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Album deathmatches


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blatantly taken from here...


Basically, the idea is to have 2 alubms with seemingly nothing in common, and compre/contrast. While it initially started as a legit thing to determine which was better, Eric B & Rakim's "Paid in full" vs Public Enemy "A Nation of millions to hold us back", it quickly went in odder directions, such as:


Jay-Z "The Blueprint" vs Phil Collins "No Jacket Required"


Radiohead "The Bends" vs Prince "Purple Rain"


Nas' "Illmatic" vs Gin Blossoms "New Misreable Experience"


and finally, for an illustration of what to shoot for (you can do your own thing, but here's the basics), here's Nas' "Streets Disciple" vs Fleetwood Mac "Tango in the night"...


Street's Disciple vs. Tango in the Night




After that last Album Deathmatch I did, I got a lot of people trying to suggest possible future deathmatches, which was cool, but I think this'll be more interesting if we stick to some sort of theme. Otherwise, we're just comparing two random albums that don't have anything to do with one another, which would just be asinine.


When Fleetwood Mac dropped Rumours back in 1977, they were on top of the world. They were sniffing blow as fast as they could get it from their dealer, Milt. Lindsey Buckingham was choking back the urge daily to put a shoe on Stevie Nicks, who, if I'm not mistaken, was fucking the old dude. Either way, let's just say that old motherfucker was getting around.


Fast forward 10 years later to 1987 and all that coke sniffing was obviously starting to catch up. Milt got locked up and ended up discovering Jesus. The surprisingly virile old dude was off somehwere banging hookers left and right, and Lindsey Buckingham ended up chasing Stevie Nicks down the street and throwing her into a car, which, if I'm not mistaken, happened shortly after this album was released.


Nas' story is pretty well known at this point. In 1994, he came out with Illmatic, which was pretty good if not the hip-hop bible people want it to be. Then he started working with the Trackmasters and putting out shitty albums and Jay-Z fucked his wife and they had their little thing and so on and so forth. Last year, he married the psycho hose beast and closeted lesbian Kelis and wrote a bunch of songs about it.


Number of Great Songs

This is kind of a trick question, seeing as that Street's Disciple has no great songs on it. Tango in the Night, on the other hand, has no less than 6 songs that rank among the absolute best songs released in the 1980s, let alone the other 6 songs which are pretty solid as well.


Number of Bullshit Songs

Because I'm not some kind of sadist, I didn't bother to go and count the number of bullshit songs on Street's Disciple, but suffice to say there are quite a few of them. "Isn't It Midnight," from the second side of Tango, sounds like it could be from the soundtrack to Top Gun.



Considering that Nas could've gotten beats from pretty much anybody he wanted, the fact that he went got all of those teh ghey ass Salaam Remi beats is just inexcusable. Meanwhile, the production on Tango could very well be the classiest use of synthesizers in the history of music.


Spousal Abuse

One of the highlights of any good Fleetwood Mac is the tangible sense of tension between the members the group, which ultimately led to the incident recounted above. Street's Disciple is the sound of a man who will never know such an incident.


Album Covers

The cover to Street's Disciple is the gayest thing I've ever seen in my life. That dude pouring him a glass of champagne is obviously some kind of metaphor for gay sex. The cover to Tango in the Night, on the other hand, is the definition of class.


Conclusion: Tango in the Night > Street's Disciple


You get the idea. Get reviewing!

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U2 "The Joshua Tree"


Elvis Costello "This Year's Model"









U2- The Joshua Tree-

"America's the promised land to a lot of Irish people," U2 singer Bono told Rolling Stone. "I'm one in a long line of Irishmen who made the trip." On U2's fifth full album, the band immerses itself in the mythology of the United States, particularly the wide-open spaces and possibilities of the Western frontier, while guitarist the Edge exploits the poetic echo of digital delay, drowning his trademark arpeggios in rippling tremolo. The Joshua Tree is considered by many to be the best U2 album in the band's 2 decade tenure.


