • All Music Guide: 5/5
  • MusicHound Rock, R & B & Country: 4.5/5
  • Rolling Stone Album Guide: 5/5
  • The Great Rock Discography: 9/10
  • CD Guide To Pop & Rock: 5/5
  • Virgin Encyclopedia Of Popular Music: 5/5

  • CRITICS' LIST RANKINGS:
  • Paul Gambaccini-The World Critics Best Albums of All Time (1987): #32
  • Rolling Stone-The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (2003): #31
  • Melody Maker-All Time Top 100 Albums (2000): #81
  • Mojo-The 100 Greatest Albums Ever Made (1995): #57
  • New Musical Express-Top 100 Albums of All Time (2003): #94

  • CRITICS' QUOTES:
  • Rolling Stone: On Side One of this pioneering album Dylan amplifies his cryptic, confrontational songwriting with guitar lightning and galloping drums.

  • All Music Guide: This is the point where Dylan eclipses any conventional sense of folk and rewrites the rules of rock, making it safe for personal expression and poetry, not only making words mean as much as the music, but making the music an extension of the words. A truly remarkable album.

  • MY REVIEW: We lost it through the blindness of disorganized revolution. Our government lost it through the blindness of greed and war. The echoes of Vietnam can be heard in the accumulating final words and dying screams scattered across The Middle East as both Iraqi and American soldiers lose their lives amidst the surrounding confusion of an unjustified war. In the 60's Bob Dylan unflinchingly confronted the wicked truths behind the mistrusting eyes of our "leaders" and sought to dissolve their facade through the protesting and imagery of unparalleled poetry in his songs. He communicated as an artist, sharing his honesty and views of our country and it's evolving culture, before being thrust upon a pantheon relegated to that of our presidents and other major elected officials who's intentions he so ruthlessly and nakedly laid bare through his music. His rise started with folk music and reached its zenith with a new breed of rock. Bringing It All Back Home is an album of boundless imagination. In eleven magnificent songs Dylan spans his entire career, and lays forth his and so many others future blueprints. Who else but indie legend Jeff Mangum (of Neutral Milk Hotel) would turn to then Dylan, for the key influencing factors behind his miraculous In The Aeroplane Over The Sea. Look no further than Mr. Tambourine Man and It's All Over Now, Baby Blue for proof. The early springs of rap music? Give me Subterranean Homesick Blues. And don't even get me started on the incredible Gates Of Eden and It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) for their amazingly detailed insight into the consciousness of the times. But, though one could painstakingly scourge most of Dylan's works for their invaluable place in music history, it is more important to acknowledge the music for itself and not what it's grown thereafter. That said, Bringing It All Back Home is a stunning look at an entire decade, its morals, its ideals, its crisis. It is also a look inside a man who could see, who was willing to really take a look outside the social strata, and unafraid of the consequences from shouldering our collective generations' responsibility as that rare era-defining artist who actually found the truth.


  • I SEE A DARKNESS-BONNIE "PRINCE" BILLY (1999)
  • RATING: 7.9/10

  • MY FAVORITE TRACKS:
  • 2. NOMADIC REVERY (ALL AROUND)
  • 3. I SEE A DARKNESS
  • 10. BLACK
  • 11. RAINING IN DARLING

  • GREATEST STRENGTH: Will Oldham's vocal style. He sounds incredibly real, haunted and human.

  • GREATEST MOMENT: The sudden, freakish finale of Nomadic Revery (All Around).

  • CRITICS' RATINGS:
  • All Music Guide: 4.5/5
  • The Great Rock Discography: 8/10
  • Pitchfork: 10/10
  • Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music: 4/5

  • CRITICS' LIST RANKINGS:
  • Music Underwater-Top 100 Albums 1990-2003 (2004): #65
  • Pitchfork-Top 100 Favorite Records of the 1990s (2003): #9

  • CRITICS' QUOTES:
  • Pitchfork: I'm firmly convinced that Bonnie "Prince" Billy's new record, I See A Darkness is not music. It doesn't register in the familiar ways of a pop record (although conceptually speaking, it is one). You can't dance to it, and...it makes you feel small.

  • 2 Walls Webzine: Why, you may ask, should you spend your money on an album that's guarenteed to put you in a stupor of despair? Because it's as beautiful as it is sad. Crushingly beautiful. It has a simplicity and honesty that you won't get from most of the all-too-self-aware songwriters around these days. There are lots of sad songs out there--hell, there are entire sad genres--but I See A Darkness eclipses all of them until what's left is the warm, glowing corona, burning out your eye-sockets as you stare in grieving disbelief.

  • MY REVIEW: This world is haunted. It is haunted by one's thoughts, one's moments of shame, one's terrible honesty. It is haunted by times of pain and sorrow shared between those who were there, those who know. It is haunted to the degree we see our own travails inside it, and fail to make something new out of the present. Sometimes all that hangs above someone is a black cloud of losses, grieves, embarrassments and past transgressions. They tend to move slower, nod instead of smile, with drying eyes unglistened from the growing ineptitude to further their own weeping. Numbness to one's follies is the final straw before self-inflicted death. Religion preaches there is a darkness which awaits those who fail to take responsiblity for their sins. There are those who see this darkness before it overshadows their entire existence, and thus regain the purpose to live. Life is beautiful and it is worth discovering again, even if you've become a sloth, lone cowboy trudging through a haunted, unforgiving spell of shadows.


  • PINK MOON-NICK DRAKE (1972)

  • RATING: 9.0/10

  • MY FAVORITE TRACKS:
  • 1. PINK MOON
  • 2. PLACE TO BE
  • 4. WHICH WILL
  • 11. FROM THE MORNING

  • GREATEST STRENGTH: It would have to be Drake's devastatingly beautiful vocals.

  • GREATEST MOMENT: As "From The Morning" opens it is as if the sun is reappearing following a solar eclipse.

  • CRITICS' RATINGS:
  • Rolling Stone Album Guide: 5/5
  • All Music Guide: 5/5
  • MusicHound Rock & R & B: 4.5/5
  • Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music: 4/5

  • CRITICS' LIST RANKINGS:
  • Pitchfork-Top 100 Albums of The 1970's (2004): #13
  • Melody Maker-All Time Top 100 Albums (2000): #48
  • Platekompaniet-Top 100 Albums of All Time (2001): #95

  • CRITICS' QUOTES:
  • Pitchfork: The cumulative effect feels both eerily preemptive and genuinely touching; everything about "Pink Moon" seems to point down, from the descending piano of the title track to Drake's flat, eerily prophetic promise, "Take a look/you may see me in the dirt." Ultimately, "Pink Moon's" beauty is as terrible as it is touching--a harsh, gray tribute to the inevitability of big lunar promises.

