Friday, April 29, 2011

313 Damn the Torpedoes




Album: Damn the Torpedoes
Artist: Tom Petty
Genre: Rock
Year: 1979

Tracks

  1. Refugee
  2. Here Comes My Girl
  3. Even the Losers
  4. Shadow of a Doubt (A Complex Kid)
  5. Century City
  6. Don't Do Me Like That
  7. You Tell Me
  8. What Are You Doin' in My Life?
  9. Louisiana Rain


Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers released an album in 2010 called Mojo which almost made it to number 1 on the American charts. They’ve sold over 50 million units throughout the world and an still sell out big concert venues. Not bad for a band that released their first album in 1976. Most of their contemporaries from that year have either broken up, died off or are touring small clubs as a nostalgia act. The Heartbreakers are still going strong with four of the original members in place.

Their secret isn’t related to witchcraft, pacts with the devil or the masonic intervention (as far as I know) it’s purely down to the fact that Rock and Roll will never die. People will always want good songs recorded by talented people on amplified guitars. Back in the seventies people wanted to rock, they want to rock now and they’ve wanted it for all the intervening years. While people have been tearing their hair out trying to find the next big sound Petty has been writing good songs and recording them with his talented friends. He never felt the need to introduce wild new elements, fancy embellishments or keep abreast of the latest trend. He took the classic Stones albums as his template and forged a career that is still going in it’s 4th decade.

It also helps that Petty himself has a very Rock and Roll atitude to life. When the Red Hot Chillli Peppers released their single Dani California many realised that it closely resembled Mary Jane’s Last Dance a song Petty released the decade before. The similarities are certainly as close as many of the other songs that have gone to court with the original artist shouting plagarism and demanding payment. The fact that the same producer worked on both tracks would have definitely strengthened Petty’s case. But Tom refused to launch any legal action. As far as he was concerned it was all music and good luck to them. You can’t help but love him for that sort of attitude.

Damn the Torpedoes is a great listen but I’m not sure it’s his best album. Can I strongly reccomend the live anthology he put out in 2009. It’s got the five best tracks from this album (Refugee, Even the Losers, Here Comes my girl, Century City, You tell me and Lousianna Rain) along with a collection of his other great hits (Running down a dream, Free Falling, I won’t back down etc) and some great covers (Friend of the Devil, Oh Well, I just want to make love to you and even Goldfinger). It’s a career spanning retrospective that shows why good rock and roll lasts.

Influenced by: The Stones and the Faces
Influenced: The Black Crowes and (possibly) the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

Highlight: Even the Losers
Lowlight: You Tell Me

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: “The fact that Petty, like most rockers of his generation, advocates sanctions against Indonesia in retaliation for that country's trumped-up drug-smuggling conviction of a young Australian tourist makes this an essential purchase for both your ears AND your conscience.”

-What an odd thing to write in a review.

So do you damn the torpedoes or damn this album to hell? Let me know below.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

314. The Velvet Underground. At last their least.




Album: The Velvet Underground
Artist: The Velvet Underground
Genre: Rock
Year: 1969

Tracks


  1. Candy Says
  2. What Goes On
  3. Some Kinda Love
  4. Pale Blue Eyes
  5. Jesus
  6. Beginning to See the Light
  7. I'm Set Free
  8. That's the Story of My Life
  9. The Murder Mystery
  10. After Hours

It seems like almost every modern band on this countdown cites the Velvet Underground as an influence. This is our first chance to see why.

VU started as a three-headed beast with American Lou Reed, Welshman John Cale and German Nico all trying to lead the band, with Andy Warhol in the background trying to drive proceedings. The resulting tensions produced their first and greatest album (and most iconic album cover). Nico and Warhol moved on to other things leaving Cale and Reed to push each other to greater musical extremes for album two. By the time the third album (this one) came out Cale had left and Reed was left in charge. The Velvet Underground is essentially a Lou Reed album and one that he made with a compliant backing band.

Having given you the background details I should probably take the time to mention how fantastic it is. Three songs in the middle of the album are among the most beautiful things that Reed has ever written. Some Kind of Love, Pale Blue Eyes and Jesus are propelled by Lou’s plainful voice and low key instrumentation. All three are just gorgeous and worth buying the album for on their own. These three tracks are bookended by two great rock and roll songs What Goes On and Beginning to See the Light both of which should be compulsory listening for anyone who thinks the VU were all about weirdness.

