Album Review

The Cranberries Quintessential Albums

The Cranberries – Everybody Else is Doing it, So Why Can’t We?

The Cranberries – Everybody Else is Doing it, So Why Can’t We? (1993)
Quintessential Albums

Continuing with June’s theme of Women of the ’90s, let’s take a look at why The Cranberries, Everybody Else is Doing it, So Why Can’t We?, is one of my Quintessential Albums.

The Cranberries Quintessential Albums

A Little History:

Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? is the debut album by The Cranberries. Released in 1993, it was their first full-length album after having released four EPs and is also their first major label release.

The album was written entirely by the band’s lead singer Dolores O’Riordan and guitarist Noel Hogan. It reached # 9 in the Irish charts and # 1 in the UK.

The album was re-released in 2002, under the title Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? (The Complete Sessions 1991-1993). This version of the album featured bonus tracks as well as B-sides from the singles lifted off the album. (from Wikipedia)

After the release of a first single, “Dreams” in September 1992, The Cranberries proposed their debut album, Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?, in March 1993 (which “Dreams” is featured on). Neither the album nor the single gained much attention, nor did a second single, “Linger”, also on the album.

When the band embarked on a tour supporting Suede, they then caught the attention of MTV, which put their videos into heavy rotation. Although “Linger” was first released in the UK in February 1993, peaking at # 74, it was later re-issued in February 1994 peaking at # 14. (from Wikipedia)

Dolores QA

This was followed by “Dreams” (re-released in May 1994, peaking at # 27) which helped their debut album to reach # 1 on the UK Album Chart, becoming one of only five artists to ever achieve a re-entry at that chart position.

After a North American and European Tour, O’Riordan married the band’s tour manager, Don Burton, in July 1994. (from Wikipedia)

What Makes This “Quintessential” to me?

Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? is so completely ’90s to me, not just in sound and style, but in the way it makes me feel like I am back there, back in 1993, living in my favorite apartment on Wilshire with my then husband (though in the same year we would split) and our year old daughter. I could usually be found wearing baby doll floral dresses and crushed velvet leggings, staying up late at the Winged Heart Cafe, and being utterly confused with who I was. I fell out of love that year, and then in it anew not so long after. I had no idea what I was doing with my life, but I was trying hard to figure it out.

This album, every song, it reminds me of sitting in the cafe down the road, after hours, this album playing. I felt lost, but some small part of me felt like I was finding people to belong with. I was trying hard to figure out how to be a Mom, how to go to school still, how to turn a bad relationship into a functional family. It never could.

That year, I met the man who I’d spend a huge chunk of my life with. Who I would live in four different states with, ever chasing the chance to be okay. Together. We had so many dreams. He was broken in ways I could never fix, though I tried. I tried so hard. All the broken parts in me, the times I needed help, he couldn’t stand. He needed me to be the strong one. Always.

We took this album with us. Every step of the way. Every state line, new home, to every stop-and-start. It was part of our shared favorites. We new ever song, we knew every line. He even played one on the guitar, singing to me in our first apartment bedroom, and later, singing it as a lullaby to our first child together.

The Cranberries Quintessential Albums

Though the “hits” on this album suffered from mass overplay for awhile, they persist as great songs, twenty-six years later they still sound incredible.

And the non-radio “hits”? They are gorgeous, emotional, and stunning. The whole album is really.


My Top 5 Favorite Songs:

1. “How”

“Now you’re just walking away (walking away),
when you said you always would stay (always would stay).”

2. “I Still Do”

“Need some time to find myself.”

3. “Put Me Down”

“I can’t take this anymore.
I decided to leave,
Walked out through the door.”

4. “Linger”

“I swore,
I swore I would be true,
and honey,
so did you.”

5. “I Will Always”

“I will always,
go beside you,
You will always,

The Cranberries Album of the Week

From the Choirgirl Hotel Tori Amos Albums

Tori Amos – From the Choirgirl Hotel

Since it is my birthday, I thought I’d highlight one of my all-time favorite albums. Tori Amos’ From the Choirgirl Hotel. Though I vacillate between four of her albums as being my absolute favorites, it’s this one that I come back to most often.

There will never be another Little Earthquakes, and the impact it had on me in 1992 is immeasurable, and Under the Pink is so connected to who I was in the mid-’90s that I will never lose my ties to it, and oh my stars, the gut-and-heart double-whammy punch of Boys For Pele, I may never be the same.

Tori Amos Album FTCGH

From the Choirgirl Hotel (1998) by Tori Amos
Album Highlights

All that said, though, there is something about From the Choirgirl Hotel that gets me so deeply, at any time, and at any age. It may very well be my favorite Tori. It bypasses nostalgia, it drives over break-ups and memories, living somewhere forever under my skin, and fitting right into wherever I am in my life. From the start of “Spark”, From the Choirgirl Hotel’s got me.

“Spark” by Tori Amos

Are you sure where my Spark is?”

From the Choirgirl Hotel is Tori Amos’ fourth studio album (unless, of course, you count Y Kant Tori Read). When it was released, in 1998, the album was considered a departure from Tori’s previous works. This time around Tori had a full rock band sound, with heavier production than in the past when her sound was more of a minimalist, stripped-down piano sound. But, to me, it still had that rawness that had always been one of the things I love about her music.

Tori Amos Album Highlights

Upon its release in May of 1998, the album debuted at #5 in the US and #6 in the UK. While falling short of the #2 debut for Tori’s previous release, Boys for Pele (1996), From the Choirgirl Hotel was Tori’s strongest debut in US sales, selling 153,000 copies in the first week of release.

Tori received two 1999 Grammy nominations, for Alternative Music Performance, and Female Rock Vocal Performance for the song “Raspberry Swirl”.

