Thursday, January 12, 2017

Eugeology: Eugene's List of Hard Rock Albums and Possible Gems Part 1 - Mother Love Bone 'Apple'

Jon Lowder asked me about making him a list of my top 50 hard rock albums. If I remember correctly, it seems that Jon is a closet hard rocker and hard rock is my favorite genre of music. Jon believes that he may have missed out on a few things and he’s willing to be “turned on” to some artists and albums that he’s never heard.

I’ve spent months and months agonizing over my list. I scratched out and erased over and over. I’ve pulled things out just to file them back into my collection a couple of days later. I took this list very seriously.

I didn’t want it to be a generic list because I wanted to feature some artists that were drastically overlooked during their “time”. I even had an issue about which album to open up the listening party with Jon Lowder and Tim Beeman.

Now please keep in mind that the list is random. I just couldn’t rank them because they all mean something and because they’re on my list should be some sort of validation as to how good they are. I’m just as big of a music snob as I am a television snob. You will not find Poison or Bon Jovi on my list.

I think it’ll be fun to read about the different perspectives from Jon and Tim. I’m curious if we’ll find common ground or if I know that we’ll be discussing them with our conflicting points of view over beers.

Jon, I don’t know about. Tim?

Oh yeah, we’re DEFINITELY going to butt opinionated heads. I got a kick out of his opinions on each album that he reviewed while covering Rolling Stone’s list of the Top 500 Albums of All-Time.

So whattya say we get to it?

We’re calling it “Eugeology: Eugene’s List of Hard Rock Albums and Possible Gems”.

Up first (in no particular order) is Mother Love Bone’s ‘Apple’ that was released in 1990.

I remember it coming out when the weather was warm. I spent many days driving around the Triad with the windows rolled down and ‘Apple’ cranked up. It was a great album for that kind of activity.

I knew grunge music was here to stay after hearing Soundgarden’s ‘Louder Than Love’. I could hear the nails pounding on the coffin of what people liked to call “hair metal” (a term that I don’t care for). I had a couple of friends telling me to check out Mother Love Bone. I kept reading about them in the music magazines. They were on my radar. Somehow, I ended up with a promo CD of ‘Apple’ a week before it was released.

“Grunge” from that album didn’t really hit me over the head. Sure, it was a fairly new subgenre of hard rock but ‘Apple’ didn’t sound “grungy”. I heard a lot of influence from Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith. I was hearing a long forgotten wah-wah pedal being used. ‘Apple’ is 70s hard rock with occasional inane lyrics mixed in with stellar musings. I also got the feeling of playfulness at times. Andrew Wood could have been the next Robert Plant. You could hear “rock god” front man oozing from his vocals.

I certainly didn’t get that from Soundgarden. Soundgarden were loud and abrasive with very little fun allowed.

‘Apple’ kicks ass. Then there are moments of beautiful balladry. Mother Love Bone was touted as “the next big thing” but that all quickly faded when lead vocalist Andrew Wood died.

For those that do not know, Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament, now of Pearl Jam, were members of Mother Love Bone. The Seattle grungers came together for a one-off as Temple of the Dog. The self-titled album was a tribute to Andrew Wood.

In a sense, Mother Love Bone lives on as Pearl Jam. And in my opinion, it’s a lame Mother Love Bone. I remember my girlfriend at the time was excited to play Pearl Jam’s ‘Ten’ for me. She had it in her grubby little hands days before its release. She dug some Mother Love Bone and we were both looking forward to hearing Pearl Jam.

I was so underwhelmed that I left her house shortly after she started blasting it. She loved it. I was a bit crushed. I didn’t care for Vedder even though I enjoyed most of the Temple of the Dog album. It’s his voice. It’s his politics. It’s his pretentiousness. It’s his breathing. I just don’t care for Vedder.

Mother Love Bone’s ‘Apple’ stands on its own and apart from the grunge scene that was emerging from Seattle. The album holds only a few real comparisons to anything from Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, or Soundgarden.

If you’ve never heard it go look for it now on YouTube. Someone posted the whole darn thing.

Standouts – “Stardog Champion”, “Holy Roller”, “Come Bite The Apple”, and “Capricorn Sister”

No comments:

Post a Comment