♫ And just in case you thought that review
was long-winded, it doesn’t have anything on this next section….yes, we’ve gone
all out in our latest ‘top five’ this issue, planning to put to rights nothing
less than the questions that have been perplexing mankind for centuries, with
the aid of just a typewriter and a CD player. No, the question isn’t ‘when
could anybody possibly think that the spice girls were a good idea?’, we mean
the the other big question. So here it is – our guide to understanding the
ideas ‘Why are we here?’, ‘Where are we going?’ and ‘Why do we never seem to
get there at all?’ In short, here are five arguments put forward on AAA albums
for the origins of our species….maybe. If nothing else, music is here to raise
discussion points so even if you don’t agree with any of the five arguments
raised here (and to be honest there’s no reason why you should as they all
could be right…and they all could be wrong), take them with a large dash of
salt and (Sgt) pepper. After all, we will never know the answers, but thinking
about the question is arguably about the most important thing we could be doing
– depending, of course, on what the answer actually is.
5) We have all been here before. At least, that’s the view of David
Crosby on the seminal Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young album ‘De Ja Vu’ (see
review no 34) which is – among other things - a study of how mankind repeats
his mistakes in cycles (just check out that cover, where the quartet are
dressed in garb from the American Civil War era, even though one of them is
Canadian and another comes from Blackpool). Mankind isn’t ‘evolving’, if you
like, just chasing its own tail through crisis after crisis. The title track
goes even further, being a Crosby epic about
re-incarnation and the idea that our souls are returned to different bodies
time and time again down the generations until we get it right. According to
Cros’ autobiography, David dallied with the idea of past lives very early in
his life when, still a toddler, he found he instinctively knew how to sing
harmony notes along with his parents and brothers’ singing and when – at the
tender age of 11 – he appeared to know the uses of every sail and mast when
taken out sailing one day, despite having never been on a boat before. This
‘déjà vu’ theory would also explain the feelings of many of us that we have
been to certain places and done certain things already even though, in our
current lives at least, we’ve never been anywhere near. I can’t remember the
exact figure, but an overwhelming number of us feel this at some point in our
lives, so there. We reckon the Spice Girls have been here at least a hundred
times before and they still haven’t got it right.
4) We have all been here before – and we messed it up big time. At
least, that’s the view of Paul Kantner during all of his songs for the
Jefferson Starship’s 1984 album ‘Nuclear Furniture’ (see review no 87) – we’re
not sure if he ever told the rest of the band what he was doing, but their
songs seem to fit the overall concept somehow too. The idea is this – picture a
George Bush figure ruling over some past highpoint of civilisation, his finger
poised on the nuclear device ready to send us to oblivion. Only, in our past
life, this figure actually presses the button (no democratic victories for
Bracak Obama in this timeline) and suddenly thousands of centuries of human
civilisation are knocked out in a stroke. There are huge hints out there that
our ancient past was as great technologically if not greater than our own (the
true dating of the Sphinx and the earliest pyramids for starters – ie they are
still here 4000 years, possibly 7000 years on when most of our buildings from
only a century back are in severe disrepair). There are huge hints too at some
cataclysmic accident, whether natural or manmade or caused by Bush’s ancestors,
that wiped out our species to its very dregs and caused us to start again.
Could our mythology be telling us a garbled version of our true past, like some
generations-long version of ‘chinese whispers’, dating from a time when mankind
had to start all over again and lost the ability to write things down? It’s no
surprise that the ‘Nuclear Furniture’ album is also full of (then) topical
songs about 1980s culture when it seemed mankind was showing its violent side
again (Cold War, violence on television, money-loving yuppies, etc), juxtaposed
against protest songs telling us that one day we might be back to the very
beginning, ‘huddled in their caves like animals, not human’. This was the
period when, just like the aftermath of 9/11, we genuinely feared we might wake
up one day to find half the world missing, maybe even the side we were living
on. There is a happy ending on the ending, though, thanks to Rose, the
charismatic leader, who puts mankind back on their feet again in a much more
peaceful, positive manner than the society they left behind so that – in
another 7000 years – mankind is still at peace.
3) We haven’t been here before and our past has been leading us up
to this point in time. Ah yes, Darwin’s
theory of human evolution and the origin of the species which, by it’s author’s
own admission, was as full of holes as a Swiss cheese – although still more
accurate than any theory up to that time. Let’s look at this theory in greater
depth – if survival of the species continues to this day, then where on earth
did George Bush and the Spice Girls come from? Anyway, whatever the side
effects, it seems to make sense that mankind would learn something from his
past, although strangely there were less musical candidates for this
commonly-held theory of the origins of humans adapting and learning how to cope
with life than you might think. After toying with various Monkees-growing-into-men
concepts we’ve plumped for the Moody Blues album ‘To Our Children’s Children’s
Children’ LP, one which dates back to the tail-end of the 1960s (the last point
in time when you could argue that the human race was moving forward at any
speed). As the album puts it, ‘we go higher and higher now we’ve learned to
play with fire’, with mankind a species determined to master everything in his
power even if it leaves him isolated and confused (is a bigger brain really
better in evolutionary terms? Are we the only species that has suicides, needs
psychiatrists or cries buckets of tears on a regular basis? And no lemmings
don’t count – all that cliff-jumping is a myth I’m afraid). And yet there’s
also something deeply uplifting about a good half of this album, with mankind
ever looking forward to the next big project. That next big leap for mankind
that might – just might – unite us all in delight at our bravery and daring and
truly bring the human race up to an evolutionary peak. Now that would be nice
wouldn’t it, but somehow this theory seems the least believable of all the five
put forward here!
