We bring this meeting of the wookplus record club to order. Kevin, Llama, and Skoi have listened to their assigned albums and written their respective reviews. Skoi put it best when talking about Kev and Llama's picks for the month:
"What's interesting is I feel like both of these albums did the same things retrospectively in their own times for the same reasons, which was a trip to think about for a while. You guys are weird, or did this on purpose."
I can assure you and Skoi we did not do this on purpose. I guess that makes us weird. There is a third option: the more rock changes, the more it stays the same at its core.
Be sure to let us know what you think of the albums on Twitter @wookplus.
90125 - Yes
I was absolutely not expecting 90125 of all YES records to be Kev's pick for a YES record. Wolfie's Mom and I used to listen to this record, but personally, I'm more of a 'Closer To The Edge' or something in the 70's YES guy myself, but here we are.
90125 would become YES' most popular and best-selling album throughout the years, and it makes sense. It contains everything that would make absolute 80s hits: synth stabs, Casio sounds, epic 808 fills, the abuse of the stereo field, and over-the-top yelling hair metal-like vocals. This record doesn't fully know if it's a dance or a rock record, but it meets itself well in the middle - perhaps better than most of its kind.
While not my personal pick when it comes to YES, I fully enjoyed listening to this again. When the next YES spin comes around, though, I'll be digging a little deeper.
It was really helpful that the only song I knew was the opening track. I felt like that set the tone for the 80s overload that came my way. I loved how over-the-top and grand this album feels. It makes me wonder if we will feel the same way about Arcade Fire's "Suburbs" or The Killers' 2010s output.
Overall I feel like the album didn't age well but does catch a moment in time when that sound was one of the biggest in the world. Honestly, one of the best rock and roll sounds is a catchy synth riff.
Strokes - Is This It
This is a debut album, apparently. They sound more like a band that has refined their craft meticulously. I am a fan of the lo-fi aesthetic/teen angst vibe, so songs like "Soma" and "Modern Age" seemed familiar. They are a rock band first and foremost and when taken in this context, I can draw a straight line from VU to the Stooges to Television to the Strokes. There is a confidence not found by a lot of bands, and they go full on from the albums opening notes. The thing I loved most coming out of this album is the rhythm, frantic and consuming, that will probably bring me back again.
Well I hadn't heard this album in, well, forever. I was always into The Strokes when they blew the fuck up, but was never like, INTO The Strokes, you know? I was too busy raving back then.
Most of what I have to say about this LP is not only was this a fucking crusher of a first record output, especially for the sounds in that time, but this obviously helped evolve the poppier side of garage rock a bit further after The White Stripes really blew things up with their first LP in 1999.
'This Is It' adds more guitar, an actual bass guitar, and just a thicker sound to the pop garage rock sound over what Jack and Meg did with their ultra simplified sound in 1999. The songs are quick and punchy, sometimes catchy, sometimes thrashy, and overall pleasant to ingest, even all at once as an album.
Last Nite just came on and I'm totally being transported back to leaving college and wondering what the fuck I was going to do next. Overall, solid album all the way through. Love how simple and stripped down it is, feels like they barely give a shit they're playing, especially when you watch the videos. People will remember this one many years from now.
Say Goodbye to Useless - Deru
I am honestly not sure what to do with this. I want to like it, but it is foreign to me. Literally in the lyrics for ‘I Would Like’ being French and my unfamiliarity with electronic music. It’s dark at times, ambient at times, and listening through the second time, I came to appreciate this by thinking about the creation of it. The broken beats, bleeding bass lines paired with an almost symphonic feel in arrangements that are crisp and atmospheric. My favorites were I Want, with its almost funk, and Walk, for its minimalism.
I followed the instructions for listening to this album. Sometimes I forgot I was listening to music and had to remind myself that the noises were music. Music I had to work to find. Music that would often drift away as quickly as it came because my mind would wander through a dystopian minefield of future anxieties and do they apply today as well. Is our only purpose in life to create data for a magnificent data-eating AI program?
This album is comfortably placed in the complicated to get into category of albums. So like all complicated albums, the question becomes, is it worth the time? Unfortunately, the answer to that question lies in future listens, if ever. I still haven't "got" the album.