Bloggin' Brothers

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Happy Birthday, W!

2.2 decades old, eh? Don't party too hard!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Hurricane Katrina...

I don't know what it is, but there's something that draws people, in my opinion, to the spectacle of disasters and catatastrophes. I know I myself have watched a lot of the television coverage of that massive storm today, and I find it fascinating. This fascination can also be seen in massive traffic jams, many of them due to drivers slowing down to gawk at a fender bender on the side of the road. If any readers out there are in the path of this storm, I hope you're safe.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

My list (sort of)

I think it's safe to say #4 is the best of all, but I think that #1 should be on the list (as opposed to honorable mentions), and also #3. Also, pretty much every song on The Boss' "Born in the U.S.A." makes it worthy of the list, too. The title song automatically puts it up there on the charts.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The Definitive List

It's time to throw down. Here it is, my list of the greatest rock albums of all time.

#1-Led Zeppelin's fourth album: "Zoso"
No doubt, no need for discussion.

#2-Derek and the Dominos' Layla and Other Love Songs
I think this is Eric Clapton at his best, which is saying a lot considering the music this man has made in his many years of recording. The title track (Layla) is one of the greatest rock songs of all time and I can't get enough of the sweet bluesy rock that fills up the rest of this album. Songs like Bell Bottom Blues and Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad? are some examples of Clapton's greatest vocal work in my opinion. Anything Eric Clapton touched is golden, but when you had Greg Allman joining up with the rest of the band for this album something a little extra special was going to happen.

#3-Led Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy
It's tough to pick the second best Led Zeppelin album, they're all so good. This one's jam packed with good songs like The Song Remains the Same, The Ocean and The Rain Song. Some may argue that the early Led Zeppelin stuff was better (M, perhaps?), but I really like stuff from the later style, of which this album is representative. The older stuff is a bit mellower, a bit more experimental and a little less wild. But it's not like LZ ever lost the ability to straight up rock as the song The Ocean shows.

#4-The Grateful Dead's American Beauty
Admittedly, I've only heard individual songs from The Grateful Dead's other albums, but I'm pretty comfortable proclaiming this as their greatest album. All the tunes have a certain catchiness to them, I commonly have bits and pieces of several of these songs stuck in my head. Probably my favorite song on this album is Box of Rain followed closely by several others like Sugar Magnolia, Brokedown Palace, Truckin and Friend of the Devil. Yes, there are that many that needed to be mentioned.

#5-The Who's The Who's Next
The Who, like Led Zeppelin, has an enormous amount of talent for a single group and the members are capable of playing a variety of instruments which makes for great music and great albums because of the diversity of the music. This album was what remained of a failed attempt to create a soundtrack to a never-completed movie created by Pete Townshend about a post-acopalyptic future where Rock and Roll saves the world. Yeah, crazy. I think there were perhaps a few controlled substances which were not very well controlled at work. Nonetheless this album contains awesome songs like Baba O'Riley, Behind Blue Eyes and Won't Get Fooled Again along with other, lesser-known gems.

Honorable Mention:
Every other Led Zeppelin album (yes, including Presence, Coda, and In Through the Out Door), Boston's Boston, Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run, The Band's The Band, Jethro Tull's Aqualung, Billy Joel's Piano Man, Rush's Moving Pictures, The Beatle's Revolver and Rubber Soul, Fleetwood Mac's Rumours, U2's Joshua Tree.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

George Orwell

Here's a little sumpin' about George Orwell and three of his books I read this summer.

George Orwell's not the greatest writer in the world. His style is simple and perhaps it would qualify as minimalist. Charles Dickens he ain't. The thing I like about Orwell is that I can relate to his characters. And usually Orwell lets you get deep into the mind of his characters who are typically rather complicated people.

Orwell's most well-known books, 1984 and Animal Farm are atypical Orwell books. being a sort-of fable with talking animals as characters is certainly unusual. 1984's description of a futuristic totalitarian distopia is also unusual as Orwell's other books all take place around the time Orwell lived.

All of Orwell's other books also deal almost strictly with social classes and economics. This feature would, normally, deter me from reading his books as I tend to think of socioeconomic things as trivial in the big picture. However, Orwell's books describe how social class and economic situation influence the way people live and think on many issues including religion.

This topic is particularly problematic to my mind. I hate to accept some relativistic notion that people's situation determines their beliefs and they should thus be excused for misbelief because that's what they were raised to believe. But I have trouble denying the "empirical" evidence that people's attitudes and beliefs are strongly tied to their social and economic class, like wealthy, upper-class, liberal protestants whose faith is so shallow, for example.

Orwell's writings suggest, in my opinion, that we are stuck in our class and can't escape the lifestyle, thought patterns and stresses common to our economic or social position. The endings of the three books I read this summer (Keep the Aspidistra Flying, Burmese Days and Coming up for Air) all indicate that this is Orwell's view. The latter two of the books in that list end in a sort of pessimistic way while Keep the Aspidistra Flying, ends positively despite the conclusion suggesting we can't escape the social class we're in.

Monday, August 08, 2005

You know what band I really like? The Band.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Hey, hey, what can I do?

The title of this post is the name of a Led Zeppelin song, produced by the band in 1970. After hearing it yesterday on the radio (a station in Seattle, KZOK, plays an hour of the Hammer of the Gods, called Lunch with Led, on Saturdays from 12-1 p.m.), I've come to understand why W loves it so much. He and I both like classic rock, but I'm inclined to believe he enjoys more of the folkish aspects of the music. Anyway, I found that I liked the song too, which wasn't too shocking. It reminded me a bit of Gallows Pole, and some of the other songs on Led Zeppelin III. This isn't too surprising either, since the song was released on the 'B' side of the single "Immigrant Song," the first song of their third album. "Hey, Hey, What Can I Do" is more difficult to find than a lot of Zeppelin's songs; besides the aforementioned single release, it was only released in their 1990 box set, their complete studio recordings, and then in Encominium, a tribute album that included Hootie and the Blowfish covering the song. I haven't heard that edition, but apparently it was pretty lame. In other words, it was never released as part of a single album. Maybe I can find the original song up at Western this fall, and burn it for you, W....