What makes a great album?

What makes a great album anyway? I wonder about this a lot. On these reviews, I base my decisions on first impressions, based on one listen, and often, I come back to my reviews and question my decision. Because the thing that happens is you revisit records. Sometimes the stars are aligned so that something just hits you right on that first listen, but when you revisit, things have changed, and you see it through different eyes.

There is the phenomenon of expecting a lot out of something because you remember it being so great, then you hear it again and get disappointed. And sometimes you are disappointed with something on first listen, but then you hear it again, and are surprised that you do enjoy a lot of the record. Then there is the old standards, usually stuff you were into when you were a teenager. Some of it is embarrassing, once you have knowledge of better stuff out there, but some of those records, as bad as they may be, you always come back to them, and you start singing along, and remembering how much you enjoyed it in your younger days.

Does it make it a great album? Not neccessarily…that’s why music taste is so varied and there are no wrong answers when it comes to your taste. So here’s some albums I heard recently, maybe one day they will be classics, at least for somebody.

Plover – Plover – ***1/2 – A collaboration between Glen Phillips, Garrison Starr and Neilson Hubbard, this is a hauntingly beautiful set of songs. There are no rockers here, just some slow but powerful songs. Wonderful rainy day music.

Suzy & Los Quattro – Stick With It – *** – Fun garagey pop, with a spanish accent. A wonderfully sweet release by this band. Lots of great riffs, creative vocals, and just fun.

RemoteTreeChildren – Veteran of the Loudness Wars – *** – Glen Phillips again, this time a electronic power band. Very cool sounding and interesting to hear Glen go a little overboard with the production and vocals.

Kyle Andrews – Real Blasty – ***1/2 – A real blasty record (sorry couldn’t help it). But seriously, that is a good description. The production of kind of electronic soundscapes, with strong percussive elements, make this a record both enjoyable on headphones, or blasting out of a stereo.

Little Jackie – The Stoop – ***1/2 – A cool record indeed, very soulful, yet not overboard, exciting arrangements, and a cool vocal style, make this very enjoyable. The subject matter is pretty much all about summer in the city, and just hanging out, dealing with all the stuff that comes along with it.

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