5 Albums Celebrating Huge Birthdays in 2015

Birthdays. For those of us who respire and are reading this incoherent rambling right now, it’s a milestone where we drink and eat lots to ignore the fact we’re one year closer to our inevitable deaths but for albums, it’s a little bit less depressing. They serve as reminders to what music was like when the LP was made, like mini time capsules, and make us think about how far we’ve came in terms of how we listen to our music and what kind of music we listen to. There are countless albums celebrating theirs this years but I’ve chosen my personal favourites, ones that I’ve grown up with, ones that have moulded my taste in music and have had an impact on music overall.

The Cure – Head On The Door

Released: 26th August 1985

The Cure were always one of these bands that I’d see get referenced in shows like South Park when I was younger but I never had much interest in listening to them. Maybe it was because their music constantly being described as Gothic rock sounded unappealing to me or maybe it was the eery stare of front-man Robert Smith but I delayed listening to them until I was about 16. That’s when I decided to give them a go and as luck would have it that I chose The Head On The Door to listen to first, a choice that I was immediately satisfied with as soon as poppy, upbeat In Between Days came on. It was an exciting and odd experience as the sound the band made on this, their sixth LP, was so cheery and upbeat but the lyrical themes about loss and fear seemed so out of place but at the same time so right. I wasn’t the only one who found the album so exciting as this was the English band’s first international success, paving the way for future critically acclaimed such as Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me and Disintegration.

The Smiths – Meat Is Murder

Released: 12th February 1985

It wouldn’t take a genius to know what message Morrissey was trying to get across on his band’s sophomore album. Meat Is Murder was surprisingly more politically driven that its predecessor, addressing issues such as vegetarianism and corporal punishment which has helped the album to age very well, although the amount of times I’ve been asked if the eponymous album titled track was the reason I went vegetarian is a painful amount. Although it covers some hardly cheery themes, The Smiths have the same take on these as The Cure do by accompanying them with some upbeat guitar riffs, something that both bands are masters at. On top of this, the album is home to fan favourites such as Barbarianism Begins At Home and I Want The One I Can’t Have in addition to That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore which bassist Johnny Marr regards as one of his favourites that explores themes of loneliness and suicide, helping to create a diverse sounding album with something to say.

The Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

Released: October 24th 1995

Arguably the band’s most accessible band, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness is nothing short of iconic. Whether it be the angst ridden, full to the brim with rage track Bullet With Butterfly Wings where glimpses of front-man Billy Corgan’s messiah complex show or the dream-esque sound of 1979 that shines with soft, looping synths, the album’s scope is undeniable. Not only that but the album is split over two cds, something that most bands cannot justify but thankfully The Smashing Pumpkins can, providing some of the greatest songs of nut just their career but some of the best songs to grace alternative rock. Regardless if you dislike the band for their mediocre stuff they produced later on in their career or not, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness is undeniably an important album that deserves all the praise it gets.

Coldplay – Parachutes

Released: 10th July 2000

Saying “I like Coldplay” nowadays is pretty much the equivalent of asking someone to kick you in the balls. There’s a popular attitude of people just hating Coldplay for the sake of hating them and as much as I don’t like their past two albums, everything preceding that has been amazing. Take their debut album Parachutes for example, the first glimpse the world had of the British band before they became a worldwide phenomenon. Even the band’s harshest critics will find it hard to call the album terrible, featuring some amazing tracks such as Yellow which tells the tale of lead singer Chris Martin’s unrequited love. Even the years of people posting lyrics from the song on Bebo and Facebook hasn’t tainted the sheer simplistic genius of the song. Although the band themselves prefer to pretend this album didn’t exist, Parachutes serves as a wonderful reminder of how talented the band were years before they experienced mainstream success.

Bloc Party – Silent Alarm

Released: February 2nd 2005

An album that has been argued as being one of the best of the noughties, let alone 2005, Silent Alarm came out of nowhere to take the music world by storm. Although other indie rock artists such as Kaiser Chiefs were releasing music that year, their album being the vastly popular Employment, no other artist could make the same dent as Bloc Party did. Evoking global and political woes at the time such as the Iraq War (Pioneers) and the rise in price of oil (Price of Gas), Silent Alarm is a true testament to the power music has. Even now, a full decade after the album was released, Silent Alarm’s messages are more relevant than ever and manages to showcase not only Bloc Party’s excellent lyrics but also their tight music writing that manages to show off its energy while still keeping its head afloat to deliver its message.

