For this issue, I have featured four of my favorite albums that featured complex music.
David Bowie – David Bowie (1967) (“Uncle Arthur”)
I first heard the music of David Bowie in the ’70s via the records of an older cousin of mine, who used to play the album Space Oddity, which was also my introduction to the music of the late artist. However, when I finally got to listen to the entire discography of the proficient and prolific Bowie, I fell in love more deeply with his self-titled debut album of 1967. I used to think that The Beatles Sgt. Peppers’ Lonely Hearts Club Band, released in the same year, was one of its kind…until I discovered this album.
Since then, …Peppers… became only second to David Bowie. Sorry, Paul, John, George, and Ringo. David’s star was brighter and more cryptic and eccentric, at least to me; and that is how I like my music. In his debut, Bowie was definitely in Baroque Pop, Vaudeville, and Art Rock combo mode—some of the roots of New Wave. Yeah!
Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Brain Salad Surgery (1973) (“Karn Evil 9”)
Hands down, Emerson, Lake & Palmer was one of the pillars of Progressive Rock music, and this masterpiece remains my number-one pick from the English band’s entire discography. The half-hour-long “Karn Evil 9” is simply majestic! Who else could listen to that in bliss?
a-ha – Hunting High and Low (1985) (“Love Is Reason”)
Norway’s best gift to New Wave Pop music lovers, and album number-one captured the youthful vibrancy of my early teen years. From “Take on Me” to “Here I Stand and Face the Rain,” my first delight will always stay the same! Besides, this album reminds me of one of my early-highschool girlfriends, JS.
Jose Mari Chan – Constant Change (1989) (“Beautiful Girl”)
To many Rock-loving music enthusiasts, Pop is such a dirty word. Really? Hypocrites! What’s wrong with Pop? I drink it every day! I listen to it without shame! Why should I be embarrassed? Pop is what makes music so palatable–but inedible to purists. Well, unlucky them! Gladly, I am not a purist. Instead, I am a completist (or, at least trying to be). I love any kind of music. This album by the Filipino singer-songwriter Jose Mari Chan tops my list of Philippine Pop—Filipino balladry at its best! Twee Pop almost, owing to Chan’s jimmy-jimmy, lightning-seedy voice. Guilty pleasure? Of course not! I don’t feel guilty for the things that I love.
These are just some of my favorite albums that feature complex music. I will tackle some more of worthy albums to check out in future installments to this series. Music knows no boundaries! It is the language of the soul, or the heart and mind for that matter.