Music bought in 2012

New [on LP]

Harlequins of Love by Customs
One of Belgium's best bands returns with a second album full of treats. Recommended. Buy, don't download.

Old Ideas by Leonard Cohen
These may be old ideas, but they're not the brainchild of an old man. Leonard Cohen will forever be a handsome, talented youngster. Long live this Canadian treasure.

Wrecking Ball by Bruce Springsteen
Another fine effort by my favourite musician. Not his best album ever (that distinction still goes to Lucky Town), but enough highlights (Death To My Hometown, Rocky Ground, Land Of Hope And Dreams) to make lesser artists blush.

Charm! by Donkey Diesel
Haven't listened to this record yet, hence no opinion. Just €1 in a record store in the Brussels South train station.

Manhay by Daan
Exes, Icon, Daan ... four letters words for the win? His first studio album to get a vinyl release is also the first to fully embrace conventional instruments and live musicians. Belgian daily De Frut said it best: "This is the album that Daan will be remembered for".

Feel For You by Intergalactic Lovers
A lovely clear (see-through, that is) 12" issued for Record Store Day. Sweet, touching song. Fans are now eagerly awaiting their second album. Take your time, guys and gal.

Another Day by Paul McCartney
Thirteen bucks for a 7" single? Madness! Sparta! This Record Store Day release is a reissue of the 1971 single that kicked off McCartney's solo career. Oh Woman, Oh Why is the B-side.

Two Bulat Okudzhava Songs by Regina Spektor
Fifteen green ones for a 7" single? Way to overprice a product. This Record Store Day release contains two songs sung in Miss Spektor's native Russian. The results are beautiful.

Rocky Ground by Bruce Springsteen
As stated above, Rocky Ground is one of the best songs on Springsteen's most recent studio album. This Record Store Day 7" has a rendition of the haunting The Promise (live from the Carousel, Ashbury Park) on its B-side as an added bonus.

Following Sea by dEUS
Belgian band dEUS caught everyone - not in the least the press - by surprise when they dropped their seventh full album in record stores without prior warning. Quatre Mains, a French parlando over a pulsing beat, is a killer.

Plundered My Soul by Rolling Stones
The copy I bought in 2011 remained shrinkwrapped for reasons unknown. I then bought it again as a bargain (a baragain, to use a neologism) and subsequently opened it. An absolute brilliant song, one of their best. Shame it's tucked away on the second disc of the 'Exile On Main Street' rerelease. Plundered My Soul deserves a lot more universal love and recognition.

North and South by Milow
Milow's main claim to fame is an interpretation of 50 Cent's Ayo Technology, a definite inclusion in the 'Covers that are better than the original recording' rundown. Back in 2007, I e-mailed the singer and pleaded for a vinyl release, if just to be able to put it in a jukebox. He never replied, but - hurrah! - five years down the line, he included the track as a bonus on his new album.

Tits 'N Ass by Golden Earring
The best rock band from The Netherlands - and perhaps the best rock band in the world - return in their 52nd year of existence with a truly excellent offering with a no holds barred title. Identical, Little Time Bomb, Still Got The Keys To My First Cadillac ... how many bands still make ditties of this calibre after half a century of songwriting? Hats off to Hay, Kooymans, Gerritsen and Zuiderwijk!

Play It As It Lays by Patti Scialfa
Technically a second-hand purchase on a record fair, but since it was still shrinkwrapped, it goes on the 'new' pile. Just €1 for the third album by Springsteen's red headed woman.

Birdy by Birdy
Quite the original title. Birdy by Birdy - still just 17 years at the time of writing - is one own composition and 10 covers, but don't let that fact scare you off. This is a formidable collection. Highlights: Young Blood, I'll Never Forget You and Without A Word.

Pickin' Up The Pieces by Fitz and the Tantrums
Bought just for the infectious MoneyGrabber, but additional crackers Breakin' The Chains Of Love, L.O.V. and News 4 U made this a more than worthwile purchase.

Drive by Various
The soundtrack to Nicolas Winding Refn crime caper, featuring Cliff Martinez' score alongside the sublime Nightcall by Kavinsky & Lovefoxxx and the dreamy A Real Hero by College & Electric Youth.

Paparazzi, Bad Romance, Alejandro, LoveGame, Telephone (with Beyoncé) & Just Dance by Lady Gaga
Gaga goodness. Perfect pop productions.

