Wednesday, October 07, 2009

10 albums a day #58

Various artists.

The Enigma Variations 2 (1987, CD)
The Finest Hours of U.S. 60s Punk (undated, mono LP)
The Glory of Gershwin (1994, CD)
Theodore: An Alternative Music Sampler (1990, CD)
Two Rooms: Celebrating the Songs of Elton John and Bernie Taupin (1991, CD)
Until the End of the World Soundtrack (1991, CD)

Getting more or less toward the end now, and what's left is going to be treated a little more specifically, so only six this time.

The Enigma Variations 2 was one of those cheap label samplers that used to turn up in the olden days (maybe they still do, I don't know). This was one of my favorites of this kind of collection, and was from the now-defunct Enigma record label. I could have bought albums from almost every artist/group in this collection, but most of them never turned up at Hastings. I might still hunt some of them down someday. Some that I went on to buy albums from because of this sampler: Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper, The Dead Milkmen, Agent Orange, Don Dixon. One song from the Milkmen really cracked me up, called "The Thing that Only Eats Hippies." "Now it's got a sweet tooth for long hair/So Bob and Greg and Grant you'd best beware..." That's a reference to the members of Husker Du. The other one is also funny, the poignant love song "Stupid Maryann." "Maryann/Can't you understand/I wanna be your man/Oh, stupid Maryann." Epic! Other artists from this one that I would like to track down: Peter Hammill, Plan 9, Wire, TSOL.

The Glory of Gershwin was a tribute to the Gershwin brothers, with pop artists covering many of their famous songs. I bought it just so I would have "The Man I Love" done by Kate Bush. Some of the other artists included are Peter Gabriel, Sting, Elton John, Carly Simon, Elvis Costello, and Meat Loaf. Sixteen tracks in all. Some of the artists I could do without (Cher, John Bon Jovi), but overall it's a decent album.

The Theodore CD was another label sampler that is also quite good, ignoring a couple of more or less rap tracks (Public Enemy, 3rd Bass). It has a few artists that I was already familiar with (Kate Bush, Indigo Girls, Psychedelic Furs, Big Audio Dynamite), but there were two groups that I discovered on this one that I went on to buy albums from: Poi Dog Pondering and--most importantly--Toad the Wet Sprocket. There's another group called Nuclear Valdez that I kept an eye out for, but to no avail. Another one I might try to track down sometime. By the way, I knew a couple of people who were big B.A.D. fans, but I never could figure out why.

Two Rooms, as the title states, was a tribute to Elton John and his song writer Bernie Taupin. I bought it just so I would have Kate Bush's version of "Rocket Man" (her version has a sort of reggae beat). Overall I think it's a decent album. Some of the artist/song combinations seem a little, I don't know, clich├ęd, maybe. Like Rod Stewart doing "Your Song." But some of the songs seem made for these alt versions, like The Who with "Saturday Night's All Right for Fighting," The Beach Boys with "Crocodile Rock" and Oleta Adams with "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me." I think I could have gone my whole life without having to hear John Bon Jovi belt out "Levon." Whew. Man, he must have missed the lesson on dynamics. But like I said, overall an okay collection. Oh yeah, and I must admit that I like Wilson Phillips' version of "Daniel."

I bought the Until the End of the World soundtrack for one song: "Summer Kisses, Winter Tears" by Julee Cruise. At that time, Cruise had released only one album and I was hungry for more. This album turned out to be an unexpected favorite. Overall, the music has a very dreamy feel. I should note that I've never seen the movie. Maybe I should get it from Netflix just so I know what the music is about. It has 19 tracks with some famous names like Talking Heads, R.E.M., Lou Reed, Elvis Costello, U2, etc.

Album count: 603.

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