Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Kinks - You Really Got Me

The Kinks – You Really Got Me
Reprise, 1964
Acquired: Father in Law, Used, 2011
Price: $0

A couple years back my father in law bought three crates of records at a garage sale for $40. Upon initial inspection, I’d assumed he’d been duped. People come into Half Price Books all the time with crates and crates of records and get their cage all rattled when you offer them $5 because it’s mostly junk, the sleeves are falling apart, the vinyl is scratched and half of it is Olivia Newton John (Author’s Note: ONJ is a recurring motif in my analogies for awful records. This is almost exclusively related to the fact that my parents’ record collection featured myriad ONJ records and a bunch of awful, scratched up compilations of 70s hits. There was a copy of Revolver, but of course it was so scratched the grooves were nonexistent. This always grinds my gears, but alas, my parents’ record buying days were pretty much the early 80s and outside of punk that era is a sonic no-mans-land.  Now, whenever I’m doing buy training with a new hire and a record buy comes in, I almost always go “So it’s almost always people bringing in like, Olivia Newton John or whatever, but you’ve gotta keep an eye out for really cool stuff buried beneath all the Olivia Newton John.”) Anyway, long story er, long at this point, I looked at these three crates of records at my in laws’ house and was like “Oof.” And sure there are plenty of the usual offenders from the 70s and 80s and most of it was pretty beat up but I did end up filling half a crate with stuff that was actually pretty right on. So this Kinks record was in there and while a lot of the stuff I pulled was stuff I wanted to look up (and never did, it’s currently sitting in a crate in wouldn’t you know it, my parents’ basement back in Olathe) there were a few records I pulled to fill gaps in my collection. I have a copy of Lola vs the Powerman at the Money-go-round, and this early collection pairs nicely. That is, it’s fun to compare and contrast and see how weird and daring this band was willing to get with pop music. You Really Got Me is quintessential mid-60s white dudes digging rhythm and blues “in the tradition of other great English groups like the Beatles and the Dave Clark Five.”

The sleeve actually does the group more justice than the music. Sure the songs are the sort of sloppy wonderful you expect from the era where the bands were just on the cusp of getting really weird. The notes on the back are actually quite funny. “Ray is the leader of the Kinks. He’s 20 years old and almost six feet tall. He composes, listens politely to what the others have to say about his compositions, and then insists that they record exactly what he wrote in the first place,” it says of Ray Davies. There are also at least four references to Chuck Berry, an influence who comes across loud and clear on their exceedingly faithful Berry covers “Too Much Monkey Business” and “Beautiful Delilah.” The originals are where it’s at though. Though the sleeve notes that “what they sing is largely their own material,” only four of the twelve tracks are originals. But one of them is “You Really Got Me,” one of the most famous rock and roll songs of all time (for better or worse) and “Just Can’t Go to Sleep” is easily my favorite track on the record so there’s that. Other influences namedropped on the sleeve: Little Richard, Sonny Boy Williamson, Peggy Lee, Ravel, Gershwin, Barbra Streisand, Gustav Holst, and Muddy Waters. Other gems: “Their unconventional clothes—capes with leather accessories, which, incidentally, they designed themselves—made them well-known figures in Muswell Hill.” Of bassist Peter Quaif: “He’s the quiet one, from Devon, and a Mod (sharp dresser). Of drummer Mick Avery: “Even without drums he never stops drumming!” It’s all kind of silly. The music is rough but tuneful and when you realize these guys were 20, 17, 20, and 19 it just gets kind of embarrassing because these guys are clearly art school twerps and yet these pretty much teenagers wrote one of the most enduring pop songs of all time. And then went on to have the sort of legendary career that makes this, their first album, look like child’s play. Which, of course, it is. And also starting at $25 on Discogs which I guess makes sense this being the mono version of the Kinks US debut (released in the UK as Kinks). And now I reallllly need to dig through the rest of the records I pulled from those crates and examine my assumptions.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Stevie Nicks - Bella Donna

Stevie Nicks – Bella Donna

Modern Records, 1981
Acquired: Half Price Books, Used, 2011
Price: $1.50

Because my wife is OBSESSED with Stevie Nicks (are most women obsessed with Stevie Nicks?) I bought her this album like two years ago. It’s been sitting there, staring at me, Stevie with that parrot (or looking mystically through a tamborine depending on which side of the sleeve is facing me). So approaching Bella Donna I’m like “ung every song is gonna be like ‘Edge of Seventeen’ uff da” but oh man there are some jams here! You’ve got Stevie’s duet with Tom Petty “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” which more indie bands should cover (I mean really, so good). Then “Think About It” is a surprisingly soulful gem buried in the back half of the A Side. Is it weird that a grown man is listening to Stevie Nicks alone on his day off? I think I’ve just spent so much of my life associating Stevie Nicks as the young girl’s answer to all those macho heroes of young boys everywhere. Maybe Jenny has converted me, because now instead of being just flat out annoyed by Fleetwood Mac I’m seeing Stevie Nicks as this incredibly powerful figure. An embodiment of the feminine and the badass. I think really what it comes down to is how much I absolutely LOATHE the Fleetwood Mac song “Don’t Stop.” It hurts my soul. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

John Prine - Storm Windows

John Prine – Storm Windows
Asylum, 1980
Acquired: Half Price  books, Used, 2013
Price: $1.50

After a dud-like album that was half covers, Prine is back to writing his own songs and thank god. The beefy backing band is thinned out a bit so the songs have some room and “Living in the Future” is an easy greatest hits contender that is vintage Prine. It has a pretty awful misstep back into covers territory with “Baby Ruth” but that one is followed by the achingly lovely and sad ballad “One Red Rose” and let’s just say this record is a bit of a mixed bag but way way better than Pink Cadillac. “It’s Happening To You” and the title track are also surefire winners. Alas, the 80s had begun and Prine’s decline is just so perfectly illustrated by his worsening facial hair. 

Because you know how much I love awful youtube covers of songs I love, here's some dinger doing "Living in the Future."

End of C (7")

End of C (7”)

The bullshitting goes on! Since transferring to the St. Paul Half Price Books I’ve been buying records like an insane person (i.e. A person who knows how heavy records are and is going to have to have to move all of them a couple more times before settling down). It cannot be helped. Someone kept bringing in and selling off chunks of his collection and all of it was awesome. Stuff we never see and almost all of it in great condition. Just ridiculous. When was the last time you saw a Shel Silverstein record? John Prine’s first ten albums, Gram Parsons, all the Byrds, the Boss, Dylan, the Band, and all sorts of classics no record collection should be without. So I’m filling in the gaps while also convincing myself to buy more and more because A.) When else am I gonna find this stuff again and B.) With my employee discount it’s almost impossible to past most of this stuff up. There are still plenty of 7”s to go through. Records I’ve had for years that just keep collecting dust because I’m bringing new LPs in faster than I can get through them.
Running Total: $2882.50
New Total: $2972.75

John Prine - Pink Cadillac

John Prine – Pink Cadillac
Asylum, 1979
Acquired: Half Price Books, Used, 2013
Price: $1.50

Annnd, after a terrific run of five records that ranged from pretty damn good to phenomenal, John Prine finally churns out a dud. It’s not that the album is half-covers (his version of Roly Salley’s “Killing the Blues” is one of the best tracks on the album), it’s that it’s trying to hard to be a rollicking 50s C&W affair that it totally fails to define itself. Of the original tracks on the record, “Down by the Side of the Road” is really the only salvageable one and one of the only tracks that doesn’t get lost in trying to Prine’s attempt to burn down not only the barn, but the house, the car, and the whole goddamn county with his rollicking band of shitkickers. 

Crush - Hot Tracks 7"

Crush – Hot Tracks 7”
Time to Develop Records, 1988
Acquired: Love Garden Shotgun Room, Used, 2008
Price: $.25
Talk about pre-grunge/college rock in its heyday! Sludgy guitars, shouted non-sensical lyrics (the A-side track “Sexy Fish” bears a refrain that sounds like “Sex and Fish,” which is hysterical), a general disregard for sound quality! It’s all here on this 7” from a Massachusetts band released by a label from good ol’ Lawrence, Kansas! Because the most fun thing about these random late 80s 7”s is doing connect the dots, let’s see who’s in this band! The Massachusetts/Lawrence connection may indicate some sort of Big Dipper link and there is in Gary Waleik (who not only produced the record but is credited with “Sportsmanlike demeanor, unsportsmanlike guitar, percussion, helicopters, also holler). Waleik is tethered to Crush bassist Bob Weston via the Volcano Suns and is generally sort of a luminary via his ties with Steve Albini/Shellac. Crush drummer Bob Fay replaced Eric Gaffney in Sebadoh and plays on Bakesale and Harmacy. Talk about a primordial stew of noise rock! 

