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Tag: split enz

365 Albums In 2021: #061-070

The finest Metallica album, a couple of classic NZ records, and a work of genius from Radiohead make up the core of this lot. Also, for some reason that Nick Cave and Warren Ellis album was one of the best reviewed of the year, even though I thought it sounded like rubbish.

061 Chris Whitley – Din of Ecstasy (1995). This one was recommended by Scott. I wasn’t familiar with Chris Whitley until I met Scott, who is an evangelistic fan of the late singer-songwriter. Din Of Ecstasy is universally agreed to be his best album, and its easy to hear why: Whitley captures the post-grunge sound of the time brilliantly, and the resulting album sounds of a piece with the likes of Soundgarden’s Superunknown. My favourite track: “O God My Heart Is Ready”. (March 2, 2021)

062 Metallica – Master Of Puppets (1986). Metallica’s magnum opus turns 35 years old this year – I reckon it might be their best album: coherent, clear and driven in its writing by the militaristic messaging, innovative in its musical composition – at least “Disposable Heroes” and “Leper Messiah” rank among their best songs – and original bass player Cliff Burton is at is his best here, especially on instrumental track “Orion”. (March 3, 2021)

063 The Mutton Birds – Salty (1994). Funnily enough, Salty sounds like kind of a companion piece to Chris Whitley’s album from Tuesday – though where Whitley leans into hard rock, McGlashan and co. lean in to the softer side. The other thing I noticed about Salty: it holds up really fucking well – hits like “The Heater” and “Ngaire” sound at home in 2021, and “Anchor Me” deserves its place as one of NZ’s best songs ever. My personal highlight: the absolutely gorgeous “When The Wind Comes Round” (March 4, 2021)

064 Nick Cave & Warren Ellis – Carnage (2021). I’ve never really understood or learned to appreciate Nick Cave. Adding Warren Ellis into the mix did nothing to change that. (March 5, 2021)

065 Kings Of Leon – When You See Yourself (2021). Ailish recommended I check this out way back in January, months before it came out. I haven’t kept up with Kings Of Leon since their “Sex On Fire’ heyday, but this album is fine – it sounds like them. But the album got overshadowed by the bizarre way they are selling it, summarised by David Farrier here: https://www.webworm.co/p/tokens (March 6, 2021)

066 Phantogram – Ceremony (2020). I really dug this album – electronic beats overlaid with some really gorgeous vocals, and occasionally rock guitars. (March 7, 2021)


067 Sinead O’Connor – I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got (1991). It had been a while since I checked out this album, and I had forgotten how heavy it is. But it is – artistically – a solid piece of work: it defies categorisation, landing all over the map in terms of genre, and is interesting throughout, even if it now sounds a little bit dated. (March 8, 2021)

068 Anais Mitchell – Hadestown (2010). Mitchell’s concept album eventually led to a Tony-winning Broadway show which, in my opinion, is not as good as the original. This is a funky, soul-infused indie folk album that tells the mythological tale of Orpheus, Eurydice and Hades. It is absolutely beautiful at times, and it drags at others. But it is a very good album. (March 9, 2021)

05069 Tim Minchin – Apart Together (2020). One of my most enjoyable shows of 2019 was Upright, a comedy series created by Tim Minchin in which he travels across Australia with an upright piano on a trailer. This album builds on the emotional cache of that show, and it is better for it. My favourite track is probably “Absence Of You” (the one-shot music video for which is incredible), though I’m also a sucker for the studio version of Upright’s hit “Carry You”. (March 10, 2021)

070 Split Enz – Waiata (1981). Another week, another iconic Split Enz album turning 40 years old! Waiata is not as good as True Colours; that isn’t opinion, it’s a fact. But the biggest songs from this album – “History Never Repeats” and “One Step Ahead” – are two of the groups best. (March 11, 2021)

