listen: Mary J. Blige - I Am

listen: Mary J. Blige - The One

R.E.M. - Document

Document is the fifth studio album by R.E.M. and their sixth overall. It was released in 1987.

Document was R.E.M.'s first album co-produced by Scott Litt and the band, a collaboration that continued through Green, Out of Time, Automatic for the People, Monster, and New Adventures in Hi-Fi, and may account for their success with this album as well as the following five. This album was significant not only in launching R.E.M.'s first US Top 10 hit in "The One I Love" (which reached #9), but also giving them their first platinum album.

After Document, their I.R.S. contract expired. With the band poised to become a major rock group—perhaps to the dismay of their college rock fans—R.E.M. signed a five-album deal the following year with major label Warner Bros. and saw their commercial fortunes grow exponentially.

In 2003, the album was ranked number 470 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In 2006, it ranked 49th in a Q readers' poll of the "Best Albums Ever".

Sigur Rós - Von

Von is the debut album of Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós.

It was originally released in Iceland to moderate critical acclaim but relatively unnoticed abroad. In the first year following the release, Von sold only 313 copies in Iceland. Following the band's popular international releases, Ágætis byrjun and , it was re-released in the United Kingdom in September 2004, and in the United States a month later. In December 2005, Von, together with Ágætis byrjun, were declared platinum albums in Iceland.

Paul Weller:Wild Wood

Paul Weller deservedly regained his status as the Modfather with his second solo album, Wild Wood. Actually, the album is only tangentially related to mod, since Weller picks up on the classicism of his debut, adding heavy elements of pastoral British folk and Traffic-styled trippiness. Add to that a yearning introspection and a clean production that nevertheless feels a little rustic, even homemade, and the result is his first true masterwork since ending the Jam. The great irony of the record is that many of the songs

"Has My Fire Really Gone Out?," "Can You Heal Us (Holy Man)" -- question his motivation and, as is apparent in his spirited performances, he reawakened his music by writing these searching songs. Though this isn't as adventurous as the Style Council, it succeeds on its own terms, and winds up being a great testament from an artist entering middle age. And, it helped kick off the trad rock that dominated British music during the '90s.

The Jam:All Mod Cons

All Mod Cons is a 1978 album by the British punk/new wave group The Jam. This album, their third full-length LP, is regarded as their artistic breakthrough from the relatively straightforward mod/punk that dominated the first two albums, and the opening mark of the group's artistic peak that would carry them through Setting Sons and Sound Affects. Many fans and critics consider this The Jam's finest album. Upon its release, it was received as a critical and commercial return to form after their less successful second album This Is the Modern World.

Strong undercurrents of British '60s pop influences, particularly The Kinks, run throughout the album. Most obvious is the cover of The Kinks' "David Watts", an album track off their 1967 album Something Else By The Kinks.

"Down In The Tube Station At Midnight" was one of the group's most successful chart hits to date, peaking at #15 on the UK charts, their biggest hit since "All Around The World", a non-LP single released between the group's first and second albums. It is regarded as one of Paul Weller's finest forays into social commentary: a first-person narrative of a young man who walks unsuspectingly into a tube station (known as a "subway" in American English) on the way home to his wife only to get beaten to death by right-wing thugs, reflecting the atmosphere of tension and paranoia amid the extremist skinhead violence inundating the headlines of the day.

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Bruce Springsteen - The Ghost Of Tom Joad

The album is mainly backed by acoustic guitar work and the lyrics on many of the tracks are a sombre reflection of life in the mid-1990s in America and Mexico. Tom Joad(1995) is the hero of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath.

The title track of this album has been covered by Rage Against the Machine and Junip.The album's release was followed by Springsteen's solo acoustic Ghost of Tom Joad Tour.

In 1982, with Ronald Reagan in the White House and much of America torn between a newly fierce patriotism and the dispassionate conservatism of the dawning "Greed Is Good" era, a number of roots-oriented rock musicians began examining the State of the Union in song, and one of the most powerful albums to come out of this movement was Bruce Springsteen's stark, home-recorded masterpiece Nebraska.The Ghost of Tom Joad failed to find the same audience (or the same wealth of media attention) that embraced Nebraska, but on it's own terms it's a striking and powerful album, and certainly one of Springsteen's most deeply personal works.

