Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Weekend Spin #3 - A Girl, A Bottle, A Boat but I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For

May 27, 2017 (Memorial Day Weekend)

So Summer is unofficially beginning this weekend. It's the first three day weekend after a long drought of them following the holidays of late December. In Northern Illinois it's shaping up to be a hot one, but after weeks of cold and rain I'm not complaining. It's also a good weekend to get a few record listening sessions in.

This Weeks Record Bin Find:

From eBay Train’s A Girl, A Bottle, A Boat. We are gearing up to see the tour of this record in concert in less than a month, so I figured now is as good a time as any to buy the album. Of course I'm hoping the concert also has a few other favorites as well. Train is one of those bands that runs a bit deeper then what radio play gives us, and for every bouncy top 40 we get on the radio each album has 2 other songs that prove the bands talent and span. I'm looking forward to this latest entry.

This Weekends Spin:

Joshua Tree U2 - Joshua Tree was U2’s fourth album, and was set to be a departure from the previous three, with an American theme. Essentially, U2 started to write the album as a criticism to U.S. foreign policy under Ronald Reagan, instead found themselves writing the album as a kind of love letter to the American spirit. In doing so the band draw inspiration from the Mojave Desert and it’s native Joshua Trees, hence the name of the album, and it’s sometimes airy sound. I personally found the album to be a delight to listen to, not only to hear the hits songs, With or Without You, and I Stlll Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For but for some of the deeper tracks as well. For me the albums B-side is actually somewhat better than its A-side, especially as the B-side kicks off with Red Hill Mining Town a song with a fantastic and inspirational rock beat, even is the songs subject is somewhat political in the UK. The remaining B-side follows this same trend of fantastic rock beats poised against heavier lyrics. Although the A-side would yield two of the bands more well known hits, the total album would yield five charted albums for the band with the moderately known Where the Streets Have No Names (A-Side), and In Gods Country, and One Tree Hill (B-Side) the latter of which would go on to inspire the TV show of the same name.

The overall album is quintessentially U2 with a sound that in 1987, was no doubt ahead of the current trends in music. U2 delivered an album that had the clear sounds of the Alternative music trend that would come to optimise rock music of the early to mid-90’s. A sound of clear and had articulate vocals, lyrics with deeper meanings, and true rock beats much like those we would hear from bands like Nirvana, and Garbage, 6 to ten years later. To say the least I think  may be adding a few more U2 albums to my collection, perhaps some of their pre-Joshua Tree works like 1983’s War.

So what are your thoughts? Is Joshua Tree a classic and a trend setter, or is it overrated? Also, what are your thoughts on U2 or Train? Be sure to respond back and let know. Until then, have a safe and happy Memorial Day!!         

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Weekend Spin: #2 - Joshua Trees and Holligans

May 19th, 2017

So the weekend of May 12th ended up being a complete bust even for listening to records. That Saturday had a lot going on, and the Sunday was Mother's Day which meant the day was anything but mine to listen to records. It was all a bit of a let down considering I got to take a trip to Reckless Records in Chicago’s Loop on that Friday, which was a personal victory for me as record collector since I’ve been trying to get there since November of last year. Reckless Records although a kind of chain record store, was anything but what I expected, having the look and feel of the mom & pop type record store I’ve become accustom too.

This Weeks Bin Find:

U2 - Joshua Tree

I’ve been looking to get a few U2 albums for a while. Among my top picks was Joshua Tree which is probably one of U2’s most,  if not THE most iconic albums, and one that cemented them into late 80’s and early 90’s pop culture. My copy is an original from 1987, but a 20th anniversary edition was released with bonus tracks on CD and DVD in 2007, and a 30th anniversary edition is expected to be released this year on 180g vinyl.

