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Popstars
Popstars
Offered by aander40
Price: $9.99
146 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Too bad it's hard to find now, February 27, 2009
This review is from: Popstars (Audio CD)
First, sometimes something might be out of print according to Amazon.com, but not at other places. However, I think that there is a likely chance that the album's out of print. However, you can still get it used. The prices here seem much more affordable than when I got my copy, but my mom was the one who bought the album (I was eleven years old and sort of spoiled at the time; we had a deal that she would pay for this album, and I'd pay for Survivor, the Destiny's Child album that came out that same day, and outsold Popstars).

The story of this album is that there was a TV show in New Zealand called Popstars, which would put together a pop group and have them put together their first album, and then broadcast it onto TV. It became done in several countries, including the United States of America, which had only this season and another less successful season. The five women chosen for the show were chosen out of a ton, and they worked really well together. They also had the highest-selling debut single, "Get Over Yourself."

I would recommend this over buying a copy of "Get Over Yourself" as a single although the additional tracks are nice to have (phone messages recorded just for the disc, "Get Over Yourself" in Spanish, and an instrumental version of it). I think that all of the tracks on the album are at least good, if not great. This album isn't one of those albums that has or will change the world, but it's filled with a lot of good pop.

The album opens with "What's Good 4 the Goose," which was honestly a disappointment for me, having heard the world premiere version that had a special guest appearance from a rapper, I forgot who, to be honest [UPDATE: Since re-listening to the world premiere version with the rap breakdown again, I now realize that it was a wise decision to remove it.]. "Anywhere But Here" is another song that I was excited to hear, having heard it from the show as well. "Love This Way," which was an intended second single, as they said when I saw them as front act for *NSYNC, is a very beautiful love song. I liked how "I Wanna Be Free" had a guitar riff and a bit of a rock feel, but it had a rap breakdown, and I should also mention that Nicole Scherzinger hits a really high note, and I mean really high.

"Glamorous Life" was a big hit released by Sheila E, originally written by Prince, intended for Apollonia 6, and I feel that this version is very similar to the Sheila E version, but I would have loved a guest appearance of Sheila E doing percussion because she's a wonderful percussionist. "1,000 Words" is half English and half Spanish, which works well because three of these women came from a Spanish background. "It Wasn't Me" also has a Latin influence, and some really cool rhythmic sounds.

For me, "You Know I Can" was the first song that I had heard, when it was used when all of these girls were still in the audition and elimination process. However, this is a very different arrangement from the one at the beginning. [UPDATE: I've seen comments on YouTube saying that they preferred the arrangement used during the audition process, which I'm unsure if I agree with. Within the context of the rest of the album, I think the arrangement used is the better choice.] There's also a bonus track called "Promise Me" which was used for the final audition, and I think they probably used the same arrangement. That song was also originally intended for Jennifer Lopez, but it works here perfectly, and I love the harmony sound that I noticed on an album far from this one, Gold Medal by the Donnas (specifically the title track).

Overall, this is a really good pop album, and although it will never change history in the way that the Beatles changed history, it's a great album, and I'm also comparing a bacon-cheeseburger with a vegan salad from what I just said.


It's Alive
It's Alive
Offered by megahitrecords
Price: $9.28
57 used & new from $3.28

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Definitive Ramones Album, February 26, 2009
This review is from: It's Alive (Audio CD)
This album basically has all of their classics done the way that they're supposed to be done. The Ramones would do their songs much more slowly in the studio because the studio metronomes had a limited speed. I would have preferred if their live album was this exact show, but at CBGB, for symbolism, and for the album cover to be the classic cover of their self-titled album, but that's probably the dumbest thing to wish for.

This album is a live concert from the Ramones when they had just released their third album, and they do most of the tracks from their early albums, but in a much more energetic form, and again, much faster. For the Ramones, it works to do their music faster, and a comment that someone made about them is that it's not as easy as it seems to do only downstrokes at that speed, or to play a simple beat at that speed.

