Wednesday, July 31, 2013

my favorite albums... 80 to 71

Continuing on my own personal list of my all time favorite albums, CDs, records, digital copies and so forth...

My 100 to 91st Favorite Albums of All Time
My 90 to 81st Favorite Albums of All Time

"The Way That I Am" by Martina McBride (1993)... It was very tempting to go with "The Greatest Hits" from Martina... she's a country icon, one of my favorite voices and let's be honest, very easy on the eyes.  But this, her second album (following "The Time Has Come") is just amazing.  The one negative about any greatest hits compilation is the track lineup... the original albums were arranged for the music to flow perfectly, and in a best-of, its mostly just hit after hit, or in chronological order.  Martina's "Greatest" is an awesome set... but "The Way That I Am" has "Life #9" and "My Baby Loves Me" and the heart wrenching "Where I Used to Have a Heart" and her signature song, "Independence Day"... few times has a woman taking revenge on an abusive husband sounded so doggone awesome.  By far, my favorite track.

"Even Worse" by Weird Al Yankovic (1988)... Michael Jackson was always a good sport when it came to Weird Al's parodies, and this takeoff of MJ's "Bad" was no different.  The lead single, "Fat" is hysterical ("the sidewalk cracks... when I fall down... I've got more chins than Chinatown... ham on... ham on whole wheat, alright..."), and the video is even better.  But the jokes keep on coming, including "This Song is Just Six Words Long", a rendition of George Harrison's "I've Got My Mind Set On You" and "I Think I'm a Clone Now", from Tiffany's (and Tommy James & the Shondells) "I Think We're Alone Now"... my favorite is the original "Good Ole Days", a James Taylor'esque look back at the days of yon... "do you remember sweet Michelle, she was my high school romance... she was fun to talk to, and nice to smell, so I took her to the homecoming dance... well, I tied her to a chair and shaved off all her hair, and left her in the desert all alone... well, sometimes in my dreams I can still hear her scream, oh I wonder if she ever made it home... those were the good old days..."

"Grease: The Original Soundtrack from the Motion Picture" (1978)... Who doesn't love "Grease"?  Its the kind of film that when you see it on the big screen at special theater shows, you can sing along to everything.  In college, I saw it with a group of friends, and all we did was sing, or at least mouth the words, and do the hand jive during the TV show taping.  If you pick this one up, make sure you get the full album... there is a single disc CD that has the major stuff on it, but there is a 2-disc set that has all of it... you want that.  Its hard to pick a favorite, though... "Hopelessly Devoted To You" is sweet... "Summer Nights" is fun... "You're the One That I Want" is great... and I do love "Sandy", as silly as it is. 

Two thoughts on "Grease", since we are on the subject...

1) You do.not.understand how dirty and innuendo filled "Greased Lightning" is until you get older and are able to understand such things.  Its like "Walk this Way" or "Pour Some Sugar On Me"... nothing but musical sex dressed up with fun phrases that mislead a 12 year old into singing along.

2) This was the cassette I was listening to when I had my first wreck.  I was driving along through Elba, Alabama, not paying attention, singing along to the title song, "Grease", and ran a red light.  I smashed into the side of an Oldsmobile with a couple of brothers in it.  They weren't happy, but I didn't get beat up.  Which was good. 

And as a 12 year old boy, how cool is this album cover? I
just don't feel like they do cool album art anymore... its
an afterthought now, in this day and age of mp3s and
iTunes and immediate downloads...
"Hysteria" by Def Leppard (1987)... When I was 12, my brother Shawn had acquired this tape from a friend of his, this band called Def Leppard.  On it was this song that just had hit the radio, "Pour Some Sugar On Me", this sexually charged party anthem that would go on to become an all time classic and a mainstay on rock stations forever.  Again, like in the previous album review, we didn't know the full meaning of the song, we just liked singing "I'm hot, hot, so hot, sticky sweet!" at the top of our lungs.  Anyway, I really liked what I heard... rock like "Armageddon It", whatever the crap that even means... "Rocket" and "Animal" and "Don't Shoot Shotgun"... this album rules.  I mean, they have a one-armed drummer!  My favorite track: "Hysteria"

"Sleepless in Seattle" Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1993)... As the years go on, this movie holds up.  And I think it will be shown on cable and E! and the TV Guide Channel and Hallmark for decades.  Part of the charm of this film, though, is the music.... and to 17 year old me, it was my first real introduction to the likes of Jimmy Durante, Ricky Lee Jones and Nat King Cole.  Every track is gold, no moment is wasted, and everything has its own special place in the movie... my favorite track is hard to choose, but its probably something sing-along-able, like Harry Connick Jr's "A Wink and a Smile" or the classic "A Kiss to Build a Dream On" by Louis Armstrong.

