83. The Cranberries – To the Faithful Departed

The Cranberries - To The Faithful Departed

83. The Cranberries – To the Faithful Departed (1996)

1. Hollywood
2. Salvation
3. When You’re Gone
4. Free to Decide
5. War Child
6. Forever Yellow Skies
7. The Rebels
8. Intermission
9. I Just Shot John Lennon
10. Electric Blue
11. I’m Still Remembering
12. Will You Remember?
13. Joe
14. Cordell
15. Bosnia

Who is/are The Cranberries?

According to Facebook; ‘Musician/Band’.

I’m beginning to think Facebook may not be an interesting source for band bios…

Why did you buy this album?

It was cheap, and as I didn’t buy it when it first came out as Q magazine said it wasn’t particularly good*, I thought I’d give it a go 20 years later.

Q were right.

What’s it like?

Remember ‘Zombie‘, the big hit single from ‘No Need To Argue‘? Well, this album starts off like that, then decides it really doesn’t want to be pigeon-holed into one particular genre, and wanders around for a bit, trying different styles, none of which really work.

Oh, and lyrically, it’s all gone a bit teenage angst, as if singer/songwriter Dolores O’Riordan found her diaries from her school days and put them to music…

After listening to it now, do you (still) like this album?

I quite like the opening track, but it’s downhill from there. By the time I reach track 5, ‘War Child‘, I’m cringing too much to keep any interest.

Any stand-out tracks?

Hollywood‘ is an okay opener, and I think it’s ‘Electric Blue‘ that revives my hopes after the intervening tracks.

Standing out for all the wrong reason are ‘Salvation‘ (good music, terrible lyrics), the aforementioned ‘War Child‘, and the awful, awful ‘I Just Shot John Lennon‘.

Rating out of 10?

4/10.

Next up: Sheryl Crow – Tuesday Night Music Club

*Q disliked this album so much, it made #25 on their list of the 50 Worst Albums ever…

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82. The Cranberries – No Need To Argue

The Cranberries - No Need To Argue

82. The Cranberries – No Need To Argue (1994)

1. Ode to My Family
2. I Can’t Be with You
3. Twenty One
4. Zombie
5. Empty
6. Everything I Said
7. The Icicle Melts
8. Disappointment
9. Ridiculous Thoughts
10. Dreaming My Dreams
11. Yeat’s Grave
12. Daffodil Lament
13. No Need to Argue

Who is/are The Cranberries?

To Twitter for this one; “Preorder ‘Something Else’ out now!”.

Thank you @The_Cranberries.

Why did you buy this album?

I don’t know how I acquired this album. Having liked the debut ‘Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?‘, I either bought this album myself, or asked for it as a Christmas or birthday present…

What’s it like?

Typically for a second album, it’s similar in sound to the debut, but with more money thrown at it, and a much darker tone.

There are more aggressive songs on this album than there were on the largely balladic ‘Everybody Else…‘, with lead single ‘Zombie‘ being almost a complete break from their established style.

After listening to it now, do you (still) like this album?

I do. It’s as enjoyable as their first, and sticks in the memory more.

There’s also a stronger hint of nostalgia about it, mostly because I saw them play most of these tracks live in 1995…

Any stand-out tracks?

Three immediately spring to mind; lead single ‘Zombie‘, ‘The Icicle Melts‘, and ‘Ridiculous Thoughts‘.

Closing track ‘No Need To Argue‘ is also well worth a listen.

Rating out of 10?

7/10.

Next up: The Cranberries – To The Faithful Departed

81. The Cranberries – Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?

The Cranberries - Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We

81. The Cranberries – Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? (1993)

1. I Still Do
2. Dreams
3. Sunday
4. Pretty
5. Waltzing Back
6. Not Sorry
7. Linger
8. Wanted
9. Still Can’t …
10. I Will Always
11. How
12. Put Me Down

Who is/are The Cranberries?

According to Wikipedia; “The Cranberries are an Irish rock band who formed in Limerick in 1989. The band consists of lead singer Dolores O’Riordan, guitarist Noel Hogan, bassist Mike Hogan, and drummer Fergal Lawler. Although widely associated with alternative rock, the band’s sound also incorporates indie pop, post-punk, Irish folk, and pop rock elements.”

Why did you buy this album?

Way, way back in the early 1990s, a friend gave me a copy of ‘Now That’s What I Call Music! 27‘. Thinking back, I can’t quite remember why, but it may be because I had a stack of unused C90 cassettes and wanted something to put on them…

In amongst the Ace of Base, East 17, Right Said Fred, and Reel 2 Reel featuring The Mad Stuntman, were half a dozen actually decent songs, including The Cranberries’ ‘Linger‘*. Having exhausted the rewind button on my cassette player, and having recently had a CD player added to the family media equipment, I used some valuable pocket money to purchase this, my first CD album.

