Lady Antebellum: Need You Now

The Sonic Collective has decided to pick a round of influential country music artists. Member Scott Gregory explains why he chose the Lady Antebellum: Need You Now album. Listen to this selection and then join us back on April 1, 2021 to hear our review of this classic Lady Antebellum album.

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M83: Hurry up, we’re dreaming

Hi all you people out there in Collective land. It’s me, Scott G, here to present our pick for November 2020, which is also the last of the double album round. As you know, Alain picked our last band, Frankie Goes to Hollywood. This was right up my alley because I’ve spent a lot of time with 80s and 90s Brit synth and pop.

I was really torn on what to pick for this round. Looking through a bunch of top-10 lists there were a lot of great options. I was leaning heavily towards Bruce Springsteen’s The River, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd…lots of solid, safe picks.

But stretching out into top 50 lists, the band M83 caught my eye. First, because the name was unusual, and as far as I could tell I’d never even heard of them before. Their double album’s from 2011 and is called Hurry up, we’re dreaming.

Coming off a Brit synth pop from the 80s, I thought it’d be cool to pair it with some more synth from 30 years later and across the channel. Will there be cultural differences we can detect in the album? Will there be an evolution we can trace back? How will it feel coming off an overtly sexually charged album into something more atmospheric?

Their sixth studio album, coming in at a tight 73 minutes, I’m really hoping for a  polished and deeply immersive double record. I don’t usually listen to a lot of ambient music, and I hope this is as new and interesting for you all as it will be for me.

So with that, let’s start our journey together with the Sonic Collective’s November, 2020 pick: M83’s 2011 double album, Hurry up, we’re dreaming. See you at the end month.

 

Links

Apple music

Spotify

Wikipedia  

Other albums considered

The River – Bruce Springsteen

Generation Terrorists – Manic Street Preachers

Daydream Nation – Sonic Youth

Review of Bob Dylan: Blonde on Blonde

Please read Darren Scott’s pick for Bob Dylan: Blonde on Blonde before reading and listening to our reviews below.


  • Would we recommend?
  • Influence us and our tastes?
  • Overall?
2

Review of Bob Dylan: Blonde on Blonde

The group weren’t big fans of this album. We couldn’t get into Dylan’s vocals and the harmonica was a little too shrill for our likings. While there were some moments of greatness to be savored, we felt like this album left us wanting more from such an incredibly hyped and appreciated artist. We all felt music fans should listen to at least one Dylan album in their life, and now that’s done.

 

Overall Scores

Overall opinion: 2.3
Would we recommend?: 1.9
Influenced our tastes: 1.6

Our Individual Review Scores
Scott Gregory
Overall opinion: 3
Would I recommend?: 2
Influenced my tastes: 2

Alain DuPuis
Overall opinion: 1
Would I recommend?: 1
Influenced my tastes: 1.5

Scott Coates
Overall opinion: 1
Would I recommend?: 3
Influenced my tastes: 1

Darren Scott
Overall opinion: 4
Would I recommend?: 3.5
Influenced my tastes: 2

Lauryn Hill: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill

Hi there Collectivists. Collectivi? Collectovers? What’s up! This is Scott G from The Sonic Collective announcing our pick for July, 2020. This one was really hard for me. We’ve had a rap/hip hop theme going this round, and the guys have picked some amazing and diverse albums. I wanted to bring something equally interesting and diverse to the group but what?

There’s a period of time called “The Golden Age of Hip Hop” that spans from the mid 80s to the mid 90s. Our previous picks, including Afrika Bambataa, A Tribe Called Quest, The Beastie Boys, Public Enemy and Dr. Dre all come from this period of time. I was about 21 coming out of that stretch of time, and I’m sure it had a deeply formative effect on my musical tastes and maybe even my world view.

So I knew I wanted to pick something just out of this pocket, preferably a female artist or group, and something more on the funky or soul side of the rap/hip hop spectrum. I also lean towards artists whose singles I’ve enjoyed, but have never gone much deeper on them.

My choice came to me when I was watching a show about the stand-up comedian Dave Chapelle. One of the things I admire about him was his willingness to walk away from fame and fortune to maintain his personal and creative integrity. The world was ready to anoint him a king if he played ball, and he said, “see ya!”

There’s another artist who was presented a crown that upped and walked away. She had acclaimed roles in multiple movies, multi-million unit selling albums, grammys, and a world ready to throw all the dollars at her. Lauryn Hill said no.

But before she said no. Before all the fallout from the disbanding of the Fugees and stresses of stardom led her to leave the public eye, Lauryn dropped one of the greatest rap albums of all time on us.

The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, her one and only studio album came out in 1998 to rave reviews. They equally compliment her beautiful singing voice, excellent rapping and deep and honest lyrics.

Until now I’d never listened to anything other than the singles from the album. With this pick, we get one of the queens of rap and neo-soul into the mix with what some consider one of the top-ten overall albums of the 90s. I think that could be an accurate assessment if the rest of the album lives up to the singles.