Total album sales: 10 million


Peak chart position: 1



"This Year's Model" - Elvis Costello-

His second album and first with his crack backing band the Attractions, This Year's Model is the most "punk" of Costello's records -- not in any I-hate-the-cops sense but in his emotionally explosive writing ("No Action," "Lipstick Vogue," "Pump It Up") and the Attractions' vicious gallop (particularly the psycho-circus organ playing of Steve Nieve). Many of the songs rattle with sexual paranoia, but the broadside against vanilla-pop broadcasting, "Radio, Radio" (a U.K. single added to the original U.S. vinyl LP), better reflects the general, righteous indignation of the album.


Total album sales: 500,000


Peak chart position: 30



Number of Great Songs


Joshua Tree-


While many of these songs are about spiritual quests -- "Where the Streets Have No Name," "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" -- U2 fortify the solemnity with the outright joys of rock & roll, although one of the most moving songs is "Running to Stand Still," a stripped-down slide-guitar ballad about heroin addiction.


But if this is a breakthrough, it's a grim, dark-hued one. At first, refreshingly honest, romantic declarations alternate with unsettling religious imagery. Then things get blacker. The raging, melodramatic "Bullet the Blue Sky" ties Biblical fire and brimstone with American violence overseas and at home. In the stomping, harmonicaspiked rocker "Trip Through Your Wires," what looks like salvation could easily be evil seduction; "One Tree Hill" is a soft, haunting benediction on a U2 crew member who died in a motorcycle accident; and "Red Hill Mining Town" echoes Peter Gabriel's "Don't Give Up" in its unsparing look at personal relationships savaged by economic hardship – here, the aftermath of the largely unsuccessful British miners' strike of 1984.


This Year's Model. -


:wink: Anyone can whine. But as a seemingly infinite stream of cliché-obsessed singer/songwriters using misery as a thinly veiled ploy to get laid has proven, very few people can do it well. Drawing inspiration from banal personal miseries and girlfriend tragedies may indeed turn songwriting into some kind of a cleansing experience, but nobody wants to be sprayed in the face with someone else's emotional Lysol. And being preached to? That's nearly as bad. Screamy thugs recycling endless bullshit about the oppressive and destructive state of capitalism, and yet selling their records for profit-- where's the dignity in that?


Elvis Costello, more so than any other musician before or since, has managed to integrate the insight of personal music and the conviction of political music, while avoiding the self-indulgent pitfalls of both. To put it another way, Elvis Costello could sing a song about the oppressive and destructive state of his girlfriend and pull it off with wit and talent to spare.


Rhino recorde had remastered this LP. On this reissue, though, Rhino has added a decent number of additional tracks, including alternate versions of "You Belong to Me," "Radio, Radio," "This Year's Girl," and "(I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea." None of these versions are nearly as good as those that appear on the original record, but every song on the bonus disc is cast in a sufficiently different light from its album counterpart to unquestionably warrant inclusion. Simply put, Rhino couldn't have done a much better job here.




Number of Bullshit Songs-


Evident in both albums they both present material that is not very good.


U2- (4) For U2 I say 4 tracks including, One Tree Hill, Exit, Mothers Of The Disappeared and

In Gods Country .



Elvis C- (2) I say although it's acoustically remastered, and "Big Tears" being one of his finest unreleased tracks, it's borderline in this category after a few spins of the song. So, I would say 2 with acoustic demos of "Big Boys" and "Greenshirt," getting the nod.








U2- For all its gloom, the album is never a heavy-handed diatribe. After the first few times through "Running to Stand Still," for instance, you notice the remarkable music: the wholly unexpected blues slide guitar, the soft, Nebraska-style yelps, the ghostly harmonica. It sounds like a lovely, peaceful reverie – except that this is a music-junkie's reverie, and when that realization hits home, the gentle acoustic lullaby acquires a corrosive power that recalls "Bad," from the last LP.


Elvis- - :wink: This album deserves nothing less than a flawless package. Perfectly balancing the raw energy of My Aim Is True with the more elegant pop songwriting that would come to characterize much of his later work, This Year's Model is not only Costello's best work, but one of the most distinctively brilliant albums ever to be released. For fans of rock music bursting with wit and character, it really just doesn't get any better than this.