What’s it like?

Imagine The Smiths fronted by Sinead O’Connor. Now imagine that The Smiths weren’t quite that good, and Sinead O’Connor was less angry. That’s roughly the sound of The Cranberries…

Essentially, it’s simple, clean, jangly alt-rock, sung in an Irish accent, and that’s not really going to offend anybody. Especially when the rockiest song on the album is ‘Linger‘…

After listening to it now, do you (still) like this album?

Surprisingly, yes. It’s tuneful, pleasant, and fairly unchallenging to listen to. It’s also very familiar to me by now, but enough time passes between listens to make that acceptable.

Any stand-out tracks?

Linger‘, as the song that prompted the purchase of this album in the first place, must get a mention here. ‘Waltzing Back‘ also grabs my attention each time, and in line with my obvious bias, opener ‘I Still Do‘ is one of my favourites.

Rating out of 10?

7/10.

Next up: The Cranberries – No Need To Argue

*Other decent songs included ‘Disarm‘ by the Smashing Pumpkins, ‘Violently Happy‘ by Björk, and the Gin Blossom’s ‘Hey Jealousy‘.

80. Counting Crows – Hard Candy

Counting Crows - Hard Candy

80. Counting Crows – Hard Candy (2002)

1. Hard Candy
2. American Girls
3. Good Time
4. If I Could Give All My Love (Richard Manuel Is Dead)
5. Goodnight L.A.
6. Butterfly in Reverse
7. Miami
8. New Frontier
9. Carriage
10. Black and Blue
11. Why Should You Come When I Call?
12. Up All Night (Frankie Miller Goes to Hollywood)
13. Holiday in Spain
14. Big Yellow Taxi

Who is/are Counting Crows?

According to the verified Twitter page (@CountingCrows); “Letters from Adam: My Boyhood Among the Outlaws”.

Erm…

Why did you buy this album?

I can’t remember. I may have had an HMV voucher burning a hole in my wallet…

What’s it like?

I think it’s safe to say that Counting Crows have never reached the heights of their debut album ‘August and Everything After‘. Released nearly a decade later, this album is essentially more of the same, but much less engaging.

After listening to it now, do you (still) like this album?

I barely notice this album now. I’ve heard it a few times for this write-up, and I still struggle to remember anything about it, so I wrote down my immediate thoughts after finishing a listen through and going through the next;

“What have they done to ‘Big Yellow Taxi‘? Thank goodness it’s not the version with Vanessa Carlton on.”

“Right, the album’s starting again. This opening track’s okay.”

“Sheryl Crow’s on this one*. Takes a while to get going though.”

“How did we get to track 6? I don’t remember 3, 4, and 5, but I’ve surely just heard them?”

“Is that it? Have I just listened to the whole album again without noticing?”

“‘Big Yellow Taxi‘! No! No! Bad, Counting Crows, bad! Leave Joni alone!”

Any stand-out tracks?

Well, hidden track ‘Big Yellow Taxi‘ certainly stood out, though not for any good reason…

American Girls‘ is better than expected, but is over just as it starts getting really good.

Rating out of 10?

4/10.

Next up: The Cranberries – Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We?

*’American Girls‘. Far better than it has any right to be.

79. Counting Crows – August and Everything After

Counting Crows - August And Everything After

79. Counting Crows – August and Everything After (1993)

1. Round Here
2. Omaha
3. Mr. Jones
4. Perfect Blue Buildings
5. Anna Begins
6. Time and Time Again
7. Rain King
8. Sullivan Street
9. Ghost Train
10. Raining in Baltimore
11. A Murder of One

Who is/are Counting Crows?

“Counting Crows is an American rock band from Berkeley, California, formed in 1991.” Wikipedia, succinct as ever.

Why did you buy this album?

This album was purchased fairly recently, once I realised that, despite knowing it really well, and having heard it numerous times since it came out, I didn’t actually own a copy.

What’s it like?

It’s mostly jangly alt-rock, with catchy hooks and singable melodies. There are obvious influences from R.E.M. (yay!) and Van Morrison, though one particularly scathing contemporary review says the resemblance to the latter is a “weak imitation”.

After listening to it now, do you (still) like this album?