The lead single, “Spark” became a hit after its release in June 1998 and was followed by “Jackie’s Strength” in September 1998, and then “Cruel/Raspberry Swirl” in November 1998. (from Wikipedia)

“Jackie’s Strength” by Tori Amos

Beene’s got some pot,
you’re only popular with Anorexia.
So I turn myself inside out,
in hope someone will see,
will see.”

From the Choirgirl

Thematically and conceptually, the “Choirgirl Hotel” of the title refers to the fictional, imaginary place where the songs “live.” Amos pointed out that although the songs are recorded, they are also alive themselves – they can be re-modeled and reshaped in concert etc. Tori imagined the songs as living their own lives, all checking into the “Choirgirl Hotel”, but living separate lives outside the confines of the album.

In the album’s artwork, Tori included a hand-drawn map detailing the stomping ground of these songs.

From the Choirgirl Hotel map

From the Choirgirl Hotel’s artwork was created by the UK-based photographer, Katerina Jebb. The artwork features full-body color photocopies of Amos (in various couture outfits) as scanned by a human-sized photocopier. (from Wikipedia)

Tori Amos CG AH

There are so many reasons why From the Choirgirl Hotel is “quintessential” to me, so many connections and emotions and memories are attached to this album, for me. Just listening to it this today, I find myself in tears.

Beyond the memories it evokes, I also feel the here and now when I hear these songs now. I still connect so much to “Northern Lad” (one of my forever favorite Tori songs), and “Playboy Mommy” (which I can’t hear without crying).

Tori has always had an impact on my life, her albums always coming around when I most needed them, or at least that is how it always felt with the first five. There is strength I’ve gathered from her songs, and things I have faced in my life because of entire albums, words I didn’t have to express that I could call to her lyrics to help explain. For me, I felt like her music got me, and I got the music right back.

And the magic of From the Choirgirl Hotel is the never going away kind. I’m always going to want to listen to these songs.

“Northern Lad” by Tori Amos

“Guess you go too far,
when pianos try to be guitars.”

“Northern Lad” hit me first listen. I felt like it described so painfully perfect the relationship I found myself in as the “nineties” came to a close. I would sit on the floor next to my stereo, hitting repeat over and over again, feeling every part of the song so completely. I’d listen to it while I filled pages and pages of handwritten journals, trying to write myself into a solution. I found it eventually, the song acting as a companion and confidante, and eventually as my strength to say “it’s over“.

Northern Lad

I would garner that same kind of strength years later with “Jackie’s Strength”, a song that I’ve kept close to me, as a totem, of sorts, for my belief in love even after so many failed attempts at it.

Jackie's Strength

“Playboy Mommy” by Tori Amos

“I’ll say it loud here by your grave,
those angels can’t ever take my place.”

“Spark” and “Playboy Mommy” would break me and piece me back together when I went through my own miscarriage. Both songs still bring me to tears, but sometimes we all need that. I know that I clung so tightly to both tracks when I was trying to face such a loss, finding the smallest solace in at least knowing that I wasn’t alone. They are both such beautiful songs, albeit so very heartbreaking (especially the latter).

The songs from Tori’s From the Choirgirl Hotel have stayed with me, and many of them remain on my life-list of all-time favorite songs. I still go back to them, revisit them, slip them into playlists and sometimes find new connections to them. The album, too, I often listen from start-to-finish, usually letting it play a few times through.

This is an album I’d really like to acquire on vinyl for my own collection someday.

Album Highlight Tori Amos From the Choirgirl Hotel

Townes Van Zandt Album Spotlight Lyriquediscorde

High, Low and In Between by Townes Van Zandt

Album Highlight Header

Welcome to the first edition of ALBUM HIGHLIGHT LYRIQUEDISCORDE, a new series at lyriquediscorde dedicated to albums and music discovery. The first album for “episode one” is Townes Van Zandt’s 1972 album, High, Low and In Between. The album will be part one in a two-part Townes Van Zandt feature, as the CD version I’m listening to is a double album collection, with High, Low and In Between, as well as The Late, Great Townes Van Zandt. It is one of my boyfriend’s albums from one of the first two boxes of music we’ve brought to our house from his storage. He has quite a collection, and I can’t wait to see, and listen to, all of it.

Townes Van Zandt High Low and In Between Album Highlight Lyriquediscorde

I decided to start with Townes Van Zandt for a few reasons. One, he is part of an early relationship memory between Chris and I. It was one of our first nights spent together, and we were listening to music while lying in bed together, talking, and not talking. We were discussing music, and different artists and bands we liked, and Chris brought up Townes’ music, except that he couldn’t remember his name. From the hints to the style of music and sound of songs, I couldn’t guess it either.

We went a little crazy trying to figure it out. It was like a musical Rumplestiltskin game, except without the first born baby wager. We scanned lists online, searched our musical memories, and did various Google searches until finally, we spotted his name on a country/folk list from the 70’s. It was a huge relief, as silly as that may sound. I’m sure anyone who’s ever wracked their brain to remember a song, or movie, or name of a singer, or actor, will know the kind of relief I mean.

Ever since, its become a shared, fond memory of ours.

Another reason I chose Townes to start off with is that this weekend we are planning to go see the film Blaze, which features Townes as a character (played by Charlie Sexton, another favorite musician of mine).

Blaze Charlie Sexton as Townes Van Zant

Charlie Sexton as Townes Van Zant in Blaze (2018)

Oh, and last but not least, Chris has sent me songs of Townes that I’ve loved, and I want to know and hear more. So, here I am. Hearing more. Starting with High, Low and In Between by Townes Van Zant, the first album for the Album Highlight Lyriquediscorde feature.

High Low and In Between Townes Van Zandt Lyriquediscorde

Townes Van Zandt – High, Low and In Between (1972)
Album Highlight Lyriquediscorde

At first listen, High, Low and In Between feels Southern rooted. I expect to find that it was recorded in Tennessee, or maybe Alabama. But no, the 1971 released album was recorded in Los Angeles, at Larrabee Sound Studios. The album was produced by Kevin Eggers, who had worked with Townes previously. The album features very sparse arrangements, incorporating what has been described as a folk-rock edge.