Replay Value: I substituted this category in place of the "spousal abuse" category that I thought was stupid.


U2 - The album that broke U2 as mega-stars, but musically far from their best. In some ways an attempt to make a Pink Floyd-style concept album, well produced and appealing in the way that a shiny new car is appealing until you realise it's actually a Ford Fiesta. It does the job but without much passion. 'Boy', 'October' and 'The Unforgettable Fire' were all Ferraris of albums, and have the timeless appeal of any classic vehicle. 'The Joshua Tree' by contrast has dated, perhaps not least because it was horribly over-exposed at the time of its release. Bono's vocal performance is of course stunning, and the Edge innovative as ever, but I'm afraid it just doesn't move me in the way that earlier albums did. Unforunately, the band were never to recapture that power for many of their fans. I personally prefer the album "Pride" and "The Unforgettable Fire" myself.


3/5 replay stars :music::music::music:




Elvis- Rhino's expanded reissue also includes a second disc of bonus material, some of which is nearly as satisfying as the album itself. "Big Tears" is one of his finest unreleased tracks, and the way Costello turned simple guitar tunes into fully formed new wave masterpieces.


Many other tracks are also on the bonus CD, and were all included as bonus material on the recent Rykodisc reissue of This Year's Model. On this reissue, though, Rhino has added a decent number of additional tracks, including alternate versions of "You Belong to Me," "Radio, Radio," "This Year's Girl," and "(I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea." None of these versions are nearly as good as those that appear on the original record, but every song on the bonus disc is cast in a sufficiently different light from its album counterpart to unquestionably warrant inclusion. Simply put, Rhino couldn't have done a much better job here.


4/5 replay stars :music::music::music::music:




Album Covers


:muggin: -Not really anything to get worked up about. Both actually are quite dull with just pictures of the artists on front. This category is a "draw", IMHO.










The bottom line is...

Costello vs. the world. And Costello wins. :wink:

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  • 2 weeks later...

So I've been meaning to do this since Nick posted it, so I just now randomly selected two albums from my collection (figure I gotta to know the albums, so they have to be from my collection). Tried to do it as randomly as possible, and this is what I came up with.


"The Battle Of Los Angeles" by Rage Against The Machine


"Inner Visions" by Stevie Wonder


B00003CWXW.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg Vs B00004S363.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg




Rage Against the Machine exploded on to the scene make in 1992 on the main stage of Lolapalozza II and months later with their Eponymous debut album. Listening to that album today knowing this came out in the time of Nirvana's Nevermind, Pearl Jam's Ten and Alice In Chains' Dirt, it's remarkable how ahead of it's time RATM was. For better of worse, the angry hip-hop-metal fuck fusion set the stage for countless aggro-rock and nu-metal bands ten years later. 1999's Battle of Los Angeles was Rage's last album of new material. Mainstream success didn't take off the edge and anger, but by this point the formula wasn't nearly as innovative.


Stevie Wonder started his career at Motown at the age of 11 in 1962 as Little Stevie Wonder, a child prodigy musician. He hsd his first #1 hit in 1963 with Fingertips (Part 2), an incredibly soulful bluesy inventive jam of a song for anybody, let alone a 12 year old boy blind since childhood. Before his twentienth birthday, he had several hits, and had composed songs for his labelmates as well as for himself, and was now producing his own songs. After fight with his labe's owner Berry Gordyl in 1971, he left Motown only to record two full albums independently to use to negociate to return to Motown the following year with complete creative control. So began a wave of socially conscious albums that earned his the kind of artistic respect few musician can ever hoep for, with Talking Book in 1972, Inner Visions in 1973, peaking in 1976 with the one of the most highly regarded albums of all time, Soys In The Key of Life, one of history's rare double albums that is nearly as solid start to finsih as any single LP.


