Welcome to the Pleasuredome is the debut studio album from the British synth-pop band Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Released in October of 1984, Pleasuredome hit #1 in the UK and European charts, eventually reaching triple platinum status in their home country, moving more than 900,000 units. The album found success all over the world as well, reaching the tops of many international charts.Continue reading
This month’s selection is by Scott Coates.
Electric Ladyland was the the third and final studio album by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, and the final studio album released in Hendrix’s lifetime before his death in 1970. It was also the only record from the band produced by Hendrix himself and the only Experience album mixed entirely in stereo. Mono was still the go-to method back then.
It was recorded at several studios in the US and UK between July 1967 and January 1968, and released on October 16, 1968. It was the Experience’s most commercially successful release and their only number one album. There were several covers as well, one featured 19 nude women on the inside cover, which did not see wide release.
Recording sessions were said to have been very chaotic, more resembling a party, with friends and guest musicians popping in and out. This caused at least one producer to leave the project and saw people such as Traffic’s Steve Winwood play bass and organ on ‘Voodoo Chile’.
Fifty-years after his death, Hendrix is still regarded as one of the ultimate guitar gods and we’ll take this month to learn why. Enjoy the journey ahead!
Other Albums Considered
Double Album Round & 1st Selection of Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde.
As we have just completed a round of album reviews that were all hip hop and rap, we thought it will be a blast to try a new concept this month. We all came up with some ideas, but an interesting one was double albums. Younger people may not even know what a double album is (or even a single album, for that matter).
Listen to my story of how we came to this concept and as to why I decided to pick Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde album.
Spend the next month with us listening to this album and then come back at the beginning of September 2020 to hear our review show about this album. We will dive into the history of a double album a little more and see if releasing so many tracks at once is a good idea.
Times, they are a changin’
Other albums I considered were:
- The Smashing Pumpkins – ‘Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness’
- Arcade Fire — ‘Reflektor’
- The Clash – ‘London Calling’ (But I’ve already picked a Clash album. Have a listen.)
We have also already reviewed a few double albums by chance. Check out:
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.
Other albums considered:
Illmatic – Nas
The Score – Fugees
CrazySexyCool – TLC
Alain here – Thanks for tuning into the Sonic Collective! For the month of June, 2020 we continue our exploration of Hip-Hop, and once again, it’s my turn to choose our album. After Scott Coates pulled the rug out from under my feet in May by picking the same album I was planning to review (A Tribe Called Quest) I was at a bit of a loss for what album to pick. I consulted with one of my best friends, a guy who is very attuned to Hip-Hop culture and its fascinating history, and upon his recommendation, I landed on Afrika Bambaataa’s Planet Rock: The Album.
We first need to talk about who Afrika Bambaataa is, to fully understand why this album is so significant.
Lance Taylor, AKA Afrika Bambaataa, got his start in the New York party scene back in 1977, where he DJ’d Hip-Hop parties, brushing shoulders with other legends, such as Grandmaster Flash. He vowed to use Hip-Hop to reach out to angry or disaffected youth, drawing them away from the trappings of gang life. Afrika Bambaataa founded the Universal Zulu Nation, a collective of socially and politically aware rappers, B-boys, graffiti artists and other people involved in the emerging hip hop culture. The goal of the Zulu Nation was to build a movement out of the creativity of the next generation of outcast youths with an authentic, liberating worldview. The Zulu Nation can be credited with spreading Hip-Hop music and culture via house parties, block parties, gym dances and mix tapes, further cementing it into the social zeitgeist.
Afrika Bambaataa was also the founder of the Soulsonic Force, which originally consisted of approximately 20 Zulu Nation members. The personnel for the Soulsonic Force were groups within groups with whom he would perform and make records. Records such as Planet Rock.
Released in 1986, Planet Rock: The Album was a cornerstone album and one of the earliest successes in the genre of Hip-Hop. It attained gold status and generated an entire school of “electro-boogie” rap and dance music in its wake. Rick Rubin once said of its titular track, “One of the most influential songs of everything. It changed the world. There hasn’t been a song like it in Hip-Hop since.” Slant Magazine awarded the album #84 on its list of Best Albums of the 1980s, and the track Renegades of Funk was once covered by Rage Against the Machine.