071 The Whitlams – Torch The Moon (2002). Interestingly, Torch The Moon is maybe the most accessible of The Whitlams albums – but after listening to Tim Minchin a couple of days earlier, it was clear how influenced he must have been by The Whitlams, and this album specifically. Rhianon recommended this album and she was right to do so: it is a brilliant record, a lot of fun to listen to. Recommended. (March 12, 2021)

072 Chris Cornell – Songbook (2011). This is one of my sister’s favourite albums so it made sense to listen to it on the day of her wedding; she even walked down the aisle to his cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Thank You”. I actually remember seeing Cornell on the tour that spawned Songbook – he played at the Aotea Centre, and it was a life-changing experience. RIP Mr Cornell. (March 13, 2021)

073 Radiohead – The Bends (1995). This one was recommended by my bro-in-law Derek, but the joke is on him – I was already planning to listen to this album because it is AMAZING. Also, Radiohead turned their official website into a free-to-access collection of their music – split by album, there is every song, every b-side, music videos, live shows, photos and more. One of the internet’s very best time-sinks: https://radiohead.com/library/ (March 14, 2021)

074 U2 – The Joshua Tree (1987). Even though U2 are a bit naff in 2021, this album is iconic and enduring. Also, fun fact: I once sang “Where The Streets Have No Name” during a church service, and opened by explaining what the song was about, then was corrected by the pastor, who was fucking wrong. (March 15, 2021)

075 David Gray – Skellig (2021). I love David Gray; his album Life In Slow Motion is one of my favourites ever. But this album is boring – there is no variance within each song, and they all run for 5-6 minutes apiece, and there is a ton of them. (March 16, 2021)

This post is part of my ongoing effort to listen to a new album every single day of 2021. If you have any suggestions on what I should listen to next, send them through to me@chrisphilpott.nz.

365 Albums In 2021: #031-045

Early February brought with it a bounteous collection of albums to listen to, with a handful of legends (Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac, Rush, Phil Collins and Tori Amos) mixed in with a bit of nineties nostalgia (Boyz II Men, The Fugees), giving way to some more recent and most unique artists (Yugen Blakrok, Anderson.Paak, Kendrick Lamar).

031 Yugen Blakrok – Anima Mysterium (2019). I became aware of Yugen through her guest spot on “Opps”, the highlight track on the soundtrack to Black Panther. This album is probably overlong, but it makes up for that in sheer word count – Blakrok raps like a gatling gun, fast and very much to the point. And the various science fiction images she conjures made this an enjoyable listen. (January 31, 2021).

032 The Civil Wars – Barton Hollow (2011). Some albums, its surprising how old they are – like, I don’t feel like this album is ten years old, it feels more like five. And yet it is a decade old now. The songs are timeless though, even if the album is a bit samey. Its a shame these kids couldn’t figure out their relationship; the only released one more album and eventually split for good in 2014. One wonders how their careers may have progressed had they made it work. (February 1, 2021).

033 Neil Young – Harvest (1972). Arguably Neil Young’s best, this album contains two of my favourite of his songs – “Old Man” and “The Needle And The Damage Done”. I got super into this record back in late 2008 after Neil was announced as the headliner for the 2009 Big Day Out; fortunately he played both those songs I loved during his (admittedly pretty iconic) set list. (February 2, 2021).

034 Fleetwood Mac – Rumours (1977). I don’t know if I could ever make a Top 5 Favourite Albums list, but Rumours would be in the discussion. Except for “Oh Daddy” – which, I just can’t even – there isn’t a weak song here. I mean, its like Track 8 (“You Make Loving Fun”) before you even hit a song that isn’t a five-star classic. (By the way, I almost made a “if you ever feel inadequate, remember that Christine McVie was writing songs in Fleetwood Mac alonside Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham – but shit, even her songs here are pretty great. Except for “Oh Daddy”.) (February 3, 2021).

