Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 300-291


Last September, Rolling Stone magazine released their most recent list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, which includes a greater variety of artists and genres than previous lists. Looking through the list, there were many albums I’d never listened to before and a few I’d never even heard of. In fact, counting it up, I found that I’d only listened to 140 of the albums, although I’d heard songs from many more. So I’ve decided my project for 2021 is to listen to 10 albums each week and write up some thoughts about each one.

Previous Posts:

500-491 400-381
490-481 390-381
480-471 380-371
470-461 370-361
460-451 360-351
450-441 350-341
440-431 340-331
430-421 330-321
420-411 320-311
410-401 310-301

Artist: Shania Twain
AlbumCome on Over
Year: 1997
Label: Mercury
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: No
Would I Listen to this Album Again?:
Favorite Tracks:

  • Man! I Feel Like a Woman”

Thoughts:  Despite Rolling Stones assertion that  this is one of the biggest albums of all time, I didn’t listen to contemporary country in the 1990s, so I didn’t expect to know any of these songs.  I was wrong. “Man! I Feel Like a Woman” may be the first song on this list that I only recognize because its (over)use in social media posts.  Nice to know who sings it. I also discovered that I recognized “From This Moment On” which sounds like it should be in a movie soundtrack. As does the utterly familiar “You’re Still the One.”


Artist: B.B. King
AlbumLive at the Regal
Year: 1965
Label: ABC-Paramount
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Sweet Little Angel”
  • “How Blue Can You Get?”
  • “Worry, Worry”
  • “You Done Lost Your Good Thing Now”

Thoughts:  B.B. King’s distinctive voice and distinctive guitar-playing style are showcased in this blistering live performance recording.  It’s records like this that make me wish I had a time machine that could take me to Chicago on November 21, 1964.


Artist: Tom Petty
Album: Full Moon Fever
Year: 1989
Label: MCA
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Yes
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?:
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Free Fallin'”
  • “I Won’t Back Down”
  • “Runnin’ Down a Dream”

Thoughts: Like Neil Young, the music of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers never did much for me despite it being the work of clearly talented artists.  This was the first album Petty recorded as a “solo” artist (with a lot of help from his friends) and it really caught my attention back in 1989.  This album musically feels like a spinoff from the Traveling Wilburys and George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, and Roy Orbison all contributed as well as most of the Heartbreakers and session drummer Jim Keltner.  I was disappointed by the Wilburys’ first album but ended up really liking Full Moon Fever.  It still holds up pretty well 30+ years later.


Artist: Peter Gabriel
AlbumSo
Year: 1986
Label: Geffen
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Yes
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Red Rain”
  • “Sledgehammer”
  • “Don’t Give Up”

ThoughtsSo was among the first albums I owned as a child.  I ranked in #16 in my 2009 list of favorite albums of all time.  And I revisited the album last year in my Peter Gabriel Music Discovery.  I really like the album is what I’m saying.


Artist: Neil Young
AlbumRust Never Sleeps
Year: 1979
Label: Reprise
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?:
Favorite Tracks:

  • “My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)”

Thoughts: Speaking of Neil Young, here is his weekly appearance in this project.  This album is largely acoustic, downtempo, and goes in one ear and out the other without making much an impression on me.  Maybe people need a special type of neuron to fully appreciate Neil Young’s music.


Artist: Daft Punk
AlbumRandom Access Memories
Year: 2013
Label: Columbia
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?:
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Giorgio by Morodor”
  • “Touch (feat. Paul Williams)”
  • “Get Lucky (feat. Pharrell Williams and Nile Rogers)”
  • “Motherboard”
  • “Contact”

Thoughts: Daft Punk seamlessly blends 50’s sci fi, 70s disco, 80s ambient synth music, and contemporary EDM on this massively successful LP.  In a nice nod to their predecessors there’s a song tribute to Giorgio Morodor, and Nile Rogers joins them on “Get Lucky,” a song everyone loves.  A lot of the album is down-tempo and doesn’t appeal enough to me to return to on the whole, although there are numerous standout tracks.


