Chicago continued their trend of releasing pretty much irrelevant albums with “Chicago 13.”
Departing yet again from their previous naming formats, this one, even though it had a number instead of a name, used Arabic numerals instead of Roman numerals. Sadly, since this record was released in 1979, at the height of the accursed disco era (I was in college then, bemoaning what I thought surely was the end of music as we knew it), the producers apparently saw fit to try to “discotize” Chicago. The first song, “Street Player,” was a 9+ minute disco song. Ugh. Oddly enough, the album managed to reach number 21 on the Billboard charts for pop albums. Its two singles, “Must Have Been Crazy,” and “Street Player,” reached 83 on pop singles and 91 on black singles, respectively. “Black singles?” Really? Chicago? Hmm….
I couldn’t get through ripping this one soon enough. Why do I even have this record?
Here’s a youtube clip of “Must Have Been Crazy.” Notice it sounds nothing like Chicago. Sounds like a mashup of The James Gang and um…um…I don’t know. The song was written and sung by Donnie Dacus, the short time replacement for Terry Kath.
It’s painfully obvious that Chicago is missing Terry Kath very badly.
I’ve listened to two more recordings from 1000 Recordings To Hear Before You Die, by Tom Moon.
The next one I was able to hear was a recording by a group called “Bad Brains.” The recording is “I Against I.”
Tom Moon categorizes this as simply “rock.” Rhapsody categorizes it as “alt/punk>emo>hardcore.” Interesting. The caption for the article says “The Refinement of an Unlikely Sound.” Further into the article, he says this: “Bad Brains is thirty-six minutes of full-tilt mayhem, with a few thoughtful down-tempo dub tracks for respite.” I don’t know about “mayhem.” Oddly enough, I like this. I’m not at all sure who I would compare this to. It’s very eighties-sounding, but it was released in 1986, so that stands to reason. The key tracks, according to Moon, are “House of Suffering,” “I Against I,” and “She’s Calling You.” I liked “House of Suffering.” But I think I liked “Re-ignition” better. Actually, I liked all the songs. The lyrics are surprisingly meaningful.
I realized later that I forgot to link a clip of Bad Brains. Here’s a youtube of “House of Suffering.”
Next on the list is “Mama’s Gun,” by Erykah Badu.
Say…isn’t she the one that got in trouble for running around half-naked in downtown Dallas while filming a music video? Anyway..the caption on the article says, “This Gun Is Loaded.” Released in 2000, it’s categorized by Moon as R&B. Rhapsody says it’s “Contemporary R&B>Neo-Soul.” Whatever you say. I categorize it as “No, thank you.” The album has some moments, that is true. But it’s just not my style of music. Moon says this in his article: “…at different times on Mama’s Gun, she sounds like she’s fronting the classic James Brown band, or a torchy jazz group, or a futuristic electronic crew whose stutter-step beats defy drum-programming logic.” Hmm…okay, I will say that the band behind her was pretty good. Very good, in fact. Her voice is a bit thin for me, kind of nasally. At least she sings in tune, though, which is more than a lot of hip-hop artists (*coughkanyewestcough*).
Tom Moon’s key tracks are “Cleva,” “Booty,” “Kiss Me On My Neck,” and “In Love With You.” “Cleva” wasn’t bad. Very nice musical sounds behind the vocals. That’s really the only one of the “key tracks” that I liked. Here’s a youtube clip of that song. What do you think?
That’s my last musical commentary for 2011. I hope everyone has a happy and prosperous (and safe) New Year. Be careful tonight.