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Frankie's Top 30 Albums #22 - #19

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#22 Evermore DREAMS


 


WHO: A trio of young brothers from New Zealand, producing light rock. You could probably slot them somewhere in between Eskimo Joe and Coldplay. Some of their music is downright average and generic, but their debut album Dreams is anything but.

 

WHAT: I guess this is a personal album for me. It hasn’t been given the wide acclaim I think it deserves. What I first heard from the album was the hit single It’s Too Late. It’s a very well known song in Australia, but I’m not sure about the rest of the world. It definitely slotted right in the era of that time (for me) – getting out of high school, getting out from home, and having wild times your friends. My favorite song on the radio at one point. So I bought the single.

 


A year or so later I finally heard the album. It was MUCH better than I expected. I thought It’s Too Late would be a massive standout from a bunch of light, mediocre tracks. I was wrong. Dreams is a concept album. The tracks are carefully placed with the ‘dream’ journey in mind. There is no break in between songs, so everything overlaps, and it merges very well.

 

Jon Hume’s vocals are fueled with heart-wrenching emotion. His lyrics mostly deal with the problems in everyday relationships, but they feel painfully honest and his stories are realistic. You definitely come away with a sense of his person, and optimism / pessimism philosophy on life.

 

 

WHEN: Released 2004.

 

Present Listening Status – Not often. Once every four or five months. It expires a little faster than most music.

 

 

WHERE: Take this one in the car, on your way to an Evermore concert. It will definitely get you pumped ;)

 


 

WHY: Dreams is extremely consistent, with only one or two tracks that could be considered filler. Just about everything else sounds like it could be every much a single as It’s Too Late.

 

But the reason I go back to this album more than anything else, is the album’s closer Everyone (Moving On). It is ultimately the perfect soft rock epic – well thought out, delicately layered, and slowly building to a point that makes you feel as though you have finished this album’s journey standing on top of a mountain.

 

And looking back, you see your entire life unfold.

 

 

Frankie’s Track Picks

 

Everyone (Moving On)

It’s Too Late

The Unavoidable Thing Between Us

Are You Satisfied???

 

FINAL RATING: 8.7

#21 U2 ZOOROPA

 


WHO: One of the greatest rock bands of all time. Living legends. The Beatles of their time. And I’m almost glad to see they’ve been swallowed up in mainstream crap ;)

 

WHAT: U2 has a fairly large discography. They’ve been around since the 70s I believe. Could be wrong there. I’m not too familiar with their really old stuff. But when it comes down to selecting U2’s best album, there is only two it could be. Today’s winner Zooropa, and Achtung Baby.

 

Listening to both albums back to back, it is quite clear why I’ve made my choice. I’ve never been fond of Bono, or the band in general. They’re overrated. Sure they have talent, and cash, but they never seem to take any risks. There are no tales of woe within the band. They didn’t have a bunch of fans get trampled at one of their concerts. They didn’t have their keyboardist die of a heroin overdose. They didn’t split up, and then get back together.

 

I missed the memo about Bono’s quiet acoustic set at the local club.

 


For me, U2 don’t really seem like a rock band. As Jack Black would put it, they’re posers. And while some of their music might be critically acclaimed, and pleasing on the ear, you can’t really LOVE it. I can’t identify with anyone in their group. I can’t relate to their everyday lives. And while Achtung Baby does produce an extremely consistent list of songs, when the band were having their ‘Mellon Collie’ days… There’s not enough depth to it. It’s like that beautiful girl or guy you’ve had your eye on for a while, but when you talk to them you see there isn’t a connection.

 

Achtung Baby is beautiful, but Zooropa is the One.

 

First of all, Zooropa doesn’t sound like typical U2. It doesn’t sound like typical mainstream rock. It’s a musical exploration in atmosphere and mood affecting pieces. Title track and album opener Zooropa sets it up in both an equal conjunction of epic and well layered music, with creative and ambitious lyrics. The song takes you into another world. Almost effortlessly.

 

One of the biggest differences between AB and Zooropa, is that they’re not over-trying here. They don’t care if you like it or you don’t. Zooropa is such a thing unto itself, it doesn’t validate criticism. It is a work of pure originality.

 

WHEN: Released 1993.

 

Present listening status – Once every 2 – 3months.

 

WHERE: This album is actually often played after my encores. After I’ve finished up listening to all my music for the day / night, but I just want a little more. It’s a continuation into the land of tomorrow. I’ve definitely rocked out to the song Zooropa, and taken Stay with me a lot of places… But in regards to the album… It’s not a highlight or a lowlight. It just maintains the mood.

 

 

WHY: I’ve been listening to this album since its release. Out of all the albums so far I’ve reviewed, this expires the least. It still hasn’t expired. Some albums are just happy to accommodate you in all times and places.

