Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 210-201


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:

500-491 400-381 300-291
490-481 390-381 290-281
480-471 380-371 280-271
470-461 370-361 270-261
460-451 360-351 260-251
450-441 350-341 250-241
440-431 340-331 240-231
430-421 330-321 230-221
420-411 320-311 220-211
410-401 310-301

Artist: Ray Charles
Album: The Birth of Soul
Year: 1991
Label: Atlantic
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:

  • “Mess Around”
  • “Don’t You Know”
  • “I’ve Got a Woman”
  • “Hard Times (No One Knows Better Than I)”
  • “Hallelujah, I Love Her So”
  • “You Be My Baby”
  • “The Right Time”
  • “What’d I Say, Pt. 1 & 2”

ThoughtsRolling Stone once again cops out by using an entire box set as a “best album” to represent and all-time great artist.  But Ray Charles’ music is so good, I don’t mind that much.  Besides, he does have an actual original studio album coming up on the list.


Artist: Run-DMC
Album: Raising Hell
Year: 1986
Label: Profile
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:

  • “Peter Piper”
  • “It’s Tricky”
  • “Walk This Way (feat. Aerosmith)”
  • “Raising Hell”
  • “Proud to Be Black”

Thoughts:  This is the first rap album I ever owned and it was the soundtrack to 1986.  As a diehard Mets’ fan, “Kings from Queens, from Queens come Kings” took on extra meaning as the Mets dominated baseball that season. And then the World Series versus the Red Sox was paralleled in the New York vs. Boston clash of Run-DMC and Aerosmith on “Walk This Way.”  (By the way, would you believed I never heard of Aerosmith before their appearance on the Run-DMC cover song?)


Artist: Lil Wayne
AlbumTha Carter III
Year: 2008
Label: Cash Money/Universal Motown
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:

  • “Mr. Carter”
  • “Dr. Carter”
  • “Pussy Monster”
  • “DontGetIt”

Thoughts: This is a weird and eclectic collection of music.  The diversity of sounds is a strength although it also means that there are a number of misses among the hits.  I definitely like this more than the last Lil Wayne album I listened to.


Artist: Eagles
Album: Eagles
Year: 1972
Label: Asylum
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?: No
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Nightingale”

Thoughts:


Artist: David Bowie
AlbumLow
Year: 1977
Label: RCA
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:

  • “Sound and Vision”
  • “Be My Wife”
  • “A New Career in a New Town”
  • “Warszawa”
  • “Subterranean”

Thoughts: David Bowie fled to Berlin to reinvent himself again and escape cocaine addiction leading to a trilogy of experimental albums starting with Low. I particularly like the second side of the album where Bowie worked with Brian Eno and Tony Visconti to create atmospheric electronic music.

I previously reviewed Low in my David Bowie Music Discovery.


Artist: Cat Stevens
Album: Tea for the Tillerman
Year: 1970
Label: A&M
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:

  • “Hard Headed Woman”
  • “Wild World”
  • “Miles From Nowhere”
  • “On The Road to Find Out”
  • “Father and Son”

Thoughts: Cat Stevens’ career peaked in the early 1970s and I went to college in the early 90s, but Cat Stevens’ greatest hits collection remained popular among my fellow students.  The Cat Stevens’ songbook was particularly popular among amature guitarists.  This album contains a lot of the hits but is surprisingly a solid and consistent collection emphasizing Steven’s excellent instrumentation and his whisper-to-shout singing style.


Artist: Kanye West
AlbumGraduation
Year: 2007
Label: Roc-A-Fella
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:

  • “Champion”
  • “Stronger”
  • “Flashing Lights”

Thoughts: I have a feeling I’m going to listen to the entire Kanye West catalog by the time this project is through. (Okay, I checked, and only 6 of West’s 9 studio albums released prior to the release of the Rolling Stone 500 are on the list, and his 10th album was released yesterday). I haven’t been a big fan of what I’ve heard so far, but musically each album sounds better than the previous one.  Lyrically, Kanye West just seems to be full of himself.


