Play is a rather self-indulgent album by everyone (except Eminem)’s favourite bald vegan techno artist featuring a lot of samples of black American singers. The songs are really catchy but tend to go on a little too long for my liking.
I Like to Score is a good collection of Moby’s film work which tends to fall into the category of background music. I went through a stage of collecting film soundtracks and this is one of the best compilations that I own.
I really cannot remember how I came across the trip hop band Mono and their one and only album Formica Blues, but I’m glad I did. Somewhat like Moloko but less zany, this is good quality dance music with a more relaxed vibe. I bought the album with a second CD of remixes which are also very good from an independent music shop in Leicester which probably isn’t there anymore. Mono however do rather fall into the category of background music again.
I bought Do you like my tight sweater? on the basis of hearing one track “Butterfly 747” on the soundtrack to the film Twin Town. Their debut album is a quirky mixture of drum and bass and funky electronic dance tunes with some decidedly odd lyrics and intermissions – “Dirty monkey” being my particular favourite. As well as “Butterfly 747” I also enjoy listening to “Fun for me”, “Dominoid” and “Party weirdo” which sounds like something Prince might have recorded. Róisín Murphy’s vocals for me are worth the entrance fee and sound somewhat akin to Portishead’s Beth Gibbon’s after a few Red bull and vodkas.
Their next album I am not a doctor could be considered to be a lot more mainstream than the previous one. It contains the massive hit “Sing It Back” which has appeared on numerous compilations in a variety of mixes and the Boris Musical mix appears on Moloko’s third album Things to make and do as an extra track. Things to make and do, contains the other single everybody can remember which is “The time is now” and the album is a lot more interesting than the second album as it features some rather jolly strange songs such as “Pure Pleasure Seeker”, “Dumb Inc.” (perhaps a partner company of Feel Good Inc) and the hilariously odd “Indigo”.
Kevin Smith’s Dogma God Alanis Morissette’s first internationally released album Jagged Little Pill? sounds a little dated now but I love the level of emotion that she puts into her singing even if she doesn’t seem to understand the concept of irony in her song “Ironic”. I like to listen to the album as a whole and it’s a good one for driving to – maybe that’s why Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan picked it as the unofficial soundtrack to their recent comedy drama/travel/eating show The Trip to Italy.
It did cross my mind to write a separate post on freaky rock legend Marilyn Manson, but although I own all his albums (mostly on CD with a couple digitally) I wouldn’t say I was an obsessively massive fan or that he deserves a stand-alone post. I like about half the tracks on each album when I’m in the mood for a little outrageous tongue-in-cheek satanistic hate fueled swearification. It’s hard to categorise his style of music because he fuses industrial sounding stuff (like Nine Inch Nails) with middle-finger rock that has elements of 70s glam as well as heavy metal and frankly comic lyrics at times.
Smells like children is my least favourite album but does contain an excellent cover version of Eurythmics “Sweet dreams (are made of this)” and anyone who reads this series of posts should know by now that I’m a sucker for a good cover. I also quite enjoy “I put a spell on you”, but I can take or leave the rest of the tracks. For the record I think his best cover version is “Tainted Love”, then “Sweet Dreams” and then Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” but then I might be biased.
Antichrist superstar is a vast improvement and contains some really good guitar riffs and some really interesting tracks – most of which I can’t remember the names of because they are so difficult to read on most of his albums – sometimes not even appearing on the reverse of the CD – the naughty non-conformist! The death-glam track “The Beautiful People” has to be my favourite, but I also like “the reflective god” and “tourniquet” in equal measure.
Mechanical animals with its freaky CD cover (yes they’re all freaky, but this is really freaky) is another improvement in the right direction imho and I think the first Marilyn Manson album I bought from another now defunct record shop called Castle Records in Loughborough. I really enjoy “I don’t like the drugs (but the drugs like me)” which sounds like a twisted Bowie song, a ‘proper’ song “the last day on earth” (think Ultravox’s “Dancing with tears in my eyes” but rock with “Ashes to Ashes”), “user friendly” which really isn’t (and a dismayed Siggy always says ‘lovely tune’ when she hears it), and the super-catchy la-la chunky rock song “Rock is Dead” that sounds like The Sweet on bad liquor and acid with its lament ‘God is in the TV’.
The last tour on earth is a live album of recordings from his Mechanical Animals and Rock is Dead tours and does well to conjure up mental images of the near-riot atmosphere Omega is trying to promote with his spoken interludes where he slags off the police and challenges the status quo. The music is great and the quality of recording very good for a live album. There I sone studio recorded track on the album, but don’t ask me the name of it.
Holy Wood is a step back from the sound of Mechanical Animals to a more ‘normal’ rock sound with Trent Reznor overtones and contains some pretty serious lyrics slagging off American culture. I like “Disposable Teens”, the “Love”, “Death” and “Fight Song” with killer lyric ‘I’m not a slave to a God that doesn’t exist…’
The golden age of grotesque is probably my favourite album based on the music and the clever lyrics. The choruses are catchy, the concepts fabulous in their conceit, the swearing is inventive, and the guitar riffs are just awesome. My favourites are “(s)AINT”, “Ka-boom ka-boom”, “Doll-Dagga Buzz-Buzz Ziggety-Zag”, “use your fist not your mouth” and I think the pinnacle of all that is Manson is “this is the new shit”. The album also contains Manson’s excellent cover version of “Tainted Love”.
