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If you don't know this album, you've lived under a rock. The best selling soundtrack of all time. With ground breaking songs including "Computer Blue", "The Beautiful Ones", "Let's Go Crazy" and of course, "Purple Rain". Musically a joy ride for listeners of all tastes. With screaming guitars, beautifully written piano. Just simply great instrumentation With danceable tunes and amazing vocals, this album was both studio tracks mixed with live performances. It set the bar high for musicians to follow and has stood the test of time. It reached #1 not once but twice on Billboard top 100. Once in 1984 and again in 2016. Selling over 20 million copies world wide. Loved by fans and critics alike. A true masterpiece of music not to be missed!
In this world, there are three Londons - White London, Grey London and Red London, each full of, devoid of or losing magic. Follow Kell, one of the last Antari (a magic-wielder who can essentially tear holes in the fabric of space and time to travel amongst the three Londons), as he finds a crew of friends who help him defeat the magic itself that is threatening to destroy all of the Londons.
Released a week after the highly anticipated "ye" and as the third album from the new G.O.O.D imprint, "Kids see Ghosts" is the first collaboration of Cudi and Kanye since their very public falling out. This album has all of the hallmarks of a Kid Cudi album: throwback samples beats that seem otherworldly and beautifully disturbing artwork (contributed this time by Takashi Murakami). It also is one of the better produced Kanye albums in a long time. Clocking in at 7 tracks, including a part two from the album "ye", this album is lyrically and musically stunning. I promise you will have it on repeat for a long time to come.
Aimee Mann churns out astonishingly hooky riffs in this start-to-finish gem. Between her droning, too-cool voice and her quietly brilliant lyrics, Mann's distinct voice is firmly planted in the driver's seat of this album. A talented lyricist as well as guitarist, Aimee Mann has accrued wide-ranging appeal with her cerebral lyrics and humorous tone. You'll sink into the melodies of I'm With Stupid like a comfortable couch, and her outstanding rhymes will compel you to check out more of her stuff. The opener, Long Shot, is impossible not to love, and it's a nice ride from there. Anyone who was an angsty teen in the 90s will remember track 4, You Could Make a Killing, from a particularly existential moment in the movie Cruel Intentions, but it's track 10, "That's Just What You Are" that rules the show. The song will speak to anyone who broke up with a narcissistic ex. Her backbeat-heavy jams are great for driving and studying. Put on your belly shirt and get those butterfly clips in your hair, and relive the 90s with this classic.
If you love jazz guitar but haven't heard of Julian Lage, do yourself the biggest favor ever and check him out! Technique, tone, taste, phrasing, etc etc etc, Lage has it in droves. I've played and taught guitar for almost 30 years and rarely has an album impressed me like Modern Lore has. Don't miss it!
Broken People is one of those albums that you can listen to endlessly on repeat. With a unique sound and great lyrics, Muddy Magnolias is definitely a band that warrants a listen. The album has a solid mix of slow bluesy numbers and some more upbeat alternative rock songs that you can easily add to your party playlist.
Chvrches' second album will drag you in and keep you there! At times playful and other times dark, Every Open Eye is a must, delivering track after track of rich, driving sound and thoughtful lyrics. Leader singer Lauren Mayberry (the "adorable Scottish elf-maiden," as I've heard her called) has a unique soft yet powerful voice that complements the synth sounds. Great stuff!
This is Bob Dylan at his best! Having just gone electric and pushing his "novelesque" lyrics further than before, he divided his fans and most were not happy. To please them, he decided to do his concerts half-acoustic/half-electric. For my money, the acoustic stuff is the winner. His harmonica playing goes off into long beautiful tangents that seep into your soul. Here he plays "crowd favorites" such as "Mr. Tambourine Man", "Visions of Johanna" and "It's All Over Now Baby Blue." The standout track for me is "Fourth Time Around" which I never dug until hearing this version. As for the Electric side, it rips like only The Band can rip. Between songs, the crowd boos and lightly cheers, prompting some to yell "Judas" at Dylan. If you wanted to hear Dylan at his best, this is the CD for you. Highly recommended!
If you like J-Pop (Japanese Pop) music, but are bored of the typical songs that you might hear in the genre, you should give BabyMetal a try. The band consists of three girls - Su-metal, Yuimetal and Moametal - who sing energetic pop lyrics to a mix of metal, electronic and rock music. The music is catchy and unique, and I guarantee that you'll find yourself humming their songs throughout your day.
