Lit – ‘Tastes Like Gold’ – Album Review

After the dismal 2017 release ‘These are the Days’, I had pretty much given up on the band. Heck, on my Album Ranks for Lit…it was the Worst!! That album went too far to the country slant which a lot of rock bands have tried and few, if any have succeeded. Just ask Bon Jovi how well it went. That was not what I wanted to hear. I don’t know if the band heard my complaints or not, but with their new album ‘Tastes Like Gold’, they are back to the Southern California Rock sound despite the fact they are now in Nashville. Whatever the reason, I couldn’t be happier to have that sound back. They sat down with a whole host of writers which I don’t always like, but they were able to pull together a consistent album that was sonically Lit. I’ll take that.

This album for me was my favorite Summer album this year. Musically and lyrically, the album feels light, breezy, sunny and puts me in a great mood with each and every listen. The album painted a picture of driving down the road with the top down and the radio cranking. The beach on one side and glorious palm trees swaying back and forth on the other. The smell of the ocean in the air tickling your senses and putting a smile on your face. Sit back, drink your margaritas (stop driving at this point) and enjoy the fun in the sun.

From the opening party anthem of “Yeah Yeah Yeah” you know you are in for a good time as it is old school Lit all the way. Next is “Mouth Shut” which sees No Doubt drummer Adrian Young join in on the fun. Adrian helped fill in on drums on tour back in 2009 after the death of their longtime drummer Allen Shellenberger. The song is more party fun talking about how you always tend to say the wrong thing. The chorus is catchy as hell and will have you singing along right out of the gate. “Do It Again” has a powerful chorus that feels dramatic and gives a more modern vibe mixed with the old Lit.

“Kicked off the Plane” is an autobiographical song about them getting kicked off a plane for being…well..for being lit!! And no, it wasn’t because they refused to wear a mask!! It reminds me a little of “My Own Worst Enemy” and I mean that in a good way as it shares the same energy. Then we get the tender ballad “Ok With That” and one of my favorite tracks on the album. It is heartfelt and somber but so beautiful at the same time. He seems to be resound to the fact if it is the end of the world, he’s okay with it. It is nice to see the softer side of Lit. The first half ends with “The Life That I Got” featuring American Authors. This is a pure pop song and when they hit the chorus I swear it is “Midnight Memories” by One Direction. I’m torn if I’m okay with that.

The back half kicks off with “Get Out of My Song” and it keeps the party going with a massive drum beat and goes in to that easily sing-song chorus that makes it feel familiar as it is so catchy. Then the title track, “Tastes Like Gold”, has slowed down verses then goes to the bombastic chorus layered with keyboards and goes back and forth making a little predictable. Then with “Here’s to Another” we get an over the top pop song with a ton more keyboards and more of those sunny vibes we’ve been enjoying but overall a rather generic track.

“Hold That Thought” is more of an acoustic track reminiscent of the previous album, ‘These are the Days’, so they haven’t totally abandoned that sound. It is almost a ballad with that pop and country influence mixed together. You have to remember, I didn’t like that previous album so not a favorite song of mine for this one. They quickly redeem themselves with the explosive “Out of It”. This modern pop-rocker sees a more serious side of the band as the song feels more dramatic and impactful. Not a party song, but I’ll take a more modern serious sounding Lit too! The band goes out with a bang with help on vocals from the super-talented Butch Walker as they cover The Cars song “Let’s Go” and they nail it. On keys is Jason Freese who help capture that Cars “magic”. It is pure nostalgia sounding and even has the handclaps. It is a spot-on rendition that is pure excitement and joy. It makes you miss The Cars and love Lit at the same time. Great way to go out.

It is nice to see Lit redeem themselves after their last catastrophe. It is a reminder of how fun they can be and how exciting their sound is when they go old school. The first half of the album is stronger then the back half, but that Cars cover is the best. This for me was my Summer album as I mentioned at the beginning. A total blast and a great reminder of everything I loved about Lit. It is all right here. Go sit by the pool and crank this baby!! My Overall Score is a 4.0 out of 5.0 Stars.

January 2022 Purchases – Vinyl & Cds

Welcome to the first round of purchases for 2022. Yes, I know, it never seems to end…my wife and wallet keep telling me that, but I don’t listen…obviously. And this week was another stellar month and a few really good deals as well…at least I think so. The first set of purchases were from gift cards left over from Christmas that I hadn’t spent and it was tough to decide. First I went with a vinyl I had been wanting for awhile and finding an original vinyl pressing was going to be expense so I went withe re-issue from Music on Vinyl for Extreme!!

The other items I picked up on those gift cards were the studio albums I was missing for Robbie Williams…I figured no time better than to complete that collection so I did. There were four left and here they are… Now I just need to the rare stuff that I am missing…challenge accepted!!

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The Original vs. The Cover – “It’s My Life”

For this episode of ‘The Original vs. The Cover”, we are discussing the song “It’s My Life” by the band Talk Talk and the cover by No Doubt.  Both were big hits for the respective bands with Talk Talk’s version going to #31 on the Billboard Charts while the No Doubt version went as high as #10 and garnered a Grammy nomination for Best Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal…they didn’t win.

