Did I just listen to something? Perhaps I'm getting old, but I couldn't engage with this at all. It was just background incidental muzak to me. The musical equivalent of a stock photo.
This is brilliant. Chock full of great pop songs and insightful social commentary. Of its time, but stands the test of time. Does exactly what it set out to do. A genuinely perfect album.
A perfect little package of 3-minute acoustic guitar pop gems. Great song writing, beautifully recorded, sequenced and presented. Has Father and Son on it - objectively an all-time great song.
Lovely relaxed vocals but the lyrics are too sickly sweet for my tastes and a bit repetitive. Superstition is amazing. Stevie Wonder's real name is Stevland Morris. 3/5
Just random noise. It's heartwarming to know that a complete lack of musical talent or ability is no barrier to creating an influential album. With that in mind, I hereby announce that my innovative pop duo 'Bumblecheek and the Reverb' is working on its debut album, to be titled 'Sexual Overcoat'. I fully expect inclusion in the next edition of the '1001 albums...' book. Rating: 1/5 Playlist track: AB/7A Date listened: 07/06/22
Quite liked about half of this, although largely fairly forgettable. A few songs bored me a bit. Might benefit from a deeper understanding of the band/context. Not really what I expected from TVU. Much more folky (almost country?) than I imagined. Quite like the sad/relaxed vibe to some of the songs. REALLY like After Hours - probably the only song I'd return to. Faves: After Hours Pale Blue Eyes Least faves: Jesus I'm Set Free Track-by-track: 1) Candy Says - Striking lyrical start. Chilled. Sad. Like it. 2) What Goes On - more upbeat. Jangley! Like it a lot. Good organ. 3) Some Kinda Love - yee ha - country. Less keen. 4) Pale bule eyes - pleasant. Relaxing. Not sure its supposed to be. Sad vibe. Like it. 5) Jesus - bit dull 6) Beginning to See the Light - like the harmonies bits. Bit Bob Dylan otherwise. Meh. 7) I'm Set Free - nah, not keen on this. Dull and also a bit irritating. Folky at the end. 8) That's the Story of My Life - Jaunty. Fun. Nice little interlude after a bit of a drudge. 9) The Murder Mystery - System of a Down! Organ! Weird vocals. Some spooky and some talking. A bit odd. Don't mind it, but doubt I'll listen again. Liking it less the longer it goes on (which is long). 10) After Hours - Nice. What does this remind me of? Mr Rodgers? Really like the happy tune and sad lyrics. Soudns like Mouldy Peaches. Which is a good thing. Maybe my fave on the album (sorry Lou).
Enjoyed listening to this. Captures the live energy. Cool to think this is a pioneer of a sound that is now so familiar. +Faves:-Baby Please Don't Go-I've Got My Mojo Working. +Least fave:-Goodbye Newport Blues.
Pure velvet vocals make me go mmmmmmmmmmm. Instrumentation not all that interesting - seems like every track just fades out, often much too early and quite suddenly, which can lead to a feeling unfulfillment. Overall a very pleasant listen, and could have been great, but with the songs cut off in their prime it almost feels like a sampler for the real album. A shame. +Faves:-Son of a Preacher Man-Don't Forgret About Me
Saxy! Basically fine, but I lost interest fairly quickly.
A real struggle to get through. Headache-inducing and painful to listen to (not in a good way). Faves-Forgive Them Father slightly less grating than some of the others. Actually, second half of the album may be a little less irritating. Still absolutely hated it, overall.
Looking forward to this having read it's produced by Dave Fridmann. A couple of absolute bangers and I like the Lennon/Flaming Lips/Tame Impalaesque style of a lot of the rest, although song writing maybe not up to the level of those others. Generally I enjoyed it. Favourite album of this Odyssey so far.
Pleasant, functional, American rock'n'roll album. Not massively interesting, but enjoyable.
Excellent album. Shout - great opening track. Also, straight into the chorus. Statement of intent. Maintains quality throughout. Shows it is better to have fewer good tracks than to include filler.
Never heard of Laura Nyro, but 2.5 tracks in I think this is GREAT! What a voice! Excellent record. Catchy, toe tapping, range of styles. Really nice songs that her voice elevates.
Basically fine, but not very interesting. Is it honky tonk? It sounds honky tonk. What is honky tonk? Not massively keen. Terrible band name.
Confrontational and catchy.
A really enjoyable listen. Could be accused of being cheesy, but I like the 80s TV theme vibe.
The highs are high, surprisingly melodic, accessible and catchy but after an hours worth descends to being quite dirge at points. Just wanted it to end after track 9, although 'snuff' was a nice surprise and a welcome break. Chop out tracks 8-10 and you have an excellent album. Generally this is better in small doses. Singy bits > shouty bits.
A little bit country. A lot punk. Didn't grab me.
Very 90's rap. Boring and irritating.
I think I would like this a lot, but I just can't get passed Dylan's voice sounding like he's straining to squeeze out a difficult poo. I am sure it would reward repeated listens, reading lyrics etc. but I don't have the motivation to get stuck into it.
He's got a good voice, but not my style of music. Quite liked 'Pyramids' and am pleased to see a song about Forrest Gump, but overall I didn't really enjoy this album.
Brazilian Beatles. A very enjoyable energy. Glad I've heard it, but doubt I will revisit.
Fun album. Enjoyed listening to it. Youthful energy. Some really great songs. A bit of filler. May benefit from previous familiarity.
Not unpleasant to listen to. Quite intricate. Didn't really speak to me.
Not very interesting. Not very motowny. Kind if boring.
What the heck was that? Somewhat self-indulgent. I think I'd have been quite bored sitting through it. Don't get it at all.
This is brilliant. Chock full of great pop songs and insightful social commentary. Of its time, but stands the test of time. Does exactly what it set out to do. A genuinely perfect album.
This album is bonkers. Starts and finishes with 10 minute jams, which make up two thirds of the album time. I didn't really care for these. The 15 mins of the the middle 5 tracks is much better, particularly 'You and your folks, me and my folks' which is very Black Sabbath-esque. Just when you think it can't get weirder, the last track has cuckoo clocks, mooing cows, monkey noises & hissing cats. Overall, maybe too weird to return to, but definitely not boring!
Very pleasant, professional and well made. Good opening 6 tracks, Yellow and Trouble are classics, but tails off a bit in second half. Enjoyable overall, but the generic/unspecific lyrics and song titles makes it all feel a bit superficial.
Sounds like a not awful Red Hot Chili Peppers. Quite liked it.
I was ambivalent towards this until track 5, which is 17.5 minutes of clattering. It gave me a headache. Track 6 sounds like a 7 year old child randomly hitting a toy drum, bashing a piano and trying to explain the rules of Mallet's Mallet. For those reasons, I mostly hate this.
Better than on the studio album.
Generally enjoyable in an easy-to-listen-to-country way. Had high hopes after the opening track, 'Guitar Town', and enjoyed 'Someday', but generally pretty standard other than those, especially the end of the album. Overall, would be a 'bang average' 3/6 tents in the (superior) Roskilde scoring system.
Exactly what I expected, but I also enjoyed it more than I expected. Maybe I'm more receptive to The Boss since seeing Blinded by the Light. Good film.
Quite nice and pleasant. Enjoy the french language singing. A bit like Saint Etienne. Doesn't sound particularly exciting or innovative today. Enjoyable overall.
Really enjoyed this. I like the contrast between the two discs. Much more accessible than I would have thought. I like the story telling in the songs. A previously un-listened to album and artist that I am sure I will be returning to.
Did I just listen to something? Perhaps I'm getting old, but I couldn't engage with this at all. It was just background incidental muzak to me. The musical equivalent of a stock photo.
Good songs, but front loaded and maybe a little samey.
Overall found this a bit down, whingey and wallowing for my tastes. Even the loud parts seem a bit miserable. I quite like a sad song, but the vibe of this album just isn't my thing. Really surprised how much I struggled with it given the classics on there.
Not particularly interesting, except for the German bit.
A really good and melodic 1970s punk album. Further elevated by horns and harmonica making this pretty great.
Kind of ok, but a bit samey and not much that is memorable. Style over songwriting substance? Stupid Girl is a banger though.
High energy, bouncy and catchy. Can hear why Steven Spielberg wanted to make them into the new Monkees. Is it a 3 or a 4? Probably a 3. A bit one time.
A much more melodic and enjoyable listen than I'd expected. Point off for track 8, general misogyny and for trying to rhyme 'air' with 'player'.
I didn't expect to like this but really enjoyed it. Such a fun album! The strong musical theatre vibes were a surprise. It reminds me of a marginally heavier Jesus Christ Superstar (which is very much a good thing).
1,000,000% better than their previous album on the list, Tago Mago, so have inflated the score proportionally to a very generous 2/5. Tago Mago was grating and annoying, this is just dull. 'Moonshake' is at least an actual song.
This is fine. I like Neil Young, and consequently enjoyed his songs most (maybe as I knew them before hand). Generally, found this pleasant, but maybe a bit too polished and perfect. Lacks a little bit of edge/emotion.
He's got a nice voice and stuff, but I found this pretty boring.
Pretty dull really. Should be a 2.5. Plumping for a very generous 3 mainly on thee grounds of the singles on the album. The rest not so good.
Really enjoyed this. Catchy songs with lovely harmonies. Has a really nice energy.
Quite pleasant background music. Reminds me of Tim Snell.
Breezy, fun and quite innovative. What's not to like?!
This is fine. Quite old school. Brass. Yeah, fine really.
Alright-ish. Pleasant enough, but I always feel that this style of music needs to be REALLY catchy to be in any way memorable to me. This album is lacking the 'Boogie Wonderland' or 'September' banger that is needed to make it stand out.
A good pop album. Maybe a little too self indulgent. Could have done with a few lighter moments.
A classy album. More varied than I'd imagined. Not massively my style of music, but held my attention and really enjoyed listening to it.
This started reasonably well, was ok in the middle and awful by the end. The four tracks from 'The Gnome' onwards have to be a joke, surely?!
Nick Cave meets Neil Young, with hints of David Gray, Johnny Cash, Eels, and St Paul & the Broken Bones, which (let's face it) is a pretty spectacular review. I didn't expect much from this seemingly little known 1960s folk album, but it turns out to be brilliant. A deep, soulful voice singing mournful querying lyrics with engaging, natural melody over evocative music is great. Does what it does perfectly. A massively unexpected 5/5.
An album of two halves. The first half is like the Clash, but missing whatever it is that makes the Clash so vital. Side 2 is something different. Gentler, more melodic, not trying to have 'attitude' and much, much better. Side 1 = 2/5, Side 2 = 4/5.
For an 18th album to be a 1 hr 45 min, 21 track, double + album, and be regarded as Wonder's masterpiece and an all time classic illustrates his genius. Personally preferred disc 1 to the more experimental disc 2 and b-side-esque 7", so can't give it 5*s. Love the ambition and first half of the record, but in my view less would have been more.
Childish lyrics, tuneless shouted vocals, unsubtle instrumentation. If a comedy sketch show was to make a parody of a punk album, it would sound like this. One novelty song on an album can be fun, 15 is just tiresome.
Quite nice. Much mellower and less noodling than I would have expected. Fine, but not massively memorable.
Objectively, nice. Subjectively, a total snooze-fest. Was literally yawning at points.
Enjoyable background listening. Could have lived without the 16 minute drum solo.
More 90s rap. Seems fine. Not exciting.
Good album. Really liked it at the start, but got a bit samey by the end. Ubiquitous 'reminds me of Kate Bush' comment.
80s pop. Seemed fine. Didn't grab me. A bit low tempo and one-paced.
Really, really enjoyed this album. I was slightly familiar with Richard Hawley from Rewind the Film, but his own work is new to me. Will definitely be checking out more of it. A high 4.
Great for what it is, but of its time. Would still be brilliant in a jazz club, but on Spotify in a home office situation it doesn't really connect.
I've always liked the jangly pop version of the Cure, but this is the first time I've engaged with their darker side on record. It's obviously a harder work than PopCure, but it appears that it would reward the effort. I quite liked it.
Extremely self indulgent. Comes across to me as being calculated to the point of boredom. It is also excessively long (are debut double albums ever a good idea?). The longer it went on the more I just wanted it to be over, which isn't a good sign. A special mention also for "free from guitar" which made me grit my teeth and grimace 'finger nails on chalkboard' style. It would be a 2, but that knocks it down to a 1.
Rhythmic and aggressive (that's how I like my post-punk pioneers). Not keen on the singing, but the music is fine. The Helter Skelter cover is a bit of an abomination.
A perfect little package of 3-minute acoustic guitar pop gems. Great song writing, beautifully recorded, sequenced and presented. Has Father and Son on it - objectively an all-time great song.
Generally acceptable 90s indie rock. Very of its era. Very potty mouthed. Too long.
A pleasant enough listen, but didn't really grab me.
I'm not sure why, but I expected to hate this. I actually quite enjoyed it, but wouldn't listen again.
Never heard of Cheap Trick before and have no idea what they sound like on a studio record, but this live album has great energy and seems to really capture the performance. A very engaging and enjoyable listen despite not knowing any of the songs. I do like the catchy rock songs, but am not really motivated to seek out the studio versions. I usually find live albums fall a bit flat, but I couldn't fault this recording or performance at all.
Although largely 48 mins of gr ner na na barp barp, there is enough melody and other stuff going on to sustain attention and make this more enjoyable and interesting than I usually find dance music. Nice variety in the album whilst still sounding a cohesive piece. Liked the classical-played-on-organs-to-8-bit style. Also enjoyed the elevating break offered by the two vocal led tracks sequenced together at tracks 8 & 9. Would stick it on in the unlikely event of hosting an all night rave.
Sets it's stall out in the first 20 seconds: "Downtown My darling dime store thief In the War of Independence Rock 'n' roll rang sweet as victory" Lyrically very striking, musiclly interesting. Liked it a lot. Feels like it would have more to give on repeat listens. 4/5
After the first track I thought I would enjoy this, however, the off-key vocals and discordant music did not make for a pleasant listen.
Catchy punk pop. Bouncy and fun. What's not to like?
Not keen on this. It did not sound very nice going into my ears. It did not sound very nice at all.
Second Undertones album generated in 3 days. Not as fun or bouncy as the last one. Only 38 minutes long, but still managed to bore me a bit.
I like the Cure. I like this. Rides the middle ground between the two sides of the Band. Prefer it to the 'Pornography' album, also on this list. First half a 4, second half a 3.
You bring me sleep. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.
My only familiarity with this style of African music is from the Lion King. Overall a very evocative and quite beautiful - she has a great voice. The three English language songs feel very out of place and detract from it, but otherwise a very enjoyable listen.
Very early nouties. Basically fine but not particularly interesting.
Wow! This is amazing. Not a style of music I'd usually seek out, but I really enjoyed it and may well revisit. Incredibly, powerful, melodic, rhythmic and soulful. Not a weak track on the album. It's difficult to imagine how R&B music (or any music for that matter) could be better than this. Objectively and subjectively this can't be anything other than a 5.
Apparently this is an album made up of left over bits from other recording sessions, and it sounds like it. Generally it's quite nice, but a bit lacking in cohesion and some of the tracks sound a bit unfinished. I'm also not overly keen on her voice. Sure its objectively great, just not to my taste.
Reasonable background music. Strong last two songs, otherwise, not particularly great.
Tainted Love is a banger, the rest not up to that standard, although Sex Dwarf stands out lyrically and Say Hello, Wave Goodbye is a good album closer. It's all quite urgent sounding and jarring in places. Bit of a punk vibe. Definitely not a relaxing listen. I'm glad to have heard it, but doubt I'd listen again.
The vibe is strong in this album, and I like that vibe. Dark and brooding. Add some hits into the mix and you have a very good record.
I enjoyed side 1 as, despite it being a 26 minute song in 5 movements, it was accessible and a pleasant listen. Perhaps helped that it was a well known cover ('Who do yo love?'). It was also well performed - I didn't realise it was a live version until the applause at the end. Side 2 is somehow even more self indulgent. 4 songs this time. 2 are ok covers (although Henry from Neighbours still has the definitive version of 'Mona') and the other 2 just sound like dull jams with nothing going on to keep my interest. My snap judgement: QMS maybe good at noodling on a guitar, but are not blessed with much in the way of creativity or songwriting talent.
Pretty tradish folk music. Quite nice overall. Relaxing if not exciting. A couple of more interesting tracks ('Cajun Woman' & 'Si tu dois partir') and a nicely done traditional track ('A Sailors Life') just about elevate this to a generous 3.
I think with Queen you need to focus on the hits. Not overly keen on this.
Started well, but the wetness was a bit overwhelming by the end. Very low energy, in a way that sounds more like they couldn't be bothered rather than being nice and chilled. Think it might be the whiney vocals.
Instant, confident, happy, funky in places. Not pushing any boundaries, but an enjoyable listen.
