Held Momentarily will be released this week (on Tuesday, January 20th)!! If you're in the NYC area, I'll be playing my album release show on Thursday, January 22nd at 7PM at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 3.  I'd love to see you there!  You can get tickets to the show here.

I'm posting a track from my new album each week until the official release.   If you haven't already, check out the promotional video for the album on youtube (or here).

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"So Well Loved" is the second song on the album.  These chords have been with me for a while, and have been in other songs I'd written, but eventually discarded...but I could never get the chords out of my head.  I began strumming them again, and decided to write a new song with them.  To me, the song is about the hope that comes from the right love.  After having searched for it in many different forms, and being disappointed, it's easy to give up on the idea of love.  It's a gift to find that it is out there, if we keep ourselves open to the possibility--regardless of past failings.  I've been told that this song feels like a growth out of my second album "Rebirth".  The recording features Jonathan Ahrens on bass, and was mixed by Igor Stolarsky.

098 - Kraftwerk - Trans Europe Express

098: Kraftwerk - Trans-Europa Express/Trans Europe Express (1977)

I had never heard this album either--no surprise, I'm sure.

I have heard them referenced by many bands that I do love, and can hear Kraftwerk's definite influence now--Daft Punk, Air, Radiohead, etc.  While the synth sounds have progressed a lot from those used on this record...the moody and paranoid vibe of this record is a direct parent to these bands' sounds.

It's crazy that this album was created in 1977.  It's got an 80's sound--but one that endures, unlike much of the music of the 80's (in my humble opinion).  In fact, this album became a big hit in the UK almost 5 years after it's release.  It influenced so many bands of that time, especially Joy Division.  It is also considered a forefather of all electronica that has come since.

So that's the pedigree...what of the album?

I love the vibe of The Hall of Mirrors and Showroom Dummies.

My overall feeling, from the first listen on through listening to it now, all of the songs go a minute or two longer than they should.  If they were a little tighter, they would be more effective--or if they grew or modulated to a greater degree.  I get that this was the dawn of the sound, and much of the technology (specifically the custom-made step sequencer they used)...but the songs kind of stick in a repetitive groove for too long.

I can see how Metal on Metal probably influenced a lot of industrial music that came later--like Nine Inch Nails.

Trans-Europe Express was also sampled by Afrika Bambaataa & Soul Sonic Force's Planet Rock (and later by Dr. Dre, Busta Rhymes, De La Soul, and Lil Wayne).  So it's reach is truly impressive.

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097 - Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

097: Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)

I had heard this one, and was really blown away by it when I heard it back when it was released.

I liked Kanye's first few albums, but kind of lost interest after 808's and Heartbreaks.

Turns out he was having a nervous breakdown around the release of that album.  His mom died in 2007, of a cardiac arrest related to a plastic surgery operation.  He was working tirelessly and had his infamous incident at the 2009 MTV Music Awards where he interrupted Taylor Swift to give a shout-out to Beyonce's video.

So, he went to Hawaii to rejuvenate and work on a new album.  He brought with him a slew of musicians and producers (including Alicia Keys, John Legend, Justin Vernon [of Bon Iver fame], Drake, Dwele, Nicki Minaj, Rhianna, among many others).  He recorded at Avex Recording Studio in Honolulu and booked three studios.  He kept each room working simultaneously.  He would leave one studio (even if they were in the zone) to work on a different song--following his muse from moment to moment.

When I first heard the album, I was blown away by two songs: Monster and Lost In The World.  Nicki Minaj's contribution to Monster blew my mind then, and still does.  She embodies several personas in one verse...from a baby-voiced Barbie to a truly terrifying roar by the end.  I was in to Bon Iver at the time, and really loved Lost In The World for his contribution...but Kanye makes it his own and the song goes from quiet reflection to bombastic dance thumper.

This album presents Kanye at his most despicable, but also as a truly vulnerable man.  The production is astounding...with absolutely no filler.  It is, at times, difficult to listen to while the album also worms its way into your brain.

[embed]http://open.spotify.com/user/jessecor/playlist/0mrRY6x9wPCAqsQb8Zqhyj[/embed]

Verdict

I am glad I finally took the time to listen to Kraftwerk.  I don't think I'll add this record to my collection--though I certainly respect it.  I have to say I loved My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and will keep the album in my collection--and dig it up from time to time.

Up Next

094: Iggy and The Stooges - Raw Power (1973) 093: The Stooges - Fun House (1970)

Want to listen ahead, or see some posts you may have missed? You can see the completed Rolling Stone Top 100 here, or use the Acclaimed Music list of the 100 Greatest Albums here.

 

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