Anna Minard claims to "know nothing about music." For this column, we force her to listen to random records by artists considered to be important by music nerds.

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Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake


We have to start with this title, guys: While Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake is apparently a reference to tobacco, it sounds like a fiber-rich cereal popular with the geriatric set. Every time I see this album's name, I imagine the commercial. "You know what keeps me regular and starts my day off right?" a smiling older woman in a soft-focus country kitchen asks the camera. "Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake. Thanks, Oggie!" And then Ogden, who would be a sea captain with an old-fashioned hat, would pop his head in the window, smile at the woman, and then turn to the camera and wink.

With that out of the way, I have a serious recommendation for you regarding this album: Listen to it on a real stereo system. Yeah, we should all be so nerdy as to only attempt a first listen on some audiophile's speaker setup, but we don't always do that, do we? You just pop it in wherever's easy. (Oooh... That's what she said! HA-HA-HA I WIN LIFE.) But this album sounds so completely different on real speakers versus the tinny crap ones in a laptop that I can't even recognize that it's the same album.

Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake starts out with an instrumental track, part of which sounds like it should've been sampled for R&B songs in the late 1990s or '00s. Then it slips into '60s British dude songs. They're okay, if a little too serious about afterglow. It starts getting extra-good at track four, "Rene." The piano-led tune has such a geometric rhythm—it's structured and predictable and so straightforwardly pleasant. Bum-badum-ba-dum-da-dum-da-dum-da! I don't get a feel for who Rene is, but the whole bar sings along for the chorus, so it sounds like she's popular with the boys. They also have a song called "Lazy Sunday," which, just like it sounds, is about hanging around on the weekend and napping—obviously, this is a song for me. Some of the lyrics: "A rooty-tooty-doo, a rooty-dooty-dum."

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And around there, shit goes sideways: A narrator (comedian Stanley Unwin) appears and asks if everyone's sitting comfortably, then starts recounting a story about someone named Happiness Stan. This should be the most annoying thing ever, because the British grandpa narrator doesn't enunciate, and you just hear weird flecks of speech full of strange slang, and also we're trying to listen to an album here—but it just works. The cadence of the story-time part sounds just right, and for the rest of the album, story-gramps preludes each song. Just go with it! The song "Rollin' Over" sounds just like "Foxy Lady"; "The Journey" sounds like it invented drums. The story-time parts sprinkle words like "feathery-feathery" and "mincey-meaty" everywhere. Look, if you want cool music to play for kids, this is your album.

I give this a "naps and story times" out of 10. recommended

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