If you were introducing a favorite band to someone who hadn’t heard of them, what three albums would you suggest they listen to get a full accounting of the band? No greatest hits albums of course, but three albums that really define the artist so that that person than go on discover more. For Guided By Voices it’s really tough. I can think of five, but bringing it down to three is excruciating. I would of course include Bee Thousand, then Propeller. That last album would have to be between Alien Lanes, Mag Earwhig, and Do the Collapse. Probably with Do the Collapse winning out because Alien Lanes is too similar to Bee Thousand and Mag Earwhig may be a little to weird for first time listeners. Do the Collapse is a good introduction to the big rock sound.
Wilco is another tough one. Yankee Foxtrot Hotel and Sky Blue Sky are in there but what is #3? Being There?
Anyway, what three albums defines your favorite artists. Oh and drop ‘em if you got ‘em.
A new year is suppose to bring a clean slate, a time to start over. Politically, however, it seems rather hopeless. When things are dire what songs do you go to bring some hope? As usual Robert Pollard pretty much nails it with Hold on Hope, but I am sure there others. Also drop your lists.
What is your attitude on deleting songs from an album on your song library? With I-tunes, it’s so simple to eliminate the songs you don’t like that you can basically re-create any album to your liking. Don’t think Yellow Submarine belongs on Revolver? One key stroke and it’s gone. Me? I’m an album guy and for the most part I don’t eliminate songs from albums. If I want to listen to an album, then I have to listen to the way the artist/producer envisioned it (doesn’t mean I don’t use the skip button if I want to). If an album only has one or two songs I like and the rest has no interest I will take those good songs and put them on some “greatest hits” collection. I will admit that in a few cases I have found a song so odious that I’ve had to delete it; but that’s very rare.
This, of course, brings me to Guided By Voices. Robert Pollard has penned, recorded, and released thousands of songs. Even if he batted a phenomenal .600, that’s literally hundreds of songs that are crap. And believe me, even a freak like me will admit there’s a lot of crap GBV songs out there -- dude could seriously use an editor. But then who knows? One person’s garbage song is another’s treasure.
The album Propeller is a great example of this. Released on 1992, this was the album that finally caught the eye of some record company swell from NYC and Guided By Voices got invited to play in the big City with a resulting record contract. It’s the record that propelled (my pun) GBV from obscure Dayton, OH band to at least a cultish indie-darling band. The album is pretty damn good, but as I mentioned above, there’s some just awful songs on it too. I’ve kept all the GBV songs on I-tunes by album but I’ve also created playlists of their best songs (still way into the multi-hundreds) and sometimes created albums that are all killer, no filler. Propeller is one album that is a go to. If interested below is a playlist for Propeller that in my opinion is much more listenable. Perhaps create it on Spotify and give it a listen.
So drop your lists, and share your attitude about changing albums on your personal song library, do you create albums based on how they should have been released?
I know everyone was expecting a week of GBV, who knows maybe next time. But of course I have to include some Guided By Voices. Sure their most beloved albums are considered lo-fi classics, but Pollard and Co. can turn up the guitars when they needed to.
From Vampire on Titus.
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