Bennett and Kyle are back with episode 8 of The 500, and I am here once again to give you my take on their takes, some hot and others not so much. If you haven’t listened you can find it here. This is seemingly a thin week for me. I don’t have huge connections with most of the albums from 430-421, but two do hit close to home. Otherwise, this week might be heavy on dated pop-culture references, but let’s start with a grammar rant.
- Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
Kyle is correct about the Oxford Comma. Linguistic prescriptivism is the worst. Moreover, as my editor (Brad, not K) has noted, it’s a serial comma and using the town’s name in England only makes it more repugnant. As many of you on the Twitter know, I speak German. Well, there is no serial comma in German and I most enjoy marking them out on my students’ essays (Editor’s Note (K, not Brad): The Store is corporately pro-Oxford comma and Harris’s opinions do not reflect our own).1
- Brian Eno – Another Green World
Brian Eno is a superstar on many fronts. He was a member of Roxy Music with Bryan Ferry before going solo after two albums. He has produced many amazing albums including records from David Bowie, Talking Heads, U2, Devo, and Coldplay. He also inspired the name of one of Braves General Store’s favorite Fangraphs and Beergraphs writers Eno Sarris. Finally, he flat out made a lot of amazing music, and Another Green World is no exception. On the 1975 album, he makes the transition from rock music to the world of ambient electronics. His influence goes so far that he is seen as the inventor of ambient music. Bennett and Kyle were won over by this masterpiece, and you should be, too.
- The Police – Outlandos D’Amour
Okay, this is in my wheelhouse. Pre-tantric Sting is great, and the Police made some of the best pop music to come out in the 80s. But their 1978 debut sees them at their most rocking. Of the ten songs, five (“Next to You,” “So Lonely,” “Roxanne,” “Hole in My Life” and “Can’t Stand Losing You”) are classics and are each fueled by relationship angst. What’s not to like there? Bennett and Kyle noted “Roxanne” as being in the movie Good Burger, which I have never seen. However, when I think of “Roxanne” on the silver screen, Eddie Murphy in “48 Hours” comes to mind. Watch the scene and all its glory here.
In the clip, Murphy tackles the age-old problem of how to sing along with both the lead and background vocals. Also, “48 Hours” is one of Eddie’s best moments in film. You should watch it.
- Gram Parsons – Grievous Angel
This album, this record is an all-time favorite, a desert island disc for sure. South Carolina native Gram Parsons is one of the inventors of country rock. No Depression, alternative country comes from him. He was in the Byrds. Sweetheart of the Rodeo is his sound, but his vocals were traded out for Roger McGuinn’s. He gave the world Emmylou Harris, whose harmony vocals push Grievous Angel into another stratosphere. I am glad I am in complete agreement with Kyle and Bennett on this, and I would love Guitar George to take on Gram Parsons in one of his Friday Night music sessions.
That does it for this week’s Beyond the 500. My greatest respect to Diana Ross and the Supremes and The Ronettes. There are some amazing songs there, but they are a little out of my realm. That said, I don’t usually turn the channel when their songs show up on my FM dial. I skipped the Boss this week, too, because I am not too familiar with The Rising. Plus, I have some Bruce demons to exorcise before I can write about him. Stay tuned.
What’s currently on my iPhone: Platform from Holly Herndon, 1977 from Kölsch and Why Make Sense? From Hot Chip.
Listening note: I am a DJ for the Clemson college radio station WSBF. Every Tuesday, including today, I am spinning my favorite 1980s college rock songs from 3-5 pm ET. It is only for the next three weeks, but if you would like an archive link, let me know in the comments or on Twitter. Tune in online @ WSBF