Al Green’s The Belle Album & Opinions on Taylor Swift

Al Green

Al Green sang some of the most acclaimed soul songs of the 1970s. So when he decided to leave it all behind for the church, many questioned why. Jim and Greg discuss Al Green’s life and his pivotal transitional record, The Belle Album, with biographer Jimmy McDonough. Plus, a review of new music from Taylor Swift.

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The Belle Album

The Belle Album

Al Green is known for archetypal soul hits like Love & Happiness, Let’s Stay Together, and I’m So Tired of Being Alone. But, while Al’s songs are known around the world, the man himself is a bit of an enigma. To get a better sense of who Al Green is, Jim and Greg sat down with Jimmy McDonough, author of a new biography called Soul Survivor.

They also unpack a lesser known album from Al Green’s catalogue: The Belle Album. The album, released in 1977, came out at a crucial period in Green’s life. He had just left a lucrative career in soul music for the ministry. The album was his first gospel album, one that blended funk, disco, and according to Jim, even elements of punk. It was also Al’s first dip into self-producing an album. His previous work had been produced by the legendary Willie Mitchell at Hi Records in Memphis. The album with its rough, almost garage-gospel sound is an outlier among Green’s earlier works. The Belle Album means a lot to both Jim and Greg. Greg calls it a transitional album that was also a masterpiece.

reputation Taylor Swift

reputation

Taylor Swift has been the most dominant pop star of the last decade, selling record-setting numbers of albums and winning 10 Grammy Awards (two for album of the year.) She’s back for her 6th studio album, reputation, which she collaborated on with star producers Max Martin, Shellback and Jack Antonoff. Jim compares reputation to a brand new, state-of-the-art Tesla. It’s got everything a person could ever want, but it’s just too perfect. While he thinks that Swift is a talented lyricist and performer, he’s irritated that she’s still letting petty feuds with Kanye West and various ex-boyfriends dominate her music. However, Jim believes there are some solid pop moments on reputation and gives it a Try It. Greg agrees that as a writer and performer, Taylor is one of the strongest in the pop landscape. However, he finds the record to be sonically overproduced and feels Swift is less relatable because of some of the superficial content she sings about on reputation. For Greg there are highlights of pop brilliance ( Getaway Car) and his favorite track is the stripped-down acoustic closer New Year’s Day. He thinks it’s the embodiment of Swift’s strengths and she’s singing about something genuine. Greg gives reputation a Try It.

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