Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 100-91


In September 2020, 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
460-451 360-351 260-251 160-151
450-441 350-341 250-241 150-141
440-431 340-331 240-231 140-131
430-421 330-321 230-221 130-121
420-411 320-311 220-211 120-111
410-401 310-301 210-201 110-101

Artist: The Band
AlbumMusic from Big Pink
Year: 1968
Label: Capitol
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?: Maybe
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Tears of Rage”
  • “To Kingdom Come”
  • “The Weight”

Thoughts: I love “The Weight” and The Last Waltz is a great movie, but overall I think The Band are overrated.  This album is just fine but maybe doesn’t deserve it’s automatic placement in these greatest albums of all time lists. The songs “This Wheels on Fire” and “I Shall Be Released” have become standards, but oddly I don’t like The Band’s version compared with the many, many covers.


Artist: Taylor Swift
Album: Red
Year: 2012
Label: Big Machine
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?: Not this version
Favorite Tracks:

  • “I Knew You Were Trouble.”
  • “All Too Well”
  • “22”
  • “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”

Thoughts: Too bad Taylor’s version of Red hasn’t been released so I could listen to that instead of the version owned by corporate crooks.  Taylor Swift was not on my radar in 2012 so listening to this album is like piecing together a decade’s worth of background music and pop cultural references.  Swift’s music is undeniably catchy and she’s a great lyricist as well.  I also am getting some schadenfreude over the klassik rawk bros who must’ve popped a gasket when they saw Taylor Swift ranked ahead of The Band.


Artist: Lucinda Williams
Album: Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
Year: 1998
Label: Mercury
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:

  • “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road”
  • “Drunken Angel”
  • “Can’t Let Go”
  • “Jackson”

Thoughts: Lucinda Williams manages to sing with the gravely voice of experience while at the same time sounding youthful and vulnerable.  Williams’ albums are on of my big “discoveries” of this project.


Artist: Metallica
Album: Master of Puppets
Year: 1986
Label: Elektra
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:

  • “Orion”
  • “Damage, Inc.”

Thoughts: I didn’t think I’d have much to say about this mid-80s Heavy Metal album.  But I really liked the last two tracks: the instrumental “Orion” with a virtuosic guitar performance and the speed metal of “Damage, Inc.”


Artist: R.E.M.
Album: Automatic for the People
Year: 1992
Label: Warner Bros.
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:

  • “Everybody Hurts”
  • “Nightswimming”

Thoughts: I’ve made no secret that Automatic for the People and its predecessor Out of Time made me fall out of love with R.E.M. It actually took me 20 years to discover that a lot of people really loved this album.  I will aver that this is not a bad album, and I can’t fault people who love it.  Nevertheless, my mind boggles that only one of R.E.M.’s great albums of 1980s made this list.


Artist: Drake
AlbumTake Care
Year: 2011
Label: Cash Money
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:

  • “Lord Knows”
  • “Cameras/Good Ones Go Interlude”

Thoughts: I didn’t find this early Drake album to be all that exciting although it does have some interesting beats and melodies.


Artist: The Stooges
AlbumFunhouse
Year: 1970
Label: Elektra
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:

  • “Loose”
  • “L.A. Blues”

Thoughts: Did The Stooges invent post-punk before there was punk?


Artist: Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott
Album: Supa Dupa Fly
Year:1997
Label: Goldmind
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:

  • “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)”
  • “Izzy Izzy Ahh”

Thoughts: My ignorance of 90s hip-hop knows no bounds so this was another first listen for me. Elliott is a lot smoother than I’d expect of someone with the nickname Misdemeanor.


500 albums jimi hendrix experience axis bold as love

Artist: The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Album: Axis: Bold as Love
Year: 1967
Label: Track
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:

  • “Spanish Castle Magic”
  • “Wait Until Tomorrow”
  • “Little Wing”

Thoughts: Jimi Hendrix released three studio albums before his life was cut short and they are all in the top 100 of this list.  This seems like a very 60’s-obsessed Boomers at Rolling Stone thing to do.  But I can’t deny that all of Hendrix’s albums are great, and this one features a lot of musical inventiveness and exploration of new styles.


