Well...this is my first post on my new SquareSpace site.  I'm testing the interface before I officially move everything over...but so far so good.  It's a bit of a learning curve--having used WordPress for the past several years.  I really liked WP, because it gave me the flexibility to obsess about and tinker with every little detail.  But with WP, you have to rely on various web hosts to serve up your site.  Hosts I've used in the past few years have all started out great--and then got sketchy pretty quickly (yes, I'm talking to you MediaTemple and DreamHost).

So, I thought I'd try SquareSpace because the design and hosting is all contained in a single eco-system.  We'll see how it works out in the end...but I've heard good things from others who've used them up until now.

Quick plug--I'm playing my last show in NYC next Thursday night at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 3: April 16th, at 7PM.  You can buy tickets here.  I'll explain why it will be my last show (for a while anyway) next week.

080: Radiohead – The Bends (1995)

Radiohead is one of my favorite bands of all time.  This is the album that captured my attention.  I had loved "Creep" when it came out, but could never really get in to the rest of their debut album.  When this, their sophomore, album came out, I was hooked by songs like "High and Dry" and "Fake Plastic Trees".  

Listening to it again this week was probably the first time I'd heard the record, cohesively, in several years.

There is not a weak song on the album.  There were five charting singles from this album (in order of release): "My Iron Lung", "High and Dry", "Fake Plastic Trees", "Just", and "Street Spirit (Fade Out)". 

I feel like it's aged really well too...is that just me?  Is it because it came out the year I went off to college that I want to believe it still sounds modern?  Though many bands came after that tried to sound similar, how could anyone ape this album?

I really love the cover of Black Star that Gillian Welch did several years back--proof that well-written songs can be sung in any genre and still sound right.

079: The White Stripes – Elephant (2003)

I never really got into The White Stripes.  

I have tremendous respect for Jack White's talents--but had never really listened to their albums, so I didn't have an opinion about Meg White.  I just knew that Ray LaMontagne wrote a love song for her called, fittingly, "Meg White".

I had heard criticism about Meg's drumming...and I get that her timing isn't solid...but her feel is rawkus and vibrant though, if a little unsteady at moments.  

Being who I am, I like the quieter moments of this album...enjoyed the more rock tunes...but wouldn't really add any of them to a playlist.

I liked Meg's ambivalent delivery of "In The Cold, Cold Night".

I really loved hearing Jack's more tender side on "You've Got Her In Your Pocket".

My favorite song on the record, though, is probably "Little Acorns".  I really love the new vocal tones Jack is trying out--following the spoken word intro about squirrels hoarding nuts for the winter.  I also liked how the piano motif at the beginning becomes the heavy guitar riff at the proper beginning of the song.

 

Verdict

I was reminded of how much I love "The Bends".  I appreciate the more straight-forward songwriting of this record--not to say I don't love the more adventurous records that followed.

I got to see more sides of The White Stripes than from what I'd heard before.  Ultimately, I'm still not sold for myself...but respect what they're doing.

Up Next

078: DJ Shadow – Endtroducing….. (1996)
077: Derek and The Dominos – Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (1970)

Want to listen ahead, or see some posts you may have missed?  Check out the full list of the 100 Greatest Albums here.

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