50 Years, 50 Albums (2000): Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven by Godspeed You! Black Emperor


 I will turn 50 in November of this year, so my project for 2023 will be to listen to and review one album from each year of my life, 1973 to 2022, randomly selected..  The only qualification is that it has to be an album I’ve not reviewed previously.

NOTE: My next review on February 2, 2023 will focus on the year 1983.  Help me pick which album from 1983 I will review by voting in the poll at the end of this post!

2000

Top Grossing Albums of 2000:

  • No Strings Attached – NSYNC
  • The Marshall Mathers LP – Eminem
  • Oops!… I Did It Again – Britney Spears
  • Human Clay – Creed
  • Supernatural – Santana

Grammy Award for Album of the Year of 2000:

Other Albums I’ve Reviewed from 2000:

Album: Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven
Artist: Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Release Date: October 9, 2000
Label:Constellation | Kranky
Favorite Tracks:

  • Storm
  • Static
  • Sleep
  • Like Antennas to Heaven…

Thoughts:

Back in the 2000s I had a younger co-worker, who in retrospect wasn’t all that much younger since he was in his early 20s when I was in my late 20s.  He listened to a lot of great music and recommended this album to me.  Despite liking it I hadn’t listened to Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven in quite some time, which is a shame, because it’s better than I remember it.

Of course, it’s not an album one listens to casually.  There are four pieces ranging from 18 to 23 minutes each that have their own movements like mini-symphonies.  Godspeed You! Black Emperor is classified as a post-rock band and this album is a good example of ambient music and sound collage.  It’s probably not the most accessible music, but I find it really beautiful and entrancing.

Rating: ****1/2

50 Years, 50 Albums (2004): Nouvelle Vague


I will turn 50 in November of this year, so my project for 2023 will be to listen to and review one album from each year of my life, 1973 to 2022.  The only qualification is that it has to be an album I’ve not reviewed previously.  If you have any suggestions for albums from the past 50 years, please drop them in the comments!

2004

Top Grossing Albums of 2004:

  1. Confessions – Usher
  2. Speakerboxxx / The Love Below– Outkast
  3. Closer – Josh Groban
  4. Diary of Alicia Keys– Alicia Keys
  5. Feels Like Home – Norah Jones

Grammy Award for Album of the Year of 2004:

Other Albums I’ve Reviewed from 2004:

Album: Nouvelle Vague 
Artist:Nouvelle Vague
Release Date: 9 August 2004
Label: Peacefrog | Luaka Bop
Favorite Tracks:

  • Just Can’t Get Enough (Depeche Mode)
  • In A Manner of Speaking (Tuxedomoon)
  • Guns of Brixton (The Clash)
  • Too Drunk to Fuck (Dead Kennedys)
  • Friday Night Saturday Morning (The Specials)

Thoughts:

“Nouvelle Vague” is French for “New Wave” and commonly associated with the French New Wave film movement.  “Bossa nova” is Portuegeuse and also means “new wave,” and refers to a style of Brazilian samba origination in the 1950s. And in English, “new wave” refers to the punk & post-punk music styles of the late 1970s and early 1980s.  Someone who was entirely too clever decided to create a new wave music cover band that performed songs in the bossa nova style lead by female vocalists with the elan of Nouvelle Vague film stars.

While this may be the most gimmicky act since Dread Zeppelin, the outcome is pretty good.  I remember this album being recommended to me by someone at a party who gave me a list of mostly electronics artists to seek out, but also spoke highly of Nouvelle Vague.  It’s been a long time since I’d listened to this album, but it still holds up after 20 years, perhaps because it’s built on so many traditions of earlier decades.

Rating: ****

 

50 Years, 50 Albums (1995): Garbage by Garbage


I will turn 50 in November of this year, so my project for 2023 will be to listen to and review one album from each year of my life, 1973 to 2022.  The only qualification is that it has to be an album I’ve not reviewed previously.  If you have any suggestions for albums from the past 50 years, please drop them in the comments!

1995

Top Grossing Albums of 1995:

  1. Jagged Little Pill Alanis Morissette
  2. Daydream – Mariah Carey
  3. (What’s the Story) Morning Glory – Oasis
  4. HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I – Michael Jackson
  5. Made in Heaven – Queen

Grammy Award and Nominees for Album of the Year of 1995:

  • Jagged Little Pill – Alanis Morissette
  • Daydream – Mariah Carey
  • HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I – Michael Jackson
  • Relish – Joan Osborne
  • Vitalogy – Pearl Jam

Other Albums I’ve Reviewed from 1995:

Album: Garbage
Artist: Garbage
Release Date: August 15, 1995
Label: Almo
Favorite Tracks:

  • Supervixen
  • Queer
  • Only Happy When It Rains
  • Vow
  • Stupid Girl

Thoughts:

I once owned a copy of this album on cassette and remember listening to it quite a bit around 1996-1997, but I seem to have parted ways with it by the time I moved to Boston in 1998.  Revisiting the album now, I can see what I liked about and why I grew tired of it.  The album is front-loaded with the first three tracks – “Supervixen,” “Queer,” and “Only Happy When It Rains” – also being the best songs on the album. There are some other highlights but the album drags in places and might be better with a couple of tracks removed.

1995 was an uncertain time in alternative rock as it was now fully-mainstream and it was hard to find a way to be alternative in the post-grunge period.  Garbage took the approach of throwing a little bit of everything in the mix – catchy power pop hooks, shoegaze guitars, funky bass, U2-style anthems, and dance music beats.  The secret weapon for the otherwise American band is having a the sultry lead vocals of Scotland’s Shirley Manson who adds a sexuality to the songs and lyrics.

Rating: ***1/2

50 Years, 50 Albums (2018): American Utopia by David Byrne


I will turn 50 in November of this year, so my project for 2023 will be to listen to and review one album from each year of my life, 1973 to 2022.  The only qualification is that it has to be an album I’ve not reviewed previously.  If you have any suggestions for albums from the past 50 years, please drop them in the comments!

