Music bought in 2011

New [on LP]

Thriller by Michael Jackson
A late 2010 birthday present from my nephew Grigore Ionita. The same brilliant album on a picture disc. Although it claims to be Thriller 25, it's no more and no less than the remastered 1982 album. No For All Time and (thankfully) no crappy remixes.

Live in London by Regina Spektor
Talented Regina, live, in London. Just as the title promises. No false advertising.

Brown Sugar/Bitch/Let It Rock by (The) Rolling Stones
A 7" issued for Record Store Day. Phenomenal classics on a very thick (and thus qualitative) 45 rpm single.

Shoot To Thrill/War Machine by AC/DC
A 7" issued for Record Store Day. The sleeve contained a QR-code, which gave access to an early Thunderstruck sneak peek at the then forthcoming Blu-ray release of Live at River Plate. The times have changed and there's no going back.

Four From Far by Regina Spektor
A 7" issued for Record Store Day. Spektor has a talent for short, to the point titles. These are, indeed, four from Far.

Gotta Get That Feeling/Racing In The Street ('78)
by Bruce Springsteen and The E-Street Band
A 10" issued for Record Store Day, including a funny typo (Racing In The Sreet).

I'd Rather Go Blind by Trixie Whitley
A 10" issued for Record Store Day. The Belgian-American Whitley has quite the awesome voice.

My Heroics Part One by Absynthe Minded
A 12" issued for Record Store Day. Barely a decade old, but already one of the biggest Belgian classics ever. If you haven't discovered My Heroics Part One, do it today. Has part two ever been released?

Tron Legacy by Daft Punk
Simply put: one of the best soundtracks of all time. The sheer audacity of the Academy to not bestow this with an Oscar (not even a nomination) ranks as one of the most baffling oversights in their illustrious history. Highlights? How about every track? The vinyl version is the one to choose, by the way, for it includes seven non-CD tracks.

21 by Adele
There's nothing left to say about this album that hasn't been said already. It's become a worldwide juggernaut, probably the biggest selling release of the new century. I'm sure doctorates are written about and around 21. And best of all: all the praise is completely deserved.

Tron Translucence by Daft Punk
A 10" courtesy of Just four (brilliant) tracks, but the main attraction is the design: it resembles an actual Identity Disc straight from the Tron universe. One caveat: 30,24 ($41.63)!? Madness! Sparta!

Greetings & Salutations by Intergalactic Lovers
A relatively new Belgian band with an awesome live reputation and an excellent first album. Go on, buy it. Buy. Don't download.

And They Call Me Mad? by Conan O'Brien
A 7" issued by Jack White's Third Man Records. Side A is a spoken-word tirade by the always hilarious Conan. I wish some Belgian channel would air his talk show. We have to resort to YouTube clips.

American Slang by The Gaslight Anthem
One of the best bands to emerge in the noughties. Or should that be "from" the noughties? Bring It On and The Queen of Lower Chelsea are the highlights. And the title track. Dear me, the title track. Pure gold.

The Party Ain't Over by Wanda Jackson
Producer Jack White has a penchant to restore class acts from yesteryear, just like Rick Rubin. Wanda Jackson, the Queen of Rockabilly, returns with a truly excellent grab bag of recent and less recent covers. For Thunder on the Mountain, the 2006 Bob Dylan song, she changes the object of her affection from "Alicia Keys" to "Jerry Lee" (most likely "Lewis"). Fine and dandy, but I think you shouldn't alter the text of the original. Most female singers that record Me and Mrs. Jones, for example, will sing "Mr. Jones". Why? When you're performing a song, you're in character as the narrator of said song. As such, you can sing about having a crush on "Mrs. Jones" or Alicia Keys, even when you're a woman. It's a minor niggle, but it seems insulting to the original lyricist.
The Party Ain't Over features a birthday card-esque sound chip when you open the gatefold sleeve. Awesome!

Honey by Various Artists
A hip-hop collection, and not the best one at that.