“Greensboro Woman” by Townes Van Zandt

My favorite track, well tracks really, are “Greensboro Woman” and “Standin'”. The track, “To Live Is To Fly” has been noted as the best on the album, even by Townes himself. I’ll agree it is a good song, but I love the other two just a little bit more.

“Standin'” by Townes Van Zandt

The songs on High, Low and In Between seem to be tales of redemption or the seeking of. There are contemplations on religion and God, questions about love and loss, and sense of self. There are themes that deal with moral dilemmas, and tunes that celebrate both the pleasure of sinning and the joy of being saved.

There are Gospel-soaked numbers that remind me of music my Grandmother used to play and passionately exclaim “amen” to. There is a song about a drunk who falls for a teenage girl, who declares if Heaven has no whiskey or women he is going to the other place. There is a melancholic story-song about a lonely troubadour which seems autobiographical, a mirror to Townes drifter-musician existence.

“To Live Is To Fly” by Townes Van Zandt

The life-affirming “To Live Is To Fly” is one of Townes’ most celebrated songs. In the biography, To Live’s To Fly: The Ballad of the Late, Great Townes Van Zandt (written by John Kruth), Townes is quoted as saying:

“It’s impossible to have a favorite song, but if I were forced at knifepoint to choose one, it would be ‘To Live Is To Fly’.”

(from Wikipedia)

Some have speculated that several of the songs on High, Low and In Between were informed by the murder of Towne’s girlfriend Leslie Jo Richards. It was August of 1971, during the Los Angeles recordings of this album. Leslie was abducted while hitchhiking back to Houston from San Diego. She crawled onto a stranger’s doorstep in Leucadia Beach (in San Diego) and begged for help as she bled to death from stab wounds. Her death was said to have devastated Townes.

Townes was also in the throes of a heroin habit while recording the album, an addiction that would continue to plague him throughout his life.

TVZ Album Highlight

“Highway Kind” by Townes Van Zandt

Another standout song to me is “Highway Kind”. This particular track reminds me of songs from other country-folk/alt-country artists I love, including Ryan Adams, Ryan Bingham, Gillian Welch, Guy Clark, John Prine, and Cowboy Junkies. The latter actually recorded a cover of “Highway Kind” for a Townes Van Zandt cover album.

“Highway Kind” by Cowboy Junkies
from the album, Poet: A Tribute to Townes Van Zandt (2001)

Pete Yorn Scarlett Johansson Apart New Release Friday

Apart by Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson – New Release Review

Lyriquediscorde favorite, Pete Yorn, has paired up again with his “Break-Up” partner Scarlett Johansson for the much anticipated EP, Apart. We’ve been waiting for this release since April when Pete and Scarlett released a pre-EP single, “Bad Dreams”, a brilliant, synth-rock-pop, getting over someone/not getting over someone ode. “Bad Dreams”, an excellent cover of “Worried” by Echo Friendly had us longing for more. Just as kids countdown the final days before summer break, we’ve been counting down to June 1, when the EP Apart, in its entirety, would finally be here.

Readers and listeners, it was worth the wait.

Pete Yorn Scarlett Johansson Apart New Music Review Lyriquediscorde

Apart by Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson
New Release Friday

Listening to Apart in the late night/early morning is the best choice. An EP that traverses the tricky terrain of post-breakup seems fitting to dive into at the time of insomniacs, when the world around is sleeping, all except the unrequited and heartbroken. Whereas Pete and Scarlett’s first album was about breaking up, Apart feels more like the aftermath of the break. Maybe it’s singing about a week later, a month, a year, or maybe even a decade. Two that were once an “us” have had to go on alone. They’ve had to sort through the rubble of loss and disappointment and sadness in order to mark a path that leads to being on your own again and going on. Everyone knows what that feels like. Everyone knows how hard it is. Thus making this EP immediately relatable.

Pete and Scarlett Apart photo by Sophie Muller

photo by Sophie Muller

Let’s take it song by song, shall we?

Apart – A Lyriquediscorde Song by Song Review

The first track is “Iguana Bird”. The quick start pulls you right into the EP, and the story that you can immediately feel coming with Apart. The “la-la-la-la-love you” chorus is reminiscent of a Phil Spector “wall of sound” production. Yesterdays sensibilities collide with an updated, ethereal synth sound that works so perfectly. Wistful. I think that feeling is going to hit multiple times on this EP. I really do.

The back-and-forth at the end from Pete’s questioning vocal of “do you like how your spending your time?” answered back by Scarlett’s “la-la-la-la-love you” says everything. Two people, flown far away from each other, still wanting, still longing, still not over it – even if they are Apart.

“Iguana Bird” by Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson

Next up is “Bad Dreams”, Pete and Scarlett’s catchy synth-pop cover of Echo Friendly’s song “Worried”. Here is an excerpt from the single review for “Bad Dreams”:

The give-and-take of the verses plays out like a therapy session or a confessional one-on-one with a best friend. It’s time to be over the Break Up, at least that’s what they all keep telling you, but it’s never that easy. Not sleep, not awake, not being Apart.

Sleeplessness leads to exhaustion, and then when you finally close your eyes, the dreams come. “Bad Dreams” of being back together, of never being back together, of being alone. The manifestations of all those fears that your psyche plays out, they feel brought to life in this Song. Being afraid of the mess in your life, and in your self, to being afraid of age and forgetfulness, and of never sleeping well, or loving well, again. Anyone who’s been through a serious Break Up knows what their Singing about.

You keep breaking post Break Up. But, at least you have Songs to Sing while you try to piece it all back together, now that you’re Apart.

