Alice In Chains 1995 album

Alice In Chains

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Alice In Chains 1995 albumAlice in Chains took a whole bunch of personal turmoil and spun it into a fine album with their 1995 self-titled release. Informally referred to as “The Dog Record”, this third release saw the band building on their established atonal style as well as branching out with some accessible pop/rock tracks that helped the album sell over three million copies and reach double platinum status. This album is also notable as the group’s final studio release with original vocalist Layne Staley, as they would not complete another studio album before his death in 2002.

Following the massive success of their 1992 album, Dirt, Alice In Chains worked through a grueling tour schedule. However, bassist Mike Starr longed for home and was replaced by Mike Inez in advance of their acoustic-based, chart-topping album, Jar of Flies, released in early 1994. Soon after its release, Staley entered rehab for heroin addiction, which caused the group to cease touring and be replaced during the Woodstock ’94 festival.

Through the Spring and Summer of 1995 the group recorded Alice in Chains in Seattle with producer Toby Wright. Few of the songs had been written before the recording sessions began and, as Staley continued to struggle with addiction, guitarist Jerry Cantrell stepped up as chief composer as well as lead vocalist on several of the earliest tracks. Cantrell was facing his own turmoil after the break-up of his long time girlfriend, but this lent to helping him create some of the album’s signature tunes.


Balance by Van Halen
Released: November 7, 1995 (Columbia)
Produced by: Toby Wright & Alice in Chains
Recorded: Bad Animals Studio, Seattle, April–August 1995
Album Tracks Group Musicians
Grind
Brush Away
Sludge Factory
Heaven Beside You
Head Creeps
Again
Shame In You
God Am
So Close
Nothin’ Song
Frogs
Over Now
Layne Staley – Lead Vocals, Guitars
Jerry Cantrell – Guitars, Vocals
Mike Inez – Bass
Sean Kinney – Drums

 
Alice In Chains 1995 album

The album’s opening track as well as lead single, “Grind” is both slow and doomy, yet infectiously catchy. Cantrell made heavy use of wah effect on his guitars and Staley provided good harmonies to Cantrell’s lead vocals during the chorus breaks. “Brush Away” is less effective than the opener but does contain a nice effect of dual guitars. “Sludge Factory” follows with a slow drudge through initial sections and cool overdubs during the ‘B’ section. The song drifts into a long middle section which includes some distant spoken words and impressive drum patterns by Sean Kinney.

Cantrell’s “Heaven Beside You” is the first really great song on the album. It has a classic rock approach while maintaining an alternative edge, built on the acoustic guitar throughout with some later overdubbed electric guitar riffs and slight lead sections, all adding to the overall majesty of the song. The track was released as a single and reached the Top 5 of the Mainstream Rock chart in 1996.

 
“Head Creeps” has a nice vibe with animated rhythms by Inez and Kinney and a wild effect on Staley’s vocals all through its theatrical passages. Another successful mainstream rock track, “Again” employs the most direct heavy metal approach with its deadened hard guitar texture, rolling drums, thumping bass, and chanting vocals. “Shame In You” features a steady but deliberate drum pattern by Kinney before it breaks in with a fuller arrangement, ultimately finishing.

This album does descend to a nadir during the next three tracks. After a feedback drenched intro works its way into a freaky, slow groove. “God Am” becomes rather dry and listless for the duration. “So Close” continues much of this same vibe, albeit in a more succinct fashion, while on “Nothin’ Song” the vocals follow guitar through the verses while the choruses change direction in tone and tempo.

Alice In Chains

Wrapping things up are a couple of stronger tracks. The eight minute acoustic epic “Frogs” is slow, dark, and theatrical with Inez’s slicing bass and potent musical interlude between providing the early highlights. Later, a long outro section is quite entertaining, even though it remains very slow and steady with no deviation. The closer “Over Now” may be the most pop-oriented track on the album, with its pleasant guitar textures complementing the simple but effective vocal melodies and lyrics. The slight bridge and outro section bring a little more sonic candy to this song which features Cantrell on lead vocals.

Tracks from Alice In Chains received Grammy nominations in 1996 and 1997 and the album was up for several other industry awards. Debuting at number one, the album stayed on the Billboard 200 chart for nearly a year. While no tour followed the album release, the group did perform a single show in April 1996, which was recorded for a live MTV Unplugged album later that year.

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1995 Images

Part of Classic Rock Review’s celebration of 1995 albums.

 

Balance by Van Halen

Balance by Van Halen

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Balance by Van HalenThere is no doubt that the decade-long Sammy Hagar experiment had run its course by the time Van Halen had gotten to their tenth studio album (the fourth with Hagar), Balance. Released in early 1995, this album did continue their commercial streak by giving the “Van Hagar” lineup a perfect 4-for-4 when it comes to #1 albums in the USA. However, while still interesting and entertaining, this album was the less cohesive than any of the group’s previous efforts, probably due to the internal fighting within the band.

Following the late eighties success of 5150 and OU812, Van Halen started the 1990s by producing and releasing the album, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, which was marketed as the “return” to Van Halen’s hard rock roots. This was particularly due to Eddie Van Halen‘s abandonment of synth sounds in favor of guitar riff driven or, at the very least, hard rock piano tunes. In 1992, the album won a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance and the band continued to enjoy top-level success in the rock world. However, with the emergence of grunge and alternative music, the rock world was drastically changing throughout the early nineties.

In 1994, the band got together at Eddie’s 5150 Studios with producer Bruce Fairbairn, dedicating eight hour days to write, rehearse, and record this new album. However, this dedication was less cohesive as Hagar and bassist Michael Anthony were less able to dedicate as much time as Eddie and his brother, drummer Alex Van Halen. Nevertheless, Balance was one of the quickest records the group had made to that date and Alex cites it as one of his favorites.


