To really hear an artist's work, you must look past the hit singles. The entire album is worth hearing to truly get a glimpse of it all in one body of work. Here are some of the albums I am listening to this week.
Marilyn Manson - Born Villain (2012)
This album was just released at the time of this writing, May 1. I have been a huge fan of Marilyn Manson in the past. My interest in the band has waned since 2000 or so. I'm not sure whether I have changed or the band has. A mixture of both perhaps, but I loved the band, in some ways it has shaped me as a person, but ever since 2000's Holy Wood, they have changed direction and the lyrics became ridiculous. I still have love for the past and the controversy the band attracted and I have heard every album since but have not had the interest. This brings us to this release, Born Villain. After the disappointing sales of their previous album The High End of Low, Marilyn Manson was dropped from their record label, Interscope and are now on the label Cooking Vinyl, which now includes bands such as Prodigy, Counting Crows, The Cult, and The Cranberries to name a few. Marilyn Manson claims this album is a return and there are some really good tracks here. Mr. Manson said ""On the last two records ["Eat Me, Drink Me" and "The High End of Low"], I think I started to write songs to make people feel like I was feeling rather than to make them feel something. And I was feeling like s***, so that was a really stupid thing to do," There's some great songs on here especially Hey, Cruel World, the first single No Reflection, which is a great hardrocking song, and Children of Cain. Pistol Whipped is one of the worst songs I have ever heard, unfortunately so it's a mixed bag. Not their best work, but a return to form, so bravo.. Here are some good songs from the album.
Hey, Cruel World
Tori Amos - Scarlet's Walk (2002)
I've been on a bit of a Tori Amos obsession after my last entry. Scarlet's Walk remains one of my favorite albums from this incredible artist. The album is a concept album about a girl who goes on a journey around the United States called Scarlet and is heavily influenced by the world after the events of September 11. Tori Amos has always challenged her audience but with this release I think it's an easier listen than an album like From The Choirgirl Hotel, which I feel was all over the place. There's a narrative here and it forces you to really listen closely. There are references to Native American history, pornography, and womanhood and her place in the world. I find it a very sweet record, and very melodic. It is fast becoming a favorite of mine. As the terrible events of September 11 took place, we had to look a cold, hard look on ourselves and our history. Our history, our country, is beautiful, yet we have such a dark history, especially in respect to how we treat people we view as "the other", this includes Native Americans and our attitudes toward other nations. This album comes out of those questions and attitudes. I applaud Tori for making such a great record, which I return to often. Here her influences seem extremely apparent. She is an artist whose work is influences by greats such as Stevie Nicks, Kate Bush and Joni Mitchell and these are songs which shine as brightly. Amber Waves references the movie Almost Famous and the character of the same name. A Sorta Fairytale talks about the famous highway 101 going across the west coast of America, and Virginia talks about the first state admitted into the nation and Native Americans and our great land. Here are some of my favorites.
Neuroticfish - Gelb (2005)
Neuroticfish were one of the most important bands in electronic music. They broke up shortly after this album was released but it stands as their best album. If you're a fan of bands like Depeche Mode, or Fad Gadget, this one should fit right in. Sacha's melodic vocals are very reminscent of Dave Gahan, yet are unique on it's own. I loved the cover of They're Coming To Take Me Away. This music doesn't have to be serious all of the time. It's not overproduced, it doesn't just rely on heavy beats. It's very synthy and soothing without being too corny, which happens for a lot of bands from this genre. The song Waving Hands is all about going into the wilderness as a way to reconnect with your own self is one of their best songs. I haven't really heard this album in a while but I was reminded of it recently while looking up EBM groups online. I really should be hearing more the EBM bands I used to love. The song The Bomb is apparantly about cell phones, it's super catchy too. A must hear! Some good songs from this album as as follows:
Stone Temple Pilots - Purple (1994)
Stone Temple Pilots second album sees them going a different direction than their debut album, Core. Core was more of a rock/grungeish album and Purple sees the band going a more psychedelic route. Vasoline remains a favorite of mine, with it's catchy chorus and sorta-nonsense lyrics. Pretty Penny is another song which sees a blues influence and did receive some radio play when it was first released. Scott Weiland's voice really shines on this song. This album as a whole is perfect driving music, with soothing melodies, psychedelic and glam influences and it's just a great all around record. Unglued was another song which was a huge radio hit, yet never released as a single. A must hear. Here are some great tracks:
Interstate Love Song: