Monday, September 01, 2008

Numbers 28, 27 and 26

Bon Jovi celebrate making my Top 100 CD List! No, not really, I'm not that egotistical. It was the best 80's pic I could find for this.
It's Labor Day! The day meant to be a day off work to show appreciation for workers across the country. So to celebrate, I'm going to add three more to my 100 favorite CD list:

Number 28: The Replacements - Let it Be (1984)

I had never heard of the Replacements until the end of the 80's when Rolling Stone magazine put out its top albums of the decade. This album ranked pretty high so when I saw a used cassette of it I decided to check it out. Sometimes going by a Rolling Stone recommendation can backfire (other than a handful of songs, I still can't get into the much revered late Jeff Buckley) but in this case it really paid off. The Replacements were a ragged alternative band that had a punky edge but also a bit of midwestern maturity. Led by Paul Westerberg, the band could veer from furious rock (We're Comin Out) to alt rock defiance (I Will Dare) to wistful ("Sixteen Blue"). The band had undeniable chemistry that held their loose playing together and helped bolster the highlight of the album, the brilliant Unsatisfield. They lacked polish, but the Replacements had soul.

Number 27: Matthew Sweet - Girlfriend (1991)

One of my favorite artists from the early 90's Alternative rock explosion, Matthew Sweet's brand of power pop was a hit for a few minutes thanks to the single and album Girlfriend. Sweet wrote the album following the end of his marriage resulting in a focused theme for his songwriting. The song that hooked me was Girlfriend 'natch, I was single at the time and the song had a hooky 60's style chorus and garage band sound. Plus, the video had a lot of anime imagery that looked great. After buying the CD, I found that song wasn't a fluke as the whole disc was uniformly good. The Byrdsy I've Been Waiting is actually better remembered now than the main hit while ballads like You Don't Love Me had equal depth. Roping in guitarist Robert Quine added gnarled, rough guitar work that played well against Sweet's harmony vocals. And for nostalgia, there's the longing ballad Winona about the then "it" girl actress that had stolen his heart (pun intended).

Number 26: Bon Jovi - Slippery When Wet (1986)

For a few months, there was no bigger Bon Jovi fan than me. When Slippery When Wet first came out, I thought it was the greatest thing ever and played it to death. And when I was sick of the record and needed a break, Bon Jovi hit the big time as You Give Love A Bad Name hit #1 and suddenly the album was playing everywhere. While that act of fate dampened my spirit for the Jersey band, I've remained a fan and still look back on Slippery as one of the greatest albums of all time. Livin' on a Prayer has become an icon of 80's hair metal as everyone in that generation now knows the tale of Tommy and Gina. And while Wanted Dead or Alive isn't quite as good as "Stairway to Heaven" (a boast Jon Bon Jovi used to make at the time) the mythos about steel horses and rocking a million faces has stood the test of time. The power ballad Never Say Goodbye became every guys dedication to his girl and Raise Your Hands was put to good use in the Mel Brooks film Spaceballs. By using outside songwriters, a first rate producer and a knack for self marketing Bon Jovi became household names. And with an album this good, their fame was well earned.

That's it for this round, just for fun the image for Slippery When Wet above is the original banned record cover. One last video, one of my favorite Bon Jovi tunes was recorded for Slippery but released on the movie soundtrack for Disorderlies (the Fat Boys movie) called "Edge of a Broken Heart".

Bon Jovi "Edge of a Broken Heart"


The Rock Brigade Blogger said...

Hey, nice to Matthew Sweet's Girlfriend album there. I haven't heard of that one in a while. I agree, it was a great disc!

The Rock Brigade Blog

Mr. Mike said...

Cool! Always happy to hear there are other fans of Matthew Sweet's work.