Balance by Van Halen
Released: January 24, 1995 (Warner Bros.)
Produced by: Bruce Fairbairn
Recorded: 5150 Studio, Studio City; CA, May–September 1994
Album Tracks Group Musicians
The Seventh Seal
Can’t Stop Lovin’ You
Don’t Tell Me (What Love Can Do)
Amsterdam
Big Fat Money
Strung Out
Not Enough
Aftershock
Doin’ Time
Baluchitherium
Take Me Back (Déjà Vu)
Feelin’
Sammy Hagar – Lead Vocals
Eddie Van Halen – Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals
Michael Anthony – Bass, Vocals
Alex Van Halen – Drums, Percussion

 
Balance by Van Halen

An apocalyptic chorus of polyphonic chants by The Monks of Gyuto Tantric University starts off the opener “The Seventh Seal”, before the song breaks into a steady and standard rock beat and riff. The mystical overtones of this track were inspired by Eddie Van Halen’s newfound sobriety and his first attempt in twenty years to write songs without the aid of alcohol. “Can’t Stop Lovin’ You” was inspired by Hagar’s relationship with his wife and features bright guitars and a moderate, pleasant and accessible approach with thumping rhythms and slight harmonies in the background. The song was commissioned by Fairbairn who wanted a more pop-oriented song, and this was successful as it was the only single from this album to reach the Top 40. “Don’t Tell Me (What Love Can Do)” is another accessible pop song but with some extra-intensive lead vocals by Hagar and the first real traditional guitar lead by Eddie Van Halen. The lead single from Balance released in late 1994, the song reached #1 on the Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart.

With its overt promotion of marijuana and prostitution, “Amsterdam” was a bit controversial in 1995. Musically, Eddie’s verse riff and slow-walk interludes are the highlights in an otherwise clunky arrangement. “Big Fat Money” is a frantic rockabilly song with an energy that harkens back all the way to their debut album, 17 years earlier. A bizarre but entertaining hyper-jazz guitar lead accompanied by odd rhythmic rudiments by Michael Anthony and Alex Van Halen makes this a unique track for Van Halen. A plethora of old, out-of-tune orchestral instruments fashion the avant garde instrumental “Strung Out”, with the plucking and sawing effects acting as an intro to the ballad “Not Enough”. This final pop-oriented track features a grand piano intro in a somber, minor key before building into a full rock arrangement to make it a pleasant overall power ballad. “Aftershock” features a cool intro by Eddie Van Halen and, during the song proper, Anthony’s rapid bass pattern gives it a definite edge which elevates this track above standard rock fare.

Van Halen in 1995

The album winds down strongly with four unique tracks, starting with back-to-back instrumentals. “Doin’ Time” features a percussive orchestra by Alex Van Halen, perhaps meant to symbolize the “aftershock”. The second part of this piece has an interesting Caribbean flavor and leads in to “Baluchitherium”, which seems more like filler to extend the album beyond traditional album length (< 45 minutes) to CD length (> 50 minutes). “Take Me Back (Déjà Vu)” starts as an excellent acoustic, down-home ballad with excellent vocal melodies by Hagar. It eventually kicks in to being another standard pop/rocker but does feature a slow, bluesy, and moody guitar lead and an equally impressive closing section where Eddie craftily doubles acoustic and electric guitars. The closing track “Feelin'” features a dark, solo electric intro by Eddie Van Halen. Later comes a very rich backing vocal chorus and an intense crescendo section before Eddie’s quiet guitar phrase gently puts the song and the album to rest.

With Balance, Van Halen successfully took the honor of being the first act to debut at #1 in 1995 and the album eventually went triple platinum in sales. However, tensions between Hagar and the Van Halen brothers boiled over in 1996 while planning a career-long Greatest Hits album, which led not only to Hagar’s permanent departure but also to a very short (initial) reunion with original vocalist David Lee Roth. Van Halen’s third lead singer, Gary Cherone, would span the group’s next release, Van Halen III in 1998.

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1995 Images

Part of Classic Rock Review’s celebration of 1995 albums.

 

Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morissette

Jagged Little Pill
by Alanis Morissette

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Jagged Little Pill by Alanis MorissetteJagged Little Pill is one of the most indelible albums to emerge from the decade of the 1990s. This third overall studio release by Canadian Alanis Morissette was her international breakthrough and had great success in scores of countries around the globe. Co-written by producer Glen Ballard, the soul baring lyrics and grunge-influenced rock songs on this album were a radical departure from those on Morissette’s initial pair of dance/pop oriented albums which were recorded while she was still in her mid-teens.

The debut album Alanis and follow-up Now Is the Time, released in 1991 and 1992 respectively, were each minor successes within Canada. After graduating from high school, Morissette moved from her hometown of Ottawa to Toronto in order to work with more accomplished songwriters for a third album release. However, she had little success there and, at the suggestion of her publisher, she moved on to Los Angeles to meet with Ballard. The two had a strong musical connection and instantly began experimenting and composing new songs.

Starting in 1994, Ballard and Morissette worked on extensive demo recording sessions at Ballard’s home studio in the San Fernando Valley which often lasted up to sixteen hours. The tracks were deliberating constructed with minimal overdubbing in order to capture the raw emotion of the original tracks. Even after the production moved on to a proper recording studio, Morisette’s original demo vocals from the original sessions were retained to maintain that original feel, with polished commercial appeal relegated to a secondary role. In fact, the team expected only moderate success from this album, initially hoping to sell enough copies for Morissette to make a proper pop/rock follow-up.


Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morissette
Released: June 13, 1995 (Reprise)
Produced by: Glen Ballard
Recorded: Westlake Recording & Signet Sound, Hollywood, 1994–1995
Album Tracks Primary Musicians
All I Really Want
You Oughta Know
Perfect
Hand in My Pocket
Right Through You
Forgiven
You Learn
Head over Feet
Mary Jane
Ironic
Not the Doctor
Wake Up
Your House
Alanis Morissette – Lead Vocals, Harmonica
Glen Ballard – Guitars, Keyboards
Benmont Tench – Organ
Lance Morrison – Bass
Matt Laug – Drums, Percussion

 
Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morissette

The album’s opening track meanders in with harmonica and funky guitar before the signature beat kicks in for the song proper of “All I Really Want”. The verses are delivered in a vocal style halfway between talking and singing (but not quite rapping), while the chorus section contains odd but entertaining harmonies. “You Oughta Know” was the song which sparked the eventual popular inferno of Jagged Little Pill and it features some rapid vocal style changes which build the intensity until the climatic choruses. Lyrically, this track is a scathing, slightly profane indictment of a former love interest, with the vocal delivery being just as important as the words. “You Oughta Know” also features smooth bass throughout by guest Flea, who performed on the track along with his Red Hot Chili Peppers band mate Dave Navarro on guitar.

Moving on, “Perfect” starts as an acoustic ballad in seventies-singer-songwriter mode but elevates with a good mixture of guitars, bass, and natural drums as the song kicks in, while the lyrics address the pressures of high expectations on children. “Hand in My Pocket” works as an anthemic dissertation on conflicting emotions and pivot points in young adulthood as portrayed by a series of paired contradictions. It is musically pleasant with subtle but strong rock guitars, bouncy bass, dry but punctual drum programming, a slight harmonica lead and an intensifying organ through later stages of song.

