Friday, April 03, 2009

Numbers 13 thru 11

With his trusty hat and guitar, Stevie Ray Vaughan blazed through the 80's with brilliant talent and skill.

Time to add to my favorite 100 CD list, we're inching closer to the Top 10! But to get there, we have to get through these guys:

Number 13: Pearl Jam - Ten (1991)

The birth of Grunge spawned a slew of new Seattle bands and one of the biggest and best had to be Pearl Jam. My favorite of the flannel bunch, Pearl Jam played relatively straight forward hard rock with the murky theatrics and disenfranchised angst to connect with the early 90's. The thrashing Alive, the melodramatic Black and of course the driving Jeremy sent listeners slam dancing and body surfing in droves. For me, it was the first group of the 90's "Alternative" wave that I really connected with. I even got used to Even Flow which was not a fave of mine back then. Sure Eddie Vedder was a humorless soul but with the economy sinking following the boomtime 80's no one felt like smiling anyway.

Number 12: Stevie Ray Vaughan - Texas Flood (1982)

My all time favorite guitarist's debut album was a blazing hot shot of bruising blues guitar. The power of Hendrix and the deep emotions of the blues collide as SRV stepped on the national stage with a six string shooter in hand. Watching him play guitar is watching people breathe, it's natural and effortless but so vital. I just wish I became a fan when he was alive, maybe I could have seen him play live. The kickin' Love Struck Baby, his rock radio hit Pride and Joy and the deep groove of the title track is enough to make any album a classic. It's the stuff Guitar Hero dreams are made of.

Number 11: R.E.M. - Automatic For The People (1992)

Yes, Murmur is the album most people point to as R.E.M.'s greatest moment. For me, the biggest impact was made by Automatic For The People, R.E.M.'s dive into pain and healing. Nearly every track on the disc was featured on the radio at some point. Starting with the dark pull of "Drive", R.E.M. take their fans on a trip through grief. Commemorating dead celebs ("Man On The Moon", "Monty Got A Raw Deal"), somber meditations ("Everybody Hurts", "Nightswimming") and a touch of whimsy ("The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite") mark this glorious album. Most meaningful to me was "Sweetness Follows", which I played often at the time following the passing of a family relative.

I got through another three! Next we're in the Top 10.


Jeannie said...

I'd have to say my favorite of the three is Pearl Jam. It's not usually my type of music, but they were/are an awesome band.

Mr. Mike said...

Pearl Jam is great! Thanks honey!