Alphabetical CD Marathon: L

Bricks are Heavy is the third album by L7, the only one I own on CD, and another one of those albums that is brilliant as a whole with all tracks equally as good as each other. As that bloke of Masterchef wouldn’t say, powerful female post-punk grunge rock doesn’t get better than this. I vaguely remember them appearing live on Channel Four’s The Word and doing something rather rude – think maybe Donita Sparks showed her front bottom while they were performing ‘Pretend We’re Dead’. Actually they have been supposed to playing ‘Pretend We’re Dead’ but instead played something else. I was drunk at the time so can’t really recall all the details. I think she also did something silly with a used tampon at Reading festival, but that’s another story best forgotten.

I guess at the other end of the rock spectrum sits Avril Lavigne on whom I was totally sold after hearing ‘Sk8er Boi’ and then seeing the video. I suppose she’s just a poppy version of fellow Canadian Alanis Morissette for kids, but I really liked the Let Go album with ‘Complicated’ and ‘I’m With You’ standing out. I also bought Under My Skin on CD but have to admit I am more sold on the singer than the song with only the single ‘Don’t Tell Me’ really registering on my brain. I kind of lost interest when she got married to the guy out of Sum 41, and less surprised on hearing they’d split up than I was hearing her singing the closing titles track on Tim Burton’s mangled interpretation of Alice in Wonderland.

I only have the Led Zeppelin Remasters album on CD with everything else on .mp3. The first CD of the two CD album which is essentially a ‘best of’ compilation is brilliant. The second CD I don’t like so much. I am not a major Led Zep fan but can fully appreciate those people who are and the fact that these Gods of Rock have influenced so many other bands that I like – especially Reef. I could list the songs I really like, but it would just be a track listing of CD1, so I won’t. Suffice to say that I like them a lot and I’m always happy when a track of theirs rock and rolls around on random play on iTunes, even if it’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’ which I have listened to so many times backwards and forwards it has lost all meaning to me. Actually I will mention one track which has really grown on me recently and that’s ‘Ramble On’ with its LOTR influenced lyrics – love the groove, the vocals and the lyrics.

Leftfield Leftism is a supposedly important album in the history of dance music. Don’t ask me why, I can’t remember, but I’m happy to have it in my collection. It contains some good collaborations, experimental sounds and interesting themes. Faves are ‘Open Up’ although it goes on a bit too long, and ‘Inspection/Check One’ which is just groovy baby yeah! The album falls into the IHTBITMF category, which you’ll figure out from other posts, but at least has not been relegated to the NSG secondary collection. (I thought I’d stick with acronyms after I used LOTR…)

If I had a little crush on Ms Lavigne, then I can’t possibly tell you what I had on Leona Lewis as I have already made the mistake of using a few odd words in previous posts and ended up with way too much spam as a result! I was happy when she won X-Factor in 2006 and rushed out and bought her debut album Spirit when it came out. ‘Bleeding Love’ is by far the best track on the album and I guess ‘Take a Bow’ is okay. The re-released version of the album had her cover of ‘Run’ by Snow Patrol which is really good – I’m such a sucker for a good cover version, although I’m not happy with the news that the Flaming Lips are going to do the whole of the St. Pepper’s album! I found Spirit far too samey and reminiscent of stuff by Whitney Houston and Maria Carey before they both went more R&B. It’s another case of the singer not the song with Leona Lewis, but there is no denying she had a voice to be worshipped over all others on the show in 2006, and the good manners to not realise it.

John Lennon Legend is a best of collection IHTBITMF despite being a massive Beatles fan. I really think that the Beatles as a group were bigger than the sum of their parts and I have very little time for any of their solo careers or post-Yoko collaborations. I do love ‘Instant Karma’ and ‘Working Class Hero’ (and The Manic’s great cover version), I am repeatedly depressed by the plodding ‘Imagine’ and ‘Woman’ and irritated by most of the other tracks to various degrees apart from ‘Cold Turkey’, ‘Whatever Gets You Through The Night’ and ‘Stand By Me’ (this last one for obvious reasons).

Limp Bizkit presents Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water which kind of says it all really. It’s a fusion of heavy rock, nu metal, hip hop and swearing. Love ‘Rollin’ (Air Raid Vehicle)’, ‘My Way’ and ‘Getcha Groove On’ and of course M:I’s ‘Take a Look Around’. Also, again for obvious reasons, the extremely shouty version of George Michael’s ‘Faith’ which is on the bonus disc. If you don’t take Limp Bizkit too seriously then they’re a lotta lotta fun and every now and again it’s quite cathartic to have a good swear-a-long (must be the Gn’R fan inside me). Most tracks are quite juvenile, but amongst the puerility, craziness and big beats, there are some surprisingly poignant lyrics and accomplished rhythm guitar playing e.g. on ‘It’ll be OK’ until Fred Durst lapses back into Viz inspired angry kid F-mode.

Linkin Park are the thinking man’s Limp Bizkit imho – they operate in the same hybrid rock genre but it’s like comparing The Black Keys to The Proclaimers in terms of how seriously I take one but not the other. Originally I only owned Reanimation on CD – their second twenty track CD which seemed like a remix compilation, but is a lot more than that. Reanimation stayed in my car for a serious amount of rotations while I rediscovered ‘KRWLING’, ‘PPR:KUT’, ‘WTH>YOU’ and ‘PTS.OF.ATHRTY’. I liked the stuff so much that I bought their debut album Hybrid Theory, even though I found that I had a shady copy on MP3 already, to listen to the original versions of some of the tracks. I really like Linkin Park a lot more than I did before, and that’s the great thing about doing this A2Z marathon; I love their angst ridden lyrics, seriously good beats and creative soundscape. It’s a bit more than just skater music.

Finally, I have two Lush CD’s and they sound very different – Split is a ‘proper indie’ shoegazing album with lilting multi-layered vocals and a dreamy vibe despite having quite direct lyrics, whereas Lovelife leans towards Brit Pop with three very good songs ‘Ladykillers’, ‘300’ and ‘Single Girl’. I enjoyed them very much when I saw them perform at the Student’s Union auditorium back in the day. There’s a good guest vocal on ‘Ciao!’ by Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker, but little else on the album of merit and it seemed like the band had sold out on their original sound to ride on the zeitgeist and make some pay before calling it a day.

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