Quintessential Album Tuesday

Southeastern (2013) :: Jason Isbell :: Album of the Week


Southeastern (2013) :: Jason Isbell :: Album of the Week


A Little History:

Southeastern is Jason Isbell’s fourth studio album, released in June of 2013, from Southeastern Records. The album was produced by David Cobb. The album followed a stint Isball had in rehab. He has stated regarding the album, and the timing of recording,

“This time I want to remember it all.”

This album was recorded without full participation of Isbell’s regular backing band, The 400 Unit, mostly due to the fact that Isbell wanted this to be more of a solo, acoustic album. That said, Chad Gamble and Derry deBorja, of The 400 Unit, do appear on drums and keyboards, respectively, on the album.

Isbell’s producer, Cobb, encouraged him to record his vocals in one take. The album was finished a day or two before Isbell’s wedding to fellow musician Amanda Shires.


Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires

The album isn’t named after geography or direction, Isbell explains:

“(geography) wasn’t actually the reason I named the album that. That came from a tool and die shop in Alabama that my dad worked at when I was very young. He came home with terrible stories; I thought of the place as a dungeon. So I wanted to reclaim that for my own purposes.”

The album debuted at # 23 on Billboard 200,and # 7 on Top Rock Albums, selling 18,000 copies in its first week.

My thoughts:

Though I was aware of Jason Isbell, it was not until the Fall of 216 that I started to really listen to his music. The opening track from this album, “Cover Me Up”, was gifted to me as part of a significant playlist that meant a lot to me at the time. Though the playlist was full of other amazing songs, it was this one that stood out and stuck itself into me. I listened to it so much that it made the list of most played songs of 2016 (#12).

The song is about hope, about love, about getting clean and grabbing hold of life again. It is one of the most beautiful love songs I’ve ever heard, real and raw, emotional, flawed, confessional, hopeful, and what feels like — true.

It is by far my favorite song on the album, but there are many others that I love, as well. “Elephant” was the second song on this album to grab a hold of me. It is heartbreaking, and again, so raw and real, and true feeling. “Flying Over Water” is a newer favorite. It feels like the retrospective, 20/20 vision we all seem to get after a relationship is over, the way we (finally) see things clearer, even if it is too late.

My second favorite track, coming in after “Cover Me Up” is “Songs that She Sang in the Shower”. This one is hard to listen to some days. Music being intertwined in love, and becoming part of the loss and heartbreak when love is lost, hits pretty deep with me. This is a turn it up and sing-a-long, and cry, in the car alone – though, to be fair, “Cover Me Up” is one I now turn up loud, sing-a-long, and it definitely makes me cry now… but once it didn’t.

“Super 8” belongs on my next Road Trip Mix (its in the works, as is a plan for a road trip…SOON). “Yvette” is another hard to listen to song, which hits on a personal level, and makes me cry, too.

Honestly, there is not a song on here that I have not embraced, and fallen musically in love with. Jason’s voice, his songwriting, his lyrics, and the guitar work, weave into me deep and stay there. The album feels like a story, or a string of stories, about love, about relationships – and their life spans, about loss, about hurt, about redemption, about survival, and really just about living.

I am really hoping he tours this year, as I would love to hear him, and all these songs, live.


My Top 5 Favorite Songs:

1. Cover Me Up


So girl leave your boots by the bed,
we ain’t leavin’ this room,

’til someone needs medical help,
or the magnolias bloom.

It’s cold in this house,
and I ain’t going out to chop wood,

so cover me up,
and know you’re enough,
to use me for good.”

2. Songs that She Sang in the Shower

“And the songs that she sang in the shower,
all ring in my ears,
like ‘Wish You Were Here.”
How I wish you were here
And experience robs me of hope that you’ll ever return,
so I breathe,
and I burn.
I breathe and I burn.”

3. Flying Over Water

Take my hand,
baby we’re over land.

I know flying over water makes you cry.”

4. Elephant

“If I’d fucked her before she got sick,
I’d never hear the end of it,
she don’t have the spirit for that now.
We just drink our drinks,
and laugh out loud,
and bitch about the weekend crowd,
and try to ignore the elephant,

5. Yvette

“I’ve watched you in class,
your eyes are cut glass,
and you stay covered upstairs
head to your toe,
so nobody will know it was you.”