Number of Great Songs


The Battle of Los Angeles - While I never get tired of this album's first 7 songs, the album loses some kind of steam in the last 5. The songs seem ok enough listened to individually, but they fail to carry the energy through the album experience, something Rage had no problem with on their first album. :rock: 7 (out of 12) Great Songs :rock:


Inner Visions - This is not an easy thing to measure. Stevie Wonder, in my opinion, only recorded one bad song, Saturn. Everything else, isn't a matter of mood. If you're in the mood for Superstitution of Sir Duke, you're gonna wanna skip past songs like Visions or All In Love Is Fair, soft ballads with no percuassion to speak of. Are they bad songs? No, but they are not great, at least not by Stevie standards. As for GREAT songs, Higher Ground and Living For The City as classics for a good reason. Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing, He's Misstra Know-It-All & Too High are also deserving of being counted among his greats. :rock: 5 (out of 9) Great Songs :rock:


Number of Bullshit Songs


The Battle of Los Angeles - I hesitate to call them bullshit songs, but Ashes In The Fall and War Within My Breath as both below par for Rage. To use a sad sad cliche I hate to use, they almost song like Rage trying to song like Rage. :) 2 (out of 12) Bullshit Songs :)


Inner Visions - There is no hesitation when I say Inner Visions has no bullshit songs. Why, cause while they might not all be hits or jumping fucky shit, the album is incredibly solid all the way through, and the whole experience from start ot finish is wholly satisfying because of it. :thumbsdown: 0 (out of 9) Bullshit Songs :thumbsdown:




The Battle of Los Angeles - Produced by Brendan O'Brien of Pearl Jam fame, the production on BoLA is tight, but nothing special. I imagine it can't be easy to mix the humping hip-hop rhyth section with Tom Morello's insane technical guitar experiments makign them sound audible and still make Zach De La Rocha's screaming sound understandable. Given how many times I've heard this combination sound awful, I'd say this deserves high marks


Inner Visions - What can I say? Stevie Wonder reinvented the word "produce" in the 70's, and this album was probably teh biggest step forward in this department. Who else saw multi-track recording technology as an oppurtunity to play every instrument on an album. Stevie was one of those people to look at the studio as an instrument in and of itself, like the Beatles, Pink Floyd and Frank Zappa did. This album is superbly produced.


Replay value


The Battle OF Los Angeles - When it comes to angry music, music to wrap your head around when you're mad at the world, nothing has ever come close to Rage for me in that capacity, adn while almost 9 time out of 10 all go for their first album, this on is just as satisfying when you're in one fo those moods, at least the first 7 tracks are.


Inner Visions - Most people compare this album to it's predecessor, Talking Book. Stevie Wonder once said Talking Book was a collection of better songs while Inner Vision made a stronger statement. With songs about drug addiction, racism, poverty, spirituality and the arrogance of the Richard Nixon, the album certainly remains a bold statement, and always fresh. While I don't quite give it as high a score as Songs in the Key of Life, it's still highly replayable all the way through, and at least that god-awful song, Saturn, isn't on it.


Album cover


While you can see everything you need to see on Rage's cover from teh image above, I'm linking to a larger image of Innervisions to show some detail:




Now, I'm not sure how many people in my CD generation have noticed this, but album covers were much cooler back in the LP days. Something liek this is unimpressive in a jewel case, but in LP format, this would have been a cool cover to look at and absorb while listening to the calmer songs on the album. Simple and elegant shapes, but engrossing.


Rage's cover is reatehr disappointing. I would have given Rage teh advantage here witht ehre first album, or even Evil Empire, but this album cover leaves alot to be desired.


Bottom line


If you're angry as fuck and need to get through some shit, or headbang in the car with three buddies from your youther years, BoLA is your album of choice. Otherwise, Inner Vision is the superior album.

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  • 3 years later...

I've got about an hour or so to kill in work...


