Top Ten Thursday: Back to School

School Music - Songs about College or High School

Fall is almost here; and with the fall comes a sense of dread among all kids, teens, and young adults alike: school has arrived. While the three of us at LxL are done with school (at least for now), that doesn’t mean we don’t like to reminisce a bit. This week we go with our ten favorite school songs with these two main criteria for the category: they couldn’t be about graduation (a list for another time), and they had to be about school or at least set in school with tons of references to it. This actually proved to be one of our most difficult lists to decide upon, as songs about school a lot more prominent in music history than we thought. So let’s take you back to school.
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Top Ten Thursday: Best Covers Albums

cover album art for william hung inspiration

After the painful experience of reviewing Neil Young’s new cover album, Americana, we decided to go back to some of our old favorites, and create a list of the top ten cover albums.  It was surprisingly difficult to find a comprehensive list of cover albums that have even been released, so I am certain we are missing a couple of classics, but also was very happy with strength of the list we came up with.  Another couple items of note is that the album needed to be 75% covers to be considered and a lot of 1950’s and 60’s albums were not considered.  A lot of early Beatles, Rolling Stones, etc. albums were comprised mostly of covers because that’s just the way the music business was run back then.  Somebody would have a minor hit, then ten artists would cover it to bandwagon and try to copy its success. 

So what makes a great cover album?  There are a lot of opinions on that, but we firmly believe it is not enough to simply mimic already great songs.  What we like to see is an artist keep the feeling of the original but substantially change the arrangement.  Also great is when an artist manages to rescue a song from obscurity and make it completely their own.  There is not absolute formula to a great cover song or album, but as with most of our list the following selections hit us the hardest.  On to the list.

10. David Bowie – Pin Ups

album cover art for david bowie pin ups

Bowie’s lat album with The Spiders from Mars was a tribute album to some of his favorite tracks from the 60’s.  Pin Ups contains classic songs from The Who, a lesser known track from Pink Floyd’s most underrated era, a Kinks track for the ages, and some lesser-known bands that I probably would have never been turned onto otherwise such as The Pretty Things and The Easy Beats.  All of these things fused with the Bowie twist means it is a sure-fire instant eargasm.

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How I Received My Primer in Classic Rock

I kind of wanted to review Killer Mike’s new album for today, but just haven’t had the time to fully absorb it.  I will say it is awesome and will get a full review out next week.  Instead, due to our coverage of The Rolling Stones 50th Anniversary over the next couple days and a chance run-in I had with an old friend last weekend, I thought I could take a little trip down memory lane, and get more personal than analytical for today’s post.  So if you want more of a substantial analysis of a new album, check out Wes’s Beach House review or Todd’s Best Coast review from the past couple days.  Enjoy the trip.
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Top Ten Thursday: Conception

With the great disappointment of Mylo Xyloto (Coldplays new concept album that dropped earlier this week) still being fresh in our heads, we at LxL wanted to remind the world that there are indeed good concept albums out there. Apologies to Austin, who got particularly screwed in this weeks voting, but nonetheless, here is what we came up with:
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Top Ten Thursday: Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Fun

In the theme of Wes’ M83 review (which is itself a double LP), we decided to list the Top Ten double LP’s this week. You may notice the lack of modern albums on this list; and well, we just had to mostly cater to the classics for once. I must say that choosing this list contained much spirited debate, particularly on who ended up number one. The decision for number one consisted of 3 distinct choices, and then much lobbying and back-stabbing, until the final decision was reached. Todd was particularly awful, and if Eagle Eye Cherry had a double album, he would assuredly have gotten “eagle-eyed” again like last week. On to the list.

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M83 Review: Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming

M83

Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming

M83-Hurry Up We're Dreaming Review

Anthony Gonzalez has a flair for the melodramatic. The electronic French artist has released three ambitious electro-pop albums just dripping with the stuff, as if life and death itself hangs in the balance. Much of it is surrounding the ups and downs of youth and young love (even referencing John Hughes films like Sweet Sixteen and Pretty In Pink on his last album, Saturdays=Youth), but no matter the subject matter, M83 has created songs with plenty of skillfulness but with a heavy handed passion. Now comes his highly anticipated and even more ambitious double album, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, where M83 elevates his sound to a new plain, allowing you to escape your mundane life in exchange for the wonderful musical landscape Gonzalez has carved out.
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