2018

Top Grossing Albums of 2018:

  • Taylor Swift – Reputation
  • Drake – Scorpion
  • Post Malone – beerbongs & bentleys
  • Soundtrack – The Greatest Showman
  • Ed Sheeran – ÷ (Divide)

Grammy Award for Album of the Year and Nominees for 2018:

  • Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour
  • Cardi B – Invasion of Privacy
  • Brandi Carlile – By the Way, I Forgive You
  • Post Malone – beerbongs & bentleys
  • Janelle Monáe – Dirty Computer
  • Black Panther: The Album, Music From and Inspired By

My Favorite Albums of 2018:

Album: American Utopia
Artist: David Byrne
Release Date: March 9, 2018
Label: Nonesuch | Todo Mundo
Favorite Tracks:

  • I Dance Like This
  • Every Day Is A Miracle
  • Dog’s Mind
  • Doing the Right Thing

Thoughts:

Despite my Talking Heads fandom, I’ve never delved deep into David Byrne’s solo work.  His most recent album, American Utopia, seems like a good place to start especially since it’s release in 2018 it’s prompted a concert film directed by Spike Lee and a run on Broadway! The album addresses the crises of the Trump Era head on but does so in a way that pushes optimism.  This is going to sound like a back-handed compliment, but Byrne has a way of experimenting with music that has a wonderful sameness.  I guess that’s how he’s been able to be so successful at making quirky and innovative music that is also popular.  That is kind of a metaphor for the album itself where Byrne tries to draw a reassuring optimism from troubled times.

Now I’m going to have to try to watch the American Utopia film for my 50 Years 50 Movies project.

Rating: ***1/2

2022 Year in Review: Favorite Albums


Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, and Lizzo all released acclaimed albums in 2022.  But you don’t come to this Very Small Blog to hear about that ! I posted 44 Album of the Week reviews this year (which includes 3 albums from last year and 1 reissue from 1966).  Here are 10 of my favorites I’ve culled from the list.

Check out my lists of favorite albums from 2014201620172018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 as well.

Congotronics International – Where’s the One?

Editrix – Editrix Goes To Hell

Ibibio Sound Machine – Electricity

The Linda Lindas – Growing Up

Medicine Singers – Medicine Singers

Oumou Sangaré – Timbuktu

Petrol Girls – Baby

Soul Glo – Diaspora Problems

Special Interest – Endure

Stromae – Multitude

 

My 250 Favorite Albums of All Time: The Complete List


I hope you’ve enjoyed counting down my favorite albums of all-time over the course of the year.  Here are the links to all the posts in the  series as well as the complete list of albums in descending order.