The tunes basically just use I-IV-V chord progressions, usually sneaking a forth chord somewhere, and they usually use power chords, and for all of you music theory freaks, a power chord is the root note with the fifth. They just use two note chords? Yes they do. Also, the line-up is basically a drummer (Tommy Ramone), a guitarist (Johnny Ramone), a bass player (Dee Dee Ramone), and a vocalist (Joey Ramone). The two note chords and the simple line-up really proves that less is more... at least in this way.

Because I've been giving guitar lessons, this is an album that I recommend for a guitarist to start out with when they're just beginning. However, keep in mind that they play fast, so it's not best to try playing at that speed.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 25, 2009 1:38 PM PDT


Abbey Road
Abbey Road
Offered by Supply Chain Direct
Price: $11.07
314 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Their masterpiece, February 23, 2009
This review is from: Abbey Road (Audio CD)
The White Album was what got me started, A Hard Day's Night is the best with single accessible songs, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is the big classic according to most people, but Abbey Road, in my personal opinion, is their best.

I feel that it was what really shaped the progressive rock genre. Pink Floyd, Yes, and Genesis had formed and were moving into a direction, but this was the album that really created that direction. The harmonies, and the long medley of short songs, along with the mix of dynamics is what makes this album such a classic.

This album might have been the final album for the Beatles, but bands like Pink Floyd and Yes continued from where this album left off. I feel that albums like Dark Side of the Moon and Tales From Topographic Oceans continued from where Abbey Road left off. Abbey Road was probably the first real progressive rock album, and although Brian Wilson's Smile had the same concept, Abbey Road had much more contrast between tunes.


Paranoid
Paranoid
215 used & new from $0.44

5.0 out of 5 stars Their classic, February 22, 2009
This review is from: Paranoid (Audio CD)
Black Sabbath started out when two bands split up and combined to become the Polka Tulk Blues Company. Around then, guitarist, Tony Iommi cut a couple of his fingertips off, and he melted bottle caps and put leather coverings on. The Polka Tulk Blues Company changed their name to Polka Tulk and soon later to Earth. However, they were booked when another band called Earth was expected. They then moved into a direction to scare people and became Black Sabbath.

This album was originally titled War Pigs, which is why the cover is what it is. However, the label wanted it to be called Paranoid, and the title song, "Paranoid" was originally intended as filler. There really isn't any filler on this album. Each track is great. "Planet Caravan" should be mentioned as an interesting highlight. It is not as heavy as the other tunes. However, that helps because eventually the heaviness stops being so heavy, so that was to create a contrast. Tommy Lee of Motley Crue also pointed out that you need to show an emotional side because otherwise your fake.

"War Pigs" is probably the big highlight of the album. However, "Iron Man" is probably the most well-known of all of the tunes on the album. I think that "Rat Salad" is a pretty awesome tune, with a great drum solo. "Jack the Stripper/Fairies Wear Boots" is a good ending tune, but "Electric Funeral" and "Hand of Doom" are also highlights. I love the instrumental passage in "Electric Funeral." I think that "Hand of Doom" also had a great structuring and buildup as well.

Now with modern technology and more knowledge on working with microphones, we're able to do stuff that is sound-wise heavier, but when it comes to arrangements and tunes, this is the real deal. It wasn't perfectly mixed, but it still sounds pretty good, and I think that it's still as heavy as the other stuff. I think that if you want the combination of the more classic metal style, and the more modern work on sound, I would recommend Master of Puppets by Metallica, but you still should get Paranoid, which is also a little bit more blues influenced that the other stuff, but it works really well.


