Wednesday, August 9, 2017

"The Roches" by The Roches (150 Albums By Women #150)

A few weeks ago, a friend shared a list NPR compiled of the 150 greatest albums created by women. I've decided to listen to these albums, from #150 all the way up to #1. But to give myself a bit of forward momentum and have a sense of when I was "done" with each album, my method is to listen to the album one time all the way through, then with each subsequent listen, I'd remove my least favorite. This lets me listen to the best ones most frequently without having to sit through too many that didn't work for me at all.

I began with #150, "The Roches" by The Roches. I only knew one song by this band: "Come Softly to Me," which was one of my father's favorites and was featured in the film Crossing Delancey (one of my mom's favorites). It's a lot smoother-sounding than most of this album, which is more folksy and casual and sometimes awkward-sounding. But overall, I liked this album a lot. Here are the songs I listened to, ranked in order of when I kicked them off my playlist.

10. Damned Old Dog - The only one I actively disliked. It's kind of interesting lyrically, but some of those harmonies are really unpleasant to listen to.

9. Runs in the Family - You know it's a decent album when the ones I kick off just because they're boring are the second-worst.

8. Pretty and High - I never quite got into the feel of this song, but it has some striking moments

7. Quitting Time - This is a pretty little song, but the lyrics didn't interest me as much as the sound, so it fell a little lower on the list.

6. The Married Men - Here's where the decisions got difficult. I ended up being stuck between this song and my #5 for awhile and tossing it over to a music group I'm in on Facebook to be my deciding factor. This one lost. It's fun, though.

5. Mr. Sellack - One of the most interesting little songs I've heard about unemployment.

4. The Troubles - I initially thought this was going to be in my top three, but an unexpected late favorite pushed it out. I really like the bit at the end where they sing a little round of the most important word in each verse.

3. Hammond Song - This song just sounds *gorgeous*. Lyrically it doesn't grip me as much, and it's a little bit longer than I'd like, but the beautiful harmonies and instrumentation boosted it way up to #3.

2. We - Right from the beginning of this album, I knew I was going to have fun with it. It starts off with this cheerful meta-song introducing the sisters, explaining their back story, and sighing a bit about how they always get asked the same questions in interviews. It's delightful.

1. The Train - On my first listen through, I'd never have expected this to be my favorite, but the more I heard it, the more I kept connecting with it thematically. I don't take the train to work, but I definitely know the drudgery of a long commute and the desire to do something, anything, to break it up. I kept being struck by the line, "I am trying not to have a bad day," in the first verse. The thought process in this song is so familiar to me that I deeply related to it even with completely different circumstances.

Next album: #149, Alicia Keys' "Songs in A Minor."

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