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5 Decades, 5 Albums

Photo Source: Jaylen M.

Photo Source: Jaylen M.

Jaylen Moulton, Editor-in-Chief

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With every year, comes an anniversary. Looking back from 2018 all the way back to 1968, there are a multitude of albums worth listening to with anniversaries coming up. Listening to the transformation of music over the past 50 years is amazing.

 

How I chose which albums to review?

I didn’t want to be biased about my choice, so I put titles of a list of albums and put them into a random selection generator. Whichever was chosen, I listened to regardless of whether I had heard of the band or not (amazingly, or not so amazingly–I do listen to a lot of music after all–I had heard of every band that was listed. Some I am better acquainted with than others). The only decade I didn’t do this for was 2008, but I will explain that later.

 

1968

1968 is arguably one of the most important years in history, and with a year noted for revolution, the music is sure to reflect that. Psychedelic rock played a big role in the music scene throughout the 60s, influencing a generation of young adults.

 

 

Shades of Deep Purple was released on July 17, 1968. It is the debut album of the band Deep Purple and consists of 8 songs. The most well-known song on the album is the band’s single, “Hush,” which is actually a cover of a song by Joe South written for Billy Joe Royal in 1967. While Royal’s peaked at 52 on the Billboard 100, Deep Purple’s rendition peaked at 4! While the album was a flop in the UK, it hit big in the US, and rightly so. All the songs were incredibly catchy with the perfect mix of pop and psychedelic. When I listened, I could feel the music flow throughout every part of my body. It was definitely what you would consider an experience. There was even a cover of “Help!” by the Beatles that was mellow and soft. I would consider it a risk to put a cover of a song on a debut album, but it was a great choice for the band to include this because it did not disappoint. Overall, the quality of the music set the bar high for this band as they came out with more and more hits throughout their career (“Smoke on the Water,” anyone?) I would give it the elusive 10/10.

 

Recommended Song: “Hush,” mainly because it is so popular and it’s definitely a great Deep Purple song to start with if you haven’t heard them before, but if you like that, I’d also recommend listening to “Hey Joe.”

 

 

Other Notable Albums of 1968

 

I took the time to listen to other albums from each decade and here is a list of 3 more albums worth giving a listen to:

 

  • The Beatles by The Beatles (commonly referred to as The White Album)
  • Waiting for the Sun by The Doors
  • Vincebus Eruptum by Blue Cheer

 

 

1978

The mid-1970s brought about the pioneers of punk rock (among other genres, of course), like the Dead Kennedys, the Misfits, Bad Brains, and more. Even dating before the 1970s, there were bands exuding punk rock before it was known as punk rock, like the Kinks, the Seeds, and the Velvet Underground.

 

 

Lou Reed was one of the founding members of the Velvet Underground and was an influential musician to the punk rock movement. In February 1978, he released his eighth solo album Street Hassle. It consists of 8 songs, most of which are relatively short (about 3 to 5 minutes each) except for one long 8 minute song, which shares the name of the album. The album is nice, but not memorable. I’ve heard a bit of Reed, and I love his song “Walk on the Wild Side,” but this album didn’t do it for me. It was good and it’s definitely got the Lou Reed vibe, but it’s not what I would call an experience. I wouldn’t suggest starting off with a song from this album if you haven’t heard any of his music before, though. Overall, I would give the album a 6/10. It was enjoyable, but not something I’d rave about.

 

Recommended Song: “Street Hassle” Of all the songs on the album, I think it tells the most vivid story, and when I was listening to the album, this song in particular caught me off-guard. It was that good.

 

 

Other Notable Albums of 1978

 

 

  • Stardust by Willie Nelson
  • Van Halen by Van Halen
  • Some Girls by The Rolling Stones

 

 

1988

The 80s saw a rise and popularization of metal music and its subgenres. One band that was very popular (and still is!) is notable for being a member of thrash’s Big Four: Megadeth.