“Break Up” by Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson
Originally by Echo Friendly

“Movies” is next. Right from the start, it feels like a movie. The ambient beginning that ebbs and flows into an ethereal vocal by Pete. This feels like a dream pop gift. Wistful (that word again), and beautiful. I feel like the ocean should be right outside my window as the song unfolds. There is so much longing in this track.

“Take me to the movies. Take to me to where you’re going. I don’t want to live without you.”

I’m reminded of how I felt the first time I listened to The Cure’s Disintegration album, cross-pollinated with a little Ride, and a dreamy, foreign film score. This track is gorgeous. I need to drive to the ocean, sit close to the waves, and play “Movies” on repeat.

“Movies” by Pete Yorn
Written by Pete Yorn and R. Walt Vincent

“Cigarillo” is my first listen favorite off the EP. I keep hitting repeat. Over and over again.

This is the most quintessential Pete sounding song to me, which may be why I feel so immediately connected to it. Pop sensibilities the likes of Brian Wilson/Beach Boys weaved into the singer-songwriter brilliance that is what has always drawn me to Pete’s music. Catchy and poetic, full of wishing and longing. There’s this feeling that no matter how much one tries to get over someone – that certain kind of “someone” – there is a part of your heart that refuses. That part that no matter how much of a “long, long time since I knew you” has transpired, you still wish for that someone to return.

Maybe there is a better time, a different time, a new reality for “us”. Even in the impossibility of reuniting, there is this wanting a possibility.

“Cigarillo” by Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson

The final track is a reworking of “Tomorrow”, a song originally from Pete’s solo album, arrangingtime. The addition of Scarlett’s vocals adds a layer to the song that changes the narrative. It feels like a call and response between two people who once were planning out their tomorrow’s together, but are now looking towards tomorrow “apart”, waiting for that “tomorrow is another day” to be the days when it all gets easier. Anyone who’s been through a break-up knows what people say to somehow ease your pain. All that “time heals” stuff. “Wind the clock” and at some point, it will all be better. And the “I can take you anywhere, I just want to get to love you” sounds bittersweet and wistful in this rendition, much more than it ever was before.

What a way to end this brilliant EP.

“Tomorrow” (Remix/Audio) by Pete Yorn, featuring Scarlett Johansson

Pete Yorn Scarlett Johansson Apart New Release Friday

photo by Sophie Muller

This EP is so good. It is perfect for the onset of Summer, for the unseasonable rain outside in Southern California, and for long nights driving around in your car with the windows down. On a personal note, this is just what I needed right now as I try to get over an unexpected break-up that has me very wistful.

The only complaint I have about Apart is I wish there was more. Five songs are not nearly enough.

If you like what you hear order yourself a copy here.

Thank you, Pete and Scarlett. Love it! A++++

Thomas Dolby The Golden Age of Wireless Quintessential Albums Feature

Thomas Dolby – The Golden Age of Wireless – Quintessential Albums

The Golden Age of Wireless is Thomas Dolby’s debut album, released in 1982. The album includes Dolby’s breakout hit, “She Blinded Me with Science”, as well as my favorite song of his, “Europa and the Pirate Twins”.

The album’s overall theme is radio and the modern world. Both themes factor into many, if not most of the songs on the album.

At the time of the album’s release in the US, the tone of the album which was described as being cinematic, emotional, and even moody, was a departure from most of the early 80’s synth-pop records. There were many to follow that soared in that vein of sound, but in a lot of ways, The Golden Age of Wireless was one of the first.

Thomas Dolby The Golden Age of Wireless Quintessential Albums

The Golden Age of Wireless by Thomas Dolby
Quintessential Albums

The Golden Age of Wireless was released 5 different times, all of which were on both vinyl and cassette. CD was only from the 3rd and 5th releases. Every time the album was re-released the song order was changed, often replacing album mixes with extended or radio/single mixes. Sometimes songs were removed completely.

“Radio Silence” was a completely different song in the early US releases than what later appeared on versions of the album. And, with the first US version, the instrumental “The Wreck of the Fairchild”, was removed, and 2 other songs were put in its place, “Urges” and “Leipzig”.

Capitol Records, in the US, changed the album cover art, too. In the UK the album had a “comic book” type cover. Capitol switched it out with a picture of Dolby on stage instead.

After “She Blinded Me with Science” was released as a single, and took MTV by storm with its corresponding music video, Capitol pulled the album and made more changes. They removed “Urges” and “Leipzig”, and put in its place an extended version of “She Blinded Me with Science”, along with its “B-Side”, “Submarines”. And, they switched back the album cover art to the original UK “comic book” style.

In 2009, a remastered “Collector’s Edition” of The Golden Age of Wireless was released. It includes bonus tracks, extra liner notes, and a DVD of the Live Wireless music video.

My copy of the album, from the early 80’s, has the “comic book” cover art, as well as the extended version of “She Blinded Me with Science”. At the time I didn’t know there were other versions. I picked it up at the Record Trading Company, a favorite Orange County record store when I was a teenager, after hearing “Europa and the Pirate Twins” on the radio. I’d known “She Blinded Me with Science”. You couldn’t turn on MTV without seeing the video. And, I liked the song. But, it was love at first listen with “Europa and the Pirate Twins”, and I had to have it, and hear more.

I met Thomas Dolby in the late 80’s (1988, I think). He was rather shy, very polite and humble. We talked about books actually. I’m going to have to find the one picture I have with him one of these days.

This is one of those early 80’s albums that I have grown to love more as the years have gone by. Though I always, always loved “Europa and the Pirate Twins”, much of the album faded into the background when I played it. And then, when mixtapes were my big thing, I often skipped all of the other songs completely, except for “Europa” and “Radio Silence”, the two songs I would throw on mixtapes often.

Thomas Dolby comic book cover

My Top 5 Songs from Thomas Dolby’s The Golden Age of Wireless

1. “Europa and the Pirate Twins”

“We’ll be the Pirate Twins again,
oh, my country,
I’ll stand beside you in the rain,
Ta Republique.”

