Friday 11 December 2009

News, Views and Music Issue 50 (Top Five): Releases Of The Year 2009/Releases of the 2000s

And so it is with a hint of sadness and a touch of cynicism that we look back at the past year’s releases and delve beneath the hype to see what releases really were worth buying after all the dust and hoo-hah has settled down. It’s not been a vintage year – in fact, very few AAA artists released new music at all (Yusuf and Stuart Murdoch from Belle and Sebastian are the year’s only real contenders) – however, 2009 seemed to be something of a milestone year in terms of deluxe re-issues and the fruition of projects that we’ve been promised for much of the past decade (more in Neil Young’s archives). So even though we’ve had very little that’s been ‘new’, as such, there’s been an awful lot of releases this year that I’d have never predicted this time in 2008 (The Beatles finally make good on their promise to replace the awful 1987 CD masters; The Beatles officially sanction their first ‘game’ since the ‘flip your wig’ monstrosity of 1963; A record company actually has the belief in Graham Nash and the patience to sift through all the record company changes to come up with a 3CD best-of; CSN sanction a CD of demo recordings, first mooted way back in 1991; Neil Young finally gets round to releasing the follow-up to 1977’s compilation ‘decade’ with a set that’s been on the schedule sheets since the mid-1980s). Let’s hope for more of the same in 2010!

5) Neil Young “Archives”. We’ve moaned about the price. We’ve moaned about the lack of rarities in quota to songs we own dozens of times over. We’ve moaned about the lack of packaging. We’ve moaned about the fact that Neil’s going to keep adding costly downloads to each set as and when he feels like it. We’ve moaned about the fact that the box set only covers the years up to 1972. And we’ve moaned that this set has been so long in coming that practically all of Neil’s fans have gone and got the stuff on bootleg already. But the dozen or so rarities on this set really are interesting for the most part – Neil’s earliest recordings dating way back to 1963 when he was with The Squires (they sound a pretty nifty band too, more than able to give The Shadows a run for their money); an exhilarating unreleased song ‘Everybody’s Alone’ which sets the template for much of the ‘doom trilogy’ to follow in its wake, the ridiculously rare single-only ‘War Song’ that makes it onto CD for the first time and sounds like Ohio’s baby brother and an exquisite first take of ‘Birds’ from 1969, that gorgeous song of fragility and loss from ‘After The Goldrush’. It’s not what fans had hoped for and the release of all the semi-interesting concert recordings as CDs in their own right was truly a bad move, but for this handful of goodies alone the set is worth an entry on our list.  

4) Jefferson Starship ‘Five Original Classics’ (see the above news section). I’m not too clear when this set did make it out on CD but it seems to be this year so it’s going on our list. This nicely packaged set might not have many rarities but it has been produced with a lot of care and a straightforward CD pressing of these first five Starship albums is more than overdue. ‘Dragonfly’ is the first and best – an exhilarating ride through angry Kantner political rants, soaring Grace Slick explorations of love and loss, a fine cameo song from Marty Balin and a couple of decent songs from the under-used David Freiberg. Almost every song is a gem and  we haven’t a band this together on a Jefferson release since Bathing At Baxters. The other albums are a lot patchier (make that an awful lot patchier for the pretty ordinary ‘Earth’) but are also well worth hearing – especially the 3rd and 5th albums which – to the best of my knowledge – have never made it to CD before. Now if only 2010 could see the release of the next three Starship albums I could die a happy man...

3) Graham Nash ‘Reflections’. It seems so long ago when this set came out in February that I’m quite amazed I’m talking about this long-awaited set in the right year. But I am and so let me fill you in on this long-awaited follow-up to Rhino’s equally excellent David Crosby set ‘Voyage’. There are less rarities from the classic era to be found – and spreading them throughout the set doesn’t work quite as well as with Voyage’s ‘bonus’ disc of rarities – but there are oodles of gems in this collection. Highlights include alternate – and better – mixes of such superb songs as Better Days, Military madness, Another Sleep Song, Cathedral and especially Cold Rain, a handful of unreleased songs including two gems in concert favourite ‘Magical Child’ and the superlative 1986 song ‘Lonely Man’ plus some of Graham’s rarer and hard-to-find later material. It would have been nice to have hear more rarities (there are plenty more in the can, especially from the 1970s) and we’ve q few quibbles with the running order of even the best known songs, but this is still an impressive set and the packaging is glorious, chock-a-block full of Graham’s own pictures of himself, friends and family. We reserve the right to add Stephen Stills’ ‘Manassas Pieces’ to this list by the way – hopefully it’ll be under the tree gathering pine needles and record needled this year...