"Greatest Hits" by Keith Whitley (1990)... For those who have no idea who Keith Whitley is, you probably know his music... or at least, "When You Say Nothing At All", a song later made even more famous by Alison Krauss.  The late 80s featured Whitley in heavy rotation on a ton of country stations, featuring such now-classics as "Miami, My Amy"... "Don't Close Your Eyes"... and "I'm No Stranger to the Rain".  And that's what made it so sad when on May 9, 1989, he was found dead, face down in his bed, fully clothed, after a weekend of drinking and partying.  The official report was alcohol poisoning, with a blood level of .477--that's equal to 20 1oz shots of 100-proof whiskey.  I'm not a drinker, but that seems to be heckuva lot of the booze.  Like Tupac, Keith Whitley's music was released long after his death.  My favorite cut on the album: "Don't Close Your Eyes"

So... could I be the first person to ever put Tupac Shakur and Keith Whitley in the same sentence?  Maybe.  I hope so.  We all have to have goals.

"Cooleyhighharmony" by Boyz II Men (1991)... I love me some Nate, Mike, Shawn and Wanya... no joke.  Its often joked how similar some of their songs are, with the slower pace and the deep voice speaking about "Baby, come back, I know its tough, but I know we can make it" or something like that.  Doesn't matter, though, because Boyz II Men sounded great in all their music. This was their first album, and it was an R&B masterpiece, with "Uhh Ahh", and the song that would end up being the Samson High School 1993 Class Song, "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday"... and of course, the incredibly cool "Motownphilly", which makes you move.

Do they still do class songs?  I wanted ours to be "Forever Young" by Rod Stewart.  Someone else pushed hard for "Free Bird" by Skynyrd.  I'll take "Its So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday", even though it was featured in a funeral scene for a teenage gangbanger in "Lethal Weapon 3".

In 1994, any picture with the Friends gang in it was a
picture you wanted to be in.  We don't think about it
much now, but back then, this show was a huge'
cornerstone in so many lives, especially those in
high school and like myself, in college
"Friends Original TV Soundtrack" (1995)... Like the TV Soundtrack to Ally McBeal, this is one that stayed in heavy rotation in my CD player... well, at first my tape player, then my CD player... for a long time.  "Sunshine" by Paul Westerberg became a daily sing along with me, while "Shoe Box" was fun to blare while speeding up Highway 231... plus, Hootie & the Blowfish's "I Go Blind" was awesome, as I am a big fan of Hootie, and I ranked "Good Intentions" by Toad the Wet Sprocket as my 2nd favorite song in all of 1995 (behind "Fantasy" by Mariah Carey. Naturally.)   And to top it off, there were bits of dialogue from some episodes intersparsed between tracks... loved it.  Favorite track is definitely "Good Intentions"

"Notting Hill Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1999)... Let me establish that I frickin' love this movie.  I love it.  I love everything about it.  Currently, it sits as my 15th favorite film of all time... its just wonderful.  Like "Sleepless in Seattle", the music is a big, big part of it.  Its got your typical love song stuff, "You've Got a Way" by Shania Twain and "I Do (cherish you)" by 98 Degrees... there is an Elvis Costello cover of "She" that is pretty great... but there are three that pop out and make this entire albu\m shine--"How Do You Mend a Broken Heart" from The Rev'rn Al Green... the incomparable Bill Withers doing "Ain't No Sunshine... and Steve Winwood leading The Spencer Davis Group, rocking out on "Gimme Some Loving", one of the best party songs in the history of the world.  All three are immaculate tunes.

By the way... the scene when "Ain't No Sunshine" comes in, when Will (Hugh Grant) walks down the street and you see the seasons pass him by as he walks--so underrated as a visual montage.  I mean, just incredible. 

"Thriller" by Michael Jackson (1982)... Okay.  Its Michael Jackson.  It's "Thriller".  Its "Billie Jean".  Its "Beat It".  Its "P.Y.T. (pretty young thing)".  Its "Human Nature".  And it's one of the best jams in the history of great jams... "Wanna Be Starting Something".  Nothing else I can say... if you say you like Michael Jackson, you need to either buy, or at least listen to this soon.

So, I rave about it, but why isn't it higher on the list?  Well... because its at 71.  That's how this works.  There are 70 albums I like better than Thriller.  So there.


Another soundtrack that I really enjoy is the 1997 "My Best Friend's Wedding" music.  I mean, its fluffy and love-struck, like most rom-coms, but sometimes the guy who puts these things together really outdoes himself.   The opening cut is the signature song from the film, "I Say a Little Prayer (for you)", this version done by Diane King... then the song that opens the movie itself, Ani DiFranco's version of "Wishin and Hopin'"... Jimmy Soul's comical "If You Wanna Be Happy"... and how can you beat Tony Bennett's "The Way You Look Tonight" (okay... Sinatra's is better, but Tony's is pretty good)... and towards the end of the album, you have the cast version of "Say a Little Prayer (for you)", from the famous dinner scene in the movie.  My favorite, though, and one of my all time favorite songs--at least in my Top 50--is Amanda Marshall's ode to letting go of someone you love, called "I'll Be Okay".  Holy crap is this song brutal.  Awesome, but brutal. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

I want to hear your response! Click here!!