The '59 Sound by The Gaslight Anthem
One of the best album of the new century. All crackers, no slackers. The Patient Ferris Wheel is the best song, but Here's Looking At You, Kid is the most touching. Certain girls turned the narrator (no idea if it's autobiographical) down, because he was young, down on his luck and inexperienced. Now, he's a famous rock star. But he hasn't forgotten about their rejections. Could be autobiographical, for singer Brian Fallon mentioned it during the Antwerp gig on his semi-solo Revival Tour and said how awkward it was when some of the girls (fictional names or not) mentioned had heard the song.
The '59 Sound contains brilliant instances of song writing, too numerous to count. A small selection off the top of my head includes: "Maybe I should call me an ambulance", "I still love Tom Petty songs", "You and your high-top sneakers and your sailor tattoos" ... I foresee a grand future for The Gaslight Anthem.

Smother by Wild Beasts
Bought after being intrigued by the gorgeous cover art. And not much else, for I haven't taken the time to listen to the album.

Grace Potter and The Nocturnals
by Grace Potter and The Nocturnals
Discovered after the inclusion of their fantastic song Something That I Want on the Tangled soundtrack.

Electric Eye by Apparatjik
A 7" by the arty-farty supergroup combo featuring my favourite Norwegian chap Magne Furuholmen. Good song, though. No case of style over substance.

Twilight by Various Artists
The soundtrack is possibly the best thing about the movie. Which reminds me of a hilarious YouTube comment for Metric's Eclipse (All Yours) - a song not featured on this album, but (the title is a dead giveaway) on the soundtrack to the third movie: "Such a beautiful song for such a shitty movie. It's like finding a rough diamond in a dirty sewer." I haven't been able to trace its author, but that is one hilarious quip.

Greetings and Salutations by Gorki
Belgian band Gorki sings in Dutch, which makes a worldwide breakthrough a hard sell. Still, when the melodies are solid, they can be easily recommended. While we're on topic: check out their magnum opus Mia.

Live by Conan O' Brien and the Legally Prohibited Band
Quite brilliant live recording, with well-chosen covers and good-natured taunts directed at Jack White (whose property was the concert's venue). When introducing The White Stripes' Seven Nation Army, Conan wonders about having to pay royalties. Good stuff. A vinyl-only release, by the way, for White is an avid proponent of the format.

Alpocalypse by "Weird Al" Yankovic
Weird Al's first vinyl release since the 80's, no less. Unless you count that rare White and Nerdy promo, which I never found.

1964-1969 by (The) Rolling Stones
200/$270,52!? But hey: music history in a box. Shame I've never found an afforable deal for the follow-up, "1971-2005". Wanting to experiece each album seperately in an effort to sample every merit, it took me a considerable amount of time to listen to every song. One non-single that stood out in particular was Downtown Suzie from Metamorphosis.

Awesome As Fuck by Green Day
Great title. The album came with a free t-shirt, which is a nice gesture. Size 'L' only, though, which is a little too big. Knowing just their big hits, I was quite fond of the live renditions of formerly unknown ditties such as Burnout, Going to Pasalacqua, J.A.R., Who Wrote Holden Caulfield? and Geek Stink Breath. And hurrah for the inclusion of Cigarettes and Valentines.

I'm Going Back by Kitty, Daisy And Lewis
A new 78 rpm release? I never thought I'd see the day. Talk about going back.

California Dreams by Katy Perry
Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.) is pop perfection. It really is. Plus Corey Feldman in the video clip. Every video clip should have Corey Feldman. I'm dead serious.

Brussld by Arno
The 2010 album by Belgium's inimitable chansonnier, including the sublime Le Lundi On Reste Au Lit. With deluxe photo album by Arno's longtime photographer Danny Willems.

Nevermind 20th Anniversary by Nirvana
Four vinyls filled with outtakes, demos, sketches and, of course, the multi-platinum album itself. Of which I only knew Smells Like Teen Spirit and Lithium. Make your own sentence with "hole" and "culture". And no, not that Hole.

