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Mark Lanctot
2006-08-24, 16:00
Just wanted to start a thread about albums that you wouldn't think would be good, but are.

I'll start out with:

Billy Idol - Devil's Playground.

I know, I know! Jeez, you should see the cover!

Despite what you might think, an aging (and sneering!) rocker trying to recapture the heady days of the height of his success, it's not like that at all.

There's a tremendous variety on this album, from hard rock to Tom Petty-esque "dreamy" rock, to metal, to industrial/electronic/techno. Some surprisingly good lyrics too.

Siduhe
2006-08-25, 01:55
Lily Allen - Alright, Still

Really wanted to hate this given famous (to the UK at least) father(s) and all the hype, but it's surprisingly good.

Light, self-deprecating and very funny in places. Probably not something I'll put on in five years time, but a great summertime pop album.

Morbius
2006-08-25, 02:52
Lily Allen - Alright, Still

Really wanted to hate this given famous (to the UK at least) father(s) and all the hype, but it's surprisingly good.

Light, self-deprecating and very funny in places. Probably not something I'll put on in five years time, but a great summertime pop album.
I hate to say it but I agree!!
Can't stand Keith Allen and was looking forward to slagging off his daughters attempts at pop stardom....but...smile is a great pop song and sounds really good amongst all the other pop pap you hear. Haven't heard the album yet but all reports seem to say it's really rather good.
The scary thing is that Paris Hiltons album is getting good reviews in most places!!! Haven't heard anything from this yet but based on how wrong I was with Lily Allen I guess I better wait until I've heard it before passing judgement!!!!!

Kyle
2006-08-25, 04:55
Kelly Clarkson, "The Trouble With Love Is" from the soundtrack for the movie "Love Actually." This is surprisingly good pop with a blues/gospel feel to it. I never watch "American Idol" and was prepared to dismiss Kelly Clarkson, but this song has weight. I'm not familiar with any of her other work.

funkstar
2006-08-25, 07:06
Thom York - The Eraser
I expected this to not be as good as i hoped, but was pleasantly surprised, i actually really like it

John Martyn - An Introduction to John Martyn
I'd heard the name on 6Music a few times when they were seaking about other interesting artists, so when i saw this for about 5 in HMV's sale i gave it a go. I'm quite impressed Only listened to it once so far, but it has potential.

autopilot
2006-08-25, 09:41
Thom York - The Eraser
I expected this to not be as good as i hoped, but was pleasantly surprised, i actually really like it

Really? I heard that most people would comit suicide the moment they hear this, a bit depressing. But i might have to check it out myself now.

As for me, the album of the week which i really did not expect much from is - Hot Chip: The Warning. Brilliant electro pop, great summer BBQ listening.

snarlydwarf
2006-08-25, 09:44
The album I get the most strange looks for recommending is William Shatner's Has Been.

And, no, I am not kidding. (I usually introduce it with, "there is an album with Ben Folds, Joe Jackson, Aimee Mann, Henry Rollins, Adrian Belew..." instead of saying it is Shatner.)

Philip Meyer
2006-08-25, 12:07
>The album I get the most strange looks for recommending is William
>Shatner's Has Been.
>
I heard one Shatner song - Common People. I hated the original song (Pulp). I should also of hated Shatner's version, but there was something about it that kept my concentration until the end of the track.

I can't admit to saying it was actually good music though - bit of a novalty. Still, better than the original :-)

Phil

Mike Meyer
2006-08-25, 13:15
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Marilyn Manson's Golden Age of Grotesque. At least the first half of it. Just gotta get past his freakiness and there's some good hard rock music there.

funkstar
2006-08-26, 03:39
The album I get the most strange looks for recommending is William Shatner's Has Been.
I'd forgotten this was released. i meant to find a copy when it first came and and people were speaking about it. Sounded interesting :)


Really? I heard that most people would comit suicide the moment they hear this, a bit depressing.
I've always liked Radiohead, and this is just an extension of what they do really. Might be a bit more sampled and twiddly, with some heavier beats, but it is the same feel.

notanatheist
2006-08-26, 22:16
I've heard good things about the latest Jars of Clay album Good Monsters. It rocks with inspiration from Jimi Hendirx and Beatles. Hope to have it for a listen sometime tomorrow.

Skunk
2006-09-08, 09:48
Ween's Shinola is surprisingly good, considering it was all tracks that didn't make it onto albums (the proper name for which I'm at a loss for...outakes?).

They run the gamut of genres as usual. It rocks with influences ranging from ZZ Top to Prince. Of course there are a couple tracks that some might consider off-color, like 'Tastes good on the Bun' and 'Big Fat F---'.

Jon
2006-09-27, 17:11
The album I get the most strange looks for recommending is William Shatner's Has Been.
You haven't lived until you've heard Shatner's version of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", from his 1968 album "The Transformed Man". He does a choice cover of "Mr. Tambourine Man" too. They are soooo bad, that they are great!

