Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Tomorrow morning on SiriusXM OutQ's Morning Jolt with Larry Flick, I'm talking about some albums that are being reissued in special anniversary editions.

First off, Alicia Keys' Songs In A Minor, which celebrates its tenth birthday this year. I wrote about this one the other night, I think it's a great LP.  To me, it heralded the arrival of a major artist who is going to be making important music for decades.  People rip on her for lots of things.  I guess the fact that she was a star pretty much the minute the album hit stores (thanks to both Oprah's endorsement and also an undeniable first single, "Fallin'") made her seem like an overnight star. (In fact, when she signed to J Records, it was her third record deal, she'd been signed and dropped twice previously). And, more recently, people have criticized her for more personal things which I won't get into.  I'll say that she seems to try and have a positive effect on the world with her money and fame, and I think she makes great music. I'm glad she's a star, and I always look forward to hearing what she's going to do next.

Also turning ten this year is Ryan Adams' Gold. I wrote about this one recently also. When Elton John released his 2001 album Songs From The West Coast (one of my favorite Elton albums, and one that is totally underrated), he said it was influenced by Ryan (although I think he was specifically referring to 2000's Heartbreaker). He wanted to take his band into the studio and do an album in two weeks. Around this time, Elton and Ryan were supposed to film an episode of CMT's Crossroads in New York City.  I was fortunate enough to get tickets.  Ryan, for some reason, didn't show up, but his band did, as did Elton. Elton started off with a solo piano set, and then Ryan's band joined him for a set of Ryan's songs. It was amazing. I'll always remember Elton's version of "La Cienega Just Smiled" from Gold. Ryan has put out lots of albums since then, but I think this is his finest moment.

Nirvana's Nevermind turns twenty this year. Wow. I remember hearing "Smells Like Teen Spirit" for the first time.  I was driving my car on the Meadowbrook Parkway in Long Island while I was in college.  I was listening to WDRE and wondering why they were playing a band that was heavy like Metallica, but of course the singer sounded nothing like Metallica or anyone else. I got Nevermind when it first came out. Obviously it is a classic album.  I loved "Lounge Act," I thought it sounded like The Smithereens (I later read that they were, in fact, an influence). At some point, I found Kurt Cobain a bit too precious and annoying (wearing a "corporate magazines still suck" shirt while doing a corporate magazine cover was cute, but complaining about Pearl Jam bugged me), and I stopped listening to them for a bit. That was dumb of me.  They are one of the greatest bands ever, and Nevermind is an incredible album. There's a deluxe version coming out later this year, but for now, Spin magazine has curated a tribute album called Newermind with The Meat Puppets, The Vaselines, Charles Bradley and Butch Walker, among others.  You can get it for free by liking their Facebook page.

R.E.M. has released a 25th anniversary edition of Life's Rich Pageant.  Having listened to it a bit lately, I've concluded that it is probably their best album (although I also love Automatic For The People). I'm going to do a separate post about this album.  The reissue comes with a second disc of demos and some songs that didn't come out on the album (some were re-recorded years later, others are being released for the first time here). Honestly, the bonuses are cool but kind of academic. But you need to have at least the album proper, if you don't already.

Finally, Megadeth's Peace Sells, which also turns 25.  Unlike the R.E.M. album, I remember this one coming out (I wasn't really aware of R.E.M. yet in 1986).  I knew they were led by a guy who used to be in Metallica, and lots of people were talking about it (I think I also knew that frontman Dave Mustaine was actually credited as a co-writer on a number of early Metallica classics). I listened to this album over and over, just as I did with Metallica. I felt Mustaine had the ability to take metal even further than Metallica did. They seemed to be a bit more political, which I was interested in at the time.  To me, this is one of the best speed metal albums ever. The bonus disc is a poorly recorded live concert from the era.

I know U2 will be releasing a Achtung Baby/Zooropa box set later this year, I can't wait to hear what they put on it (I have most of the b-side and remixes from the era though). I look forward to bringing that one onto a later episode of Larry's show.

No comments: