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Beck, Genesis, Interesting Entries, U2, and Crash Test Dummies

Here’s the third batch of your favourites! Sorry it’s taken so long to get this round posted. I’ve been out of town for the holiday, and working 6 days a week. I will get to all of your choices shortly, trust me!

11 DESEREE: Beck – Mutations

Deseree offered up this Beck collection of songs as her entry into this project. While she said it might not be her favourite album of all time, it’s the one that she finds herself playing most often. Fair enough! I remember my lovely wife buying a copy of Mutations on the day of our first date (and what that says about our relationship, I shudder to think!), and she was very happy with the record from the first spin (and the date didn’t go too badly either!).

Beck has always been weird, going out onto limbs that other people didn’t even necessarily know were there, in order to bring us his sound of mish-mashed influences and new creations. Each new album is a new facet, and it’s a wonder there’s any cohesion to his work at all (and yet there usually is). Mutations is, to me, largely a record for later at night, for quieter and thoughtful moments. A lot of the songs (except Tropicalia, of course), are slower, more introspective, but still sound fantastic. It’d been a long time since I’d heard this, and I thank Deseree for reminding me of its existence!

12 BRENT: Genesis – A Trick Of The Tail

Brent said this album, more than Selling England By The Pound, is the one he considers his favourite. Though he loves the whole record, he said it is due in large part to his love of the way the last track (Los Endos) lets his mind just space out and go wherever it wants. Well then, right on, man!

When I played it back, having never actually heard any of these songs (though I am surely acquainted with Genesis, especially their later years, in general), I was quite surprised. It was a fun romp through a mixture of jazzy and spacey lyrics and instrumental experimentation, and more typical Genesis-sounding tracks. Somehow it all holds together as a pop album, and that’s cool. It definitely sounds like the mid-70’s to me, though I’m not really sure that that holds water as a description…

Wikipedia tells me that this was their first effort post-Peter Gabriel, and that Phil Collins was initially reluctant to sing. Interesting.

13 LORI, MARIE AND BROOKE: Not Knowing Their Faves, But Still Playing The Game!

Some people, when asked the question for this project, didn’t have an exact answer…

Lori said she likes Air Supply, but didn’t know the album she liked or the colour of the cover. She just knew she liked it. I got the impression she didn’t really want to play this game for too long, though, so I am satisfied with this much information.

Marie said she really liked that song by Laura Brannigan, “you know the one, right?” She hummed a bit of it for me, but I didn’t recognize it, and she didn’t know the name of the record or the song either. Oh well, at least she knows what she likes in her own head!

Brooke said that her friends just burn CDs of stuff they are listening to for her, and she plays those. She doesn’t seem to care who the artists are or what the albums are called, and she didn’t offer up one as a favourite – she seemed to treat them all equally.

Interesting times, indeed. A band but no album, an unknown song but no title or album, and indifference towards anything specific. This question has brought out a lot of interesting responses. I’m having an inordinate amount of fun, doing this…

14 LORRAINE: U2 – Rattle And Hum

Lorraine said this record, above all others, was her favourite. And from what I know of Lorraine, her choice of U2 does not surprise me at all. Maybe choosing this particular record, instead of Joshua Tree or Achtung Baby surprised me a bit, but then again, not really.

I have a real love/hate thing with U2. I loved their earlier stuff, thought it was strong and passionate. I was with them right up to and including Achtung Baby, but even by then I was starting to have to admit that their new stuff wasn’t grabbing me in that same, visceral way. Hate is a strong word, but I never cared at all for their pop/dance experimentations, Bono’s extracurricular circus activities are an obnoxious distraction, and the new stuff is just re-tread parodies of themselves. It all sounds the same. Maybe they’ve just gotten so full of themselves and so popular that they don’t have to try anymore? People are slobbering all over themselves in anticipation of the new U2 record coming out soon, but I can tell you how it’ll sound – just like the last one (and that wasn’t particularly good at all). Big deal.

Not being a particularly religious person (so it’s a wonder I liked this group’s earlier stuff at all), I always considered Rattle And Hum my Sunday morning church music. I played it on tape every week (and plenty besides that) until I finally wore it out. The songs here soar and glide with that energy they were just starting to lose by then. Call this their last gasp. It’s a nice mix of live and studio tracks, and any record with B.B. King on it is good for me. I know every note of this record by heart, and it still lifts me now, to hear it again after all these years. Too bad they had to go and start sucking so hard. Thanks, Lorraine, for bringing me back my Sunday morning music!

15 JAMES: Crash Test Dummies – God Shuffled His Feet

James loved the Crash Test Dummies. I’m not exactly sure where he stands on them these days, but I get the sense it’s still love, just not as strong. Whatever the current status, he chose this as his favourite record, and none of us are too surprised!

It’s hard for me to listen to this band. Their first record was playing in the tape deck when I had my first serious car accident. Such associations tend to make me not want to listen. Imagine that. But in the interests of this project, I have sucked up my own mental bullshit and ventured into the tracks on this record.

It’s been years since I heard more than one track by this group in a row, and I was pleasantly surprised by how the tidy and fun production has captured the Dummies in their prime. The songs sound great, like they were made by actual humans. And yes, their lyrics are quirky and different, and yes, Brad Roberts’ voice still sounds a bit like a put-on (even though we know it’s not), but this collection of songs is intelligent and highly, truly entertaining. I know this group was big in this country, at one point, but they should probably have been bigger. This record is a perfect example of why.

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