>Birthday Blog!

>It was twenty seven years ago today that I entered the world. So much has changed in that time, in this blog I am going to describe the top 100 key events during my lifetime.

Or perhaps not as frankly that would be far too much like work (I’m a history teacher) so instead I am going to share with you three albums that in my humble opinion you really, REALLY should own.

Weezer – by Weezer (also known as the Blue album)

It saddens me to say it but I wish Rivers Cuomo had never decided to bring Weezer back together after Pinkerton. Much like the return of Family Guy after a hiatus their output since has become a more and more desperate to recapture the glorious early days with increasingly embarassing efforts to appear relevant. The new song is garbage and sticking the fat bloke from Lost as the album cover is like, so edgy, and like, hilarious! I sound far too grumpy for a man enjoying his birthday so I’ll quickly return to focus on Weezer’s debut. If you do not own this album I envy you, I would love to experience listening to it for the first time. The good news is everytime you listen it’s like a hit of sunshine; the opening bars of My Name is Jonas never fail to give me a surge of excitement. I’m not going to do an in-depth track by track analysis as I have a limited knowledge of synonyms for brilliant. Just bloody buy it.

Three great tracks: No One Else, Say It Aint So, Surf Wax America
Like this? You may also like: The Replacements; Lemonheads; Death Cab for Cutie;
Rating: 9 1/2 out of 10

Innervisions – by Stevie Wonder

Growing up mum and dad always had Stevie Wonder and Jimi Hendrix on so I knew of them without really considering them anything special as they were my parents’ music. I can’t remember exactly when or why but have a strong memory of being about 17 and for the first time really listening to Songs in the Key of Life. From that moment I was hooked, and I consider Stevie’s Golden Period (’72-’80) to be just about the finest music ever created. The pick of the bunch is Innervisions. Music as social commentary is often overtly worthy and tedious, yet on this album it is nothing of the sort. Wonder has an ability like no other to create joy; if you dispute that try and listen to the opening of Sir Duke without smiling. This album is absolutely packed full of songs guaranteed to have you at the very least tapping your feet but more likely dancing around the house like an idiot (perhaps that’s just me). It is in fact easy to listen to this album purely as a dance record and in this form it undoubtedly succeeds but when you actually listen to what Stevie is singing about you realise that this is nothing short of poetry. James Brown may be more closely associated with black rights yet I find his blunt approach and bellious delivery to be off-putting and even patronising. Wonder manages to weave in relevant social commentary about 1970s America into his songs with a subtletly that enriches rather than detracts from the musical joy. His music speaks to people in a way few others manage; only Dylan, Young and Springsteen have had a comparable impact.

Three great tracks: Visions, Living for the City, He’s Misstra know it all
Like this? You may also like: Gil Scott-Heron; The Fugees; Mos Def;

Rating: 9 1/2 out of 10

Buena Vista Social Club – by Buena Vista Social Club

First of all I know my ignorance is staggering. Recommending this to anyone with a knowledge of Cuban music is a bit like saying ‘hey have you heard Definitely Maybe by this Oasis band?’ My knowledge of Cuban music is regrettably minimal so for me this album was a fantastic introduction. I took an extremely roundabout way of getting into it. The roots can probably traced to my Peru trip where I loved the music even if the panpipes were a bit overkill by the end. Shortly after having arrived back and like any self-respecting middle class Guardian reader I decided I was now ‘into World Music.’ A documentary came on TV about the making of this album and experiencing music for the first time visually was an unusual method but the songs really shone out for me. Ever since this album has regularly brightened up a rainy afternoon in my classroom slogging through marking. It showcases a wide variety of styles and performers but what is always consistent is the sky high standard of musicianship and infectious rhythms. If you have never listened to latin music I urge you to give it a go.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8c6u4PFKg_o (El Carretero)
Three great tracks: Chan Chan, Y Tú Qué Has Hecho?, ElCarretero
Like this? You may also like: Ibrahim Ferrer; Omara Portuondo; Rubén Gonzaléz
Rating:  81/2 out of 10

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Published in: on 12/08/2010 at 11:38 am  Comments (2)