Saturday, February 16, 2008
No. 370: Volunteers
Band: Jefferson Airplane
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: One of the most ardently ant-war records, "Volunteers" was Jefferson Airplane's only other album of note. It helped reinforced the Woodstock generation's ideology while still keeping their collective interest.
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: Jefferson Airplane stinks and this type of folk rock kind of stinks.
Best song: The band's version of "Wooden Ships" isn't bad.
Worst song: "Turn My Life Down" kind of stinks.
Is it awesome?: Nah.
It's hard to decide how much the anti-war movement was influenced by the music surrounding it or if it was vice versa. The large scale of the movement certainly was the place that bands like Jefferson Airplane took their influence from. But, how much was the anti-war movement spread through the airwaves and hifis in the way of bands like the Airplane?
Certainly, punk rock in the '80s was both influenced by and actually influenced the punk underground of that decade. I'd say that the kids were more important in the implementation of said movement, while the bands were much more just angry. While they were important, Black Flag, Minor Threat were more looks at teenage angst than overarching movement people like Jefferson Airplane. It's an odd thought, though. Were people getting charged about the anti-war movement because of Jefferson Airplane? Who knows...
Nevertheless, the album isn't very good. Grace Slick's voice loses its novelty after a couple of songs. The first song, "We Can Be Together," was one of the first popular songs to use the word "fuck" in it and it was played on TV once, uncensored on The Dick Cavett Show on August 19, 1969, and the performance is recorded the first and only time the word "fuck" has been recorded on television. The title track is a great song and one of the ones played at Woodstock.
Overall, it's not a particular great album, just more Boomer love for a decent band with a few OK songs.