Random Albums, Random Thoughts

I’m dusting off the album collection to listen to some stuff I haven’t listened to in a while. I have a lot of albums and I’m pretty positive I’ve listened to some of them only a couple of times. I’m an obsessive collector. I’m the guy who has to have all the albums by any band I like. If there’s more than one version of the album or different covers, I have to have those too. I started with records and then bought all of my stuff on cassette. When CDs came along, I bought everything on CD. Now I’ve got it all digitized and I listen to it on my iPod. It’s a lot of music, which is why I don’t get around to listening to some of it as much as I’d like. I try, though, and tonight is one of those nights. Here are my thoughts on a few albums I haven’t listened to in a while.

“Special Forces” (Alice Cooper)

Alice Cooper made three albums in the 80s he refers to as his blackout albums because he was so stoned he doesn’t remember anything about recording or touring them. Those albums are “Special Forces,” “Zipper Catches Skin,” and “Dada” in that order. Of these three, I can only listen to “Special Forces.” It’s definitely not one of his best, but at least there’s some small fragment of Alice Cooper in “Special Forces” that makes it listenable. The next two albums only got progressively worse. That said, none of the tracks on “Special Forces” stand out beyond the fact that none of them are horrible. I can listen to it when I’m in a weird mood and looking for something that’s odd, but most times I’ll reach for something a little more memorable from Alice. There’s plenty to choose from, so “Special Forces” is low on the list.

“High ‘N’ Dry” (Def Leppard)

Although overshadowed by “Pyromania” and “Hysteria,” “High ‘N’ Dry” is a Def Leppard album worth taking the time to listen to. Forget the fact that it includes the awesome classic “Bringin’ on the Heartbreak.” That alone makes it worthy of attention. There are other tracks that shine on this album. “Let It Go,” “High ‘N’ Dry (Saturday Night),” “You Got Me Runnin’,” and “Lady Strange” are just some of the standout songs. “High ‘N’ Dry” is an overlooked De Leppard album.

“Flat as a Pancake” (Head East)

I actually listen to this one pretty often. Head East is band that started in Illinois and played the Midwestern circuit when I was a kid. This album includes the classics “Never Been Any Reason” and “Love Me Tonight.” These are still two of my favorite songs ever. Other great songs include “Jefftown Creek” and the outstanding ballad “Ticket back to Georgia.” This is good old fashion 70s rock by a band that knows how to have a good time.

“Metal Heart” (Accept)

Accept is a German metal band that sounds a lot like AC/DC. “Metal Heart” is still one of their best as far as I’m concerned. This album includes not only the title track but killer songs like “Midnight Mover,” “Up to the Limit,” and a catchy ode to the hickey called “Screamin’ for a Love-Bite.” If you like metal, this is an album worth adding to your collection.

“The Nature of the Beast” (April Wine)

This is a killer album, folks. One I forget to listen to for a while and then rediscover. The big hits from the album were “All over Town,” “Sign of the Gypsy Queen,” and the beautiful power ballad “Just Between You and Me.” April Wine is an underrated rock ‘n’ roll band and this album is a forgotten classic.

“Bad Company” (Bad Company)

What’s not to like about a debut album that features the songs “Can’t Get Enough,” “Rock Steady,” “Ready for Love,” “Bad Company,” and “Movin’ On”? It’s practically a greatest hits album. The unmistakable voice of one of rock’s finest singers backed by the other bad ass members of Bad Company make this album a joy to listen to.

“T.W.O” (REO Speedwagon)

This is the first album with Kevin Cronin on vocals. It includes the classic REO cuts “Being Kind (Can Hurt Someone Sometimes),” “Music Man,” “Like You Do,” and “Golden Country.” There’s also a cool cover of Chuck Berry’s “Little Queenie” and a couple of other reall ycool songs. This is REO before they became a ballad band. Nothing wrong with the ballads, mind you, but this is a refreshing trip back to the basics.

“REO” (REO Speedwagon)

Sometimes referred to as the Cow Album because of its cover, This was the first album to feature Kevin Cronin again after a three-album absence from the band. Here you’ll find “Keep Pushin’,” (Only a) Summer Love,” “(I Believe) Our Time is Gonna Come,” and “Any Kind of Love.” There’s also a really cool lesser-known song called “Breakaway.” Again, not the ballad band. This is REO in all its old-school glory.

“Alice Cooper Goes to Hell” (Alice Cooper)

This is one of those Alice albums I really dig. It’s a continuation of the “Welcome to My Nightmare” concept that further develops the character Steven, although I think it’s a looser concept. The songs stand well on their own and seem to be tied together with bits and pieces throughout. There are a lot of good tracks. One of my favorites is the song “Guilty.” This album also includes the ballad “I Never Cry.” It’s a fun that make you smile, even if it is because you want to get up to no good.


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