Not that there isn’t weirdness around to satisfy those of you who like the bizarre. Murder Mystery is not just one tale of murder and violence it’s two tales of murder and violence sung simultaneously. If you’ve put this album on as background music for a seduction attempt this is the moment when the object of your affections walks off in horror. Which is a pity because then she’d miss drummer Maureen Tucker’s vocal debut on the self conscious but charming After Hours.

The Velvet Underground released four albums in their short life and every one is on this countdown somewhere. If you haven’t sat down with them at some point then you should definitely take the time to find out what the fuss is all about.

Highlight: What goes on through to Beginning to see the light.
Lowlight: The Murder Mystery.

Influenced by: A desire to baffle fans.
Influenced. Pretty much everyone. But especially U2. Listen to the live version of What Goes On to find out where the Edge got his signature guitar style from.

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "like a quiet lamp it glows... this album is important. what goes on in candy's mind explore this deceptive bent calm sometimes jagged intense, dark, and bright."

-That review started to make sense but turned out reading like a random series of words. The Velvet Underground can have that effect on some people.

So did you hate this intensely or have you already stopped reading because you’ve run off to start your own rock band? Let me know below.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

315 Surfer Rosa Not just an album cover





Album: Surfer Rosa
Artist: The Pixies
Genre: Rock
Year: 1988

Tracks



  1. Bone Machine
  2. Break My Body
  3. Something Against You
  4. Broken Face
  5. Gigantic
  6. River Euphrates
  7. Where Is My Mind?
  8. Cactus
  9. Tony's Theme
  10. Oh My Golly!
  11. Vamos
  12. I'm Amazed
  13. Brick is Red



If you don’t like the direction rock music took in the nineties then you can lay the blame firmly at the door of The Pixies. Kurt Cobain may have popularised grunge music but he readily acknowledged owing a massive debt to Surfer Rosa and the Pixies in general. While they never achieved the sales of Nirvana or the other bands that followed they laid claim to the template which so many artists now use. The magic ingredient that the Pixies gave rock and rolle was the quiet chorus that lulls you into a false sense of security followed by a big shouty chorus with smashing chords and bombast that returns again to a quiet chorus. It’s now an established rock cliche up there with having a drug habit and dying in a plain crash but before the pixies nobody had thought of it.

What Nirvana had which the Pixies didn’t was a better defined sense of image that appealed to male rock fans. Nirvana was all about the grunge and being misunderstood and angry without a definite target to focus rage on. Kurt’s voice was tough and uncompromising but occasionally sensitive and  clearly in need of a big hug. The Pixies are a lot less self conscious and feel a lot less deliberate. They come across as a bunch of people goofing around in a studio. They might be goofing with heavy guitars and shouted vocals and strange howling noises but they’re driven by something other than teen angst.

Fans of Modest Mouse will find a lot here that’s familiar. Where is my Mind sounds more like Modest Mouse than some of the things on their latest album. Fans of Christian Folk musician Larry Norman will be surprised to learn that Black Francis is his biggest fan and credits him as a huge musical influence. Not that you can tell from listening to Surfer Rosa.

If you’ve never heard the Pixies before then you’ll probably struggle to get past the screeching guitars and general weirdness on your first listen. But give them another chance and you’ll encounter some great songs and understand its influence.


Highlight: Gigantic
Lowlight: River Euprhates.

Influenced by: Punk and Larry Norman.
Influenced: Nirvana and everyone influenced by Nirvana.

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "This is not a review of this great album, but rather a note to K. Smoot "music afficionado" about how to speak proper English. When referring to certain bands with nouns as names, especially when the noun is plural and proper, it is necessary to use the word "the" before them."

-That's how it starts but it continues in that vein for another couple of paragraphs.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

316 Rock Steady. How long is it since we had a good ironic title?




Album: Rock Steady
Artist: No Doubt
Genre: Pop
Year: 2001

Tracks


1. Intro
2. Hella Good
3. Hey Baby
4. Making Out
5. Underneath It All
6. Detective
7. Don't Let Me Down
8. Start the Fire
9. Running
10. In My Head
11. Platinum Blonde Life
12. Waiting Room
13. Rock Steady"


No Doubt’s earlier album appeared in the countdown at number 441. At the time I wrote a review saying how impressed I was with their ability to straddle the twin worlds of rock and pop. Gwen Stefani’s vocals reached out to girls who like pop and the band were playing for guys who like rock. I’m generalizing of course but there’s no doubt their “foot in both camps” approach kept No Doubt at the top of the charts. Rock hard but sing soft- it’s a clever approach.