  • Popmatters: "Pink Moon" is the sound of a tremendously gifted artist making one last, desperate stab at a creative act, and the record he has left behind is something special.

  • All Music Guide: Not even half-an-hour long, with 11 short songs and no more--he famously remarked at the time that he simply had no more to record--"Pink Moon" more than anything else is the record that made Drake the cult figure he remains.

  • MY REVIEW: Being alone can be difficult to bare. It gives one no secondhand reconciliation of his feelings. It gives one no agreements and no communication with another life. Often, great artists have a tendency to become loners as they can lack the ability to connect with those around them due to their apparent supremacy as creative beings. This can become unreal to others, cause distance as opposed to affinity, and thus cut understanding between those in this plateau, and those who either can't or won't grasp it. I suspect Nick Drake commonly found this sort of strife in his personal relations. On his debut, and especially "Pink Moon", he sounds as if he is almost whispering to himself, and he constantly delivers lines as if he has been deep in thought for days. This preemptive, yet unpracticed quality creates an atmosphere that is at once immediate, and still profound as great poetry. It is in this astonishing economization of brilliance that "Pink Moon" is undoubtedly, "pound-for-pound" among the very greatest of all albums. And it is inside you will discover the most naked honesty imaginable--not even Drake was lonely enough to withhold this connection.


  • THE QUEEN IS DEAD-THE SMITHS (1986)

  • RATING: 8.7/10

  • MY FAVORITE TRACKS:
  • 2. FRANKLY, MR, SHANKLY
  • 6. BIGMOUTH STRIKES AGAIN
  • 7. THE BOY WITH THE THORN IN HIS SIDE
  • 9. THERE IS A LIGHT THAT NEVER GOES OUT

  • GREATEST STRENGTH: Morrissey's endlessly brilliant lyrical wordplay, both touching and hilarious.

  • GREATEST MOMENT: I think I'll go with the wavering and melodic strings underscoring Morrissey's brutally overt lyrics during the choruses to "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out"

  • CRITICS' RATINGS:
  • All Music Guide: 5/5
  • MusicHound Rock, R & B & Country: 5/5
  • Rolling Stone Album Guide: 5/5
  • Spin's Book of Alternative Albums: 10/10
  • The Great Rock Discography: 10/10
  • CD Guide to Pop & Rock: 5/5
  • Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music: 4/5

  • CRITICS' LIST RANKINGS:
  • Alternative Press-Top 99 Albums of '85 to '95 (1995): #2
  • Gear-The 100 Greatest Albums of the Century (1995): #62
  • Pitchfork-Top 100 Albums of the 1980s (2002): #6
  • Rolling Stone-The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time: #216
  • Spin-Top 25 Greatest Albums of All Time (1989): #4
  • Guardian-The 100 Best Albums Ever (1997): #28
  • Melody Maker-All Time Top 100 Albums (2000): #1
  • New Musical Express-Top 100 Albums of All Time (2003): #8
  • Q-The 100 Greatest British Albums Ever (2000): #27
  • The Times-The 100 Best Albums of All Time (1993): #50
  • Time Out-The 100 Best Albums of All Time (1989): #32
  • Platekompaniet-Top 100 Albums of All Time (2001): #28

  • CRITICS' QUOTES:
  • Rolling Stone: The original kings of British mope rock could have earned that title on the basis of this album alone.

  • Pitchfork: A new batch of lonely and alienated American teenagers discovers The Smiths every year. The reason is simple: few other bands could ever provide an antidote to adolescent yearning as powerful as "The Queen Is Dead".

  • All Music Guide: "Meat Is Murder" may have been a holding pattern, but "The Queen Is Dead" is The Smiths' great leap forward, taking the band to new musical and lyrical heights.

  • MY REVIEW: The queen really was dead. The Smiths were fully relevant by now and had established themselves as the logical Crowns of England. Who do you think the kids really listened to? Who do you think has owned Brit culture ever since? That's right. "The Queen Is Dead" is a mighty affirmation of a band playing to all it's strengths, and lyrically going where few have ever gone: capturing not only sly wit and side-splitting humour, but breathtaking beauty and morbid sadness alongside biting social commentary. It is this spirit and grace which carries "The Queen Is Dead".


  • SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND-THE BEATLES (1967)

  • RATING: 8.1/10

  • MY FAVORITE TRACKS:
  • 2. WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS
  • 3. LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS
  • 9. WHEN I'M SIXTY-FOUR
  • 10. LOVELY RITA
  • 13. A DAY IN THE LIFE

  • GREATEST STRENGTH: The dreamy, hazed, strangely classical feel to the whole thing, while the mercurial styles it never quite adheres to blend together almost miraculously.

  • GREATEST MOMENT: The end of the world, courtesy of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, a 40-piece orchestra and some downright silly sound effects.

  • CRITICS' RATINGS:
  • All Music Guide: 5/5
  • MusicHound Rock, R & B & Country: 5/5
  • Rolling Stone Album Guide: 5/5
  • The Great Rock Discography: 10/10
  • CD Guide to Pop & Rock: 5/5
  • Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music: 5/5

  • CRITICS' LIST RANKINGS:
  • Gear-The 100 Greatest Albums of The Century (1999): #1
  • Kitsap Sun-Top 200 Albums of the Last 40 Years (2005): #2
  • Paul Gambaccini-The World Critics Best Albums of All Time (1987): #1
  • Rolling Stone-The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (2003): #1
  • VH1-The 100 Greatest Albums of R 'N' R (2001): #10
  • Guardian-The 100 Best Albums Ever (1997): #19
  • Hot Press-The 100 Best Albums of All Time (1989): #8
  • Mojo-The 100 Greatest Albums Ever Made (1995): #51
  • Sounds-The 100 Best Albums of All Time (1986): #6
  • The Times-The 100 Best Albums of All Time (1993): #2
  • Time Out-The 100 Best Albums of All Time (1989): #64
  • Expression-The 100 Best Records Ever (1999): #1
  • Platekompaniet-Top 100 Albums of All Time: #25

  • CRITICS' QUOTES:
  • Rolling Stone: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is the most important rock & roll album ever made, an unsurpassed adventure in concept, sound, songwriting, cover art and studio technology by the greatest rock & roll group of all time.

