The four hundred and thirty-fourth album: #434 The Fall - Live at the Witch Trials
After talking about music genres evolving last time, this time we get a return to classic punk with its shouted almost incoherent lyrics and simple riffs. The Fall's sound is never too complex but it tends to move its way through a larger variety than most, with the biggest issue being its vocals - the spoken/shouty sound feels overdone and gets tedious to listen to after a while, in my mind giving the lyrics less weight than they could have.
The four hundred and thirty-third album: #433 The Police - Reggatta de Blanc
It feels like the end of the seventies has another explosion in music styles as happened a decade earlier after the Beatles split. Post-punk, the rise of new wave has just started and The Police goes for a reggae rock fusion that works for the most part - it creates a unique sound that identifies the band for me and the known tracks like Message in a Bottle is really good, but I don't think I enjoy a full album of the same as there are diminishing returns to the sound for me - No Time This Time makes for a good closer by avoiding it in favour of a more punk-focused end of the album.
The four hundred and thirty-second album: #431 The B-52s - The B-52s
With The B-52s, the band delivers a fun, danceable new wave album. Though focused on the over the top Rock Lobster, a lot of others are a lot simpler and lacking some of that power, dragging the energy down a bit. It's where the differences in the vocals stand out - they vary a bit much to fully work, with Schneider's unusual vocals throwing me off. It still lends the album its own sound and works with them, even if it feels uneven.
The four hundred and thirty-first album: #432 Holger Czukay - Movies
While Can's music was psychedelic enough, Holger Czukay seems to take it one step further with Movies. At the start, it felt like a jazz rock album, with its almost improvisational nature, but it slowly evolves into its own psychedelic experience, a man's strange vision to tell a story in its songs that feels impenetrable a lot of the time. It's bizarre and unique in a way I struggle to fully describe - an album you truly need to just go into and experience. You may not love it, but it's something I'm glad I've at least heard.
The one hundred and fifty-third classical recording: #43 Giacomo Carissimi - Jephte
As a lovely oratorio, Jephte is nice to listen to. As we're listening out of order, we don't really hear the progression, but as the first oratorio on the list there's something quite attractive in the abandonment of the choral songs, instead giving us more soloists who get to shine in a number of tender songs while the music stays small. It's not the most memorable - in part because the Latin text just doesn't linger as much - but it's still beautifully put together.
The four hundred and thirtieth album: #430 The Germs - GI
As a specifically hardcore punk album (GI) is a bit less accessible than most, although from a hard rock perspective, it feels like a natural development for punk to lean into its harder side. It's something that started coming up as a specific stream in punk earlier, with something like the Sex Pistols feeling harder than other punk bands that followed, and rejecting the pop approach makes sense even from a political perspective.
It's fine for that, but I think it veers too far away from what I enjoy, the shouting nature overpowering the lyrics so they become meaningless and the music becoming too much after a while. I'm probably not the audience - although a few decades ago I might have been - but it does feel like drunkenness will help you enjoy this more than it does listening on an average workday.
The four hundred and twenty-ninth album: #429 Crusaders - Street Life
A jazz fusion album only works as well for me as the fusion part gets its chance to shine. The tracks on Street Life show this off well - while the title track is the longest on the album, its funkier structure with vocals kept me more engaged than the more pure jazz tracks that followed. Night Faces, the final track, probably grabbed me more than the others, bookending the album nicely, but this brought me no closer to appreciating jazz.
The one hundred and eighty-fourth TV show: #815 Party Down
My first watch of Party Down was about a decade ago, encouraged by the presence of Adam Scott, Ken Marino and Jane Lynch among others. The adventures of the employees of an LA catering company - the presence of failed dreams is there - are darkly humorous, in a way that you wouldn't have seen on a regular network comedy. And although the characters are a bit heightened, it clearly draws on so many real experiences (I suspect often by the actors on the show).
The writing is great, with the bizarre situations playing out well and unexpected enough, which is elevated by the amazing cast (I suspect in part put together based on how much they enjoy working together, especially for the guest cast) who play their role to perfection. They all play well off each other, with Adam Scott as the stable center around which everyone else revolves. It works out so well together that I feel I could rewatch this constantly (or at least more often than I have so far)
The one hundred and fifty-second classical recording: #222 Franz Schubert - Piano Quintet in A major, "Trout"
Aside from being well performed in this recording, there's something engaging in its simplicity with this piece. It flows well, the various movements not building as much as they give calmer sections between ones that are more energetic, but the whole stays quite attractive to listen to.
The four hundred and twenty-eighth album: #428 Sister Sledge - We Are Family
Between Lost in Music and We Are Family, it's quite clear what to expect from Sister Sledge - lots of disco music, something to dance to, and an album that instantly brings back the 70s disco scene. The album features some more soulful tracks as well, but the focus for me stays on the disco tracks, which really stand out that well.