The title of Rock Steady suggests a band who are not only rocking but preserving the status quo and keeping rock steady with their set pattern, which involved guitars. Sadly this isn’t the case.

While recording No Doubt the band decided to expand their musical palate by including other elements into the mix. When they decided this the band must have had a meeting...

"What can we do to really annoy that 500 horizons guy? He quite liked our last album, what would make him turn 180 degrees on us?"

"We could get electronic?"

"Good idea. Tone down the guitars and crank out the synthesiser. Nothing annoys him more than processed beats and computer-game noises."

"What about Reggae?"

"Oooh nice one. We could reggae it up a bit, include some jamacain beats."

"And rap!"

"Yeah. Some rapping interludes. He hates rap."

It’s like they set out to get on my nerves and it works. I appreciate anyone who wants to change thing up and not get stuck in a rut but rap, reggae and electonica are just too much. The one consistent is the vocal style of Gwen Stefani which remains unchanged but was never my favourite part of the original release.

If you enjoyed No Doubt’s earlier albums and you’re also a big fan of Madonna you’re probably going to like this. If you liked their other stuff but prefer Led Zeppelin then this is going to get on your nerves in no uncertain terms.


Lowlight: In My head
Highlight: Intro

Influenced by: Reggae and Rap
Influenced: I honestly have no idea.

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "Decent angling is something every customer has a right to expect. As James M. McPherson writes in Crossroads of Freedom, "The detritus of battle lay thickly on the field: smashed weapons and gun carriages, dead horses, scraps of bloody clothing, discarded knapsacks and blanket rolls, and the smell of rotting corpses, vomit, and excrement." This was his most revolutionary statement. If you close your eyes and make an allegation, someday it might come true...that is, of course, when they wear a little tie clip we're meant to take as a kind of emotional chastity belt. Otherwise, it's only the third attempt to disturb our sleep.
Which is why I consider this album a masterpiece of thanatopsis. No stars are good enough for it."

-Baffling. I have no words.

 So should No Doubt have released Rock Steady or stayed Rock Steady or on their previous path? Let me know below.

Friday, April 15, 2011

317 The Eminem Show



Album: The Eminem Show
Artist: Eminem
Year: 2002
Genre: Hip Hop

Tracks


1. Curtains Up (skit)
2. White America
3. Business
4. Cleanin' Out My Closet
5. Square Dance
6. The Kiss (skit)
7. Soldier
8. Say Goodbye Hollywood
9. Drips
10. Without Me
11. Paul Rosenberg (skit)
12. Sing for the Moment
13. Superman
14. Hailie's Song
15. Steve Berman
16. When the Music Stops
17. Say What You Say
18. Till I Collapse
19. My Dad's Gone Crazy
20. Curtains Close (skit)


When researching this album I was amazed to find a “Clean” version was released that removes all swearing and offensive language. All rude words were replaced with a brief but conspicuous moment of silence, which considering Eminem’s heavy use of profanities would have made the whole thing a _____ joke and just a _____ heap of ____ that only an ______ without a _____ would enjoy. It’s like televising a football match but censoring the kicking. Can you imagine how disappointed some poor American teenagers were on Christmas day when they unwrapped their present only to find they’d been dudded with the clean version? No doubt their reaction would have contained language deemed unacceptable on the album they were holding.

Eminem swears a lot primarily because he deals with some very sweary subjects. Some songs are purely about sex and others are more focused on people Eminem is angry with. And there’s a lot of people he’s not happy with at all. Including his ex wife who comes in for a lot of abuse as does his own mother who is a “Selfish bitch” that he hopes will “rot in hell”.

Critics praised The Eminem Show for being a revealing look at the man himself. Apparently the pretensions of the first two albums have been stripped away and Eminem has stood aside to let Marshall Mathers stand naked and exposed. Which is all very well but frankly Mr Mathers isn’t really a very likeable guy. In fact he’s a complete _____. If you’re a fan of arrogant, self-obsessed, misogynist losers with anger issues and a hatred of pretty much everyone in their life then this could be for you. If not then you might want to give it a miss. Telling us that you love your daughter a lot doesn’t make you a good person it just makes you a parent.