  • Ink Blot Magazine: Sure enough Sgt. Pepper was the most breathtaking and innovating piece of modern music the world had ever heard.

  • All Music Guide: After Sgt. Pepper, there were no more rules to follow--rock and pop bands could try anything, for better or worse.

  • MY REVIEW: The words were just lost. Jaws dropped. A nation listened while every major radio station played it on repeat for hours on end. Brian Wilson lost hope and wept for mercy. The Beatles had actually become bigger than Jesus. Music became important again. Not since Beethoven had music meant this much to the masses. It was alive. Rock was more vital than ever and The Beatles owned it. Their steps were our steps, except they were always way ahead of us. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band proved this for good. If most of the innovations behind Revolver were to oblique for the average listener to follow, then Sgt. Pepper was screaming aloud for the future.

  • It is the Beatles at their most daring (perhaps discounting the The Beatles, a.k.a "The White Album"). It begun a period of gradually more pervasive strife between the bandmates, and if it marked the beginning of their descent as a group, it also stands as the last time they consistently sounded like a full band. It's a testament to The Beatles that, although they blew it with the concept album that Sgt. Pepper starts as, it still remains remarkably unified throughout, the closest they came to creating an album that sounds its own the entire way through.


  • SURFER ROSA-PIXIES (1988)

  • RATING: 8.4/10

  • MY FAVORITE TRACKS:
  • 1. BONE MACHINE
  • 2. BREAK MY BODY
  • 4. BROKEN FACE
  • 5. GIGANTIC
  • 7. WHERE IS MY MIND?

  • GREATEST STRENGTH: Albini's brilliant production work gives the album a cutting edge, abrasive sound while still retaining its uppercut hooks and sneaky melodies.

  • GREATEST MOMENT: Probably the transcendant, visceral chorus to Break My Body. It's somehow moving.

  • CRITICS' RATINGS:
  • All Music Guide: 5/5
  • MusicHound Rock, R & B & Country: 4/5
  • Rolling Stone Album Guide: 5/5
  • Spin's Book of Alternative Albums: 10/10
  • The Great Rock Discography: 10/10
  • Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music: 4/5

  • CRITICS' LIST RANKINGS:
  • KCPR DJ-Top 100 Records of the 80s (2002): #9
  • Pitchfork-Top 100 Favourite Records of the 1980s (2002): #7
  • Rolling Stone-The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (2003): #315
  • Spin-Top 100 Albums of the Last 20 Years (2005): #6
  • Melody Maker-All Time Top 100 Albums (2000): #44
  • New Musical Express-Top 100 Albums of All Time (2003): #31
  • Platekompaniet-Top 100 Albums of All Time (2001): #92

  • CRITICS' QUOTES:
  • Pitchfork: How one band could toe the line between jagged, artful unpredictably and sublime melodic bliss is anyone's guess, but their gift has not been equaled since, and Surfer Rosa, easily their strangest and most chaotic outing, remains an unparalleled example of rule-smashing innovation in independant music.

  • All Music Guide: One of the most compulsively listenable college rock albums of the '80s, the Pixies' 1988 full-length debut Surfer Rosa fulfilled the promise of Come On Pilgrim and, thanks to Steve Albini's production, added a muscular edge that made their harshest moments seem even more menacing and perverse.

  • MY REVIEW: Chaos. It is said that chaos created the physical universe. That there was a collaboration of forces in unison by mere happenstance, and thus planets, and thus trees, and thus the birds and the bees. Humans rose from Adam & Eve, God gave a hand, Jesus made his mark, and here we are, capable of harnessing that same chaos into single frames of life.

  • The Pixies seem to have abilities far outreaching the norm, abilities to harness entire catastrophes into a single shreak, or a bass line, or Joey Santiago's infinite methods of blazing new trails of riffing. Their ideas too, are utterly unique. Black Francis screams tormented, harrowing tales on the whims of distorted glee. Perhaps most crucially, he is transcendant when he does. He forces himself to be heard and he enforces understanding. It's true. No matter what the Pixies are saying you'll get it. They take everything to extremes to ensure your senses do the rest. Whether it's his sweetheart making herself wet and sending him her dress, whether it's the metallic sexuality of a motorcycle, or breaking bodies, or his white teeth and gigantic, well...thing, it all comes through the speakers and into your arms.

  • You see, the Pixies are a great band because of this. This ability to make you accept the absurd, to make the awful, the uncomfortable, and the downright insane impassioned and hilarious. Deep down the chaos is already within you, a part of your natural creative spark. Thank God the Pixies are here to enthusiastically revitalize that and to show us how to use it.


  • WHO'S NEXT-THE WHO (1971)

  • RATING: 8.4/10

  • MY FAVORITE TRACKS:
  • 1. BABA O'RILEY
  • 8. BEHIND BLUE EYES
  • 9. WON'T GET FOOLED AGAIN

  • GREATEST STRENGTH: The incredible rhythmic synergy between Pete Townsend and Keith Moon.

  • GREATEST MOMENT: The opening to Baba O'Riley. Those perfectly timed thrusts by Townsend will forever be the standard bearer of pulling the listener along by the strings of anticipation.

  • CRITICS' RATINGS:

  • CRITICS' LIST RANKINGS:

  • CRITICS' QUOTES:

  • MY REVIEW:


  • THE BAND-THE BAND (1969)

  • MY RATING: 8.6/10

  • MY FAVORITE TRACKS:
  • 1. ACROSS THE GREAT DIVIDE
  • 3. THE NIGHT THEY DROVE OLD DIXIE DOWN
  • 6. WHISPERING PINES
  • 10. JAWBONE

  • GREATEST STRENGTH: It's one of the most distinctive albums, with it's polished Americana, country-rock feel. This makes it especially unforgettable.

