Ranking every Beach Boys album/song: “Shut Down Vol. 2” (by Songwriter Jim Fusco)

Originally posted 2008-02-20 11:44:18. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Jim Fusco:

Each song gets a ranking out of a possible 10.

ALBUM – SHUT DOWN, VOL. 2

Fun, Fun, Fun – 8
The Warmth of the Sun – 10 (doesn’t get much better than this)
Don’t Worry, Baby – 10 (see last song)
Pom Pom Play Girl – 4 (too Jan and Dean for me)
Why Do Fools Fall in Love – 6 (again, not a big fan of covers, but this one is very well done, especially that vocal break in the middle)
*I Do – 6 (even though the verse is a clear re-tooling, the chorus is pretty amazing)
In the Parkin’ Lot – 8 (I really like this song- it’s got great harmonies and I love the tag at the beginning and end)
This Car of Mine – 6 (I love Denny’s vocals on this one!)
Keep an Eye on Summer – 9 (just wow)
Louie, Louie – 1 (ugh- why guys, why??)
Shut Down, Part II – 3 (okay, but only because Carl wrote it!)
“Cassius” Love vs. “Sonny” Wilson – 2 (Can this even count? They can’t even get the jokes right! But, it is cute.)
Denny’s Drums – 4 (I hate that Dennis doesn’t get a lot of credit for his drumming, but he clearly has the chops here)

** You have five or six songs that are not only great, but classic on this album and it makes this album a great listen. In my opinion, the Boys really honed the harmonies on this album- not a bum note to be found. Plus, showing off the talents of Dennis (singing and playing) and Carl (writing and playing) is just great. Brian was truly in his prime starting with this album. I find it hard to talk down to any album with the likes of Don’t Worry Baby and The Warmth of the Sun on it. Their greatness truly cancels out any mediocrity the few clunkers on the album express. **

The Weekend Review: October 2012 Report

Originally posted 2013-02-02 07:16:39. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Chris Moore:

II (Bad Books)

Released: October 9, 2012

Rating:  3.5 / 5 stars

Top Two Tracks: “It Never Stops” & “Forest Whitaker”

The second album is always an interesting experiment for any band.  In the case of Bad Books’ II, some of the raw energy has been left behind in favor of refinement in both sound and content.  The benefit of this shift clearly goes to the continuity of the record, as the tracks feel more united than on their freshman effort.  Lyrically, Bad Books is as sharp as ever, and if anything, they have raised the quality.  Finally, in terms of the soundscape, II offers up a lush and gorgeous sequence of arrangements, masterfully orchestrating the mood and pacing.  Still, something has been lost in favor of refinement, but that may simply be the difference between the average first and second releases in a band’s timeline.  Peaking with the gems “It Never Stops” and “Forest Whitaker,” each fronting Bad Books’ signature simple-but-packed-full, low-key-but-rockin’ sound, II has a lot to offer, even if it does lack some of that unmined potential and dynamic appeal of the first record.

 

 

 

Glad All Over (The Wallflowers)

Producer: Jay Joyce

Released: October 9, 2012

Rating:  4 / 5 stars

Top Two Tracks: “First One in the Car” & “Constellation Blues”

Perhaps owing something to Jakob Dylan’s folksy hiatus, the Wallflowers have returned on Glad All Over intent on rocking as hard as they have in their career.  With the return of Rami Jaffee, the band has their signature keyboard/organ sounds firmly in place, and with the addition of Jack Irons on drums, they have implicitly stated their desire to return to rock ‘n’ roll proper, what with his resume as a founding member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and history of backing such bands as Pearl Jam.  After seven years had passed since their last album (2005’s Rebel, Sweetheart), Glad All Over is precisely the type of return effort that will remind fans why the Wallflowers are one of the most underrated bands of the nineties, often written off as one-hit wonders following the chart-topping success of “One Headlight” (which, ironically enough, was only the second single off 1996’s Bringing Down the Horse).  What is clear here is that the band has reinvigorated and perhaps even re-envisioned their sound, evidenced by the sharper, harder guitar effects, additional reverb on the keyboard parts, and most notably by the presence of the Clash’s Mick Jones playing guitar and singing on the album’s lead single, as well as another track.  Still, after opening with the pulse-pounding, eerily rocking “Hospital for Sinners” and following up with the borderline funky, gloriously electrified “Misfits and Lovers,” they follow up with “First One in the Car,” a track that sounds like it was set aside from the Bringing Down the Horse sessions, only to be revealed now.  This has the effect of a nod, or perhaps even a wink, to the sound that earned them their fame, though it admittedly fits fully into the flow of this record.  “Reboot the Mission,” the lead single, takes a turn and revs up the band to create a unique sound that pushes the bass to the front of the mix and toys with atmospherics.  It serves as a thesis of sorts for Glad All Over, as the refrain features the band chorally singing, “Eyes on the prize, reboot the mission: I lost my sight but not the vision.”  “It’s A Dream” continues the rock sound they’ve unveiled on the opening tracks before moving into “Love is a Country,” a gorgeous, rolling track that was handled nicely in the official “lyric video” released by their YouTube channel.  The guitars take the fore on the following tracks, in solos on “Have Mercy On Him Now” and in riffs on “The Devil’s Waltz,” flowing back to a track reminiscent of the Rebel, Sweetheart sound on “It Won’t Be Long (Till We’re Not Wrong Anymore)” before hitting the pinnacle of the second half in “Constellation Blues,” a track that is arguably the amalgamation of all that has come before.  This may seem counterintuitive at first, as the guitars are lower in the mix, yet they’re more subtle than soft, playing an integral role even as the rhythm section takes the lead and the keyboards add layer upon layer of shimmering atmosphere.  True to the mission statement of this album, “One Set of Wings” closes the album on a strong note, offering the full spectrum of instrumentation – distorted guitars riffing and soloing, haunting organ tones, flowing bass lines, and heavy-hitting drums – as well as a vocal delivery of the lyrics that walks the line between gloomy and hopeful.  Perhaps the line of most interest here is when Dylan sings, “I have been lost, and I’m ready to be found.”  With all that this band has to offer particularly on this most recent release, one would hope that it’s time they be found for what they are: a band of career musicians capable of greatness far beyond a solitary single in the late nineties.

