Thursday, March 31
Album Project update! Have re-listened to one of the first albums I owned (well, I owned it back when I didn't have a wall covered in CDs, so it was fairly early on!). Yes, 'The Great Escape' (1995). This was Blur at the height of their powers, or at least, the height of their fame. And at the most intense period of Britpop rivalry between Blur and their enemies Oasis... I was a Blur girl, and having bought this album I bought their earlier albums and then their later albums, when they came out. And also Blur-related albums like the 'The Good, the Bad & the Queen' album, Damon Albarn's 'Mali Music' and, of course, all the Gorillaz stuff (including lovely limited edition mad releases). Blur are one of my favourite bands, and this album is where it started. Ironic, then, that this is now one of my least favourite Blur albums! It's all a bit too silly for me. And I've heard 'Country House' so many times that I can barely bring myself to listen to it any more. Strange but true... It's a great album, it sold a lot of copies, but it's definitely not my favourite Blur album. Not any more.
Labels: 1995, Album Project, Blur, The Great Escape
Wednesday, March 30
The F1 (Australian GP, opening race of the year) was fairly exciting but not the most exciting race ever. It was a bit of a foregone conclusion that Vettel would win (unless he did something stupid). Nice surprise to see Petrov in the Lotus-Renault in third though. And the Saubers were brilliant, shame they were disqualified!
Went to see Danny and Megan Sunday afternoon, which was fun. John had to go home Sunday evening. But we'll see him again this weekend since we're going to Southend for my Dad's birthday. Hooray!
Haven't done an awful lot this week, mainly work, boring stuff... The weather's still sort of coldish and grey compared to last week's sunshine. Ah well.
Album Project Update! Blur's third album, 'Parklife' (1994), is where Blur really hit the big time. Who hasn't heard 'Girls and Boys'? Or, indeed, the title track 'Parklife'? It's beautifully observed stuff and a brilliant album. It's albums like this that made my Dad recommend the Kinks to me. You can really see the similarities between Damon Albarn's writing and Ray Davies's. Great stuff.
Labels: 1994, Album Project, Blur, Parklife
Saturday, March 26
Album Project Update! Have now listened to Blur's second album, 'Modern Life is Rubbish' (1993). This is very different to 'Leisure' and has some great tracks that (almost) everyone should know - 'For Tomorrow' and 'Chemical World' spring to mind. The writing is cleverer, the sound is clean and jaunty... all in all it's the sound that made them one of the biggest bands of the 90s. The album also features a couple of slightly silly musical interludes. I really like this album. :)
Labels: 1993, Album Project, Blur, Modern Life is Rubbish
The weather's been lovely this week (sadly not today though, when I actually got to go out rather than being stuck in the office!). Wednesday I walked home along the canal, from Frog Island to Aylestone Locks. Part of the route was congested by students - DeMontfort and Leicester universities were having a rowing match! Although I like walking along the canal it can be a bit scary (weird men sitting on benches drinking beer have been known to be unpleasant) and it's sad how much litter there is everywhere...
John came to visit this weekend, to watch the Australian GP with me. Hooray for the return of Formula One! Since he was here we (me, Rob, Ali and John) went to Rutland Water today. The weather was pretty cold and windy, so it was back on with the winter coats and hats. We've definitely been spoilt this week, it was hot enough for summer tops and jackets. Various trees are starting to bloom and the daffodils are all coming out. Ah well, it can't be nice weather all the time.
The F1 qualifying was interesting, not really sure about the DRS (Drag Reduction System) and KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) but perhaps it'll make things more exciting. I don't know really. Last year was so exciting anyway it seems odd that they have to keep inventing new things. Interesting that Sebastian Vettel wasn't using KERS and still managed to way out-qualify everyone else! D'oh. Will get up early in the morning and see what happens. (Shame it's clocks moving foward tonight - unfortunate timing!)
I think that's about it for now. :)
Tuesday, March 22
Next stage of the album project - Blur! I've listened to all these albums loads, not like some of the Kinks albums. I love Blur. Blur are one of my favourite bands. And they were really influenced by The Kinks, so there you go. :) Their first album, 'Leisure' (1991) is quite different to their later work. It's, hmm, grungy? I guess the most well known song from the album is 'There's no other way'. A brilliant debut, even if not as great as their later stuff..!
Labels: 1991, Album Project, Blur, Leisure
Monday, March 21
So that was all 23 studio albums by The Kinks. Favourite album? I think 'Preservation Acts 1 & 2'. Which is interesting, since I thought 'Village Green Preservation Society' was my favourite before I started this. And my least favourite? 'Muswell Hillbillies', what with it being the start of their odd pub blues phase. Next... Blur!