Basically 40 mins of the Hartbeat gallery music, which isn't an entirely bad thing. Oxygene Pt. 4 is the 'magician on TV doing something mystical or a spy being spooky' music. Exactly what I imagined a JMJ album would be.
Aerosmith. Seemed fine in the first whiz through.
Blues rock songs sung increadibly soulfully with a great and unique voice. 'Me and Bobby McGee' seemed a bit out of place, having all the usual country music tropes. Seems a shame that this was her biggest hit when everything else was on here is very different and much better. Overall a really good album.
A lot of saxophone. Nice enough, but descended slightly into elevator music. A bit one paced.
Was quite enjoying this at the start. The synth elements make it stylistically more interesting than it would otherwise be. However, it's far too long. By track 9 I just wanted it to finish. If it was more concise and compact it might even be a 4, but as it stands too great a proportion is dirge to get above a 2.
A pleasant enough listen. Couldn't make out much in the way of lyrics, but understand that may be deliberate. Acceptable background music, but not much more than that. Got a bit of a Lightning Seeds vibe in places.
This is my Metallica. Accessible without compromising heaviness. Great album. Can't believe it was made in 1988; only 2 years after Master of Puppets, which sounds very dated by comparison.
Really liked this. It grabbed me in the first 15 seconds and didn't let go. Every track is catchy, melodic and fun. Apparently it is 'new-wave'. I'm not entirely sure what that means, but I would describe this as danceable, exuberant pop music played on guitars, with a bit of a punk edge. If this is what new-wave is, then I like new-wave. 4.5/5.
I must have been one of the few people that didn't buy this album in 1999/2000. At the time I didn't think I'd be keen on it. As it transpires, I was right, although I didn't mind it. Some of the singles are almost classics and most of the other tracks were better than I expected. However, it just doesn't interest me or click with me for some reason. A competent, pleasant, commercially very successful album with some stand out moments, but overall pretty forgettable. 3/5.
I'm not a fan of Nirvana and really wanted to not like this. However, I enjoyed it a lot more than any of their studio recorded music that I've listened to. I was somehow less gloomy and less dirgy. 3/5.
Really liked this. Heavier and more consistently good than White Blood Cells, which is also on this list. Seven Nation Army an absolute classic - must be song of the decade for the 2000s given the presence of the riff in popular culture and the public consciousness.
Another 80s band I'd never heard of, but enjoyed. Nice 80s indie pop. A very pleasant and enjoyable listen. 3.5/5.
I remember Evan Dando being a running joke during the last days of the weekly printed music press. I've no idea why and know nothing more about the Lemonheads. This album was ok. Not pushing any boundaries and not a great deal of variety, but enbenjoyable enough guitar pop rock album.
I hoped I might like like this as I didn't mind the Nirvana Unplugged album and 'In Utero' is often compared to 'The Holy Bible'. However, it is nothing like either of those and is back to Nirvana's usual humourless, tuneless dirge.
A classic and socially significant album with some huge bangers. Its context makes it greater than the music objectively is. The bangers are spread across the album, which works well as a pick-me-up just as things are starting to get a bit samey. This would be a 3 if it wasn't so culturally significant.
Experimental music can be very very good or can miss the mark completely. This is the former. Reminiscent in places of a Zaireeka-era Flaming Lips and a more polished Deerhoof, which is very much my jam. I'd never heard of Dirty Projectors before, but enjoyed this enough to want to check out more of their back catalogue. If it is as good as this, I will be in for a treat, but suspect 'hit and miss' may go with the genre... 4/5.
Before this, the only Elastica song I knew was that one from Trigger Happy TV (which turns out to be 'Connection', track 3 of this album). I expected this to be generic 90s Britpop fodder, but it is much better than that. Heavier than expected and nice riffs, rhythm and melodies. The album whips through 15 tracks in 38 minutes, which (apart from a lull at track 8, 'Indian Song', which could have been dropped) keeps the interest and the energy up and doesn't allow time to get bored. 'Connection' and 'S.O.F.T' my highlights, but there is plenty of good stuff on here. I like this a lot and slightly regret missing it at the time, but doubt I'll be motivated to revisit now. 4/5.
Irish folk with an urgent and chaotic punk energy but also some tender moments. Really like the social commentary through story telling and evocative imagery in the songs. Dirty Old Town in particular is whistfully wonderful.
Traditional Indian music. Not like any album I've listened to before. Difficult to analyse given how alien it is to me culturally, but a pleasant and relaxed listen. The version on Spotify has different (translated?) song titles and number & length of tracks to the version released in 1967 (as listed on Wikipedia), so not certain I've listened as it was originally meant to be heard. The final track on the Spoitfy version, 'Glacial Waters', has an something of 'Ring of Fire' about it. Is that a thing (Water vs Fire)? Probably not, but I've written it now. 2.5/5.
I occasionally quite enjoy Country music, but think I need to be in the mood for it. I was very much not in the mood when I listened to this. It annoyed me. The subject matter seems very insular and mundane. Having said that, for what it is, this seems fine. Loretta Lynn has a nice enough voice and the album has a good variety of pace. Also on the plus side, I really enjoyed its brevity. The longest song is 2:53, and it gets through all 12 tracks in 28 mins. Many other albums would benefit from this conciseness. 2/5
I really like Black Sabbath, but have generally stuck to 'greatest hits' stuff to this point. This album was softer and more varied than imagined. Some departures from the classic Black Sabbath sound are more successful than others. Overall, about half of the stuff on here is great (Wheels of Confusion, Tomorrows Dream, Changes, Supertnaught, Snowblind), but some of is a bit pointless (FX, Laguna Sunrise), and the rest is forgettable (Cornucopia, St. Vitus' Day, Under the Sun / Every Day Comes and Goes). I really want to give it a 4, but on that balance of the above, it has to be s a 3/5.
Nothing. This is literally nothing. 90s godawful chill out R&B. The worst kind of music every imagined?
I'm not really sure what to make of this. I'm assuming it was an artistic endeavour. To create his vision and for it to be an unlikely and huge commercial success is quite something, especially at the age of 19. I quite enjoyed side one, and didn't even mind the cheesy introducing of instruments at the end. Side two was much harder work though. The Blue Peter theme at the end is just bizarre. Just going with my gut on score: 2/5.
A pleasant album that jangles and chugs along nicely. Pop rock with blues, funk and jazz elements and a soulful voice. Doesn't seem particularly cutting edge, but a very pleasant and an enjoyable listen. No weak tracks but nothing that stands out. 3/5.
Like nothing I've heard before (only Electro-Shock Blues by Eels comes close, which I'd guess this influenced). A dark and demonic quality created by it being rhythm and percussion led, which is evocative of ungulate creatures. The latter parts of the album has more instrumentation with actual notes, which seems to imply a journey - I'm imagining someone arriving in hell and growing to accept their lot over time. I like this a lot. Dark but not depressing. Unique, evocative, interesting. 4.5/5
Fuzzy jangly indie rock. The Stone Roses doused in feedback. Released in 1985 but sounds like it was straight out of the 90s. If I'd have listened in 1985 it may have grabbed me more, but given similar things came after, it doesn't seem as interesting or original as I'm sure it would have done at the time. Having said that, I quite liked it.
I always thought of Isaac Hayes as an actor and singer, so was surprised to learn he composed, recorded and produced this. Impressive. Everyone knows the theme tune, which is a movie classic, and the 19 minute 'Do Your Thing' is ace. Otherwise, this is a good and distinctive movie soundtrack but there is too much of the score element for it to stand up as an album in its own right. It's obviously no Chocolate Salty Balls, but judging as an OST it gets a 4/5. Without the movie context it would be a 2, so overall I'll give it a 3.
This album has Perfect Day and Walk on the Wild Side on it, both of which are stone cold classics. The former is a particular favourite (thanks BBC). Otherwise, this album is fine, but nowhere near that standard. I like Lou Reed's voice and can hear the Bowie influence in the production. 3/5
It's inevitable that I will compare this with Janice Joplin's solo work. It is less bluesy and more soft rocky than that, and consequently seems not to bring out such outstanding vocals. The most most Blues track on here, Piece of My Heart, stands above everything else, which is basically fine. 3/5.
80s hair metal. An expansive sound with massive choruses combined with synth elements. An easy and enjoyable listen, and very 80s. A bit samey though and difficult to remember any particular song, possibly a result of the slick production, within which the actual songs get a bit lost. 3.5/5
A more country Johnny Cash. Rather than being an imitation, Merle Haggard sang from experience, having been serving a 15 year sentence in San Quentin when Cash played there. Haggard may be the more authentic jailbird, but somehow his songs sound less so and lack some of the Cash grit, poetry, emotion, and magic. Maybe it's unfair to consider this through the prism of Johnny Cash, but it's impossible not to. 3/5.
I'd only heard 'Ass Cobra' before. I prefer this. It's a bit less comedic, shouty and screamy and a bit more tunefull. First half is fun rock and more melodic than the punkier second half. Opener, 'the Age of Pamparious' even has an acoustic guitar and is my fave on here. Pretty good, but not worthy of an erection. 3/5
Lovely relaxed vocals but the lyrics are too sickly sweet for my tastes and a bit repetitive. Superstition is amazing. Stevie Wonder's real name is Stevland Morris. 3/5
This is a fun album and it seems Dizzee doesn't take himself too seriously.
The highs on this are very high. Life on Mars, Changes, Oh! You Pretty Things, Queen Bitch. The rest is decent but not that memorable. 4/5
Sounds like a cross between Primal Scream (even though Bobby Gillespie had left by this point), Dinosaur Junior, New Order and the Stone Roses. It has an overall gloomy vibe but on occasions builds to more euphoric moments. I would prefer more of these. Quite a few of the songs seem to be about, or are evocative of, bad weather. An acceptable album but not one I will revisit. 3/5.
An all-time classic I'd never listened to before. It lived up to it's billing - a beautiful, tender and melancholic record, and quite far removed from the Beach Boy's west coast pop (which is also great). Both sides start and finish with classics and the songs in between help this album to read very much of a consistent piece. A pretty much perfect record. 5/5.
I've never been a fan of RHCP. They are also the worst 'big' live act I've ever seen (Roskilde 2007 - boring and awful). I therefore expected to hate this, and increasingly did. At first I thought it was a bit more listenable than other efforts of theirs and the first few tracks at least had me tapping my toe. It quickly wore thin though. The longer I listened, the lower the score got. And it's a long album. Noone needs 17 tracks of this. 1.5/5. A special shout out to 'Give it Away', which may be the worst song ever recorded?
This sounds like someone has mashed together the Flaming Lips, Neil Young, Super Furry Animals, the Polyphonic Spree and the chorus of a musical. What comes out is unlike anything ever, and quite brilliant. Big, orchestral, great melodies, with unusual and interesting lyrics. All complimented and contested with Sufjan Stevens' quiet, breathy vocals. A triumph of song writing and recording. 5/5.
Got the sense that 10cc we're trying to do lots of different things here, but none of them are interesting. The lyrics are also bad. I took against this album from the opening line: "Do the Wall Street Shuffle, Hear the money rustle". Jesus. 1.5/5.
I wouldn't have thought a song titled 'Mandela' would be so jaunty, given the situation in South Africa in 1985, when this was released. That aside, I enjoyed this album. Really accessible and listenable jazz. Nice to listen to in a bar or over dinner.
Like a less woeful Nirvana. Nothing particularly exciting, but pretty catchy and bouncy in places. Quite liked the poppy bits, disliked the dirgey grungy bits. 2.5/5.
A mix of styles, tempos and vibes, but still a cohesive piece. No idea about the lyrical content, but each song still manages to communicate a feeling, making it an engaging and enjoyable listen. 3.5/5.
A Beatles album without any of their notable singles on it. Going into this, I know it is highly regarded, but am otherwise unsure of what to expect. Side 1 of the album flew by. Very consistent. Very nice harmonies. Good songs. No weak tracks, but nothing massively stands out either, except Drive My Car which is catchy but a bit of a novelty track. Side 2 is a bit more mellow, gentle and downbeat. Still quite good, but doesn't sound massively interesting or innovative in 2021. I liked it, but I didn't love it. I suspect it is regarded more for its influence rather than as a stand alone piece. Judging it without that context, based solely on how much I enjoyed it, I'm maybe a little underwhelmed. 3/5.
This is my first dalliance in space rock. I didn't expect it to be quite so literal. Their interpretation of space is quite sci-fi, robotic, and distopian except for on "Electronic No 1" where they even seem to have gone to the moon and recorded Clangers. I guess a lot of the tracks get into nice chugging grooves, but there is little to distinguish them from one-another. Overall it's all just a bit weird and impenetrable.
I was relived that this didn't include racist or anti-vax conspiracy theory themes, despite Eric Clapton's involvement. I don't know if we should separate the art from the artist, but for the purpose of this exercise I will try. Bluesy and psychedelic garage rock. It seems the Beatles weren't the only band doing interesting things in 1967. However, the interesting bits are relatively sparse here and there are several weak tracks, some of which are really quite annoying. The performance and musicianship maybe also disguises fairly nothingy song writing. Overall, about half of the album was enjoyable and it is easy to hear how this would have been influential. Sunshine of your Love the stand out track. 2/5.
Great opening 5 seconds - a big synth swoosh with huge drumming. The next 5 seconds are an 80s sci-fi We Will Rock You. Really sets the album up, and it keeps the energy up throughout. However, by the end it had become a little bit samey and lost me somewhat. Generally an enjoyable listen overall, with some of cool moments. 2.5/5.
My flat mate in the first year of uni LOVED Ryan Adams. Like Tom, Ryan Adams sounds old before his time on this album, which is very mature, pleasant and extremely inoffensive. These are great qualities in a random flat mate, but, although enjoyable enough, does not create a particularly engaging listening experience.
I loved Oasis when I was in my teens and early 20s. This was never my favourite album of theirs though, and my general perception is that their music hasn't aged well, so I was interested to revisit this, with fairly low expectations. Listening afresh this album holds up a lot better than I was expecting. Noel certainly knows how to find (or borrow) a catchy melody and Liam's voice was amazing in this era. It could do without Hey Now or the two short unnamed (Swamp Song) tracks, but overall I enjoyed this much more than I thought I would in 2021. If anything it has gone up in my estimation since I last listened to it a decade+ ago. I suspect that may not be the case with some other Oasis albums, but this does stand the test of time and remains a genuine classic.
I don't mind 80s synth-pop, but this is a bit too downbeat for my tastes. 2/5.
I'm not musical enough to recognise experimental time signatures. To me, this sounds like a cool, fun, chilled jazz album, which is the kind of jazz I enjoy. Recorded in 1959, but sounds timeless. It seems like the group achieved exactly what they set out to do. I can't fault it. 4/5.
Nice collection of 2-3 minute 1960s guitar pop songs. Social commentary and story telling of everyday life. Some odd sound effects and bit of a medieval vibe in some places. I've never dug beyond The Kinks' famous singles, but it seems their back catalogue has depth. 4/5
Pleasant and tradish country music. It sounds like it could have been recorded at any time between 1950 and yesterday. I suppose that makes it timeless. For what it is, I can't criticise it. 3.5/5.
It seems Dexeys are more than one hit wonders. This album has depth to it. Catchy songs throughout, in their signature style. Well sequenced with a run of quieter songs at the end before the release Come on Eileen hoedown. The only thing that lets it down is that the singer's voice gets a bit grating after a while. Overall, really, really good though. 4/5.
Apparently this is the first rock opera and tells the story of a person (S.F. Sorrow) from birth to death. This sounds an interesting concept, but not one I would have noticed had I not read it on wikipedia. I'm sure it would emerge on repeated listens with and/or with closer attention, but I didn't enjoy the music enough to be motivated to do that. Basically this is an just-about-ok 1960s/70s psychedelic rock album. It starts in a fairly accessible way (I like the opening track, 'S.F. Sorrow is born') but becomes harder work later on. I didn't hate it, but didn't really like it much either. 2/5.
This album raises the age old question: is trip hop chilled, or is it just boring? Based on this, the answer is 'mostly boring'. The majority of this album passed me by. It's not entirely without its moments though. 'Hell is Round the Corner' and 'Brand New the Retro' caught my attention and were enjoyable. The rest was pretty zzzzzzz and too irritating to be relaxing.
I like Blur, but this was just 'ok'. It reinforces my impression that they are a great 'singles' band, but not so great in terms of albums. Lets wait and see if 'Parklife' changes my mind... 2.5/5
Country music. Not unique in any way, but quite pleasant and I like his voice. Vocally this reminds me of Bob Dylan, which is odd, as I find Dylan's voice really puts me off his music.
Brooding, moody, pop music. Liked it. 80 pop without the cheesy synth sound. 3/5 (Might have been 4 if I'd paid more attention).
