Digital music players are wonderful things. They encourage you to dig out old albums you haven’t listened to in years just so you can try (in vain) to fill up that iPod or whatever hip-mounted device of your choice. In the process you often rediscover some forgotten gems.
Music is very emotive, you tend to associate it with events that were happening at that time. There are a couple of albums I bought close to 10 years ago that I remember not really liking that much at the time, but I wonder now whether I haven’t listened to them much because they reminded me of a pretty stressful period, around when I was buying my first house and had all kinds of hassle with it (like water not staying on the outside as much as it should). Having pulled them out from their attic box again I’m realising I really do like many of the tracks. Wow, it’s like new music, but for no money! 😀
The first album in question was REM’s ‘New Adventures in HiFi’ which had the extreme misfortune of having to follow after ‘Automatic for the People’, which is one of the greatest albums in the world, ever - so anything after that was going to be a disappointment. However, in isolation there are some good tracks there, from the subdued but compelling bass tones of ‘Undertow’, through the interesting harmonies of ‘New Test Leper’, to the easily likeable piano / acoustic guitar / violin combo of ‘Electrolite’. Not a headline album for REM maybe, given they have so much other quality work, but definitely worth burning a few MB on.
The second one was The Bluetones ‘Return to the Last Chance Saloon’. It’s still not as good as their debut album ‘Expecting to Fly’, with my personal favorite track ‘Vampire’, but still decent nonetheless. I wasn’t really taken with it when I first bought it, resulting in its eventual relegation to the attic, but again I suspect outside influences, because there are some good tracks here. In particular I have to single (sic) out ‘Solomon Bites the Worm’ for particular attention, which manages to take the electric guitar and the Hammond organ (!) and make them work together in a belter of a tune. The gentler tracks ‘If…’ and ‘Heard You Were Dead’ are of the kind that improve with repeat listening, melodic and enjoyable if not particularly standout on their own.
So, all those old CDs lying unappreciated because you can’t be arsed to keep them all out - dust ‘em off, if only just once more to get them into your digital collection, you never know what you might start to appreciate again 😀