Just spent an hour lying in bed looking at the ceiling, listening to music, and spooning the girls (even though I am mad at Rosie who, when my mom called during lunch and I went to find the phone, ate my turkey and swiss sandwich off the tray table. It’s a constant struggle for dominance in this household, and I keep coming up behind Tunch and the Jack Russell terrorist. I guess this is why I love Lily so much. I’m ahead of her. Or maybe she is playing me and just lets me think that. Fuckers, all of them.).
The last couple of months I’ve been going through my music and giving everything a full listen again, so tonight (and for a couple weeks) I have been going through the Stones. Long time readers know that musically, I’m still stuck on the Dead, Little Feat, Zeppelin, the Stones, the Cars, and the Who. There are hundreds of other bands I love (Beasties, Smashing Pumpkins, Ben Folds, Yes, Frank Zappa, Rush, CSNY, CCR, the Allman Brothers, Pink Floyd, and just countless too many to name), but really, it does always boil down to the ones I listed there. If I’m really depressed, I want to listen to them. If I’m really in a good mood or have a rock solid buzz going, I want to listen to them. It’s just how it is. The point of this post is not to start yet another pissing match about what the “best” music is- I’m just saying this is what I like. I don’t know why- it might just be when I grew up. But those bands are always the ones I circle back to. When the shit goes down, I have the Dead or the Stones or Zep playing. Period. Of all of them, I would have to say the band I identify the most with is Little Feat, but they have such a small discography with Lowell.
Regardless, the last couple of weeks, I’ve been going through all the Stones albums again in alphabetical order, giving each one a full listen all the way through, the way album oriented rock is meant to be listened to. You don’t listen to Long Distance Runaround to understand what Yes was trying to do with Fragile any more that you would listen to just Soon and understand Relayer or Run Like Hell to grok Floyd’s the Wall. You just don’t. Or maybe that is just me. But I do feel strongly about that- so many intent driven albums are just hacked up into songs that are hits, and you miss the whole point the artist was trying to make.
At any rate, I just got done listening to Sticky Fingers again, which really may be one of my top five Stones albums, and I just can not get over how much I love the instrumental of Can’t You Hear Me Knocking:
I love how after the raunchy sax fades out, you get slowly tickled with the guitar licks before the whole thing just breaks out and you understand what they were shooting for. It’s fucking genius, and if you love music, should make the hairs on your arms stand up. I’m going to go back to bed, and I think, even though I listened to it a week or so ago, I’m heading back to Emotional Rescue, because I can never get enough of that album.
I miss the album. Sure you can buy a CD, but it’s not the same. Once music became a file on a hard drive, it changed. Albums are now non linear, chopped into little bits.
Sure, it’s convenient to make a mix CD and all. The making of a mix tape was much better, and the recipient would listen to the whole thing, and not just skip past a song because they can. I am showing my age, as this was before auto-seek cassette decks.
ahhhh well, I have to admit that I tend to more of the B side and album cut stuff…. I got over watching a then current girlfriend doing a tonsillectomy on another guy by listening to “It’s All Over Now” for about six hours and I have a real fondness for Under Assistant West Coast Promo Man and Street Fighting Man… but the Stones, well they rule one side of the street, the Lads pretty much control the other side of it.
Cole, I don’t know what I can add to your random thoughts other than this: In the last year, I did the opposite of what you did, and I fired up my library on shuffle and I heard what is now my favorite Cat Stevens song ever. It was amazing.
It still is, and ever shall be. I’m a young man with an old ear. I love the Stones’ hits and then some, CSNY, Boston, Styx, Joe Walsh, The Cars, Queen, Emerson Palmer and Lake, ELO, and all the classic rock radio lineup. The only thing that has changed with age and immaturity has been the fact that the more I hear Sweet Home Alabama, the more I hate it. It used to be a song that put a smile on my face no matter what. Now I hear it and it’s a reactionary “fuck you” message to Neil Young and an antebellum embrace of the Confederacy deep into the 60s and pre-Reagan fellating of do-nothing, shit-kicking love of the macho Lost Cause. In short, it is the perfect “innocuous” wingnut anthem, because Dixie just can’t nod heads anymore.
Con Brio – Not At All
I think what I listen to when I’m depressed depends on if I want to wallow in my feelings or pull myself out of it. If I’m trying to pick myself up, a little Aerosmith, Green Day, Beasties, or some 80’s pop will do it. (Weird combo, I know.)