2. “Radio Silence”

“She’s caught up in traffic.
And, I’m on her radio.”

3. “Weightless”

“So she flicks on the TV,
takes in a movie.
But, all those memories,
won’t erase the empty feeling from in her heart.”

4. “Airwaves”

“Through the airwaves.
People never read the airwaves.
Do we only feed the airwaves?
I really should have seen through the airwaves.”

5. “She Blinded Me with Science”

“It’s poetry in motion,
and now she’s making love to me.
The spheres’re in commotion,
the elements in harmony.”

Thomas Dolby Europa and the Pirate Twins

We hope you enjoyed this week’s Quintessential Album choice, Thomas Dolby, The Golden Age of Wireless. Feel free to share your thoughts – we would love to read them.

Ryan Adams Gold – Quintessential Albums

Gold is Ryan Adams’ 2nd studio album, released in September of 2001 on Lost Highway Records. The album remains Adams’ best-selling album, certified gold in the UK, and has sold over 364,000 copies in the U.S., and 812,000 plus worldwide. The album is a modern classic, which is what part of Ryan Adams’ goal.

Ryan stated about the album:

“with Gold, I was trying to prove something to myself. I wanted to invent a modern classic.”

Ryan Adams Gold Quintessential Albums blue record player

Ryan Adams Gold – Quintessential Albums

Ryan Adams intended for the album to be a double album, but his record label disagreed and condensed the album into a single-disc.

According to Adams;

“[the label] took the last five songs, made it a bonus disc and put it on the first hundred and fifty thousand copies. Fucking my fans over and making them pay extra for a record I wanted to be a double album. They counted that as one record.”

This bonus disc is known as Side Four; the disc’s title reflects the fact that the bonus material makes up the fourth side of the double LP edition of the album.

The album includes “When the Stars Go Blue”, which has been covered by artists such as The Corrs and Bono, Tyler Hilton, Bethany Joy Galeotti, and Tim McGraw.

“New York, New York” became a notable MTV and VH1 favorite following the September 11 attacks.

“The Rescue Blues” was featured in the end credits of the 2001 film Behind Enemy Lines.

Adams’ friend and former roommate Adam Duritz (lead singer of Counting Crows) lends background vocals to several tracks.

“Answering Bell” Featuring cameos by Elton John, Adam Duritz and Leona Naess
Adam Duritz on backing vocals on the Studio Track

Quintessential Albums Ryan Adams Gold Black and White

I was in Michigan in the middle of a deadline at work when I first heard Ryan Adams’ music. A friend and fellow music obsessive shared 2 songs with me – both of them from Gold. The songs were “Harder Now That It’s Over” and “Sylvia Plath”. I remember playing both songs over and over and over that day, the melancholic melodies of both soothing my overtired and overwhelmed psyche.

Afterwards, when the deadline had been met and my nerves had settled, I recall doing an excited search via one of those “music sharing sites” of the early aughts trying to find MORE. That weekend I went out and bought Gold, on CD, and that was the real start of my love of Ryan Adams’ music.

Gold was my gateway drug.

Ryan Adams New York Quintessential Albums Gold

Years later I would stand in a record store in Manchester, England, and buy a second copy of Gold on CD, along with a copy of Heartbreaker. I lingered at the counter for awhile discussing Ryan’s music with the girl working that afternoon. We got to the inevitable question of a favorite album, and she said Gold.

Later that evening I stood in a pub with coins in my hand, feeding a jukebox, and choosing “La Cienega Just Smiled”, from Gold. I was far from La Cienega. I was far from home. But, Ryan was playing and it made the world seem to shrink, and intersect, connecting me in a way that only music ever can.

RA Quintessential Albums Gold Reflection

My Top 5 Songs from Ryan Adam’s Gold

1. “La Cienega Just Smiled”

“And I hold you close in the back of my mind,
feels so good but damn it makes me hurt,
and I’m too scared to know how I feel about you now,
La Cienega just smiles…”see ya around”“

2. “Touch, Feel and Lose”

“I thought maybe I could be some kind of shelter,
but oh, your storm how it raged.
You know your kisses they like lightnin’ and thunder,
and your smile is sweet and come down like rain.”

3. “Sylvia Plath”

And, maybe she’d take me to France.
Or maybe to Spain,
she’d ask me to dance,
in a mansion on the top of a hill.
She’d ash on the carpets,
and slip me a pill,
then she’d get me pretty loaded on gin.
And, maybe she’d give me a bath.
How I wish I had a Sylvia Plath.”

4. “Gonna Make You Love Me”

“Moonlight on the beach,
sweet amphetamines –
It’s only gonna make you love me more.”

5. “Goodnight, Hollywood Blvd.”

“So goodnight Hollywood Boulevard,
See ya soon.”

RA QA Gold

We hope you enjoyed this week’s Quintessential Album choice, Ryan Adams’ Gold. Feel free to share your thoughts – we would love to read them.

Lorde Melodrama, New Release Friday, Top 5 New Releases

Top 5 New Releases :: New Music Friday :: June 16, 2017

New Release Friday, Top 5 New Releases, New Release Reviews

Top 5 New Releases :: New Music Friday :: June 16, 2017

It’s New Music Friday and you know what that means – the Biggest and Best New Releases of the Week can be found Right Here. So, sit back, relax and peruse Today’s Top 5 New Releases. Scroll down and you can read 3-Sentence Reviews, you can check out the First Listen Favorites, and you can Press Play on each Selected Song so you can Hear what all the Buzz is about. Sometimes there are Singles among the pack, because they are a part of New Release Day, too.

So, get comfortable, whether at home, at the office, or on the go out in the world somewhere, and have a Listen to these Top 5 Best New Releases. If you like what you hear, go now go and support the art and the artists, buy an Album, or a Single, and go see some of these New Releases played live.

