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Preview: A Journey Through My Music Collection

A Journey Through My Music Collection

Basically I wrote down the titles of all my albums on tiny pieces of paper, put them in a box, select them randomly, listen and review. Sometimes I do other stuff too.

Updated: 2018-03-05T20:34:23.400-04:00


Happy Birthday


Happy Birthday by Altered Images (1981)

Strangely I found out about this band through a children's show. A cover of their song "Happy Birthday" was featured on Yo Gabba Gabba and it sounded oddly familiar so I decided to look it up (it was also on Sixteen Candles so maybe that's why). When I read more about the group they piqued my interest so I decided to check them out. They had an interesting new wave sound that reminds me a bit of a lighter Joy Division but is also not as peppy and cheery as "Happy Birthday" would suggest. There are some interesting songs on this album and a strange darkness despite seeming light on the surface. The album is very 80s but in a good way.

- Happy Birthday
- Faithless
- Love and Kisses
- Beckoning Strings

And for fun here is the clip from Yo Gabba Gabba where The Ting Tings cover the song.

Misfits/Collection 1


Misfits/Collection 1 by Misfits (1986)

I was a huge fan of the Misfits in my early 20s and listened to them constantly. It's been awhile since I've listened to them regularly so it was good to dust this one off. I really enjoyed hearing them again. You can't help but get physically involved in the music and even though they sing about weird and terrible things (1950s B horror movies is a common theme) their music is upbeat and fun. Much of the punk I love takes itself very seriously (a side effect of loving 1980s hardcore, I suppose) and the Misfits clearly did not so it's very refreshing. I still know all the words - well, at least the ones I can make out. All Music Guide recommends this album as a good place to start for someone new to the band and I can't help but agree.

- Where Eagles Dare
- Skulls
- Ghouls Night Out
- Astro Zombies
- Earth AD
Unfortunately not much to look at with these videos but the songs are there.

Ace of Spades


Ace of Spades by Motörhead (1980)

Motörhead definitely have a distinctive sound as they don't seem to fall under any one genre. They're not quite metal, not quite rock and not quite punk but they contain elements of all three. "Ace of Spades" was the first song I ever heard by them and it has never gotten old. The rest of this album is really good too but I don't think any other song stands out quite as much as "Ace of Spades". There are a couple other songs on the album that sound similar to it though ("The Hammer" and "Fire, Fire" for example). I would definitely recommend this album if you are looking for something energetic and straight forward - it would sound great in the car or at a party. It sounds refreshing even 35 years after its release.

- Ace of Spades
- Jailbait
- Live to Win



Spiceworld by Spice Girls (1997)

Hard to believe this album came out almost 18 years ago (it came out at the end of the year)! It was a huge hit with me when I was 13 years old and I remember listening to it endlessly. I think I was so excited for it to come out that everyone knew I wanted it and I got 2 copies for Christmas that year. Unfortunately it turns out it's not really that amazing of an album. The four singles ("Spice Up Your Life", "Stop", "Too Much" and "Viva Forever") are still good and enjoyable to hear now as it's been awhile. However the rest of the album is not so great. There are 3 complete throwaway mid tempo songs that now sound incredibly dated ("Saturday Night Divas", "Do It" and "Denying"), a Pepsi commercial that still sounds like a Pepsi commercial ("Move Over") and two quirky tracks that are the best of the filler ("Never Give Up on the Good Times" and "The Lady is a Vamp"). From what I recall their first album was a pretty similar breakdown. So I would say it is not essential to own this album, especially if you are a newbie - pick up the Greatest Hits instead.

- Viva Forever (My favourite at the time and my favourite now - weird ass video though. Creepy puppet Spice Girl fairies pop out of a kinder egg, seduce a young boy (?) and trap him in a giant Rubik's cube. Then his sad friend throws the Rubik's cube in a giant toy dispenser and walks away. Seriously.)



