Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 310-301


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

Artist: Wire
AlbumPink Flag
Year: 1977
Label: Harvest
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:

  • “Pink Flag”
  • “Mannequin”

Thoughts: In the heady days of the early 90s Alternative Rock explosion, I remember seeing the band name Wire while DJ’ing at my college radio station.  I didn’t know until now that they were a band that stretched all the way back to the 1970s Punk explosion.  Either way, I haven’t listened to Wire up until now, and I missed out.  For a UK band they sound more like an American punk band of the 70s than, say, the Sex Pistols or The Clash, and for an album released in 1977 it still wouldn’t sound out of place in the early 90s.  I guess that’s why it’s classified as “Influential.”


Artist: Joy Division
Album: Closer
Year: 1980
Label: Factory
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:

  • “Isolation”
  • “A Means to an End”
  • “Heart and Soul”

Thoughts: In the band’s short career, Joy Division released two albums.  Joy Division also has two albums on the Rolling Stone 500.  I’m not sure if any other band has achieved the feat of having all their albums on the list, but I’m happy for Joy Division, whose members often weren’t happy.  This album was released two months after band leader Ian Curtis died by suicide after struggling with epilepsy and depression.  It’s a brilliant album despite coming through such suffering.


Artist: Brian Eno
Album: Here Come the Warm Jets
Year: 1974
Label: Island
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Only from listening to Another Green World three weeks ago
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Needles in the Camel’s Eye”
  • “On Some Faraway Beach”
  • “Here Come the Warm Jets”

Thoughts: As I noted in a previous entry, I was only familiar with Brian Eno’s work as a producer before listening to Another Green World, the first of two Eno albums on the RS 500. This album redefines “music from 1974” for me and in a good way.  At the base it’s Bowie-esque glam rock, but there’s a whole lot of weird stuff layered on top from Beatles-esque harmonies to atmospheric drones.


Artist: Sam Cooke
Album: Portrait of a Legend
Year: 2003
Label: ABKCO
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:

  • “You Send Me”
  • “Cupid”
  • “What a Wonderful World”
  • “Chain Gang”
  • “Summertime”
  • “Bring it on Home to Me”
  • “Twistin’ the Night Away”
  • “Shake”
  • “Having a Party”
  • “A Change is Gonna Come”
  • “Jesus Gave Me Water’

Thoughts: Sam Cooke has been one of my favorite singers since childhood when I heard his music on the oldies stations my parents  listened to in the car.  We also had The Best of Sam Cooke, a smaller compilation album from 1962,  at home and as a teenager I copied the LP onto tape and listened to it a lot.  Cooke’s voice sounds good even with record crackles and tape hiss.  Also as a teenager, I learned about “A Change is Gonna Come,” a song not on on that compilation, from a Rolling Stone list of greatest songs of all time.  Having recently watched One Night in Miami…, this is the perfect time to listen to this excellent compendium of Cooke’s career.


Artist: Al Green
Album: I’m Still in Love With You
Year: 1972
Label: Hi
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:

  • “I’m Still In Love With You”
  • “I’m Glad You’re Mine”
  • “Love and Happiness”
  • “Simply Beautiful”
  • “One of These Good Old Days”

Thoughts:  What a treat it is to listen to two of the greatest soul music vocalists sequentially like this.  To borrow a song title, this album is “Simply Beautiful.”


Artist: Kiss
AlbumAlive
Year: 1975
Label: Casablanca
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: Not a one.
Thoughts:  The good trend couldn’t last.  I remember Kiss as a presence in my early childhood, mostly because their makeup and leather & studs get-up grabbed attention.  As a kid, I found Kiss alternately scary and funny.  But honestly, before today I couldn’t tell you if I ever heard an actual Kiss song.  It’s definitely a case of a band where image precedes everything else. It sounds pretty much as expected though, extremely campy hard-rock/proto-Metal with lots of guitar solos.  Basically the music that people who grew up to become MAGAs listened to when they weren’t chanting “Disco Sucks!”


