THE FULL GUSH

A Night At Studio 54
Music

Album Challenge Day 10: “A Night At Studio 54”

In my dreams, I get the nod and leave the pleading masses behind, through the velvet ropes, with Liza on my arm or perhaps I’m riding a horse, into the most decadent gathering since the Roman Orgies, a light show above swirling dancers, people doing who knows what in the balcony, and above it all, the moon snorting coke. Well, I was only 14 years old during the height of Studio 54’s heyday, so that hardly would have been realistic

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Soul Mining
Music

Album Challenge Day 9: The The “Soul Mining”

Having found the perfect meta name for a band, Matt Johnson released “Soul Mining” in 1983 under the band name The The. Although Matt was subject to a bidding war and got a huge advance from the winning label, the record sounds like it was recorded in a bedroom; still, the homemade vibe enhances its authenticity, with intensely private thoughts and emotions set to a cheap drum machine. There was enough polish, however, to make it sound sensational, especially when

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Take That Beautiful World
Music

Album Challenge Day 8: Take That’s “Beautiful World”

This is the greatest pop band that America’s never heard of. And what a story! Picture It: 1990. A British gay club in the middle of nowhere hosting a boyband of five straight lads, absolutely adorable even though their lead singer, Gary Barlow, thinks he’s fat and a bad dancer. Their manager, Nigel Martin-Smith, feels their path to stardom for his manufactured group is through the gays; he’s right because Take That eventually becomes a British phenomenon, unique in singing

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Format
Music

Album Challenge Day 7: Pet Shop Boys “Format”, Best B-Sides Ever!

Why a b-sides collection instead of one of their remarkable albums “Please”, “Very” or “Yes”? Because Pet Shop Boys are perhaps the greatest b-side artists besides The Beatles. See what I did there? Being so prolific, not everything can fit onto their albums – thus, hilarious, ironic, lyrically engrossing songs often get left as b-sides or bonus tracks on singles. To the great delight of us collectors. Fun Fact: Their first b-sides collection, “Alternative”, would have been called “Besides” except

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Hatful of Hollow
Music

Album Challenge Day 6: The Smiths’ “Hatful of Hollow”

“How Soon Is Now”, The Smiths’ signature song, was a b-side and not on any proper album. That is, until it became a surprise hit across the world and was added – at least in the U.S. – to “Meat Is Murder”, their second album. Loving the song (hearing it in constant rotation on LA’s premiere pusher of the best ’80s music, KROQ), I rushed out and bought that album, which I loved, but also got “Hatful of Hollow”, a

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Rent
Music

Album Challenge Day 5: “Rent”

As with many Broadway phenomenons, I didn’t see this in its original run. Instead, I had to wait until it got to L.A., without the original cast, but amazingly, with Neil Patrick Harris who played Mark Cohen. It wasn’t a big deal at the time (that guy from “Doogie Howser”???), but the show was so sturdy and songs so amazing that it proved that other casts could make the show fly. The closest the rest of us mortals could get

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John Grant Pale Green Ghosts
Music

Album Challenge Day 4: John Grant’s “Pale Green Ghosts”

My fourth choice for the album challenge has me jumping forward in time, but spotlighting a hugely impactful album, John Grant’s “Pale Green Ghosts”. This was a tough one since I absolutely adore “Queen of Denmark” but the follow-up “Pale Green Ghosts” contains some of Grant’s very best songs plus shows his eclectic nature, spotlighting not only his contrasting musical interests but his lyrics that veer from wallowing sadness to laugh out loud comedy. And what a grand voice! The

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Grease
Music

Album Challenge Day 3: “Grease”

“Grease” is the Word. If you don’t love this movie and don’t feel compelled to sing-along, you may be dead inside. Check with your doctor. Picture It: Hawaii 1978. At the time, I was a teen living in Japan on an Army base where we usually got movies and TV shows from the States a year late, but luckily I got a rare trip back to the Motherland where I was able to actually participate in late ’70s pop culture

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Telekon
Music

Album Challenge Day 2: Gary Numan’s “Telekon”

My second choice for the album challenge is Gary Numan’s “Telekon”. No, this does not contain “Cars”, which is pretty much the only Numan song that Americans know despite the fact that he has a raft of hits and most recently hit No. 2 on the U.K. album charts. That was “Pleasure Principle”. “Tekelon” is the follow-up album, the first one of Numan’s that I bought, 40 years ago, which hooked me for a lifetime. Although it’s the third album

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Mary Poppins Songs
Music

Album Challenge Day 1: “Mary Poppins”

I got challenged on Facebook by my friend Ibo Yilmaz to name 10 albums that have influenced my musical taste and upbringing. One record per day over a 10 day period. No explanations (usually), no reviews, just the cover art. Well, because I’m posting it here, I’ll give some explanation. Each day, I have to nominate someone else, although haven’t decided if I will. I’ve chosen “Mary Poppins” although it’s not the movie soundtrack with Julie Andrews but instead the

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