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Classics 101

Discussion in 'Music & Music Streaming Services' started by Gambit, May 21, 2003.

  1. Gambit

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    What makes an album a classic? Some bands/artists appeal to everyone, from critics to kids, but what is the appeal? I know you'll always have some albums that only you think are as good as they are (my Incubus fetish a prime example :blush: ) but certain album's like Nevermind, Revolver, Rhythm and Stealth, DSOTM, OK Computer, ad nausea are considered by most to be great yet are very different. Thoughts.
     
  2. Squirrel God

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    Two things make an album a classic:

    Longevity (Do we still like it 10, 20, 30, ... years later?)

    Multi-appreciation across generations (Do others still like it 10, 20, 30, ... years later? i.e. does it appeal to the next generation, and the next, and the next, and .... )
     
  3. menalaus

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    timeing! i feel that when an album is released is a major factor in its commercial sucsess. the mood of the country at the time and what else is going on will affect how an album/style is perceved.
    Also if a band dosnt get picked up by A&R (usually for the above reasons!) it may be the best album ever but if nobody gets to hear it in the first place? in an industry where money is THE driving force, bands (good and bad) will only get signed if they can sell 'units' not for any other reason.

    another big reason is the albums producer, you only have to hear any bands demos to realize the influence a producer and the recording process can have in making an album 'great' or next in line for the bargin bin at Woolies.
     
  4. adox

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    the one thing that makes a classic album is one of the most elusive things - great songs.
    impossible to quantify a formula for great songs, they just happen, and on the rare occassion you get a whole collection on one album.
    having said that, there are probably dozens of recordings out there, that are undiscovered or unrecgonised "classic albums".
    beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
     
  5. jammy

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    My favourite classic albums have a few essentials. Good beginning middle and end, a well thought out track listing, like a story. Good artwork, stuff you continually look at even though you've read the notes so many times before. A sound which perhaps stands apart from the other records of the time. I think The Stone Roses, fulfills all those criteria.
     
  6. meep

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    Nick Hornby has al ot to say on this in 31 tracks.

    Even though I don't know half the songs mentioned, his essays provide a unique insight into what makes a track/album special for a music fan. As far as I can gather, a lot is contextual and relevant only to the individual.

    But I suppose this thread is predicated on the assumption that a "calssic" can transcend such individualty to become trully, unversally applauded as great.

    I stop now.
     
  7. Gambit

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    That's intesting as I think I've never heard a band that can build an album like the Foo Fighters: their album construction is bang on. An explosive start (with elements of quiet) ie

    FF: This is a Call
    TCTAS: Doll into Monkey Wrench
    TINLTL: Stacked Actors
    OBO: All my Life

    A rocky middle with some slowish tracks and some great faster one's, but they really excell at finishing an album and save the best track for last, every album's finisher is great:

    FF: Exhausted
    TCATS: New Way Home
    TINLTL: M.I.A.
    OBO: Come Back

    With all of these track, you get a feeling of the end and I all ways feel satisfied that that is the end. Some bands mess up the end of albums and you expect another track but I all ways think the Foo's do this perfectly. Yet none of these albums appear on any all time greats list and I bet not many people list any of the foo's in their favorite album slot,
     
  8. Squirrel God

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    I think that's more down to who produces the album though, rather than the band itself.
     
  9. Gambit

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    Are the album's all produced by the same guy? I'd imagine Dave Grohl has a say as well as he's rock aristocracy and could get anything he wanted, up to and including pardoning for murder.
     
  10. Squirrel God

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    They're all co-produced by Foo Fighters with different people, apart from TCATS which they didn't produce at all. Interesting, as that's their best album :eek:

    BTW, do you own the copyright on "rock aristocracy"? - great term ;) Although "aristrockcracy" might catch on too :D
     
  11. Gambit

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    And my favorite :blush: , I think New Way Home is fantastic and there are no tracks bad on that album.

    Yes I do so keep your mitts off it (kicking myself or not thinking of aristrockracy :mad: )
     
  12. karkus30

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    Not sure what exactly makes a good album, a lot of the time its because it typifies and combines the music of a particular time.

    Its normally not the catalyst.

    Nirvana took in everything from Husker du, Black Flag, Meat Puppets etc and brought the sound to a new peak. Radiohead did the same, even the Beatles combined elements of other peoples music on Relvolver and Sgt Peppers.

    Then theres the album promotion and band promotion, theres probably loads of undiscovered albums around that could have been.

    The music is usually full of 'hooks' and riffs and rarely antagonises, a bit like a well reasoned argument.

    Finally theres passion, its the most important, you can hear it in the songs and the instruments. Listen to Hendrix, Freddy Mercury and you can hear the passion and drive. They pull the other band members along and push them to give it all and thats on every classic album.

    If you could only bottle that drive, its a positive energy, even when the songs are bleak, they radiate emotion. Watch Winston Churchill give a speech or Hitler, both classic orators and sublime performers but with a totally different delivery and style.


    THE END
     
  13. Ian Cox

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    It is such a hard thing to quantify what makes a great album or even a great song. Musical notes can be broken down mathematically if you want to quantify it and maybe one day somebody with come up with a mathematical formula that will make a great song each time but I doubt it.

    But for me it's soul and passion which is something you can not quantify. It's something in the album that draws you in won’t let go and makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck, for me this makes a great album. But because soul and passion is such a personal thing then each of us will find these two elements in different albums but some seem to span more people than others and that is the greatness of these albums.

    I agree what has been said before the production has to be right as well as the construction of the tracks on the album so you have a good beginning middle and end (yes the Foo's are masters at this). The album has to tell a story like a book or a film. Also it has a lot to do with the time and place and truly great albums are the ones that kick start or re-ignite a whole new genre of music, Nevermind springs to mind. And yes karkus30 if only we could bottle this we would all be very rich indeed.
     
  14. jammy

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    Gambit, how much does New Way Home rock?? A wicked end track defiantley.
    I've only seen em do it live once, but it was stunning.
     
  15. Gambit

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    I would give my left arm to see them play it live. Possibly my right, but it has sentimental value :blush:
     
  16. tullamore

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    A documentary on BBC 2 or C4. Or a Nick Hornby book.
     
  17. seany

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    Are you from tullamore boyo?
     
  18. tullamore

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    Mother is. From Kilbride Street. Was only there last March.
     
  19. seany

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    Good man, my da's from tullamore we're from eden derry;) all offaly. Such a small place tullamore, fancy ur mum being from there
     
  20. Gambit

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    It's a crazy world, no?
     

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  21. HMHB

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    Difficult question !
    I think that maybe word of mouth has a lot to do with it as well as the quality of the product. People will still talk about Dark Side Of The Moon and call it a classic, yet for me, it is not my favourite Pink Floyd album - in fact it gets played least often out of the whole lot. I bought OK Computer and found it to be too bland for my tastes - so I'm even more confused now !
    My all time classic album has to be Guns N Roses Appetite For Destruction - starts off with a bang and never relents. Nirvana -Nevermind also does it for me. AC/DC Let There Be Rock never gets a mention - people always tend to mention Back In Black - but I prefer the former.
    I think an album that can conjure up some kind of atmosphere as well as having superb music will last for years. Some of the old Joy Division stuff (with Ian Curtis) is worthy of being called classic in my view but I don't suppose it ever will.
     

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