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~ Established 2011 ~

Last updated: January 4th, 2017

NOTE: This page is under construction, so some older reviews might appear different from the newest ones. Some changes may also affect the layout of artist pages, and some links may not work.

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Beach Boys – Smiley Smile

Year: 1967
Record Rating = 7
Overall Rating = 11

Best Song: HEROES AND VILLAINS or GOOD VIBRATIONS

Something major happened in 1967 that pretty much ruined Brian Wilson, and consequently the Beach Boys, almost permanently, most definitely in the commercial sense. The story of Brian's SMiLE project, a so-called "teenage symphony to God", is an essential part to rock mythology, which began with the 1966 single "Good Vibrations" that was held off from Pet Sounds, whose unique arrangement and production would be the basis of Brian's project, who would be completely focused on the music, as the lyrics duty was handed over to a certain poet Van Dyke Parks, who would take Brian's ideas and put them to words much as Tony Asher did the year before. The weight of the project proved to be too much for Brian, with internal struggles in the group (Mike would question Parks on his bizarre lyrics), drug problems, and external pressures, such as the Beatles possibly achieving what Brian was striving for in their 1967 single "Strawberry Fields Forever".

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Something Else by the Kinks (1967)

by the Kinks
Overall Rating=
14

Best Song: DAVID WATTS or DEATH OF A CLOWN or WATERLOO SUNSET

he Kinks' fifth album has a bit of a mixed reputation. It sold poorly, having to compete with low-budget compilations of their own earlier singles in the UK and simply being ignored in the States for their live performance and TV appearance ban on that side of the Atlantic. On the other hand, the critics seemed to quite like it at the time, not that it would have made much of a difference. Even if the album stood a chance, no one was going to give a non-psychedelic LP in mid-1967 much attention – even the Rolling Stones would kowtow to the standards of the time by the end of the year – unless maybe you were Bob Dylan. What's worse is that, since the online critic boom, even the album's critical reputation has diminished somewhat, especially in the amateur (read: not paid) circles, putting it down as being the three big songs and a sea of boring filler. As you can tell from the high grade I give it, I'm certainly not of that opinion.

That being said, the three big numbers remain to be the pillars of greatness that make each listen to the record a treat, and are most definitely among the Kinks' finest songs, and leave me so perplexed in picking the best that I'm letting them share the "best song" accolade.

[Read on...]

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Stevie Wonder – I Was Made to Love Her

Year: 1967
Record Rating = 8
Overall Rating = 12

Best Song: I WAS MADE TO LOVE HER

Now this is an album to get excited about. While Stevie's 1966 albums were artistically more interesting than any of the ones that preceded it, there was still that extra commercial boost missing: singles like "Uptight" and "Blowin' in the Wind" did fine enough on the charts, yet somehow none of the singles released managed to top 1963's "Fingertips" in terms of chart position. It wasn't until the release of "I Was Made to Love Her", and the identically-titled ensuing LP, that Motown got – I imagine – the second biggest hit of their young prodigy's career, managing to go as high as number one for the first time in four years. It certainly was time to rejoice.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Lumpy Gravy (1967)

by Frank Zappa
Overall Rating =
9

Best Song: SINK TRAP

"Wait a minute, that's not the right cover for Zappa's Lumpy Gravy! What the hell's going on here?"

Now, my dear skeptics, that is indeed the original cover of Zappa's first solo album. The record has a far more complicated history than what you may have heard. In 1967, Capitol Records commissioned Frank to compose and conduct an album of orchestral music, which was to be released on 4-track by the label. Zappa figured it wouldn't be a breech of contract with Verve/MGM as long as he was just conducting an album, so he went along with the idea and came up with the original version of the album. It was quickly withdrawn when MGM threatened to sue, stating it was against Zappa's contract, and since he was already work on the No Commercial Potential project – enough material to cover his next three or so albums – decided to re-edit the original Lumpy Gravy with some new stuff from his then-current project and released the better-known mid-1968 release of the strangely titled record.

Since the original version did see a limited release in the 1967 and was rereleased as part of the Lumpy Money boxset (this album, its re-edited version, the Mothers' third LP and some unreleased outtakes), it technically counts in my mind as a real album, so here I am reviewing it. It is pretty impressive to hear a rock guitar player compose and conduct an orchestral suite, but the impression pretty much ends and stops there. The lack of lyrics or spoken parts – other than what sounds like the producer commenting from the control room near the end – is one particular negative, because it makes the album humor-free, and whether you like Zappa's sense of humor or not (and it's certainly iffy at times), it's a big part of his identity, and lacking it leads to the inevitable disinterest in the record.