A breezy hip hop album. The instrumentation has a strong jazz influence which is pleasant, relaxed and elevates it above the norm for a genre I'm not usually keen on. Light and humerous lyrics. This still has that 90s rap vocal rhythm which gives it a dated feel. 3/5
It's hard to work out exactly why I don't like this. There are so many possibilities. It could be that the clinical production sucks any life out of it. It could be the focus on musical wankery (yes, we get it, you can play your instruments well - no need to labour the point). It could be that it seems too controlled and contrived for the vocal screams to be spontaneous and 'for real'. Having written all that down I've worked out what my big issue with this is - it's completely devoid of emotion. Maybe a musical person would appreciate this on a technical level, but from my point of view, the main purpose of music is to inspire some sort of emotional response, and this just leaves me cold. 2/5
An up tempo rock album that sounds distinctively Aerosmith. Thought I'd hate it after the first track, but it improved after that and, despite predictable vocal melodies, it's fine, if a little samey and uninteresting. For some reason it evokes a feeling of being chased through a city in a film, including sneaking a bit and looking back around a corner at the pursuer before running again. Basically it's TV chase music. 2.5/5
Sounds like Paul Weller. Functional and competant. Very 90s. Not exciting or interesting in any way. 2/5.
A gentler kind of prog rock. Not too much about space-aliens, which is a relief. Although the genre isn't really for me, I preferred this to previous prog rock offerings. A strong and mostly enjoyable start and finish, but it gets a bit lost in the middle and I'm not keen on the sudden and seemingly random changes within songs. Why not just make them separate tracks as they don't seem particularly connected. The live acoustic noodle as track 2 is also bit out of place and interrupts the flow. 2.5/5
An enjoyable listen. The original compositions were better than the Rolling Stones and Doors covers, which had a bit of an Indian restaurant vibe. Interesting that this was the first fusion of Indian and western rock music, which makes the former more accessible, but has been repeated many times since, so doesn't seem as ground-breaking as it perhaps once was.
Following my recent Deep Purple boredom, I wasn't looking forward to another 1970s riff-heavy rock album. I enjoyed this though. It's long, but more varied than I expected, particularly on sides 2 & 3. The quieter, gentler tracks were the stand out moments to me. Down by the Seaside I particularly enjoyed and was a nice change of pace, and a more pleasant vocal style to listen to than the full-on rasping elsewhere. The heavier tracks are good too, and retain energy and emotion as well as incredible musicianship. Maybe the ability to insert energy and emotion into a performance is the difference between an artist and a musician? 3.5/5
My last review of CCR (Green River) was: "Pleasant, functional, American rock'n'roll album. Not massively interesting, but enjoyable." Exactly the same applies here. This is a bit more varied and I enjoyed it more, but no more than a competent 3/5, as for Green River.
Dirge is the only word for this. I could just about detect a tune in some of the early tracks, but from track 5 onwards it was just noise. I somehow managed to resist the almost overwhelming urge to turn it off before the end, but found myself getting more and more angry and irritated as a result. My face was an increasingly tightly screwed scowl for at least the last 25 minutes. Awful. 1/5.
I enjoyed this. It's MOR soft rock, but lyrically engaging and has a nice feeling about it. It sounds like someone singing from the heart. A bit of a country vibe in places. 3.5/5
Very smooth and easy to listen to. I almost wrote that this is easy listening music, but to me that has connotations of being somewhat devoid of artistic interest and merit, which is very much not the case here. Nice melodies and pleasant instrumentation. Enjoyable. 3/5.
I quite like The Clash, but hadn't previously listened to this, their debut album, in full. A punk album from start to finish, rather than their more genre bending later albums, such as London's Calling. I think I prefer it when they are mixing things up more. The US version, released two years later in 1979 sounds like a more accessible and interesting track listing, but that isn't subject to this review. In smaller doses this is good, but a full album is a bit much for me, even if only 35 mins long. 2.5/5.
The best U2 album by some distance. It contains elements of all the band's eras from their guitar effects-driven sound of the 80s, through to arty electronic and industrial influence of 90s, and 00s anthemic stadium rock. The main focus, however, is their emerging 90s style (Actung Baby to Pop), which is my favourite U2 era. A fair few stone cold classics on here: One, Even Better, End of the World, Wild Horses, The Fly, Mysterious Ways, Ultra Violet. 4/5.
I was excited to see this generated for me, as I know it's considered to be Joni Mitchell's masterpiece, and I really liked the Hissing of Summer Lawns. However, it failed to grab me, and even after a second listen has left me a little underwhelmed. Compared to 'Hissing' it is less interesting, varied or striking both musically and lyrically. It is a nice and pleasant album, and the vocal is great, but it all seemed a bit samey and not overly interesting, so didn't live up to my high expectations.
Not a big country fan, but there is something about this which is somehow joyous. It just sounds like someone who is happy, which makes it difficult not to like. 3.5/5.
An album of two halves. About half fairly standard MOR, whilst the other half is more experimental and varied. It makes it more interesting, but interrupts the flow. Might have been better as two separate albums? Overall, its pretty average. I didn't massively enjoy it. 2.5/5
A classic blues album from a pioneer of the sound, with a great blues voice. An excellent example of what it is, and an enjoyable listen. 3.5/5
The sexiest album so far. The iconic opening guitar lick sets the tone and it remains smooth and sensual throughout. Side 1 is consistent and top quality. Track 4, 'Keep Gettin' It On' being a reprise of track 1 'Let's Get It On' works well and holds side 1 together as even more of a consistent and single piece. A perfect 5/5 for Side 1. Side 2 is good, but the tracks are a bit more varied from each other and don't flow quite as well as in the first half. I usually like variety, but when the quality is as high and the style is as smooth and consistent as it is on Side 1, you just want more. Side 2 is 3.5/5. Overall, a brilliant album, which just misses full marks due to a slight dip in the quality and flow of side 2. 4.5/5
Apparently this album is a "scathing attack on Nigerian soldiers using the zombie metaphor to describe the methods of the Nigerian military" and its release resulted in the military attacking Fela Kuti's home and studio, beating Kuti and killing his mother in the process. . The album is comprises only two tracks. Both are powerful and funky with politically charged lyrics. The metaphor is clear once the context is known, and both tracks appear to be questioning soldiers following orders like the titular zombies and Mr Follow Follows. Away from the heavy context, considered just as a piece of music, this is an enjoyable and fun listen. With the context this is powerful and engaging. 4/5.
Blur are a great singles band, and this album has some absolute bangers: Girls and Boys, Parklife, End of a Century. Beyond that, the singles To the End, This Is a Low and the album track Badhead are lovely chilled songs. However, the majority of the rest was a quite irritating. A fair bit includes what I can only describe as circus music. This is pretty weird and a bit off-putting. I'd never noticed it on To the End before, but that song gets away with it where others don't. Overall, about 1/3 of this 16 track album is pretty great, but the rest is generally annoying. As such, I can't justify more than a 3/5, and it's only that high as the singles are so good. With Blur, I think I'll continue to stick to the greatest hits (the 2000 Best Of would be a bona fide 5/5).
I used to own this album, but sold it as I rarely listened beyond track 3 and Mexicola. It's interesting to revisit it 20 years later, and now that QOTSA are a big festival headlining band. As it turns out, I still really enjoy the first three tracks (Regular John, Avon and If Only), and although I'm still not keen on Walkin' on the Sidewalks (track 4), the rest of the album is a really enjoyable listen. It gets into a groove and chugs along nicely. I guess this is at a point somewhere between Desert Sessions and the later, more mainstream, QOTSA albums. This is more subtle than the next two QOTSA albums, Rater R and Songs for the Deaf, but stands up with them in terms of quality and is very much a single and consistent piece. 3.5/5.
Apparently this is an important album in that it fuses blues with harder rock, and therefore laid the groundwork for heavy metal. For that I am grateful. However, as a listening experience for the musical layman such as myself, I couldn't find much of interest. Just seemed like fairly boring rock n roll and overly ernest blues sung with an irritating raspy vocal. 2/5
I guess this was fine, but didn't grab me as being very interesting. Mr Pop's voice isn't really to my taste either. 2.5/5
I like this. It's a bit weird, but not too weird, which is just the right amount of weird. There lots of interesting instrumentation and sounds going on here, which pique the interest individually and also combine well to become integral components of each track. A really nice vibe to this album, and some really nice harmonies. Elements remind me of the Flaming Lips, Mull Historical Society, the Byrds and Coldplay. 3.5/5.
This is pretty weird. Impressively weird for 1968. Like the previous album by Grizzly Bear, it stays just the right side of weird to be more fun an interesting than it is annoying. 2.5/5.
Well this is surprising and rather lovely. The Bee Gees as serious artists, delivering mature and emotive pop music with a melancholic vibe. Like their more well known work, this is characterised by really nice melodies and harmonies, but with just a little less chart-friendly pure pop polish and more mature sounding instrumentation in the form of horns and strings. Really like this. 4/5
Nice soundtrack. 3.5/5.
I went into this expecting to dislike it, but as it turned out, I rather enjoyed it. It's heavy, but it's tuneful. 3.5/5.
I've seen Motorhead a couple of times, and they've been good, but only on big stages at festivals in the middle of the afternoon. This makes me wish I'd seen them indoors at one of their own shows. Great live performances. High energy, tight playing, and a great crowd reaction, all brilliantly captured on this recording. Couldn't really want more from a live album. The performance is so good that I can't tell if the opening track, Ace of Spades, is the recording that everybody knows, or if this performance is note perfect to the studio version. 4/5
The album cover is godawful and the title is total cringe (that apostrophe - urgh!), but the music is rather nice, cheerful and jangly. This album isn't going to win any awards for originality, but it's catchy and pleasant to listen to. 3/5.
Apparently this is 'post-rock'. It's is one for the musos I think. The intricacies of what it is doing musically goes over my head somewhat. A pleasant enough instrumental album though. 2.5/5.
Another overall disappointing album from Blur. But it does have Song 2 (and to a lesser extent, Beetlebum and On Your Own) on it. Like the other Blur records on this list, beyond the singles it is pretty forgettable. 2.5/5 (a bonus 0.5 for Song 2).
I wouldn't say this is bad, but I also wouldn't say it's good, interesting, engaging, or that there is any chance I will ever listen to it again. It's just a bit slow, gloomy, whiney, and dull. 2/5.
Musically this is quite interesting and fun. The vocal just ruins it though. Screechy and awful and renders some songs unlistenable. I'd like to understand why the band didn't just go out and find someone who could sing, but, frankly, I can't be bothered to look it up. 1.5/5.
An interesting concept: 43 tracks (on the version on Spotify), mostly between 1 and 2 minutes long. In some places, it seemed like these sort of combined to form longer songs (sort of), or song families linked by a theme. Whilst the format may be interesting insofar as it's unusual, it is not very enjoyable to listen to. Perhaps there is a reason this format hasn't been repeated by others (to my knowledge)? Or maybe the format is fine, but the music and vocals aren't great? I think it is a bit of both. The songs aren’t very good, but you might be able to get away with some of them individually as the 'novelty short song' on a normal album. However, 43 is far too many and really prevents it gaining any flow as each track is over before it gets the chance to establish itself in your consciousness. This album was therefore really hard to get into and ended up being quite a slog to get through. At the point I got really fed up of it, there were still 35 or so tracks left. I still made it to the end though - think I deserve a medal. 1.5/5.
Simply amazing. Possibly not quite as powerful as Soul Lady, but still brilliant. I'm blown away once again. 5/5.
By far the most enjoyable Pink Floyd album that this list has generated for me so far. So much better without "that psychedelic noodling stuff" (as Dave Gilmour described it). I had to read about the concept of the album in order to understand it. Each side reflects a journey through a human life, covering themes including greed, death and insanity. It also followed Syd Barret's breakdown and exit from the band. That context makes a big contribution to my understanding and enjoyment of the music. Overall, it is a pleasant listen and interesting idea which is well executed. However, musically it is a bit too polished for my tastes, which to me somehow detracts from its emotiveness. 3.5/5.
I'm not sure how it's taken me almost a quarter of a century to listen to this, but I certainly won't be leaving it 23 years before its next spin. A brilliant album from start to finish. A really nice, vibe that hits the perfect spot between fun and relaxing. Some bangers that I was already familiar with, interspersed with chilled out tracks, giving this album a great flow and feel. Effortlessly cool and catchy without being cheesy. Instantly love it.
Heavy, industrial, catchy, fun. A surprisingly accessible album (up to the last few tracks), given the genre. BIG and EPIC. I liked it a lot. 4/5.
This album starts and ends brilliantly. Baba O'Riley, Behind Blue Eyes and Won't Get Fooled Again are classics and still sound fresh in 2021, particularly the former. In the middle it is less memorable though, and seemed like fairly average rock. 3.5/5.
There's a lot going on here, much of which is a little strange. The regency music of Little Sister is perhaps the most unusual amongst a lot of different styles. Musical theatre vocals, asian instrumentation, orchestral and choral elements run throughout and hold the album together. Overall, an interesting album, which is tender, epic and funny in places. The more I listened, the more I liked it. 4/5.
I think Isaac Hayes might be a genius. The meat of this was great, but the build up to get there was quite slow (4 tracks, 45 mins). With familiarity from repeated listens, I expect the appreciation and enjoyment of this would grow, but based on one listen it's a 3/5.
This is the sort of jazz I would enjoy in a club or restaurant. 3.5/5
This was released at the peak of Missy Elliott's popularity. Half the tracks feature big-name collaborators (Jay-Z, Beyonce, Method Man, TLC) and it's produced by Timberland. It's commercial, accessible and an easy listen for the genre. I'm not sure Pussycat has the feminist credentials that Missy thinks, and I could have done without being reminded that "this is another Missy Elliott exclusive" at the start of EVERY track. Missy sounds good though and neither her voice nor the instrumentation grate on me like many other hip hop albums have. I therefore do not feel the need to "kill it with a skillet". 3/5.
Jangly indie pop with often amusing lyrics telling tales of everyday life from the perspective of various characters. Reminiscent of the Smiths, but with less bite both lyrically and musically. A pleasant and interesting listen. 3.5/5.
Some heavy and cool riffs, but the overly clean production robs this album of any emotion for me. The vocals also seem weirdly disconnected from the music, like someone doing an impression of a metal singer over a karaoke backing track. 2/5.
Pretty boring and a bit whingey, but not terrible. 2/5.
There's an awful lot of prog rock on this list. It would take a lot of effort and concentration to have a chance of enjoying it, and even then it might turn out to be rubbish, so I don't think I can really be bothered. This album seemed better than most in the genre and was enjoyable in places, particularly the last of the 3(!) tracks which had some nice harmonies, guitar and turned into a cool jam at the end (it also a Tudor thing going on about 1/3 of the way through). However, it still didn't grab me or inspire any interest to dig into the album, band or genre further. 2/5.
In football terms: the musical equivalent of James Milner. Competent, dependable and workmanlike, but not very creative, innovative or all that interesting. The album is fine and generally enjoyable, but the fact that out of all of language they chose to call their group 'The Band' probably says all you need to know about the levels of imagination that are apparent here. 2.5/5.
Really enjoyed this. Catchy songs, interesting lyrics and a connecting theme. Apparently this was recorded as a companion to a TV play that never got made, about a carpet fitter based on Ray Davies brother-in-law. Glad the album didn't get buried along with the TV show. 4/5.
A lovely, lovely, quiet, gentle, evocative, sad album.
A pioneering artist, and nice early rock-'n'-roll record, but only the well known songs (That'll be the Day, and Oh Boy!) and a couple of others stood out. 3/5.
MOR soft rock. Meh. 2/5.
This is more enjoyable and interesting than the Steely Dan album the list generated for me yesterday (Can't Buy a Thrill). Nice melodies, harmonies, a more varied pace. I liked the Duke Ellington cover (East St-Louis Toodle-Oo). Still basically MOR soft rock though. 2.5/5.
I've never taken recreational drugs, but based on this album it sounds like it would be fun. It's the sound of a man having a lovely time making weird music, seemingly doing whatever he felt like from one moment to the next. The result is enjoyable chaos. 3.5/5.
This exceeded my expectations. Bluesy and melodic. Apparently The Stones' 'Rubber Soul'. Preferred it to that. Maybe I'll settle the age-old debate through this process. So far: Stones 1-0 Beatles. 3.5/5.
This is an epic - in the sense that it is really long. Plenty of bangers are included, but can get a bit lost in the length of the album. It does take the listener of an engaging and enjoyable journey, though. That this is a rock opera is very apparent. The ebb and flow, big choruses, and narrative of musical theatre are clear, so the length gets a pass in this case and it is judged as something different (more?) than just an album of songs. 3.5/5 (for the bangers, narrative journey and a bonus half point for ambition).
This sounds like something that Feathers McGraw from Wallace and Gromit would enjoy. And that Chicken/Penguin has great taste. A really catchy and enjoyable instrumental R&B/soul record, with a distinctive Hammond organ sound front and centre. It would perfectly soundtrack various daily tasks like doing the washing up, spreading toast or walking through a town or city. I'm glad they didn't try to put vocals on it, as any words matching the unashamedly joyous, and cool vibe would probably be really cheesy and ruin it. It's a perfect example of what it is and still sounds fresh almost 60 years after it was recorded. 5/5.
Jump is a banger. The rest is 80s hair metal (although apparently it's not technically hair metal). A fun listen, but the quality tails off in the second half. 3/5.
Brilliant drumming. Surprisingly accessible. 3/5.
The Velvet Underground's eponymous album (without Nico) was the first record that generated for me on this odyssey. I found that one to be a bit boring, but that could not be further from the case with this. Everything about this is cool, including the iconic album cover. The music is varied with interesting and unusual elements throughout. However, it remains very much of a piece, with a consistent lo-fi and arty vibe which ties together the range of styles. I personally prefer the more mellow moments, but each track from 1-9 contributes to its brilliance. However, the final two tracks are basically just noise, which is a shame. The first nine tracks of this are a 5 star record. Half a point has to come off for the final two, but in practice I'll just pretend they don't exist. 4.5/5.
This is like a not very good amalgamation of much of the 'alternative' music that was popular in the mid-late 2000s. Bloc Party + The Strokes + The Killers + Hot Chip - any original and interesting elements = this. When dance-rock is done well it can be epic (e.g. EXRMNTR), but this is, like a lot of the similar 2006-2009ish output, just sounds dated and generic now. 1.5/5.
He may be a grumpy old codger these days, but I love Neil Young's voice. For that reason, I prefer the solo acoustic Side A (where Young's voice really stands out) to the full band Crazy Horse electric Side B. The symmetry of My My, Hey, Hey and Hey, Hey, My, My bookending the album is cool. Whilst I do really like this, I wonder whether it would have been even better as two separate albums. 4/5 for Side A, 3/5 for Side B = 3.5/5 overall.
Very nice, smooth, lovely melodies and beautiful singing, but doesn't really get me in the feels.
Having found ATCQ's next album, Low End Theory, to be extremely dull and dated, I was surprised to actually quite like this. Fun, catchy and laid back hip hop with a good balance of instrumentation and samples from a range of genres. Can/do I kick/like it? Yes you/I can/do. 3/5.
I was always aware of this being considered a classic and remember it as an ever-present in the 'buy one get one half-price' section of Our Price in the late 90s. For some reason I never took the plunge and forked out, which may have been an error, as it lives up to its billing. Rich, textured, and lush. Intriguing lyrics which make you want to delve deeper, sung with Michael Stipe's distinctive voice which suits the music perfectly. A quality album with an exceptionally strong first half and brilliant final three tracks. Just a slight dip at tracks 7, 8 and 9 mean this just misses out on full marks. P.S. I am one of the 99% of people who always thought it was "Calling Jamaica". I still can't hear it as "Call me when you try to wake her up". Surely all those syllables aren't actually sung? 4.5/5
I have a few issues with this. Firstly, you have to get past the voice, which must be an acquired taste. Secondly, the lack of melody makes this album hard work to listen to. If there is genius in there somewhere, it's buried so deeply as to be inaccessible. The album sounds quite raw. It presents as if it was recorded quickly and before the songs had been fully worked-up. I assume that is the style Dylan was going for, but to me it just sounds like a collection of demos which need finishing and finessing. Overall, a boring and displeasing listen. 1.5/5.
Swedish super-producer pop. It's fine, but I couldn't find anything distinctive about it. I'd never listened to Taylor Swift before, but was expecting better based on reputation. I'm not sure if the generic production style hides some good song writing, or serves to disguise a lack of quality songs. 2/5
This lives up to its title. Typical dark, broody synths, but also melodic and poppy. More catchy and less heavy on the vibe compared to Violater, which this album preceded and is also on this list. I'm coming to the conclusion that Depeche Mode are pretty great. 4/5.
There is some really good, and quite varied, stuff on here, although the vocal doesn't always fit. On Bone Machine, Waits' gravelly, discordant voice perfectly matched the hellish, doomey tone of the album. On here, it only works on a handful of songs, leaving the rest quite hard work. The album is certainly not without merit, and a range of styles is often to be admired, but in Waits' case, he might be best keeping it dark. 2/5.
This is probably the most year 2000 album I've ever heard. Even the cover screams 'millenium'. I found a lot of this very annoying. When it wasn't very annoying it was very generic. In paces it managed to be both very annoying and very generic (what is with that clipped sounding female dance vocal that was everywhere in the 2000s). 1/5.
A marginally less annoying rip-off of the Anfield Rap. Needs more Grobbelaar. 1.5/5
Timeless fast tempo, screaming rock'n'roll. Never gets old. 3.5/5
Let's be honest, the Happy Mondays were fun as a novelty circus, but not particularly good. Maybe this would sound amazing if I were to chug down a load of ecstasy, but that's not something I'm ever going to find out. 2.5/5
I was expecting boring standard 90s indie. I got interesting and excellent 90s indie with a lot of cool things going on. A really nice vibe and just the right balance of consistency and variety to hold it together whilst also keeping it interesting. I instantly really like it. A very unexpected 5/5.
This exceeded my expectations. I had always heard that the Doors are one of the most overrated bands of all time. However, I quite enjoyed this. Maybe still overrated, but perfectly decent. 3.5/5.
Ronseal. Soulful rock'n' roll. Enjoyable enough, not super interesting. 2.5/5.
This is a much more interesting album than I would have given credit for. A punk rock opera at the dawning of the culture war, which really captures the mood of the time. Long songs split into more than one movement. It's still Green Day, so mostly pretty basic, but it's Green Day being arty, which I never knew was a thing they did. 3.5/5.
What on earth is this? Medieval, folk, gallic, psychedelia. Very sparse sounding. No oomph. Too weird for me. 1/5.
Exactly how I would expect a T Rex album to sound. Distinctively them, basically fine, but pretty samey. 2.5/5.
A poppy, accessible and musically upbeat take on traditional Irish folk. The album incorporates a lot of other styles, but all somehow within an Celtic folk rock framework, which holds it together. A couple of ubiquitous classics - Fairytail of New York and Fiesta. A fun album, but with depth. A triumph. 4.5/5
A bit like Black Sabbath with added woodwind. Impressive musicianship, but the songs don't grab me. Some questionable themes, but it was the 1970s. 2/5.
This has a high production value and King Me Softly with His Song is a classic. The rest is alright for what it is, but Hip Hop just isn't my thing. The between-song skits about ordering take-away food etc. are annoying. 2/5.
The most classic of classic rock. Unlikely to win awards for innovation, but enjoyable for what it is - a fun, melodic, bombastic slab of cranked-up guitar bigness. 3.5/5.
There's not a lot on this album to grab the attention. It sounds quite dated and wears thin quite quickly, so doesn't even function well as background music. 1.5/5.
Ok 60s pop, but lacking any catchy songs or big hits. They should have stuck with the external song writers and session musicians. 2/5.
Socially and politically charged lyrics over varied and interesting music. A serious and often heavy album, in terms of content. Easy to see why this is critically acclaimed. 'The Blacker The Berry' and 'i' the standout tracks. 2.5/5.
Tiny Dancer plus seven other songs that follow a similar pattern: delicate piano builds to big orchestral sections, then drops back down, and repeat. It may lack variety but it's a winning formula; and when the melodies are this good it's very difficult not to like. 4/5.
Instantly forgettable country music. 2/5.
Less polished, and much easier to connect with than any Pink Floyd music I've heard to date. 3/5.
My heart sank when I saw I had to spend 71 minutes of my life listening to Kid Rock. I'll try to listen with an open mind though, it could be good. UPDATE: Nope. It's dogsh*t. 1/5.
The best way to spread Christmas cheer is with a wall of sound for all to hear. A collection of popular Christmas songs, all performed and recorded in a consistent fun, joyful, upbeat, style. A lot of these have become the go-to versions, and the one original composition on the album, Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)) by Darlene Love, is an underrated Christmas classic. Thanks for generating this on Christmas Eve (surely not a coincidence at odds of approx. 1 in 260?). This will become essential Christmas listening and couldn't fail to put even the bah-humbuggiest of Scrooges in the festive mood. 4/5
You can feel the energy in the room in this recording, particularly during 'San Quentin'. Glad they included Cash addressing the audience between songs, but the heavy editing down of the setlist (to fit vinyl) and bleeping of profanities detracts somewhat. 3.5/5
Pleasant pop rock. The quintessential Englishness is a bit twee and wears a bit thin by the second half. 3/5
This is very Fun-D.M.C. Massive beats, catchy, and the first rock/rap crossovers. Easy to see why this is considered the first classic hip-hop album and how it brought the genre to a new audience. 4/5.
It seems like hip-hop moved on a long way between 1990 & 1994. This sounds a lot more modern then the early 90s albums on this list. I don't know enough about it too understand if Method Man/Wu Tang pioneered this change. This still didn't really can me though.
A much more accessible Bob Dylan album. The things that put me off previous albums aren't present here: the vocal is clearer and less strained, the production seems finished, and melodies are present. All this enables the lyrical craft to be revealed and makes for a very interesting and enjoyable liseten. Plugging in was a good idea. 4/5
I wasn't expecting innovation, but didn't think it would be this uninteresting. Fortunately, doing the hoovering provided a welcome distraction from the repetitive task of listening to this album. 2/5.
I was surprised to see Queen Latifah released her first album in the 80s. Not my favourite genre, but I didn't mind this. Liked the prominent brass in the backing tracks. 2/5.
Hardcore punk pioneers. Musically very accomplished (for the genre), and interesting that the vocals for 'Sacred Love' were recorded down the phone from prison. However, it didn't really grab me. I generally like my hardcore punk to be a bit more light hearted and fun. 2/5.
A pleasant collection of songs. Didn't realise this was the band that Neil Young started in. Not up to the standard of his later work, but hints at what's to come. 3/5.
It seems there is more to the B-52's than 'Loveshack', a questionable apostrophe, talk-singing, and the Flintstones. This is a high-energy, hook-laden, post-punk/new wave album which picks you up and demands attention and movement. Like the cover art, the album has a quirky cartoony vibe, but avoids slipping into novelty territory by virtue of its ferocity. Imagine this would have sounded ground-breaking in 1979 and remains fresh, fun and catchy today. 4/5.
The title sums this album up perfectly. Competent music, but for a collection of love songs it feels cold and perfunctory. Perhaps Clapton would have been better suited to a collection of assorted hate songs? 2/5
This is the third Tom Waits album that has been generated for me. The first one felt striking, different, and interesting, but is having 5 on this list really necessary? This may be the best of the three so far, but the law of diminishing returns means it struggles to hold the interest as well as the first one did. 3/5.
Distinctively Kate Bush. Unique, restful and spacey, but not really my cup of tea, except for the album closer, 'This Woman's Work', which is ace. 2/5
Not my favourite genre, and I'll never listen to this album again, but I didn't mind this. Musically quite gentle and melodic in places. 2.5/5.
It's catcy and amusing in places, but extremely juvenile and cringey. In 2021 some of the lyrics are very questionable. Guilty Conscience - ooshk. 2/5. Special shout out for Eminem at Reading Festival 2001 being the most cringe worthy set I've ever seen. No, I'm not 'amped' (whatever that means), and I don't really care if you pop that pill or not.
It's easier to enjoy the Beastie Boys when all they're fighting for is the simple right to party, rather than for Tibetan freedom. Whilst the latter may be a worthy objective, the former is much more achievable. In fact, they nailed it here, on their debut LP. It may not be very sophisticated, but this is a big, fun, bombastic party in album form. 3.5/5.
This album comes in both French and English versions. Although I didn't really engage with the lyrical content, the English version was still more enjoyable. It doesn't sound like a translation that has been shoehorned in. I'd be interested to know if the meanings of the songs are the same in both languages. Both versions are listenable and pleasant electropop. 3/5.
Ronseal. Ambient techno. Pleasant background music. Not something that demands attention, but a good album to review documents to and certainly a success under its own terms. Green Calx is a bit Pigeon Street. 3.5/5.
I have this album on CD, but have never given it much of a listen beyond Richard III and Sun Hits the Sky. It seems I've been missing out all these years as it's a rather good collection of varied songs and much more complex and mature than their debut. It may have benefited from the brass and other non-guitar instrumentation being brought out more in production. 3.5/5.
A compilation of tracks from previous albums and EPs released with the intention of catapulting the Hives to commercial success. It worked (for a time), thanks to the Hives being stylish, having a sound that fitted the 2001 garage rock zeitgeist, and Howlin' Pelle Almqvist being a charismatic front-man. The album is fun, high energy and hurtles along at a pace of knots. 'Hate To Say I Told You So' is a banger, but beyond that there is little in the song writing to suggest that the Hives could be sustained as anything more than an entertaining late afternoon festival act. 2.5/5.
Dark, brooding, unrelenting, excellent. A very engaging, if not enjoyable, listen. I'm much less familiar with Joy Division than I am with New Order, but the ingredients of the latter are clear here, despite the very different tone. An album I expect to revisit. 4.5/5
I didn't realise the descent of Morrissey into Dad-rock and questionable (to put it mildly) views started as far back as 1992. I liked it more when I thought of Mozza as a hilariously self-absorbed but ultimately harmless character. 2.5/5
A very professional live performance by a tight band. Easy background music, but 19 and 23 minute long songs may get a bit boring if I'm not distracted by other things. 2.5/5.
A heavy throbbing slab of post punk with elements of metal. The opening track, Requiem, is the stand-out. 3.5/5
Bouncy but angry. A polaroid of disaffected you in 1970s/80s urban Britain? It tails off a bit on side 2, but is still a ska classic. 3.5/5.
From the title and cover art I did not expect this to be a heavy rock album. From the era I did not expect this late 80's heavy rock album to have aged well. My expectations have been proved resoundingly wrong. This is a hugely enjoyable album with well constructed songs, catchy choruses, faultless musicianship, a variety of styles (arena rock, metal, funk, soul, rap) and interesting themes. 5/5
This mostly didn't offend my ears, but is so, so, unrelentingly boring. Even the fog horn sound at the end of the album goes on, and on, and on. Please just finish so I can get on with my life. It annoyed me. 1.5/5.
This is the first time I've listened to a Pixies album. Overall I enjoyed it. I preferred the poppier moments, so not sure I necessarily expect to love the rest of the back catalogue. When this is good, it's really good, but a little inconsistent. 3.5/5
Fairly standard late 80s punk, at the poppier and more melodic end of the spectrum. 2.5/5.
A multilingual treat. Also found the French language earworm I'd been struggling to identify. 3/5
Another quite enjoyable Bob Dylan album. It appears that he and I may have got off to a shaky start. This includes some well known classics and is fairly strong throughout, although I preferred the more plugged in Side A to the more folky Side B. 3.5/5.
This album has a strong sense of melodrama. I'm not sure what Brett Anderson is so exercised about, but I get the impression he could benefit from taking a step back and gaining some perspective. I like it, although don't love it. A more reined in, less emotionally OTT album could be brilliant. 3/5.
That was weirdly eclectic. I like variety, but this goes a bit far for my tastes, to the extent that it seems to lack flow and is difficult to understand what it is. Every breath you take is on here. 2/5.
A professional live performance and competent noodling but didn't really excite me and got really quite boring by the end. 2/5.
This is a beautiful record. Epic but fragile, romantic but truthful, outward looking but visceral. I wouldn't be surprised if this is found to have healing qualities. An hour listening and I feel soothed. And moved. Catharsis in sound. 5/5
This is the polar opposite of the cheesy crooner I'd (very wrongly) imagined Leonard Cohen to be. Dark, brooding, enigmatic music which is often synth-led. Dark, interesting, menacing and sad lyrics, all sung in a distinctive baritone voice. An interesting and emotive album. 4/5
The Who in embryonic form. Their sound not yet fully formed (I had to check Roger Daltrey was the singer on this album), but plenty of their characteristic oomph. 3/5
Exactly what I would expect from a John Lennon album - raw, direct, angry and, for the most part, great. (Oh Yoko! is lame, though). 4/5
This is a mix of punk, ska, reggae and rock. It has some ok tracks, but overall it lacks cohesion and is a bit of a messy annoyance. 2/5.
I had no idea what to expect from this, but I love it. The confessional, surreal, often darkly humourous lyrics are beautifully complimented by the gentle folk rock with just the right amount of experimental elements and Grant's easy, evocative vocal. 5/5
A really nice 60s pop soul album. A great voice and beautifully written and produced pop songs, including some Bacharachian gems. The early fade out of most tracks still bugs me (the songs are easily good enough to each be a minute longer), but probably not worthy of the harsh penalty I gave 'Dusty in Memphis' - sorry, Dusty! 3.5/5
Atmospheric synthwave from 1979. A good mix of poppy and more experimental elements. I liked it. 3.5/5.