Artist: Bill Withers
Album: Just As I Am
Year: 1971
Label: Sussex
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:

  • “Harlem”
  • “Ain’t No Sunshine”
  • “Grandma’s Hands”

Thoughts: Aah…back to the more sonically pleasant  sounds of 70s soul. The RS500 list contains two Withers’ albums that feel like greatest hits compilations without being greatest hits compilations.  This album has a folk-music feel with many story songs about everyday people.  It also includes my all-time favorite Withers’ track “Ain’t No Sunshine.”


Artist: ABBA
Album: The Definitive Collection
Year: 2001
Label: Universal
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: All too well
Would I Listen to this Album Again?:
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Waterloo”
  • “S.O.S.”
  • “Mamma Mia”
  • “Dancing Queen”
  • “Take a Chance on Me”
  • “The Winner Takes It All”

Thoughts: There are two sides to the 70s bombastic, over-the-top, theatrical era of music. One side is Kiss, the other is ABBA.  ABBA is kind of silly, but I have a grudging respect for them.  Their songs certainly have staying power, spawning a Broadway musical and two movie spinoffs that people seem to love.  And it’s irresistible to sing along with their best work.


Artist: Neil Young
Album: Tonight’s the Night
Year: 1975
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?: No
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Come On Baby Let’s Go Downtown”

Thoughts: Based on the album title and cover photo, I feared this was Neil Young’s tribute album to Rod Stewart.  Thankfully that is not the case, although the truth is much darker.  This album is Young’s outpouring of grief over the death of two friends.


Artist: New York Dolls
AlbumNew York Dolls
Year: 1973
Label: Mercury
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:

  • “Personality Crisis”
  • “Trash”

Thoughts: I once saw David Johansen past within a few feet of me on Coney Island’s Boardwalk.  That’s my main connection with the New York Dolls, one of the earliest bands credited with creating punk rock.  Can’t argue with this album’s enshrinement as a rock & roll classic and a relic of the sleazy 70s.


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

Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 430-421


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:

Get ready for a great week as I love all ten albums!!!


 

Artist: Elvis Costello
AlbumMy Aim Is True
Year: 1977
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?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Alison”
  • “(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes”
  • “Less Than Zero”
  • “Mystery Dance”
  • “Watching the Detectives”

Thoughts: It’s a sign of a good album if several tracks are in regular rotation on the radio decades later.  Although in the case of Elvis Costello, I feel that he has a lot of good work from other albums that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Thus the popular perception of Costello is frozen in his debut album as a pub rocker with hints of the coming New Wave.  Still, it’s good to have your first work be so fully realized that it’s still relevant well into the next century.


Artist: The Four Tops
AlbumReach Out
Year: 1967
Label:  Tamla/Motown
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:

  • “Reach Out, I’ll Be There”
  • “Standing in the Shadows of Love”
  • “Bernadette”
  • “What Else is There to Do (But Think About You)”

Thoughts: Based on patterns in the RS 500, I would’ve suspected that The Four Tops would’ve have got a compilation album on this list.  I guess since this album spawned 6 songs in the Billboard Top 20 that Rolling Stone can consider it a Greatest Hits album.  The album contains three of the Tops’ greatest tunes in “Reach Out, I’ll Be There,” “Standing in the Shadows of Love,” and “Bernadette” (all by the Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting team).  Much of the rest of the album is made up of cover songs of contemporary pop tunes, including two made famous by The Monkees.  While I’d prefer more songs written for the Tops, I understand why they felt the need to do cover songs, and really admire their work as song interpreters.


Artist: Hüsker Dü
AlbumNew Day Rising
Year: 1985
Label: SST
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:

  • “New Day Rising”
  • “The Girl Who Lives on Heaven Hill”
  • “Celebrated Summer”
  • “Books About UFOs”
  • “I Don’t Know What You’re Talking About”

Thoughts: I’m afraid that most of my knowledge of Hüsker Dü is that they are the other 80s punk rock band from Minneapolis and the band where Bob Mould got his start. It’s another case of something I should have paid better attention to a long time ago.  This album just plain rocks and sounds perfect on first listen.


