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Carpe Weekend: 10 great albums, part two

“Powerage” by AC/DC

“Powerage” by AC/DC

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Updated: January 7, 2013 6:05AM



Back in the 1950s and early 1960s, when singles were standard music industry fodder, bands had to limit their creativity to three-minute songs that snared the listener with a hook.

But as more artists explored the full 45 minutes a vinyl record afforded, many discovered they could craft longer songs with overarching themes.

Here are the final five albums in my list of 10 that provide listeners with a completely enjoyable and cohesive musical experience, from the beginning of Side A to the end of Side B.

‘Powerage’

AC/DC has been accused of being musically simplistic and lyrically juvenile ever since it first rose to fame in the early 1970s.

Are the allegations true? You bet, and the band members wear those allegations well on their 1978 classic “Powerage.”

From the surprisingly danceable “Rock ’n’ Roll Damnation” to the infectiously hooky “Gone Shootin’,” “Powerage” packs a powerful and unrelenting punch for its entire 40-minute run.

‘Hip Hug-Her’

Booker T. and the MG’s were the kings of instrumental cool, especially on 1967’s “Hip Hug-Her.”

A band without a vocalist runs the risk of being regulated to background music, but Booker T and the boys fill the void nicely with bouncy keyboards, easy-flowing guitars and head-bobbing beats.

Songs like “Soul Sanction” and the album’s title track will come pouring out of your speakers like warmth from a fireplace.

‘American Thighs’

Chicago’s own Veruca Salt hit the scene in 1994 with its independently released album “American Thighs.”

The band was blessed with talented singer-songwriters Louise Post and Nina Gordon, who spend the length of “American Thighs” trading compositions and harmonizing over a cacophony of delightfully sludgy guitars.

It all works very well, as evidenced by the tracks “All Hail Me,” “Victrola” and the album’s hit single, “Seether.”

‘Second Toughest in the Infants’

Techno and disco both were short-lived fads that modern music snobs point to as low points in the genre’s respective decades.

But to call Underworld’s 1996 outing “Second Toughest in the Infants” throwaway techno is to deny the unmistakable creativity and craftsmanship that went into making it.

From the snappy “Juanita” to the mellow “Banstyle/Sappy’s Curry,” Underworld makes electronic music less a passing trend and more a solid artistic statement.

‘Powerslave’

The 1980s were dominated by spacey synthesizers and poppy lyrics, neither of which you’ll find on Iron Maiden’s classic 1984 album “Powerslave.”

While “2 Minutes to Midnight” and the album’s title track are wonderfully indulgent metal, it’s the 13-minute closing track “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” that really steals the spotlight.

If you missed the first five albums in Nov. 29’s Carpe Weekend, you can catch up by clicking on the Related Stories link above.



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