Elsie by The Horrible Crowes
The Gaslight Anthem's Brian Fallon teams up with Ian Perkins for an intimate collection of songs. Molto bene.

The Liberty of Norton Folgate by Madness
D. Trull of The Lard Biscuit is a full-blown Madness fan. Thanks to his continuing praise of the band, I decided to check out their newest album after previously only knowing their 80's hits. This is a brilliant release.

Keep You Close by dEUS
Played it once, which is not enough for an accurate opinion.

Hard Knocks by Joe Cocker
Cocker's a living legend - he did Woodstock! Hard Knocks, Get On and The Fall are fine songs. It ain't easy to stay relevant after forty plus years. Cocker does it with aplomb.

Personal File by Johnny Cash
These three vinyls (a birthday present from personal friends Bart, Helene, Pim & Lien) are filled with sketches, demos, finished songs, doodles (no, not those doodles) ... all in all, a fascinating and intimate look into the creative force of a major legend.

The Smile Sessions by The Beach Boys
160?! That's even more expensive than last year's Orphans by Tom Waits. Record companies should really learn to cater to young buyers. Fortunately, the contents are plentiful.

Enter The Characters by Customs
Customs is one of the best Belgian bands in recent history. Opening track The Matador (paired with prologue Enter) is extremely catchy, Rex is a powderkeg of a song and Justine is a love song with a twist. Verdict? Buy Enter The Characters today. Buy. Don't download.

Entropology by School Is Cool
The above statement can be repeated: School Is Cool is one of the best Belgian bands in recent history. They did offer one of the weirdest vinyls, though: three-sided, which means the fourth and final side is empty. Really empty. No grooves. Not even a bonus track. What gives?

Bad As Me by Tom Waits
The Throat returns with yet another collection of gripping, touching and funny songs. He has talent for sale. He truly has.

No Spare Parts by (The) Rolling Stones
A 7" for Black Friday Record Store Day, issued as one of the unreleased tracks from the Some Girls sessions.

New [on LP, CD and MC]
Record store Disco in Lier, Belgium closed down. This was one of the dying breed of artisanal and independent boutiques. The kind old lady called it quits, but not before selling off her inventory at sharply reduced prices. "Take good care of the records you buy", she said to me, "they are my children". I will never sell them, lady. You can count on me.

Simple Rule by Soulsister
A 7" by the best (active) Belgian band of all time. Hyperbole? Ah, well, why not.

Brilliant Disguise by Bruce Springsteen
A 7" by the best (active) artist of all time. Hyperbole? Ah, well, why not.

Broken by Soulsister
Another 7" by the best (active) Belgian band of all time. Check the beginning of the song, which reminds me of Michael Jackson's Black or White. No plagiarism, though. It's just a strong resemblance, not a rip-off or a copy. Ella Leyers, the daughter of Soulsister's guitarist-lyricist-songwriter Jan Leyers, told me she noticed the resemblance first. Straight from the source, then.

Cose Della Vita by Eros Ramazzotti
Still a fantastic song. When Ramazzotti sings "Da un po'", it sounds like "iPod".

Will You Be There by Michael Jackson
One of the best Michael Jacksons songs ever, and that's saying something. Too bad this is the single edit, which shortens the song.

Teken Van Leven by Mama's Jasje
In 1991, my best friend Pieter-Jan Vaes and I were big fans of Belgian combo Mama's Jasje, who brought a fresh blend of honest and energetic pop songs. We could sing all the words to all the songs. The band made some uneven career choices afterwards (bad covers of bad songs, and good covers of good songs), but their albums Paradijs op Aarde and Letters and Lawaai remain domestic dialect classics.

Use Your Illusion I by Guns N' Roses
Guns N' Roses' brilliant part I of the ambitious double set, featuring the best cover sticker ever: "This album contains language which some listeners may find objectionable. They can F?!* off and buy something from the New Age section."
Genius, just genius.

