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  #106  
Old 11-09-2019, 09:39 AM
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I consider TUSK the greatest album of all time--three distinct perspectives on romance at their artistic peak aligned, not by the radical soap-opera narrative of RUMOURS, but by the buoying sound of a strings-like harmonizing. It constitutes a total social vision.

But I couldn't bring myself to celebrate its 40th anniversary with a listening session.

They broke my heart, so I don't know how my ears will hear it now.

It may be overtaken in my estimation by Roxy Music's SIREN--the most perfect expression of the most refined (romantic) sensibility of the 20th Century. It's a great album about desire and heartbreak that can be heard without suffering the personal betrayal of heartbreak.
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Last edited by TrueFaith77; 11-09-2019 at 09:42 AM..
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  #107  
Old 11-10-2019, 05:17 PM
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I consider TUSK the greatest album of all time--three distinct perspectives on romance at their artistic peak aligned, not by the radical soap-opera narrative of RUMOURS, but by the buoying sound of a strings-like harmonizing. It constitutes a total social vision.
In formalistic terms, is Tusk completely successful — does it achieve or even exceed all its aesthetic goals? Or does its greatness lie at least in part in its folly: in its excesses, its miscalculations, its exhausting grandeur? (The critics at the time hinted at this by comparing it, as you know, to the Beatles’ fractious 1968 studio album The Beatles.)

To me, the link between form and content in Rumours seems insoluble. There is no loose formalistic thread whose teensy bit of unraveling subverts the album’s content. Even the botched production treatment of “Songbird” doesn’t undercut any of the album’s statements (I say it’s botched because, taken by itself, it sticks out sonically like a sore thumb — it lacks the tight compression of the hermetic studio environment and the Appalachian mountain music alchemy of the multitracking, yet it’s still weirdly and entirely of a piece with the rest of the album).

But in Tusk there’s a distracting tension between the work itself and the maze of incompatibilities feeding our aural, visual, and intellectual sensibilities (most often attributed to the differences among the three writers and their aging voices). Does the album’s greatness as a cultural artifact lie in its boastful display of incommensurates? Tusk feels like a folly — many of rock’s most influential works are glorious follies that push the borders of the art outward. And should “Not That Funny” have been . . . well, funnier?

Say, this is fun!
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  #108  
Old 11-10-2019, 06:02 PM
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  #109  
Old 11-11-2019, 12:12 PM
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That David. He sure do have a way with words, don't he?

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  #110  
Old 11-11-2019, 01:12 PM
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I could have worded it all more clearly, I suppose. But I wanted to engage with John when he said it was the greatest album of all time. It’s not that I agree or disagree but that I want to hear more from John. He’s written some good books!
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  #111  
Old 11-12-2019, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by David View Post
In formalistic terms, is Tusk completely successful — does it achieve or even exceed all its aesthetic goals? Or does its greatness lie at least in part in its folly: in its excesses, its miscalculations, its exhausting grandeur? (The critics at the time hinted at this by comparing it, as you know, to the Beatles’ fractious 1968 studio album The Beatles.)

To me, the link between form and content in Rumours seems insoluble. There is no loose formalistic thread whose teensy bit of unraveling subverts the album’s content. Even the botched production treatment of “Songbird” doesn’t undercut any of the album’s statements (I say it’s botched because, taken by itself, it sticks out sonically like a sore thumb — it lacks the tight compression of the hermetic studio environment and the Appalachian mountain music alchemy of the multitracking, yet it’s still weirdly and entirely of a piece with the rest of the album).

But in Tusk there’s a distracting tension between the work itself and the maze of incompatibilities feeding our aural, visual, and intellectual sensibilities (most often attributed to the differences among the three writers and their aging voices). Does the album’s greatness as a cultural artifact lie in its boastful display of incommensurates? Tusk feels like a folly — many of rock’s most influential works are glorious follies that push the borders of the art outward. And should “Not That Funny” have been . . . well, funnier?

Say, this is fun!
True, dat, as the kids [used to] say.

Rumours achieves a remarkable coherence through synthesis. The various parts come together. And yes, "Songbird" is sonically different from all the rest, but its placement directly after the album's most raucous, bombastic moment feels deliberate...

By contrast, Tusk achieves fragmentation through fragmentation. The various parts are adjacent but not in conversation. The result is one jarring juxtaposition after another, the story of how these five very different people, and specifically the three songwriters DON'T organically fit together. THIS is Tusk's aesthetic goal. The result is fascinating and, oddly, enduring.

Contemporary reviewers noted similarities with the Beatles White Album but were often careful enough to recognize Tusk was lyrically superficial by comparison. On the other hand, the individual writers on the double Beatles album manage to forge a unified sound--one that is grungier, simpler, and spacier than their previous masterwork. With Tusk, you have different sonic approaches: proto-punk bathroom concoctions; Brian Wilson tributes; L.A. studio sophistication worthy of Steely Dan. It's all over the place...And I love it because of this.
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  #112  
Old 11-12-2019, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by aleuzzi View Post
True, dat, as the kids [used to] say.

Rumours achieves a remarkable coherence through synthesis. The various parts come together. And yes, "Songbird" is sonically different from all the rest, but its placement directly after the album's most raucous, bombastic moment feels deliberate...

By contrast, Tusk achieves fragmentation through fragmentation. The various parts are adjacent but not in conversation. The result is one jarring juxtaposition after another, the story of how these five very different people, and specifically the three songwriters DON'T organically fit together. THIS is Tusk's aesthetic goal. The result is fascinating and, oddly, enduring.

Contemporary reviewers noted similarities with the Beatles White Album but were often careful enough to recognize Tusk was lyrically superficial by comparison. On the other hand, the individual writers on the double Beatles album manage to forge a unified sound--one that is grungier, simpler, and spacier than their previous masterwork. With Tusk, you have different sonic approaches: proto-punk bathroom concoctions; Brian Wilson tributes; L.A. studio sophistication worthy of Steely Dan. It's all over the place...And I love it because of this.
Beautifully stated, Tony. “The various parts are adjacent but not in conversation.” Both Robert Hilburn and Noel Coppage thought the fragmentation was a weakness. With a lot of time behind us, it’s not a weakness any more. The idea that even forward-thinking critics considered it so in 1979 illustrates just how powerful the unity of form and content on Rumours really was. The “not fitting together” quality really is the aesthetic goal, as you said. The craze for paring down the album to a single album or rearranging the track list maybe doesn’t see the point? You shouldn’t want to turn Tusk into an album that’s any more palatable to a mass audience or a boardroom full of radio execs. The album is anti-single and anti-radio. If it had sold at Rumours level, a good argument could be made that it had failed at its goal.
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