Labels: Muswell Hillbillies, Preservation Act 1, Preservation Act 2, The Kinks, The Village Green Preservation Society
The final Kinks album! 'Phobia' (1993). With bigger and bigger gaps between albums, it was perhaps obvious that it wouldn't last much longer. They disbanded three years after this, in 1996. I can't help but wonder whether 'Hatred' (one of my favourite songs on the album) was a bit of a sign, especially as a duet between Ray and Dave. I guess things are better now between them, but all those years of working together seemed to be taking their toll. I particularly like 'Did Ya', since it heavily references 'Sunny Afternoon'. Wikipedia says this was only on the Japanese version of the slbum, which is interesting. Maybe I have that. Or maybe Wikipedia is wrong! Hm. It was a fitting end to the Kinks, anyway...
Labels: 1993, Album Project, Phobia, The Kinks
So, the 22nd Kinks album, 'UK Jive' (1989). Apparently it was one of the most poorly received Kinks albums. It sounds very 80s. And it has a load of different musical styles. Even if it was poorly received, it's by no means my least favourite Kinks album.
Labels: 1989, Album Project, The Kinks, UK Jive
Monday, March 14
Have now listened to 'Think Visual' (1986). By this point the Kinks are becoming less popular. 'Think Visual' sounds very much like a Ray Davies solo album, much less like a Kinks album. I do like it (I like his solo albums!) but it's not as good as some of their earlier work...
Labels: 1986, Album Project, The Kinks, Think Visual
Sunday, March 13
Album Project update! Have now listened to 'Word of Mouth' (1984). (BTW, you may be pleased to hear that 'Think Visual' has now turned up!) The thing that makes this album a little unusual is the two songs with lead singing by Dave Davies. 'Living on a Thin Line' is a good song.
This album was made in a time of crisis. Dave Davies could no longer stand working with the drummer Mick Avory, so Mick was fired. Dave and Ray's relationship was deteriorating. Ray's relationship with the Pretenders lead singer, Chrissie Hynde, was breaking up. So this is an uncomfortable sort of album. Good, but uncomfortable. I guess it was only a matter of time before things fell apart forever...
Labels: 1984, Album Project, The Kinks, Word of Mouth
Have been watching a lot of Japanese news over the weekend (we get NHK World
via Sky). Not much you can say really, is there? For a long time now Rob has wanted to move to Japan, and what with that and a general interest for various reasons I feel I have a special liking for the place. One day we'll visit, even if Rob never gets a tranfer. But to see the devastation...
Monday, March 7
Album Project update... Nearing the end of the Kinks, though I hope 'Think Visual' turns up soon - managed to find someone in Germany who had a very rare copy of the CD to complete my collection! Anyway, have now listened to 'State of Confusion' (1983). This has two songs on it that I really like, both of which are about dancing. The first is 'Come Dancing' and the second is 'Don't Forget to Dance'. :)
Labels: 1983, Album Project, State of Confusion, The Kinks
Have been very busy this weekend! First of all, Rob and I took the day off on Friday and went to Sussex to visit the largest saxophone shop in the world
! Rob wanted to get a soprano saxophone (he has a tenor, alto and a vintage 'C' but he's trying to sell the tenor). After about an hour of playing various ones, he settled on a Yanigasawa saxophone (they're the best soprano saxes, apparently). Oddly, the man in charge of Yanigasawa in the UK was visiting so Rob was personally congratulated on his purchase. :)
After that we spent the night in a B&B at Crowborough, where they thought we were odd for coming all that way to buy a saxophone. It was very pleasant, had a curry at the Birothi Indian Restaurant (yum, managed to avoid evil coriander, yay). And the next day we went to Broadwater Warren
RSPB reserve. And came back to Leicester!
Sunday we went to the Belvoir Brewery
for Mat's birthday. I don't drink alcohol (don't like the taste) but I still found it interesting. Ate lots of yummy Sunday roast food and felt like I was going to explode.
So, all in all, a fairly busy weekend!
Thursday, March 3
Album Project update! I have now listened to 'Give The People What They Want' (1981). So, suddenly, the Kinks were back in the mainstream. 'Low Budget' had made them popular again. According to Wikipedia, 'Give The People What They Want' reached #15 in the charts. And this is a pretty solid album, a bit retrospective in places with tracks like 'Destroyer'. 'Destroyer' has 'All day and all of the night' underlying it, and then there's the obvious mention of a girl called Lola. Of all the songs on the album, you're most likely to have heard 'Better Things'.
Labels: 1981, Album Project, Give the people what they want, The Kinks