Monday, February 27, 2012

The weakest tracks on Classic albums (Part 2)

I am continuing my series on the weakest tracks on iconic, classic albums. Even the greatest albums can have a weak track or two and when compared to the great material on the album, they can stick out like a sore thumb.
These are the tracks you press the > button on your cd player or IPod.

    I'm gonna start off with a track from Bruce. "Born to Run" was the album that finally broke Springsteen and probably saved his career. It has iconic tracks like the title track, "Jungleland", "Backstreets" "Thunder Road", "Tenth Avenue Freeze Out".If you go to a Springsteen concert, chances are you are going to hear these. While album cuts like "Night"  "She's the One" , and "Backstreets" make the cut as good quality tracks.

That leaves Just the oddly jazzy (?) "Meeting Across the River".
I can kind of picture maybe Tom Waits singing it? There's not much of a melody.
 The chord progression makes it sound like something someone would sing on Broadway and the featured instrument is not even Clarence's sax??!!!! it's a trumpet!!

Surprisingly , Bruce has played this live in recent years. I know he did the entire "Born to Run" album live a couple of tours ago so I guess he had to.

I suggest skip it!                >

                                                           "Meeting Across the River"


Well, here is the one that might be the "Mother" (sorry couldn't resist) of all bad tracks on a great album! I can't believe I didn't include it in my first post!.  

The Police "Mother"!. Andy Summers dissonant contribution to "Synchronicity".
Musically it seems to be influenced by his recent collaborator King Crimson's Robert Fripp and vocally a bit by some of the Adrian Belew's vocals on  King Crimson's "Discipline" album,... but that's being kind....

  This is the best Andy could do? He had written one of my favorite Police songs, "Omegaman", on the previous album.  The record company even wanted that song to be a single, but Sting wouldn't have it , even though he sang the lead vocal!                                             

Apparently Sting had now started to refuse to sing Andy's songs and Andy is not much of a singer, so maybe Andy just said " F*%k it. I'll give them a piece of crap and dare them to put it on the album."
Well Sting claimed he loved it! So on the album it went!
Not only is this song considered the worse song on the album, it is considered one of the worse songs ever done by a major rock band! 

 Don't get me wrong, I'm not crazy about the Stewart Copeland penned "Miss Gradenko"; and Sting himself turned in the weak "Walking in Your Footsteps". But "Mother" takes the cake.

 It is baffling that the song Summers and Sting co-wrote, "Murder by Numbers", a good little track, was only on the cassette of "Synchronicity". They could have easily swapped it with the hated Mother"

                                                                    The Police - "Mother"


                       With the next entry I'm going to go with the Stones.
 I'm sure I could pick thru "Exile on Main Street" and find a couple of unnecessary tracks but I will leave it alone for now and tackle "Tattoo You", a huge album for the Stones in 1981.
 It contained hits like "Start Me Up" and "Waiting on a Friend". Great pub-rock style tracks like "Hang Fire" and "Neighbors". More bluesy numbers like "Black Limousine" and "Slave""Little T&A" is one of Keith Richards' greatest songs!
 It is amazing that most of the tracks were leftovers from previous albums that just needed some lyrics and vocals added. It turned out really good!

but then you get to side 2 (if you ever got there at all)..Suddenly there is a run of ballads that seem to all be more "Mick" songs. For "Worried About You" Mick breaks out his "Emotional Rescue" falsetto for the verses and you know its not gonna be a great one. This was a leftover from the 1975 sessions and Wayne Perkins (who?) plays the lead guitar on it! But they did make a video for it and they actually played it live a couple of tours ago..

Side 2 also has "No Use in Crying" which isn't a bad ballad and sounds like a leftover from "Emotional Rescue".; The experimental, eastern-flavored "Heaven", which only features Mick, Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts and producer Chris Kimsey on it is worth a listen.It's more of the kind of track Mick would do on his later solo albums.
Side 2 ends with"Waiting on a Friend" which is actually a great song and features amazing sax playing from jazzman Sonny Rollins!

That leaves just track 2 on side two "Tops" an old leftover song of about an ambitious girl trying to make it (as an actress we assume). The track is so old that Mick Taylor who had left the band 7 years earlier plays lead guitar! He had to sue to get paid for this track!
The track kind of sounds like a weak 70's Philly soul ballad, think O'Jays or the Spinners.
 I'm going with "Tops" as the dud. It's not "the tops"....


Peter Gabriel is probably one of the least likely pop stars ever. He never intended to be one. In 1986 he released the single "Sledgehammer" and the album "So" and away he went.
Pretty crazy that a guy who used to dress in crazy costumes in a prog-rock band (Genesis) would have the biggest hit of 1986!


This was an album even girls would buy! Especially after Cameron Crowe used Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" in the "boombox" famous scene in the movie "Say Anything".  Personally, I never need to hear the "hits" on this album  ever again. They aren't bad just incredibly overplayed.
And, sorry, but if you ever tried that whole boombox schtick on a girl , like John Cusack did in the movie, you're a dope...
I'm not against trying to show someone how you feel with music but this was a little too corny...


The album featured some good tracks like "Here that Voice Again", "Red Rain", the duet with Kate Bush "Don't Give Up" and more. It's when you get to the end that things get weak.

The experimental track ""This Is the Picture (Excellent Birds)" he does with Laurie Anderson doesn't really go anywhere but I'd had to say the weakest track is "We Do What We're Told (Milgram's 37)", which sounds like the soundtrack to getting a lobotomy...

                                                    "We Do What We're Told (Milgram's 37)"


For the final entry on this edition, I am going to look at John Cougar Mellencamp's "Uh-Huh" album, was of the better rock albums released in the 80's. I know we are tired of hearing songs like "Pink Houses", "Crumblin Down (always thought it sounded like a cool 70's Paul Rodgers type song for some reason" and "Authority Song" (heavily influenced by the song "I Fought the Law") but they were great down-to-earth rock tunes at a time when Michael Jackson and the "Footloose" soundtrack ruled the airwaves.
"Warmer Place to Sleep" had the bite of a Rolling Stones song. "Play Guitar", had  a "Gloria"-like hook and was a fun look at how playing guitar would get you the chicks. "Serious Business" was tongue in cheek look at the hard partying life of either a rock star or a biker, with an early-70's Stones feel.
"Golden Gates" was actually a beaut that closes the album, a hint of things to come on his future albums.  "Lovin Mother For Ya" was a throwaway that was AC/DC meets "Land of a Thousand Dances".


 That leaves just "Jackie O" written with  folkie John Prine; known for his dark humor.
 For some reason they decided to just use something that sounds like a cheap Casio keyboard to be the musical accompaniment!? Believe or not Mellencamp actually closed his 1984 live shows with this track!!!

                       It's the one to skip on here >
                                                                  "Jackie O"



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