The last album I have on CD is The High End of Low containing the excellently catchy “Arma-Godd**n-Motherf**kin-Geddon”. It came out after the album Eat Me, Drink Me which I got digitally and I got The High End of Low on CD as it was cheaper than the digital version. I also really like “I want to kill you like they do in the movies” and the unforgettable “We’re From America” which sums up Mr Manson’s anti-USA sentiments quite neatly in a 5 minute high tempo rock that builds into a pounding sing-along that would upset a vast majority of white middle class America and makes me smile, a lot.
Apart from a few CD singles and tracks on indie compilation albums Attack of the Grey Lantern is the only CD I have by Mansun, however I consider one of the best indie albums of the late 90s. I was lucky enough to see Manson play live in Chester and I remember it as one of the best gigs of my student days. There are no particular tracks on the album that stand out above the rest and I normally listen to the album as a whole. If I was to mark one track I don’t like it would be “Taxloss”, based loosely on Jimmy Osmond’s “Long haired lover from Liverpool”, which I find tiresome, however it is more than made up for by the rest of the tracks. The character of Mavis the vicar’s daughter is mentioned numerous occasions on the album and makes it feel somewhat like a concept album which is brave stuff for a debut.
I’m a bit of a closet Wham fan on the quiet and although Faith is the only George Michael album I own I think it’s a classic. “I want your sex” (parts one and two) is brilliant and so to our “Father figure”, “Faith” and “Kissing a fool”. The video for this album was one of the only music videos I ever bought along with the INXS Kick video. The reason I bought the Faith video was because it contained some videos that the BBC banned having considered them too raunchy for TV. George Michael hadn’t come out of the closet when this album was released as far as I can remember and he was up there in my great pantheon of cocksmiths alongside James Bond and Prince. I think I was less surprised to find out that George Michael was gay than when I found out Freddie Mercury was gay – don’t ask me why.
Matthew Bellamy and his rocking mates from Devon filled a hole for me that was made with the loss of a credible Queen line-up. Muse do the same kind of extravagant balls-out rock music with a twist that I like Queen for. In Muse’s case the twist is their subject matter which generally revolves around sci-fi themes, love and dystopian metaphor. Other similarities are that Bellamy is on a par with Brian May in terms of being a guitar hero and coming up with innovative ways to use the instrument and somewhat of a piano aficionado. It’s nice to hear some proper piano playing along with serious rocking riffs and guitar solos. I only have three albums on CD and have the others digitally.
Origin of Symmetry gets the party started with some great rock tracks, the chunky shouty goodness of “Hyper Music”, the classic “Plug in Baby” (think “Electric Barbarella by Duran Duran but better) and one of the best covers of all time in the form of “Feeling Good” – which I have just put back on because Siggy and I love it so much.
Absolution was the first Muse album I bought mainly on the back of the single “Time is Running Out” but much loved for the classic “Stockholm Syndrome” and the wonderfully titled “Thoughts of a Dying Atheist”. “Stockholm Syndrome” is perhaps my favourite Muse track after the cover of “Feeling Good” (that doesn’t really count) and “Knights of Cydonia” – not to be confused with Knights of Sidonia the anime which incidentally also rocks – and which isn’t on this album. It’s on Black Holes and Revelations.
The Resistance is really great to listen to until it loses its way in the Exogenesis Symphonies. There are dashes of Queen and Dr Who in the opening tracks and by track four “United States of Eurasia” any pretence of not trying to ‘do Queen’ falls away and leaves us with a great pompous rock song with multi-layered vocals and genius guitar. The first four tracks include the three singles and are by far the highlight of the album. The album was a lot more poppy and accessible (up to a point) than previous Muse albums and so met with some criticism, but the band weren’t scared to experiment again on The Second Law. I don’t have it on CD so won’t comment here, but refer you to my previous blog post on the subject.
The Music are an indie rock band that were big in a small way amongst students and student types in the early noughties. They hailed from Leeds and produced a sound that to me is like a mixture between The Stones Roses’ Second Coming and The Raptures. Their eponymous debut album contains the single “The Truth is No Words”. I remember seeing the video for it on a big screen in a bar in Lincoln while I was playing drunk pool badly with my then student No Doubt loving girlfriend who always kind of knew she’d end up my ex-girlfriend and thinking that it was one of the best post-Roses ‘Manchester sounding’ indie rock songs I had ever heard.
I bought their second album Welcome to the North from yet another now sadly defunct independent (or ‘chain with no name’) music shop called ‘The Left Legged Pineapple’ in Loughborough (where I bought 80% of my Depeche Mode vinyl collection in 1989), but was rather disappointed that the verve and vigour of the first album wasn’t really repeated.