The Epic 2017 Project #177: 170626
Mika – Life in Cartoon Motion (2007)
Life in Cartoon Motion is the debut album released by British singer/songwriter Mika. The album was produced by Greg Wells and Mika himself, mixed by Wells, with co-production on two songs by Jodi Marr and John Merchant. It was released via Island Records on 5 February 2007 in the United Kingdom, and via Casablanca Records on 27 March 2007 in the United States. The album’s lead single, “Grace Kelly”, stayed at number one on the UK Singles Chart for five weeks straight and became a number-one hit in many countries.
The album debuted at number 1 in the United Kingdom, selling 7.8 million copies worldwide since its release.The Life in Cartoon Motion album cover has since been used in a commercial for the iPod Touch. It was the fifth-best-selling album in the world during 2007
The Epic 2017 Project #176: 170625
Metallica – And justice for all (1988)
Metallica released their 4th studio album “…And Justice for All” on Elektra Records in August 1988. It was the band’s first studio album to feature bassist Jason Newsted after the death of Cliff Burton in 1986. The album is musically progressive, with long and complex songs, fast tempos, and few verse-chorus structures The lyrics feature themes of political and legal injustice seen through the prisms of censorship, war, and nuclear brinkmanship.
The album’s front cover, designed by Stephen Gorman on a scheme by James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich, features a representation of Lady Justice, bound by ropes, with one breast bare and its scales tipping toward one plate filled with money. The phrase “…And Justice for All” appears spray-painted in the lower right corner. The album title is derived from the American Pledge of Allegiance. Three songs from the album were released as singles: “Harvester of Sorrow”, “Eye of the Beholder”, and “One”, while the title track was released as a promotional single.
…And Justice for All was acclaimed by music critics. It was included in The Village Voice’s annual Pazz & Jop critics’ poll of the year’s best albums, and the single “One” earned Metallica its first Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in 1990. The group’s best-selling album at the time, it was the first underground metal album to achieve chart success in the United States.
The Epic 2017 Project #175: 170624
John Cougar Mellencamp – The Lonesome Jubilee (1987)
The Lonesome Jubilee is the ninth studio album released by Mercury Records on August 24, 1987 .Four singles were released from it, the first two in 1987 and the last two in 1988.
The album was one of Mellencamp’s most successful worldwide, charting in ten countries. It was most successful in Canada where it topped RPM magazine’s Top Albums chart and became the artist’s highest certified album by Music Canada (formerly the Canadian Recording Industry Association) becoming 6x platinum.
We were on the road for a long time after Scarecrow, so we were together a lot as a band. For the first time ever, we talked about the record before we started. We had a very distinct vision of what should be happening here. At one point, The Lonesome Jubilee was supposed to be a double album, but at least 10 of the songs I’d written just didn’t stick together with the idea and the sound we had in mind. So I just put those songs on a shelf, and cut it back down to a single record. Now, in the past, it was always ‘Let’s make it up as we go along’ – and we did make some of The Lonesome Jubilee up as we went along. But we had a very clear idea of what we wanted it to sound like, even before it was written, right through to the day it was mastered
John Mellencamp (1987 Cream Magazine feature)
The Epic 2017 Project #174: 170623
Don McLean – American Pie (1971)
A protégé of Pete Seeger, ‘American Pie’ was Don McLean’s second album. It was intended as a unified work, as McLean had said that he was influenced by the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper album and envisioned American Pie to be a similar piece of work. Believing that an artist’s work should stand by itself, McLean generally did not offer explanations for his song’s themes or meaning,though he did describe the title song as involving “a sense of loss”. The album was dedicated to Buddy Holly, a childhood icon of McLean’s, and was released in 1971 on the heels of the ’60s, the defining decade of McLean’s generation. It has a melancholy feel and rather sparse arrangements. At the time of the writing McLean’s first marriage was failing and the optimism and hopefulness of the 1960s was giving way to the nihilism and hedonism of the 1970s.
The album’s title song though, made McLean a household name. The single was a number-one US hit for four weeks in 1972. In the UK, it reached No. 2 on its original 1972 release and No.12 on a reissue in 1991. It was listed as the No. 5 song on the RIAA project Songs of the Century and a truncated version was covered by Madonna in 2000 and reached No. 1 in several countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.
The repeatedly mentioned “day the music died” lyric refers to the 1959 plane crash which killed early rock and roll performers Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens. The meaning of the other lyrics has long been debated, and for decades, McLean declined to explain the symbolism behind the many characters and events mentioned. However, the overall theme of the song is the loss of innocence of the early rock and roll generation as symbolized by the plane crash which claimed the lives of three of its heroes
The Epic 2017 Project #173: 170622
John Mayall – The Blues Alone (1967)
The Blues Alone is a 1967 electric blues album recorded by John Mayall on which he recorded all the parts himself, with the exception of percussion which was provided by longtime collaborator Keef Hartley.
The cover art and the original LP sleeve design are by John Mayall. Sleeve notes, including track notes, were written by noted DJ John Peel. And this is what he said about the album’s concept…
I was featuring his LP A Hard Road on the air and was amazed that, in addition to writing 8 of the 12 numbers on the record, playing 5 [sic] and 9 string guitar, organ, piano, harmonica and singing, he had written the sleeve notes and painted the portrait of the group on the front cover. With this new LP he has carried all of this to its logical conclusion and has produced a record featuring no other musician than himself except for the occasional aid of his drummer Keef Hartley.
The Epic 2017 Project #172: 170621
Massive Attack – Protection (1994)
So, for mid-summer’s day 2017 we have Massive Attack’s second studio album, released in 1994 and the last to feature Tricky as a member after going solo with his album Maxinquaye in 1995.
Protection was featured in the top ten of Rolling Stone magazine’s ‘Coolest Albums of All Time List’, calling it “great music for when you’re driving around a city at 4 am,” due to the ‘chill out’ nature of the album. Like most of Massive Attack’s albums, the music often defies categorisation, ranging from R&B to hip hop/rap (like Karmacoma) to reggae-tinged synthpop to classical-influenced electronica instrumentals like ‘Weatherstorm’.
The album follows Blue Lines structurally, to the point that the font used on the cover of the album is the same, Helvetica Heavy Italic.Now there’s a useless bit of information to weave into conversation!
The Epic 2017 Project #171: 170620
Massive Attack – Mezzanine (1998)
Massive Attack’s third album, released on 20 April 1998 by Circa and Virgin Records. It was the first album to be produced by Neil Davidge, along with the group. The entire album was provided on their website for legal download many months before the physical release was announced, one of the first major uses of the MP3 format by a commercial organisation.
Mezzanine topped the charts in the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand, becoming the band’s most commercially successful album. It saw the band expanding their trip hop sound to electronica stylings with diverse influences from rock, hip hop and dub genres.