“The release date of Berlin based Einsturzende Neubauten‘s fifth album Haus Der Luge was 4-September-1989, roughly two months before The Wall finally fell. So yes, all that rage and delirium you’re feeling, it’s the real thing, the house is indeed full of lies, the new buildings are all coming down, Neubauten being one of those bands who absolutely sounded like the history they were riding, the sum result of forty-odd years of two opposed worlds grinding up against each other, something/everything finally giving. Historians now seem to give Ronald Reagan the credit. F*** that sh**. It was Neubauten all the way. Music that dissolved concrete, melted barbed wire, changed everything forever. At least, that’s what it felt like at the time.” (Philip Random)
“I missed Gang of Four at their peak, didn’t catch them live until maybe 1983 by which point they were softening their sound, going for a more friendly sort of agit-funk, and it wasn’t working. But then came Anthrax, saved for the encore. Guitar feedback so poisonous it could wipe out an entire city. And it’s a love song. Sort of. ” (Philip Random)
“Dedicated to old friend James who got badly traumatized by all the hippies who dominated his camp the summer he spent tree planting. All they ever wanted to do after a long day’s work was smoke their brains and listen to Bob Marley, maybe bongo along, and urge him to chill whenever he wanted to hear some Clash or Sly and the Family Stone, or even the Beatles. So he ended up coming to hate all of the great man’s music. Except Midnight Ravers. For some reason, he could never quite give up on Midnight Ravers.” (Philip Random)
“Taproot Manuscript was the album where Neil Diamond made it clear he wasn’t going to be just some fresh-faced popster anymore. He was going to be going deeper now, and higher. Yeah, the hippies were sneering at him because his jeans weren’t torn or faded or crusty enough (and he probably used cologne), but who really cared if he could deliver a song as perfect as Coldwater Morning? Particularly that high note he hits in the chorus. That’s the kind of thing that stops time if you’re twelve or thirteen and just starting to figure out what passion really is. How deep it goes.” (Philip Random)
In which the Velvets indulge their inner Monkees for a bit and go full on pop, but they still can’t help dis-respecting the mighty and magnificent and beautiful sun which gives all life, inspires much of our religion and spirituality. Which is why we love it, of course (the song, that is), because the more bitter you can jam into a sweet, the better. Who cares if the teenybops can handle it?
“Donovan never really gets the credit he deserves for kicking the future into motion. I’ve said that already, I know. But seriously, here he is detailing an acid trip in all its cool-and-gone poetic glory at least half a year in advance of the Beatles Sgt Pepper. And better yet, he keeps the groove bluesy, the whole thing strutting comfortably along, the sunshine superman in full cosmic bloom. Nothing could stop him but a drug bust, which is precisely what happened.” (Philip Random)
“I was just a little kid in 1969 when Nina Simone‘s take on Suzanne arrived, but even ten years later, I wasn’t near cool enough to get it. Hell, I barely got Leonard Cohen. No, the awe inspiring talents of Ms. Simone would take another decade and a half to penetrate my white, suburban thickness. The mid-90s by now. Grunge had gone horribly wrong. We were slipping into pseudo-sophistication, sipping cocktails, realizing our parents had been right all along. Amy’s parents anyway, who had this album tucked way away in the dusty far reaches of their collection … just waiting for us, some enchanted evening.” (Philip Random)
Kate Bush pretty much had the world in her hands by 1985’s Hounds Of Love, and she made excellent use of it. Side One was the pop side (more or less) the songs we’ve all heard. Side Two (aka The Ninth Wave) was deeper, richer, stranger, with The Jig Of Life kicking in toward the end all pagan and wild.
“It doesn’t look promising on paper. Bryan Ferry (aka Mr. Suave) taking on Bob Dylan’s 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis inspired whole-world’s-gonna-end-tomorrow-so-I-guess-I’ll-just-write-all-my-songs-tonight apocalyptic masterpiece, turning it into a gospel infused dance number with a big arrangement. But it actually works, and damned well. Miracles never cease, I guess. And the rest of the album‘s pretty strong, too. All covers, all at the very least fun.” (Philip Random)