2) The Beatles ‘The Beatles’ (Mono/Stereo Box Set). Not for the first time, the sheer extent of the coverage and publicity for the Beatles’ latest re-awakening for another generation has split the music collectors down the middle. Much mooted this set delivers on all the key points (excellent sound, nice packaging and an attention to detail that usually passes Apple by these days) even if you have to admit that critics of the set have their fair points too (no bonus tracks or rarities, a high retail price albeit not as bad as the old CD sets and the bonus documentary(s)was a bit of a damp squib after being screened the day before the sets were released). By and large, though, they finally got a Beatles set right – no fancy extras that don’t quite work, no gimmicks to tie the thing to this time (‘Beatles Rock band’ is a separate enterprise and rather a good one I hear) and no teasing the public by releasing the CDs one by one. At long last Apple/EMI have excelled by concentrating on the one single aspect of The Beatles’ legacy that’s guaranteed to last: the songs.  You can sell your unwanted copy of ‘Beatles Love’ now the real thing is here at last!...   

1) Yusuf aka Cat Stevens ‘Roadsinger’. ...But the best release of the year by contrast came out quietly, with just the one radio and one TV appearance to plug it. Yusuf’s second album since his retirement easily beats the first and finally lives up to the hype we were given for that set ‘An Other Cup’ a few years ago, full of the quiet warm thoughtful ballads that Cat used to excel at, with a sensitive modern production that actually works (you wouldn’t believe how many AAA albums have been scuppered by force-feeding musicians ‘modern trends’ this past decade or maybe 2 or 3). Cat’s voice sounds like it always did and his message is more or less intact. If only every ‘comeback’ album could live up to this one, which doesn’t put a foot wrong anywhere... Highlights include the long awaited (by me, anyway!) Sun/C79 follow-up ‘Everytime I Dream’, the masterpiece in epic miniature ‘In This Glass World’ and the slow and soothing ‘Dream On’. Excellent stuff.

And for those who haven’t noticed, 2009 also sees the end of yet another decade. Again, it’s not been a vintage one by any means but it has at least seen the continuation of the 1990’s interest in all things 60s and has seen the release of some archive sets that we never would have dreamed of even a few years ago. There has been lots of good music around too – and no we don’t mean The Spice Girls or any of their modern interchangeable boy or girl bands either – talent doesn’t fade overnight, it just gets a bit rusty and there have been plenty of AAA albums well worth digging out in the past 10 years. Here’s our run-down of our favourite 10:

10) Brian Wilson ‘Gettin’ In Over My Head’ (2004). This album suffered from being released hot on the heels of the surprise issue of our beloved ‘Smile’. Compared to that masterpiece of a milestone any album would suffer, but this album (whose title seemed only too apt given its frustratingly unfinished state) – like every Brian Wilson solo – contains its fair share of jewels that glitter so brightly and wonderfully that suddenly I can forgive everything. ‘Soul Searchin’ is a delightful archive song featuring brother Carl on lead and finally finished by Brian several years after being abandoned; ‘You’ve Touched Me’ is the most genuinely happy we’ve heard Brian Wilson sound since parts of Pet Sounds and a delight to hear; the title track is one of the most gorgeous orchestral epics of Brian’s complete back catalogue; and ‘Rainbow Eyes’ is a valiant attempt at welding the complex middle period Beach Boys sound with the fun primitivism of the eras either side of it. You won’t want the rest (even the long awaited duet with Macca on ‘A Friend Like You’ is a big let down) but when this album is good it’s very very good indeed.