Trouble Will Find Me (2013) :: The National :: Album of the Week


Trouble Will Find Me (2013) :: The National :: Album of the Week


A Little History:

“Trouble Will Find Me” is the sixth studio album by The National, released on May 17, 2013, on the 4AD label.

The album was produced by band members Aaron and Bryce Dessner, and the album features appearances by St. Vincent, Sharon Van Etten, Doveman, Sufjan Stevens, Nona Marie Invie of Dark Dark Dark, and Richard Reed Parry of Arcade Fire.

The album received critical acclaim upon its release. “Trouble Will Find Me” reached #3 on both the Billboard 200 and the UK Albums Chart. The album was also nominated for “Best Alternative Music Album” at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards.

The National began writing “Trouble Will Find Me” towards the end of the band’s tour in support of their fifth studio album, “High Violet”.

Matt Berninger became inspired by guitarists Aaron and Bryce Dessner’s recent demo recordings, and subsequently completed his writing contributions to the album’s opening track, “I Should Live in Salt”, a day after hearing their demo tracks. Bass guitarist Scott Devendorf noted, “Our typical way of working was to send stuff to Matt, then wait a while to get some mumbles back. He seemed really motivated and engaged with the new stuff.”

The band began recording “Trouble Will Find Me” in late September 2012 at Clubhouse Studio, which was modeled after the late 19th century barn-turned-Inn that the band stayed in.

Bass guitarist Scott Devendorf stated that Clubhouse was chosen primarily to establish camaraderie amongst the band, noting: “The impetus to record upstate– cooking, eating, working, hanging out together – was to achieve this music-camp feel.”

The first four days of recording were interrupted by heavy tornado-like winds which subsequently led to a power outage. Guitarist, keyboardist and co-producer Aaron Dessner noted, “That night, by candlelight in the total darkness, we got really drunk and played the songs acoustically. It was the kind of scene that has never happened in the history of our band — and will never happen again.”

The band later relocated to Dreamland Studios – located within a converted 19th century church, in West Hurley, New York – to record the track, “Fireproof”, entirely live. Inspired by the session, the band returned to Clubhouse and recorded both “Sea of Love” and “Heavenfaced” as one-take live performances. Recording at Clubhouse, however, was once again derailed by Hurricane Sandy.

Matt Berninger has stated that he enjoyed the writing process for Trouble Will Find Me noting, “In the past, it’s been hard to enjoy writing – like getting drops of blood from your forehead – but I loved the process for this record. I think a lot of it was because I wasn’t worried – I didn’t care what the songs were going to be about, or if they were going to seem depressing, or cool, or whatever.”


My thoughts:

I fell in love with Matt Berninger’s voice, and The National as a band, back in 2008 when I first heard the song “All the Wine” from their 2005 album, “Alligator”. My love grew when I started to devour other albums, especially “Boxer”, which held three of my all-time favorite songs of the band’s, “Slow Show”, “Mistaken for Strangers” and “Fake Empire”. The album, “High Violet” had me spinning and swooning, too, becoming more and more addicted to the slightly odd lyrics and Matt’s emotionally-blowing voice.

“Trouble Will Find Me” has taken my love for the band and blown it right up, making The National now one of my favorite bands. “I Should Live in Salt” breaks me in the best way and “Fireproof” has recently been doing the same, dismantling my heart and bringing tears along with each line.

Heartbreak and regret live in these songs, to me, as does this just out of reach feeling of hope. I feel cord connected with so many of the songs on this album, and with every new listen I seem to feel something more.

Don’t you just love when an album can do that?

“I Need M Girl” and “This is the Last Time” have found their ways to many a playlist and music mix, delivering mood and memory with every play.

Now I just need to see them play live. I’m pretty damn sure that when I do I will be even more madly in love with Matt and the band.


Matt Berninger

My Top 5 Favorite Songs:

1. I Should Live in Salt

“Don’t make me read your mind,
you should know me better than that.”

