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Elvis Presley & Public Enemy – From Elvis in Memphis (1969) and Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black (1991)


exemplary artwork by sarca @ caughtmegaming

Into the Black Artist #1: Venom

Into the Black Artist #2: Joni Mitchell

Into the Black Artist #3: Manic Street Preachers

Into the Black Artists #4 & #5: Elvis Presley & Public Enemy
(Elvis’s Long Black Limousine & the PE album title)


[Albums 436 & 437/1001]

Some might say these artists could not be more different.

I say, perhaps to the chagrin of the PE, they could not be more inextricably linked.

Out of respect for your time, I’ll only focus on a handful of the parallels with these 2 records.

Legacy = Cemented220px-ElvisinMemphis

A decade earlier, Elvis was a hero to most. By the late 60s, his stock wasn’t exactly skyrocketing. Following a myriad of mediocre movies, the message was clear with the release of From Elvis in Memphis: to quote Rafiki in the Lion King, the King has returned.

In the case of Public Enemy, don’t call Apocalypse a comeback; they’d been here 4 years. Album #4 was more a case of retaining than reclaiming past glory.

In both cases, mission accomplished.


The Last Hurrah220px-PublicEnemyApocalypse91

As the 1969 tune Spinning Wheel observed, what goes up, must come down; these albums represent the final peak for each artist.

Did it seem like the beginning of the decline at the time? I’ll never know, as I’m experiencing both for the first time in 2015.

But dissecting it after the fact, perhaps there were clues.


Bizarre Track 12 Choices

Now a song about a vicious cycle of poverty, crime, and violence “in the ghetto” would not have surprised me on a Public Enemy CD. It did catch me off guard however as the closing track from Elvis. It’s not a bad song per se and it’s an irrefutably important topic. It’s just such a curious choice for a closing track; the song was a lyrical left turn in the running order and Elvis just seemed like a strange choice for the narrator.

Sort of like having Flavor Flav discussing ethical journalism in A Letter To The New York Post. I see his point about newspapers selling papers by starting controversy and cashing in on his fame (see Axl Rose’s Get in the Ring rant, also from 1991). In Flav’s case however, his response to allegations of domestic abuse made, to borrow a Chuck D line, ‘no GD sense at all.’ For the first time I could recall, PE seemed unconvincing, and that was a crack in the armor I didn’t expect to see.

And In The End

However curious, neither track could derail its parent album.

The masses had good reason to eagerly welcome Elvis back again (even if he never meant much to Chuck D). Apocalypse’s critical and commercial success was equally well-deserved.

Though I wouldn’t crown either of these records as album of their respective years, it’s more a reflection of the strength of their release years (’69 and ’91) than any weakness in the records.

$1.29 well spent

Thank you to my fellow bloggers for your thoughtful Paris reflections this week.

I appreciate how the messages I’ve read have been almost universally of hope & understanding.

Many of you have likely seen this already, I just got wind of this fan-driven movement:!/blogs/2015/11/Music-fans-push-Eagles-of-Death-Metal-to-number-1-Duran-Duran-to-donate-proceeds-to-charity

It’s a small gesture of support and I think it’s wonderful idea.


Manic Street Preachers – Everything Must Go (1996)


exemplary artwork by sarca @ caughtmegaming

Into the Black Artist #1: Venom

Into the Black Artist #2: Joni Mitchell

Into the Black Artist #3: Manic Street Preachers
(qualify with the Everything Must Go track, Small Black Flowers That Grow in the Sky)


[Album 435/1001]220px-EverythingMustGo(1996album)Albumcover

What advice would you give your teenage self?

I’ve recently been pondering this question.

My answer?

See my letter below, scheduled to arrive in 1996 on the release date of Everything Must Go.








Top 5 ‘Black’ Songs


exemplary artwork by sarca @ caughtmegaming

A fine colour choice for albums, an equally excellent shade for songs!


5. The Darkness, Black Shuck
What an opener, couldn’t think of a better way to open this list!


4. Manic Street Preachers, Elvis Impersonator: Blackpool Pier
One of the top bridges in recent memory, “it’s so ____ funny, don’t you know?”


3. Great Big Sea, The Old Black Rum
Best experienced live of course.


2. Radiohead, Black Star
One of my favourite tunes to play when trying out a new guitar.


1.Metallica, Fade to Black
One of my favourite tunes to play, period!


