Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Vinyl Vednesday 7/14/2010

[Vinyl Vednesday is a weekly feature about three favorite vinyl finds. It’s not meant to be a dick-measuring contest, but it usually turns out that way. E-mail with your own big finds!]

Records: Pat Benatar’s In the Heat of the Night (1979) on black, Generation X’s Generation X (1978) on black, and Pretenders’ Pretenders (1980) on black.

Place of Purchase: I purchased my entire Benatar collection for a quarter at a defunct thrift store in East Norriton, Pa., while my (still incomplete) Generation X collection hails from Repo Records in Philadelphia. I’m not sure, but I think Pretenders came from either Siren Records or the Philadelphia Record Exchange.

Thoughts: While it’s often a fruitless hassle, digging for vinyl at thrift stores can be the most rewarding place to search, if only because of the cheap prices. Yeah, the quality isn’t always good, there’s usually a metric shit-ton of Christmas LPs to dig through, and my finds are generally limited to big names, but every so often the searching pays off. Such was the case when I decided to buy three Pat Benatar albums for $0.25. In the Heat of the Night, Benatar’s first album, remains my favorite. Benatar has a huge voice, but she was never skilled as a lyricist, as her weird sci-fi contribution “My Clone Sleeps Alone” attests. Ah, but she kicks ass on Geoff Gill and Clint Wade’s “Heartbreaker.” Benatar’s voice is suited for a lot of different styles, as the hard rock of “Heartbreaker” segues into the pop rock of “I Need a Lover.” The ambient “We Live For Love” is a guilty pleasure of mine, even though I know that I would love it just as much if someone like M83 dropped an identical song.

Generation X was an impulse buy, and a drunk one at that. My girlfriend and I stumbled into Repo one night, blitzed and not quite ready to drive. Within minutes I had about $100 worth of records stacked by the register. While I was waiting for Michelle to check out, I racked up another $80, this time including Generation X. I knew of the band thanks to frontman Billy Idol (His hit “Dancing With Myself” was originally on the last Gen-X album) and had read complimentary things about this pop-punk act. Also I was drunk. The record veers more towards the pop spectrum than The Sex Pistols ever did, thankfully. In fact, it opens with a cover of John Lennon’s “Gimme Some Truth.” While some of the songs are a little pandering (Although “One Hundred Punks” is a better up the punx anthem than anything The Casualties ever did), it’s still an excellent slab of pop-punk.

No offense, but Pretenders remains the best album Chrissie Hynde ever made. The track listing includes “Precious,” “Tattoed Love Boys” and “Brass in Pocket.” C’mon! Those songs are the greatest! The playing is fantastic, but it’s Hynde’s pissy indifference that sells it. When she sings “Baby I’m precious / Fuck off” on “Precious,” I believe her, but then she’s all types of vulnerable in trying to pick up a customer at the restaurant she works at on “Brass in Pocket.” This one is super catchy and emotional and just generally well-made.

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