This has been an incredibly busy week for me. First off, we just finished the final mix for song #8 on the album...which leaves two more songs to mix, and then we're off to mastering and manufacturing!
I'm working with a local Jersey City artist named Kayt Hester (www.kaythester.com) on the album artwork. I can't wait to see what she comes up with. We just saw her latest exhibit at LITM, here in Jersey City, and I decided immediately that I wanted to work with her. Luckily for me, she was gracious enough to oblige. She uses hand-torn tape to create all of her work--and will be doing the same for the album artwork. Below is an example from her latest exhibit.
Also, this week we went on a road trip down to Asheville, NC for a few days--and then back through Durham. It was a grueling drive--but Asheville was completely worth it. We fell in love with it immediately.
Lastly, I'm starting my Masters Program at The New School this week. Really, it's Orientation Week--so there are mandatory presentations each night of the week from 6-9pm. Pair that with a full-time job, and the rest, and I'm admittedly running on fumes.
So, that's why this post is a bit tardy. Forgiven?
I hope so.
040: Love – Forever Changes (1967)
I wasn't sure about this one on first listen.
As with many albums that had come before, I had never heard this before this week. I had never heard anything of this band Love--but with a name like Love, a spot so high on this list, and great artwork to boot, how bad could it be.
First off, the song Alone Again Or starts in that maddening way where the guitar is panned hard right--so that you think your headphones are broken or not plugged in all the way. Then the stereo kicks in just before the first verse comes in.
Musically, I was on board with the album from first listen. Then lyrics like "and the water's turned to blood and if you don't think so go turn on your tub" in A House Is Not A Motel, or "Oh the snot has caked against my pants. It has turned into crystal. There's a blue bird sitting on a branch. I guess I'll take my pistol." from Live And Let Live, floated into my awareness, and I was left, like, "Huh??"
For context and counsel, I picked up the 33 1/3 book by Andrew Hultkrans. Full disclosure, I read just over half of this book and got stuck--remember, I'm at capacity this week. The book focuses on the prophetic nature of Arthur Lee's (and band's) otherworldly lyrics. He explains (in an almost too-academic, aren't I brilliant, prose for my liking) the deep feeling Arthur Lee had at the time that this was to be his last album. It was in the height of the Vietnam war, Love was at the top of their game. This album then came out and was largely ignored, being revived and sustained mostly by the UK and worldwide music journalists.
Andrew Hultkrans also says in the book that this is one of the two most difficult albums he's had to break into in his life (the other being Neutral Milk Hotel's In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, an album I have yet to attempt). Normally, when someone says it takes an album many spins before you can enjoy it (like they did with Trout Mask Replica) I throw my hands, and choose not to play along. My thought being that if an album (or film, book, or TV show) isn't enjoyable in the first few attempts, it isn't worth it.
As I said above, I enjoyed this record from the first listen. Each subsequent listen I've been intrigued by some new element that I hadn't heard before.
This is one of the few examples where the fifth listen came, the week was up, and I still realized that I needed to listen to this record many more times.
039: The Beatles – Please Please Me (1963)
Once again, The Beatles appear on this list--this the second of their seven albums in the top 100.
I had only listened to two records of theirs before this project--The White Album, and more recently, Abbey Road.
This is their debut album. One interesting note for me is that, while this is the first album from two of the world's best songwriters of all time, almost half these songs are covers. Even this, though, was unprecedented at the time. Yet more staggering is that the bulk of this album (10 songs) was recorded in three 3-hour sessions IN ONE DAY, giving this album its undeniable and raw electricity.
One of my favorite songs here is Ask Me Why.
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Also, I love their cover of A Taste Of Honey.
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I really loved both of these records, in very different ways.
Love's Forever Changes is the kind of record I will listen to many times, and will most likely continue to glean new layers and meanings with each spin. I am anxious to have the time to listen to this one more. Let's say this is an album that earns the label "art".
The Beatles' Please Please Me is simply irresistible. The album captures the young band's infectious love of music, and hints at their genius just around the bend. While this album isn't among their more artful, it certainly is a joy to listen to.
Want to listen ahead, or see some posts you may have missed? Check out the full list of the 100 Greatest Albums here.