I've gotten to the halfway part of recording my new album...5 songs completely recorded with the final mix in for 3 of them (one more by the end of this week).  The other 5 songs are well on their way...so I'm on track for an October release (and that's working non-stop until then--how do people do this quicker?).   I'm reconsidering the album title...so let's just call "Held Momentarily" the working title for now...

I'm planning to post the PledgeMusic campaign very soon (how long have I been saying this?)...and through that will make early mixes available to those that support the project, and make pledges...Then we'll work together to chose album artwork, and such.

I'm just saying, think about it.

Rolling Stones - Sticky Fingers

64: The Rolling Stones -- Sticky Fingers (1971)

I've decided to wear my pants like this now.  OK--maybe I shouldn't have tried this new look at work today...but I was just so excited by the idea of it.

I had never listened to any Stones record before this week.  In the binary of the greatest rock band of all time, I considered myself a check in the Beatles' column.  What my judgement was based on, I now have no idea.   Maybe that stupid-ass tongue and lips logo turned me away.

I have to say that I loved this album.  Yes, there are a pant-load of drug references.  Yes, there is a suspicious southern drawl on songs like Sway.  Yes, I usually make a stink about singers that don't have traditionally good voices.  This is all true...and more...

And yet, I found myself really surprised--enjoying it from my very first listen.  It doesn't hurt hearing (the original version of) one of my favorite songs of all time.  I first heard Wild Horses, as performed by The Sundays (their beautiful cover here), when I moved to Boston in the mid-nineties.   The Sundays--that was my wheel-house (all day long--an aside: turns out they may do a reunion tour this year)...I found out soon after that it was a Stones song, and yet that wasn't enough to make me even try them out.

There's something about the slowed down original version.  The panned guitar parts...the slurred southern accent (by way of England)...and then that gritty beat kicks in for the chorus.  The tinny harmonies.  I love it all.

I'm surprised that their music grooves as much as it does...for instance Can You Hear Me Knocking.  I'm not taken with their Blues experimentation...but I'm not hating it either (You Gotta Move or I Got The Blues).  Aside from the rampant drug references, I like the track Sister Morphine.

My favorite track here, one I had never heard before, is Moonlight Mile.  It sounds like it could be a Beck track--or more appropriately, like this track was a big influence on Sea Changes and now Morning Phase.

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U2 - Achtung Baby

63: U2 -- Achtung Baby (1991)

Now this album is a different story.  I'm pretty sure I had the cassette of this album, but definitely the CD.  I didn't own any U2 album before this one...but the way they changed their sound was something I was in to.

My step father at the time was in to Nine Inch Nails (who held a rebellious sway over me for a time), and some darker industrial stuff.  The influence of that stuff was present here, blended with U2's more pop-centric sensibilities.

While One is a beautiful song...I've just heard it too many times to appreciate it as much (same is true for Mysterious Ways).  I watched the documentary From The Sky Down this week (watch part one here, and part two here).  It's a documentary mostly about the making of Achtung Baby.  They talk about how the writing of One specifically was the tipping point for their new processes and experimentation for this record, and the new direction that followed.  I enjoyed having a glimpse into their songwriting process for this song.  I can't remember ever seeing it conveyed so well on film.

As chance would have it, another song about wild horses is a highlight on this album: Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses.  Hey, hey.  Sha-la-la.  This song is followed by the also great So Cruel.   Love Is Blindness, originally written by Bono for Nina Simone but later kept for U2, is the classic track that closes the album.  I loved Cassandra Wilson's cover of this on her 1995 album New Moon Daughter.

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This week has taught me that surprises await in places I've been reluctant, for whatever reason, to explore.  This whole project has been a bleating signal that sometimes when enough people say something is great--it mostly is.  And, yes, The Rolling Stones are that.  As for which camp I now claim as mine, I will wait until the end of the year to decide--after I've fully explored each of their landmark albums.

U2 is band I want to love...and Achtung Baby is the closest I ever came...When this album came out, I was a sophomore in high school... I haven't listened to it since then.  I am surprised by how well it has held up--though it will fade into the shadows, just as quickly as it re-emerged into my life this week.  I want to remain open to falling for The Joshua Tree, higher up the list.  Time will tell whether there will be a surprise lurking for me there.

Up Next

62: Guns N' Roses -- Appetite For Destruction (1987) 61: Sly & The Family Stone -- Greatest Hits (1970)