“Right Through You” starts as strummed acoustic but quickly morphs to a richer rock arrangement, while the music is pleasant throughout. This is followed by the four songs which make up the climatic heart of the album. “Forgiven” may be the true forgotten classic from this album, featuring multiple sections with nice sonic dynamics and vocal inflections, an overall good arrangement with rock instrumentation and great rock drumming throughout by Matt Laug. “You Learn” may be the most pop accessible track on Jagged Little Pill as well as the quasi-title track and philosophical heart of the album. Musically, it features a smooth rock/jazz arrangement by Ballard while lyrically the song speaks of the important life lessons.

“Head Over Feet” is a complete break from the prevailing cynicism as a pleasant love song with sweet lyrics and a direct, repetitive hook. The song also features a slight, Dylan-esque harmonica lead by Morissette. Jangly guitars accompany the opening vocals, soon accompanied by waltz-like bass by Lance Morrison and shuffling drums by Laug. The lyrics seem to address a young woman who has fallen into an emotional slump;

I hear you’re counting sheep again, Mary Jane,
What’s the point of trying to dream anymore? I hear you’re losing weight, Mary Jane – I wonder who you’re losing it for…”

Starting as pleasant, quiet acoustic ballad but exploding into a melodic rock screed during the choruses, “Ironic” was an extremely popular song and video. The song reached the Top 10 in several national charts and is Morissette’s highest charting song to date in the United States, where it topped out at #4. As the album winds down, it does repeat over well-tread grounds lyrically, vocally, and musically, especially on “Not the Doctor” and with “Wake Up” just slightly better than previous track due to its smooth musical approach. A hidden track deemed “Your House” is fascinating as an outtake of beautifully haunting a-capella vocals, which is actually an apt way to close in the spirit of this album.

As of 2016, Jagged Little Pill has gone on to sell over 33 million copies worldwide along with winning a total of 5 Grammy Awards. Following its initial success, Morissette launched an 18-month worldwide tour before taking a long break from music, which may have halted her chances of repeating its massive success.

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1995 Images

Part of Classic Rock Review’s celebration of 1995 albums.

 

Ozzmosis by Ozzy Osbourne

Ozzmosis by Ozzy Osbourne

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Ozzmosis by Ozzy OsbourneOzzmosis is a solid rock album and, perhaps, the last best solo effort by Ozzy Osbourne. This seventh solo studio album was also sort of a comeback for the iconic rock vocalist, as he had announced his retirement from music following the release of No More Tears, his 1991 sixth album. This album is also notable as the only one to feature Osbourne’s former Black Sabbath band mate, Geezer Butler, on bass, although Butler had frequently toured with Osbourne in the recent past.

Following the untimely death of guitarist Randy Rhoads in 1982, Osbourne struggled to maintain a consistent backing band. However, in the latter part of the decade Zakk Wylde would come closest to replacing Rhoads, with the recording 1988’s No Rest for the Wicked and the very successful No More Tears, which went 4x platinum. Following this success, Osbourne proclaimed his next “retirement tour” would be called “No More Tours”.

With his return in 1995, Osbourne originally started the recording project with producer Michael Wagener. However, after recording several songs, the record label requested a change in production style, so Wagener was replaced by Michael Beinhorn and four tracks were re-recorded. Recorded in Paris and New York, the sessions also spawned two songs, “Aimee” and “Living with the Enemy”, which would not become part of the album until the 2002 remastered edition.


Ozzmosis by Ozzy Osbourne
Released: October 24, 1995 (Epic)
Produced by: Michael Beinhorn
Recorded: Guillaume Tell Studios, Paris, Bearsville Studios, Woodstock, NY, Right Track Recording & Electric Lady Studios, New York City, 1995
Album Tracks Primary Musicians
Perry Mason
I Just Want You
Ghost Behind My Eyes
Thunder Underground
See You on the Other Side
Tomorrow
Denial
My Little Man
My Jekyll Doesn’t Hide
Old LA Tonight
Ozzy Osbourne – Lead Vocals
Zakk Wylde – Guitars
Rick Wakeman – Piano, Keyboards
Geezer Butler – Bass
Dean Castronovo – Drums
 
Ozzmosis by Ozzy Osbourne

The album and its opener, “Perry Mason”, starts with dramatic, string-like textures by keyboardist Rick Wakeman, in setting up the rich vibe of the song. Osbourne provides a good hook with a cool backwards masking effect, which helped make this a hit record, reaching number three on the Mainstream Rock Songs chart in November 1995. “I Just Want You” follows as a romantic ballad, co-written by Jim Vallance. It starts with heavy synth strings accompanying especially dry and somber vocals by Osbourne. This track gets especially intense during the bridge and lead parts, with Wylde’s tremolo effected guitar flying into the final verse which elevates into a higher key, keeping the ever-intense ride at maximum intensity for the duration of this fine track.

“Ghost Behind My Eyes” has an interesting riff with a twangy sound beneath heavy effects, all acting in contrast to Osbourne’s chanting vocals, while “Thunder Underground” is the first real heavy metal track, built on the slow but strong rhythms by Butler and drummer Dean Castronovo. Co-written by Motorhead bassist Lemmy Kilmister, “See You on the Other Side” is the best overall song on the album. It starts with a thumping bass and drum rhythm which is soon complemented by Wylde’s picked guitar riff through the intro and verse. The choruses have much more intensity to drive home the message with an overall classic rock feel throughout in the excellent production and measured performance. A fantastic lead guitar is followed by a climactic bridge where Osbourne’s vocals soar above the interesting riff patterns, setting up the final verse/chorus sequence with great use of repetition through the elongated outro. The doomy and intense track with a dark metal feel, which at times goes a little overboard with the effects. However, this does have poetic lyrics;

Can I get a witness to take away the pain? Walking on the water, going nowhere fastest, feeling like I’m walking with no shoes on broken glass…”

“Denial” starts with long drum roll intro by Castronovo before Wylde’s wild guitar riff directs the song into the verse and choruses, while “My Little Man” has a wild, sitar-influenced synth intro, which persists throughout. The latter song features Steve Vai on lead guitar, who was part of the group at the beginning of recording but soon dropped out. While entertaining, “My Jekyll Doesn’t Hide” tries too hard to fit into the heavy grunge sound of the day and ultimately falls a bit short. But the album does recover nicely for its final track, “Old LA Tonight”, which starts as a piano ballad but soon builds into a track which rises above its power ballad approach. The middle guitar lead-up along with bass is particularly interesting and helps to end the album on a high note.