2) It’s not what we were before but what we grow into during our
life on this planet that matters and our soul will live on after our death,
depending what we did with it on Earth. The ‘death’ issue of this argument was
dealt with by Hari Krishna convert George Harrison on his seminal album ‘All Things
(see review no 42). Often overlooked is his follow-up album ‘Living In The
Material World’ (1971) which carries on this story, telling us what happens
after we die and what we should have done during our life. This album has taken
plenty of stick in the past (mainly from me) over its desire to lecture and
convert us all to Hari Krishna far less subtlety or movingly than its
predecessor did, but this album is also full of glorious songs about how our
spiritual side should be nurtured and cared for at the expense of the ‘material
world’, which is surely something that many an AAA reader wishes (anyone with
an over-riding interest in music seems to share these views to some extent,
however lightly or strongly, so it seems). The title track for one contrasts
the messy business dealings of the end of the Beatle days with the ‘spiritual
sky’ Harrison felt at the beginning of his solo career and is probably the best
AAA evidence out there to becoming small and humble against the sheer magnitude
of the world and how determined we should be to follow ‘the right path’ for
others as well as for ourselves.
1) We weren’t here before and we’re only here thanks to some helpful
aliens carrying out genetic experiments. When younger Kinks brother Dave Davies
released his album ‘Chosen People’ in 1983 fans gasped. Well the couple of
hundred who bought the album did anyway, because record label Warner Brothers
seemed determined to bury the thing (to date, less than half the tracks have
appeared on CD and then only the less controversial ones). You see, according
to Dave’s brave and revealing autobiog ‘Kink’, he was visited by aliens telepathically
during the early 1980s – a time when he was fed up and quite badly depressed
over all sorts of things in his personal and musical life. The aliens, who
mentioned that they had been looking after us for some time and even stored a
data bank full of the actions of all of us during our lives, said that they had
tried to talk to our world leaders to steer us a path for the greater good but
had failed (seeing as Reagan and Thatcher were both in power at the time,
that’s probably no surprise). Instead, they were communicating with certain
artists, ones whose message could be heard by anyone should they choose to
listen to their music, read their books or study their paintings. Most
usefully, the aliens also told Dave that humans had failed to awaken their
spiritual side and showed what that 70% of the brain we don’t use is for –
telepathic abilities that allowed Dave and his partner of the time to dispel
clouds of negative energy from those around them, making them feel happier
about life (nearly all the concerts where Dave used this trick have gone down
in history as the Kinks’ best shows – well those since 1982 anyway).
Unfortunately, the aliens could do nothing about Warner Brothers record
executives who buried the thing stone dead (the ‘Dave Davies Anthology:
Unfinished Business’ is your best bet for listening to most of these tracks –
although sadly you won’t find the album’s lynchpin ‘True Story’, a song where
Dave recounts his strange tale before shaking his head and asking why the
aliens should talk to him because ‘I’m just a poor boy’). Read the book and
hear the album and the whole thing seems unnervingly plausible. Err, don’t look
now but does that moon look red to you?
Don’t have nightmares though, stick on a soothing AAA record
instead and, until next week, keep rocking! See you for issue 16 – on which
we’ll be celebrating the best releases of the past year.
A NOW COMPLETE List Of Top Five/Top Ten/TOP TWENTY Entries 2008-2019
What difference does a name make? Arguably not much if you’re already a collector of a certain group, for whom the names on the album sleeves just...
This week’s top ten honours the humble motor car. The death trap on wheels, the metaphor for freedom, the put-down of capitalism, a source of...
This week we’re going to have a look at the 10 AAA singles that spent the most weeks at number on the American chart ‘Billboard’ – and it makes for...
Following on from last issue’s study of the American Billboard charts, here’s a look at which AAA albums spent the most weeks on the chart. The...
There are many dying arts in our modern world: incorruptible politicians, faith that things are going to get better and the ability to make decent...
This week we’ve decided to dedicate our top ten to those unsung heroes of music, the session musicians, whose playing often brings AAA artists (and...
Naturally we hold our AAA bands in high esteem in these articles: after all, without their good taste, intelligence and humanity we’d have nothing to...
What do you do when you’ve left a multi-million selling band and yet you still feel the pull of the road and the tours and the playing to audiences...