This Weekends Spins:

Starship - We Built This City/Private Room 45’ A/B sides

The beautiful part about a 45’ over a 33’ is that at least one side is a popular song thats gotten good airplay and been heard before. So a 45’ is almost just the one song, and no doubt many in my reading audience know if it's good or not. For this one the A-side (traditionally where the hit song is located) is the 80’s anthem We Built This City. For me this song is forever connected with being played on a jukebox while eating pizza on Saturday nights following mass, so it has a lot of nostalgia connected to it, even is the song maybe a bit mediocre. Personally, I think it's another one of those songs that is iconically 80’s and would never have worked or sounded as good in any other era.

I can say the same for the B-side Private Room. This, despite being an instrumental song, has a complete 80’s vibe and it's easy to imagine hearing it in the expositional scenes of a John Hughes movie.

Bruno Mars - Doo Wops & Hooligans
Well unless you've been living in a cave for the past 8 years you've probably heard songs from this album. Grenade, Just the Way You Are, and The Lazy Song are just a few of the great hits Mars had on this album. To be brutally honest it's heard not to associate the songs of this album with Mars more than any of his other songs. Of course there’s a reason for that since 6 of the 10 tracks on the album would achieve various levels of success as singles. The aforementioned Just the Way You Are, Grenade, and The Lazy Song would be the top three in that particular order with Talking to the Moon, Marry You,  and Count on Me filling out the remaining 3 and all having airtime and familiarity. Scoring 6 hits on 10 songs is pretty impressive especially when you consider the whole album is only a little over 35 minutes long.

I've been hunting this album for a long time, ever since the Amy Winehouse article I published a few year back about her effect, and inspiration on modern music. Mars sounds although perhaps not directly inspired by Winehouse, can contribute some of its success to Winehouse reintroducing traditional R&B sounds, and even some Doo-Wop elements into modern music. Of course there is some sentimentality in looking to get this album too since, Just the Way You Are, has long been a song I have associated with my wife who (and perhaps this is a husband's love speaking) the song almost describes to a tee.

Overall, the album features a nice collection of modernized Doo-Wop, and light pop that we really don’t get a lot of from Mars later work. With that said we get a lot of range from Mars in this album too, everything from purely pop beats, to poignant love songs. For me after Just the Way You Are, which has obvious wifely connections for me, my next favorite song has to be Talking to the Moon, a song about a young man looking to the moon to connect him with a lover he has yet to meet and somewhat reminiscent of Rodgers & Harts Blue Moon. If you are, or aren't a fan of Mars more recent work I would still suggest you check out this particular album since it has a nice mix of musical offerings.

We’ll see how next weekend works out, Memorial Day weekend, but I hope some listening time is part of that.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Weekend Spin: #1 - We Built This City on Little Lion Men

May 7, 2015

It's been an odd but all too quick weekend, again. Any plans to listen to a record Friday night went out the window due to an impromptu Cinco de Mayo celebration, involving a pitcher of Margaritas. How I didn't wake up hungover Saturday morning, I have no clue. But, leaving behind the mixed sounds of Mexico Friday night, I proceeded into a dull Saturday morning of slightly chilly temperatures outside, and hours of cooking shows inside well I competed household tasks. This translated into a Saturday evening that seemed to arrive prematurely, and long lingering debates over dinner, and how to spend the evening. To say the least it was darn near 10 before the evening settled into the double feature of The Phantom of the Opera and the 1984 version of Dune.

The first chance to honestly sit and listen to a record was unceremoniously late Sunday afternoon. Time I carved out of what felt like a was a loophole in family time.

This Weekends Listening Session:

Sigh No More -Mumford & Sons 2009

This is Mumford & Sons, freshman entry and what would start the bands whirlwind success. Having received Babel a few years back, followed by Milder Mind I always wanted to take a step back to their first album since as a long time fan I had encountered various entries from it and wanted to hear the complete album.

I have to say after waiting nearly 4 years since receiving Babel, I definitely wasn’t disappointed in the bands first album. It's easy to see how Sign No More flowed seamlessly into Babel, and then Babel into Milder Mind since the band has a sound it stays true to without getting too experimental as many bands are inclined to do. According to some sources the albums genre is Country, but I can tell you it lies more between modern minstrel folk and alternative.

