Another week down. I booked the Album Release Show for Held Momentarily. The album will be released on January, 20, 2015. The show will be at Rockwood Stage 3 on Thursday, January 22, 2015 at 7PM. I am excited to be playing Rockwood for my first time in over a year and a half. I'll post more information as it becomes available.
I also edited a promotional video of a conversation I had with my brother, Josiah Correll, about the making of my new album. You can watch it here, and check out samples of each of the songs on my new album. We filmed it on a rooftop in Jersey City. The video includes clips of various locations around Jersey City--where I love and call home.
014: The Beatles – Abbey Road (1969)
First off--this album, as with all other Beatles' albums, is not available on any streaming service. So, I can't very well embed a player for you...and I'm sorry.
I'm gearing up to spend a lot of time with The Beatles over the next several weeks--four albums in the top 10 alone. I've meant to do this for over 15 years...now's as good a time as any.
I had bought this album a couple of years back when they did a tribute to the album on The 2012 Grammy's.
That was the year Paul McCartney led a medley of songs from Abbey Road: Golden Slumbers, Carry That Weight, You Never Give Me Your Money, The End, [Extended Guitar Solo Pissing Contest].
I loved some of those bits and wanted to hear the full songs. Normally when you hear a medley, it's an amalgamation of full-length songs that have been crammed together in a witty way to give you bits of what you love into a singular, tasty casserole. I was disappointed to learn that those bits were the most ever committed to tape. There are no full-length versions.
That's maybe not a fair way to introduce this album. But it's the way I was exposed to it.
Thanks a lot, Grammy's.
Some of their best songs are from this album: Come Together, Something, I Want You (She's So Heavy), and Here Comes The Sun. There are also the great tracks Oh! Darling, Because (which I first heard as an Elliott Smith cover on the American Beauty soundtrack), and You Never Give Me Your Money (perhaps my favorite here). The left-field tracks--Maxwell's Silver Hammer and (Ringo's odd) Octopus's Garden--grew on me over repeated listens.
After 9 full-length songs, the album finishes with a "suite" of songs that were never finished, giving the album's second half an air of operatic proportions. Paul and John had all of these song fragments that they couldn't finish. George Martin, who produced this record, decided he would record what they had and weave them together into a synthesized whole.
For me, the "suite" is not as satisfying in a song sense. But in a production sense, it is an impressive feat.
This is the last album The Beatles worked on. Let It Be (not on this list) came out as their last album, but was mostly recorded before Abbey Road.
013: The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)
I was first exposed to The Velvet Underground and Nico on The Royal Tenenbaums soundtrack. I liked the songs (neither from this album), and yet for some reason I can't explain, it didn't lead me to check out this album. I had never heard it until this week.
For some context, I turned to the 33 1/3 Series for their volume covering this album, written by Joe Harvard. This was one of the more rewarding books I've read from the series. It perfectly covers the formation of the band, the making of this album, the societal context, song-specific reflections, the public response at the time, all the way to the long term importance of this album. In short--everything you want and need to know about this album is covered in this short, short book.
This album was very controversial in its time. Lou Reed wanted to bring to Rock & Roll songwriting some of the edgier subject matter he'd read in more pulpy novels he was in to. He wanted to be sure not to write the kind of "moon-June" love songs that were popular at the time. I think he achieved that. Here he covers scoring 26 bucks worth of heroin in the upper west side, sado-masochism, to the drug scene in Union Square.
The band were embraced by Andy Warhol, who became their manager, had them play at his parties, and ultimately got them their record deal. The label was not thrilled about Reed's voice--so Warhol encouraged them to add model, actress and singer Nico to the lineup. She only stayed in the band for this record...but you can feel the balance she adds to this album--adding a sultry lightness to Lou's dark and gritty songs.
This album made me feel similarly to the way I felt with Horses earlier in this list. It's very moody, dark, and scary--but also exciting to see what a different world an artist can create and explore. Many people talk about boundary-pushing albums--but few actually have the way that these two records do (still).
My favorite tracks here are Venus In Furs, All Tomorrow's Parties, and I'll Be Your Mirror. I have to admit the last two songs lost me. I got so far though. So far.
I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical about Abbey Road. I thought that the song suite thing was just something they'd done to fulfill their album obligation to the record label. It wasn't until I started writing this that I realized that there are 9 full-length tracks--more than enough for any album. Would the album be better off without the medley of unfinished songs? I don't think so. But do I still wish some of those bits got the full attention of these three songwriting geniuses (sorry Ringo)? You bet. Especially Golden Slumbers.
Velvet Underground is not what I would typically seek out. This album is cool on many layers...and opened up the content that songwriters could explore ever since. There's also a beautiful blend of melody and noise. A lot of times with edgy bands, the focus is all on noise--as if that's the heartbeat of edge. It's more interesting to me how Lou Reed and John Cale (et al) establish that they know how to write and execute beautiful songs, filthy and voyeuristic content, and experimental noise. I'm glad I finally got around to this album.
012: Miles Davis – Kind of Blue (1959) 011: Elvis Presley – The Complete Sun Sessions
Want to listen ahead, or see some posts you may have missed? Check out the full list of the 100 Greatest Albums here.