The most obvious of cocaine albums. It's bold and confident, but busy like a big mess. It does not sound good. 1.5/5
This is exactly the style of 90s pop dance music I remember from listening to GWR FM in my Dad's car and watching the Chart Show on a Saturday morning in the early 90s. It's a nostalgic and not entirely unpleasant sound, but also quite dated and not very interesting. 2/5
It may have first come to my attention in a silly rom-com film about time travel, but Into My Arms always hits me in the feels. The same applies to much of this album thanks to its poetic lyrics over sparse, piano-led instrumentation. Other favourite tracks are Lime Tree Arbour, People Ain't no Good, and Far From Me. These have a thematic link of Cave considering unpleasant truths about humanity (suffering is inevitable and people have an inherent badness), and being able to accept these thanks to feeling love and goodness in another person. The vulnerability that results from relying on personal happiness and love to block out the drakenss in the wider world is an interesting theme to explore. I get less from the rest of the album, which comprises more insular songs of heartbreak. However, these remain heartfelt, poetic and bleakly beautiful. 4.5/5
I've always thought of Fleetwood Mac as being very talented musicians and songwriters, but lacking their own distinctive sound and their music being a bit clinical and 'MOR'. Listening to this album hasn't changed that view, however, the quality of the songwriting, performance, production and the sheer number of ubiquitous classics is such that this can't be anything other than a 5/5 record.
I much preferred this to 'Soul Mining'. It has a lot more 'oomph' and is a lot more varied in style. The political and angry lyrics are interesting and engaging. Good album. 3.5/5.
As a debut solo album entirely written and produced by Michael, this is quite the post-Wham! statement. Characterised by catchy melodies, lyrics with something to say, and funky bass, this is a brilliant soulful pop album. The opening three tracks of Faith/Father Figure/I Want Your Sex set the tone and the standard never substantially dips. The two ballads (One More Try/Kissing a Fool) come a good times providing breaks from the funkiness and allow Michael's beautiful vocal to wash over you. 4.5/5
In places this sounds like it was made on 'Music 2000' on the PlayStation 1. it is also unrelentingly dull and uninteresting. Just so, so boring. 75 minutes long too. Such a slog to get through. Urgh. To give some credit though, Orbital do have cool glasses. 1/5
The Smiths were only an album releasing entity for 3.5 years. It's doubly impressive, therefore, that 3 out of their 4 albums are on this list. This may not have the consistency or level of humour and brilliance of The Queen Is Dead but is still a solid Smiths album with a handful of classics. And a solid Smiths album is still a very good record. 3.5/5
This may just be the greatest live album of all time. From "Hello, I'm Johnny Cash" to the closing bars of Greystone Chapel and the announcements that follow, this is essential and engaging listening. The recording somehow transports you into the room in Folsom Prison. The energy from the inmates is palpable and it's clear that they are hanging on every Cash's every word. 5/5
Meandering, dreamy, sad and hopeful. A slow burner. 3/5
David Bowie does saxy soul. He really commits to it, but it still feels like a bit of a pastiche. 3/5
Ungulates! The ungulates are coming! Clomping their way to the firey fairground of hellllllll! Five Tom Waits albums on this list is ridiculous, but this is probably my favourite of the four I've heard so far. It hits the sweet-spot between the relentless demonic rhythm of Bone Machine, and the mish-mash of styles on Rain Dogs. It is varied, but still sounds like a piece and suits Waits' voice throughout. 4/5.
Like Rod Stewart's massive train set, this album is well put together with good attention to detail, but there is nothing original going on. It's enjoyable enough to play with for half an hour, but pretty dated and not worth a second trip around the tracks. 2.5/5
Apparently this is the GOAT of salsa albums and features rousing social commentary and an unconventional sound. I've never listened to salsa music before and I don't speak Spanish, so that goes over my head. However it has a fun energy and is an enjoyable listen. Also, the weird cover art deserves a mention. 3/5
I can enjoy very folky English folk for the odd song, but a whole album is a bit much for me, particularly if it is on the gloomy side, like this is. If you're going down the route of this sound, I'd much prefer songs with earthy lyrics about trees, seasons and North Yorkshire coastal herb fayres. 2/5
A concept album about nuclear weapons in India. This fuses Indian music and instrumentation with a range of other styles. It makes effective use of spoken word sections - news reports etc. Nitin Sawney has created something unique and interesting. It's not something I'm likely to return to though. 3/5
28 tracks, 33 minutes, beastial roar vocals, and the heaviest music I've ever heard. The lyrics are undecipherable and there is no way the words claimed are coming out of the singers' mouths. I really shouldn't like this, but somehow it all comes together and creates an engaging and enjoyable listen that you can't help but bob your head to. The opening 12 tracks with the original vocalist are particularly enjoyable. It may be noisy, but it's a lot more than a noise. The songs have melody, tunes, emotion and meaning. There's no doubt this record delivers the band's artistic intent. 3.5/5
I know self confidence is something to be encouraged, but Little Simz really does think she's the bee's knees. This is a decent hip hop album with cool instrumentation and some contemporary themes, but I'm not sure the stratospheric levels of self-adulation are fully justified. 3/5
Pleasant soft rock. Not on Spotify. 3/5
Smooth, jazzy, soulful, but not to my tastes. I found this quite dull. 2/5
As the title and album art implies, this is really two separate albums. Speakerboxxx is by Big Boi and The Love Below is by Andre 3000. The two albums are very different, almost contrasting, and it is difficult to see how they work together. You may put one or the other on depending on your mood, but it is difficult to think of circumstances where you would listen to both back-to-back (unless you are on a voyage to listen to the '1001 albums you must hear before you die' before you die, of course). Based on the write-ups, I had expected to prefer The Love Below, however, my experience was the opposite. Speakerboxx is a catchy, melodic, high energy, and fun hip hop album. I enjoyed this a lot and struggle to think of a hip hop album that I have enjoyed more than this. 3 3.5/5 The Love Below is high energy and a mish-mash of styles which is fun with some cool high points (including Heat Ya!), but the overall effect is quite jarring. 2.5/5. Together this gives an average of 3/5, however, I'm knocking a point off for the two halves not really working together. I'd like to know how this came to be one Outcast album rather than two solo albums or two separate Outcast releases. 2/5
Ice Cube's expression on this album cover mirrors my feelings on finding out that (after a couple of weeks of mostly dross) I now have to listen to an Ice Cube album. It turns out that my incredulous miffment was ill founded. I quite enjoyed this record. It seemed bouncy and energetic. I got the sense that the lyrical content may have been rude/offensive, but wasn't really taking it in. 3/5
Lots of characteristic howling, and a big band sound. The audience were clearly loving it, but it didn't really float my boat. It was fine, but didn't grab me and seemed a bit samey. 2/5.
A quite bizarre concept album with mock radio jingles and advertisements spliced amongst west coast harmonic pop rock songs. It's funny and breezy, but I struggle to see this as the universally critically acclaimed masterpiece that it seems to be. 2.5/5
The first thing that strikes you about this album is that Peter Tosh must really like cannabis. A very accessible and poppy reggae album, it generally has a fuller sound than Wailers songs I've heard to date. With Tosh's excellent vocal and catchy choruses, this is very listenable and enjoyable album. It is likely to appeal to a broad audience (including this 39 year old white man from England). 3.5/5
A pure blues album. I didn't know the Doors sounded like this, despite recognising a good chunk of these songs. Jim Morrison's voice is gravelly and in keeping with the music. Liked this a lot more than I expected. 4/5
A bit like a Congolese Lionel Richie (in music vibe only - I can't imagine Lionel karate kicking a backing dancer). 2.5/5
I've never listened to this Smiths album before. Sonically, it is very similar to the Queen is Dead, which I know well and love. On first listen, it seems to lack some of the humour and immediacy that contributes to that album's greatness. I guess it's difficult to find vegetarianism that funny or interesting. Having said that, the title track is unintentionally hilarious in its earnestness. 3.5/5
Varied in style but driven by beats throughout with contemplative lyrics. Björk's distinctive vocal style takes some getting used to, but works and adds to the overall feeling and uniqueness of the piece. An interesting and alluring album. 3.5/5
There are some all-time Beatles classics on this album (With a Little Help from My Friends; Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds; A Day in the Life), but this album is also much more than the sum of its individual songs. It has a distinctive feeling, interesting experimental elements and flows beautifully. It's reputation as an all-time classic is deserved. 4.5/5.
If this journey has taught me anything, it is that I like postpunk as a genre of music. Especially when it is as committed, catchy and luscious as this. 'The Look of Love' is increadibly catchy. 4/5.
A great jazz record. I would LOVE this if I was listening to it in a gloomy jazz bar in Chicago, or Harry Bosch's glass shoebox apartment overlooking LA. Since I listened in my very nice UK suburban kitchen, I merely very much enjoyed it. 65 years old and timeless. 3.5/5
Rating: 3.5/5 Playlist track: Pump It Up Date listened: 08/04/22 Surprisingly energetic and rocky. I enjoyed this a lot. A couple of songs I knew, but had no idea they were Elvis Costello. Love a bit of mellotron.
Rating: 2/5 Playlist track: Without You Date listened: 11/04/22 Harry Nilsson seems to have forged a career out of novelty songs and popularising covers of recent minor hits by other artists. 'Nilsson Schmilsson' indeed.
This was mostly fine, but didn't really grab my attention. A bit mid-paced and dull. I didn't love the discordant vocals either. Rating: 2/5 Playlist track: Blister In The Sun Date listened: 12/04/22
I quite enjoyed this. The music is urgent and jarring in places and the lyrics dark and introspective. 'The Bunneymen's influence on MSP is apparent across this album. In particular, 'Of Walking Abortion' seems to have borrowed heavily from 'Pride'. Rating: 3.5/5 Playlist track: Monkeys Date listened: 13/04/22
Blondie meets the Killers. Has the mid/late 2000s dance/rock sound, but a good example of this often nothingy style. The vocals further help elevate this above other records of the time, particularly on the more mellow tracks. Rating: 3.5/5 Playlist track: Skeletons Date listened: 14/04/22
A fast, loud, straight forward, slab of rock. This hurtles past in no time without pausing for breath. The lyrical content would be enough to get Lemmy cancelled multiple times in 2022. Rating: 3.5/5 Playlist track: Ace of Spades Date listened: 15/04/22
An excellent and varied heavy rock record without a single weak track. A wall of noise that stays just the right side of the line to avoid becoming a dirge. The record is further elevated by Mark Lanegan's unique and soulful vocals. Really enjoyed this and will likely return. Rating: 4/5 Playlist track: All I Know Date listened: 18/04/22
The most ronseal of albums, this sounds like ambient music for airports. Not something to be actively listened to, but nice and relaxing. I wouldn't be unhappy if this was playing in an airport or a spa. 5/5 for achievement of artistic intent. 3/5 for my enjoyment of the output. Rating: 3/5 Playlist track: 2/1 Date listened: 19/04/22
A chilled and funky hip hop album. Not really my thing and doesn't seem all that innovative, but it's inoffensive and listenable. I got a little bored by the end. Rating: 2/5 Playlist track: Won't Trade Date listened: 20/04/22
This is lovely, lovely, lovely. It's been on repeat all afternoon whilst Carol King's beautiful songs and voice slowly sink into my soul and envelop me in a sense of calm enjoyment. Every track is top quality. Incredible. Rating: 5/5 Playlist track: It's Too Late Date listened: 21/04/22
Gil Scott-Heron's politically and socially charged lyrics over Brian Jackson's sparse jazz keyboards. The concept is taken furthest 'H2O GATE', a live spoken-word track about the Watergate scandal. I would have preferred the album if more of it was like this track, which has the greatest emphasis on the words over the music. As it is, the album is academically interesting and influential but not something I'd return to. (Not on Spotify). Rating: 2/5 Playlist track: The Bottle Date listened: 22/04/22
Downbeat, gloomy and not all that interesting on first listen, despite being fairly intricate. I suspect my rating and enjoyment would increase with repeated listens, but I can't see myself returning to this. I generally like miserable lyrics, but typically when they are accompanied by uplifting music. Miserable lyrics with miserable music is a bit too misery inducing for me, and I don't want to be miserable. Rating: 2/5 Playlist track: Bloodbuzz Ohio Date listened: 25/04/22
The half-sister of the Flaming Lips' 'The Soft Bulletin', I've had a soft spot for this album for many years. Delicate and emotive music that rises and falls, with Jonathan Donahue's feeble and vulnerable voice sitting beautifully amongst the quiet moments and riding the crescendos of the weirdly instrumented music. Listening with an objective and critical ear, it could be said that about half of the tracks are quite forgettable. However, as a piece it is much greater than the sum of its parts and is really quite sublime. Rating: 5/5 Playlist track: Goddess on a Hiway Date listened: 26/04/22
A range of influences are apparent on what seems to be a well made album. This, however, only seems to make it a bit irritating rather than interesting. Overall, it is a bit annoying and instantly forgettable. Rating: 2/5 Playlist track: Get on Top Date listened: 27/04/22
Prototype britpop. Pleaseant enough, but this album must be included on the list due to its influence on what was to follow rather than for being interesting or excellent in its own right. Rating: 2.5/5 Playlist track: Show Girl Date listened: 28/04/22
I mostly nothing this. It's not bad (although the lyrics are lame) but it's very samey and I really struggled to engage with it or distinguish one track from another. The exception is the cover of Summer Breeze which doesn't really fit the album but is the best thing on it. Rating: 2/5 Playlist track: Summer Breeze Date listened: 29/04/22
Reminiscent of Embryonic and The Terror era Flaming Lips. Rating: 4/5 Playlist track: The Architect Date listened: 02/05/22
Brexit in audio form. Rating: 1/5 Playlist track: [None - not on Spotify (thank goodness)] Date listened: 03/05/22
If this album was a Friends quote, it would definitely be "I'm breezy". Nina Pearson's voice has an unconvinced cheeriness to it, which suits a lot of the lyrics. Overall, nice enough indie pop but (Lovefool aside) not all that memorable. Rating: 2.5/5 Playlist track: Lovefool Date listened: 04/05/22
Nice trumpet. But... y'know... it's just... trumpet. Whilst trumpet can convey the three main emotions (happy, sad, and meepy), it struggles to get more complex ideas, philosophies or stories across. This is no doubt a great example of what it is, but what it is only has limited appeal for me. Rating: 3/5 Playlist track: Moon Dreams Date listened: 05/05/22
Much less insane than Maggot Brain. The long jams remain, but aren't as excessive or weird. Strangely, I sort of miss the cuckoo clocks and assorted animal noises. What is left is rocky funk, which is basically fine, but not that memorable. Rating: 2/5 Playlist track: One Nation Under a Groove Date listened: 06/05/22
Another great jazz classic that I enjoyed, but largely went over my head. Whilst it's beyond doubt that John Coltrane plays his saxophone REALLY well, I'm not musically literate enough to discern the "deep spirituality with religious subtext" from the saxophone tootings and drum clatterings. Having said that I really like Pt.1 - Acknowledgement. The big gong crash at the start and the chanting at the end are really cool. Rating: 3/5 Playlist track: A Love Supreme, Pt.1 - Acknowledgement Date listened: 09/05/22
Dirty guitars and synths. Guest vocalists before everyone was doing it. The first half is great and builds to a peak with Aisha. Rating: 3.5/5 Playlist track: Aisha Date listened: 10/05/22
Not awful, probably influential, but about as out-of-date as it's possible for a piece of recorded music to sound. Really old and pretty lame. Rating: 2/5 Playlist track: Buona Sera Date listened: 11/05/22
I didn't expect Sonic Youth to sound like this. Can't say I'm massively keen, although the alternation between songs with male and female vocals was... something... maybe. Otherwise, the only notable things are the 'having a difficult poo' vocals on Shoot and the presence of a song called 'Creme Brulee' which makes me wonder if Les McQueen from League of Gentlemen took inspiration from Sonic Youth? Rating: 2/5 Playlist track: Sugar Cane Date listened: 12/05/22
Garage rock. The singer's voice is a bit grating. It's a no no no from me. Rating: 1.5/5 Playlist track: Maps Date listened: 13/05/22
I listened to this a few times, but it failed to sink in. It was probably a very striking and innovative heavy rock album at the time, but similar & better examples of the style have been recorded since, making this less interesting to the ear of 2022. Rating: 2.5/5 Playlist track: I Wanna Be Your Dog Date listened: 16/05/22
This album contains two of my favourite Pet Shop Boys singles, 'So Hard' and 'Being Boring', so it seems a good place to start for a deeper dive into their discography. Pleasingly, the rest of the album lives up to the standard of those singles and continues the wistful and introspective themes. Chock full of glorious melodies, sad lyrics and catchy hooks, this is total Bill-bait. Two thirds of the tracks on the album could have been a singles, with only a small dip in quality in the middle third of the record. The album mixes of 'Being Boring' and 'Jealousy' are also superior to the single edits and add to the overall feel of the piece. Looking forward to the other two PSB albums on the list. Rating: 4.5/5 Playlist track: So Hard Date listened: 17/05/22
There are barely words to express how awful this is. It is also unendingly long. Almost 2 hours of noise without any hint of emotion, melody, musicality or artistic merit. Listening to it genuinely felt like a punishment. A godawful album cover too. I understand that people have different tastes and opinions, and that is all part of the rich tapestry of humanity that keeps life interesting. However, I would seriously question the intellect and character of anyone who likes this. Rating: 1/5 Playlist track: Inner City Life - Baby Boy's Edit Date listened: 18/05/22
I'm not all that keen on Led Zeppelin. I think it's mainly Robert Plant's vocals that put me off. They don't seem to fit the music and they exude self indulgence. Also, the way the music stops and starts annoys me. It all seems rather serious and tedious. Perhaps a band to be respected rather than enjoyed? Overall, not a whole lotta fun. Rating: 2/5 Playlist track: Whole Lotta Love Date listened: 19/05/22
A mediocre collection of songs that forms the debut album by 'the world's first virtual band'. There's not a lot of substance behind the novelty on show here. Based on the singles I would have expected this to be much more varied in style, but most of it is fairly uninteresting guitar music. Another Damon Albarn project with a couple of catchy singles but little depth in quality. Rating: 2/5 Playlist track: Clint Eastwood Date listened: 20/05/22
Very on brand for the ghoulish caricature of Alice Cooper. Theatrical, sounds like a musical, including lots of talk singing. Musically, the guitar parts are the star of the show and I liked the brass low down in the mix. Rating: 2.5/5 Playlist track: Date listened: 23/05/22
This is wonderfully weird, which is what I want from Kate Bush. Rating: 3.5/5 Playlist track: Suspended in Gaffa Date listened: 24/05/22
Nice, country-infused indie. I like the sons, but can't really get on with the vocals. The singer's inability to hold a note appears to compromise delivery of the natural melody. This could have been a great album with an in-tune breathy female vocal. Rating: 3/5 Playlist track: Slow Education Date listened: 25/05/22
A jagged lo-fi rock album with a great energy. Less polished and lacking the radio singes of Dolittle, but more of a consistent and authentic piece. I really liked this. Rating: 4/5 Playlist track: Cecilia Ann Date listened: 26/05/22
This album cost £250,000, took 3 years and 18 engineers to record, almost sending the record label bankrupt. Rarely has so much time, money and man power been spent to create something so boring. Rating: 2/5 Playlist track: Only Shallow Date listened: 27/05/22
Objectively supremely talented with a distinctive style for the time and a unique voice. A great album title. But it's not for me. Doesn't resonate at all. Rating: 3/5 Playlist track: Intro / Stronger Than Me Date listened: 30/05/22
Cross Town Traffic, All Along the Watchtower, and Voodoo Child (Slight Return) are rightly classics, and there is a lot of other stuff I really liked on here. However, it is very sprawling and the moments of genius get lost amongst the rest of the atmospheric and varied album. Rating: 3/5 Playlist track: Voodoo Child (Slight Return) Date listened: 31/05/22
An accessible and engaging hip hop album, this stands the test of time and does not sound at all dated, 30+ years after it's release. Apparently considered an early "gangsta rap" record, the themes of street life are viscerally conveyed with pathos and regret rather than glorification. It seems Ice T was decades ahead of his time. Not my genre, but one of my favourites of the genre. Rating: 3.5/5 Playlist track: New Jack Hustler (Nino's Theme) Date listened: 01/06/22
Not as dated as most of the early 90's hip-hop album I've heard on this list, but still a little grating after a while. Rating: 2/5 Playlist track: Mama Said Knock You Out Date listened: 02/06/22
The Beatles' second album. 14 consistent, catchy and jangly rock'n'roll songs from the Mop top / 'Beatlemania' era, without any singles to take the focus. Nothing to push any musical boundaries, but a pleasant and enjoyable listen. Rating: 3.5/5 Playlist track: All My Loving Date listened: 03/06/22
I gave this a few listens, as its seems the sort of thing I might really like. This confirmed my initial impression of liking the gentle singer songwriter vibe with textured breathy vocals, and that the lyrics are interesting, sad and emotionally charged. However, I couldn't find that unknown something that would have made it click or resonate with me personally. Rating: 3.5/5 Playlist track: Ballad Of Big Nothing Date listened: 06/06/22
Just random noise. It's heartwarming to know that a complete lack of musical talent or ability is no barrier to creating an influential album. With that in mind, I hereby announce that my innovative pop duo 'Bumblecheek and the Reverb' is working on its debut album, to be titled 'Sexual Overcoat'. I fully expect inclusion in the next edition of the '1001 albums...' book. Rating: 1/5 Playlist track: AB/7A Date listened: 07/06/22
On the surface this is a catchy reggae album with other genres thrown into the mix, which gives it crossover appeal and makes it very accessible. There is not a single weak track on the record and several ubiquitous classics. On this basis alone it is faultless and worthy of five stars. Add in the depth provided by the political lyrics of side 1, and the thematic contrast of the romantic/optimistic side 2 and you have a work of genius. Rating: 5/5 Playlist track: Three Little Birds Date listened: 08/06/22
Socially conscious hip hop album with jazz and soul influenced instrumentation. Quite long (each track and collectively) and samey, which hindered my enjoyment and willingness to examine the album themes in more detail. Rating: 2/5 Playlist track: The Light Date listened: 09/06/22
Are The Stokes cool because their music is cool, or is their music cool because The Strokes are cool? Answer: it's both. The image. The sound. Either without the other would not have been half as successful. Does that make The Strokes style over substance? No. The rhythmic guitars, chugging bass, and distorted vocals create a sound that is their own, owned by them, and perfectly fits their aesthetic. The sound is the image and the image is the sound. Depending on how much you like it, this album is either a consistent stylistic piece, or the same song repeated 11 times. Again, it's probably both. I personally moderately like the sound, but don't feel like I need to hear the same thing for 36 minutes. However, to add variety (even with just a single track) would undermine the aesthetic and ruin the album. In terms of meeting the artistic intent this is a 5/5. In terms of my enjoyment of the album it's a 3/5. Rating: 3.5/5 Playlist track: Last Nite Date listened: 10/06/22
Love and hate are very close to the surface here, and Cohen sounds like he's defeated by them both. A dark and emotional album. The juxtaposition of a children's choir on the very dark subject matter of "Dress Rehersal Rag" is very striking. One of the few situations in which a children's choir is ever acceptable. Rating: 4/5 Playlist track: Dress Rehersal Rag Date listened: 13/06/22
When playing songs this is a tight and powerful live performance, which I enjoyed more than I expected to. However, there is too much pointless noodling between (and during) songs. This adds nothing bud boredom and would have led me to want to shout "get on with it". Could also do without the drum solo. Rating: 2/5 Playlist track: Smoke On The Water Date listened: 14/06/22
A collection of garage rock songs comprising covers of rock and roll and R&B classics and four original songs. This album was released in 1965, and it must be very influential on the genre. It is a shame that there is not more of their own material here as the original songs are great, and wouldn't sound out of place on an early 2000s garage rock revival record. Whilst the covers are enjoyable enough, and probably groundbreaking at the time, the tracks selected have been covered so many times in such a variety of styles that they, don't seem interesting. Rating: 3/5 Playlist track: Do You Love Me Date listened: 15/06/22
As luck would have it, I've just listened to 4 hours of the 'What is Music...' podcast about The Bends. This has provided an interesting and amusing track-by-track review from three different musical perspectives and a deep dive into the themes and context of the album. That podcast scored The Bends as 27/30, making it their highest ranked record so far. Despite therefore being familiar with the album's acclaim and the reasons it is regarded by many as a masterpiece, it still leaves me cold. Whilst I can appreciate this as a technically excellent collection of very good songs, I just can't get into it or make it resonate with me at all. I guess I'm just not predisposed to feel like Thom York felt in 1994. That's probably a good thing. Rating: 3.5/5 Playlist track: Street Spirit (Fade Out) Date listened: 16/06/22
I never liked RATM much in my university years, mainly due to disliking a few people who really liked them and not being a fan of other rock/rap bands that followed in their wake a decade later. How wrong I was. This is powerful stuff. Aggressive and p'ed off, but the anger is directed constructively. Rating: 5/5 Playlist track: Killing In the Name Date listened: 17/06/22
I thought I might like this as accessible pop-metal, but it's so boring and generic that I actually hated it. Rating: 1.5/5 Playlist track: In the End Date listened: 20/06/22
A collection of short, simple, beautiful songs by 'the Toy Story guy'. A number of these songs (all written by Newman) are well known for versions having been recorded by others. Here they mainly comprise piano with strings. The simpler versions highlight the quality of the songwriting and soulfulness of Newman's voice. Simply lovely. Rating: 4.5/5 Playlist track: Sail Away Date listened: 21/06/22
There is very little to say about this, which is disappointing for a David Bowie record. It's basically fine as a rock record, but it's not pushing any boundaries. Rating: 2.5/5 Playlist track: Where Are We Now? Date listened: 22/06/22
A massive, instantly catchy and enjoyable album. Side 1 is banger after banger. The drop off on side 2 isn't as extreme as I remember. The nonsense lyrics sound as if they should mean something so long as you just go with it and don't think about them ("I've got soul but I'm not a soldier"). Nothing more than entertainment, but very entertaining. Rating: 4/5 Playlist track: Mr Brightside Date listened: 23/06/22
Massive Attack may be the least appropriately named band on the planet. 'Medium Sized Pacificst' would be more apt. This album was not as coma-enducing as Blue Lines, but is dull, dull, dull. I once saw Massive Attack live. They were pretty boring. Rating: 2/5 Playlist track: Protection Date listened: 24/06/22
REM's debut album, from 1983. Decent, with a slightly harder edge than a lot of what came later. Contains all of the ingredients of REM, but lacks any of their all-time great tracks. Rating: 3/5 Playlist track: Radio Free Europe Date listened: 27/06/22
One of my favourite albums, by one of my favourite artists, of all time. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots is brilliant and life affirming on many different levels. Individually, each track is excellent, but collectively they add up to a single piece that is even greater than its individual parts. It's accessible and catchy, yet a bit weird and experimental. It manages to combine being a sci-fi semi-concept album about pink robots and a vitamin-popping girl, with universal truths and philosophies that go straight to the heart of the uncertainty and unknowingness of life and our insignificance in the universe: "I don't know how a man decides what is right for his own life, it's all a mystery" (Fight Test), "The universe will have its way, too powerful to master" (In the Morning of the Magicians). At the end it helpfully provides the the answer of what to do about these overwhelming questions: "Instead of saying all of your goodbyes, let them know you realize that life goes fast, it's hard to make the good things last" (Do You Realize??). I.e. Sadness is inevitable, don't worry about the big things that we can't control. Be grateful for your life, enjoy it, and share it with others. That message, along with the journey to get there, is the main reason I love this very special album. Rating: 5/5 Playlist track: Do You Realize?? Date listened: 28/06/22
I like the album cover, but that's the only positive thing I could say about this record. Reminiscent of Ross Gellar's music. Self indulgent and not very good. I still don't get this at all. Rating: 1/5 Playlist track: Jeremy Bender Date listened: 29/06/22
I liked this soundtrack to the film of the same name. Rating: 3.5/5 Playlist track: Freddie's Dead Date listened: 30/06/22
I found my enjoyment of this album increasing the longer it went on. The second half in particular is very chilled and lovely. It's not pushing any boundaries, but nice simple songs and melodies with polished but back-to-basics production. I prefer this a lot this to Swift's more showy '1989' album, which is also on this list. It's not aimed at me, but I would happily put this on on a relaxed Sunday afternoon. I wonder if the kids these days know how lucky they are to have Taylor Swift and Billie Eilish when we had to make do with B*witched and Billie Piper? Rating: 4/5 Playlist track: no body, no crime Date listened: 01/07/22
Dark, brooding, heavy synth rock driven by electronic riffs and a chugging rhythm section. Lyrically and musically evocative of machines, heavy industry and isolation. In 1979 Newman must have pioneered this sound. He also instantly mastered it. It still sounds fresh where many who followed in Newman's wake now sound dated. Distinctive, timeless, catchy, dark. Not a weak track on the album. I'd never heard this before, but it has to be a classic. Rating: 4.5/5 Playlist track: M.E. Date listened: 04/07/22
Parliament and Funkadelic place a lot of store in being funky. It is just as well, then, that on a scale from 'not at all funky' to 'really very funky indeed' this is off the chart. It's a concept album about the band travelling around the universe (in a funk powered spaceship), spreading funkiness to any unfunky civilisations they meet. It's really quite out there, but has a serious point as well, and is also very, very, very funky. Rating: 3/5 Playlist track: Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker) Date listened: 05/07/22
A rerecording of a selection of the South African traditional folk acapella super group's past hits for an international audience. The harmonies and voices are beautiful and relaxing, and the captured beautifully by this recording. I'm less keen on the English language songs. Rating: 3/5 Playlist track: Unomathemba Date listened: 06/07/22
I quite liked this, in the main. It's accessible and listenable, even if the 'chipmunk soul' thing does go full Alvin at times. Rating: 3.5/5 Playlist track: All Falls Down Date listened: 07/07/22
Apparently this is an all time great jazz album, with elements of classical, African and Spanish music, and genius orchestration. Unfortunately, my jazz ear is not fine tuned enough to recognise any of this. It sounded ok-ish, but a bit of a cacophony in places. Rating: 2.5/5 Playlist track: Track A – Solo Dancer (Stop! Look! And Listen, Sinner Jim Whitney!) Date listened: 08/07/22
Incredible reworkings of classic songs which Cash makes his own with his inimitable voice, now aged and fragile, which adds an emotive sense of wisdom and gravitas. Rating: 4/5 Playlist track: Hurt Date listened: 11/07/22
Take on Me followed by nine other tracks. Rating: 3/5 Playlist track: Take on Me Date listened: 12/07/22
A weird combination of very safe country music with a nice dreamy (almost psychedelic) quality. Overall it's nice, but too pleasant to be interesting. Also some of the lyrics are laughably lame: "Texas is hot, I can be cold, Grandma cried when I pierced my nose". Rating: 2.5/5 Playlist track: Oh, What a World Date listened: 13/07/22
Baaba Maal whoah, Baaba Maal whoah, He comes from Senegal, He makes pleasant background music with Mansour Seck's chilled guitar licks for us all. Rating: 2.5/5 Playlist track: Lam Tooro Date listened: 14/07/22
Folksy and chilled with psychedelic and bluesy elements. The first time I listened this blended nicely into the background, but on a second more active listen revealed a lot more going on. Nice, Neil Young-esque, vocals. A nice album. Rating: 3.5/5 Playlist track: Darkness, Darkness Date listened: 15/07/22
Released in 1976 but recorded in 1972, I guess this was modern for the time. You can hear the roots of punk. Not very memorable though and the vocals are grating. Rating: 2/5 Playlist track: Roadrunner Date listened: 18/07/22
Like someone has taken a really cool psychedelic rock album and shuffled it together with a country album. Remove the country songs and you'd be left with an album that's reminiscent of Clouds Taste Metallic era Flaming Lips and Alladin Sane era David Bowie. I would have loved that record. Although this could have been separated into two excellent and distinct albums, it still flows in its original form and doesn't get boring, despite its length. There's not a weak track on the record and I found myself appreciating it more the longer it went on. A weird thing to try, but Wilco pulls it off. Rating: 4.5/5 Playlist track: Misunderstood Date listened: 19/07/22
Much more balanced, instant and accessible than 'Either Or' (and much less like being punched in the gut). Musically (comparatively) bold with a mix of sad, optimistic, introspective and dreamy lyrics. I like it. Rating: 3.5/5 Playlist track: Son Of Sam Date listened: 20/07/22
The opening trio of songs are nothing short of iconic. "Question" in the style of Independent Women has entered our everyday parlance. The first half is bold, confident, and uncompromising. This is great for a time, but grates quite quickly. Too loud, too verbose, too aggressive and too much wailing to be enjoyable. The mellower second half is much more listenable and provides a welcome break from the aural assault of the first half, but by that stage you're already defeated. A more varied track listing may have vastly improved this record. As individual tracks the main singles are classics and a lot of the other songs are reasonably good, but as an album it's all just a bit much. Rating: 2/5 Playlist track: Independent Women Pt. 1 Date listened: 21/07/22
'Come Out and Play' and 'Self Esteem' stand out musically and lyrically. The majority of the rest of the album is fairly uninteresting thrashy skate punk. Great energy and commitment, but a bit samey. Rating: 2.5/5 Playlist track: Come Out and Play Date listened: 22/07/22
Exactly what I imagined an Arcade Fire album to sound like. Layered, textured, complex and consistent. I quite liked it, but doubt I'll revisit. Rating: 3.5/5 Playlist track: Wake Up Date listened: 25/07/22
Like a collection of rejected Neil Young B-sides. Rating: 2/5 Playlist track: Orleans Date listened: 26/07/22
The weakest of the three Doors albums on this list. Not awful, but not all that interesting. Just standard, really. Perhaps a symptom of being overly prolific? (they released 8 albums between 1967 and 1972). This record preceded their strongest album (LA Woman) by only 14 months. Rating: 2.5/5 Playlist track: Roadhouse Blues Date listened: 27/07/22
CCR could be the only artist to have two albums released in the same year included in the '1001 Albums...' book? Bayou Country (158) and Green River (163) are separated by only four pages. This fact is as baffling as it is impressive. It's a real struggle to see what it is about CCR's music that is particularly interesting, influential, or noteworthy. To me it just seems to be competent but unchallenging soft rock music. Added to that, I found this album to also be quite irritating and annoying, which I guess is at least something to mark it out as different to the other two CCR albums that have passed through my ear canals. Rating: 2/5 Playlist track: Proud Mary Date listened: 27/07/22
The first half of this album is incredible. Funky but understated guitar over 80s synths and a drum machine the drive the songs on. The songwriting on sides 1 & 2 is also brilliant. Six, seven & eight minute long tracks fly by without coming close to getting boring. The quality of the tunes drops off a bit on sides 3 & 4, but the style remains consistent. I never realised 1999 was a protest song against nuclear weapons, which adds an extra level of interest and appreciation. Some of the other lyrics pure filth. Rating: 4/5 Playlist track: 1999 Date listened: 28/07/22
This album is a difficult listen, knowing what came after. It has a dark, despairing, defeated quality, which is ramped up from 'Unknown Pleasures', which was itself dark and brooding. 'The Eternal' in particular feels like a funeral march. Artistically this is tragically on point, but too unremittingly bleak for my tastes. Rating: 3/5 Playlist track: Twenty Four Hours Date listened: 01/08/22
Instantly recognisable and still sounds massive. A little bit dated and verging on caricatureish in 2022, although that could be because this album and the Prodigy sound are so well known and iconic. Some of the song titles are puntastic (Serial Thrilla, Mindfields, Climbatize). Given the wordplay and fact that 25 years have passed, is this now music for the Countdown generation? Rating: 3/5 Playlist track: Firestarter Date listened: 02/08/22
My least favourite of the three Bob Marley albums on this list. Maybe the least varied and purest reggae, which perhaps says more about my tastes than it does about the quality of the album. I liked it, but it didn't grab me. Rating: 3/5 Playlist track: Them Belly Full Date listened: 03/08/22
Straight forward, unpretentious, beardy blues rock. Enjoyable for what it is, but not pushing any boundaries. Rating: 2.5/5 Playlist track: La Grange Date listened: 04/08/22
Another atmospheric story telling album from Nick Cave. The disturbing lyrics are matched by the jarring music and the grizzly subject matter makes it a difficult listen in places. There are about 4 or 5 songs on here that I really liked, and that have the hallmarks of classic Nick Cave tracks. The three with guest vocalists (Kylie Minogue, PJ Harvey and Shane MacGowan) are the stand out moments. The rest of the album didn't do much for me though and seemed almost unimaginative by Cave's standards. Also, stories of bloody murder don't offer much room for interpretation which limits the potential for getting more out of the album on repeat listens. As a result, I'm unlikely to return to this record. Rating: 3/5 Playlist track: Where the Wild Roses Grow Date listened: 05/08/22
Derivative and irritating jazz funk. Rating: 1.5/5 Playlist track: When You Gonna Learn Date listened: 08/08/22
Soft, gentle country music with sparse instrumentation and Willie Nelson's calming voice. I didn't listen actively enough to pick up the story of this concept album, but enjoyed it nonetheless. Rating: 3.5/5 Playlist track: Red Headed Stranger Date listened: 09/08/22
Slow, sad country music solely comprising Welch's voice and acoustic guitar. Although a bit too snail paced for my tastes, it could have been a personal and delicately beautiful album. However, the excruciatingly lame "Elvis Presley Blues" and country trope laden "I Want to Sing That Rock and Roll" totally ruin it. Rating: 2.5/5 Playlist track: Revelator Date listened: 10/08/22
A 90s indie album with an eclectic mix of influences, from folk, to electronic, to Indian instrumentation. Brimful of Asha is a 90s classic and is the stand out track, but the rest of the album stands up and flows nicely, which is impressive given how varied it is. Rating: 3.5/5 Playlist track: Brimful of Asha Date listened: 11/08/22
If I didn't know otherwise I would have bet a lot of money on the opening track being by the Happy Mondays. The rest of the album is a mix of classic New Order bass groove driven dance rock and tracks with a stronger house influence. I like the former but not so much the latter. Rating: 3/5 Playlist track: All the Way Date listened: 12/08/22
Not having heard their music, and basing my opinion on Bryan Ferry turning up on various family TV shows over the years, I had assumed Roxy Music would be a MOR croonfest. I was wrong. This is a weird album with a lot going on. It's a bit of a cacophony overall, but definitely not a boring croonfest. Rating: 2.5/5 Playlist track: Re-Make/Re-Model Date listened: 15/08/22
OK Computer received universal critical acclaim, sold 8 million copies, and is one of the most influential albums of all time. It's creative and innovative with eerily accurate future-predicting themes of isolation through technology and globalisation. Objectively it's a great album. Subjectively, I find the album to be fine but not very engaging or relatable. Beyond Karma Police and No Surprises it just doesn't make me feel anything. That may be the perfect artistic outcome, but it's not what I want from an album. Rating: 3/5 Playlist track: Karma Police Date listened: 16/08/22
I really liked this. The cover of 'Enjoy Yourself' is a great version of a classic happysad song (the same sentiment as 'Do You Realize??'). It sets the tone of the album, which is eclectic in style and theme, but always fun and bouncy regardless of the seriousness of the lyric. Rating: 3.5/5 Playlist track: Enjoy Yourself (It's Later Than You Think) Date listened: 17/08/22
Nope. Not for me. This is neither one thing or the other (and not in a good way). It tries to ROCK but fails on account of being too wet and winey. It's too distorted and fuzzy to be a pleasant indie listen. It doesn't seem innovative or creative. I also hate the vocal. I genuinely can't see the point of this or any circumstance where someone would want to listen to this over a much better alternative. It annoyed me. Rating: 1.5/5 Playlist track: Here Date listened: 18/08/22
This record apparently introduced Femi Kuti and afrobeat to an international audience. It's easy to see why. It's accessible and melodic with a great energy and socially conscious lyrics. A very enjoyable listen. Rating: 3.5/5 Playlist track: Wonder Wonder Date listened: 19/08/22
A lovely album. Dreamy music complimented beautifully by the vocals. Very consistent in style and pace throughout, but with enough variety in the musical details to keep the interest. If it had more interesting and imaginative melodies this could be a 5/5 album. Rating: 4/5 Playlist track: 10 Mile Stereo Date listened: 22/08/22
Super cheesy and super theatrical, it was no surprise to learn that this started life as a musical. It is a bonafide classic, though - completely uncool and completely timeless. Rating: 4/5 Playlist track: Bat Out of Hell Date listened: 23/08/22
A pleasant and catchy indie pop record with a wistful but summery vibe. Reminiscent in different places of The Lightning Seeds, U2, Crowded House and The Smiths. Rating: 3.5/5 Playlist track: Love Goes On! Date listened: 24/08/22
The album that apparently invented punk rock AND krautrock. This sounds a bit like Booker T and the MCs trying to play the Sex Pistols. Undoubtedly musically and lyrically innovative and influential; it's incredible that this was released in 1966. However, to my modern ear it's pretty much unlistenable. Rating: 1.5/5 Playlist track: We Do We Do Date listened: 25/08/22
An angry and impassioned commentary on the realities and futility of war, juxtaposing those who start wars with those who have to fight them. Musically and lyrically innovative and unique. The singing of critical lyrics of war over music that is reminiscent of traditional English folk is striking and clever. Form and function perfectly in sync to devastating effect. An artistic triumph and essential listening. Rating: 5/5 Playlist track: The Glorious Land Date listened: 26/08/22
An album of two halves. Side 1 comprises some 'proper' songs (including 'Sound and Vision' - possibly my favourite Bowie song), whilst Side 2 comprises experimental soundscapes with sparse vocals and electronic elements. Whilst some of the other Bowie albums have disappointed beyond the famous singles, this avoids a similar fate by placing the emphasis on the experimental elements - it is the handful of 'normal' songs that appear more out of place. The only problem is that what was innovative in 1977 can now sound a bit dated in 2022. Overall, I quite liked this, but it didn't blow me away. It's appearing more and more as if Bowie may be primarily a great singles artist. Rating: 3.5/5 Playlist track: Sound and Vision Date listened: 29/08/22
Electric house music from 1989. Reminiscent of 1990s video game music to the extent that I wonder if 'Donkey Doctor' is a deliberate nod to Donkey Kong. Rating: 3/5 Playlist track: Donkey Doctor Date listened: 30/08/22
Big hair, big riffs, big fun. Rating: 3.5/5 Playlist track: Malibu Beach Nightmare Date listened: 31/08/22
Similar in style to "The Hissing of Summer Lawns". Folk, pop and jazz brilliantly intertwined with thoughtful, melancholy lyrics sung in Joni Mitchell's distinctively smooth and relaxed voice. This is great. Rating: 4/5 Playlist track: Down to You Date listened: 01/09/22
Bang bang bang boop bip boop bip bang bang bang. Yawn. Rating: 1/5 Playlist track: No Good (Start the Dance) Date listened: 02/09/22
A better and less superficial version of The Sex Pistols. Ferocious music and politically charged lyrics (although they're mostly undecipherable without the lyric sheet). Rating: 3/5 Playlist track: Kill The Poor Date listened: 05/09/22
Grunge isn't usually my thing, but I really liked this. No particular tracks stood out, but it chugs along for an hour with an engaging energy and vibe. Rating: 3.5/5 Playlist track: Cherub Rock Date listened: 06/09/22
A Brazilian album that created 'Tropicália', an artistic movement in response to military dictatorship and The Beatles. This apparently led to Cartano Veloso being exiled from Brazil. My Portuguese is sub-par, so I wouldn't have picked any of this up from the record, but did find it an enjoyable and eclectic mix of genres, and distinctly Brazilian. Rating: 3/5 Playlist track: Tropicália Date listened: 07/09/22
After 429 albums my main observation of this list is that there is too much Elvis Costello, too much Time Waits, and far, far too much country music. I quite liked this initially, but as it wore on I found myself increasingly bored and having nothing really to say about it. Basically fine but not for me. Rating: 2/5 Playlist track: One Big Love Date listened: 08/09/22
This makes me want to put gladioli in my back pocket and go for a bike ride in the rain. A collection of 10 exceptional tracks which fit together perfectly. Lyrically each song is insightful and sad, yet darkly and intelligently humorous (to the point of hilarity in some cases). Musically it is catchy and full of melody and emotion. Morrisey and Marr nail every aspect of this record. A stone cold, sad, funny, beautiful, classic. Rating: 5/5 Playlist track: There is a Light that Never Goes Out Date listened: 09/09/22
A fun 40 minutes of catchy and accessible thrash metal with interesting themes and lyrics. Not too dense, a good handful of bangers, and doesn't outstay it's welcome. My only real criticism is that the depiction of John Major on the cover looks more like the Demon Headmaster. Rating: 4/5 Playlist track: Hangar 18 Date listened: 12/09/22
A bit modern, a bit tradish, rather folky, quite nice, a bit boring. Rating: 2.5/5 Playlist track: This Is the Way Date listened: 13/09/22
It's hardly a hot take to say this is a sprawling masterpiece and that disc 1 is a lot more accessible than the more experimental disc 2. My personal preference tends to be for more concise albums, and there is a single album of pure bangers amongst the 30 tracks here. However, the weirder songs and 'grout tracks' really work here and are an essential part of the piece. Rating: 4.5/5 Playlist track: Back In The U.S.S.R Date listened: 13/09/22
More than just Karma Chameleon, this is a really nice soulful pop record. No weak tracks and Boy George's voice is lush. Rating: 4/5 Playlist track: Karma Chameleon Date listened: 15/09/22
This album is all about atmosphere. The introspective and thoughtful songs are elevated by the little details and ambient interludes which really fit and enhance the tone. A subtle album, but if you listen carefully it's a gem. Rating: 4.5/5 Playlist track: Jesus Etc. Date listened: 16/09/22
I've previously questioned whether the number of Elvis Costello albums on this list might be overkill. However, the inclusion of this, Costello's debut, is clearly very well justified. It comprises 12 immaculately written and performed tracks. Each one is an instant ear worm, but with emotion and depth. Top notch. Rating: 4.5/5 Playlist track: Alison Date listened: 17/09/22
Much more accessible than I thought it would be. Includes actual singing and melody. Rating: 3/5 Playlist track: Lost in Music Date listened: 20/09/22
At first I thought this was just 'ambient beats to study and chill to'. It is that, but also a lot more. It's atmospheric and detailed and rewards an active listen. Somehow it manages to be both ambient and catchy at the same time. The more I listen the more I like it. Rating: 4/5 Playlist track: When I Grow Up Date listened: 21/09/22
Just sounded like standard 90s pop r'n'b to me. Probably a good example of what it is, but not really my thing. Rating: 2/5 Playlist track: Waterfalls Date listened: 22/09/22
Ooh, look at me, I'm a french robot with a shiny metal helmet and I make repetitive tippy tappy plinky plonky noises that go round and round for 74 minutes without any progression, theme or meaning. Je ne impressed pas. Rating: 1.5/5 Playlist track: Da Funk Date listened: 23/09/22
Turn of the millennium feminist futurepunk. Rating: 3.5/5 Playlist track: My My Metrocard Date listened: 26/09/22
A delirious review of a life and a moving meditation on death. Bowie's passing just two days after its release turns this jazzy and atmospheric album into a haunting masterpiece. Endlessly creative and an artist until the end. Rating: 5/5 Playlist track: Blackstar Date listened: 27/09/22
The Beach Boys' legendary lost album rerecorded in its entirety by Brian Wilson in 2004. He did a pretty good job. Despite no other Beach Boys being involved, this delivers the classic sound and characteristic harmonies. It will be interesting to compare this to 'The Smile Sessions' from 1967. Rating: 3.5/5 Playlist track: Heroes and Villains Date listened: 28/09/22
The sound of robots learning how to emote. Atmospheric ambient and quite affecting for electronic music. Instantly enjoyable and feels like with repeated listens this could be brilliant. Rating: 3.5/5 Playlist track: Roygbiv Date listened: 29/09/22
This album is about as nuanced as Hulk Hogan driving a monster truck to a Republican Party rally. But who needs nuance when you have riffs? It's big, it's basic, and it's timeless. 42 years old and could have been recorded yesterday. I'm not sure anything betters this in terms of loud, balls out, unpretentious rock. Rating: 4.5/5 Playlist track: Back in Black Date listened: 30/09/22
Metallica doing accessible without compromising heavy and generally killing it. Enter Sandman, Sad But True, The Unforgiven, Nothing Else Matters are top quality. The rest not of the same stratospheric level. Although mostly decent enough album tracks, the second half of the tecord is a bit of a slog to get through. If 2 to 4 of the weaker tracks had been left off it would be 5/5. Rating: 4/5 Playlist track: Enter Sandman Date listened: 03/10/22
Every track on Side 1 is single-worthy, but together they lack cohesion and flow. 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For', in particular, doesn't seem to fit the aesthetic of the album. Side 2 is less commercial but a lot more consistent and evocative of big sky America. Despite the front loading the hits, there is just about enough in common to tie the two sides together. 'Running To Stand Still' also aids the transition from Side 1 to Side 2. A strong album, but could have been more enjoyable with different sequencing. Rating: 3.5/5 Playlist track: With Or Without You Date listened: 04/10/22
Apparently this album was recorded with the intention of capturing a 'live performance' feeling. It worked. It's much less clinical and is more engaging than the other Deep Purple albums on this list. They'll never be a band I return to, but I didn't mind this. Rating: 2.5/5 Playlist track: Smoke On The Water Date listened: 04/10/22
Unwittingly and entirely against my will I have now listened to the ENTIRE My Bloody Valentine back catalogue. I wish I could say it had been in any way an enjoyable, interesting, or fulfilling 2 hours and 13 minutes. Whilst there is more identifiable tune going on here than their previous two efforts, it is still basically dirge, but with modern production. This album took from 1997 until 2011 to come to fruition. I would rather they hadn't bothered. Rating: 2/5 Playlist track: only tomorrow Date listened: 06/10/22
