Tag Archives: 20 Day Album Challenge

20 Album Challenge – Day 20

Sadly, this is the final day of the 20 Day Album Challenge. I’ll close it out with a double-shot of Roxette – Look Sharp! and Joyride.

Roxette

Both of these were important albums to me in my Navy days. Look Sharp! had come out just before I left for the Navy. I loved “The Look” and bought it on 45. When I finished boot camp in April 1989, and when to my specialty school (‘A’ School for those of you in the know) in San Diego. One of the first things I did was go to the Exchange, head right to the music section, and bought myself a Walkman and a few cassettes. Look Sharp! was one of them. I loved every song, and it really helped me get through school. This was a major change in my life, and I was over 3,000 miles from home. So Roxette took me to a safe place when I needed it. I loved every single they released, which includes (in addition to “The Look”) “Dressed for Success“, “Listen to Your Heart“, “Chances“, and “Dangerous“. I also liked “Sleeping Single” which may have been the B side to “The Look” on the 45 I owned.

Roxette’s follow-up album, Joyride, came out while I was on my way home from Desert Storm. Our first stop on the way home was Singapore. There was a gorgeous mall there. Once again, I headed right to the music section. It happened to be the day that Joyride came out. I hadn’t known that Roxette was coming out with a new album, so it was a pleasant surprise. I also bought Chicago’s brand new Twenty 1. I almost included that album on this list, but decided to stick with the Roxette theme. I listened to both albums over and over.
As much as I loved every song on Look Sharp!, two of my favorite Roxette tunes came off of Joyride – “Fading Like a Flower (Every Time You Leave)” and “Spending My Time“. The title track wasn’t too shabby either.

Marie Fredriksson’s death this past December really hit me hard. I knew she had been battling cancer for years and years. But, it still didn’t lessen the blow. Luckily the music will live on forever. Whenever I feel myself going down, I throw some Roxette in my ears, and I am able to get to a happy place.

Both albums are available on Spotify:

And if you’d like to get either or both albums from Amazon, you can click on the album coves below.

20 Album Challenge – Day 18

The 20 Day Album challenge continues. Today’s pick is the self-titled album, Whitney Houston.

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At a time in my life when I was listening to almost exclusively rock, a force of nature, called Whitney Houston, turned my music-listening upside down. That heart, soul, passion, and my God – that voice! I could not get enough of Whitney’s debut album. She had one smash hit after another off of that album – “You Give Good Love“, “All At Once“, “Saving All My Love For You“, “How Will I Know“, and “The Greatest Love of All“. One of my favorites from the album was “Hold Me“, which was a duet with Teddy Pendergrass. I also remembering Whitney having a guest appearance on the television show Silver Spoons.

This album was not a fluke, as Whitney’s follow-up album, Whitney, was a huge success as well. But, her debut is still my favorite by her. I was really rooting hard for her to make a comeback. She almost did it too. Her final album, 2009’s I Look to You, had some great songs. However, her voice was not quite the same. And you could hear how incredible it would have been if her voice was still there. Unfortunately, Whitney’s demons got the best of her, as she died February 11, 2012.

But, her music will live on forever, and it starts with her debut album.

You can check out the album on Spotify:

And if you’d like to get the album from Amazon, you can click on the album cover below:

20 Album Challenge – Day 16

The 20 Day Album challenge continues. Today’s pick is Heart’s self-titled album from 1985

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Once again, thanks to MTV, I found myself another favorite band who had been around since the 70s. I was blown away when “Never” came on with Ann Wilson’s incredible vocals and Nancy Wilson rocking the guitar. I loved every song that was released off of this album. I just had to own it! Then when I got it, I discovered the songs “If Looks Could Kill“, which led off the album, and “All Eyes“, which was the first song on the second side. I thought they were even better than the songs that were always on MTV and on the radio. I love all of Heart’s music, but this is still my favorite album of theirs. However, my favorite song of theirs was on their next album, Bad Animals. And no, it’s not “Alone” (although it IS up there), but it’s another song that wasn’t released as a single – “You Ain’t So Tough”. As good as Bad Animals is, the album Heart is so great and solid all the way through, and I still love it today.