Unearthed - ES Posthumus





Origin Of Symmetry - Muse






E.S. Posthumus are a L.A. based duo of brothers Franz and Helmut Vonlichten. Their music is a cinematic classica twinned with drum beats and orchestral and electronic sounds. According to wiki, their music is inspired by Pythagorean theory which states "music is the harmonization of opposites; the conciliation of warring elements". Their name formed from E.S. being experimental sounds and posthumus being the latin for "all things passed".

They were founded circa the year 2000 and have done much music that has been heard in movie trailers and tv shows. They also recorded the piece of music called "Posthumus Zone" for an NFL show. Unearthed is their first CD release.



Muse' origins were formed from seperate bands in Teignmouth college in Devon, UK in the early 90's. The formation of Muse began when Bellamy successfully auditioned for the part of guitarist in Dominic Howard's band. They asked Chris Wolstenholme, who played drums at the time, to learn to play bass guitar for the band. Wolstenholme agreed and took up lessons. The name muse was used in 1994, they then changed to Rocket Baby Dolls with a glammy image and then changed back to Muse after winning a battle of the bands contest and smashing up all their stuff. Shortly after this, they dropped out of college and worked on their first album "Showbiz" which was released in in 1999



Number of great songs.


Unearthed (4 out of 13)


Antissa, Elba, Niveneh and Pompeii. These 4 tracks, to me, stand out as what the band are all about and give great range of what the band can do. From the beautiful vocals in the opening of Antissa to the epic guitar drum and hell like vocals of Pompeii, which make you sound like you're passing through the fiery gates of hell, the band know how to use everything in their artillery to make a depitictive and epic sound. Nivineh has a seedy exotic guitar riff to open it up followed then by an almost arabic feel to the song which is delightful to the ear and achieves exactly what the band set out to do and sound like something that could be lifted from any number of movies. Elba opens up with semi chant like vocals which breaks after a while into what is an almost industrial kind of sound and builds towards an epic ending.


Origin of Symmetry (4 out of 11)


Newborn, Plug in baby, Bliss and Citizen Erased. The album opens up with a soft piano/keyboard arpeggio intro in Newborn, which has Matt's falsetto vocals going over it, giving an eerie but wonderous sound, which is broken after about a minute and a half by static, a heavy pulsing bass and guitar in tandem riff and a wall of sound followed by a fast paced frenetic song closed out by the opening guitar and bass riff playing the song out. Plug in baby is similar in a sense but mirrors Newborn in that it starts off with a great riff and slows down somewhat, only to be finished off by some slick guitar and vocal work. Bliss opens up with some more keyboard arpeggio's only for the listener to be hit by another wall of fantastic sound and vocals, probably my favorite song of the album. Citizen erased is just epic. An 7 minute long track and still the longest album release song muse have to date. Fans of muse have pushed for this song so hard it entered a UK download chart while never actually being released as a single.


Songs that aren't so good


Unearthed (1 out of 13)


Isfahan is the closing song on the album, and while i've listened to the album an awful lot, its never really left much of a mark on me, to the extent i struggle to describe it.


Origin of symmetry (1 out of 11)


Screenager has always been the weak song on the album, for me. It starts off slow, doesn't really go anywhere, nor do the lyrics really speak to me or inspire me.






The production work on this album is some of the best I've heard. The fact the music from it has been used in many many films is a testament to this.


Origin of symmetry


Stunning as always from muse.


Replay Value


Unearthed is the kind of album you could stick on in any mood and listen to it, and just relax. It has something for everyone and everything. Its soothing, its fast paced, its mellow and its abrasive and energetic all in one package. Its an album I've listened to tens and tens of times and never once have gotten bored of.


Origin of symmetry is much the same. There is a lot going on, it seuges nicely from song to song. Its been an album of my teenage years and has become an album of my adult years too. Like unearthed, i've listened to it over and over again and have never been bored.


Album Art


Neither of them are anything special. Original and different, but nothing mindblowing or gripping




I reckon the E.S. Posthumus album is more accessable, but I've loved Origin of Symmetry for longer and have been to see muse perform it in the flesh. The translation of it from CD to personal experience was truly stunning and for that, I'm giving my nod to it. They are both fantastic albums and would suggest them to anyone.

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