250-241 200-191 150-141 100-91 50-41
240-231 190-181 140-131 90-81 40-31
230-221 180-171 130-121 80-71 30-21
220-211 170-161 120-111 70-61 20-11
210-201 160-151 110-101 60-51 10-1
Rank Artist Title Year
250 Happy Mondays Pills ‘N’ Thrills And Bellyaches 1990
249 The Nields Gotta Get Over Greta  1997
248 The Paperboys Molinos  1998
247 The Pinker Tones Wild Animals 2008
246 Yeah Yeah Yeahs Fever to Tell 2003
245 The Shins Chutes Too Narrow  2003
244 Various Channel 1 – A Compilation Of Output Recordings 2000
243 Hothouse Flowers Songs From The Rain  1992
242 Jim’s Big Ego Noplace Like Nowhere  2000
241 The Go! Team The Scene Between 2015
240 “Weird Al” Yankovic Straight Outta Lynwood 2006
239 Taylor Swift Red  2012
238 Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet Dim the Lights and Chill the Ham  1991
237 Christy Moore Voyage  1989
236 Leonard Cohen You Want It Darker 2016
235 The Benders Mountain Radio  2003
234 Young Fathers Cocoa Sugar 2018
233 X-Ray Spex Germfree Adolescents 1978
232 Wire Pink Flag 1977
231 The Kinks The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society 1969
230 Green Day Dookie 1994
229 Elvis Costello & The Attractions This Year’s Model 1978
228 Depeche Mode Violator 1990
227 Living Colour Vivid  1989
226 Bruce Springsteen Born in the U.S.A. 1984
225 Boston Women To Benefit Respond, Inc Respond: A Compilation  1999
224 John Prine John Prine 1971
223 Lou Reed Transformer 1972
222 Van Morrison Moondance  1970
221 Fine Young Cannibals Raw and the Cooked, The 1989
220 The Kevin Hanson Trio BullsEye   2001
219 Nina Simone Wild is the Wind 1966
218 Curtis Mayfield Superfly 1972
217 Marvin Gaye Let’s Get It On 1973
216 The Rolling Stones Exile on Main Street 1972
215 Richard Shindell Courier 2002
214 Franz Ferdinand You Could Have It So Much Better  2005
213 U2 The Joshua Tree 1987
212 Fiona Apple Fetch the Bolt Cutters 2020
211 Run the Jewels RTJ4 2020
210 Courtney Barnett Tell Me How You Really Feel 2018
209 Midnight Oil Diesel And Dust  1988
208 Bobby “Blue” Bland Two Steps From the Blues  1973
207 Billy Joel Songs In The Attic  1981
206 The St. Louis Jesuits A Dwelling Place  1976
205 Various A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector 1963
204 Tears For Fears Songs from the Big Chair   1985
203 The Doors The Doors 1967
202 The Beatles The Beatles (“The White Album”) 1968
201 Nine Inch Nails Pretty Hate Machine 1989
200 The Kinks Something Else by The Kinks 1968
199 Aretha Franklin Lady Soul 1968
198 Elvis Costello My Aim Is True 1977
197 Beck Guero  2005
196 Modest Mouse Moon And Antarctica  2004
195 Fountains of Wayne Welcome Interstate Managers  2003
194 3rdEyeGirl PLECTRUMELECTRUM 2014
193 The Who Who’s Next 1971
192 The Velvet Underground The Velvet Underground 1969
191 The Ramones Rocket to Russia 1977
190 Cyndi Lauper She’s So Unusual 1983
189 Sly & the Family Stone There’s a Riot Goin’ On 1971
188 Ali Farka Toure The Source 1992
187 The Ballroom Thieves Unlovely 2020
186 Sleater-Kinney Dig Me Out 1997
185 Antibalas Antibalas 2012
184 Johnny Most Reverse The Curse  2004
183 Freezepop Fancy Ultra Fresh   2004
182 Hum Machine Theorems and Compositions of the Last Action Rocker   2003
181 The Velveteens Viva   1998
180 Talking Heads Speaking in Tongues  1983
179 Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong Ella & Louis  1956
178 The Resophonics The Resophonics  2001
177 Violent Femmes Violent Femmes  1982
176 Various Dance Craze – The Best of British Ska Live 1981
175 Echolalia Shamrock Shake   1997
174 Wild Flag Wild Flag 2011
173 Clap! Clap! Tayi Bebba 2014
172 Willie Dixon I Am The Blues  1970
171 Various An Droichead Beag  1995
170 Various Rent [Original Broadway Cast Recording] 1996
169 Afro Celt Sound System Sound Magic 1996
168 Various Artists The Indestructible Beat of Soweto 1985
167 The Roches The Roches  1979
166 Hüsker Dü New Day Rising 1985
165 X Under the Big Black Sun  1982
164 Bob Marley and the Wailers Catch a Fire 1973
163 Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin II 1969
162 Vampire Weekend Vampire Weekend  2008
161 Simon & Garfunkel Bridge Over Troubled Water  1970
160 Fleet Foxes Fleet Foxes 2008
159 Crooked Still Shaken by a Low Sound 2006
158 Tilly & The Wall Bottoms of Barrels  2006
157 Kris Delmhorst Five Stories  2001
156 The Jimi Hendrix Experience Electric Ladyland 1968
155 Kate Bush The Sensual World 1989
154 Squirrel Nut Zippers Hot  1996
153 The Mekons OOOH! (Out of Our Heads  2002
152 Mission of Burma ONoffON  2004
151 Björk Post 1995
150 The New Pornographers Twin Cinema  2005
149 Ex Hex Rips 2014
148 James Brown Live at the Apollo, 1962 1963
147 Blondie Parallel Lines 1978
146 Funkadelic Maggot Brain 1971
145 Dua Lipa Future Nostalgia 2020
144 Al Green Call Me 1973
143 Neko Case Fox Confessor Brings the Flood  2006
142 Passion Pit Manners 2009
141 Miles Davis Kind of Blue 1959
140 Jimmy Cliff The Harder They Come 1972
139 Cracker Kerosene Hat  1993
138 Black 47 Live in New York City  1999
137 Josh Wink Profound Sounds  1999
136 Various Party Girl 1995
135 Blind Faith Blind Faith  1969
134 Liz Phair Whip Smart  1994
133 DJ Maus Intersections  2000
132 Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer When I Go  1998
131 Erin McKeown Distillation  2000
130 Various O Brother Where Art Thou? 2000
129 Various Wattstax  1972
128 Vinal Avenue String Band Live at Tir na nÓg  1999
127 Milla The Divine Comedy  1994
126 The Be Good Tanyas Blue Horse  2001
125 A Tribe Called Quest The Low End Theory 1991
124 Led Zeppelin Physical Graffiti 1975
123 Bob Marley and the Wailers Live 1975
122 Eddie From Ohio Portable EFO Show  1998
121 MGMT Oracular Spectacular 2008
120 Derek and the Dominos Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs 1970
119 Leonard Cohen Songs of Leonard Cohen 1967
118 The Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers 1971
117 The Decemberists The King Is Dead 2011
116 Jane’s Addiction Nothing’s Shocking 1988
115 Christy Moore Ride On 1983
114 Erasure The Innocents 1988
113 Downtown Boys Cost of Living 2017
112 Mourning [A] BLKstar The Cycle 2020
111 Algiers The Underside of Power 2017
110 Various Camelot: 1982 Original London Cast 1982
109 Otis Redding Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul 1965
108 The Clash The Clash 1977
107 Traffic John Barleycorn Must Die  1970
106 Pete Seeger We Shall Overcome 1963
105 Stereolab Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night  1999
104 Various Free to Be … You and Me 1972
103 Dimitri From Paris Sacrebleu  1996
102 Carl Stalling The Carl Stalling Project  1989
101 Yo La Tengo And Then Nothing Turned Itself Out  2000
100 Joy Division Unknown Pleasures 1979
99 Stevie Wonder Fulfillingness’ First Finale 1974
98 RUN-DMC Raising Hell 1986
97 Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings 100 Days, 100 Nights  2007
96 David Bowie The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars 1972
95 Weezer Weezer 1994
94 St. Vincenet St. Vincent 2014
93 The Halluci Nation We Are the Halluci Nation 2016
92 The B‐52’s The B‐52’s 1979
91 The Operators Citizens Band 2002
90 The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem A Spontaneous Performance Recording  1961
89 Debo Band Debo Band 2012
88 Beyonce Lemonade 2016
87 Parliament Mothership Connection 1975
86 Paul Simon The Rhythm of the Saints  1990
85 Courtney Barnett Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit  2015
84 Stevie Wonder Innervisions 1973
83 Beck Odelay 1996
82 Peter Mulvey Ten Thousand Mornings  2002
81 The Pogues If I Should Fall From The Grace of God 1985
80 Various This Are Two Tone  1983
79 The Go-Go’s Beauty and the Beat 1981
78 Kris Delmhorst Songs For a Hurricane  2003
77 Jolie Holland Escondida  2004
76 R.E.M. Murmur  1983
75 Pixies Surfer Rosa 1988
74 Various The Muppet Movie (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) 1978
73 Nirvana Nevermind 1991
72 Portishead Dummy  1994
71 The Beach Boys Pet Sounds 1966
70 Various Hamilton: An American Musical (Original Broadway Cast Recording) 2015
69 Billy Bragg & Wilco Mermaid Avenue  1998
68 Various Anthology of American Folk Music  1952
67 Fugazi 13 Songs  1990
66 Cry Cry Cry Cry Cry Cry  1998
65 Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison 1968
64 The Beat I Just Can’t Stop It 1980
63 Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins Rabbit Fur Coat  2005
62 Janelle Monáe The ArchAndroid 2010
61 Adele 21 2011
60 Pete Seeger Singalong  1980
59 Various Trainspotting Motion Picture Soundtrack  1996
58 The Flaming Lips Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots  2002
57 The New Pornographers Challengers  2007
56 Yo Yo Ma and Bob – McFerrin Hush  1992
55 Stevie Wonder Songs in the Key of Life 1976
54 Crosby, Stills, & Nash Crosby, Stills, & Nash  1969
53 The Beatles Rubber Soul 1965
52 Tom Waits Franks Wild Years 1987
51 They Might Be Giants Lincoln  1988
50 The Revels The Christmas Revels: Celebrating 50 Years! 2020
49 My Bloody Valentine Loveless 1991
48 David Bowie Hunky Dory 1971
47 Sly & the Family Stone Stand! 1969
46 U2 Achtung Baby  1991
45 Ramones Ramones 1976
44 Kate Bush Hounds of Love 1985
43 Lizzo Cuz I Love You 2019
42 Moxy Fruvous Live Noise   1998
41 The Weakerthans Reconstruction Site  2003
40 John Coltrane A Love Supreme  1964
39 The Dismemberment Plan Emergency & I  1999
38 Sinéad O’Connor I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got 1990
37 Prince 1999 1982
36 Robert Johnson The Complete Recordings 1936
35 Charles Mingus Mingus Ah Um  1959
34 Camera Obscura Let’s Get Out of this Country  2006
33 Tom Waits Rain Dogs 1985
32 The Breeders Last Splash  1993
31 Mission of Burma Vs 1982
30 Amy Winehouse Back to Black 2006
29 Harry Belafonte Belafonte at Carnegie Hall   1959
28 Sigur Rós Ágætis byrjun 1999
27 Janelle Monáe Dirty Computer 2018
26 The Specials The Specials  1980
25 The Rolling Stones Beggars Banquet 1968
24 Stevie Wonder Talking Book 1972
23 Talking Heads Remain in Light 1980
22 Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer Tanglewood Tree  2000
21 Johnny Clegg & Savuka Cruel, Crazy, Beautiful World  1989
20 The Avalanches Since I Left You  2000
19 Marvin Gaye What’s Going On 1971
18 Stereolab Emperor Tomato Ketchup  1996
17 The Pogues Rum, Sodomy and The Lash  1988
16 The Stone Roses The Stone Roses 1989
15 Radiohead OK Computer 1997
14 R.E.M. Lifes Rich Pageant  1986
13 Björk Homogenic 1997
12 Prince and The Revolution Purple Rain 1984
11 Fishbone Truth and Soul  1988
10 Paul Simon Graceland  1986
9 Peter Gabriel So 1986
8 Public Enemy It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back  1988
7 The Beatles Revolver  1966
6 The Replacements Let It Be 1984
5 The Clash London Calling 1979
4 They Might Be Giants Flood  1990
3 De La Soul 3 Feet High and Rising 1989
2 Pixies Doolittle  1989
1 Yo La Tengo I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One  1997