Human by The Killers
The addictive track on a 12" picture disc. "Are we human, or are we dancer?". Such a simple question, and yet, so deep.

Shenanigans by Green Day
B-sides and rarities by the postmodern punkers. Ha Ha You're Dead deserved to be included on a real studio album. A whale of a song. That doesn't make any sense, but you catch my drift.

Handwritten by The Gaslight Anthem
The fourth album by New Jersey's finest younglings. Bought in Other Music, a visit-worthy record store in New York City. They started their own label in 2012. Commercial suicide in these sad download times, but an admirable move nonetheless.

Live at the Olympia by R.E.M.
Just $20 + tax on a New York flea market. When I bought this box set plus some other items for a friend of mine for a total amount of $42, I figured I could try to make a deal. "Will you throw in the $5 Todd Rundgren LaserDisc for free?" I asked. "Absolutely not!" the grumpy merchant replied. Can't hurt to try.

2 by Netsky
Boris Daenen - the drum 'n' bass pride of Edegem, Belgium - or his record label made a weird vinyl for the second Netsky album: four discs, eight sides, one song per side. Which means: awesome audio quality, but not even all the songs that are on the CD version. Disturbing, especially with a $33 asking price. Solid music, though, which is all that matters.

Bad 25 by Michael Jackson
The brilliant 1987 album, reissued (now with Leave Me Alone as the official 11th track) on a picture disc. Instead of listing the high points, it's easier to point out what's mediocre: Just Good Friends and Speed Demon, and even those are 600 times better than any song I'll ever write. The other nine recordings are dynamite.

I Just Can't Stop Loving You by Michael Jackson
A new pressing of the 1987 single, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of its parent album.

Turtleneck & Chain by The Lonely Island
Fake and hilarious hip-hop. Includes a download code and a DVD with most of their clips! Super nice. This should be done more often. Take note, other artists.

History of Modern by OMD
A 10" of their superb comeback track (cometrack?). Who knew they had this in them after a 14-year pause?

Uno! by Green Day
Kill The DJ, Nuclear Family, Sweet 16, Oh Love, Carpe Diem, Fell For You, Troublemaker ... Those that write off Green Day are out of their mind. Not profound, not important, but fun and addictive.

The Dark Knight Rises by Hans Zimmer
A slightly less impressive effort compared to the The Dark Knight soundtrack, but still a score to be reckoned with. Gotham's reckoning, you could say.

Live At River Plate by AC/DC
The same outstanding concert that was released on Blu-ray in 2011.

People of Galicove by Geppetto & The Whales
An extended play of the relatively new Belgian band. Haven't listened to this record yet, hence no opinion.

New [on CD]

Tron Legacy R3C0NF1GUR3D by Various
Just €2.40 for this disc filled with remixes. When all is said and done, not one of the featured artists can top the awesomeness of Daft Punk's original Tron Legacy soundtrack.

Progressed by Take That
The phenomenal sixth album by the British (former) boy band. S.O.S., The Flood, What Do You Want From Me?, the hidden Flower Bed, the 8 additional tracks ... and Kidz. Oh my, Kidz. Triumphant.

Michael by Michael Jackson
A mere €2.79 for the first posthumous full album of Michael Jackson. I expect 70 more of these in the next 30 years, if Elvis Presley's output is an indication. Opinion? It's an expected mixed bag of so-so material, and this release of finished demos would certainly upset the perfectionist Mr. Jackson. That said, Breaking News, (I Can't Make It) Another Day and Behind The Mask are pleasant.

Bad 25 Collector's Case by Michael Jackson
Three CDs, one DVD, one 7", a booklet, a t-shirt and more. Never essential, always enjoyable. If you're a fan.

New [on audio cassette]

In A Bar, Under The Sea by dEUS
A still shrinkwrapped Romanian cassette. I already owned their first studio album on Romanian cassette, so this one can proudly stand next to his/her/its brother. Could be a new niche in music collecting: Romanian cassettes by Belgian bands. Yes, I smell success.

Second hand [on audio cassette]

Dangerous by Michael Jackson
Still his best album. A present from my nephew, who used to be a big fan. I've raided his collection over the years.

Second hand [on LP]

Imperial Bedroom by Elvis Costello
Bought prior to his 2012 concert in Brussels. Waited for him after the show, and had it signed. Not too shabby. Haven't listened to this record yet, hence no opinion.