Artist: Nick Drake
Album: Pink Moon
Year: 1972
Label: Island
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?: No
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Which Will”
  • “Parasite”

Thoughts: Nick Drake, who I have a bad habit of conflating with Nick Lowe, never knew great success as a musician in his lifetime. Pink Moon documents Lowe’s struggle with depression that contributed to his early death two years later.  Drake’s music became a favorite among musicians in the 1990s eventually giving his music more widespread exposure, including most notoriously in a Volkswagen commercial.  Drake’s guitar playing is excellent and it is really interesting how much his music fits the 90s vibe rather than his own time.


Artist: Björk
Album: Homogenic
Year: 1997
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:

  • “Hunter”
  • “Joga”
  • “Bachelorette”
  • “5 Years”
  • “All is Full of Love”

Thoughts: Björk’s 90s albums are uniformly excellent, and I can go back and forth over whether Homogenic or Post is my favorite.  In 2009, I ranked Post higher in My Favorite Albums of All Time list.  Either way, Björk adapts electronica and dance music sounds for really brilliant art rock.


Artist: A Tribe Called Quest
AlbumMidnight Marauders
Year: 1993
Label: Jive
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?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Award Tour”
  • “8 Million Stories”
  • “Electric Relaxation”
  • “Clap Your Hands”
  • “Oh My God”

Thoughts: I can’t tell you why I didn’t listen to A Tribe Called Quest albums at the time they came out, so I guess I’ll just have to own up to the mistake. I feel like I was even going to buy one of their albums but can’t remember why I didn’t pull the trigger.  Anyhow, even 28 years later this album is a great treat from the Golden Age of Hip Hop.


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
  • 289.  Björk, Post
  • 288. The Modern Lovers, The Modern Lovers
  • 287. The Byrds, Mr. Tambourine Man
  • 283. Donna Summer, Bad Girls
  • 282. Frank Sinatra, In the Wee Small Hours
  • 279. Nirvana, MTV Unplugged in New York
  • 278. Led Zeppelin, Houses of the Holy
  • 276. Radiohead, The Bends
  • 275. Curtis Mayfield, Curtis
  • 274. The Byrds, Sweetheart of the Rodeo
  • 273. Gang of Four, Entertainment!
  • 272. The Velvet Underground, White Light/White Heat
  • 267. Minutemen, Double Nickels on the Dime
  • 266. The Beatles, Help!
  • 263. The Beatles, A Hard Day’s Night
  • 262. New Order, Power, Corruption & Lies
  • 261. Beastie Boys, Check Your Head
  • 260. The Slits, Cut
  • 259. Janis Joplin, Pearl
  • 257. Dolly Parton, Coat of Many Colors
  • 256. Tracy Chapman, Tracy Chapman
  • 254. Herbie Hancock, Head Hunters
  • 252. Devo, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!
  • 250. Buzzcocks, Singles Going Steady
  • 246. LL Cool J, Mama Said Knock You Out
  • 245. Cocteau Twins, Heaven of Las Vegas
  • 242. The Velvet Underground, Loaded
  • 240. Sam Cooke, Live at the Harlem Square Club, 1963
  • 239. Boogie Down Productions, Criminal Minded
  • 238. Kraftwerk, Trans Europe Express
  • 237. Willie Nelson, Red Headed Stranger
  • 236. Daft Punk, Discovery
  • 232. John Coltrane, Giant Steps
  • 229. Patsy Cline, The Ultimate Collection
  • 228. De La Soul, De La Soul Is Dead
  • 227. Little Richard, Here’s Little Richard
  • 226. Derek and the Dominos, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs
  • 223. John Lennon, Imagine
  • 221. Rage Against the Machine, Rage Against the Machine
  • 220. Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young, Déjà Vu
  • 215.  Grateful Dead, American Beauty
  • 213. Fiona Apple, The Idler Wheel…
  • 212. Nina Simone, Wild is the Wind
  • 211. Joy Division, Unknown Pleasures
  • 210. Ray Charles, The Birth of Soul
  • 209. Run-DMC, Raising Hell
  • 206. David Bowie, Low
  • 205. Cat Stevens, Tea for the Tillerman
  • 202. Björk, Homogenic
  • 201. A Tribe Called Quest, Midnight Marauders

 

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