John Spencer Blues Explosion – Orange

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I've been totally obsessed with the Baby Driver soundtrack since I saw the movie. Since I can't get over how good it is enough to start listening to new stuff, I decided I'd try something else: listen to the albums each of the songs were originally on. This is not a perfect plan, as you'll soon see, but it's not the worst idea I've ever had.

The first song on the soundtrack is also the first track on this album: Bellbottoms. It's a great way to start (an album or a movie). There are some other pretty good tracks after it, but it is pretty much all downhill. One thing I didn't realize until way too late is that the iTunes version of this album is about 3 times the actual running length and is overall much worse quality than the original 13 tracks. The bonus stuff suffers even more from what I didn't like about this album: it's intentionally lo-fi in a lot of places. Somewhere I saw this band described as Blues/Punk, which I didn't think could even be a thing until listening to this record. If I had to guess the intentional lo-fi stuff is to further emphasize the "punk," but I found it to be distracting. Particularly Flavor, which features Beck. It sounds like Beck literally phoned it in; either because he did, or because they added some filter that makes it sound like he's singing through the phone. There are some really good riffs in many of these songs, but they can't seem to get out of their own way a lot of the time. Cowboy is another good example. The song's not bad, but it's sung in this over the top fake southern drawl that takes away from the song much more than it adds to it.

I suspect that most of this experiment will be discovering that the best songs on the album were the ones that made the soundtrack. It's certainly the case for Bellbottoms and Orange. We'll see how the rest goes.

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