Grace by Jeff Buckley
A first pressing from 1994, no less. The only album released during his lifetime. Crazy, considering the staggering number of releases afterwards.

Blue Monday by New Order
Simply one of the best songs of all time.

Architecture & Morality, Maid of Orleans and (Forever) Live And Die by OMD
Three random records by the English new wavers, bought specifically to get to know their output. An interview opportunity with the band seemed likely in August 2012 (prior to their Antwerp concert), so I wanted to prepare. Then the interview got cancelled at the last minute, because, eh, artists can be fickle. It was a scorching hot day, and they didn't feel like being disturbed by a total stranger with questions. Sounds reasonable, actually.

Too Legit To Quit by Hammer
No more 'MC', Mr. Burrell? This Is The Way We Roll and the title track are genius.

Whatzupwitu by Eddie Murphy & Michael Jackson
Nice song, but this is the crappy remix, unfortunately.
Can't have it all.

Camouflage by Stan Ridgway
Owned a copy of this 7" already, but it was too cheap to pass up at €0.10. It feels like adopting greatness.

U Can't Touch This by MC Hammer
Stop! His biggest hit!

(I Just) Died In Your Arms Tonight by Cutting Crew
A subtle way of singing about ejaculations. Fabulous song.

Somebody's Watching Me by Rockwell
Rockwell will always be remembered as 'the guy' who had Michael Jackson in the chorus of his breakthrough hit. And little else. Poor guy. Splendid song, though.

Touchy! by a-ha
One of their "happy songs" (they made three of those, tops). Silly and very 80's, with a sillier and "verier" 80's clip. But try to stand still.

Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana
Never found this as a 7" before, thus snatched it.

I Lie And I Cheat by Won Ton Ton
Belgian 80's excellence.

Toveren by Herman van Veen
Dutch 80's perfectionism.

Untitled by Johnny Hallyday
A 10" release (my favourite vinyl format), found on the famous Marollen flea market in Brussels. Coudn't find a title on the platter, it just says 'Johnny Hallyday' on both sides. The tracklist includes Madison Twist, Hey! Baby! and Laissez-Nous Twister.

Second hand [on CD]

Sweet Child o' Mine by Guns N' Roses
A cute 3" CD, no less, including live versions of AC/DC's Whole Lotta Rosie and their own It's So Easy.

Second hand library clearance bargains [on CD; all €1]

Japanese Compilation by Randy Newman
"Hit" is a relative concept when talking about Randy Newman. The man made countless masterpieces, but he never set the charts on fire. A fact that doesn't matter in the slightest, of course. This Japanese release (without the obi strip) contains some of his better knows tunes and a few obsure ones (to me, at least).

The Land Before Time OST by James Horner
One of James Horner's best, before his major breakthrough. How nice to finally own If We Hold On Together, as sung by the very talented Diana Ross.

Home Alone OST by John Williams
The 1990 score by John Williams in his absolute prime, plus songs by Southside Johnny and a few others. Shame Chuck Berry's Run Rudolph Run isn't included.

Back to the Future OST by Various
A quasi questionable selection (yay for The Power of Love, Johnny B. Goode, Earth Angel and Back in Time, but Time Bomb Town is rather underwhelming). Could have used more than one cut of Alan Silvestri's rousing score too.

Songs in the Key of Springfield and Go Simpsonic with by Various
A two-part, very thorough bouquet of sung Simpsons showstoppers. Highlights are too numerous to mention, but if I must: check out The Monorail Song and Happy Birthday, Mr. Burns first. Pure comedy gold.

Treasure Planet OST by James Newton Howard
Howard's underrated score for an underrated movie. Plus Johnny Rzeznik's underrated I'm Still Here. Underrated!

Jurassic Park OST by John Williams
In 1994, my nephew gave me a copy of the Jurassic Park score on Romanian cassette (there's a pattern). The CD features the same tracks, but now with the added ease of track selection. Yet another John Williams masterwork.

Ri˘hie Ri˘h by Alan Silvestri
Silvestri's breezy, charming and whimsical score to the 1994 family comedy.

Gaston's War by Theo Nijland
Haven't listened to this record yet, hence no opinion. As a Robbe De Hert follower, this was an essential purchase.

Julian De Backer, 25 December 2013