Posts Tagged ‘rock’n’roll

05
Jun
10

Boston “Boston”

It’s really hard to criticize something like this album–I mean it’s like criticizing The Dictionary–though, when I say that, I’m assuming “the dictionary of the English language,” and if you don’t speak English, the book isn’t of much use.

Listen to the record!

That was an attempted allegory. Note: edit out that first paragraph before posting.

Listen to the record!

Everyone knows the story of how Tom Scholz, MIT grad and scientist, was working for GE developing the Doomsday Machine when, while tinkering in his basement workshop, developed all those compressors and distortion devices that– when built into what are known as “guitar pedals” –have allowed future generations of mindless wankers to pick up an electric guitar for the first time and in fifteen minutes learn how to make noise like a goddamn god. When Andy Warhol said that “fifteen minutes of fame” thing, this is exactly what he was talking about.

Listen to the record!

That “Listen to the record!” business is from the liner notes, and I just love liner notes. It makes me so sad to think about all the young people and their MP3s and how they don’t even have an idea of the concept of liner notes. These liner notes discuss how the guys got together, first called their band “Springfield” and when things weren’t happening, changed the name to “Boston” and the rest is history. There is also a discussion of “technology,” but I’m just listening to the record. The song “More Than A Feeling,” despite being seriously in the top ten of alltime overplayed songs, is surprisingly fresh sounding–I mean considering– with that acoustic part and the hard rock part– I know it should sound more stale than it does– well, maybe it’s just been such a “Long Time” since my stereo needle touched vinyl. The song, “Long Time” incidentally, was used in studies. It was found that people of a certain age group (my age) could pick up a guitar for the first time and play the opening guitar part nearly note for note, particularly guitar store employees.

I’m making fun of this record a little, but I have to admit I’m actually enjoying listening to it, so if you’re a fan, old or new, and you want say “Speen thinks it rocks” go ahead, it won’t bug me too much. Really, it’s not entirely these guys’ fault that some of these guitar flourishes are what many of us will hear as we’re dying, coming out of a coma, having sex, or every time we turn the ignition of a car or open a can of Pepsi. Maybe Scholz DID invent the doomsday machine after all. Look at the cover art closely, if it doesn’t cause flashbacks to commence. It looks like the Earth is exploding and entire cities are being saved by being jetted off into space by dome-topped flying saucers. The one closest to us, of course, contains Boston. One wonders if Kokomo made it.

Lyrically–there are no printed lyrics on this particular sleeve, so I’m trying to make them out. Smokin’ indeed rhymes with tokin’. It’s interesting, with all the millions of times I’ve heard “More Than A Feeling” I never heard the “Mary Ann slipping away” part. Who is this “Mary Ann”? Seeing how this record came out in 1976, you have to figure the lyricist must have been watching endless Gilligan’s Island reruns, and how many people had a crush on that Mary Ann? I know I did, but it’s interesting, once I got to a certain age, I switched over from Mary Ann to Ginger. I really believe that’s a sign of maturity. Ask your friends who they prefer– it’s a good test to separate the men from the boys. I’m trying to remember who the eighth person on that island was… Anyway, you KNOW that The Professor could have had a short wave radio rescue transmission going in about five minutes, but he obviously didn’t want to. Thurston had Lovey and The Skipper had Gilligan (don’t pretend you didn’t know) so who else was there to satisfy the two hot women other than Russell “Magic” Johnson (not his real name) who– well they couldn’t really show it on TV then like they could today– got more ass than a makeshift bamboo outhouse.

I would apologize for that last paragraph, but you’ll never see it. I just started drinking coffee again and I’m getting carried away here. Memo to Speen: DELETE the paragraph about lyrics before posting.

Side two starts out with a really corny, compelling, unoriginal and utterly awesome rocker called “Rock & Roll Band” which is probably about playing in a rock & roll band, but I’m not going to fall back into that listening to the lyrics trap. I wasn’t actually able to get to the end of side two because this particular record, which was found on “the street,” seems to have about a kilo of cocaine encrusted in the later grooves of the second side. I would take the initiative to clean it, but I can’t find a hundred dollar bill.

05
Apr
08

AC/DC “For Those About To Rock We Salute You”

Somehow I got this far in life without ever dropping a needle on an AC/DC record. I mean, I’ve dropped other things on them… no, I’m just kidding. In fact, I had no idea they were from Australia– I think I thought they were from Scotland or something. I want to officially apologize to the band, and to the residents of both countries. All I really knew about AC/DC is that there was a screechy singer who died, and a guy who played a Gibson SG and wore shorts all the time.

I’m finding some of this record way too hi-octane in a really annoying way, and I can’t listen to it– but other songs, the less noisy ones have a nice quality, a little space, maybe a good sound. I guess I’m liking songs that remind me more of good Led Zeppelin or the Rolling Stones, essentially the more blues oriented side of heavy metal. Whenever things get too much sounding like Van Halen I have to take it off.

I guess this record came out (1981) after that singer died and was replaced by an even screechier guy. In that I pretty much never have listened to music with a screechy singer, it’s kind of fascinating, like having a really unlikely dinner guest over at your place. I’m pretty much enjoying it, I have to admit. I don’t have the energy to try to make out many of the lyrics, but once in a while I hear a line I really like, and I’m reminded of the compelling nature of the A,B,A,B rhyme scheme. Young kids should remember not to get away from that– it’s cool to rhyme, and not just for rappers. One songs starts out with “loose lips/sink ships,” and you don’t think for a minute they’re talking about national security. I think that line directly inspired a Spinal Tap song– or maybe it IS in a Spinal Tap song.

I have to say, I do like the overall sound and production of this record. There’s nothing too fancy, and the drums are just really solid sounding, and overall, when they stay away from the dumb choruses and double leads, the whole thing is tolerable, and about one third of it is pleasurable. And for rock music, that’s pretty good!




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