Tag Archives: Albums

David Bowie – “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars”

Greetings and salutations,

As we dive deep into the world of music, I will be discussing one of David Bowie’s incredibly amazing and extraordinarily recognized album “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars”.

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It was released in 1972 and is one of the highest regarded albums in rock music’s history, originating an entirely new genre of glam elegance intertwined within rock that was crafted by David Bowie. “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars”, is conceptual album poetically surrounded by vividly composed melodies telling the story of an alien rock star named Ziggy Stardust. During the reasonable peak of glam’s explosion, Ziggy Stardust was created with a wide arrangement of glitz, heavy guitars and hooks, string sections, keyboards, and obviously dramatic embellishments.

David Bowie created his musical career in the 60’s developing as a supremely musical chameleon featuring his many different forms and styles impacting music and other artists. Ziggy Stardust was initially released in 1972 earning gold and platinum status. It came in at number 5 in the UK and at 75 on the US Billboard Music Charts. The album has had a major impact on the industry with impressive recognitions and stats throughout the years from respected media all over the world. TIME magazine dubbed it as one of the 100 best albums of all time, it was number 35 in Rolling stone’s top 500 greatest albums of all time, as well as countless other polls nominating its greatness in musical history. “As was the case with Miles Davis in jazz, Bowie has come not just to represent his innovations but to symbolize modern rock as an idiom in which literacy, art, fashion, style, sexual exploration and social commentary can be rolled into one.” – Rolling Stone magazine

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There are several characteristics that make the Ziggy Stardust album quite unique. Considering the immense growth of rock music during the course of the last 50 years or so, very few artists were as methodically inventive, diverse, and yet so intense and influential as David Bowie. The album itself being full of catchy, attitude driven, enthralling and hypnotic elements is themed with Ziggy, the fictitious human manifestation created by Bowie, of an alien rock star’s rise and demise while trying to present earth with a message of hope within the last five years of its existence. The ensemble of musicians on the album consisted of Bowie doing vocals, sax, acoustic guitar, piano, harpsichord and arranging. Mick Ronson playing guitar, Trevor Bolder on Bass, and Mick Woodmansey on drums that helped create and transport the intended concept flawlessly. The songs on the album are quite unique and flow smoothly depicting the fascinations with sexuality and outer-space representations with a way to limitless possibilities not yet discovered while incorporating in the music and capturing the insanities and perplexities of life, youth and the future.

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The impression this album has left on me as a musician, listener and industry professional is beyond inspirational and encouraging. I grew up respecting and admiring David Bowie and his brilliant music especially this particular album. A true innovator of style and talent that is significantly recognized in this album as well as his other great works. To some degree this album exemplifies to me a place where misfits and rebels can belong to something greater. At the time when the conceptual album was at its pinnacle it really defined a musical and artistic statement.

What inspires me most is essentially that David Bowie really made his mark by not being afraid to demonstrate individualism and originality at a time when most were afraid to step outside of the box for fear of devastation and failure. As a musician, songwriter and producer I see myself harnessing that freedom of expression without having to be afraid to be different or subject to a certain idea. It is our job as artistic and musical creators to share our thoughts, dreams and passions through a universally understandable outlet. I could only hope and dream to reach such an exorbitant amount of people so deeply like Bowie did.

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Slowly chipping away at the jaws of the music industry as a producer, engineer and industry professional I see myself fitting in this giant realm of the music industry, having a successfully flowing and well-established client base for Soul Shakin Studios within 5 years, our family created dream set into motion this year. The industry is bulging with all forms of media and entertainment in need of auditory assistance with a dependable, trustworthy and knowledgeable staff that they can rely on at any time, while specializing in a variety of genres, styles and aspects of audio production and post. Knowledge and talent are essential qualities in this industry and fitting into the giant realm of music is not easy when everyone wants a piece of the dream pie. Wearing several hats as a student, musician, producer and engineer I am constantly evolving, learning and developing especially with albums like Ziggy Stardust to ignite our creative juices to another level and really inspire the freedom to change and be extraordinary.

It can be very discouraging at times and yes it is a extremely subjective, critical as well as a difficult industry to succeed in, but it can also be done and it is proven in many instances. Ziggy Stardust is brilliant artistic album that demonstrates an example of passion and individuality that can catapult creative change successfully, while engaged with passion, perseverance and an individualistic elegance.

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Thank you so much for reading my thoughts on David Bowie’s, “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars” album. Every song on this album is fantastic to me from “Five Years to “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide” and is a must listen for musicians, students, producers and music enthusiast of all varieties.

By Adrianna Parnagian

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Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On?

Hello, greetings and salutations,

In this discussion post I will feature topics regarding Marvin Gaye’s “what’s Going On” and all the obstacles that he faced throughout its release.