  • GREATEST MOMENT: The hollered, soulful chorus springing from the twisting, unorthodox verse structure of Jawbone

  • CRITICS' RATINGS:
  • All Music Guide: 5/5
  • MusicHound Rock, R & B & Country: 5/5
  • Rolling Stone Album Guide: 5/5
  • The Great Rock Discography: 10/10
  • CD Guide to Pop & Rock: 4/5
  • Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music: 5/5

  • CRITICS' LIST RANKINGS:
  • Entertainment Weekly-The 100 Greatest CDs of All Time (1993): #34
  • Kitsap Sun-Top 200 Albums of the Last 40 Years (2005): #61
  • Paul Gambaccini-The World Critics Best Albums of All Time (1987): #24
  • Rolling Stone-The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (2003): #45
  • Hot Press-The 100 Best Albums Ever (1989): #28
  • Mojo-The 100 Greatest Albums Ever Made (1995): #15
  • Platekompaniet-Top 100 Albums of All Time (2001): #71

  • CRITICS' QUOTES:
  • Rolling Stone: The Band was four-fifths Canadien--drummer Levon Helm was from Arkansas--but its second album was all American.

  • All Music Guide: The arrangements were simultaneously loose and assured, giving the songs a timeless appeal, while the lyrics continued to paint portraits of 19th century rural life (especially Southern life, as references to Tennessee and Virginia made clear), its sometimes less savory aspects treated with warmth and humor.

  • MY REVIEW: There was a time when families were really family, when wives were all great cooks, when you could come home to supper complete with roast beef, muffins, the sweetest pies, the freshest whole milk and the most luscious pastries and cranberries, blueberries and corn bread, all set surrounding the golden brown turkey in the middle--yea, the one from your backyard. Outside lay an open field with a running creek as its mate. Great white cows lounged around yonder, filling up for themselves, for your family. Life was generous and mostly peaceful. The seasons were our major worry, the crops and herds were our greatest anticipation. Unfortunately those simple times were due for interruption, as The Civil War brought to our attention. Robert E. Lee and Ullysses S. Grant were our heroes, in the throes of battle for our very freedom. Gettysburg was a total loss, the turning point, the bloodiest, deadliest of them all. The North eventually defeated The South, though there were really no true victors. Families had already been decimated. Our country had been split in half. Kitchen tables were emptied.

  • There is a warm, rootsy, bluegrass, soulful, folk-country sound to those long gone days, captured by spirited players who must've wandered the little towns, shown up at parties and festivals and holidays before and after the war. This music has survived, albeit barely, the techonlogical and industrial advances of mankind.

  • The Band's second full-length album is one which will remain timeless as long as we can relate to its stories and so long as our memories and interest can link the chain to the mid-1800s. The care, warmth and humanity in the songs has a homegrown vitality, just like it used to be all those years back. This music has the comfortable burn of a warm fire, the polish of a perfectly cooked smoked ham and it plays upon a certain lost, but still palpable, Western spirit: the familial, the civil, the helpful, the generous, the humanity. As if it was created before rock music, prior to the revolution, prior to the great roar of the 60's, before Hendrix shook us so heavy, just before the great battles of the Civil War left our anscestors changed forever. This music brings you back home, and can actually change one's emotions towards his fellow man.


  • DIG-ADAM AGAIN (1992)

  • MY RATING: 8.4/10
  • 3. DIG
  • 7. WALK BETWEEN THE RAINDROPS
  • 8. HIDDEN, HIDDEN
  • 9. RIVER ON FIRE

  • MY FAVORITE TRACKS:

  • GREATEST STRENGTH: The stirring lyrics and wordplay throughout, especially on the ferocious choruses.

  • GREATEST MOMENT: How the chorus just blossoms from the depths of River On Fire, as if by the lightest touch.

  • CRITICS' RATINGS:
  • All Music Guide: 4.5/5

  • CRITICS' LIST RANKINGS:
  • NONE KNOWN

  • CRITICS' QUOTES:
  • All Music Guide: This is the groups magnum opus. The energy and drive here are unparalleled on any of the band's other releases. With lyrics that are introspective and well crafted, Adam Again has never sounded so good on record--and this release comes closest to duplicating the band's live performances.

  • MY REVIEW: Gene Eugene has long been regarded as an outstanding artist by many portions of the CCM community. He's something on the order of another Kurt Cobain there, so the likelihood you've never heard him is one of the great robberies of the 90's. He passed away in 2000 a mere 39 years old, and stands today towering over the vast majority of the decades music he firmly held in his grasp, unfortunately at all the wrong times, and on the most low-profile of labels.

  • He loved his wife Rikki. She was his life, his gateway to religion, his soul. You can feel it when he sways his way through the title track. The emotion is tactile between them as they reach back and forth, guiding eachother through the passing verses. He was lucky to have her hand. Most would've quit right there, or crumbled beneath the emotional wreckage. This weight is held throughout the first and last third of the album, while the middle provides some welcome retreat with Worldwide and Walk Between The Raindrops. In Hidden, Hidden Eugene directs his attention to what lies beneath their pending separation, and the results are nothing short of blistering. River On Fire is the most climactic point for me, and it is right here where Eugene encapsulates everything I could ever want in a music artist, with one of the most organic, nocturnal, and beautiful songs ever recorded. For a long time he was digging towards a legendary future. Unfortunately the hole he created now rests his lonely soul. Honor him by welcoming his slow-growing legacy. The lyric may be hopeless but the music certainly isn't.


  • UNKNOWN PLEASURES-JOY DIVISION (1979)

  • MY RATING: 8.4/10

  • MY FAVORITE TRACKS:
  • 1. DISORDER
  • 5. NEW DAWN FADES
  • 6. SHE'S LOST CONTROL
  • 7. SHADOWPLAY

  • GREATEST STRENGTH: The now-legendary spooky, spacey, lean production by Martin Hannett.

  • GREATEST MOMENT: Tough call, but I really like the opening of Disorder and the first line by Curtis, "I've been waiting for a guide to come and take me by the hand." Few opening lines are so perfect.

  • CRITICS' RATINGS:
  • All Music Guide: 5/5
  • MusicHound Rock, R & B & Country: 4.5/5
  • Rolling Stone Album Guide: 5/5
  • Spin's Book of Alternative Albums: 9/10
  • The Great Rock Discography: 10/10
  • CD Guide to Pop & Rock: 5/5
  • Virgin Guide of Popular Music: 4/5

  • CRITICS' LIST RANKINGS:
  • Pitchfork-Top 100 Albums of the 1970's (2004): #9
  • Guardian-The 100 Best Albums Ever (1997): #42
  • New Musical Express-Top 100 Albums of All Time (2003): #41
  • Q-The 100 Greatest British Albums Ever (2000): #19
  • Q-Top 20 Albums from 1970-1979 (2004): #9
  • Sounds-The 100 Best Albums of All Time (1986): #7

  • CRITICS' QUOTES:
  • All Music Guide: The quantum leap from the earliest thrashy singles to Unknown Pleasures can be heard through every note, with Martin Hannett's deservedly famous production--emphasizing space in the most revelatory way since the dawn of dub--as much a hallmark as the music itself.