2. Fireproof

“You keep a lot of secrets,
and I keep none.
Wish I could go back,
and keep some.”

3. I Need My Girl

“I’m under the gun again,
I know I was the 45% of then.
I know I was a lot of things.”

4. Heavenfaced

“I could walk out,
but I won’t.”

5. This is the Last Time

“Oh, but your love is such a swamp,
you don’t think before you jump,
and I said I wouldn’t get sucked in.”


Quintessential Album Tuesday :: Electric Warrior :: T-Rex


Electric Warrior :: T-Rex
Quintessential Album Tuesday

A Little History:

Electric Warrior is the sixth studio album by British rock band T. Rex (being the second album under the name “T. Rex”, with the first four billed as “Tyrannosaurus Rex”). The album marks a big turning point in the band’s sound as it drifts away from the folk-oriented music of the previous albums and takes on a new music genre, glam rock. The album also drew attention to the band in the USA with the massive hit Get It On.

The album contains two of T. Rex’s most popular songs, Get It On and Jeepster. In the United States, Get It On’s title was modified to Bang a Gong (Get It On) to distinguish it from Chase’s song Get It On, which was also released in late 1971.

The printing of the song title Bang a Gong (Get It On) on the back cover of original Reprise Records US copies of Electric Warrior is in a different typeface from the surrounding text, with the song’s original title retained when printing the lyrics.

Get It On was T. Rex’s biggest selling single, and became the band’s only top 10 US hit after appearing on the soundtrack of Jarhead in 2005.

Electric Warrior reached # 32 in the US Billboard 200 chart. It went to # 1 on the UK Albums Chart, and stayed there for several weeks, becoming the best-selling album there in 1971.

In 1987, Electric Warrior was ranked number 100 in Rolling Stone magazine’s “100 Greatest Albums Of The Last 20 Years” list.

In 2003, the album was ranked number 160 in Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” list.

In 2004, Pitchfork Media listed the record as 20th best album of the 1970’s.

In the November 2001 issue of Vanity Fair American musician Beck chose it as one of his 50 favorite album sleeves.

Marc Bolan, in a 1971 interview contained on the Rhino Records reissue, said of the album,

“I think Electric Warrior, for me, is the first album which is a statement of 1971 for us in England. I mean that’s… If anyone ever wanted to know why we were big in the other part of the world, that album says it, for me.”

Electric Warrior is often credited to be the album that kick-started the “Glam Rock” craze. The album highlighted T-Rex’s transformation from hippie folk-rockers into flamboyant avatars of trashy Rock and Roll, a transition seen elsewhere at the time in the music scene, most notably with David Bowie.

Ben Gerson wrote, in a 1972 Rolling Stone review, of Marc Bolan and the album:

Marc is one of the eternally precocious, fated to live outside the world of adults forever. But he is an outsider in another sense, too. Back when T. Rex was known as Tyrannosaurus Rex, Marc sang of and inhabited a medieval world of wizards and unicorns. Now his subject and medium is rock ‘n’ roll, and his outsider’s stance (chronologically young because historically young) enables him to see things with a special clarity and vision. Marc’s lyrics still sound like nursery rhymes, and he sings with a puckish quaver, but he now plays a mean lead guitar.

Among the list of musicians who died too early, Marc Bolan/T-Rex had just begun to make a name for themselves outside of the UK. What his next moves would have been, in terms of style and sound, the world will never know.


What Makes This “Quintessential” In Three Sentences:

Electric Warrior is one of those albums that will forever be remembered as a style and scene changer, bringing to life Glam Rock, or at least giving it a damn good shove. For me, this album is overflowing with memories of my late 80’s club life, my late teens and early twenties, and a sound/style/collection of songs that helped shape the way I lived and looked, at that time in my life. The album also contains a song that is among my personal soundtrack (Jeepster), a song that was sung to me, and attached to me, by a someone that was once very important to me, and who I suppose, at least in memory, still is.

