Tag Archives: Dad-Rock Tuesday

Day 43: The Police – Outlandos d’Amour

12 Apr

Next to You

This Dad-Rock Tuesday, I was assigned The Police’s debut, Outlandos d’Amour.  Going into this listening, I knew one thing about The Police: that Message in a Bottle is a song of theirs—ah, the Guitar Hero days.

So this record is pretty hit-or-miss for me.  I can’t deny that songs like Peanuts or the classic Next to You got a fair amount of foot tapping out of me, but unfortunately, the whole record fails to meet the standard of those few songs.

The tracks that miss, in my opinion, are the extremely repetitive ones.  Guess what word gets said about a hundred thousand times during So Lonely. I’ll give you a hint; it rhymes with “only.”  That’s not the only stuttering song on the record.  All I’ll say is, whoever you are, Roxanne, you’re supposed to remember to put on your red light.

Sting’s vocals can become obnoxious as well.  When he uses his normal voice, everything’s fine.  I’ll go as far as to say it sounds great.  If only he sang every song like Next to You. Unfortunately, he decides to use a really annoying falsetto for far too much of the record.  Maybe songs like Hole in my Life or Truth Hits Everybody could have been somewhat listenable if the singer didn’t sound like a whiny toddler.

I’ve never really been a big fan of new-wave, so the fact that I didn’t love this record didn’t come as a huge surprise to me.  Looking back, I always avoided playing Message in a Bottle on Guitar Hero…I’ll send an SOS to the world (∞x)…


Day 36: The Rolling Stones – Exile on Main St.

5 Apr

Rip This Joint

When it comes to classic rock, you can’t get much more iconic than The Rolling Stones.  Sure, I’m fairly familiar with their music, but I had never actually sat down and listened to a full album of theirs before this.  That’s why my dad picked their 1972 record, Exile on Main St., for me this Dad-Rock Tuesday.

Right from the beginning of the record, I could tell that I was going to be enjoying myself for a large portion of the next hour and six minutes.  Exile kicks off on a very exciting note, with energetic jaunts Rocks Off and Rip This Joint.  Fast tempos and horns abound, and even though The Stones calm down a bit from there on, slow tracks like Sweet Virginia have that same energy and enthusiasm, which makes pretty much everything fun to listen to.

The one downfall of Exile on Main St. is its length.  At over an hour long, it tends to wear and becomes fairly repetitive, especially around the middle.  It’s not that I can think of any particularly awful songs, but everything started to blend together after a while.  It also seems just a tad self-indulgent to put out an album with eighteen songs.  Exile on Main St. was the 10th studio album released by The Stones, so I guess they had earned a little leeway by then.  To a first time listener, though, the record’s length is kind of obnoxious.

Ultimately, I can look past the length and song count on this album.  The Stones put together something really solid, and it’s clear that they actually earned their status as one of the greatest rock bands of all time.

Day 29: Blondie – Parallel Lines

29 Mar

One Way or Another

My dad…well…let’s call his music taste…eclectic.  Yeah, eclectic.

This week, for Dad-Rock Tuesday, I was assigned Blondie’s 1978 album Parallel Lines.  I’ll admit, I went into listening to this record with a few preconceived notions.  Having never really listened to Blondie before, I mentally grouped the band with someone like Madonna.  I can see that I was wrong to assign that label now, but that’s what kept me from checking this band out before.

So I definitely misjudged Blondie, I’ll admit that.  That doesn’t mean that I’m now a Blondie fan, though.  Sure, this album doesn’t take overproduced pop to the point that Madonna did, but it’s overproduced pop nonetheless.  There’s very little variety in the songs, as a verse-chorus-verse format can be found pretty much throughout the album.  Maybe if a bunch of the songs were exciting, or brought something unique to the table, this repetitive format could work.

The entire album revolves around Deborah Harry’s vocals, as well.  Not that she’s a bad singer, but that consistent focal point over the entire record gets really stale.  She did have solid instrumentalists backing her up.  Maybe hearing the focus shift towards them every now and then could have added some intrigue, or at least broken up the repetitive nature of Parallel Lines.

While looking for something positive on the record, I did find the classic One Way or Another.  Does it have all of the traits that make the rest of Parallel Lines boring? Yeah.  It’s really catchy, though, and remains stuck in my head as I’m writing this.  It also comes early in the album, before the formula really had time to sink in with me.

I understand the appeal of Parallel Lines.  It’s about as standard as Pop-Rock can get, with a polished, clean sound throughout.  I’m just looking for something a little grittier, a little more real.