  • Pitchfork: I feel fortunate to have experienced the urgency, foreboding and perfection of this album--from the distance of Martin Hannett's production, to the driving smack of Stephen Morris' snares, to the grim pulse of Peter Hook's bass, to Bernard Sumner's brittle guitar--having never seen the name "Ian Curtis" outside of the liners. All I knew was that his alienation seemed impossibly close and more earnest than any music I had ever heard. And, yeah, I--like so many others--felt I could relate.

  • MY REVIEW: The caverns inside my own private hell were cold and sparse, and very, very dark. The blackness eventually put me to sleep and I dreamt I discovered some sort of light, and that I was led forth by Jesus, away from my sufferring, away from my misery. Of course, as always, he let me down, for I soon woke up. As a form of catharsis I felt the intense need to communicate my feelings, and hold my depression up to universal scrutiny. In this way I could become fulfilled, perhaps even loved. My album, Unknown Pleasures is a lone search for something more, a pass through emptiness, into the void past those who have long since abandoned me. It is a complete reversal from gaining something more by adding material to an empty space. I always thought I gained more by taking everything away. And thus, my self-destruction as an individual. I am Ian Curtis. I speak and sing from the blackest shadows. In this darkness I am infinite.

  • (NOTE: the above is not an actual quote of any kind by Ian Curtis and is wholly a creation of myself, only being used for reviewing purposes in communicating my opinion on the feel and emotional pull of the album Unknown Pleasures.)


  • BLUE-JONI MITCHELL (1971)

  • MY RATING: 8.8/10

  • MY FAVORITE TRACKS:
  • 1. ALL I WANT
  • 8. RIVER
  • 9. CASE OF YOU
  • 10. THE LAST TIME I SAW RICHARD

  • GREATEST STRENGTH: Mitchell's gorgeously tender singing, bringing to life each and every lyric without regard or reservation, no matter how honest, no matter how bare.

  • GREATEST MOMENT: When Mitchell sings in a simultaneous tone both mournful and smitten with drunken love, "I remember that time you told me, 'Love is touching souls'", on the song Case Of You.

  • CRITICS' RATINGS:
  • All Music Guide: 5/5
  • MusicHound Rock, R & B & Country: 5/5
  • Rolling Stone Album Guide: 5/5
  • The Great Rock Discography: 9/10
  • CD Guide to Pop & Rock: 4/5
  • Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music: 5/5

  • CRITICS' LIST RANKINGS:
  • Blender-The 100 Greatest American Albums of All Time (2002): #10
  • Gear-The 100 Greatest Albums of the Century (1999): #64
  • Kitsap Sun-Top 200 Albums of the Last 40 Years (2005): #57
  • Paul Gambaccini-The World Critics Cest Albums of All Time (1987): #67
  • Pitchfork-Top 100 Albums of the 70s (2004): #86
  • Rolling Stone-The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (2003): #30
  • VH1-The 100 Greatest Albums of R 'N' R (2001): #14
  • Hot Press-The 100 Best Albums of All Time (1989): #37
  • Mojo-The 100 Greatest Albums Ever Made (1995): #18
  • The Times-The 100 Best Albums of All Time (1993): #26
  • Time Out-The 100 Best Albums of All Time (1989): #84

  • CRITICS' QUOTES:
  • All Music Guide: Unrivaled in its intensity and insight Blue remains a watershed.

  • Rolling Stone: "The 'Blue' album, there's hardly a dishonest note in the vocals," Mitchell told Rolling Stone in 1979. "At that period of my life, I had no personal defenses. I felt like a cellophane wrapper on a pack of cigarettes. I felt like I had absolutely no secrets from the world, and I couldn't pretend in my life to be strong. Or to be happy." With song after song of regrets and sorrow and a smoky-blue cover shot of Mitchell on the edge of tears, this may be the ultimate break-up album.

  • MY REVIEW: Mitchell was severely heartbroken during the recording of Blue, her masterpiece. You can hear her whispery tremble across almost every song, especially the final three. Blue finishes more bitterly than most any album I can think of. The effect love has had on her has dramatically abstained her from her present life. Her attention has been reduced to that of a spectator towards a lost and now married cause, a man named Richard as described in the final track. As Mitchell hopelessly croons about the life he has finally made for himself you can't help but feel shattered for her regarding her unfailing yearnings for him, and the idea she has been left behind. It is in this honesty, which is almost unbeareable at times, that keeps this record so timeless and true. For over 30 years now, Blue has remained a quintessential landmark as the key album which opened up the confessional singer-songwriter genre for women in the early 70's. It's easy to see why when listening to its frozen winter sadness, its despairing look at lost love, its naked simplicity. These are feelings most every adult, male or female, can relate to, perhaps only amongst themselves in their most personal diary and journal entries. It's comforting to have someone who isn't afraid to share your own deepest secrets with you.


  • FIVE LEAVES LEFT-NICK DRAKE (1969)

  • MY RATING: 9.0/10

  • MY FAVORITE TRACKS:
  • 1. TIME HAS TOLD ME
  • 4. WAY TO BLUE
  • 7. THE THOUGHTS OF MARY JANE
  • 9. FRUIT TREE

  • GREATEST STRENGTH: Of course Drake's vocals merit serious consideration, but I've got to go with the elegant arrangements by Harry Robinson and Robert Kirby.

  • GREATEST MOMENT: The soaring intensity of the violins beneath Drake's voice as he climbs into the second verse of The Thoughts of Mary Jane.

  • CRITICS' RATINGS:
  • All Music Guide: 5/5
  • MusicHound Guide to Rock, R & B & Country: 4/5
  • Rolling Stone Album Guide: 5/5
  • Spin's Book Of Alternative Albums: 8/10
  • The Great Rock Discography: 8/10
  • CD Guide to Pop & Rock: 4/5
  • Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music: 4/5

  • CRITICS' LIST RANKINGS:
  • Rolling Stone-The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (2003): #283
  • New Musical Express-Top 100 Albums of All Time (2003): #64
  • The Observer-The 100 Greatest British Albums (2004): #16
  • The Times-The 100 Best Albums of All Time (1993): #60
  • Platekompaniet-Top 100 Albums of All Time (2001): #29

  • CRITICS' QUOTES:
  • Rolling Stone: Peter Buck of R.E.M once said that you could turn a Nick Drake song up all the way, but it would still sound quiet.

