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.

September 2021 Purchases – Vinyl & CDs

Can’t believe it is time for another monthly wrap-up. This year has flown by in almost a blink. October wasn’t as fruitful as other months although it was still pretty good. I only actually hit a record store once during the month. The rest were all bought online whether Amazon, Discogs or directly from the artist.

The first batch is from a trip my daughter and I made to the local antique mall. This mall is really great as it has several booths strictly related to vinyl and that is always where I ended up spending all my time. My daughter wants to look at vintage clothing. It is sad when clothes from when I grew up is now vintage, but that is another story. First up are two Aerosmith releases. One I had on CD, but I had really been looking for a decent vinyl version and finally got one. The other release is a 12″ Maxi Single for “Dude (Looks Like a Lady)”.

The other two items were 12″ Singles for ZZ Top and Bon Jovi. The Bon Jovi is an E.P. and one I had only seen on Mike Ladano’s site when he wrote about a couple years ago. When I saw it, it was an easy decision.

There was only one more vinyl purchase for the month and this one is the coolest. It is the brand new E.P. from Billy Idol called ‘The Roadside’. I’ve ready written a review for it so you can check it out HERE!!!!!. This one is special because it is autographed by the man, the myth, the legend, Billy Idol. You know when you get some autographs they send a picture insert that the artist signs? Well, they do. Except for Billy. Billy sends an actual album jacket with no album and signs the jacket. Then they send a separate sealed album. Strange, but okay.

And that was the last of the vinyl for the month. The rest are all CDs. I have a wishlist on Discogs and this month, I decided each week I was going to buy something from that list. Easy enough right? Except when you decide which seller to use and find out they actually have several items from that artist that are on your list or other artist and that is where the trouble ensues. I figured, well, I have to buy them all because I will save a ton on shipping…and I’m right. There were three shipments and most were Jeff Scott Soto releases because I am wrapping up my purchases before we start the Jeff Scott Soto series in January 2022! It will be a great way to kick off the new year. Here is what I got…

And then there were a few more…and these last 3 came from France. I didn’t read the listing very well and didn’t realize he shipped these without their cases. I guess that is why the shipping was so cheap from France. Luckily I had some empty cases laying around.

Now a few of the first picture I bought and wound up buying stuff from another artist because I saved on shipping. It was two of Joe Elliott’s Down ‘N Outz side project that I had on CD at one and no longer do…but I do again…long story, sad, don’t won’t get in to it!!

And another purchase I ended up buying a Bonus E.P. from Needtobreathe’s album ‘Hard Love’ which I forgot I didn’t actually have on CD. What was I thinking. It is sealed and I’m trying to decide if I will keep it that way…

Then using MyPoints gift cards, I picked up a couple free things on Amazon. They are both from a band called Tait. The lead singer is Michael Tait formerly of the band DC Talk. His voice is like butter. He sounds like Nat King Cole, but rocks out. Really cool stuff. One of the CDs arrived sealed and autographed by the band. I must not have read the description too well because I don’t remember reading it was autographed. Cool enough. And thanks to Lori for getting rid of it.

And the very last thing I got were a couple of CDs from my pal who I mentioned earlier, Mike Ladano or LeBrain from the The LeBrain Train. He was kind enough to send me the new Max the Axe E.P. and threw in the debut Cars CD which for some reason I didn’t have on CD. I do on vinyl, but nice to have a remastered version as well. Thanks Mike. Now, the Max the Axe CD you just read about on Monday so you know all about that one now.

Not a bad haul I guess. It is just weird that most of these I bought online and not from an actual record shop. I hope I get to hit one or two in October. I know there is record show on October 9th, so I will at least hit that. Until next time, happy purchasing!! Here is everything one more time…

The Cars – The Albums Ranked Worst to First

The Cars.  What can be said about them that hasn’t already been said.  They are one of the greatest new wave bands to ever come along and an inspiration to many.  Their brand of power pop ruled the airwaves from the Debut in 1978 all the way to 1984 before they started to fade away from the scene, but never faded away from our hearts.