Bad Brains - Bad Brains

Bad Brains – Bad Brains
ROIR, 1982 (1997 Reissue)
Acquired: Half Price Books, Used, 2013
Price: $5

Leave it to the Rastafarians to make one of the fastest, loudest, and most influential hardcore punk records of all time. It’s almost ridiculous. One of these things is not like the other. Side A starts with the blistering “Sailin’ On” and ends with the downtempo, straight-up reggae jam “Leaving Babylon.” It’s that blend of sounds that textures Bad Brains’ debut. Sets it apart from the rest of the dudes thrashing as hard and fast and loud as they could with their hearts set on destruction. The album cover features a lightning bolt striking the Capitol with everything decked out in the colors you usually see on the wristbands of white dudes with dreads and hacky sacks. The lightning bolt almost gives off a Frankenstein’s Monster vibe considering Washington DC also birthed Ian MacKaye and Henry Rollins and we all know what those two bros did for the genre. Also, after all these years “Pay to Cum” is still one of the most vibrant, inspired, and exhausting songs I’ve ever heard. It sounds like a fucking firing squad.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Shel Silverstein - Freakin' at the Freakers Ball

Shel Silverstein – Freakin’ at the Freakers Ball

Columbia, 1972
Acquired: Half Price Books, Used, 2013
Price: $3

Just when I thought I couldn’t love Shel Silverstein more than I already do, I go and listen to his absolutely totally thoroughly wholly fucking weird, wonderful, joyous, goofy and straight-up great time of a record Freakin’ at the Freakers Ball. As a kid you grow up reading his poems and stories and then you read The Giving Tree and you’re like “That is so sad.” And then you read The Giving Tree at work when you’re 26 and you start tearing up because it’s a masterpiece. And you know that Shel Silverstein wrote “Boy Named Sue” and I feel like all that stuff is just the tip of the iceberg of who Shel Silverstein was. There’s such a lust for life at work on this record I can’t stop grinning. Here you have this guy who’s mostly considered a beloved children’s book author of the same high caliber as Dr. Seuss and on the inside of the gatefold there’s this amazing image of Silverstein and a topless chick frolicking in a meadow and Silverstein is shooting his disembodied head like a basketball. There’s a silly song/poem about a girl who refuses to take out the garbage and there’s also a song about seeing a girl in a porno with a horse (“I saw Polly in a porny with a pony/ And the pony seemed a little bored…” Seriously, this record is fucking hilarious and brilliant all the way through). There’s something about “I Got Stoned and I Missed It” that makes you realize that Shel Silverstein was some kind of superior human being. There’s something violently progressive about this despite the fact that the record doesn’t really have a political bone in it’s…vinyl (that’s a total lie. This record came out in 1972 and “The Peace Proposal” can’t really be about anything but Vietnam). That a guy can create some of the most profound and life-shaping children’s literature and also write songs about the necessity of everyone needing to lighten the hell up and an amazing quality. Sonically this is some groovy shit. Shitkicking and bluesy and soulful and liberated from any notion of genre. It’s maybe the most fun record I’ve ever heard ever. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Crooked Fingers - "Sleep All Summer"/"You Must Build a Fire" 7"

Crooked Fingers – “Sleep All Summer”/"You Must Build a Fire" 7”
Eastern Fiction, 2005
Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2009
Price: $5

“Sleep All Summer” is easily my favorite Crooked Fingers song. But then again, that’s oftentimes how it is when you hear a song that leads you into the open arms of a new band. The version I fell in love with was different from this one, though, which caught me way off guard when I spun this 7” for the first time. This one’s more hushed, more lovely. It’s quieter and lets every line cut right into you. The one that always kills me is “I could change for you but babe that doesn’t mean I’m going to be a better man.” No matter how Eric Bachmann sings that one it’s gonna kill me. This song’s so good St. Vincent and the National covered it together for Merge’s 20 year anniversary covers compilation. It’s definitely different from the version on Dignity and Shame. The version here sounds like it was recorded in a church. Oh wait, it was! So says the back of the sleeve. Hell, Bachmann could record this song on a damn toy piano at a noisy daycare and it would still be amazing. The b-side “You Must Build a Fire” is a more solo-oriented affair and it’s so damn fantastic I wish it weren’t recorded on MiniDisc and instead properly engineered because the vocals clip and it still sounds awesome but mostly because of the ambience and the emotion. “Sleep All Summer” suffers the same poor-recording-but-not-in-an-endearing-way quality, but again, these tunes are so good they’d sound amazing on disintegrating tape.

