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Classic Album Sundays

CAS Modern Classic: Billie Eilish ‘When We All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go?’

At the age of 14, I was dying my hair, scraping acne off my face and desperately gasping for air while trying not to socially drown in my middle school life in New York City. I was searching for myself in the Pink Floyd, Hendrix, and Bikini Kill posters I posted on my bedroom walls. At that same age, Billie Eilish and her brother FINNEAS were launching their careers, putting forth an EP that would change their lives and, in turn, the whole wide world from their bedroom somewhere in the suburbs of Los Angeles.

Billie’s first full album, When We All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go?, cannot be explored without starting from the beginning. Billie’s career took off when she released her first EP, Don’t Smile At Me which allowed her to have a solid set to perform live. This got her an incredibly loyal fan base. These songs gave us a good idea of who she and FINNEAS are as artists. FINNEAS is a brilliant, innovative producer and Billie Eilish is a gifted lyricist with a beautiful, dark and angelic voice. This EP also allowed her fans to connect with the fact that they could relate to her pain, especially because she was the same age. Her fans not only watched as her career took off in full flight at a rapid pace, they were along for the ride.

Billie’s fans have always related to her ability to speak honestly about her mental state, especially when it took a nosedive. In 2017, one of the darkest times in her life, she released her first album When We All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go? On the album cover, Billie portrays herself as subhuman with white eyes as she sits on a bed in a dark, liminal space. In comparison to her first EP, the production style is more textured. FINNEAS had clearly grown as a producer and built a soundscape that fed Billie’s vision for a darker theme.

Along with the unique and impressive production style, the lyrics are probably the most evident sign of Billie’s intention behind the concept of the album. ‘Bury a Friend’, Billie’s personal favorite song from the album, is a great example of lyrics that are both complicated and terrifying. This excerpt is one of my favourites:

“It’s probably something that shouldn’t be said out loud
Honestly I thought that I would be dead by now
Calling security keeping my head held down
Bury the hatchet or bury a friend right now”

The lyrics seem to be partly about the music industry along with her depression which she has been singing about for years. But it also has other layers that are less obvious. This is intentional as Billie has said that every line means something precise to her but that the whole song is for individual interpretation.

The title of When We All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go? comes from Billie’s fascination with sleep and what happens when you are in a dream state. She thinks of sleep as a scary thing because of her thoughts and nightmares. In an interview she gave with DASDING in 2019 she said, “My ideas come from the things that have freaked me out over my life and a lot of my visuals are based on dreams that I’ve had because of things that I’ve seen.”

When the album first came out it was played everywhere. The intricate song ‘Bad Guy’ was on every radio station, reviews of the album were flying out of every magazine and interviews with Billie were all over Instagram and YouTube. No one had ever heard such a dark and eerie duality like FINNEAS’ bass heavy production under Billie’s soft voice. This album contains so much complication but it is riddled with simplicity as well. ‘When the Party’s Over’ is a beautiful song and it’s just Billie’s voice with a piano and some harmonies. The production style here brings emphasis to the lyrics and gives a feeling of loneliness to the listener. This album is both haunting and strikingly beautiful. The hits off the album are earworms, the music videos are nightmare inducing and Billie’s voice tugs on your heartstrings. The dynamic of being so powerful and so sad at the same time symbolises the ups and downs of teenage life. No one could get enough of it.

The album was massively rewarded for the pair’s unique approach to song making. They won three Grammys, topped charts and it dramatically grew her audience. While this is an undeniable degree of success, there is a notable correlation between the success of this album and Billie’s mental health declining at a rapid pace. Billie takes the darkness she feels and turns it into this invincible character, allowing her to basically embody all she is afraid of in the form of great art, as many great artists do. Bruce Springsteen’s lyrics are full of relatable pain and tragedy and backed by music that is danceable. And Mitski sings the line “and still nobody wants me” over and over in her song ‘Nobody’ a catchy head-bopper of a song that exudes enjoyment in the face of the universal feeling of loneliness. What these artists are attempting is a way to live with all the sadness of life. Their music is a way to make it through. Billie Eilish most certainly made light of her pain and created something incredible with her brother. But the real gift of this album, besides the brilliant musicality and advanced lyricism, is the fact that she overcame her despair.

After this album was released, Billie’s fans watched as she climbed out of her dark place. Now when she perform and does interviews, Billie seems more self assured, confident, and comfortable with who she handles herself in the public eye. She has learned how to set boundaries and not tell her fans too much about her private life and as a result, has become far stronger and healthier. Her latest album, Happier Than Ever, shows how far she has come. Her first album will always be special because of how it impacted her audience and the world, but it is also a reflection of how to turn your weakness into strength and make it through when times get unbearable. Billie Eilish has earned a lot of respect for the making of When We All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go? from the world. But maybe, looking back on the experience, she found respect for herself, as well.

