In the Zone

In the Zone
released on November 12, 2003

Track List

  1. Me Against the Music (feat. Madonna)
  2. (I’ve Got That) Boom Boom (feat. Ying Yang Twins)
  3. Showdown
  4. Breathe on Me
  5. Early Mornin’
  6. Toxic
  7. Outrageous
  8. Touch of My Hand
  9. The Hook Up
  10. Shadow
  11. Brave New Girl
  12. Everytime

Britney Spears’ 4th album, In the Zone, was released on November 12, 2003. The songs for this album began being written while Britney was on tour in 2002, and she had a major role in the writing and shaping of these songs – often opting to change the lyrics to more accurately reflect her life. Along with Spears herself, there was a diverse group of writers for this record, most notably, Madonna and Moby. Madonna also collaborated with Britney, performing “Me Against the Music”, which marked the first of two duets on this album. Critically, In the Zone served as a comeback album for Britney, after the middling reviews of her last record. It was perceived as the final stepping stone of her transition from teen pop star to adult recording artist. The sound of In the Zone was also lauded as an important signifier for the pop sound of the early 2000s.

I have to say I agree with the critics. This album is so cohesive, the songwriting so strong, and Britney is in full creative power. Unlike the last album Britney, where she was trying to find herself, In the Zone proves that she has officially arrived. It’s an apt album title too…this album is pure early 2000s pop perfection. There are songs about being in the club, heartbreak, and, of course, toxic lovers. It’s one of the albums where I have to recommend listening to every song, not because they are all the same quality, but because they all go together so flawlessly. Let’s go in the zone.

*recommended songs

  1. Me Against the Music (feat. Madonna)*

This album begins with Britney and Madonna in the club. The title track is named here, appropriately since this song so succinctly sums up the vibe of the album: Britney is grown up, here to stay, and ready to party. It’s also of its time with the rhythm section pumping a club beat that begs for a dance breakdown. I can practically see the music video with all the quick flashes. Madonna and Britney trading verses here works very well, and their voices blend seamlessly; it is one pop star handing over the crown to the other. When they get to the catchy chorus, everyone’s gonna wanna dance.

2. (I’ve Got That) Boom Boom (feat. Ying Yang Twins)*

Rowdy start for continuing the party (and the album!). This song has the vibe of everyone in the Uber (or I should say taxi since we are in 2003) and heading from one bar to the next, everyone excited and riled up about the prospect of continuing the fun. The Ying Yang Twins are perfect for this vibe and their vivacious energy is so infectious. Also. I think I heard some twang in there? It works. Any song that gets me to dance in my seat while I am trying to take notes gets a hearty recommendation from me!

3. Showdown*

Featuring another one of Britney’s famed spoken word intros, which are always iconic. Her breathy vocals on the rest of this track adds a “whispering to your ex/potential hookup in the club amidst the pulsing beat of the music” vibe. The song features Britney singing “what goes around comes back around”, which is of course the title of one of Justin Timberlake’s most well known solo singles. “Showdown” predates Justin’s song by three years, but considering this album was released right after their breakup, it’s interesting to speculate if he may have been inspired by it.

4. Breathe on Me*

By far the most straightforward techno song on the album. Though running just 3:43, this song is practically begging for the 8 minute long club remix. A great example of Britney’s vocal effect adding tremendously to a song; in lesser hands this could have been so, so bland. I will say the lyrics, “you don’t need to touch me/just breathe on me” basically sound like a nightmare in the year 2021…but hey it was 2003! Anything goes??

5. Early Mornin’*

The first of the 3 songs on this album with explicit Mediterranean influences. It’s yet another song about partying but the aforementioned Mediterranean sounds add a sinister undertone to it. It’s clear that this girl is in a vicious cycle that needs to stop soon or else she might be in dangerous territory. It’s still a blast, and it’s clear Britney was having a blast singing it, but there’s darker themes happening here. An awesome example of how just one element can completely change a song’s interpretation.

6. Toxic*

ICONIC!! A song for that age, this age, and all future ages, “Toxic” is one of the very few perfectly executed songs that grab your attention from the very first note, and keep it until the very last. “I’m addicted to you/don’t you know/you’re so toxic”…the lyrics are relatable, there is some ‘50s Link Wray style guitar in the chorus to add even more to the feeling of timelessness, and Britney’s vocal is a pop delight. If someone put this song on in 2273 people would still dance to it. It’s that good.

7. Outrageous*

The second song on the album with a heavy Mediterranean, almost Bollywood influence. The beat is infectious and it begs for everyone to dance along. A really enjoyable, funky little tune.

8. Touch of My Hand*

By far the most blatantly risqué number on the album. It begins with what sounds like a bugle call, quickly followed by the album’s typical techno beats. It has a lush, full sound, with layered vocals which add a distraction from the racy content and keep it from sounding too overtly crude. These sonic elements add up to a song that is very nice to listen to.

9. The Hook Up*

And after that diversion it’s back to the club we go, where we’re gonna “take it low/to the flo'”. The swirling reggae beat transports you to a beach bar, with a cocktail in hand, and twirling in your vacation clothes, and dancing until the “Early Mornin'”….see what I did there?

10. Shadow*

Our first taste of dramatic strings! This is a pop ballad that sounds very much like it could be a soundtrack song playing over the ending credits of an early 2000s movie. A nice dip into the deeper song pool, but nothing compared to what we will get two songs from now. However, the soaring chorus is so wonderfully 2003, it has to get bonus points for that.

11. Brave New Girl*

The beat of this track initially sounds almost Motown-esque with a club beat splashed in, and Britney rapping like it’s 1983 and she’s featuring on a New Edition song. The chorus is pure Madonna, particularly “Ray of Light”. It’s pure pop candy with some rap, rock, and techno thrown in. Not a stand out but so light and lively.

12. Everytime*

Britney’s best ballad ever, hands down. With those light, almost shy vocals, it might also be her peak performance on any album. From the soft piano flourishes at the start, to Britney’s shy starting vocal, this song takes you on a tragic tale of love lost and self-doubt. The song sounds as if Britney is singing the song whilst a storm rages all around her, and she is unable to pick up the pieces being ravaged by the storm of her heart. “Every night I pray/that soon your face will fade away.” So gut wrenching. The ultimate closer to an album of newfound maturity.