What this album needs is comedy sound effects. If the clean version replaced swear words with the sort of slapstick noises that used to be beloved by censors the Eminem Show would be an incredibly entertaining listen. Take these lines from Drippin which I’ve censored to comedy effect:

“sizin' up the figure while my BING getting bigger, debatin' on a TOOT or do I want to be her BLARP, caressin' this DING DONG, plus i'm checking out them POP, sippin' on that fine WA WA  I ain't used to buyin'"

Tell me that’s not entertaining? Certainly more fun than an angry man talking very quickly about people he doesn't like.

Influenced by: Old school rappers and self-loathing.
Influenced: White supremacists who liked rap.

Highlight: Without Me
Lowlight: The spoken bits really give me the skits.

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote:  "My farts have more entertainment value. I think 90% of his audience are white kids 25 and under. Pretty soon he'll be remembered as just a novelty act. It's a disgrace that he got a top ten song from this cd only because he ripped off a sample of an Aerosmith song. His cd will be good for wiping my bum with"

-Please people, I can't stress this enough, Do not wipe your bottom with a CD! Really. They're sharp, not very absorbent and they don't flush. You have been warned.

-So do you think Eminem is the _____ or is he just a _____ bag of ______? Let me know below

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

318 Backstabbers- look out behind you.



Album: Backstabbers
Artist: The Ojays
Year: 1972
Genre: Soul

Tracks

  1. When the World's at Peace
  2. Back Stabbers
  3. Who Am I
  4. (They Call Me) Mr. Lucky
  5. Time to Get Down
  6. 992 Arguments
  7. Listen to the Clock on the Wall
  8. Shiftless, Shady, Jealous Kind of People
  9. Sunshine
  10. Love Train

Well this is unfortunate. At 318 I have to review an album by the OJays so step one is to make a mental note to avoid cheap OJ Simpson jokes and references to knife murder. And then I discover the album is called Backstabbers. Bugger. The chances of me resisting that joke about Marilyn Manson joining them to form a Killers cover band is looking fairly slim.

The O’Jays are a soul group not unlike the Temptations except they never ventured so far from the standard soul path that the Temps did. The Ojays stayed fairly true to the standard formula of a bunch of black guys in bright suits crooning in harmony into a microphone. Their music is all about how great it would be if we could love each other more and hurt each other less and generally get along a lot better and not killing each other as much or having wars and things. It’s an easy formula but in the hands of bands like the Ojays it works.

The mystery to me is why The Temptations had a best of compilation in the countdown while the O’Jays have this album. There are loads of O’Jays compilations that include the greatest moments from Backstabbers along with their other hits. I can only assume that the huge number of compilation cash-ins worked against the OJays who don’t have a definitive compilation for the Rolling Stone voters to get behind.

The finest moment from Backstabbers comes at the end with Love Train a great song about... being nice and not killing each other. Lyrically it’s themes have already been covered during the rest of the album but musically it’s the finest moment and the OJays best song. It’s got a sing-along feel and putting it at the end of the album means you’ll be singing it for the rest of the day. The title track was also a hit single but hasn’t dated nearly as well.

Listened to from start to finish Backstabbers is a lot of soaring strings and soulful instrumentation with two definite highpoints. It’s not an unpleasant listen but an OJay’s best of would have all the highlights with none of the in between lows.

Influenced by: The Temptations
Influenced: Orange juice cravings

Highlight: Love Train
Lowlight: Who am I

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote:  "this Album may be the best Recording EVER (Dorati's version of the Nutcracker is its only rival)."

-That's a strange comparison. I had to google it but I assume the reviewer is refering to Hungarian Conductor Antal Dorati's recordings of the Minnesota symphony Orchestra performing Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite. How wild is that for a point of comparison?

