Off The Rack Presents…Volume 1

Here’s the deal…I’m broke. Well…we ALL kind of are, aren’t we? At least, if you listen to the media tell it, the financial apocalypse is tomorrow and we’re all going down. So in order to prepare, I figured it’s time for me to lay off the ITunes downloads for a bit and revisit some of my favorites that are conveniently located right here in my basement! Stacks of CDs just waiting to be re-listened too and what better way for me to pass some time than by passing on my opinions on some of the hundreds of albums that I have enjoyed (or NOT enjoyed) through my years of collecting? This is an all new category and so I will be adding music reviews from time to time. The reviews won’t be very long and they will be in bunches, but I figured it will allow me to post “new” music for you and not spend a dime. I’m sure ITunes won’t be happy with me but oh well…one more music exec being fired won’t hurt anyone…

Motion City Soundtrack’s “Commit This To Memory” (2005)

As a huge fan of alt-pop, I gotta tell you…THIS album is chock full of great songs! I would say, as the genre goes, this is about as close to a “classic” album as you’re gonna get. So many great tracks and not a truly bad song in the bunch! Every now & again I break this album out (usually in the spring) and enjoy this Minneapolis bands’ straight forward hooks and clean sound. Lead singer Justin Pierre has a great voice and I imagine this album was big on campuses everywhere a few years back.

3 Tracks To Download: Time Turned Fragile, Attractive Today, When You’re Around

Track To Avoid: Together We’ll Ring In The New Year

Wings’ “Band On The Run” (1973)

When you have one of the greatest pop song writers of any generation heading up a band, you KNOW it’s gonna be good. And this third studio album from Paul McCartney’s post-Beatles band, Wings, WAS a huge hit. So big that it has been ranked as one of the best albums of all-time by Rolling Stone. It was ranked the #1 album in the United States 3 times and managed to go triple platinum. It also holds the distinction of being Paul’s final album released on the Apple Records label.

3 Tracks To Download: Band On The Run, Let Me Roll It, Helen Wheels

Track To Avoid: Bluebird

Afghan Whigs’ “1965” (1998)

Has it really been THAT long since this great album came out? It doesn’t SEEM that long but I guess it has been. Released at the latter part of one of my least favorite decades of music, this album blazed on my CD player for months! A band that was formed in Cincinnati then signed to Seattle label, Sub Pop, in the late 80’s, this was the final album of 6 by the Whigs as they split in 2001. But lead singer Greg Dulli has his other bands, Twilight Singers & The Gutter Twins, and the other members have their separate projects as well. Overall, this was probably the most pop accessible of all of their albums (in my opinion) and it continues to sound excellent even after all these years!

3 Tracks To Download: 66, Uptown Again, John The Baptist

Track To Avoid: Omerta

Usher’s “Confessions” (2004)

Usher’s 4th studio album was, by far, his strongest effort in my opinion. With his previous albums having some weak areas, it would have been easy to dismiss Usher as this generations failed Michael Jackson. But this was almost a biographical turn (hence “Confessions”) and he took the hit making machine that he can be and made some of the most personal music of his career. Not that this album isn’t slammed with great dance tracks, but there is some heavy stuff in here and it all sounds fantastic. I attribute a lot of this to producers Jermaine Dupri, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, who have a history of creating great R&B while also getting the artist to put a little more effort into their projects.

3 Tracks To Download: Throwback, Take your Hand, Bad Girl

Track To Avoid: Yeah! (Because you already own it…)