  • All Music Guide: Having grown out of the amiable but derivative styles captured on the long-circulating series of bootleg home recordings, Drake assays his tunes with just enough drama.

  • MY REVIEW: Mozart was born with a gift for making music utterly beautiful no matter how much emotional baggage came with each note. Even when he was pissed off, even when his personal demons were right behind him, what came forth were the purest melodies. I think Drake's short career possesses similar character as Mozart's later period works such as symphonies 40 & 41, and actually, even more appropriately, on Five Leaves Left he really nails the autmunal, melodic undercurrents of Brahms' 4 symphonies. Of course, those are two GIANTS of Western Music, not just rock, but Drake really was their equal, if only for a short few years before his death. Five Leaves Left is as assured as a debut as you'll find anywhere. It is slow, contemplative--it never feels anxious or rushed-- and in its methodic, meditative pacing, a world of near-romance opens up, always barely elusive. Drake is in his own time here, baring 19th century sensibilities suggesting he may not have been attuned to the world he was in. Here, as in his other albums, he seems most naturally alone. Like a lost ghost, incapable of human relationships again, and unaware of his own death, stuck between heaven and hell.


  • ABBEY ROAD-THE BEATLES (1969)

  • MY RATING: 8.3/10

  • MY FAVORITE TRACKS:
  • 1. COME TOGETHER
  • 2. SOMETHING
  • 4. OH! DARLING
  • 7. HERE COMES THE SUN
  • 9. YOU NEVER GIVE ME YOUR MONEY
  • 16. THE END

  • GREATEST STRENGTH: The majestic "Long Medley"

  • GREATEST MOMENT: The soaring chorus followed by a perfect guitar solo from Something. Harrison's best work, and one of the rare times he truly equals the genius of John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

  • CRITICS' RATINGS:
  • All Music Guide: 5/5
  • MusicHound Rock, R & B & Country: 5/5
  • Rolling Stone Album Guide: 5/5
  • The Great Rock Discography: 9/10
  • CD Guide to Pop & Rock: 4/5
  • Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music: 5/5

  • CRITICS' LIST RANKINGS:
  • Entertainment Weekly-The 100 Greatest CDs of All Time (1993): #11
  • Gear-The 100 Greatest Albums of the Century (1999): #16
  • Kitsap Sun-Top 200 Albums of the Last 40 Years (2005): #12
  • Paul Gambaccini-The World Critics Best Albums of All Time (1987): #13
  • Rolling Stone-The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (2003): #14
  • VH1-The 100 Greatest Albums of R 'N' R (2001): #8
  • Guardian-The 100 Best Albums Ever (1997): #8
  • Hot Press-The 100 Best Albums of All Time (1989): #31
  • Melody Maker-All Time Top 100 Albums (2000): #93
  • Mojo-The 100 Greatest Albums Ever Made (1995): #24
  • Q-The 100 Greatest British Albums Ever (2000): #28
  • Platekompaniet-Top 100 Albums of All Time (2001): #24

  • CRITICS' QUOTES:
  • Rolling Stone: Yet determined to go out with the same glory which they had first entranced the world at the start of the decade, the group reconvened at EMI's Abbey Road Studios to make their most polished album: a collection of superb songs cut with an attention to refined detail, then segued together (especially on Side Two) with conceptual force.

  • All Music Guide: The last Beatles Album to be recorded (although Let It Be was the last to be released), Abbey Road was a fitting swan song for the group, echoing some of the faux-conceptual forms of Sgt. Pepper, but featuring stronger compositions and more rock-oriented ensemble works.

  • MY REVIEW: The final creation of The Beatles unparalleled career, Abbey Road is The Fab Four at their most emotional, immaculately produced, and marked with the kind of epic grandeur and culmination befitting artists of their stature. Much of what makes it so great is that it ends with the infamous "Long Medley", starting with You Never Give Me Your Money and finishing with The End, capping off their career and a tumultuous decade for all, with an emotional release of tensions plowing through the final songs. Aside from Revolver, this is probably McCartney's finest set of songs on any single album. And in similar bravado as Lennon on A Hard Day's Night, he unleashes some vocal acrobatics of considerable merit, making their last hurrah not just a masterpiece, but a soaring, unforgettable performance that's been legendary since the day it was born.


  • BORN TO RUN-BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN (1975)

  • MY RATING: 8.6/10

  • MY FAVORITE TRACKS:
  • 1. THUNDER ROAD
  • 3. NIGHT
  • 5. BORN TO RUN

  • GREATEST STRENGTH: Springsteen's urgency and drive, giving the album a charisma that just can't be avoided. Is it possible to honestly dislike this album?

  • GREATEST MOMENT: When Thunder Road kicks into full gear, following the opening verse.

  • CRITICS' RATINGS:
  • All Music Guide: 5/5
  • MusicHound Rock, R & B & Country: 5/5
  • Rolling Stone Album Guide: 5/5
  • The Great Rock Discography: 9/10
  • Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music: 5/5

  • CRITICS' LIST RANKINGS:
  • Gear-The 100 Greatest Albums of the Century (1999): #27
  • Kitsap Sun-Top 200 Albums of the Last 40 Years (2005): #13
  • Paul Gambaccini-The World Critics Best Albums of All Time (1987): #2
  • Rolling Stone-The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (1987): #18
  • VH1-The 100 Greatest Albums of R 'N' R (2001): #27
  • Guardian-The 100 Best Albums Ever (1997): #44
  • Hot Press-The 100 Best Albums of All Time (1989): #58
  • Mojo-The 100 Greatest Albums Ever Made (1995): #41
  • Sounds-The 100 Best Albums of All Time (1986): #14
  • The Times-The 100 Best Albums of All Time (1993): #22
  • Time Out-The 100 Best Albums of All Time (1989): #50
  • Platekompaniet-Top 100 Albums of All Time (2001): #65

  • CRITICS' QUOTES:
  • Rolling Stone: In his determination to make a great album, Springsteen produced a timeless, inspiring record about the labors and glories of aspiring to greatness.

  • All Music Guide: The overall theme of the album was similar to that of The E-Street Shuffle; Springsteen was describing, and saying farewell to, a romanticized teenage street life. But where he had been affectionate, even humorous before, he was becoming increasingly bitter.