If you want to Return to the ’80s, check out Heart on Spotify:

https://open.spotify.com/album/0zM8rTVzPoT7SD4ZMds430

And if you’d like to get the album from Amazon, you can click on the album cover below:

20 Album Challenge – Day 15

The 20 Day Album challenge continues. Today’s pick is Sports by Huey Lewis and the News.

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In my early teen years, I had a very limited collection of albums/tapes. Sports was one of the few that I owned, and I loved it. Not long after I got cable and was pretty much glued to MTV, “Heart and Soul” was released. I thought the song and the video was great, and different from a lot of the other music that was playing. It was followed by “I Want a New Drug”, then “The Heart of Rock & Roll”. I’m thinking I got this at Easter time in 1984, which was the end of my junior high school years. Of course the hits were great. But, they did get overplayed. However, my three favorite songs on the album were not big hits,and they were all on the second side of the tape. They were “Walking on a Thin Line”, “Finally Found a Home”, and “You Crack Me Up”.

Now that decades have passed, I am loving the big hits from that album again. While I am talking about Huey Lewis and the News, I need to mention that they have just released a brand new album, Weather. It is their first studio album of original material in 19 years, and it is incredible! They sound just as good as they do on Sports, and every single song is awesome. I highly recommend you checking this out.

If you want to Return to the ’80s, check out Sports on Spotify:

Then check out their brand new album, Weather:

And if you’d like to get the albums from Amazon, you can click on the album covers below:

20 Album Challenge – Day 14

The 20 Day Album challenge continues. Today’s pick is Invisible Touch by Genesis.

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Invisible Touch was one of my favorite albums of the 80s. It came out in a good time of my life and it brings back great memories. It came out in my junior year of high school. I was actually doing pretty decent in school at this point, and my social life was starting to pick up. I remember listening to this album on the bus going to and from our indoor track meets that winter. Every song is awesome and puts me in a good mood. The title track is so much fun. “Land of Confusion” had a great video, and it is as relevant today as it was back then. “In Too Deep” is such a beautiful ballad. Phil Collins pretty much owned the 80s. He was on the radio and on MTV at least once every hour – whether it was his solo work, or with Genesis. I feel like this was the peak of Genesis and also the peak of the ’80s.

Here is the album on Spotify:

And if you’d like to get the album from Amazon, you can click on the album cover below:

20 Album Challenge – Day 13

The 20 Day Album challenge continues. Today’s pick is the Rocky IV Soundtrack

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Rocky IV epitomized over-the-top 80s cheesiness (as did all mid-80s Sly Stallone movies). The movie was fun. But, perhaps my favorite part of the movie was the soundtrack. I had never run to music before this soundtrack. While running during the summer, I would throw this tape in my Walkman and run and have a great workout. From Survivor’s “Burning Heart” and once again “Eye of the Tiger“, to Rhode Island’s own John Cafferty belting out “Heart’s on Fire“, to Robert Tepper’s “No Easy Way Out” and “The Sweetest Victory“, there was no stopping me! If it was good enough for Rocky, it was good enough for me! And if that wasn’t enough, the James Brown classic “Living in America” is featured as well as the duet “Double or Nothing” by legends Kenny Loggins and Gladys Knight. Even the instrumentals by Vince DiCola were great. One was called “War“, and the other is literally called “Training Montage“. If you can’t train to that song, what’s the point?

Here is the album on Spotify:

And if you’d like to get the album from Amazon, you can click on the album cover below:

20 Album Challenge – Day 12

The 20 Day Album challenge continues. My pick for Day 12 is Contact by The Pointer Sisters.

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While “Jump (For My Love)” and “I’m So Excited” got all the attention for The Pointer Sisters, my favorite song by them was “Dare Me” from this album. It really pumped me up before Cross Country meets, and it always put me in a good mood when I needed it. This is another album that is very solid. I love every song on it. In addition to “Dare Me“, I fell in love with “Back In My Arms.”

The Pointer Sisters will forever hold a place in my heart. While serving on a Naval hospital during the Gulf War (Desert Shield/Desert Storm), the Pointers came on our ship at Christmas time, and headlined a show as part of the Bob Hope tour. All the female performers from that year’s special put on the show. Ann Jillian was the host, and other performers included Marie Osmond and Khrystyne Haje (Head of the Class). All of those performers will always have my love and respect. And it may be nos surprise, but the Pointer Sisters’ playlist included “Jump (For My Love”), “Dare Me”, and “I’m So Excited.” I will never forget it.