“It’s My Life” came about due to Mark Hollis’ wanting to assert his independence from his record label and because he didn’t want to be swayed by the popular public opinion.  He wanted to do things his own way.  The song was his manifesto that it is his life and he will do what he wants to know, not what anyone tells him to do.  The song performed well enough in the states that it actually earned him enough freedom to do things his way going forward.  And I don’t remember them doing much else in the States after this.  How’d that work out for you Mark???

No Doubt was on a slight break as Gwen was recording here debut solo album, but they wanted to get some material out so they thought of putting out a greatest hits album.  They wanted to a new song on it, but didn’t want to take time to write a new song.  So they narrowed the prospects of 100’s of songs down to “It’s My Life” and the INXS song “Don’t Change”…we see which one won out or we wouldn’t be discussing this song right now would we.  Let’ get to the music.

TALK TALK

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Talk Talk’s song “It’s My Life” is a heavy synthesizer song as that is what type of music they played.  They were part of the New Wave of music that was going on in the early 80’s along with band’s like Duran Duran and other two name bands.  It is not a real happy, upbeat song.  It has a slow groove driven by a bass riff and electronic drum beats bathed in synth sounds including some synth horns. It is not meant to be a pure dance song as it is expressing a person’s independence.  It has a serious feel to the song, a warmth.

Mark Hollis doesn’t sing with gusto or scream out the lyrics, he sings with a darkness to his vocals.  His delivery is a little monotone at times and a little dreary, an almost dreamlike state as he spews his thoughts and feelings out about how this is his life and don’t you forget it.  It is an interesting delivery which evokes power and I think quite effective.

NO DOUBT

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No Doubt doesn’t change too much on the song.  The song still is a lot of electronic synths with just a more updated sound for the 21st Century.  It seems to be a little more uptempo.  The high pitched blips and beeps of the original are not here, but there is more cool electronic bass riff on occasion and the drum beats are so simple and yet just what the song needs.  They keep the darker feel to the song and it still has that serious vibe that they have something important to say.

Gwen’s vocal delivery is quite different, mainly as she is a woman, but she sings with a little more gusto, especially on the chorus.  She has an almost whiny, slight nasally sound to her vocals.  The is ‘no doubt’ that Gwen has the chops to turn the song in to a song that feels like it is No Doubt while being so true and honest to the original.

THE VERDICT

This was a tough choice as I’m really not a fan of either song.  I don’t own any Talk Talk album and as far as No Doubt, once I heard “Hellagood” and “Hey Baby”, there was nothing from them that would be remotely as good.  But since I picked this song to discuss, I will pick a best song of the two. I am going to go with Mark Hollis’ version with his band Talk Talk.  The reason is the song meant something to them.  It was a manifesto.  They wanted to do things their way and not be force fed instructions from a label.  No Doubt already had that so the heart wasn’t there.  So Talk Talk and the Original win out this go round.

I am really interested in hearing what everyone else thinks of these two songs.  Let me know which version you like the best and why.  Feel free to leave a comment and talk about the song and tell me how right or wrong I am on this one.  Thanks for stopping by and have a great day.

“It’s My Life”

Funny how I find myself in love with you
If I could buy my reasoning I’d pay to lose
One half won’t do
I’ve asked myself, how much do you
Commit yourself

It’s my life
Don’t you forget
It’s my life
It never ends (it never ends)

Funny how I blind myself, I never knew
If I was sometimes played upon, afraid to lose
I’d tell myself, what good do you do
Convince myself

It’s my life
Don’t you forget
It’s my life
It never ends (it never ends)

I’ve asked myself, how much do you
Commit yourself?

It’s my life
Don’t you forget
Caught in the crowd
It never ends

It’s my life
Don’t you forget
Caught in the crowd
It never ends

It’s my life
Don’t you forget
Caught in the crowd
It never ends
 
Written by Mark Hollis and Tim Friese-Greene

Tuesday’s Memes – Gwen Stefani

I am going to do a collection of Gwen Stefani memes whether you like it or not.  With her stint in No Doubt, her Solo work, her fashion sense or the Voice, she has been around a long time and is still in the public eye even if not for the best of reasons.  So sit back and I hope you enjoy it…

The songs…

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1995 – The Greatest Year in Music?

If you are new to the site, I started this series with the year 1987 and then noticed that 1991 and 1983 were also a couple of the greatest years in music.  I got to thinking, was there a pattern that every 4 years we have another great year in music.  Well, I am not sure the theory held up for me with 1979, but now I am exploring the year 1995. If you want to explore the other years, click on the link below…

1979 – The Greatest Year in Music?

1983 – The Greatest Year in Music?

1987 – The Greatest Year in Music?

1991 – The Greatest Year in Music?

Will 1995 be another great year or is my theory fully debunked with this year.  Let us explore and see and then decide a the end.  But first we have to ask What were the top albums of the year?, What were the debut albums from some of the great rock bands? and What was going on in the world of music that year?

NEWS:

1995 didn’t have any major news story that changed music like 1979 with the Sony Walkman and 1983 with the release of the CD, but a couple big stories did happen.

KISS_UnpluggedOn August 9th, a major even happened in the history of Kiss.  Kiss performed on MTV’s Unplugged series.  That in and of itself was nothing special, but some special guests were invited up on the stage and out walked Ace & Peter.  It was the first time in 16 years the original members of Kiss (Gene, Paul, Peter & Ace) had played together.  It was so well received that the following year, Kiss put their make-up back on and the first reunion tour was kicked off and the Kiss Unplugged album was finally released.  This event started it off.

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