classic album dissections 2014

thewall_web

Pink Floyd The Wall

With the first new music from Pink Floyd in nearly 20 years coming this month, Jim and Greg take a look back at band's 1979 classic album The Wall. It's celebrating its 35th anniversary. The brainchild of Roger Waters, the epic double album touches on a range of tortured topics like fame, divorce, mothers and paranoia. During their dissection, Jim and Greg dive head first into Water's personal lyrics and compare the The Wall to other albums in the band's catalog. Then, our hosts choose their favorite tracks; Greg goes with "Mother" and Jim selects "Run Like Hell."

Go to episode 466

James Brown Live at the Apollo

Before he was America's Godfather of Soul, James Brown was the king of the South's segregated "Chitlin' Circuit". It took Live at the Apollo - an album recorded over fifty years ago on Brown's own dime - to catapult him onto the national stage. With the success of the Mick Jagger-produced biopic Get On Up, we decided to revisit our Classic Album Dissection of Brown's Live at the Apollo with help from music writer RJ Smith. He's the author of The One: The Life and Music of James Brown. As RJ explains, James Brown was all about the live experience. He knew if radio listeners could just hear his live show, he could be "Gary Cooper big." He was right. High-energy numbers like“Night Train”and“Think”propelled Brown onto the pop charts and super-charged his career. But, as Greg notes, Live at the Apollo wasn't just a turning point for Brown personally, it was a turning point for music. Suddenly doo-wop and soul was starting to sound…funky.

Go to episode 459
Rocket to Russiaundefined available on iTunes

Rocket to Russia

In 1976, The Ramones blasted onto the budding punk scene with their self-titled first LP and blew critics away with their blistering speed and old-school simplicity. However, it wasn't until the next year, after a monumental European tour and the release of their third album, Rocket to Russia, that the group's characteristic break-neck punk sound flooded the airwaves and the took the rock world by storm. Now, nearly 40 years after Rocket to Russia blew a hole in thepunk rock atmosphere, we mourn the death of Ramones' founder, drummer, producer, and guiding light Tommy Ramone. In honor of the legend's passing, Jim and Greg strap in for a Classic Album Dissection of The Ramones' 1977 speed machine and revisit a 2007 conversation with Tommy. Jim and Greg, curious about the magic behind masters of punk, ask Tommy about the day-to-day during the recording process and the band's cross-pond rivalry with British punk group the Sex Pistols. Tommy tells all, including the story of the band's suburban origins and the secret behind Dee Dee's famous, though not-so-useful count-offs.

To stake their flag in the dissection's conclusion, Jim and Greg each choose their favorite song from Rocket to Russia. Jim plays "Sheena is a Punk Rocker", calling it the“perfect rock song”and reminiscing about his young days listening to The Ramones. Greg settles on the song "We're a Happy Family" as a representation of the Ramones knack for writing catchy social commentary. The song satirizes the idea of perfect suburban family life represented so often by TV programs at the time, a poignant topic for the suburban-boy Ramones from Queens, New York.

Go to episode 453
Purple Rain (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture)Purple Rain available on iTunes

Prince Purple Rain

Believe it or not, Prince's blockbuster album Purple Rain turns 30-years-old this month. To mark the occasion, Jim and Greg give Purple Rain the Classic Album Dissection treatment. They talk to former Revolution members Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman about their relationship with Prince and the making of the album. Wendy & Lisa are now a musical duo, and also score music for TV shows like Heroes and Nurse Jackie, which won them an Emmy Award in 2010. But back in 1984, they were part of Prince's first major recording and performing team — Wendy on guitar and Lisa on keyboards. As Jim and Greg explain, it was unique for Prince to be collaborate on this level. The auteur even shared songwriting credits with The Revolution. Jim and Greg also credit Wendy and Lisa with opening Prince up to new music and new sounds.

To cap off their dissection, Jim and Greg talk about two specific songs from Purple Rain. Jim plays "Darling Nikki," one of the only songs on the album written solely by Prince. It was targeted by Tipper Gore and the PMRC for its suggestive lyrics, but Jim sees it as a love/lust story similar to The Beatles' "Norwegian Wood." Greg choses "When Doves Cry." With no bass line, multiple guitar parts and a multi-tracked voice, it's a perfect example of Prince's modern and avant-garde side.

Go to episode 449