Hi Everyone and welcome to another edition of Classics Collected. This week we have 5 albums from the past we’d like you to dust off, replay and join us in remembering what made them great the first time around. We’re spanning a real mix of dates and genres in this week’s choices, and we hope you’ll find something you like to help you get through the cold slog that is a Monday!
Beastie Boys ”“ Ill Communication – We start with a classic piece of 90’s hip hop and the most important work by the Beasties in terms of mainstream acceptance. Whilst some would argue the earlier Paul’s Boutique is perhaps their greatest album, it was largely ignored at the time. Without Ill Communication the group may not have had the exposure that lifted them to true greatness and lead many to re-appraise their earlier work. This was an important milestone for the band as well, shedding much of the previous production style and taking to almost every instrument themselves, ensuring true musicality in every track. It was also their debut album on the newly formed Grand Royal empire. Once Ill Communication had cemented itself in the collective musical consciousness there was no turning back for the Beastie Boys, and everything that followed was the solid gold we know an love.
Queen ”“ A Night At The Opera – I wanted a Queen album to appear at some stage in this classics process as I feel they have never fully had their due. Whilst peoples personal feeling on the music varies, I genuinely think it is hard to escape the influence the band had not only at the time but going forward in how rock music and rock opera are generated. Any one of their albums could have been chosen for different reasons so I felt why not start with the LP that started it all. If nothing else, it contains Bohemian Rhapsody (and thanks to Waynes World, I’ll always rock extra hard to that song).
David Bowie ”“ Hunky Dory – In many respects, picking a specific album and not just spending the next few weeks looking at all of his work really undermines Bowie’s importance. He is one of those artists that has created such a wealth and diversity of great music, he stands alone without focus on an era. That said for me Hunky Dory is the album that really breaks Bowie into that higher level and shows not only what he was capable of at the time but things still to come. His early works, whilst containing good songs, lacked the creative twist and musical maturity that started with this album and continued for the rest of his career.
Elastica ”“ Elastica – At the time, I didn’t really acknowledge BritPop as a phenomena. Back then my musical tastes were very much stuck coping with the loss of grunge and its whole movement and the emergence of other styles. In retrospect, trying to deny the movement or its importance is like trying to replicate King Canute. I wanted to pick a BritPop album but not necessarily one of the obvious ones (aka Oasis/Blur/Weller). In many ways, Elastica were a victim of their own success and didn’t really go beyond this album. Other work was released but it never really surpassed the debut and the well publicised private life of lead singer Justine Frischmann goes at least some way to explain why. All in all though a terrific album and a great example of the age!
Gary Numan ”“ The Pleasure Principle – Our last choice this week is not necessarily the easiest to listen to in the traditional sense. It’s heavily electronic and very challenging in places but it is an absolute genre breaker and parent to a whole generation of music. Unfortunately I was a little young at the time to appreciate it but if you look at the landscape of 1979, music was undergoing heavy change and there really was nothing like this. In terms of commercial sales, the single Cars was the big seller but the whole album grows into something stronger than the some of its parts.
We hope you enjoy our choices and we’ll be back next week with another edition of Tomorrow’s Sounds Today to wet your beak with some of the new and the great. As ever the full playlist is below with a secret extra album for those of you who are dedicated.
Peace, Love and Music!