[Read on...]

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967)

by Pink Floyd
Overall Rating =
13

Best Song: ASTRONOMY DOMINE

The original Pink Floyd, the Syd Barrett-led one, is a very different nut from the better-known mid-'70s art rock giant they became. Given the era, this shouldn't come as a surprise, but don't think of it as something akin to other art rock group's earliest offerings as immature, pedestrian psych-pop leanings. Pink Floyd's debut is in a class of its own, and one of the most outstandingly revolutionary albums of 1967, a year not particularly lacking in mind-blowing innovations. Instead of following the Flower Power side of things like quite a few psychedelic acts at the time, the Floydsters were headed for a more astral sound, taking their cues from the Who's feedback experimentations (and possibly Hendrix's similar amplifier-generated sound-creations), adding a bit more drugs and employed the skills EMI offered with former right-hand man to the Beatles' producer George Martin, engineer-turned-producer Norman Smith.

The opening number alone would justify buying this album, and is the one must-hear song to acquire the right understanding of Barrett Floyd's space rock sound. With a name like "Astronomy Domine", it probably already give you a pretty good hint at its otherworldly content, though not by spoiling the picture completely.

[Read on...]

Friday, February 20, 2015

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)

by the Beatles
Overall Rating =
15

Best Song: A DAY IN THE LIFE

The Beatles were never the kind of band to settle with just one or two all-time great albums. After Revolver, an album already chock-full of terrific experimental pop songs, the only way you could top that is have an idea that would put them all together (and no, the LSD consumption that permeates their 1966 doesn't count). The solution to their problems was to make a concept album. Sgt. Pepper certainly wouldn't be the first concept album: Frank Sinatra and Bill Haley were two performers of the '50s whose albums consisted of songs with a running theme – not exactly War and Peace-level ideas, but it's a step that-a way – and two albums released the previous year could be considered concept albums, Zappa's Freak Out! (the mocking of generic pop in favor of music concrète) on one hand, or the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, with its creative orchestral arrangements and personal song matter. As it turns out, it was this very Brian Wilson-bred masterpiece that inspired the Beatles the most, and while there are plenty of sonic differences between the two (which I mention so that Pet Sounds diehards won't accuse the Beatles of being derivative), the execution of the albums had a common denominator.

By execution, I don't mean the method of killing Louis XVI, but the means that led to the album's creation. Brian's isolation from the group's touring unit and the inspiration of a previous album (the Beatles' Rubber Soul) convinced him to make something consistently brilliant, so it should only make sense that the Beatles' first step should be to quit touring. Of course, when the Liverpool boys ended their live career in the summer of 1966, there was a multitude of reasons that made the decision easy. Firstly, they were disappointed in the way they started to sound, which they had only noticed on their Japanese tour, where audiences were quiet and respectable. Secondly, they felt a bit trapped by having to perform live, either because people just saw them as musical puppets (which is when John suggested to send wax dolls and play their records and no one would notice) or because they started receiving death threats, which made getting to a show tiresome. Thirdly, they couldn't bring their latest material to the stage without hacking at the compositions' integrity. To continue recording music as creative as this, the end of this part of their existence was seemingly the only viable option.

[Read on...]

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Absolutely Free (1967)

by the Mothers of Invention
Overall Rating =
12

Best Song: BROWN SHOES DON'T MAKE IT

Good evening ladies and gentlemen… No, this is not the President of the United States speaking; this is your favorite run-of-the-mill generic music critic Mr. X. Tonight, I'll be reviewing Frank Zappa's Absolutely Free, which by pure coincidence, also makes reference to the President of the United States giving speeches and also seems juvenile and ridiculous, by which I mean "something that ridicules". Gone are the clever doo-wop parodies and musique concrète, so ingeniously placed side by side to make the concept come to life. With his second record with the Mothers of Invention, featuring less of Ray Collins on lead vocals and more of newcomer Bunk Gardner on a variety of woodwind instruments, Frank's social commentary becomes more prevalent, taking the political mockery of "Hungry Freaks, Daddy" and "Trouble Every Day" in a new direction.

