The two of us have always shared a good deal of musical common ground, but in terms of our favorite albums of all time, neither had given the other a chance. So one Sunday afternoon, we turned off TV's, computers, phones, etc. and played them both in their entirety. We then wrote about our first impressions of the other's pick. If you're into that kind of stuff (by stuff, we mean great music), read on.
Colan's favorite album is Neon Bible by The Arcade Fire
What I thought about Neon Bible: I came into the album uncertain what to expect. I've listened to some of Arcade Fire's later stuff, but it was pretty minimal. I wouldn't, and still couldn't, try to put their music into a genre. But Colan spoke pretty highly of it, and we tend to have similar music tastes, so I was optimistic.
I wasn't impressed for the first couple of songs, however. Not that they were bad, but nothing really seemed to jump out at me. The first thing to really draw me in was the opening pipe organs in "Intervention." That was the real turning point for me. That riff was awesome. From that point forward, I took a much more positive view.
The next couple of songs were all great. The middle part was definitely the highlight of the album for me. It falls into a lull a little bit, but then picks up for the last two songs, finishing with a bang.
Overall, I think I would say that I enjoyed Neon Bible. It was a big piece of music, without any doubt. It would probably benefit from a couple listens, to pick up on all the little complexities in the music, and I think over time, I'll come to like it more and more. This isn't easy listening style music; it requires alot of attention to enjoy it properly, and sometimes its hard not to lose interest. But if you are willing to dedicate some time to it, this album is very much worth your time.
My Favorite Tracks: "Ocean of Noise", "The Well And The Lighthouse", and "Intervention"
Pat's favorite album is The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan
What I thought of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan: I was a little intimidated by listening to an entire Bob Dylan and writing my honest opinion on it, as I've never cared much for Dylan, and as a primarily folky music blog, I should. If I were to rip this album apart, not only would I have Pat to answer to, but also the hordes of hipsters and Rolling Stone magazine subscribers beating down my door with pitchforks and lit torches. But then I gave it a listen.
What I found was not outside of what I anticipated. There was plenty of acoustic guitar, harmonica, slightly nasely vocals and americana seeped in metaphors I feel like I would need pen, paper, and Woody Guthrie's high school poetry professor to understand. My gripe with Dylan has always been that although I understand his innovation and excellence of a lyricist, I never liked his singing voice enough to actually listen to the words he sang. Time and age have both worked against Dylan here as the only thing inviting me to give his catalogue another try was the occasional live performance, and when Dylan's voice is whats keeping you from enjoying Dylan, I'm not sure his recent performances will win you over.
But lets talk about the album itself. Freewheelin' seems to be, from the perspective of a non Dylan listener, the quintissential Bob Dylan record. It's Bob, an acoustic guitar and a harmonica, and in its simplicity I respect this album. In many other ways I came to respect this album. It is undoubtedly a piece of American musical history, and one that Americans can be proud of. The album begs to be played whilst hopping train cars, or on a road trip across the American west. I respect what this album and artist have done for american music. Almost every one of my favorite bands list Bob Dylan as an inspiration somewhere or other, so I say thank you Bob for adding a very important piece to the patchwork quilt of American music and in particular folk music. This album will accompany me on my next great American road trip. It is an excellent example of a modern poet who writes an Americana set to guitar parts simple enough to be played by any fireside. In this I like this album and like Bob Dylan. I like all the parts of the Dylan legacy but one, his voice. I think that best expresses my thoughts on Freewheelin'. I get it, I appreciate it, I even liked large parts of it, I'm just not a fan of Bob Dylan's singing voice. Come and get me hipsters, I'll be in the big abandoned castle.
Favorite Tracks: "Blowin' in the Wind", "Corrina Corrina", "Don't Think Twice, its Alright"