035 Split Enz – True Colours (1980). I mean, Split Enz are one of the greatest bands to ever come out of NZ – and is this their greatest album? It might be; it contents three of their biggest hits (“I Got You”, “I Hope I Never” and the criminally under-rated “Poor Boy”), as well as two of the best non-singles (“Shark Attack”, “What’s The Matter With You”), and maybe their most under-rated song ever, “The Choral Sea”. You could make the case for it, is what I’m saying. Thoroughly enjoyed re-listening to this one. (February 4, 2021).

036 Weezer – OK Human (2021). Okay, I’ll say it – this is the best start-to-finish Weezer album since the 1990s. Named in reference to Radiohead’s OK Computer, OK Human is a collection of pretty standard – if a little better than usual – Weezer pop-rock. However, Cuomo and co made the ingenius decision to accompany every track with orchestration; strings swell, adding depth to every song here. I loved this album. (February 5, 2021).

037 Phil Collins – Face Value (1981). Did you know that Phil Collins took a fresh photo for the cover of this album when it started hitting streaming sites? If that doesn’t tell you the importance of this album to Phil Collins, nothing will. (February 6, 2021).

038 Tori Amos – Little Earthquakes (1992). This album gets better and better as it goes along – honestly, the last three songs might be the best three songs.
(February 7, 2021).

039 Various – Black Panther: The Album (2018). “Opps”, the track featuring Vince Staples and Yugen Blakrok, is one of the most invigorating hip hop songs I’ve ever heard, and I love it. Under the guidance of Kendrick Lamar, this is a great collection of songs, far better than it needed to be for what is essentially a movie tie-in. (February 8, 2021).

040 Foo Fighters – Medicine At Midnight (2021). What do you want me to say? Its a Foo Fighters record – though maybe a little more overblown than in years past. I feel like the same 3-2-1-4 chord structures and Grohl vocals are all here, but they’re somehow undermined by the keyboard, the third guitar, the backing chorus. It’s all too much. (February 9, 2021).

041 The Shins – Wincing The Night Away (2007). One of the seminal albums from the early 00s indie rock explosion. I loved this album so much at the time that I even bought tickets to a Shins concert and went alone because nobody else I knew was even really aware of who they were. The tracks “Phantom Limb”, “Turn On Me” and “Spilt Needles” still hold up, tbh. (February 10, 2021).

042 The Exponents – Something Beginning With C (1992). Is it ‘crap’? (Okay, yes, this album contains a handful of their biggest hits – “Why Does Love Do This To Me”, “Who Loves Who The Most” and “Whatever Happened To Tracy” to name three. But c’mon, the rest is just junk – and derivative junk at that: Midnight Oil and Inxs were doing this stuff in the mid-80s.) (February 11, 2021).

043 Rush – Moving Pictures (1981). The first four tracks on this album are iconic, fantastic pieces of music. It gets a bit drab from there on. But those four songs. Wow. (February 12, 2021).

044 The Fugees – The Score (1996). I can’t remember being super across this album at the time of its release; I knew the singles, “Ready Or Not” and “Fu Gee La” and the covers of “No Woman No Cry” and “Killing Me Softly”, but 96-Chris was very much listening to bands like Sepultura and Korn. Nowadays I can appreciate the genius, even though I appreciate Lauryn Hill’s solo output more than this record. It is legendary though – and 25 year old this year! (February 13, 2021).

045 Boyz II Men – Cooleyhighharmony (1991). This one landed almost exactly 30 years ago. I didn’t become aware of Boyz II Men until late 1992 when “End Of The Road” became a mega-hit; I ended up dancing to it with a girl I had a crush on at our Form 2 social. Listening back now, I can’t say that it has aged well – but “End Of The Road” is still brilliant, opener “Please Don’t Go” is pretty great, and the acapella “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday” is spine-tinglingly good.
(February 14, 2021).

This post is part of my ongoing effort to listen to a new album every single day of 2021. If you have any suggestions on what I should listen to next, send them through to me@chrisphilpott.nz.

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