Faust, So Far: Again, "It's A Rainy Day, Sunshine Girl" is the only song from the first two Faust albums that I *love*. Or, for that matter, that I remembered. Old notes of mine indicate that I gave a thumbs up to the 10 minute "No Harm" but I'd forgotten every note of it, and relistening to it I only like parts of it, like the beginning. The title track is worth hearing again, with the band messing with what sounds like some sort of goofy Creedence Clearwater Revival riff, and "Mamie Is Blue" is a fat stink of industrial f!ckpuke, the ugliest song of the early 1970s!! Have to give them a point for releasing that one (I still can't name any band members.) Uh, the last three or four songs sound like bad Zappa crap, like stuff that didn't make it onto Weasels Ripped My Flesh and that's not good IMO. Those diddling little harpsichords, ick. I'm not really wild about this album but I'm slightly glad I revisited it, but again it's more for the historical "wow this was released in 1972?!?" vibe. I like it more than the debut, at least.
Tom Waits, Small Change: I had a strong feeling I wasn't going to like this one anywhere near as much as I originally did (my score back around 2008 when I heard it would've been like a George 11/15), and I was dead on in my prediction. Tom Waits in general is an artist I've *slightly* soured on, due to a combination of realizing as I dug further into his catalogue that he covers the same ground lyrically and musically over and over and over making only slight changes over the years to sort of get away with it, and arguments at this board (and from the man himself, apparently) that he's basically doing schtick. I only remembered "Tom Traubert's Blues" and "The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me)" and those two songs are still the best here, but my Tom Waits malaise really started to kick in when I realized that 75 percent of this album is sad piano ballads, minus a couple of beatnik jazz poetry breather tracks, and all Tom Waits sad piano ballads kind of sound the same y'know?!? (I'll never forget picking up Bone Machine on CD and realizing that I liked the album a lot less when I realized that all four piano ballads are in the same key.) I only remembered "Tom Traubert's Blues" and "The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me)" and those two songs are (dismayingly) still the best here, but the rest...agggh. "Jitterbug Boy" is alright, I guess, but "Invitation To The Blues" had me cringing because I knew it would just be rewritten as "Soldier's Things" seven years later when he started singing through his megaphone, and "I Wish I Was In New Orleans" is a blatant rehash of like, the last four songs on Closing Time. Of the beatnik interludes, "Step Right Up" was a merciful rediscovery--just Tom doing a carnival barker act over an obvious bassline, but it fits him like a glove. "Pasties And A G-String" however is an embarrassment with its stupid "gooba gobba" vocal slop, I can't believe people consider it a highlight. The main theme of the album is being drunk and sad and I don't identify with that at all, so that's a strike against it too.
Stevie Wonder, Fulfillingness' First Finale: Very good, only a step down from Talking Book and Innervisions because of the three rewrites ("Smile Please" is a passable rewrite of "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life" and "You Haven't Done Nothin'" rehashes "Superstition"'s horn parts, but I guess those are at least acceptable rewrites--"Too Shy To Say" is far, far too close to "All In Love Is Fair"). Still an awesome album for a blind guy who'd just been smooshed in a car accident, probably best represented by the utterly funereal Bach requiem of "They Won't Go When I Go"--isn't it great to hear Stevie getting MORBID? He does it well, too! "It Ain't No Use" is the third great song here with the "He's So Fine"-like backing vocals after "Creepin'" (still Stevie's best song with that huge-sounding synth--the best synth sound of the '70s, in fact!) and "Heaven Is 10 Zillion Light Years Away". "Bird Of Beauty" has those utterly 70s "doot doot, doot doot" backing vox and "Please Don't Go" is pretty elegiac. Oh screw it, it's all good. I probably should've bought the CD.
Roxy Music, Country Life: Did you know the two girls on the cover are Can guitarist Michael Karoli's girlfriend and his SISTER?!? (Borat voice: "she is my seestor! Nahhhce!") I'd bump this one up a point from before, I was wavy-hand on it but it's pretty solid all the way through, though I don't really get what the big deal is about the bitter attack song "Casanova" or the Germanic "Bitter Sweet." "Prairie Rose" remains utterly hilarious, crossing getaway glam fantasies with slide-guitary Texas sound as a tribute to Jerry Hall (or maybe not--some people say Bryan Ferry hadn't met her yet) and the second best Roxy Music song. I'd forgotten "The Thrill Of It All," the spacy "Out Of The Blue" with its backwards violin (the reason I paid attention in the first place was George saying that Hawkwind ripped off the masterful "Assault & Battery" from it, but they didn't) and a really crucial rediscovery, "Triptych" with wonderful harmony vox. Critics seem to point out that Phil Manzanera dominates this album with guitar like Ferry dominated Stranded but I somehow never much pay a lot of attention to the backing instrumentation with this band. I don't know why. I just sort of don't? It's not like they can't play or anything! They're good! The 1972-75 Roxy albums have always blended together for me and I sort of know that they shouldn't, but at least I liked this one better as opposed to Stranded, which I never got into in spite of everyone in the WRC claiming it was their best.