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20 greatest albums everyone should at least listen to or own at one time (myself included) March 19, 2010

Filed under: entertainment,Michael Jackson,music,rock 101: who's who and what's what from mostly the past,Uncategorized — Christina Lynn Hildebrand @ 3:18 AM
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These are in no order whatsoever, but are just numbered. Sorry.

  1. Out of the Blue (1987) – Debbie Gibson. To many fans of the 1980’s, this is a pop gem. Also it must be noted that Gibson was the youngest person to ever help produce a record (the single Foolish Beat) at the tender age of 16.
  2. Victory (1984) – The Jacksons.
  3. Lead Me On (1988) – Amy Grant. This is perhaps the best Contemporary Christian album ever made. It has a timeless mix in both sound and lyric.
  4. Thriller (1984) – Michael Jackson. Probably one of the best R&B/pop/rock albums ever. With such gems as Human Nature, Thriller, Beat It and Wanna Be Starting Somethin’ one cannot go wrong with this classic.
  5. Kilroy Was Here (1983) – Styx. One of the great rock operas of all time. Rarely does a good album tell a moral story, and Styx knocks it out of the ballpark with the ever-popular Mr. Roboto.
  6. Dreamboat Annie (1976) – Heart. One of the most underrated albums and groups of all time. Ann Wilson is one of the greatest rock vocalist of all time. Better yet, she still sounds good even now, despite her age. Nancy is also a talented guitarist. Nancy shows off her chops on the songs Magic Man, Crazy on You, and White Lightning and Wine.
  7. God (1996) Rebecca St. James – Good things come out of Australia and Rebecca St. James is no exception. This album is better than her previous teen-pop album and has a style reminiscent of the grunge scene albeit with a twist: its Christian music. One noteworthy cover St. James does is a reworking of You’re The Voice, a song previously made popular by Heart. Other great songs to check out are God, Abba (Father), and Go and Sin No More.
  8. Boy (1980) – U2. Arguably this band is the greatest Christian rock band. However, this them before they became Christians I believe but either way, they sound great. This is one that I want to add to my collection.
  9. October (1981) – U2. Once again, U2 proves that they are one of the greatest rock bands, or even Christian rock bands, ever to chart. Only Bono, Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr. can pull off such songs as Gloria, Rejoice and the hauntingly beautiful title track.
  10. Tragic Kingdom (1996) – No Doubt. This is a great introduction to ska-punk. However, the pièce de résistance is none other than Gwen Stefani’s voice. Best songs to look out for are Spiderwebs, Hey You, Sixteen, Don’t Speak, Excuse Me Mister, and Tragic Kingdom.
  11. Rhythm Nation 1812 (1989) – Janet Jackson. Smoothly produced R&B with a kick and a socially aware message.
  12. Out of the Grey (1992) – Out of the Grey. The Contemporary Christian duo has an incomparable alternative sound which is only highlighted by Christine Dente’s Debbie Harry-style voice and the excellent guitar playing of husband Scott Dente. This album is nothing short of a classic with songs like Remember This, The Dance, The Only Moment, and the duo’s swan song Wishes. Also, the songwriting on this album is not cheesy, unlike some Christian music of the time.
  13. Top Gun Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1986) – Various Artists. This is probably one of the greatest action movie soundtracks of all time. It is one action-packed soundtrack filled with such songs as Danger Zone and Playing With the Boys by Kenny Loggins – who shows he has some rock chops. Other great tracks include Mighty Wings by Cheap Trick, Lead Me On by Teena Marie, Hot Summer Nights by Miami Sound Machine and finally, the eponymous Top Gun Anthem.
  14. Raising Sand (2008) – Alison Krauss and Robert Plant. Bluegrass meets hard rock. However, don’t be fooled because this album is more roots-rock with songs such as Gone Gone Gone (Done Me Wrong) and Let Your Loss Be Your Lesson.
  15. Learning to Crawl (1983-1984) – The Pretenders. Chrissie Hynde is one of the greatest female frontwomen in rock music. Here she proves that she is also an accomplished guitar player and harmonicist with a song like Middle of the Road. However, this album only gets better with such songs like Back On the Chain Gang – which spawned a new meaning for the band after James Honeyman-Scott died of a drug overdose at the age of 25.  Every song on the album is one of greatness; including Time the Avenger, My City Was Gone, and Thumbelina.
  16. Here For the Party (2004) – Gretchen Wilson. In 2004, there was this little-known group in Nashville, TN called the Muzik Mafia. However, among them were such members as John Rich, Big Kenny, and Gretchen Wilson. Wilson burst onto the country music scene in 2004 with Redneck Woman, which went straight up to the top of the country charts. The whole album essentially revitalized the southern rock genre with songs like the title track, Homewrecker, and Redneck Woman.
  17. Surfer Girl (1963) – The Beach Boys. Probably one of the greatest surf-rock bands that served to usher in the greatness of the music of California. With songs like In My Room, Surfer Girl, and Little Deuce Coup, you cannot go wrong.
  18. If You Can Believe Your Eyes & Ears (1966) –  The Mamas and the Papas. The lush harmonies of “Mama” Cass Elliot, John Phillips, Denny Doherty, and Michelle Phillips are introduced to the world with such songs as Monday Monday and California Dreamin’.
  19. Synchronicity (1983) – The Police. This album is probably the quintessential Police album with songs like Spirits in the Material World, King of Pain, Synchronicity II, and the ever-popular Every Breath You Take.
  20. Are You Experienced (1967) – The Jimi Hendrix Experience. This album is the equivalent of standing on your head musically. It is great with such songs as the title track and All Along the Watchtower.
 