 


Put your helmet on. And enter the world.

 

 

Frankie’s Track Picks

 

Zooropa

Stay

Lemon

The First Time

 

FINAL RATING: 8.8

#20 Zwan MARY STAR OF THE SEA


 


WHO: Zwan were a rock group formed by little known musician and lyricist … Billy Corgan. Essentially Zwan were just a replicate of BC’s former band The Smashing Pumpkins – minus key guitarist James Iha and bassist D’Arcy.

 

Despite Corgan’s allegation this was a completely ‘new’ band, I’m not sure there has ever been a single Zwan Fan, who wasn’t already diehard for SP.

 


Except maybe this guy

 

WHAT: With the ever reliable Chamberlain on drums, and BC’s contrasting vocals and rock out guitar – there was only one notable difference between this album and the last SP one.

 

Billy Corgan was happy.

 


The record offered up is largely consistent. Most of it gels extremely well, and nothing feels out of place. Songs that were initially difficult to get into (Endless Summer, Baby Let’s Rock!) became growers. In the lead up to Mary Star’s release, I only heard one Zwan recording – a bad quality show from 2001 at the Glass House.

 

Most of it sounded good – with cover Jesus, I being the stand out. There were also a ton of other good songs that don’t appear on the album.

 

But it was actually the encore – So I died – that kept me coming back for more. It was such a sad song. I could literally cry to it.

 

While still remaining a great song on the album, So I died with a Broken Heart has lost a lot of it’s punch. It kind of reminds me of Owata actually. When I first heard that live from the Cleveland Show, I was in absolute heaven. The studio (while good YES) does seem like a retread.

 

And a lot of this album sounds like a retread. Which is why it will never hold it’s ground up against the best music ever recorded, The Smashing Pumpkins.

 

 

WHEN: Released in 2003

 

Present Listening Status – Once a month. I actually prefer Zwan’s live stuff, acoustic. Thanks DON ;)

 

 

WHERE: This was the album I first got drunk to. The song – Settle Down. Lots of fun in 2003. Mary star is still uplifting as a whole, but Billy’s comments about the music coming from a deceptive and false place (hello Paz and David) actually pull it down in the modern day.

 

 

WHY: Despite all the stigma attached, it is still a bloody good album. Without a single unlikeable song, and plenty that stand up to constant repeat… It deserves it’s place on the board. The final three songs also provide a lift to the overall album rating.

 


 

Frankie’s Track Picks

 

Jesus I / Mary Star of the Sea

Settle Down

Come With Me

 

FINAL RATING: 8.8

#19 Arcade Fire ARCADE FIRE

 


WHO: Never heard of these guys until 2008. I was going to the Big Day Out musical festival that year, and there wasn’t a whole lot of bands I cared for. My mate gave me Neon Bible to listen to a couple of days before I went, and I liked one song from it and thought the rest were ago.

 

 

Then I went to see them on the day, and they were just sensational. Like no other music act I’ve seen. At least a dozen people on stage, four or five of them singing, playing a whole range of instruments. Above all else, they rocked. It was weird because a month or so later they were one of my favorite bands, and I probably would have enjoyed the show twice as much.

 

WHAT: On Wikipedia they’re calling it an EP and not an official album, but I don’t give a shit it’s an album OK ;).

Now let’s be honest. Arcade Fire haven’t put out a bad album. I would say every album has a few absolutely sensational songs, a few nothing / bland tracks, and the rest drift consistently in between. You could argue that The Suburbs, Neon Bible, and even Funeral should be ranked as the band’s best album. It’s that close, you’re almost certain to be right.

 

So with three full studio albums on release, all post this 7 track rough EP recording, it’s clearly overmatched right?

 

Wrong.

 

It’s only seven tracks, but it’s as good as the best seven tracks on any album record. Better than that – there is no dead weight. Nothing that should be cut off. Everything is also carefully placed to perfection. With a running time of 33 minutes, it almost sounds like a supporting act set that is more intimate, less generic, than the block buster main event.

 

This album was from a band who hadn’t made it yet. And it was the reason they did.

 


 

WHEN: Released in 2003

 

Present Listening Status – At least once a fortnight.

 

 

WHERE: I love taking short walks after midnight with this playing on my earphones. The first time I ever heard it I went exploring, and it was amazing to hear a new bunch of songs while walking in a completely new place.

 

 

WHY: No Cars Go is my favorite Arcade Fire song by a long, long way. Without it here, in it’s original form, the album would be defeated. But equally important is the final supreme back to back duo of Headlights Look Like Diamonds, and Vampire / Forest Fire. Completely indefinably unto themselves.

 

Frankie’s Track Picks

 

No Cars Go

Vampire / Forest Fire

Headlights Look Like Diamonds

 

FINAL RATING: 8.9

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