Culling The Herd: Crowded House, The Cult, Dashboard Confessional, Dave Edmunds, David Bowie

Crowded House, "Time On Earth" - 3 stars.  Hold it.

I feel like I'm supposed to like Crowded House, but I'm not really sure why I feel that way.  Neil Finn was the leader of Split Enz and has an undeniable talent for making really beautiful songs, but the albums never seem to reach out and grab me.  There are a couple of nice songs here ("Don’t Stop Now" and "Nobody Wants To"), but even those are low-key, with the exception of "She Called Up" which is a definite keeper.  Most are gone.

The Cult, "Love" - 2 stars.  Dump it.

A record we used to listen to quite a bit in college, and I remembered it as this great lost masterpiece of hard guitar rock.  And I have to say - I was absolutely stunned at how crappy it is.  This kind of stuff doesn't usually age all that well anyway, but there are maybe three songs that make the cut.  "She Sells Sanctuary" is one of them - what a fantastic running song.  The rest?  Crap.  Really terrible.

The Cult, "Electric" - 4 stars.  Hold it.

Also crappy, but in a kinda fun way.  The first six songs are actually pretty good, to the point that I almost never reach for the skip button.  ("Lil' Devil" is terrific despite the stupid stupid stupid title).  But "King Contrary Man" is just offensively dumb ( Lyric - "I saw the devil | The contrary man | I saw the devil down the long long road | He said to me | I want your soul" is  typical for that song).  It turns almost exactly 180 degrees around with "Love Removal Machine," which is a brilliant hard guitar rock song, but follows it with a completely disposable and unnecessary cover of "Born to Be Wild" that I've never not skipped.  Another 180 degree flip to "Outlaw," and a limp "Memphis Hip Shake" (great title, lousy song) to close.

So it's...a mixed bag.  High highs and low lows.  A surprising amount stays, tho.

Dashboard Confessional, "The Shade Of Poison Trees" - 3 stars. Hold it.

I keep using the Christine Perfect / Fleetwood Mac example...she was pretty great as a side dish / accent, but as an entree?  Meh.  That's something of the case here.  Some of the songs - "Where There's Gold", "Thick As Thieves" - are terrific emo alt-pop songs, sharply written and played, but a whole record beginning to end tends to annoy.  Part of the problem is the lead singer.  I get the pull here - part of Chris Carabba's allure is that quivery, trembly voice, all full of heartfelt misery and betrayal, but man - it gets OLD.  Again - as an accent to a playlist, it's nice, so a goodly amount stays, but I doubt I'll miss some of it, and I probably wouldn't listen to the record straight through again.

Dave Edmunds, "Anthology" - 5 stars.  Dig it.

I don't much like greatest hits records, but that attitude is left over from my past life of vinyl records and CDs.  It was generally a pain in the ass to to change a record, so you didn't skip from artist to artist as much.  There's also some leftover 20-year-old pretentiousness at work here, as in "I want to experience the entire artistic thought and blah blah blah."  I make fun, but it's probably worth saying that some of my favorite records didn't grab me right out of the box - I needed to listen to the whole thing through to get it.  But now I rarely, if ever, listen to an album beginning to end (sigh), so a greatest hits record doesn't repel me as much.

Anyway, I like Dave Edmunds a lot, but I don't listen to this record much for that very reason.  That's too bad, because it's really terrific, and I mean beginning to end.  Some of these songs ("Baby Ride Easy", "Girls Talk", "Queen of Hearts", the unfortunately named "Deborah") might even be on Matt's all-time top 100 list.  Tremendous.

David Bowie, "ChangesOneBowie" - 4 stars.  Dig it.

Stream of consciousness from my first listen of this record, back in Couzens Hall as the dorkiest 19-year-old kid ever: 

"David Bowie?  He sucks....'Space Oddity'?  That sucked....'John I'm Only Dancing'? I don't think I ever heard that before, but that wasn't too bad. ..'Changes' wsn't too bad either...Whoa, "Suffragette City" was terrific, I guess Bowie isn't too bad."

Thus endeth my first live blog.  I would eventually come to love this record.  A lot.  We played it at every party, and he cassette was always within reach when I was working at the architectural school.  Always.

Speaking of parties, I may or may not have created a lip-sync routine to "Suffragette City" that John, Paul and I did at every party.  Thank god iPhones didn't exist, is all I have to say to that.  My life would probably be a lot different today.

Anyway, listening to it now?  Well, the high points  are still pretty high, and most of it stays.  A couple songs - mostly stuff I didn't like that much even back then ("Diamond Dogs", "Heroes") - go.