The Circle of Sound (np: K.O.D. by Tech N9ne)

Spurned by the ever growing success of Bruno’s reading circle (hehehe), I do propose we start a monthly album-listening thread. Unfortunately, we don’t have days and days to debate and argue over an album to choose, as March 1st approaches, and Bruce Springsteen is coming to where I live on March 31st. I still haven’t done his best selling album yet, and I really wanted to hear it a fair amount before going to see him in concert for the first time. Anyways, the album is: Born in the USA by Bruce Springsteen. It is one of the best selling all time, is tied with Thriller for having the most Top Ten hits (it has 7), and one of his best works.

The goal here though, is: to listen to the album in its entirety. The album was released in a specific order for a reason. Artistically, it is supposed to flow in a specific manner. You wouldn’t read a book by starting at the third chapter, then moving on to the 8th, then back to the first, and likewise, for an album to be appreciated, it is best appreciated in the order the artists intended. The idea is similar to the reading circle, only much, much simpler. Pick up a copy, or, if legal, download a copy of the album, and listen to it. First, hear the music with the first few listens, and then, after a few more, pay attention to the lyrics of it.

Anyways, if you’re down for this album, post here, to get a little enthusiasm going for one of the greatest albums of all time.

I’m joining. :cool_laugh: If it hits critical mass, I’ll stick this topic. :smile:

For those of you who are afraid of trying the album, fearing a pro-USA propaganda work, funded by the American government, fear not. Like, the title track, Born in the USA, is actually not really a patriotic song. Here’s an excerpt from the occasionally misguided wikipedia:

"The song was in part a tribute to Springsteen’s buddies who had experienced the Vietnam War, some of whom did not come back; it also protests the hardships Vietnam veterans faced upon their return from the war.

The song’s narrative traces the protagonist’s lower-status origins, induction into the armed forces, and disaffected return back to the States. An anguished lyrical interlude is even more jolting, describing the fate of the protagonist’s (literal or figurative) brother (in some recordings or live shows, the word brother is replaced with buddy):

“I had a brother at Khe Sanh
Fighting off them Viet Cong
They’re still there, he’s all gone
He had a woman he loved in Saigon
I got a picture of him in her arms now”

The Battle of Khe Sanh involved the North Vietnamese Army, not the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam heard in the song lyrics. Eventually the Americans prevailed and broke the siege, only to withdraw from the outpost a couple of months later. Khe Sanh thus became one of the media symbols of the futility of the whole war effort in the States."

So I say, try out the album if you want to try something new. Bruce Springsteen is a really great artist, my favourite, one who has an amazing discography, around 10-12 amazing albums. I could go on about how, if Columbus hadn’t sailed across the sea, we wouldn’t have America, but I’m not in the mood for anything like that, about risks/rewards. All I am saying, is listen to this album. You will not regret it.

I will listen as well! :wink:

This weekend I will be gone, camping in snow caves, but I will probably be able to start listening to it by next week. I’ll listen to it as I slap myself into stopping being lazy and finish this one outstanding PM that has taken way to long to write. :neutral:

Snow caves? Wow, awesome! And all I got this weekend was blue cheese fries that nearly made me sick…hahahaha.

Anyways, I did the obligatory listen today on vinyl, which was quite excellent. The second side is really, really great. Every song on it rocks, from No Surrender to My Hometown. Dancing in the Dark is of course very catchy. I’m On Fire, on the first side is incredible, right now my favourite on it, it really is an awesome song. My listen of the first side was marred slightly though; I was going to blast it on the new speakers in the family room, so I turned it on in there real loud, but my dad started yelling at me to turn it off, because he was going to sit in there, so I was a little turned off. I expect I’ll enjoy it a lot more tomorrow.

Here’s the music video for Dancing in the Dark. It’s pretty hilarious to watch, mostly because of the dancing, and the clothes, and the fact that the lip syncing is way off the recording of it. And yes, that is Courtney Cox, hahaha.

/me stickies.

I listened to some of the songs, liked them very much, so I’m buying the album this weekend (read: today) to do that thing where we turn out the lights, lie in our hammocks :spinning:D)) and enjoy. And then I’ll come back with comments. :content:

Alright, I have had 10 listens on Born in the USA, and I gotta say, it’s a pretty solid album. Every song on it is pretty great, upbeat and energetic. I really love singing along to Darlington County, because it makes me feel like a real drunken hick. The way Bruce sings it is pretty funny. I really like the chorus to Bobby Jean, and Downbound Train is pretty great. I’m a little tired of the title track, but that’s probably because I’ve heard it so many times beforehand. The songs may be a little dated with the synthesizer, but hell, it’s still really great music to listen to, and is very easy to like.

question … can another genre than rock for the next month ? … just a question :smile:

What did you have in mind? What I was thinking of doing was with a week left in the month, suggest a bunch that I think would be good, and everybody else does that as well. Then we’d have a say as to which everybody has a preference for. I wouldn’t mind hosting an album that I would like though, haha.

hahaha, alright, Will can comment on Born in the USA when he gets around to it, but I say we should move on to next months album.

