Kinda wanted to hate this but I have to give respect where it's due. Inevitably there is some filler and I thought the end was weak but it deserves its place as an Indie classic.
The level of this (the musicianship, the artistry of the lyrics) rises so far above some of the indie crap that had come up in this list so far...
Wow that's a lot of iconic pop in one place. The level of creative originality is incredible.
Listened to quite a lot of Mudhoney (and other roots grunge like Screaming Trees, Dinosaur Jr. etc) back in the mid 90s. It deserves points for the energy, the consistency of execution, and how foundational it was to the development of this particular sound... Though it’s a sound I’m not all that interested in listening to anymore.
Prior to the 90s I think I was only aware of the Kinks from Lola (I knew You Really Got Me but I don't think I knew who it was by). I came to the whole 60s psychedelic rock/British invasion/folk revival in my college days. A fine album though I think Village Green is still my favorite
Put in mind of my first encounters with Nick Drake, I think my brother introduced me, but we didn't talk much about it and the internet still being fairly nascent in the late 90s, I just walked around in my ignorance. I heard something from this album playing in a shop and me filmed it to a girl working there, and she said something about how sad it was, which is how I learned he wasn't around anymore. I haven't listened to it in a while, and I'm surprised by how brief this album, and and most of the songs, are. Under the spell of the phrasing of Things Behind the Sun, I wrote this: https://songsofdays.blogspot.com/2007/05/163-92098-her-majestys-fools-fibonacci.html
Before I listened to this album the first time (late 80s), the Rolling Stones were mostly part of the background radiation to me, a ubiquitous presence I was always aware of but thought about little. A friend turned me on to Exile and it captured my full attention immediately. Hardly any filler, compared to most double albums.
I don't think I've listened to this in full before: my hip hop credentials are weak. I did see him in concert in the late 90s, a show my brother invited me to join him at. It was a bad vibe night in Minneapolis I guess: Jeru the Damaga continuously berated the audience for not being hype enough and going like half an hour over his set, and DJ Shadow kind of listlessly spun record for about 20 minutes and then just left the stage...
Prior to the 90s I think I was only aware of the Kinks from Lola (I knew You Really Got Me but I don't think I knew who it was by). I came to the whole 60s psychedelic rock/British invasion/folk revival in my college days. A fine album though I think Village Green is still my favorite
Looking at this bbn playlist I wondered if I was going to recognize anything other than One Way or Another. Heart of Glass was the only other familiar song. This album came out considerably earlier than I would have thought. The musical style of many of the songs I didn't particularly recognize surprised me
Adding more words about this album can of be a worthwhile expenditure of time. Had the LP when it came out. Looking at the playlist again I was surprised at how long the songs were.
Any essentials list is going to be subjective but this inclusion is the first so far to really raise an eyebrow from me. Oh well: it probably dates me more than anything. Got absolutely spammed by Bittersweet Symphony in the late 90s, especially during one of my few and brief MTV watching eras. Didn't recognize a single other song off the album. Surprised by several Eagles-esque, lightly countrified sad-ballads amongst the offerings.
My knowledge on hip hop in general isn't strong, less so gangsta rap, even so it's obvious the relevance of this has only increased over time.
Then this one came out later than I'd have expected. Nearly every song made a distinct impression.
Came out the year I was born. Again, minimal filler, every song hitting distinctly. As a rock fan it took me a ridiculously long time to get into T. Rex
This is absolutely my jam. Still don't know if King's Lead Hat is an intentional anagram of Talking Heads (or vice versa, or neither).
I'm wishing they'd skipped the ratings with this thing, or at least made them optional. This album might deserve a 3 or even a 2 from some perspectives of sophistication; I'm inclined to give it a four on pure nostalgia. I played this to death in the early 90s.
I don't think I've ever listened to a full Coldplay album before. Not exactly my cup of tea, though I didn't find it unpleasant. A little monotonous in tone?
Another icon of my mid-90s MTV era, and of course The Matrix soundtrack. Again though not really my thing.
I know many people, including some whose opinions I hold in high regard, really go for this side of Zorn's eclectic catalogue. This struck me as a little less beatnik-screamo than Naked City but still not my cup of tea. Of course this is coming from the asshole who gave The Doors by The Doors 4 stars. An exhausting listen for me and the first item my Youtube Music subscription failed me on.
I suppose Deep Purple should land firmly in my classic/psychedelic/heavy rock wheelhouse, but I never really got into it. I do appreciate the severely dated, unironic preteen-level cool of Space Truckin'.
I definitely need to get more into Dire Staits. Only readily summoned touchstones are Sultans of Swing and of course the much later Money for Nothing, that video icon of my pre-cable existence when my only access to music videos was Friday Night Videos.
I totally get the earned place this has in the pantheon of Rock and Roll, and I could listen to any song from it at any time without rancor, but I don't ever need to hear it again.
I probably should have been listening to this more carefully. One of these singer songwriters that's been on the periphery of my radar for a long time but never got to. It sounded pretty but I wasn't really tuned into the lyrics. Something to revisit.
OK, for sure Brian Eno is a genius, but sometimes I'm listening to something like this and wondering if it's a case where being a genius means you get to just noodle around for an hour sometimes. Im sure some smarty pants would be able to tell me off.
I'm fond of the Cure, although not to the extent of having ever purchased an album. This was fine, lovely in places, but maybe needed a little more variation in tone.
Steely Dan is one of those sharp break artists for a lot of people, love it or hate it... I fall firmly on the love side, though I can see the objections of a superficiality... But to me that all-surface high gloss is what it's all about. Hardly needed to listen to this one, it's basically on repeat somewhere in the back of my head, along with Pretzel Logic and Can't Buy a Thrill - to me, jus gr about perfect.
I mean, Bowie, right?
REM is one of those bands that figured very prominently in my daily playlists for many years (starting with an LP of Life's Rich Pageant owned by my brother, a situation that will no doubt become a common refrain in this project). And then I just stopped picking up the new stuff and really stopped listening to them at all.
Another prominent player in the late 80s Friday Night Videos era. Pulls off the "wall of anthem" of the Bon Jovi but with more wit and whimsy.
First thing from this list that I actually hadn't heard of before. After reading descriptions online I guess I was expecting something like a Billy Bragg-esque folk rock, which it is definitely not. Interesting and another one that merits revisiting. The rap delivery section in one of the latter half songs has not aged well.
Reading about it prior to listening, the title track is called out as one of the most recognized instrumental tracks... No idea. Hearing it the penny drops immediately, and I'm reminded again fo the depth and breadth of my ignorance.
More super familiar music I never bothered to know the facts about before, so it nothing else this project is broadening my knowledge. Disco is not particularly in my wheelhouse though I am certainly of similar vintage.
Always down for some Fela Kuti. Discovered that Ginger Baker's passing in 2019 snuck past me.
The other side of the "oh that's where that song is from" coin: A name that's totally familiar but I don't know any of this music. I liked not just fine.
My relationship with Dylan's discography peters out around the mid 70's - pretty much with Desire. I don't hate this, or any of the latter days stuff I've heard, but neither does it change my mind on the topic.
Definitely some smooth jams, along with some genuine oddity
Maybe this is particularly foundational but it seemed like pretty bog-standard 60s folk-rock to me. Fine, but "essential"?
I like Rush... I don't think 2112 is the finest representation. Its side A concept piece is Rush at their silliest and most heavy-handed, and the B side is patchy and uncohesive.
All right. I can appreciate the house thing but was never at all of that scene.
My Elvis knowledge is very dim. I found the pretty wide range of styles interesting.
Another album I barely need to actually listen to, since I've been playing it pretty routinely since my teens. And frankly still thinking rocks pretty hard.
If nothing else this project is acquainting me with the music of a lot of names/bands I've heard of but never listened to. This was really not to my taste though.
I can't be anything but a tourist in this genre which brings up all kinds of... feelings. I think I can appreciate it and respect the foundations it represents but it's not what I'd choose to listen to in the car.
First thing in this project I really disliked. Found the singing incredibly grating when it wasn't pretentious intoning.
I understand the regard its held in, I mostly played out my interest in the 60s psychedelic rock era around the turn of the century.
clearly in a minority here, did not like this (not quite as much so as the Le Tigre, but I think only because I thought it overall blander). Interminable, and monotonous - and a vocal styling I could happily do without any more of for the remainder of my life.
I can forget that this style made it deeply into the 60s, and heavily influenced what followed in pop. Always down for this kind of thing.
Another familiar name with little context that comes to mind. Finnish glam rock? Extra points for weirdness, especially in the first half, and a really first tier album title.
Interesting? My Spanish definitely isn't up to it. Would happily listen in the background for hours at a time.
I don't think I ever listened to this start to finish before. To be honest a lot of it just seems like typical English rock other than being sung with an "oi, I'm a rebel" aesthetic.
The level of this (the musicianship, the artistry of the lyrics) rises so far above some of the indie crap that had come up in this list so far...
Distinct memories of the nubbly orange CD sleeve in record shops. I can see the quality of this but once again not particularly my genre.
The first item in this project not pretty solidly under the pop tent? I liked listening to it.
Picked this up a while back under influence of the Vikings TV series opening sequence. On prior listens I felt like the latter half maybe dragged or got monotonous but I'm feeling on this listen maybe it merited closer attention.
I really hated this, even more than Le Tigre. And honestly, looking back at my prior ratings, I think I'm supposed to have it like the bourgie scum I am. Surprising amount of preaching in post-punk, just preaching to a different choir.
Again, revealing my general proclivities in music (not punk) I am all over this. I had this on a cheap department store cassette tape as a teen and played it until it fell apart.
It always feels like I am supposed to really like Nick Cave but I consistently react to the studio stuff as just OK. Reminded during this listen of that Chris Knox line "Leonard Cohen used to bend his words this way... to try to make a song out of a speech."
As usual I don't feel qualified to critique jazz. This captured me less than other Thelonious Monk pieces I've heard.
Very very smooth. I liked it.
Somehow so dumb I never realized Dusty Springfield was English. Son of a Preacher Man ha e a special place in my heart for obvious reasons.
I love Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground so much that I have an automatic soft spot for Nico, but I'm not sure it quite carries a full album for me. I kind of liked the flutey compositions that I take it she hated. Sort of interested to hear some of the later stuff she had more control on.
I can grasp the aesthetic of this and certainly see the artistry of it but to be honest I found listening to it kind of exhausting.
For me this just kept fading into background reggae. Good but not engaging. My regard for political lyrics is not what it once was.
Wow that's a lot of iconic pop in one place. The level of creative originality is incredible.
Find I'm very tired of the vocal delivery of this era and strata of alternative pop. A bare three points for the instrumentation which I liked better, but didn't really care for this.
Was actually able to pull out an LP to listen to this one. What more could be said about it at this point?
Is this the best pick of this band? I feel like they tightened up the sound and toned down the hippie vibe in favor of a little deeper orchestration as time went on. Still I have no problem with this at all.
Figuring out the book this thing is based on is British in origin after making the unhappy discovery that Morrissey is behind a whopping 6 of it's entries, which is clearly too much even if you set aside his recent taste for right wing nationalism. The music is fine, the ostentatious doling about MUHDUH I could do without.
Something I don't think I ever came across before, although some of the songs seemed strangely familiar. Interesting.
I recall this as one of those albums I first came across through the associated movie and the two are indelibly intertwined, actually a rare event (Harold and Maude and The Graduate come out mind). First rate.
Interesting how much of the earliest stuff is unfamiliar, and the how exaggerated the vocal styling is on some of these tracks
I think I may intrinsically lack the sophistication to get jazz. Boodily beedily beedily boodily boopidy boodily doodily deedily beedily boodily deedily doodily do.
Owned this years ago, I can't remember the format, probably cassette given the time, anyway I don't have it anymore. I really loved it though and listening again after many years it definitely holds up.
I'm not sure I ever listened to a Gary Numan song other than Cars before this. New Wave was THE new music of my youth and I retain an affection for it from that. The cover art for this album is superb.
Industrial certainly does what it says on the tin, but I daresay the transgressiveness of this seems a little juvenile? "God is dead and no one cares," and the song is called "Heresy"? Kind of paint by numbers.
Another album whose singles played predominantly in my 90s video phase. Decades later it comes of as maybe a little soft-pedaled? Plenty of good stuff though. Saw Kravitz live at a festival in the mid-90s and he did not disappoint.
New to me. One thing you are not seeing a lot of in the music published for the American market is calls for Aftican unity. I liked this album.
Sight Ros is another one of these things I feel like I'm supposed to really like but just find OK. I certainly didn't have this but it didn't really go to a deep place with me that it seems to with many people.
There have certainly been things so far in this that I've disliked intensely but this is the first inclusion I just found quizzical. It was easy enough to listen to but I just don't think it's near the same level as it's peers on this list.
Honestly all the EDM sounds the same to me. Maybe this is again particularly foundational but to me it probably could have been most anything in the genre.
Ska again not a big factor in my musical lexicon but it's a fine album and some standout songs I've long appreciated.
Starting to worry about the annoyance to discovery factor on this list. Honestly found this bizarre- mixing workmanlike if slightly plodding ballads with some of the sloppier guitar soloing I've heard, plus some feedback-noise cacophany elements without Hendrix level virtuosity to hold them together. Not a lot of meat on the bone.
I don't have anything additional to add about the Pet Shop Boys.
Realized I didn't know this as well as I thought. Didn't realize Honky Tonk Woman was more or less an alternate B side, the version of Midnight Rambler I identify with appears to be a live version I couldn't source off the bat looking for it... Other than that, it's classic Stones, amazing if you like that kind of thing (which I do).
Another band where I'm familiar with the name and one song. But I thought it was very good, if a little outside my genre tastes.
Repetitive to say, but I can respect what this is about and how well that's done here, but it's not for me. I couldn't tell the supposedly very different tow sides apart. Tremendous cover art, and I do hate multinational corporations.