‘The ATOS Song’ (You’re Not Fit To Live)’ (Mini-Review) Dear readers, we don’t often feature reviews of singles over albums or musicians who aren’t...
In honour of this week’s review of an album released to cash in on a movie soundtrack (only one of these songs actually appears in ‘Easy Rider’...and...
Hic! Everyone raise a glass to the rock stars of the past and to this week’s feature...songs about alcolholic beverages! Yes that’s right, everything...
154) The human singing voice carries with it a vast array of emotions, thoughts that cannot be expressed in any other way except opening the lungs and...
Everyone has a spiritual home, even if they don’t actually live there. Mine is in a windy, rainy city where the weather is always awful but the...
Having a family does funny things to some musicians, as we’ve already seen in this week’s review (surely the only AAA album actually written around...
Some artists just have no idea what their best work really is. One thing that amazes me as a collector is how consistently excellent many of the...
221) Dr Who and the AAA (Five Musical Links) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2014/01/dr-who-and-five-musical-links-to-alans.html
222) Five Random Recent Purchases http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2014/01/five-random-recent-purchases-news-views.html
223) AAA Grammy Nominees http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2014/02/aaa-grammy-nominees-top-twelve-news.html
224) Ten AAA songs that are better heard unedited and in full http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2014/02/ten-aaa-songs-that-are-better-unedited.html
225) The shortest gaps between AAA albums http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-shortest-gaps-between-aaa-albums.html
226) The longest gaps between AAA albums http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-longest-gaps-between-aaa-albums.html
227) Top ten AAA drummers http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2014/03/top-ten-aaa-drummers-news-views-and.html
228) Top Ten AAA Singles (In Terms of 'A' and 'B' Sides) http://www.alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/top-ten-aaa-singles-and-b-sides-news.html
229) The Stories Behind Six AAA Logos http://www.alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/the-stories-behind-six-aaa-logos.html
230) AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!! The Best Ten AAA Screams http://www.alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/the-best-aaa-screams-top-ten-news-views.html
231) An AAA Pack Of Horses http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/aaa-songs-about-horses-top-ten-news.html
232) AAA Granamas - Sorry, Anagrams! http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/aaa-anagrams-news-views-and-music-issue.html
233) AAA Surnames and Their Meanings http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/aaa-surnames-and-their-meanings-news.html
234) 20 Erroneous AAA Album Titles http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/twenty-erroneous-aaa-album-titles-news.html
235) The Best AAA Orchestral Arrangements http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/fifteen-great-aaa-string-parts-news.html
236) Top 30 Hilariously Misheard Album Titles/Lyrics http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/top-thirty-hilariously-misheard-aaa.html
237) Ten controversial AAA sackings - and whether they were right http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/ten-controversial-aaa-sackings-news.html
238) A Critique On Critiquing - In Response To Brian Wilson http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/a-critique-on-critiquing-in-response-to.html
239) The Ten MusicianS Who've Played On The Most AAA Albums http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/the-ten-musicians-whove-played-on-most.html
240) Thoughts on #CameronMustGo http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/thoughts-on-cameronmustgo.html
241) Random Recent Purchases (Kinks/Grateful Dead/Nils Lofgren/Rolling Stones/Hollies) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/six-random-recent-purchases-kinksg.html
242) AAA Christmas Number Ones http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/aaa-christmas-number-ones.html
243) AAA Review Of The Year 2014 (Top Releases/Re-issues/Documentaries/DVDs/Books/Songs/ Articles plus worst releases of the year) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/aaa-review-of-year-2014.html
244) Me/CFS Awareness Week 2015 http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/mecfs-awareness-week-at-alans-album.html
245) Why The Tory 2015 Victory Seems A Little...Suspicious http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/why-tory-victory-seems-deeply.html
246) A Plea For Peace and Tolerance After The Attacks on Paris - and Syria http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/a-plea-for-peace-and-toleration.html
247) AAA Review Of The Year 2015 http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/the-aaa-review-of-year-2015.html
248) The Fifty Most Read AAA Articles (as of December 31st 2015) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/the-fifty-most-read-aaa-posts-2008-2015.html
249) The Revised AAA Crossword! http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2016_07_10_archive.html
251) Half-A-Dozen Berries Plus One (An AAA Tribute To Chuck Berry) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/an-aaa-covers-tribute-to-chuck-berry.html
254) Guest Post: ‘Supertramp – Some Things Never Change’ by Kenny Brown https://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2018/06/guest-review-supertramp-some-things.html
255) AAA Review Of The Year 2018 https://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2018/12/the-aaa-review-of-year-2018.html
256) AAA Review Of The Year 2019 plus Review Of The Decade 2010-2019 https://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2019/12/the-alans-album-archives-review-of-year.html
257) Tiermaker https://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2019/06/alans-album-archives-on-tiermaker.html
258) #Coronastock https://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2020/04/coronastock.html
259) #Coronadocstock https://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2020/05/coronadocstock.html