Although I can honestly say I liked every track on the album, my favorite is Little Lion Man, even if it's the one with a lot of airplay. The song has that right amount of Mumford & Sons sound, while also being a little edgy. The album as a whole though is only 12 tracks, and last around 48 minutes in its entirety meaning it's also somewhat short, but sweet.

Suggested Beverage:

Although only drinking a Coke Zero at the time of listening, the album could go well with a craft beer, like a Scotch Ale, or an Amber Bach since the album has a trendy yet unrefined feel like those beers. I could easily see myself listening to Sigh No More, well meeting friends at a River North bar some Friday evening and enjoying a Fat Tire as well..

This Weeks Adds:

Apparently giving myself permission to buy an album is too much for me. My initial buy was a Starship 45’ with We Built This City on the A-side. I had a flirtation with the song the weekend before after a flood of memories came over me regarding a family tradition in the 80’s of 4 o’clock mass followed by a trip for pizza at our favorite place. The original version of the restaurant had a loud jukebox, plenty of cigarette smoke, and some great pizza. Somehow between 1985 and 1992 We Built This City played at least once when we were in there. Looking to eventually get a jukebox of my own I decided long ago that this 45’ had to be on there.

Making a decision on a whole album though wasn't so easy. My choices came between John Mayer, Blake Shelton, Train, Bruno Mars, Norah Jones, Arcade Fire, Florence and the Machine, and Of Monsters and Men. As you can see mostly albums from more modern artists. Narrowing it down came between Mars Doo Wops & Hooligans, Sheltons If I'm Honest, and Mayers Continuum, with Trains A Girl, A Bottle, and A Boat pushing in from the outside since I just got tickets to thier concert in June. Eventually, I settled on Bruno Mars Doo Wops & Hooligans, since I’ve had the album on my wish list for a while and figured it had priority.

For The Next Time:

Next weekend may be a bit busy so time to chill in front of the record player may not happen. If it does though hopefully my new Starship, and Bruno Mars records are part of it. Until then have great week, or great next couple weeks

Friday, May 5, 2017

The Weekend Spin: Introduction

I've been blogging for awhile now and I always feel bad when I don't post something to one of my blogs in a long time, especially when I give a lot of regular attention to another. For this particular blog, I know there are a lot of missed opportunities on my end as well. New records in my collection, interesting listening experiences, and cool collecting news are common occurrences in my life, yet my blog remains silent. 

On one of my other blogs The Grand Emperors: Retro Video Game Blog, I have a series called 8-bit Friday's that I put out on a weekly or bi-weekly basis and covers some of my new game purchases, and game plays that may occur over a weekend. So I decided to maybe try that formula here as well. With the goal being to talk about what records I may have purchased that week, and what listening experiences I've had over a weekend. Unlike my 8-bit Fridays articles where I buy and play multiple games, my goal here is to try to buy, and listen to one record at a time. Of course as I say that I need to indicate that the record being bought is not always going to be the same as the one being listened to. My logic behind this is that a lot of the records I'm looking to buy in the near future I have to order online, so as one is being bought another is being listened to. I'll also put it out there that I have a small stack of records that were given to me that I haven't had a chance to listen to yet, and they may be joining part of the buy or listen list as finds.  

Of course I have a few other issues in this as well, such as the fact that regular weekend listening isn't always possible since my main record player is in my living room, and sometimes the suggestion of listening to a record on a Friday or Saturday night can be hotly contested. My goal was to eventually build myself and amateur audiophiles area in my basement but that has yet to come to fruition. I also have had some fantasy about having friends and neighbors over for a platter parties  in which my living room record player was the center focus, but I know that will never come to be. With all that said once a record is on my troubles aren't necessarily over, since actually listening to the record can sometimes be an issue over household and kid noises. 

