There hasn't been another Billy Joel, and probably won't be ever again. The closest you can get, I think, is probably Ben Folds, as he is also a piano player, but Folds could never match up to Billy Joel's list of hits, media exposure, or talent. This album showcases Joel's ability to create a pop hit. We Didn't Start the Fire was a number one hit when released. However, it is definitely not the best track on the album, and has over shadowed many of the better songs. Mick Jones of Foreigner produced, and definitely delivered. My favorite track is the last one, And So it Goes. Joel's ability to write is astounding, and it puzzles me that he just all of a sudden stopped. Such great talent can't possibly just disappear, and since he's not dead yet, where has he been?
Jorma Kaukonen - guitars and vocals on all but Blue Prelude and Sweet Hawaiian Sunshine
Tom Hobson - guitar and vocals only on Blue Prelude and Sweet Hawaiian Sunshine
This album is so
very cool. Not only is it nearly perfect (including Tom Hobson tracks at
the end nearly ruin it, he kinda sucks), but the producer is the other half of
Hot Tuna, Jack Cassady. RCA (Grunt's parent company) nixed the idea of a Kaukonen/Hobson
split record because they didn't think Hobson would be accepted by the public.
And they were probably right. Hobson's two tracks are pretty bad,
he can't sing at all. However, despite Hobson's shortcomings, the rest of
the album is incredible. Acoustic guitar awesomeness combined with a occasional cool
string section. This is not the usual blues standards Kaukonen is known for, if you like good acoustic guitar picking, check this one out. I used a lyric fromHamar
Promenadein my high school
Ruby Soho/ Thats Entertainment/ Disorder and Disarray
One might ask what could
be better than Operation Ivy, or So Long and Thanks for all the Shoes?
The answer, of course, is this album. Tim Armstrong and Matt
Freedman from OpIvy and Lars Fredericksen united to bring us a ska influenced
street punk band which would become my favorite punk sound.
NOFX, Rancid would be a next logical step, followed by countless other Epitaph
signed bands, including the legendary Bad Religion. From a 14 year old's
eyes, this was epic. I borrowed this album from my buddy for weeks.
I also have the Time Bomb single/EP/ 7". Sometimes they still
play it on the local radio station.
The cover art may look familiar. It is a homage to the Minor Threat EP cover, which is actually a photo of Alec MacKaye. I'm pretty sure this photo was taken by Henry Rollins, but I can't find any proof.
This band was pretty
much my first look at punk rock. Not a bad initiation. This album
is the height of their Ska era and fit right into the Mighty Mighty Bosstones,
Less than Jake, Rancid trend. I had seen friends wearing the t-shirts and
decided to give it a shot. I liked the rebellious fuck you attitude (I
was 14, this was angsty and cool). The album cover is neopolitan and the
title is borrowed from The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and references NOFX
fans that throw shoes onstage, lost by crowd surfers, skankers, and assholes in
The music has a ska influence. In fact, it is different than anything else they have done since. Musically diverse, lyrically clever, I would argue this was, and continues to be, their best album. Shortly after, they
released a song called We Don't Play Ska
Anymore, but they were pretty
good at it. Murder the Government, and I'm Telling Tim are reworked tracks from their Fuck the Kids EP, which was released the year previous.
The band photos for the
album are pictures of other guys from other bands. Howard Stern is
included at the end of the album telling his DJ that they should be called No
Talent. The liner notes are pretty clever too.
I love this album, and
it's definitely on my top punk albums of all time list.
If hipsters gave out
awards, this band would get one just for their name... you see, it's not
a goth emo metal band from Pittsburgh, it's a folksy rock band from Washington
state. That's irony! I like this band. They don't rock as
hard, but the Pixies and Radiohead can definitely be heard as influences. Ben Gibbard helped give rise to the new folk rock scene and hipster/indie music explosion in the early part of the new millennium, a refreshing change to the staleness of pop punk bands and post grunge rockers of the previous decade.
It is fun to mention
that Chris Walla is a band member and producer. And Ben Gibbard divorced
Zooey Deschannel, the prettiest girl next door on television.
Ben Harper - guitars, vocals, organ, bass, drums Nikki Panicci - guitars Greg Kurstin - keyboards, pianos Leon Mobley - drums, percussion Juan Nelson - bass
Diamonds on the Inside
This is my favorite Ben
Harper album so far. This is the first album Ben Harper has produced by
himself without JD Plunier. I've always been amazed why established
artists need producers, most of the time the musician has a shared
producer credit anyway. Why not just cut out the middle man altogether? Diamonds on the Inside appears to be Ben Harper's homage to Paul Simon's Graceland. Not only is the title track reminiscent of Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes (and an inversion), but both albums share similar rhythms and harmonies. Also, The Ladysmith Black Mombaso makes an appearance on Picture of Jesus.
This album is fantastic
from start to finish. No song is skippable. Each track has its own
beauty, and while some may be turned off by religious messages, I believe that
regardless of your belief system, some lyrical messages are more about being a
good human, rather than a good Christian/ Muslim/ Buddhist/ or whatever. Plus, it would be a gross denial to not understand how much of an impact religion has made on social norms, personal morals, and shared cultural experience, even among those who don't practice or worship any theological expression. The gospel influence in Ben Harper's music separates it from other neo-blues forms.
On a side note, this is another one of those Ben Harper albums that I no longer own. I have to stop loaning things to bitches.