Nico - The End

Nico's 1973 album, The End, was her fourth release. It was her fifth collaboration with John Cale and third with him as producer, and the result was her darkest, most caustic work yet. It carried the same organic, harmonium-based gothic music heard on The Marble Index and Desertshore, but went one step further with the addition of Brian Eno's synthesizers and electronics. The mix of Nico's gloomy, hypnotic melodies and Eno's synthetic droning, as heard on "Innocent and Vain", produced an atmosphere of brooding apocalyptic destruction. Other songs that aren't as violently dramatic have a lingering distortion to them. "You Forgot To Answer" tells of the misery felt when she failed to reach ex-lover Jim Morrison by phone only to find out later that he had died. It's a simple mix of her vocals, Phil Manzanera's guitar, Cale's piano and Eno's synthesizer death-moans. The sound conjures up the Weimar Republic, with melodies reminiscent of Kurt Weill and angular, distorted electronics symbolic of Expressionism.

All but two of the songs on the album were written by Nico: a cover of the Doors' "The End" and the German national anthem "Das Lied der Deutschen", which has been considered by some critics as the most significative interpretation of a national anthem since Hendrix's rendition to his country's hymn in Woodstock, 1969. In retrospect, The End is a precursor to ultra-leftfield acts, such as Death In June and subsequently the neofolk movement, that blend European folk and classical with cutting-edge electronic experimentation.

The End is Nico's most uncompromising record and has become a signature of her work.

Amg Review

Chipmunk - Look For Me (feat. Talay Riley)

Chuckie & Lmfao - Let The Bass Kick In Miami Girl

Alicia Keys - Doesn't Mean Anything

Jason Derulo - Whatcha Say

Timbaland/Nelly Furtado/Soshy - Morning After Dark

Ke$ha - Tik Tok

Rihanna - Russian Roulette

Lady Gaga - Bad Romance

Stream: Sade - Soldier of Love

Radiohead - Hail to the Thief

Not quite the return to the "rock" side of Radiohead as originally believed (although pretty close), the band's sixth album (produced again by Nigel Godrich) retains some of the experimental electronica elements of its predecessors Kid A and Amnesiac. Note that each of the tracks on the album has an alternate title, as does the album itself (aka 'The Gloaming').

Like all of the band’s best work, Thief requires more than a few listens to fully appreciate, but those who stick around will be richly rewarded.Amazon

Hail to the Thief , or "The Gloaming" as it is subtitled, is the sixth studio album by Englishrock band Radiohead, released on June 9, 2003 in the United Kingdom and June 10 in the United States and Canada. After two albums that mined a distinctive groove, with heavily processed vocals and few guitars, Hail to the Thief draws its ideas from every era of the band's existence, coupled with a new-found confidence and live energy — the bulk of the record was recorded in two weeks in Los Angeles.

The album is dedicated to "Patrick and Tamir and a future worth having." Patrick and Tamir are sons of Phil Selway and Jonny Greenwood, respectively, born since the release of Amnesiac.

The Yardbirds - Over Under Sideways Down

Beginning as one of rock's all-time great (and influential) blues-rock bands, the Yardbirds had taken a turn toward the psychedelic side of things once Jeff Beck replaced Eric Clapton, as evidenced by 1966's Over Under Sideways Down. As with Beatles and Rolling Stones albums from around this era, the U.K. and U.S. versions would often differ with album titles and altered track listings, and as a result, quite a few tracks slipped through the cracks. The same was true of the Yardbirds. But the 2002 Repertoire reissue of Over Under Sideways Down finally compiles all the tracks from this era on one single disc -- the end result being 22 tracks of the Yardbirds at their creative peak. For anyone who was wondering if Beck could truly fill in for Clapton, he was silenced by the playful "Jeff's Boogie," which shows the guitarist was one of the more technically proficient blues-rock players of the time, as well as lending a gloriously Middle Eastern riff to the trippy title track. But the 2002 edition improves the classic original even further, as it includes selections from the Yardbirds' short-lived Jeff Beck-Jimmy Page lineup: "Happenings Ten Years Ago" and one of the group's most underrated tracks, "Psycho Daisies." For longtime fans looking to replace their vinyl or newcomers to '60s British blues, the 2002 Repertoire edition of Over Under Sideways Down is a must-have.

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