Bandwagonesque by Teenage Fanclub (1991)

Behold the album that apparently beat Nirvana's Nevermind for the Top Album of 1991 according to Spin Magazine. It seems funny now given Nevermind's staying power but I suppose that is the advantage of hindsight. That isn't to say this is a bad album because it definitely isn't. It's another one of those albums I read about in a top albums list, acquired and then never really listened to (with 1300 albums in your collection that sometimes happens). What really struck me about this album right away was two things: it sounded very 1990s and it also sounded a lot like 70s cult band Big Star. I really enjoyed this album but I will say it made me want to go listen to some Big Star rather than seek out more of Teenage Fanclub's material. I do think I will listen to it again though because I did like it.

Links below:

- The Concept
- What You Do to Me
- Is This Music? (Instrumental at the end of the album that I like)

Back After a Teensy Absence


Of 2 1/2 years. No biggie, right?

I've always enjoyed working on this blog even if life does sometimes get in the way. Life circumstances have allowed me to pick back up where I left off (at least I think so, I suppose we will see). But I have managed to get reorganized and take stock of my collection by updating the pool of items to be reviewed. So far, since I started this blog in late 2008 I have reviewed 204 albums. I have 1088 more to review so I better get cracking. There is more variety than ever before. My collection has expanded significantly since I last posted here. You really never know what you will see pop up!

Looking back on what I wrote in the past, some of my opinions have changed but I have chosen to leave the record as it stands. Tastes evolve over time so leaving proof of the that evolution is more interesting than trying to revise the past to suit where I am at now. There's no point.

I should be up in running in the next few days. I just have to finished getting organized but the bulk of the work is done. Here's hoping I can stick to it this time!

Beatles for Sale by The Beatles


Beatles for Sale by The Beatles (1964)

I have to say I was definitely less familiar with this Beatles album than I have been with many of the others. I grew up hearing Sgt. Pepper, Revolver, Rubber Soul etc all the time but I don't really recall hearing much of this one. Yes, there are the hits on here ("Eight Days a Week", "I'll Follow the Sun") but some of these songs were unfamiliar to me. There are also quite a few covers (six) which I find odd but at the same time the band was so busy when this was recorded who could blame them? They'd already released another hit album that year as well as a movie, were touring like crazy and were pretty much the world's biggest band. And even with all that going on this album is still great. Not many bands could pull that off. Sure, it's not their best but there is still lots here to enjoy. Even my 10-month-old really enjoyed it. :)

What You're Doing
- Eight Days a Week
- Rock and Roll Music

Hardcore '81


Hardcore '81 by D.O.A. (1981)

Finally some hardcore from my homeland (Canada)! This album packs 14 songs into under 20 minutes and I enjoyed every minute of it. D.O.A. is not generally one of my favourite bands from the hardcore scene but they're still pretty great. I don't know if this is an album for every one but it's certainly a good introduction to the scene if you are interested. It definitely won't be for you if you prefer slow songs.

- Fucked Up Baby (Also sometimes performed as "Fucked Up Ronnie" )

Mix Tape Fun Part 2


I did this once before like a year ago. As a recap I find an old mix tape I made years ago and give my thoughts just for something a little different.

Title: N/A
Estimated Time of Recording: 2001-ish
Recording Source: I'm thinking mostly the digital music channels on our TV at home. Around 2001 we finally got digital cable in my area but we still didn't have internet at my house. So if I wanted new songs I still had to be old school and tape them off TV. My dad had it hooked up to the stereo so I could tape and still get decent sound but I still had to wait for them to play songs I liked always ready to press record.
Taped on: a copy of Neneh Cherry's Raw Like Sushi with the tabs taped over. I don't even remember where these tapes I taped over came from but they worked I guess.

Side 1

1. "Setting Sun" - Chemical Brothers (I still like this song)
2. "Who's That Girl" - Eve (I forgot about this song. I wonder what happened to Eve?)
3. "What's Your Fantasy" - Ludacris featuring Shawnna (I remember I LOVED this song. I was so excited to finally get it lol. That's kinda funny now)
4. "Alive" - Godsmack (Wow I haven't heard these guys in forever! This isn't bad.)
5. "Crawling" - Linkin Park (From the very short period of time I liked these guys)
6. "Even Flow" - Pearl Jam

Side 2

1. "Thief" - Our Lady Peace
2. "I Hope You Dance" - LeeAnn Womack (Odd choice. Pretty sure I loved this at the time though lol. Nice message though.)
3. "Hole In My Soul" - Aerosmith (I remember I loved this at the time too. Weird, because I've never been a big Aerosmith fan.)
4. "What Would You Do?" - City High (Whoa forgot about this one. One hit wonder!)
5. And suddenly it's the ending "Livin' On a Prayer" by Bon Jovi which cuts into the beginning of some unknown song I stopped taping. I must have thought they were gonna play something else?
And that's the end. The rest is the original tape - Neneh Cherry.