Is it elevated or marred by its very odd ending? I wonder if I'd esteem it quite as much were it not for Howie's sainthood, though I definitely like it.
If you like their thing you can't really fault this run of Stones albums.
Very tight initially, but failed to hold together as well for me in the latter half.
This kind of shoegazey alternative... All the willful dissonance and prickly unfriendliness of punk without even the toughness or commitment to counterculture. This made almost no impression on me. Not quite bad enough for 2 stars but that's a scant 3.
Too many iconic hits to give less than a 4, although there is a little slack in the middle of this short album
My rational stats brain tells me that if anything it's a sign of actual randomness (or at least pretty good pseudo-randomness), but this run of Credence strikes me odd because none of us are truly rational deep down. This is another good 'un, anyway.
I feel like I might derive more from this with repeated listening a and closer attention but as it went it stayed pretty well background, pleasant enough but making faint impression.
I can see the influence, and quality in this. Something about it failing to connect for me. Too gloomy, and doomed.
The vocals, a little trying to me. Maybe too clever by half.
Good fun, with all the typical problematic elements.
The ABBA concept album? This one makes me want to get all meta about this listening project in general but I'm resisting. And maybe that's the most meta response of all?
Another one that is so insanely elevated above the general pack. Not enough great music is also genuinely funny.
Very strong Eno in this iteration of Roxy Music. With his typical operatic flourishes which are always interesting to me, though not quite pop.
So many standout songs I love by the always worthwhile Sufjan Stevens, though for me the very long album falls slightly short of the highest tier by an element of self-indulgence exemplified by its ridiculous song titles.
There was that one Rolling Stones record review that said all of Led Zeppelin's blues covers other than When the Levee Breaks sound bizarre parodies... The vocals on some of these tracks sound like bizarre parodies of Pop. The rest of it just sounds like big standard pop to my ears. What's alternative about it, other than the haircuts? Decent music.
I assumed I wasn't going to care for this based on the general vibe and a weariness with pallid, black haired UK alternative but it was pretty good. Yet another bizarre tragic young end (?) story!
I find the freshman effort one of the weakest (although comparison for Pink Floyd is a weird game given how radically the band changed over the years). Interstellar Overdrive is self-indulgent, knob-twiddling cacophony; the whimsy that plays well in Bike tips into mawkish silliness in Gnome. The seeds are there though.
I don't feel like this is their strongest outing. There are some great songs, there is also some flat monotony.
Tons of iconic riffs, though this era of rock does seem particularly histrionic.
Like jazz I don't feel qualified to judge reggae. Am I qualified to judge anything? Always liked Marley, of course the regard of white former college boys is fraught for this Jamaican protest music.
Obviously great, probably deceptively simple, though things like the country/surf/flamenco tinged rhythm guitar of And I Love Her hints at things to come. The lyrics, though sharp, are pretty basic and by the numbers pop love blossoming/love in peril stuff
First encounter with Green Day was as an opener for Bad Religion, playing pretty straight ahead punk. Their transformation into more of a conventional alternative rock band was an odd one, though obviously it worked out for them. Listened to this album a lot in the day, although the lyrics increasingly strike me as pompous.
The Velvet Underground (and particularly Lou Reed) were one of my early musical icons. As great as I think this is I'm not sure I see it as the flawless masterpiece some critical reception suggests. They say it was recorded in two days and it shows. Still, a critical work of raw innovation.
Initial heavy music until I realized I was thinking of Feist. Baffling German noodle salad.
I'm normally not much of a consumer in the whole chanteuse vein though I certainly recognize vocal talent. This was definitely a cut above though. The lyrics though solid were just not that interesting.
Not much to say about this one. Good enough but sort of delivers it's best material in the first two songs.
Obvious genius within it's genre but I find it difficult to look past the sadness of his pointless violent young end, so confidently predicted in these lyrics.
I think it's been pretty well established that punk isn't my genre but I liked this better than anything else in that vein so far. Siouxsie Sioux pulls off the vocals in a style that usually grates for me.
Some 14 year old version of me lurking in the nether resources of my mind wants to give this 5 stars. All of Rush's typical borderline pomposity and borderline ridiculousness is on display but it all holds together in a near-perfect pre-millenial airbrushed sci-fi lozenge.
A whole lot of very low key countryish rock that didn't really do a lot for me.
I liked this pretty well but like most of the so-called shoegaze genre it had a problem of slipping I to the background and no particular time or lyric ended up really standing out for me.
Listened to this a fair bit several decades ago... Many great pieces but I'm not sure that it holds up so well as other selections from the band's catalog. Some serious self indulgence and filler in the mix.
Kinda wanted to hate this but I have to give respect where it's due. Inevitably there is some filler and I thought the end was weak but it deserves its place as an Indie classic.
One of the greats to me. Listened to this so many times but I'm still struck by the variety in a not particularly long album. Engaged from beginning to end.
Not quite the level of Stand! A view that might change with repeated listens, other than the two obvious standouts a lot of this just hopped along in the background.
On the fence about this one, good or great. Overlong, and could certainly have been tightened up, but a lot of it rocks pretty hard
This was something really unique, I'm not sure how to classify the genre on it. Totally new to me and a welcome find.
It's that first-phase Tom Waits jazz I thing, right? Clever and funny writing but maybe not much depth yet.
More gloom and doom from another of the gloomy doomed. There doesn't seem to me to be that much there for all its lasting reach.
More complexity in the music than I might have given it credit for. Not really my thing, and I think the lyrics are a little dull and trite.
So much of the basis apparent of the first hip hop I really fell in love with, De La Soul and Tribe Called Quest.
Another genre where I'm not sure if I lack the sophistication to really hear what's there or if the emperor really does lack clothes. Pleasant enough to listen to.
Couldn't get more proto-British 70s rock, a melange of blues, post-rockabilly and psychedelia. Kind of unfocused though
OK but didn't make a deep impression. Sounds like a lit of things, but then again maybe a lot of things sound like this. Feel like it might grow on me with repeated listening.
On the fence with this. Fully original and a great deal of individual vision (some reminding me a of Chris Knox) but the execution a little scattershot.
Surely there is a brilliance in this but the EZ listening vibe is a little too strong for my taste.
Barely skates three stars for interesting weirdness but the utter monotony of the vocals injures any virtue in the words and music.
This kind of thing always seems strangely tame for the controversy it stirred in it's time. The "slide 40th Anniversary Edition" with it's endless remixes, mono remixes, original stereo and mono album versions, live cuts and demos seems decidedly un-punk somehow. Still all part of the Hit Machine.
The jazz problem again: I don't feel qualified to critique this. I liked it, I enjoyed listening to it, the musicians' skill was evident. My ratings are subjective and entirely meaningless.
Old time pseudo-Americana fronted by mostly Canadians shouldn't work this well, though like most things of its vintage the politics and social sensibility haven't aged perfectly.
Really something quite else. I don't think it's ever really been duplicated.
Some rate this below Swordfishtrombone but I think it ranks with his greatest.
I liked this better than I thought I would. Generally find grunge very hit or miss but this hits more often than not. Lyrics are pretty adolescent angsty fare though, while still ominously prefiguring the impending adjacent tragedy.
Less dopey than much new country but not really my thing.
Thought this was great, usual I'm too dumb for jazz caveats I can probably take as read from now on.
Really a brilliant lyricist in this genre. Traditional without being cliched. There's a blend of strength and vulnerability in the sensibility of the writing. The music doesn't stand out so much as the writing but it's all rock solid.
Seemed a little formless compared to the band's prior entry in this project. Good but vague.
Although there are some standout songs I don't think this is the strongest of his albums - there's a lot of material in the middle that runs together for me. Still foreshadows a great talent.
Living Colour is something genuinely unique in rock and roll. An absolutely phenomenal album, and featuring one of the greatest rock covers of all times in These Memories Can't Wait.
Another genre I never really came around to. I respect the speed and precision of the instrumentation, and there's clearly more than average going on musically here. Typical of the genre I found the lyrics ho hum, and the vocalization does nothing for me.
This seems pretty juvenile now but then these dudes were in their early 20s. It also is still very rousing and bad-ass
Possibly in a minority (of those that actually like the Beatles) feeling this falls short of the coherence of Rubber Soul and Revolver. But one of the great psychedelic rock albums of the era
One of the albums I felt familiar with but really it was just the all-pervasiveness of the Prince cover for a time. I don't think the rest of it actually measured up to that mark.
Similar reaction to I Do Not Want... By Sinead O'Connor I'd listened to the day prior: I feel like the best song and biggest hit on the album is the cover, because it's easily the best constructed song among the rest. It's a funny album and there are several high points but in a lot of places I found both the instrumental and vocal parts getting grinding my repetitive, the sexy lyrics aren't actually erotic (maybe not the intended point) and that schtick gets old quick.
Points for being unique and ahead of its time, and a fair bit of music I genuinely enjoyed, but as is often the case with the avant garde I found a fair bit of it pretty trying as well.
I don't think a list of 1001 albums for requisite listening before death genuinely needs 2 hole albums but there it is. My comments on the prior one are fine for this one too.
Funny and it's got that stream of consciousness lyric flow, what's going on with the sampling is very interesting. I might have an upper limit on butt jokes.
Solid Elvis, I think this starts to show a more individual voice than the last one I listened to.
This, after "From Elvis in Memphis", it's the kind of thing that makes you question: is it truly random? Lot of coincidences in a set of only 1001. I remember when this album was absolutely everywhere. It's excellent but maybe a tad lightweight.
Very interesting, strongly reminiscent of Stereolab, and in some parts aspects of the Velvet Underground. A couple of bland tracks but mostly pretty great.
Started out this album thinking what is it with Bowie and this kind of jazzy overproduced pop, why is this the huge deal but as a whole it really is such an iconic rock sound of it's era. Superb deceptively simple lyrics too.
The older I get, the faster this style gets old when I give it a listen. It was key pop of my heyday as a creature of my culture, masquerading as something non-mainstream. Black Hole Sun is an amazing song though.
Really a very weird album from a pretty weird band. The wild misinterpretation of the breakout hit is funnier in the context of the whole thing.
Always on the fence about this kind of thing. I get the "protopunk" genre, however unintentional it may of been. It mostly just seems like a goof to me. Clever enough, some harmless fun, I'm just not sure it replaced whatever it was supposedly subverting with anything that lasting.
Possibly peak Fugazi, a tremendously lean and disciplined sound.
I guess I have to be chalked up among those who find the extreme hype around this album baffling. I thought it was fine, I enjoyed listening to it well enough and didn't dislike any of it, but I also wasn't over the moon about any of it. A little soft and slack throughout. Certainly there is Madchester scene music I like better.
Obviously a pinnacle talent in this genre, though I think her style meshes better with some songs (Silver Dagger, John Riley), but can't quite carry others (House of the Rising Sun) where her singing is just too refined and frankly pretty for the content of the lyrics.
The lyric flow and DJ work are very evidently first rate but I didn't give this close enough attention. Very shallow in the genre, I'll need to revisit this.
Just perfect composition.
Beyond unique, too canoncial for less than 4 stars but a little too loose and sloppy for 5.
Didn't hit me as hard as the prior offering by the Temptations, though I think the album version I pulled up may not have been the best mastering, the sound seemed a little muddy. Still great.
I know this list is UK-centric but honestly: picking 1001 "essential" albums from 5-6 decades of pop, soul, hip-hop, and jazz, does NOT need 3 Pet Shop Boys albums. I do not get the hype.
Incredible inventiveness, musically adept and powerful. I’m not sure it all quite hung together as a cohesive whole, though all the individual pieces were exquisite.
Very great (Talking Heads very much my thing, going back to the very early days), though I think not quite at the full cohesion of the sound or themes yet at this point. Still one of my favorite albums.
The Jam seems like a very deep take on the Pop Idiom. Astute variety and very smart lyrics.
In truth a patchy album master by some plodding (not to mention pompous) nonsense. But the great stuff is so great.
Like most thrash I can appreciate the technical skill, and in this album the lyrics have more variety and invention than the run of the mill, but the style just doesn't do anything for me, and a fair bit of it felt awfully monotonous, though there were some standouts.
What can you say? Real genius, and with such tremendous range
I don't know, I've got the same issue with this as I have generally with the early catalog. Nothing stands out all that much. Very good but not yet quite exceptional (except as a pop phenomena) The originals are very much standard pop love songs of the love you so much/why you do me so wrong variety, while the covers lack the rock power of the originals (with the notable exception of Money).
I came on PJ Harvey latish by way of Rid of Me and worked back to this, boy I listened to these a lot in the mid 90s. Vocals are a little inconsistent here but the fundamental structure is there.
Probably deserves a better rating from me for the extreme competence of the execution but in the end there's something a little too calculated in this, finely engineered to be a hitmaker of its era. The petulant lyrical sensibility (so exactly summarized by the album's biggest hit) is all the more eye-rolling for this blatant pop pandering.
I can't help but compare this to the pinnacle releases of Simon and Garfunkel and for me it falls short. Very good but not the top of his solo catalog either.
Here's an unpopular opinion: of all the post-rock-n-roll movements, I think Punk has the shallowest range and the shortest shelf life. For all that this is pretty damn solid.
Long one of my favorites, both of the Kinks and of this era/style generally. For me it doesn't quite make it as a concept album, and a fair bit of what occurs between the masterpieces is a bit lightweight - but the great stuff is so great
Again me saying more things about a Soul artifact like this seems silly. Some of these iconic songs honestly seem like they descended from a higher realm.
I think this one might be Peak Rod Stewart. While the voice is clearly an iconic element, there is also tons of understated, subtle mastery in how the music is produced and engineered.
