by Keidra Chaney
Holy crap it’s been a great couple of weeks for music writing. Lots and lots of fantastic articles, to the point where I’ve already written the next installment. But for this week, I want to talk about the slew of anniversaries for seminal albums that this particular month seems to have ushered in.
Exile on Guyville: 20 Years of me going “Meh”
I feel like this album was influential for a whole generation of woman musicians and songwriters, but to be perfectly honest, I was never about that life. Admittedly, I was knee deep in metal when this album came out so if Rikki Rachtman wasn’t interviewing you at a water park I was not interested in hearing you. But then I finally did hear it, and was like “meh,” because I am a Bad Feminist. But this Flavorpill roundup was interesting to me, and painted a picture of what Liz Phair’s debut album meant to people personally, and what it meant for the music industry.
Here’s what Julianne Escobedo Shepherd had to say:
The sound is so perfectly ’90s, so embodying of a time when women were bossing up so tough you could even trash-talk on acoustic guitars (!) — and the ’90s were rad because Phair was the kind of powerful, unapologetic girl lots of cool boys at that time wanted to get with. But the album endures ’cause it’s about how perfectly flawed and beautifully screwed up one woman can be, with zero apologies. …
Also, look for a blurb from my girl, Laina Dawes!
Faith No More’s Angel Dust can legally buy booze in the U.S.
On the opposite end of the album enthusiasm spectrum is Faith No More’s Angel Dust. 1992 was already a year FILLED WITH CRAZY GOOD MUSIC OMGZ, but this album laid the groundwork for the type of music I’ve gravitated to for my entire life and changed my view of what rock music, what metal could be. Rhythm section-dominant, layering unapologetic pop hooks with thunderous guitar riffs, theatrical, multi-tracked harmonic vocals, abstract lyrics. It’s the music I STILL want to make, and always want to listen to. Anyway, now Angel Dust has been around for 21 years, and a Faith No More Fan blog recently posted an essay from producer Matt Wallace about the making of the album. If you stan for Faith No More like I do, it’s a must read.
The band was feeling confident to address any and all subject matter (see “Be Aggressive” “Malpractice”, “RV”, etc). One of the aspects of FNM was that they were all unafraid to go wherever their musical and lyrical muses/demons wanted to take them. The fact that Patton would commit 100% of his abilities and energies to singing “Be Aggressive” (about a man orally pleasuring another man) is a testimony to his commitment. Their beautiful homage to “Midnight Cowboy” is also an indication of their desire to see how far they could take their abilities and inspiration.
I didn’t figure out that was what “Be Aggressive” was actually about until a little later in life.
Hail To The Thief is 10 years old, though I swear it came out two years ago
Where the HELL did the time go, that this album is a decade old? If freaks me out. This album doesn’t get the appreciation it deserves, IMO, and honestly, it’s the last Radiohead album that I was truly enthusiastic about, before they went into more of a dad-rock direction. Thom Yorke had a bit of fire in his belly and it comes through, lyrically and vocally the album in general is much more raw and unsettled and … I dunno, ugly (?), and I love it for that. Consquence of Sound did a nice round up of the album and conveyed similar sentiments:
More than any other Radiohead album, Hail to the Thief feels like it anticipates, acknowledges, and plays games with fans’ anxieties and expectations regarding what a Radiohead album should be, which may be why the experience of anticipating Hail to the Thief is so vividly tied to the album itself in my mind — and why it feels like such a relic of a lost era, before Spotify and NPR’s “First Listen”, when fans still lined up at the record store and felt guilty about downloading leaks.