Acclaimed Albums – Screamadelica by Primal Scream

List item: Listen to the 250 greatest albums
Progress: 199/250Title: Screamadelica
Artist: Primal Scream
Year: 1991
Position: #87

Since this blog is a place of honest, I’m going to be upfront with you all – I got this album all wrong. With a name like Primal Scream I was expecting something more along the likes of Psychocandy (and that’s not just because Primal Scream’s lead vocalist was the drummer on that album). I was expecting something grittier and rockier – which is why I chose this to provide some backing music to some work frustration. Instead, I get one of the pioneering albums of house music that takes influences from gospel, LSD and psychedelia.

To be honest, that first listen was a bit of a wash. My wants had gone unsatisfied and I was left thinking ‘what the crap is this’. Still loved the album artwork, I’ve always loved it and would have probably had a poster of it up in my room if I was 10-15 years older. I am now here three more plays down the line, with the experience improving with each additional listen. The sheer joy of this album is actually helping to distract me from the 33 degree weather outside that made me want to peel off my skin on the train home.

The middle two tracks of Screamadelica are ones I am going to end up having on repeat for the rest of the week, especially as the temperature begins to climb. ‘Loaded’ and ‘Come Together’ are examples of where a long run time is extremely beneficial to the feel of a track. It’s not even that they necessarily build to anything across their length, it’s just that the soundscapes are so joyous that it’s fun to romp around for 7-10 minutes.

Outside of these tracks, you get a more modern take on psychedelia on ‘Higher Than The Sun’… which sounds exactly how you would expect and would make for a great background song for a drug scene in a film. ‘I’m Comin Down’ in the second half of the album is a great mirror image of confusion and brass instruments that are still trippy as all get out, but manage to be a bit more unsettling.

Despite being released in 1991, Screamadelica is an album whose time is incredibly hard to pin down. Only the house influence helps to place it in the early 1990s – pre-dating other house classics like The Beloved’s ‘Sweet Harmony’ and building on earlier examples like ‘Little Fluffy Clouds’.

I began this album ready to discount it for not being the album I wanted but, thanks to repeat listens and a week-long heatwave, I might have just found the album that I need for the moment. I’ll probably be back listening to wood nymph on the moon music once things cool down again.

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