Post 9/11 entertainment: what changed and why – part 2 February 1, 2010

Part 2: Music

One thing that was, at times drastically altered in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks was music. This, however, was due in part not only because of the actual attacks but also in part by the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

At the onslaught of the September 11th attacks, all forms of media were forced to re-edit and re-evaluate their releases. The music industry was no exception.  The US Constitution says:

“Congress shall make no law representing an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

While, yes, the USA does not have a real form of censorship in the government sector, the country does in the private sector. Take for example Bill Maher, whose comments on US foreign policy and the War on Terror on his show Politically Incorrect quickly ended the show. Sponsors of the show pulled their ads.

Music genres changed drastically in the aftermath of 9/11. Especially country music. In the aftermath of the tragedy, country radio and popular country acts such as Toby Keith and Alan Jackson released more patriotic songs such as Courtesy of the Red, White & Blue (The Angry American) and Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning) respectively.

In addition to the patriotic-ness of country radio, other artists such as LeAnn Rimes, Whitney Houston, Faith Hill, and Lee Greenwood also saw some of their more patriotic songs chart.

Country radio was not without its own controversial songs and people during this time. In March 2003, near the impending invasion, lead singer of the Dixie Chicks, Natalie Maines, said to a London audience that “they were ashamed that the President was from Texas.” This comment, though Maines would later retract what she said and then take back her apology in the form of the 2006 release Not Ready To Make Nice, caused country stations nation-wide to ban the Dixie Chicks as well as even bulldoze their music.

Rock music, on the other hand, was more affected with censorship. Bands such as The Cranberries, The Dave Matthews Band, The Strokes, and Sheryl Crow had to alter songs or music videos. The Dave Matthews Band planned to release their new single “When The World Ends,” but scrapped that idea shortly after the attacks. The song in question for Sheryl Crow was the upcoming single Steve McQueen, which talks about the lack of heroes in the world, had her worried after the attacks that the song would not fit in with the public taste.

Mtv also turned into a solemn state. On the day of the attacks, Mtv and VH1 halted all programming on their networks and ran footage of CBS news. On September 14, 2001, Mtv’s Total Request Live with host Carson Daily returned, but the mood of the show was devoid of the usual shout-outs and applause. Instead the mood was best summed up by the shell-shocked look on the faces of the audience, which was mostly teenagers.

“Somebody said it was like MTV Nice,” recounted  Judy McGrath to Blender magazine, president of the MTV Group. “We quickly added a lot of videos, like Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” and the U2 catalog, that seemed soulful and personal.”

One of the major events that happened in music was the alleged ban on 156 records done by Clear Channel stations nationwide. Some of the songs such as Sunday Bloody Sunday by U2 and any Rage Against the Machine songs were more questionable in their lyrical content; while others such as Love is a Battlefield by Pat Benatar and New York New York by Frank Sinatra were banned due to metaphorical language in their lyrics. However, Clear Channel denied that it was a ban but rather a call to radio programmers to be careful in their playlists. The BBC also did likewise, although more overtly with their banning of such songs as Fly Away From Here by Aerosmith and Pilots by Goldfrapp on their BBC2 station. BBC also kept clear of playing upbeat songs in light of the attacks as well as tried to stay in touch with what the listeners were feeling.

In a style reminiscent of both Live Aid,  the music world pulled together with 3 major benefit concerts: America: a Tribute to Heroes, United We Stand – What More Can I Give, and the Concert for New York City. The major artists that were included in these concerts were Rod Stewart, Aerosmith, ‘NSYNC, Michael Jackson- who debuted his new We Are the World -style anthem entitled What More Can I Give,  Usher, Pink, Backstreet Boys, P. Diddy, Destiny’s Child, Goo Goo Dolls, Mariah Carey, and numerous others. The Concert for New York City raised, initially, over $30 million to help victims affected by the attacks.  Touring for many artists, on the other hand, became quite mute: some artists like Destiny’s Child and Aerosmith, postponed or cancelled concerts. Other artists, such as the Beastie Boys and Madonna, went ahead with their tour stops – albeit with a more focus on the tragedy that happened. Madonna went as scheduled with her Thursday performance at the Staples Center in Los Angeles as well as the Beastie Boys performance in Toronto.

Overall, the attacks for a brief moment in history, rallied music into either “give” mode or “critical” mode.

Sources: