Part three of my top 100 albums of all time.
80. Other Voices, Other Rooms by Nanci Griffith (1993)
Another good example of the artist-as-interpreter with Griffith covering folk classics and obscure nuggets will the help of an all-star cast of collaborating musicians. Highlights include “From Clare to Here,” This Old Town,” and “Are You Tired of Me Darling?”
79. Profound Sounds by Josh Wink (1999)
I have a number of electronica discs in my collection with a lot of good tracks but it’s rare to find one as cohesive as an album as Profound Sounds. The liner notes also include a nice tribute to the mix tape. Highlights include “K-Mart Shopping (Hi-Fi Mix)” by Nerio’s Dubwork Meets Kathy Lee, “Vol 1” by Care Company, and “D2” by Johannes Heil & Heiko Laux.
78. Odelay by Beck (1996)
There those who foolishly thought Beck was a one-hit wonder after “Loser” were informed of their mistake by the hit “Where It’s At.” Odelay also proved that Beck could make a great album. In fact while this is the highest ranking Beck album in the top 100, I strongly considered putting some of his other albums in the list including Sea Change, Guero, and The Information. Really, they’re all good. Highlights of Odelay include “Jack-Ass,” “High 5 (Rock the Catskills,” and “Minus.”
77. Songs from the Big Chair by Tears For Fears (1985)
This may be my guilty pleasure, but I’ve had a copy of this album pretty much since it was released so it gets a longevity award if nothing else. In addition to the three singles everyone knows (“Everybody Wants To Rule The World,” “Shout,” and “Head Over Heals”), I’ve long been fond of the more avante-garde piece “Listen.”
76. Anthology of American Folk Music (1952)
This collection puts together many folk, blues, and country recordings from the 1920’s-30’s, a time when those genres hadn’t even been defined. Influential of the folk revival of the 50’s & 60’s this anthology is great for studying American music and just plain fun to listen to. Check out the Smithsonian Folkways Collection podcast (episodes 4-6) for more of the story behind the Anthology and then get a copy of your very own.
75. The Divine Comedy by Milla (1994)
One would expect that a model-actress who records an album of songs she wrote as a teenager would create something unlistenable and self-indulgent. Lucky Milla Jovovich wrote mature, dreamy pop songs inspired by folk and Slavic traditioons that are well worth a listen. Highlights include “It’s Your Life,” “Gentleman Who Fell,” and “Reaching From Nowhere.”
74. The Resophonics by The Resophonics (2001)
The Somerville Bluegrass Boys first collection of excellent modern bluegrass music. Their other albums are pretty good too as is anything Sean Staples works on. Highlights include “Willow Tree,” “Anna Lee,” and “Young Love.”
73. The Rhythm of the Saints by Paul Simon (1990)
This album never got the appreciation of Graceland, but it’s almost as good. Simon’s well-crafted, impressionistic lyrics are accompanied by Brazilian and West African music. The batucada drumming on the opening track was ear-opening for me as a youngster. Highlights include “The Obvious Child,” “The Coast,” and “Born at the Right Time.”
72. Surfer Rosa by Pixies (1988)
Long before the Pixies became one of the best oldies bands touring about the world non-stop, they recorded one of the most influential rock albums of all time. Includes some of the Pixes best songs such as “Gigantic,” “Where is My Mind?,” and “Bone Machine.”
71. Violent Femmes by Violent Femmes (1982)
If you didn’t have a copy of this album in college, then your roommate did. Either way you don’t need me to tell you why it’s great or list of the highlights. You can probably recite the track listing from memory.