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Marvin Gay was an inventive musician, singer and songwriter, and is regarded as one of the most extraordinary, visionary, and amazing talents ever propelled by the Motown influx, despite much of the difficulties he faced in his life with loss and illness, with this project, Motown and Barry Gordy. Marvin Gaye was first signed to Motown in 1961 as a session drummer for Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. Simultaneously meeting Gordy’s sister Anna and married her. His solo release “Pride and Joy” landed him in the top 10. He developed a passion for romantic ballads as well as a change in style that clashed with Gordy and Motown. His artistic ambitions differed from the demands the label was incurring, creating a long running battle with him, the label and its demands for chart success.

Affected by his brothers Vietnam stories, Marvin Gaye had been on a mission to tackle social issues through his music. He was trying to change direction in his artistic visions. Working on songs and developing his musical outlet, he stumbled on “What’s going on” triggering the outlet he needed for his emotions, originally created by Obie Benson of the Four Tops, while at a protest in San Francisco in 1969.

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Gaye combined vocal spirituality of his gospel roots with the expressiveness and soulfulness of the song’s jazz infused rhythms. What’s Going On was a protest song on America’s struggles and Marvin Gaye’s personal conflict. Gaye sang in reference to his unsettled relationships, of his father, but also for humanity. Marvin Gaye’s beautifully constructed What’s Going On is a song concentrating on an enigmatically distinctive, jazzy sound with profound lyrics regarding war and socio‑economic issues as well as generating the pinnacle of artistic musical expression. What’s Going On was the first of Marvin Gaye’s albums to allow him credit as the sole producer. What’s Going On was different from anything that Gaye or Motown had previously issued, inspired from the classic track of the same name that he’d recorded in 1970 and it hit number two on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1971.

Berry Gordy, the Motown CEO rejected and refused to release “What’s Going On” when Gaye presented it to him with the religiously‑infused B‑side “God Is Love” simply because he didn’t like it.  While quality control gave it a negative response. Marvin Gaye reacted by refusing to record any other projects till they released it. As it was released it sold out within 24 hours having to press more to fulfill the demand. “What’s Going On” then hitting the top position on the R&B charts, shifting over two‑and‑a‑half million units, making it the fastest‑selling release in Motown’s history up until that point. What’s Going On continued on the Billboard Top 200, selling over two million copies and was named “Album Of The Year” by Rolling Stone in 2003, ranking it number 6 on the “500 Greatest Albums Of All Time”.

The success of the album allowed Gaye much more freedom and control from the previous restrictive reigns Motown had held. He was able to change directions once again with “Trouble Man”, “Let’s Get It On” and other popular projects. Marvin Gaye’s vocal techniques and innovative arrangements with session players really set him apart from other recordings Motown usually released.

After his divorce, re-marriage and other issues surmounting in his life He released in 1981 a philosophical album titled “In our lifetime” which ultimately severed his long-standing relationship with Motown. Having disputes with the final release he signed with Columbia. After a series of hardships and suicide threats, Gaye made his comeback and reconciliation with Barry Gordy doing “Sexual Healing”, celebrating Motown’s silver anniversary.

Gaye eventually moved back home to rebuild and heal. His father always had issues with his success. A day before his 45th birthday in 1984 he was shot and killed by his father Marvin Gaye Senior in an apparent heated argument. After his tragic death Motown and Columbia released two 1985 collections of erotic funk songs titled “Dream of a Lifetime” and a big band inspired collection titled “Romantically Yours” that took well over 12 years to complete and didn’t get properly released till 1996. In 1987 he was inducted in the Rock and Roll hall of Fame, forever dubbing him as a musical great. His death also brought a reassessment to “what’s Going On” deeming it to be one of the landmark albums in musical pop history.

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The impression “What’s Going On” has on me as a listener, musician, and industry professional is far beyond inspiring. As Marvin once quoted, “To be truly righteous, you offer love with a pure heart, without regard for what you’ll get in return. I had myself in that frame of mind. People were confused and needed reassurance. God was offering that reassurance through his music. I was privileged to be the instrument.” Even through all the dark times he faced he persevered his visions and art that ignited his work. His passion and dedication is easily felt and noticed through his compositions. I am inspired by his strength and insight that he portrayed so deeply in his music.

Thank you for reading my thoughts on Marvin Gaye.

By Adrianna Parnagian

Entry 3 – The Beatles, Revolver

Greetings and Salutations,

This third entry post will feature a discussion regarding The Beatles album Revolver and its impact in the ever-changing music industry. I will discuss various aspects of the Beatles musical career and how their image developed and progressed up to their Revolver release.

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The Music and image The Beatles portrayed before the album Revolver was really like night and day. True, Beatles fans would enjoy the growth and change in the entire collection of songs and albums, but there is a big distinction between the early Beatles verses the later Beatles. It is an apparent transition seeing the teen heartthrob, bubble gum pop band from the early 60’s singing songs like “I Want To Hold Your Hand”, “ She Loves You”, “Cant Buy Me Love” and so many hit releases prior to Revolver. If you listen to their albums in a chronological order you will notice the gradual change in their style and growth as a band.