Never been all that much of a Country guy but when it comes to the travails of love and lust there is material like this that deftly trumps any rock and roll dicks out bombast... "I take off my watch and my earrings My bracelets and everything Lie on my back and moan at the ceiling Oh my baby" No content warning on that, damn.
Another album I listened to a ton at a certain time, but haven't much since. It's clear to me how some would find this massively annoying as I have some of the grunge/punk spectrum stuff that's come up on this list. No accounting for tastes: for what it is, though, I think it's tremendously solid.
Very good, although I feel like somebody tried to engineer the living defi option of "too clever by half"
I've about had my fill of the UK punkish rock foundations. I can recognize this as objectively good (for what it is) though it does suffer from the now tired refrain of monotony of tone.
Peak reggae, not much else you van day. Listen to the subtlety of the singing in Jammin, Marley was a true genius.
Another high note in a very specific genre (that basically has a one woman sub genre in this particular performer). About perfect, if you like this kind of thing (which I do)
Randomness is sending me all countrified lately. Not really my genre. This is good, although a lot of that leans pretty heavy on the traditional and folk music it draws from.
Realize I know very little about Sinatra: it seems from reading this album marked a kind of inflection point of his turning into the Sinatra of my all but unconscious cultural zeitgeist awareness. I realize this is not actually a review but I'm kind of sick of that anyway, it's not like I'm qualified to judge a particular offering even in the context of all Sinatra, let alone all pop, rock, punk, hip hop, some country and some jazz of a 3/4 century... this project is ridiculous.
Found this to be relatively run of the mill folkish pop. Possibly harder on it than it deserves because of the annoyance of not being able to just play the album as released due to YT Music and it's weird presentation of it's available selections.
I don't know if it's the most pretentious album in rock and roll but it's pretty overblown. Treated as humor it's not so bad.
Listened to quite a lot of Mudhoney (and other roots grunge like Screaming Trees, Dinosaur Jr. etc) back in the mid 90s. It deserves points for the energy, the consistency of execution, and how foundational it was to the development of this particular sound... Though it’s a sound I’m not all that interested in listening to anymore.
This is pretty fire, although I'm not sure if the extreme diversity of styles quite holds together to support it as a Concept piece. A few more listens might bring me around on that though.
Very much in my "like" territory as far as hip goes, an artist I haven't listened to enough. Especially effective deployment of guest artists.
It’s a pretty solid trick to make this long of an album not feel overlong or padded out, and the two quite different elements complement each other better than would seem possible on paper
I want t like this more than I did. I like Indie; I like Australia. The vocals, honestly, seem a bit weak. the music, overproduced. It’s very decent.Not so sure it belongs on the 1001 list.
Plenty of worthwhile stuff but like most DJ output just found a lot of it monotonous. I don’t know how into this music you can get if you’re not part of its Scene, though I’m sure many unaffiliated aficionados would show up to prove me wrong
This is actually pretty competent, though the rap-rock delivery is not that original. The whole redneck pimp schtick I really just have no interest in (don't much give a shot about any other kind of pimp actually).
My initial reaction to this wasn't great, but I found it grew on me. More going on but instrumentally and vocally than the pop-reggae first impression suggests.
The real Radiohead definitely starting to show up here though I think better is yet to come.
A deeply foundational sound I think. I feel like I've heard a thousand samples from this.
Lewis is an absolute master, and a defining figure in a particular type and era of rock and roll. Though there is a touch of a Showman's routine about it that slightly diminishes it for me - dampens the true soul of it a bit. Which is not to say this isn't a ripping live show recording.
The idea of my adding something to the words written about Kind Of Blue is beyond ridiculous, so I'll just observe (which I'm sure is also far from original) what a hash ass mistress jazz seems to be in that era (I don't know about now, hopefully it isn't still cutting off geniuses in the prime of life right and left). Of the six musicians who accompany Davis on this album only 2 made it past 50, Bill Evans barely so, and among the whole crew only Jimmy Cobb reached what could reasonably be called old age.
Obviously good but somehow didn't strike very deeply for me. I wasn't attending particularly to the lyrics and maybe am giving this less than it's due.
That 70s English prog rock sound. As I observed in classic Rush from prior reviews, there's a fundamental silliness about some of it, but it's not boring, and set in a lush ass sonic landscape.
Bowie pulls off this trick he's done with me before where at the start I'm thinking this guy is just a rock and roller with a great makeup artist and photographer, but by the end he's sold me on the Bowie magic once again.
Certainly competent, it's got a pretty well-worn sound for it's genre... Overall, though, and particularly lyrically, pretty lightweight.
At this point in this project I guess it’s established that classic era punk is not really my thing. Musically I found this kind of dull, the lyrics and vocal delivery typical of its genre and era. Is it really more than moderately dirtied up rock? Lou Reed just called it Rock and Roll and did it ten times better.
I guess I didn't mind this at all, though it's not so much much thing, my Countey palate being pretty limited. It's certainly well done for what it is, though I think the lyrics are over-reliant on a particular style of wordplay, and the sort of emotional range is pretty shallow.
Although all good and with some standout pieces, most of this to me sounded like just what it was - incidental music for a movie soundtrack. As opposed to, say, Superfly, it didn’t quite hold up as a stand-alone album.
I like Eno a lot, though I think this is occasionally marred by the extremity of experimentalism. Sure beats the alternative of course.
All good and certainly the scratch for that classic hippie era itch. To me the Neil Young songs are just on a higher level to the rest.
I don’t think I’d listened to a full White Stripes album before. There was a period where a few songs were very heavy on a certain kind of radio and I got sick of it but listening to this I think I short changed it. Though the style, particularly of the signing, does wear thin.
Listenable enough but a little paint by numbers.
Its always nice to get a little further off the beaten path with these albums, though I’m not this was really forging new ground in 2000 compared to, say, Laurie Anderson in 1986. And it’s hard to judge the lyrics since so much of it was basically incomprehensible. I did like it though.
I listened to this a very great deal in situ, as it were, an LP sincerely bought by one of my siblings when it was released, and I don’t think I’ve heard a bit of it since (maybe the odd throwback radio play of Love Plus One or Favorite Shirt a time or two across the ages). Playing through the whole album for the first time in certainly 30+ years found I remembered it quite well, B sides and deep tracks as well, and it holds up - breezy and lightweight though it (very much by design I think) is.
Another album I’m deeply familiar with (but haven’t listened to end to end for many year). I think I eventually sold the big double CD version I had with the full booklet, way back far enough that you could actually get a decent return from a used record store for that kind of thing. But I’d listened to it dozens of times before that, even seen the movie a few times. At the end of the day I have to count myself with those who judge this to be terribly heavy-handed and self-important, at least in its lyrics and vocal performance. A lot of the music and especially the guitar is quite subtle. The overall package would have been improved by a strong dose of humor (Something in the Terry Gilliam vein perhaps) but nearly the whole album is deadly earnest and irony-free. Hey! Teacher! Leave those kids alone.
It's pretty much established at this point that the metal, of whatever flavor, is not generally my thing. Competent but for me monotonous and uninspiring.
I like the Pixies and I’ve listened to this album a fair bit over the years. I don’t know that I think this is their best: the execution is a little muddy in places.
The overlong and fundamentally meaningless title about sums this up for me. Significantly less there than what purports to be.
Feeling pretty tired of this style of depressed, quirky white-boy genius type, which seems heavily over-represented in this list.
Folk pop, it seems frankly pretty lightweight. My perspective in the value of this kind of thing has become jaundiced as I watch this bad old world age.
Intensely disliked most of this. Pretentious but also boring. The vocal delivery... I honestly can’t fathom anyone wanting to listen to singing like that.
I like Billy Joel generally and I find people who hate him tedious. A lot of it is worn out for me (I don't ever need to hear Piano Man again and the less said about who started the fire the better), and the only album I routinely listen to is Glass Houses. This is all right and has some classics on it but also some pretty typical filler.
This slots into a particular slice of global music that doesn't do a lot for me, though a few of the pieces stood out. Thematically, subtlety obviously wasn't the point, although maybe when the topic is nuclear proliferation, that's fair?
Straight out of the soul of 60s psychedelia, with boatloads of rock and roll tragedy on top of it.
What is it with Swedes and English language bubblegum pop? This was all pleasant enough, though other than the song that dominated a certain slice of my radio/video airtime history, not all that memorable.
Very good, though lyrically very heavy on the breakup lament, which I can only take so seriously from someone barely out of their 20s.
The Monkees occupy an odd place in my pop music lexicon. The active band era predated my existence by a few years, with the barest intersection (various reunions I didn't register at the time notwithstanding). I watched tons of them in reruns, though, and the obvious hits are cataloged in the depths of my semiconscious inner pop library. Since childhood, I thought of this band not at all though, except briefly when Jones and Tork died. Reading up on this album, I'm impressed by their dedication to being allowed to operate as an actual band. Still, it's hard not to make the obvious comparisons: the whole thing is heavily derivative of the Beatles, and not truly up to that standard. But I'm persuaded it earns its place in this list.
Consistent with my reaction to the Madchester/baggy thing, I liked this OK but am not quite seeing the level of adulation.
I don't come from a "dance culture" and I think it impairs my true appreciation of this kind of thing (and probably of life in general) but this is still clearly fire.
This one is a masterpiece, I think, within its niche which is perhaps narrow, but important to the evolution of Pop overall.
I went through a reasonably long Screaming Trees phase before moving on from it (and the relevant genres, for the most part). This is fine but I think there's a lot better material in their earlier work.
I feel like I need to make a disclaimer that I honestly don't dislike all punk. But I sure didn't like this. I'll give it points for the inventive (but scattershot competence) use of horns and for sheer earnestness. But I found the singing - near monotone yelling too far out of their effective register to be anything but dissonant - just intolerable. Delivering lyrics not half as clever as they're making themselves out to be.
I got into this a year or so after it came out and just loved it a lot, and still give it the occasional listen. Decades after the fact I still think it's very good. The signing is not terribly strong, though in that it's a class in playing to your strengths. And despite being very much a young person's product the lyrics still hold up. Certainly still a landmark of a certain facet of the 90s indie sound.
This was fine but didn't make a very deep impression. It mainly seemed like just pop, but sporting a particular attitude that I could probably decode more meaningfully if I was of the culture, but as a dumb American just comes off as some type of generic non-posh UK vibe.
There is something unique about Roxy Music. It's definitely rock and roll, yet it has those Eno avant garde vibes, a bit of glam English camp... Always works for me.
Experience being on hold with a modernist Scandanavian cell phone company, or watching a low energy Dr. Who chase scene, or perhaps a languid dialogue-free hand job video from a dubious "educational" VHS ordered from the back of a magazine... Is this where all these electronica tropes got invented? A fair bit of variety, but then a fair bit of monotony within individual songs.
Kind of expected to hate this (I'm not entirely sure why, something about the whole presentation put me off. I think I could have gotten way into this much earlier in the development of my tastes. Now it's striking me as frequently self-indulgent, and lacking in range. Even so I generally enjoyed listening to it OK.
Mostly found this overwrought. Certainly interesting, but I can’t matinees sitting down and choosing to listen through this for pleasure.
I remain on the fence about the whole DJ thing. Which is so dumb, any question of whether remix and mash up are art is very long since settled. Even mentioning it, I sound like some backwards art historian trying to get a discussion going about whether photography belongs in the study of visual arts. Even given my backwards skepticism, this is clearly at the top of the genre and in fact an album I purchased when it came out.
I liked this pretty well. The call and response aspect of the duet vocals was an unusual touch for alternative rock and well executed.
I think this is a great thing, a true artifact in culture. It has its imperfections but for what it is in itself, about perfect
Listened to this many times before, pretty uncritically. This time around wrestling a little with how great it is. Am I overrating it because of the whole legend and lore aspect? It certainly hits some heights, it also is certainly sloppy as hell at times, but then again that’s a live album.
Can really imagine I have much to say about Born to Run that wouldn’t retread territory that’s been gone over many, many times. I was interested to read that it came out of basically the same recording sessions that produced Nebraska, and listening to it in this context gave it some additional texture for me, and made sense. They really are two sides of a coin. I like it as I generally like Springsteen, though it would not make my top three of his albums... maybe not even my top five.
This did not do a whole lot for me. The overall affect seemed fairly flat and none of the lyrics really stood out. I didn't dislike it but it kind of faded into the background.
I think my favorite so far of the punk offerings from this list. Still not really my genre but so clearly laying fundamental ground for the future of rock and roll that even I can see it.
Another’s one of these things I can appreciate the artistry of but I find the music and particularly the signing exhausts me pretty quickly.
Recall when a local alternative station put "Fit But You Know It" on heavy rotation. It irritated me at the time, and now listening to the whole album I sincerely don't get the hype. The musical accompaniment is so slight, the delivery of the lyrics so one-note. Bare points for cleverness in the storytelling but really don't feel any need for more of this.
Apparently I didn't know anything about the Bee Gees except for the most pop cult disco stuff. I found this album very odd. Not really my cuppa but I didn't despise it or anythong.
Another album defined in my mind by the very heavy presence of videos in the MTV rotation, during what turned out to be a relatively brief window when what MTV broadcast meant dick in the world of popular music. Going back to it I find it still very good but with limitations showing. There is the perennial eye roll of a teenager delivering super deep, world-weary relationship drama with irony-free gravity. The music was produced to a high gloss that’s to some degree superficial. There was never any doubt that Apple was the real deal here though.
Outrageously funky (perhaps too much so for me at points- when that ultra low squelching synth whatever it is gets going in Thumpasaurus it feels like something drilling into my spine). Genius, anyway.
Didn’t make a big impression. Nothing in the lyrics really grabbed me, most of the singing wasn’t very strong, and the music was fine, but not as interesting as the reviews would have led me to believe.
Wasn’t really in the mood for this. Tired of trying to review gangsta rap anyway, my opinion on this isn’t relevant.