I would love to hear what you think of the selected songs, and album titles. Is there a New Music Release that you feel should be on this list? Add to the buzz and comment below.


1. Melodrama :: Lorde

Lorde Melodrama, New Release Friday, Top 5 New Releases

Three-Sentence Review: It feels like its been a long time waiting for Lorde’s Latest Album to be Released, though there has been a number of Pre-Album Singles Released to tease us and have us wanting more. I know there is the Sophomore Slump syndrome, especially when an Artist or Band’s Debut was as bit as Lorde’s was, but I think that if anything she has grown and evolved in a way that should have this Album well-received. I’m enjoying the more grown-up Lyrics, the reminders of Kate Bush, Florence Welch, and at times, Madonna and Robyn – Melodic Dance Music with Edge, that’s what I think I’d nickname this Album.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Green Light”, “Hard Feelings/Loveless”, and “Writer in the Dark”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

“Writer in the Dark”

2. Tomorrow Forever :: Matthew Sweet

Matthew Sweet Tomorrow Forever, New Release Friday, Top 5 New Releases

Three-Sentence Review: 90’s Power Pop King has a New Album out and I am so ready for it. Everything I Loved about 90’s Sweet has shown up for this, along with some Fleetwood Mac, some Britpop, some Glam, and a heavy dose of 60’s sensibilities (and guitar sounds).

Initial Favorite Track(s):  “Trick”, “Off the Farm”, and “Hello”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5


3. The Nashville Sound :: Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit The Nashville Sound, New Release Friday, Top 5 New Releases

Three-Sentence Review: Last year I discovered the Music of Jason Isbell, and I’ve delved into his work, both Solo and with Drive-By Truckers, ever since. I have my Favorites, and I definitely prefer his Solo stuff (with the 400 Unit), and this New Album is no exception. The Storytelling is so Vivid and Rich, Literate and almost Visual, which is exactly what attracted me to Jason’s Music in the first place.

Initial Favorite Track(s):  “Tupelo”, “If We Were Vampires”, and “Chaos & Clothes”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

“If We Were Vampires”

4. How Did We Get So Dark? :: Royal Blood

Royal Blood How Did We Get So Dark?, New Release Friday, Top 5 New Releases

Three-Sentence Review: In some ways I think this Album is my Favorite of Royal Blood’s 2 Releases (this must be a good day for Sophomore Albums – See Lorde above), even though their Debut did blow me away. The Album has been described as Sonically falling somewhere between Queens Of The Stone Age and Muse, but I hear something older here – thinking a Post-Modern Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, 70’s Rolling Stones, and other 70’s Classic Rock Rock – updated, but still sharing the sensibilities. I dig the thin layer of Electric/Electronica that is all over this Rock Album, it makes for quite the addicting Mix.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “I Only Lie When I Love You”, “She’s Creeping”, and “Hole In Your Heart”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

“I Only Lie When I Love You”

5. Weather Diaries :: Ride

Ride Weather Diaries, New Release Friday, Top 5 New Releases

Three-Sentence Review: Beyond the occasional run in with Ride’s Quintessential Hit, Vapour Trail, I very rarely Listen to the Band. This is about to change with the arrival of this New Album, which I can already tell will be heavily played this Summer Season. From the First Track, “Lannoy Point”, and onward, I am hooked on Weather Diaries, and I think you all might be, too.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Lannoy Point”, “All I Want”, and “Cali”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5


Cigarettes After Sex, New Music Friday, Top 5 New Music

Top 5 New Releases :: New Music Friday :: June 9, 2017

New Release Friday, Top 5 New Releases, New Release Reviews

Top 5 New Releases :: New Music Friday :: June 9, 2017

It’s New Music Friday and you know what that means – the Biggest and Best New Releases of the Week can be found Right Here. So, sit back, relax and peruse Today’s Top 5 New Releases. Scroll down and you can read 3-Sentence Reviews, you can check out the First Listen Favorites, and you can Press Play on each Selected Song so you can Hear what all the Buzz is about. Sometimes there are Singles among the pack, because they are a part of New Release Day, too.

So, get comfortable, whether at home, at the office, or on the go out in the world somewhere, and have a Listen to these Top 5 Best New Releases. If you like what you hear, go now go and support the art and the artists, buy an Album, or a Single, and go see some of these New Releases played live.

I would love to hear what you think of the selected songs, and album titles. Is there a New Music Release that you feel should be on this list? Add to the buzz and comment below.


1. Self-Titled :: Cigarettes After Sex

Cigarettes After Sex, New Music Friday, Top 5 New Music

Three-Sentence Review: I have been anxiously waiting and anticipating this Release ever since I was introduced to Cigarettes After Sex by a friend, and fellow-Blogger, and even more so after I Listened to, and obsessed over, their Single “K” (Track 1 on the album). I caught a tagline of a Review that called this Album “Noir Dreampop” and yeah, I think that holds some merit, I’d add Dark Wave to that description, too. There is a Lana Del Rey laziness to the Vocals which adds to the dreamy, Jesus and Mary Chain meets Black Rebel Motorcycle Club meets Velvet Underground feel of the Music, and the vulnerability of the Lyrics – there really is a lot going on here, yet it comes across so Perfectly Simple, at the same time.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “K”, “Each Time You Fall In Love, and “Truly”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5+


2. Remember Roses :: Lola Marsh

Lola Marsh Remember Roses, New Release Friday, Top 5 New Releases

Three-Sentence Review: In a similar vein to the Album above, and to Lana Del Rey, with a strong injection of Indie Pop, the Israeli Band from Tel Aviv, Lola Marsh’s New Release, Remember Roses, is a Summer Ear-Worm just waiting to happen. Some of the Songs feel like Old Stories, the kind passed on from generation-to-generation, told in Songs set to an Indie Pop/Dream Pop beat – makes for an Interesting Listen. This is definitely going to be on my Best New Albums for the Summer list that I’m putting together.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “You’re Mine”, “Remember Roses”, and “In Good Times”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

“You’re Mine”

3. Sunny Hills :: All We Are

All We Are Sunny Hills, New Release Friday, Top 5 New Releases

Three-Sentence Review: Indie-Electronic meets Punk sensibilities best describes how Liverpool Band All We Are’s New Album, Sunny Hills, sounds to me. There is an Early-80’s New Wave Vibe at work here, too, that can’t help but draw me in. I Love how this Album whirs and jolts from Style and Sound, Variety climbing in bed with Complexity, making this play sometimes like a Musical Mood Swing (in the best way).