  • Pitchfork: Springsteen believed like no one else in the power and possibility of rock, which led him to places that seem strange and maybe even awkward to those who grew up with MTV and everything punk came to symbolize.

  • MY REVIEW: There is a heroism in rising above poverty or the street life, as if one has to be all the way down before he can rise up and be thought great. But it's aesthetically true: there is a certain beauty about defeating the odds, coming out of the slums, denying destiny, denying the life one's been given. Springsteen felt, most of all, that his protagonist's calling was to overcome this fate, and break through the societal chains only to discover the truth outside. He felt that living was nothing less than an all-out charge towards real or imagined freedom, attained simply by the intensity of barely avoiding tragedies, pitfalls, danger and all the while falling in and out of the deepest of love. Born To Run is a tremendous, exciting experience, taken to the absolute sonic limit by Springsteen's legendary attention to detail in the studio. It is a small story drawn with operatic scope, given a dramatic, panoramic, technicolor view. It is a tall tale honestly told.


  • THE BENDS-RADIOHEAD (1995)

  • MY RATING: 8.1/10

  • MY FAVORITE TRACKS:
  • 3. HIGH AND DRY
  • 4. FAKE PLASTIC TREES
  • 7. JUST (YOU DO IT TO YOURSELF)
  • 12. STREET SPIRIT (FADE OUT)

  • GREATEST STRENGTH: The punishing 3 guitar attack that carries much of the emotional release in the album.

  • GREATEST MOMENT: When the final chorus to "Fake Plastic Trees" rises with the waves of guitar backing it, Thom Yorke's falsetto, clamouring for space above all the electric beauty, is truly awe-inspiring.

  • CRITICS' RATINGS:
  • All Music Guide: 5/5
  • MusicHound Rock, R & B and Country: 4/5
  • Rolling Stone Album Guide: 5/5
  • The Great Rock Discography: 10/10
  • CD Guide to Pop & Rock: 4/5
  • Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music: 4/5

  • CRITICS' LIST RANKINGS:
  • Gear-The 100 Greatest Albums of the Century (1999): #52
  • LostAtSea-90 Albums of the 90s (2000): #22
  • Music Underwater-Top 100 Albums 1990-2003 (2004): #18
  • Guardian-The 100 Best Albums Ever (1997): #15
  • Melody Maker-All Time Top 100 Albums (2000): #5
  • Q-Top 20 Albums from 1980-2004 (2004): #10
  • Platekompaniet-Top 100 Albums of All Time (2001): #16
  • Pitchfork-Top 100 Favorite Records of the 1990s (2003): #15
  • Rolling Stone-The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (2003): #110
  • New Musical Express-Top 100 Albums of All Time (2003): #44

  • CRITICS' QUOTES:
  • Pitchfork: On The Bends, Radiohead are as much an eruptive force as they are an introspective and calculated machine as acoustic and electric structures commingle in perfect harmony.

  • All Music Guide: But what makes The Bends so remarkable is that it marries such ambitious, and often challenging, instrumental soundscapes to songs that are at their cores hauntingly melodic and accessible. It makes the record compelling upon first listen but it reveals new details with each listen, and soon it becomes apparent that with The Bends, Radiohead have reinvented anthemic rock.

  • MY REVIEW: They were supposed to go away. Get lost into the ever increasing abyss of afterthought. Creep was a great song, but clearly these guys hadn't a clue how to craft a whole album. Radiohead's destiny lie with The Spin Doctors. Imagine the possiblities. Where would we be today? Where would I be today?

  • Today, they're no less important than The Beatles, Dylan or Hendrix were. Radiohead are this generation, and dammitt, you owe it to yourself to discover them, because you'll only be playing catch up later if you miss the boat this time around.

  • The Bends marked the first time they exhibited their considerable talents throughout the entirety of an album. The key being, that almost every song remains intensely personal while simulatneously explosive and impassioned. Yorke fashions his melodies around deadly wicked lyrics that, no matter how many listens, are bright, fresh and powerful. The album has a vision that consistently feels wide-eyed and cinematic. The songs feel as if they are happening, like you are not only listening, but watching life unfold.

  • In some ways The Bends sounds even more remarkable today than it did way back when. On one hand, it is so far from the Radiohead we know now that it feels just as liberating to hear as OK Computer or Kid A were when released to a shocked public. It also proves that, without a doubt, Radiohead could write great, great songs and pull them together to form an amazing whole, without taking obscure routes or overly scientific detours. That, once upon a time, Radiohead were no mystery at all. They were magnificent, and anyone could tell.


  • A HARD DAY'S NIGHT-THE BEATLES (1964)

  • MY RATING: 8.1/10

  • MY FAVORITE TRACKS:
  • 1. A HARD DAY'S NIGHT
  • 3. IF I FELL
  • 5. AND I LOVE HER
  • 7. CAN'T BUY ME LOVE
  • 13. I'LL BE BACK

  • GREATEST STRENGTH: Lennon and McCartney truly coming into their own in a 13 song burst of enthusiasm.

  • GREATEST MOMENT: Lennon's rough vocals on A Hard Days Night. There's something so invigorating and charasmatic about the way he sings that song, surely one of his best performances.

  • CRITICS' RATINGS:
  • All Music Guide: 5/5
  • MusicHound Rock, R & B & Country: 4.5/5
  • Rolling Stone Album Guide: 5/5
  • The Great Rock Discography: 8/10
  • Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music: 5/5

  • CRITICS' LIST RANKINGS:
  • Rolling Stone-The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (2003): #388
  • Q-The 100 Greatest British Albums Ever (2000): #5

  • CRITICS' QUOTES:
  • All Music Guide: Decades after its original release, its punchy blend of propulsive rhythms, jangly guitars, and infectious, singalong melodies is remarkable fresh. There's something in the sound of the album itself, something to keep the record vital years after it was recorded.

  • MY REVIEW: As soon as the airplane landed on U.S. shores it was inevitable. Their charisma was met by a crowd of screaming, crying, fainting, laughing and utterly lost teenagers. The explosion had begun. The invasion was upon us. It's been captured on film, on stills and in the hearts and minds of anyone who truly cares about modern music. The Beatles.