If I’m going to sink into it, I’m going with anything from Nirvana: MTV Unplugged in New York, especially Cobain’s cover of Bowie. I resisted being a Nirvana fan in high school until I heard that album. I was in a bad place at the time and listened to it for the entirety of my Christmas break the year it came out. I haven’t listened to the whole album in a long time but lately find myself missing it, although thankfully not out of any depressive needs.
Just heard BBC’s rebroadcast of a Thursday story, ‘Have Obama’s attack ads gone too far?‘ The audio there – nothing anyone here hasn’t already heard – lasts 3:46, and features Obama ‘surrogate’ (heh) Cory Booker’s now-infamous condemnation of the anti-Bain campaign. [Thanks again, Cory! …putz]
BBC reporter Jonny Dymond couldn’t be arsed to bring up the Citizens United as a factor that changed campaign dynamics after the 2008 election (I assume he is at least vaguely aware of the USSC decision).
Back to the music chat, y’all, which is infinitely preferable to this kind of crap. I just needed to vent; I sure miss the old BBC, before budget cuts and staff slashes.
For me, R.E.M.’s “Automatic For The People” is the album that I can listen to absolutely any time, and it’ll always be the perfect thing to listen to at that moment. I have their entire catalog and love it, and thousands of others, but that album is just so amazing.
It may be odd, but Social Distortion’s music have a similar effect on me. It just always sounds good. If I’m depressed, it cheers me. If I’m in a good mood, it makes it better.
Paul Simon’s “Graceland” is another.
Dire Straits Love Over Gold. Got me through a really bad breakup in college.
John, you write good. Thanks.
I don’t think you should be so hard on LS. After all they also did Saturday Night Special which is clearly a call for gun control.
And according to Wikipedia
Give me Springsteens Born to Run or Born in the USA. More raw emotion in those albums than anything Ive heard. Mellencamps Scarecrow a very close second….
No easing up, but I wasn’t around in their time so I really can’t understand the environment in which they prospered. I’m a fan of freebird (esp the guitar solo), but everything else I hear in their catalog makes me think of fans like these. Sorry if it’s stereotypical, but there’s two different demarcations. There are friends and family members and distant acquaintances of mine where you could say, “Meh, I don’t like this song” or “Screw Skynard, Next!”; and then are the fucks mentioned above that even Cartman can mock and ruin.
@sharl: The Obama campaign is going to keep hammering the Bain stuff, and no amount of whining from the bought media will make a difference.
Romney claims his Bain experience makes him uniquely qualified to be President. It would political malpractice not to examine his time at Bain.
Joe Nocera’s take on the Facebook IPO “disaster” is that it was in fact a big win for Facebook. That the price didn’t soar on listing day meant that Facebook didn’t leave any money on the table. Only the speculators, the ones looking for that big first-day profit, lost out. Nocera’s no Slate-ish contrarian, so I tend to believe him.
David Bowie, Brian Eno, Pattie Smith, Velevet Undergound/Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, those are my mood-swing picks.
I guess I’m still a bit New York, even though I’m back on the in Sodom by the Bay. I guess people are too busy having sex here to really excel at music.
Perhaps you could try something from the last two decades like The Black Crowes, or warp forward all the way to 1999 and Sister Hazel.
c u n d gulag
If I want a lift, I listen to British Invasion bands.
But as much fun as a lot of the tunes were, most of the bands also had darker songs.
Take a listen to The Zombies and Yardbirds.
Here’s one of the greatest unknown anti-war songs from that era, by the Zombies. It’s about WWI:
If I were on a desert island, I’d take the discographies of The Beatles, The Who, The Stones, CCR, the Ramones, and Springsteen.
And the opera’s by Verdi and Puccini.
All of Mozart and Beethoven.
Also too – Punk and New Wave mixes.
And my favorite album of all time – “Quadrophenia,” by The Who.
It’s the greatest teenage angst album of them all.
What can I say? I’m a child of the late 60’s – mid/late 70’s.
And there’s never been a better era for rock music. FSM, I’m getting old…
“Hey you feckin’ kid’s! GET OFF MY MOTHERFECKIN’ LAWN!”
c u n d gulag
Oh yeah, thanks, Jamie, I almost forgot – the great Velvet Underground would have to be on that desert island with me, too.
I’ve been playing nothing but old records for the last 2 months. Mostly this is because I excavated a few turntables and all of my vinyl, then got caught up in phono technology and tweaking. It was accidental but I’m loving hearing all of my old favorites again.