Juxtaposed to all that there are benefits too, such as the fact that records can be played during dinner, or even taken in on comfy couches with a few good glasses of wine. As matter of fact red wine and records was once a regular Saturday night occurrence and I wouldn't mind returning to it. That also makes me wonder if I should occasionally throw a wine or beer pairing in as well. 

Anyway, I'm looking forward to this new series and I hope you are too. I also should probably mention that Diary of an Amateur Vinyl Record Collector and The Grand Emperors: Retro Video Game Blog will actually be coming under one banner on a shared website pretty soon so look for that as well. 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Last Records of 2016, and 2017's Horizon

So here we are well over a month since Christmas, and I'm just now discussing the records I got for Christmas. If your household is anything like mine though, the house remains in relative holiday upheaval until somewhere near mid-January. It's by this time the decorations should be fully down and put away, and that you start to make some connection to where you left off on things before Thanksgiving arrived. To me this meant connecting back with some of my hobbies, including record collecting and the act of just listening to records. So what better place to start all that back up than with my vinyl Christmas presents.

This year I was lucky to get two vinyl items off my Amazon list. The first is Meghan Trainor's Thank You on special edition duel colored 180g. The other was the special edition of Mumford & Sons Babel: The Singles, which is a special collection of the iconic Babel album broken down onto 45's, in all honesty it's only something a fan would collect.

A Brief Review of Thank You

If you listened to Meghan Trainor's debut album Title, then you'll know she primarily went with a modernized doo-wop sound, much like her iconic It's all About That Bass. Intermixed though where elements of genre's such as a bit of modern pop and hip-hop like Bang Dem Sticks, a song destined to be one of the albums deep tracks. In Thank You Meghan Trainor not only choose to reinvent herself with her change to red hair from blond, but also decided to ditch the doo-wop sounds that made her so famous to begin with, and focus on pop and hip-hop elements. The first single to come out of her new sophomore album was NO which had a catchy modern beat and worked well at introducing Trainor's overall new style.  Two months later Me Too was released, again another catchy pop song that served as a summer anthem in 2016.

Although a third single has yet really hit the top of the charts I will say other songs on the album, like Woman Up, and Champagne Problems have potential. Now, I could say that Trainor's sophomore album is, like many sophomore attempts, proof that the sophomore slump exists with newer artist, but that's hard to say in this case since its not an apples to apples comparison between Title and Thank You. I will say that I was expecting to hear at least a little bit of Trainor's signature doo-wop sound, but with that also said I will say that this is a pretty good pop album even if it hasn't fully caught on. I can't wait to hear what Ms. Trainor will be giving us on future albums.

Babel: The Singles

I actually already reviewed Babel a few years back when I got the 33' for Christmas, you can find the review here. This as previously stated is definitely a fan based set. Here Babel is broken down into 45's giving you that much more involved with the music feeling that only 45's can give you as you flip each over and switch them out on a single song level. Honestly speaking though if there is one album that needs a closer listening to its this one, since it's such a well done and beautiful piece of musical artistry.

2017's Horizon

For me record collecting has has always been a fairly casual pursuit in the way of a hobby, but of course that's just me and I know that there are some folks out there who take all of this very seriously, and that's their prerogative. I guess I have more of a relaxed outlook on it though since I've been part of a generation that has the ability to carry it's favorite music everywhere. This especially includes those not so relaxed places like work, in the car during traffic jam, or even while working out. CD's, electronic formats, and even tape cassettes have in many ways made the past 30 years about hearing music, but not hearing the music. So the return to records has presented me with the ability to stop and listen to music in a setting that is more conducive to actually hearing and appreciating the music more. This is also one of the reasons I now purchase most of my new music (like the above) on vinyl, with the added bonus of the electronic download element.