Ozzy Osbourne and Zakk Wylde-1

Ozzmosis reached the Top 5 on the American album charts and has since been certified double platinum. Osbourne and the group launched a “Retirement Sucks!” tour in support of the album before the supporting members began to go their separate ways. In 1996, Osbourne launched the successful Ozzfest tour, which grew in stature and ultimately became one his his most successful financial ventures.

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1995 Images

Part of Classic Rock Review’s celebration of 1995 albums.

 

(Whats the Story) Morning Glory by Oasis

(What’s the Story) Morning Glory? by Oasis

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(Whats the Story) Morning Glory by OasisThe second blow of the potent 1-2 punch by Oasis at the start of their career was the 1995 album (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, which fully propelled the group towards worldwide accolades and fame. On this album, primary songwriter Noel Gallagher employed a richer array of compositional influences while thick production techniques were used in what would come to be known as the inception of the “Loudness wars”. These were some of the reasons why critics were initially lukewarm in response to this album, albeit they have reversed course by offering great acclaim for the record in more recent years.

Oasis released their debut album, Definitely Maybe, in September 1994 and it became the fastest selling debut album ever (to that point) in the UK. This sudden rush of fame did have some negative consequences, as lead vocalist Liam Gallagher (Noel’s brother) exhibited some bizarre behavior on stage and original drummer Tony McCarroll departed from the band. McCarroll was replaced by Alan White, who came with an impressive studio resume.

Recording sessions for (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? were in a Welsh studio during the Spring of 1995 with producer Owen Morris. The album was recorded quickly, especially early on when the group claimed they averaged almost a song per day. However, tensions broke out between the Gallagher brothers when Noel suggested he provide lead vocals for a few tracks, a move that Liam viewed as a leading indicator of his potential ouster as front man. This led to an altercation that ultimately suspended recording for three weeks. However, Morris has since stated that the sessions overall were “the best, easiest, least fraught, most happily creative time (he has) ever had in a recording studio” and that the resulting album is “dripping with love and happiness.”


(What’s the Story) Morning Glory? by Oasis
Released: October 2, 1995 (Creation)
Produced by: Owen Norris & Noel Gallagher
Recorded: Rockfield Studios, Monmouth, Wales, March–June 1995
Album Tracks Group Musicians
Hello
Roll with It
Wonderwall
Don’t Look Back in Anger
Hey Now!
The Swamp Song (Excerpt 1)
Some Might Say
Cast No Shadow
She’s Electric
Morning Glory
The Swamp Song (Excerpt 2)
Champagne Supernova
Liam Gallagher – Lead Vocals, Percussion
Noel Gallagher – Guitars, Piano, Keyboards, Vocals
Paul Arthurs – Guitars, Piano, Keyboards
Paul McGuigan – Bass
Alan White – Drums, Percussion

(What's the Story) Morning Glory by Oasis

The opening track “Hello” is the only composition not credited solely to Noel Gallagher, as Gary Glitter and Mike Leander are given co-writing credits. After a false start of strummed acoustic, the song abruptly gives way to a heavier rock arrangement with a thick, opaque sound and heavy use of guitar processing with White’s rolling drums buried deep in the mix. “Roll with It” has a solid structure of straight-forward rock with a heavy emphasis on the hook and an interesting, echoed guitar lead. The song was released ahead of the album and climbed to #2 on the UK pop charts. The worldwide hit song “Wonderwall” starts as a simple acoustic, strummed folk track. However, it quickly evolves into a much more complex and original arrangement musically, which strikes the perfect vibe which finds the seam between romance and desperation matches its rich and philosophical lyric;

And all the roads we have to walk are winding, and all the lights that lead us there are blinding – there are many things that I would like to say to you but I don’t know how…”

“Don’t Look Back in Anger” is the best song overall song by Oasis and is fittingly delivered by its author, Noel Gallagher who proves he is every bit the lead vocalist as his younger brother. The song features complex passages that soar at times with underlying riffing and fine piano riffing by Paul Arthurs as well as potent bass by Paul McGuigan. The song’s title, lyric and sound pays homage to classic artists like David Bowie, The Beatles and John Lennon in particular (with the line “Gonna start a ‘Revolution’ from my bed….”) in an approach that legitimately feels like it was spawned in a bygone era. Released as a single in early 1996, “Don’t Look Back in Anger” became Oasis’s second song to top the British charts.

The album’s momentum continues with “Hey Now!”, a strong rocker with heavy seventies pop/rock elements and consistent slide guitar throughout. Through is five minute duration, this track employs differing rhythms (which sometimes seem clunky but never quite off-putting) as well as a fine melody by Liam Gallagher during the verses and a terrific, double tracked guitar lead later. The long, repetitive final chorus drives home the entertaining elements as the song concludes. The first of two short, untitled link tracks which feature a heavy blues, ZZ-Top style rock with alternating guitar and harmonica by guest Paul Weller, leads to the blues heavy “Some Might Say”. Featuring another cool lead section with some wild synth sounds tossed in for effect, “Some Might Say” was Oasis’s first UK chart-topper and it sold nearly a half million copies as a single upon its release. The final song written for the album, “Cast No Shadow” throws in the kitchen sink of sweet effects – strummed acoustic, slight electric overlays, slide guitar, mellow synths, steady yet strong rhythms, weepy lead vocals, rich background harmonies and deep lyrical lines;

As they took his soul they stole his pride…As he faced the sun he cast no shadow…”

Coming down the stretch, the album’s quality never relents. “She’s Electric” is a happy-go-lucky pop track with bright, hard rock music, chanting, lyrical rhymes and slightly Southern layered guitars. The title track, “Morning Glory”, closely resembles a popular R.E.M. song with its metallic, textured guitars pumping out a strong riff to complement the shouted and repeated vocal hook. “Champagne Supernova” is the perfect album ending, as it comes in subtly with strummed guitar, accordion and electric textures before White’s drum beat crashes in with the glue for the thick arrangement of the track’s body. This is a nice lead up to the guitar lead section, which is slight but potent, before the song goes through the initial verse again much more quickly and intensely and with a less organized outro riff section. After one final verse, the track fades out slowly, maintaining the overall feel of the song and album and sealing this record as a classic.

