Podcasts of the Week Ending April 24


Afropop Worldwide :: Punk in Africa

Punk is not a genre typically associated with Africa but the music of rage both personal and political has found its niche in countries dealing with imperialism, apartheid, poverty, and political corruption.

Fresh Air ::  The Social Psychologist Who Works To Reduce Harm In Policing

Regulating police behavior rather than focusing on the attitudes of individual police officers is the approach advocated by one researcher.

Radio Boston :: Former Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson Reunites With Birth Mother

A heart-warming story of Tito Jackson, one of my favorite Bostonians, meeting his birth mother for the first time.

What Next :: Fear and Paranoia in American Policing

Police officers are trained to be terrified by everything around them leading to their inscrutable violent actions.

Running Tally of Podcast of the Week Awards for 2021

Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 360-351


Last September, Rolling Stone magazine released their most recent list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, which includes a greater variety of artists and genres than previous lists. Looking through the list, there were many albums I’d never listened to before and a few I’d never even heard of. In fact, counting it up, I found that I’d only listened to 140 of the albums, although I’d heard songs from many more. So I’ve decided my project for 2021 is to listen to 10 albums each week and write up some thoughts about each one.

Previous Posts:


Artist: Funkadelic
AlbumOne Nation Under a Groove
Year: 1978
Label: Warner Bros.
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Yes
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “One Nation Under a Groove”
  • “Who Says a Funk Band Can’t Play Rock?”
  • “Cholly”

Thoughts: Who says a funk band can’t play rock?  If it’s Funkadelic, Parliament, or anyone in the family of George Clinton bands and artists, who is to say they can’t play any damn style of music they like. From funk to soul to rock to disco to extremely long and juvenile poop jokes, this album has it all!

For more thoughts read my Parliament/Funkadelic Music Discoveries series.


Artist: Big Star
AlbumRadio City
Year: 1974
Label: Ardent
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: No
Favorite Tracks:

  • “September Gurls”

Thoughts: This is the second album on this list from Big Star, a quintessential critics favorite band. The music here is Beatle-esque filter through a generic 70s Classik Rawk sound.  I don’t know, I’m just not feeling the power in this pop.


Artist: Sonic Youth
Album: Goo
Year: 1990
Label: Geffen
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?:
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Tunic (Song for Karen)”
  • “Kool Thing”
  • “My Friend Goo”
  • “Disappearer”
  • “Cinderella’s Big Score”

Thoughts: Sonic Youth is a band I always wished I’d paid more attention to, even back in the 90s.  In my defense, albums were expensive and I was impecunious.  This whole RS 500 project would not exist without the magic of streaming putting the world of music at my fingertips. I guess it’s better late than never.


Artist: Tom Waits
Album: Rain Dogs
Year: 1985
Label: Island
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Yes
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Jockey Full of Bourbon”
  • “Hang Down Your Head”
  • “Time”
  • “Downtown Train”

Thoughts: This is the middle of a trilogy of albums that Tom Waits released in the 1980s that so far mark his creative peak as an artist. It’s weird and wonderful music, but somehow accessible enough for Rod Stewart to have a hit covering “Downtown Train.” I wrote more about this album and more in my Tom Waits Music Discovery.


Artist: Dr. John
Album: Gris-Gris
Year: 1968
Label: Atco
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Gris Gris Gumbo Ya-Ya”
  • “Danse Kalinda Ba Doom”

Thoughts: You’ve got to imagine how weird this album must have sounded in 1968.  I mean, people were doing a lot of drugs, so a lot of stuff sounded weird in 1968.  But this was a time when different regions in the country were more isolated than they are now and here is Dr. John introducing an amalgamation of New Orleans culture through a psychedelic lens.  It’s still delightfully weird even in 2021.


Artist: Black Sabbath
Album: Black Sabbath
Year: 1970
Label: Warner Bros.
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Yes
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “A Bit of Finger/Sleeping Village/Warning”

Thoughts: Several years ago, a friend tried to give me a tutorial in Heavy Metal music.  We didn’t get far, but I did listen to the first four albums of Black Sabbath as the cornerstone albums of the genre.  I was surprised that there were several songs by Black Sabbath that I actually liked, although it appears that most of them will be on albums later in this list.  I do like the Zeppelin-esque suite of blues rock that finishes of this album, though.


Artist: X-Ray Spex
Album: Germfree Adolescents
Year: 1978
Label: EMI
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

    • “Warrior in Woolworths”
    • “Let’s Submerge”
    • “I Can’t Do Anything”
    • “Identity”
    • “The Day the World Turned Day-Glo”

Thoughts: I should know more about the iconic London punk rock act X-Ray Spex lead by vocalist Poly Styrene (how many punk/post-punk/alternative vocalists did she influence?), but I’d never before listened to the band’s only album. While the stereotype of punk rock is that it’s angry music, Poly Styrene sounds cheerful in embracing the slacker ethos a decade and a half before that became the defining characteristic of Generation X.


Artist: The Cars
AlbumThe Cars
Year: 1978
Label: Elektra
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?:
Favorite Tracks: None
Thoughts: I’ve made my feelings about The Cars known before on this blog, so I went into listening to this album with great reluctance.  Nevertheless, I am determined as ever to give every album a fair shake. My hopes of finding a hidden nugget buried deep in this album vanished as I realized that almost every song on this album has been in constant rotation on classic rock radio for the past 4 decades.  One positive is that I didn’t find the songs to be physically irritating anymore, just not my thing.  So that’s a plus!


