j.j. toothman

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Month: November 2009

Mason on harmonica

Mason on harmonica

Problem solving

Problem solving

The best album of 2009

I’ve told enough people about this and repeated myself so many times that it made sense to write a post about the recently released album by The Black Crowes.  Simply put – best new album of 2009.

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If you have yet to hear it, head over to Amoeba Records or click open Amazon or iTunes or wherever and get yourself a copy.  You won’t be disappointed.  It was recorded over a week in Levon Helm’s studio barn in Woodstock, New York.  Recorded with an audience in attendance over various sessions that took place that week. 

Most likely, you’re like me and you haven’t even considered The Black Crowes for over 15 years.  But this isn’t the same band.  There’s a lot of depth and maturity in these songs.  It’s totally surprising and breathtaking.  Unless I told you that it was A Black Crowes album you probably wouldn’t even realize it.   

Revisiting the Beatles Albums: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

If you read my post about Revolver, you already know that I believe that, despite what many a Rock critic believes, Revolver is the best Beatles album of all time.  In fact, if you stay tuned as I write about the rest of the Beatles catalogue, you’ll find out that I think Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band isn’t even second best. 

That doesn’t mean its not a great album.  It doesn’t mean it it’s not groundbreaking.  It is.  But the the build up of hype around it over the past 40 years is, in my opinion, a bit over the top. 

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One thing did stand out about revisiting Sgt. Peppers, the song “Good Morning, Good Morning” has never sounded so good.  The remastering of it really brought out the the layers in it as well as of the studio produced textures in songs like “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” and “Lovely Rita”.

My problem with Sgt. Peppers really comes from the fact that its not super listenable straight through.  Every listen has at least one, two, or even 3 songs that you hit the next button on. But the question to ask yourself is this: Are those songs really so boring or is it that I just want to get on to “A Day in the Life”?

“A Day in the Life” has got to be one of the best 10 songs of all time.  There is nothing to hate about it and only things to love. They lyrics provoke thought and by the time you reach the end and the famous final chord, the fade out gives you space to process all those thoughts. Every great song stimulates extreme emotion of one kind or another, “A Day in the Life” just happens to be the one that incorporates 60 seconds of time to allow you to drive deep into the meaning of those emotions. 

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