Oasis in 1995

(What’s the Story) Morning Glory? sold 350,000 copies in its first week and spent 10 weeks atop the UK Albums Chart. Following its release, Oasis went on an extensive world tour, which included shows in front of hundreds of thousands in their home country.

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1995 Images

Part of Classic Rock Review’s celebration of 1995 albums.

 

1981_Rush MovingPictures

Moving Pictures by Rush

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1981 Album of the Year

Moving Pictures by Rush Since the arrival of drummer Neil Peart in the summer of 1974, Rush had produced six consecutive quality albums rock albums, up to and including Permanent Waves in 1980. Then came Moving Pictures which, in many ways, was their musical masterpiece and in all ways would become the most popular album they ever released. This album also would represent a crossroads for the band, at once showcasing many elements of the sound that they had forged throughout the late 1970s while also mildly previewing their new wave influenced sound of the early 1980s. In this sense, it may well be the most diverse album that Rush ever produced as well as the most complete and rewarding album overall of 1981, making it Classic Rock Review’s Album of the Year for that year.

Following the success of the 1976 concept album, 2112, the group delved further into progressive rock with the “Cygnus X-1” concept which spanned two albums and culminated with the 12-part instrumental “La Villa Strangiato” from the 1978 album Hemispheres. With Permanent Waves, released on the first day of the new decade, Rush began to alter their style with some reggae and new wave elements to complement the hard rock core, a sound they expanded upon when production began on this album in late 1980.

Moving Pictures was the seventh consecutive album produced by Terry Brown, who played a huge role in forging Rush’s sound during this classic phase of the career. It is also the first album where Geddy Lee plays some keyboards and bass on each and every song, complementing Alex Lifeson‘s guitar style and sound, which is distinct on every song. As a premiere rock drummer, Peart had long experimented with different styles and time signatures, and he continues to do so on Moving Pictures. But as the band’s primary lyricist, Peart explores more diverse subjects than he had in the past, finding lyrical inspiration in classical literature as well as contemporary events.

 

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Moving Pictures by Rush
Released: February 12, 1981 (Mercury)
Produced by: Rush & Terry Brown
Recorded: Le Studio, Morin Heights, Quebec, Canada, Oct-Nov 1980
Side One Side Two
Tom Sawyer
Red Barchetta
YYZ
Limelight
The Camera Eye
Witch Hunt
Vital Signs
Musicians
Geddy Lee – Bass, Synths, Vocals
Alex Lifeson – Guitars, Synths
Neil Peart – Drums & Percussion

 
The final song on the album, “Vital Signs”, contains a dual reggae/electronica influence that would have fit perfectly on their next studio album, Signals. “Witch Hunt” features dramatic sound effects, a deliberate arrangement, and guest keyboardist Hugh Syme, who also designed the album’s signature covers. This song would later be revealed as the third part of the “Fear” series, released chronologically in reverse. As Peart explained in an interview;

The idea for the trilogy was suggested by an older man telling that he didn’t think life was ruled by love, or reason, or money, or the pursuit of happiness, but by fear.

Moving Pictures is also the last album from the era to include an extended piece, “The Camera Eye”. The track paints a lyrical and musical picture of the metro activity of New York City and London, with the title deriving from works by American author John Dos Passos. To this point in their career, Rush had included a track of seven minutes or more in length on each of their first eight albums (including Moving Pictures), but would not do so again for over 30 years. Another rarity on future Rush albums would be a pure instrumental. “YYZ” is a fantastic and thrilling little jam that showcases each of the trio’s musical virtuosity. Musically, the song displays a steady, trance-like motif with many showcase sections for each musician, with its title coming from the airport code from the group’s hometown Toronto Pearson International Airport.

Tom Sawyer single by RushThe best known song on the album, and probably the band’s most popular song ever, is “Tom Sawyer”. The song was co-written by Canadian lyricist Pye Dubois, who gave a poem to the band entitled “Louis the Lawyer” and asked if the band would be interested in putting it to music. Peart then added “the themes of reconciling the boy and man in myself, and the difference between what people are and what others perceive them to be”, by using the American literary metaphor. Musically, this steady but complex song incorporates a heavy use of synths, differing time signatures and accessible melodies. “Limelight” was another hit off the album, which portrays Peart’s uneasiness with fame. It contains one of rock music’s most famous riffs, delivered by Lifeson in a perfectly cultivated crunch of distorted guitar that sounds as good as any sound he had ever cultivated. Peart’s lyrics speak of his slight disillusionment with fame and the growing intrusions into his personal life, complete with Shakespearian references.

The tour-de-force of the album is the fantastic “Red Barchetta”, a vivid action story about a joyride in a car taken during a dystopian future where such actions are unlawful. The song was inspired by the futuristic short story “A Nice Morning Drive,” by Richard Foster, published in 1973, which Peart adapted with his own love of classic automobiles. A true classic jam, this complex song was recorded in one take and contains some of the best bass playing by Lee, who really shines on this track.

Rush in Studio, 1980

Moving Pictures was the first Rush album to top the Canadian album charts and nearly did the same in the US and the UK, reaching the Top 3 in both those countries. The album went on to reach quadruple platinum status world wide and it still sounds as fresh and relevant, multiple decades after its release. During Rush’s 2010–11 Time Machine Tour, the album was played live in its entirety for the first and only time.

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1981 Images

Part of Classic Rock Review’s celebration of 1981 albums.

The Bends by Radiohead

The Bends by Radiohead

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The Bends by RadioheadThe Bends is the classic rock coming of age album by Radiohead, for which they received critical acclaim as well as chart and commercial success. This 1995 album was at once a major shift in the group’s musical direction as well as a move towards accessible tunes, as reflected in its five charting singles. A major contributor to this compositional evolution was the more sprawling approach in front man Thom Yorke‘s songwriting, who delivered more global lyrical themes in comparison to the personal ones of earlier work. In turn, the music was sweeping and dynamic with diverse styles and arrangements added to their three-guitar attack to forge a grand and forceful sound.

The group’s first album was 1993’s Pablo Honey, which featured a strong alternative / grunge presence. This brought some international success and much subsequent touring. The following year, Radiohead released the EP, My Iron Lung, featuring some early versions of tracks which would be re-worked for The Bends. However, this EP had poor commercial success.