So do you get behind the Ojay's music or would you rather get behind them with a blade of some kind? Let me know below.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

319. Burnin- the other Bob.







Album: Burnin
Artist: The Wailers
Year: 1973
Genre: Reggae

Tracks

  1. Get Up, Stand Up
  2. Hallelujah Time
  3. I Shot the Sheriff
  4. Burnin' and Lootin'
  5. Put It On
  6. Small Axe
  7. Pass It On
  8. Duppy Conqueror
  9. One Foundation
  10. Rastaman Chant

If any of you out there have been reading each new review with an increasing sense of irritation and the words “Yes but what about Bob Marley” on your lips can I present the first album by the first legend of Reggae. Although technically it’s not actually a Bob Marley album even though it’s usually credited to Bob Marley and the wailers. It’s actually an album by The Wailers a band that Marley was an equal member of along with Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer who I’m sorry to report isn’t an actual rabbit.

But now we’ve clarified that we can agree that Marley is definitely on this album and wrote or cowrote many of the songs. It’s his first entry into the top 500 and only the second reggae album.

It seems that almost everyone loves Reggae. It’s a universally adored musical form but I’m sorry to say I can’t really get on board the reggae train. Burning is the first time I’ve sat down and listened to a Bob Marley album from start to finish. So did it convert me?

No.

I can understand why people like Reggae. If you like your music laid back but with rhythm then it’s the musical style for you. It’s got a groove but one that you can easily appreciate lying down.  Despite the fact that the opening track exhorts the listener to Get up and Stand up it’s possible to appreciate this entire album in a comfy chair while tapping your toe. A wailers album isn’t a work out for your feet but your neck gets some exercise (head nodding is practically a reggae dance) and your woofers will respond to the thundering bass tones.

The version of Burnin that I listened to was the most bass heavy release of any album I’ve ever heard. While the other instruments and vocals seemed to be localized in the stereo landscape and an accessible size the bass sounds like it’s being played by God. A deity of some kind has hooked a bass guitar up to an amplifier made entire out of thunder clouds and sat happily in the sky playing along with the rest of the band. It’s part of the toe tapping appeal of reggae.

Sadly after four listens I’m still fairly cold to the reggae experience. I don’t hate it but it doesn’t grab me in any way. I appreciate the talent, I can see where the appeal is but I’ve got no desire to listen to it myself.

Highlight: Get up Stand Up
Lowlight: I shot the Sherrif

Influenced by: African rhythms and no sense of urgency.
Influenced: All Reggae.

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "It's also the last studio album ever recorded by the super-group that included Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Bunny Wailer all on vocals."

-I don't want to seem like I'm nit-picking here but the original wailers weren't a "super-group." A super-group isn't just a big group it's a collection of already established names in the music industry who get together and form a band (Crosby, Stills and Nash for example). Sorry but it does annoy me when the term is misused.

So do the wailers leave you burnin or does this record deserve to be burnt? Let me know below.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

320 Pink Moon. Tears, genuine Tears.



Album: Pink Moon
Artist: Nick Drake
Year: 1972
Genre: Folk

Tracks


  1. Pink Moon
  2. Place to Be
  3. Road
  4. Which Will
  5. Horn
  6. Things Behind the Sun
  7. Know
  8. Parasite
  9. Free Ride
  10. Harvest Breed
  11. From the Morning



I’m not afraid to admit that Pink Moon makes me really emotional. I’m not normally someone who is easily moved by artistic endeavours but sometimes I can’t listen to Pink Moon without shedding tears. It’s unquestionably the saddest album I own and one that I can only listen to when I know I’m not going to get caught sobbing quietly to myself.

I find the life of Nick Drake to be unutterably sad and tragic. He released three albums in his life and at the time nobody cared. They sold dismally and failed to trouble the charts in any way. He stopped recording music after Pink moon, his third and final release was completely ignored by the record buying public. He sank into depression and was eventually found dead by his mother having overdosed on anti-depressants. His death was ruled a suicide. He died alone in his room having poured his heart into his music to be met with apathy and disregarded completely.

Rock stars die all the time, they suicide, OD and frequently die in bizarre aviation accidents. I can comfortably spend entire days listening to music recorded by the now deceased without being affected in the way I am when I hear Pink Moon. I have never been saddened by the death of Jim Morrison while listening to the Doors but Nick Drake affects me deeply. Part of the reason is probably because Morrison was a bit of a dickhead but mainly it’s because Pink Moon is the most personal album I have ever heard.