Artist: Bruce Springsteen
Album: Darkness on the Edge of Town
Year: 1978
Label: Columbia
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: No
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Badlands”
  • “The Promised Land”

Thoughts: This is a good Bruce Springsteen album but I’m surprised it is ranked higher than Nebraska and Born in the U.S.A. which I enjoyed a whole lot more.  Of course, I love “Hungry Heart” and “Glory Days” so I don’t expect diehard fans of The Boss to give my thoughts much credence.


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
  • 150. Bruce Springsteen, Nebraska
  • 149. John Prine, John Prine
  • 148. Frank Ocean, Channel Orange
  • 146. Blondie, Parallel Lines
  • 144. Led Zeppelin, Physical Graffiti
  • 143. The Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground
  • 142. Bruce Springsteen, Born in the U.S.A.
  • 141. Pixies, Doolittle
  • 140. Bob Marley and the Wailers, Catch a Fire
  • 139. Black Sabbath, Paranoid
  • 138. Madonna, The Immaculate Collection
  • 137. Adele, 21
  • 136. Funkadelic, Maggot Brain
  • 135. U2, The Joshua Tree
  • 134. Fugees, ‘he Score
  • 132. Hank Williams, 40 Greatest Hits
  • 131. Portishead, Dummy
  • 130. Prince, 1999
  • 127. Ray Charles, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music
  • 125. Beastie Boys, Paul’s Boutique
  • 124. U2, Achtung Baby
  • 123. Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II
  • 122. Nine Inch Nails, The Downward Spiral
  • 121. Elvis Costello, This Year’s Model
  • 120. Van Morrison, Moondance
  • 119. Sly and the Family Stone, Stand!
  • 116. The Cure, Disintegration
  • 114. The Strokes, Is This It
  • 113. The Smiths, The Queen Is Dead
  • 111. Janet Jackson, Control
  • 109. Lou Reed, Transformer
  • 108. Fiona Apple, When the Pawn …
  • 107. Television, Marquee Moon
  • 104. The Rolling Stones, Sticky Fingers
  • 103. De La Soul, Three Feet High And Rising
  • 102. The Clash, The Clash
  • 101. Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin
  • 99. Taylor Swift, Red
  • 98. Lucinda Williams, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
  • 94. The Stooges, Fun House
  • 92. The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Axis: Bold as Love

 

Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 150-141


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
460-451 360-351 260-251 160-151
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: Bruce Springsteen
AlbumNebraska
Year: 1982
Label: Columbia
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Atlantic City”
  • “Highway Patrolman”
  • “State Trooper”
  • “Reason to Believe”

Thoughts: It’s hard to believe that Nebraska and Born in the USA were basically created at the same time.  Whereas the latter album is full of anthemic rock and roll tracks with a full band and even some synths, Nebraska is stripped down and acoustic.  It sounds like music from the heartland, perhaps some lost Dust Bowl ballads, even when Springsteen is singing about New Jersey.


Artist: John Prine
AlbumJohn Prine
Year: 1971
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?:
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Hello in There”
  • “Sam Stone”
  • “Paradise”
  • “Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore”
  • “Angel from Montgomery”

Thoughts: Speaking of heartland music, John Prine of Chicago sings with a nasal twang in the styles of Nashville country and Appalachian folk.  The songs sound timeless but touch on contemporary issues with both wry humor and heartbreak.  I didn’t know much about John Prine until last year after his death from COVID-19, I listened to a number of his most highly-regarded songs.  I’m glad to take this opportunity to discover more of his music.


Artist: Frank Ocean
Album: Channel Orange
Year: 2012
Label: Def Jam
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?: Maybe
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Super Rich Kids”
  • “Pyramids”

Thoughts: Typically I’m not a fan of contemporary R&B or neo-soul or however you want to classify this music.  But I found myself liking Frank Ocean more than expected.  He has a great voice and does some interesting, weird things with his music.  Lyrically, the songs tell stories about people I’m familiar with, although don’t necessarily like.  I may just have to give this one another listen.


