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1,000 WORDS (2nd attempt): DAY 81: Listening to Musicians’ Full Discographies.

I have a few different methods for listening to music which I use at different times in order to have different experiences. I really do love to listen to all kinds of music, or at least most, so what I do is try to listen the the greatest artists from each genre, in order to save everything into one library which I usually play on shuffle. The result is that it delivers a diversity of unique sounds of all kinds, always switching and bringing me something unpredictable. I usually blaze a nice joint which is sure to last for a while when I let my library go on shuffle. This way, I get to randomly listen through some of my favorite songs, as well as listen to songs which I might have only heard once and liked and saved onto my library, which helps to become more familiar with these songs, to turn them into new favorite songs as time passes. I used to just listen to the classic albums of each genre, but having already finished listening to pretty much all of them quite a while back, I decided to listen to some of my favorite artists’ full discographies. One of the first hip-hop discographies I listened through fully was none other than Nasty Nas’. He’s always been one of my top three favorite rappers, without a doubt, all the way from his debut classic ‘Illmatic’ all the way to the recent ‘Life Is Good’ or ‘Nasir.’ What I like most about Nas’ music is that he never fails to drop some knowledge or even wisdom in his lyrics, and always mentions certain experiences or ideas in a truthful light, without looking to glamorize a certain lifestyle. I have a one-eyed pyramid tattoo on my left arm with a Nas quote under it: “In the land of the blind the man with one eye is king.” I think that in a sad way it accurately describes society. Moving on to a different genre, one of the longest discographies I’ve completed to date has been that of Van the Man, or Van Morrison. I listened to something like forty studio albums during the course of a few months, finishing yesterday with ‘You’re Driving Me Crazy’ and ‘The Prophet Speaks.’ The jazzy saxophone vibes and smooth vocals, especially on the latter, really went great with the good kush I was blazing with my buddy Danny. Van always delivered something new with each album, a new style and sound, but always fresh. What I do is that, I have maybe about four or five artists whose discography I’m listening to at any given time, and whenever one is completed its spot is replaced with a band that has a somewhat similar style or sound, and which I’ve probably been wanting to check out for quite a while. Since I heard the last two Morrison albums yesterday, I started with Bob Dylan’s first two today, along with the Stones’ ’12 x 5.’ I just started listening to the Rolling Stones’ discography about a week ago, after a long Grateful Dead binge that lasted a long time, maybe as long or even longer than Van Morrison did. On the newer side of rap I’ve heard Drake’s full discography, seeing as he’s so popular he’s gotta be doing something right. He’s definitely got an original sound, and although it’s not my main style of rap I can’t say I didn’t enjoy most of his albums. I’ve also heard Eminem completely. He’s always been one of my top three rappers along with Nas and Pac, but his last few albums don’t even come close to his old albums in any way. I can’t blame him, knowing how complicated his life has been, but we can’t deny the facts, it’s just not the same intensity or genius at all. I had already listened to all of Slim’s discography, of course, but I re-listened to every album again, and extremely enjoyed the old classics as always. When it came time to finally hear his new latest albums, which were the only ones I hadn’t heard yet, I was a bit disappointed, although there were some great songs still. If I remember correctly, the first ones I started with were Nas and Eminem, as well as Pink Floyd and The Beatles, my two favorite bands. Just like with Eminem’ music, I had pretty much listened to both of these amazing bands’ music, but I went through the discographies in chronological order once again, enjoying every second for sure. From Floyd and The Beatles I moved on to Led Zeppelin and was blown away. I was familiar with about two or three of their albums, but i discovered that I had been sleeping on some other amazing records for so long. I loved all of their albums if I’m not mistaken. Led Zeppelin IV has always been one of my favorite albums, both ‘Stairway to Heaven’ and ‘Going to California’ being two of my favorite songs. Led Zeppelin led to The Grateful Dead, as I mentioned. I can’t believe I hadn’t listened through their albums before, especially being so into psychedelics and the whole culture surrounding them. I have no clue why I hadn’t checked out the Dead before, but now a song by them is sure to come on whenever I shuffle my library, even though the list is a few thousand songs long. I enjoyed all of their albums, and listened to the main live ones along with the studio ones. My favorite of all was probably Skull and Roses, and I love its skeleton cover art. I know I haven’t mentioned many, or any, women up to this point, but I do love some food female singing for sure. My favorites are Sade, Norah Jones and Lana Del Rey, and I’ve heard all their albums so far. I’m hooked on the chill sound that they all incorporate into their music, but I have to find a new female musician’s albums to listen to now, I’m just not sure who it could be.

To be continued tomorrow, on Day 81.

~ Rebel Spirit

‘AFRICAN HERBSMAN’ by Bob Marley and The Wailers.