I cannot recommend this Contact album enough. You can check it out on Spotify:

And if you’d like to get the album from Amazon, you can click on the album cover below:

20 Album Challenge – Day 11

The 20 Day Album challenge continues. Today’s pick is Shout At the Devil by Mötley Crüe.

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Thanks to MTV, Shout at the Devil was my introduction to Mötley Crüe. The music rocked, and was different from anything else that was out there. Unlike the Theatre of Pain and Girls, Girls, Girls albums that followed, every song on Shout at the Devil was great.

After this album came out, my mom was buying me a new tape. She asked if I wanted this one or Van Halen’s 1984. “Jump” was all the rage at the time, so I think she was hoping I would go for that one. But, I went with Shout at the Devil. I loved the way “In the Beginning” started off the album and went into “Shout At the Devil”. At the time I got this album, the only songs I knew were the title track and “Looks That Kill”. I ended up loving every song on here. This was also my introduction to “Helter Skelter,” which I fell in love with. My parents didn’t own any Beatles album post Rubber Soul, and the only Beatles songs that played on rock radio were “Come Together” and “Get Back.” I also loved “Red Hot” and “Too Young to Fall in Love.” And just as “Love’s a Bitch” made me feel baddass that I had an album with a swear in the title with Quiet Riot, I felt the same with “Bastard” on this one. I still love this album, and would be in the running for a desert island pick.

Here is the album on Spotify:

And if you’d like to get the album from Amazon, you can click on the album cover below:

20 Album Challenge – Day 10

The 20 Day Album challenge continues. Today’s pick is Queen’s Greatest Hits.

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After Star Wars came out in 1977, and changed my life, sci-fi and fantasy movies became all the rage, capitalizing on the Star Wars success. One of these movies was 1980s Flash Gordon. One of the greatest things about that movie was the theme song. It was my introduction to Queen, and I was obsessed with that song. Not long after that, “Another One Bites the Dust” was released, and I became a Queen fan for life. At the time, the only songs I knew other than those two were “We Are the Champions” and “We Will Rock You“. Those songs alone were worth getting the Greatest Hits album. The first song on the first side was “Bohemian Rhapsody.” It was my first time hearing that song since the radio stations in the U.S. never played it. Within one second of hearing the song, “Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?”, I was blown away, and my music world was turned upside down! And then we get to the opera portion of the song, which was insane! And then Brian May’s guitar blowing off the roof! There didn’t need to be another song on there! But, man am I glad there was! I loved “Fat Bottomed Girls” and “Bicycle Race.” And I was once again blown away. This time it was by “Now I’m Here“. If you listen to the song on headphones, you hear Freddie sing “Now I’m here” in one headphone, then you hear him sing “Now I’m there” in the other headphone. You can do that?! Queen was now my favorite band. And move over Steve Perry (but not too far over), Freddie was, and still is, my all-time favorite singer. And this was the first full album that started it all for me.

Here is the album on Spotify:

And if you’d like to get the album from Amazon, you can click on the album cover below:

20 Album Challenge – Day 9

The 20 Day Album challenge continues. Today’s pick is ZZ Top’s Eliminator.

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There were several artists who had been around since the 1970s who I did not discover until the early to mid ’80s (Thank you MTV!). Along with David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen, ZZ Top is one of those bands to me. Of course most of us remember the iconic trilogy of videos – “Gimme All Your Lovin’“, “Sharp Dressed Man” and “Legs“. However, the entire album is awesome. “Got Me Under Pressure” is a solid track. And while the “trilogy” gets all the music video attention, I absolutely loved the video for “TV Dinners,” which is also a great song. And my favorite underrated track on the album is “Thug“.

While I love the follow-up album, Afterburner, the Eliminator album helped shape my taste in rock music, and kept me glued to MTV. And while I was bored in class in high school, I loved drawing the ZZ Top logo on my book covers and notebooks.

Here is Eliminator on Spotify:

And if you’d like to get this album on Amazon, you can click on the album cover below: