So What is In The Groove?

While going through a recent large purchase of records, it dawned on me that I had way too many records. It was no longer a hobby, it was a collection that, given time, could grow continuously.

While that sounds perfectly fine at first, the more records I bought, the less I began listening to each one. Sure I had favorites, or an exciting new purchase that I would listen to right away, but otherwise the record would fade into the collection to collect dust until I felt like listening to it again. Some of them were purchased in groups and have not even been listened to once.

Music is, amongst many other things, a way for people to connect and learn. Everyone has a band or song that they praise endlessly, lyrics that they know by heart, and hung up at least one band poster on their bedroom wall while growing up. By not listening to these records, I was passing up on someone’s favorite. So I decided to do something about it, and The Weekly Sound was the answer.

Every month, I will be posting at least one new album analysis. I say analysis, because these are albums that have been reviewed time and time again by people much more professional then I. Instead of reviewing these albums, I’ll be trying to pin down what makes them great, why certain songs stand out (or fail to do so in some cases), and what they may mean to me.

This is a passion project that I am undertaking. There is no grade or paycheck at the end of this, just a better understanding of what music is to different people.

So let’s get started, shall we?

-Carlos

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Album 15: Abbey Road by The Beatles

Hello and welcome back to The Weekly Sound as we start off a month of Beatle-May-nia! A month long celebration of my favorite band, and one of the most influential bands of all times, The Quarrymen. I mean, The Silver Beatles. Wait, no just The Beatles. Of course this isn’t the first or even second time we’ve talked about The Beatles, but today we turn our attention to the penultimate album as a full band, Abbey Road.

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Album 14: Who’s Next by The Who

When I said that April was going to be all about classic rock, I knew that I had to end it with my favorite Who album of all time. From start to finish Who’s Next is one of the best albums in my collection and easily one of the best whole albums the band put out outside of Tommy.

Funny enough this album was released in 1971, the first album released by the band after Tommy, and it started off a concept album just like it. Lucky for us, they decided to scrap project “Lighthouse” and create this instead. And god does this album hit hard, starting with Baba O’Riley (or as the uninformed like to call it, Teenage Wasteland) where Roger Daltrey uses his voice like a megaphone, yell notes with so much angst that you fight the urge to sing along until you just can’t.

Side A then continues with Bargain and its great bass line by John Entwistle, Love Ain’t For Keeping (which is about as subtle of a sex song as Sexual Healing), and  My Wife which features Pete Townshend incredible range as a guitarist and none of his pervy habits. Then we calm down with the relaxing Song Is Over. Perhaps this is the mark of a more relaxing Side b.

Wrong, Side B rocks even heavier with Keith Moon never slowing for a moment on drums, even in Behind Blues Eyes, where he goes from soft addition to overwhelming force and back. All the meanwhile the synth is slowly making it’s way from background sound to full beat and it is to prepare you for a finale. Of course, this all culminates to once song. One song that the internet has made into a god damn meme.

The fact that Won’t Get Fooled Again has been resorted to an internet joke saddens me because this song is the culmination of The Who. I watched this perform live with my friend and it was the most pumped I have ever been in my life. Moon and Townshend are forces of nature and Entwistle and Daltrey are gods. This is a band at its best and anyone who says otherwise hasn’t truly rocked out like they were alone.

 

Weekly Sound Special #2: Why We React When Musicians Die

Let me start by saying that 2016 has been a terrible year to be a musician. From David Bowie to the recent passing of Prince, and everyone in between, it has been truly heartbreaking. In fact while writing this I learned that bassist Lonnie Mack died, who played bass on one of my favorite Doors albums, so it doesn’t seem to be letting up at all.

So why do we care about these people we’ve never met and probably never would have? Well usually, it isn’t the person itself we only mourn for. Yes, a beautiful talented person passed away and for that the world is a darker place, and I won’t be the last to say that. Do not take that for crass or uncaring, because the passing of icons saddens me.

Yet, I can’t say that without saying that it is the loss or sting of death on our memories and the songs that cause us to react. You can’t hear Purple Rain now without feeling a bit emotional now, or listen to Heroes and not think of how suddenly Bowie was taken from us.

As we grow up we hear these songs, or see videos of them at a recent performance, it doesn’t occur to you that one day they’ll pass. We sing at karaoke with friends, or blare it in the car on bad days. These works of art become part of our lives, little moments where we were understood artists. That’s why we cry. That’s why it comes as a shock every time.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to brace myself for whenever the death of Stan Lee is because I will cry forever when that happens.