Favorite Albums of All Time: 10-1


Having listened to every album on the Rolling Stone list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, I’m making my own list.  This list will be only 250 albums, although I had to make some tough cuts.  The list includes a mix of works of musical genius with the pure nostalgia of some albums I’ve loved throughout my life.  As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts about these albums and what your favorite albums are. I will continue the countdown every other Wednesday throughout 2022.

250-241 200-191 150-141 100-91 50-41
240-231 190-181 140-131 90-81 40-31
230-221 180-171 130-121 80-71 30-21
220-211 170-161 120-111 70-61 20-11
210-201 160-151 110-101 60-51

 

10

Artist: Paul Simon
Title: Graceland
Year: 1986
Favorite Tracks:

  • The Boy in the Bubble
  • Graceland
  • Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes
  • You Can Call Me Al
  • Homeless
  • That Was Your Mother

The First Time I Heard This Album …: 1986

Thoughts: Paul Simon’s “comeback album” made the awkwardly-named trend of “world music” a pop phenomenon.  There’s definitely some controversy behind the making of this album (Simon is supremely talented but also a supreme asshole) but the music holds up almost 40 years later!

 


9

Artist: Peter Gabriel
Title: So
Year: 1986
Favorite Tracks:

  • Red Rain
  • Sledgehammer
  • Don’t Give Up
  • This Is the Picture
  • In Your Eyes

The First Time I Heard This Album …:1986

Thoughts: So was among the first albums I owned as a child.The bombastic horns of “Sledgehammer” were my introduction to Peter Gabriel. And while So is Gabriel’s most pop and accessible recording of his career, it was still experimental enough to be a revelation to 12-year-old me, especially on tracks like “We Do What We’re Told” and “This is the Picture.” The hit songs still sound fresh, “Don’t Give Up” still makes me cry, and I may be colored by nostalgia, but I can’t find anything objectively wrong with this album.

 


8

Artist: Public Enemy
Title: It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
Year:  1988
Favorite Tracks:

  • Bring the Noise
  • Don’t Believe the Hype
  • Show “em Watcha Got
  • Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos
  • Rebel Without a Pause
  • Prophets of Rage
  • Party for Your Right to Fight

The First Time I Heard This Album …: 1988

Thoughts: Nothing has ever compared to the sonic assault of Public Enemy’s richly layered samples, beats, and rhymes. Unfortunately, most of the issues referenced on this album are still relevant three decades later.

 


7

Artist: The Beatles
Title: Revolver 
Year:  1966
Favorite Tracks:

  • Eleanor Rigby
  • I’m Only Sleeping
  • Yellow Submarine
  • Good Day Sunshine
  • And Your Bird Can Sing
  • I’ve Got to Get You Into My Life
  • Tomorrow Never Knows

The First Time I Heard This Album …: 1988

Thoughts: This has been my favorite Beatles album since I started really getting into the Beatles’ music in my high school years.  I just wrote about the Super Deluxe release a few weeks ago, so I’ll refer you to that review for more details


6

Artist: The Replacements 
Title: Let It Be
Year: 1984
Favorite Tracks:

  • I Will Dare
  • Favorite Thing,
  • Androgynous
  • Unsatisfied
  • Gary’s Got a Boner
  • Answering Machine

The First Time I Heard This Album …: around 1990/91?

Thoughts: The Replacements most perfect album captures the pain, angst, and puerile humor of disaffected youth.

Bonus Sounds: For more Replacements check out my Music Discovery or read Trouble Boys by Bob Mehr.


5

Artist: The Clash
Title: London Calling
Year: 1979
Favorite Tracks:

  • London Calling
  • Hateful
  • Rudie Can’t Fail
  • The Right Profile
  • Lost in the Supermarket
  • Guns of Brixton
  • The Card Cheat
  • Train in Vain

The First Time I Heard This Album …: around 1990

Thoughts: I knew little about The Clash in my youth but learned about this album when Rolling Stone ranked it as the best album of the 1980s (kind of a cheat based on the release date). The sprawling double-album touches on all the musical genres that at peak creativity at the time from punk and New Wave to reggae and jazz.

 


4

Artist: They Might Be Giants
Title: Flood
Year:  1990
Favorite Tracks:

  • Birdhouse In Your Soul
  • Istanbul (Not Constantinople)
  • Your Racist Friend
  • Particle Man
  • Someone Keeps Moving My Chair
  • Hearing Aid
  • Minimum Wage
  • Letterbox
  • Whistling in the Dark

The First Time I Heard This Album …: 1990

Thoughts: They Might Be Giants emerged as the most popular Alternative Rock act in the pre-Nirvana era with this eclectic mix of catchy tunes with quirky, but disarmingly profound, lyrics.

