Little Thoughts is a brand-new monthly guest post series where music fans and writers cover three albums, new or old, that they think deserve to be heard. The series itself is named after a Bloc Party song. Although the series was absent over the summer, we return this month featuring CJ Leet. CJ and I went to school together, and although she’s three years younger than I am, she runs her own music blog called The Album Wall. I always seem to find something new to love on her site, especially in her monthly playlists. Once you’re done reading this, go check it out!
My name is CJ Leet, and I like music. I like music a lot. In the limited years I have been on this planet, I have spent most of them learning about and listening to all kinds of genres and artists.
During my early childhood, my mother influenced my music taste. She made me playlists and put them on my iPod Nano that I listened to on the bus coming home from school every day. To say that she has a small effect on my love for music is an understatement. Michael Jackson, Paul Simon, and Billy Joel were some of her favorites. As I got older and more interested in discovering my own taste, we began to talk about all kinds of music. I learned about bands that she had learned to love over time, and that helped me branch out into other realms of music. I wasn’t just listening to classic pop anymore, so she showed me bands like U2, Led Zeppelin and the Doors. I would say, without a doubt, our shared love of music has brought us closer than I could imagine.
Even though I give a lot of credit to my mother, I have to mention my dad. Every day on the way to school, Dad would play music for me and my older sister. When we were little, it started with things that little kids would take to. Bands like ELO, The Shins and Queen were just three of our favorites. Again, as I got older, I started to play music that I was listening to, which lead to a lot of discussions with my dad because they were bands that he listened to as well. Even though we still listen to ELO and Queen, we have added bands like The Police, The Cure, and The Smiths to our rotation.
Moral of the story: even if you think your parents are lame, give them a shot when it comes to music. For me, it completely changed the way I discover and listen to music.
The Psychedelic Furs – Mirror Moves (1984)
Ah, yes, 1984. A golden time for music. Not all of it good, but there are definitely some albums that stand the test of time. This is one. The Psychedelic Furs’ fourth studio album is in the genre of 80’s college radio/New Wave, which is one of my favorite genres. However, when people talk about New Wave, they seem to pass over this band. Even though the Psychedelic Furs had hits when they were still making music, they seemed to fade from people’s focus over the years. This album was made after the drummer left, and it had some great hits in America and Britain. The single released in Europe, called “Heaven”, wasn’t released in the United States, but the band released “Here Come Cowboys” instead, which got airtime on MTV.
I love this album because of its distinctive sound. Even though they have some songs made for the radio, some others on the album are experimental and unique. The lead singer, Richard Butler, has the thickest accent and oddest tone, which is not traditional in radio pop. The bass is often a prominent feature in the songs, which is always a plus for me. The drums have such a distinct tone to the New Wave scene, and the electric keyboard is my favorite distinguisher of this band. They managed to take some common characteristics of bad 80’s pop and the punk scene, which included bands like The Clash and Joy Division and made an irresistible hybrid.
Favorites: “My Time”, “The Ghost in You”, and “Highwire Days”
Lunar Vacation – Artificial Flavors (2018)
Lunar Vacation is an up-and-coming indie band based in Atlanta, Georgia. As a young, aspiring musician, I love to discover bands with members my age making their own music. When I found this band, they only had their first EP out and one single, and not on any common streaming services. I loved the sound of their first EP, Swell, but this one really stands out to me. The singer really drew me to this band. Grace Repasky, the rhythm guitarist and singer, makes this band stand out from a lot of common indie bands. She has a voice that could easily be heard in the Top 50 pop genre, but she adds a beautiful tone to the beachy sound of Lunar Vacation.
The sound of this EP is a little different than the first, mostly because they include more synths and techno sounds than they did in Swell. Between the two EPs, the band picked up a new member, which also changed the sound. I listen to this when I’m on vacation and when I am with friends or with people that I don’t know too well. Why? This band is an all-around crowd pleaser, mostly because the sound is accessible, but not in a Top 50 kind of way.
Favorites: “Too Late, Colin” and “Daytime”
Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin I (1969)
I know what you’re thinking. Yes, I really did just pick arguably the most well-known band of all time to argue that they need to be heard more. However, Led Zeppelin I is an album that most people my age (around 15 years old, in case you’re wondering) seem to pass over when talking about the band. Led Zeppelin formed just a short time before recording this first album and only spent 36 hours recording in total. To put that in perspective, it usually took two weeks to record an entire album in the ‘60s.
Though Zeppelin 2 and 4 are iconic pieces in musical history, this album stuck out to me from the first time I heard it. The first time my mother played “Dazed and Confused” for me in the car, we listened to it on full volume. I found myself completely submitting to the sound, letting it be the only thing occupying my mind and resonating through my whole body. At that time, I had never heard anything like it before. Up to that point, I had been listening to a lot of Sara Bareilles and Cayucas, so the sound that Zeppelin produced on this album was a complete shock to me. Personally, this is my favorite album of theirs. I’m not quite sure if it is because of the gritty, bluesy sounds or because it was the first one I heard, but I know that Led Zeppelin I deserves to be heard.
Favorites: “You Shook Me”, “Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You”, and “How Many More Times”