5150 (1986) – Van Halen
This is another album I heard about from the show Ted Lasso. The main character is thrilled because he gets the hotel room 5150. I knew the name Van Halen but knew nothing about the group. Apparently, this is the first album with a new lead singer, so perhaps not the quintessential Van Halen experience I should have gone for, but it’s too late now. I didn’t love it, honestly. This month has been my first real foray into the rock genre and out of all the ones I’ve tried so far, I’d say this was probably the worst. Ironically one of the only tracks I liked enough to add to a playlist was the opening number ‘Good Enough’, along with the classic hit single ‘Why Can’t This Be Love’.
Cover art: 7/10 so obnoxiously US American and ’80s. Apparently, on the back of the album, there was a similar image where the guy dropped the sphere, cracking it open to reveal the band members inside, so that’s pretty cool.
Album name: 5/10 apparently named after their studio which in turn is named after the California code for forcefully committing someone to a psych ward so that’s pretty dramatic. I also kept reading it five-thousand-one-hundred-fifty instead of fifty-one fifty so that’s a point against it as well.
Overall vibe: Flash Gordon is your favourite film but somehow you think Queen is too camp.
Who Built The Moon (2017) – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
I never really listened to much Oasis, but Noel Gallagher was recommended by a colleague/friend. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I enjoyed it quite a lot. The opening track ‘Fort Knox’ had a minute-long instrumental which was very fun. A lot of it was quite instrumental actually, but it was good music. I could imagine seeing them live would be quite the experience, especially if you were a musician yourself and could truly appreciate the jam session. Other tracks I enjoyed were ‘Be Careful What You Wish For’, ‘Holy Mountain’, and especially the live track ‘Dead In The Water’ – an acoustic performance recorded live at RTÉ 2FM Studios, Dublin. This one is obviously a bit of a different feel to the rest of the album, but it’s a nice inclusion that really shows off Noel Gallagher’s skill as an artist. The recording also includes some chat at the start which feels so weird and raw and almost unprofessional considering the flawless performance it precedes but I really enjoyed the juxtaposition. The brief conversation includes Gallagher asking if there’s time to record once more. What a crime it would have been if the answer had been no.
Cover art: 8/10 I think it’s a beautiful image and fits the name of the band (low-flying birds aside), but it has no reference to the actual album name? The moon isn’t even in the picture – or is that the point? It took me a long time to even trust I’d found the right image which is a bad sign in my book.
Album name: 8/10 again pretty cool, despite the conspiracy theory connotations.
Overall vibe: Exactly like the cover art makes you expect, so fair play Noel.
Next time: another musical (I am not sorry) and the first solo album from an artist who kept the name of the band he co-founded.