All-Time Favorite Albums - WEEK 1
Updated: Jul 27
NOTE: SOME MODIFICATIONS HAVE OCCURRED SINCE ORIGINAL POST.
POST HAS BEEN MODIFIED JULY 26, 2020
Most of you have seen this pop up somewhere I am sure;
"I've been nominated to do this by (so and so)
Day 1 of 10 all time favorite albums. What really made an impact and is still on your rotation list, even if only now and then. Post the cover, no need to explain, and nominate a person each day to do the same."
Last weekend, I got "tagged" again, (this will be my THIRD go around) and I have to admit, I am particularly fond of this socially engaging internet time suck, and here's why. It allows people to see what has shaped us individually through art, in this case, music.
This time around, I wanted to change it up. I am not going to tag anyone because quite frankly, most of the people I tagged bailed after one post, never mind two posts. Some were just smart and didn't bother to do it at all. So to save myself and loved ones pain and heartache of feeling like we disappointed one another, y'all off the hook this time, no tags!
I also wanted to give a back story of how these albums shaped me, why these albums are dear to my heart, and why I believe they are musically dope and culturally relevant. I figured what better way to express this than, you know, writing another self indulging blog post that the world really doesn't need. ;) This list will be made up of albums I did during my second round, aka re-posting and FINISHING, because yeah... I just ghosted the completion of the blog. I feel compelled to honor that and make it right. In case you missed my first round of albums, here they are:
Day 1 - Depeche Mode - Violator
Day 2 - 2001 (The Chronic 2001) Dr. Dre
Day 3 - Jeff Buckley - Grace
Day 4 - Miles Davis - Kind of Blue
Day 5 - The Beatles - The White Album
Day 6 - Radiohead - OK Computer
Day 7 - The Fugees - The Score
Day 8 - Daft Punk - Discovery
Day 9 - Ballads- John Coltrane
Day 10 - A Tribe Called Quest - Low End Theory
So without further ado, here is my Day 1
Yes, this is a popular vote, one that I shied away from specifically in my first crack at this list. This time around, no holding back.
It also helps to have a brother who is practically a decade older than you, listening to albums that most kids at the age of 10 were unaware of, or quite frankly, not interested. Oh how I discovered new music those days...
Before anyone gets on their morality soap box and starts chanting from way up high "What kind of parents would let their 10 year old listen to this album in 1984?"
Let's simmer down a sec and hear me out. My mother at that time was a 48 year old single mom, having already raised 4 other kids. Oh my mom cared, anyone who knew me growing up could tell you that. She was firm, but also loving. It also helped that by that age, my parents felt I had a basic grasp of fiction / pretend and reality. Lastly, to top it off, she knew I had an affinity with music, borderline obsessive, and as long as she knew it did not influence my behavior, what real harm are we talking about? Suggestive lyrics, sure it had boat loads of them, but the truth is at that time, her 10 year old kid had no idea what the hell "Darling Nikki" was talking about, but what I did know was it sounded cool AF!
Summer of '84 was simply one of my fondest as a kid. I lived at our local swimming pool, being watched by my friend's grandfather. The radio station playing over the sound system at that time was B94, a Pittsburgh, PA based pop channel. Thanks to hearing so many pop songs while at the pool, eventually some of them became my own personal soundtrack for my life. Here is a list of the top 10 songs for the week ending July 14th, 1984, courtesy of https://weeklytop40.wordpress.com/1984-all-charts/
1 1 WHEN DOVES CRY –•– Prince (Warner Brothers)-7 (2 Weeks at #1) (1) 2 2 DANCING IN THE DARK –•– Bruce Springsteen (Columbia)-8 (2) 3 3 JUMP (For My Love) –•– The Pointer Sisters (Planet)-12 (3) 4 6 EYES WITHOUT A FACE –•– Billy Idol (Chrysalis)-11 (4) 5 5 THE REFLEX –•– Duran Duran (Capitol)-13 (1) 6 4 SELF CONTROL –•– Laura Branigan (Atlantic)-14 (4) 7 8 ALMOST PARADISE –•– Mike Reno & Ann Wilson (Columbia)-10 (7) 8 19 GHOSTBUSTERS –•– Ray Parker, Jr. (Arista)-5 (8) 9 9 THE HEART OF ROCK ‘N ROLL –•– Huey Lewis & The News (Chrysalis)-13 (6) 10 10 LEGS –•– ZZ Top (Warner Brothers)-9 (10)
3 of these songs made my soundtrack album, "Ghostbusters", "Eyes Without a Face" and yes, you guessed it, "When Doves Cry"
"When Doves Cry" IS the single that kicked off what was soon to be the Purple Rain Phenomenon. Who can forget the intro, nothing at that time sounded anything like it. As soon as one heard that distinct guitar riff, you immediately knew it was "When Doves Cry". Then this cray cray vocal comes in, leading to unquestionably what is the defining characteristic of the song, the drum sound, along with the groove.
Over the course of that summer, "Purple Rain" was on repeated listening. I remember getting ready for bed, putting the vinyl on my record player, popping omg some headphones, and watching the sunset from my window, listening to the "Beautiful Ones". The orange, pink, purple hues of the sky matching the sonic texture of what I was listening to, transported me to another world.
Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman aka "Wendy and Lisa", were the guitarist and keyboardist for "The Revolution". It was this song, the "Beautiful Ones", their choices of pads, textures, and timbres that mesmerized me. They did nothing special really, except make excellent use of their musicianship, which was their knowledge of playing the right sound at the right time, and knowing when not to play anything. The synth swells during the second verse, the buildup leading to the out chorus, all of it captured my imagination and took me to that place that music did so well for me, my "other" universe, my own personal dreamscape.
As I continued to consume this album over the next year, it became quickly apparent, there really isn't a bad track on this thing, at all. Sure, some songs are better than others, but it's the sum that is greater than the individual parts. "Let's Go Crazy" is arguably one of the greatest opening songs for a record. With it's opening sound of a church organ, wedding oath tweaked to fit the narrative of the song, amazing guitar solo at the end....D-A-M-N.
"Take Me With You" the second song, incorporated a string arrangement, light instrumentation, and a melody that's simple, beautiful, and utterly ear worm. I also like to point out this song foreshadowed what I like to call "artist footprints" or blueprints. Things that when one hears a song, they can identify it is a certain artist because it has "their sound". Prince sent the song "Manic Monday", along with another one, after seeing the Bangles perform in LA. It was the band's first number one, and its sound, blueprint, can be traced backed to "Take Me With You".
I can go on and on, "Computer Blue" awesome instrumental jam, "I Would Die For You" and "Baby I'm a Star" two sides of the same coin, upbeat, grooving and leading to the emotional climax, the title track of the album, "Purple Rain". Talk about an emotional roller coaster ride of a record, if there was any doubt before, this album cemented Prince's legacy not only as a prolific songwriter, but as a diverse musical force to be reckon with.
About that song "Darling Nikki"... as I got older, there was no mistaking the topic of the lyrics, but that song still kicks ass, period. Once that groove kicks in for the chorus, fuggedaboutit. However, one of the more peculiar parts in this song was the backwards vocals heard over a thunderstorm. Considering it doesn't help he added this to a sexually explicit song, let alone it being the 80's, cue the chants of "Prince is a Satan Worshiper" or "Prince loves the Devil", this could not be further from the truth. I leave you with this, and let you be the judge, here it is forward, and then backwards:
Thanks for reading my blog!