I came late to the Stones. I was a Beatles fan in their heyday and the Stones were to ‘street’ for my sensibilities. Plus I never listened to oldies radio so I didn’t inadvertently burn out on them. So as an adult I’m able to listen to their records with fresh ears. There’s no denying their genius. Sure, over a half century career there were bad ideas, thin spots and occasional laziness. But on every record there’s something jaw droppingly great that no other band could have done.
My current favorite Stones song has to be Moonlight Mile. It’s atypical but it just works great for me. Next week something else will be my favorite.
Tom the First
Beggars Banquet might be my favorite Stones album… Most underrated? Between the Buttons. It’s like they suddenly decided to make a Kinks album.
My big mood swing record is Joni Mitchell’s Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter. An under-loved double album of fairly unstructured and self indulgent songs. But the interplay between Joni and bassist Jaco Pastorius is priceless. This lets me feel bad but not too bad while being distracted by really elegant playing.
I’m most amused by “Brown Sugar”.
It really is a great song. And it really is horrible.
I know there are lots of other examples, but this is a fine one.
I don’t care so much now, but I read a lot of reconstruction lit, and liked some of it, even when it was racist as hell. This makes me uncomfortable. The racist parts were not the good parts, but the books were.
That instrumental part of Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’ is Mick Taylor. Listen to “Time Waits for No one” and compare. He was a lot bigger part of the Stones’ music than most people realize.
Yeah, freelancer, lay off Ronnie Van Zant and the boys. It’s not his fault that the irony of the song goes over the heads of the shitkickers who use it as an anthem. neither is it his fault that you can’t turn on a goddamned radio without hearing the song within ten minutes(Thank You fucking Clear Channel!).
Van Zant was a terrific songwriter and was actually calling out racists who supported George Wallace, and didn’t give a shit about Nixon. He was no ordinary redneck, which is why there was no more Lynyrd Skynyrd upon his death. His brother should be horsewhipped for trying to fill those shoes just to make a buck.
Give a listen to Street Survivors, their final album. It’s pretty damn good. I could go the rest of my life not hearing Sweet Home Alabama though, because of CC.
And @johncole, judging from your playlist, I think you and I would be drinking buddies. Throw a little Dylan, Los Lobos, and Radiohead in there, and the neighbors might call the cops.
You’re right about Los Lobos. They should fit right into Cole’s listening tastes. And I’d recommend another LA band: X. Their angst-laden rootsy style and unpolished honesty would probably appeal to him.
c u n d gulag
FSM, how the feck did I forget him?!?!?!?!?!?!
“What a dope. What a MAROON!!!”
@Tom the First:
Beggars Banquet is my favorite album, too.
New to me: Exile on Main Street.
On my third listen, and love it.
PS: doesn’t Sticky Fingers have “Sway”?
One of the best RS tracks evah.
“The Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World”
Stones are the ultimate “roots” music band, infusing blues, country, gospel, soul, R&B, and old time rock and roll(yes, they are the ultimate Chuck Berry Tribute band). The hits you hear on commercial radio don’t begin to tell the story and have lead to many people having heard of the Stones but few people actually “knowing” them.
The solo after the sax bit is Mick T., but the balls-out killer riff that kicks the song off is pure, undiluted, weapons-grade Keef. Open G tuning. Gets my heart pumping wine every time. Cock-rock like only the Stones can do.
This one, and “Rocks Off.” All I need to convince me that life might be worth going on with after all.
@RossInDetroit: Have gone back to my X records. Astonishing how primal, beautiful, and authentic they were. If the were in their prime today, they’d be the darlings of NPR–and I mean that in a good way.
I would stack their output from ’79 through ’83 against ANY other band’s peak period.
@blackfrancis: What are these CDs you speak of? Are they, like, a physical version of mp3?
It’s amazing how congruent our musical tastes are.
Not only is Sticky Fingers one of their best albums, but “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” has to be my all-time favorite Stones albums.
I’m with you. John and Exene made an amazing vocal duo. They were considered Punk but they’re more Woody Guthrie than Johnny Rotten.
I recommend the Unclogged set of (mostly) acoustic versions.
They’re doing their 35th Anniversary Tour at the moment.
I feel so old.
