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album reviews

The Rolling Stones

Made in the Shade Rolling Stones Records

Metamorphosis is both interesting and embarrassing, a curio and an outrage. Its 14 tracks consist of jams, outtakes, alternate takes and primitive versions of songs the Rolling Stones later revised into more polished numbers, all recorded (roughly) during their first six years. But one can't really call it a Rolling Stones album. The hideous artwork is the first indication that this album is the product of the Stones' former management, which won the rights to much of the music rec... | More »

The Rolling Stones

Metamorphosis ABKCO Records

Metamorphosis is both interesting and embarrassing, a curio and an outrage. Its 14 tracks consist of jams, outtakes, alternate takes and primitive versions of songs the Rolling Stones later revised into more polished numbers, all recorded (roughly) during their first six years. But one can't really call it a Rolling Stones album. The hideous artwork is the first indication that this album is the product of the Stones' former management, which won the rights to much of the music rec... | More »

June 5, 1975

The Who

Tommy (Original Soundtrack Recording) Polydor

Will I ever succeed in figuring out my all-time number-one rock hero? Here Pete Townshend plays some stunning synthesizer stuff and then allows most of it to be obscured by the singing of people who haven't any business in a recording studio. However effusively film critics may acclaim her for allowing herself to be photographed looking middle-aged and haggard (if not for her actual acting), Ann-Margret simply doesn't sing appealingly and it's hardly any pushover imagining wa... | More »

Jeff Beck

Blow By Blow Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab

Jeff Beck seems finally to have figured out that he is not going to replace the great Sixties group which bore his name and featured Mickey Waller, Rod Stewart, Nicky Hopkins and Ron Wood. After some trying moments with a couple of abortive bands whose principal purpose was to give him someone to play with, this all-instrumental album points a newer, healthier direction for the man whose playing is more emblematic of the Yardbirds than either Jimmy Page, who followed him, or Eric Clapton, who... | More »

Journey

Journey (1st LP)

Journey is the third and best group to grow out of the original Santana. Unlike Azteca and Malo, it's not merely a spinoff. Keyboardist and singer Gregg Rolie and lead guitarist Neal Schon — both formerly with Santana — have come up with a more energetic and less contemplative music than Carlos Santana has been making lately. The rhythm section is led by Aynsley Dunbar's complex and experienced drumming, while producer Roy Halee has contributed to the group's origin... | More »

Bad Company

Straight Shooter

Among the members of Bad Company, singer Paul Rodgers and drummer Simon Kirke witnessed the collapse of Free, guitarist Mick Ralphs witnessed the collapse of Mick Ralphs in Mott the Hoople and bassist Boz Burrell participated in King Crimson's stagnation. In the aftermath of their extraordinarily popular debut LP of last year, Bad Company appears determined not to fall into the traps of any of those groups. While retaining all of the spontaneous combustion of the earlier album — wh... | More »

Lou Reed

Lou Reed Live RCA Records

Perhaps the fact that Lou Reed's curious career continues is more important than what he does with it at this particular stage. Had he accomplished nothing else, his work with the Velvet Underground in the late Sixties would assure him a place in anyone's rock & roll pantheon; those remarkable songs still serve as an articulate aural nightmare of men and women caught in the beauty and terror of sexual, street and drug paranoia, unwilling or unable to move. The message is that ur... | More »

May 28, 1975

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

4 Way Street Atlantic Records

Between two miserable bootleg albums Wooden Nickel and Live at the Forum, atrocious not so much due to the production imperfections common to bootleg recording but largely because of the wretched workmanship of the group themselves and six cuts on the two Woodstock albums which collectively constituted a monumental disaster in the history of live recording, it seemed to me that, however one might view their two studio albums. Crosby, Stills. Nash and Young had about as much business recording... | More »

May 22, 1975

John Prine

Common Sense

Common Sense is a confused, self-indulgent fourth album by a major songwriter gone downhill. Recorded in Memphis and Los Angeles with producer Steve Cropper, nine of John Prine's ten new songs have "rock" settings that feature electric guitars, horns and background vocals. Against an aggressive, choppy sound, Prine's material fails in its attempt to imitate the spontaneous style of Bob Dylan's Bringing It All Back Home. Intended to be humorously absurd, Prine's lyrics stri... | More »

Eric Clapton

There's One In Every Crowd

Eric Clapton's sense of well-being is reiterated on There's One in Every Crowd, but on this album it seems less a cause for joy than an occasion for musical indifference. As on 461 Ocean Boulevard, Clapton plays guitar with utilitarian economy but here it is also without the ring of purposeful authority. As on its predecessor, the lack of riveting or attention-drawing guitar work places the primary focus on Clapton's singing, which through experience, growing confidence and a t... | More »

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Song Stories

“You Oughta Know”

Alanis Morissette | 1995

This blunt, bitter breakup song -- famous for its line "Would she go down on you in a theater?" -- was long rumored to be about Alanis Morissette getting dumped by Full House actor Dave Coulier. But while she never confirmed it was about him (Coulier himself says it is, however), she insisted the song wasn't all about scorn. "By no means is this record just a sexual, angry record," she told Rolling Stone. "The song wasn't written for the sake of revenge. It was written for the sake of release. I'm actually a pretty rational, calm person."

More Song Stories entries »
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