Tuesday, August 09, 2005

On The Jukebox Tonight:

This Kiss - big props to Faith Hill for managing to write a song that rhymed "centrifugal", "perpetual", "pivotal" and "subliminal". Shame she's not done much else since. I also think I deserve some praise for using the phrase "big props" in that first sentence. Props, as you all know, is a US term meaning "proper respect". I'm trying to resist the urge to append the word "innit".

I've been thinking recently about music and more importantly, The Perfect Album. That is to say, an album so incredibly good that it has not one single track that could be labelled either "filler" or "crap". It's a hard task to find such an album, and I've heard many in the short quarter of a life I've lead thus far. But I've come up with a few candidates. This is of course, hugely subjective. Then again, a blog is just that anyway, so I'm not going to apologise.

1.) Pearl Jam - Ten

An album so utterly well produced, that it sends shivers down my spine each and every time I listen to it. Not a single track is wasted, from the stunning opening of Once to Even Flow, Garden, Black .... hell, they're all good. Not only that, but it is without a doubt the greatest debut album of any band in the history of the world, ever. There would be nothing Pearl Jam could do that would ever top this phenomenal record, and though they tried, Ys and Yield just couldn't match it. If I'd have been them, I would have retired then and there.

2.) Jon Bon Jovi - Destination Anywhere

Taking a break from their strutting arena pop-rock, Jon and Richie went their separate ways for a while to record solo studio albums. Jon certainly should have stayed away. This is far and away the most brilliant thing he has ever created. It's not your usual big lickin' riff-happy crowd-pleasin' amalgamation. Indeed, it's a lot darker and moodier than anything Bon Jovi ever produced and may be the reason why it was criminally rejected by the mainstream crowd despite critical acclamation. Tracks like August 7, 4:15 (a song about the murder of his manager's daughter). Midnight in Chelsea and my personal favourite Little City give you a brooding feeling of small-town depression, whilst the pick-me-ups such as Queen of New Orleans and the title track balance things out nicely. Even non-Bon Jovi fans should like this album, and that's a big statement to make.

3.) Ash - Free All Angels

2001 - the year that Ash finally got things right, before saying "sod this" and flitting back into relatively heavy Indie rock territory. But the brief hiatus from their normal guitar slamming allowed Tim Wheeler and Co. to create one of the best pop-punk albums of the last 10 years. Not even Green Day have an album that can match the infectious freshness that Free All Angels washes lovingly over your CD player. Kicking off with possibly one of the best opening tracks on any album (yes, yes, Smells Like Teen Spirit was pretty good too...) Walking Barefoot was clearly a winner of a single. Except, it didn't get released. Wheeler didn't seem to think a song about summer would sit too well in the charts around the Christmas period. Personally, I'd have held off on the album for 6 months before pumping that baby out there. Still, Burn Baby Burn, arguably one of the most infectious guitar pop tracks ever produced, made it into the top 3. And when you're a band like Ash, who will never make it big in the UK singles chart, that's pretty good going. They can take heart from the fact that Bon Jovi have never gotten past number 2 either, and they're not short of a bob or two. Even the (comparably) weaker tracks such as Shark and Candy are eminently catchy. It's an album that lifts you up and fills you with summer joy...something that seems to be missing these days amidst the constant covers and droning R+B.

Anyway, that's three that spring to mind. I have a couple more that I'm considering labelling as Perfect Albums, but I think I need to give them another listen first.

Until next time, pop-pickers!

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