So, we will be taking suggestions for the next 5 days for which album we should do for the next month. I have some suggestions, so here they are. Note: I haven’t heard any of these albums more than once, so it’s really a crapshoot.

  1. Blue - Joni Mitchell

This is by far the best album on this list. It is the deepest, most emotionally powerful album, possibly of all time. This is her best album and by far her most famous. (Stealing from wikipedia): In 1979 Mitchell reflected, “The Blue album, there’s hardly a dishonest note in the vocals. At that period of my life, I had no personal defenses. I felt like a cellophane wrapper on a pack of cigarettes. I felt like I had absolutely no secrets from the world and I couldn’t pretend in my life to be strong. Or to be happy. But the advantage of it in the music was that there were no defenses there either.”[1]

  1. Jagged Little Pill - Alanis Moresette

This album was extremely popular also when it came out. It has been sold 30 million times, and features a lot of really good tunes on it. I’ve only heard it a few times, and I seem to remember liking it a lot. It has a fair amount of angrier songs on it if memory serves me right, which is part of the reason I want to hear it again. The rage consumes…hahaha.

  1. Idlewild South - The Allman Brothers Band

I’ve been meaning to do this one for a while. The first time I heard it, it reminded me of Lynyrd Skynyrd, and then shelved it until warmer weather arrives, as Lynyrd Skynyrd is absolutely summer, nothing else. Well, summer is just around the bend, and I want to whip this out regardless. I think this one will prove to be a little bit more of a difficult one to listen to, seeing as the last song on the album reminded me a lot of Captain Beefheart, the most challenging artist all-time. I am saving At Fillmore East for some extremely celebratory event anyways, their very famous live album.

Hmm, last night I had a dream where someone other than me posted in this thread. A shame it was only a dream. I will be doing Blue for the rest of this month, and I will be posting in here. I have only heard it once now, but I can see that I will really like it. It is much more upbeat than I expected, and much less sad. Throughout the album, there are patches of sadness, but it can be seen within the music that there are instances of happiness. It is more melancholy than anything, and is first rate music.


'Tis no longer but a dream, my friend! I really should have posted here earlier, I hope that you’ll forgive me. I’ve listened to Born In The USA around four times now, and have come to an interesting conclusion: I’d rather listen to the songs on the album separately instead of all together. I mean – and it’s sort of funny, you’ve taught me to listen to music in full albums, taught me the real value of listening to every song as one – with this album it’s different. I think what got me the most is the continuous use of that characteristic drum beat in most of the songs. It’s a funny thing to get annoyed with… It was usually the same beat, the “1 drum 3 drum” sort of thing. It’s really noticeable in the first track, continuing to some of the next ones, and it gets to me. :razz:

And when I say “annoying”, it’s not that I don’t like the songs on the album. Like you said, it’s a solid piece of work. It’s just that if given a choice, I would rather listen to a track every once and a while than all in a row. That’s all. I don’t really have much else to say about it because I’ve heard these songs my entire life: my mom likes country quite a bit, growing up in the south. Coincidently, she also likes the boss - more than a bit. :grin: So it goes.

I’ll start listening to Blue tonight. It’s funny, every time a new album starts in this thread, I’m leaving on a trip! This weekend I’m going to the Olympic Peninsula to backpack up the coast. I’ll listen to the album on the drive there, maybe.

Hmmm, so we agree on one thing: It can be difficult to listen to the album in it’s fullness. I have trouble with it, mainly because I’ve heard Born in the USA (the song) so many times now, and so I struggle a bit to get a full listen on it. It’s not a bad song - in fact I think it’s a very good one, it just is a little annoying. And Dancing in the Dark, despite being utterly fantastic and mind-blowing as it is, is not as good as it would have been to discover it when the album came out, rather than hearing it 50 times on the radio before doing the full album. It’s sort of like Full Moon Fever by Tom Petty. I’ve heard all of the best songs on that album, and so once I got around to hearing it, it wasn’t nearly as good had I not listened to those other great songs before doing the album. Usually, when I listen to the vinyl for Born in the USA, I just skip the first half entirely and go straight on to the second side, despite the fact that I think the first half is way better than the second.

I will say though, after hearing Born in the USA 20 times, it does get easier to listen to in it’s fullness. I think this is because once the songs, other than the initial great songs, are liked, then there is more incentive to hear the first half, rather than skip over it entirely.