Joni Mitchell – Hejira (1976)


exemplary artwork by sarca @ caughtmegaming

Into the Black Artist #1: Venom

Into the Black Artist #2: Joni Mitchell
(qualifies with the Hejira track, Black Crow)


[Album 434/1001]

Take Your Kid to Work Day.

One of the greatest days of the year, perhaps the greatest, for teachers like me with all grade 9 classes.Hejira_cover

Instead of a day of lessons, Wednesday, November 4th was a glorious day of marking/organizing/planning/report cards/photocopying/cleaning/all the other tasks for which there’s never enough time.

All with Joni Mitchell’s Hejira playing on repeat in the background.


I have little to no idea as to what Joni’s singing about.

There’s something about her wandering delivery, I can’t seem to keep focused on the lyrics.

There’s one moment that stood out (A Strange Boy felt like a Law & Order theme template) but otherwise the album drifted along smoothly.

I’m likely missing out somewhat, as I gather her lyrics are worth hearing; strangely, I feel if I started working hard to listen for more meaning, it would take away from my wholly positive (if not wholly complete) listening experience.

Given its key role in helping me catch up on administrative tasks this week, in my books, Hejira is now firmly entrenched as the sound of getting things done.

And that sounds good to me.

Venom – Black Metal (1982)


exemplary artwork by sarca @ caughtmegaming

Into the Black Artist #1: Venom

(Dedicated to HMO!)


[Album 433/1001]

Future Top 5 list: Top 5 eccentric recurring TV characters.

For such a list, Richmond from the IT Crowd would surely be a contender.

The man whose life changed upon hearing Cradle of Filth:


Now “The Filth” are not on the 1001 but I gather they were among the countless bands influenced by Venom.

Would Venom be my Cradle of Filth? Would I be similarly transformed upon hearing Black Metal? Am I the new Richmond?

As it turns out, none of the above.

But even if I haven’t undergone a major style/lifestyle transformation à la Richmond, I like Venom!


To metal fans, the comparison may seem ludicrous, but my Black Metal experience reminded me of my Ace of Spades immersion.220px-Venomblackmetal

Both were power trios featuring a bassist lead singer, growling over fast fretwork & frantic drumming.

Each opened with a terrific, urgent title track and each opener ended abruptly (and terrifically).

Now I can’t say I relate to 100% of the lyrics on either, nor have I led any Black Metal family sing-alongs (yet) at the dinner table.

Family sing-alongs of Ace of Spades did happen growing up however, or at least the chorus when the card in question was played during a card game!


As I said. metal fans may bristle at the Motörhead/Venom comparison.

After all, Lemmy & friends tend to be classified as ‘speed metal’ and it appears Venom might be more extreme/black/thrash metal.

The wikipedia page on extreme metal is particularly particular regarding genres.  As a visual arts fan I thought, hey, this might make a neat flowchart.  Alas, I found I was exhausted just scrolling through the list.

But as my blogging colleague Bruce sagely reminded me recently, it is the fans & critics that obsess over classifications.  Musicians make music.

Save yourself the exhaustion of trying to figure out what specific categorization of metal Venom produced here.

Stick to enjoying the energizing music instead.

Top 5 ‘Black’ Albums


exemplary artwork by sarca @ caughtmegaming

After a colourful October, time to get back in black: a full month of ‘black’ titled tunes/artists/albums.

Which would make this the first of (at least) three Top 5s. enjoy!


5. Venom, Black Metal (1982)
Recency bias? Points for commitment to the Black theme? Extra credit for METAL?  All of the above.


4. Metallica, Metallica (1991)
Yes, black is not featured in the title. But 4 out of 5 dentists likely call this ‘the black album.’ A similar ratio of accountants could also note that considering the album sales, the band’s 1991 financial statements were certainly ‘in the black.’


3. Public Enemy, Fear of a Black Planet (1990)
My favourite rap album (so far).


2. AC/DC, Back in Black (1980)
\m/, or rather, \m/ \m/.


1.Weezer, Songs From The Black Hole (unreleased/unfinished, recorded 1994-1996)
Perhaps it will be my generation’s Smile, released 38 years late. If so, only about two more decades of waiting to go!



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