Tuesday, May 31, 2016

5 very different albums worth a straight-through listening

Driving back to Michigan from NJ means around 14 hours each way of generally straight, boring highways (Ohio, ugh).  That means lots of time to explore new music and rekindle love for old albums.  Some artists will have a hit or two, and then you check out the album, and it's disappointing and disjointed - some artists just do a better job than others at creating a cohesive, all-around solid album, oftentimes with songs merging into one another, or carrying themes throughout the album.  Here are 5 different albums that are worth a straight-through listening.

Freelance Whales - Weathervanes.  Shoutout to Brian H. for the recommendation years ago.  This was the debut album for Freelance Whales back in late 2009, and I think their best work.  It's lyric-driven indie pop, with plenty of unique instrumentation.  Laid back, beautiful.

My Chemical Romance - The Black Parade.  "Now come one, come all to this tragic affair!"  This is my favorite roadtrip album, hands-down.  Open the windows, crank the volume, and rock out!

John Mayer - Continuum.  John Mayer has put out a lot of poppy, fluffy music.  But Continuum is a masterpiece.  This is John Mayer having fun with his guitar, incorporating blues and soul more heavily than in the past, and shedding the image you've created of him.

Muse - Black Holes and Revelations.  I'm a die-hard Muse fan - I own every album (most of them on vinyl, while not yet owning a record player...), have seen them live 3 times, and yet still find myself going back 3 albums and 10 years to Black Holes and Revelations for my favorite album.  It's the right mix of songs all with their own merits, some enjoyable themes and political undertones (Bush era), and straight up rock and roll.  

Maroon 5 - Songs About Jane.  Classic Maroon 5 before they went super-pop.  Every song is singable, and not over-produced like so much of their current stuff.  The style and themes run through from song to song, with just enough variety to avoid monotony, but not too much to drive out the consistent feel.



Four Additions:
-Green Day - American Idiot is maybe the quintessential example of an album that plays-through well. They reference their own songs, they move into each other, and themes come back over and over again.
-Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
-Black Eyed Peas - The E.N.D.
-Red Hot Chili Peppers - Californication

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