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.

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