It's Bonus Song Thursday! And Bill and Brian return to discuss some more about Michael Jackson and his collaborations with Sir Paul McCartney. Released on McCartney's album, the poorly received Pipes of Peace (1983, Parlophone/Columbia). The guys talk about how this is a better song than most give it credit for, the production on the song and its corresponding album, the picaresque video, and the falling out between the singers over a royalty dispute. Also, we read a listener email, which leads to a discussion about Guided by Voices and how one should attempt delving into their catalog.
Bill and Brian start off the month of massive albums with the biggest and bestselling album of all time, Michael Jackson's Thriller (1982. Epic). Following up on the success of his collaboration with Quincy Jones on 1979's Off the Wall, Jackson re-teamed with the producer to create this career defining record. Hailed as the album that saved the music industry, no less than 7 of Thriller's 9 tracks were released as singles. Bill and Brian discuss how they view Michael Jackson, his career, and the legacy he created. They also talk about Brian's first experience with Jackson's music when he was in kindergarten, Jackson's development into a worldwide phenomenon, world music, legendary bass lines, the cult of personality, and as always a track by track review of the whole album!
It's Bonus Song Thursday! Bill and Brian are once again joined by musician and songwriter Eric Nelson (thelightsbeneath.com) to discuss some music by the legendary blues rockers Led Zeppelin. We tackle the behemoth tune "Stairway to Heaven" off the band's legendary untitled album (1972, Atlantic). In the midst of talking about what makes "Stairway" so great (and maybe not so great), we stumble across an epic Zeppelin vs. The Who debate! We also discuss Celebration Day and Eric makes a selection from the Great Stack of Vinyl!
Brian and Bill are joined by musician and music aficionado Eric Nelson, guitarist of the Lights Beneath (thelightsbeneath.com), to discuss Led Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy (1973, Atlantic). Hot on the heals of their massive arena rock success with their previous untitled record and "Stairway to Heaven," the band released an album of tunes that cemented their reputation for studio prowess and furthered their dynamic range with cross-genre experimentation. Brian, Bill, and Eric discuss how Eric was drawn to the excellent blues rock that Jimmy Page cranked out, driving down dark roads listening to "No Quarter," how Zeppelin came together in a very convoluted manner, multilayered guitars, the ubiquity of "Stairway to Heaven," impressing girls with "Over the Hills and Faraway," and as always a track by track review!
It's Bonus Song Thursday! We didn't want to burden you with twice over 2 hour long podcasts in the same week, so we take a slice out of an album and discuss a single song on this episode. Following up on our episode on Say Anything's ...Is a Real Boy, we discuss "Judas Decapitation" from their album Hebrews (2014, Equal Vision). Bill and Brian discuss how the band continued to mature and challenge themselves 10 since their breakthrough record with an album featuring zero guitars. Afterwards, we get into a pretty interesting discussion about the state of music and music discovery thanks to an email from a listener, Shane, who questions if the accessibility of music has a deminishing effect on the enjoyment of it. Decide for yourself after hearing what we have to say!
Singer, songwriter, and musician from the band Centennials (centennials.bandcamp.com), Rhonette Smith, joins Bill and Brian to discuss one of her favorite albums, Say Anything's ...Is a Real Boy (2006, J Records). Written and recorded during a period of mental instability for primary songwriter Max Bemis, the album plays with emo tropes and attempts to break the mold. Originally written to be part of a rock opera, the album finds solid ground with great songs, great tones, and a solid team behind the production. Rhonette, Brian, and Bill discuss the ambition to make art, mental health, the emo conundrum, hypocrisy, ego, the influence of Weezer and the Rentals, well-written lyrics, and of course a track by track review of the whole album.
It's Bonus Song Thursday! We jump 30 years into the future after discussing Willie Nelson's Stardust on the previous episode to talk about his 2006 collaboration with Ryan Adams, "Blue Hotel" from the album Songbird. We discuss who Ryan Adams is, if this was basically a Ryan Adams album, and Willie and Ryan's production choices. Also, Joe picks an album to take as his own from the stack of LPs lying around the studio!
Musician and podcaster Joe Galuppo (check out his NJ indie rock radio podcast at diningroomradio.net) joins Bill and Brian to discuss Willie Nelson's Stardust (1978, Columbia). Having abandoned Nashville in favor of the so-called "outlaw country" scene, Willie found mainstream success and stardom with his country records in the early 70s. although some thought Stardust would ruin his career, Willie proved that he could make an album of standards from the "great American songbook" a hit. In this episode, Joe, Bill, and Brian discuss discovering Willie Nelson in our youths, what a standard actually is, a little about the production of this piece, and (as always) a track by track review!
