Monday, January 5, 2015

The Beatles That Never Were: Part 1

I have often wondered what would've happened had the Beatles not broken up in 1970. Sifting through my records, CDs and MP3s of solo Beatles albums, I thought it might be fun to create imaginary Beatles albums using the best and most "beatlesque" tracks from each members' early solo output. This has been done before and will be done again to varying results, but I thought it would be fun to post the tracklists and imaginary history behind these albums. For this first post, I will focus on the year 1970.

In doing this project, I set a few rules for myself:

1) Imaginary album lengths must be consistent with the era--usually LPs didn't exceed 50 minutes, so I have tried to keep the albums under 47 minutes (approximate length of Abbey Road)

2 I've tried to keep a roughly equal number of Paul and John songs, as was usually standard with Beatles albums. George songs are alotted less space, and Ringo might be lucky to have one song per album.

3. I have imagined the albums as two LP sides. This made it a bit more challenging to come up with good tracklists/running orders, but also more fun.

Suppose that, after the release of the less-than-stellar Let It Be, the Beatles decide to put aside their differences and focus on the music. What results is the album We All Shine On, and here is the tracklist:

Side A

Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)
Every Night
If Not For You
Teddy Boy
Working Class Hero
Hot as Sun/Glasses (instrumental)

Side B

Oo You
Well Well Well
Beware Of Darkness
Maybe I'm Amazed

In this alternate timeline, this is the first true Beatles record released in the 1970s (Let It Be having been mostly recorded before Abbey Road). The album receives generally positive reviews, with many critics hailing it as a shorter cousin of the White Album due to the diverse range of songs and the personal and introspective nature of much of the lyrical content.


1 - any Lennon compliation
2, 5, 7, 8, 10, 13 - McCartney (1970)
4, 6, 9, 11 - Plastic Ono Band (1970)
3, 12 - All Things Must Pass (1970)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

An Update!

A few months back, I was hired to write for While I will mainly focus on score and film reviews and news for that site, I have no intention of leaving Nervous Eardrums and will continue to review non-score albums and music here.

I know I haven't posted much here in a while, but I just wanted my readers and co-contributors at Nervous Eardrums to know I am still here!


Saturday, June 30, 2012

Howard Shore, Metric, K'naan - Cosmopolis (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) [2012]

Howard Shore, Metric, K'naan - Cosmopolis: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Genre - Soundtrack, Film Score, Indie Rock, Hip Hop
Released - June, 2012 (May, 2012 in some European countries)
Length - 41:00 (approx.)
Publisher - Howe Records Cosmopolis
Wikipedia: Cosmopolis

Howard Shore has provided the score for nearly every film directed by David Cronenberg. Their 30+ year collaborative partnership has usually brought out the best in Howard Shore's compositional skills, their most recent film together, Cosmopolis, being no exception. I haven't seen Cosmopolis yet (it won't be released in the U.S. until August 2012), but based on the trailer, I'm assuming it largely involves Robert Pattinson as businessman of questionable ethics who spends a great deal of the film in his limo (I never read the novel). I've never been disappointed by a Cronenberg film, so it will be a first if I don't like Cosmopolis.

Canadian indie rockers Metric must have really made an impression when they worked with Shore on a song for the most recent Twilight film, because he invited them to co-write and perform three of the songs heard on this soundtrack. Due to their collaboration, the album flows seamlessly between the Shore instrumental tracks and Metric's songs. This is something I can't say is true about many soundtracks that try to mix score with songs, but it works flawlessly in this instance. There is an ethereal ambience to the album, with guitars and synthy melodies swirling about to create a very relaxed, almost dreamlike listening experience. I first discovered Metric when I heard "Black Sheep" in Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (one of the standout songs on that soundtrack), so I was quite intrigued when I first learned they were working Shore, one of my all-time favorite film composers.

Howard Shore
Fans of Shore's largely orchestral and heavily thematic work on films such as the Lord of the Rings trilogy may be turned off, but anyone that can appreciate his more experimental, atmospheric side displayed in films such as this and Videodrome should listen to this album. Metric fans or those that don't normally listen to film scores need not fast forward through the Shore instrumentals; the composer's music acts as a perfect compliment to the band's mesmerizing sound.

Aside from Shore and Metric, the album features a song by rapper K'naan, with lyrics penned by Cosmopolis novelist Don DeLillo. I'm uncertain whether Shore had any involvement the song's production, but it fits perfectly in this album, with the rapper chanting the words in a manner that is almost hypnotic.

Tracklist: (all tracks by Howard Shore unless otherwise noted)

1. White Limos
2. Long To Live (Metric)
3. Rat Men
4. Asymmetrical
5. I Don't Want To Wake Up (Metric)
6. A Credible Threat
7. Call Me Home (Metric)
8. Haircut
9. Mecca (K'naan)
10. The Gun
11. Benno

Rating: 9.5 (out of 10)

Key Tracks:
Metric "Long To Live"

Howard Shore "Asymmetrical"

K'naan "Mecca"

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Primitives - The Ostrich / Sneaky Pete [7" Single]

The Primitives - The Ostrich / Sneaky Pete (7" vinyl single)
Genre - Rock and Roll, Experimental, Parody
Released - 1964
Length - 4:44
Publisher - Pickwick City Records

Side A: The Ostrich
Side B: Sneaky Pete

Before Lou Reed formed the legendary Velvet Underground, he worked as a staff songwriter for Pickwick City Records. This was essentially a hit factory, one of many in the early 60's. They were quite common and many famous songwriters started out at these businesses writing hits (and misses) for other singers. If anyone remember the film Grace Of My Heart, they'll know what I'm talking about. Not the best film, but it is loosely based on Carole King's early songwriting career at a songwriting firm. It was at Pickwick that Reed honed his songwriting skills and gained experience in the recording studio. Many Velvets songs were written by Reed at this time, and while songs about Heroin and NYC street life were probably not Pickwick executives' idea of marketable hits, they took notice of another song he wrote, a catchy dance number called "The Ostrich".

At first glance, it sounds like a typical flavor of the week dance tune from 1964, but the song is actually kind of subversive and revolutionary. The lyrics parody other dance tunes of the era (at one point Reed sings, "put your head on the floor and have somebody step on it"). Really worth noting is the guitar. Reed tuned every string to the note D for a droning effect (this technique would resurface on The Velvet Underground & Nico, credited as "ostrich guitar" in that album's liner notes). This impressed one of the studio musicians playing on the record, John Cale. Cale was also experimenting with drone as a member of LaMonte Young's avant garde group The Dream Syndicate (not to be confused with the 80's band). The single quickly faded into obscurity but it is notable as the first recording featuring Cale and Reed performing together, and was therefore the seed of a collaborative partnership that would produce some of the most revolutionary and original music of the late 60's.

8 out of 10

To the best my knowledge, "The Ostrich" and it's b-side "Sneaky Pete" have never been re-released, so I'm sharing it here. It's only 128 kbps mp3, so sorry about the low quality.

get it

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Personal Note~

Our founding member of this blog has gone his own way.  I will keep this blog alive for him.  I will not delete it.  It is still here for him.

Lye, I hope you're doing well~