Artist: Al Green
AlbumCall Me
Year: 1973
Label: Hi
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:

  • “Call Me (Come Back Home”
  • “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”
  • “Here I Am (Come and Take Me)”
  • “Funny How Time Slips Away”
  • “You Ought to Be With Me”
  • “Jesus Is Waiting”

Thoughts: The second Al Green album on this list is Al Green at his peak with hot grooves and sultry vocals.  I like that he could take country songs by Hank Williams and Willie Nelson and make them his own.  And somehow he made the gospel song that finishes out the album sound sexy.


Artist: Lucinda Williams
AlbumLucinda Williams
Year: 1988
Label: Rough Trade
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:

  • “Big Red Sun Blues”
  • “Like A Rose”
  • “Passionate Kisses”
  • “Side of the Road”

Thoughts: Lucinda Williams is a name I’ve heard but I hadn’t before paid attention to her music.  She has a big, beautiful, and expressive voice that works well with the blend of country, folk, and blues music presented here.  I also discovered that Mary Chapin Carpenter’s big 90s hit “Passionate Kisses” was a cover, because the original is here on Williams’ album and it’s excellent.  Lucinda Williams is another great revelation for me in this RS 500 experiment.


Artist: Paul Simon
Album: Paul Simon
Year: 1972
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?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Mother and Child Reunion”
  • “Run That Body Down”
  • “Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard”
  • “Paranoia Blues”

Thoughts: I’ve long listened to the music of Paul Simon and Simon & Garfunkel, although less so in recent years (partially because I’ve learned how much of a jerk is in real life).  Nevertheless, I can’t deny that this is a collection of well-crafted songs.  The music is stylistically different from the most recent Simon & Garfunkel album, and contains hints of the “world music” fusion style that would become Simon’s bread & butter in the 80s & 90s.


Artist: Beck
AlbumOdelay
Year: 1996
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:

  • “Devil’s Haircut”
  • “Hotwax”
  • “The New Pollution”
  • “Novacane”
  • “Jack-Ass”
  • “Where It’s At”
  • “Minus”
  • “High 5 (Rock the Catskills)”

Thoughts: Not only did I wear out my cassette of this album back in the day, but it ranked #78 on my own list of Favorite Albums of All Time when I ranked them back in 2009.  This album was a statement from Beck that he was not going to be the guy who had a quirky hit with “Loser.”  Instead there were a few years there in the late 90s and early 2000s when Beck’s unique fusion of folk rock and electronica (among other genres) was some of the most creative music around.  I’m surprised that Odelay is the only Beck album on the RS 500 as I would argue for inclusion of Mutations and Guero, and possibly others from his catalog.


Artist: Yo La Tengo
Album: I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One
Year: 1997
Label: Matador
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:

  • “Moby Octopad”
  • “Sugarcube”
  • “Shadows”
  • “Stockholm Syndrome”
  • “Autumn Sweater”
  • “Center of Gravity”
  • “My Little Corner of the World”

Thoughts: Once again, we have an album that I included on my Favorite Albums of All-Time list.  I ranked I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One at #17, the highest of 4 Yo La Tengo albums in my top 200. Obviously I like Yo La Tengo, who I think were one of the best bands of the 1990s. And I wasn’t even a record store clerk.


Artist: Marvin Gaye
Album: Let’s Get It On 
Year: 1973
Label: Tamla/Motown
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:

  • “Let’s Get it On”
  • “Come Get to This”
  • “You Sure Love to Ball”
  • “Just to Keep You Satisfied”

Thoughts: Marvin Gaye puts the most courteous and persuasive request for sexual intercourse to music.  The album explores the spiritual and healing powers of sexuality with the same consciousness of Gaye’s social justice songs on What’s Going On? The only flaw with this album is that it’s way too short.


Artist: M.I.A.
Album: Arular
Year: 2005
Label: Interscope
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:

  • “Pull Up the People”
  • “Bucky Done Gun”
  • “U.R.A.Q.T”
  • “Galang”

Thoughts: My knowledge of M.I.A. is basically the excellent hit song “Paper Planes,” but I really enjoyed listening to Arular.  This is M.I.A.’s debut album (why does the RS 500 seem to value debut albums so much?) and shows her talent rapping over largely minimal drum beats on a drum machine. It reminds of a mix of the simple hip hop of the early 80s with the consciousness of the likes of Public Enemy and De La Soul.


