Sunday, February 26, 2012

Madonna - "The Immaculate Collection"

Madonna - The Immaculate Collection
1990, Sire

1. Holiday
2. Lucky Star
3. Borderline
4. Like a Virgin
5. Material Girl
6. Crazy For You
7. Into the Groove
8. Live to Tell
9. Papa Don't Preach
10. Open Your Heart
11. La Isla Bonita
12. Like a Prayer
13. Express Yourself
14. Cherish
15. Vogue
16. Justify My Love
17. Rescue Me

Occasionally at work, when a certain co-worker is not there, we get to listen to a radio station other than the classic rock station 95.5 (Station Motto: your place for musical diversity - so long as you like Lynard Skynard and AC/DC!). The station we use an times like that is 102.9, which actually plays a decent selection of stuff from the 70's, 80's, and 90's. Every now and then this station will play some old school Madonna. This activates the nostalgia chip in my brain and I feel warm and fuzzy inside. So after a month of craving old school Madonna I bought this "greatest hits" collection that only goes up to 1990. I have to confess that I am enjoying it way more than I thought I was going to. I don't know if Madonna herself wrote the songs or some studio people, but this is some good stuff and I'm not afraid to admit it. The song selection is good but I think I'd switch out "Live to Tell," "Justify My Love," and "Rescue Me" and put something like "Dress You Up" and "Who's That Girl?" Also, I think the versions of "Like a Prayer" and "Express Yourself" are remixes and not the original versions. They're a little more electronic than I remember them.

Useless Fact: Madonna is as old as my father-in-law... and she still wears fishnet stockings.

Monday, February 20, 2012

DC Talk - "Nu Thang"

DC Talk - Nu Thang
1990, Forefront

1. When DC Talks
2. He Works
3. I Luv Rap Music
4. No More
5. Nu Thang
6. Things of this World
7. Walls
8. Talk It Out
9. Take It To the Lord
10. Children Can Live (Without It)
11. Can I Get a Witness?

My two-year old daughter's new favorite show is The Fresh Beat Band. It's about four twenty (and thirty) something teenagers at a music school. Many madcap zany adventures ensue. Each "teen" has their own "instrument." You'll notice I've put "instruments" in quotes. That's because the lone white guy, Twist, is the rapper for the group and he "plays" the turntables. When the heck did turntables become an instrument?! He doesn't even have records on them! He just sort of turns them and they make a scratching sound! ARGH! The show is much better than Barney, however.

Now where was I? Oh yeah - white men rapping. Every time we watch this show and Twist raps I get a hankerin' to hear some of this old DC Talk stuff. You know, the stuff where TobyMac rapped on every verse. He also made sure to inject a lot of "Yee-ah boyee's" in there as well. I first bought this on tape along with Sacred Warrior's Rebellion and DC Talk got more walkman time. They were also a youth group favorite. By this album TobyMac sounded much better as an MC and the songs are still pretty catchy and fun to listen to. Not quite as good as they were when I was in youth group - but what ever is? The sound is strictly early 90's hip-hop with lots of keyboard generated bass lines. If you've ever seen the finale of Sister Act 2 then you've got a good idea of what you'd be getting here (especially in the album closer, "Can I Get a Witness?").

The group had yet to take off but you could tell from this album that they were just getting started and had great things ahead of them. They also put out a video of this album but I can't remember what it's called. It had several music videos on it including "I Luv Rap Music" and "Heavenbound."

Useless Fact: Here's another entry in "Horrifying Visual Images:" Some friends and I performed "Walls" for a Sunday Evening service. We did this of our own free will and without any trace of irony. I did not wear my Hammer pants for this one. Oh, the days of innocent youth...

One last thing - does anyone know if they still do accompniment tracks? I remember my whole youth group was excited when Forefront started making them for DC Talk and ETW songs. Is that still going on? It's been so long since I've been in the "scene" that I don't know anymore.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

3 - "The Ghost You Gave To Me"

3 - The Ghost You Gave To Me
2011, Metal Blade

1. Sirenum Scopuli
2. React
3. Sparrow
4. High Times
5. Numbers
6. One With the Sun
7. The Ghost You Gave To Me
8. Pretty
9. Afterglow
10. It's Alive
11. Only Child
12. The Barrier

The Ghost You Gave To Me is another fantastic album by 3. This band is definitely going to make it into my top picks for 2012. The band's latest album sees them go a little commercial (a small smidgen) with their sound as it's a little bit more Coheed than it was previously. The production here is a lot bigger than on Wake Pig. It might sound odd, but I think this takes makes the album a little less intimate. I liked that Wake Pig sounded so clear and this one is a bit too loud and echoey. Still, an awesome album that I do not hesitate to spin again and again.

Useless Fact: The band was originally going to call this album "React." However, they decided on something that, when googled, would lead directly to them.

Monday, February 6, 2012

King, Lance - "A Moment in Chiros"

King, Lance - A Moment in Chiros
2011, Nightmare

111. A Sense of Urgency
222. Awakening
333. Manifest Destiny
444. A Given Choice
555. A Moment in Chiros
666. Dance of Power
777. Kibou
888. Infinity Divine
999. Joy Everlasting
10:10. Sacred Systems
11:11. Transformation

I'm sorry - everytime I look at the title for this album my brain says A Moment in Cheerios and I see Lance standing in front of a giant Cheerio. Anyways, like most of the CDs I got for Christmas this year A Moment in Chiros is a grower. It's sort of a concept album about searching for enlightenment and what not. It's a quite a solid, enjoyable album. Lance King's voice is a joy to listen to, as always. There's only two things I don't care for. First - while I appreciate (and agree with) the sentiment expressed in "Kibou," it's kind of slow and boring and doesn't really do anything for me. Second, your mileage may vary in regards to the spoken word parts. I usually don't like spoken word passages in anything and these seemed a little cheesy to me. Still, I quite enjoy A Moment in Cheerios... er... Chiros.

Useless Fact: "Kibou" is a song for those affected by the earthquake in Japan. Also, the liner notes indicate that this album was finished at 11:11 on 11/11/11. Pretty cool!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Megadeth - "Th1rt3en"

Megadeth - Th1rt3en
2011, Roadrunner

1. Sudden Death
2. Public Enemy No. 1
3. Whose Life (Is It Anyways?)
4. We the People
5. Guns, Drugs, & Money
6. Never Dead
7. New World Order
8. Fast Lane
9. Black Swan
10. Wrecker
11. Millennium of the Blind
12. Deadly Nightshade
13. Th1rt3en

Ever since Megadeth's 2004 reboot, Dave & co. have managed to produce consistently good albums. I'm happy to say that the trend continues with Th1rt3en. It's in the same general vein as the past few discs though I think this one is a bit more melodic and accessible than 2009's Endgame. It's more Youthanasia than Rust in Peace. Some of Megadeth's best tunes are found here too in the form of "Public Enemy No. 1" and "Whose Life (Is It Anyways?)." Longtime bassist and future seminary student, Dave Ellefson, returns to the fold for this album as well. While Th1rt3en is by no means an earth-shattering release, for fans like me it definitely hits the spot. I don't like the cover, however. It sort of looks like Vic Rattlehead is standing in front of a dingy bathroom stall.

Useless Fact: Several songs on this album aren't really "new" per se. "Sudden Death" was released on one of the Rock Band or Guitar Hero games, "New World Order" was on some other album back in the day, "Black Swan" was on a special edition of United Abominations, and "Millennium of the Blind" is an expansion of an extra track on the Youthanasia reissue. Also, there are some symbols in the liner notes that represent each of the band's albums.