Gut Feeling: Frightened Rabbit - Pedestrian Verse

Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse
Atlantic, 2013

The display of raw emotional damage Scott Hutchinson poured into Frightened Rabbit’s second album The Modern Organ Fight didn’t necessarily reinvent the break-up album. It did, however, approach the time-worn subject with the sort of rawness and honesty and embarrassing detail that ranked it right up there with the best of them. Is the break-up album a modern phenomena? Certainly there’s a graph showing a marked upswing in the last decade of break-up albums. We could pair it with a graph illustrating the rise of morbid young men having easier access to recording equipment and music distribution via the Internet. Either way, as a connoisseur of the break-up album and someone who tends to approach break-ups head on and dive into a sea of misery, The Modern Organ Fight was one of the best I’d ever heard. Better than Blood on the Tracks. Better than Dear You. It’s my favorite, and I didn’t even listen to it during a break-up. I didn’t even listen to it the year it came out. I didn’t come around to Frightened Rabbit until 2009, the year my wife and I started dating and falling in love. The weirdest thing is that we fell more in love with each other while listening to that album and blabbing about how great it was.

In the three years since Frightened Rabbit has fought their way to my Top 5. The Winter of Mixed Drinks was my favorite record of 2010 and my love for this band is well known and widespread. So I was pleasantly surprised that I forgot Pedestrian Verse was even coming out and thanks to the Internet, I didn’t even have to go out to a store, find a place to park, and trudge through the snow to get it. Pedestrian Verse served as the soundtrack to a lengthy errand I had to run out to suburban Minneapolis and when I got home I burned a copy for the CD player and I’ve been listening to it since 2PM. And I’m still wrapping my head around how such a scrappy little band full of all these magnificent rough edges cleaned themselves up and put out a record that is more beautifully produced, sonically diverse, and cohesive than their previous records. But your favorite bands do that. They surprise you. That’s why they’re your favorite bands (or not, I guess, but I’ve got a real soft spot for bands that make the effort to keep pushing their limits).

Unfortunately, after the first four, really quite excellent tracks, Pedestrian Verse hits the skids with a one-two punch of repetitive non-starters—“Late March Death March” and “December Traditions”. After the first few spins, I almost immadetly skipped these two. “Late March Death March” reminds me of one of those  Silversun Pickups songs (or any modern rock song for that matter) that repeats the chorus for five minutes and really doesn’t try to construct anything. “December Traditions” is just plain murky. A bleak, maudlin thing that brings things to a grinding halt.

And then the chiming guitars of “Housing (in)” come to the rescue and it’s smooth sailing. “State Hospital” is a minor masterpiece and illustrates the brilliant results Scott Hutchinson is capable of when he steps away from the microscope that analyzes his own life and tells a different kind of story. It proves that Hutchinson can write a super serious song without getting overwrought (which is ultimately why “December Traditions” leaves such an awful taste in my mouth). It’s beautiful and huge and dynamic and maybe Frightened Rabbit’s most accomplished track to date. “Dead Now” displays Hutchinson’s obsession with death as a metaphor, a trick he’s perfected over the last two FR albums. What keeps tracks like these from becoming too glum is the dark humor and the bright melodies that make refrains like “There’s something wrong with me” sound almost hopeful.

I wanted Pedestrian Verse to be perfect so bad it’s confusing my judgment. Ultimately the mid-album clunkers keep getting in the way. “The Woodpile” is an obscenely brilliant single with an earwormy hook and a lyric sheet that rings classic FR. Opener “Acts of Man” again delivers some terrific lines that highlight the blend of self-deprecation and unsentimental honesty that make Hutchinson’s songs so listenable. How the song can open with “I am that dickhead in the kitchen/ Giving wine to your best girl’s glass” and end with “I have never wanted more to be a man/ And build a house around you.” It’s all so frighteningly human, elevated by Hutchinson’s ability to sing heartbreak with a crooked smile. And faults be damned, at the end of the day Pedestrian Verse is an accomplished album from a band that deserves all the praise in the world. I’ll pour a sip from my 40 for the fact that it’s not going to top my year end list (I had such hopes!) and try to enjoy the record like a normal human being.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

