Sunday, May 2, 2010

Favourite Albums. Part One. Beautiful Midnight.

Taking a break from my usual "recent concert/album review/haiku" format, I think I am going to do something special. Earlier this evening, I saw the following on the twitters:
@melanieshim Power, Corruption & Lies by New Order=definitely one of my favourite records of all time...and my favourite track is: http://ow.ly/1G6gW
Which lead me to ask, what are your favourite albums of all time?
I posted my list, but then some of the resulting tweets got me thinking of it more, and why I picked these specific albums. I was first going to do a spontaneous post involving all six albums I picked, but then I started writing what is below, and realized that I would ramble on way too long for one post... so I am going to make it a six part series. I will probably just do one daily a week biweekly, ah, who am I kidding, it'll end up being whenever I feel like it. Probably at random intervals through my regularly scheduled programming.
I am not, however, going to "review" them like I normally do, but probably just ramble on for a few minutes. So here is part one of a six part series cleverly titled: Some of Kirk's Favourite Albums.

Beautiful Midnight by Matthew Good.
This shouldn't be a surprise for anyone. Matthew Good is my favourite musician, and I hold this album to be one of the most perfect made. It was also the first MGB album I purchased. I had been a fan since I first heard them on Fox Seeds, but back then I never really bought albums -- and when I did, it was always albums that I knew I would like; I didn't take chances. But by the time "Hello, Time Bomb" came out, I figured I liked enough of his songs, and I was starting to be more adventurous in buying music, so I picked up the album. (Oddly enough, in a way, I consider this one of the first albums I bought, since it was the first one I bought with this carefree & reckless mentality).

But the sentimentality is only a portion of why I like it. There is also, of course, the music. Are there better Matthew Good [Band] songs? Absolutely. But Beautiful Midnight has one thing that I look for in albums. The thing that, to me, will make a good album great and a great album, well, Beautiful Midnight. And that is the flow. From the opener, "Giant" -- which is, over ten years later, still one of the best opening songs to any album -- to "Born To Kill" and "Running For Home" -- which is the perfect pair of songs to close an album -- it peaks and dips, ebbs and flows near perfectly. You can almost graph or chart the mood, intensity and emotion, and this is the album whose flow I try and mimic when I make "mixtapes". (I don't know if that is going to make sense to anyone that is not in my brain, but whatever). It goes from the epic start of "Giant", ramps it up with "Hello, Time Bomb", but it doesn't blow its load too fast, as it slows with "Strange Days" (which, incidentally, has one of my favourite music videos ever). And from there, it just flows to perfection.
(Not to say other MG[B] albums don't have this, but this is the quintessential example)

And the emotion. There are songs that upon first listen, just ooze with raw emotion and intensity, that you can't help but connect with. Then there are songs that, when you find out the true story behind them, will absolutely crush your heart and soul.
Listen to "Jenni's Song".
Then read The Night Opus -- either in his book or, conveniently, on his blog -- which is based on a true story.
Then listen to it again, and this time, really listen to it.

If the whole album can be plotted, then "Born To Kill" is definitely the climax. It starts out slow and calm, but then -- with orchestral accompaniment -- builds and builds to a frenzy, drains you emotionally, then just when you think you can't take anymore... it stops dead. Weird as it may sounds, I've always pictured this song as the soundtrack to going mad, just completely losing it.
And then finally, "Running For Home". If "Born To Kill" is the climax, "Running For Home" is the denouement. After the intensity of "Born To Kill", it ends with a soft piano and hauntingly beautiful vocals. As far as I can remember, I have been a sucker for piano in songs, and I think this song is a strong reason why. For a time, it even made me want to learn the piano (or at the very least, the keyboard).

And that's so say nothing about the songs in between. "Suburbia". "A Boy And His Machine Gun". "Failing The Rorschach Test". Again, there are individual songs I like better, but each and every song on this album serves a purpose.

I admit, my views on this album were not immediate. I liked it right away, of course, but it wasn't until I got a little more into music that I appreciated it even more. So much so that, to this day, it remains one of my favourite albums. Heck, probably my single favourite album.



Download Suburbia

Download Jenni's Song

Download Born to Kill

Download Running For Home

Clicky to exchange monies for music

No comments:

Post a Comment