RS #475: Elvis Costello and the Attractions – Armed Forces

The fake-Pollock cover that the US fans are familiar with.

Elvis Costello and the Attractions, Armed Forces

Release Date: 1979
Previously Owned: Yes
Impressions:  It's hard to imagine now, as Elvis' presence nowadays is merely tolerated or ignored by most people (his collaboration with The Roots sounds great on paper, but that sinking feeling is there.) When Armed Forces came out back in '79, Elvis was considered "cool," or at least he was at his personal coolest. He also seemed kind of dangerous, like a permanently-jilted version of Buddy Holly on speed. This angry, young … Continue Reading ››

RS #476: The Notorious B.I.G.- Life After Death

The Notorious B.I.G. - Life After Death
Creepy, right?

The Notorious B.I.G., Life After Death 

Release Date: 1997
Previously Owned: No
First Time Listen: Yes
Impressions: I'm usually way behind on pop culture trends. I tend to wait until the clamor all dies down and then I will peruse said album, movie, tv show, book, or trend without the glow of the excitement and hype that accompanied it in the first place. Then, if I like it, then I'll drive everyone crazy talking about how great, say, Battlestar Galactica is when everyone else is like "where … Continue Reading ››

RS #477: Merle Haggard – All Time Greatest Hits


Merle Haggard, All Time Greatest Hits

Release Date: 2004
Previously Owned: No
First Time Listen: Yes
Impressions: Oh, man. A FOUR DISC BOX SET?!? Rolling Stone! GRRR, why are you busting my chops like this and, to top it all off, SPOTIFY doesn't have it! So, I could buy it ($40!) or just cobble it together track-by-track online. Ugh, time to get to cobbling. I'm sure most people who have tried listening to the entire list have crashed and burned here, but I'm determined to continue for some reason. Let's listen..."Skid Row" is a nice snappy opener. (CUT TO: 20 songs later) Okay, so far, these tunes are really … Continue Reading ››

RS #478: Loretta Lynn – All Time Greatest Hits


Loretta Lynn, All Time Greatest Hits

Release Date: 1971
Previously Owned: No
First Time Listen: Yes
Loretta Lynn, All-Time Greatest Hits
Her All-Time Greatest Hits of All-Time
Impressions:  As I've mentioned before, I'm not big on country music-- mostly because of modern commericalization of the country style-- but, when in the mood, this collection of cryin-in-your-beer, vintage country from Ms. Lynn is completely aggreable. "Wine, Women and Song" is a perfect introduction to her basic style. It's all there: tasty, classic countryfied instrumental backup, her straightforward, yet singular voice … Continue Reading ››

RS #479: Funkadelic – Maggot Brain


Funkadelic, Maggot Brain

Release Date: 1971
Previously Owned: Yes
Funkadelic - Maggot Brain
The album cover is the least weird thing about this album
Impressions:  Okay, I loved this album back when I stumbled upon it in college. I'm 100%  sure I 'll still feel that way, but we'll listen to it anyway...  Starts off with George Clinton's opening spoken word schpiel about Mother Earth tasting maggots in the brain of universe and maybe drowning in his own shit, is just bonkers bizarre, but at least it let's … Continue Reading ››

RS #480: Raekwon, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx


Raekwon, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx

Release Date: 1994
Previously Owned: No First Time Listen: Yes
Raekwon -
Is Raekwon getting photobombed here?
Impressions:  The title of the album itself is a challenge: "Are you tough enough for this?"  I guess we'll see. Hmmm, kinda takes a while to get going... "Knuckleheadz," production boring, but bouncy. Not bad, but seems a bit ordinary for '90s hip hop. "Criminology" clicked a bit more from me. This album's vibe takes me back to college; living in a post-graduate haze back in the "slums" of Champaign, IL,  shooting hoop and … Continue Reading ››

RS #481: D’Angelo – Voodoo

D'Angelo - Voodoo
For the year 2000, D'Angelo possesed the world's most famous abs.

D'Angelo, Voodoo

Release Date: 2000
Previously Owned: No First Time Listen: Yes
Impressions:  D'Angelo is never in a rush. Songs take as long as they need to (the shortest track on this album is still four and a half minutes.) He starts singing when ever he feels like it and he puts out albums when ever he wants to. Voodoo came out five years -an eternity in pop music- after his successful neo-soul debut Brown Sugar. Take the opening song; "Playa … Continue Reading ››

RS #482: Steve Earle – Guitar Town


Steve Earle, Guitar Town

Release Date: 1986
Previously Owned: No First Time Listen: Yes
Steve Earle, Guitar Town
Steve is going to go to town on that guitar.
Impressions:  Modern country isn't exactly my bag, but over the years I've grown to appreciate older country stars like Johnny Cash & Patsy Cline, and so-called alt-country artists like Uncle Tupelo, but the sheen of modern Nashville country still bores me. I guess lots of these newer country stars just seem to me like they are doing lame arena rock dressed up with a "country" packaging. Steve Earle seems … Continue Reading ››

RS #483: Gang of Four – Entertainment!


Gang of Four, Entertainment!

Release Date: 1979
Previously Owned: No First Time Listen: Yes
Gang of Four - Entertainment!
Not just "Entertainment!" but other things like "Guitars!" "Politics!" and "Robot Vocals!"
Impressions:  Weird that I never heard of these guys before. Unlike the previous album on this list, it's  completely in my wheel house: no-nonsense, angular, angry-ular punk rock with a touch of dub and funk. "Not Great Man" sounds like, and better than, all of those spiky-punk-pop bands who came out in the 2000s (ie The Futureheads,) but with actually … Continue Reading ››