The Bends was produced by John Leckie, with Radiohead working on song arrangements for the album through the entirety of 1994. Work on the album was slow through the initial months, as the group felt pressure to create the perfect follow-up to Pablo Honey. An initial release date of October 1994 was pushed back several months as Leckie taught the band “how to use the studio in different ways”.


The Bends by Radiohead
Released: March 13, 1995 (Capitol)
Produced by: John Leckie
Recorded: Abbey Road and RAK Studios, London, August–November 1994
Album Tracks Group Musicians
Planet Telex
The Bends
High and Dry
Fake Plastic Trees
Bones
(Nice Dream)
Just
My Iron Lung
Bullet Proof..I Wish I Was
Black Star
Sulk
Street Spirit (Fade Out)
Thom Yorke – Lead Vocals, Guitars, Piano
Jonny Greenwood – Guitars, Piano, Keyboards
Ed O’Brien – Guitars, Vocals
Colin Greenwood – Bass
Phil Selway – Drums, Percussion
 
The Bends by Radiohead

Extra-present drums set the pace for the odd, spaced-out beat of the opening track “Planet Telex”. Released as a single, the track features some tremolo keyboard and guitar textures, with the chorus offering the most rewarding part of this otherwise bland emo screed. The title track, “The Bends”, follows with a strong rock arrangement through a long riff intro. The verses revert back to a more steady arrangement but the song rocks well throughout with lyrics that are thematic. The ballad “High and Dry” is the first real highlight of the album, as Yorke’s vocals are pleasant and melodic above a blend of acoustic and electric guitars by Jonny Greenwood and Ed O’Brien. Written well before the album sessions, there was much debate on whether this light song would even be included on the album. Not only was it included, but it was also a successful single.

“Fake Plastic Trees” is another acoustic track but, unlike the previous ballad, this has more of a psychedelic, early Pink-Floyd-like vibe. “Bones” follows with a strong rhythmic presence by bassist Colin Greenwood and drummer Phil Selway as well as some topical tremolo guitar and a ringing distant guitar. This short, three-minute song finishes with strong rock riffs and accents. “(Nice Dream)” follows with a descending, four-chord acoustic riff in the intro which sets the meter for the moderate folk/alternative song. The best part of this track are the excellent post-chorus guitar layers. Another fine track, “Just” starts with a strummed intro, soon accompanied by a strong distorted electric. When it fully kicks in, this track features a great musical arrangement in verses to accompany the fine vocal melodies, perhaps the finest on the album.

Radiohead in 1995

“My Iron Lung”, the title track from the previously released EP, is an odd art of noise. The first part of song is built droning rhythm and jangly guitar melodies, while the second section is nearly incoherent in a deliberate attempt at pure noise. Alternative to the core, whine in vocals but song is saved by good melody and arrangement. On “Permanent Daylight”, Yorke’s vocals hide within a wall of noise, while “Bullet Proof..I Wish I Was” employs space-like psychedelic effects using echo and sustain in the background with a slow, acoustic folk in foreground. “Black Star” returns to upbeat rock with a full arrangement fading in through the intro and moderate verses with cool guitar textures and good drumming elsewhere. “Sulk” features an interesting, slow waltz shuffle drum beat upon which the rest of the textures are built. Each verse adds more sonic candy, especially with the guitar, bass, and keyboard textures. “Street Spirit (Fade Out)” concludes the album with a dark, repeating riff and elongated vocal phasing, making it a bit anti-climatic for an album ending.

While The Bends charted well in several countries throughout the world, it only peaked at #88 in the US, making it an initial disappointment. However, this album has only grown in stature and influence over the two decades following its release, with many Brit pop bands taking cues from many of its songs.

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1995 Images

Part of Classic Rock Review’s celebration of 1995 albums.

 

Foo Fighters

Foo Fighters

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Foo FightersWith the suicide of Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain abruptly ending what looked like a promising rise for the rock trio in 1994, the group’s drummer, Dave Grohl, decided to write and record independent material as a “cathartic experience”. The resulting work, Foo Fighters, an album and act which derived its name from a term World War II aircraft pilots would use to describe various UFOs. No one (even Grohl) at the time knew that this album would act as the commencement of a highly successful rock band for decades to come.

The name originally served as a proxy, intentionally used by Grohl to preserve his anonymity after recordings were completed. Those recordings took place over just one week in October 1994 at Robert Lang Studios in Seattle, with Grohl frantically recording all instrumentation and vocals himself. Along with producer Barrett Jones, the duo spent long days recording up to four songs each day in the order that they would ultimately appear on the album. Having never been a front man, Grohl was initially insecure about his singing so he often double-tracked and applied added effects to his voice. Many of the compositions were initiated during Grohl’s time in Nirvana, as he would often bring a guitar along on tour. However, there were many parts composed on the fly during the short studio time.

Grohl originally pressed a limited number of LPs and cassettes to pass out among fellow musicians and friends. He had been offered a permanent gig as drummer for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and briefly considered taking it before Petty heard one of his tapes and encouraged Grohl to pursue “the solo thing”. Soon these tapes reached some major labels and Grohl signed with Capitol, who accepted the original recordings but had them remixed. Grohl then recruited a full band to forge a live show and fulfill Capitol’s request for a photo of a full band.


Foo Fighters by Foo Fighters
Released: July 4, 1995 (Capitol)
Produced by: Barrett Jones and Dave Grohl
Recorded: Robert Lang Studios, Seattle, October 1994
Album Tracks Primary Musician
This Is a Call
I’ll Stick Around
Big Me
Alone + Easy Target
Good Grief
Floaty
Weenie Beenie
Oh, George
For All the Cows
X-Static
Wattershed
Exhausted
Dave Grohl – Lead Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Drums

Foo Fighters

The opener, “This Is a Call”, is actually one of the more recent songs written by Grohl and, right from the jump, his sense of melody and accessibility is evident along with his penchant for unabashed, hard-edged rock. the song starts with some double vocals above strummed electric for one line before the song explodes into a full and intense rock arrangement and it peaked at #2 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart. “I’ll Stick Around” is more like a traditional Nirvana song with rotating riffs and a quasi-punk feel. The song’s vocal vibe ranges from detached whine to emotional screed with the music following perfectly throughout. The third song, “Big Me”, displays a third distinct type of talented musical style by Grohl. As a calm and melodic pop song, the track displays a knack for effective use of repetition and arrangement in getting the songs message out in a quick and effective way.