 


3

Artist: De La Soul
Title: 3 Feet High and Rising
Year: 1989
Favorite Tracks:

  • The Magic Number
  • Jennifa Taught Me (Derwin’s Revenge)
  • Eye Know
  • Tread Water
  • Potholes in My Lawn
  • Say No Go
  • Me Myself and I
  • Plug Tunin’

The First Time I Heard This Album …: 1989

Thoughts: I can never be certain what album I listened to most often to in my life but 3 Feet High and Rising is a strong contender. Ironically, for someone who doesn’t know much about rap and hip hop I have two albums from that genre in my top ten, and two that I listened to on repeat in my most impressionable years.

Bonus Sounds:


2

Artist: Pixies
Title: Doolittle
Year: 1989
Favorite Tracks:

  • Debaser
  • Wave of Mutilation
  • Here Comes Your Man
  • Monkey Gone to Heaven
  • Mr. Grieves
  • La La Love You
  • No 13 Baby
  • Hey
  • Silver
  • Gouge Away

The First Time I Heard This Album …: 1990?

Thoughts: This was an album my sister brought home from college.  She didn’t like it so she gave it to me.  I liked it a lot, and have listened to it many, many times over the years.


1

Artist: Yo La Tengo
Title: I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One
Year: 1997
Favorite Tracks:

  • Moby Octopad
  • Sugarcube
  • Damage
  • Deeper Into Movies

The First Time I Heard This Album …: 1998?

Thoughts: My favorite album is a hard choice to make. Probably any of the top 20 to 30 albums on this list could be my favorite depending on the day.  My favorite band is also tough to narrow down, but if pressed I’d say “Yo La Tengo.”  So it’s appropriate that Yo La Tengo’s seminal album I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One tops the list of my 250 Favorite Albums of All Time!

 

Favorite Albums of All Time: 20-11


Having listened to every album on the Rolling Stone list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, I’m making my own list.  This list will be only 250 albums, although I had to make some tough cuts.  The list includes a mix of works of musical genius with the pure nostalgia of some albums I’ve loved throughout my life.  As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts about these albums and what your favorite albums are. I will continue the countdown every other Wednesday throughout 2022.

250-241 200-191 150-141 100-91 50-41
240-231 190-181 140-131 90-81 40-31
230-221 180-171 130-121 80-71 30-21
220-211 170-161 120-111 70-61
210-201 160-151 110-101 60-51

20

Artist: The Avalanches
Title: Since I Left You
Year: 2000
Favorite Tracks:

  • Since I Left You
  • Two Hearts in 3/4 Time
  • Flight Tonight
  • Electricity
  • Frontier Psychiatrist
  • ETOH

The First Time I Heard This Album …: early 2000s

Thoughts: This is by far the best album I serendipitously discovered by randomly checking it out from the library.  The Avalanches groundbreaking debut is a masterpiece of “plunderphonics,” dance music, and disco that still sounds fresh today. Also, just watch the totally bonkers “Frontier Psychiatrist” video.

Bonus Sounds: Fans of The Avalanches waited a long time for a second album, Wild Flowers, which came out in 2016.  This was followed by We Will Always Love You in 2020.


19

Artist: Marvin Gaye
Title: What’s Going On
Year: 1971
Favorite Tracks:

  • What’s Going On
  • Flying High (In the Friendly Sky)
  • God is Love
  • Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)

The First Time I Heard This Album …: 1990s?

Thoughts: Marvin Gaye’s magnum opus was recognized by Rolling Stone as the number one album of all time in 2020. The song cycle of socially conscious soul and R&B remains (sadly) relevant.

Bonus Sounds: My first encounter with Marvin Gaye was his 1982 album Midnight Love, the last release before his death, which includes the classic “Sexual Healing.”


18

Artist: Stereolab 
Title: Emperor Tomato Ketchup
Year :1996
Favorite Tracks:

  • Metronomic Underground
  • Cybele’s Reverie,
  • Les Yper-Sound
  • The Noise of Carpet
  • Emperor Tomato Ketchup
  • Anonymous Collective

The First Time I Heard This Album …: circa 2004

Thoughts: A co-worker introduced me to Stereolab and boy howdy, I’m glad he did!  This album is a standout collection of a career of catchy and experimental art rock tracks with electronic loops and samples.

Bonus Sounds: My Stereolab Music Discovery has it all.


17

Artist: The Pogues
Title: Rum, Sodomy and The Lash
Year: 1985
Favorite Tracks:

  • The Old Main Drag
  • The Wild Cats of Kilkenny
  • I’m A Man You Don’t Meet Every Day
  • A Pair of Brown Eyes
  • Sally MacLennane
  • Dirty Old Town
  • The Band Played Waltzing Matilda

The First Time I Heard This Album …: 1991

Thoughts: The Pogues at the their most musically raw, albeit produced by Elvis Costello, while performing story songs that get at the aching heart of humanity. The album also features bassist Cait O’Riordan’s only lead vocal on “I’m A Man You Don’t Meet Every Day.”

Bonus Sounds: The Pogues peaked in the mid-to-late 80s but Peace and Love (1989), Hell’s Ditch (1990), and even Pogue Mahone (1996) have some good tracks.


16

Artist: The Stone Roses
Title: The Stone Roses 
Year: 1989
Favorite Tracks:

  • I Wanna Be Adored
  • She Bangs the Drums
  • Waterfall
  • (Song For My) Sugar Spun Sister
  • Shoot You Down
  • I Am the Resurrection

The First Time I Heard This Album …: 1990

Thoughts: One of the first “alternative” albums I listened to after going through my high school Classic Rock phase.  The psychedelic sound drew me in and the chiming guitars, harmonies, and anthemic song structure keeps me listening.

Bonus Sounds: The Stone Roses released only one other album that wasn’t as good as their debut, but there’s a lot of good music to be found from the late 80s/early 90s Madchester sound by bands such as Happy Mondays, Inspiral Carpets, the Charlatans, and James.


15

Artist: Radiohead
Title: OK Computer
Year:  1997
Favorite Tracks:

  • Paranoid Android
  • Exit Music (For a Film)
  • Let Down
  • Karma Police
  • No Surprises

The First Time I Heard This Album …: 2003

Thoughts:  I was late to this album but it quickly became an all time favorite and Radiohead one of my favorite bands of the Nineties and Oughts.