I know it marks me out as a Hip Hop unsophisticate, but I had a hard time getting into this. The sound was so stripped down and elemental, alongside the uniform rat a tat cadence of the rapping. I appreciate this intellectually but I wouldn’t seek it out.
I listened to a fair bit of early Sebadoh but didn’t really get much past III. I Think the earlier material is stronger.
I honestly didn’t think the music could irritate me more than this album’s stupid title but it really outdid my expectations. Literal hatred: I refuse to believe the laudatory reviews about this overlong trudge of pretentious monotony can represent anything other than drug nostalgia.
Packs a lot of wallop into a brief package, though I see the objection I read in some reviews that the songs are so short that the musicians don't really have room to stretch and stand out.
Canonical psychedelic rock, what more is to be said? My ardor for this genre has cooled with age. But this is at top of this particular line.
I think one of their best, maybe the best. It’s all spot on, exemplary of their unique brand, and of course a fist full of absolute iconic rock classics.
Very odd framing in he album’s intro bit, leading into a straight forward but very good honky tonk record.
In my top 3 for Springsteen. Strongest in the lyrics: a lot of the music and delivery are great too. Some of the story songs get a little dull and plodding though, less songs than monologues, but it’s a minor quibble.
Although this was rally not for me (the operatic signing, the mystical montage music that was honestly mostly all pretty similar) I have to appreciate the originality, and the lyrics were unusual, and clever.
I didn't think I knew anything about this album until Groovin' came up, and then I spent the rest of the album trying to decide if I'd ever actually heard that whole song before or just 7 second snatches of it on K-Tel compilation album TV ads in my teens. This is all fine and workmanlike production but most of it is pretty by the numbers and there's a reason, I think, that I only recognized one song.
This is as good as any of any it but I'm sick of British 70s punk in this list. It's a very shallow sound.
Eminem gets away with the usually tedious art of outrage for its own sake by being so blatant, self-conscious, and funny. '97 Bonnie and Clyde is still too much for me, and if that invites the charge of moral hysteria so be it. He didn't just write it and put it on the album, it was made the cover art. Overall though the talent is too high a level to dismiss.
This is a style of music that has never quite done it for me, though somehow Joni Mitchell gets a pass for it with me. This one grew on me though as it went on. Still not really my thing but it's clearly hugely influential and objectively good.
Maybe I just don't get the Wu Tang thing. A lot of this just hit me as meandering warm up to a payoff that didn't come and it quickly faded into the background.
Good stuff that seems marred to me by way too much excessive guitar noodleism, though as with some jazz I am stuck wondering if I am playing the role of well meaning but doltish Emperor Joseph II protesting "too many note!" Possibly too lowbrow for prog rock.
Another prominent star in the constellation of my pop adolescence. Friday Night Videos standards for many months. Clearly guitar is the star here, and it doesn’t get much better for this style of American heavy rock. The singing shows its weakness whenever the material gets slightly challenging though, and the lyrics at best have a slick but superficial stylishness, at its peak in Sharp Dressed Man.
Seemed like pretty standard rock-oriented punk, reminiscent of Bad Religion to me, differentiated mainly by the pretty adolescent dedication to profanity. I didn't dislike it.
In my Springsteen top five, for me Born to Run still holds up after all these years, but Jungleland is the true pinnacle of the album.
I don't really need a ton of this kind of music in my life but I have to give this extra points for being such an iconic live album. I think it's rare to really capture that exceptional live show magic, particularly for a big arena show.
Heavy nostalgia from the last era in which I did any serious music video watching. In any event, this one is to me peak Radiohead, and quite at the top of whatever their strange genre is.
I liked this pretty well throughout bit it did sure feel like another trip to the jazz genius noodle factory. Too sophisticated for me probably.
Still manages to sound tremendously modern to my ears all these decades on. Despite a few missteps (that inexplicable fade-in on Oh My God) it's about as good as The Police get.
This was fine but never quite gelled for me. All over the map stylistically; going from Beatle-esque to post-folkish to pretty standard alternative pop. Grabbed me in a few places but mostly faded into the background.
Still dubious about remix as an art form, however much this calls me out as Old Man Grumpus. This is mostly pretty easy to listen to but aside for other artists' work I think it's pretty sterile. All the heart and soul in it derives from the songs it lifts content from.
Seemed like pretty bog standard light alterna-pop. Competent but too soft to have much impact. A group like Kings of Convenience shows how this kind of thing can be done to better effect.
This is probably brilliant if it’s your kind of thing but I just can’t get into the music - the kind of high toned, cascading orchestration kind of exhausts me.
The best of Lennon's solo career I think.
More inexplicable rights BS from Google as a third of the songs from this aren't available in the album playlist on YT Music, yet I could watch them on YouTube on the official channel. So left with annoyingly switching between the platforms to listen to the full album in order. It would be easier to find some rip of the full album someone has undoubtedly uploaded to YouTube which just as inexplicably stays up unmolested, except this somehow obscurely feels like playing into Google's hands. Anyway, aside from the rigamarole I liked this a lot.
Listened to at least parts of this a fair bit back in the day. I think to surface gloss of the saucy content distracted me from its deeper track message of grief for the many senseless losses hip hop sustained around the turn of the century, and its call for unity.
All excellent, pretty brief album and didn't quite consolidate into a single work for me.
I’m a big Cohen fan going way back, I have memories of pulling this LP out of the stacks for one of my college radio shows back in the 90s (I was particularly fond of inserting Tonight Will Be Fine from Songs from a Room into a midnight to 2 am show). For that, I never owned this one, and was surprised at how unfamiliar I was with the deeper tracks. Some surprising gems (Diamonds in the Mine displays Cohen in a shade of crazy I hadn’t encountered before). The standout hits are what they are for a reason though, Last Year’s Man and Famous Blue Raincoat stand well above the rest here.
I thought his was tremendous. A very distinct voice, but stylistically hard to pin down. Soulfully performed and deeply personal, and just very good
Too dumb for fusion Jazz. I didn’t dislike listening to this but as usual I don’t feel like I really know what is going on and a lot of it feels like just meandering improvisation. Presumably as brilliant as the jazz heads say.
Deeply embedded in the college experience of the early 90s, the music jams pretty hard but I can't fully get past the juxtaposition of the extra dirty silliness with the super self-important kinda dumb pontificating.
Certainly some pop bangers here, though decades along it's evident that Madonna is not such a strong singer. Some of the more ballady fare is pretty forgettable.
In what is becoming a refrain, I don't think a list of 1001 "Essential" albums including the offerings of rock, hip hop, jazz, funk, soul, folk and more of better than a half century requires multiple offerings from ZZ Top. I think I refer this more blues forward era of the band overall though.
So I’m in the dull majority who like the Beatles, though the music is no longer in heavy rotation for me. I like this crossover period from pop to psychedelic: still punchy ditties almost all under 3 minutes. The latter half is a little heavy with upbeat but mopey lyrics in the “girl done me wrong” vein, capped (in the 2009 remaster the YouTube music offered up) with a catchy, charming countrified number about a man’s vow to stalk and kill his girlfriend for infidelity.
Listened to a fair bit of Clapton (and Cream) in my late teens/early 20s era, and not much since. A great guitarist obviously, this holds up (despite the odd success of the slightly cringey, to my today ears, reggae cover) but a few standouts aside, a lot of it is pretty average English white guy does the Blues fare.
Heavy metal has never been a key genre for me, though I had a cheap double length cassette copy of We Sold Our Soul etc. as a teen that I played literally to death. The first album is clearly groundbreaking, and there’s a charm (if one isn’t too steeped in humorless religiosity) to the “just literally satan,” completely unsubtle, occult angles.
My favorite Dylan album by a fair margin (and I’m generally a fan). There isn’t a single unimportant song on it.
Never a big follower, I perceive the high level of Art Attitude toned down in later work, to the benefit of accessibility I think. I liked it, wouldn't necessarily seek it out.
This didn't really mesh with my tastes. But a distinctive voice and lyrically interesting.
Weird choice to represent Metallica. It's actually better than I expected but exhausting at the length.. The orchestrated instrumental sections all sound like extended Bond film themes playing over the end credits. Latter Metallica is always hampered by its own self-importance and this is canonical in that regard.
Some big name classics on this, as well as some unfamiliar (to me, being not VERY deeply into the Stones) gems. Also a fair bit of not that inspiring blues/rock retread typical of the times' English rock scene.
Found this truly pointless. If this is the birth of Heavy Metal, I guess metal is hammy blues rock covers drenched in muddy guitar pedal effects.
Briefly very into CSN&Y and a general Woodstock phase in earl college years. Reflecting in this I realized that Woodstock 1999 was further back in my son’s relative history than actual Woodstock is in me, and I feel so so old.
It’s hard to get past the cautionary note and forecast of tragedy aspect of this, particularly when the catchy, hooky mega hit of the album is an absolutely succinct explanation of how Winehouse would come to die at 27. Very good but already showing wear: it sounds mostly to me like vanishing potential.
I'm always up for a little Peace Frog. It's one of their better albums, hampered as usual by Morrison's descents into self-importance and a certain monotony at times in the music.
Top tier AC/DC. As always both the lyrics and delivery are a little, well, Meathead. But as far as that kind of thing goes, no one really did it better.
I thought this was absolutely fantastic, crazy random vocalizations and all. I was in a near delirious state with 103 degree fever while listening so your mileage may vary.
Oh, that song. This was alright, don't find a lot of cause to listen to this kind of thing though.
My previous exposure to this music almost exclusively through that subset of high school friends with whom, not to put too fine a point on it, I used to smoke dope. Embarrassed to realize I never really tracked that they were an English band. The music seems almost akin to baroque classical in the context of all the increasingly blacker shades of metal that have followed on. As often with this kind of thing a lot of the lyrics are weighed down by their own portentous self-importance, still I found myself heartily belting it out along with the choruses on Run for the Hills (with headphones on while washing the dishes, so metal)
So much metal in this list. I have nothing else to say about Sepultura. The appearance of Latin influences in some of the music were welcome relief but I just find the croak/growl shouting pointless and intolerable.
I think this album was my first introduction to Eno (if I’m remembering right, my brother put Baby’s on Fire on one of the many comp tapes he made me). The presence of Needle in the Camel’s Eye on the Velvet Goldmine soundtrack renewed my interest. The experimentalism pushes against listenability at some points but this is a great album.
More material from the high school stoner vaults. The Dixie attitude is thick as pig shit, frankly, but it's an undeniable Southern Rock classic.
I like Pink Floyd but my exposure has actually been very shallow. Dark Side, Meddle, The Wall and Piper in decreasing order of frequency, and I only generally listened to the first two in recent decades. Long ago I had a cheap compilation cassette that include what I learned yesterday was a criminally edited version of Shine On You Crazy Diamond, and Wish You Were Here, both of which I liked a lot. This is a worthy successor of Dark Side, I think, and on a similar level.
Another of these groups it seems like I should be into on paper: the execution is certainly polished but something about it all hits me as insincere.
Solid folk, it didn't make a huge impression beyond that.
Didn’t do a ton for me despite the glossy sheen of the presentation. I could see someone finding this amazing and I wouldn’t fight them over it, it just didn’t land with me.
Found this very weird. The vocals rubbed me the wrong way, and that was even before the super weird supplemental vocals kicked in on some of the songs.
This stood a head above the typical electronica fare from this list so far for me. I really dig the chill, atmospheric mood and vocals.
Works for me. Radiohead manages to convey their particular and unique sound, also seem to be evolving toward something.
Prior commentary on this group pretty much holds, though it grew on me a little in this outing. Not quite my thing.
Hit me as a blend of pop and dance/electronica that just didn’t do a whole lot for me.
This seemed pretty iconic of a certain genre/era but also a bit of a, I don't know, shtick? I don't think I'd just sit around listening to a whole album of this for pleasure.
Arcade Fire is supposed to work for me on paper and people really love and almost revere it but I just don't.
Boggling amount of iconic soul classics packed into one relatively brief album
Didn't exactly come together for me. The genre seemed muddled and musically and vocally, mostly didn't grab me. I liked the final bonus track on the version YT Music came up with best out of all of it.
Goofy, really didn't see the point to this. So many cheesy riffs and weird vocal choices.
Very good and way ahead of its time, though the whole fairy tale/nonsense dialog elements of the last half just muddled the B side for me.
Another thing I was way into during my Woodstock prenatal nostalgia era. It all seems a bit making now, and the old hippies that made it through are all wealthy old farts. Still pretty great on its own terms though.
Another band I have instant name recognition on but I don't know I ever knowingly listened to. I didn't hate this but thought the sound was a little muddled and overall pretty monotonous.
Another band I first heard of through the old 80s Gang of Printers bootleg merch catalogs I used to love poring over as a teen. I don't know I ever listened to any up to this, British punk and post-punk not really being my thing. It's clear enough how deeply ingrained these kinds of early outgrowths of punk are in the grunge and alternative scenes to come. I liked it.
Arrived at Cat Stevens a long time ago via Harold and Maude and always liked it a lot. There can be a certain preachiness to his lyrics and can maybe err on the side of softness and lightness but I think this album is pretty perfect.
Altogether this seemed like kind of an incoherent mess. It’s been interesting in this listening project to more deeply trace the through line from British emulation (or appropriation to be less kind) of American Blues to what came to be known as Heavy Metal, and this is clearly an iconic waypoint on that road, but I don’t think I’d bother to listen to it again.
Another album I think I had a cheap cassette reissue of and played a great deal in a certain phase of my 20s. Not really into Van Morrison any more but this is still pretty flawless.
It certainly held my interest throughout, though not all of it seemed exactly to be music. I don't think I grasped that much of the lyrics really, with their rapid fire flow and dense cultural references.