“Pigs on the Wing 1 & 2” (Pink Floyd Covers)

Originally posted 2010-04-30 14:00:15. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

** EDITOR’S NOTE: **

When I received two Guest Sessions videos from two different performers — within two weeks of each other(!) — I simply couldn’t resist putting together a great two-fer Friday for you.  For once, I’ll leave it entirely to Jeremy and Federico’s posts and videos below.

Happy Friday to one and all, and enjoy!

By Jeremy Hammond:

My cover of “Pigs on the Wing” Part I from Pink Floyd’s Animals album. A great acoustic song, I played it on my electric, just to mix it up a bit (and just to have an excuse to play my new Strat). Peace! Hope you like it.

By Federico Borluzzi:

Cover of the opening and the final song of Animals (Pink Floyd, 1977). I play the second part right after the first one. This was the first cover I uploaded on YouTube, so didn’t know the right places where I could put the camera…  That’s why my face is almost hidden!

“Joe DiMaggio Done It Again” (Woody Guthrie, Billy Bragg, Wilco Cover) – OPENING DAY DOUBLE HEADER 2 of 2

For Woody Guthrie, Billy Bragg, & Wilco chords and lyrics, CLICK HERE!

By Chris Moore:

As promised, I’m up to the plate for the second time this evening, as I sonically celebrate New York Mets baseball opening day 2009!

For my next trick, I picked my familiar acoustic guitar up and learned a song from Mermaid Avenue, Volume II.  This album is comprised of songs whose lyrics were composed by Woody Guthrie, predominantly in the 1940s.  Then, in the mid to late 1990s, Billy Bragg and the boys of Wilco (Jeff Tweedy, John Stirratt, Jay Bennett, and Ken Coomer) teamed up to write music to the words.  The result was Mermaid Avenue.  The first album is, in my opinion, a masterpiece.  In both individual tracks and the sequence of songs as a whole, the first album is amazing.  There’s something about the production quality and the combination of vocals — alternating between Bragg’s deep clarity and Tweedy’s roughness — and instrumentation is masterful.

The second collaboration is essentially a compilation of tracks left off the first release.  As Bragg and Wilco had had a falling out, I can’t imagine that there was much in the way of actual collaboration on the second album.  This is evident, and it perhaps accounts for why I have never really gotten into the second album as much as the first.  Still, there are some standout tracks, such as “Airline to Heaven” and “Someday Some Morning Sometime.”

Admittedly, “Joe DiMaggio Done It Again” is not a song I would, under normal circumstances, choose to record for a Laptop Session.  (And it’s a bit of an anomaly, as the music is written by Bragg, yet Tweedy sings it — a good decision, in my personal opinion!)  That being said, I couldn’t think of a more perfect track for today.  Although Joe DiMaggio was a player for the Yankees (and I’m a Mets fan!), I think DiMaggio belongs to an era of baseball history that is timeless.  There are certain players — Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Ty Cobb, and others — that fans of all teams can appreciate.

It doesn’t hurt that the Mets won 2-1 over Cincinnati, led by the strong starting pitching of Johan Santana and a home run by Daniel Murphy to name a couple.  Even though I wasn’t home to watch the game, I was able to watch via live phone feed — um, I mean the internet connection to the Mets homepage on my iPhone.  As Mike texted today, “We’re back to iPhone scoreboard watching!”

As a final note, today is special for another reason…

It’s fellow Laptop Sessions contributor Mike Fusco’s birthday!  Here’s to the big 2-3, Fusc!  His birthday seems to come at the best time of the year for him — just as the weather is starting to turn warmer (not that you could tell from today’s weather!).  For those of you who don’t know, one of Mike’s favorite pastimes is going to the beach.  I was there this weekend, and let me tell you… it’s just about time!

Well, that’s about enough for one post.  I mean, two posts.  :-)  Have a great week and don’t forget to stop back regularly this week for more all-new cover song music videos and posts; the second installment of my “Together Through Life” article is coming this weekend…

See you next session!