Bonus Sounds: Pablo Honey (1993), The Bends (1995),  Kid A (2000), Hail to the Thief (2003),  and In Rainbows (2007) are all part of Radiohead’s excellent discography.


14

Artist: R.E.M.
Title: Lifes Rich Pageant
Year: 1986
Favorite Tracks:

  • Begin the Begin
  • Fall On Me
  • Underneath the Bunker
  • The Flowers of Guatemala
  • I Believe
  • Swan Swan H
  • Superman

The First Time I Heard This Album …: 1989

Thoughts: R.E.M. at the peak of their “College Rock” sound before moving onto different styles and greater commercial success.  The vocals are clearer for ever which is important because the lyrics are more topical and political.  But the strengths are still melodies and jangling guitars.

Bonus Sounds: R.E.M.’s run of Chronic Town E.P (1982), Murmur (1983), Reckoning (1984), Fables of the Reconstruction (1985),  Lifes Rich Pageant (1986), Document (1987), and Green (1988) remains one of the great opening strings of any band (and, hey, some people think their early 90s albums are good too).


13

Artist: Björk
Title : Homogenic
Year: 1997
Favorite Tracks:

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

The First Time I Heard This Album …: late 90s

Thoughts: Björk’s third album is the peak of her most accessible period despite it being undoubtedly strange art rock made danceable with electronic sounds.

Bonus Sounds: My favorite Björk albums are her 90s releases Debut (1993), Post (1995), and Homogenic (1997), but she continues to make extremely creative and artistic music including this year’s Fossora.


12

Artist: Prince and The Revolution
Title: Purple Rain
Year:  1984
Favorite Tracks:

  • Let’s Go Crazy
  • Computer Blue
  • When Doves Cry
  • I Would Die 4 U
  • Purple Rain

The First Time I Heard This Album …: 1984

Thoughts: Prince rose to be the biggest thing in the world with a hit movie and a hit soundtrack that contains some his most memorable songs.  I remember listening to this as a kid and being creeped out by the backmasking on “Darling Nikki.”  But a lot of the rest of the album was a lot of fun and these songs remain my soundtrack of the Summer of 1984.

Bonus Sounds: OK, I’m going to make the announcement here, because there is so much of Prince’s music I haven’t even heard: in 2023 I plan to listen to every album Prince and his various band’s and projects ever released.  Watch this space for the full reviews.


11

Artist: Fishbone
Title: Truth and Soul
Year: 1988
Favorite Tracks:

  • Freddie’s Dead
  • Ma & Pa
  • Deep Inside
  • Bonin’ in the Boneyard
  • One Day
  • Subliminal Fascism
  • Ghetto Soundwave
  • Change

The First Time I Heard This Album …: 1991

Thoughts: This ska/funk/hardcore/et al band performed at the first “real” concert I ever attended in 1991. This album is the strongest and most cohesive album Fishbone ever released. It mixes a strong social message with a fun party vibe.

Bonus Sounds: Fishbone (1985), In Your Face (1986), and The Reality of My Surroundings (1991)  are all great.  After that, they got a bit too weird.

Favorite Albums of All Time: 30-21


Having listened to every album on the Rolling Stone list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, I’m making my own list.  This list will be only 250 albums, although I had to make some tough cuts.  The list includes a mix of works of musical genius with the pure nostalgia of some albums I’ve loved throughout my life.  As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts about these albums and what your favorite albums are. I will continue the countdown every other Wednesday throughout 2022.

250-241 200-191 150-141 100-91 50-41
240-231 190-181 140-131 90-81 40-31
230-221 180-171 130-121 80-71
220-211 170-161 120-111 70-61
210-201 160-151 110-101 60-51

30

Artist: Amy Winehouse
Title: Back to Black
Year: 2006
Favorite Tracks:

  • Rehab
  • You Know I’m No Good
  • Just Friends
  • Back To Black
  • Tears Dry on Their Own

The First Time I Heard This Album …: 2006 or 2007

Thoughts: It’s a shame that tabloid headlines and her early death overshadow Amy Winehouse’s massive talent.  She was the cornerstone of a soul revival in the Oughts along with the likes of Adele, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, and Joss Stone and this album is a testament to that era.

Bonus Sounds:  The documentary Amy leans toward exploitative but contains footage of Winehouse developing her talent as well as how she was destroyed by the celebrity media complex.  It also includes the sweetest scene of her spending time with her idol Tony Bennet.


29

Artist: Harry Belafonte
Title: Belafonte at Carnegie Hall 
Year: 1959
Favorite Tracks:

  • Cotton Fields
  • John Henry
  • The Marching Saints
  • Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)
  • Jamaica Farewell
  • Mama Look a Boo Boo
  • Hava Nageela
  • Cu Cu Ru Cu Cu Paloma
  • Shennandoah
  • Matilda

The First Time I Heard This Album …: late 1980s

Thoughts: When I was growing up we had a collection of LPs and 45s from various relatives, and one treasure of my late Aunt Barbara was the Harry Belafonte collection.  This concert performance recorded in April 1959 features Belafonte’s interpretations of African American songs, Carribean calypso, and traditional folk tunes from around the world.

Bonus Sounds: The blockbuster Calypso (1956) was the first LP to sell over a million copies and kicked off a global calypso craze.  Not bad for someone who took up singing as a side gig when he couldn’t get acting parts.


28

Artist: Sigur Rós 
Title: Ágætis byrjun
Year: 1999
Favorite Tracks:

  • Svefn-g-englar
  • Starálfur
  • Ný batterí
  • Hjartað hamast (bamm bamm bamm)
  • Olsen Olsen

The First Time I Heard This Album …: circa 2005

Thoughts: The first album I ever heard by Sigur Rós remains the best.  The sweeping orchestral arrangements are cinematic in scope.  While I don’t understand the lyrics, many of which are in a language made up by Sigur Rós frontman Jonsi called Hopelandic, they still speak to me.  The title track is extra special since it was playing in the delivery room when my younger child was born and means “A Good Beginning.”

Bonus Sounds: I have a Music Discovery on Sigur Rós’ albums through 2016 and highly recommend their concert film Heima.


