Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Listen Or Die? #8 - The "Chirping" Crickets...

Listen Or Die? Our weekly examination of the albums listed in the book, 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Must you hear them? We'll be the judge of that...

by The Crickets (1957)
Running Time: 25:59

1. Oh Boy!
2. Not Fade Away
3. You've Got Love
4. Maybe Baby
5. It's Too Late
6. Tell Me How
7. That'll Be The Day
8. I'm Looking For Someone To Love
9. An Empty Cup (And A Broken Date)
10. Send Me Some Lovin'
11. Last Night
12. Rock Me My Baby

And on this day, we find ourselves still trapped in the 1950s listening to Buddy Holly's very first album, The "Chirping" Crickets. Yes, he was in a band called The Crickets, a four-piece precursor to the far superior Beatles. Now I'm not that big of a Holly fan, but I (sort of) get why people dig him. Dude had those massive nerd glasses and was a snappy dresser. Hipsters of today essentially worship at his alter. The terrible nature of his death and short yet memorable tenure in the public eye provided him with a certain mystique that still leaves certain music critic's wetting their pants at the thought of placing him disgustingly high on whatever list they can. In 2004, Rolling Stone decided Holly was the 13th greatest artist of all time, ahead of icons like Michael Jackson (#35) and Madonna (#36); artists with successful careers that spanned decades. Unfortunately, Madge and Wacko (as a solo act) dominated the 80s and you needed to peak in the 50s and 60s to be considered for a Rolling Stone top 20. Duh. 

The "Chirping" Crickets is lauded as a blueprint for pop-rock and I'm willing to agree, but only if I can compare the evolution of music to that of the mobile phone. I like to think that what we get on this album is akin to one of those old brick Nokia phones; it performs the very basic duties like calling and texting (and that original version of Snake was a lot of fun at the time), but the ringtones are pretty boring and reception is poor. In a couple of years you'll get phones that allow you to browse the internet and come with a built in camera - that's the Rolling Stones and Beatles in the 60s, Fleetwood Mac in the 70s etc. After that will come the smart phone - Prince and Nirvana and Eminem... whatever popular act that delivered jaw-dropping, incredible music. With me? No? Let's press on anyway. There's always going to be something better just around the corner, but there's also going to be a very vocal group that can't be satisfied and will compare everything to the past. The music industry is the same. The "Chirping" Crickets might be the blueprint, but it's for a very basic model and other acts looked at it, decided they could do better and guess what... they did. 

It's only a matter of opinion... but this isn't one of the greatest albums of all time, the only standout ('Last Night') wasn't even written by Holly and the majority of the songs sound like 'Peggy Sue.' Since we're being honest... 'Peggy Sue' sucks. If I was to list one positive, it would be the short running time. Wasting less than half an hour is better than wasting more than half an hour. Always look on the bright side of life, right? Sorry Buddy fans... this one is a great big DIE. And yes, this was all just a convoluted way of saying music is definitely better today than it was in the 50s.

The tally...

DIE - 5 

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