Artist: Weezer
AlbumWeezer
Year: 1994
Label: Geffen
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Yes
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “My Name is Jonas”
  • “The World Has Turned and Left Me Here”
  • “Buddy Holly”
  • “Undone – The Sweater Song”
  • “In the Garage”  – ironically I like this song far better than anything by Kiss

Thoughts: Weezer is a band that people heap vitriolic hate upon merely because they are not as good as they used to be.  But this album is from when they were definitely considered good.  Weezer’s debut album hit my senior year of college and their brand of nerdy power pop was a salve in the days when grungy alt-rock had past its peak.  I stuck with Weezer for quite a long time after this album, and I definitely don’t hate them even if the quality of their music has gone down consistently.


Artist: The Breeders
Album: Last Splash
Year: 1993
Label: Elektra
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Yes
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Cannonball”
  • “Roi”
  • “I Just Want to Get Along”
  • “Divine Hammer”
  • “Saints”
  • “Drivin’ on 9”

Thoughts: Speaking of college, there was a time when I couldn’t walk down a dormitory corridor without hearing this album playing in someone’s room.  “Cannonball” was that unique song that everyone seemed to like, from the cooler-than-thou music snobs to the Christian rock kids.  I ranked Last Splash at 53 in my 2009 list of favorite albums, which seems low in retrospect.  Anyhow, getting to listen to Weezer and The Breeders back to back is like being reunited with old friends.


Artist: Van Halen
AlbumVan Halen
Year: 1978
Label: Warner Bros.
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Runnin’ with the Devil”
  • “I’m the One”

Thoughts:  I’ve never had a strong affinity for Van Halen, but never disliked the band either. Eddie Van Halen’s guitar virtuosity and David Lee Roth’s seemingly improvised – and frequently horny – lyrics are irresistible.  Turns out that this is an extremely solid, if ear-splitting, debut album.


Artist: Destiny’s Child
AlbumThe Writing’s on the Wall
Year: 1999
Label: Columbia
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: No
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: No
Favorite Tracks:

Thoughts: I was oblivious of Destiny’s Child when they were the big thing.  Mainly I know them as where Beyoncé got her start, which is probably unfair to the rest of the group. They definitely sound like a good r&b vocal group, but, you know, not my thing.  It’s a long album though so Destiny’s Child fans got their money’s worth!