9) Neil Young ‘Prairie Wind’ (2005). Neil’s been on a downward curve for some time now – at least since 1995’s ‘Mirrrball’, some would argue longer – and his last two albums have rather ruined the idea that this album represented something of an upward momentum. But ‘Prairie Wind’ is a special album recorded in trying circumstances: first the death of Neil’s father, famous Canadian sports journalist Ben Young and then Neil’s own near-brush with death after suffering a brain aneurysm mean this album is even more introspective and mellow than normal. But the lyrics are easily the best of Neil’s 1990/00s output, full of outpourings of grief for all the things he never got to say to the dearly departed, fragmented memories of a childhood when the past 6 odd decades seemed unimagineable and an eerie presence breezing though the whole thing, from the pull on the artist’s paint brush in the first track to the dying embers of Neil wondering aloud what God put him on earth to do in the last. Like many a thematic Neil Young album you desperately need something different to come in and shake up the tempos/instrumentation/ ideas, but as an ongoing concept suite this is Neil’s best in a very long time. Highlights include the scary epic ‘No Wonder’ and the gentle ballad of goodbye ‘Falling Off The Face Of The Earth’.

8) Paul McCartney aka The Fireman and Youth ‘Electric Arguments’ (2008). We covered this one in detail last year (its in ‘news and views 13a if you want to go look for it). Suffice to say it still sits as the best McCartney release of the decade (beating most of his albums by some margin, although 2001’s ‘Driving Rain’ was ‘bubbling under’ for this list too), fragmented, elliptical, curious and compelling in a way we haven’t seen since 1980’s McCartney II. Adopting a persona and a new way of working (making up songs on the spot after choosing a tempo, key or snatch of lyric to work on) really brought out the best in Macca, freeing him of his commitments as an ex-Beatles and giving him the freedom to experiment and use his fabulous hard-working sub-conscious for a change. Not every track works but then you’d expect that from an album this experimental and open – the remarkable thing is just how much of this album works as well as it does. Highlights include the buoyant ‘Dance Til’ We’re High’, the White Album-ish ‘Travelling Light’ and the fascinating, impenetrable ‘Lifelong Passion’ and ‘Is This Love?’ which sounds like Macca working out his recent problems with Heather Mills and turning his fears into art. Just like old times.

7) George Harrison ‘Brainwashed’ (2002). Perhaps the saddest album on this list is this posthumous farewell from our dear old friend George, who left this album in a ‘nearly’ finished state after dying of throat cancer in 2001 and left his son Dha ni and his friend Jeff Lynne to complete for him. What’s sad isn’t that this is an album that actively tears at your heart strings (well, not till the moving title track and it’s Eastern coda anyway), but that it represents such a grand return to form after the over-produced misery that was ‘Cloud Nine’. Again, not every track works and George’s barbed tongue stings more than it needs to throughout (not to mention Jools Holland’s truly diabolical playing) , but the gems such as the exquisite song of helplessness ‘Stuck Inside A Cloud’ and the rallying cry of a title track are among the best things that George Harrison had ever done. No wonder we miss him so much.

6) Oasis ‘Heathen Chemistry’ (2002). Back when Oasis were a going concern, not just a musical fight between two siblings, ‘Heathen Chemistry’ was the return to form of the decade. Well, sort of – personally I never thought this album’s two predecessors were as bad as everybody said – but suddenly in 2002 the tide had turned and Oasis were, briefly, fashionable again. Having a barnstorming effortless rocker like ‘Hindu Times’ and a spine-tingling production masterpiece like ‘Stop Crying Your Heart Out’ certainly helped, but it was this album’s quieter songs that helped give the band such a needed turn-around in fortunes. Noel’s ‘Little By Little’ is one of his career best songs, chilling in its attempts at forced confidence and sudden bursts of self-provoked anger and hopelessness and Liam’s ‘Born On A Different Cloud’ may well be his best song, a scary study of the outsiders in life and the sacrifices that cost them dearly as a result. Best of all, however, Oasis sounded like a band again and only one song (a rather drippy instrumental) truly disappointed on the whole LP. Good times.