Day 22: Warren Zevon – Excitable Boy

22 Mar

Werewolves of London

For this week’s edition of Dad-Rock Tuesday, my father picked Warren Zevon’s 1978 album Excitable Boy for me to listen to.

Wow.  You know that feeling when you love an album?  I’ve got that feeling with Excitable Boy.  I’ve got it to such an extent that I’m having trouble thinking about what I’m going to write about, so excuse me if this post is below the mediocre quality that all three of my readers have already come to expect from me.

I’ve heard a little of Zevon’s other work before, mainly The Wind, which got a lot of play in my house back in 2003.  I always liked what I heard, but never really thought about checking out any other music that Zevon made.  Thank God for Dad-Rock Tuesday.

Excitable Boy has a sound that I associate with the ’70s.  Some of the songs sound a bit like Springsteen, mainly the title track, sax and all.  Hold on, let’s talk about that title track.  This was the point where I knew I was in love with the album.  The song Excitable Boy, at first glance, is an upbeat song with catchy “oooohs” coming from the background singers, but quickly turns into a macabre tale as Zevon sings about this excitable boy raping and murdering his junior prom date.  What’s so great about this is Zevon’s consistent, almost happy delivery of the lyrics, even when the song turns dark.

Another great thing about the album is the way it starts up, does what it needs to do, then finishes quickly.  At 32 minutes, and with nine songs, the album never drags on for too long, and doesn’t overstay its welcome.  You gotta love that.

Day 15: The Velvet Underground – White Light/White Heat

15 Mar

White Light/White Heat

For this week’s Dad-Rock Tuesday, my father picked The Velvet Underground’s 1968 album White Light/White Heat.

Well…that was…interesting.  I’ll be honest, I didn’t love White Light/White Heat.  I’ve listened to pieces of The Velvet Underground & Nico (the banana one) before, and I liked what I’ve heard .  It’s possibly a bit overrated, as lots of older music is, but it definitely held it’s own in my opinion.  Unfortunately, White Light/White Heat didn’t come close.

Honestly, there’s something about the entire album that sounds thrown-together.  It feels like the band got to the studio, and then decided that it would be a good time to put some music together.  The guitars are random, but that’s hidden pretty well by the immense amount of distortion in front of them.

I’ll admit, the lyrics can be pretty good at times.  A track that sticks out on the album is The Gift, which tells a story of a guy who mailed himself in a box to his long-distance girlfriend.  When the package arrived, he ends up getting his head split open with the sheet metal cutter that was being used to open the box.  It’s a good story, but its delivery is a little unconventional.  John Cale tells the story in a deadpan voice over seemingly unplanned guitar riffs.

Then there’s Sister Ray, the 17-minute closer.  I thought this song sounded random and thrown together while listening to it, so I decided to check the song’s Wikipedia page.  Sure enough, “’Sister Ray’ was recorded in one take. The band agreed to accept whatever faults occurred during recording, resulting in over seventeen minutes of highly improvisational material.”  Why is that a good idea?  It sounds bad.  Don’t even get me started on Lou Reed in this song.  Half of the lyrics are about someone “sucking on [his] ding-dong.”  C’mon.

Day 8: David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

8 Mar

Suffragete City

I keep up with today’s indie music.  I try to, at least.  I’ll be the first to admit though, that my knowledge on music that was made before the nineties is insufficient.  That’s why I’ll be letting my dad pick an album for me to listen to once a week.  He’s the type of guy who says “I have that on vinyl.” to pretty much every old song that we hear on the radio, so I believe he’s more than qualified for this.

For this first week, mi padre picked Ziggy Stardust by Bowie.  The only song by Bowie that I really knew before this was Suffragette City, due to the countless hours that I used to spend playing Rock Band.  That had to change.

I understand why the album has remained so popular over the years–it’s really fun to listen to!  It’s pretty much your standard rock music, with a few unexpected instruments thrown in now and then (sax, harpsichord) and a singer with a great, distinct, unique voice.

The thing that sticks out the most about this album is definitely Bowie’s voice.  I listen to so many bands with awful singers, that it’s nice to hear someone with pipes every now and then.  You don’t need a good voice to make good music, but it can’t hurt.

Apparently, there’s some kind of story attached with this album.  I think it’s about aliens teaching humans about peace and love and then getting killed or something…obviously, I wasn’t able to pick up on the plot of this album too well.  If it really is there, it’s nothing like…let’s say Hospice by the Antlers, where you get slapped in the face numerous times with the story line.  You don’t really need to understand a story or theme to enjoy this album, fortunately.  It’s just all-around solid rock music, which is better without a plot.

Wham bam thank you mam.