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#148 – Deja Vu (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)

In 150-125, Top 150 on March 21, 2011 at 2:58 pm
Cover of "Deja Vu"

Cover of Deja Vu

So here’s the interesting thing about this project for me so far, aside from listening to all this great music, clearly.

First off, I’m moving through the albums much slower than I anticipated. I’m only on 147! What the deuce!? But to be honest, I’m okay with that. Although right now I’ve listened to one album and written something about once per month. At that rate, it will take me 12 years and 2 months to finish this project. I should probably pick up the pace, eh? Alas. I will go as I please and enjoy.

So number 147…here we are!

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. I am loving this project already so much because I am making a ton of connections with different bands and understanding so much about the development and restructuring of different artists and groups, and how it leads to other groups and legendary records. Very cool. For one (and I feel ridiculous saying this), I had no CLUE that “Young” in Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young is Neil Young. What the hell!? How did I miss that! Wild. Anyway, now I do. So long story short, The four members of this group decided to use their last names to identify their group for a few reasons. One, to keep identification with their own individuality, and make sure that people knew them as their own artist as well. And the second (which is partially what caused the first reason) is that two members of the band were part of The Byrds and The Hollies, and when they left their respective groups, the bands continued performing without them. So to use CSNY to identify themselves meant that if one of them left (which, of course, did happen later on down the road) then they were still always known by the names of the musicians in the band. Makes sense to me!

My immediate thought when I put on this album is Flower Power! This has got such a 60s-70s rock sound to it, whatever that means. I guess lots of raging, experimental, sometimes ethereal rock-guitar riffs mixed with exasperated vocals. And that early classic-rock effect on the guitar. I have no clue what it is, but its so distinct.

The vocal harmonies on this album definitely stick out as well. But how could they not, I guess. Especially after listening to the Springsteen album (OH GOD, here he goes again, talking about how much he hates The Boss).

Side note: I was running yesterday and a Springsteen song came on my iPod, and I actually thought to myself, “You know, this Bruce Springsteen guy is growing on me”. So there.

Here’s the track listing for this radical album called Deja Vu, released in March 1970 (after their second-ever live performance at the infamous Woodstock festival).

Side One

  1. Carry On
  2. Teach Your Children
  3. Almost Cut My Hair
  4. Helpless
  5. Woodstock

Side Two

  1. Deja Vu
  2. Our House
  3. 4+20
  4. Country Girl: Whiskey Boot Hill, Down, Down, Down, Country Girl (I Think You’re Pretty)
  5. Everybody I Love

When I first listened to this album, I remember a friend here on Jeju wrote me a message on Facebook and said something along the lines of “This is my favourite album!” and I was, admittedly, a bit shocked. I didn’t appreciate this album nearly enough. The more I’ve listened to this disc, the more I appreciate CSNY.

Favourite tracks? Carry On, Teach Your Children, Woodstock, Our House, Everybody I Love You. I don’t know why, to be honest. But they’re great.

Track One, Carry On. There’s a great intro to this album at the beginning of this track. The guitar sets a driving beat and adds momentum to the track, and then 10 seconds in, the great vocals start. The recording sounds really controlled and precise, which I love about it as well. I don’t want to say constrained, because I don’t think it is, but its almost as if the first track is a teaser for something bigger and better to come.  And I would say that the first side of the album ends a bit grittier, a bit more relaxed, and more wild with “Woodstock” (Track 5).

So overall: new appreciation for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, definitely. And its awesome! I’m loving all these connections I’m making while I listen to these albums. This is exactly what I wanted to get out of this experience, so I’m pretty pleased.

Onwards to the next album!!


Beginning

In musings on December 2, 2010 at 1:52 am
Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Tim...

Image via Wikipedia

In the past, I’ve been amazed at some of my friends’ knowledge about music. I am a passionate listener, but I couldn’t tell you much about records before the 90s. I don’t know much about the Stones, or Led Zeppelin, or Santana, or Otis Redding, or any of the great musicians from the past 60 years.

Yesterday, I was listening to my iPod and walking to the bus stop, on my way to work, and had an idea. In order to satisfy my own cravings to discover more about the evolution of music from the 50s onwards, I need to listen to the greatest albums of all time, sit with them, enjoy them, whatever…and then record my observations, whatever they end up being. My immediate response was excitement. The inspiration actually came from a few sources.

As many people know, and many people don’t, iTunes does not allow artists to request full album only sales of their music. In other words, they can’t restrict people from buying single tracks. Some musicians boycott iTunes for this reason, saying that their music is created as an album and not as singles. Two days ago, I listened to the new Arcade Fire album (The Suburbs) and was inspired. It struck me that their album had a sound that didn’t seem to sit quite right unless you listened to the record from start to finish. I don’t know what their intentions were, but that’s the way the record came across to me. So between The Suburbs, and being reminded about the idea of a complete album, I decided that for me to get a better understanding of music, I need to listen to as many ‘essential’ albums as possible from start to finish.

I checked online to find that Rolling Stone magazine has a list of the top 500 Greatest Albums of All Time posted on their website. Now, 500 seems insanely daunting. Especially if I want to be able to do a bit of research and have time to sit with each album, if I need, to let it digest. So I’ve decided that I will start at 150 and work my way down to the number 1 greatest album of all time.

I’m excited for this project and don’t want to shape it too much ahead of time. Instead, I want to get started and clarify the process as it happens, answering any questions from myself or others along the way. One of my questions right now is how Rolling Stone came up with this list, so I’ll work on figuring that out.

In the meantime, the first album I’m going to listen to is Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’, released in 1978 and also number 150 on the list of  Greatest Albums of All Time.

Here we go.

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