white album

The Beatles: The Beatles (1968)

Does anyone really sit through the entirety of The Beatles (hereafter known as The White Album) and think its a work of genius?  Some of my favorite songs are on here, and you also have “Piggies” and “Honey Pie” which are…less than satisfying.  There’s a bold beauty on display that The Beatles (hereafter known as…The Beatles) reached for a much more experimental and shaggy structure, where everything before was so compact and cohesive.  Although it’s a fair point to sat that the fact The White Album is so shaggy is the cohesive point, so I don’t know. Continue reading “The Beatles: The Beatles (1968)”

beatles - magical mystery tour

The Beatles: Magical Mystery Tour (1967)

Man, 1967 was a busy year for The Beatles.  Only a few short months after Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band came the ill-advised television special Magical Mystery Tour.  If you’ve ever seen the film, it’s a poorly contrived mess; a huge departure from the fun of A Hard Day’s Night and Help!.  Fortunately, the new songs that accompanied the film were still pretty damn great, and so we can still hold our head high with Magical Mystery Tour the album, even if the second side is filled with previously released singles. Continue reading “The Beatles: Magical Mystery Tour (1967)”

beatles - sgt pepper

The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)

Retired from touring in 1966 and given the freedom to explore other avenues of creativity, The Beatles regrouped and went into full-on experimental mode, crafting a vaguely conceptual album about a fictitious band with which they could embrace new technologies and make music unfettered (to a point) and untethered (to a point) from the musical zeitgeist their previous work created.  Thus was born Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the only album to ever inspire a film starring Peter Frampton and the Bee Gees.  If that’s not a legacy, I don’t know what is. Continue reading “The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)”

beatles - rubber soul

The Beatles: Rubber Soul (1965)

This is where it starts.  When I think about The Beatles, I think about Rubber Soul.  I think about the sudden jump in production experiments, the way albums stopped being collections of songs and started becoming albums.  The jump from your frolicking boys on Help! to the grown, curious men on Rubber Soul is perhaps the biggest creative leap in the band’s discography.  The main thing on everyone’s mind is still women, but I don’t know if a better batch of songs have ever been crafted about the subject, at least as it pertains to the pursuit of said subject from a young, curious man’s perspective. Continue reading “The Beatles: Rubber Soul (1965)”

the beatles - help

The Beatles: Help! (1965)

Is it cool to dump on The Beatles?  Is it an age thing, or just a Metal Twitter™ thing?  If you were to leave out the context of their music, their place in the evolution of pop and rock both as a sound as well as a cultural zeitgeist…if you were to just sit back and listen to the music how can you not fall into the melodies, the harmonies, the seeming simplicity of the hooks?  I have a firm policy of “love what you love” when it comes to music: who am I to judge you when I listen to a number of bands in corpsepaint and fishnets?  But if you stand and tell me the exquisite combination of John, Paul, George and Ringo (yes, Ringo) are overrated, quaint, or just plain suck, then sadly a part of me judges you.

Unfavorably.

You, my friend, need some Help! Continue reading “The Beatles: Help! (1965)”

beasts of bourbon - black milk

Beasts of Bourbon: Black Milk (1990)

It took album #3 for The Beasts of Bourbon to fall prey to what we’ll call for lack of a better word “safe” music.  Which is not to say that Black Milk is a bad album; on the contrary, it’s a terrific amalgam of everything that was present on the previous two records (their debut The Axeman’s Jazz is a terrific gnarled album, but I don’t own a physical copy, so no review).  But that amalgam is tempered, somewhat.  There’s a tunefulness and restraint that doesn’t have the vital spark of Sour Mash, but is sweet just the same. Continue reading “Beasts of Bourbon: Black Milk (1990)”