The interesting part about the return to vinyl, is that as it's had some interesting repercussions on other music mediums recently. A few years ago I wrote and article on this blog called To Old Tech, or Not To Old Tech about how I have debated making a multiple CD player, and tape deck part of my listening room. At the time, now three and a half years ago, I wondered when this old tech would receive the attention that records were starting to receive at that time, as it turns out for cassettes that time is now. On my facebook page for this blog, I posted an article a few weeks back about the surprise increase in demand for cassettes in 2016, or as the article would state a 74% increase between 2015 and 16'. It sounds very impressive but demand for new recorded music cassettes in numbers actually went from 74,000 in 2015 to 129,000 in 2016. Not super impressive when you look at it that way, but this is also where vinyl started a few years back.

So what does all this have to do with 2017 for me? Well perhaps it's too late to make a New Years Resolution for collecting in 2017, but there are a few things I would like to attempt to do before this year ends;

  • One is that I would of course like to expand my collection a bit more. 
  • Also I would really like to have a choosen night every week when at least a few records get played, of course against the backdrop of a good dinner and a few glasses of wine would be perfect, but we'll see. 
  • Lastly, I would like to expand into other mediums ever so slightly. I have some of my original tape cassettes on hand, and to be honest the concept of buying new music on a cassette is a bit thrilling even though outlets for new tapes are understandably sparse. 

My overall objective is to keep this a relaxed hobby that I enjoy, and love to share. 


Friday, September 16, 2016

Discovering the Audio-Technica LP-60

About a year ago or so ago my old Sony turntable started to act a bit funny, and records started to play a little slowly. To be honest at that point it was near fifteen years old and even though it hadn't seen an excessive amount of use, it did get knocked around in various moves, so its development of problems seemed natural.

I don't really know how it happened but as a family we almost felt naked without a record player. It was a feeling I never thought we would experience. So my next logical step was to grab the Pyle record player, I had gotten for Christmas a few years back, from my basement rec room and drop it in the place of the old Sony. The Pyle is an OK record player, but I've found that the needle and arm are a bit too light and records can skip or sound a bit off especially the 78's even though this is my only record player that can play them. In addition to this the Pyle's on-board speakers aren't bypassed when you use its r/w RCA jacks, meaning the small speakers are still working while you have it connected to your receiver, which can produce a slight amount of unpleasant listening. But this whole challenge would be short lived.

With a new house purchased we would begin moving in June of 2015, and be moved fully into the new house by July. But with a new house also came new sound based challenges, one of which being that my old sound system didn't really work with my new living room space, meaning it was time to really upgrade. I have to admit my old Panasonic-Technics receiver and self power sub-woofer have been with me forever and still can rock the house, and do now in my basement, but putting them out to the rec-room pasture was never something I thought I would have to do. With that said it was hard to put them into retirement, especially when I knew so little about their modern sound-bar replacements. Having come of age in the era of Dolby 5.1 surround sound, it was hard to put my faith in a single center speaker. So o work myself into the new world of sound wonders, I opted to go with a sound bar with blue tooth rear speakers and sub-woofer and together they do the job, when I can turn it up that is.

Of course with a soundbar came a few other issues, for instance most modern soundbars aren't equipped with the counter-polar phonograph RCA inputs. In looking at them this is something that amazed me since sound bars have more or less been ushered in along side the resurgence of vinyl of the past few years. This meant if we purchased a new soundbar the Pyle record player wouldn't be able to be connected directly to it. So I set out to look for a newer soundbar friendly record player, well testing a new Blue-tooth adapter on the Pyle that could connect it wirelessly to the sound bar. The good news on that was that the Blue-tooth connection worked, the bad news is that I was still dealing with the Pyle's on-board speakers, and its tendency to skip. So it was definitely time for a new record player.