My Top 5 Favorite Songs:

1. Jeepster

2. Cosmic Dancer

3. Girl

4. Planet Queen

5. Bang a Gong (Get It On)


Quintessential Album Thursday :: Self-Titled :: Duran Duran


Duran Duran :: Duran Duran
Quintessential Album Tuesday

A Little History:

Duran Duran is the debut album by the English pop rock band Duran Duran, released worldwide in 1981.

The album reached # 3 on the United Kingdom charts and remained in the UK Top 100 for 117 weeks, achieving platinum status by December 1982. The initial United States release was unsuccessful, but the album was reissued there in 1983 following the success of the band’s second album, Rio. This time it reached # 10 on the US Billboard 200, and remained on that chart for 87 weeks. Duran Duran was certified platinum by the RIAA in June 1985.

The band wrote and recorded demos for the album at AIR Studios in 1980, while one of their main influences, the band Japan, was recording the Gentlemen Take Polaroids album just down the hall.

The album was formally recorded in December 1980 at various recording studios in London (as well as Chipping Norton Studios) with record producer Colin Thurston, shortly after Duran Duran signed their record deal with EMI. In interviews, the band has recalled the struggle to continue recording after hearing of the murder of John Lennon on 8 December.

Music videos for Planet Earth and Careless Memories were also filmed in December.

The first pressing of 30,000 copies of the Japanese version (Toshiba/EMI EMS-91019) came with a color poster. There is a notation on the OBI that mentions this. Later issues of the album have the notation on the OBI removed and contain only a lyric insert and a sheet with a bio in Japanese, some photos and some instructions on how to do the ‘new romantic‘ dance like in the Planet Earth video.

The original American release included the Night Version of Planet Earth instead of the original, even if it is not listed as such. To The Shore was dropped from the US track-listing to accommodate the-now increased length of Planet Earth. Earlier alternate titles for Anyone Out There and Night Boat are used.

Duran Duran was re-released in the USA on April 25 1983, after the success of their second album Rio in America gave the band another chance to market their first album there. The album had two changes to the original American track listing: Capitol Records replaced the Night Version of Planet Earth with the original single version. Most notably, the then-current Duran Duran single, Is There Something I Should Know? was added to the album’s track listing and “To the Shore” was removed.

The album also featured updated cover art designed by Malcolm Garrett, using the newer “double D” band logo featured on the Seven and the Ragged Tiger album and Is There Something I Should Know? single. The cover photo showed the evolution in the band’s image since 1981. In contrast to the earlier artwork, the new image positioned each band member equally close to the camera, and demonstrated the variety of looks within the band, from tanned adventurers to rouged androgynes. This reflected the band’s teen-focused marketing which promoted the image and personality of individual band members, recognizing that “everyone is someone’s favorite”. 

Editor’s Note: It was the reissue that I first owned, bought after I received the Rio album as a birthday present. I searched long and hard for the UK version, finally finding it at a Swap Meet which featured an Import Music booth, that I would regularly frequent after, buying up imported 12″ singles from the UK, Japan and Australia, along with many a poster and Japanese picture book of the band.

The first single of the band’s career was Planet Earth (released on February 2, 1981), which reached # 12 on the UK charts.

The band followed up with the release of Careless Memories on April 20, 1981, but it only reached UK # 37.

The third single from this album was the most successful. Girls on Film, released July 13th, went to # 5 in the UK. The video for the single was directed by Godley & Creme and was filmed in August, just two weeks after MTV was launched in the United States, before anyone knew what an impact the music channel would have on the industry. The raunchy “soft porn” video which featured semi-naked women created an uproar and a heavily edited “day version” was aired on MTV (though the uncut version did receive regular airings on the Playboy Channel), and the band enjoyed and capitalized on the controversy.

All songs written and composed by Duran Duran. One of the band’s trademarks is equality among band members, always crediting the entire band on all song writing and composition, and seeking to have equal images of each member featured (though the press would not always follow suit).