Formally, the songs are shown to be even more conceptual than last time, since each of the sides of the vinyl disc represents an oratorio, an ironic choice for Frank since it has certain religious ties, and we can all figure religion is something he'd be willing to mock (and does at some point on the record). Anyways, the first of these musical suites shares its name with the LP, and it's about the life of vegetables, and the second of these is called "The M.O.I. American Pageant", and it's about life of the average American. Clearly, a parallel is supposed to be drawn here, but aside from opening the record with a song better suited for the second half, Frank doesn't bother to make it as clear as the "doo-wop: bad, musique concrète: good" equation from his debut. Ironically, the focus on the conceptuality is to the detriment of the music – not majorly, but occasionally – yet the concept never seems to stimulate that certain something that makes you go "wow!".

[Read on...]

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Are You Experienced? (1967)

by the Jimi Hendrix Experience
Overall Rating =
14

Best Song: LOVE OR CONFUSION (or PURPLE HAZE from the bonus tracks)

It takes getting a talented young black guitar player from Seattle, Washington to move to the UK, meet with a former member of a semi-prominent British Invasion group and make him his producer/manager (bassist Chas Chandler of the Animals), jam with Eric Clapton and Cream, and create a power trio to truly show the world what "hard rock" can mean. Yes, there had been hard rock songs in the past: the Who's "My Generation" and the Kinks' "You Really Got Me" were prototypal distorted guitar riff fiestas, and of course Link Wray's seminal 1958 classic "Rumble" invented the power chord. And Jimi Hendrix wasn't necessarily the first to use feedback: again, Link Wray's hit briefly explored it, the Who and the Kinks made it a significant part of their live act and even the Beatles exploited it in the form of an accidental intro to their "I Feel Fine" single.

And yet, hard rock as we know it today might not have existed without the help of Mr. John Allen Hendrix, his first three singles or his debut album. He took the blues, rock 'n' roll and R&B from the big names he backed (Little Richard and the Isley Brothers, for example), he took the mystique and the words from the folk world – especially Bob Dylan – and he took the innovations from the British bands – the riffs, the distortion, the feedback – and, with a little help from his inimitable guitar playing (unless your Stevie Ray Vaughan, but then sometimes imitation doesn't have quite the effect of invention) and his trusty rhythm section, he managed to shatter the rock world.

As was the standard in mid-to-late '60s England, the singles were not included on the original LP, but since the CD age, the three a-sides and their respective b-sides have made it as bonus tracks to the album, tracks every bit as essential to the Hendrix myth than the album proper. In a rather unorthodox assembly, my edition of the album begins with the six bonus tracks, though I prefer it than the mishmash North American CD that takes the three UK-only album tracks and the b-sides at the end, or even having the six single sides in order, but after the title track. These tunes preceded the LP, and dammit, that's how I want to hear them, right at the start.

[Read on...]

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Younger Than Yesterday (1967)

by the Byrds
Overall Rating =
14

Best Song: EVERYBODY'S BEEN BURNED or THOUGHTS AND WORDS

And the fun continues. While in 1966, the Byrds managed to make something out of a dire situation – the loss of Gene Clark – by proving McGuinn and Crosby could create great songs and interesting experiments on their own, there still must have been a small doubt on their abilities by early 1967. After all, the best song for many, myself included, on Fifth Dimension was "Eight Miles High", which was a Clark/McGuinn/Crosby collaboration, and not everyone was particularly impressed with a few of McGuinn's sonic experiments (like "The Lear Jet Song") or Crosby's semi-melodic ramblings (like "What's Happening?!?!"), so the question still arose "well who else can contribute to the songwriting pool?" The answer, my friend, wasn't blowin' in the wind; in fact, it was right there under their noses, or at least, under their guitars. Yes, the solution was to have bassist Chris Hillman write some songs on his own.

Honestly, I don't see how this could have possibly happened. Having Clark, McGuinn and Crosby as songwriters whose abilities ranged from very good to excellent is quite a lot for a group, but to think that this quiet guy who at most added a fourth voice to the harmonies when necessary, or getting co-credit for arrangement of traditional tunes or "writing" R&B jams, had his own talent to burn is quite shocking indeed. Who could have known he had songs like these stored in his brain? Perhaps if he had helped with Turn! Turn! Turn! (other than suggesting they cover "A Satisfied Mind", that is), then we'd have had something more on par with their debut. Or perhaps it was for the better to let him wait and unleash his talent in one shot, with four solo contributions and one collaboration with Jim McGuinn –now known as Roger except in the official songwriting credits (that would have to wait until the next record) – to ensure that this record would hold up to be one of the group's best.

