1.Family, Music In A Doll's House: I didn't remember a single note of this after listening to it around 2015 or so and didn't progress with this band's discography. I hadn't realized that it's basically prog-rock in tone, but in form it's 1968 psych-pop. I guess that's what happened--a bunch of two-minute "prog pop" tunes went right past me. Well, that's dumb--who's to say that an epic Olde English feel, atmospheric Mellotrons, and a singer who sounds EXACTLY like Gentle Giant's Derek Shulman has to be accompanied by ten minute soloing and epic structures? "The Chase," "Mellowing Grey," "Never Like This," "Me My Friend," "Winter," "Old Songs New Songs," "See Thru Windows," "Peace Of Mind," "The Breeze"....all noteworthy, and really quite a stunning breadth of ideas (and totally ahead of their time in friggin' 1968--only The Band were similarly pompous, albeit totally Americana) in the space of 37 minutes--maybe it just went by so fast that I didn't bother to think about it. MY LOSS. This is the second richest relisten so far after S. F. Sorrow.
2.XTC, The Big Express: I'd rate this as decent, which is about what I rated it the first time. For some reason, the only two songs I took away from it were "This World Over" and "I Remember The Sun," which don't seem to get much chatter in reviews. The former is the most "80s" sounding thing here, with Phil Collins-ish keyboards, but it has a sad tone to it that I still like. The latter is an odd little shuffle. The big rediscovery here was then, "Wake Up," the clanging guitars of which remind me of Talking Heads. Much of the rest of this seems to be "goofy"--look at these song titles. "Shake You Donkey Up"? "Seagulls Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her"? "I Bought Myself A Liarbird"? "Train Running Low On Soul Coal"? "You're The Wish You Are I Had"? Was this how Andy dealt with his stage fright--goofy song titles? A few of them were worth revisiting, even the kiddie feel of "All You Pretty Girls" and "You're The Wish You Are I Had." Don't know how much I'll revisit this but it's solid.
3.Bjork, Vespertine: I listened to this in 2007, according to my records, and saved "Hidden Place," "Unison," "Pagan Poetry" and "It's Not Up To You." I have zero memory of this whatsoever. I don't remember listening to this album that year, I don't remember a single note of these songs, or how quickly I made it through the whole thing. Relistening to the album makes it clear that those songs are indeed the best on the album, and that the album itself is actually a pretty damn hard listen. Every track is part of the same eerie dark winter wonderland Bjork conjures up, so they're hard to tell apart, and the songs are bizarrely meandering and amelodic and you really have to crack away at them for the hooks to rise forth, though in the songs I've named, they do manage to, like the rising vocal flourish in "Hidden Place." That said, almost none of the songs I didn't name stick out to me--maybe "Cocoon," which sounds like sitting next to an outdoor campfire, or "Frosti," with its fake harps or whatever the hell they are. Not a bad album, but definitely a hard nut to chew on and I'm not as in love with any of it as I am with "Army Of Me," though I will note I bet Radiohead really liked this when they were recording In Rainbows.
4.Mercury Rev, Deserter's Songs: This on the other hand has gotten worse--I think I'd have given it a George 10/15 the first time around, but now I'd barely be able to hand it an 8. All I really remembered from the first time around were "Holes" and "Goddess On A Hi-Way," and this time, that's all I really liked. "Tonite It Shows" and "Opus 40" are so sappy they make The Flaming Lips' "A Spoonful Weighs A Ton" look like Nine Inch Nails, "Endlessly" drives me nuts with that annoying looping opera-singer hitting that high note over and over, "Hudson Line" is cheesy 80s sax-pop, and the instrumentals are basically near-worthless filler, with "The Happy End (The Drunk Room)" as one of the low points of not just the album but the DECADE, an annoying yammering hammering pile of shit. Even the dark note that the album goes for after all that sap, "The Funny Bird" isn't that great, getting into obnoxious guitar noise. "Pick Up If You're There" is sort of okay, but it's still no "Sleeping On The Roof." I guess I could keep that one and the bonus track "Delta Bottleneck Stomp" or whatever it's called, because at least that one's a respite from all the fake-orchestral sugar this album spews forth. People who think this handily beats The Soft Bulletin are like people who think Manhunter is better than The Silence Of The Lambs...I know they exist (quite a few of them, really), but I couldn't agree with them at gunpoint, and I think they dislike the later work more than they love the former one. I never checked out another Mercury Rev album; they're not sappy, right?
5.The New York Dolls, New York Dolls: I only remembered "Personality Crisis" from listening to this in 2014, which is a great song, but which overshadows the rest of it pretty well. I did discover a few other tunes I liked here--"Looking For A Kiss" is fairly funny, "Trash" is an amusingly obnoxious 60s-style stomp chant chorus thingy," and maybe I could keep the lone ballad "Lonely Planet Boy"...aside from that, all I really find interesting here is that there's a missing link between the Rolling Stones and punk rock. David Johanssen's vocal approach wears thin long before the album is over, I'm not sure what Todd Rundgren producing added to the album, and the album definitely runs out of ideas well before it's over; I know a lot of people like the last four or five songs, but the band's overuse of "I-vi"-type chord sequences is pretty obvious by then, so I can't much get into them in spite of the "shock value" of song titles like "Pills" and "Subway Train." Maybe the problem with listening to the album the first time was that I sort of knew all too well what to expect from these sorts of songs, but I've also had a longstanding slight disability regarding albums that are nothing but rockers, or almost nothing but rockers. Either way, I only marginally liked this one better this time around and don't know if I'll be revisiting it much besides, you guessed it, "Personality Crisis."