I first stumbled across Spoon when their album Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga came out. Spoon is one of those few bands where there is hardly a song from them I don't like. I love listening to an album and not having to reach for the "skip" button. Spoon is also a band that in my opinion has evolved their sound successfully with each new album. In Hot Thoughts there are a lot of sounds that haven't been in their previous albums (see songs "Pink Up" & "Us"). They continue to impress with catchy melodies and their unique songwriting.
Released in late 2014, Alpha Mike Foxtrot is truly a great collection for any Wilco fan. With a diverse selection of rare studio and live tracks, the box set is a pleasure from start to finish. There are some interesting covers ranging from artists like Big Star, Steely Dan and Neil Young - as well as totally different recordings of songs from Wilco's album releases.
When embarking on a road trip there are many obstacles for my husband and I. The five kids in the back whining and fighting. What temperature to set the heat at (high for me, low for him). Whose directions to follow, Mapquest or my husband's "never wrong" internal sense of direction. One thing we can agree on, however, is music. Typically, he listens to classic rock, where as I listen to anything but. What could we possibly listen to that we would both enjoy? Eddie Vedder's unique sound on the Into the Wild Soundtrack. Eddie Vedder is the definition of classic rock, being a member of Pearl Jam, but his songs here are beautiful and rare. So next time you find yourself battling over the radio dial, why not give Eddie Vedder's Into the Wild a try?
Sir Adrian Boult conducts members of the London Symphony, the London Philharmonic, and the New Philharmonia orchestras in this 1991 collection of some of Ralph Vaughan Williams' most classic works. The album is equally enjoyable for newcomers to Vaughan Williams' repertoire and by those who consider him an old friend. It opens with the "Serenade to Music" (a remastering of the original 1987 recording), featuring soloists from the London Philharmonic. This single-movement work for a small orchestra perfectly captures the composer's aesthetic. It is followed by the three tradition movements of the Folk Song Suite (for orchestra), familiar to many from military band repertoire, performed here by members of the London Symphony. For many listeners, this is the most iconic of Vaughan Williams' music on this album--all the more for its size and unassuming nature. The four tracks that follow the Folk Song Suite are all single-movement tone poems: traditional in their musical language and ideas, but less so in form and development. They are also all remastered recordings from 1987. Of the four, the Norfolk Rhapsody and In the Fen Country are probably the least known to listeners. They have become more well-known in recent years, though they were considered obscure as recently as the late nineties. The Fantasia on Greensleeves is a perennial favorite and demonstrates well the composer's knowledge of old-world counterpoint. The final work, The Lark Ascending, differs from the other tone poems in that it is really a single-movement concerto for violin. The 1987 recording features Hugh Bean as the soloist. The delicacy and finesse of Vaughan William's violin writing are such that this album could end with nothing else, and it is immediately obvious upon listening why the piece has remained popular with audiences and soloists alike. Were I ever famous enough to be featured on the BBC's "Desert Island Discs," this collection would certainly make my list.
A Day to Remember returns with their 5th studio album, Common Courtesy, bringing back the signature musical style that put them on the map in the first place! With songs that feature both groove-inducing breakdowns and huge, catchy, pop-like choruses, this album is sure to please fans of the pop-punk genre, metal fans and then some due to its unique take on two completely different genres!
Jon Anderson's Olias of Sunhillow was one of my first forays into progressive rock at the age of 11. At first, it was really out there for me. I had never listened to a concept album before, but I was big into science-fiction/fantasy, so it naturally clicked with me. The concept of Olias of Sunhillow: after hearing a distress signal on a distant planet, Olias, the title character, sets to build a ship to rescue those in distress. "To The Runner" remains one of my favorite songs on the album, along with "Meeting (Garden of Gods)/ Sound Out the Galleon". This album might be an acquired taste, requiring multiple listens to discover that it's really a gem. But it's worth giving your full attention.
Lou Reed is most known for being the frontman of the legendary Velvet Underground, and after that, for the song "Walk on the Wild Side", which has been a staple of radio and commercials for years and has entered the English Language even for those unfamiliar with the song. But Reed was also an amazing musician and brilliant songwriter, and while none of his more famous songs are on this album, some critics consider this his finest work. If you read the liner notes, Reed suggests listening to the album in one sitting, as the songs tell a story that takes you through a year or so on the streets of New York, where you meet many memorable characters and get a feeling for what it's like to live in the city, among these people. Highly recommended.