The band was inducted in to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2018 and the band was all there except for Benjamin Orr who died in 2000.  It was really cool to see the band together again and play a few songs.  The classic line-up consisted of the following members:

  • Ric Ocasek – Vocals, rhythm guitar
  • Elliot Easton – lead guitar
  • Greg Hawkes – keyboards
  • Benjamin Orr – bass, lead vocals
  • David Robinson – drums

We most recently we lost Ric Ocasek in 2019.  As I did when Orr died, upon Ric’s death I pulled out The Cars catalog and went through it over and over again.  It reminded me of how great these guys were and what a catalog of music they left behind.  As a result, I decided to do an album ranking to see what was the worst album all the way up to the best. Let’s see where they stack up.

WORST – PANORAMA (1980):

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Classic Rock is Dying!

I am starting to feel old.  Why you might ask?  Well, I will tell you and it is not that I turned 50 last year.  It is not that my kids are growing up too fast.  Okay, that is part of it.  The main reason is that all the musicians I grew up listening to are now starting to die.  Not by drug addiction or overdosing. Nope, those are generally younger rockers and although sad, it doesn’t make me feel old.  The musicians are now dying of natural causes due in part to old age.  They are getting cancer or having heart attacks…you know…normal things that tend to happen when you are older.

Recently, we have seen the deaths of Eddie Money and Ric Ocasek who were both in their 70’s when they passed.  Let that sink in.  They were in their 70’s.  When I listened to them growing up, their music was mainstream.  Not today.  They fall under the Classic Rock category.  I loved both Eddie Money’s and The Cars’ music.  I remember sitting in my basement watching MTV and seeing Eddie scream out “Take Me Home Tonight” and The Cars “You Might Think” video which is one of the most innovative music videos ever done (at least at the time).

Their deaths brought to light a real issue that the world is facing.  The heroes of the classic rock era of the late 60’s, the 70’s & the 80’s are getting a lot older and won’t be around much longer.  Soon, we won’t be catching these acts on tour or won’t even have any new material be released.  The iconic music makers will be dying and the music of generations will start to fade away.  When that happens, how many radio stations will play Classic Rock anymore?  Think about it…there are no stations specific to the 40’s, the 50’s or even the 60’s music (ok, maybe unless you have Satellite Radio).  Some of the 60’s will fall under Classic Rock, but not the early 60’s music.  Gone.  Classic Rock’s days are numbered.

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Turntables & Vinyl #4 – The 80’s Are Back!

I have been going to records stores way too often as I continue my obsession on buying vinyl.  On the flip side of that, I also don’t feel like I have gone enough.  Confusing I know. I actually enjoy just browsing through the store and seeing what is there.  It is rare I go into the store and I don’t buy anything, but lately I am picking up 5 or 6 at a time and I am loving it.

Most everything I am picking up is of course from the 70’s or 80’s since vinyl died out in the 90’s.  The new releases that are out now are too expensive to make it a habit so I focus on the used record.  There are no shortages of those, but what I want is seldom available on my visits.  It is hit or miss.

Lately, it has been more hit than miss.  And it has mostly been 80’s records so I guess the 80’s are back.  Yes, I am buying records for albums I had already purchased back in the 80’s whether on cassette or CD, but I don’t have any of those anymore so I actually only have the one physical copy of the album.  The other copy is now digital and you can’t really hold that in your hand.

So, what I have been picking up on my adventures you might ask that is from the 80’s?  Well, you probably aren’t asking but I am going to tell you anyway.

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Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Nominations

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame announced the nominations for the 2017 induction ceremony today. There are a lot of great artists on this list and all deservedly so; however, only 5 will make it through. The nominees are as follows:

  • Bad Brains

  • Joan Baez

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Music is Magic – Playlist

If you don’t believe magic is real, you haven’t really listened to music.  Music can instantly change your mood.  It can even let you travel through time by taking you back to a special memory.  Music can make you laugh, make you cry and make you feel so many different things.  It can make you dance and soothe your soul.

If that is not magical, then I don’t know what is.  In honor of all that, here are my favorite “magical” songs.  Sadly, there are so many songs to choose from, I ended up with a list that only covered the ’60’s – ’80’s.  I have to do another list for the ’90’s-’10’s.

“Do You Believe In Magic” – The Lovin’ Spoonful

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