Fun fact: Kraftwerk members received songwriting credits on Planet Rock. Bambaataa was heavily inspired by the band’s futuristic sounding electronic music, and interpolated portions of Kraftwerk’s songs, including “Numbers” and “Trans-Europe Express”. I bring this up because Kraftwerk was one of my picks from way back in 2015, an album I chose to review based on how influential they were. It all comes full circle, my friends.
Enjoy Planet Rock: The Album, and check back at the end of the month to hear what we have to say about it.
Released on April 10, 1990, it was the group’s debut album. From Queens, New York, A Tribe Called Quest formed a friendship with hip-hop act Jungle Brothers, both groups formed a collective called Native Tongues, which also included De La Soul. They played with beats, technology and built their skills in the rap world.Continue reading
Darren Scott, April 2020
Our four Sonic Collective members decided it would be fun to pick a random genre of music that we could use as a guide for a round of album selections. Member Scott Coates spun virtual wheel like a champ and in the end the winning genre was ‘Hip Hop’.
As I (Darren) get to kick off the round I was really excited. I love my Soul, Funk, Hip Hop and Rap. As a huge fan I wanted to do something different. I decided to go back to the artists that influenced the Hip Hop and Rap genre. Listen to my selection audio and find out what lead me to select Gil Scott-Heron. Hey, we can always use more of the name ‘Scott’ in our group! Ha ha.
Other artists I though about picking this month were:
Pigmeat Markham, Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five, DJ Kool Herc and A Tribe Called Quest (My favourite!)
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.
Thanks for tuning into The Sonic Collective! It’s once again my turn to pick, and for the month of February, 2020, I’ve chosen for us to review Van Halen’s Diamond-Certified eponymous debut album, Van Halen.
Hailing from Pasadena, the band played a number of gigs in the mid to late 70s, eventually catching the attention of two executives from Warner Bros. A deal was struck, and Van Halen entered the studio in 1977, basically taking their live show and tracking it out over the course of a couple of weeks at a cost of around $40,000. Van Halen was released in February of 1978, and almost immediately began to make an impact on the charts. Fans loved it, while certain high-profile critics panned it. But the critics were, of course, wrong. The album reached #19 on the top 200 chart, and before 1978 had come to an end, it had already attained Platinum status from the RIAA.
The legacy of Van Halen is still present 42+ years onward. Their sound defined what hard rock / heavy metal would be for the next decade. It spun off a number of well-known singles, including “You Really Got Me”, “Running With The Devil”, and “Jaimie’s Cryin’”. Eddie Van Halen would achieve god-like status among guitarists for his innovative approach to his instrument, and David Lee Roth is often praised for his stylish, bombastic, and energetic personality as the band’s frontman. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.
Let’s dive in and see where it all started this month!
Scott Coates, January 2020
Beastie Boys: Paul’s Boutique
I was super close to choosing an album by The Police or Willie Nelson this month, then read/listened to a post, Hear Every Sample on the Beastie Boys’ Acclaimed Album, Paul’s Boutique–and Discover Where They Came From, which got me thinking back to this album.
Disclosure, I own every Beastie Boys album but have not listened to Paul’s in its entirety in many years, so this will be rediscovering known territory. They spent US$250,000 on sample licensing, but this would simply not be possible today as fees have gone way up, making a modern-day Paul’s virtually impossible.
Released on July 25, 1989 by Capitol Records, it was recorded over two years at a Los Angeles apartment. This was the highly anticipated follow-up to the Beastie’s debut album Licensed to Ill and expectations were beyond high. It was produced with the Dust Brothers, who broke new ground utilizing multi-layered sampling, drawing on 105 songs.
Paul’s Boutique debuted to less than favorable reviews and fans didn’t know what to think. It peaked at just #24 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and quickly found its way to the discount bins (where I bought my original CD copy). It turns out Paul’s was way ahead of its time, and as the decades passed, people came to realize it as a masterpiece.
Put on some kick-ass headphones or turn up a quality hi-fi and digest Paul’s Boutique.
Paul’s Boutique on Spotify:
Also Considered this Month:
Willie Nelson: Shotgun Willie
The Police: Ghost in the Machine