[Read on...]

Monday, February 16, 2015

Between the Buttons (1967)

by the Rolling Stones
Overall Rating =
15

Best Song: WHO'S BEEN SLEEPING HERE?

From what I understand, there seems to be a misconception of the differences between an album that's underrated and an album that's overlooked. When an album is underrated, it's given some sort of attention; for it be under-rated, it's being valued as weak or inessential, but there's a following that might support it despite the criticism. Bob Dylan's 1970 Self Portrait is an example of an album where the critics hated it and convinced the people that hated it, but some black sheep (fellow online critics George Starostin and John McFerrin) actually find some goodness to it. Or since I'm reviewing the Stones here, their late-'67 Their Satanic Majesties' Request can be called an "underrated" album. It was scoffed at for being a psychedelic rip-off, but some might be fans of it for proving them to be able to morph into an acid-tripping sonic machine.

And yet, their first album from 1967 is not underrated. It's overlooked. In between the praise that Aftermath gets and the controversy Satanic causes, it slips through the cracks. It doesn't help that the band themselves virtually ignore it; Mick has called it filler-ish, and the only thing off of it to be performed live with some sort of frequency was the double a-side single substituting a couple of tracks for the US release. As you can plainly see from the grade I give it, I don't think this album should be ignored. It's not the experimental yet blues-soaked pop of its predecessor, nor is it psychedelic like its successor.

That might sound odd for a 1967 record, but remember that it came out in January, so it was actually recorded in 1966. No, stylistically, this is "Carnaby Street: The Musical". Taking Kinks-influenced music hall, Bob Dylan-esque wordgames and Beatles-level melodies, mixing it with their own misogyny and sarcasm, they create the ideal Swingin' London soundtrack, a style in which only The Who Sell Out and maybe something from the Small Faces could compete. While it's not exactly a concept album, there's a certain sense of unity to the LP (somewhat disrupted by the otherwise fantastic "Let's Spend the Night Together"/"Ruby Tuesday" single in the US version), so this is one where a song-by-song run through might be in order.

[Read on...]

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Doors (1967)

by the Doors
Overall Rating =
13

Best Song: LIGHT MY FIRE

The Doors were not the sort of band who had to work their way up. From the beginning the had their style fully fleshed out. First, there's the organ and guitar-based sound, taking the innovations of the Animals and Van Morrison's Them a step further, and that's not just referring to the lack of an in-group bassist, the functions of which are replaced by Fender Rhodes keyboard bass courtesy of Ray Manzarek's left hand. Then, there's the mysticism, which can partly accredited to the musical combo, but the bulk of the responsibility lies on Jim Morrison, whose grand, poetic and prophetic voice can make even the most generic lovey-dovey pop song sound like a grand statement.

[Read on...]

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Got Live If You Want It! (1966)

by the Rolling Stones
Overall Rating =
11

Best Song: NOT FADE AWAY

This is rarely referred to the Stones' best live release, and it certainly wasn't their first live release, nor was the name previously unused: in 1965, a UK EP with this title was released, which, with the release of a full show from that tour on iTunes substituting it in my collection, won't be reviewed in a while. The trouble with live recordings from before 1968 – at least in the rock world – is the sound quality leaves a lot to be desired, with the screaming audiences seem to shadow the actual performances, not something you get from grizzled bluesmen or jazz big band shows. Yet, while this album is miles away from the Who's Live at Leeds or even the Stones' very own Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out!, this still manages to be a very interesting live LP, certainly not one to be dismissed, or even disowned (possibly owing to the fact that it was only released in the US giving cause to Mick and the boys abandoning it).

One clear advantage over other early live records is that the sound is decent, and when the audience gets too feisty, it manages to add to the energy level rather than the annoyance one. It also manages to entice the band to play louder, which only notches up the excitement even higher. It's sloppy, true, but it manages to be fun, rather than juvenile, and is far from the sterility of other group's late-period reunion shows, the timidity of less daring groups at the time and the Stones' later poseur-ish persona since the mid-to-late '70s.

[Read on...]

