Monthly Archives: July 2018

My friends would think I was a nut: My favorite debut solo albums

I define this list as solo albums released by people in bands. Wu-Tang Clans’s astounding series of 1994-1995 releases by Ol’ Dirty Bastard, GZA, Raekwon, and Ghostface Killah should dominate this list (I like Ghostface’s Ironman less than his next three albums when he established himself as the 2000’s most consistent album artist). I could include Bob Mould’s Workbook, Pusha T’s My Name Is My Name,  and George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass, among others, but GTFO: I listen to these the most, including my beloved Sharp.

1. Bjork – Debut
2. GZA – Liquid Swordz
3. Peter Gabriel – Peter Gabriel (I)
4. Fever Ray – Fever Ray
5. Robert Forster – Danger in the Past
6. Lindsey Buckingham – Law and Order
7. Angela Winbush – Sharp
8. George Clinton – Computer Games
9. Jenny Lewis – Rabbit Fur Coat
10. David Sylvian – Brilliant Trees
11. Raekwon – Only Built for a Cuban Linx
12. Babyface – Tender Lover
13. John Lennon – John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band
14. Brian Eno – Here Come the Warm Jets
15. Phil Collins – Face Value
16. Feist – Let It Die
17. Alexander O’Neal – Alexander O’Neal
18. Bryan Ferry – These Foolish Things
19. Colin Newman – A-Z
20. Ice Cube – AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted
21. Annie Lennox – Diva

Worst Songs Ever: XTC’s ‘The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead’

Like a good single, a terrible one reveals itself with airplay and forbearance. I don’t want to hate songs; to do so would shake ever-sensitive follicles, and styling gel is expensive. I promise my readers that my list will when possible eschew obvious selections. Songs beloved by colleagues and songs to which I’m supposed to genuflect will get my full hurricane-force winds, but it doesn’t mean that I won’t take shots at a jukebox hero overplayed when I was at a college bar drinking a cranberry vodka in a plastic thimble-sized cup.

XTC – “The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead”
PEAK CHART POSITION: #1 in May 1992

Nostalgists who like Kate Bush drew strength from an increasingly fussy studio craft but unlike Bush devolved into a miscellany of influences, XTC were at the peak of their American careers when they released 1992’s Nonsuch. Continue reading

Singles 7/27

A diverse top five below, crowned by Tamia, known by white audiences for 2002’s “Stranger in My House.” This lite disco wonder sounds like it could’ve been released a decade before that one; I’ve been singing “fire, fire, fire” to myself since mid-July.

Click on links for full reviews.

Tamia – Leave It Smokin’ (8)
Róisín Murphy – Plaything (7)
Kacey Musgraves – High Horse (6)
Let’s Eat Grandma – It’s Not Just Me (5)
Teyana Taylor – WTP (5)
Childish Gambino – Summertime Magic (4)
Twice – Dance the Night Away (4)
Bebe Rexha – I’m a Mess (4)
Two Feet – I Feel Like I’m Drowning (4)
Jonas Blue ft. Jack and Jack – Rise (2)
Kygo ft. Imagine Dragons – Born to Be Yours (0)

The best EPs

Check my list. If you heard not another note of these acts, these extended play releases would represent their best. Unfortunately, Americans, suspicious of singles because they lack the gravity of full albums, don’t dominate. Yet if you remain wedded to the version of an act with which you were besotted in your youth, 1981/1982 and Poguetry in Motion and Ghost Town retain their power to charm. The line between mixtape and EP, of course, has blurred in recent years. But You Cain’t Use My Phone has the emotional tug of an EP, though.

1. New Order – 1981/1982
2. Lady Gaga – The Fame Monster
3. Suede – Stay Together
4. Pavement – Pacific Trim
5. The Specials – Ghost Town
6. The B-52’s – Party Mix
7. Pere Ubu – Datapanik in the Year Zero
8. Erykah Badu – But You Cain’t Use My Phone
9. Miguel – Art Dealer Chic series
10. Nick Lowe – Bowi
11. Gang of Four – Another Man, Another Dollar
12. Pogues – Poguetry in Motion
13. Mission of Burma – Signals, Calls and Marches
14. U2 – Under a Blood Red Sky
15. R.E.M. – Chronic Town
16. My Bloody Valentine – You Made Me Realise
17. Arctic Monkeys – Who the Fuck are Arctic Monkeys
18. N.W.A. – 100 Miles and Runnin’
19. Azealia Banks – 1991
20. Buzzcocks – Spiral Scratch