Gigi Kriegsmann
Classic Album Sundays

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CAS Classic Album Sundays presents Ziggy Stardust 50, with Producer Ken Scott

Meet a man who was there at the birth of Ziggy Stardust, legendary record producer Ken Scott who joins Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy to discuss the making of the album that shot Bowie into inter-galactic fame.

David Bowie was a musical and cultural phenomenon whose significance only seems to increase with every passing year. He rocketed to stardom 50 years ago, in the summer of 1972, with the release of the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars. His appearance on Top of the Pops a month later, dressed as an alien rock star and performing ‘Starman’, was an event that changed many lives.

Ken not only produced Bowie’s The Rise and Fall… but also the preceding Hunky Dory and the following Aladdin Sane. Furthermore he was one of the five main engineers for the Beatles, engineered for Elton John, and produced Mahavishnu Orchestra, Billy Cobham, Supertramp and Missing Persons.

Join our monthly Album Club, Classic Album Pub Quiz, Safe & Sound Hi-Fi webinar and receive rewards here.


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CAS My Classic Album: Steven Wilson on Kate Bush ‘The Dreaming’

Steven Wilson joins Classic Album Sundays’ Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy to discuss Kate Bush ‘The Dreaming’ as part of our ‘My Classic Album’ series. Steven is a singer, songwriter and record producer who founded the band Porcupine Tree. Nominated for four Grammy’s, Steven has also created 5.1 surround sound remixes for artists such as Black Sabbath, Tears For Fears, Roxy Music, Marillion, Tangerine Dream, Ultravox, Jethro Tull and many more.

‘My Classic Album’ is a series of free-to-view artist interview streams created with support from the Arts Council England Cultural Recovery Fund. Interviews have featured artists such as Emma-Jean Thackray, Moses Boyd, The Kooks, Nitin Sawhney and many more.

Join our monthly Album Club, Classic Album Pub Quiz, Safe & Sound Hi-Fi webinar and receive rewards here.

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CAS Sharleen Spiteri on Texas ‘Hi’ and Women in Music

Classic Album Sundays founder Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy is joined by chart-topping singer-songwriter with the phenomenally successful band Texas, Sharleen Spiteri, at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the National Album Day 2021 celebrations with Bowers & Wilkins.

2021’s National Album Day spotlighted women artists and their huge contribution to music and culture through the art of the album. Sharleen discusses her favourite women in music and how they have influenced her, culminating in choice cuts from the new Texas album Hi.

Texas’ 10th album, Hi is a stunning result of looking back with eyes fixed firmly on the future. Collaborations include Dark Fire, written with Richard Hawley, Look What You’ve Done, an intoxicating, classic duet with Clare Grogan of Altered Images, and a swaggering collaboration with the Wu-Tang Clan on the record’s title track.


Listen: The Kooks on ‘Inside In/Inside Out’

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CAS Classic Album Pub Quiz on Zoom

Join Classic Album Sundays founder Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy on Wednesday 8th June at 8pm BST for our Classic Album Pub Quiz hosted on zoom. Grab a drink (BYOB), test your musical knowledge and have a laugh. To attend, subscribe as a Punter for £5.

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Attendees will receive an email with a private zoom link an hour before the event starts.  Doors open at 7:45 and the quiz in two themed halves starts at 8pm BST and finishes around 9pm.

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This event is open to our Punter, Member, VIP Member, Contributor, Benefactor and Angel subscribers. 

Participants will receive a Zoom invitation a couple of hours before showdown.

Time and Date: Wednesday 8th June at 8pm BST

Tickets

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CAS Album of the Month Club: Miles Davis ’Sketches of Spain’

June’s Album Club on Wednesday 29th June 8pm BST will feature Miles Davis Sketches of SpainSketches of Spain is the most luxuriant and stridently romantic recording Davis ever made. To listen to it in the 21st century is still a spine-tingling experience, as one encounters a multitude of timbres, tonalities, and harmonic structures seldom found in the music called jazz.

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In advance of the meeting, Colleen will send out a ‘Musical Lead-Up Playlist’ of 10 songs – music that will set the tone for the deep album listening featuring Miles Davis’ inspirations and other bands in their milieu at that time.

At the meeting, itself, Colleen tells the story behind the album for about 20 minutes and then we listen to the album in its entirety without interruption following our listening guidelines – phones off and no talking. To be clear, its up to you to source whichever copy of the album you can get your hands on – streaming online, CD, vinyl – whatever it is. We don’t broadcast the album over Zoom as you won’t have a great listening experience.

After the album finishes we reconvene and have a discussion about the album and our listening experience.

Patreon Members and higher tiers can attend the Album Club and also our Classic Album Pub Quiz which will be held on Wednesday 29th June 8pm BST. You can subscribe here and don’t forget you can unsubscribe at any time.