Listen to In the Zone here


released on October 31, 2001

Track List:

  1. I’m a Slave 4 U
  2. Overprotected
  3. Lonely
  4. I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman
  5. Boys
  6. Anticipating
  7. I Love Rock n’ Roll
  8. Cinderella
  9. Let Me Be
  10. Bombastic Love
  11. That’s Where You Take Me
  12. What It’s Like to Be Me

On Britney’s eponymous third album, Britney, released on October 31, 2001, Britney wanted to grow up. Tired of being the school girl in the music video or songs titled “Dear Diary”, she decided to mature her sound. Instead of incorporating all the same tricks from the previous albums, Britney started to incorporate new elements to her new music like disco, rap, and electronica. While the album received mixed reviews from critics, it debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, making this her third album in a row to do so and the first time a female solo artist had broken this record. Britney was a smash, selling 15 million copies worldwide and receiving the Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album in 2003.

Unlike the previous album, Oops!…I Did It Again, Britney was relatively unknown territory. I of course knew the three major singes (“I’m a Slave 4 U”, “Overprotected”, and “I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman”) and of course knew the original “I Love Rock n’ Roll”, but other than those songs I was at a loss. I was excited to hear how the grown up sound might differentiate this listening experience vs. the first two albums. What I discovered was an artist trying out new sounds, experimenting with different genres, and trying to figure out who she was. Britney is not as seamless of a listen as the first two albums in Spears’ discography. However, it has some iconic moments and some unexpected delights.

*recommended tracks

  1. I’m a Slave 4 U*

Arguably the debut of Britney being blatantly risqué. The song has an underlying Mediterranean influence along with the very overlying hip/hop, dance sounds. Despite the song’s title making it a potential breeding ground for misogyny, Britney is undoubtedly the one in control. It’s such a fun bop…and Britney danced with a snake!

2. Overprotected*

Another single from the album that hits different in 2021 amongst the Free Britney movement. “I tell them what I like, what I want, and what I don’t/ But every time I do/ I stand corrected”…oof. It’s a powerful song about wanting to break free from the binds of those controlling you, and it becomes impossible to remove the meaning of this song from Britney’s current situation. It’s definitely a banger but also, #freebritney

3. Lonely

“Lonely” definitely features a heavier R&B sound, in the vein of “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)”. Britney’s famed vocal effects work on so many classic songs, but her vocals are a little weak here, and this is just not the song for it.

4. I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman*

One of Britney’s all time best ballads, this song could serves as the thesis statement for what she was trying to say on this album. This song has it all: beautiful instrumentation and melody, meaningful lyrics, and a great vocal. “I’m not a girl, don’t tell me what to believe. I’m just trying to find the woman in me.” It’s a song every girl, not yet a woman can relate to at that crucial point in their lives. So good.

5. Boys

We are back to risqué territory beginning with the extended spoken intro on this track. This song has both Eurythmics and hip-hop vibes, but its sound is definitely planted in the early 2000s. This song is definitely pushing the line, but Britney laughing throughout the song prevents the lyrics from being taken strictly at face value.

6. Anticipating*

This song turns the ’80s up to 11 with a pure bubble gum pop sound that might rival anything with a similar sound on her previous 2 albums. Although it has mature lyrics (“I wanna rock with you/You’re feeling this right/Let’s do this tonight”), her vocals sound like they are floating on a cloud – a perfect fit for this song.

7. I Love Rock n’ Roll

A grungy/hip-hop take on the Joan Jett classic. In some ways it is faithful to the original, especially with the clap along chorus and gritty vocals. However, it removes the famous guitar solo in favor of Britney repeating the chorus in a talk sing fashion, which makes this cover err on the bland side. It’s a song about loving rock n’ roll with most of the rock n’ roll removed. Bummer.

8. Cinderella*

This song has N’Sync vibes all over it. It’s a kiss off song about fairy tales not being true and, “breaking free from your lies”. An anthemic song that is resolute and strong in Britney’s conviction about ending this relationship. You go, girl.

9. Let Me Be

Track 9 is a variation of the same theme as “Cinderella”, but that song did it much better. I think many would agree that Britney can transform most ordinary pop songs into something interesting. Sadly, even she doesn’t have enough talent to transform “Let Me Be”. It is a very standard pop song that putters about without going anywhere; a pointless ear worm.

10. Bombastic Love

This one suffers from the same problems as “Let Me Be”. Despite have an interesting title, the contents of this song are very formulaic and the sparse arrangement causes it to feel unfinished. Very forgettable tune.

Britney in 2001

11. That’s Where You Take Me

A really breezy love song that is a needed change of pace after the last two tracks. While the sentiment is not that deep, it’s a nice listen. It just goes on for perhaps a minute too long.

12. What It’s Like to Be Me

This song is notable for the fact that it was written and produced by Spears’ then boyfriend, Justin Timberlake…and that’s about it. Like “Cinderella” above, this song has a very N’Sync sound with the dance beat and syncopated vocals. Like many other songs on this album, Britney is trying on different sonic outfits and trying to solidify her sound. This one just doesn’t quite suit her.

Listen to Britney here

Oops!… I Did It Again

Oops!…I Did It Again
released on May 3, 2000

I apologize for the delay in this blog post. There will be two published this week to make up for it, and then we will be back to regularly scheduled posts next Monday. Thank you for reading!

Track List:

  1. Oops!…I Did It Again
  2. Stronger
  3. Don’t Go Knockin’ on My Door
  4. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
  5. Don’t Let Me Be the Last to Know
  6. What U See (Is What U Get)
  7. Lucky
  8. One Kiss from You
  9. Where Are You Now
  10. Can’t Make You Love Me
  11. When Your Eyes Say It
  12. Dear Diary

Britney Spear’s second album, Oops!…I Did It Again, was released on May, 3, 2000. Like her previous release, Baby One More Time, this effort was massively successful. It debuted at number one and sold over 1.3 million copies in its first week. This broke sales records for female solo artists at the time, and it would not be broken until the release of Adele’s 25 15 years later.

Britney in 2000

Like the previous album, Oops!…I Did It Again is very much a dance-pop album, this time featuring a more R&B sound. Max Martin and Eric Foster White jumped over from the previous album, adding new producers and songwriters to the mix as well, including Robert John “Mutt” Lange (producer, writer), Shania Twain (writer), and Diane Warren (writer). Martin had his hand in producing the bulk of the tracks, another winning formula carried over from the last album. Oops!…I Did It Again has sold 20 million copies worldwide, and is Spears’ second top selling album after …Baby One More Time.

