Saturday, October 15, 2005
Friday, October 14, 2005
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Eric Clapton's Unplugged was responsible for making acoustic-based music, and Unplugged albums in particular, a hot trend in the early '90s. Clapton's concert was not only one of the finest Unplugged episodes, but was also some of the finest music he had recorded in years. Instead of the slick productions that tainted his '80s albums, the music was straightforward and direct, alternating between his pop numbers and traditional blues songs. The result was some of the most genuine, heartfelt music the guitarist has ever committed to tape. And some of his most popular -- the album sold over seven million copies in the U.S. and won several Grammies.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
If psychedelic music had a voice in '90s post-punk, Mazzy Star may have been its strongest reincarnation. That doesn't necessarily mean that fans of the Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead will find the band to their liking, however. Mazzy Star much prefered the dark side of psychedelia, as exemplified by the most distended tracks of the Doors and the Velvet Underground. Their fuzzy guitar workouts and plaintive folky compositions are often suffused in a dissociative ennui that is very much of the 1990s, however much their textures may recall the drug-induced states of vintage psychedelia.
Monday, October 10, 2005
Faithfull’s immediately preceding albums, Dreaming My Dreams and Faithless (which in fact shared some tracks), had been in a relatively gentle folk or country and western style. The music on the new album was a far more contemporary fusion of rock, punk, new wave and dance, with liberal use of synthesizers. Critics also noted that Faithfull’s voice, after a number of years of drug abuse, had a lower register and a more world-weary quality than in the past, well suited to the often raw emotions expressed in the songs.
The album’s title track took inspiration from terrorist figures of the time, particularly Ulrike Meinhof of the Baader-Meinhof group. "Guilt" was informed by the Catholic upbringing of the singer and her composer Barry Reynolds. "The Ballad of Lucy Jordan", originally performed by Dr Hook, was a melancholy tale of middle class disillusionment; Faithfull's version became something of anthem and was used to appropriate effect on the soundtracks to the films Montenegro (1981) and Thelma and Louise (1991). "What’s the Hurry?" was described by Faithfull as reflecting the everyday desperation of the habitual drug user. Her cover of John Lennon’s "Working Class Hero", recorded as a tribute to her own heroes such as Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, David Bowie and Iggy Pop, and Lennon himself, was widely praised.
The last track, "Why D’Ya Do It?", was a caustic response to a lover’s betrayal set to a grinding tune inspired by Jimi Hendrix’s recording of Bob Dylan’s "All Along the Watchtower". Writer Heathcote Williams had originally intended the lyric for Tina Turner but Faithfull succeeded in convincing him that Turner would never record such a number. Its plethora of four-letter words and explicit references to oral sex caused controversy and led to a ban in Australia, where local pressings of the LP were released with smooth vinyl in place of the track and a 'bonus' 45 single as compensation (the ban did not extend to import copies). Whilst the song’s notoriety arguably guaranteed a favourable reception from contemporary critics, reappraisals over the years still tend to regard it as one of the album’s highlights.
The Official Website of Marianne Faithfull
Sunday, October 09, 2005
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