Neil Young & Crazy Horse Review: Americana

Neil Young & Crazy Horse

Americana

neil young and crazy horse americana album cover art

I don’t know who exactly had the bright idea of assembling a covers album for Neil Young’s first album with Crazy Horse in almost ten years.  I’m guessing it was Neil himself, but I don’t want to believe it because it is about as unnecessary an album as they come.  Covers albums aren’t always bad (see Johnny Cash and Aerosmith), but when artists decide on one, there is a very fine line that one needs to tread.  With Americana, Neil Young takes a collection of American traditionals and puts the Crazy Horse stamp of loose instrumentation and grungy rock on them. 

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Top Ten Thursday: Chi-Town Anthems

Top Ten Thursday: Chi-Town Anthems

Chicago, Mirror Bean, in Millenium Park, windy city music

In keeping with our Chicago theme (due to my move there coming this weekend), we will be transitioning from yesterday’s list of songs BY Chicago to songs ABOUT Chicago. The Windy City has boasted its fair share of great artists, from Chicago blues legends Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, and Buddy Guy to more modern alternative/indie artists like The Smashing Pumpkins, Wilco, and Andrew Bird to an unbelievably strong hip hop scene including Kanye, Common, Lupe Fiasco, Rhymefest, Twista, and the one and only R. Kelly. While their quarterback’s a sad emo excuse for an athlete and their football team as an equally worthless franchise, there is greatness in this city and that’s why we bring you this list.

10.   Common-“The Corner”

We love Kanye as much as any blog, but yes, this is a Chicago song’s list with two rap songs by someone not named by Kanye. He does, however, get production credit and a guest spot on the “The Corner”, a staple song about the Chicago Streets off of Common’s best effort, Be.
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Top Ten Thursday: Essential Easter Egg Tracks

 

^Tis the reason for the season ...
Easter is upon us! And what is everyone’s favorite part Easter?Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs of course! Full size, none of that bite size bull spit. A distant second is the Easter egg hunt. And just as that sneaky little bunny manages to hop into our lives once a year to hide those colored eggs around the house, the yard, or wherever he deems fit, artists and their producers have been finding clever (or sometimes not so clever) ways to hide tracks within their albums since the dawn of the LP. That was until recently when iTunes and record labels decided to bone us all by charging a dollar extra for hidden tracks and label the albums as “bonus track editions”. What used to be a fun, playful game turned into a ploy for an easy extra buck. Although, this kind of thing has in fact been happening with bonus tracks for quite some time, just in a different fashion. In fact, some songs on our list began as hidden tracks, but after a striking rise to popularity, labels began printing the albums with the tracks listed on the album. So here you go, whether still listed as hidden tracks or not, here are our favorite Easter egg tracks of all time:
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Five Reasons I’m an Album Man


There Will Be Blood's Daniel Plainview
I'm an album man, you see!


It would seem since the invention of iTunes, we have become a song generation. With us being such an A.D.D. society and our time being spare, people tend to like a song or two from a band or just buy the couple songs they know by an artist from iTunes for $.99 each rather than paying $9.99 or so for a bunch of songs they don’t know or necessarily care about. This makes a lot of sense no doubt, but I believe by just listening to a song here or a song there by a given artist, we are missing out on the point of what a lot of bands are trying to do, and missing out on the greater reward of what an album is.
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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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Wilco Review Royale: The Whole Love

Wilco
The Whole Love

Over the years I have made an affirmative effort to try to get into certain bands or albums that my friends have raved about.  These efforts have been met with varying degrees of success.  While inorganically force-feeding myself a certain album or band is not the ideal way to begin to enjoy a band, I have learned that it sometimes leads to rewarding results.  Due to my efforts, I fell in love with early Kings of Leon (which has led to crippling disappointment in their more recent work). I also have been able to enjoy a fair amount of Radiohead (when Thom Yorke’s voice is not sodomizing a track).
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