Still a real gem and a new wave/pop icon. Maybe a little lightweight to quite attain masterpiece status for me but a strong 4
I guess this had some elements of interest that rise above the median of its genre, but like most the dance/electronica it just didn't grab me that strongly and quickly turned into background noise.
I find it hard to imagine disliking anything Mayfield did and this is no exception, but nothing in it grabbed me that strongly or really stood out for me.
The big hits off this still hold up for me. Its clearer from several decades on that the album benefited greatly from its venerable producers. All a bit portentous and self-important but that’s U2
Reading up on this I was surprised that I hadn't previously known of the familiar faces doing backing instrumentals... Good but I think Five Leaves Left and Pink Moon surpass this one.
A great, weird, brief little album that includes a couple of their greatest songs, one of which is one of the great rock and roll songs of the 20th century, as well as the underappreciated gem that is Save the Life of My Child.
I enjoyed listening to this and it was interesting, but lacking the language or any real cultural basis in the music, I think my ability to appreciate it is pretty limited.
My interest in the Eagles waxes and wanes, I rarely seek the music out, but this is a pretty iconic offering in its genre.
Solid, slight point loss for the degree that the time is past for the "as a white guy, here's my perspective as a Native American" genre.
Not my favorite Kinks album so far though I liked a lot of it (Victoria is a particularly strong start) and didn’t dislike any of it. The heavy leaning on the “whatever happened to good old Britain” angle gave a lot of the lyrics the character of a tract though.
The only thing I really knew of Fairport Convention was Sandy Denny guest vocal for Led Zeppelin. It occurred to me I kind of mixed them up with Pentangle in mind. As folk rock goes I thought this was pretty first rate.
New waviest of the new wave.
Not surprisingly my relative disinterest in Bjork translates similarly to the Sugarcubes. Maybe moreso, I can appreciate the artistry of Bjork's vocal styling without particularly caring for it: whatever Icelandic croak-core is going on with the male vocals on this, less so. Just not my cuppa.
Even this perpetual jazz neophyte can hear how peerless this is. The one instantly recognizable piece took on greate depth and nuance for me in its proper context here.
I liked this pretty well, the music moreso than the vocals. To me it seemed to jump pretty well over post-punk and even new wave genre wise, pretty far ahead of its times.
Amazingly good. So much energy and spontaneous live feel but also polished and delivered with pinpoint accuracy.
Didn't really land with me.Just very countrified soft rock
Some bedrock classic rock in this one. Deeper cuts don't add a lot though.
Scott-Heron's work seems to me sometimes as not so much music as a sonic art installation, which is maybe a distinction without difference? Interesting to listen too and definitely makes me think but I'm not exactly tapping my toes.
The output of Phil Spector’s production feels like some kind of devilish stress test of the semi fictitious chimera of “Cancel Culture”. Sure, it’s branded with the name of a clearly terrible (and if you believe the reports of some of his family, genuinely evil) person. On the other hand do you punish the individual artists by tossing it all in history’s dustbin? Putting all that aside, none of this grabbed me that hard. I didn’t feel like Christmas classics were much improved by that famous Wall of Sound treatment.
Solid and engaging.
Another gap in my pop lexicon: I never heard of this guy, though I recognized the coconut song (and, uh, holy fake patois). Foundations of the post-60s post-crooner.
Listen, it's tight, it has real beauty. My cynicali middle-aged self can't help but ponder it in context of the relentless commodification of folk and punk in this era. In and of itself it's a great album. One point off for being a full third Dylan cover album.
I liked this better than the past installment but this band is still just not my thing. I think the tone of both music and singing get really monotonous through the length of an album.
This is becoming a tired refrain but again: if you're boiling half a century worth if pop, punk, hip hop, rock, plus a smattering of jazz, country, and world music down to 1K+1... I just can't justify multiple Doors entries - and I LIKE the Doors. And this one... despite some great songs it also displays some of Morrison's lazy phone in efforts. The blues retreads in particular are pure filler.
While I can rock to ABBA at times this was driving me nuts yesterday, though my context (wrapping up the year at work) was probably more to blame. I acknowledge this is Core Pop.
Hadn’t thought about this album in a long time and had forgotten how it dominated rock/alternative airplay and MTV back in 89/90. Solid rock, some occasional bits that didn’t age well (such as the fairly lame scraps of rapping).
Although it has some very strong songs I don't know if this tops my personal Neil Young album chart to the extent it belongs on this list.
I purchased this at some point, for the U.S.-recognizable hit, and ended up liking the whole thing better than I expected. Finely executed, unique sound.
What amounts to a greatest hits album seems either a little like cheating or else something that should be more utilized to cut down on the repeat appearances by acts that don’t really justify more than one slot... This was fine anyway, though I feel like ther are a lot of other post punk, garage rock-y bands that bring more original creation to the table and probably didn’t make the cut for this list.
This is great for what it is though honestly I would go with Bad Religion for largely the same sound with smarter lyrics and more interesting vocals (I watched Green Day OPEN for Bad Religion in the First Avenue main room in Minneapolis in the early 90s if you want to approximately date my old ass)
Boy this was huge in 1994. I must have seen that Waterfalls video a hundred times but I don't think I ever listened to the while album before. Dated in places but holds up. RIP Phife on the intro track!
Defining college radio fodder of my tender late adolescence. And actually pretty great. Got Caught Stealing is still pretty subversive and fun a t the same time which is a surprisingly rare combination.
What’s to say? Mastery on top of mastery. Within its genre (if that’s the word) it couldn’t really get any better.
Same basic issue for me as with the Bad Seeds Murder Ballads thing: I just find the drama and attitude kind of contrived and overly theatrical. Which I grasp is it working as intended, I’m just not personally into it.
This album was in my house soon after it’s release (an LP purchased by my sister I believe), I’ve listened to it I’m sure a hundred times, and very happily listened to it again as it came up on this list. I think it’s a true masterpiece, blending psychedelic funk, R&B and Soul, pop and rock With a seamless precision not seen before or since. Prince’s vocals are as good as anything James Brown did, as good as anything by Michael Jackson - and he’s a virtuoso guitarist to boot. This one will survive the ages
I think I need to plead jazz ignorance again on this one. I listened to it happily enough but nothing struck me that forcefully. More Google Music nonsense with the whole album available except for the title track. I listened to a couple live versions to make up the experience but seriously what is that.
I get that this is a road album but a fair bit of it landed too far on the meandering side of song structure for me. Unfocused. Though when it hits right as on the title track it’s pretty strong.
I can dig listening to this kind of thing well enough but I'm only getting so much out of it given relative ignorance of the culture and absolute ignorance of the language. Another full failure for YouTube Music, I pieced as much of it as I could together from individual tracks on compilations and such, the rest made up from YT videos with some truly heinous audio deficiencies suggesting multiple layers of badly managed piracy.
A lot of people clearly think this is The Business and I guess I’m just not getting it. A lot of the lyrics seem to me almost laughably stuffed with pompous cliches, the music doesn’t really impress me that much and clashes strangely with the vocals. Didn’t hate it but certainly wouldn’t seek it out.
I’m not convinced this is as far ahead of its times as it seems to be getting sold to me as. The electronica doesn’t really innovate anything Raymond Scott wasn't doing a decade earlier. Musically, where it doesn’t reflect a lot of other psychedelic rock of a similar if not earlier vintage, it frequently shades to the tedious side of avant-garde. I’ll take Wikipedia’s word for it that the lyrics are political: I wasn’t hearing it. Still, it does synthesize these things to an unusual degree and has enough solid gems to scrape a bare four stars. I’d listen to it again.
Solid, inventive, and with a lightheartedness that is often lacking in big arty magnum opus type productions. A fair minority of it felt like filler to me and I thought the bulk of it more low weight pop than I expected given the critics, but maybe I did not attend to the lyrics well enough based on some of the reviews.
My main contact with this was the radio airplay dominating Fast Car back in my high school days. Which remains the best of this I think: an incredibly spare collection of lyrics to generate such an evocative portrait of love, generational poverty and almost hopeless optimism. And perfectly matched musicslly by Chapman's stripped-down singer-songwriter style. The whole album is good though a lot of the activist sort of lyrics are basic to the point of being trite (love is hate, war is peace does not need to be committed to any type of media ever again) and while repetition is a valid tool of poetry it is sometimes overused in this. But this is largely nitpicking, it was a very strong debut.
Peak Soul, with intriguing shadings into rock. Hardly any filler, my only quibble being the lyrics mostly really aren’t very deep (the metaphors in Highways... bordering on mawkish). First rate overall.
Folk slash punk not really my bag, but it's hard to argue with the skill of the execution.
Very odd to hear the iconic, familiar opening with its absolute association with The Exorcist, then have it unfold into the much different context of the overall composition. I admire the inventiveness, technological experimentation, and boldness of the composer in putting such a thing out there. It doesn't all hold together however, and the vocalization on side two in particular struck me as truly pointless and actually detracted from the whole.
The whole time I was listening to this I was trying to remember what format I had owned it on. I don’t seem to have a physical copy any more. Either CD, or so help me, a cassette, long gone to my frequent moving nomad days. I sure as hell listened to it a lot, I still knew it pretty much word for word and note for note. One of the great concert albums to me, that convey that true sense of the live set for all that it’s half studio tracks. The “Indian” themes haven’t aged so great. Still a classic.
Not familiar with this band or album, not sure what I was expecting but it wasn’t this and I liked it a lot more than I expected to as well. I needed to give the lyrics better attention than I did, missing a lot of the political commentary (though there is always that weird mirror-world familiar/not familiar to UK centric writing of that nature: “this is the 51st state of the U.S.A” hits differently to a Minnesota boy.
I owned this at some point in the past though I don't think I bought it for myself. I can't argue with the musicianship though it seems like pretty bog standard neo-folk but to me the lyrics and vocal delivery haven't aged so well- song craft these a very definite back seat to the polemic delivery.
This one I came to through my wife's collection - saw her live at First Avenue Main room in the early 2000s and it was an incredible show. I think the is an actually important album, true 21st century innovation in funk.
If I’m being brutally honest there is a fair bit of what I’d have to call filler on this double album. But the best of it is better than it has any right to be and considering it was recorded for eleven hundred bucks (maybe three thousand in 2022 dollars) I think it gets an extra star in my book. My first and most extensive exposure to it was a double length cassette my brother made me from his LP: I was shocked to discover no complete CD release ever come out, and I had to root around on the u-tubez to get the full listening experience. The idea that there may be people out there who think they’ve listened to Double Nickles but have never heard Little Man with the Gun in His Hand rocked me to my core.
This kind of country is not really my thing, while I can recognize it’s quality. The rather apocalyptic title song was an interesting detour.
I don’t think I ever listened to Oasis for a protracted period before and honestly wasn’t that impressed. A monotone and kind of grating guitar sound, pretty dull drum and bass, and lyrics that are superficially glib but not really saying much. Workmanlike rock but is there any real innovation?
A lot of this was very pretty but overall I felt missing something... some incursions of a harder edge, for the tension in the music to break through more often? I liked it though.
Big Robyn Hitchcock fan from way back. This a straightforward but super English psychedelic rock album
This had some really interesting points but in general I find a little bit of the Noise Rock goes a very long way for me. The focalization (particularly the kind of nasally “Captain Beefheart sings The Blimp” only more incomprehensible” stuff I’d had enough of after about two minutes). I suspect it would all be a lot more effective live where the energy of performance could better carry the periodically discordant chaos.
I assumed I'd give up on this thing's egregious length but muscled through the whole thing. Another album cemented in my mind by the dominating video presence of Tonight Tonight. I like a lot of what the band did musically but I really don't care for Corgan's singing and his lyrics are a particularly disagreeable blend of self-pitying, self-indulgent, and self-important.
I've read Reed himself disdained this album at least somewhat but I love it. Wild Side, Perfect Day, I'm So Free... it's rock and roll, it's sweetness with hard edges, and queer as hell to boot. Essential.
A band I'm mostly unfamiliar with. I thought this had a strong start, got kind of bogged down in the middle, but finished very well.
Though not a style of music I generally go for, I found this interesting enough to listen to the whole thing again, in French the second time.
I don't think any of the songs on this qualify as "flaming shits" as the original Rolling Stone review reportedly said 3 did. Several I think qualify for Chris Knox's lyrical dig at Cohen's tendency to "try to make a song out of speech". The big songs on the album sre of course among the best in any league. Extra star for a debut with such an absolutely distinctive voice.
I guess I never really got onto Marianne Faithfull’s post-70s career. I don’t know what I was expecting but it wasn’t this. Not exactly for me but I’ll give it an extramarital point for some ahead of their times raw nasty lyrics
Fun but not really that substantial.
As always I feel ill equipped to critique hip hop, but I was really struck by the diversity in this album, unified by humor, wit, and anger.
The guy who wrote this list certainly has a type where indie rock is concerned. I liked this pretty well, but the limitations of the vocalist detracted from the music a bit for me, and rendered most of the lyrics indistinguishable. So if they were clever, they were lost on me.
Great, although the often frenetic pace and elaborate vocals delivered at the same left me trailing behind and not picking up a lot: this is one I need to spend more time with.
My first off-mainstream music love as a teen was what got lumped under the broad umbrella of New Wave. The proliferation of sub-genres and side-genres around this wing of the Rock and Roll mansion starts to strike me as academic confabulating pretty quickly, though this album makes a strong argument for how diverse and wide ranging New Wave actually could be. It is about top form for Talking Heads, I think.
I didn’t really have any use for this. It wasn’t actually offensive but struck me as wall after wall of bland sound assortments narrowly meeting the definition of a song.
Underwhelmed at first - early tracks seemed like just good old rock and roll - not that much of a departure from, say, the Stones... but it grew on me as it progressed
This one a little more Prog than I generally tolerate in my Rock. Obviously created by very smart, very hardworking souls but for me, listening feels like a bit of a chore, or at least a Project.