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Burn It All Out”, “Human”, and “Dreamer”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

“Burn It All Out”

4. Harder They Fall :: Carl Barât and The Jackals

Carl Barât and The Jackals Harder They Fall, New Release Friday, Top 5 New Releases

Three-Sentence Review: A Fan Supported/Pledge Music Funded, Family and Friend Affair (see “produced by”, Singles Cover Photos, and “actors” in the “Burning Cars” Video) of an EP, Harder They Fall is the follow up to Let It Reign that feels promising, but cut too short. I miss the Linear Storytelling and Overall Theme that was a huge part of Carl And The Jackals’ First Release, and there are hints of it here, but again, there isn’t the Track Real Estate to offer up space with. The Album has been said to be about feeling lonely and trapped in a small town, so maybe the confined space and the want for more is the intended Theme, after all.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Burning Cars” and “Cracks”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4

“Burning Cars”

5. “Sober” :: Lorde

Lorde Sober, New Release Friday, Top 5 New Release

Three-Sentence Review: Yet another Single Released from Lorde’s “Coming Soon” New Album. This One may be my Favorite (tied probably with “Green Light”), so far. Its a High Energy, Catchy as Hell Song, so Perfect for the nearly-here Summer.

Initial Favorite Track(s): N/A (Single)

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4


The Mountain Goats Goths, New Release Friday, Top 5 New Releases

Top 5 New Releases :: New Release Friday :: 5/19/17

New Release Friday, Top 5 New Releases, New Release Reviews

Top 5 New Releases :: New Release Friday :: 5/19/17

It’s New Music Friday again coming at us with a Stellar Stack of New Release Albums to choose from, but don’t worry, we’ve sifted through them, gave them all a good Listen, and have narrowed it down to the Biggest and the Best of the Week in order to present the Top 5 New Releases for this Friday, May 19, 2017. Check it out and peruse the Top 5. You can read through the 3-Sentence Reviews, take not of our First Listen Favorites, and Press Play to hear a Song from each of the Top 5 New Release Albums.

Right here is where you’ll Hear what everyone will soon be Buzzing about, and be ready to create your own Buzz of what’s the Best of what’s New this Week.

So, have a seat, at home, at the office, in the car, or out in the world somewhere, and give a listen to these Top 5 Best New Releases. If you like what you hear, go now go and support the art and the artists, buy an Album, or a Single, and go see some of these New Releases played live.

We would love to hear what you think of the selected songs, and album titles.

Is there a New Music Release that you feel should have been on this list?

Comment and Share below.

Top 5 New Releases:

1. Goths :: The Mountain Goats

The Mountain Goats Goths, New Release Friday, Top 5 New Releases

Three-Sentence Review: Everything that I have known, and experienced, about The Mountain Goats would have never had me considering that they would do a Thematic/Concept Album all about Goths – the Music, the Lifestyle, the Scene – but that’s just what they’ve done here. As someone who was part of that Scene back in the late 80’s/early 90’s, I have to say that many of these Tracks rang familiar, sometimes beautifully, sometimes uncomfortably, but true all the same. Much like the Goth Scene, this may not be to everyone’s liking, but it sure is to mine.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Rain in Soho”, “Wear Black”, “Paid in Cocaine”, and “Andrew Eldritch is Moving Back to Leeds”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5+

“Rain in Soho”

2. Outside the Echo Chamber :: Coldcut And On-U Sound

Coldcut Outside the Echo Chamber, New Release Friday, Top 5 New Releases

Three-Sentence Review: Fifty-four minutes of Beats and Dancehall Dub and Electronic Electricity and Wonderful World Influences, this Album will have you Moving, Grooving and Dancing the day (and night) away. Great additions like Lee “Scratch” Perry, Adrian Sherwood, Roots Manuva, Ce’Cile, Elan, Junior Reid, and more, that help to make each Track unique and different, and addictively Listenable. When trying to pick the “Initial Favorite Track(s)” I was tempted to say ALL OF THEM.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Everyday Another Sanction”, “Divide & Rue”, and “Make Up Y our Mind”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5+

“Divide and Rule” Featuring Lee “Scratch” Perry, Junior Reid, Elan, and Adrian Sherwood

3. Shake the Shudder :: !!!

!!! Shake the Shudder, New Release Friday, Top 5 New Releases

Three-Sentence Review: Part Dance, Part Alternative Rock, Part Indie Pop, Part something that you just know would be Fantastic seen Live, !!! (Chk-Chk-Chk) New Album is as addictive as their Music has always been to me, maybe even a wee bit more. Each and every Track demands to be Played Loudly, and really, if you aren’t Dancing, or at least longing to Dance, then you must not really be Listening. This Album feels like an Everlasting Gobstopper of a Friday Night, never-ending and sure to give you a sugar high.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “The One 2”, “Dancing is the Best Revenge”, and “What R U UP 2Day?”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

“Dancing is the Best Revenge”