Magic by Bruce Springsteen
Springsteen's solid 2007 effort. Full review here.

Aladdin by Various Artists
The soundtrack to the 1992 Disney hit movie, featuring the final collaborations from the late, great Howard Ashman and the great, very much alive Alan Menken. Poor Mr. Ashman couldn't complete the full slate of songs, so Tim Rice came to the rescue. This CD is a copy of the first pressing(s), and includes the controversial (and later censored) lyrics in Arabian Nights.

A Good Day by Natural Born Deejays
A Belgian floorfillery (if that's even a word) classic, which sampled Flatliners. The stuff that dancefloors are made of.

Tell Me What It Takes by Soulsister
More Soulsister excellence.

Simple Rule by Soulsister
Eh, yes, even more excellence.

Pulse by Pink Floyd
$0,50 for two audio cassettes. Obsolete? On the contrary: it's the hipster's format of choice nowadays.

To The Extreme by Vanilla Ice
Vanilla Ice on audio cassette. Too awesome to exist.

The Blues Brothers by Various Artists
The Blues Brothers feel right at home on audio cassette: the movie features stacks of cassettes (visible on the way to the Soul Food Cafe).

Scoundrel Days by a-ha
The Norwegian band's best album on audio cassette.
Now I just need the CD copy.

New [on CD]

Who Is He? by N8N
Remember this? In 2000, I started my longest-running website, as a promotional tool for Nathan Ambach, one of my highschool friends. At age 16, we pictured a bright future for him as a pop star, drummer, deejay, actor and director. True to his word, he did become a musician - and a very good one at that!
Who Is He?, his first album, was released by EMI - a major record label, no less. Kudos to you, Nathan. You never stopped believing, and you did it. His second album will be released any minute now.

Tangled by Various Artists
One of the best Disney movies in recent history and memory, with one of the best soundtracks. A no-brainer of a purchase.

Darkness On The Edge Of Town Limited Edition Box
by Bruce Springsteen
Three compact discs, plus three Blu-rays. An arm and a leg as currency.

Lucky Town by Bruce Springsteen
His best album. Japanese pressing. Lovely packaging.

The Rising by Bruce Springsteen
Japanese pressing. Lovely packaging. Just 3.

Discovery by Daft Punk
A birthday present from Willem and Marijke. A rousing synth pop/dance hybrid.

Edward Scissorhands by Danny Elfman
A birthday present from the lovely Marianne De Voecht. Danny Elfman deserves a statue. More than one, actually.

Second hand [on audio cassette]

Born in the U.S.A. by Bruce Springsteen
His second-best album, bought in Paris.

Dangerous by Michael Jackson
His best album, bought in Paris.

Second hand [on LP]

The Power of Love by Huey Lewis and The News
A necessary purchase for Back to the Future fans.

Crying in the Rain by a-ha
Quite brilliant Everly Brothers cover.

I Call Your Name by a-ha
Not their best song, but collector's urge fuels affordable hunting.

Stay on these Roads by a-ha
An underrated career highlight.

Better Days by Bruce Springsteen
A 12" taken from his best album.

Star Wars by John Williams
Being a Star Wars fan since 1997, my collection of the acclaimed music is surprisingly lacking. This is only the third album I acquired, after The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones.

Beast of Burden by Bette Midler
A brilliant cover, one of the best in the small 'possibly better than the original' sub-group.

An American Tail by James Horner
Composed prior to his major breakthrough, the cues suggested a bright future for Mr. Horner.

Days of Thunder by Various Artists
Show Me Heaven is the kind of song that wedding ceremonies and opening dances were made for.

Aloha From Hawaii via Sattelite by Elvis Presley
The legendary concert event, watched by an estimate 1 billion people. Thankyouverymuch, indeed.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show by Various Artists
A birthday present from the awesomely named Iris Perkisas. Supremely awesome music, too.

Julian De Backer, 2 November 2013