Artist: Eminem,
Album: The Slim Shady LP
Year: 1999
Label: Interscope
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?:
Favorite Tracks: NONE
Thoughts: Speaking of albums I don’t want to listen to, there’s this one by a loathsome artist whose music is built on misogyny, homophobia, and saying hateful things. Black hip hop artists were excoriated for much less, but Eminem received nothing but critical plaudits. Entering with low expectations, I found this album worse than I could possibly imagine.  I need a shower now.


Artist: Roxy Music
Album: For Your Pleasure
Year: 1973
Label: Warner Bros.
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Do the Strand”

Thoughts: I’ve never given Roxy Music all that much thought.  On classic rock radio they were always represented by the pretty but boring “Avalon.”  This earlier work of there’s is classified as glam rock – and is at times Bowie-esque – but I also hear hints of New Wave.  Perhaps that’s because of Brian Eno and his synths.  I enjoyed listening to it and will check it out again.


Running List of Albums I’d Listen to Again

  • 500. Arcade Fire, Funeral
  • 498. Suicide, Suicide
  • 497. Various Artists, The Indestructible Beat of Soweto
  • 494. The Ronettes, Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes
  • 489. A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector from Phil Spector and Various Artists, Back to Mono (1958-1969)
  • 487. Black Flag, Damaged
  • 485, Richard and Linda Thompson, I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight
  • 483, Muddy Waters, The Anthology
  • 482, The Pharcyde, Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde
  • 481, Belle and Sebastian, If You’re Feeling Sinister
  • 478, The Kinks, Something Else by the Kinks
  • 477, Howlin’ Wolf, Moanin’ in the Moonlight
  • 469, Manu Chao, Clandestino
  • 465, King Sunny Adé, The Best of the Classic Years
  • 464, The Isley Brothers, 3 + 3
  • 462, The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Gilded Palace of Sin
  • 459, Kid Cudi, Man on the Moon: The End of the Day
  • 457, Sinéad O’Connor, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got
  • 456, Al Green, Greatest Hits
  • 455, Bo Diddley, Bo Diddley/Go Bo Diddley
  • 453, Nine Inch Nails, Pretty Hate Machine
  • 452, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Anthology
  • 451, Roberta Flack, First Take
  • 448, Otis Redding, Dictionary of Soul
  • 446, Alice Coltrane, Journey in Satchidanada
  • 444, Fiona Apple, Extraordinary Machine
  • 443, David Bowie, Scary Monsters
  • 440, Loretta Lynn, Coal Miner’s Daughter
  • 439, James Brown, Sex Machine
  • 438, Blur, Parklife
  • 437, Primal Scream, Screamadelica
  • 435, Pet Shop Boys, Actually
  • 433, LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver
  • 431, Los Lobos, How Will the Wolf Survive?
  • 430, Elvis Costello, My Aim Is True
  • 429, The Four Tops, Reach Out
  • 428, Hüsker Dü, New Day Rising
  • 427, Al Green, Call Me
  • 426, Lucinda Williams, Lucinda Williams
  • 425, Paul Simon, Paul Simon
  • 424, Beck, Odelay
  • 423, Yo La Tengo, I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One
  • 422, Marvin Gaye, Let’s Get It On
  • 421, M.I.A., Arular
  • 417, Ornette Coleman, The Shape of Jazz to Come
  • 416, The Roots, Things Fall Apart
  • 415, The Meters, Looka Py Py
  • 414, Chic, Risqué
  • 413, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Cosmo’s Factory
  • 412, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Going to a Go Go
  • 409, Grateful Dead, Workingman’s Dead
  • 408, Motörhead, Ace of Spades
  • 406, Magnetic Fields, 69 Love Songs
  • 405, Various, Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era
  • 403, Ghostface Killah, Supreme Clientele
  • 402, Fela Kuti and Africa 70, Expensive Shit
  • 401, Blondie, Blondie
  • 400, The Go-Go’s, Beauty and the Beat
  • 398, The Raincoats, The Raincoats
  • 397, Billie Eilish, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
  • 395, D’Angelo and the Vanguard, Black Messiah
  • 392, Ike and Tina Turner, Proud Mary: The Best of Ike and Tina Turner
  • 390, Pixies, Surfer Rosa
  • 388, Aretha Franklin, Young, Gifted and Black
  • 387, Radiohead, In Rainbows
  • 386, J Dilla, Donuts
  • 385, Ramones, Rocket to Russia
  • 384, The Kinks, The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society
  • 380, Charles Mingus, Mingus Ah Um
  • 378, Run-DMC, Run-D.M.C.
  • 377, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Fever to Tell
  • 375, Green Day, Dookie
  • 374, Robert Johnson, King of the Delta Blues Singers
  • 373, Isaac Hayes, Hot Buttered Soul
  • 371, The Temptations, Anthology
  • 369, Mobb Deep, The Infamous
  • 368, George Harrison, All Things Must Pass
  • 365, Madvillain, Madvillainy
  • 364, Talking Heads, More Songs About Buildings and Food
  • 363, Parliament, The Mothership Connection
  • 360, Funkadelic, One Nation Under a Groove
  • 358, Sonic Youth, Goo
  • 357, Tom Waits, Rain Dogs
  • 356, Dr. John, Gris-Gris
  • 354, X-Ray Spex, Germfree Adolescents
  • 351, Roxy Music, For Your Pleasure