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Quick One (1966)

by the Who
Overall Rating =
12

Best Song: SO SAD ABOUT US

Although the Who's singles were selling well in England, they barely scraped by in the States, and even if they were incredibly sought out live attraction, they weren't making much money, paradoxically because their live popularity forced them to continue to destroy their instruments, which had become the hook to their concerts since around late '64 or so. Even worse, they had to deal with a lawsuit from their previous record producer Shel Talmy which led to their single releases in 1966 to be an awfully confused affair. At the helm as producer following the suit was one of their managers, Kit Lambert, who, despite the odds, was a better producer than Talmy despite a background in filmmaking. In a way, he was their George Martin: a bit less talented behind the mixing desk, perhaps, but was part of the creative unit, inspiring their creativity through his own preference for classical music.

One of his creative ideas that many people believe to be a detriment to the Who's second LP was that all four members should contribute a minimum of two compositions for the LP, increasing their profits to solve their monetary woes as well as branching out artistic outlets. I do agree that this diversity is a minor issue. It gives the album a scrambled feel, drawing the focus away from Pete's already established songwriting abilities and concentrating on the others less developed styles. In at least one case, the gamble was worthwhile, but for Roger, the songwriting practically stops here (he only offered one song, though; perhaps he felt his co-writing "Anyway Anyhow Anywhere" was justification for this lack of productivity), only offering a handful of songs since, and that includes his solo career. That being said, the Keith Moon prominence shifts the focus from serious composition to having fun – his love for surf music seems to pervade despite the lack of actual surf-based music on the LP – so dismissing the album for not having a "My Generation" on it would be missing the point entirely.

[Read on...]

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Fresh Cream (1966)

by Cream
Overall Rating =
13

Best Song: I FEEL FREE or SPOONFUL

The modern British music community (i.e. anything not classical) must have been completely ecstatic when it was announced that Eric Clapton – Britain's young blues guitar hero –and a rhythm section of bassist/vocalist/harmonica player Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker – the former known for some session work for Manfred Mann and the duo known for their contribution and fighting in Britain's jazz/rock pioneers Graham Bond Organisation – would form a group together. They must have freaked out in a far more negative light when this trio didn't make the blues/jazz/rock combination to dominate the world but to make… a somewhat psychedelic pop-rock album with occasional blues songs?

Indeed, their first single, the non-album "Wrapping Paper" is as different as one would expect from these three gentlemen's pasts – a piece of proto-jazz-pop, beating Blood, Sweat & Tears, among others – that its surprising their fans didn't execute them altogether (though their purist fan might be inclined to wish so). The album proper is nowhere near as "shocking" as their debut 45, though. While the base of three of the originals from the original UK edition and a fourth one added to the US release are definitely in pop or psycho-pop (though blues elements can be found even in these), the covers are all in the blues or jazz field; some are poppified ever so slightly, but the blues-rock sound of the late-'60s/early-'70s is pretty much born somewhere between these tunes.

[Read on...]

Monday, February 09, 2015

Stevie Wonder – Down to Earth

Year: 1966
Record Rating = 7
Overall Rating = 11

Best Song: A PLACE IN THE SUN

After the exciting reboot of Stevie's career as a Motown soul-pop star with Up-Tight – masking its overall derivativeness with spades of charm and energy – his second 1966 LP initially seems like a bit of a disappointment. Instead of the upbeat pop with a soulful tinge, the focus has shifted on a more pure soul sound, though not always a stripped down – "down to earth", as the LP title would suggest – soul, what with a never overbearing yet seemingly questionable presence of orchestration. I was originally going to give it a 10 for its stronger numbers but give it a mild dismissal – still superior to anything he did between 1962-1964, but that's besides the point – yet finally discovered the attributes hidden by the year's big pop/rock masterpieces as well as by the fact it had to follow the first consistently enjoyable record in Wonder's career.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Revolver (1966)

by the Beatles
Overall Rating =
15

Best Song: ELEANOR RIGBY

At the time, it must have been difficult to see how the Beatles could possibly top Rubber Soul. How much further can you turn pop into a mature genre? There was never any reason to doubt them, though, because mature pop is one thing, but this album is pop/rock that smells of A-R-T. Songs like "Wait" and "Run for Your Life", good as they were, still related to their teeny pop origins too well. By 1966, the Beatles had practically complete shed themselves of any adolescently-inclined ambitions: they got a brand new style of dress that symbolized maturity far better than mop-tops and suits, opting for longer hair and sweaters under their jackets, they picked up a neo-philosophical way of thinking (emphasized by the "bigger than Jesus" backlash) and their public appearances were kept to a minimum, all merely a formality to keep them in the public eye. This "mistake" – in the sense that there was no adequately conception to bring their new music to life on the stage – would be corrected for the next album, but rest assured that the album is a landmark if there ever was one.

