The Joup Friday Album: Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers – “Into the Great Wide Open”

Tom PettyOur family was middle class, blue collar, Polish and suburban. If you look at the average income of all the Chicago suburbs, Palos Hills falls literally right in the middle. Whatever “middle class” is these days, but in 1991 there was still a middle class and my brother and I grew up in it. As such we generally took one family trip a year, that is if my parents could afford it and get off of work. In the summer of 1991 we traveled west for not one but two weeks! I think my father’s rationalizing was we hadn’t taken a trip the previous year, and odds on after I graduated high school would not take another one as the four of us. This was “the last big family adventure!”
In late July we pilled into our tan Chevrolet four-door Suburban (the SUV before SUVs) and headed west on I-80. I will hand it to my parents, it was an epic trip and more then likely spawned my travel bug for years to come. We made stops at Pike’s Peak, the Grand Canyon, four corners, Las Vegas, The Great Salt Lake, Yellowstone National Park and The Devil’s tower. I’m sure there were a few kitch stops as well knowing my mother.
Appropriately enough, I read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy during that two weeks. I had a black Sony Walkman and I loved that machine. I played so much music through that contraption in the four years between sophomore year in high school and freshman year at the university. On this trip it was REM’s Out of Time, Sting’s The Soul Cages and of course Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers Into the Great Wide Open…today’s Friday album.

The Joup Friday Album: The Smiths – The Queen is Dead

The-Queen-is-Dead-cover

We come to the final member of the Holy Trinity, The Smiths’ The Queen is Dead, which along with The Cure’s The Head on the Door and New Order’s Brotherhood, were the three albums I was given for Christmas when I was 13 that went on to influence my musical taste for the rest of my life. The Queen is Dead probably got the least play out of the three back then, but has proven to have the most staying power despite my ever-growing weariness with Morrissey and his… Morrisseyness. The simple truth is that I love the Smiths despite Morrissey, not because of him. Johnny Marr has been my lifelong guitar god and if I have to listen to an obnoxious narcissist bloviate over the top of him, it’s worth it to get those sweetass riffs and jangles.

The Joup Friday Album: The Postal Service – Give Up

The Postal Service - Give Up

The Postal Service – Give Up (Sub Pop)

I really thought someone would have already chosen this record for a previous edition of The Joup Friday Album. However, a quick search for “The Postal Service” in the search bar in the upper right column came back with nothing… so here you have it: The Joup Friday album comes from various parts of the world; The Postal Service’s only full length release on Sub Pop Records, entitled “Give Up.”

The Joup Friday Album: (smog) ‘Accumulation: None’

smog accumulation noneThat kid who sat at the back of the class, seemingly almost monochromatic except for his Egon Schiele pink-tinged skin? You never heard of him again. You assume he was institutionalised after leaving school for the strange things he was rumoured to be doing to the neighbourhood pets in his bedroom. Or perhaps he even managed to drift along under the radar for a while until he finally did that hushed-up ‘something’ that got him put away for the rest of his natural days. It thrills my soul to think, that for someone in the world, that kid has wandered back into their consciousness as a bona fide dyed-in-the-wool purveyor of American song. The signs were already apparent on the aptly named ‘Supper’, the penultimate, most accomplished album of Smog’s career to that point. The songs were sumptuously crafted, achingly poignant or else chugged-along rockingly, teeming with an abundance of astute observation delivered in his trademark laconic style. After declaring his love for a watercourse, the Smog lifted, and along with it, so did his mood…albeit temporarily, making it easy to forget that this monochromatic, Egon Schiele-skinned kid used to do strange things to his tape recorder in his bedroom.

Quick Thought: Battle of the Continents

 

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Joup Friday Album: Washed Out “Life of Leisure”

Washed Out - Life of Leisure The first time I heard “Feel it All Around” was watching Portlandia last summer. If you’ve seen or know the show, the tune acts as the opening theme song. And upon hearing it I had to know who, what, where and how. What I came up with initially was a group (which I would later find out was just Ernest Greene) called Washed Out. I put it on the back burner for some reason until recently and then it just hit me like a wonderful hazy memory…and that Portlandia show is terrific as well. Fred Armisen cracks me up, but that is another topic for another day.

The Joup Friday Album: Ryan Adams’ cover of 1989

Ryan Adams 1989So I intercepted that last tag…because well…maybe I just needed to and all the signs pointed that way. Sometimes life throws a few things at you and you probably know what I mean in your own way. Change, sadness, uncertainty, self-examination. Dodge, push, move, repeat. But move…move on and try your damnedest to look back in fondness or at least without anger. Live now. Evolve. This version of 1989 was suggested by a friend and I was a bit skeptic, but knowing Ryan Adams and his outstanding catalogue I had to give this a listen. I will fully admit I cannot boast of being a Taylor Swift aficionado thus I’d not heard any of 1989 with the exception of the singles like “Shake it Off” and “Bad Blood.” And at the point of this writing, I’ve still not. I prefer it that way, I feel I can be more objective rather then comparing the two works. I do fully recognize Swift as the primary songwriter and lyricist for these songs, thus critique of any lyrics would be directed that way. I will say she is talented. More talented then my original perception of her abilities. Which goes to show you…

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