27

Artist: Janelle Monáe
Title: Dirty Computer
Year:  2018
Favorite Tracks:

  • Crazy, Classic, Life
  • Django Jane
  • Pynk
  • Make Me Feel
  • I Got the Juice
  • So Afraid
  • Americans

The First Time I Heard This Album …: 2018

Thoughts: Monáe’s masterpiece, so far, hit big in 2018 and is surprisingly only her third full-length album.  It’s Monáe’s most personal album and challenges the fears of our troubled times while celebrating women, Blackness, sexuality, gender identity, and even American identity.

Bonus Sounds: I wrote my very first Music Discovery about Janelle Monáe as well as a concert review from the Dirty Computer tour.


26

Artist: The Specials 
Title: The Specials
Year: 1980
Favorite Tracks:

  • Gangsters
  • A Message To You, Rudy
  • Nite Klub
  • Concrete Jungle
  • Too Much Too Young
  • Little Bitch

The First Time I Heard This Album …: early 90s

Thoughts: The debut album from the Two Tone ska band The Specials contains many of the band’s greatest songs and established the new genre of U.K. Ska.

Bonus Sounds: The band’s follow-up album More Specials (1980) took a strange turn into “Muzak” inspired music but is still interesting, while their more recent reunion album Encore (2019) is also pretty good.


25

Artist: The Rolling Stones
Title: Beggars Banquet
Year: 1968
Favorite Tracks:

  • Sympathy For the Devil
  • No Expectations
  • Parachute Woman
  • Street Fighting Man
  • Prodigal Son
  • Stray Cat Blues
  • Factory Girl
  • Salt of the Earth

The First Time I Heard This Album …: late 80s

Thoughts: The Rolling Stones were always best as a Blues band, and their best album sees them embracing roots music to create a rock & roll classic. While the Stones have never been an overtly political band, a lot of the songs on this album come from the perspective of working class people, which also makes it interesting.

Bonus Sounds: This is the third Stones’ album on my list so I’ll just reiterate that Out of Our Heads (1965), Aftermath (1966), Let It Bleed (1969), Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out! (1970), Sticky Fingers (1971),  Exile on Main St. (1972), and Blue & Lonesome (2016) are all worth a listen


24

Artist: Stevie Wonder
Title: Talking Book 
Year: 1972
Favorite Tracks:

  • You Are the Sunshine of My Life
  • Superstition
  • Big Brother
  • Lookin’ For Another Pure Love
  • I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever)

The First Time I Heard This Album …: Late 80s

Thoughts: This album has a timeless quality, it sounds like it could’ve been released this year. It must’ve been revelatory when people first heard it in 1972. Wonder experiments with numerous keyboards, synthesizers, and drums, continuing as a one-man band on many tracks, but also has numerous guest artists including Jim Gilstrap, Lani Groves, David Sandborn, Deniece Williams, Ray Parker, Jr., and Jeff Beck. Also, “Superstition” is one of the all-time great songs. It never fails to amaze me.

Bonus Sounds: This is the fourth of four Stevie Wonder albums on this list, more than any other artist, so you know you can grab any Stevie Wonder album from the 60s or 70s and you can’t go wrong!


23

Artist: Talking Heads
Title: Remain in Light
Year: 1980
Favorite Tracks:

  • Crosseyed and Painless
  • The Great Curve
  • Once in a Lifetime
  • Houses in Motion
  • Listening Wind

The First Time I Heard This Album …: Late 80s

Thoughts: Talking Heads incorporated Afrobeat sounds into their New Wave and art rock creating one of the seminal albums of the 1980s (as well as one of the defining music videos of the early MTV era).

Bonus Sounds: Beninese superstar Angélique Kidjo created an excellent cover of this entire album!


22

Artist: Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer
Title: Tanglewood Tree
Year: 2000
Favorite Tracks:

  • Happytown (All Right With Me)
  • Tanglewood Tree
  • The Mountain
  • Hey Conductor
  • Crocodile Man
  • Cat-Eye Willie Claims His Lover
  • Cowboy Singer

The First Time I Heard This Album …: 2000

Thoughts: When I ranked my favorite albums of all time in 2009, this was the number one album! It may seem like a demotion but really any of my top 25 could be number one and I have to rank them somehow.  The late Dave Carter wrote the mystical lyrics on this album while their partner Tracy Grammer provides harmony and fiddle.

Bonus Sounds: Two of the three albums released by Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer before Carter’s death made my Top 250, but the duo’s final album Drum Hat Buddha is also excellent.


21

Artist: Johnny Clegg & Savuka
Title: Cruel, Crazy, Beautiful World
Year:  1989
Favorite Tracks:

  • One (Hu)’ Man One Vote
  • Cruel, Crazy, Beautiful World
  • Jericho
  • Dela (I Know Why the Dog Howls at the Moon)
  • It’s An Illusion
  • Woman Be My Country
  • Warsaw 1941

The First Time I Heard This Album …: 1990

Thoughts:  They say the best music ever is what you were listening to when you were 17.  When I was 17, I was lucky enough to be listening to Johnny Clegg & Savuka.  The racially integrated band formed in South Africa during Apartheid and the music blended Western and African sounds with many lyrics in Zulu.  The album is politically charged yet hopeful.

Bonus Sounds: Before Savuka, there was Juluka, a band formed by Johnny Clegg and Sipho Mchunu that was one of the first multi-racial acts under apartheid and released several albums between 1979 and 1984.  I’m also fond of the 1993 Johnny Clegg and Savuka album Heat, Dust and Dreams which reflects on the exciting times after the release of Nelson Mandela and end of apartheid.


Favorite Albums of All Time: 40-31


Having listened to every album on the Rolling Stone list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, I’m making my own list.  This list will be only 250 albums, although I had to make some tough cuts.  The list includes a mix of works of musical genius with the pure nostalgia of some albums I’ve loved throughout my life.  As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts about these albums and what your favorite albums are. I will continue the countdown every other Wednesday throughout 2022.

250-241 200-191 150-141 100-91 50-41
240-231 190-181 140-131 90-81
230-221 180-171 130-121 80-71
220-211 170-161 120-111 70-61
210-201 160-151 110-101 60-51

40

Artist: John Coltrane
Title: A Love Supreme
Year:  1964
Favorite Tracks: It’s all one suite.

The First Time I Heard This Album …: early 90s

Thoughts: As a musical suite and an expression of spirituality, A Love Supreme comes as close to perfection as humanly possible.

Bonus Sounds: I’ve enjoyed many of Coltrane’s recordings, including Blue Train (1958), Giant Steps (1960), My Favorite Things (1961) and Duke Ellington & John Coltrane (1963).


