I have been trying to read a lot lately and just recently decided to re-read all of Nick Hornby's Books: High Fidelity, About a Boy, Songbook, How to Be Good, and an editorial effort, Speaking with Angels. The first book I chose to read was How to Be Good. I chose this because I think when I first read it I didn't really understand a lot of what was going on and I didn't relate to it as much as I did the other books. I have a new found understanding for that book and enjoyed the re-read much. Last night, I started to re-read Songbook. This was my #2 on initial reads, right behind High Fidelity. I read through about 40 pages and decided that I really liked what he had done and thought that maybe I would do something similar. Pick out my favorite songs and write about them. This couldn't be that hard, right? I can just look through my all the albums I own, find the ones that I really enjoy, and then find a song that really made the album for me. That sounds really easy.
It is far more difficult than it sounds.
For the rest of the week I will be picking one album/song/artist and giving a brief review of them or some kind of editorial essay about it. I think it will go well.
Less Than Jake
This most likely the most played Album I own. In my collection there are two full fledged copies of it and then about three singles from the album. When you add up the cumulative times I have listened to all of them the tally is definitely higher than any other album.
The album was recorded over the course of three nights in the basement of a friends house. The first copy of it that I own is an original release. It definitely was not mastered very well and there is a lot of background noise, but nothing that I don't completely forget the moment I start listening to it. Its almost as if they did a direct transfer from an LP to a CD. To further that concept, in the middle of the disc, there is a track that says, "Now turn the record over and we will continue on the other side." Probably put in for fun, it always makes me wonder.
The second copy of the album that I own was re-mastered and sounds far superior to that of the first, but for some reason the band thought it would be fun to record stupid vocal tracks and lay them over them the original songs. It disturbs me and I tend not to listen to that copy. Also the insert art in the second, newer, copy is better.
Earlier I mentioned how quickly this album was recorded, but what makes it more impressive, especially to those who know the pain of tracking a song, or multiple songs, is that there were at the time Six instruments and vocals to record. I wish I had the album here with me at this moment so I could say exactly what it was, but there are more than 18 tracks on the album and probably around 60 minutes of music. So, be generous and say that they worked for 14 hours each evening, and we know they worked 3 nights.
3 X 14 = 42 hours
Then you have 7 tracks to record, being generous and not including guitar solos and such. Each at 60 minutes
7 X 60minutes = 7 hours
So what you are hearing on the album is 7 hours worth of recording. What you do not hear on the album is each of the goofed tracks that had to be thrown out and re done. If I had to guess, they spent the first two night recording tracks and the last night mixing everthing so that there was nothing overbearing on the album. Still an impressive feet.
Basically an all around good album for songs and an impressive way to put it together.