Final Verdict: Well that was yet another eclectic mix from my past. Mostly eclectic because I was at the mercy of whatever song they played on the TV that I liked and wanted to tape. Must have been one of my last mix tapes since I gave up taping near the end. I would never have wasted precious tape like that otherwise. :P

Tonics and Twisted Chasers


Tonics and Twisted Chasers by Guided By Voices (1996)

Oh, how I love Guided By Voices. Robert Pollard is one of my heroes. He is an amazingly prolific songwriter. I have tons of their albums and EPs and I still don't have everything there is out there. This is an album I have overlooked up until now since there are just so many and that's too bad. I really enjoyed it! My favourite things about GBV is the lo-fi production, beautiful melodies and quirky lyrics and song titles. This album doesn't disappoint in these key areas. However, maybe not the best album for GBV newbies - better to try Bee Thousand or Alien Lanes.

Thinking of starting a new feature


I really enjoy writing posts for this blog when I have time but unfortunately this requires that I set aside at least 90 minutes every time I want to post. I need this time to listen to an entire album closely, form an opinion, articulate my opinion and find suitable videos to link to. With a 4-month-old baby around I don't always have the time to do all of these things in one sitting.

But I would like to update this blog more often and I have an idea for a new column.

Awhile ago I picked up a digital copy of all Rolling Stone magazines from the first issue in 1967 to 2007. Rolling Stone is known for compiling many best of, greatest albums, etc lists. So I was thinking I would start a new column where I revisit some of these lists - talk about my opinion of them, mention which albums I own, offer opinions on albums I think they missed and other stuff like that. When I read these issues I've been making Word documents of these lists any way to determine how many I own (yes, I am THAT cool) so I have the info on hand.

What do you think, wise reader (Kelly)?

Man, I need to promote this blog more :)

The Number of the Beast


The Number of the Beast by Iron Maiden (1982)

I've been on a bit of a metal kick lately so I was really happy to pick out this album today. This is truly a classic album that seems to often get overlooked by nonmetal people. It's a great album from start to finish with songs that you can rock out to but are super catchy at the same time. This is the band's first album with singer Bruce Dickinson and while I am not always one for operatic vocals I think his voice really suits the music and is part of what makes it so great (I was not as much of a fan of previous singer Paul Di'Anno). I definitely recommend this album to metal fans, although I likely don't have to because they are probably already aware so instead I will recommend it to non-metal fans. Give it a chance, you may be surprised.

Significant Other


Significant Other by Limp Bizkit (1999)

Rather than writing a formal review for this one I am going to let the notes I made while listening be my review.

- Based on the lyrics of this album Fred Durst is the most wronged man in history.
- I do have to say it's a better album than Three Dollar Bill, Yall$- not that that is hard.
- "N 2 Gether Now" is probably the best song because it features someone who can actually rap (Method Man) and the listener gets some sweet merciful peace in the form of no Fred Durst for a minute or two.
- This album is so turn of the millennium it hurts.
- Fred Durst is so juvenile here, seriously. I'm hoping in the last 13 years he's matured a little bit. After all he's got to be like 45 now (fact check: he's 41).
- Interestingly, some of the interludes in between the songs are better than the songs themselves. There's some song sung by a woman about a goat that's kinda fun somewhere in the middle of the album and a funky bass line after "Trust?"- maybe it's to make up for how bad the next song is. "No Sex" = I really, really don't want to know.
- All things considered, the actual music here isn't bad. A bit dated and not really my thing now, but still. Get a new frontman guys, the world will understand.
- Agh! "A Lesson Learned" sounds broken.
- I think this may be the first time I've ever listened to the entire "Outro". I've never had time for bullshit like that until now, apparently. What a bunch of nonsense.