5) Yusuf ‘Roadsinger’ (2009). As discussed above (and in news and views no 31), the former Cat Stevens’ return to form did everything its predecessor ‘An Other Cup’ had promised to deliver and failed. Abandoning the need to get his religious conversion across successfully, this is a welcome journey through the struggles of life in the modern world, full of warmth and quiet strength that makes even depressing credit crunch-inspired songs as ‘The Rain’ sound hopeful. Cat’s casting of himself as the ‘roadsinger’, a modern day minstrel who travels around in a camper van to visit places of tyranny and offer the support that governments don’t allow, is also a good concept, tying several of these songs together. Mainly, though, its the joy of hearing Cat going back to writing acoustic songs again that makes this album a gem. Against all the odds there isn’t a single song I dislike on this album – see above for the highlights – with the only negative point being the frustratingly short half-hour running time.

4) Belle and Sebastian ‘Dear Catastrophe Waitress’ (2003). B and S were on a downward slope this decade after the highs of the mid and late 1990s, but both this album and its predecessor (2001’s ‘Fold Your Hands, Child’) still contain so many little nuggets of greatness that they more than deserve a place in the top reaches of this list. This album caused some controversy at the time by uniting the wilfully amateurish and gorgeously messy B and S sound with Buggles producer and bombastic production specialist Trevor Horn (now back working with ‘regular’ musicians like Robbie Williams). The two actually sound like soulmates at times here, with such eccentric ideas as a ping-ponging ball bouncing between speakers to segue songs and sudden switches in tempo that take B and S out of their familiar territory and back again before they get lost. Highlights include some fabulous Stuart Murdoch wordplay and such moving tales as ‘Lord Anthony’ (school bully victim) and time-delayed lover (‘She Wants Me’, one of a number of songs revealed recently to be ‘about’ Murdoch and fellow band member Isobel Campbell who left the band a couple of years ago). Some of the production gets in the way of a good song and the two semi-hit singles were a bit of a sell-out its true (the simplest songs in the B and S canon), but the rest more than makes up for it.

3) Stephen Stills ‘Just Roll Tape’. This one seems like a bit of a cheat: a half-hour reel of songs recorded by Stills in demo form after a 1968 session working with Judy Collins. But we CSN fans honestly didn’t know of its existence until this CD’s shock release in 2007 – the tape was kept by the engineer who worked on the session and had been forgotten about for years until its discovery. We’ve said it before on this site and we’ll say it again: in the years 1968-72, Stills was on the most majestic form of any musician on this entire list. His productive rate in this period was ridiculous (one CSN album, one CSNY album, one Buffalo Springfield album, one Super Session, two solo albums and two more with Manassas) and they’re practically all masterpieces. Alarmingly, this CD revealed that most of those magical songs were already written by 1968 along with a handful more that had never been heard of since, plus some early versions of songs that won’t be finished for a good few years yet. Even more alarmingly, they already sound almost perfect here – no need for CSN vocals or anything – and the unreleased songs show every bit as much promise as the ones that got left in the can. As a reminder of why CSN mattered, some 30 years after their last ‘definitive’ release, this release was a glorious present and one that remains of the best and most mesmerising of Stills’ canon. The highlight: a messy but nevertheless glorious first attempt at  the classic CSN song Suite: Judy Blue Eyes which to my ears has never sounded better.

