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. :)