So join us this month as we enjoy Lauryn’s infusion of rap, hip hop and neo-soul, inspiring a generation of rappers and women in general, as she lays her story on us at the Sonic Collective’s July pick: 1998’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill and be sure to check in with us at the end of the month to hear the crew’s thoughts and to share yours with us as well. See you then.

Links

Apple music

Spotify

Wikipedia  

Other albums considered:

Illmatic – Nas

The Score – Fugees

CrazySexyCool – TLC

Jeff Buckley: Grace

 

Scott Gregory, March 2020

Hello everyone and welcome back to The Sonic Collective. I’m Scott G and it’s my pleasure to bring you the pick for March, 2020.

I don’t know why it’s taken me this long to make this selection. Maybe it’s because the Album never really saw the staggering commercial success many of our other picks did in North America. Maybe it’s the fact the artist only completed one studio album before his untimely death in 1997.

Jeff Buckley’s 1994 album Grace had a lasting impact on some of the greatest rock artists of all time. Jimmy Page is quoted as saying it was one of his favourite albums of the decade, and other artists such as Robert Plant, Chris Cornel, Bob Dylan and David Bowie also spoke highly of Buckley and the album. Rolling Stone listed it at number 303 of their 500 Greatest Albums of all Time.

Buckley is an incredibly gifted guitarist and vocalist, and his eclectic taste in music led to a rich variety of influences that trace shadows across the entire album. His cover of Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen has since gone up the charts several times, and is an absolutely haunting hour of music.

It’s one of my favourite albums of all time, and I’m overdue sharing this love with you. I wonder, how many of the guys didn’t discover Jeff until after he was already gone, or maybe they still haven’t really ever checked him out? We’ll see. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, and I look forward to you joining us at the end of the month when The Sonic Collective comes back together and shares our thoughts on March 2020’s pick: Jeff Buckley’s 1994 album Grace.

Spotify

Apple Music 

Wikipedia

Def Leppard: Hysteria

def leppard band photo

Scott Gregory, November 2019

Love is like a bomb, baby, c’mon get it on

Livin’ like a lover with a radar phone

Lookin’ like a tramp, like a video vamp

Demolition woman, can I be your man?

 

Despite similar hairstyles in the 80s, Def Leppard and Celine Dion are worlds apart when it comes to love ballads, but if you caught from last month’s review I already had hair metal on the mind, this pick might not be as big a surprise for you.

 

Not only did Def Leppard help form the vanguard of the 80s British heavy metal scene, they were at ground zero for the creation of the MTV generation. It’s hard to imagine anyone who hit their teens back then not running into these guys on TV or radio weekly if not daily.  And if you worked in a mall with piped-in music, god help you.

 

I was tempted to go with Pyromania from 1983, but so much happened to the band between then and when their next album, Hysteria, released in 1987. I eventually went with Hysteria because it’s really the first album with their crystalized sound, and seemed to excite and piss off fans in equal parts. It introduces the new electronic elements needed to accommodate drummer Rick Allen losing his arm in a car crash, and Mutt Lange really went all out in the production of a locked down, masterfully crafted album.

 

They say the intention was to create a similar to Michael Jackson’s Thriller, where every song could be a single, and the fact seven of the twelve tracks actually did chart shows how successful they were in this goal. Rolling stone ranks the album in their top 500 of all time, and the top hair metal album of all time.

 

So step inside, walk this way, you and me babe, hey hey. Join the Sonic Collective this November in head banging to Def Leppard’s 1987 album Hysteria. Rock on dudes and dudettes.

 

Def Leppard, Hysteria

Spotify

Apple Music 

Wikipedia

Def Leppard doing a perfect cover of Depeche Mode’s Personal Jesus

Florence + the Machine: Lungs


Florence + the Machine: Lungs
Scott Gregory, May 2019

Hello all you Sonic Collectivists and welcome to our pick for May, 2019. I’m Scott G, and I clearly remember the very first time I heard this month’s artist. In 2010, Florence and the Machine appeared as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live, singing Dog Days Are Over and You Got the Love, and I was like “OH.MY.GOD. Who is this woman?” One of the biggest compliments I think I can give a musician is “I’ve never heard anything like this before” and that was certainly the case here.

The songs she sang were off the groups recently released album “Lungs” and after a couple plays, I settled into the habit of pulling the singles out and adding them to my play lists and not really thinking of the album as a whole. Well, the time’s come to do what the collective does best and dig in and experience the album as a whole. Reading up, it sounded like Florence had a very long, very winding road to land to the sound she landed on for this debut album. I’m going to be watching for whether this represents a culmination of those effort, or does she sound like she’s still exploring even within the bounds of the album.

Some picks really polarize the group, and I’m very curious how this will go with them and you. Does that “wow” factor hold up now that there’s been a decade of listening to her and imitators work in this space, or are these albums’ dog days over and it’s all old hat. Check back with us at the end of the month to see what the group thinks “Lungs” by Florence and the Machine, and be sure to share your thoughts with us as well. This has been Scott G on behalf of the Sonic Collective, see you then.

Lungs on Spotify
Lungs on Apple Music
Lungs Wikipedia page
Florence and the Machine website