Monday, September 7, 2015

The Sound of Music - Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of the thing where I share my Top 5 albums of all time. Think of this as a "desert island" list. You know, "If you could only have one CD with you while you're stranded on a desert island which one would it be?" - only instead of one, I'm taking five (if you can only pick one then you need to listen to more music. Hopefully, my list will guide you toward a future Top 5 choice for yourself.

As a reminder here is the main criteria that went into making my choices:

  • Number of songs I like on the album (i.e. the fewer songs I skip over, the better)
  • Composition of the album (i.e. are the songs arranged in an order I find pleasing?)
  • Memories invoked when I hear a song from the album
  • Emotional impact of the album (i.e. how does listening to it make me feel?)

Last time, I shared some thoughts about the Irish pop/rock megaband U2's fifth (and breakthrough) album The Joshua Tree. This week we're going in the complete opposite direction and talking about a little-known Canadian indie/folk/rock band whose debut album is the only one worth mentioning in their entire four-album* catalog.

Shakespeare My Butt by The Lowest of the Low



Released 1991
Track Listing:

  1. "4 O'Clock Stop" (7/10)
  2. "So Long Bernie" (7/10)
  3. "Just About 'The Only' Blues" (7/10)
  4. "Salesmen, Cheats and Liars" (7/10)
  5. "Rosy and Grey" (9/10)
  6. "Kinda the Lonely One" (8/10)
  7. "Eternal Fatalist" (8/10)
  8. "For the Hand of Magdalena" (8/10)
  9. "Subversives" (9/10)
  10. "Bleed a Little While Tonight" (8/10)
  11. "Bloodline" (8/10)
  12. "St. Brendan's Way" (8/10)
  13. "Letter from Bilbao" (8/10)
  14. "Under the Carlaw Bridge" (7/10)
  15. "The Taming of Carolyn" (8/10)
  16. "Gossip Talkin' Blues" (6/10)
  17. "Henry Needs a New Pair of Shoes" (8/10)
The songs are put together quite well with most of the album upbeat folksy stuff. It's really hard to listen to that album end-to-end and not be in a good mood. As for the number of songs on the album that I like? Well, if you look at the ratings I gave them (in parenthesis above) I pretty mich like all of them and a few are home to some lyrics that I just love to sing out loud: 
  • "Her mother's worst fears are confirmed / She's taken off with some musician / (Holy shit!)" (from Taming of Carolyn)
  • "Well, I've kissed you in France and I've kissed you in Spain / And I've kissed you in places I'd better not name / And I've seen the sun go down on Sacre Coeur / But I like it much better goin' down on you / Ah, you know that's true" (from Rosey and Grey)
  • "And if they had genitalia they'd have frozen their nuts off" (from Henry Needs a New Pair of Shoes)
There a so many memories involving so many of these songs it's hard to corral them into a single paragraph. For starters, it seemed like this album was on repeat for all of 1994 when I spent a considerable portion of my time at the local on-campus pub, The Bombshelter (or, as it is better known, The Bomber), at the University of Waterloo. I hung out with the folks that would become friends I still see today, and one particular girl who would go on to be my wife. Funny story, she and I would go on to see LotL on my birthday in 2002 and gave our soon-to-be first born child her first taste of good live music. In 2004 while white water rafting just outside of Ottawa a guitarist at the hostel we were camping at played "Rosey and Grey" as part of his set. A bunch of us Bomber alum sang along, giving the bar quite a show and garnering applause from the dude with the guitar. An even funnier story, one of our daughter's first live concerts (out of the womb this time) came just a few years ago. We took the kids to the Toronto Urban Roots Festival and LotL played a short set on the main stage.   

Quite simply, this album makes me feel happy, and whenever one of the tracks comes on my iPod I turn it up and sing along as loud as I can (and as best as I can considering I'm terrible at remembering lyrics). 

~ Andrew

* Hallucegenia (1994), Nothing Short of a Bullet (live w/ 3 studio tracks, 2001), Sordid Fiction (2004) - an album I didn't even remember existed until today

2 comments:

  1. I agree that "Shakespeare My Butt" is just a terrific album, from start to finish. Totally catchy songs with great lyrics. Loved it from the first time I heard it and still do.

    I wouldn't just dismiss their other albums, though, especially Hallucigenia. I mean, that has "Black Monday" on it -- maybe their best song ever? And "Gamble" is almost as good. It's more grungy sounding than "Shakespeare", so less approachable. But for me, another album where all the songs are worthwhile...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Cathy, thanks for reading and commenting. I can't say the entire album Hallucigenia is worthy of mention. It has a couple good songs, but for me it just doesn't have near the same feel as Shakespeare and isn't in the same category. That being said, given he personal nature of this list I'm sure there are truckloads of people out there who absolutely hate my favourites. Thanks again for the comment and keep the music on!

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