It's Bonus Song Thursday! Bill and Brian talk about the Talking Heads side project of Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz, Tom Tom Club, and their song "Genius of Love" off their self titled debut album (1981, Sire). Brian and Bill discuss the band's formation, the lasting influence of the song, the Great 1981 Adrian Belew Coup, Mariah Carey and her legacy, and we read a few listener emails about Bare Naked Ladies and Big Star!
Podcaster Alex Gomory, of the Riff n Ralk Music Tock podcast (riffnralk.com), joins Bill and Brian to discuss Talking Heads' Remain in Light (1980, Sire). The band's fourth release in as many years found them trying to work as a cohesive band and experimenting with both technology and world music. Utilizing loops and digital sounds, the band also focused on utilizing African polyrhythms, creating unique songs that were met with unanimous critical acclaim. Brian, Bill, and Alex discuss how Alex discovered the band in college, Fela Kuti, the odd sound the band makes while playing off each other, what it means when a terrorist is shown as a sympathetic character, and as always a track by track review!
It's Bonus Song Thursday, and Brian is still missing! Bill takes this opportunity to fill in some blanks left from when he talked about Mono (the album, not the disease) by talking about Paul Westerberg's Stereo (2002, Vagrant). Bill shares some of his favorite tunes from the album. Then, he talks about some exciting news in the world of the Great Albums, including what podcast he guested on, a new partnership, and a fun show that should appeal to the Venn diagram of listeners of this podcast and fans of the Replacements!
With no guest and Brian taking the week off, Bill decided to talk to himself for an hour about one of his favorite artists and one of his favorite albums. Credited to Paul Westerberg's alias Grandpaboy, Mono (2002, Vagrant) was paired with the release of a Westerberg solo album called Stereo. Stereo was the softer side, and Mono was the rocking side. Both recorded at home in Paul's basement, these albums were hailed as a return to form for the singer songwriter after his disappointing prior 3 post-Replacements solo albums. Bill talks about how he slowly developed a love for this album during his freshman year of college, Paul's guitar choice, Westerbergian lyrics, dirty sounds and beautiful melodies, and a track by track review!
It's Bonus Song Thursday! Drew Novelli (actor, writer, videographer, musician) joins Bill and Brian to talk about a single song in conjunction with our previous episode. Earlier this week, we discussed our 12 favorite guilty pleasure songs, so naturally, we turned to one of our favorite artists, Ryan Adams, who just released an ENTIRE ALBUM covering one of his guilty pleasures Taylor Swift. We listen to a little bit of Adams' version of "Blank Space" and discuss surprise releases, the value of music, how pop songs translate into alt country, and respect for T-Swizzle. Also, Drew makes his choice from the vinyl grab bag!
You know you have a few of these, too. Songs that you don't want to admit to friends, especially the cool record collecting types, that you know you'll crank up every time you're in a car by yourself. Even here at the Great Albums podcast, we have a few of those. So we decided to enlist our friend Drew Novelli (writer, actor, musician videographer and creator of the 'Guacamole' video) to help us share some of those guilty please songs! We talk about what makes you feel guilty when listening to a guilty pleasure, some off color jokes not common to this podcast, and a bunch of stories about why we love this music. Featuring the music of Seal, Carly Rae Jepsen, Jason Mraz, Shakira, Brent Rusche, Meatloaf, Dio, Parry Gripp, Chicago, Marcy Playground, Chicago Bears, Kelly Clarkson, and Flickerstick!
It's Bonus Song Thursday on the Great Albums podcast and our friend from Roy Orbitron, Conor Meara, is back to talk about Al Green's "You've Got the Love I Need." Released in 2008 on the album Lay It Down, produced by ?uestlove, the music showcases that Green's voice hasn't lost anything over the years. The guys talk about the music, Al Jackson Jr., and Conor chooses an LP from the mystery pile!
Singer/songwriter and musician from Roy Orbitron (royorbitron.org) joins Bill and Brian to talk about Al Green's I'm Still in Love with You (1972, Hi). Recorded at the hieght of his fame and creative output with producer Willie Mitchell, with this album Al Green found a comfort zone for his sweetly soulful music. Filled mostly with love songs and ballads, the album gently helps its listeners as they make their way through a romantic eveing. Brian, Bill, and Conor talk about their personal experiences finding this music, the simple intricacies of the production, Al Green's unique voice, Al's alluring pose on the back cover, how underrated Al Green is amongst the soul giants, and (of course) a track by track review of the album!