“Alone + Easy Target” dates back to 1991 and is another good jam, albeit not quite as innovative as the first three songs. “Good Grief” is driven by steady, upbeat drums and drilling guitar textures and the choruses get a little punk intensive, while “Floaty” contrasts with a pleasant 12-string acoustic intro before launching into a flange-drenched steady rock sway during the verses. “Weenie Beenie” brings the effects to a nearly absurd level with its textures and heavily treated vocals. While this is all fun as a headbanger, there is not much in terms of musical substance. “Oh, George” returns to melodic hard rock and is a loose tribute to George Harrison, who he calls his “favorite Beatle”.

Dave Grohl

Coming down the stretch, Foo Fighters maintains its energy and vibrancy while offering more diverse selections. “For All the Cows” is another Nirvana-esque track, starting with calm, jazzy verses and exploding into heavy punk screeds during the choruses. “X-Static” is notable as the only track with an outside musician, as Greg Dulli of Afghan Whigs plays guitar. “Wattershed” is a punk jam with nearly screamed vocals that rail against mailmen, banks, record contracts, and other divergent subjects. “Exhausted” closes things out and works great with its title as the closing track to this rapidly recorded collection. The track is notable for an extremely long “feedback” section in the middle, before the main musical riff reprises to shepherd out the album.

Foo Fighters charted well throughout the world and was promoted through several tours domestically and internationally. These tours served to gel the members as a proper “group” and much success would follow, starting with the 1997 second album, The Colour and the Shape, and continuing well into the next century.

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1995 Images

Part of Classic Rock Review’s celebration of 1995 albums.

 

Tragic Kingdom by No Doubt

Tragic Kingdom by No Doubt

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Tragic Kingdom by No DoubtNo Doubt offered an upbeat breath of fresh air to the mid nineties with their dynamic masterpiece, Tragic Kingdom. This third overall studio album by the California-based rock band found tremendous commercial and chart success and sustained seven singles over the period between late 1995 and early 1998. Led by the dynamic vocals of Gwen Stefani, the group composed songs blending a diverse array of musical genres including blues, rock, ska, reggae, grunge, new wave and punk.

The group was formed in 1986 by keyboardist Eric Stefani, with his sister Gwen occasionally joining in on backing vocals when they practiced in their parents’ garage. Bassist Tony Kanal later joined after catching one of the band’s early shows and began a (initially) secret relationship with Gwen. In early 1988, guitarist Tom Dumont and drummer Adrian Young joined No Doubt, rounding out the band’s long-standing lineup. Impressed by the group’s rabid live following, No Doubt was signed to a multi-album deal by Interscope Records in 1990. However, the group’s initial two releases, their 1992 self-titled debut and the self-produced The Beacon Street Collection failed to gain widespread success.

Producer Matthew Wilder was brought on board to produce Tragic Kingdom. The album included recordings made over a two and a half year period between March 1993 and October 1995, with recordings made in nearly dozen studios in and around Los Angeles. This album would also be the last to feature Eric Stefani, who was the primary composer of the material on the first two albums. After Eric officially left the band in 1994, most of the other group members stepped up to co-write the new material.


Tragic Kingdom by No Doubt
Released: October 6, 1995 (Interscope)
Produced by: Matthew Wilder
Recorded: Los Angeles, March 1993–October 1995
Album Tracks Group Musicians
Spiderwebs
Excuse Me Mr.
Just A Girl
Happy Now?
Different People
Hey You
The Climb
Sixteen
Sunday Morning
Don’t Speak
You Can Do It
World Go ‘Round
End It On This
Tragic Kingdom
Gwen Stefani – Lead Vocals
Tom Dumont – Guitars
Eric Stefani – Piano, Keyboards
Tony Kanal – Bass
Adrian Young – Drums, Percussion

Tragic Kingdom by No Doubt

The opener “Spiderwebs” starts with a steady reggae show piece with some brass before it quickly changes into a more frenzied and rock-oriented ska groove. Dumont’s crisply squeezed guitar chords and Kanal’s thumping bass lines accompany a steady beat by Young. Released as a single, the song reached the Top 10 on the Billboard Modern Rock chart. “Excuse Me Mr.” features a more frenzied ska riff and is especially entertaining during the bridge section where a frantic drum shuffle is accompanied by honky tonk piano and some fat brass. This song was originally composed as an acoustic folk song but the recording was lost in a studio accident, causing the group to re-write and re-record a punked-up version. “Just a Girl” features a wild sounding guitar riff accented by slight bass and steady hi-hat fused drums through the intro and verses and, later on, Eric Stefani adds a soaring synth lead over the ever-intensive rhythms. The lead single from the album, the song charted twice in the Top 40, eventually peaking at number 3. The lyrics, written by Gwen Stefani, tell of her own experiences dealing with female stereotypes;

Take this pink ribbon off my eyes, I’m exposed and it’s no big surprise / Don’t you think I know exactly where I stand, this world is forcing me to hold your hand…”

“Happy Now?” is a more vocal and lyric driven track with strong guitar riffing and chords. This is one of several tracks which lyrically deal with Gwen Stefani’s recent breakup with Kanal, after a seven year relationship. “Different People” features strong rudiments and a great animated bass line, while “Hey You!” has a unique and excellent arrangement with a heavy sixties vibe brought on by the overt sitar and harpsichord as well as the more subtle structuring of the rock groove. “The Climb” is a dramatic blues song written by Eric Stefani and it features cool penny-whistle organ parts under the verses with several guitar textures by Dumont. The song goes through several trans-formative sections and a long ending dissolve where each musician gets to add bits of embellishment in turn. Following the standard ska of “Sixteen”, a drum shuffle fades in along with a driven bass which makes it closer to pure reggae with heavy rock guitars and dynamic, dramatic vocals.

The album’s first and only ballad, “Don’t Speak”, offers one its most indelible moments. The song starts with Eric Stefani’s slow, rocking electric piano in verses but breaks into jazzy acoustic choruses complete with a later excellent flamenco acoustic lead by Dumont. Slight use of strings and brass are just enough to bring out the emotions without getting overly sappy, shining the spotlight on Gwen Stefani’s vocals, which are best at their very best on this album. The song would go on to become the breakthrough single. received tremendous airplay, and helped elevate the album as well as previously released singles. It would also go on to be nominated for Song of the Year at the 1998 Grammy Awards.