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AFRICAN HERBSMAN, by Bob Marley and The Wailers

Released in 1973, ‘African Herbsman’ is a must-listen for anyone looking to take a moment to relax with some great music, and although this is a compilation album it never loses the warm feeling it carries throughout. The reason why the songs flow so well together could also be since the compilation is made up mostly of songs from ‘Soul Revolution’, an earlier Jamaican release from two years earlier. The album also includes a few singles, like the opening classic ‘Lively Up Yourself’ and the beautifully melodic track ‘Small Axe.’ From an upbeat beginning the album mellows out more and more with each track, yet never loses its energy, you can hear it in Bob’s voice. The songs which I personally love the most on this album are ‘African Herbsman’ and ‘Keep On Moving’, the latter being such and inspirational song, yet keeping chill as if to say everything will be alright in the end. Bob Marley really knew how to get his message across through his music, as well as the mood he transmits through it even after his passing. The rough vocals on ‘African Herbsman’, the title track, really add to the rawness of the singing and the pure talent, the beauty of the song. Although it can be appreciated by anyone and everyone under any conditions, I just gotta say that if you enjoy the ganja as much as I do, you then you have to hear this if you haven’t yet. From the title track, to the weed song ‘Kaya’, to the super relaxing and uplifting ‘Sun Is Shining.’ Other Bob Marley albums have beautiful songs, don’t get me wrong, but this one really carries a completely chill vibe throughout. I have so many great memories blazing to most of these songs, so this album is one of my favorites, without a doubt. A message to all, check it out if you haven’t!

“The Division Bell” (1994) by Pink Floyd.

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Album: The Division Bell
Artist: Pink Floyd
Released: March 28, 1994
Length: 66:23

The Division Bell is Pink Floyd’s fourteenth album, an underrated and overlooked masterpiece hidden in plain sight – or sound, to be technically correct. One of my favorite albums of any genre, this album is quite simply masterfully crafted, bringing together the chill, transcendental, psychedelic sound Pink Floyd is best known for, and the intense excitement of David Gilmour’s soulful guitar riffs, which give me goosebumps to this day to be honest, even after listening to the album countless times from beginning to end over many years. This classic was released on March 28th, 1994, almost exactly eight months before my birth. I think of this album as a comforting friend, providing a chill and relaxed atmosphere to zone into whenever I need a minute to breathe or think, or to simply be. It sure reminds me of many memories, mostly relaxed and peaceful, reflective ones.

I remember I would often lay down in bed, face up, hands behind my head, after a tired day’s work, The Division Bell slowly beginning to play on the speakers, starting with the soft, soothing piano sounds of the intro track ‘Cluster One’, easing my mind into an almost hypnotic, half awake, half asleep state, a sensation so similar to the beginning of a vivid lucid dream. The guitar which emerges so gracefully from the background creates a chill as I begin to drift. I concentrate on the music until I wake up, not knowing the exact point I fully fell asleep. I usually wake up some hours later feeling delightfully and surprisingly refreshed. Talk about therapeutic music. ‘The Division Bell’ as a title is a reference to the bell which is rung in the British parliament when a vote is announced, and this symbolizes that the album has to do with the choices we make and the decisions which dictate the rest our lives.

After ‘Cluster One’, the introductory track, the album seems to abruptly change into a menacing, fiery tone on ‘What Do You Want from Me?’, the most upbeat and hard track on the album – lively, exciting, energetic, electric. ‘Poles Apart’ brings about a trippy, nostalgic feeling, as it should have, considering that it is written in reference to former bandmates Syd Barrett and Roger Waters. ‘Marooned’ is simply breathtakingly beautiful, and it must be listened to without any distractions around in order to fully appreciate the calmness it creates, especially being fully instrumental and melodic. ‘A Great Day for Freedom’ is great as well, ‘Wearing the Inside Out’ even greater, extremely euphoric is how I would explain it. ‘Take It Back’ and ‘Coming Back to Life’ are lively, catchy tracks, the latter starting out calmly with a sharp electric guitar cry, piercing through the serene silence. Then it progresses into something extraordinary, a truly pleasant experience.

‘Keep Talking’ is just epic, and carries a deep, meaningful message within its lyrics, while ‘Lost for Words’ is also a deep, progressive track but with a different feel, also really great. ‘High Hopes’ is the longest track on the album, the most progressive, gradually building up to perfection, beginning with the little tinkle of bells which echo in a melodic, mysterious tone. The album ends as an epic ensemble of instruments truly fit to be the finishing track for this fantastic album. In conclusion, The Division Bell is an overall masterpiece of classic rock, and a definite must-listen for any Pink Floyd fan, and for anyone who appreciates great music in general for that matter.

Enjoy this great album, let me know if take you listen!

~ REBEL SPIRIT ~