The reason why I went directly from Elvis to Britney was because of this album. Along with Elvis ’56, this was the first CD I bought at Borders when I was in the 2nd grade. It was definitely all the rage in 2000, and I remember being at the picnic tables and trying to recreate the dance moves from the videos with my two best friends. Flash forward 4 years, and what felt like a lifetime, later and I was in middle school. I rediscovered the CD and for the entirety of 6th grade, I would listen to it at full volume while getting ready for school in the morning. Because of this, the songs, the sequence of the songs, and all the lyrics, are forever imprinted on my brain. It’s a gem, it’s a delight, it’s so much fun. And the best part? You can dance to it!

*recommended songs

  1. Oops!…I Did It Again*

This song is an absolute killer from first note to last. You can already hear the funkier, R&B sound this album has. And the message of this song, about a girl who keeps playing with boy’s hearts, but is not really that sorry about it, is fierce. The lyrics to the chorus: “I played around with your heart/ got lost in the game/ oh baby, baby/ oops you think I’m in love/ heaven sent from above…I’m not that innocent” are confident and self aware. There is also a conversation about the Titanic diamond necklace in the middle of the song.

Brit: is that the…?

Boy: Yes it is

Brit: But I thought the old lady dropped it into the ocean at the end

Boy: Well, baby, I went down and got it for ‘ya.

Britney: Aww, you shouldn’t have.

Truly incredible. Can’t ask for much more than that!

2. Stronger*

Post breakup anthem about starting over and feeling fine. In particular the lyrics, “my loneliness ain’t killing me no more”, is a clever nod to “my loneliness is killing me” from “…Baby One More Time”. This song could make anyone feel like they can conquer the world. The breakdown at the bridge of the song is so dramatic and leads flawlessly into the bombastic final chorus. Another winner from beginning to end.

3. Don’t Go Knockin’ On My Door*

Another intense breakup anthem, this one a little more low-key. It features maybe my favorite rhyme on the album: “don’t go knockin’ on my door/ you better stay away for sure.” While the last album was so very ’90s, this song really sets the stage for the coming decade: it is all synths, dance beats, and autotune…oh my. Britney is not taking anyone’s crap in this song, “do what you want/ as long as you don’t come back.” Savage.

4. (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction*

Despite this being a Rolling Stones song, I believe this was the first version of “Satisfaction” I ever heard…it’s embarrassing, I know. Britney’s version is so pop with some pretty acoustic guitar strung throughout. Even the lyrics were changed to suit her life (“when that girl comes on TV/ and tells me how tight my skirt should be/ I’ve got my own identity”)…and it works. The message expressed in the chorus is one all of us can relate to. Not being able to find yourself or feeling lost in the hubbub was relatable in 1965, 2000, 2020, and will still be relatable in 2243. A cover she made her own.

5. Don’t Let Me Be the Last to Know*

The first ballad on the album has a lot of R&B flavor. This track has Britney pleading with her boyfriend to stop beating around the bush and just tell her he loves her already. It also features a really nice, breezy ending that, in my mind, sets this song on the beach at sunset.

6. What U See (Is What U Get)*

First things first: the “U” in place of “you” is peak instant messaging culture and I am here for it. This song, most likely intended to be about a relationship, may just be Britney’s first “accept me for me” song that could be geared toward the press. It would sadly come to define her relationship to fame, paparazzi, and the media over the next decade. “You should never try to change me/ I can be nobody else/ And I like the way I am”, would become her thesis in her hit songs of later years.

7. Lucky*

An iconic bop!! I remember spending the summer of 2000 trying to recreate this music video on the patio and in the swimming pool. While the last song might be construed as Britney’s angry take on fame, this is the tragic take. The announcer’s voiceover at the end of the bridge: “Where’s Lucky? OMG here she comes!” has a sinister undertone to it. The claws of fame and fortune always scratching for a piece of the current favorite. The kicker to the chorus, “if there’s nothing/ missing in my life/ then why do these tears come at night” is extra sad when you think about the foreshadowing of what would become Britney’s life in the next few years.

8. One Kiss from You*

A love song heavy on the melodrama: “one kiss from you/ and suddenly/ I see the road laid out in front of me.” Its dramatics are what bring the fun though, and the chorus will have you singing along on first listen. This is a welcome respite after the previous two songs’ heavy emotion.

9. Where Are You Now*

Another Maria anecdote: when I was in 6th grade, this was the song I used to practice slow dancing before the first middle school dance. My practice partner was the air that I would hug, but it still counted in my book. My attempts were only successful for half a song before the boy I was dancing with ran away. You gotta love middle school. Because of sentimental reasons, I love this song. I do think it is the second strongest ballad on this album (the first being “Lucky”, but I think this song can even go toe to toe with that one). It has beautiful acoustic guitar woven throughout, peaking with an intimate instrumental bridge, and also arguably has Britney’s strongest vocal on the album. The song is about a breakup where you lose track of the other person’s whereabouts, but you never lose track of them in your heart ( “I’m reaching out to you/ to find that you’re not there”). It’s a musical tale as old as music has been around (see Irving Berlin’s “What’ll I Do” for my favorite take on this trope).

10. Can’t Make You Love Me*

When a track opens with, “I’m just a girl with a crush on you”…we know we are back to fierce Brit. This song is a variation on the album’s theme of a girl who has it all, and yet she just can’t get the guy she wants. Proving that love is still ever elusive even for those at the top. Great pop banger.

11. When Your Eyes Say It*

Track 11 was written by songwriter extraordinaire Diane Warren, who wrote pop hits like “Because You Loved Me“, “How Do I Live“, and “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing“, among many, many others. “When Your Eyes Say It” has her trademark ballad sound. Britney is in a relationship with a guy who may not say much, but that’s ok because his looks and actions say it all. I have to say this guy seems like a major step up from the one in “Don’t Let Me Be the Last to Know”. Britney has a softer vocal which leads to a more mature sound. The smooth vibes of this one make for a great, easygoing love song. 

12. Dear Diary*

Perfect closing song to what is a very introspective album. It’s also ridiculous and campy in the best way, with the laidback, almost acoustic production keeping it from being laughable. It is filled with wind chimes and swirling piano and lyrics like, “Dear Diary, no one knows me better than you do”. It’s hope for a new romance with a crush is a lovely, optimistic ending statement.

