Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
Never has there been an album that is so completely fitting to its name. This is the album I grew up to, singing along to ‘Dreams’ and ‘Go Your Own Way’ blissfully unaware of the turmoil and heartache that I was so often belting out in my bedroom.
It escalated into a whole different world once I reached an age where I was able to understand and interpret the lyrics. With the McVies in the process of divorce and Stevie and Lindsey on the verge of a break up, themes of love and loss were bound to be woven into their music.
‘Gold Dust Woman’ is the most prominent track on the album for me. I can just imagine the gypsy queen Stevie recording this, drink in hand, shawl draped around her, completely transporting herself to another planet. An image that has become so ethereal and mystical in my head. The most mysterious of all mysteries.
Rumours is so full of mysteries but also so relatable. Fleetwood Mac present situations that most have or will experience, but with such drama and force, creating an unpredictable, explosive, pure 70s Rock & Roll exterior. This is an album I could not possibly live without.
Nico – Desertshore
Nico’s third studio album ‘Desertshore’ is the most gothic, medieval album I think I have ever come across. Her trademark droning harmonium jingles throughout the entire album, her deep Germanic voice tangles itself between Cale’s clustering piano parts. I imagine a tall woman dressed in layers of thick black cloth sitting in darkness with only a flickering candle, content in her own silence.
Nico was a character who continues to fascinates me. She was so detached from the world, and so disgusted by her own beauty. She was a woman who lived her life on her own terms. She lived in a dream. She was a true bohemian.
Don’t expect this to be an easy listen because it is not. Do expect however, a true artist’s creation of something so profound and personal.
‘Afraid’ is the gentlest song on the 29 minute album, Nico expressing her discontent towards the industry with everyone telling her how to act and behave: ‘cease to know or to tell or to see or to be your own’.
The album concludes with ‘All That Is My Own’, another favourite from the album. It begins with a fanfare of kettledrums, Nico only giving relief with the introduction of her eery, soft spoken voice verses. They interweave beautifully, sparking a contrast from her strong booming vocals: ‘Meet me at the Desertshore. Meet me at the Desertshore.’
The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds
The genius of Brian Wilson also made me very happy growing up. Pet Sounds is one of my all time favourite albums – the catchy opener ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’ letting you know you are in for a treat for the next 13 tracks.
Considered one of the first concept albums in rock, Wilson created a lyrical and instrumental masterpiece, projecting itself to the standard of ‘art rock’.
Wilson was obsessed by Phil Spector’s ‘Wall Of Sound’, trying desperately to uncover his secret, leading to him experimenting with psychedelic drugs whilst composing and arranging.
Unlike other albums, Pet Sounds does not include a particular track that I favour above others. To me, the album is a story – each track possessing its own uniqueness, complimenting each other as you are invited to travel into Wilson’s psyche.
I adore how off the wall and open minded he was in the process of the creation of Pet Sounds. He welcomed change and individuality, drawing inspiration from past cultures. Wilson rediscovered the harpsichord, the most prominent instrument from the baroque period and experimented with unconventional instruments and sound effects such as bicycle bells and barking dogs.
Pet Sounds however, would not be the same without the trademark Beach Boys golden Californian vocal arrangements. Their harmonies ooze with a richness so beautiful and so delicate it is impossible to not be a fan.