More ABBA Gold


More ABBA Gold by ABBA (1993)

When I was about 8 I suddenly decided I was a huge ABBA fan. I'm not entirely sure how this came about as this definitely wasn't music my parents listened to and besides my parents, MuchMusic and our one (very bad) local radio station were the only places I could really discover new music. Anyway, for a year or two around that time I was an ABBA fanatic. I started with the first ABBA Gold and eventually got this one. I definitely listened to this one less than Gold as I don't really remember all of these songs. With good reason. Some of this really isn't that great. Even though I'm not an ABBA fanatic anymore I still identify ABBA music as having a certain level of quality. I don't always feel it here. In fact, the songs I like the best on this compilation are the darker, post-divorce, early 80s ABBA especially the very poignant "The Day Before You Came". A lot of the other earlier stuff seems pretty cheesy now especially ballads like "I Wonder (Departure)" which sounds like something out of a musical (then again I hate musicals maybe if I liked them I would feel differently). I definitely don't think this is the best ABBA compilation to start with. The original Gold is far, far better.

When I was a kid "Summer Night City" was my number one fave. :)

Happy 2012!


Annnnnnd we're back! My holiday blogging hiatus ended up being a tad longer than I wanted but hey, I went away for 2 weeks and have a 3 month old, so what can ya do?

I've also started a new Twitter account to be exclusively related to this blog - @vanessastunes. It will be a place to wax poetic about music or whatever.

So since I am already rambling, any New Year resolutions? I never really seriously make them but this year I am going to work on being smarter with my finances. Other than that I'm already working on losing the baby weight and have been on an exercise program, don't indulge in any substances (except maybe caffeine), spend plenty of time with my family and am pretty content for the most part so not much to choose from. I'm definitely not complaining!

Oh, I suppose I could make a resolution to blog more. Or promote my blog more. We'll see what happens there especially as my daughter grows and becomes more mobile.

Anyway hope everyone enjoyed their NYE celebrations and are on track for a fabulous 2012!

Virtual Advent Tour - My Favourite Christmas Tunes



I'm doing something a little different than usual today for my post. My friend Kelly hosts a Christmas blog tour every year called the Virtual Advent Tour where bloggers all over the world sign up to post something about the holidays. As my contribution to the tour I am going to share some of my favourite Christmas songs.

I must admit that while I love the Christmas season and obviously really love music of all different kinds, I'm not that big of a fan of most Christmas music. Maybe it's because I've heard too much of the same stuff year after year, or that a lot of it is really quite cheesy - there, I said it. Also, after Canadian Remembrance Day (November 11 for those not familiar) and sometimes as soon as November 1 it seems Christmas in general gets shoved down our throats and the music plays a big role in that. I work in a place where I have music piped into my office and we listen to the same Christmas station 2 months straight. Last year it nearly drove me insane - especially that Paul McCartney "Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastime" song. This year I get to avoid it a bit as I am on maternity leave so maybe I can feel more in the spirit with the Christmas tunes. I'm not a grinch I swear!

All that being said there are still some Christmas songs I just can't get sick of and that always put me in the spirit. Here they are.

"Fairytale of New York" by The Pogues and Kristy MacColl

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"Christmas in Hollis" by Run-DMC
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"Hard Candy Christmas" by Dolly Parton
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"Mele Kalikimaka" by Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters
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"Christmas Vacation" by Mavis Staples (Theme to National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation - my #1 favourite Christmas movie)
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"Do They Know It's Christmas" by Band Aid
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Tiffany - Greatest Hits


Tiffany - Greatest Hits by Tiffany (1996)


When I was a kid I was a pretty big Tiffany fan (although I did like Debbie Gibson better). This was really quite random as I was a toddler at the height of her popularity, but whatever. This album collects her few big hits and less popular singles, which she actually had more of than actual hits. A lot of this music really hasn't aged well at all and I'm not sure which has aged worse - the ballads or the dance tracks. There are some seriously cheesy arrangements to be found here. There may be a hint of nostalgia here for me for the songs I liked as a kid but for the most part that doesn't even cloud my judgment about this music. It's mostly pretty bad even for late 80s/early 90s pop music. Can't say I'm that surprised she had more singles than failed than hits. Seriously, WTF is with the song "Mr. Mambo"?