Artist: Jeff Buckley
AlbumGrace
Year: 1994
Label: Columbia
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?:
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Hallelujah”

Thoughts: Two things about Jeff Buckley: 1. I always conflate him with Jeff Healey who sang “Angel Eyes.”  2. I hold him responsible for the vast overexposure of the song “Hallelujah.”  Granted, I like the song, but I prefer the Leonard Cohen version to the many imitators.  Sadly, Buckley died shortly after making this album and was never able to build on his success.


Artist: Blondie
AlbumParallel Lines
Year: 1978
Label: Chrysalis
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:

  • “Hanging on the Telephone”
  • “One Way Or Another”
  • “Pretty Baby”
  • “Sunday Girl”
  • “Heart of Glass”

Thoughts:  I kind of forgot how much I heard Blondie on the radio as a small child.  “Heart of Glass” is a perennial classic, but it felt good to be reunited with several other songs of my youth.  Blondie really just were the coolest people around and this album exudes cool.


Artist: Eminem
Album: The Marshall Mathers LP
Year: 2000
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:

  • None

Thoughts: I hate this album. But Slim Shady doesn’t give a fuck what I think.  So there.


Artist: Led Zeppelin
AlbumPhysical Graffiti
Year: 1975
Label: Swan Song
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:

  • “In My Time of Dying”
  • “Houses of the Holy”
  • “Kashmir”
  • “Down By the Seaside”
  • “Boogie with Stu”
  • “Black Country Woman”

Thoughts: Although I haven’t listened to it in a long, long time, this remains my favorite Led Zeppelin album.  The two discs have a lot of great blues rock tracks as well as some tunes that draw on English folk music.  It holds up pretty well.


Artist: The Velvet Underground
Album: The Velvet Underground
Year: 1969
Label: MGM
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:

  • “What Goes On”
  • “Pale Blue Eyes”
  • “Beginning To See The Light”
  • “The Murder Mystery”
  • “After Hours”

Thoughts: After all these years I’m still kind of surprised that The Velvet Underground can do melodic ballads.  There’s a lot of great music on this album that sounds different from the great music on their other albums.  There’s also “The Murder Mystery” an esoteric track with different songs being sung and poems recited simultaneously in a harmonic way.  I don’t know if I’ve ever heard of anything like that before! I kind of wish Moe Tucker sang lead on more songs.


Artist: Bruce Springsteen
AlbumBorn in the USA
Year: 1984
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:

  • “Born in the U.S.A”
  • “No Surrender”
  • “Glory Days”
  • “Dancing in the Dark”
  • “My Hometown”

Thoughts: This was my introduction to Bruce Springsteen as a child.  My family had the tape but it also spawned 7 singles over a two year period, so it was inescapable.  I remember being surprised I’d never heard of him before since everyone was calling him “The Boss,” but I guess I didn’t listen to album-oriented FM radio in my early days.  Later, I learned that “Hungry Heart” was a Springsteen song, so I wasn’t entirely ignorant.  Anyhow, I’m kind of amazed that this pure rock album with songs about everyday blue-collar Americans was such a big hit in the 80s, because the music and politics of the time were very different.


Artist: Pixies
AlbumDoolittle
Year: 1989
Label: 4AD/Elektra
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Yes
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • I started marking songs as my favorites and then realized that I just love all of them.

Thoughts: My older sister introduced me to a lot of good music over the years, and one album I got from her was Doolittle.  In fact, she didn’t like it, so she let me keep it. I listened to it to death in my college years and beyond.  It remains one of my favorite albums of all time.