What Makes This “Quintessential” In Three Sentences:

Besides the fact that this album was one of the key soundtracks to my adolescence, the album is more than that, and transcends far beyond that, continuing to be an album I still reach for, here in my mid-forties, and not just for nostalgic reasons. These songs are both a reflection of the band’s influences (David Bowie, Japan, The Velvet Underground, Chic, Blondie, Roxy Music, among others), and the music, and musicians, they have influenced (The “Second” British Invasion, New Wave, New Romantic, The Killers, Scissor Sisters, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Sounds, Goldfrapp, Panic at the Disco, Lostprophets, among others). There is poetry in the lyrics, a bass line like absolutely no other, and songs that are complex and danceable.

My Top 5 Favorite Songs:

1. Careless Memories

2. Girls on Film

3. Friends of Mine

4. Planet Earth

5. Night Boat (live)

Editor’s note: Original, and original video, have been removed from Youtube. Seek it out if you can, it is well worth a watch (the music video includes an excerpt from Shakespeare, and plays like a zombie horror film).


Quintessential Album Tuesday :: Cardinology :: Ryan Adams & The Cardinals


Cardinology :: Ryan Adams & The Cardinals
Quintessential Album Tuesday

A Little History:

Cardinology is the tenth studio album by Ryan Adams, and fourth album with his backing band, The Cardinals, released on October 28, 2008. The album completed Adams’ contract with Lost Highway Records, and marks his final recording session with The Cardinals. Following the album’s release and subsequent tour, Adams disbanded the band and entered a self-imposed hiatus until the release of Ashes & Fire, in 2011.

According to Adams, the album

[is] about the moment when you recognize the difference between ego and pride and your sense of service to your friends, family or yourself. Once you’ve had that epiphany, you can’t really turn around and pretend that you haven’t. It’s about accountability.”

The album was placed at # 14 on Rolling Stone’s 50 Best Albums of 2008 list. The magazine also placed Magick at # 13 on the 100 Best Singles of 2008 list. The album has sold over 250,000 copies worldwide. In April 2011, Adams released an EP, Class Mythology, featuring four unreleased tracks recorded for Cardinology.

Cardinology was written and recorded in the aftermath of Adams’ break-up with girlfriend Jessica Joffe, with Adams stating,

There’s a lot of disappointment on this record. There’s the pain of lost love and the brutality of unrequited love. It was a dark place to go, but this time I managed to go there with a bit of balance. I tried to make sure there were at least one or two lines in every song that, should someone be listening who is having a bad time, there’s something there telling them to keep the faith. I wanted to find that hope. I didn’t fully find it, but I was trying.”

A vinyl version included a bonus 7″, a comic book, and a digital download code. The album’s first single, Fix It, was released on vinyl and online on September 23, 2008.

Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote, at AllMusic.com:

Sobriety agrees with Ryan Adams, giving him the one thing he’s always lacked: focus. Easy Tiger suggested as much, with its tight, clean lines supported by its rehab-celebrating publicity, but its 2008 sequel, Cardinology, reveals that this straight and narrow path was no new detour for Adams, but rather the main road. It’s the first time in his solo career that Adams has tread the same trail for two albums in a row, which only confirms the suspicion that now that Adams is sober, he’s getting down to the business of being the troubadour he’s always aspired to be, assisted by a band so sympathetic to his style that he’s named his album after them. In a certain sense, Cardinology does play as a showcase for everything that Ryan Adams & the Cardinals can do: it’s rooted in Deadsy country-rock but frequently strays into ’80s alt-rock territory, whether it’s the sighing, romantic Cobwebs or how Magick echoes like prime U2.

The Cardinals shift moods with ease but Cardinology isn’t quite a showcase for how the band plays — it’s too intimate and too concentrated on the songs to be a record about the group itself, nor is it about Adams’ range, as earlier records like Gold were. This is a very simple, classicist singer/songwriter album where the pleasure is within the songs themselves, how Born into a Light unfolds with understated grace, how Let Us Down Easy glides into its call-and-response chorus, how Natural Ghost has a comforting spectral quality, how Evergreen skips delicately, how the details in Sink Ships spill out to its loping beat. These are modest pleasures, but these days Ryan Adams is all about carefully measured craft instead of big statements, a tradeoff that makes his albums more predictable but also more satisfying, as Cardinology quietly proves.

