Greatest Pop album of all time
I really loved this blog and thought I would share it. It was written by my dear friend Jim Roll (who co-produced and engineered my first record Things I Will Need in the Past) in 2006 on MYSPACE on his favorite pop album (and very up there on my list as well) - Rumours by Fleetwood Mac. If you have not yet acquainted yourself with Rumours - do it now! But read this first.
Nov 8, 2006
Okay don’t fool yourself. On this issue anyway. I am not fooling myself on this one. I am a POP MUSIC FAN. You may not be, but chances are that you are. I am 41 years old and was 12 in 1977, the year Elvis Presley died. I grew up in suburban Chicago. I am not a heavy metal hick or an indie kid or a rap fan, I did not grow up in the south listening to the Opry, I did not grow up playing music on the porch with my cousins, I am not from Appalachia or the Cali beaches (though I think for Singles the Beach Boys are the absolute bomb along with Beatles of course and Stones and Abba, ha, but yeah).
I have never had a mohawk or fought the battle of the just in London’s industrial areas. I am not a punker. I am too old to fully have absorbed the Rap flow, and techno kids I am in awe of because making a computer sound like music while riding a skateboard is some badass multitasking … and those compositions and textures sound easy to make but try it sometime.
I LOVE some punk, I have been romanced by the history of country music, I have felt the obsessive introspection of the folkie, admired the life or death angst of the blues, I have learned fiddle with Wilson Douglas in West Virginia and had years were I haven’t listened to the radio, I have worked for companies that hear every CD that comes out, and I record unknown indie artists for a living … but I have always known that I mostly hear what rises through the corporate machines and hipster filters and so deep down I am a POP fan.
What makes a great POP record? Very simply put the ability to absorb traditional/historical waves of music trends in their current states, process them subconsciously, but use only what you need artfully within your limitations, creating new sounds, melodic variations and emotional waves to BLOW THE FUCKING MINID OF YOUR LISTENERS!! Most often making them high, feel in love with life or want to jump around a bit or kiss someone.
So with all that said here is The Jimmer’s (born in 1965 and raised in the 70’s) greatest POPULAR album of alltime and some runner ups:
..1) Fleetwood Mac - Rumours
Give me a break. You might know the story, it’s well publicised and the story has run on VH-1. But listen to THE MUSIC. Two couples in the band both breaking up, and the drummer’s wife is having an affair with his best friend. They are locked in a small room creating an album together. FOR A YEAR! 14 hours a day with your greatest heartache in your face. Every note matters, in fact every note is salvation. Where you gonna hide if you are a musician? In the best of circumstances you NEED to play to get emotional relief from heartache. In this situatin each note lasts a year and you never want it to end until the next note or beat demands you do SOMETHING.
For pop music fans, what else is there but love? For pop musicians, ditto. For pop musicians in the late 70’s who are not in the midst of the Vietnam war, or Watergate, who have not yet met up with the fear of Aids, who are too naive and self absorbed to know via mass communication about many other attrocities in the world
What is left? The raw human heart … albeit, here it is placed in the decadence of the disco cocaine drug culture and big budget dreaminess of the music business in it’s most grandiose state.
Still that heart is what pop music and mid-Empire America is all about. We have so much power that our hearts are the only achilles we have. And when we fall we fall hard. It’s real though and totally valid … and in the case of Rumours it is performed and voiced by a Euro couple and an American couple, and you have strong female sensibilities and strong male sensibilities in a pressure cooker. What other band or album can boast of all this?
If you are a music techie listen to every tone. It is recorded perfectly — guitar sounds are all original and the bass is ridiculous and carries most of the energy, the harmonies are all perfect in an era before pitch correction. Every song arrangement could have been a cliche in other people’s hands yet they created pure pop sensations out of shuffles and Irish jigs.
But recording and mixing is a performance too. The engineers were all on because there was so much at stake. These people were bleeding out the eyeballs and dreaming for their lives; audibly through their instruments. The engineers matched it all and there are NO CLICHE SOUNDS on this album even after many years.
THey say when something great dies something great is born. I was 12 years old … and Elvis died … it was 1977, for me the year Rumours was released — though for you that may have been the year Punk stormed out of the basement. Anyway they are not my favorite band. I love many other bands and songs more than these songs and this band. I don’t even know Tusk and the first album THAT well. Tusk has indie cred after Camper covered it and it is a great cult album. But I am a lover and lovers know love and the broken hearted and for this suburban Chicagoan born in the mid-sixties and raised in the 70’s — after all these years this ALBUM/COMPOSITION/RECORDED MOMENT IN TIME has been my surprise lover, abandoned and befriended, loved and mocked, but when your soul is in transition or between lives you can see clearly the one that never let you down.
PS - You know on second thought I am not gonna list the also rans because when you are in love you feel, albeit temporarily, that your lover is all you need …
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