Thursday, May 19, 2005

What's Supporting My CD Collection, Literally...


I hear something. Crick, crash...Boom! Posted by Hello



I have to say, I still don't treat CD's as well as I could. I'm better. In the halcyon days of the late '80s when I thought CD's were indestructible I did everything but floss with them. Scratch that. Then again. I'm sure you might remember those days. Warner Brothers had an advertisement on how to treat your compact disc's and believe it or not, having them out of the case and wrapping a rubber band about 20 of them wasn't going to help them any. Shocker.


I've of course learned and now I have one section on a side wall. Certainly a long way from semi-tasteful vinyl displays I used to have, but better than having 10,ooo Manics as my new fave/coaster. Looking at the stacks of CD's I do have to say I'm proud of a few of them. The ones that support all of the others. It's a yeoman type job, but it's much appreciated. I'll give three titles the Pop Culture Idiot "spotlight" to let you know who's doing a fabulous job, the absolute support, CD's that are slightly more suckier than the ones above them...


A Tribe Called Quest-Anthology: I did love this group even if I was a casual fan during their prime. Their placement in my collection, is an oversight, but then again a lot of '90s rap does sound older than "Mule Train." Looking back doing this set in 1999 was a bit poignant, it effectively closed out an era that didn't have to end. The big hits you know, "Award Tour," the gorgeous "Bonita Applebaum" and "Electric Relaxation." What I come back for is 1998's clinker, "Stressed Out" featuring then label mate Faith Evans. Certainly the hook is a bald rewrite of Anita Baker's "Good Love" but the production and the lyrics do indeed capture maturity within the group as well as a certain generation. If anything Midnight Marauders replaced this in no time, the ending songs and energy of that CD sums the group up a tad better...

Status: Still at the bottom of my stack

Grade: ****


The Jackson 5-Dancing Machine/Moving Violation


In 2001 Universal had the bright idea to reissue the Jackson 5's domestic albums in "two-fers." It's a great idea and for a completist like me, I bought them all. A month later I realized that I had all of the J5 CD's, it was a total then what. This is probably the set I played the least. Dancing Machine was originally released in 1974. At the time Michael was going towards the back end of puberty, his voice changed, the early '70s Motown sound was fracturing and Dancing Machine relied more on gimmicks and a heavy handed production rather than cohesion and great song. Of course there's a few exceptions. Although Dancing Machine did appear on 1973's "Get it Together," I probably prefer this version. The guys also do a nice version of "If I Don't Love You This Way." By the way Michael's voice sounded, I wouldn't be surprised if it came from an earlier session.

There's not a whole heck of a lot to discuss about Moving Violation. The Holland Brothers (of HDH/Holland Dozier Holland fame) came back to Motown around 1975 and had the Jackson 5, as well as the Supremes and Temptations on their production schedule. The Holland Brothers tracks certainly sound good, but the work here (including producers Mel Larson and Jerry Marcellino) is just so-so lyrically. In short, it's still disappointing and even nostalgia can't rehab both of these time capsules.

Status: In my player--for about two more minutes...

Grade: *** Dancing Machine, **Moving Violation

Prince-Emancipation

Well, well, well, don't I feel foolish. All of this time I thought this was that long-gone and useless 3 CD Sony doorstop, Sounds of the '70s. Come to find out it's Emancipation, something I've actually been looking for. Turns out this wasn't exactly an artistic rebirth but a semi-solid set that staved off musical decline and perhaps insanity. This 1996 release is a 3 CD set manufactured and distributed by EMI. All of those who thought Prince was the archetypical company man and would be with Warner Bros a while longer sure got a shock. The anal retentive among us still can't believe Prince and Capitol crossed paths. It didn't last too long though. This is a set I still enjoy. It's excessive, 3 CD's of prime Prince is 1 CD too much, but some of the stuff here is great. The erotic "One Kiss At A Time" is one of his sexiest ballads. The evocative "Soul Sanctuary" is didn't come off as fey as it could have. Prince covered a lot of bases, like his covers of "One of Us," "Betcha By Golly Wow" and "I Can't Make You Love Me." All adequately done, can't say I'll ever listen to them again, still stuck on 2 and 3 on Disc 2 and that's enough.

Despite the buildup, Emancipation has seemed to be a favorite at wherever cut-out CD's are sold. Although the presentation is cheesy--as well as those tacky looking CD's, the whole deal is worth checking out.

Status: Placed on top of my CD collection

Grade: ****
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