What Makes This “Quintessential” In Three Sentences:

Some of the songs make my chest tighten up and my eyes sting with tears, some of the songs make me want to turn up the volume to its highest highs while driving to nowhere in particular, singing-a-long the entire way, and still some of the songs just settle into a vulnerable, secret place in my heart where so many of Ryan’s songs reside. Though this is not my # 1 favorite Ryan Adams’ album, it is in the top 5, and it also holds a strong place in a list of all-time favorite albums that I love from start-to-finish. More than many of the songs on this album have inspired characters and story arcs while I write, and are helping me greatly as I try to finish one of my two work-in-progress novels.

My Top 5 Favorite Songs

1. Go Easy

I will always love you, 
so go easy on yourself.”

2. Magick

Zombies running all around,
eventually we hit the mall,
knock it down at nightfall.”

3. Stop

If you wanna make it stop,
then stop.”

4. Crossed Out Name

I wish I could tell you just how I’m hurt.
Pinpoint the location,
it’s in another universe.”

5. Fix It

Look what I did to you,
look what you did to me.
Fixed it,
fix it,
I’d fix it if I could.”


Quintessential Album Tuesday :: Beauty & The Beat :: The Go-Go’s


Beauty & the Beat :: The Go-Go’s
Quintessential Album Tuesday

A Little History:

Beauty and the Beat is the debut album from Californian all-female band The Go-Go’s. Released in 1981 on the IRS Records label, the album was preceded by the single We Got the Beat, which became a massive club hit in Europe and, later, the United States. When the album was eventually released, it steadily climbed the Billboard 200 chart, ultimately peaking at # 1, where it remained for six consecutive weeks. The LP sold in excess of two million copies and reached double platinum status, making it one of the most successful debut albums of all time. Critically acclaimed, it has been described as one of the “cornerstone albums of American new wave“. 

The title is a play on the European fairy tale “Beauty and the Beast“.

Beauty and the Beat was released to reviews that while positive were not outstanding, especially in light of its eventual summit of the album charts. Robert Christgau found the album good and wrote “this one’s got hooks” in his column in The Village Voice.while Jon Pareles in Rolling Stone called it a “solid, likable debut“. The album placed 10th on the annual Pazz & Jop Critics Poll in The Village Voice for 1981.

The album has since gained in regard. Stephen Thomas Erlewine called it “one of the cornerstone albums of new wave” and praising its “catchy hooks and an exuberant sense of fun” onAllmusic. Eric Allen of American Songwriter, reviewing the 30th Anniversry Deluxe Edition in 2011, wrote that Beauty and the Beat is “one of the 1980s cornerstone albums of American new wave” and the “album still holds up surprisingly well thirty years later, which is a testament to the energetic spirit captured in this musical Zeitgeist of the 80s”; on the other hand, it is also “a reminder that the Go-Go’s were never able to equal or surpass the success of this landmark debut“.

When I was about seven, I discovered the Go-Go’s“, said American actress and author Drew Barrymore in an interview to the magazine V. “I went out and bought their album Beauty and the Beat and, as the vinyl twirled, my whole world changed. I stared at the girls on the cover like they were a gateway to cool. The fact that they were girls made me feel not only invited but more important – like I could be a badass too. I looked over to my Pippi Longstocking poster on the wall and thought, Yes! I like girls who rock!”

In 2003, the album was ranked # 414 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. The album opener, Our Lips Are Sealed, has been covered over the years by numerous artists, and remains a staple of ’80s playlists. It is frequently cited as one of the Top 100 and Top 50 songs of the ’80s. Rolling Stone magazine has named it one of the Top 100 Pop Singles of all time. We Got the Beat has been named one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.

The album gained a deluxe remastered compact disc when EMI released the Beauty and the Beat 30th Anniversary Edition on May 17, 2011. Disc one features the remastered original album while disc two offers an entire live show, recorded at the Metro Club in Boston on August 20, 1981. Both Vacation (1982) and Talk Show (1984) were previously issued in remastered CD form in 1999.