 


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
  • 150. Bruce Springsteen, Nebraska
  • 149. John Prine, John Prine
  • 148. Frank Ocean, Channel Orange
  • 146. Blondie, Parallel Lines
  • 144. Led Zeppelin, Physical Graffiti
  • 143. The Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground
  • 142. Bruce Springsteen, Born in the U.S.A.
  • 141. Pixies, Doolittle

 

Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 350-341


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: Stevie Wonder
AlbumMusic of My Mind
Year: 1972
Label: Motown/Tamla
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:

  • “Love Having You Around”
  • “Happier Than the Morning Sun”
  • “Keep on Running”
  • “Evil”

Thoughts: It’s kind of unfair having a greatest albums list if Stevie Wonder is allowed to participate.  And Music of My Mind was only the prelude to Wonder’s mid-70s musical dominance. It’s a testament to Wonder’s talent that this album, as great as it is, has basically become one big deep cut in his catalog.

For more thoughts on this album check out my Stevie Wonder music discovery post.



Artist
: MC5
Album: Kick Out the Jams
Year: 1969
Label: Elektra
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:

  • “Kick Out the Jams”
  • “Motor City Is Burning”
  • “I Want You Right Now”

Thoughts: I’ve heard of MC5 as being a protopunk act.  This live set  recorded from Detroit’s Grand Ballroom at the end of October 1968 does sound like it’s from a decade in the future.  But it also sounds firmly within the countercultural and leftist political culture of the time.  Either way, it sounds like it rocks really hard.


Artist: Gillian Welch
Album: Time (The Revelator)
Year: 2001
Label: Acony
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:

  • “Dear Someone”
  • “Red Clay Halo”
  • “Ruination Day, Pt. 2”
  • “Everything Is Free”

Thoughts: It’s nice to see this list recognized contemporary folk/roots/Americana music.  I’d never listened to this album before, oddly enough, despite the fact that it was released right in the middle of my Folk Music Period of roughly 1998-2003. Listening to the sad and lonesome harmonies today, I have regrets.


Artist: GZA
Album: Liquid Swords
Year: 1995
Label: Geffen
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Only by reputation
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Liquid Swords”
  • “Cold World”
  • “I Gotcha Back”

Thoughts: I somehow missed the entire Wu-Tang Clan phenomenon, which is perhaps not surprising considering my general ignorance of hip hop from Nineties and Oughts.  Liquid Swords is particularly discussed about in reverent tones, so it’s about time I gave it a listen. Consider me initiated.


Artist: Arctic Monkeys
AlbumAM
Year: 2013
Label: Domino
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Vaguely
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Do I Wanna Know?”

Thoughts: I’m starting to feel like this project is just a series of confessions of me being too lazy to listen to different artists. I remember seeing Arctic Monkey performing “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor” at the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony. I thought that they sounded good but never followed up on listening to more of their music. This album came out a year later. AM is a nice mix of 70s classic rock sounds with 2010’s indie pop. It’s a perfectly cromulent album and I probably should’ve listened to it earlier.


Artist: Bruce Springsteen
Album: The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle
Year: 1973
Label: Columbia
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “The E Street Shuffle”
  • “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)”
  • “Incident on 57th Street”
  • “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)”

Thoughts: Bruce Springsteen and I were born in the same town although I moved away as an infant so didn’t experience a full New Jersey childhood.  I’ve always appreciated Springsteen’s anthems for the common person, but I’m more of a “greatest hits” type of listener and haven’t listened to the vast majority of his albums. This is the first of five Springsteen albums on the list so I will be getting to experience the deep cuts. This album is funkier and jazzier than I’d ever expected of Springsteen. It’s epic and fun!


Artist:  Toots and the Maytals
Album: Funky Kingston
Year: 1973
Label: Island
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Ye
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Funky Kingston”
  • “Pomps & Pride”
  • “Country Road”
  • “Pressure Drop”

Thoughts: I love when this list does things like puts two completely different albums from the same year back-to-back. Toots and the Maytals were reggae pioneers and this American release of this album helped make Jamaica’s music famous worldwide.  The songs are a mix of original reggae tunes focused on the trials and joys of ordinary Americans mixed with covers of American songs like “Louie Louie” and “Country Roads.”