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

Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 460-451


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:


Artist: Lorde
Album: Melodrama
Year: 2017
Label: Universal
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes/No
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: no
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Green Light”
  • “Writer in the Dark”
  • “Supercut”

Thoughts: I knew Lorde for “Royals,” and that’s about it.  This album features Lorde’s distinctive gravely voice over dance tracks.  It’s fine but I don’t feel strongly about it either way.


Artist: Kid Cudi
Album: Man on the Moon: The End of the Day
Year: 2009
Label: Dream On
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:

  • “Soundtrack 2 My Life”
  • “Make Her Say”
  • “Pursuit of Happiness (Nightmare)”

Thoughts: Another artist that I’m not at all familiar with.  But I did enjoy Kid Cudi’s introspective lyrics over an indie-rock aesthetic.  Definitely something I’m going to want to look into more.


Artist: Jason Isbell
Album: Southeastern
Year: 2013
Label: Southeastern
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:

  • “Live Oak”

Thoughts: Jason Isbell is one of those names I’ve heard floating in the ether but never really knew what it was he did.  Turns out he’s a singer-songwriter in the country-folk fusion style pioneered in the 1970s.  It’s just in my snooze zone of music I consider pretty boring, although I can appreciate that Isbell is a talented musician.  I’ll also note that his vocals are up too loud in the mix on this album.


Artist: Sinéad O’Connor
Album: I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got
Year: 1990
Label: Ensign/Chrysalis
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:

  • “I Am Stretched On Your Grave”
  • “Three Babies”
  • “The Emperor’s New Clothes”
  • “Black Boys on Mopeds”
  • “Nothing Compares 2 U”
  • “Last Day of Our Acquaintance”

Thoughts: Despite her shaved head and radical for Reagan/Bush America opinions, Sinéad O’Connor managed to become a star loved by the cool alternative kids and their Boomer parents (especially if those parents were Irish-American).  I have not listened to I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got in a long time and I forgot just how great it is. O’Connor’s voice is timeless and the songs on this recording feel as fresh as they did 30 years.


Artist: Al Green
AlbumGreatest Hits
Year: 1975
Label: Hi/EMI
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:

  • “Tired of Being Alone”
  • “Here I Am (Come and Take Me)”
  • “Love and Happiness”
  • “Let’s Stay Together”

Thoughts: I’m beginning to feel that there is an unconscious bias in the selection of compilation albums for this list, because so far, almost every one of them is by Black artists (the exception is the Phil Spector box set where a white man is given top billing for producing the work of primarily Black and brown artists). I’ve peeked ahead at the RS 500 list and see that Al Green gets two more studio albums on the list, so the inclusion of a compilation is all the more befuddling.  Mind you, I own and love Al Green’s Greatest Hits, and it’s great to have a package of some of his best work from the early 70s, but 6 of the 10 songs on this compilation are also on the other two Al Green albums on this list.  Putting Greatest Hits on the list just seems to mark indecision between choosing Al Green Gets Next to You or Let’s Stay Together as the third album.


Artist: Bo Diddley
Album: Bo Diddley/Go Bo Diddley
Year: 1958/1959
Label: Chess
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:

  • “Bo Diddley”
  • “I’m A Man”
  • “Before You Accuse me (Take a Look at Yourself)”
  • “Hey! Bo Diddley”
  • “Diddley Daddy”
  • “You Don’t Love Me (You Don’t Care)”
  • “Say Man”
  • “The Clock Strikes Twelve”

Thoughts:  Okay, so now we’re doing two albums for the price of one. Bo Diddley was released in 1958 as a compilation of singles going back to 1955. 1959’s Go Bo Diddley is more of an intentional album with some material not previously released on singles. Of the two albums, the first is more has more of a Blues feel, features many examples of the Bo Diddley beat, and has most of Bo Diddley’s most famed songs.  The latter album is more musically diverse with a variety of rock & roll and R&B styles, and features the comical track “Say Man,” which was Diddley’s highest charting song.


