Previously in the Alphabeticon: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I
Remember... this is not an attempt to exhaustively run through every album that I own... it's more of a meander through one particular set of dusty shelves.
234. The Jam – Greatest Hits
Whatever you think of Paul Weller - and I happen to think he's a twat - you surely cannot deny the brilliance of his first band. Well, I suppose you can, but I find that they're one of those bands who just seem to get better and better as I get older. The sound is very obviously rooted in the punk era, but it hasn't dated at all and the quality of the songwriting is simply brilliant. Two examples:
"They smelt of pubs and Wormwood Scrubs
And too many right wing meetings"
Just how evocative is that image? Doesn't it just perfectly conjure up an image of the thugs in that tube station? How economical is the phrasing?
"Two lovers kissing amongst the scream of midnight
Two lovers missing the tranquility of solitude"
That's poetry. Weller was in his very early twenties when he wrote those, and it's hard to believe that there have been many better lyricists. Weller is many things, but he also knew that he should get out of the Jam whilst the going was still good, breaking them up at the very peak of their commercial success - much to the disappointment of their fans and no doubt to Bruce Foxton and Rick Buckler (Morrissey once referred to Mike Joyce and Andy Rourke as "Bruce and Rick"). Actually, Foxton and Buckler are touring as "From The Jam" at the moment, packing out medium sized venues and playing nothing but Jam hits. Apparently they are very good, and I'm pleased to say that I'll be going to see them at Rock City in December. Actually, I think they'll probably be better for Weller not being there.....
235. JJ72 – JJ72
I saw this lot live not so very long ago, and they were actually pretty good, even if their moment probably past long ago. I always liked "Oxygen", but I can never get away from the lyrics to "Snow":
"Why won't it snow
Like they said it would?
What is it that they know
That I really should?"
Damn those weathermen!
236. Jet – Get Born
This is pretty straightforward RAWK music with not many frills, not much imagination and absolutely no sophistication or subtlety. Mind you, well worth it just for "Are You Gonna Be My Girl", which is a FANTASTIC song.
237. Jane's Addiction – Ritual De Lo Habitual
I bought this in the middle of my heavy metal years, and to be honest I haven't really listened to it as much over the years as I probably should have (and when I have listened to it, I've mainly concentrated on "Been Caught Stealing"...which is a great song, true, but it's not the only great song they've done). I've actually got their entire back catalogue on iTunes, so I really must give it a spin on the iPod some time.
238. James – Laid
239. James – Best
240. James – Millionaires
241. James – Whiplash
242. James – Pleased to Meet You
I love James. They're one of those bands who never seem to have quite achieved the level of success that they really deserved, and yet most people are familiar with their work - when they put out their Greatest Hits, it was a massive success and there was lots of talk about how they could finally achieve the commercial success that they so richly deserved.... they promptly released "Millionaires" - one of their finest albums - and it bombed. There really is no justice in the world. I've seen them playing live several times, but the most memorable was a gig on Thursday night at Oxford Poly, the night before they played the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury. I was due to be working in Nottingham on the Friday, but I drove down just for the gig and they were absolutely amazing. Without a shadow of a doubt, it was one of the very best concerts I have ever seen. What a band.
243. Billy Joel – Essential Billy Joel
Speaking of brilliant gigs, seeing Billy Joel at the NEC a year or so ago was an absolute joy. Ah. The man is quite simply a legend. I'm sure it's not very cool of me to say so, but I think he's one of my all time favourite song-writers. So there. Actually, now I think about it, I think I've got "The River of Dreams" on CD single somewhere too. Beat that!
244. Tom Jones – The Lead and How To Swing It
245. Tom Jones – Complete Tom Jones
Ah. Yes. Clearly he's a great big embarrassment with what looks like a wig made out of pubic hair... but Tom Jones certainly had his moments. The Greatest Hits album is essential, of course, but actually "The Lead and How to Swing It" is worth it just for "If I Only Knew", which features one of the most ridiculously sustained notes ever recorded. Remarkable. When I was 12 years old, my class once appeared onstage in front of the whole school and performed a mime to "The Green, Green Grass of Home". It was really very moving.
246. Elton John – Very Best of Elton John
Not a great favourite of mine, although he certainly has his moments. Pretty good live too, as I recall.
247. Jamie T – Panic Prevention
Blimey. Another one that I've seen live. I heard Zane Lowe playing "Sheila" a couple of times on his show and was curious enough to check out the playlists on his website to find out who it was. From there, it was only a short step across to iTunes and then to buy tickets for his gig at the teeny-tiny Social in Nottingham. He's scruffy and sounds a bit like a shambolic version of The Streets, but he's definitely got something. The record was a bit of a disappointment, but live he was really good, with echoes of The Clash. Definitely one to watch.
248. Joan as Policewoman – Real Life
Yeah... I've seen this one too. Joan Wasser backed Rufus Wainwright at the Nottingham Concert Hall back in April 2005 (and was part of his backing band). She made enough of an impression on me that I sought out the album when it came out. It featured in a number of "best of the year" type lists, but I haven't really listened to it all that much... which is a bit of a shame really, as I remember it being pretty good. I'll have to dig it out again (which I suppose is part of the point of the alphabeticon, right?)
Lost somwhere in iTunes: Jackson 5, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Jilted John, Joy Division, Judas Priest, Justified & Ancients of Mu-Mu....
Next time: Carole King! The Killers! The KLF! And more!
Shuffleathon 2007 Update
|3. Cody Bones||yes||yes|
|11. The Great Grape Ape||yes||review|
|21. Graham||"this weekend"|
|30. Max Bob||yes|
|34. Russ L||yes||review|
|36. Mike T-D||yes||yes|
'Nuff respect as always to YokoSpungeon for the original Shuffleathon concept.