Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 160-151


A year ago, 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
490-481 390-381 290-281 190-181
480-471 380-371 280-271 180-171
470-461 370-361 270-261 170-161
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: Pearl Jam
AlbumTen
Year: 1991
Label: Epic
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:

  • “Alive”
  • “Jeremy”

Thoughts: Pearl Jam is one of those bands that I respect for their music than one I chose to listen to.  So I can recognize this as a solid album even if it’s not one I’d seek out.  In fact I feel a strange sort of nostalgia for this album as this music was dominant in my late teen years.  I don’t think I’ve ever listened to Ten before but I recognize pretty much every track on it, a testament to Pearl Jam’s presence in the 1990s.


Artist: The Police
Album: Synchronicity
Year: 1983
Label: A&M
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?: No
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Mother” (just because it’s weird and sung by Andy Summers)
  • “Synchronicity II”

Thoughts: There was a time in my younger days when I had all of The Police albums on cassette and Synchronicity was my least favorite despite it having the band’s biggest hits. I think it’s because their earlier works mixed punk, reggae, and power pop in an interesting way while this album sounds more like prog rock mixed with Sting’s jazz pretensions.   Or it could just be that I’ve heard “Every Breath You Take” enough for one lifetime.  Anyhow, if I were going to put an album by The Police on this list I’d go with Reggatta de Blanc.


Artist: Erykah Badu
Album: Mama’s Gun
Year: 2000
Label: 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?: No
Favorite Tracks:

  • “…& On”
  • “Cleva”

Thoughts: Badu’s soulful work is a bit too slow-tempo for my tastes but it is definitely filled with emotion and lived experience.


Artist: Oasis
Album: (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?
Year: 1995
Label: Epic
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?: No
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Wonderwall”
  • “Don’t Look Back in Anger”
  • “Champagne Supernova”

Thoughts: I had this album back in the 90s, listened to it for a while, and then grew tired of it and got rid of it (similar to Green Day’s Dookie). It was great to revisit this album.  It definitely has some bangers and I caught myself trying to sing along while at the office. Overall, though, I would classify this album as good, but not great.


Artist: The Replacements
AlbumLet It Be
Year: 1984
Label: Twin/Tone
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:

  • “I Will Dare”
  • “Androgynous”
  • “Unsatisfied”
  • “Gary’s Got a Boner”
  • “Answering Machine”

Thoughts: This album is clearly The Replacements’ masterpiece, although I feel there should be more Replacements albums on this list.

I previously reviewed this album in my Music Discovery for The Replacements.


Artist: Jay-Z
AlbumThe Black Album
Year: 2003
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?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “December 4th”
  • “Dirt Off Your Shoulder”
  • “Moment of Clarity”
  • “99 Problems”

Thoughts: I’m more familiar with Jay-Z’s music than I realized as his tracks have pretty much been in the ether of modern society since they’re release.  Have people really been making “99 Problems” jokes for 17 years?  Unlike a lot of the 21st-century hip hop albums on this list, Jay-Z raps aggressively rather than singing like his contemporaries, and it’s done over rock samples instead of slow jams.  Thus it sounds old school and more palatable to my ears.


Artist: Aretha Franklin
Album: Amazing Grace
Year: 1972
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:

  • “Medley: Precious Lord, Take My Hand / You’ve Got a Friend”
  • “Climbing Higher Mountains”
  • “God Will Take Care of You”

Thoughts: This album captures Aretha Franklin returning to her gospel roots with a live performance at a church with the support of a choir.  The church was the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles and the accompaniment came from the Southern California Community Choir.  Add to that the call & response and handclaps from the audience, er, congregation.


Artist: PJ Harvey
AlbumRid of Me
Year: 1993
Label: Island
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:

  • “Rid of Me”
  • “50ft Queenie”
  • “Dry”

Thoughts: Here’s another album I should be shamed for missing, considering that in 1993 I was in the target demographic: college student who liked alternative rock particularly The Breeders, Liz Phair, and other artists fairly similar to PJ Harvey.


Artist: Pretenders
Album: Pretenders
Year: 1980
Label: Sire
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:

  • “Up the Neck”

Thoughts: The Pretenders are on my list of Bands Everyone Loves (Except Me), but I will give this album a fair shake.  The advantage of this early album is that the band has more of a punk/new wave sound than their later pop hits.  Also, “Stop Your Sobbing” is an obnoxious song, but so is the original version by The Kinks.  I may be softening on The Pretenders but not enough to want to listen to it again anytime soon


Artist: George Michael
Album: Faith
Year: 1987
Label: Columbia
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?: No
Favorite Tracks:

  • “I Want Your Sex”
  • “One More Try”
  • “Kissing a Fool”

Thoughts: My sister had this album so I’ve probably listened to it all the way through before.  But even if I didn’t, pretty much every song was played repeatedly on the radio as this was the peak of George Michael’s imperial period. I remember “Faith” annoyed me, “Father Figure” creeped me out, and “I Want Your Sex” titillated.  I also remember “Monkey” sounding very different.  I think a dance remix ended up as a big hit.

Holy Cow! There are only 150 albums left to go!


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
  • 178. Otis Redding, Otis Blue
  • 177. Rod Stewart, Every Picture Tells a Story
  • 176. Public Enemy, Fear of a Black Planet
  • 175. Kendrick Lamar, DAMN.
  • 174. Jimmy Cliff and Various Artists, The Harder They Come: Original Soundtrack
  • 173. Nirvana, In Utero
  • 172. Simon and Garfunkel, Bridge Over Troubled Water
  • 171. Sonic Youth, Daydream Nation
  • 170. Cream, Disraeli Gears
  • 169. Billy Joel, The Stranger
  • 167. Depeche Mode, Violator
  • 166. Buddy Holly, 20 Golden Greats
  • 165. R.E.M., Murmur
  • 164. Johnny Cash, At Folsom Prison
  • 162. Pulp, Different Class
  • 161. Crosby, Stills & Nash, Crosby, Stills, & Nash
  • 156. The Replacements, Let it Be
  • 155. Jay-Z, The Black Album
  • 154. Aretha Franklin, Amazing Grace
  • 153. PJ Harvey, Rid of Me

 

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