Highway to Hell
Highway to Hell
Price: $9.56
181 used & new from $1.32

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect representation of that classic rock style, February 22, 2009
This review is from: Highway to Hell (Audio CD)
To me, classic rock from around the 1969s and 1970s is the center of music. I think that AC/DC perfectly show that genre, and although people talk about this is where they softened up, I have to argue with that. What I find interesting about this album is it was made by everyone from the Brian Johnson era, but with Bon Scott instead, which is perfect because you get AC/DC's classic vocalist, with the people from their classic era.

I think that the songs are all great songs, and the more I listen to it, the more I like it. Angus Young and Malcolm Young are a great guitar duo, Bon Scott's singing gives AC/DC what they need, and the rhythm section of Cliff Williams and Phil Rudd backs it all up. I can't really see much of what Robert Lange really did as a producer, but whatever it was, I think he did a great job. Mark Dearnley did a great job mixing, and I also should mention that it took a while before I realized how important the mixing can be to the music.

The songs are all great. The title track is regularly played, and just about everyone knows it, but the other tracks are all incredible. When thinking about each song, I start humming the chorus and feel like getting up and jumping around. Although I really like how a lot of the more modern rock music shows a lot more deep dark emotions, I think that the classic stuff is still the center of music.


The Beatles (The White Album)
The Beatles (The White Album)
Offered by btrdev
Price: $17.90
175 used & new from $0.52

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The album that influenced me to pick up a guitar, February 22, 2009
When I was three, my dad would go swimming at the YMCA (he wouldn't do what the village people did there, he'd just swim), and there was a nursery there that I'd stay at. Right by the nursery was a gym, and when we'd walk by it, on our way out, he'd open the door, and one time, the tune that everyone was doing their exercising to was a cover version of "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da." When we got home, my dad put the Beatles version on, and after that, he showed me the inside cover of the vinyl release, and he pointed to each member and pointed their names out.

That was what started it for me, and I really became a huge Beatles freak. Three years after I first heard the tune, I picked up a guitar, at the age of six. Now, I'm a guitar performance major at McNally Smith College of Music.

This album is a very personal album for me. However, when listening to it now, much older, it's still a great album. It covers a lot of different styles of music, and it's primarily a comic album. My personal favorite Beatles album is probably Abbey Road, but the White Album is a great album.


Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar
Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar
28 used & new from $1.98

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best guitar albums, February 4, 2009
When people think of Frank Zappa, they think of "Penis Dimension," "Titties 'n' Beer," and the guy that was rumored to have taken a dump onstage and eaten the stuff. Whether that's true or not, people can't get past all of the things that he's done to shock people to see how brilliant a musician he is.

Frank Zappa's guitar playing is at some of it's best. This album is the solos that he's done from other tunes. His guitar solos are some of the best guitar solos that have ever been played.

It's a pity that Frank Zappa isn't given the recognition that he deserves as a musician due to all of the more weird things that he's done.


A Hard Day's Night
A Hard Day's Night
Offered by IMS Distribution
Price: $12.81
193 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars A great pop album, January 27, 2009
This review is from: A Hard Day's Night (Audio CD)
You're probably thinking I'm saying pop as a bad thing, but it's a great thing. Pop is basically short, accessible, catchy songs, under five minutes, but usually under three minutes.

This is the one album that's a complete Lennon/McCartney album, and it's the closest that the two of them worked together. Ringo doesn't do any singing, for all of you fans of the most popular Beatle, and the song that George sings was written by John and Paul.

The complaint that I have, which in Roger McGuinn's book would be a huge plus, is that the guitar George uses is his Rickenbacker 360/12, instead of his Gretsch. There is a major difference in sounds between those guitars. The Rickenbacker would play two notes at once because it was a twelve string (on a twelve string each string is doubled, and one of the strings is either tuned in unison or an octave up). The Gretsch guitar sounds more like a standard guitar. It does, however, give this album a very distinctive sound because on all of the other albums, George uses a six string.