I could listen to this all day, and I almost did. A great and accessible blues record with some big name guest appearances. Rating: 4/5 Playlist track: I'm In The Mood Date listened: 07/10/22
It's easy to see why this was a critical and commercial success. Engaging and energetic, yet thoughtful and nuanced. With further listens I suspect this would be even more rewarding. Rating: 4.5/5 Playlist track: This Mess We're In Date listened: 10/10/22
High energy and combative. The live excerpts add to the energy and Chuck D and Flava Flav's voices combine pleasingly. Altogether this is an engaging listen and easy to see how it was ground braking and highly influential with broad appeal. Rating: 3/5 Playlist track: Date listened: 11/10/22
1970s soul R&B album. The first side features tracks with vocals, whilst the side 2 is almost purely instrumental. It's chilled and pleasant enough, but not one I'll remember this time next week. Rating: 2/5 Playlist track: Inspiration Information Date listened: 12/10/22
The scary masks and boiler suits are a clever gimmick and large part of Slipknot's huge success, but so is their music. Behind the cartoonish image and superfast drumming, the songs on their debut album pretty catchy and commercial. I quite happily tapped my toe along to this for 40 mins. Throw in a couple of hit singles and you have yourself a good album. Rating: 3.5/5 Playlist track: Wait and Bleed Date listened: 13/10/22
Slick 80s hard rock with the melody always at the forefront. Very much of its time, but still enjoyable today. Rating: 3/5 Playlist track: Photograph Date listened: 14/10/22
Dreamy, sad, emotional, lovely, this is a very evocative album and a totally unexpected delight. Reminiscent of Public Service Broadcasting with live vocals, and a bit Bob Dillony in places, it is beautifully crafted, subtle, textured, and chock-full of melody. I couldn't make out many of the lyrics, but for some reason it transported me to a sunset, perhaps over the main stage of a festival or overlooking a harbour full of fishing boats. Atmospheric. Rating: 4.5/5 Playlist track: Under the Pressure Date listened: 17/10/22
A catchy pop punk album. Kids will love it, but it's not really for grown ups. Rating: 2.5/5 Playlist track: Basket Case Date listened: 18/10/22
Twigs has bent and mashed up genres to the extent that she has made something creative and original. Well done for that. The only problem is it does not sound very nice in my ears. Rating: 1.5/5 Playlist track: Two Weeks Date listened: 19/10/22
Catchy, high energy 80s pop rock. What's not to like? Rating: 3.5/5 Playlist track: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Date listened: 20/10/22
Even without the context as electronic music trailblazers, this is a great album. Mechanical computer blips and bloops come together to create a very melodic, atmospheric and strangely beautiful and emotive record. Rating: 4.5/5 Playlist track: The Model Date listened: 21/10/22
Pretty and chilled bossa nova album. Really nice vocals. The producer of this record died rescuing the master tapes from a studio fire. That is commitment to a project. Rating: 3/5 Playlist track: Samba de Bencao Date listened: 22/10/22
Nice, pleasant, gentle acoustic folk album with some lovely songwriting. Apparently the tone of this record contrasted with the sense of impending doom in 1966, but my understanding of 1960s history is not strong enough to take anything from this context. Rating: 3.5/5 Playlist track: Homeward Bound Date listened: 24/10/22
The crunchier, grittier side of R.E.M. Maybe not quite their stellar best, but an important and interesting part of their cannon. Rating: 3.5/5 Playlist track: It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) Date listened: 25/10/22
'Bongo Rock' by the 'Incredible Bongo Band' does not scream 'my kind of music'. However, it's a joyful 35 minutes of fun instrumental music. The cover of Apache is very familiar from various TV shows, trailers and adverts. My only criticism is that it contradicts the Trade Descriptions Act as bongos aren't the 'hero' instrument or that prominent on most of the tracks, but I'll let it off - I can't think of too many occasions when I've though 'what this song needs is more bongos'. Rating: 4 3.5/5 Playlist track: Apache Date listened: 26/10/22
A breezy 1960s-esque quasi-psychedelic soft rock record. Pleasant and enjoyable with nice harmonies and interesting instrumentation. Tailed off a bit towards the end. I thought the band name sounded like a mobile phone until I said it out loud. Now I get it. Rating: 3.5/5 Playlist track: Grass Date listened: 27/10/22
Pixies' debut album. Lo fi garage rock. Apparently influenced Nirvana. I can tell. Did not love this. Rating: 2/5 Playlist track: Where Is My Mind Date listened: 28/10/22
The Clash's mammoth masterpiece. 19 tracks covering an eclectic mix of genres including punk, reggae, ska, rockabilly, pop, and rock. Whatever the style, each song has a great and memorable hook which keeps you... well... hooked. Despite the variety there is something in the sequencing and production that holds the album together and enables it to make sense. In particular, the 10 song run from 'Rudi Can't Fail' to 'The Card Cheat' is ludicrously strong and would be a 5/5 album on its own, even without the iconic 'London Calling' and 'Train in Vain' which brilliantly bookend the album. An all time classic. Rating: 5/5 Playlist track: Death or Glory Date listened: 29/10/22
There should be more short albums about things. As the title suggests, this is a sweet, shot and idiosyncratically romantic chamber pop record. It's not subtle, but it's really good. The lyrics are direct, full of imagery and amusingly truthful all at once. In all literature, music or art I'm not sure anyone has ever described the devotion of being in love better than 'If': "if you were a horse, I'd clean the crap out of your stable, and never once complain, if you were a horse, I could ride you through the fields at dawn, through the day until the day was gone"? Rating: 4/5 Playlist track: Everybody Knows (except you) Date listened: 30/10/22
All of my Peter Gabriel knowledge comes from Peep Show. According to Toni, "he single-handedly created WOMAD." This album sounds like it was made by someone who single-handedly created WOMAD. Quite a lot going on, and some of it quite complex, but all of it very safe. Rating: 2.5/5 Playlist track: Solsbury Hill Date listened: 31/10/22
The soundtrack to a murder mystery thriller film that doesn't exist. This mainly begs the question, 'why'? Leaving that aside, the first half of this is a convincing and atmospheric soundtrack. It tails off towards the end, but Act 1 in particular conveys a clear sense of what would be happening in the fictitious film and evoces visualisations of dark, murky streets. Perhaps things will come full circle and someone will make a film to accompany the soundtrack one day. Rating: 2/5 Playlist track: Under Wraps Date listened: 01/11/22
I'm not sure what it is about young Rod Stewart that repels me so. These days it's the creepy old man thinking he's sexy thing. For 1970s Rod Stewart I think it's a feeling that his soulful and rocker stylings are not for real. I may be doing him a big disservice, but I just get the impression that Rod's career has been very calculated. This is a perfectly adequate rock, folk, blues record, but to me it just seems faux. Rating: 2.5/5 Playlist track: Maggie May Date listened: 02/11/22
Quirky 80s post punk with lots of energy. Bounces along nicely enough with funky baselines and discoesque guitar in places. Rating: 2.5/5 Playlist track: Date listened: 03/11/22
An incredibly tight and powerful live performance, brilliantly captured on record. Listened to the 1970 track list. Rating: 3.5/5 Playlist track: Substitute Date listened: 04/11/22
If (as track 1 says) "the world is music", this album is an overcrowded, polluted and impoverished city. Tradition and culture meet industry, but the latter erodes the former to create an unpleasant and monotonous experience for inhabitants and listeners. Rating: 1.5/5 Playlist track: Traveller Date listened: 05/11/22
Apparently this is rated by many as the greatest hip hop album of all time. I've not listened to them all, but from what I know, this does seem to be a good one. Quite listenable. Rating: 2.5/5 Playlist track: N.Y. State of Mind Date listened: 06/11/22
Minimal dancy art rock from 1978. Probably quite far ahead of its time. Rating: 2.5/5 Playlist track: Thank You for Sending Me an Angel Date listened: 07/11/22
Latter era Elvis. A more mature, smoother voice, which is perfect for the more mature, Memphis soul songs. This may be my favourite incarnation of Elvis. What 1969 Elvis lacks in raw energy compared to his early rock-n-roll, he makes up for in depth and emotion. He also looks and sounds at his most iconic. Rating: 4/5 Playlist track: In the Ghetto Date listened: 08/11/22
I have no idea why anyone would want to listen to this. It is bad and annoying. Rating: 1.5/5 Playlist track: I'm Glad Date listened: 09/11/22
Maybe it was funny at the time, but humour has moved on since the late '60s. To be any good, comedy albums need to be both really funny and musically excellent. This is neither. Rating: 1.5/5 Playlist track: What's The Ugliest Part Of Your Body? Date listened: 10/11/22
Experimental, textured and folky with weird elements of jazz. The songs aren't great to start with, but any potential for enjoying them is ruined by the slurred mumbled and drawled vocals. This isn't 'awful' awful but is very hard to like for a casual listener. Rating: 2/5 Playlist track: Over The Hill Date listened: 11/11/22
Like Morrissey, I long for the good old days when Kanye was just a ridiculous egomaniac, before he held or started expressing abhorrent views. This album dates from the harmless egomaniac era and it's easy to see how it drew critical acclaim and had mass appeal. A mad mix of genres and tempos, but catchy and engaging throughout, this is an exhilarating listen. Rating: 4/5 Playlist track: Black Skinhead Date listened: 12/11/22
I really like Super Furry Animals, but this isn't the album I would have chosen for this list. It's a decent pop rock album with plenty of good songs, and hints of the genius to come, but more direct and less creatively interesting than their later output. SFA OK!, but not SFA brilliant just yet. Rating: 3/5 Playlist track: If You'l Don't Want Me to Destroy You Date listened: 13/11/22
A stripped back Springsteen, playing all of the instruments, recorded on a 4 track. Familiar themes and stories of blue collar struggle, but more downbeat and lacking the overblown musical cheesiness of some of his most popular compositions. It really works and is by far my favourite version of The Boss that I've heard so far. As an aside, after listening to 'Atlantic City' I couldn't get 'I Want It That Way' by Backstreet Boys out of my head. Rating: 4/5 Playlist track: Atlantic City Date listened: 14/11/22
The Beatles third album. A 30 minute romp of uncomplicated, joyful, catchy guitar pop. All original compositions for the first time and a handful of stone cold classics. For simple good fun this is hard to beat. Rating: 4/5 Playlist track: A Hard Day's Night Date listened: 15/11/22
I just don't 'get' Radiohead. No doubt they are very creative and hugely talented musicians who make varied and intricate music, but their songs and albums just do nothing for me. This isn't one of their 'rated' albums but, although a bit overlong, I thought it was fine. With repeated listens the political themes and musical subtleties may become more apparent, but why would I put in the work when there are other artists I enjoy infinitely more straight away? Rating: 2.5/5 Playlist track: 2 + 2 = 5 Date listened: 16/11/22
The third of Elvis Costello's debut trilogy of albums. Like 'My Aim Is True' (1977) and 'This Year's Model' (1978), this is a collection of instantly likeable and catchy guitar pop songs. A slight law of diminishing returns from the previous two records and tails off after a strong start, but very good overall. Rating: 3.5/5 Playlist track: Accidents Will Happen Date listened: 17/11/22
Slick, professional, well produced, and the boy can sing, but this is a little disappointing overall. It presents very much as a product rather than an artistic endeavor and lacks the electricity of 1950s Elvis or the soulfulness of later Elvis. The only message that comes across (other than a desire for $$$) is that Elvis was feeling rather randy following two years away with the army. Rating: 2/5 Playlist track: Dirty, Dirty Feeling Date listened: 18/11/22
The follow up to Highway 61 Revisited. Plugged in but traditionally folky for the most part. Vocally, this is in the sweet spot on the 'mumbling -> straining for a poo' continuum. Dylan can't hold a note, but appears to know it and accepts his limitations here, so and at least it's easy to hear the words. However, for a double album so frequently praised for its poetic lyrics, the words and themes of the album didn't strike me as particularly interesting. Rating: 3/5 Playlist track: Visions of Johanna Date listened: 19/11/22
Not classic Beach Boys. Rating: 2/5 Playlist track: Don't Go Near The Water Date listened: 20/11/22
It's B.B. King live in 1964. King of the blues, an all time great performer with bags of charisma. This was never going to be anything less than brilliant. It does not disappoint. Rating: 4/5 Playlist track: Every Day I Have The Blues Date listened: 21/11/22
Latin jazz rock by a legendary guitarist. Undoubtedly a great example of what it is, but not something I'd come back to. Rating: 2.5/5 Playlist track: Oye Como Va Date listened: 22/11/22
My first exposure to this album was seeing Dinosaur Jr. perform it live at the Ally Pally in 2011. That night they rocked quite hard in a grumpy kind of way. It turns out is an accurate representation of this record. Rating: 3.5/5 Playlist track: Freak Scene Date listened: 23/11/22
I played the heck out of this album when I was at school. Angels, Let Me Entertain You, and Old Before I Die are classic 90s singles and the rest is as you would expect for former boy band cheeky chappie britpop. It's dated now but still an unchallenging and enjoyable listen. Rating: 3/5 Playlist track: Angels Date listened: 24/11/22
Maybe I'm not musically literate enough to really appreciate the intricacies (or even the basics) of what Miles Davis is doing here, or why it's considered to be good. Rating: 2/5 Playlist track: John McLaughlin Date listened: 25/11/22
Urgh. I'd been dreading this day. On a Saturday too. I predict this isn't going to do good things for my Parkrun time. Having said that, hello, Hello! What a powerful and moving song. It genuinely affected me. The rest, not so much. It's largely generic pap. The strategy of releasing one big single and somehow getting the 6 o'clock news to promote her album has worked a treat for Adel. Rating: 2/5 Playlist track: Hello Date listened: 26/11/22 P.S. I was right. Almost 30 minutes this morning.
Bold, confident, brilliant. Killer classics and not a weak track on the album. Add a cool concept and an iconic character, and you have an all-time great album. Rating: 5/5 Playlist track: Starman Date listened: 27/11/22
Turner. Alex Turner. Licensed to be in a dramatic and enjoyable Arctic Monkeys side project with an orchestral, Bond theme vibe. Rating: 4/5 Playlist track: The Meeting Place Date listened: 28/11/22
This starts with a literal music appreciation lesson which, although quite technical, was helpful even for a non-muso like me. Listening with an open and relaxed mind, as per Ravi Shankar's suggestion, this was quite atmospheric and interesting. Rating: 3/5 Playlist track: Dádrá Date listened: 29/11/22
Late 90s pop RNB diva sound. One of the worst musics ever to have gained popularity. All I want for Christmas is this godawful warbling to stop. Rating: 1/5 Playlist track: Honey Date listened: 30/11/22
It was good to listen to this again, two decades after it once had heavy rotation on my CD player. Whilst my preferences have moved on to an extent, it remains an undisputed quality album. The Stone Roses were never able to get close to their debut album's genius again, and arguably this was also both the start and the peak of 'Madchester' and Britpop. Rating: 5/5 Playlist track: I Am the Resurrection Date listened: 01/12/22
Dirty and groovy alternative rock from 1990. Very enjoyable for the main, but slightly outstayed it's welcome by the end. It's easy to see this record's influence in what came after. Rating: 3.5/5 Playlist track: Date listened: 02/12/22
An eclectic behemoth of hip hop. When this is good, it's great, but there is just so much (too much) of it. I would have suggested picking the best 10 or 11 tracks. That would have been an ace album. Rating: 2/5 Playlist track: Ms. Jackson Date listened: 03/12/22
The classic Beach Boys harmonies are present throughout but no songs of surf, sun or California are to be found here. Nonetheless, Side 1 is full of up tempo bangers and is great. Side 2 comprises ballads and isn't the Beach Boys' best work. Rating: 3/5 Playlist track: Help Me, Rhonda Date listened: 04/12/22
A great big slab of rock. Rating: 3.5/5 Playlist track: Stairway to Heaven Date listened: 05/12/22
Songs of life, death and what it is to be alive. A life affirming record that is one of my favourites (if not my favourite) of all time. Musically creative and unique, and emotionally affecting, this does the happy/sad, defeated/determined, mundane/extraordinary thing to perfection. It is totally my jam. Individually every track is brilliant and many are a microcosm of the album overall, taking the listener on a voyage from a sad or troubling feeling through to happiness, wonder or even euphoria as a result of reaching acceptance. Sometimes this emotional journey is inspired by something mundane like folding up washing or feeling a little old. My favourite moment is when Wayne's meek little voice comes in in the middle of the orchestrally huge 'The Gash' with "will the fight for sanity be the fight of our lives, now that we've lost all the reasons that we thought that we had". A devastatingly sad sentiment. But then the huge group vocals kick back in and rouse the spirit to want to keep battling and keep trying even if everything seems hopeless. I'm not sure why, but this somehow connects with me, as does the whole record. I love it because it makes me feel. Rating: 5/5 Playlist track: Race for the Prize Date listened: 06/12/22 P.S. I've grown up with the UK/Australian track listing, which I consider the definitive and best flowing version (especially if you stop after Sleeping on the Roof and ignore the three remixes at the end).
Take Me Out is great, but the rest seems to just be 10 more songs in the Style of Take Me Out but nowhere near as good. Rating: 2/5 Playlist track: Take Me Out Date listened: 07/12/22