Ahead of its Time

Trent Reznor - Pretty Hate Machine

When talking about albums that are ahead of its time, many people think of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, The Flaming Lip’s Soft Bulletin, U2’s The Joshua Tree, Radiohead’s OK Computer, Massive Attack’s Blue Lines, or David Bowie’s Low. However, one of my favorite that has withstood the test of time and still to this day sounds ahead of its time is Nine Inch Nails’s Pretty Hate Machine.

The day I first heard it was also the day I played my first first-person shooter. I played Doom on the Sega CD (those were the days) while listening to this amazing album. It heralded an era of consistently excellent releases from Trent Reznor over the years, all the way up to the latest album, Year Zero.

With PHM, I love every single song a lot, so ordering them is like a parent having to choose a favorite child. You love each one in a unique way, but you can’t really rank them. However, That’s What I Get and Down In It seem to get a lot more listens from me.

Here’s the song, That’s What I Get:

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The Album That Owns You

Every once in a while, an album comes along that completely engulfs you and prevents you from enjoying other albums. You know, you hit the repeat all button on your MP3 player of choice and listen to an album over and over and over again. When you try to deviate, it sucks you right back in, holding you tight.

The album that is doing that to me right now is Muse’s Black Holes and Revelations. I thought I was done with the album, I’ve moved on into 2007’s lineup of great albums. But then someone mentions he saw them live and suddenly everyone is talking about how great the album is. Now here I am, listening to the album, again.

There’s always the story of how a band or individual that sold their soul to the devil to play great music. I think Muse went one step above that and sold their soul to God to play such awesome music. Muse’s music owns my face.

Here’s Starlight from the album, it’ll melt your face, too.

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My Top 10 Most Listened Songs

My Last.fm profile is now over 2 years old, meaning it has collected my listening habits for the past 2 years every time I play a song. The grand total, as of this writing, says that in that 2 year span I’ve listened to 20,657 songs. I put together a list of the Top 10 Most Listened Songs based on this information, and I’m glad to see how it illustrates how broad my listening taste is.

  1. The Shins – Phantom Limb: This one surprised me, because even though I’ve liked a couple of Shins songs before, their newest album just blew me away. It came out of nowhere and dominated my playlist, and this song rocketed to the top of my most listened to list. I swear, my liking this song has nothing to do with the subject matter – two lesbians. Honestly!
  2. The Hold Steady – Banging Camp: This was a weird one. I had not realized that I listened to this song so much until I saw it at the top of my list. “Huh.” I said. It’s a great song, and the fact that it has an AC/DC-like riff probably has something to do with it, as I always enjoy some good old AC/DC.
  3. Neko Case – Hold On, Hold On: Another weird one for me. Seeing a pattern here? The thing is, I’m not big on country, but Neko Case’s voice latched onto me when I first heard her, and I was hooked ever since. In fact, Last.fm lists her as my most favorite artist. Oh, and she’s a sexy redhead, to boot.
  4. Art Brut – Moving To L.A.: Like The Hold Steady, the lead singer doesn’t really sing, but talks in a conversational tone in their song. Art Brut is full of tongue-in-cheek songs dripping with irony, which is right up my alley, and Moving To L.A. is solid proof of that. And if you ever want to hear a humorous take on erectile dysfunction, their song “Rusted Guns of Milan” does just that.
  5. Muse – Feeling Good: A great cover of Nina Simone’s song, Muse does it in their usual style of falsetto rock. I love the original, and I love this cover, as well.
  6. Postal – Angel Pumping Gas: The lyrics is so utterly simple, yet perfect. I can vividly imagine myself taking place, a beautiful woman pumping gas, swooning you off your feet, even though it was such a brief encounter. I always play this when I’m feeling whimsical.
  7. My Morning Jacket – Gideon: The best live band today doing the best live version of the best song to do live. Got it? Good.
  8. Kamelot – Farewell: The song to rock out with your … err, well, yeah, you get it. When noone’s looking, I pretend I have long hair again and bring out the metal in me to bang my head to this song.
  9. Band of Horses – Funeral: It starts off soft and mellow and then wails into an angry anthem, with the lead singer’s strong voice carrying you into the song.
  10. The Postal Service – Such Great Heights: A timeless song that is bloody difficult to get tired of. It fuses electronica with pop so good, that it feels pretty natural, and it does it with a feel for the 80’s style of synth music.

Smashing Pumpkins – Tarantula (Single)

From the radio to the internet, here’s Smashing Pumpkins new single, Tarantula. It’s off of their upcoming album, Zeitgeist, due out in July.

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It is reminiscent of old school SP, as if it came off of the Gish album. This is good, in my opinion, as I didn’t really care for SP’s late albums, which had an electro-pop feel to it. Overall, I really like the single, and I’ve been a hardcore fan of SP since the Siamese Dream days. I still have my Pisces Iscariot CD, and even though it is worn to death, it still gets the occasional listen from me.