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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Lost Classics – Volume 1
Friday, October 23, 2009

The other day I was having a conversation with a buddy of mine about how most of the albums we love get little to no recognition. I wanted to fix that. You can find reviews of new albums pretty much anywhere on the net, but where, I thought to myself, can you find some good information about albums that have been circulating for years, in some cases over a decade, that are worth seeking out and picking up? I deemed these albums Lost Classics, as they would be considered classics if enough people owned them, but for now they’re “lost” in the sea of CDs at your local record store (OK, amazon.com). Today I’m starting a new monthly column here at Adam’s World to highlight some of these Lost Classics. Hopefully it will spread the word that there are a lot of fantastic albums out there worth picking up if people are willing to do a little digging. I’m kicking things off with Bluezeum’s Portrait of a Groove and The Cardigans’ Gran Turismo.

Artist - Bluezeum
Album - Portrait of a Groove
Label – Telarc
Year – 1996

Vibe – A perfect melding of jazz and spoken word.

I became hooked on Bluezeum after seeing the video for their upbeat “Can I Get That Funk” on BET. I only saw the video once, but it stuck in my head. It was smooth and funky all at once and I was immediately drawn to it. I had never heard a mix rhyming, spoken word, and singing quite like it and I wanted to hear more. The only thing I could say it even vaguely reminded me of was Us3 (whom I also love). I never saw the video on TV again and it took me forever to find the CD. When I was finally able to hear the album in full it was a real wow moment. Everything from the music, to the lyrics, to the tone of Adwin Brown and Vann Johnson’s vocals, to the flow of it all - Portrait of a Groove amazed me.

It’s funny, because from the lead single I thought I was getting a big, funky, album, but it turned out to be a much smoother listening experience and I ended up digging it even more. I’d say this album could be used on a date, but don’t waste Portrait of a Groove on just anyone, because if you’re anything like me you’ll get mad if someone says “I don’t get this, put on some {insert current crappy R&B artist here}.” There’s a true sensuality to this album, so save it for an educated date. You’ll be glad you did.

Artist – The Cardigans
Album – Gran Turismo
Label – Stockholm Records
Year – 1998

Vibe – Abba on depressants. A great anti-love album.

On the first track of Gran Turismo Nina Persson croons that love is “where your sanity ends,” adding that it’s “the sweetest way to die,” and those are some of the nicest things said about the emotion of love on the album. Most people know The Cardigans as the band that had the lovey-dovey 90’s hit “Lovefool,” but Gran Turismo, which seems to be a total anomaly in the group’s catalogue, is a complete 180 from that playful pop vibe. Hence lyrics like “do you really think / that love is gonna save the world? / well, I don’t think so” (from the song "Do You Believe"). Dark, foreboding, and with haunting vocals and lyrics, Gran Turismo is incredibly unique and, in my opinion, one of the best albums of the 90’s.

It didn’t take more than one listen to the lead single, “My Favourite Game,” to know this was going to be something different (many may remember the song being in the game Gran Turismo 2). The majority of the album features similar emotions, but a more slowed down vibe. Adding to the uniqueness of the album are Persson’s incredible vocals, which she uses to perfection. My only disappointment regarding Gran Turismo is that The Cardigans went back to doing lovey-dovey pop music right afterwards and have been continuing to do it ever since. It’s almost as though they made Gran Turismo as a one time thing for a select set of music lovers, which, in all actuality, kind of makes it even cooler. Consider it a great secret you’ve just been let in on.

Those are my two to check out for this month. I'll be back next month with two more "lost" albums that deserve to be found.

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posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:17 AM  
  • At 9:12 PM, Blogger lucky said…

    I cant find video of "Dreatime" from this album. Anyone?

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