Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Magical Mystery Listening Tour: Day 45

The second-to-last batch of "D" albums...
 
R.E.M. - Document
Frank Zappa - Does Humor Belong in Music?
Suede - Dog Man Star
Oasis - Don't Believe the Truth
Pixies - Doolittle
The Doors - The Doors
The Doors - Box Set
Gov't Mule - Dose
John Lennon - Double Fantasy
John Lennon - Double Fantasy Stripped Down

First up is probably my favorite R.E.M. album and the one that got me hooked as a precocious 7-year old: Document is just a fantastic album, certainly the most aggressive and stridently political of the band's early output. The live Zappa album from 1984 is excellent and shows that, indeed, humor does belong in music. There are some great full-band workouts and guitar solos from Frank sprinkled throughout. Suede's second album is also their masterpiece; a dark, dense, harrowing, yet somehow still lovely vision of mid-1990s British rock that was as out of place in 1994's BritPop peak as could possibly be. Oasis' 2005 album is solid is unspectacular...I think it suffers from too much input from the non-Noel Gallagher songwriters in the band, but Noel claims it's his favorite of the latter-era albums for that very reason...go figure! Dolittle is an indie rock masterpiece from the late 1980s and one of the Pixies finest albums, while the Doors' debut albums is one of the greatest debut albums of all time, on par with Hendrix' Are You Experienced? and Led Zeppelin I of that era as great first albums. The Box Set cuts are mainly live, demos, and unreleased studio cuts, of which my favorite are the live ones...The Doors were an underrated and fantastic live band. Gov't Mule's Dose is a very slow-burning, heavy album that include an interesting Beatles cover (She Said, She Said) among other Mule classics. Finally, John Lennon's final solo album is good but not great...very MOR, especially for him, and it's been unjustly elevated since the moment he died in 1980 to "classic" status, which I don't feel it deserves. There are some very good songs on it, though, and it must have been nice in 1980 to have heard from him again, musically, after five years absence. I prefer the Stripped Down mix that was released a few years back to the sometimes schmaltzy and overblown original version, but both are worth having. (It goes without saying that I only listen to John's songs on this album...I don't even have Yoko's on my iPod).

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