Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 190-181


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:

500-491 400-381 300-291 200-191
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
410-401 310-301 210-201

Artist: The Who
AlbumTommy
Year: 1969
Label: Decca
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Maybe
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Sparks”
  • “Christmas”
  • “Pinball Wizard”
  • “Go to the Mirror!”
  • “We’re Not Gonna Take It”

Thoughts: I’ve always had trouble getting into The Who, which I feel bad about because I can tell that they’re a good band. Long, long ago I read Pete Townshend’s description of the rock opera, and I thought it sounded silly.  Well, finally listening to the whole thing I’ve grown to appreciate the storytelling and the variety of musical styles that accompaniment.  I may be on the way to becoming a Who fan after all.


Artist: Sleater-Kinney
AlbumDig Me Out
Year: 1997
Label: Kill Rock Stars
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:

  • “Dig Me Out”
  • “Words and Guitar”
  • “Little Babies”
  • “Buy Her Candy”

Thoughts: One of the great alternative rock albums of the 1990s and it only sounds better over time.


Artist: T. Rex
Album: Electric Warrior
Year: 1971
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:

  • “Monolith”
  • “Bang A Gong (Get It On)”

Thoughts: Confession: I love “Bang A Gong (Get It On).”  By the 1980s supergroup The Power Station.  But the original version is good too.


Artist: Ice Cube
Album: AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted
Year: 1990
Label: Priority
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:

  • “AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted”
  • “Endangered Species (Tales from the Darkside)” (featuring Chuck D)

Thoughts: The misogynist lyrics on this album are hard to get past, but Ice Cube’s flow and the expert production of The Bomb Squad make this album great to listen to. It’s definitely a transition album from the Old School rap of the 80s to the Gangsta Rap of the 90s filtered through the socially-conscious rap of Public Enemy.


Artist: Red Hot Chili Peppers
Album: Blood Sugar Sex Magik
Year: 1991
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?: No
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Under the Bridge”
  • “Naked in the Rain”

Thoughts: I’ve never had strong feelings for the Chili Peppers.  I like some of their early stuff and I always liked Flea’s bass playing. This album seems to mark their transition into a band that’s just kind of boring.  The 17 tracks on this bloated album certainly emphasize the sameness of their music.  I remember liking “Under the Bridge” for a while before overexposure killed it for me.


Artist: The Rolling Stones
Album: Beggars Banquet
Year: 1968
Label: Decca
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:

  • “Sympathy for the Devil”
  • “No Expectations”
  • “Parachute Woman”
  • “Street Fighting Man”
  • “Prodigal Son”
  • “Factory Girl”
  • “Salt of the Earth”

Thoughts:  This is probably my favorite Rolling Stones album.  The band is doing what they do best, recreating Blues Rock and incorporating other Americana.  I know some of the Stones ended up getting houses in the United States, but I’m not sure how much time they’d spent America before they made this album.  Nevertheless they seemed to have a greater appreciation for American roots music than a lot of Americans at the time.  This is also the Stones at their most political, with songs like “Street Fighting Man” and “Salt of the Earth.”


Artist: Cyndi Lauper
AlbumShe’s So Unusual
Year: 1983
Label: Portrait
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: I think so, my sister had the album.
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”
  • “When You Were Mine”
  • “Time After Time”
  • “She Bop”
  • “Yeah Yeah”

Thoughts: I did not appreciate Cyndi Lauper enough when she her debut album came out, but I’m glad to revisit this gem from my childhood.  I’m actually impressed at how many of these songs were released as singles.  Doubly impressed that Lauper was able to get a masturbation anthem played on the radio in Reagan’s America.


Artist: D’Angelo
Album: Brown Sugar
Year: 1995
Label: EMI
Have I Listened to This Album Before?:
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?:
Would I Listen to this Album Again?:
Favorite Tracks: None

Thoughts: I hadn’t heard of D’Angelo before another one of his albums appeared earlier in this chart.  Now that we’ve reached the appearance of his debut album on the RS 500, I know that I’ve been ignorant of D’Angelo for 26 years. This is probably because this type of music is Not My Thing, but I’m sure it’s great for those who like it.  As an aside, there’s a recurring riff in some of these songs that makes me think of the McDonald’s jingle.


Artist: James Taylor
Album: Sweet Baby James
Year: 1970
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?: No
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Sweet Baby James”
  • “Fire and Rain”

Thoughts: I’ve always had mixed feelings for James Taylor.  On the one hand, he’s an exemplar of the soft rock sound I don’t like.  On the other hand he’s written some incredibly beautiful tunes with moving lyrics.  This album is fine, but I think I’ll stick with his greatest hits.


Artist: Bob Dylan
Album: Bringing It All Back Home
Year: 1965
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?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Subterranean Homesick Blues”
  • “Maggie’s Farm”
  • “On the Road Again”
  • “Mr. Tambourine Man”
  • “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)”

Thoughts: Dylan goes electric with the backing of a rock & roll band on the first side of this album (although there are some supposedly electric tracks where I don’t hear electric guitars).  This is almost a greatest hits album for Dylan since it contains songs I love in their cover versions like “Maggie’s Farm” and “Mr. Tambourine Man” (by The Specials and The Byrds respectively) and some of the best songs performed by Bob himself, “Subterranean Homesick Blues” and “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding).”


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
  • 198. The B-52’s, The B-52’s
  • 197. The Beatles, Meet the Beatles!
  • 195. Leonard Cohen, Songs of Leonard Cohen
  • 193. Creedence Clearwater Revival, Willy and the Poor Boys
  • 192. Beastie Boys, Licensed to Ill
  • 191. Etta James, At Last!
  • 190. The Who, Tommy
  • 189. Sleater-Kinney, Dig Me Out
  • 185. The Rolling Stones, Beggars Banquet
  • 184. Cyndi Lauper, She’s So Unusual
  • 181. Bob Dylan, Bringing It All Back Home

 

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