 

 

So Far, So Good… So What! is Megadeth’s third album, released on January 19, 1988. The album consists of 8 tracks and was generally well-received at the time, even peaking at number 28 on the Billboard 200 despite receiving no commercial radio play. As much as I wanted to like this album, I didn’t. The songs individually aren’t bad, but all together there was no striking moment in the album for me. It was as lackluster as thrash music can be (and that’s definitely saying something!). I sat in my room waiting for a song to hit me with all its force and blow me away, but that never happened. Overall I would give the album a 5/10. The music wasn’t boring, but the experience was. If you want to listen to this album, maybe just give individual songs a listen instead of the whole thing together.

 

Recommended Song: “Anarchy in the UK” (yes, this is a cover of the Sex Pistols)

 

 

Other Notable Albums of 1988

 

 

  • Open Up and Say… Ahh! by Poison
  • Vivid by Living Colour
  • Nothing’s Shocking by Jane’s Addiction

 

 

1998

The 90s was a great time for music. Pop, hip hop, rock, grunge–the music industry was popping with it all.  A genre during this time that really saw its rise in popularity at this time is alternative rock.

 

 

Prolonging the Magic, released October 6, 1998, is Cake’s third album. It consists of 13 songs and peaked at 33 on the Billboard 200 with only one successful single, “Never There,” which peaked at number 1 on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks. The album was great. It was very Cake. The sound that drew me to Cake the first time I heard “The Distance” is prevalent throughout the whole album. They have a uniqueness that distinguishes them from other bands. Aside from the overall chill vibe of the music, the lyrics in the songs are almost as good, if not better, than the music itself. The lyrics in their songs are poetic and not–to put it harshly–garbage. Overall, I would give the album a 8/10.

 

Recommended Song: “You Turn the Screws”

 

 

Other Notable Albums of 1998

 

 

  • In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel
  • *NSYNC by *NSYNC
  • System of a Down by System of a Down

 

 

2008

2008 was the only year I didn’t do a random choice for the album I reviewed. Mostly this was because I was actually alive during this time, and I wanted to choose something that would give me nostalgia. To be honest, I’ve never really listened to modern music, but the album I chose is one I did listen to a few years after it was released when I was in middle school. It was my first taste at modern music, and the band was my “favorite band” (until I found the Doors in high school). I’m not too in love with their newer stuff, but they will still hold a place in my heart because of how much they influenced me. So while I might be very biased with this album, I won’t lay it on too thick

 

 

Mindless Self Indulgence released their fourth studio album and also their most successful album, If, on April 29, 2008. The band’s genre is hard to describe because it takes from aspects of so many genres, but I have always considered it industrial electronic punk rock (you know it’s messy when there are so many genres tacked on to it). The album consists of 15 songs, all of which are under 4 minutes. When I listen to this album, it’s easy for me to get lost in it because I love it so much, but to look at it from a more balanced perspective, I would say it’s not for everyone. The music is loud, there is screaming (but it’s not screamo, so don’t get it twisted), it is shock rock that makes fun of shock rock. I can definitely understand why a band like this would be hard to like. The lyrics, while they are striking, are not striking for the right reasons and can sometimes verge on the edge of being cringey, but there is still a social commentary aspect filled throughout them, and it’s hard to deny it’s catchiness. Both the opening song, “Never Wanted to Dance” and the 11th song, “Pay For It” peaked at number one on Billboard’s Dance charts, so the band was definitely doing something right. As much as I want to give the album a 10 because it reminds me of my middle school years, I will give it a 9/10 instead, because there definitely are flaws and I do catch myself making fun of the lyrics at times.

 

Recommended Song: “Prescription” This is the only song on the album without swearing, so it will have to do!

 

 

Other Notable Albums of 2008

 

  • 19 by Adele
  • Day & Age by The Killers
  • Fearless by Taylor Swift

 

 

While looking forward to albums released this year is fun, it’s also fun to look back at the past. If you listen to any of the albums listed above, I hope you enjoy them as much as, or even more than, I did!

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