Artist: Can
Album: Ege Bamyasi
Year: 1972
Label: United Artists
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: None
Thoughts:  Here’s a band I never heard of at all. Can was a German band in the 1960s and 1970s.  The music sounds like a blend of psychedelia with the groove of funk and the vocals of early punk.  The official genre designation is “krautrock” which sounds derogatory to me.  Kudos to Rolling Stone for including albums outside the USA/UK.  But I didn’t find this album to be all that interesting.


Artist: Nine Inch Nails
Album: Pretty Hate Machine
Year: 1989
Label: TVT
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:

  • “Head Like a Hole”
  • “Terrible Lie”
  • “Sin”
  • “That’s What I Get”
  • “The Only Time”

Thoughts: This album was my high school introduction to industrial music.  It’s been a long time since I listened to it, and I forgot that the tracks on this album have a total dance groove. Which makes sense, because one of my memories of a dance in the high school cafeteria was totally losing myself while dancing to “Head Like a Hole.”  It was such a release.


Artist: Diana Ross and the Supremes
AlbumAnthology
Year: 1974
Label: Tamla/Motown
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:

  • “Where Did Our Love Go”
  • “Baby Love”
  • “Come See About Me”
  • “Stop! In the Name of Love”
  • “Back in My Arms Again”
  • “I Hear a Symphony”
  • “My World is Empty Without You”
  • “Your Can’t Hurry Love”
  • “Reflections”
  • “Someday We’ll Be Together”
  • “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me”

Thoughts: Did you know that The Supremes’ 1966 album The Supremes A’ Go-Go was the first album by a girl group to hit number one in the US? Did you know it was one of seven albums by The Supremes that made it into the Top Ten on the Billboard 200? Did you know that The Supremes had six number one albums on the Hot R&B Album Chart and 18 albums altogether that hit Top Ten in the same chart? Did you know that The Supremes had profound influence on women artists, and on soul, R&B, and rock music, and made Motown a profitable and legendary record label, and rivaled The Beatles for widespread popularity in the 1960s?  Do you also find it a little offensive that the only recognition of The Supremes in this entire list is this compilation album?

Anyway, this album does show the versatility of The Supremes from their early days to their biggest hits to their interpretations of the works of others and collaborations with The Temptations.  I only regret the mindboggling omission of “Stoned Love.”


Artist: Roberta Flack
AlbumFirst Take
Year: 1969
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:

  • “Compared to What”
  • “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye”
  • “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”

Thoughts: Roberta Flack’s debut album includes her most famous song “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” a startling interpretation of a British folk song. I confess I’ve always had trouble listening to that song because it’s just so sad. The album show’s Flack’s versatility with her soulful vocals with  accompanied by jazz and gospel stylings to reinterpret folk and pop tunes.


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

Favorite Songs Of 1973


In celebration of forty years on this planet, I’m going to post my favorite songs from every year since I was born until now. There will be one list per day every day for next 40 days.  And yes, if you’re a long-time reader, I did try this project before but dropped the ball about halfway through.

The basic gist is that I will make a list in alphabetical order of 10 songs that I love from a particular year.  An artist or band may appear only once per year.  Since this is a retrospective exercise and I’ve learned about many songs and artists long after their work was release, I’m also going to list one song that charted that year that I loved at that time that it shames me to admit (although in some cases I may still listen to it as a guilty pleasure).

And so, for my first list, my favorite songs of 1973:

Baby We Got a Date (Rock It Baby) – Bob Marley & The Wailers

Could It Be I’m Falling In Love – The Spinners

Here I Am (Come and Take Me) – Al Green

I Hope That I Don’t Fall In Love With You – Tom Waits

Let’s Get It On – Marvin Gaye

Midnight Train to Georgia – Gladys Knight & The Pips

Over The Hills And Far Away – Led Zeppelin

Prisencolinensinainciusol – Adriano Celentano

Superstition – Stevie Wonder

Two Steps from the Blues – Bobby “Blue” Bland

And the song of shame for 1973 is Piano Man – Billy Joel

What are your favorite songs from 1973?  Let me know in the comments!