Listen to Oops!…I Did It Again here

…Baby One More Time

…Baby One More Time
released on January 12, 1999

Track List

  1. …Baby One More Time
  2. (You Drive Me) Crazy
  3. Sometimes
  4. Soda Pop (featuring Mikey Bassie)
  5. Born to Make You Happy
  6. From the Bottom of My Broken Heart
  7. I Will Be There
  8. I Will Still Love You (with Don Philip)
  9. Thinkin’ About You
  10. E-Mail My Heart
  11. The Beat Goes On

It’s Britney, bitch. That’s right. It is time to talk about the ultimate 2000s pop icon, Britney Spears. I was inspired by her in second grade, and I am even more inspired by her now. This performer has so many classics in her repertoire; songs people have grown up with, cried with, and danced with. There’s “Oops…I Did It Again”, “Toxic”, and we can’t forget the song that started it all, “…Baby One More Time”.

I am so glad we are starting Britney’s discography just in time for spring. Her album cuts are breezy, dancey, and have the 90s smoothness where you know all will be ok. …Baby One More Time is Britney Spears’ first studio album. It was a juggernaut. Released on January 12, 1999, the album was preceded by the single of the same name, which was released on September 15, 1998. And it reached the stratosphere, reaching number one on every chart it entered. By the time the album was released, people were ready for Britney’s debut. It topped the Billboard charts in the U.S. and Canada, and was certified 14x platinum and ended up selling 25 million copies worldwide. Pretty good for a debut album.

This album transported me back to childhood. It is so wonderfully teenage and pop. Producer Eric Foster White really brings the fun vibes to this record, as well as all the teenage angst and moodiness. The first half of the album is definitely the superior side, with the hits all hanging out together. The second half of this album features the more obscure tracks, but there are still some lovely tunes to be found. What surprised me about this album was the diversity of sounds. There was funky guitar, disco, latin guitar, and of course traditional pop synthesizers. The centerpiece is of course Britney’s unmistakable voice. Right from the start she has such a distinct tone. It’s no wonder she would become the pop queen of a generation.

*recommended tracks

  1. …Baby One More Time*

The song that truly started it all. This ferocious pop tune, which was written by pop guru Max Martin, and the iconic video that went along with it, was an instant classic all the way back in 1998 when the single was released. The first notes are instantly recognizable, the chorus is criminally catchy, and the bridge is melodramatic in pure Britney fashion. Utter pop perfection.

2. (You Drive Me) Crazy*

Max Martin also had a hand in writing this incredibly infectious pop rock track. It features a surprisingly raucous beginning for a late ’90s pop album. This is also the track for me that cemented Britney’s vocal prowess. It’s so distinct and blends well with the saucy guitar that is showcased throughout this song.

3. Sometimes*

So relatable! This song about being afraid of commitment (“sometimes I run, sometimes I hide, sometimes I’m scared of you. But all I really want is to hold you tight, treat you right, be with you day and night. Baby all I need is time.”) is arguably the star ballad on this album. It is a perfectly constructed pop song. The instrumentation is gentle but with a beat, the lyrics are simple and honest, and the latin guitar part at the end is the perfect capper to close out this tune. And honestly? Props to Brit for being able to be upfront about her commitment issues!

4. Soda Pop (featuring Mikey Bassie)*

While I was unsure about the beginning of this song (it came on strong!) but what took me back was Britney’s soulful, surprisingly deep vocal. Her voice here sounds much like it did when she was on talent shows when she was little – way more Whitney Houston than Madonna, and I was a little taken aback to hear it being used here. Really nice reggae flavored tune.

5. Born to Make You Happy*

The latin guitar returns for this extremely ~moody~ and ~dramatic~ number. This lyric alone “I don’t know how to live without your love, I was born to make you happy.” Melodrama alert! The brooding soundscape creates the perfect setting for this passionate expression of teenage angst.

6. From the Bottom of My Broken Heart*

Written by producer Eric Foster White, this is my personal favorite ballad on the album. The verses have a “More Than Words” feeling to it, which lends to the acoustic flavor really well. The delicate instrumentation shimmers around the fragile vocal, bringing out the honest, vulnerable sentiment of this song. Like the previous song, this is such a perfect expression of teendom, just done ten times better here.

7. I Will Be There

This song almost sounds like it could have been a Celine Dion song from this time period. It is very adult contemporary and does not jibe well with the rest of the tracks. It’s perfectly lovely, it just doesn’t fit here.

8. I Will Still Love You (with Don Philip)

With beautiful vocals at the beginning, this one sounds like a dreamy spring day frolicking in the fields with your love. The voices blend well together, in fact, sometimes a little too well, as either Britney or Don keeps getting lost in the sonic fray. Favorite lyric: “if the stars are falling, I’ll keep calling”. Nice, but along with the vocal issues, this one goes on a little long.

9. Deep in My Heart*

Disco! It’s like a perfectly fitted musical glove to Britney’s voice, and I wish she would explore the genre more. This song was so disco, in fact, that it made me want to learn how to do the hustle. A fun, groovy tune.

10. Thinkin’ About You*

A very Motown-esque beginning to start off track 10. It also features a scrumptiously sweet chorus about being infatuated with somebody. Delightfully light fluff.

11. E-Mail My Heart*

Omg the title. If I didn’t already know this came out in the ’90s I definitely would after hearing this song. The premise is literally Britney asking a guy to forgive her via e-mail, and begging for him to e-mail her back. There’s some good vocals, backing vocals, and a great acoustic guitar loop, but I just can’t get over e-mail being the focal point of this song. #90s4eva

12. The Beat Goes On

I wish this album had ended with the previous track because I’m not sure what they were trying to do by making a club mix of this Sonny & Cher classic. The vocals sound like they are being funneled in and the track sounds like it is meant to eventually be an 8 minutes (or longer…eek!) club remix. Again, this is a Sonny & Cher song and it really does not fit the vibe here. A meh ending to a pretty fantastic album.

Listen to …Baby One More Time here

Elvis: Final Thoughts

Elvis ’56
The album that introduced me to the king of rock n’ roll

I remember the sock hop well. It was 2ndgrade. The girls were in poodle skirts the boys were in faux leather jackets and short sleeved white button ups. It was the first day that year that we were able to get out of our school uniforms. 

What I remember the most is everyone in class having a ball, dancing with our shoes off, and that music. The music was so different than the bubblegum pop my babysitters were listening to, my dad’s 70s rock, and my mom’s show tunes. It was electric, energetic, and so fun. 

