Day 2 of background listening and snap decisions
Fewer albums were listened to today as there were more reasons to be away from my desk. Today was also a strange day as there wasn't a single album/artist for which I didn't have a preconceived opinion. This is wrong of me, as I don’t believe that I have ever actually listened to the records.
How short sighted I must be if I can know what I think without giving something the chance to prove me wrong? Or maybe that should be how foresighted must I be to have actually been correct on each of my presumptions?
Seeing the line up, it's clear I don't really possess any sort of mystical abilities, these are some of the biggest acts in the world, and (other than Coldplay) bands by whom I own other albums. In the case of Nirvana I liked ‘Nevermind’ (in fact I just bought tickets to see the album performed live by several of Seattle's current hot bands, including an appearance by Krist Novoselic. The show is actually a benefit for a mainstay of the Seattle music scene who had the audacity to contract cancer in this first world country; a country that believes that healthcare is a luxury, a privilege rather than a basic human right. Still… Enough of that...)
I’m not too sure where Tunnel of Love falls in Bruce's catalog, I have clearly heard some of his other stuff. I own 'Born to Run' and 'the Ghost of Tom Joad' (I like the latter quite a lot) but he's not someone who I have really paid much attention to, and yet is someone that I know people idolize. (I'm slightly sad Elvis Costello isn't on this list as, while being a totally different musical genre seems to hold a similar place in people’s hearts, and is someone who I also only own two of his records. 'Spike' & 'Painted from Memory')
And then Public Enemy... Public Enemy might have been heroes to many but they never meant shit to me....
(but seriously, I own 'Fear of a Black Planet' (after having my rap-interests piqued by 'This is the Day... This is the Hour...') but found PE as a whole to be a little too frenetic form my simple tastes. )
So on to the mini first impressions -
Public Enemy – It Takes a Nation of Millions to hold us back -- Starting with ‘Bring the Noise’ is a good thing as I know the track from the (superior to my ears) PE/Anthrax version; ‘Don’t Believe the Hype’ is also well known to me. Both tracks are enjoyable and I am finding myself listening rather than backrounding. My original criticism of PE from way back is that for me I want my rap/hip-hop to be slower and packed with sci-fi looping. PE tends to be way more high energy, up front and attention grabbing than my listening can sustain for too long; this listen through confirms that. It starts thrilling but my enthusiasm quickly burns out, although, certain hooks did bring me back up to thrilltime throughout.
Bruce Springsteen - Tunnel of Love -- First track grabbed me with a "is this Bruce Springsteen?" but the rest of the album really floated into the background. Not necessarily in a bad way, but in a way that gave me the feeling that I was hearing background music in neon-lit battered beer-stinking and bourbon-stained wooden bars. Which is maybe the point? (again not a bad point to make.)
Nirvana - In Utero -- This is definitely an 'I didn't bother to listen back in the day' record. ‘Nevermind’ was a great standalone record, I didn't need anything else from them. I listened to Bleach, didn't like it went back to ‘Nevermind’... Plus as a student at the time; I found myself not wanting to align with the non-alt crowd who had adopted Nirvana by the time ‘In Utero’ came out. I made every effort not to hear it, but it It turns out I do know at least a few of the songs thanks to the Unplugged album (the unplugged counterparts struck me as better). The rest of the tracks rest struck me as unnecessary (as I had made up my mind that they would). The dung-dung-danananananaar teen spirit riffs seemed to pop out way too many times during the background listen. Maybe I am just getting old much of the album sounds like a lot of screamy noise.
Coldplay - A Rush of Blood to the Head -- Again the start sounded quite welcome after the last couple of Nirvana’s irritating noise tracks (which really did sound like the band was trying to piss their public off). Two minutes into the first Coldplay dirge and it sounds so deliberately plodding that it brings back memories of trying keep together all members of a reluctant pack of youngsters being forced to go for a hike, and putting more effort into protesting that into actually doing it. I will listen to the words on the next play though, I will try to drop my preconceptions, but the sounds which came from my speakers irritated. (But again, people love it, so I want to try and hear what they love...)