The 500 returned this week with Bennett and Kyle appearing from parts unknown. I had fun writing about a great rock n’ roll show and mix tapes in the meantime, but now it’s time to get back to The 500 and Beyond.
- ZZ Top – Eliminator
This was a big album when it came out. As Kyle pointed out, it has reached diamond status (10,000,000 copies) in sales. I have never owned a copy of this record, however. It was completely an MTV album for me. That is, the singles are great and the videos even better. Like Bennett said, the album has its weak spots. But where it’s good, it’s really good. And I must admit the video for “Legs” was pretty important to a 13-year-old me. Let’s watch it again because the 80s.
- Roxy Music – For Your Pleasure
I am glad the lads like this one. I am big fan of Roxy Music and Bryan Ferry. They have put out many great albums, and I love Bryan Ferry as a front man. He just seems like an old-school crooner singing up close on a throw-back microphone while wearing a suit and holding a cocktail. Plus, the album cover is noteworthy. On For Your Pleasure, we see a picture of Ferry’s then girlfriend, the model Amanda Lear, who later became Salvador Dali’s muse as Kyle points out. What a cover, and it is not even the best Roxy Music cover there is. (Feel free to guess which one I like most.)
The music is on this album is also amazing. “Do the Strand” kicks off the record with a bang, and you can hear Brian Eno’s synthesizer work throughout, most notably on “Editions of You” and “For Your Pleasure.” It was Eno’s last record with Roxy Music. He had other work to do as we have already seen on The 500 and will see coming up.
395. LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver
I discovered LCD Soundsystem when they broke up in 2011. And I just love the sound created by frontman James Murphy. It combines muchos electronica with a definite New York City punk vibe, two things I have tons of respect for. Kyle even says “it is artistry at its finest,” and I don’t disagree. On this album, the songs “All My Friends,” “North American Scum” and “New York, I Love You but You’re Bringing Me Down” stand out. Franz Ferdinand does an excellent version of “All My Friends,” as does John Cale of Velvet Underground fame. All three appear on the single release of the song. Go listen to this record and then go listen to “Losing My Edge” from the first album. As somebody fully becoming a middle-aged music fan, this song rings true. In the song, Murphy mentions band after band after band. That inspired me to make a three hour Spotify playlist of all the bands mentioned in the song …because I was there. In fact, let’s watch the video together before we continue.
394. Randy Newman – Good Old Boys
Man, Randy Newman is mashing buttons on this record, especially on the opening track “Rednecks.” At first it seems like he is making fun of the South from his California high horse, but while he points out the institutional racism in the South, he also points out the hypocrisy of the North and elsewhere with their ghettos, which he refers to as cages, such as Harlem, Roxbury and East St. Louis. This album came out in 1974 and I can imagine it ruffled some feathers. I need to track down the article by Steven Hart “He May Be a Fool but He’s Our Fool: Lester Maddox, Randy Newman, and the American Culture Wars.” Kyle and Bennett had a nice discussion about this album.
392. The Beatles – Let It Be
I have long used Let it Be, which I haven’t listened to in probably 20 years, as a butt of my jokes where Paul McCartney is not presented in the best light. Many people say that the song “Let it Be” is their favorite Beatles song. That is wrong. (My favorite Beatles song will be revealed in the last week of The 500.) It would appear that Paul was very aware of this impression by many people because he initiated the remixed and remastered version Let it Be …Naked. I have had this version of the record for many years now, and I like it a lot. The original was completely (Phil) Spectored (maybe similar to being Snitkered at 3B) with lush orchestration, uncountable overdubs and his infamous Wall of Sound. It’s too much, but the songs really shine in their stripped down, “naked” versions. It was originally recorded when the band members were for all intents and purposes already broken up due extreme creative differences. Spector made something of the original tapes and McCartney attempted to correct the unavoidable original results.
Kyle throughout his life has made a huge attempt to not listen to or even like the Beatles because of how much everybody drools over them. I can understand that. What’s funny is that it is this album that convinced him of their greatness. Oh Boy, I can’t wait until we get some of the others on this list. Bennett mostly laughs at Kyle and is not completely convinced. He has a point when he says that Let it Be shouldn’t be on this list at all. I really like how both of the lads get angry by the end of their discussion. My anger at the album has subsided through the years. Overall, though, Kyle’s wrong, Bennett’s wrong, I’m wrong. We will soon all be write. So, let’s move on.
It’s good to be back. This week was fun, and I really look forward to next week.
What’s currently on my iPhone: Born in the Echoes by the Chemical Brothers, Currents by Tame Impala and Depression Cherry by Beach House.