Playlist: 15 Songs For March 2012 (Via Spotify)

This month’s playlist is all over the place.  Most of these songs are oldies, but there are a few new tracks here.  I have some Springsteen, Death Cab, Magnetic Fields, The Men, and everything else in between.

Here are my 15 songs for March 2012.

Top Lists: The Greatest 3rd Albums

Third time’s the charm, especially in music.  If your band’s first album is successful there will be a lot of buzz about you – and a lot of pressure to make a followup album that’s just as good, if not better, than your debut.  If your second album is a success then your career looks long and promising.  Now you’ve made two solid albums and now you have the creative freedom to make the album you want to make.  Some of the best albums of rock n roll are third albums, and many artist became household names because of their third album.  Here are the list of the best of the third albums.

The Clash – London Calling

Radiohead – OK Computer

The Smiths – The Queen Is Dead

Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run

Green Day – Dookie

The Replacements – Let It Be

The White Stripes – White Blood Cells

Pearl Jam – Vitalogy

My Chemical Romance – The Black Parade

Jimi Hendrix – Electric Ladyland

Neil Young – After The Gold Rush

Were there any that I missed?  Let me know via Twitter @BradyWGerber on your favorite 3rd albums!

Music Journal: The 2011 Grammys – What does this all mean?

The times they are a changin’.

So as you know the Grammys were last night and they usually don’t matter to me.  In the past it has always seemed that the winners of the award are chosen based on popularity instead of quality of music, so in my book to have won a Grammy is nice but it doesn’t necessary make you a truly great artist.  So when this year’s nominations came out I thought I had the whole night figured out.  Lady Gaga or Eminem would win best album, Justin Bieber would win best new artist, and bands like Arcade Fire, The Black Keys, or Vampire Weekend, truly great bands that have released fantastic music in the past year, wouldn’t win anything.

But last night something incredible happened.

Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs defined all odds and won the best album Grammy.  For a rare time in the public eye, quality was chosen over crap.  I’m still in shock.  If an alternative band like Arcade Fire can beat out Lady Gaga for a Grammy, then there is hope for good music to rise again.  Steven Kandell from Spin.com says it better: “And with [the 2011 Grammys], an entire population of rock fans entrenched in “the Grammys don’t mean anything, ha-ha Justin Bieber’s hair” camp — the music equivalent of just watching the Super Bowl for the commercials — now urgently careens into ‘what does it all mean?’ mode.”

Arcade Fire’s win wasn’t all that pleased me with the Grammys this year.  The Black Keys won best alternative album for Brothers, The Avett Brothers and Mumford & Sons performed well despite singing with Bob Dylan (I’m cutting him some slack though, the man is 70 for goodness sake), and Bruno Mars’s doo-wop rendition of “Grenade” was awesome.

What I think is shown by this event is that rock music – in its current stage – is making a comeback, and soon I will be proud to say that I am a rock fan.  To summarize what I and many other rock n roll lovers are feeling now, I shall quote Kanye West’s tweet: “#Arcade fire!!!!!!!!!! There is hope!!! I feel like we all won when something like this happens! FUCKING AWESOME!”

There is hope indeed.

Also I would like to wish everyone happy Valentine’s Day with this song!

Break ‘Em Out: The Replacements – Let It Be

Is timeless the proper word?

I’ve been preparing a long time to write about this album, and I really wanted to get it right.  I really wanted to talk about this band’s importance to the 80s alternative rock scene (they were pretty much the Nirvana of the 80s).  I really wanted to convey the idea of Paul Westerberg’s growing maturity as a songwriter and how he created a near flawless pop record without it sounding anything like pop.  I would like whoever is reading this to understand what a beautifully messed up album this is and how every teenager needs to listen to this.

But I can’t.

This album is wonderful in a way that I can’t describe in a summary – go to Rolling Stone or Pitchfork if you want that.  All I can tell you is that this record is like The Breakfast Club to me.  It is a look at being a teenager in all it’s tragedy and glory.  All the promise, all the disappointments, all the fears, everything.

Every track on this album is great, and some are even incredible.  “I Will Dare”, “Sixteen Blue”, and “Unsatisfied” are some of the band’s best songs, and “Androgynous” is one of the most unique, and beautiful, punk ballads ever created.  The album’s greatest moment is its ending with “Answering Machine”, a song that could relate to us more now, with text messaging and Facebook, than it did in the 80s (“How do you say I miss you to an answering machine?”).

Truthfully you might not even like this record. You might think it’s sloppy, unorganized, and has too much filler. Even if all the above is true – and it probably is – this is a record you need to listen to.  Go out and get it now.