The songs were great pop songs. To be honest, if I had to pick a favorite, I would maybe say Abbey Road, which shaped the progressive rock music scene that bands like Yes, Pink Floyd, and Genesis really perfected. However, A Hard Day's Night is a wonderful album, and the songs are just great songs. Although it's not as influential as Sgt. Pepper, it has a bunch of great pop songs, and the closest collaborating the Beatles had ever done.


Elvis At Sun
Elvis At Sun
Price: $6.99
97 used & new from $4.43

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive Elvis album, January 25, 2009
This review is from: Elvis At Sun (Audio CD)
For those of you who want to get Elvis 56 or his self-titled album, I have to say, what's wrong with you? I usually am positive about just about anything, but I have to say that after Elvis left Sun Records, he kept getting worse and worse. However, this album was done before he was signed to RCA.

Sun Records' later stuff was more country-based, and the earlier stuff was far more blues-based. This was what lead to the later stuff, but it's primarily in the middle. I can't give Elvis all of the recognition. This album is definitely much more of a group project.

Sam Phillips was the one who signed Elvis, and produced the tunes. Sam Phillips wanted someone who would do a blend of country and blues, and this is what the album was. An interesting fact, however, is that Sam Phillips believed that Howlin' Wolf had the most beautiful voice he'd ever heard, and it also took about a year before Sam Phillips felt convinced to sign Elvis. This is all according to only one source that I checked.

I have to say that Elvis had more of a Bing Crosby-type voice than anything else, but his voice worked with the blend of country and blues. Sam Phillips is definitely not your typical producer taking the edge out of peoples music. Sam Phillips is one of the only producers who really brings out what the artists had, but that was also due to the fact that he signed blues and country artists.

I would say that Scotty Moore deserves just as much recognition as Elvis. It was actually the chemistry between Scotty Moore's guitar playing and Elvis Presley's singing that made all of this music what it was and still is.

Again, I have to recommend this album, and say that anything after the Sun Records years is good pop, if you want something cheesy, but Sam Phillips is one of the best producers ever. I would put Sam Phillips up there with George Martin, Rick Rubin, Phil Specter, Jimmy Page, and Bob Rock.

In comparison to Elvis 56, the album that I wrote my worst review ever on, I should comment that Elvis at Sun is both much better, in my opinion, and also much more affordable than Elvis 56. The only reason that I got Elvis 56 was because my mom was looking for an Elvis Sun Records album and couldn't find it, so she got Elvis 56 instead.


How The West Was Won
How The West Was Won
Price: $22.64
167 used & new from $1.98

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AWESOME!!!, January 24, 2009
This review is from: How The West Was Won (Audio CD)
Just buy the album, reading this review is a waste of time. However, if you're still unsure about getting this album, reading this review should help.

First, to get the stuff people might complain about out of the way, this album doesn't have as much mysticism as Led Zeppelin usually have. There is a decent amount, and it shows several sides to Led Zeppelin. A lot of people have complained on how Jimmy Page did a lot of re-editing, but people regularly take parts of different performance and put them onto live albums. Another complaint that people have had is that the improvisation isn't completely spontaneous, but there sure is A LOT of improvisation on some of the tracks. There also are some non-improvised stuff. It's also early, so some of the classics are missing.

I myself feel that spontaneous or not, it's still good, I think that there is enough mysticism of Zeppelin on this album, and it has both their loud side and their soft side. With a lot of live albums, there is a lot of re-editing and remixing, but that's not always bad. I myself definitely prefer the idea of unedited live albums, but this is still a killer album.

With the long drum solo, which was unedited by the way, John Bonham really has a lot of energy, and he really brings it out. Jimmy Page has some pretty good unaccompanied, and accompanied solos. John Paul Jones shines on bass, keyboards, and mandolin. Robert Plant's singing is great, but he's also a pretty good harmonica player.

I agree with Jimmy Page that this album shows Led Zeppelin at it's best and How the West Was Won. I think that BBC Sessions is a good companion album, but I really feel that this is the album.

BUY THE ALBUM ALREADY!!!


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