- I Saw Him Standing There
- Could've Been
- All This Time

Need You Now


Need You Now by Lady Antebellum (2010)


I'm not one to listen to a lot of new country so I am not sure why I own this album. I did like the title track when it was a big single but beyond that I don't know what would inspire me to pick this up. Must have been one of those moments where I felt like trying something new, I have a lot of those hence why I have such a huge and random collection of music. ANYWAY, I think part of the reason I don't listen to a lot of new country boils down to one crucial fact - it just doesn't interest me that much. I wouldn't go so far as to say I hate it like a lot of people seem to, I like the odd song and artist here and there, but as a whole I just can't get into it. And that's largely how I feel about this album. I'm thinking I'll probably just get rid of it now (this really doesn't happen much) because I just can't see me listening to it ever again. It's not bad, it's just not for me.

- Need You Now
- American Honey
- Our Kind of Love



Fantasies by Metric (2009)


Metric is a band I'm not super into. They have some really great singles and I love Emily Haines' voice but I don't spend a ton of time listening to them. These reasons enticed me enough to pick up all their albums but it hasn't been enough to listen to these albums the whole way through. I can now totally see why as aside from the singles I was pretty bored by the rest of this album. Sure it was all pleasant enough and Haines sounds great as usual but I dunno, it just didn't keep me engaged. I like to try to include non-singles in my links but I really can't in this case.

- Help I'm Alive
- Gold Guns Girls <-- Definitely my favourite song off the whole album
- Gimme Sympathy

Jealous Again


Jealous Again by Black Flag (1980)


Five songs in six and a half minutes fly by on this pre-Henry Rollins Black Flag EP. It's some good punk rock but nothing too special. I still much prefer what came later from the band as on future albums their music was about to get much more interesting than this.

- Jealous Again



Harvest by Neil Young (1972)


I've met quite a few people over the years who consider this their favourite Neil Young album. I think at one point I even agreed. However, at this time I am going to have to respectfully disagree. I'm not saying that it's a bad album by any means - it's just no longer my personal favourite. There are two songs on this album that really make it less great, "A Man Needs a Maid" and "There's a World". I'm not feeling the orchestra that are in these songs as I just don't feel they suit Young's sound or the rest of the album. Also, in regards to the lyrics to "A Man Needs a Maid" I gotta say "WTF Neil?". I don't say this from a feminist perspective necessarily as I tend not to take 40 year old song lyrics personally, but more from the perspective that it's a really freakin' weird idea for a song and not in a good way. Whatever. Aside from the those minor hiccups, there are some great songs on this album and I definitely recommend it.

- Harvest
- Old Man
- The Needle and the Damage Done

Greatest Hits...So Far!!!


Greatest Hits...So Far!!! by Pink (2010)


I wouldn't necessarily call myself a huge Pink fan. Sure, I wouldn't turn off the radio when she came on and would download the odd single here and there but I've never bought any of her proper albums. When I picked this compilation up I realized she had quite a few good (or at least decent) singles. She's been pretty consistent over her more than 10 year career. She's had a lot of hits and they're mostly pretty poppy and fit with the times when they come out but they are always unmistakably her. The older songs have even aged pretty well. This is an enjoyale compilation for the most part - I'm not a huge fan of the song "Dear Mr. President" it seems pretty cheesy to me but otherwise there are some good tunes here.

- Just Like a Pill
- U + Ur Hand
- Don't Let Me Get Me

Bad Brains


Bad Brains by Bad Brains (1982)


This is a unique album from the 80s hardcore punk era. It has some of the fastest hardcore of the time mixed with reggae tracks. It can be a little off putting the first listen if you aren't expecting it but somehow it works. I will admit that I prefer the hardcore stuff - it's some of the best stuff of the time. I've heard these songs many times but I can't seem to get sick of them. The Bad Brains would continue to evolve over the years and experiment with many genres but they were really on their game here creating blisteringly fast hardcore. It kicks the ass of anything I've heard referred to as "punk" that's come out recently, that's for sure.

- Banned in DC
- Sailin' On
- Right Brigade