1950s sock hop

When I got in the car after school that day, it was the first thing I mentioned to my mom. I was so obsessed that it resulted in me going to Border’s bookstore and picking out my first ever CD. I chose Elvis ’56, a compilation album of Elvis’ greatest hits from, you guessed it, 1956. His look on the cover is pensive as he sits cross-legged in the recording studio. He’s not the bloated Elvis of the late 1970s but rather still a kid, still trying to perfect his sound, still just wanting to sing. I was infatuated. 

I brought that album everywhere with me…I would listen to it on the way to school in the morning, put it in my rolling backpack so I could keep it safe during the day, and then listen to it in the aforementioned babysitter’s car on the way home from school and just about everywhere in between. “Paralyzed” was my favorite. When Elvis sang, “I want you, I need you, and I love you” on the song of the same name, I was positively swooning. 

Elvis in 1956

With a track list of songs like “Don’t Be Cruel”, “Heartbreak Hotel”, and “Blue Suede Shoes”, Elvis ’56 was an impeccable collection of Elvis’ halcyon days as a performer. Before listening to his entire discography, I would mentally keep Elvis in this period. Even though I heard the hits (“Suspicious Minds” is a top ten contender for sure), I was wary of later period Elvis. I kept seeing the jumpsuits, sequins, and the cheesy, Vegas weddings of it all. 

 Going through his 24 studio albums forced me to embrace the full Elvis. I had to accept that he did not stay the same as the young man on the cover of Elvis ’56, but morphed into a complicated, troubled, and yet still very, very talented musician. And there were some pleasant surprises too. I found myself loving the early-mid 70s soul, country sound Elvis had going. And on the occasions where he was both in full vocal glory and the song quality was top notch? Nothing could top him. 

Elvis in 1971

Although there were some duds, (if you would like an album full of them, just search out “Love Letters from Elvis”. I promise you will be disappointed.) Listening to his albums and seeing his progression as an artist alerted me to all the nuances of Elvis Presley: some good, some bad, but summing up to an incredible whole that became the king of rock n’ roll. 

It was a heckuva good time. Next week, we go to Britney.

Listen to Elvis ’56 here

Moody Blue

Moody Blue
Elvis Presley’s final studio album Released on July 19, 1977

Track List:

  1. Unchained Melody
  2. If You Love Me (Let Me Know)
  3. Little Darlin’
  4. He’ll Have to Go
  5. Let Me Be There
  6. Way Down
  7. Pledging My Love
  8. Moody Blue
  9. She Thinks I Still Care
  10. It’s Easy for You

24 albums, as many weeks, and as many blog posts later, we have come to Elvis’ final studio album. Moody Blue, his 24th official studio release, was put out on July 19, 1977. It was only four weeks before his death on August 16, 1977. The album is a hybrid of songs recorded both live and in the studio, with a few recordings originating from Elvis’ final recording sessions at Graceland in October 1976. The reason for this was largely due to Elvis’ decline in health at the time. He had in fact picked out a few new songs to record. However, when the time came for those studio sessions, he always made excuses of “not feeling well”. So those tracks never came to fruition. Due to the album being released so close to Elvis’ death, sales from this record were much improved over that of his previous few releases. Moody Blue was certified Gold then Platinum in September of 1977, just a few months after its release.

The circumstances of the album’s conception may lead you to believe that it has a disjointed, uninterested sound. It does not. Even the mixing of the live and studio tracks works due to the seamless sonic landscape of this album. There’s some covers, some country, and some really great performances. Elvis himself is in fine form. And I found a little something in each song that deemed that track recommendable. It’s bittersweet. Yes, I am glad that Elvis’ last album is a great listen. But it’s sad to imagine what his career could have become, what path he would’ve legacy artist, and the glory he would have had if he had gotten his life back on track.

*notes tracks you should give a listen

  1. Unchained Melody*

As one would expect this is indeed a cover of the Righteous Brothers’ classic. Elvis accompanies himself on the piano here, and he surrounds his vocal with swirling flourishes and a gentle rhythm. He sings this modern standard flawlessly, treading lightly on the tender moments, and pouring his heart out on the emphatic ones. The line, “I’ll be coming home…wait for me” holds extra significance due to his death not long after the album release. The climax of this song feels a bit rushed but it ends on a stunning operatic note.

2. If You Love Me (Let Me Know)*

This is a rockabilly bop with some jangly guitar – a sound that always suits Elvis. While Elvis’ vocals are weak in some parts of this song, it is substituted with some incredible backing vocals, and a really nice sing-a-long chorus that you will be humming by song’s end.

3. Little Darlin’*

Elvis’ cover of this classic doo wop song, originally performed by The Diamonds is another live track. It’s a sped up version which makes it extra energetic and fun. Elvis dips into his soprano voice quite a bit here to excellent effect. The spoken word section is campy silliness at its best.

4. He’ll Have to Go*

The swampy guitar licks featured throughout this tune lends itself to the late night saloon feeling that permeates this track. Elvis’ nuanced singing and the slow crawl of the music so perfectly capture the essence of this bittersweet song about an affair.

5. Let Me Be There*

This country rocker has groovy ’70s vibes that are reminiscent of The Eagles’ early tunes. Another raucous live track, this song feels like attending a concert or music festival at the height of summer. You are swaying to the music and singing along while holding a White Claw in hand. God I hope concerts come back ASAP.

6. Way Down*

Recorded at Elvis’ Graceland studios, this tune became a hit after Elvis’ death, peaking at number 18 on the pop charts and topping the country charts. I can see why. It’s such an entertaining jam and has a classic yet timeless sound. It could easily be made into a modern country song. Interwoven throughout is a baritone voice that gives the song a slight, needed edge. The chorus is instantly recognizable even if you’ve never heard the song in your life. A good ‘ole yeehaw bop.

7. Pledging My Love*

The weakest link of the album with some cheesy vocals…it wouldn’t be a late career Elvis album if he didn’t try to stretch his vibrato to the max. It’s a good song though, and otherwise performed well. A bluesy country number that is breezy and enjoyable.

8. Moody Blue*

The title track of the album continues the country theme, this time with the smallest hint of disco. The result is a fun, light, and catchy track that just makes you wanna dance.

9. She Thinks I Still Care*

A waltz about pretending to be blasé after a breakup. It’s a quintessential theme in music, especially country music, and we all know human nature doesn’t work that way. Elvis comes to a reckoning halfway through: of course he still cares. Great breakup song.