Running List of Albums I’d Listen to Again

  • 500. Arcade Fire, Funeral
  • 498. Suicide, Suicide
  • 497. Various Artists, The Indestructible Beat of Soweto
  • 494. The Ronettes, Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes
  • 489. A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector from Phil Spector and Various Artists, Back to Mono (1958-1969)
  • 487. Black Flag, Damaged
  • 485. Richard and Linda Thompson, I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight
  • 483. Muddy Waters, The Anthology
  • 482. The Pharcyde, Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde
  • 481. Belle and Sebastian, If You’re Feeling Sinister
  • 478. The Kinks, Something Else by the Kinks
  • 477. Howlin’ Wolf, Moanin’ in the Moonlight
  • 469.Manu Chao, Clandestino
  • 465. King Sunny Adé, The Best of the Classic Years
  • 464. The Isley Brothers, 3 + 3
  • 462. The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Gilded Palace of Sin
  • 459. Kid Cudi, Man on the Moon: The End of the Day
  • 457. Sinéad O’Connor, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got
  • 456. Al Green, Greatest Hits
  • 455. Bo Diddley, Bo Diddley/Go Bo Diddley
  • 453. Nine Inch Nails, Pretty Hate Machine
  • 452. Diana Ross and the Supremes, Anthology
  • 451. Roberta Flack, First Take
  • 448. Otis Redding, Dictionary of Soul
  • 446. Alice Coltrane, Journey in Satchidanada
  • 444. Fiona Apple, Extraordinary Machine
  • 443. David Bowie, Scary Monsters
  • 440. Loretta Lynn, Coal Miner’s Daughter
  • 439. James Brown, Sex Machine
  • 438. Blur, Parklife
  • 437. Primal Scream, Screamadelica
  • 435. Pet Shop Boys, Actually
  • 433. LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver
  • 431. Los Lobos, How Will the Wolf Survive?
  • 430. Elvis Costello, My Aim Is True
  • 429. The Four Tops, Reach Out
  • 428. Hüsker Dü, New Day Rising
  • 427. Al Green, Call Me
  • 426. Lucinda Williams, Lucinda Williams
  • 425. Paul Simon, Paul Simon
  • 424. Beck, Odelay
  • 423. Yo La Tengo, I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One
  • 422. Marvin Gaye, Let’s Get It On
  • 421. M.I.A., Arular
  • 417. Ornette Coleman, The Shape of Jazz to Come
  • 416. The Roots, Things Fall Apart
  • 415. The Meters, Looka Py Py
  • 414. Chic, Risqué
  • 413. Creedence Clearwater Revival, Cosmo’s Factory
  • 412. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Going to a Go Go
  • 409. Grateful Dead, Workingman’s Dead
  • 408. Motörhead, Ace of Spades
  • 406. Magnetic Fields, 69 Love Songs
  • 405. Various, Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era
  • 403. Ghostface Killah, Supreme Clientele
  • 402. Fela Kuti and Africa 70, Expensive Shit
  • 401. Blondie, Blondie
  • 400. The Go-Go’s, Beauty and the Beat
  • 398. The Raincoats, The Raincoats
  • 397. Billie Eilish, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
  • 395. D’Angelo and the Vanguard, Black Messiah
  • 392. Ike and Tina Turner, Proud Mary: The Best of Ike and Tina Turner
  • 390. Pixies, Surfer Rosa
  • 388. Aretha Franklin, Young, Gifted and Black
  • 387. Radiohead, In Rainbows
  • 386. J Dilla, Donuts
  • 385. Ramones, Rocket to Russia
  • 384. The Kinks, The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society
  • 380. Charles Mingus, Mingus Ah Um
  • 378. Run-DMC, Run-D.M.C.
  • 377. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Fever to Tell
  • 375. Green Day, Dookie
  • 374. Robert Johnson, King of the Delta Blues Singers
  • 373. Isaac Hayes, Hot Buttered Soul
  • 371. The Temptations, Anthology
  • 369. Mobb Deep, The Infamous
  • 368. George Harrison, All Things Must Pass
  • 365. Madvillain, Madvillainy
  • 364. Talking Heads, More Songs About Buildings and Food
  • 363. Parliament, The Mothership Connection
  • 360. Funkadelic, One Nation Under a Groove
  • 358. Sonic Youth, Goo
  • 357. Tom Waits, Rain Dogs
  • 356. Dr. John, Gris-Gris
  • 354. X-Ray Spex, Germfree Adolescents
  • 351. Roxy Music, For Your Pleasure
  • 350. Stevie Wonder, Music of My Mind
  • 349. MC5, Kick Out the Jams
  • 348. Gillian Welch, Time (The Revelator)
  • 347. GZA, Liquid Swords
  • 346. Arctic Monkeys, AM
  • 345. Bruce Springsteen, The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle
  • 344. Toots and the Maytals, Funky Kingston
  • 343. Sly and the Family Stone, Greatest Hits
  • 342. The Beatles, Let It Be
  • 341. The Smashing Pumpkins, Siamese Dream
  • 338. Brian Eno, Another Green World
  • 337.  Bob Dylan, John Wesley Harding
  • 335. Bob Dylan and the Band, The Basement Tapes
  • 334. Santana, Abraxas
  • 333. Bill Withers, Still Bill
  • 332. Elvis Presley, Elvis Presley
  • 330. The Rolling Stones, Aftermath
  • 329. DJ Shadow, Endtroducing…
  • 328. Vampire Weekend, Modern Vampires of the City
  • 326. Prince, Dirty Mind
  • 323.The Clash, Sandinista!
  • 320. X, Los Angeles
  • 319. The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses
  • 317. Billie Holiday, Lady in Satin
  • 316. The Who, The Who Sell Out
  • 310. Wire, Pink Flag
  • 309. Joy Division, Closer
  • 308. Brian Eno, Here Come the Warm Jets
  • 307. Sam Cooke, Portrait of a Legend
  • 306. Al Green, I’m Still In Love With You
  • 304. Bill Withers, Just As I Am
  • 301. New York Dolls, New York Dolls
  • 299. B.B. King, Live at the Regal
  • 297. Peter Gabriel, So
  • 294. Weezer, Weezer
  • 293. The Breeders, Last Splash
  • 292. Van Halen, Van Halen

 

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