Coming down the stretch, Tragic Kingdom features more entertaining tracks such as “You Can Do It”, which is funky, seventies style soul with heavy brass, disco strings, wah-wah guitar and rounded bass patterns. “World Go ‘Round” returns to the upbeat reggae with horns and Hammond organ and plenty of brass, while the closing title song is a strong and steady, guitar and vocal driven rocker which is set up like a theatrical mini-suite complete with horn sections and a rapid fingerboard guitar lead. The best of this lot is “End It on This” (which should have been the album closer). This last, great song on the album has a definitive new wave feel with rapid guitar riffs and bass notes accented by melodic piano patterns. The choruses feature especially potent keyboards and bass which work together to give a feel of rapid melodic motion. The song then steadies into a traditional guitar lead section before an intense and fantastic outro section.

No Doubt

Following Tragic Kingdom‘s release and success, No Doubt embarked on a an extensive tour which lasted about two and a half years. A 1997 performance from this tour was recorded in the group’s home city of Anaheim and released as a Live in the Tragic Kingdom DVD. The band would not follow-up with another studio album until Return of Saturn was released in 2000, a half decade after Tragic Kingdom.

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1995 Images

Part of Classic Rock Review’s celebration of 1995 albums.

 

My Generation by The Who

My Generation by The Who

Buy My Generation

My Generation by The WhoThe Who released an impressive debut album in December 1965 with My Generation. Although the group was initially dissatisfied with the album, it has grown in the past half century to be regarded as one of the pivotal rock albums of the mid sixties. With most songs composed by guitarist, Pete Townshend, along with a few select blues and funk covers, the album features a raw, hard rock sound and approach which may have been heavier than any on any popular rock album up to that point in time.

Townshend grew up in a musical family outside London and met future bandmates, Roger Daltrey and John Entwistle in grammar school. Daltrey, who was a year older than the others, started the group The Detours in 1959 and soon recruited Entwistle into the band on bass. Although Daltrey played guitar originally, in 1961 Entwistle suggested Townshend be hired as guitarist with Daltrey moving to lead vocals. In early 1964, the group changed their name to The Who and brought on drummer Keith Moon to round out the classic quartet.

Over the next year plus, The Who toured relentlessly and became a favorite band of the English “mod” movement. The group adopted mod fashion and lifestyle and even temporarily changed their name to, “The High Numbers”, for their initial 1964 single because management thought the name played better to their audience. Filmmakers Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp later took over as managers and encouraged the group to change their repertoire towards R&B, Motown, and soul with the new slogan “Maximum R&B”. In late 1964, The Who recorded and released the song “I Can’t Explain”, which further expanded their sound to the raw, riff-driven sound made popular by The Kinks.

My Generation reflects a confluence of these evolving early sounds by the group. Produced by Shel Talmy, the album features songs released as singles earlier in 1965 along with a further mix of originals and cover songs which reflect their strongest live material.


My Generation by The Who
Released: December 3, 1965 (Brunswick)
Produced by: Shel Talmy
Recorded: IBC Studios, London, April-October 1965
Side One Side Two
Out In the Street
I Don’t Mind
The Good’s Gone
La-La-La-Lies
Much Too Much
My Generation
The Kids Are Alright
Please, Please, Please
It’s Not True
I’m a Man
A Legal Matter
The Ox
Tracks Included on Alternate Versions of the Album
Circles
I Can’t Explain
Bald Headed Woman
Group Musicians
Roger Daltrey – Lead Vocals, Harmonica
Pete Townshend – Guitars, Vocals
John Entwistle – Bass, Vocals
Keith Moon – Drums, Percussion, Vocals

To kick off the album, “Out In the Street”, sounds like it has a false start by Daltry during intro, but when it does fully kick in it is a gritty rocker with driving rhythms and strong drumming by Moon. Later in the song they play with harmony arrangements, rudiments and guitar effects, making it an interesting listen. “I Don’t Mind”, follows as the first of two James Brown covers. Dramatic and soulful, the group again shows off their tight rock ability and style versatility.

“The Good’s Gone”, is a unique, droning rocker built on sharp drum patterns and extended guitar chording by Townshend.  The song is  repetitive but to great effect during verses and choruses with the tension finally relieved during the slight bridges, and this arrangement stretches it out beyond an almost-unheard-of-for-1965 four minutes in duration. “La-La-La-Lies”, is the first pure pop song on the album and it features a heavy piano presence by guest Nicky Hopkins along with rich backing harmonies throughout. The song failed to chart in the UK but was a significant hit in Sweden. While still entertaining, “Much Too Much”, is the first song to sound incomplete and the lead vocals melody seem to meander a bit.

The title track, “My Generation”, is the obvious highlight of the side and album, as well as the strongest song for both Entwistle and Moon. Perhaps the first ever true punk song, it gives a heavy nod to teenage angst in general and the mod counterculture specifically. The song is distinct musically with Daltrey’s signature stutter through the verses, Entwistle’s fantastic bass lead, and a final verse which goes up a key to add intensity and climaxes in a wild, unhinged coda. The song reached number 2 in the UK in October 1965 and is The Who’s highest charting single ever in their home country through a long and distinguished career.

The Who

The second side begins with “The Kids Are Alright”, another indelible Who classic which features rhythm, melody and strong accessibility. The song also features musical interludes where Moon gets to wail on the drums, making this a precursor to many Who classics in years to come and was referred back to during an interlude part of 1973’s Quadrophenia. After this zenith, the album regress’s a bit starting with, “Please, Please, Please”, which sounds like it would have been an exciting live track but doesn’t quite translate on this studio record. “It’s Not True”, is an upbeat, Southern-style rocker with rich harmonies and lyrics more reflective of outlaw country, while the oft-covered Bo Diddley classic, “I’m a Man”, features fascinating blues vocals by Daltrey and a wild piano lead by Hopkins.

The album does end strong with a couple of original and innovative tracks. “A Legal Matter”, is a frenzied rocker, sandwiched between an interesting guitar intro and outro and featuring pleasant and strong rock elements and melodies throughout. “The Ox”, closes the album as an improvised jam with Moon working off the floor tom drums of the Sufari’s 1963 classic “Wipeout” and Townshend, Entwistle, and Hopkins complementing each other throughout the improvisation.

My Generation became a template for future garage rock, heavy metal and punk genres. However, The Who quickly moved on to forge their own distinct sound, starting with 1966’s A Quick One, with increasing elements of theatrical arrangements and philosophical themes which would elevate the group to ever-increasing heights.

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Part of Classic Rock Review’s celebration of 1965 albums.

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