Among the variety of metal my youth cohort favored I liked Metallica the best, though I'd pretty well outgrown it in my 20s. This to me marks the turn towards self-importance outshadowing the music. I liked the old stuff better.
This list has turned up a little more 90s hip hop than I strictly feel a need for. The rolling delivery and wit to these lyrics carries this along, but all the typical issues of the genre and era (homophobia, sexism, glorification of gun violence) has begun to sour it a little much for me.
Nothing sounds quite like it, and I have a soft spot for both the lyrics and delivery, but the sheer extremity of the emo and sometimes muddy sound detract.
Hard not to like this kind of music with its winsome singing and big band professional accompaniment. But nothing on this really stood out that much either, other than the slightly bizarre duet with a child (?) singer towards the end.
Very good, and a very distinctive sound. Puts me in mind of Masters at Work output. In terms of production and polish maybe a little inconsistent - but that’s a very minor quibble.
I wanted to like this more than I did. The different stylistic elements just didn’t come together for me, though I certainly didn’t hate it.
Possibly lowballing this out of the feeling this sound and era are over represented on this list, and possibly in the official pop pantheon generally. The usual problem of covering Dylan in that the rest of the lyrics suffer in comparison. I never dislike listening to this kind of thing but it’s a well I rarely return to otherwise these days.
Pretty flawless, all parts working almost seamlessly together, Which so often doesn’t really come off when rap and hip hop are blended with soul, R&B, and reggae influences. In this it’s all unmistakably part of one work and message.
This was... not to my tastes. I felt like this person’s singing really didn’t mesh with the music. And I couldn’t figure out if the lyrics were supposed to be as creepy as they were...
Came into this expecting not to like it, but was surprised by how well I liked the opening music. Then the vocals really lost me. I am pretty tolerant of this kind of minimalistic, repetitive electronica but not as a vehicle for this kind of combination of dopey lyrics and creepy singing (hitting its peak on both fronts in Girl, though the intermittent screeching in Frankie Teardrop was also next level irritating and nearly made me give up on it. The vocal equivalent of a punchable face.
I've seen them in concert and enjoyed it, sadly this studio version didn't hit so well. A fella hollering full volume in a little packed club is a little different than getting it on your headphones at work where it's basically the equivalent of someone screaming right in your ear. Could be the not great (though far from terrible) streaming plus middle of the road headphones, but the mix on this was gratingly heavy on the high end for me. Nails on blackboards. Even for all that it's pretty unique.
One of those albums I felt so familiar with the existence of, it made me feel like I knew the album itself, but on listening realized I was slightly familiar with the first song and not at all with anything else. Honesty didn't care for it that much. The vocals are so absolutely the defiant "I'm not part of your system" arrogance of youth and I'm just too old for that shit anymore.
As I go along, early punk seems more the prefigurement of the direction of rock and roll than anything. I like this just fine but I'm not over the moon about it.
I've complained too much already about the over-representation of Morrissey on this list: but I just don't get it. Pretentious, gloomy, musically not that special. Teen angst on a bigger budget.
I’ve liked Elvis Costello going way back: I don’t think this is his best and forebodes his being another artist who is frustratingly over-represented on this list. His worse tendencies as a writer are on display here: over-written lyrics that fall short as songs per se, resulting in a kind of plodding delivery.
I liked this, for all its over the top operatic presentation, it had a unique sound and the lyrics mostly managed to be dramatic without falling over into mawkish melodrama.
Some of my all time favorites here, and of xourse the two lengthy linchpin numbers of Down By the River and Cowgirl in the Sand. A coue of dull spots hold it just shy of masterpiece status for me but still essential.
Another one of Steely Dan's greats. A little soft in places (the lyrics of Charlie Freak bordering on mawkish) but mostly solid.
Funky but a little over the top at times - the ultra-extreme falsetto, wacky electronica interludes, the spoken word bits. Not my favorite so far in this genre
Lyrically it's honestly kind of a G version of meathead rock - and yeah, its funny, but the whole dis culture and violence and misogyny and hemophilia wears thin. Musically it's obviously super foundational.
Beyond belief is my all time favorite Elvis Costello song, closely followed or maybe a co-first with Lipstick Vogue... listening to a couple albums coincidentally in close succession is making me realize though that I’m maybe really more of a “Greatest Hits” variety of fan. I don’t dislike any of it but a lot of it sort of blends together for me.
How do these crazy talent-vortices spontaneously form? A bunch of kids get together and shortly are defining some swath of a major genre. And then again tragedy is so often looming over it, and is that some dark part of it. It’s a bad old world.
Wears its VU influence too much on its sleeve for me, while not really measuring up (in the vocal department particularly, and emulating Lou Reed is frankly not that high of a bar to aspire to). While Reed assumed the persona of coldness and flat affect in some of the characters he voiced, in these performances that shoe fits a bit too well. And the lyrics aren't as clever as they think they are, though not without charms.
The kind of thing that hits me like an interesting anthropological experiment - the trenchant 70s feminism, the crazy German ululating vibrato - but it’s hard to imagine electing to listen to it for the kinds of reasons I listen to music.
I’m a fan of Franti across his projects and solo output. Musically this did not do so much for me, just no my style. Lyrically the preach factor tended to outweigh flow, a borderline he transgresses pretty commonly (not to impugn the messages, it just doesn’t all gel for me as a whole composition)
Loved this as a kid (my teen cohorts definitely not getting it, putting me in for a bit of mockery - but they were all drunkenly dancing to Love Shack in college in just a few short years). Did not hold up for me quite so well - the minimalist kitsch, the repetition. But still enjoyed it.
Wine house not quite up to full power here, and as usual I find it hard to separate the music from how rapidly the full star gestalt would burn out the filament in that bulb.
The Kinks are an interesting study in rock history. There are really quite a lot of albums, and the influence is great, but relatively few actually recognizable hits, especially in the U.S. this is another album I hadn’t listened to before. Good, though not hitting the levels of my favorites with this band.
I liked this pretty well - I'm always up for some lush orchestration - I'm not certain the lyrics behind it aren't mostly flash without much substance though... But it's a superficial impression and I might come around if I spent more time with it. Weirdly only an EP version available on YouTube music, I had to find an unauthorized upload of the full album on Youtube.
Big indie icon in my college radio days. I don't hate this but the music is just straight ahead rock with a vocal style I'm sick of.
Maybe it's just me lately, everything is hitting me at three stars, I don't actually dislike it but it's not exciting me. I recall this being a big deal when it came out, though, and I didn't really get it then either. This vocal recording principle where it sounds like someone put a transistor radio in a Mason jar.
This version of Randy Newman I have a little less love for. Musically it’s a bit monotonous, and the lyrics get snarled in the writer’s sense of looking down from a position of such superiority. There’s an unpleasant smirk lingering under it. I feel like Newman settled out to a subtler version of a similar music and message later.
Sure it’s peak hippie feely. In the right mood I dig this kind of thing. About as of its era as it gets.
I liked this best of any Sonic Youth I’ve listened to so far. Still very raw, alterntaive and experimental but hung on a solid rock armature that keeps it pleasurable to listen to.
I found listening to this pretty painless but a lot of the delivery was a little too smooth jazz for my taste. What I picked up of the lyrics seemed pretty well formed.
Some extra credit has to be allowed for the audacity of putting out what is basically a musical without a plot, in the packaging of a heavy metal album. I don’t think I ever listened to the album before and certainly none of it was familiar other than Paradise... which is a superbly constructed song for all the ultra-banality of its concept (and even in that deserves a nod for the underlying cold-blooded assessment of the actual beating heart of most teenage love songs). Obviously a core artifact of its pop era, though considered on its own as an album I’d have to say that it barely stays ahead of its many weaknesses.
I like Swift, and watching the kind of weaponized transition interesting Uber Pop was fascinating at the time. Shake It Off and Bad Blood are still bangers. At the end of the day a little mainstream for me and the veneer of production is so seamlessly slick that it doesn’t leave much to hold onto.
I think this is the best Elvis Costello album that know well, though to be honest I don’t know much past the 80s. It has my tied for first favorite song of his, Lipstick Vogue, and even his worse tendencies (having the persona of a mopey, whiney lover with a pretentious voice, both in the literal and authorial senses) are displayed to at their best here in songs like Chelsea.
Really did not have much use for this and its popularity and regard escape me. I don’t even want to spend more time thinking about the specifics; will happily never listen to this band again. Escapes a lower rating by being mostly competent If unremarkable rock and only having a tiny bit of the synthesizer knob-twiddling that made me want to throw my phone in the garbage.
I'm just... not a fan of that voice. It's good old rock and roll, and a real nostalgia trip for my early college years, but not a thing If seek out.
I haven’t generally been a fan of this band, though this one grew on me over its course. Still strikes me as not as smart as it thinks it is, and at this point I’ve had enough “I’m from New York” attitude to last a lifetime. It’s just a place, you’re not special for being from (or being in) some particular place.
Pleasant enough to listen to but not much really leapt out. The inversion of the usual trope in the "murder ballad" wasn't quite enough to elevate it (and is it, like, supposed to be some kinda girlpower anthem? Cause it's still wrong to murder someone over infidelity), and the final cut with Bon Iver gave an unflattering focus on just how watered down the rest of the folkified pop was.
Struck me as a straightforward soul album, nothing hit me that strongly, but it was all well done, especially considering it was the work of a person who was well into the throes of being Sly Stone’s cocaine buddy.
This used to be one of my less favorite Steely Dan albums (aside from Deacon Blues), in spite of being generally a fan. It has grown on me over time though, as repeated listening revealed the care and intricacy of its production. I’ve never really got the charges of their being cold or soulless. I find delivery of grown-up melancholy very poignant.
Another pop pillar of my youth I haven’t sat down to listen to in many years. The songs are masterfully constructed, though at album length I found the signing trying - a little too much and too sustained of that high and tight thing. Clearly by intent: the odd Betty Boop homage towards the end makes it clear Lauper knows what she’s about. The solid backing in a lower register on Time After Time really balances that aspect out and for me it could use more of that. Still super iconic and great.
Another band I’ve heard of but never listened to. Eclectic (possibly to a fault) and I could do without the wild theremin forays (or whatever electronic noise generation gizmos were at play) but some really strong parts too and worth further exploration.
This is a real odd artifact. Aside from the ubiquitous hit (instantly familiar though I couldn’t come up with any context for recollection) I didnt know a thing about this band. A real odd mix of (to my ear) 60s britpop and psychedelic, some 70s American rock but also Velvets-sequel avant-garde alternative, and perhaps more obscure influences at play. Still wrestling over whether it is essentially just genre mash-up or actual invention. Audacious enough for a bunch of kids to grab an extra star.
Another one of these bands I feel like I’ve been hearing about since college radio days of the 90s but never got around to. And hearing it I can definitely see the point. The vocals are not to my taste. I’m a fan of more than a couple acts where the singer can’t (or just doesn’t) really sing so I guess that’s on me. But it wore on me after a while, though I liked a lot of the music and thought it was all interesting.
Didn’t really grab me. More dubiously portentous, gloomy dude-alt.
My kind of thing, whatever that says about me, and I thought a very fine example of its type and era. It’s rejection in its own time kind of mystifies me.
My sister bought this LP in my 80s childhood and boy I listened to it a whole lot. There is some forgettable stuff in the first half but the album, and the B side in particular, still holds up on its own terms.
A little drone-y and semi-sinister dude drawl for my taste. I will allow there is despite my tastes some obvious brilliance at play.
Beautifully wrecked voice in these dreamy, pretty settings is almost too precise a metaphor for Holiday so close here to the end of her life.
I enjoyed this but had my usual issue with this kind of jazz where when it gets into the long form improvisation it just seems like noodling around scales. I know this makes me a low brow but there it is.
I just don't get The Prodigy. Is it a dance thing? A drug thing? Is it all an elaborate joke? Surely those super cheesy "breaking glass" percussion effects aren't unironic? The even-cheesier "villainous laughter"? I wouldn't be surprised if barks and moos showed up. But then for a minute from time to time, it would all come together and I'd be like, now that's tight.
Rare among jazz albums in that I feel like I genuinely get it, I think it's a masterpiece. This might not be considered a ringing endorsement given my general ignorance, but I'll stand by it.
Great album though not my favorite, I like how musically experimental it gets in places, but there are also some dull points that kill the momentum.
I would give David Bowie’s last album 5 stars if he had spent an hour playing the Benny Hill theme on a comb and TP kazoo. But in fact this is very good, though not easy. I think it stands on its own, aside from its context in Bowie’s life, in a rightful place alongside his best.
Very good, clearly staking Simon’s claim as a self-sufficient solo act. Some of the writing suffers his flaw of being a little too precious, particularly as it clashes with the aspirations to a darker, street-level sensibility.
I found the beep boop electronica a little trying on this one, while there was a lot of fun parts.
Such a big deal when it came out, ubiquitous video play. It holds up, I think, a pop-crossover genre classic, though as I often feel with this sort of thing, the production is a little to slick, a seamless facade that excludes most of the true funk and soul.
I enjoyed this, although the music felt perhaps a little one note. Some interesting things going on in the lyrics.
Another really over-represented band on this list. Although I like this kind of thing pretty well as a rule, there is an awful lot going on in this era to give so much coverage to one group.
I liked this pretty well, strong Lucinda Williams vibe. In the first half in particular I felt like it really walked a nice line between a solid country foundation with more pop-oriented production. Some of the flip side tipped more into a bland pop sound. Good overall.
Honestly not in the mood for this kind of thing much anymore - loud and angry is a young man’s game. Still, this is that being done about as good as it gets. Fast songs, lots of variety, unflagging energy. Surprised I hadn’t heard of this before.