You can see/hear a slightly modified version of the original here: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7258896287489458266

Mark Lanctot
2006-09-27, 17:22
You haven't lived until you've heard Shatner's version of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", from his 1968 album "The Transformed Man". He does a choice cover of "Mr. Tambourine Man" too. They are soooo bad, that they are great!

You can see/hear a slightly modified version of the original here: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7258896287489458266

Lucy! [pause] In the sky! [longer pause] With [short pause] DIAMONDS!!!!!!

More listenable than Nimoy's "Ballad of Bilbo Baggins", although not quite as horrifying: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCAMfoWeyNI

Jon
2006-09-27, 17:25
Wham's first album, "Fantastic", back when they were called "Wham U.K." (at least in the U.S.). That album was great ... they did an outstanding cover of The Miracles' "Love Machine".

But boy, they sure went downhill quickly after that ... "Wake me up before you Go-Go" ... gag!

Same thing happened with the English Beat ... but at least their first several albums were all very good, until they dropped a few bandmates and became "General Public".

Hmmm ... maybe we need a new thread, called "Good Bands Gone Bad" ... I've got a lot of those, unfortunately!

Mark Lanctot
2006-09-27, 17:36
INXS - Kick just sounds fantastic on my system.

I believe it was released at the pinnacle of CD production, when the recording engineers knew how to use the medium and before they started hyper-compressing everything, which started only a few years after.

snarlydwarf
2006-09-28, 09:40
You haven't lived until you've heard Shatner's version of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", from his 1968 album "The Transformed Man". He does a choice cover of "Mr. Tambourine Man" too. They are soooo bad, that they are great!

Yes, and I have a copy of that album, though Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds itself is just half the track. Very odd album, with pieces of Cyrano de Bergerac and Shakespeare spoken over-dramatically and combined with spoken versions of popular music of the 60's...

But Has Been is entirely different: sure, it is still "spoken," but it is good. If the purpose of music is to express emotion, it succeeds where most albums fail. Songs about growing old, about the death of a spouse, estrangement with children. All very convincing and personal.

It isnt a funny album, though there are certainly funny parts of it (his long exchange with Henry Rollins is hilarious, for example), but songs like "What Have You Done," about finding his wife dead in the swimming pool smack you in the face:

My love was supposed to protect her
It didn't
My love was supposed to heal her
It didn't
You had said don't leave me
And I begged you not to leave me
We did.

http://www.shatnerhasbeen.com/ has some samples of it.

Mark Lanctot
2006-10-06, 17:52
From my recently discovered cache of CDs (http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=28305), Blizzard of Ozz sounds really, really good. It's the remastered version. I guess that "22 bit SBM digital remaster" did do something.

In particular, I never used to like the classical guitar "Dee" but it sounds incredible with the SB3.

Mark Lanctot
2006-11-02, 16:36
Holy cr*p, I never liked Jamiroquai before I got my Transporter, but they sound damn good on the Transporter!

I don't know what it is about their music, but man, the Transporter is just diggin' it.

I think due to a lot of HF content? Big vocals? Wide separation? Unusual instrumentation?

random_tox
2006-11-03, 10:28
>
I heard one Shatner song - Common People. I hated the original song (Pulp) ... Still, better than the original :-)

Phil

I'm hurt, Phil!
;)

Maybe a bit poppy, but Pulp's 'Common People' is lyrically brilliant and the sincere passion of the vocal performance put's Pulp's Jarvis Cocker among the ranks of my favorite male vocalists: Matt Johnson of The The, Brandon Perry of Dead Can Dance, and Zep's Jimmy Page.

tomsi42
2006-11-04, 06:24
Holy cr*p, I never liked Jamiroquai before I got my Transporter, but they sound damn good on the Transporter!

I don't know what it is about their music, but man, the Transporter is just diggin' it.

I think due to a lot of HF content? Big vocals? Wide separation? Unusual instrumentation?

Difficult to say. A lot of HF might be a hint. I have found that some albums or songs sounds distorted, and I have thought it was a bad recording. But it was my kit. Last example is Kari Bremnes "Det alle veit" which can sound like it's clipping on the high notes. On proper equipment it doesn't...

funkstar
2006-11-04, 15:01
Another surprising album is Empire by Kasabian. Not really sure why i bought it, i think it was on offer or something.

Anyway, i didn't get round to listening to it until recently, and i actually really like it.

I was sure i had their last album, but it's no where to be found, isn't listed in my old Access music database, nor has it been ripped. So it looks like i never actually owned it despite what i thought. It's usually the other way round, i've bought several duplicates when i forget i already own something :P

peejay
2006-11-09, 22:23
Grace Jones - Slave to the Rhythm was a surprising listen. She's a complete nutter which comes over in the conversational pieces of the album - this album conducts itself like an interview which is embellished with a variety of musical styles and sonically pretty amazing. Don't know why I bought this - I think I liked the cover.....check it out.

Mark Lanctot
2006-11-13, 15:39
Fleetwood Mac - Say You Will.

It's a newer album (2003). I'm surprised. I thought it would be overly light and love-song-y, but that's not the case.

It sounds very, very good, especially on the Transporter.

peejay
2006-11-13, 16:44
Fleetwood Mac - Say You Will.