Unlike his previous two efforts Pink Moon is 100% Drake. With the exception of the title track which features a piano overdub he recorded himself, every song features just Drake singing with his own guitar accompaniment. The recording is up-front and has a warmth and clairty. If I close your eyes it’s not my computer playing the track it’s a young man strumming an acoustic guitar in the corner of my room. And it’s not just any young man it’s one of the most perfect voices in folk music. Drake’s vocals are clear, beautiful, fragile and so terribly sad. Pink Moon has a melancholy feel, a sense of tragedy. It’s like he knew it was his farewell to music and then to life as a whole.

But the most tragic thing about Pink Moon is the death of the man himself. It breaks my heart to think of him alone in his room, an artist who gave his gift to the world but found they didn’t want it. Someone who felt they had so much to give and nobody willing to accept it. A singer without an audience, an artist without acceptance, a balladeer singing to empty space. The mental image of someone reaching for his pills believing he would die forgotten really affects me because it was all so avoidable. It took a while but eventually the world caught on. People started to listen and popular artists championed his cause. Critics raved, audiences bought his entire catalogue and the love that he craved but was denied in life was finally his but sadly too late.

If you can handle it then let Nick Drake into your life. He’s no longer with us but that voice has been captured for all time. If you haven’t heard it then put Pink Moon on your stereo and sit back and listen. It’s perfect, tragic but perfect.

Highlight: Pink Moon
Lowlight: Horn

Influenced by: Sadness and folk music
Influenced: Nobody at first but lots of people later on

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "The songs are tuneless, melancholic droning without any distinct structure. Pink Moon is the only redeemable track. Nick Drake the 'tortured' genius the legend has become intertwine with his music so that its not his talent alone, but the sad story of his premature death which has carried this decidedly mediocre record"

-Interesting how two different people can hear entirely different things.

So do you love Pink Moon or would you rather it suffered a lunar eclipse.

Friday, April 1, 2011

321. Sail Away. Randy Newman Yet again.



Album: Sail Away
Artist: Randy Newman
Genre: Pop
Year: 1972

Tracks

  1. Sail Away
  2. Lonely at the Top
  3. He Gives Us All His Love
  4. Last Night I Had a Dream
  5. Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear
  6. Old Man
  7. Political Science
  8. Burn On
  9. Memo to My Son
  10. Dayton, Ohio - 1903
  11. You Can Leave Your Hat On
  12. God's Song (That's Why I Love Mankind)


At 322 we saw the last appearance by the Police and 321 sees Randy Newman’s final offering which I have to say is a relief. Randy doesn’t really vary his musical style much so I was dreading writing another Randy Newman review but the good news is that he’s definitely saved the best for last.

Sail Away has some definite highlights, one of which is the 500 Horizons Mark of Instant Respect -a Muppets connection. I had no idea that Simon Smith and his Amazing Dancing Bear was originally a Randy Newman song. I know and love it from it’s appearance on the Muppets when Scooter sings it with Fozzie Bear, a performance which never fails to reduce me to helpless giggles. I know they’re bits of foam with hands up them but dammit I can’t help but think Fozzie Bear is one of the great comic creations of all time. Newman’s original version isn’t nearly as good but there aren’t many people who can outdo a Muppet version.

Musically he might not be breaking any new ground or causing revolutions but as a satirist Newman is great fun. The singer in Political Science wants to drop atom bombs on the entire world for not being American enough...
“Asia’s crowded
and Europe’s too old
Africa is far too hot
And Canada’s too cold
And South America stole our name
Let’s drop the big one
There’ll be no one left to blame us
We’ll save Australia
Don’t wanna hurt no kangaroo
We’ll build an All American amusement park there
They got surfin’, too”

Individual Randy Newman albums start to get a bit predictable after a while but a compilation album would make for entertaining listening. Personally I wish everyone who voted for a Randy Newman album gave their vote to Lonely at the Top his 1987 best of album which has all the highlights and not a dud track over it’s 22 songs.

Highlight: Simon Smith and and his amazing dancing bear
Lowlight: Old Man

Influenced by: A keen ear for social change.
Influenced: Other great satirists.

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote:  "This is the best rap album ever, it has an excellent mix of DMX and Swizz Beats, I also like lil' kim on track 1. The production on this album is great, I recommend you buy this album cuz the artist wears cool hats and pants"

-The writer is either a) a satirist or b) confused. Witty or baffled? You decide.

So does Randy make you feel like a New Man or is he just old hat? Let me know below.