10. It’s Easy For You*

While the final song on Elvis’ final studio album starts a little shaky, the content of this song is a gut punch. A few lyrics in the chorus: “I had a wife and children and I threw them away”. It’s about not knowing how to pick up the messy pieces of your life, and being stranded in a miserable limbo. It must have struck a chord with Elvis. His superb vocal in the second half sells the song’s message with the most heartbreaking conviction. What a poignant performance in which to end his discography.

Listen to Moody Blue here

From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee

From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee
Released on May 16, 1976

Track List:

  1. Hurt
  2. Never Again
  3. Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain
  4. Danny Boy
  5. The Last Farewell
  6. For the Heart
  7. Bitter They Are, Harder They Fall
  8. Solitaire
  9. Love Coming Down
  10. I’ll Never Fall in Love Again

From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee is Elvis Presley’s 23rd studio album. It is also his penultimate studio album, as his next record would be his last. This album once again topped the country charts, the 4th in his discography to do so. Since he was veering towards a completely country sound by this point, it does make you wonder if his career would have continued to go in that direction had he lived. This album was recorded mainly at Elvis’ studio at Graceland, despite it saying “Recorded Live” on the album cover.

Like some of Elvis’ previous records, I recognized some of the songs, specifically, “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain”, “Danny Boy”, and “Solitaire”. Having really enjoyed his late career albums, and really loving the three aforementioned songs, I found myself excited to hear his take on these numbers. Like everything in my life, I should have kept my expectations in check. I had been so bolstered by the high quality of Elvis’ past few releases that I found myself deflated by the middling qualities of this one. There were some great moments sure, but ultimately, this record made no deep impression on me.

*notes recommended tracks

  1. Hurt

This swirling song gives the album a rousing start. The music is on fire, but Elvis is singing a little too big here. The smoky guitar and the magnetic pull of the backing vocals and piano is almost enough to redeem this track…almost.

Elvis in 1976

2. Never Again

I really love a good 70s ballad and this one is trying so hard to be that. Too hard. All the parts of this song are too much on their own, so that when they are put together, it’s all too much. The lyrics are also incredibly trite…which prevents this song from going anywhere good.

3. Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain

I really love this song so, because I’m a glass half full person, I was hopeful. It started off fine, with Elvis serving up some Willie Nelson flavored vocals which is appropriate, since Nelson has the definitive version of this song. But then the chorus kicked in. Like the previous number, Elvis just tries too hard. The guitar is awesome though and it pains me to think how amazing this cover could have been if Elvis had just reined it in a little vocally. The end slightly redeems itself but again…not enough.

4. Danny Boy*

The version of this song that I know best is from my Pap (my dad’s dad) who could often be found humming “Danny Boy”, as it was one of his favorite songs. Originally written in 1913, it has been covered by many artists. This was my first time hearing Elvis’ amazing version. It’s softer, acoustic arrangement fits this one like a glove. It is a poignant delivery of this beautiful ballad, with Elvis’ vocal chops on full display as he shows how versatile he can be as a singer. Stunning.

5. The Last Farewell*

The groovy rhythm section on this jam is pure 1970s schtick. Combined with fantastical strings and cool vocals this song achieves what every soft rock song of this era was striving for: to sound perfect as the soundtrack to driving in the car, windows down, on a sunny day. It also features background vocals that sound as if they are all singing along to it in an old english pub. This is a contagious effect: I found myself also singing along by song’s end, despite never having heard this song in my life.

6. For the Heart*

This is a rockin’ bop with a ferocious piano shuffle interwoven throughout the song. Shoulder shimmy rating: 7.8.

7. Bitter They Are, Harder They Fall

The sound is so muddled here, it was hard to tell what they were singing. Even Elvis’ voice was hardly distinguishable from that of the back up singers. It’s like they were trying to achieve another sing-a-long effect as they did on “The Last Farewell”, but layered it on way too thick, with some vocal parts actually causing me to do a double take.

8. Solitaire

This is a very sad, melodramatic song. You really need to have some understatement if you are going for the desired effect on this Neil Sedaka penned tune. A good example, and my favorite version, is the Carpenters cover. So I was nervous before this song started playing. However, this one is not too bad. The lilting vocals Elvis employed actually work for this one. It’s a nice rendition. Nothing less, nothing more.

Elvis onstage, 1976

9. Love Coming Down

A song contemplating one’s errors that led to the downfall of a relationship are usually like cat nip to me. The introspection, the heartbreak, the angst…give me more! This one failed to make an imprint on my heart though. I found myself getting distracted throughout which is never a good sign.

10. I’ll Never Fall in Love Again*

Not the Burt Bacharach/Hal David tune, but still a great closing number nevertheless. Most famously performed by Tom Jones, I really enjoyed this sweeping, bluesy number. Elvis’ vocals on the chorus are particularly spectacular as he blends them beautifully with the instrumentation. Despite being a little shouty in parts and a rather abrupt ending, its a pretty bop.

Listen to From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee here


Today, Elvis Presley’s 22nd Studio Album released May 7, 1975

Track List:

  1. T-R-O-U-B-L-E
  2. And I Love You So
  3. Susan When She Tried
  4. Woman Without Love
  5. Shake a Hand
  6. Pieces of My Life
  7. Fairytale
  8. I Can Help
  9. Bringin’ It Back
  10. Green, Green Grass of Home

Elvis Presley’s 22nd studio album, Today, was released on May 7, 1975. The entire album was recorded in Los Angeles two months before, March 10 – 12, 1975. These sessions are notable due to it being Elvis’ last time in a recording studio before his untimely death 2 years later. This album was a moderate success. Its sonic landscape is pop and country – much like Elvis’ other 70s offerings. However, the first single, “T-R-O-U-B-L-E” managed to crack the Top 40. The album is also noteworthy for featuring covers of songs from a diverse array of artists ranging from Perry Como to The Pointer Sisters.

The fact that this album has such a diverse helping of songwriters did not detract from the quality of this album. It is by far my favorite Elvis album as a whole that I have heard in a long while. The sound fits him perfectly, the songs are all top quality, and he is in great vocal form – especially since he recorded this album in two days. The album is sequenced beautifully, helped in no small part by the cohesiveness of these album tracks. Despite the longer length of these songs in comparison to most of Elvis’ previous studio releases, the songs fly by, and unfortunately for me, the album was over before I knew it. I highly recommend checking out this album. I’m recommending 8/10 songs which, let’s be real, is basically the entire album. And the two that I’m not recommending aren’t even that bad. Just some light filler compared to the rest of the album’s strengths. Give it a listen!