It's a newer album (2003). I'm surprised. I thought it would be overly light and love-song-y, but that's not the case.

It sounds very, very good, especially on the Transporter.

I agree, the only thing I noticed was how loud the recording is (at least on my cut) above most of my other recordings. I'm not sure how accurate the SB3's VU meters are, but if they were the hardware variety, they would almost wrap themselves around the upper limiting stops during some tracks......

Mark Lanctot
2006-11-13, 21:42
I agree, the only thing I noticed was how loud the recording is (at least on my cut) above most of my other recordings. I'm not sure how accurate the SB3's VU meters are, but if they were the hardware variety, they would almost wrap themselves around the upper limiting stops during some tracks......

Yeah - exactly! My RG values were -11.5 to -12 dB! This ain't exactly the kind of music designed to blast out of your speakers - what were they thinking?

The volume level is similar to later Red Hot Chili Peppers albums?

4mula1
2006-11-14, 04:42
One album that I thought I'd give a try based on a friend's review was The Bends by Radiohead. There are only two CDs in my collection that I get really protective of, The Bends, and my Pearl Jam Live at Soldier Field bootleg. The Bends was different to anything I was listening to at the time, and really blew me away. I expected it to be decent, but twelve years on to still be one of my absolute favorites...very good.

peejay
2006-11-15, 05:04
Yeah - exactly! My RG values were -11.5 to -12 dB! This ain't exactly the kind of music designed to blast out of your speakers - what were they thinking?

The volume level is similar to later Red Hot Chili Peppers albums?

excuse my ignorance, Mark, but could you please explain (to a person who studied electronics, but some years ago) what your RG values are? Thanks

Mark Lanctot
2006-11-15, 08:44
excuse my ignorance, Mark, but could you please explain (to a person who studied electronics, but some years ago) what your RG values are? Thanks

Sorry I used an abbreviation where it might not be obvious! I hate that.

I was referring to ReplayGain (http://replaygain.hydrogenaudio.org/). Executive summary: it's how far away from 83 dB a track/album is. So -11 dB RG means the track averages 94 dB, i.e. very loud!

In addition to being well-supported in SlimServer for both FLAC and MP3, I've been using it recently to judge how well-masted a CD is. I've noticed CDs mastered in the mid-80s had slightly negative or even positive RG values, but they've been climbing ever since, reaching -10 and -11 dB with recent CDs.

Shameful as it indicates the track is most likely clipped, which is confirmed by looking at the WAV in a program like Audacity.

Among my collection, my Red Hot Chili Peppers albums are very badly clipped in spots. I'm thinking primarily of Parallel Universe from Californication. When he hits the words "California Kings" in the chorus it is very obviously clipped.

The tops of the waveforms are gone, those bits can never be recovered now by any method. One only hopes the studio masters were not so badly clipped, or it's gone forever.

As I said, I wonder why Fleetwood Mac went for this car radio/iPod style of hyper-compression? Their musical style doesn't fit with the "make our CD louder than anyone else" attitude.

On a side note, does anyone know if there's a limit to this compression? I have not seen an RG value lower than -12 dB, just above that seems to be the limit. Whether this is a physical stop, whether studios have finally stabilized on a loudness value or whether they will keep making them louder I don't know.

bdelp
2006-11-15, 09:01
Dread Zeppelin -1990- Un-Led-Ed
Bought this album as a joke when it came out. Led Zeppelin covers to a reggae beat with an Elvis impersonator for lead singer.
It works very well......probably one of my top 25 albums.
BD

Mark Lanctot
2006-11-15, 09:28
Dread Zeppelin -1990- Un-Led-Ed
Bought this album as a joke when it came out. Led Zeppelin covers to a reggae beat with an Elvis impersonator for lead singer.
It works very well......probably one of my top 25 albums.
BD

I can remember listening to that at a friends' place when we were studying for exams when I was in university.

I can remember it was funny, catchy and well-done.

BTW study sessions like that didn't really work as it turns into a big party. :-) It was out in farm country and myself and a group of 20-somethings had the whole place to ourselves and the tunes were turned up really loud. All I remember about that is Dread Zeppelin, catnaps between 4 and 6 AM and calculus.

Skunk
2006-11-15, 10:02
I had Un-led-ed too, but gave it away a couple years ago when cleaning out (the house). I'd kind of like to hear it now!

4mula1
2006-11-15, 11:43
...Heartbreaker Hotel...

peejay
2006-11-18, 05:27
Yeah - exactly! My RG values were -11.5 to -12 dB! This ain't exactly the kind of music designed to blast out of your speakers - what were they thinking?

The volume level is similar to later Red Hot Chili Peppers albums?

Not sure Mark, only that as many other posts reflect in the forum, newer recordings are getting louder, thus we are losing dynamic range, which was the touted benefit of CD technology back when it was first being sold to me, late 80's if I recall and this recollection may show my age.....But let me be the one to say that this album is a gem - Stevie has lost nothing of her vocal presence. Saw her live last Feb, wow.