And now for a stroll down memory lane… The sound of decades past.
Five (5!) of my favorite albums celebrated anniversaries last month – here is a short and sweet explanation of why you should revisit these classics.
Notable October 2009 release:
Built to Spill – There Is No Enemy
No hits here, but folks- this thing is a consistently good time. “Hindsight” is some of Doug Martsch’s finest songwriting, while “Good Ol’ Boredom” is a well-written song disguised as a jam-band riff exercise. “Things Fall Apart” is one of my favorite tracks to see them perform live, and laments that no matter how much we plan or how hard we try, entropy and chaos rule. However, my highlight is “Oh Yeah” which finds Doug outwardly doubting the presence of a higher power over some fantastic guitar work. There is No Enemy is often overlooked amid their catalogue but will stand the test of time.
Spotify album link: https://open.spotify.com/album/0K9faPKnNlkRdPyUdLgEoL?si=q3oR_s-ySlWFdtwz1i4uHQ
Notable October 1999 release:
Stone Temple Pilots – No 4
After ruling rock radio for nearly a decade, STP felt like a band just waiting to implode. Volatile frontman Scott Weiland and his drug problems got all the headlines, and after their mediocre third album many had their doubts about STP’s sustainability. This proved prescient, but on their fourth effort they came back with a vengeance. Sure, most of this is more polished than their grungy debut, but it has some incredible songs. “Church On Tuesday” and “Sex & Violence” are both guilty pleasures that can pick me up immediately. If you want to rock out, “Down” and “No Way Out” are no-brainers. “I Got You” and the unbelievably vulnerable beauty of “Atlanta” are highlights as well.
Spotify album link: https://open.spotify.com/album/0NgdZp0Z9HGsowYxPBYQSV?si=8rvfb197SmGVEeWevVio2A
Notable October 1989 releases:
Neil Young – Freedom
After leaving his Reprise record label in the early 80s and floundering for most of the decade (although some of his Geffen work is underappreciated, I will posit), Neil had a massive “comeback” with this album and the Bush/Gulf War protest jam “Rockin’ in the Free World”. Lost on most casual fans is the fact that this record is among the most diverse and impressive of Neil’s career. The sparse quiet/loud grunge of “Don’t Cry” foretells the masterwork that would be Ragged Glory, “Eldorado” harkens back to the old west, and “Too Far Gone” is a classic coffee-shop Neil number.
Spotify album link: https://open.spotify.com/album/3uOOKcr91I3Br0Rtmu4zdT?si=E0gKu4zFRSeoSGuAdHTLHQ
Nine Inch Nails – Pretty Hate Machine
Trent Reznor’s debut LP is a monster, and a template for the many artists who followed his footsteps (or tried to). A crash course in heavy, brooding angst and pain, this was more thoughtful and complete than nearly anything that was being recorded at the time. “Head Like a Hole” and “Down In It” were both radio smashes, but the deeper cuts hit the hardest. The haunting hurt and yearning of “Something I Can Never Have” gives me chills when I hear it now, thirty years later. “The Only Time” took the sounds of the 80s and made them sound dangerous and seductive. I could go on and on – this is a must-listen for all rock fans.
Spotify album link: https://open.spotify.com/album/3umFHeEpc4yLXtrRcv9gLN?si=cPv9WsanTRKrBTpOAQ1aVw
Notable October 1969 release:
Led Zeppelin – II
After the smash success of their debut eponymous album, there would be absolutely no sophomore slump with these lads. From the opening guitar riff of “Whole Lotta Love”, this thing sucks you in. The best part about this record is that for 41 minutes it brings the top shelf goods, whether the familiarity of “Heartbreaker/Living Loving Maid”, the groovy genius of “Ramble On”, or John Bonham’s killer drum work on “Moby Dick”.
Spotify album link: https://open.spotify.com/album/58MQ0PLijVHePUonQlK76Y?si=tdeXbW1LTIGARFAFDp_-vg