In my research one name in particular kept coming up, Audio-Technica and their LP-120 record player. The nice thing about the LP-120 was that not only was it well reviewed on multiple sites, but it had a USB version that could be connected directly to a computer (in case I ever decided to become a DJ on a whim) or more importantly to the USB port on my soundbar. The only issue was that the LP-120 goes for anywhere between $250-$300. In the world of audiophiles a price like this is considered to be a bargain, but to me $250-$300 was a pretty hefty investment since our record player was more for just enjoying the music as a family, and not listening for the nuances in the music many audiophiles claim they can detect better with $2000+ record players. It's at that point another Audio-Technica record player in red caught my eye. This was the LP-60, and although it didn't have some of the LP-120's bells and whistles, it like its big brother came very highly reviewed, as a best value, and and for performing better than record players going for 5 times as much. Going back to the same sites I reviewed the LP-120 on, I found it was the same story for the LP-60. Of course let me tell you one more thing about the LP-60, it has its own built in pre-amp, and can also plug into any audio jack, no need for the reverse poles of its predecessors. So with an Amazon gift card I got for Christmas, and some extra cash I bought the lovely LP-60 in red and received it a few days later.

Anxious to listen to records we got for Christmas, as well as revisit a few others, we went through the process of plugging the new system in. Of course we tried it wirelessly with the Blue-tooth adapter but had no luck, and then finally with some RCA cable extensions we got it hooked up to the soundbar. After a little frustration getting the pre-amp set, the first record, Adele's 25 went on. It was at that point my wife, an avid Adele fan, heard that things sounded a bit off and it was playing a little fast. This began the frustrating process of flipping the record player over and adjusting the speed controls built inconspicuously in the bottom of the player. It took several attempts, and about a good half-hour but finally we got Adele, Amy Winehouse, and everyone else to follow, to a pitch perfect.

My Likes About This System:

-Choice of Color
-Built in Pre-Amp
-No Need for Special Phonograph Input
-Great Sound
-High Quality, Low Price

My Dislikes
-Speed Didn't Come Calibrated
-Speed and Pre-Amp Controls a bit Hidden  

Despite it's price this is a very high quality unit, and shouldn't be classified in the same ranks as other record players in the same price point. Many of which like Pyle, Crosley and others, are selling based on appearance and superficial retro looks, but not are not up to the task of being used for serious listening. I would suggest this record player for anyone looking to get into or back into vinyl record collecting, who wants a system that can connect with and existing stereo setup, but doesn't want to break the bank doing so.  

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Back To Black- The Amy Winehouse Effect

So far one of the biggest pop hits of 2015 is Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson. Of course considering the song hit the charts so early in the year, time will tell if it actually makes it to becoming a summer anthem or not. If you know the song though you have to admit it's extremely catchy, easy to dance to, and is just a fantastic feel good song that could easily be a summer hit.

So one day while messing around on YouTube, I came cross the video for Uptown Funk and decided to go ahead and watch it. To say the least  I wasn't disappointed, the video turned out to be as fun as the song itself was. Of course YouTube being YouTube you find yourself quickly lead to other videos based on what you just watched and I was given the option of watching some additional Bruno Mars videos or some of Mark Ronson's additional work. I will openly admit that of course I had to watch Bruno Mars video for The Lazy Song, but after that I decided to check out some of Mark Ronson's work. I very quickly came across the video for Valarie, a song Ronson had collaborated with Amy Winehouse on back in 2007. The video is unique though in that it was produced posthumously after Winehouse's death and although it features her vocals the video does not feature her but rather a group of young women "The Wine-ettes" lip syncing the song while on stage. Although I really liked the video itself particularly the very attractive "Wine-ettes", what I liked more about it was the song itself one I had come to love hearing over the past year.

The song Valarie, as well as most of Amy Winehouse's Back To Black album have become a soundtrack to many a Friday or Saturday night spent relaxing over a few beers or glasses of wine at my house. The ruckus nature of Monday through Thursday night's might demand the more upbeat sound pop music can bring us, but Fridays demand a smoother and slightly more somber sound that relaxes the muscles and adds a capstone to the stress bought on by the weekdays. So its not uncommon for us to set Pandora to the Adele station while we eat dinner and indulge in a few hours of conversation afterword. Of course there where many a night I found myself rushing to look at Pandora to see who was singing, and long behold it was usually Winehouse, and usually something off Back To Black.