4. She Devils :: She Devils

She-Devils, New Release Friday, Top 5 New Releases

Three-Sentence Review: Montreal based Duo She-Devils Debut Album is Highly Addictive, Fun Indie Pop with an Edge. At times I’m reminded of 80’s Girl Bands, at other times I hear a bit of 90’s Grrrl Bands meet Lilith Fair Fare, a Wee Bit of 50’s/60’s sensibilities, and yet, with all that going on, there is also a definite 2000’s Indie Vibe going strong here. This has Summertime written all over it, and I plan to indulge in these Songs all through those coming Hot Hot Hot months.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Come”, “Hey Boy”, and “Never Let Me Go”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4+


5. Party :: Aldous Harding

Aldous Harding Party, New Release Friday, Top 5 New Releases

Three-Sentence Review: I am always curious and interested in what 4AD has to offer, and often find that their Artists and Albums are to my liking. This Album is definitely in my liking, Haunting, Slightly Unsettling, Lyrically Poetic, and Timeless Sounding, Party is full of Songs that I want to ruminate over, Listen to multiple times, and possibly write to, as well. Maybe it is because I am in mid “Twin Peaks” re-watch mode, or that the new Season is almost here, but this Album, and Aldous’ Vocals, have a very “Twin Peaks”/David Lynch Vibe to them – they also remind me some of Cigarettes After Sex (I’d Love to hear Aldous and Greg Gonzales of Cigarettes After Sex do a Duet).

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Blend”, “Horizon”, and “What if Birds Aren’t Singing They’re Screaming”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4





New Music Friday is here! Are you looking for the Best New Music Releases today? Below you will find My Top 5 New Releases for New Music Friday. I’ve scoured the lists, played the tracks, and put together the best of the best. Have a listen, play a featured track, and if you like what you hear go out and support the artists, and the Music.

I would love to hear what you think of the selected songs, and album titles. Is there a New Music Release that you feel should be on this list?

Comment below and let me know what you think.


1. Damage and Joy :: The Jesus And Mary Chain

The Jesus and Mary Chain Damage and Joy, New Music Release, Album Review

Three-Sentence Review: Highly anticipated new album, Damage and Joy is everything I was hoping for, starting strong with a song that reminds me of a mix between The Dandy Warhols “Bohemian Like You” and Love And Rockets’ “So Alive”. Brothers Jim and William Reid, quoted as saying they have “buried the hatchet” of all to common sibling-in-band-rivalry, have created an album that evolves their Music (see “All Things Pass” and especially the electronically-fused”Simian Split” without losing their quintessential sonic sound (see the Darklands’ sounding “War On Peace”). Track 7, “Los Feliz (Blues and Greens)” is by far my favorite, the nod to Los Angeles, the layers of sound, and the lyrical story told within.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Amputation”, “War On Peace”, “All Things Pass” and “Los Feliz (Blues and Greens)”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5+

“Los Feliz (Blues and Greens)”

2. I Don’t Know What to Feel :: The Dove And The Wolf

The Dove And The Wolf I Don't Know What To Feel, New Music Release Friday, Album Review

Three-Sentence Review: I have been a fan of Philadelphia via Paris singers’ Paloma Gil and Lou Hayat since I first heard The Dove And The Wolf play live, opening for Butch Walker. The girls blew me away, and I have been anxiously awaiting new music from them ever since. This EP was written in response to the Bataclan theater attacks last November, in Paris. Though I would have loved a full album, the songs on here are a 7-song delight, reminding me again why they caught my ears as the opening act, and why I have been hungry for more (and hopefully there will be even more…soon).

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Green & Yellow”, “Seven Days” and “Across the Atlantic”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

“Green & Yellow”

3. “Moon In Your Mouth” :: Goldfrapp

Goldfrapp Moon In Your Mouth, New Music Release, Album Review

Three-Sentence Review: Can the new Goldfrapp album be out already? “Moon In Your Mouth” marks the third single released pre-album, and number three is definitely my favorite of the bunch (so far).Each song, thus far, has had a different sound to each, mixing up genres and inspirations. This one definitely has an EDM sensibility to it, a mid-to-trance tempo ballad with a notable drum beat underneath.

mid-tempo dancefloor ballad with a steady drum beat and an atmospheric blend of synth texture

Initial Favorite Track(s): N/A – Single

Rating (1-5 Stars): 5

“Moon In Your Mouth”

4. 810 :: Trementina

Trementina 810, New Music Releases, Album Reviews

Three-Sentence Review: Meeting at the corner between Dream-Pop and Shoegaze, Chilean band Trementina’s album 810 is full of a gossamer-winged sweetness and light that is infectious and floaty-feeling. A few tracks, like “Oh Child” and “No Control” transcend the Dream/Shoegaze, infusing the tease of beats that bring out the dance in them, and my favorite track, “Out of the Lights”, brings in some Dub sounds to add even more variety to this collection of songs. I do believe Trementina is a band to keep an eye, and ear out; there is a lot of promise and interest going on here.

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Please Let’s Go Away”,”All I Wanted”, and “Out of the Lights”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4+

“Out of the Lights”

5. You Had Me at Goodbye :: Samantha Crain

Samantha Crain You Had Me at Goodbye, New Music Release, Album Review

Three-Sentence Review: I am immediately reminded of early Kate Nash and Lily Allen, as well as of Courtney Barnett, both in vocals, sardonic lyrics, and the style and sensibility of the songs with the album You Had Me at Goodbye. This album feels like it sprang from the early aughts in to this late March 2017 day. This is the fifth album by Samantha Crain, though this is the first I’ve heard of, or heard her Music. It seems to mark a shift in sound from a more country/folk sound, to something that teeters between indie pop, chamber pop, and something else that is a shade, or two, darker that the “pop” inclusion would describe (especially on songs like “Betty’s Eulogy”).

Initial Favorite Track(s): “Oh Dear Louis”, “Betty’s Eulogy” and “Wreck”

Rating (1-5 Stars): 4

“Oh Dear Louis”

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