2) Ray Davies ‘Other People’s Lives’ (2006). What a decade for the elder Kink. Left without a record contract for more than a decade, with time spent writing an ‘unauthorised autobiography’ (how I love that gag!) that was decidedly weird to say the least, watching his former house get ripped apart by New Orleans floods, suffering the shock of seeing younger brother Dave suffer a stroke and shot in the leg by a mugger, here’s betting that Ray won’t want to remember too much about the noughties. But the music, what little of it we’ve heard, hasd been fabulous: this return to form is the most consistent Kinks-related release since, blooming heck what the hell, the 60s and passes over the all too similar Kinks album sound for a fascinating melee of styles, each one handled with deft skill and dexterity. Things Are Gonna Change and All She Wrote are among the angriest songs of Ray’s back catalogue, After The Fall, Next Door Neighbour and the breath-taking Lonesome Train among the sweetest. The lyrics too are tremendously clever little vignettes of ordinary life (as the title implies, we get lots of insights into ‘the little people’ which is something we haven’t really heard from Ray since ‘Arthur’) but they’re also tremendously revealing: we learn more about Ray from this album than possibly any other since ‘Face To Face’. Highlights include the exquisite ‘Lonesome Train’ with its take on sudden death/runaways (the subject matter is left deliciously vague), the curt response to a goodbye note in ‘All She Wrote’, the progressing desperation of ‘Things Are Gonna Change’ and the hopelessness of ‘Over My Head’, a track similar to Brian Wilson’s epic in more ways than just the title. Only the practical joker ‘Stand Up Comic’ palls after a few playing but even that track took guts to deliver and shows a keen eye for modern life.

1) Brian Wilson ‘Smile’ (2004). The best album of all, however – possibly of all time – remains the album that we never ever ever ever ever thought we’d actually get to hear. You can read the full story in album review 101 but in brief it was abandoned in 1966, caused a nervous breakdown from which Brian’s only been begun to recover from in the past decade and caused the few of us in the know to fall over in hysterics every time we read that ‘Smile’ was abandoned because ‘Sgt Peppers’ came out and beat it so easily (the worst Beatles record up against the Beach Boys best? It’s no contest, even with ‘A Day In The Life’ on the album). Every few seconds brings something new, everything new perfectly fits, everything fits but gives us suprises, the surprises make us cry and they make us smile. Music was born to be written like this – gorgeous little nuggets of emotion doubled up with Van Dyke Park’s clever multi-layered lyrics pegging first American History then childhood then the four elements down into succinct pools of wonder. Even 37 years late the world hadn’t yet caught up with this album and I curse the fact that lack of support and frustrating circumstances drove away Brian’s confidence just when he should have had it the most. Smile is a brave, bold, daring attempt at something new that’s as magical, musical, moving and marvellous as any album ever made. Highlight: all of it. I mean, come on, what’s the weakest track here? ‘Good Vibrations’?! Gee, perhaps this hasn’t been quite such a bad decade after all...   

A NOW COMPLETE List Of Top Five/Top Ten/TOP TWENTY  Entries 2008-2019
1) Chronic Fatigue songs

2) Songs For The Face Of Bo

3) Credit Crunch Songs

4) Songs For The Autumn

5) National Wombat Week

6) AAA Box Sets

7) Virus Songs

8) Worst AAA-Related DVDs

9) Self-Punctuating Superstar Classics

10) Ways To Know You Have Turned Into A Collector

11) Political Songs

12) Totally Bonkers Concept Albums

13) Celebrating 40 Years Of The Beatles' White Album

14) Still Celebrating 40 Years Of The Beatles' White Album

15) AAA Existential Questions

16) Releases Of The Year 2008

17) Top AAA Xmas Songs

18) Notable AAA Gigs

19) All things '20' related for our 20th issue

20) Romantic odes for Valentine's Day

21) Hollies B sides

22) 'Other' BBC Session Albums

23) Beach Boys Rarities Still Not Available On CD

24) Songs John, Paul and George wrote for Ringo's solo albums

25) 5 of the Best Rock 'n' Roll Tracks From The Pre-Beatles Era

26) AAA Autobiographies

27) Rolling Stones B-sides

28) Beatles B-Sides

29) The lllloooonnngggeesssttt AAA songs of all time

30) Kinks B-Sides

31) Abandoned CSNY projects 'wasted on the way'

32) Best AAA Rarities and Outtakes Sets

33) News We've Missed While We've Been Away

34) Birthday Songs for our 1st Anniversary

35) Brightest Album Covers

36) Biggest Recorded Arguments

37) Songs About Superheroes

38) AAA TV Networks That Should Exist

39) AAA Woodtsock Moments

40) Top Moments Of The Past Year As Voted For By Readers

41) Music Segues

42) AAA Foreign Language Songs

43) 'Other' Groups In Need Of Re-Mastering

44) The Kinks Preservation Rock Opera - Was It Really About The Forthcoming UK General Election?

45) Mono and Stereo Mixes - Biggest Differences

46) Weirdest Things To Do When A Band Member Leaves

47) Video Clips Exclusive To Youtube (#1)

48) Top AAA Releases Of 2009

49) Songs About Trains

50) Songs about Winter

51) Songs about astrology plus horoscopes for selected AAA members

52) The Worst Five Groups Ever!

53) The Most Over-Rated AAA Albums

54) Top AAA Rarities Exclusive To EPs

55) Random Recent Purchases (#1)

56) AAA Party Political Slogans

57) Songs To Celebrate 'Rock Sunday'

58) Strange But True (?) AAA Ghost Stories

59) AAA Artists In Song

60) Songs About Dogs

61) Sunshiney Songs

62) The AAA Staff Play Their Own Version Of Monoploy/Mornington Crescent!

63) What 'Other' British Invasion DVDs We'd Like To See

64) What We Want To Place In Our AAA Time Capsule

65) AAA Conspiracy Theroies

66) Weirdest Things To Do Before - And After - Becoming A Star

67) Songs To Tweet To

68) Greatest Ever AAA Solos

69) John Lennon Musical Tributes

70) Songs For Halloween

71) Earliest Examples Of Psychedelia

72) Purely Instrumental Albums

73) AAA Utopias

74) AAA Imaginary Bands

75) Unexpected AAA Cover Versions

76) Top Releases of 2010

77) Songs About Snow

78) Predictions For 2011

79) AAA Fugitives

80) AAA Home Towns

81) The Biggest Non-Musical Influences On The 1960s

82) AAA Groups Covering Other AAA Groups

83) Strange Censorship Decisions

84) AAA Albums Still Unreleased on CD

85) Random Recent Purchases (#2)

86) Top AAA Music Videos

87) 30 Day Facebook Music Challenge

88) AAA Documentaries

89) Unfinished and 'Lost' AAA Albums

90) Strangest AAA Album Covers

91) AAA Performers Live From Mars (!)

92) Songs Including The Number '100' for our 100th Issue

93) Most Songs Recorded In A Single Day

94) Most Revealing AAA Interviews

95) Top 10 Pre-Fame Recordings

96) The Shortest And Longest AAA Albums

97) The AAA Allstars Ultimate Band Line-Up

98) Top Songs About Sports

99) AAA Conversations With God

100) AAA Managers: The Good, The Bad and the Financially Ugly

101) Unexpected AAA Cameos

102) AAA Words You can Type Into A Caluclator

103) AAA Court Cases

104) Postmodern Songs About Songwriting

105) Biggest Stylistic Leaps Between Albums

106) 20 Reasons Why Cameron Should Go!

107) The AAA Pun-Filled Cookbook

108) Classic Debut Releases

109) Five Uses Of Bird Sound Effects

110) AAA Classic Youtube Clips Part #1

111) Part #2

112) Part #3

113) AAA Facts You Might Not Know

114) The 20 Rarest AAA Records

115) AAA Instrumental Songs

116) Musical Tarot

117) Christmas Carols

118) Top AAA Releases Of 2011

119) AAA Bands In The Beano/The Dandy

120) Top 20 Guitarists #1

121) #2

122) 'Shorty' Nomination Award Questionairre

123) Top Best-Selling AAA Albums

124) AAA Songs Featuring Bagpipes

125) A (Hopefully) Complete List Of AAA Musicians On Twitter

126) Beatles Albums That Might Have Been 1970-74 and 1980

127) DVD/Computer Games We've Just Invented

128) The AAA Albums With The Most Weeks At #1 in the UK

129) The AAA Singles With The Most Weeks At #1 in the UK

130) Lyric Competition (Questions)

131) Top Crooning Classics

132) Funeral Songs

133) AAA Songs For When Your Phone Is On Hold

134) Random Recent Purchases (#3)

135) Lyric Competition (Answers)

136) Bee Gees Songs/AAA Goes Disco!