It seems kind of goofy to bother saying anything about this album. It’s Boston. Naming you band after one of the major US cities is bold, I’ll say that. I don’t ever need to listen to this again, but it’s clearly a masterpiece in its genre.
I appreciate the concept and execution, though as with the B-52s at album length it starts to wear thin for me. The jangly, rockabilly-esque music, the oddly inflected (and rather affected) vocals. Perfect to fit a niche interval in a mix tape, not my cup of tea to sit down and listen to for the better part of an hour.
Soul masterpiece. Wonder was really peerless at this phase.
Just good clean fun, with a smart dash of self awareness that isn’t allowed to rise to such a level as to overshadow the intent. A little lightweight, but when it’s so clearly and deteriminedly by design, is that really a minus?
Was not in the mood for this at all, so I don’t know I gave it a fair shake - although I also think it had some objective flaws. Some really intolerable noise garbage. And though it’s par for this particular course, this particular style of shouty vocals doesn’t for me improve at length.
Obviously there are some classic rock classics here. There is also a fair bit of typical Clapton lazy blues filler. Mostly redeemed by virtuoso guitar... Getting an assist from Duane Allman never hurts I guess.
Again one of these where, what am I going to say about this most classical of classic rock? So I’ll just ponder again the oddity of selection on the YT Music - all of the songs in question were easily found, but the “album” per se was not, I had to cobble a playlist together from compilations.
As with all output of the prime American Psychedelic era (a really narrow window actually) it’s hard not to judge it in context of that grim looming reality that Hunter S. Thompson described so thoroughly- that this wave would very shortly break, and roll back. For me anyway it makes some of the most intolerable Hippie Shit (e.g. The Masked Marauder) grate a little more. Still, the energy and innovation here are real.
I feel like with a very few exceptions, live albums are only suitable for fairly serious fans of a band or performer. It mostly held here, I am relatively indifferent to Deep Purple and was unmoved by these various bloated song versions, with all the Original Recipe Heavy Metal live show trimmings - the hyper-extended drum solo number, the call-and-response yell-off with the crowd... On the other hand just getting me to tolerate a nearly 20 minute version of “Space Truckin” is a feat, and at times the fun and energy of the time and crowd does shine through.
I miss this lighter, more gently weird side of that swath of genre you used to be able to get away with just calling “alternative” back in the 90s. Mostly just good old rock and roll, and I’m not sure this distinguishes itself that highly above many similar acts of the age, most of which didn’t manage to crest much above regional recognition. But I liked it perfectly well.
I had the same issue with this I have with a lot of the kind of nerd-jazz intellectual alternative, that “being music” seems to take a back seat and many of the choices just age badly. Particularly the vocal element here, the whole robot voice repetition chorus thing did not satisfy.
About peak disco, marred only by the vapidity of some of the lyrics. It's rate for something to be such a complete period piece that can still stand on its own merits.
I like T. Rex but again I think over represented here. The lyrics have a nice flow but is it just a load of twaddle? I don’t think this is the strongest album.
The sheer audacity has to be admired. Is anyone trying to pull off this sort of highbrow goof in rock and roll land anymore? Would any major label dare greenlight it? It succeeds quite well as a prog rock album on its own merits as well, and has enough humor and high spirits to mostly dodge an indictment of tremendous pretentiousness. Mostly.
Another album largely defined in my mind by a particular era when Inas intentionally watching music videos. Singles from this just dominated (as did the “new British Invasion” narratives, coverage of the rivalry with Blur, and reports of bad behavior). I think it’s overrated, though I like a lot of it, and the screamingly loud, over-compressed mixing marked the escalation of a rotten trend.
I didn’t have anything against this but it seemed like an odd selection to represent Ray Charles. I’m not sure that showcasing Charles as a vocalist was all that necessary of a goal. This is all solid but at the end of the day it’s just an album of standards, competently but not remarkably performed.
Kind of proves the persona couldn’t be separated from the music from day one. The genius is real, but man the self-absorption is too. Really great though.
I liked this, although the lyrical range struck me as pretty limited. Musically solidly in its lane and well played but nothing that really reached out and grabbed me.
Listened to a huge amount of Dylan at one point in my life, not so much anymore. There are few modern lyricists in his league in my mind but in albums like this in particular I wonder, behind the opulent wordplay is the substance really there or is it just reeling stream of consciousness. Still way up there, second tier Dylan in my personal reckoning.
Nelson makes this sound so easy, the whole project seems like kind of a softball pitch. Classic songs, straightforward arrangements, mostly voice and guitar. But the product is incredibly pleasing which hints I think that the simplicity is deceptive. Nelson nails every song and shows his great versatility as an artist.
Back from in the day (when my primary exposure was massive overplay of Teen Spirit on MTV) I discounted Nirvana and grunge in general and Cobain in particular, and later sort of shrugged at his death. Another rock and roll drug addict unable to negotiate fame. Later I came around on some grunge era acts like Screaming Trees and Mudhoney and after listening to Cobain’s Unplugged set, decided I’d been wrong there too. There is a lot of strong stuff on this, though there is also some definite filler, and the protracted noise jam at the end of the album is a tired trope I’d love to see retired. Still an iconic entry in its genre and time.
I liked this better than I expected to... after reading about the band I expected to hate it. The creepy murmuring vocals got old quick. Didn't find the rock all that math-y. It was all right.
Not generally into this shade of the rockified mostly-metal and it really wasn’t what I was looking for when I listened to this. Just all the portentous, self-important singing and preponderance of heavy-handed chunka-chunka guitar.
I’m waffling over how to rate anything so foundational to rock and roll. I liked it and respect its innovation (although it’s a sound now so embedded in a strata of pop that it’s hard to hear it as innovating). But there is some monotony to it.
Very odd. Certainly interesting but not exactly music, or at least not the variety I’d choose to sit down and listen too.
Probably like many of my particular ilk it took me a long time to see past the cultural presence and facade of Parton (at its peak in the late 70s and 80s when I was growing up) and realize her profound talent and originality. This is excellent, if mostly a shade shot of her very top tier
Certainly one of the greatest live albums in rock history. Duane Allman’s slide guitar is so unearthly good and the whole band is just in sync, the crowd wholly on their wavelength. A masterpiece.
Zappa is all but revered by friends whose musical opinions I take seriously. But I haven’t always found his music easy to get into. I liked this right from the start though, and thought the whole album was fantastic.
I didn’t mind this but it struck me as fairly typical of its time and genre.
Flesh of my Flesh the only familiar tune to me on this (I think my brother put it on a mix tape he gave me many, many years back - so many it was on an actual tape). They have a unique sound, and generally I like dot, though the vocals seemed over affected. Clever lyrics.
Dominating in my late teens. Listening to the full album for the first time in many, many years it was interesting to note that a fair bit of it was not quite fully professional... The polish a tad patchy, some slight flubs. When it's on point it is quintessential American heavy rock. A bit meatheaded as most of its genre is but smarter and wittier than most.
As Beach Boys albums go this isn’t at the top of my list. Seems somewhere between the classic Surf Rock and whatever Pet Sounds is and doesn’t for me capture the best of either. Which isn’t to say it isn’t good.
I think this is Morrison’s best. Tremendous musical range, a cinematic expansiveness in the sound, masterful composition and performance and yet with a genuine feeling of spontaneity and looseness.
This seems like an odd item to select from Young’s catalog (though that’s partly a factor of his over-representation on this list, my now tired refrain on the thing). Though it’s certainly a notable artifact of its times, with more baroque elements like the Manson connection (drawing a coincidental line to the Recent Beach Boys selection that came up for me there), I think there’s a reason that only Walk On and For The Turnstiles from this made it into the Decade compilation. The longer pieces have interest but don’t rise to that sprawling, psychedelic-country epic quality of Cowgirl in the Sand or Down by the River.
Not quite the tour de force of Thriller, and a couple of the ballad numbers are forgettable. Mostly on par with the most iconic material though, and such a distinct and futuristic sound.
This is mostly pretty good (aside from some intervals of truly intolerable noise garbage) but I’m having a hard time getting past the (yes, it’s getting to be a monotonous refrain with me) egregious over-representation of Sonic Youth on this list. Five albums! This isn’t the Beatles or The Rolling Stones (neither of which I think need 5 albums to be adequately represented, for that matter). There is an awful lot of music in Sonic Youth’s genre space. What a waste of an opportunity to elevate some more obscure offerings.
Obviously a really great R&B album, and Franklin’s singing is stellar throughout (especially considering she was just 25). But the musical accompaniment and songwriting aren’t as consistently great (though this is partly the reality of leading with the absolutely dominating Respect, which overshadows the rest of the album). Not to say any of it is bad - indeed mostly it’s very good - but the first song sets the bar so high it’s hard not to see the lackluster entries among what follows.
Constant play of the singles on alternative tending radio and the videos on TV in its day. Another where I doubt I ever listened to the actual album. I scorned this pretty heavily when it was new - a lot of the lyrics simultaneously ostentatious yet kind of incoherent, all the examples of things that were not actually ironic... I'm more forgiving of it now. Morissette's youth at the time factors into my modern assessment, as does a basic recognition that releasing a slew of banger hits is no small feat, whether the genre and content are quite to my taste or not.
Another album my brother turned up with in the 80s, no clue how he got onto them. I listened to it quite a bit, over 30 years ago, and not at all since. Surprised to find I remembered it very well, and I think that lasting impression says something about it. It really is iconic, and was a big part of so many foundations of electronica that were set down around those times. I have to dun it slightly for the lyrics being so mundane, even though I think this is an intentional choice.
I was never a big Dead fan, though when a friend put Friend of the Devil on a mix tape it swayed me to consider that I hadn’t given them a proper chance. Still not entirely my thing, but listening to this now I can see that there is a resonance that transcends its genre and era.
Never knowingly listened to anything by this band before. Couldn’t find much to fault in it, just good old straight ahead rock and roll with a fair dose of thrash in it. Clearly laid a lot of ground for metal to come. As usual I find the metal attitude a little boring and one note. I did appreciate lyrics that were largely free from posturing about spiritual, philosophical or political evil. No grandiose pretensions here, just your basic lifestyles of the rough and rowdy.
My very uncool and old fashioned question about this kind of thing is, does it lean more heavily on the strength of its samples than its own contributions? I’m pretty sure I owned this at some point, listened to it a lot. Returned my to it after many years I feel like, astute sample choices aside, the compositions are pretty pedestrian.
Pretty much straight ahead folk. The delivery strikes me as perhaps a little too formal. I liked it well enough but I think it’s a taste I’d generally go elsewhere for.
Hugely iconic soul, one of these albums where it’s hard to credit so many classic songs cheek to jowl. Green’s biography suggests a pretty problematical individual, but it seems I’ve decided to put such considerations to the side for this project.
Old note by now but my main objection here is the English punk/post-punk vocal style. Understood about one word in ten and the attitude is just boring. Maybe it was super rebellious when it was new, maybe annoying middle class, middle age dudes is the whole point. I liked the music pretty well. When I heard REM’s version of Strange I had no idea it was a cover.
This is the real alternative to me, not sounding quite like anything else. The whole album doesn’t stay at quite the same level, but Gigantic and Where Is My Mind moved directly into the eternal pantheon for this kind of music.
As always with non-English language selections I feel like I can’t fully appreciate this. The instrumentation is fantastic, and although the signing style is way outside my cultural zone, it was interesting, and complemented the music.
I recall having a couple of Supergrass albums in the family, including this one, that got listened to quite a bit. Hearing it again after years it didn’t have a huge impact. Solid alternative rock and roll of the British flavor, nothing wrong with it, but nothing from it really stuck with me either.
In my high school stoner cohort the Pink Floyd discography started with Dark Side of the Moon and ended with The Wall. I got into Meddle in college (the first CD I purchased, as it happened, a really terrible digital transfer). But it was pretty far down the line that I listened to Piper at the Gates of Dawn and wonders where on earth that came from, and learns about Syd Barrett. Is it genius? The potential is surely there and shines ferociously through at some points, but much of it is too slack and sloppy to fully carry.
A crazily strong debut and from such a young group. This kind of hip hop is so established now but back in the late 80s it was represented by a tiny number of acts, and well against the mainstream grain of the times. Although not all the tracks live up to the standard of the greatest ones, it’s a full and coherent album - slightly ostentatious extra long title and all.
I’m all about Leonard Cohen and for me this is the pinnacle of his latter career albums. Lyrically impeccable and musically precise, even the singing (it’s hard to deny that Cohen increasingly was a singer in spite of his voice as he aged) delivers perfectly suited to the material.
I’m a Steely Dan fan and I love this album, one of the beloved cassette acquisitions of my youth. Still I waiver between masterpiece and merely great, though I’m not sure why: every song is solid, there’s no real filler. But there are higher heights to come.
My attitude about political or activist music has been going downhill a long time... It’s hard to feel like it really affects anything, and it all ends up on Google Play advancing the cause of neoliberal capitalism... still, this did dare to be more objectionable than most, and rocks pretty hard throughout. Biafra makes some weird singing choices but you can’t deny it’s distinct.
One of these where I’m just not getting it. Quite a lot of the “innovation” in this I found to be basically a bunch of avant-noise garbage. I’m not wholly against such stuff but it crosses the line into irritation pretty easily. My main issue here was most of it didn’t seem really incorporated into the songs in which it occurred: it was just jammed in on top or in amongst, jarring shifts in tone and, for that matter, volume. A bunch of people clearly think this is clever, it just made me want to stop listening. In between these affronts there was I’ll admit a fair bit of perfectly acceptable shoegazey alt-rock, and the occasional moments when it all actually comes together into something more.
The youngest performer still alive from this (at least that I could find anything about) is Richard Thompson at 73; Drake himself would turn 74 this year if he’d lived that long. There is a timelessness about his music though. It was never actually folk, and presaged genres like shoegaze by decades. It seems he spent his brief career on the precipice, head barely above the rough seas of drug abuse and mental illness, and this tension both informs and impairs his music I think. It is a sad tale.
