This month in music history: November

John Lennon: Double Fantasy

30 Years: John Lennon: Double Fantasy [November 1980]

What is more notable than a release from one of the Beatles? Okay, well maybe not every post-Beatles release is incredible. However, one of the most important records from John Lennon’s solo career, Double Fantasy, came about after his 6 year musical hiatus. After A Story in 1974, Lennon took a break from making music to concentrate on being a full-time father for his son Sean, born in 1975. During the next five years, Lennon did no recording outside of demos recorded in his apartment. Beyond Double Fantasy being a return to music for Lennon, it was also his last before he was murdered (only three weeks after its release) at the age 40. Its comprised of half Lennon songs and the other half by the infamous Yoko Ono. Although poorly received by critics initially, the album became a major success following his death, and eventually winning a Grammy in 1981. — Evan Metz

Morrissey: Bona Drag

20 Years: Morrissey: Bona Drag [November 1990]

1990 was experiencing huge music shifts, and with the release of Bona Drag in November 1990, I credit Morrissey with aiding the sounds to come from the UK during this time period. With the end of the Smiths, Moz went on his own and after the huge success of Viva Hate he released Bona Drag. Which was a compilation of singles and b-sides from his newly founded solo career. Every song on the record is a credit to what is easy to call one of the most influential artists of our generation and many are Morrissey classics. If you haven’t heard of Morrissey and want to understand what real good music is, then you should spin Bona Drag at least four times. Some albums can never go bad, and this is definitely one of them. — Colin Lateano

The Avalanches: Since I Left You

10 Years: The Avalanches: Since I Left You [November 2000]

Vinyl records are still around, some people have just forgotten about them. The Avalanches have not forgotten, or been forgotten, for that matter. Ten years ago this month the group collected, chopped, twisted, and filled up and hour of music (with over 3,500 samples from records, mind you) into a masterpiece of electronic dance music. Since I Left You remains the only record from the Avalanches, and a stellar masterpiece it stands today. Sprinkled with every genre of music you can possibly imagine, the group pieced together something that makes mash-ups and party mixes like a crappy mixtape you give to your girlfriend. With rumors of a new album coming in the next year or so, looking back at this record makes it seem like we haven’t had to wait for anything. — Patrick Singer

Animal Collective: Fall Be Kind [EP]

1 Year: Animal Collective: Fall Be Kind EP [November 2009]

2009 was the year of the Animal Collective. After releasing Merriweather Post Pavillion, their most accessible, and successful album yet, Animal Collective was Pitchfork proclaimed, “Hipster Gold Status”. Before a backlash occurred (or, depending on your blog of choice, after the backlash DID occur) Panda Bear, Avery, Geologist and the rest needed to release some more music that showed they were worthy of the hype. Fall Be Kind is an EP that could ONLY work as an EP; it’s not cast-off songs from the full record, it’s not a quickie cash in. Instead, it’s five, well written, carefully produced songs that prove there’s gotta be SOMETHING substantial to AC zeitgeist. If Merriweather Post Pavillion is an album trying to capture the feel good, carefree summertime feelings only May-August can provide (i.e. “Summertime Clothes”), then Fall Be Kind is the opposite. This record is darker, slower, and more reflective. Instead of pop songs with a avant-guarde bent like Merriweather, the EP stays grounded strictly in experimentalism. A song like “Bleed”, with its moans, overdubbing, and ambiance would have no place on a summertime stereo. “I Think I Can” has lyrics that are hopeful, yet self-conscious; “On a Highway” is lonely and thoughtful. Fall Be Kind shows that Animal Collective can combine catchy melodies with ambiance and non-traditional rhythms. Perhaps what the EP is best remembered for is the only song to use an authorized Grateful Dead sample, “What Would I Want? Sky”. Starting with a brooding, glitchy intro, the song morphs into a bouncing, pretty pop song by employing a Jerry Garcia vocal melody. It’s songs like these, and appreciation from music greats like GD, that make me think there’s something more to Animal Collective than just a cool thing to see on an Urban Outfitters T-Shirt. — Nick Martin

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