39

Artist: The Dismemberment Plan 
Title: Emergency & I
Year: 1999
Favorite Tracks:

  • What Do You Want Me to Say?
  • Spider in the Snow
  • You Are Invited
  • Girl O’Clock

The First Time I Heard This Album …: circa 2003

Thoughts: I found out about The Dismemberment Plan because I knew guitarist and lead vocalist Travis Morrison in college.  Basically I was wondering whatever happened to him and found out, hey, he’s in this legendary Washington indie rock band I’ve never heard of before.  Turns out, they were really good!

Bonus Sounds: I saw The Dismemberment Plan in concert when they reunited in 2013.


38

Artist: Sinéad O’Connor
Title: I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got
Year: 1990
Favorite Tracks:

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

The First Time I Heard This Album …: 1990

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). O’Connor’s dynamic voice powers an eclectic mix of song styles on her most famous album.

Bonus Sounds: I’m also fond of O’Connor’s debut album The Lion and the Cobra (1987).


37

Artist: Prince and the Revolution
Title: 1999
Year: 1982
Favorite Tracks:

  • 1999
  • Little Red Corvette
  • Delirious
  • D.M.S.R.
  • Free
  • All the Critics Love U in New York
  • International Lover

The First Time I Heard This Album …: mid-80s

Thoughts: Prince and the Revolution exploded onto the scene with this album in 1982. I still remember hearing Prince’s “Little Red Corvette” for the first time on Casey Kasem’s “America’s Top 40.” Prince was probably too raunchy for me, and while three singles got a lot of airplay the rest of this album was and probably is to sexy for radio. It remains an amazing collection by an artist at the top of his game.

Bonus Sounds: There’s one more album from Prince and the Revolution to come, but the late, great Prince Rogers Nelson is responsible for so much great music that you could start with just about anything and hear something amazing.


36

Artist: Robert Johnson
Title: The Complete Recordings
Year: 1936-1937/1990
Favorite Tracks:

  • Sweet Home Chicago
  • When You Got a Good Friend
  • Come On in My Kitchen
  • 32-20 Blues
  • They’re Red Hot
  • Cross Road Blues
  • Walkin’ Blues
  • Last Fair Deal Gone Down
  • From Four Until Late
  • Traveling Riverside Blues
  • Love in Vain

The First Time I Heard This Album …: 1990

Thoughts: Disabuse yourself of the myths.  Robert Johnson did not sell his soul to the devil at the crossroads.  Blues men accompanying themselves on guitar were not the standard in the 1920s-40s (in fact women singing with bands were the Blues hitmakers).  Rock & roll did not evolve from Robert Johnson, but he was adopted by British R&B enthusiasts after his music was re-released in the 1960s.  The truth is, Robert Johnson was a talented guitarist who recorded a couple of dozen songs in the mid-30s and the sound of those tunes reverberates through the ages.

Bonus Sounds: This album collects all of Johnson’s known recordings, but had he lived longer he would have participated in the series of Carnegie Hall concerts of 1938-1939 known as From Spirituals to Swing.


35

Artist: Charles Mingus
Title: Mingus Ah Um 
Year: 1959
Favorite Tracks:

  • Better Git It in Your Soul
  • Goodbye Pork Pie Hat
  • Boogie Stop Shuffle
  • Fables of Faubus

The First Time I Heard This Album …: early 1990s

Thoughts: I can’t remember who introduced me to Charles Mingus’ work, but I started listening to his music in my college years and it really changed my understanding of what jazz could be. This album draws inspiration from Duke Ellington while incorporating the bop styles of the 1950s (or the “modern jazz”) that Chuck Berry has no kick about). Mingus and his band play the tunes fast and slow and it’s all inspired and gets in your soul

Bonus Sounds: You probably can’t go wrong with Mingus, but I’ve enjoyed The Clown (1957) and Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus (1964).


34

Artist: Camera Obscura
Title: Let’s Get Out of this Country
Year:  2006
Favorite Tracks:

  • Lloyd, I’m Ready to Be Heartbroken
  • Tears for Affairs
  • Let’s Get Out of This Country
  • Country Mile
  • I Need All the Friends I Can Get
  • Razzle Dazzle Rose

The First Time I Heard This Album …: 2006

Thoughts: Scottish band Camera Obscura emerged from the twee pop scene of the Oughts.  The sweet voice of Tracyanne Campbell floats above a bed of sonically-dense baroque pop.  It’s exquisite.

Bonus Sounds: Campbell continues to record in the duo Tracyanne & Danny.


33

Artist: Tom Waits
Title: Rain Dogs
Year: 1985
Favorite Tracks:

  • Clap Hands
  • Jockey Full of Bourbon
  • Hang Down Your Head
  • Time
  • Downtown Train
  • Anywhere I Lay My Head

The First Time I Heard This Album …: 199-something

Thoughts: Waits’ most famous album has his voice in a fully-developed growl over hallucinogenic carnival music.  One of the great albums of the 1980s.

Bonus Sounds: I have a particular fondness for the amusicality of Tom Waits and Keith Richards singing the standard “Shenandoah.”


32

Artist: The Breeders
Title Last Splash
Year: 1993
Favorite Tracks:

  • Cannonball
  • Roi
  • I Just Wanna Get Along
  • Divine Hammer
  • Saints
  • Drivin’ on 9

The First Time I Heard This Album …: 1993

Thoughts: The Breeders originally was a side project for Pixies’ bassist Kim Deal, but this album became omnipresent in 1993.  One could not walk through a dormitory on my college campus without hearing “Cannonball” playing from someone’s stereo.

Bonus Sounds: The Breeders have made some great music from their debut album Pod (1990) to their most recent release All Nerve (2018), which reunited the same lineup that made Last Splash.


31

Artist: Mission of Burma
Title: Vs
Year: 1982
Favorite Tracks:

  • Secrets
  • New Nails
  • Dead Pool
  • Learn How
  • Einstein’s Day
  • That’s How I Escaped My Certain Fate
  • Progress

The First Time I Heard This Album …: 2004

Thoughts: The Boston post-punk band released just one full-length studio album in the 1980s but it is a practically perfect one.

Bonus Sounds: Mission of Burma’s debut release Signals, Calls, and Marches (1981) was a terrific 20 minutes of post-punk brilliance.  It has grown longer in re-releases with added tracks that pretty much have promoted it from an EP to an LP.