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Revolver in essence was an entirely new project that they undertook after taking a few months to break after the whirlwind of Rubber Soul and their consistent domination of worldwide charts. Revolver gave them the studio experience they needed to share their extensions musically. They stepped outside their regular musical formula and implemented prevalent brass sections, tape loops, various sound effects, horns, strings and Indian instruments.  The Beatles spent over 11 weeks creating their masterpiece Revolver with the young Geoff Emerick brought on board to engineer that defined an entirely different sound for them.

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Non-musical interest such as LSD, paying taxes, and political topics influenced the majority of the lyrical content for Revolver. For instance, John Lennon read Timothy Leary’s book “The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on The Tibetan Book of the Dead” which inspired the track “Tomorrow Never Knows” on the album.

The Beatles used the studio as an instrument during the recording of Revolver by pushing the limits of what they could do with many inventive recording techniques. With the change in engineers came a new variation in the vibe and experimentation process that reflected in the album.  The Beatles really utilized the studio in such innovative ways with techniques that could not be reproduced in a live setting.

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In discussing certain innovations found on Revolver would be the magnificent use of tape loops, backward guitar parts, experimental vocal treatments and doubling instruments that are a few examples of using the studio as an integral innovation in their creation process. The artificial vocal doubling using the Leslie rotating speaker gave Lennon a distinct sound. The Beatles demonstrated this in the album by recording the lead vocals more than once that added depth and thickness to the mix. Drum compression was another innovation found on Revolver. It created a more prevalent and dynamic effect. The Indian sitar was also implemented for added instrumentation along with other various instruments filling the album with added new sounds.  

The impressions Revolver has bestowed on me, as a musician, music enthusiast, listener and industry professional is not only inventiveness and a brilliant vision, but also the innovative use of the studio and the impeccable devotion to every element in creating such a profound and intense album. The musical arrangements and compositions were so elegantly constructed launching an entire revolution of recording and creating to a completely new level.  Revolver really inspired and catapulted other artists and musical ideas into new horizons that were never used before. Even to this day many artists try to recreate the elements used by the Beatles in their studio projects and sounds.

Thank you for reading my post.

By Adrianna Parnagian 

Entry 2 – The Beach Boys, Pet Sounds

The Beach Boys Pet Sounds

Greetings,

This post will feature a discussion regarding The Beach Boys Album, Pet Sounds and its impact on music and recording in the industry. The beach boys carried a big sound that defined the 60’s and had many chart topping hits. They categorically made a mark in music defining a harmonious sound.

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The Beach Boys image and music prior to Pet Sounds were categorized as a pop “surf group”. It seemed to fit, since most of their songs and content reflected that image. For instance, “Surfin”,  “Surfin Surfari”, “Fun, Fun, Fun”,  “Surfin USA” and “Surfer Girl” were big Billboard hits to name a few. These catchy songs and melodies really defined the Beach Boys and their musical career. This earned Brian Wilson and Gary Usher, who is the producer known for creating the “California Sound”, the nickname “The King Of Surf.”

In discussing Brian Wilson and his role within the Beach Boys, he created the band in 1961 with Carl, Dennis, Al and Mike. Dennis, the drummer was the only member who actually surfed and suggested to Brian that they should do a song about surfing. Brian then took that idea and wrote, “Surfin” their first single. From 1961 to 1965 the Beach Boys continued this process making several albums and hits. They used the image successfully throughout their career.

Until the release of “Rubber Soul” by the Beatles in 1965, which at the time was considered to be the best pop album at the time. This struck a chord with Brian and was influenced by its sound. He changed the bands direction by creating an autobiographical conceptually linked album called Pet Sounds. This would be the first time the Beach Boys would have no musical input on their album. They were used only for vocal harmonies. This album proved to be a huge breakthrough and a massive success. This is all due to their leader Brian, who is credited as an arranger, composer, guitar player, keyboardist, Liner Notes, Member of Attributed Artist, organ, piano, producer, supervisor, vocals, and background vocals. Many factors shared influence on Brian when writing and recording Pet Sounds. Pet Sounds marked the Beach Boys and specifically Brian Wilson’s career with a sound and idea that was unexpected from the conventional Beach Boys and set a standard for conceptual albums.

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In discussing Pet Sounds, certain characteristics set it apart from other albums. It was an autobiographical, conceptually linked album that chronological soared from childhood to adult. Additional characteristics that set Pet Sounds apart were the intricate creations of vocal harmonies blended with pleasant counter melodies. A deeper lyrical point was established as they grew in their sound. Pet Sounds defined an evolved a story musically that could collectively be understood.

As a musician, music lover and industry professional, The Beach Boys Pet Sounds has had a major impression on me growing up and listening to the Beach Boys, their evolution as artists and how it has influenced my music as well as the industry. The album and its arrangements were expressed with a deep passion and emotion that can be felt throughout the entire album. Seeing an artists work evolve from good to great is the inspiration that keeps me passionate and determined to keep making music through passion and experience. Pet sounds really demonstrated to me how great a conceptual album can be and the meaning it can project.

By Adrianna Parnagian