Syd Barrett – An Introduction

By John Short

Syd Barrett’s solo career has always weirded me out a little bit. Don’t get me wrong there’s some fantastic stuff there, but on the whole there’s just something about these albums that makes me deeply uncomfortable. I suspect most of this is simply a gut reaction to the cult that rose up around Syd in the decades following his retirement from music in 1972, which i have always found a disgusting romanticization of the suffering of a deeply talented, but troubled and sick man whose life was essentially ruined by a terrible disease. Because of this, i’ve always grappled between my enjoyment of Syd’s two completed solo albums and the feeling that there is something deeply voyeuristic and invasive about them. Ultimately, if you want to be a fan of Syd Barrett, you should listen to Piper at the Gates of Dawn, when he was healthy and in his right mind, rather than the sad little footnotes that his solo albums are when placed next to that 1967 masterwork.

With that said, Barrett’s solo career is endlessly fascinating to me, and always has been. While Syd was quite damaged mentally by the time he began his solo career, he was still remarkably talented and neither Madcap Laughs nor Barrett are anywhere near as unlistenable as common wisdom would have you believe. Several of the singles from these albums could probably have been hits if they had been arranged differently or promoted more effectively, and it’s easy to see how these records amassed the cult following they enjoy to this day. I’ll end this intro with the warning that although both Barrett solo albums were released in the same year, they are as different as night and day, and enjoying one is no guarantee that you will like the other. Syd’s solo records frequently make for a depressing and sometimes unsettling listen, but in spite (or perhaps because) of this, he has probably the best solo career of any of the members of Pink Floyd, and at the end of the day I have to respect that.

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2017 Discography Review Challenge: FRANK ZAPPA- Introduction

Written by: Thing-Fish

Hey, you’re probably wondering why I’m here. Well, due to a mixture of boredom and a desire to prove myself as a writer, I’ve decided (in a frankly perverse decision) to review the entire catalogue of Frank Vincent Alonso Zappa. But who is Frank Zappa?

Frank Zappa is a composer, conductor, guitar player, satirist and cultural icon, who in his lifetime produced over fifty albums in various styles, ranging from doo wop to modern classical. Frank Zappa is commonly thought of as something of an acquired taste, which means that a lot of what he produced over the years sounds like absolute shit and/or baffling noodling on first listen. And indeed for some of his catalogue I’m sure this feeling will continue over subsequent listens as well. I own about half a dozen of his albums but I still don’t think I’ve got a full grasp of his style. This will by nessescity mean that this review series will be more of a ‘first impressions’ kind of deal than a in depth musicological analysis. By the end of this journey I may indeed hate the majority of the catalogue or I may love it. But hey, its the journey not the end result that is important. Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself . 

I’ll try and keep these reviews reasonably concise and give you an idea of what each of these album’s actually sounds like behind the lurid and often grotesque covers. I’ll try to vary the style of the reviews on occasion so you don’t all get incredibly bored. So lets go back to where it all started….

HELLO AND WELCOME!!!

Welcome to Our Reviews, a collective blog created by a group of music fans that were inspired by the famous music critic George Starostin (only-solitaire.blogspot.com) and decided to write their own reviews, mostly of obscure and little-known music albums. Basically we assign albums to each other to review as part of a game but it looks like it started to grow into something bigger, as we thought the actual reviews were pretty good and decided to present them here for music lovers’ enjoyment.

So enjoy our reviews, have fun and feel free to comment!