James Jackson Toth
Good review, Tom, but I listened to this yesterday and thought it made Milli Vanilli sound like The Cramps. Not to be all joylessly rockist about it, but for the life of me I just don’t understand how anyone can take this album seriously.
“I don’t know why / the sun’s in the sky / the rain, it falls down / down onto the ground.”
Is there a ten year old in America who couldn’t have written this song?
Wow, people really do click on hyperlinks!
Anyway, I’d hardly call it an “attack.” I was merely likening two popular albums that just happen to have certain qualities–in this case, frostiness and narcissism–in common. It wasn’t meant as a ‘dig,’ merely a point of reference. Have you heard Turbulent Indigo?
I’m just trying to wrap my brain around critics using names like Wilson Philips, Amy Grant, Shania Twain and the Eagles to try to get people TO buy albums. I guess I bemoan “the death of the guilty pleasure,” not because anyone should feel guilty for liking the music they like, but because I miss when smart people with good taste could agree that some things were just objectively fucking terrible.
Can we please not turn ‘monogenreing’ into a verb just yet? Pretty please?
Also, Siamese Dream >>> Nevermind. Then, now, and forever.
Great job, Tom. This remains my least cool favorite album and I still pull it out all the time (far more than, say, Loveless). It’s sorta like alt rock’s answer to Hysteria, isn’t it? Like, the whole first side is singles. Butch Vig as Mutt Lange – come on! Anyway, great piece. My favorite song is fairly predictable – “Mayonnaise” – but I really do love every song on this album (even “Sweet Sweet”) and think “Quiet” is the creeper / sleeper.
This is such a great and illuminating interview. I love that you guys talked about Another Self Portrait, and got him to admit that he thinks My Aim Is True is overrated (???). Also, you sold me with the line about Sly Stone, so I guess I’m now adding Wise Up Ghost to the wantlist.
Point taken re: Orphans. But despite the fact that it includes some flat-out great songs (without digging for my copy, I recall “Lord I’ve Been Changed” and the one about not wanting to go down to the well being particularly marvelous), I felt, on the whole, that there was nothing in this collection of stray tracks that added anything substantive to the TW story. Now, have I ended many a mix CD with either “Children’s Story” or “Missing My Son?” Yes, yes I have. I do think Orphans is a must-own for any fan, but trying to wedge it into a list of his proper studio albums without repeating myself would have been a challenge. Thanks, as always, for reading and for the comments; I DID remember your previous comment (on the NY piece) when I placed Swordfishtrombones at #2. I don’t want any trouble here. :)
You make a good case. In fact, I think it’s the fact that The Black Rider is a soundtrack that makes it seem so disjointed and unfriendly where Bone Machine seems like such a complete work. And I think Nighthawks is underrated, if anything! Thanks for reading!
Yep! Almost everything I love about TW can be found on that album. Have you heard the Surfin’ Minneapolis bootleg? (sometimes it’s called Round Midnight). Great recording from ’75, with a lot of these songs, plus stuff from HOSN, Closing Time, etc. Seek it out if you don’t know it.
I still don’t enjoy that song, adddo, but that was a great post.
That, my friend, is insanity. :)
Wow, thank you, Jason! Glad you enjoyed it.
Well put, and I totally agree.
Thanks for reading! A friend on Facebook also gave me a great deal of shit for the placement of Hawks and Doves, but if your whole argument is predicated on “Lost In Space,” we will have to agree to disagree: that song is a string of seemingly unrelated ideas (and not in that cool, impressionistic Dylan kinda way) in search of a chorus it never actually finds. Was it called “Deep Sea Blues” at first? Probably. I think it’s a mess.
I’ll give you Landing on Water being almost totally indefensible, but reexamine the 3 or 4 tracks from TNFY I mention. Listen out of the context of the (admittedly mediocre) album, maybe; they’re good songs!
Err….stay tuned. ;)
Thanks! Glad we’re mostly on the same page. See one of my replies above for the reasoning behind Time Fades Away’s placement. It was the definitely the album I had the hardest time corralling into the countdown. I hope my love for that record was obvious, despite its placement.
Totally agree re: Le Noise. And I might have already said this in response to another comment, but the placement of Time Fades Away was the one I struggled with most. In my mind, it’s easily a top 6er – but when I really scrutinized the list, I couldn’t knock any of the others down to accommodate it. The top ten was REALLY difficult.
Ditto and likewise! Thanks for reading.
Thanks! I agree Rust is excellent, and features at least two of my all time favorites (Thrasher, Powderfinger), but it also features Welfare Mothers, and the presence of even a single dud knocks it below my top 3, which are perfect albums front to back imo. You make a strong case, though!
Thanks for the great response. I actually struggled with Time Fades Away being so low – I originally had it higher, but couldn’t justify bumping down any of the eight above it. I have been told I tend to overrate Harvest Moon, but i stand by the ranking – I think it’s exceptional. Soundtracks and live albums were a wormhole I desperately wanted to avoid; I tried to address them the best I could, but I thought the list seemed too long already!