I have to admit that this was something that caught me off guard since I was never really into Winehouse's music when she was alive. I know that sounds weird but lets be honest back in 2007 Winehouse's Rehab, was one of those songs that was so overplayed you found your hand heading for the radio dial to turn it off within the first few beats. Of course for me the aversion to her and her music was only magnified by her personal life being in the news all the time as Winehouse and her husband found themselves in one drug related scrap after another until her death in 2011. Once the sensationalism of Winehouses death had passed though, the media quickly forgot about her and just added her to the "Left us too Young" roster they so often do. With that said though her music has become an acquired taste for me, and even something I can identify with despite my past misgivings. 

This newly found enjoyment of her music made me want to explore everything Back To Black had to offer, and what I found surprised me. Back To Black not only cradled Rehab, but also Valarie (B-sides) and the albums haunting title song Back To Black. However, the albums deep tracks are also highly stunning and offer us a chance to hear the fusion of modern pop sounds blended with classic R&B, that form the basis of Winehouse's signature sound. The album is soulful, moody, and even a bit dark at times but all that is set against the juxtaposition of a sound reminiscent of 1950s and 60s R&B and Motown melodies and beats. 

The end product of Back To Black is a type of music that I would not only call unique but also highly influential. Back To Black particularly on vinyl would not only change listeners taste and reception to this type of music, but would also have an influence on artist that would follow Winehouse into the movement towards a classic R&B revival. In 2008 only a year after Back To Black's release we would see Duffy release her Rockferry, and Adele release her 19. Both albums and artist are heavily classic R&B influenced and take a serious cue from Winehouse, with Duffy giving us a sound more faithful to 1960's R&B and Motown, and Adele giving us a mix of classic R&B and Pop. Adele's follow up album 21 released in 2011, and recording of Skyfall in 2013 for the James Bond film of the same name would further hone her sound, and expand upon Winehouse's and Back to Black's early influence.  

Although, Winehouse's influence initially impacted her fellow U.K. artist, her sound did catch on in the United States. Artist such as the previously mentioned Bruno Mars, and my personal favorites Nick Waterhouse and Meghan Trainor all have sounds that are in part influenced by Winehouse's work, but have also seen success based on grounds paved by Winehouse. Listeners appetites for Waterhouse's late 50's and early 60's American R&B sounds, and Mars, Trainor, and even Olly Murs (U.K) 1950's rock and Doo-Woop influences, where developed by what listeners where given in 2007 by Winehouse and Back To Black

Although its influence on artist has become more and more prominent over the last few years, the direct impact Back To Black would have on listener's was slightly more subtle. Winehouse's and Back To Black's sound arrived at the right time, it was a more traditional pop sound that had come a long during a time when mainstream pop music was begining to feel a little too canned. The mixture of auto-tune, singing teen TV stars, and mid-song rap intrusions had made modern pop music laughable and sent most of us longing for something with substance running to satellite radio, and our iPods. When Rehab arrived on top 40 stations it gave us a reminder as to how music use to sound, and made most of us recall the music our parents listened to and harkened us back to the days of Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, Burt Bacharach, and vinyl records. Sadly, though as previously mentioned Rehab was played ad nauseam till some of its charm was lost, but the sound remained and obviously wasn't forgotten. It only seems fitting that as vinyl would come back so would a form of music that had dominated the medium two generations before, and Back To Black would a quintessential album to do that with. 

I'm not going to end this posting by claiming that Back To Black is one of the most influential albums of the 21st century so far.  I am however, going to end by saying that time will tell especially considering the albums reach into current music. Back To Black and Amy Winehouse are obviously as of now, somewhat of a footnote in music history even though Back To Black is a popular title amongst vinyl collectors of current generation music. So the question is as the album continues to sell and catch on in the vinyl medium despite its creator having passed on, what further impact will it have as its discovered by new listeners?