What Makes This “Quintessential” In Three Sentences:

I was 12 years old when this album came out, in junior high, and that heading into adolescence traumatic and changing time in my life was fraught with every emotion imaginable. I needed things to hang on to, role models and life preservers and confidantes, and The Go-Go’s became part of those necessities, to me. Still today, in my forties, I still reach for this album to feel stronger, and to build up my confidence and mood when I hit a low point; it is that album to me, and always will be, the quintessential girl group rock pop punk new wave masterpiece.

My Top 5 Favorite Songs

1. Our Lips Are Sealed

Can you hear them,
they talk about us?
Telling lies,
well, that’s no surprise.”

2. Lust to Love

Lust to love,
was the last thing I was dreaming of, 
and now all I want is just to love.”

3. This Town

This town is our town,
it is so glamorous.
Bet you’d live here if you could,
and be one of us.”

4. Can’t Stop the World

I gave up looking for a reason,
to live with things just the way they are.”

5. How Much More

I want to be that girl tonight.”


Quintessential Album Tuesday :: August & Everything After :: Counting Crows


August & Everything After :: Counting Crows
Quintessential Album Tuesday

A Little History:

August and Everything After is the debut studio album by American rock band Counting Crows, released September 14, 1993 on Geffen Records.

The album cover depicts handwritten lyrics to a song called August and Everything After, but the band decided against featuring the song on the album of the same name; it was not until over a decade later that it was played as part of one of their live concerts.

On September 18, 2007, a two-disc deluxe edition of the album was issued. The first disc contains the original album, remastered by Adam Ayan and Stephen Marcussen, with six demos added as bonus tracks. The second disc is taken from the band’s penultimate performance during the August tour, recorded at the Elysée Montmartre in Paris, France on December 9, 1994.

The album August & Everything After – Live at Town Hall was released on August 29, 2011, featuring live recordings of the songs from this album.

What Makes This “Quintessential” In Three Sentences:

There are albums in my collection that I have carried along with me through every move, every change, into and out of every new love, and subsequent break-up, and these are the albums that I not only cherish, but share with those I cherish; August and Everything After is one of those albums to me. I feel like pieces of me are tucked and folded into the lyrics of each song, and with every listen the rush and push of emotions sometimes lifts me high, and at other times, crashes me hard. There is sadness in the songs, in the stories they bring up, but there is also moments and memories of great joy – what more could you ask from a “quintessential” album?

My Top 5 Favorite Songs


1. A Murder of One (live version)

2. Round Here

3. Anna Begins (live version)

4. Rain King (live version)

5. Raining in Baltimore


Quintessential Album Tuesday :: The ’59 Sound :: The Gaslight Anthem


The ’59 Sound :: The Gaslight Anthem
Quintessential Album Tuesday

A Little History:

The ’59 Sound is the second studio album by American rock band The Gaslight Anthem, released on August 19, 2008 on SideOneDummy Records.

Regarding the differences between The ’59 Sound and their first full-length album, Sink or Swim, guitarist Alex Rosamilia noted that, “For Sink or Swim, we had a week or so and what we brought to the studio. For [this] last record we had about 5 weeks and quite the arsenal of gear to tear through. Which did lead to a couple ideas I don’t think we would’ve had otherwise.”

In December 2008, eMusic named The ’59 Sound the best album of 2008. NME rated it as the 47th best album of the year. The title track was number 62 on Rolling Stone‘s list of the 100 Best Songs of 2008. In July 2009, following Bruce Springsteen’s guest appearances with the band at Glastonbury and Hyde Park, sales of the album doubled.

What Makes This “Quintessential” In Three Sentences:

The first boy I ever loved in more than an unrequited way got me loving Bruce Springsteen, and the rock sensibilities that he encompassed, as well as gifted me a love for 50’s music that I had only toyed with once before during a short-stint rockabilly phase in junior high. I fell hard for the sung stories of the every person, of love and heartbreak, and the kind of struggles to get by I recognized myself in, all of which are overflowing in The ’59 Sound. I love the literary references, the hard times growing up rites of passage, and the love that is, and the love that was, and what comes next.

My Top 5 Favorite Songs

1. Here’ s Looking At You Kid

2. The ’59 Sound

3. Great Expectations

4. Miles Davis & The Cool

5. Even Cowgirls Get the Blues


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