Ironically, what has since taken Sgt. Pepper's place as THE Beatles album – after years of retaliation and the 1990's recognition of Pet Sounds and Odessey and Oracle, among other albums – can also be called a transitional effort. The band's diminished yet ever-existent touring schedule aside, this album shows the passing of the torch of group leadership from Lennon to McCartney, with both contributing five songs majorly theirs (as opposed to even collaborations), whereas before Paul would contribute 3 or 4 at most. For some, that makes it better than having a Paul majority, having a certain balance between the experimental and the accessible, the pessimistic and the optimistic, and so on (despite the fact that they seem not to mind exploring the other's territory as long as they were in the Beatles).

[Read on...]

Thursday, February 05, 2015

The Kinks – Face to Face

Year: 1966
Record Rating = 8
Overall Rating = 13

Best Song: SUNNY AFTERNOON

How do you stop yourself from becoming a second-rate R&B band when you have a songwriter in the group whose talent keeps growing? Answer: You allow him to write all the songs on the album. For their fourth album, the Kinks do just that. Ray had already started to develop his character impression music hall-meets-R&B style with singles like "A Well Respected Man" and "Dedicated Follower of Fashion", so the original idea was to make a concept album of sorts, which would have been the first in British rock: the plan was to record 18 of Ray's compositions (probably not quite long enough to be a double LP, but a Bob Dylan-length, i.e. 56 minute, single LP) and connect them with various sound effects that would fit the themes of the interconnecting tunes.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

The Byrds – Fifth Dimension

Year: 1966
Record Rating = 10
Overall Rating = 14

Best Song: EIGHT MILES HIGH

While I was defensive of the Byrds' second album, it's clear that had they continued focusing their record on a title cut that was a cover of a highly-esteemed folk singer-songwriter, their career would have definitely gone downhill; overall, they'd still be a worthy band, with their debut album being particularly great, but by 1972, they'd end up with an album called Diamonds & Rust… wait a minute. You know what, forget that. I just like teasing any potential Joan Baez fans (if there are any that will listen to or read about insignificant "pop" groups like the Byrds, that is). Anyways, my point still stands that, if the Byrds were to really make something of themselves, it would be to concentrate less on Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger and more on their own ideas.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Frank Zappa/The Mothers of Invention – Freak Out!

Year: 1966
Record Rating = 10
Overall Rating = 14

Best Song: TROUBLE EVERY DAY

With an album title like Freak Out!, you'd really expect something waaaayyyyy out there, the kind that puts every psychedelic album from the following year to shame – and incidentally, if this album really had been made sometime in 1967, it would lose a whole load of its distinctiveness – and yet, in reality, this album is nothing but a giant middle finger to its listeners. Instead of something "freaky" as promised, you get… doo-wop parodies? Zappa fanatics will often tell you that this is their reason for not counting Frank's debut with the Mothers of Invention as their best, but I certainly think otherwise. It's all planned to appear like "just" a parody record, down to the band's name (they may claim it has something to do with philosophy, but what's the usual association when you call a group of men "Mothers"?) Besides, these doo-wop parodies are more than just parodies (for one thing, the lyrical matter is usually about angry break-ups rather than sad break-ups or happy unions). A parody just mocks stereotypes; these tunes tear them to shreds, leaving nary an element of '50/'60s pop untouched.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Bob Dylan – Blonde on Blonde

Year: 1966
Record Rating = 10
Overall Rating = 15

Best Song: SAD-EYED LADY OF THE LOWLANDS

What do you do when you've made what many might be inclined to consider your absolute peak as an artist? As it turns out, Bob Dylan's answer to this question would be adopted by three of his greatest peers: the Beatles would do it after Sgt. Pepper (disregarding Magical Mystery Tour, that is, since it wasn't considered a real album at the time), the Rolling Stones would do it after Sticky Fingers, and the Who would do it after Who's Next (the Byrds, the Beach Boys and the Kinks, three other potentially great pop artists from the era, would only come to this conclusion either past their peak or, in the case of the surfing group, never at all). What was this solution, you ask? It was to make a double album, of course.