*marks notable songs

  1. T-R-O-U-B-L-E*

Elvis’ voice had me at hello, a good sign of things to come for the rest of the album. The spelling here is so fun and suggestive rather than being a novelty gimmick as I had feared. I make many references to Elvis’ halcyon days in the 1950s, but he really does capture that rebellious, troublemaking spirit on this one. It is so danceable in the most carefree way. In fact for it’s danceability rating? I’m giving it a 10/10.

2. And I Love You So*

This song was written by Don McClean and originally made famous by Perry Como. Elvis really Elvis-ed it up and the effects are marvelous. The piano, played by Glen Hardin, is so sparkling, lending to the song’s movie soundtrack feel. Elvis’s passion can also be felt here. And while sometimes the idea of dramatic Elvis is a bit iffy for me, it is kept just enough in check to sound sincere while also keeping the meaning of the song.

3. Susan When She Tried*

Pure country fun. This song would serve as a perfect precursor to George Strait’s “All My Exes Live in Texas”. It’s a delightful, jaunty number. It was also at this point in the album that began to pick up on how brilliantly sequenced it was thus far. A trend that would thankfully continue to the end.

4. Woman Without Love

A countrypolitan/L.A. soft rock hybrid. Most of the time when I complain Elvis’ vocal volume, it has to do with him being too loud. However, this song features him singing way too quietly in a manner which does nothing to match the melancholy mood of the song’s meaning. The dispassionate vocals were so lackluster that halfway through the song, I had already heard everything I needed to hear.

5. Shake a Hand*

Today just got back in the game with the fifth track, “Shake a Hand”. It has a lovely acapella beginning, setting the stage for Elvis bringing his full swagger on this country blues jam. His vibrato is present and is just right, perfectly complimenting the seductive horn instrumentation that was skillfully interwoven throughout this song. Its infectious chorus will have everyone singing along by the end. I certainly was.

6. Pieces of My Life*

The lively nature of this album is in direct contrast with Elvis’ current stage of life. He was only two years away from death when recording this. The poignancy of a song like “Pieces of My Life” cannot be overstated. Beautifully sung, the story here is of a man reflecting on his life. While it is a love song, it has a doomed feel to it. As if the man knows there is not much time left for him in this world. One can’t help but wonder if Elvis had even an inkling of this same feeling – so meaningful is his lyric interpretation. This lyric is most haunting: “I’m looking back on my life to see if I can find the pieces/ I know that some were stolen/ and some just blew away/ Well, I found the bad parts/ found all the sad parts/ But I guess I threw the best part away.”

7. Fairytale*

Don’t let the title of this song (written by Anita and Bonnie Pointer of The Pointer Sisters!) fool you. This country tune is so filled with sarcasm and irony it is easy to see Elvis in the recording booth, singing this with a smirk on his face. Although his vocals tread into overdoing it territory, it works on this playful, humorous, kiss off number.

8. I Can Help*

This is the second track where I noticed how consistent the excellent sequencing has remained on this album. Elvis takes on a noble persona here, and as a listener, we all wish to root for/and in my case be helped by his efforts. It’s a lighthearted banger. In a world where concerts exist, this song would be the perfect one for getting the crowd to put their arms around strangers and sway and sing along together until song’s end. Sigh.

9. Bringin’ It Back

This album features a soothing gospel beginning, then Elvis’s strained vocals enter the chat. Thankfully, the wonderful background vocals continue on the gospel theme and add plenty of nuance to the song that otherwise would not be there. Like I mentioned above, this is by no means a bad song, but the elements never fully came together for me.

10. Green, Green Grass of Home*

A closing song with a Twilight Zone worthy twist. The narrator is a man who goes back to revisit his childhood home, where he is greeted by the loving embrace of his parents and siblings. All seems heavenly until he wakes up and realizes “that I was only dreaming.” Instead of his lovely childhood home, he is greeted with the grim 4 walls of a prison cell. He’s in for life. And the next time he sees his family will be “in the shade of that old oak tree/as they lay me ‘neath the green, green grass of home.” A depressing song that still works as the final destination of this whirlwind journey of an album.

Listen to Today here

Promised Land

Promised Land
released on January 8, 1975

Track List

  1. Promised Land
  2. There’s A Honky Tonk Angel (Who’ll Take Me Back In)
  3. Help Me
  4. Mr. Songman
  5. Love Song of the Year
  6. It’s Midnight
  7. Your Love’s Been a Long Time Coming
  8. If You Talk in Your Sleep
  9. Thinking About You
  10. You Asked Me To

Promised Land, Elvis’ 21st album, was released on his 40th birthday, January 8, 1975. The record was made up of tracks leftover from the sessions of his 20th album, Good Times. While the stronger songs were thought to have gone on the previous album, Promised Land fared better on the charts, peaking at number 47 on the Billboard 200 and at number one on the Billboard country charts.

While the 1975 record buying public seemed to prefer this album to his last, I think team Elvis was right in declaring this the weaker set of songs. While some of the album strengths have carried over here (namely: production prowess and incredible musicianship) the songs and vocal performances are noticeably weaker (especially concerning my personal Elvis pet peeve: way too much vibrato). Despite this, there are still a few riches to be found among this track list.

*notes key tracks

  1. Promised Land*

A cover of a Chuck Berry tune, this song perfectly blends the rock n’ roll vibes of the 50s and of the 70s; the rollicking piano is pure 50s and the rhythm section is especially groovy in a perfectly 70s way. This song was the album’s first single, and peaked at number 14 on the Billboard 100. It is easy to see why this song performed so well compared to some of Elvis’ other late career singles.

2. There’s A Honky Tonk Angel (Who’ll Take Me Back In)*

This is a song you can definitely tell was from the same recording sessions as Elvis’ last album, Good Times. While the song is a tad too long, Elvis’ voice sounds phenomenal on this country western waltz.

3. Help Me

Elvis never sounds as passionate as he does on religious songs. And this bluesy gospel number is no different. While passion is good, this song loses points for both the utterly mismatched harmony singer and Elvis going a little too far with the vibrato.

4. Mr. Songman

This song is so reminiscent of The Byrds that I had to check to see if it was written by one of the band members (it wasn’t). Despite being a perfectly nice song, it’s about 7 or 8 years behind the times, and sounds rather like a muzak version of 1960s soft rock.