  • If you've ever wondered what the hell the big deal was, or is, why a nation went so relentlessly gaga over these four lads from Liverpool. If you've seen the intense adoration, the gazing, the open jaws, the freakish excitement, and the uncontrollable spasms, and you're hanging on question marks, you've been listening to the wrong albums. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Abbey Road, The White Album, Rubber Soul and Revolver have all been stuffed down your throats as the legacy of the Beatles. Yet as great as these all are in their own right, they're only half the story.

  • What you've been getting are the albums which make up The Beatles intense drive to change their sound, to be the first at seemingly anything and everything. You've been getting the undying creativity, the backwards guitar playing, the tape loops, the orchestras, the Day In The Life and the Tomorrow Never Knows. But have you ever heard what John and Paul really sound like?

  • Hardly. You've missed the liveliness. The Soul. The Performance. You've missed the essence. The unmatched enthusiasm. What you've really missed is The Beatles, and you won't believe it when you hear it. Because contained in A Hard Day's Night is everything they were ever meant to be to begin with, and I swear to God you'll practically lose it.


  • NEVERMIND-NIRVANA (1991)

  • MY RATING: 8.6/10

  • MY FAVORITE TRACKS:
  • 1. SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT
  • 3. COME AS YOU ARE
  • 5. LITHIUM
  • 8. DRAIN YOU

  • GREATEST STRENGTH: Kurt Cobain's pop genius combined with his howling rage.

  • GREATEST MOMENT: It's a toss up between the following three: the era-defining power chords that open up, and then explode into Smells Like Teen Spirit, the squeeling solo to In Bloom, or the final let-it-loose freak out of Lounge Act.

  • CRITICS' RATINGS:
  • All Music Guide: 5/5
  • MusicHound Rock, R & B & Country: 5/5
  • Rolling Stone Album Guide: 5/5
  • Spin's Book of Alternative Albums: 10/10
  • The Great Rock Discography: 10/10
  • CD Guide to Pop & Rock: 5/5
  • Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music: 5/5

  • CRITICS' LIST RANKINGS:
  • Alternative Press-The 90 Greatest Albums of the 90's (1998): #1
  • Amazon.com-The 10 Best Albums by Decade (1999): #2
  • Blender-The 100 Greatest American Albums of All Time (2002): #9
  • Entertainment Weekly-The 100 Greatest CDs of All Time (1993): #16
  • Gear-The 100 Greatest Albums of The Century (1999): #7
  • Ink Blot-Albums of the 90s (2000): #2
  • Kitsap Sun-Top 200 Albums of the Last 40 Years (2005): #3
  • LostAtSea-90 Albums of the 90s (2000): #31
  • Music Underwater-Top 100 Albums 1990-2003 (2004): #8
  • Pitchfork-Top 100 Favorite Records of the 1990s (2003): #6
  • Rolling Stone-The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (2003): #17
  • Spin-Top 100 Albums of the Last 20 Years (2005): #3
  • VH1-The 100 Greatest Albums of R 'N' R (2001): #2
  • Guardian-The 100 Best Albums Ever (1997): #4
  • Melody Maker-All Time Top 100 Albums (2000): #3
  • Mojo-The 100 Greatest Albums Ever Made (1995): #33
  • New Musical Express-Top 100 Albums of All Time (1993): #19
  • The Times-The 100 Best Albums of All Time (1993): #77
  • Platekompaniet-Top 100 Albums of All Time (2001): #2

  • CRITICS' QUOTES:
  • Rolling Stone: No album in recent history has had such an overpowering impact on a generation--a nation of teens suddenly turned punk--and such a catastrophic effect on its main creator.

  • All Music Guide: Kurt Cobain's personal problems and subsequent suicide naturally deepens the dark undercurrents, but no matter how much anguish there is on Nevermind, it's bracing because he exorcises those demons through his evocative wordplay and mangled screams--and because the band has a tremendous, unbridled power, turning into pure catharsis.

  • Pitchfork: This band proved to a whole new generation that technical prowess has no bearing on quality, inspired their fans to seek out the music that slipped beneath the commercial radar, and then had the balls to be ridiculously, unthinkably fucking brilliant. Anyone who hates this record today is just trying to be cool, and needs to be trying harder.

  • MY REVIEW: I found it hard. It's hard to find. Well whatever, nevermind. Those lyrics, the attitude of a young Kurt Cobain, went on to define the next ten years of music. The look and feel of the so-called Seattle grunge movement can still be felt resonating today in our increasingly beatnik culture. Despite the overall effect Cobain has obviously had on our youth, and despite how mostly negative it has been, he left us a revolution, a sound so awesome and so fully formed, that his suicide and everything else seems forgiveable by just listening to his legacy, and harnessing his tremendous gifts for ourselves, instead of stopping and thinking about who he was or what he did personally.

  • At heart he was an artist, a poet, and a Beatlemaniac. On the surface, he was a constant threat to himself and those who cared for him. He was eaten alive by the vast amounts of street and psychotropic drugs he was unloading into his body. He took his intense anger out on striking power chords and an unmatched roar into the microphone. Music was his passion, but it would soon be his own worst enemy. His melody and catharsis, it seems, created a worldwide legend almost overnight, and though he secretly sought that very level of respect, he wanted it in hushed whispers and not in the infamy poured on by MTV and newly founded bandwagons. In retrospect, Nevermind is explosively anthemic and it seems obvious now that it was destined for huge airplay and generational flag-waving. Kurt knew what we were up against. Before it happened from noplace, we were aching for a purpose to throttle our lives in those hitherto listless and confusing years.

Though I surely differ from these ratings and reviews now, I keep them here as a point of interest, as a contrast to my current views that I personally find simultaneously fascinating and somewhat embarrassing in looking over them now.

You could probably drop at least 1 full point off the ratings as well as half the gushing adjectives within each review to get a more accurate assessment of my current considerations of these albums' merits.

To answer your question regarding Born to Run, "Is it possible to honestly dislike this album?":

Yes. I cannot stand Springsteen. The only album of his I've liked--and, in fact, loved--was Nebraska, the one no one else truly seems to get enthusiastic about. But give me "Highway Patrolman" over "Born to Run" any day.

Well, these reviews and questions were from yesteryear, and I can hardly even read them anymore due to the fantastic changes of opinion I've experienced since. I'm a middle-ground fan of Springsteen. He's probably my least favorite "great" artist. Somehow he manages to pull together some great music while maintaining cliched, overblown ideas and emotional delivery--it's a plus and a downside--his bravado gets in the way of creating something truly remarkeable while it also brings forth a great dedication and emotional conviction.