It's Bonus Song Thursday! But wait, what's this? It's a cover of the Cure's "In Between Days" from their 1985 album The Head on the Door. Brian and Bill discuss Fold's career, chart success, striking while the iron is hot, and heat stroke. They also announce the winner of the "Petunia" contest, what singer-songwriter was the basis of the film Danny Collins, and big green monkeys!
Bill and Brian welcome Jack Sullivan as a guest to talk about the Cure's Disintegration (1989, Elektra/Asylum). Released after a series of songs that helped the band break into the mainstream, principal songwriter and poorly-applied-makeup enthusiast Robert Smith wanted to create a great album that solidifed how the band was perceived amongst both fans and critics. Written and recorded shortly before Smith's 30th birthday, a sense of doom and gloom dominated the album's new wave/alternative music and the lyrical content. Bill, Brian, and Jack discuss how this album became a soundtrack to breakups, 80s schlock, how Robert Smith spends his day to day life, how Jack would resequence the album, the metaphorical impact of Christmas, and more as we make our way through the album track by track!
It's Bonus Song Thursday, which means Brian and Bill tackle a single song from the artist featured on the previous episode! This week, we take a look at Rod Stewart's version of "Corrina Corrina," a bonus track from his 2013 album Time. A traditional blues tune, based on the version by Bob Dylan, it's a bit of a return to the sound Stewart perfected in the early 70s. Brian and Bill also discuss Stewart's return to songwriting and read some fan mail!
Bill and Brian get together to discuss Rod Stewart's third in a series of five wonderful solo albums for Mercury records that he released early in his career, Every Picture Tells a Story (1971, Mercury). After working with the Jeff Beck Group and running concurrent to his output with the Faces, Stewart found success with the b-side "Maggie May." With a unique rock-and-roll-meets-folk-with-a-little-soul songwriting and production style, this album stands out. Brian and Bill discuss how they were able to move past their own prejudices toward Stewart, why more people don't discuss the importance of Rod's early solo career, why unique sounds and instrumentation sound so good, and a track by track review of the entire album!
It's Bonus Song Thursday on the Great Albums Podcast! In our previous episode we talked about Tom Waits and the impact he's had on others' careers thanks to their covers of his songs. So Bill and Brian take a closer look at the Eagles version on "Ol' 55," originally released on Waits' debut album, Closing Time, in 1973. We discuss the Eagles as a dad band, their use of harmony, soft rock radio, and how covering other's songs fits in the world of rock and roll.
Bill and Brian welcome cohost of the Pruning Session podcast (from audiobonsai.com) Moksha Gren to help us talk about Tom Waits' Rain Dogs (1985, Island). The successor to the album where Waits left his balladier days behind him, the experimental Swordfishtrombones, Rain Dogs found universal critical acclaim as it solidified the eclectic music mixed with found sounds and a raspy vocal that Waits became synonymous with. Bill, Brian, and Moksha discuss how they first came to be fans of Toms Waits, the production of the album, and then a track by track review. Along the way, we also find room for a lot about Rod Stewart, how Moksha is raising his kids with the right kind of music, a bit about the state of country music, and more!
Get ready to be sad on this week's Bonus Song Thursday as Brian and Bill welcome back singer-songwriter, musician, and podcaster Brian Rothenbeck (rothenbeck.com) to talk about the Weakerthans' "Virtute the Cat Explains Her Departure" from their 2007 album Reunion Tour. Bill and the Brians share stories about lost pets and Rothenbeck explains why this song makes him cry. Also, in a new ongoing segment, we explore some some yacht rock!
Bill gets to play the "Hey, Brian!" game as Brian returns from touring with his band, the Paper Jets, and welcomes singer-songwriter, musician, and podcaster Brian Rothenbeck (rothenbeck.com) as a guest. In this episode, we discuss the Weakerthans' Reconstruction Site (2003, Epitaph). Their first record with major label distribution behind it, the Weakerthans broke through to a wider audience with their infectious pop hooks, intelligent lyrics, and fantastic guitar tones. As we discuss the album with a track by track analysis, we also talk about sonnets, the difference between a pedal steel and a lap steel, the philosophy of Cream, a theory about pet ownership and relationships with fathers, how to write songs in a single key, rhyming, and more!
Bonus! Song! Thursday! It's what it is! Brian is still away, touring the Northeast with his band The Paper Jets (thepaperjets.com), so Bill enlists the help of his own bandmate, Andrew Kolbenschlag of Small Planet Radio (smallplanetradio.com), to fill in as guest host. Returning from Monday's episode is guest Eric Nelson, guitarist and songwriter for The Lights Beneath (thelightsbeneath.com), to talk a little bit more about Bright Eyes. This time, we focus on the song "Poison Oak" from the 2005 album I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning.