Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 - My musical tastes

Hi Everyone

So 2007 comes to a close, and like last year, I thought I would reflect on my music tastes during this year. Plenty of other things happened in my life this year, like going overseas and getting engaged, but will keep this post to the music things.

Unlike the excellent “Wireless Cranium” blog, this won’t quite be as comprehensive and informative and will only be in one post.

I guess the first main thing to mention was the 2007 was the year that I got an I-pod proper. Has this changed my musical listening habits? It sure has. Having your entire cd collection in your pocket on the train on the way to work certainly makes you more picky with what you listen to, and I am very guilty of over using the shuffle features and being trigger happy on the skip button. So I do understand the people that claim that the i-pod is killing the album.

However, having said that, I am still purchasing albums, and as you will read on, you will note that I added some classic albums to my collection in 2007.

New Releases from old favourites
2007 saw some new releases from some of my favourite artists – Paul Kelly released Stolen Apples, another strong album to add to his impressive back catalogue. Once again Kelly showed off his versatility, with the album containing everything from lovely ballads (The Foggy Fields of France), to catchy pop/rock (Keep on Driving) to heavier rock (God Told Me To).

James Reyne, another favourite of mine released two albums this year! – Every Man a King, an excellent studio album containing some classic Reyne tracks with his typical biting commentary all throughout the lyrics (Little Man You’ve Had a Busy Day, Mr International, Broken Romeo and Sammy and Dufus and Our Man in New York). Reyne also released a second album under the Liberation Blue Acoustic Series, Ghost Ships, where he delved into the back catalogue of Aussie Crawl and his solo career to re-record some old classics in fully acoustic format. Both Every Man a King and Ghost Ships are great albums that I would highly recommend.

Another favourite, Tim Rogers, released the Luxury of Hysteria in 2007. I still haven’t really given this album enough of a listen, but it’s a real change in direction for Mr Rogers. The album is a much more mature sound, and has a lot of strings throughout it. I like it, but haven’t really been blown away by it just yet. Nevertheless, after the disappointing (in my opinion) You Am I release “Convicts” in 2006, I had low expectations for Rogers solo album, and it is certainly better than what I was expecting.

Crowded House also reformed with a new line up to release “Time on Earth”. I have mixed feelings about them reforming, as I think that when you do such a grand farewell like they did at the Opera House, it’s a little strange, and also when such an integral member of the band (ie. Paul Hester) is no longer alive, its really not Crowded House any more. But who I am to criticize, considering I bought the album and went to the gig!!!! Time On Earth is a nice solid album, with some great tracks on it, such as Pour Le Monde, and She Called Up, but I still think it’s a little top heavy. I am hoping that over time some of the more mellow tracks towards the end of the album will grow on me some more.

Bob Dylan
2007 was the year that Bob Dylan started to invade my music collection. I have liked a lot of Bob’s songs that you hear on the radio, but with such an extensive back catalogue, I never really knew where to begin. But I took the plunge this year, and now have Bringing It All Back Home, Blood on the Tracks, Blonde on Blonde and the Essential Bob Dylan (a greatest hits compilation). I still think that you have to be in the right mood to enjoy Dylan’s music, which is why its hard to pick a favourite out of them. If forced, I would have to say Blood on the Tracks, but then again, I like the contrasting acoustic/electric feel on Bringing in All Back home. Blonde on Blonde is a bit of a tougher nut to crack for me. I think it’s the length of the album that puts me off it, but if you are in the mood for it, its brilliant.

Classic Albums
As I mentioned earlier, my collection grew with the addition of a number of classic albums. June brought a great deal of excitement following the re-release of the Traveling Wilburys Collection. I had wanted to get these two albums for a while, and once they were finally re-released, I jumped at the opportunity. I think they are brilliant. Volume one in particular has got a lot of listening time from me this year. Its just a really enjoyable album, from the radio friendly hits (Handle with Care, End of the Line), through to the classic Dylan pieces (Tweeter and the Monkey Man) and the classic Orbison song (Not Alone Anymore). Volume Three (the follow up, there was no volume two), wasn’t as successful as the first, but it still has some solid tracks on it, like Inside Out, and I think it’s a great album too. Ah, the Wilburys, a true super group.

I also purchased Queen’s A Night at the Opera this year. I think I saw a documentary on it earlier this year, and thought it would be an album that I would enjoy. And enjoy I have. Where else can you find a perfect pop song (You’re My Best Friend) alongside epic tracks (Bohemian Rhapsody, the Prophet’s Song), a romantic ode to a motor vehicle (I’m in Love with My Car), with some theatrical light heartedness thrown in for good measure (Seaside Rendezvous, Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon)

Other classic albums that I purchased this year include At Folsom Prison (Johnny Cash), Bat Out of Hell (Meat Loaf), A Nod is as Good as a Wink (The Faces). The length of this post prohibits me from going into more detail on these, other than to say they are all great albums.

Compilation Albums
As always, these feature quite prominently in my collection, and during 2007 I picked up some greatest hits by artists such as Cheap Trick, Tom Petty and Frank Sinatra.

Rockwiz released a volume two of the duets from the show, which contains the excellent From Little Things Big Things Grow (by Sara Storer and Archie Roach), amongst others.

I picked up a couple of tribute albums this year – one where Aussie artists (such as You am I, the Living End, Pete Murray, Paul Kelly etc) covered the music of Cold Chisel. Its not a bad album, but with tribute albums like these, you tend to like some of the versions, and not like others.

Another tribute album that I purchased was a tribute to indigenous artist Kev Carmody. I must admit, I had never heard of Carmody before, but it turns out he has collaborated with Paul Kelly a lot, including on the writing of the classic From Little Things Big Things Grow. The tribute album, Cannot Buy My Soul, contained one disc of artists like Bernard Fanning, John Butler Trio, Augie March etc performing covers of Carmody songs, but of more interest to me was the second disc, which contained Carmody’s original versions of the songs. He has a very relaxed folk style to his singing, and his songs pack some powerful messages as well. It was a great album.



As with last year, it seems like I have written a lot again, and will probably be boring you now, so I will end my look back at the year here.

I will try to write more posts in the new year, in fact, I have a bit of an idea for an upcoming post – think a bit 20 to 1 countdown style……
Happy new year everyone!!

1 Comments:

At 11:51 am, Blogger Jiggy said...

Great post Wal!

I've been meaning to comment on this for a while, but haven't gotten around to it as work has (and still is) crazy-busy. But I thought I'd better reply before 2008 is over ;-)

Definitely agree about the iPod -- I honestly can't believe it took me so long to get one, as I can't imagine living without it now. The freedom to be able to listen to whatever I want whenever I want to is not something I'd like to give up at any time. And the ritual of choosing which 32 CDs to carry with me is thankfully long gone. Also, keeping stats on your listening habits is a great thing, especially for stats junkies like me.

As for the iPod killing the album, I still appreciate albums as whole 'pieces of art', but the iPod gives you so much freedom to listen to music in other ways (whether random, through playlists, etc.) that I do tend to agree that my musical listening habits have changed a little bit as a result of the iPod. One thing is my rediscovery of the brilliance of certain compilations and soundtracks, which I'll cover one day in a blog post.

I'll have to given Stolen Apples a listen, Paul Kelly is a quality songwriter who rarely disappoints.

I'd also be interested to know how the new Tim Rogers (Luxury of Hysteria) holds up over time; most of the reviews I have read about this have been pretty positive. Hopefully it's a grower for you.

I agree that Time on Earth is a very solid album, every if it's not quite up there with the CH classics of old.

I was very excited when I heard that you were starting to get into Bob Dylan, as I finally have something to talk to about the brilliance of Robert Zimmerman. All of those albums you bought are fantastic. As you know, Blonde on Blonde is my favourite Dylan album (and actually my favourite album of all time)...I agree the length can be a bit offputting at times, but there is not a wasted note on the entire album, and it's a complete masterpiece. Give it time, it certainly took many years before I fully appreciated it for the work of art that it is. Blood on the tracks was an album that I originally found a little overrated, but its charms have also revealed themselves to me over time. Pick up Highway 61 Revisited next, another classic album. The great thing about getting into Bob Dylan is the extensive discography you have to delve into, and the bargain prices! You can generally get most of his albums for < $10, which is fantastic for such a great artist.

Now for the classic albums. Traveling Wilburys Volume 1 is indeed a classic which I have heard many times (my brother has it), and it's been on my list to pick up since its re-release. I haven't heard Volume 3 except for a few select cuts which you have played for me.

Night at the opera is a classic, nuff said. At Folsom Prison is also great, but At San Quentin takes the cake for me when it comes to classic Johnny Cash albums. Bat out of hell I loved when I first got it, but it doesn't get many spins thesedays. It's oh-so-cheesy, but Paradise by the dashboard light and the title track are still rockin' classics. The Faces album is also good, which a fair share of choice cuts (Stay with me, Debris) but not every track is up there with those.

Compilations? That Tom Petty best-of is absolutely brilliant, a perfectly sequenced compilation. I don't have the Cheap Trick best-of, but I have their live album At Budokan. Surrender is choice.

Anyway, I better sign off now. I could ramble for hours. Great post again, and I look forward to more activity on this blog.

 

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