137) The Best AAA Sleevenotes (And Worst)

138) A Short Precise Of The Years 1962-70

139) More Wacky AAA-Related Films And Their Soundtracks

140) AAA Appearances On Desert Island Discs

141) Songs Exclusive To Live Albums

142) More AAA Songs About Armageddon

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159) A (Not That) Short Guide To The 15 Best Non-AAA Bands

160) The Greatest AAA Drum Solos (Or Near Solos!)

161) AAA Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame Acceptance Speeches

162) AAA Re-Recordings Of Past Songs

163) A Coalition Christmas (A Fairy Tale)

164) AAA Songs About Islands

165) The AAA Review Of The Year 2012

166) The Best AAA Concerts I Attended

167) Tributes To The 10 AAA Stars Who Died The Youngest

168) The First 10 AAA Songs Listed Alphabetically

171) The 10 Best Songs From The Psychedelia Box-Sets ‘Nuggets’ and ‘Nuggets Two’

172) The 20 Most Common Girl’s Names In AAA Song Titles (With Definitions) 

180) First Recordings By Future AAA Stars

185) A Tribute To Storm Thorgerson Via The Five AAA Bands He Worked With

188) Surprise! Celebrating 300 Album Reviews With The Biggest 'Surprises' Of The Past Five Years Of Alan's Album Archives!

190) Comparatively Obscure First Compositions By AAA Stars

193) Evolution Of A Band: Comparing First Lyric With Last Lyric:

200) The Monkees In Relation To Postmodernism (University Dissertation)

202) Carly Simon's 'You're So Vain': Was It About One Of The AAA Crew?

217) AAA 'Christmas Presents' we'd most like to have next year

221) Dr Who and the AAA (Five Musical Links)

222) Five Random Recent Purchases

223) AAA Grammy Nominees

224) Ten AAA songs that are better heard unedited and in full

225) The shortest gaps between AAA albums

226) The longest gaps between AAA albums

227) Top ten AAA drummers

228) Top Ten AAA Singles (In Terms of 'A' and 'B' Sides)

229) The Stories Behind Six AAA Logos

230) AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!! The Best Ten AAA Screams

231) An AAA Pack Of Horses

232) AAA Granamas - Sorry, Anagrams!

233) AAA Surnames and Their Meanings

234) 20 Erroneous AAA Album Titles

235) The Best AAA Orchestral Arrangements

236) Top 30 Hilariously Misheard Album Titles/Lyrics

237) Ten controversial AAA sackings - and whether they were right

238) A Critique On Critiquing - In Response To Brian Wilson

239) The Ten MusicianS Who've Played On The Most AAA Albums

240) Thoughts on #CameronMustGo

241) Random Recent Purchases (Kinks/Grateful Dead/Nils Lofgren/Rolling Stones/Hollies) 

242) AAA Christmas Number Ones 

243) AAA Review Of The Year 2014 (Top Releases/Re-issues/Documentaries/DVDs/Books/Songs/ Articles  plus worst releases of the year)

244) Me/CFS Awareness Week 2015

245) Why The Tory 2015 Victory Seems A Little...Suspicious

246) A Plea For Peace and Tolerance After The Attacks on Paris - and Syria

247) AAA Review Of The Year 2015

248) The Fifty Most Read AAA Articles (as of December 31st 2015)

249) The Revised AAA Crossword!

251) Half-A-Dozen Berries Plus One (An AAA Tribute To Chuck Berry)

252) Guest Post: ‘The Skids – Joy’ (1981) by Kenny Brown

254) Guest Post: ‘Supertramp – Some Things Never Change’ by Kenny Brown

255) AAA Review Of The Year 2018

256) AAA Review Of The Year 2019 plus Review Of The Decade 2010-2019

257) Tiermaker

258) #Coronastock

259) #Coronadocstock