Alright, well I was completely wrong in my initial description of Joni Mitchell’s Blue. It is not really sad at all. It’s actually a very happy album I find - just extremely personal from her, extremely deep into what was going through her at this particular moment of her life. Like, the only example of a somewhat sad song would be Blue, but other than that, it really is upbeat and happy for the most part. I especially like Carey and River right now, but my favourite track will probably emerge after 10 - 15 listens.

After around 6 listens, I’ve started to like this album - a lot. Joni Mitchell’s voice has definitely grown on me, at times she can be a little over the top, but the grand majority of times it really is great to hear her sing like she does. Apparently she lost her voice somewhat because she smokes - a shame really. There is one part on the album, where she holds a high note for around 8 seconds and it’s utterly incredible to hear.

Well, another album of the month has gone by! I’m starting to think that one month for one album isn’t long enough, so I think we should do one for every month and a half type thing. Anyways, in a few days, barring anything negative happening, I should be flying to Australia for 3 weeks. And so, I’m putting this on auto-pilot for a little while with a summer-esque and upbeat album, Abraxas, by Santana, one that I have already done. It is just one of those albums that most people like (unless you’re like my dad and don’t like vocals to any extent). It’s substantial enough to enjoy it without doing anything else, and loose enough to be put on for the background sound during a party, or just having a few friends hanging around. It’s quick moving, the guitar is very good, (Santana is amazing on the guitar), and I particularly dig the smoothness of the vocals within the album. Pretty suave stuff. The cover of the album is pretty cool too:

Anyways, I won’t be going till Monday. I have a few thoughts on the past albums that we’ve done already. The thing with Born in the USA that is odd, is that I really like the album, but every time I go to put it on, I either want to skip the first half, or just skip the first song and go from there. I suppose the synth on the first song is a little overpowering.

One thing with Blue by Joni, is that it is sad, but at the same time, she is sort of breaking free of darkness and becoming positive again. Examples of this are Carey, This Flight Tonight, and A Case of You. I was wrong in my second thought of the album, because it is most definitely sad. It just wasn’t the type of sad I was expecting, so I didn’t really notice it as much as I thought I would. I was expecting something more like Nick Drake on Pink Moon, a somewhat of a depressed artist than a sad one.

Anyways, Abraxas is a very positive, quick moving album, and is definitely worth doing in warmer type weather. Happy listening everybody! hahahaha.

Alright! So I hope all of you enjoyed Abraxas by Santana. All none of you. crickets

This month, I say we get into some Bob Dylan, something sorely lacking in all of our lives. I try to listen to him every day, but it’s kind of hard to remember sometimes. Sort of like some sort of vitamin, he’s needed in that way. So: here we are, Planet Waves.

My brother has gone through literally all of the Bob Dylan there is up to this point, (he’s waded through some ahem, sub-par music), and he says it’s the album he has liked the most out of any Bob’s of recent memory. I’ve heard Planet Waves around four times, and I like the thing a lot. There isn’t a bad song on the album. Plus, it has Forever Young, a truly awesome piece of music that needs to be heard to be appreciated, when Bob still had the lungs to raise his voice to make the song as good as it is. The lyrics are fantastic, though somewhat sad, in my opinion, that he wishes people to be young, but it seems that everyone is still getting older in physicality and in spirit . It has Dirge, a lament for wasted love on an undeserving woman. Those are the high points on the album, but still, every song on the album is solid. The album has few weaknesses, and deserves to be listened to by anyone who likes Bob, or music in general.

I know what you mean when you say it’s hard to remember to listen to Dylan. I like the music, but it’s never in the front of my mind when I think of something to listen to. I’ve been sporadically listening to Blood on the Tracks for the last week, but nothing serious. I’ll give this album a try now. :happy:

Dylan is SO hard to interpret. Nonetheless one of the greatest songwriters, if not THE greatest, of all time.

Ahh. Who is to say there is something to interpret though? Perhaps what he’s says in his lyrics should just be taken as face value, not looked into for hidden meanings. I think that would be the most brilliant of all possible things Dylan could’ve done, to create a following which thought he was saying something intricate, thought provoking, but then in fact he was just saying nothing really different at all, to create people who found their own meanings in the songs, rather than him creating a thought bubble for them to follow. Hard to say if there is anything to interpret at all.

I like the theories behind Ballad of a Thin Man, though. Some think he’s making references to homosexual oral gratification, while others would disagree. Hard to really say. The only person who really knows isn’t telling, so who is to say? Me? I’m just a kid from Canada.

It’s hard to know where to being with Dylan. Regardless he is a lyrical genius.

I love Desolation Row especially…