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Big Wreck, Everclear, Glasvegas, Queen and Madonna

Step up to the bar for another round of your favourites… Can you believe this entry makes 25 of them already? I know!

21 HANSEN9J: Big Wreck – The Pleasure And The Greed

There was a time when I was definitely into Big Wreck, and then (as so often happens), I moved on to other bands, other sounds. In all fairness, they were only around for two records, so they didn’t have much time to entrench themselves… But hearing them again, now, was a real pleasure.

At the time, I was more into their first record, In Loving Memory Of…, but I had this one too and it was an excellent effort. Ian Thornley has a strong, distinctive voice, and the band is tight and heavy. I’d forgotten how long it is, with 16 full tracks, definitely not your typical album release.

Funny, for all the shows I went to around that time, I never got the chance to see this band in concert, but I imagine it would have been a huge show. Thanks, HANSEN9J, the nostalgia here did my heart good.

22 OMG IT’S FEELY: Everclear – So Much For The Afterglow

From its Beach Boys-inspired opening strains, So Much For The Afterglow builds into an entirely pleasing rock-pop record. Like Big Wreck (above) and a pile of others, this was a band that I was playing quite a bit in my mix of latter-day grunge/punk. I bonded more closely with Sparkle And Fade, probably because I saw the band live in 1996, before Afterglow came out. I remember one of the band members walking down the line of amps and turning everything to full…

This is a spiffy collection of tracks, and the years have done nothing to diminish them.

23 FCOLL REVIEWS: Glasvegas – Glasvegas

FCOLL REVIEWS chimed in with this soaring slice of Britpop as the current winner, another response offering up a contemporary record not an all-time favourite. Since the question didn’t specify one or the other, fair enough!

This record is a veritable wall of sound. Every instrument is treated to full-on stadium effect. Hell, the first track is an album unto itself, with its intro and outro and near-seven minute length. There’s calculated ambition aplenty here, a perfect studio-produced gem.

Personally, though, the record didn’t do much for me – on a listening level. I’m not their target market. I’ve never been a fan of that Brit-wave of Coldplay or Oasis (who even gets a shout out in track 3), and the endless list of other similar-sounding (to me) bands. If this is the current sound out of the UK, to me it sounds the same as it did fifteen years ago. The subtle differences between these groups is lost on me.

The cracked-voice affectations, learned over years of hearing other people do bad impersonations of people whose voices actually cracked when they sang, quickly grew old. Fun to once again hear the rolled ‘R’s of Scotland, though I wonder if even those have been increased, at points, beyond conversational accent.

Still, my thanks to FCOLL for introducing me to something I probably wouldn’t have heard otherwise. It’s good for me to broaden horizons now and again. Cheers!

24 STEVE: Queen – A Night At The Opera

I’ve never known whether to take Queen seriously or not. I mean, I do – listen to how powerful Mercury’s voice was, and May is a guitar g-d to those in the know. The band wrote excellent songs that have definitely withstood the tests of time and held the fleeting attention spans of the average rock radio listener. They are definitely in the pantheon.

But there are other times when I think Queen is kind of goofy.. in a nice, safe, Monty Python kind of way. Like they took what they were doing perfectly seriously but were still sniggering backstage before going out to play a concert like they were ten year old school boys getting away with something. And no, Mercury’s predilections had nothing to do with that last comment, shame on you for thinking it… Look, sometimes their songs strike me as wonky. Maybe I should blame Mike Meyers…

So, when Steve offered up this album as his favourite, I approached with both thoughts in mind, and was certainly pleased with what I heard. This is a cool record. It has all the hallmarks of the Queen sound (and you know what they are, I won’t list them here), and fulfills both my opinions of the band. I don’t know why Steve chose it, but good on you, man.

25 DENISE: Madonna – The Immaculate Collection

Here we go. I have a confession to make. Ready? I owned tapes of Madonna in the 80’s. I know, I know. Not what you’d think of me. And then when Brian gave me back all of my tapes I discovered that I now own them again. I haven’t played them in the car yet, but I’m not afraid to either. I just haven’t hit that level of nostalgia yet.

So Denise chose this hits collection as her favourite. Fair enough. We all know every word to every song on this record, largely because they were hammered into our brains so often as to be impossible to ignore. Damn you, pop radio and Video Hits! Even the songs for which I didn’t know the titles, I knew the songs themselves. So it goes.

Did I like it? Well, sure. Why not. I mean, a piece of our past is always welcome around here occasionally, as long as it takes its shoes off at the door and doesn’t just pick the pretzels out of the party mix. Will I listen to it often? No, not likely. Chacun son gout, d’accord?

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