I’ve completed a fouth week of my little experiment of listening to more
complete albums instead of shuffling endlessly through “content”.
If you’d like to catch up on the journey so far, you can check out the posts for the previous weeks:
Day 22’s selection,
Violator by Depeche Mode,
is the band’s best, perfect from one end to the other,
with timeless production that sounds as fresh today
as it did on release.
I won’t be taking questions at this time.
(The Wikipedia entry has some interesting tidbits –
for example, I learned that “Clean”, the closing track,
was inspired by one of my favorite Pink Floyd songs, “One of These Days”.)
23/366: Welcome Oblivion
For day 23, I listened to
Welcome Oblivion by How to Destroy Angels,
one of my favorite Trent Reznor outings.
The group features Reznor, two longtime NIN collaborators,
and Mariqueen Maandig (Reznor’s wife).
I really, really enjoy Maandig’s vocals here;
they’re a great complement to the post-industrial sounds on offer,
and they mesh beautifully with Reznor’s voice.
“Ice Age” and “The Loop Closes” remain my favorite tracks
(I still can’t get enough of “Ice Age”,
I could do that on repeat for days),
but it’s worth taking the whole journey from beginning to end.
The Wikipedia entry is sadly lacking in detail.
Day 24’s selection was X by INXS,
an album I knew only by reputation, but had never actually listened to.
I think I’d gotten X and Kick conflated, and it turns out Kick is
the source of most of my favorite INXS songs.
That’s not to say that X is bad – far from it!
It’s all very well crafted, perfectly serviceable pop-rock
from the inflection point where the 80s became the 90s,
and “Suicide Blonde” is a really solid opening track,
but I struggled to connect with anything else.
It is, perhaps, too much an artifact of its time.
Your mileage, of course, may vary!
Wikipedia offers more context,
though not as much detail as I’d like.
25/366: Year Zero
For day 25,
I selected Year Zero by Nine Inch Nails,
an album that, despite being a NIN fan since
the first time I saw the video for “Head Like a Hole”,
I had largely overlooked and never connected with.
I definitely understand more of the evolution of Reznor’s sound this time,
but I didn’t come away from this one
with the feeling of connection I’d hoped to find.
I blame, in part, the haphazard presence of lyrics in Apple Music,
which made it harder to follow the story aspect of the album
while listening to it.
It could also be that, while artistically valid,
the apocalyptic alt history story
just isn’t what I’m looking for from NIN.
Wikipedia has gobs of extra context,
including a bunch of stuff about the ARG
used to promote the album’s release.
Day 26 brought me to Zooropa by U2,
which is sort of the point where U2 started going off the rails a bit,
with Bono performing as a character that’s more caricature,
and steering deeper into electronic and pop music.
A lot of the weirdness here is my jam, though,
and so Zooropa remains sort of the last U2 album that clicks with me.
Putting it on for the first time in forever,
I was struck by the opening of the title track,
which sounds like it was sent back in time from a future Nine Inch Nails record.
Anyway, this album is cooler than you remember,
and there’s a heap of information about the inspiration
and recording process over on the Wikipedia article.
For day 27,
I went back to an album that I spun regularly back in my radio days,
but which I’ve been neglecting for many years – Apocalyptica’s debut,
Plays Metallica by Four Cellos.
It’s exactly what it says it is –
covers of Metallica songs performed by a quartet of cellos –
and it feels like the most natural thing ever.
The whole thing’s solid, but my favorites are
“Enter Sandman” (which immediately sells the concept),
“Master of Puppets” (because it just rules),
“The Unforgiven” (because of course it sounds great this way!),
and the closer, “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)”.
Definitely check this one out if you haven’t encountered it yet!
(The Wikipedia article has given me a small grumpiness,
however – it turns out there’s an updated version with three more tracks!)
28/366: Fur and Gold
Some days I manage to pick exactly the right thing to listen to,
and thankfully day 28’s choice was one of those.
Fur and Gold is the debut from Bat for Lashes,
and I’ve been enthralled by the opening track, “Horse and I”,
ever since it was (if I recall correctly) one of the weekly freebie songs from iTunes.
Somehow I never managed to get around to listening to the rest
of the album – until tonight. I’m glad I did.
If I had to give it a quick summary, I might call it
“gothier and less monotonous Lana Del Rey”.
The Wikipedia entry has a modest amount of extra context.
Since you’re an astute reader,
you’ve noticed that I’ve switched from
so the next week will feature
C through I.
Stay tuned here,
or follow along day-by-day on Mastodon,
for my next selections.