5. Love Song of the Year

Oh dear. The vibrato on this is simply too much…to the point where I had to turn the song down at some points. This song is quaint in all the wrong ways, too compressed in some parts, and way too loud in others. Shoutout to Per Erik “Pete” Hallins for providing the shimmering piano in this song – which is the only redeeming part of it, and even that doesn’t do much to rescue this one.

6. It’s Midnight

What appeared at first to be a sleepy, slumbering ballad suddenly juxtaposes into an overwrought, overdramatic drama. A very disjointed track.

7. Your Love’s Been a Long Time Coming

Similarly to the last track, the chorus is way too much on this tune, and the instrumentation is not helping matters. Just another overzealous mid-tempo track.

8. If You Talk in Your Sleep*

Whenever Elvis attempts a soulful sound during this period, it’s usually a winner. This is no exception and I really enjoyed this tune. It sounds of crawling seduction and is a very sassy and fun number.

9. Thinking About You*

Nice opening filled with chill vibes that perfectly capture the ever elusive 70s aesthetic: a sunny day in southern California, driving down the highway. The verses are reminiscent of “Danny’s Song” in melody and since I have a particular inclination towards that song, I am admittedly biased in my praise for “Thinking About You”. Still, this is a simple, lovely little ditty.

10. You Asked Me To*

This romantic, fun closing track has a sparse arrangement that really works. The backing vocals are very similar to a train whistle, which gives the song a feeling of being in constant in motion. This song is given an edge by the honky tonk guitar woven throughout, which is played masterfully by James Burton.

Listen to Promised Land here

Good Times

Good Times, Elvis Presley’s 20th studio album, released on March 20, 1974

Track List

  1. Take Good Care of Her
  2. Loving Arms
  3. I Got a Feelin’ in My Body
  4. If That Isn’t Love
  5. She Wears My Ring
  6. I’ve Got a Thing About You Baby
  7. My Boy
  8. Spanish Eyes
  9. Talk About the Good Times
  10. Good Time Charlie’s Got the Blues

Well we have come to Elvis’ 20th studio album, Good Times. Released on March 20, 1974, Good Times was largely made up of songs recorded during a single session at Stax Studios in Memphis in December of 1973, with two tracks (“Take Good Care of Her”, “I’ve Got a Thing About You Baby”) being recorded at Stax Studios in May of the same year. While the album did spawn two hit singles, “I’ve Got a Thing About You Baby” and “My Boy”, it failed to make an impression on either music journalists, who gave the album meddling reviews, or the record buying public, and so the album was relegated to the discount bin fairly quickly.

I think it was a mistake for listeners to dismiss this album. While it is typical of his mid-70s releases, and does get off to a slow start, this album absolutely has its moments. Felton Jarvis did a superb job producing this time around, and the colors of the instruments and vocals are vividly realized. I find myself really digging Elvis’ mid-70s soulful, country, and sometimes dance-y vibes. I was in a meh mood when I pressed play, and by the end of the album I was toe tapping along to songs I had never heard before. Seems like a worthwhile listen to me!

*notes the songs especially recommended 

  1. Take Good Care of Her

This song comes blazing in chorus first. The music to this tune has a gospel like tone to it. While it does feature a pretty piano part played by Bobby Wood, the song tends to ramble on and never goes to a place where it achieves real meaning.

2. Loving Arms*

I was very intrigued by the opening and its soulful groove. Elvis’ smooth yet weathered vocals showcases a voice defined by hard living and heartbreak. He sings very passionately and, in a rarity for this era, manages to keep his vibrato in check on this ballad.

3. I Got a Feelin’ in My Body*

The harmonies on this song are very much in the style of ABBA, meaning we are fully into the 1970s. This swampy blues number features a fine vocal performance that is backed by a smoking hot band. I found myself tapping my feet almost immediately, and the back and forth vocal play between Elvis and his backup singers really pushes the energy of this number over the top. This song was born to be an extended jam onstage, and it is very easy for me to visualize this 3:37 song being stretched out to 10 minutes during a live performance. When a studio cut manages to capture that spontaneous energy, you know you’ve got a good tune (and a great band) on your hands.

4. If That Isn’t Love*

This is a lovely tune. However, in lieu of analyzing this simple song, I want to give a shoutout to longtime Elvis producer, Felton Jarvis. The way he produced Elvis’ vocal performance on this album is phenomenal. Rather than getting ready to cringe when Elvis reaches for a high note, Jarvis was able to harness Elvis’ more wobbly musical impulses and showcase that iconic voice, all the while framing it with impeccable musicians and background vocalists. He manages to really let Elvis hang loose and shine vocally. And that is very apparent on “If That Isn’t Love” as he sounds both powerful and smooth in a way only Elvis can.

5. She Wears My Ring

Elvis sounds like he might be singing with a cold on this light country shuffle. And although expressing the significance of a commitment made by his loved one wearing his ring is an honorable one, this song fails to make a big impression. It’s just a simple little romantic ditty.

6. I’ve Got a Thing About You Baby*

This song, which began side B of the original record, shoots the album’s energy right up to 10. Frankly I found it impossible not to dance in my chair at least a little. Elvis’ understated vocals work brilliantly for this exasperated, fun tune.

7. My Boy

Speaking of ABBA, this song would fit in perfect sequence with their seminal mother/daughter track, “Slipping Through My Fingers”. It is extremely dramatic and show tune worthy. The song, a message from father to son, is heartfelt in its vulnerability. The problem is it borders on histrionics at times, and there is no musical center to ground the very loud emotion coming from Elvis.

8. Spanish Eyes*

This flamenco inspired track makes me feel like I should be enjoying an elegant dinner on a beach somewhere. It’s smooth ocean vibes, especially the gorgeous musical interlude, lend the song a gentle spirit that is so soothing.

9. Talk About the Good Times*

The title track of this album is a very jaunty country jam, with bombastic backup vocals that turn this song into a BOP! The infectious toe tapper rating of this song is at about an 8.8, and it keeps building into an excited frenzy.

10. Good Time Charlie’s Got the Blues*

While this track features a hypnotic guitar part, and a stunning Elvis/guitar solo duet on the chorus, the lyrics are sobering. At the center of this tune is a peter pan type who can’t get over his partying ways, and it is hard not to make the comparisons to Elvis’ own life. He would be gone three years after this album was released. It’s a shame he did not take this song’s heed to maybe slow his life down a little. Despite the darker context, the threads of this song are intricately woven together to create a somber, quiet closer to this album.

Listen to Good Times here