If I hadn’t been streaming this, during significant portions of it I would have assumed something was wrong with either the media or my equipment. Apparently this was considered some sort of guitar innovation. A lot of juxtaposition of mumbly incomprehensible lyrics and grating noise. Didn’t care for most it if that’s not obvious.
This didn’t make much of an impact on me either way. A general impression of glam-inflected English alt-pop, somewhat arch lyrics that never really hooked my attention. Perfectly competent but I wouldn’t seek it out.
The review I wrote for this didn’t go though and I don’t feel like recreating it. Too much shoegaze lately in a nutshell.
It’s not quite my style but the dramatic synth-y pop certainly stands out and doesn’t sound quite like anything else.
There’s some strong stuff on here, and it’s Bowie after all, but it sort of highlights my continuous gripes about this list giving some artists too many spots. If you’re boiling down Bowie to a “must hear before you die” list this obviously doesn’t make the cut in my book.
I can imagine myself getting into this at a certain point in my life. These days I find the individual neurosis less interesting. At times it would start to win me over but just too sad-sack portentous, and the Bowie-esque weird lyrical elements seemed a little pasted on. The instrumental elements were better than the lyrical for me.
I think getting a true folk feeling in modern and original songs is harder than it may seem. This does it as well as I’ve heard it done, and also moves confidently between this and a more contemporary style without losing a unique and unified sound. Overall liked it a lot.
I think I’ve probably said what I had to say about hard core hip hop, so I’ll just observe that I hadn’t known before that Terminator X retired from music to run an ostrich farm in North Carolina.
This one I guess is peak Randy Newman, at least of this particular aspect of his singer/songwriter persona. And I like it, a lot of it is pretty funny, the music is all solid and some rises to a higher level. But there is the issue of the kind of condescending sneer behind a lot of the satirical lyrics, this attitude of “let’s channel how these idiots think” but without any hint really of pointing to a better way.
I didn’t hate this but it does kind of seem like “when geniuses faff around”. Most of the instrumental innovation struck me as merely electronic noodling. Only the last track really stood out as striking new ground.
Peak Cream, I think, unless you prefer the bluesier stuff to the psychedelic, which I definitely don’t. Another one I knew pretty well note for note, despite not having listened to it for years. In my youth I owned it, one of my beloved cheap department store cassettes, and played it a ton. It actually holds up pretty well, although like a lot of this era a lot of the lyrical sensibility comes of as an odd mix of mawkish and ostentatious.
Typical problem here of critiquing something that is clearly (and very explicitly)made to celebrate and uplift a culture I’m not a member of. I liked it, anyway, and appreciated the artistry, though at times it seemed more like extended meditations than songs. Maybe by design, what do I know.
For me, the top musically for first era Bowie, and a real genre-definer for the loosely conceptual rock album.
I liked this best I think of the metal selections on the list so far. A lot of variety in the sound, not just chunka-chunka drone or endless shreddy solos. Though somewhat given to the typical metal sin of pompous self-importance, there seemed to be some humor in the lyrics too. The singing didn’t favor clear articulation though, and I couldn’t catch most of the words. At times the singing got overly caricature and affected too, really my only gripe with this (and a minor one, mostly the singing fit the music well, but it was definitely the weaker point).
Nothing not to like about this, An amazing singer and though the songwriting quality varies significantly, it bottoms out at “pretty good” and a plenty of it ascends to pop classic status.
I was prepared to really dislike this, but ended up finding it quite good, though a little too much the Radiohead B-squad frankly. Very 21st century end to the band with one of these hard to pin down he said, she said ( or more precisely in this case, she said she said, he said) me-too downfalls where the actual reality of what happened will never be known.
Strong memories of this album which I chalk up with pretty good certainty (but no clear recollection) to an ex-girlfriend. Or possibly the wife, but if so she hasn’t listened to it for a long time. Maybe both. I didn’t get around to asking her. Can’t fault the music or the singing, the lyrics are way into that aggrieved young woman territory. Not a whisper of humor or lightness in it, and that aspect gets a little trying in my book.
It holds up amazingly well: they really were on the leading edge of something new and all the elements are harmonized in service of that sound and sensibility. There is a little too much muddy recording and sometimes kind of dumb lyrics (though they are mostly pretty good and well ahead of most of their genre ilk) for a perfect score, but it’s a great album.
Weird album, even for later stage Beach Boys, and a weird choice for this list. A weird time for America: this came out just a couple months before the articles that became Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and the rather dismal “socially conscious” songs suggest they hadn’t gotten the memo, that that wave had long sense broken, and was rolling furiously back. The last half of side two is better but doesn’t quite pull the whole effort above average.
I liked this pretty well, and points just for being well off the beaten track... the pop got a little too avant- for me in several places though, shading well into annoying territory. But I’d be up to hear more from this project.
While there is a lot of good here I don’t think it has aged entirely gracefully. For all their good intent there is some pretty hackneyed writing (if you give a man a fish? That’s like satire of actual social commentary), and the beats and rapping don’t always stand out.
I sometimes feel like I succumb to the “authentic therefore good” reasoning with this kind of thing. Is it that great? Is it authentic even, I suppose, this Brooklyn-bred child of a well-to-do professional. On the other hand it’s safe to say running off at 15 to join the rodeo wasn’t some stunt to develop a good backstory for his later music career. I didn’t mind this at all though this kind of deep roots country is not a music I go to as a rule. But I’ll defer to Woody Guthrie and Johnny Cash to tip the scale on this one.
There’s a definite pop genius to this, and it gets surprisingly weird at times, but it’s just too soft for my tastes.
Obviously a powerful voice and I like the arrangements. The lyrics... as always I find it a little hard to take a 25 year old waxing philosophical about their deep relationship travails, and how time has changed them. Even setting that aside there is a lot of faux-deep that reveals pretty banal constructions on closer examination. But hey, sometimes that’s just what you’re looking for.
Never really thought a lot before this project about how much early Metal is a product of the UK. I’m sure this means something, though I couldn’t say what. Can’t really fault any of it for what it is.
If you like the Beatles (which I do), one of the great ones. I do think it’s marred by a lack of cohesion and composition caused by its “your side, my side” assembly. And much as I’m loathe to agree with Lennon’s pretentious attitude of the time, the lyrics of Maxwell’s Silver Hammer are kind of dumb.
So obviously setting foundations for where Rock was headed, that it’s perplexing how little notice it generated in its time, though I suppose that sort of culture lag is the somewhat more the rule than the exception. I do think the limitations and monotony of the vocal delivery detract from the overall quality.
As I’ve observed many times through this list, I’m not a jazz head and don’t feel qualified to judge. This really carried me along through a lot of it though. It definitely lost me several times. I can’t say I’ve heard anything much quite like it though.
Disco at its best, a bunch of absolute bangers on this one. Some of the B sides are pretty forgettable though. I’m in the camp that Thriller is the better overall album.
Despite Lou Reed’s pronouncement that Sympathy for the Devil was the only serious song in the Stones’ repertoire, this whole album is exceptionally solid. Of course it’s got that weird English Blues appropriation thing, which to me has aged worse than the more straight-ahead rock and roll. And lyrics like Stray Cat Blues don’t really scan in this day and age, the sort of over the top predatory hedonism they made fun of in Metalocalypse. Putting aside such woke quibbles, for a Rolling Stones fan this is about peak.
I certainly didn’t dislike this, and it’s pretty enough... but there’s not much variety in the vocal delivery, and the musical accompaniment and lyrical choices are all pretty safe and bland.
I think I’ve covered this at least once already. Not a particular fan, I think the lyrics are faux-clever, the music has that excessive loudness of so much modern production but under that and a lot of overclocked effects it isn’t much. Would happily never listen to any of it again.
Not quite at the level of Rain Dogs or Swordfishtrombones to me but a solid Tom awaits album.
I couldn’t discern what really distinguishes this from a whole lot of pop-ified World music I’ve heard by the by... It’s all competent musicianship, good singing (though of course I can’t comprehend a word). But it couldn’t help but fade into the background for me. Upbeat but relatively insubstantial.
My favorite Supergrass album I think. The whole Standard English Indie Rock Vocal Deliver Protocol is a little limiting, but this is the kind of music it fits best. Just fun and fast.
This is the real indie, very weird and relatively unsuccessful in its time. I liked it, it seemed like a genuine product of unique individuals.
It's well enough established in this project that I hate the Smiths in general and Morrisey in particular. I'll allow that some of the music is not bad, though not quite good enough to rise above the mopey, sententious lyrics and Morrisey's ur-emo delivery. I am a little cheered to learn that all his royalties from my unwilling plays are likely being paid to the disgruntled former drummer.
I like Radiohead a lot and this is a great album, but I don’t feel like I have anything new to say about this music
Another album linked to certain period where I watched a lot of music videos on MTV (particularly waiting for a carpool weekday mornings) and this - especially Ready Or Not - was dominating airtime. It is really top tier hip hop and holds a huge role in defining an era in its genre.
The music is very much of its era, and the political lyrics are a little on the nose, but this has aged surprisingly well for all that.
It’s very good, but I can’t heal feeling that the ideas at the foundation of so many of the lyrics (basically “I Am the Greatest”, with a healthy side portion of “and you all suck”) has an awfully shallow bottom. The excellence of the lyrical flow, as well as the beats and sampling, carry it through though.
So good and new in many ways, though I can’t help but feel there is a little bit of “have your cake and eat it too” to the lyrics - like it’s wall to wall sinnin’, justified by a thin suggestion of personal and religious redemption. Some songs like Swimming Pools negotiate this tension very well, others not so much.
This project made me realize I’d only really listened to singles and greatest hits of this duo. Hearing the deeper cuts and sequences in the actual albums (as well as the studio versions of several songs I had only heard a live cut of) has been eye opening: the weirder, more experimental stuff. Percussion! Anyway it’s a great album.
I appreciate the level of weirdness in the ostensibly pop space, though at album length it’s not really my cup of tea. Again this thing where I found the lyrics too difficult to follow to appreciate much of what sounded like probably pretty clever stuff. It all got a little too operatic and showtune for me in the latter third.
I get there was a whole art scene thing behind this, and this space theme I guess would have come out more strongly if I’d paid better attention to the lyrics? But as a purely sonic entertainment I’m not sure it’s distinguished much from any regular old hippie jam-a-roo, and one (at double length) I found increasingly tedious. Scrapes the barest three stars with me for style and the in-your-face artiness.
Odd relationship with this album because I love the versions of many of these songs from the Live at Sin-é album just a little bit more (particularly Eternal Life). All things being equal it’s an album I’d likely give 4 stars, but I have to push it one extra for so, so brief a candle.
Knew about but never really listened to this band. It was more interesting than I expected. The lyrics are a little hand wavey, does this actually say anything kind of typical of much of the era. And there is some of that odd inclusion of kind of old timey singalong numbers you sometimes got with the old psychedelia. Overall worth a listen though.
I think I’ve already covered this band twice: I just don’t get the hype, it’s unremarkable alternative rock to my ears, about a decade late to claim any innovation in sound. This similarly didn’t do anything much for me. I didn’t hate it at all but nothing stood out.
The playing is on point, the singing is fine, but a little bit of the whole Blues by way of jolly old England schtick goes a long way for me.
If you like rap, the ability in both the writing and the delivery is undeniable. And the underlying commentary about the pious tendency to equate words with actual doing of things (or even endorsement) is apt, even more so in its time. But I find the product exhausting at length, the relentless kill kill kill. Like this current genre of movies where the action scenes are copiously punctuated by (when not entirely composed of) people getting shot in the head at point blank range.
Likeable enough. Seemed like pretty standard alt-rock with extra country leanings, and I wasn’t feeling whatever extra it supposedly brought to that particular table.
I’ve listened to quite a bit of Black Sabbath over the years but not really to the full albums much, and increasingly impressed with the band. This is very strong and also showcases the always-surprising gentler side, with the really beautiful Laguna Sunrise and of course the amazing Changes. There is some filler though, the genuinely pointless FX being the most egregious.
I liked this but I’m not sure what all you say about it. Ambient is a weird genre where sort of falling back from the forefront to become part of the context is maybe the point. Bonus score for the precocious origins and technical inventiveness.
Obvious classic of its era that still holds up in my book.
Something of a genre defier, although the blanket electronica seems to be where it falls there is stuff in here that trends more towards the less driving side of industrial, alongside post-pop electronica reminiscent of something like Stereolab. The diversity is an overall strength though it also delivered a couple of songs I couldn’t wait to be over.
I think I’ve covered my take in gangsta rap sufficiently... I appreciate this, respect and enjoy the wordplay, and see it’s stature as a cultural artifact. But the absolute degree to which I’m a tourist in the world it depicts is something I’m not completely comfortable with, and the frequent refrains of murder, mayhem, and misogyny wear me out.
Obviously planted one of the big flag in the hard rock scene, particularly on the American side of it. Still fairly meathead, as befits its genre, and despite the accolades I found the music got a little plodding at times. Would happily listen to any of it most of the time, would never seek out the album to listen to again.
All good I’ll n my book - the bombast, the orchestration, the fantasy world mumbo jumbo that holds this almost unique prominence in British heavy rock. Good clean fun.
It’s been well covered here that the Nick Cave thing doesn’t really work for me. I think I liked this less than prior examples. I think they’re doing exactly what they set out to do with this and there is an audaciousness to it but I have no use for it.
I generally liked the music, even if it got a little heavy-handed. Apparently there was some kind of story in the lyrics but I couldn’t make out one word in ten so that part was lost on me.
What do I make of this? Not really my genre or era normally, and I couldn't understand a word of course. Even so I liked it - excellent singer and, even in a language I can't speak, had classic feel.