We hope you can join us and thanks for listening!

Subscribe as a Member

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Our events really resonate with people and one of our newest members sent this testimonial after her first Album Club last month:

“I wanted to thank you for the warm welcome and the knowledge there are friendly like minded people across the world out there and you brought us all together through a shared love of music. That is awesome. I have been mostly alone through the pandemic (am single, live alone – and yes do have the requisite cats to complete the stereotype!😂) My 25 + year career has been in events, currently in the West End of London so in my “normal” life I would be out at least 3/4 times a week. That has all obviously completely stopped for me and it has been a somewhat of a struggle mentally, music has kept me sane and Sunday’s event really helped my sanity. I truly hope to meet you in real life at some point to say thank you in person and look forward to engaging in more events.” – Angela

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CAS Classic Album Sundays presents An Evening with Dennis Bovell

Dennis Bovell joins Classic Album Sundays founder Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy on Monday June 13th at 7pm BST at Brilliant Corners in London to look back at his incredible career and his new compilation The DuBMASTER: The Essential Anthology which charts Dennis’ career from the Seventies up to the present day.

Tickets £20 in advance

Dennis Bovell remains a pioneering artist and popular mainstay in both music and culture. Widely regarded as Britain’s reggae maestro, with a 40 year career that spans a number of musical eras and genres, his new anthology will celebrate both his unique ear for music, which continues to incorporate a rich array of references, as well shining a light on his unique sound that is still so loved by his legion of loyal fans from across the globe.

The event will feature elected tracks from the Anthology played on our world class audiophile sound system.

Included in the ticket price will be a handmade Tuna or Vegan sushi roll. Please email contact@classicalbumsundays.com which you choice.


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London

Time and Date: Monday June 13th at 7pm BST (Doors 6:30pm)

Venue

Brilliant Corners, 470 Kingsland Rd, London E8 4AE

Tickets

Tickets £20 in avance

Presenter

Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy with Dennis Bovell

Audio Menu

Dynavector D17D3 MC CartridgeRega P9 TurntableRega IOS Phono Stage Audio Note Jinro Integrated AmpChord Signature Speaker CableChord Signature Tuned Aray interconnectsISOL-8 Substation Integra Power Conditioner, Klipschorn Loudspeakers and Klipsch SW-115 Subwoofers

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CAS Join The Album Club with Klaus Schulze ‘Timewind’

May’s Album Club on Thursday 19th May 8pm BST will feature Klaus Schulze’s fifth album Timewind in tribute to his recent passing. Timewind was the first of Schulze’s albums to feature a sequencer and was a transitional work somewhere between the Krautrock of Schulze’s earlier output and the Berlin School character of his following efforts. The intention of Timewind was to invoke a timeless state in the listener. Timewind serves as splendid mood music, and the ears are forever kept busy following Schulze’s electronic wandering.

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In advance of the meeting, Colleen will send out a ‘Musical Lead-Up Playlist’ of 10 songs – music that will set the tone for the deep album listening featuring Schulze’s inspirations and other bands in their milieu at that time.

At the meeting, itself, Colleen tells the story behind the album for about 20 minutes and then we listen to the album in its entirety without interruption following our listening guidelines – phones off and no talking. To be clear, its up to you to source whichever copy of the album you can get your hands on – streaming online, CD, vinyl – whatever it is. We don’t broadcast the album over Zoom as you won’t have a great listening experience.

After the album finishes we reconvene and have a discussion about the album and our listening experience.

Patreon Members and higher tiers can attend the Album Club and also our monthly Classic Album Pub Quiz. You can subscribe here and don’t forget you can unsubscribe at any time.

We hope you can join us and thanks for listening!

Subscribe Here

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CAS Wendy Carlos ‘Clockwork Orange’ with Greg Wilson

British DJ and journalist Greg Wilson joins Colleen to discuss Wendy Carlos’ score to the film Clockwork Orange. Wendy Carlos is what you might call a true genius in the world of twentieth century music. She has always been ahead of her time…expanding boundaries and challenging listeners and herself. Her dramatic score for the legendary Clockwork Orange motion picture is an interesting collection of solid, dark, electronic proto-new age music.

Greg began DJing in 1975 and is regarded as one of the most important figures on the UK dance scene. He enjoyed hugely popular residencies in the early eighties at Wigan Pier and Manchester’s majorly influential Legend, having originally started out in his hometown of New Brighton. He was a pioneer of mixing in the UK and in 1983 he became the first ‘dance music’specialist hired for a regular weekly session at Manchester’s now legendary Haçienda club. Greg was instrumental in breaking the new electronic, post-disco records coming out of New York, a sound he has dubbed ‘Electro-Funk’.

Join our monthly Album Club, Classic Album Pub Quiz, Safe & Sound Hi-Fi webinar and receive rewards here.

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