In 1987, The Cure released their 7th Album, with 17 songs that balance all desires to dance, to sing loudly and dramatically, and to hide out for an hour. It starts out strong and heavy, mixes it up, then ends in fight, fight, fight. Listen to alone, or sing along with a friend.
The third album of 2017 from Australian psych-rock genre-benders King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Sketches of Brunswick East, explores jazzier territory than the group's previous records, undoubtedly stemming from the more laid-back style of the album's collaborator, Mild High Club. The two artists, despite being incredibly different on their own, came together to create what is my favorite album of the year (so far). If you like cool jazz orchestration reminiscent of early Miles Davis, complicated melodies harkening back to the likes of Brian Wilson-era Beach Boys, and heavy experimentation with time signatures, you just might find yourself having a ball listening to Sketches of Brunswick East!
What is Tyler, the Creator? It may almost be easier to pin down what he isn't. A hip-hop artist and leader of the collective Odd Future, fashion designer, TV show maker and an all-around provocateur, the 26-year-old renaissance man from Ladera Heights defies classification, which is exactly what he wants. When it comes to the bars he creates, Tyler has been just as impossible to describe. Ever since his debut mixtape 'Bastard', Tyler's lyrics have polarized due to graphic depictions of sexual violence, vulgarity and overall general mayhem which actually led to the artist being banned in the United Kingdom. This year, however, Tyler revealed a radically different side of himself with the lush, orchestral release of 'Flower Boy'. With his heart laid bare for many of the 14 tracks, Tyler disarms his audience with insights about finding yourself in your mid-20s, loving those who don't reciprocate and succumbing to the nostalgia of memory. Where horror-core imagery often shocked on previous albums, Tyler opts to gather listeners with relatable topics of ennui and loneliness. After the opening "Foreword", listeners are thrust into the teen years of Tyler with "Where This Flower Blooms". The track reflects on his days and nights sleeping on his grandma's floor, having Rent-A-Center employees coming to repossess furniture and working for meager tips at Starbucks. The track then shifts to the present where Tyler's current fame and status afford him material comforts but still leave him feeling hollow. Tyler spends a lot of this album looking back on the past as an inaccessible part of who we are. Despite the humbleness of his beginnings, there is a wistful quality to Tyler's remembrances on tracks like "November". Tyler spends time reminiscing about days spent skateboarding with the Odd Future crew, chilly, grey winter days in LA rocking Hawaiian shirts and people who are no longer part of his life, Tyler raps about driving back to a temporal space known as November. "Take me back, take me back to November..." Tyler repeats longingly in an almost Proust-like manner. On top of being more nuanced in its lyrical content, 'Flower Boy' is the most focused effort Tyler, the Creator has put out to date. Tyler trades in the frenzied energy of his previous releases for a more languid, R&B-influenced pace in the vein of Odd Future member, collaborator and friend Frank Ocean, who is also featured on multiple 'Flower Boy' tracks. With such a drastic shift in sound, Tyler, the Creator's 'Flower Boy' is an album for people who have hated Tyler's previous work. Rooted in a visceral pathos and beautiful musical arrangements, Tyler has made his most honest work to date. It's no shock that it's also his best album thus far. 'Flower Boy' is one of those "can't-miss" albums of 2017. Ask around for it at your local HPB.
This was the album that introduced me to The Replacements, and while it wasn't entirely love at first sight (to use a phrase that doesn't quite seem applicable), the album grew on me, making me want to explore the rest of their releases, to which I can say that I have not been disappointed. From the rocking love song "Kiss Me on the Bus" to the quiet homage to frequenting the same watering holes of "Here Comes a Regular". The album even taught me the name of my first radio show "Left of the Dial". And of course, it also contains the mean-spirited jab at flight attendants, "Waitress in the Sky". There's a lot of gold on this album, it may not hit you right away, but if you keep panning the depths of this release, you will be a richer person for it. Those scrappy boys from Minneapolis knocked another one out of the park. They may not have found the mainstream commercial success that they deserved, but they won over enough hearts for them to be fondly recalled by music fans over thirty years later. Give this baby a shot, it may not have changed my life, but it definitely made it a more enjoyable place to be.