I like this album a lot, though that may be more due to the familiarity of the tunes; you couldn’t switch on a radio or TV in early 1994 without hearing ‘Mr. Jones‘. There is some filler, however, and I doubt I’d be alone if I said ‘Perfect Blue Buildings‘ and ‘Ghost Train‘ are completely forgettable.

Any stand-out tracks?

The singles ‘Mr. Jones‘ and ‘Round Here‘ are obvious highlights, and I also really like ‘Time and Time Again‘ and ‘Rain King‘.

Rating out of 10?

7/10.

Next up: Counting Crows – Hard Candy

78. JP Cooper – Raised Under Grey Skies

JP Cooper - Raised Under Grey Skies

78. JP Cooper – Raised Under Grey Skies (2017)

1. We Were Raised Under Grey Skies
2. September Song
3. Good Friend
4. All This Love
5. The Only Reason
6. Passport Home
7. She’s on My Mind
8. Wait
9. Change
10. Closer
11. Beneath The Streetlights And The Moon
12. In The Silence
13. Momma’s Prayers (with Stormzy)
14. Masterpiece
15. Tidal Wave
16. Party
17. Lost Boy Dreaming
18. Passport Home (Piano Version)
19. September Song (Guitar Version)
20. Perfect Strangers (Band Version)

Who is/are JP Cooper?

According to Wikipedia, JP Cooper “is an English singer and songwriter.”

Succinct.

Why did you buy this album?

I didn’t buy this one. My wife brought this home from work one day, having been sent one as a promo copy.

What’s it like?

It’s chart-friendly pop and soul, with gospel and acoustic influences. It’s very well produced, with a nice mix of material.

After listening to it now, do you (still) like this album?

It’s okay, but not really to my taste. I can appreciate it for what it is, and it’s a well-written, well-performed, and well-produced piece of work, with JP’s voice being particularly of note.

Any stand-out tracks?

Opener ‘We Were Raised Under Grey Skies‘ has grabbed my attention each time it’s appeared, as has the Stormzy-featuring ‘Momma’s Prayers‘.

Rating out of 10?

6/10.

Next up: Counting Crows – August And Everything After

77. Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto

Coldplay - Mylo Xyloto

77. Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto (2011)

1. Mylo Xyloto
2. Hurts Like Heaven
3. Paradise
4. Charlie Brown
5. Us Against the World
6. M.M.I.X.
7. Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall
8. Major Minus
9. U.F.O.
10. Princess of China
11. Up in Flames
12. A Hopeful Transmission
13. Don’t Let It Break Your Heart
14. Up with the Birds

Who is/are Coldplay?

In the era of home/mobile assistants, I thought I’d ask Microsoft’s Cortana this question. It responded “Coldplay are a British rock band formed in 1996 by lead vocalist and keyboardist Chris Martin and lead guitarist Jonny Buckland at University College London.”

If this looks familiar, it is…

Why did you buy this album?

This is the first of our Coldplay albums that I didn’t buy for myself. Instead, this was on my wife’s Amazon wishlist, and bought for her either as part of a birthday present, or as a stocking filler.

Based on the singles released from it, I doubt I’d have bought it otherwise…

What’s it like?

Overall, it sounds like an overproduced electronic mess, with little or no coherence. Which is odd, because according to the Wikipedia, “‘Mylo Xyloto‘ is a concept album and a thematic rock opera. The album tells the story of a war against sound and colour by a supremacist government, set in the world of Silencia, an Orwellian society.” I urge you to read the rest here…

It’s essentially the plot of the Queen juxebox musical ‘We Will Rock You‘, which itself is essentially a variation of Rush’s ‘2112‘ concept album, both of which have better music than this Coldplay album.

After listening to it now, do you (still) like this album?

I didn’t like the album first time round, and don’t particularly like it now. Everything that interested me about the previous two albums has gone, to be replaced with awful sounding electronics, that “Para, Para, Paradise” lyric*, and Rihanna…

Any stand-out tracks?

Not for any good reasons. ‘Major Minus‘ sticks out for sounding like Kasabian** covering U2 and being exactly as dreadful as that description sounds.

Elsewhere, ‘Paradise‘ stands out for the awful, awful, awful chorus, and ‘Princess of China‘ for being a) a “duet” with Rihanna***, and b) the most generic pop garbage Coldplay have ever spewed forth.

Rating out of 10?

2/10. Bonus point for using Brian Eno again.

Next up: JP Cooper – Raised Under Grey Skies

*Quite possibly one of the most irritating and infuriating choruses I have ever heard.

**Shudder.

***Becoming the first of only two Rihanna songs I have ever (consciously) heard, the other being ‘Sledgehammer‘ from ‘Star Trek Beyond‘.