Thursday, January 25

Not Classic Masterpieces

Have you ever had albums you feel sorry for, as if they were children or friends that have been unjustly picked on? For me, these usually take the form of albums that aren't the artist's best work, or considered classics, but just albums that I think have a bum rap for some reason. I thinking about this while listening to Roxy Music's Flesh + Blood the other day. Here's an album that gets little respect, being sandwiched between the group's influential Glam records and the commercial success of Avalon. It's either not as good as the latter, or not as important as the former. But taken on its own terms, I like it. Flesh + Blood makes sense if you believe that New Romantic grew almost directly out of Glam. In that sense, the album sounds like a natural step and maybe more influential than people think, with its disco beats and synthesizers. Hell, I don't even mind the cover songs. I'm not saying the album is perfect; the first half is definitely stronger than the second. But try to love it at least a little.

Then I had these thoughts again yesterday listening to Lush's Lovelife. Did this album piss off a lot of people because it wasn't Shoegaze enough? Or did people feel like they were jumping on the Brit Pop bandwagon? Personally, I love the fact that they changed their sound. I'll admit Lovelife didn't exactly stake out new musical territory, and it's certainly not the best Brit Pop album ever, but it features several fine pop songs and at least they tried something different. Again, I'm not saying this album is some masterpiece, but I think it's better than most people give it credit for.

I feel like there's this thing where if an album isn't a 10 out of 10, then history has no room for it. God forbid you make an album that's merely very good, or even just good. Maybe it's because there's this constant flood of music to deal with, so through some Darwinian process only the strongest survive the flood. Try to give a little extra time to the lonely children floating just out of camera view.

6 comments:

Brian B. said...

Hey Bruce, I thought you'd like to know that 2350 Broadway 4 is out. It took me by surprise. The limitation is 500 and it was already a bitch to get a copy of, but iTunes is already offering it, if you would like it that way.

BB

Michael said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again - "Flesh + Blood" is my favorite Roxy record ever. So there!

Bruce said...

Michael,

I remember back in the '80s when I first got F+B and I was upset it didn't sound much like Avalon. And of course at that time I had no knowledge of Roxy's older work at all. Even though I probably like Avalon more, I bet I listen to F+B more often. I have to be in a very specific mood for Avalon. My wife has all the older Roxy albums; I should spend some time with them.

Hmm...maybe I should give Beauty Stab one more chance...

Shawn @ Entroporium said...

Marketing counts for longevity, too. "Birth of the Cool" and "Blue Train": so-so records, awesome titles and covers.

Greycat said...

I hated Lovelife, and i still do. Not shoegazey enough for me, too poppy.

Bruce said...

greycat,

You are making the baby Jarvis cry.