I have a Pod with 2000+ songs on it, probably 95% of which are for exercise and running. Although it’s generally weighted towards saIsa, there are more tunes from the Stones than anyone else, and Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’ is hands down my favorite. I defy anyone not to at least wiggle to that song. I guess it’ll have to be the first thing I play when I get out in the street this morning. Thanks, John!
Home from college, working on construction, driving a Peterbuilt truck to a railyard to unload steel, stop at a light, two cars ahead of me is my fucking car, a fucking convertible, driven by my fucking girlfriend with some fucking guy with her and she leans over and gives the fucker a kiss. I wore out the Stones’ Paint it Black the month of July. Oh, and Dylan”s Positively 4th Street too. Still kind of pisses me off!
Well it may be a struggle right now for dominance, but deep in your heart you know who is going to win don’t you?
Tom The First
Exile on Main Street is a tricky album for me… I first got into it when it was first starting to be hailed by some circles as the best album of all time (funny how the consensus on that stuff shifts over the years… growing up Sgt. Peppers was hands down the best Beatles album and the best album of all time. Then the “best beatles album” mantle seemed to shift to Revolver and now I get the feeling that Magical Mystery Tour is next up for its place in the sun).
But I digress… my point is that I had a hard time getting into Exile on Main Street partly because of high expectations. Like most double albums it’s kind of all over the place and would have benefited from some editing, but it’s still up there. It’s one of those albums I appreciate but don’t really go back and listen to often.
I can’t write like John Cole, and the rest of you people have got some good stuff, but for me:
X – especially Los Angeles
The Adverts – Crossing The Red Sea
Billy Bragg- especially the first three records
Bob Mould and Husker Du – nearly anything and everything, I love Hanging Tree
Bruce Springsteen – not all of it, but I love what he did for John Kerry
The Buzzcocks – especially the first two records
Camper Van Beethoven – mostly Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart
Cheap Trick – Four albums they were great, then not as much
The Clash – until they offloaded Mick Jones, who was never my favorite, but..
Crass – and yes, they owe us a living
The Decemberists – Just for one song, Calamity Song
Dinosaur Jr. – Gotta love Feel The Pain and Freak Scene
And so many more… Had a dream, you and me and the war of the end times. And I believe California succumbs to the fault line… As scores of innocents die… All that remains is the arms of the angels.
in a sort of freak-electro-orchestral mood…
my favorites in this category:
Recoil – Hydrology (the whole album)
The Art of Noise – The Seduction of Claude Debussey (disc 1)
The Kronos Quartet – Requiem For a Dream Soundtrack
Section S – Nine Inch Nails Tribute – The Fragile
I’d be remiss if I didn’t add Electric Trains to that line up
I’m with you on the Cars. Heartbeat City was the first LP I ever bought and they were the first band I searched out their whole back catalogue.
For pure musical joy though, my favourites these days are the Byrds and CCR. Especially the first couple of bars of “Up Around the Bend”. That gives me a high that I don’t think heroin could reproduce. The Byrds’ “Lay Down Your Weary Tune” is a big favourite too.
1st rule of living with pets…if possible, take your food with you when you get up to answer the phone!
I could never really get into the Stones albums, and I own original vinyl copies of Exile On Main Street and Sticky Fingers (with the real zip). Maybe it’s over-exposure, which is why I’m not a big Beatles fan, either.
Gimme Lamb Lies Down On Broadway over Exile On Main Street anyday.
I’ve been a pop and rock music fan since I was nine years od and got a little transistor radio for Christmas. That tells you how old I am. It was Top 40 AM until I found college rock FM and off I went. The best thing was finding a local Indie radio station in the 80’s, WOXY. They opened my ears to great stuff like REM, Crowded House, The National, Depeche Mode, The Cure, Echo and the Bunnymen… and countless other bands I had never heard of. When they went under a few years ago, I was crushed. Every Memorial Day weekend they would do the Indy 500 countdown of hit songs, with a different lineup every year. I’d give anything to sit and listen to that countdown again.
My youngest son keeps me up to speed with current stuff from bands like Wolf Parade, Dappled Cities, and Jukebox the Ghost. I listen to music all of the time and can’t imagine my life without it.
No doubt that’s an excellent album, but for early Genesis, I prefer Selling England By The Pound.
Just as with visual art, musical preference is entirely a product of personal taste, and no one should have to defend theirs.
BUT…I do think it’s useful and interesting to examine from where one’s preferences originated, and look at ways in which one might be limiting one’s exposure to other possibilities.
Push one’s own envelope!