And so there we have it. There’s probably loads of albums that I’ve missed out and I’ll no doubt follow this post up with some other favourites of mine but for this I just wanted to keep it to a 10+ year or more celebration. If any of your favourites got left out then comment them below or tweet me @blogclyro , thanks for reading to the end!

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Top 10 Controversial Music Videos

Ever since Video Killed The Radio Star debuted on MTV over 30 years ago, music videos have became a huge canvas for artists to express their creativity but just in the same way that violent movies rile up the media and parents, so to can certain music videos. Some are odd yet creative while others are just plain weird and this list serves up mainly the latter.

Nirvana – Heart Shaped Box

It wouldn’t be a music controversy list without Nirvana now, would it? The first single off the band’s record In Utero came along with a music video that would be sure to creep out some of their mass following that they had accumulated thanks to their previous album Nevermind. Twisted Wizard of Oz imagery, crucifixion and a girl donning Klu-Klux Klan attire were all present in this video that received some surprising positive feedback from critics and helped the band to win two MTV Music Video Awards that year.

Pearl Jam – Jeremy

It’s hard to believe that the ever popular and influential Pearl Jam were relatively unknown at one point but in 1992 that was exactly the case. Their debut Ten was a slow mover but their third single Jeremy managed to gain a lot of attention due to the accompanying music video. Filmed by Mark Pellington, the powerful video is notoriously known for its re-enactment of an incident where a schoolboy shot himself in front of his class which led to the swift removal of the scene though blood can still be seen on the classmates clothes. The public attention that the video gained helped Pearl Jam to become mainstream rock stars overnight and the band haven’t looked back on it.

Eminem – Stan

Eminem isn’t one to shy away from controversy. Be it his sometimes violent, sexist and homophobic lyrics or being blamed for the suicide of a teenager, the rapper never seems to be out of the public eye. This wasn’t any different with the music video Stan which tells the tale of a deranged fan who commits suicide and was plagued with heavy censorship due to the violent language and scenes though this didn’t stop it becoming one of the best known music videos or one of Slim Shady’s best selling tracks.

Marilyn Manson – (s)AINT

Often called the most violent and controversial music video of them all, it should be no surprise that the artist in question is none other than heavy metal musician Marilyn Manson who’s been blamed by the media for inspiring the events of the Columbian High School Massacre due to his violent lyrics. Although the media clearly tried to use him as a scapegoat in this incident, the music video for his song (s)AINT was so violent and controversial that it was never broadcasted, most likely due to its dark, bloody and sex filled scenes that make up the video. These scenes include Manson self harming, masturbating and taking heroin.

MIA – Born Free

Possibly the most odd video on this list, the accompanying short film for the British rapper’s single Born Free depicts a genocide against Red Haired people and barely lasted a day on Youtube. Although it’s still available on some sites, it’s still pretty harrowing to see scenes reminiscent of the holocaust in a music video.

The Prodigy – Smack My Bitch Up

You could probably guess that this would be on the list from the title alone. Featuring scenes of drug taking, sex with hookers and female violence, it’s no surprise that this received backlash from feminists and was initially banned from TV though demand by fans saw MTV start to air the video late at night.

Korn – A.D.I.D.A.S

Seeing as the title stands for All Day I Dream About Sex, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that this one features some eyebrow raising scenes. This video full of vulgar lyrics contains post mortem pictures of the lead singer in woman’s clothes and body-bag dancing with no sports advertisement.

Tool – Prison Sex

Although it might be a relief to hear there’s no soap dropping scenes, this video for the band’s debut single is still incredibly creepy. The plot revolves around a white humanoid, almost robot like doll who goes catatonic when confronted by a larger black humanoid who proceeds to fondle him with a paintbrush. MTV quickly removed the video after a few viewings due to the symbolism of child abuse though the art direction was still applauded by critics.

Aphex Twin – Come To Daddy

Seeing as it’s appeared on various “100 Scariest Moments of TV” lists, it should be no surprise that this one is a bit creepy. Filmed in the same estate that Stanley Kubrick’s classic A Clockwork Orange was, the video includes a gang of small children with Richard D James’ face wreaking havoc while an evil spirit emerges who’s face is very much nightmare worthy.

Smashing Pumpkins – Try, Try, Try

The band had a very different approach to this video which only featured lead singer Corgan sitting in a chair while the video showed a sad tale about two homeless drug addicts who are soon to be parents. The video juxtaposes the upbeat music with graphic footage of a drug overdose, prostitution, and larceny and although there is a brief happy perfect family segment, this soon takes an extreme turn for the worst. No matter what ending you see, the video is still chilling and extremely moving.