Monday, May 20, 2013

Favorite Albums of 1968

Sorry this one took so long. A lot happening, mostly with people around me has taken up a lot of my time. Some good things, some shit things. So yeah, moving on...

So, 1968 is a year. And music came out in it, and I like some of it, and this is the music stuff that I like. Yeah, list time!

10. Creedence Clearwater Revival - Creedence Clearwater Revival: CCR is one of my first 60's-early 70's loves. Their music is a weird mix of bluegrass, southern rock, and blues that 45 years after their debut, I still haven't heard anywhere else. That being said, most debuts by great bands fall under one of two categories. You have the albums where the band puts all their energy and musical creativity into a masterpiece of an album, or the albums where you can tell the band was still growing as musicians and songwriters, while having a resemblance of their better work, they tend to be more formulaic and less dynamic. Unfortunately "Creedence Clearwater Revival" falls under the latter. You can tell it's CCR, it's got their sound, but all of the songs sound the same and while they sound great, it gets old after a while, making the album as a whole their least appealing and most boring. That being said, I still really enjoy this album. It just doesn't hold up as well as their future work.

9. Iron Butterfly - In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida: Honestly, the title track alone is almost enough to make this list, but the other tracks, all five of them, are good as well. Ranging from prog rock, to some of the earliest Stoner Rock, Iron Butterfly's debut is a hallmark in music history that's solid, unique and innovative throughout, ending in one of rock's most epic and amazing songs. Fans of Kyuss, Clutch, Deftones, Fu Manchu, and even White Zombie and Tool, bow to Iron Butterfly, because without them, I doubt those bands would exist.

8. The Amboy Dukes - Journey to the Center of the Mind: I love me some Ted Nugent. The Amboy Dukes are horribly underrated when people talk about his career. Though not as good as their first album, this is a great follow-up, and it's not 1967 so it was able to slide into the list. But it wasn't just The Nuge that made this band great, vocalist John Drake and rhythm guitarist Steve Farmer are also very underappreciated talents and songwriters that help take the songs to another level along with Ted's obviously great guitar work. This album, as hinted at in its title, is much more jazzy and psychedelic than Nugent's solo work. It's probably the most "laid back" album Ted Nugent would ever be associated with, but it's still a great album well worth your time, for interesting perspective on the wild man's career if nothing else.

7. The Kinks - Village Green Preservation Society: Ah, The Beatles are still going strong. Yeah, this sounds so much like a Beatles album, you'd be justified in confusing the two. There's some Kinks flavor, but you can tell they were trying to ride The Beatles' popularity. There are more mellow tracks, more vocal harmonies, and more instrumental experimentation. Honestly, they pull it off pretty well. I enjoy The Kinks in general, but as a huge Beatles fan, you can't go wrong with sounding like them. Especially if you actually have the talent to do so effectively. That makes it surprising that it never charted on release, only selling approximately 100,000 copies. But it's been highly praised in hindsight and even landed around the middle of  Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Also, that name is pretty awesome.

6. The Zombies - Odessey and Oracle: This is widely considered the shining moment of The Zombies' career. Nines and tens, 4.5 and 5 stars, 100th Greatest Album of All Time according to Rolling Stone. It's experimental, complex and engaging both musically and lyrically, and enjoyable throughout. This is especially impressive when you consider that the album was recorded in a meager and hectic six months. How they sounded so relaxed during this whole thing is beyond me. An amazing album, buuuuuuut I still prefer their self-titled debut.

5. Blue Cheer - Vincebus Eruptum: This is one of the most revolutionary albums ever created in my humble and correct opinion. Blue Cheer established the Metal guitar sound with this album. Every track is heavy and atmospheric. Just listen to the riffs on songs like "Summertime Blues" (classic among classics) and "Doctor Please". There are only six tracks, but they're all jam-packed with musical goodness. Oh yeah, they started that trend of multiple six to seven-minute epic tracks in rock and metal. Also, they kick ass.

4. Cream - Wheels of Fire: If Eric Clapton had an album in the 60's or 70's it's probably going to be on my list for that year. The man is a master of his craft, and it's just amplified when he's surrounded by so much talent. Honestly, this album could have still been #10 or 9 if every track was just "White Room". Easily one of my favorite songs of all time. it's so melodic and chilling, while still energetic, and the metaphorical lyrics are so high, I just love everything about it. But the rest of the album actually measures up surprisingly well. I still wouldn't make your best track ever the album lead, but every track is really good guitar-driven Blues Rock by some of the greatest to ever do it.

3. The Rolling Stones - Beggars Banquet: The beginning of the great Stones albums. I can't say it's their best, as it's a tad on the one-dimensional side compared to some of their later work. Just about every song is a mid-paced, bluesey/acoustic song, full of random instrumentation and laid back vocal melodies, no matter the subject matter. While it loses points for having so little variety, the Stones pull this off so well, it's astounding. Every song is a great listen, and if you're in the mood for the kind of music this album provides, you could listen to the whole thing over and over and still be entranced. That and it has "Sympathy for the Devil" on it. Discussion over.

2. The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Electric Ladyland: While I've never been to Electric Ladyland, I sure as balls love their music. This is probably The Experience's greatest work from a technical standpoint. Every song is complex both musically and lyrically and everyone is in the prime of their performing careers. Unfortunately, I didn't grow up with this album as much as Are You Experienced? and for that alone, I think I don't like this one quite as much, but it's still an amazing album that's a clinic in writing music.

1. The Beatles - The Beatles (The White Album): It's rare that a band makes a double album and I end up actually glad they did. Almost every time, what they make turns out to be about half good, and half filler, if that. But as we all know, The Beatles. What about them? Just... The Beatles. They simply don't write bad songs. I think this is my third, maybe fourth favorite Beatles album, but it's still an absolute classic. While every song isn't stellar, every song is really good at the very least. If they released the best songs as a single album, it'd be a masterpiece, but the extra songs are of great enough quality that I'm glad they exist.

Again, sorry that took so long. I shall make an effort to be more consistent. Also, I'm gonna start doing random years. It feels too boring to both the readers, and the creator to be moving at such a slow pace. That and I can talk about all kinds of genres and such. Anyway, look forward to that, probably next Friday-ish, unless I get really bored this weekend. So yea, @SycoMantis1991 on Twitter, Sycotic Sliloquies on Facebook, comment, etc.

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