John Prine - Prime Prine

John Prine – Prime Prine
Atlantic, 1976
Acquired: Half Price Books, Used, 2013
Price: $1.50

It’s not like I needed this best of—which highlights the choicest cuts from Prine’s first four records—it’s just that I wanted it. And because seriously who doesn’t love a fucking stellar greatest hits collection? When I’m milling about and want to hear something from a particular artist I’ll almost always reach for a greatest hits (or personally thrown-together “best of” iTunes playlist) to just bask in and enjoy the hits. Because goddamnit sometimes you just want the HITS. Maybe that’s a taboo thing, to recommend someone start with a best-of before undertaking a prolific artist’s discography. That’s what I’d recommend with Prine. If it were Guided by Voices or something I’d say “Whoa there, don’t just reach for the Greatest Hits collection, even though it’s pretty good, you need Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes back to back, for like a week. Come and see me when you’re done with that.” Prine’s albums all kind of feel like collections so maybe that’s why it’s so easy to just put this one and say “yup.” Because every song is a goddamn winner.

Courtney Love - Highlights 7"

Courtney Love – Highlights 7”
K, 1991
Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2007
Price: $.25

The second Courtney Love 7” is the same sort of personality-less mess as the first, but with slightly better production. The guitar is crisper, the drums aren’t as muddy, the vocals more clear. The songs are still a shapeless, cluttered mess with the sole purpose of proving that anyone can start a band and that supreme talent is not necessarily required. Which is a powerful and important thing in itself, and the thing that resonates most from these first couple of Courtney Love releases on K’s International Pop Underground series. 

Courtney Love - Uncrushworthy 7"

Courtney Love – Uncrushworthy 7”
K, 1990
Acquired: Love Garden, Used, 2007
Price: $2

It’s sad that I always have to preface the first transmissions from Lois Maffeo as “Not THAT Courtney Love.” This first Courtney Love 7” is about as twee as it gets. Ramshackle guitar strums and drums, airy vocals singing nearly tuneless melodies over the void. I don’t know when reality punched me in the face, because listening to these clumsy songs about crushes and hurt feelings I’m just like “Ungggggg.” And I distinctly remember that I used to like this 7” but I can’t remember how. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Leonard Cohen - The Best Of

Leonard Cohen – The Best Of
Columbia, 1975
Acquired: Half Price Books, Used, 2013
Price: $3

I feel mega guilty admitting that the first reason I wanted this was because it’s the cover Ween parodied on their sophomore LP The Pod. And I wished I owned The Pod on vinyl. And then the distant second reason for picking this up was merely because I love Leonard Cohen and I needed to make sure I at least had “Suzanne” and “So Long, Marianne” on vinyl. And of course I already have both of those songs because I have Songs of Leonard Cohen but even though four songs from this best of are on that record (I can only assume because it is a great record), there are eight I didn’t have and I’m the sort of rube who’d rather listen to a best of when I’m just looking to put something on for the wife and I to listen to while making dinner. Which is what I just did! Chicken Tikka Masasla on the menu tonight. I swear, I’m surprised whoever the underboss is that runs Indian food restaurants nationwide and make obscene amounts of cash charging $14 for a dish that costs like $4 to make per serving hasn’t cracked down on Cook’s Illustrated for publishing a more than serviceable recipe. Or maybe $14 Chicken Tikka Masala is the price we pay for all those awful years of British colonization. But HEY. I’m an AMERICAN. I had NOTHING TO DO WITH THAT SHIT. Anyway, this record is great. Because fucking duh. On the back Cohen writes a little blurb about each song, and I REALLY like it when bands do that and tell you like, where the song was written, who it’s about, all those juicy details that a lot of songwriters things lends their song a sense of mystery if it’s left cryptic. Fuck that. Unsurprisingly, most of these songs are about ladies Mr. Cohen has banged. Good for him. Seriously, if you want my Chicken Tikka Masala recipe I’ll give it to you. It’s surprisingly easy, and though I think the Garam Masala I got at the Wedge has too much cinnamon in it, it’s still really really tasty and tastes even better the next day on your lunch break. 