Not to mention, on CYHMK, COW BELL!
Here‘s some kinda new classic rock for you. Enjoy!
… as do I, but we’re talking double albums here.
I’ve arrived here in time to dump out the ashtrays and sweep up the empties, but in case anyone comes back looking for their keys…
Last night the Guardian posted a tribute to another rock music icon of the 70s/80s, “Patti Smith: How She Rocks Our World”: http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/may/27/patti-smith-tributes
While I appreciate her influential role and understand the devotion, I’ve always been rather agnostic on the music itself. With one monumental exception: her version of the Byrds, “So you wanna be a rock-n-roll star,” is the GREATEST COVER OF A ROCK SONG EVAH! So there’s that.
Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter
Ah. When I have a summer day with nothing scheduled, that goes right on.
“Propped up on a samba beat with dreamland coming on”
No Jimi Hendrix ? Electric Ladyland is a perfect rainy day at home.
No Clapton at all? No love for “Sunshine of your love” or Blind Faith ?
I personally can’t stand the Rolling Stones, but “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” really is pure, undeniable genius from start to finish.
My total albums are Weezer’s “Blue” album and “Pinkerton”; The Allman’s “Beginnings,” “Eat a Peach,” and “Live at Filmore East”; The Derek Trucks Band “Songlines” and “Roadsongs”; and Erykah Badu’s “Mama’s Gun” and “Worldwide Underground.”
@Scott: Amen on the Skynyrd analysis. In an ideal world Johnny would be with .38 Special playing oyster roasts and free concerts on the lawn, then we wouldn’t have to explain that the band that made “Gods and Guns” is not at all the same band that made “Street Survivors.”
Marcellus Shale, Public Dick
the hit song, destroys the progression of one song to another, but this is an album that might otherwise qualify for being listened to in the intended order.
Yup. Add The Blasters and you have the great LA ’80s trifecta–three nearly perfect bands.
Have a Los Lobos collection, “Just Another Band from East LA” (a tip of the hat to Zappa, that) which has a terrific cover of the Dead’s “Bertha.” That should be enough to convince Cole.
As to “Can’t you hear me knocking” I agree with Cole–it’s maybe my favorite Stones song of that era. And may I opine–“Beggars Banquet” “Let it Bleed” and “Sticky Fingers” are in the running for the bestest album trio ever released. What a string (which they bookended with “Exile”, no slouch but a vastly different phase, musically).
jesus h. tapdancing christ
1968-1972 were the prime period for the Rolling Stones. Either Sticky Fingers or Let It Bleed would be my choice for their best. Exile on Main Street is first-rate too, but you have to listen to it more than once in order to “get” it.
jesus h. tapdancing christ
1968-1972 was the prime period for the Rolling Stones. Either Sticky Fingers or Let It Bleed would be my choice for their best. Exile on Main Street is first rate too, but you need to listen to it more than once in order to “get” it.
Emotional Rescue? Meh.
Then why isn’t Garland Jeffreys on that list?
That whole album is great.
Death Panel Truck
@joel hanes: I used to listen to “Still Raining, Still Dreaming” every time it rained while I was in college. The rain was outside; as for the dreaming, well, red bud took care of that. ;)
Side 4 of Electric Ladyland is still the best LP side in the history of rock. “Still Raining, Still Dreaming,” “House Burning Down,” “All Along the Watchtower” and “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return).” There’s never been a better one.
Never known anyone who would publicly admit they actually like Emotional Rescue. Takes guts. I bought the cassette in ’80, listened to it once and tossed it into the trash. Jagger’s falsetto on the title track made me laugh hysterically, as in a “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me” kind of way.
Yes, but honest fuckers.
If anyone’s still reading this far down the thread, my favorite album of the “classic rock” era is Judee Sill’s “Heart Food” from 1973. (Soundwise, the overall feel of the record is something like Liz Phair fronting an “Eldorado”-period ELO.) It wasn’t a commercial success, but in my opinion it doesn’t rank too far below “Exile on Main Street,” “Relayer” and “Workingman’s Dead” as one of the great records of the early 70s. Worth checking out.
I’m basically a philistine who’s the next worst thing to tone-deaf, but a friend from California has introduced me to some new artists with whom I’m very taken and to whom I’d like to introduce others. Griffin House is my favorite new talent, and the second is my friend’s brother.
I popped in Yes’ 90125 this weekend. That’s still one of my favorite albums by them.