Used CD Store Haul
1. Sheryl Crow - Tuesday Night Music Club
Used Price: $5.99
Initial Comments: Considering how Sheryl Crow and The Globe Sessions are two of my favorite albums of the 90's, and that I enjoy the singles I've heard off this album, it's kinda weird that I've never heard this album. I've always heard that it's worse than those two and I guess I just could never get up the interest to actually go out and get it. "Leaving Las Vegas" is a classic, every bit as good as "My Favorite Mistake" and "If It Makes You Happy" and all her other great ones. And I guess the overplaying had just made me forget that "All I Wanna Do" is really a good song! But this album isn't just about "All I Wanna Do" and "Leaving Las Vegas" and "Strong Enough", it's filled with lots of great down-tempo acoustic numbers. There's a little musical bounciness here and there, but it's a mostly somber effort throughout. Not quite as good as The Globe Sessions, which this album clearly resembles, but it sounds pretty good on first listen. Initial listens revealed no standout tracks beyond those three hit singles, which means they did a good job picking singles out ("Can't Cry Anymore" is probably my favorite of the rest).
2. Fefe Dobson - Fefe Dobson
Used Price: $4.99
Initial Comments: I only ever heard "Unforgiven", which some people love but I never cared for too much. But I figured at 5 bucks it's probably worth at least giving it a check-over. A nice little teenpop-punk effort, with crunchy guitars throughout, though the up-tempo numbers are balanced out by a lot of ballads. The guitars have plenty of power, and these aren't bad songs, but none of the songs really grabbed me. "Rock It Till You Drop It" was particularly bad. Actually, I really liked "Stupid Little Love Song", I wish the rest of the songs had that kind of energy, but there are just too many ballads here, and few stand out ("Julia" is pretty and pleasantly Meg and Dia-ish). I'll give it another try or two, but I'm not too impressed by my first listen.
3. Shooter Jennings - Put the 'O' Back in Country
Used Price: $7.99
Initial Comments: The most expensive album I bought, and the only one in which I had not heard any of the tracks, but Rolling Country Thread raves convinced me to get it. I was really surprised to see this priced so much more expensive than the other stuff (3 bucks more than Come on Over for example, though it probably sold less than 1/10 the copies). I guess this had a bit more "hip" cred and is a bit tougher to find, so it can fetch a little more used. This is some cooking old school country rock! The most raves here were reserved for the single "4th of July" and man is that a great one. My initial reaction is that it's one of my favorite country singles of this decade. But this is really solid country rock throughout. I could have sworn listening to this that Shooter was some real old-timer, some 50 year old who'd been around since the 70's, but, no, this was just his debut album. This and pretty acoustic female are my favorite types of modern country and is it as good as Montgomery Gentry or Horse of a Different Color or Toby Keith at his best or etc., etc.? Okay, it isn't, but it's good enough as is, and right there with Eric Church in that second tier of good modern country-rock. Even though I expected to love "4th of July" based on the raves, I was surprised by how much I liked the album as a whole.
4. Lush - Lovelife
Used Price: $5.99
Initial Comments: Britpop, of which I've only heard "Ciao!", but figured it might be worth it to check out the rest. They didn't have any Pulp or Blur, otherwise I might have been tempted to go elsewhere for my Britpop, but I'm glad I heard this, even if I probably won't play it a ton in the future. It drones and drones and drones and it all kinda starts to blend together, but it's got nicely poppy melodies, and I really dig the groove, and it'll be perfect for when I'm in the mood for this type of album. I mean, this is the kind of stuff that if you had played me 4 years ago in my indie phase I would have positively eaten up, but I'm mostly tired of this music now. Every once in a while I get in an indie mood still though, so this can remain a guilty pleasure. "Ciao!" breaks up the monotony with a bang in the middle (and it still sounds great to me), but it's not remotely representative of the rest of the album. "Ladykillers" sounds particularly good.
5. The Veronicas - The Secret Life of...
Used Price: $4.99
Initial Comments: I love "4ever" but never bothered to check out the album since everybody was saying that the album itself was pretty mediocre. I mean it's got the two Martin/Luke songs, and it's got "When It All Falls Apart", but there's no real reason to listen to this all the way through. It's pretty boring. But, because I bought the album, I just now realized that "When It All Falls Apart" is a Steinberg/Alexander song, like "Too Little, Too Late" and McPhee's "Over It"! I should have realized, since it perfectly taps into that same kind of area that those two do. And it's a genuinely great song, as is "4ever", but there just are not enough highlights here to really justify a full value purchase. But it was a solid five dollar purchase. Like the Fefe Dobson album I like the album in theory more than I like the album actually.
6. Skye Sweetnam - Noise from the Basement
Used Price: $2.99 (!)
Initial Comments: Yes, sorry Dave Bedbug, until today I had never actually heard this album in full. Kinda weird that it was priced so much lower (percentage-wise) than the Fefe and the Veronicas ones, but I'm not complaining. While I'm not quite in the Skye fan nation like Dave, I do have to agree that this was far better than the similar Fefe and Veronicas albums. I still there's nothing on here which touches Avril at her best, but it's an enjoyable listen and, similar to the Shooter album above, it's solidly in that second tier of 00's teenpop. And there's nothing wrong with that. Initial rating is like an 8, and it could have gotten up over that "classic" hump if it had more memorable tunes or if it was less same-y sounding. First listen favorite is "Hypocrite". "Billy S" was a terrible choice as a single.
7. Third Eye Blind - Third Eye Blind
Used Price: $4.99
Initial Comments: I actually already knew 6 songs on here (out of 14) making it the album in this haul that I knew the most of already. So many great hooks on here that the album really should be better than it is, but it' s still pretty good and the singles are classic. Probably my favorite of the popular 90's alt rock albums, unless Sheryl Crow counts. Pretty much every song on here has a great hook on it, which is why it's kind of a shame that the songs themselves aren't all so great. I mean, like "Narcolepsy" has a great hook and all, but why do we need to take 1 and a half really boring minutes to get to it? And "Jumper" is a 10/10 chorus surrounded by a like 6/10 song. But there's still an awful lot of good stuff on here and this is probably like an 8/10 album or so (though "Side 1" is way way better than "Side 2"). "Semi-Charmed Life" is still a classic, and "Losing a Whole Year", "Graduate", "How's It Gonna Be" and a couple others are very very good.
I also bought Penguin, Heroes are Hard to Find, and Rumours, all by Fleetwood Mac. The first two I haven't heard and do not have high hopes for, but I've never heard any pre-Buckingham/Nicks Fleetwood, other than "Albatross", and I've always wanted to see how it sounds. As for Rumours, what can anybody even say about it at this point? The main criticism I can think of is that it's only arguably the best pop album of all time and not definitely the best pop album of all time.
Total price was $52, including tax, which I'm pretty happy about.
Ace of Base - The Sign ($1.99)
Roxette - Joyride ($5.99)
Britney Spears - ...Baby One More Time ($2.99)
George Michael - Faith ($5.99)
Deana Carter - Did I Shave My Legs For This? ($5.99)
Amy Grant - The Christmas Album ($4.99)
They also had nearly every Everything But The Girl and Pet Shop Boys albums there, for no more than 6 dollars an album.
They had a ton of 90's and early 00's popular country albums there if anybody has any particular suggestions I can see if they have it.
Any opinions on the above are welcomed, via comments or email.