John Prine - Common Sense

John Prine – Common Sense
Atlantic, 1975
Acquired: Half Price Books, Used, 2013
Price: $1.50

Though Common Sense was John Prine’s highest charting album in his heyday, it’s probably the least outstanding of his first five records. Nevertheless, it’s still a great one. Gone are the political elements of his eponymous debut, the bluegrassy elements of Diamonds in the Rough, and the sassy bite from Sweet Revenge in favor of smoother corners. The fun is still there though. There’s something so joyful about Prine’s music that makes him so damn listenable. The smoothed out rough edges lead to some really fantastic arrangements (the title track just sounds so damn good) and though most of the record is enjoyable without being overly memorable, tracks like “Come Back to Us Barbara Lewis Hare Krisna Beauregard,” “Wedding Day in Funeralville” (which was fantastically covered by Conor Oberst on the Prine tribute Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows), and the huge-sounding and plain fucking awesome standout “Saddle in the Rain.” The horns on that one make me all “Aww hell yeah” every time it comes on the John Prine greatest hits mix I have on my iPod (which is just the Great Days compilation whittled down to one disc’s worth of gems). 

John Prine - Diamonds in the Rough

John Prine – Diamonds in the Rough
Atlantic, 1972
Acquired: Half Price Books, Used, 2013
Price: $2

John Prine’s sophomore LP is pretty much just as good as his debut. This time around he rolls in some bluegrassy elements (mandolins and dobros pepper the landscape) and retains the witty social commentary that separates him from the rest of the songwriters who rushed to fill the space paved by Bob Dylan breaking it big. On Diamonds in the Rough Prine delivers another excellent anti-Vietnam tune with “The Great Compromise” and one of his best sad-bastard ballads in the lovely (if forlorn) “Souveniers.” In between there’s plenty of the country fried shit-kicking that tends to populate Prine’s albums (the one’s I’ve heard anyway). The way Prine manages to have fun and still delivers songs that shake your right down to your soul makes it kind of depressing that he’s not treated like a national treasure. 

Bob Dylan - Blonde on Blonde

Bob Dylan – Blonde on Blonde
Columbia, 1975
Acquired: Half Price Books, Used, 2013
Price: $4

Remember that scene in High Fidelity where Jack Black’s face drops when the guy tells him he doesn’t own Blonde on Blonde? I was that guy. For years. I’ve had plenty of opportunities to acquire a copy, but just…haven’t. So I caved. And I’m listening to it and thinking to myself “Why the hell did I wait so long to pick this up?” because it has all of my favorite Bob Dylan songs. No lie. The ones I really, truly can’t live without. “One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later),” “Visions of Johanna,” “Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again,” and “Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands” all rank right up there on the list of songs I can’t live without. Track by track it’s a masterpiece but the cohesion is what makes it a Masterpiece. With the capital M and all that. One of those albums to be gushed over for all time for the laser focus of its vision and the seamless blending of Dylan’s devastatingly great lyrics and the rollicking jams achieved by Robbie Robertson’s guitar, Al Cooper’s organ, and the tireless work of the group of Nashville session musicians Dylan cobbled together to make this such a special thing. It’s an album that kills me moment by moment. The way the piano builds up and crashes into the last chorus of “One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later).” Every single line of “Visions of Johanna” which made me want to be a writer when I was 16 and discovering music, literature, and heartbreak simultaneously. The delicateness of the third side of the record between “Just Like a Woman” and “Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands” that always comes as such a surprise to me because A.) I forget those five songs are there and B.) I forget how good those five songs are that by the end of “Obviously 5 Believers” I’m like “Oh yeah there’s one more song” and that it’s probably my favorite song on the record (and the reference to “Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands” in “Sara” from Desire adds another layer to the track). But you know, it’s Blonde on Blonde and I’m just gonna cop-out and say this record speaks for itself. You’ve heard it, you know it, you love it or hate it or you’re one of those folks who says “I don’t see what the big deal is pff it’s not that great” the same way certain insufferable film students talk about Citizen Kane because it’s cooler to seem like you’re above the commonly accepted masterpieces. Where one would find enough fault with this record to dismiss it is beyond me.

Here's Cat Power's cover of "Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again." Partly because it's hard to find decent versions of Dylan tracks on youtube, mostly because I really love this cover and recall fondly the month and a half I spent spinning the I'm Not There soundtrack which is really what got me into Dylan in the first place.