Artist: Sly and the Family Stone
Album: Greatest Hits
Year: 1970
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?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “I Want to Take You Higher”
  • “Dance to the Music”
  • “Everyday People”
  • “Hot Fun in the Summertime”
  • “Sing a Simple Song”
  • “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)”

Thoughts: I continue to the object to the inclusion of greatest hits compilations on a greatest albums list, but I’ll make an exception for this one.  First, there are two other Sly & the Family Stone albums coming up on this list.  Second, there are only four songs that overlap with one of those albums and zero with the other.  And finally, Greatest Hits includes three tracks not available on other albums.  Thus, it makes a good primer for Sly and the Family Stone’s music, and also serves as my imaginary Sly and the Family Stone Broadway jukebox musical that really needs to exist.


Artist: The Beatles
AlbumLet It Be
Year: 1970
Label: Apple
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:

  • “Two of Us”
  • “Across the Universe”
  • “One After 909”
  • “For You Blue”
  • “Get Back”

Thoughts: This album shouldn’t be as good as it is.  By January 1969, The Beatles had spent a decade of constant togetherness: gigging, touring, recording two albums worth of material per year, making films, and even going on a transcendental meditation retreat together.  They should’ve made a new year’s resolution to take a year off and go to therapy or something. Instead the started an ambitious project to “get back” to their roots, record an album, and rehearse for a concert performance all while a camera crew documented their every move.  A month later the project was abandoned among acrimonious infighting.  Then The  Beatles got together three weeks later to start creating an entirely different brilliant album.  Let It Be was released shortly after The Beatles broke up in 1970 as a quasi-movie soundtrack/live album although with Phil Spector’s production it is not really either of those things.  And despite all of that it’s a solid and unique Beatles album with some of my favorite of the band’s songs.


Artist: The Smashing Pumpkins
Album: Siamese Dream
Year: 1993
Label: Virgin
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?: Just the hits
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Cherub Rock”
  • “Today”
  • “Disarm”

Thoughts: In the early 90s, there were a lot of innovative alternative rock bands who changed the face of music.  The Smashing Pumpkins were not one of them. I don’t say this as an insult, but to emphasize that The Smashing Pumpkins were craftsmen who used took the new alt-rock sounds (and a healthy dose of 70s bombast) to churn out songs that rocked.  I never felt strongly either way about the Pumpkins but was pleasantly surprised that their tunes held up so well over 30 years.


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

Album Reviews: 80s Flashbacks


Today I will review three recently-released albums by artists who were 1980s superstars.

AlbumWestern Stars
Artist: Bruce Springsteen
Release Date: June 14, 2019
Favorite Tracks:

  • Western Stars
  • Chasin’ Wild Horses
  • Moonlight Motel

Thoughts:

I’ve always liked Springsteen well enough, although my knowledge of his work is fairly superficial.  This album reminds me of the Rolling Stones’ Blue & Lonesome in the sense that Springsteen is at an age where he has nothing left to prove, and has the leisure to dive into his roots.  Nonetheless, it’s a different sound for him, especially the string arrangements. Strings can be cheezy if done poorly, but they’re are well-integrated into the songs and the stories they’re telling and complement Springsteen’s voice which is as strong and expressive as ever. Springsteen is famously from New Jersey, but here is voice is baked in the Americana of the West.

Rating: ***


Album: Absolute Zero
Artist: Bruce Hornsby
Release Date: April 12, 2019
Favorite Tracks: none stand out, but they’re all decent
Thoughts:

The less-famous Bruce had his biggest hits at the beginning of his career in the 1980s, and probably for most people that’s all they know about him.  In the 1990s, Hornsby toured with the Grateful Dead and created new albums with a jazz fusion sound.  When I lived in Williamsburg, VA, his hometown, he was a local celebrity and people exchanged stories of Bruce sightings.  I saw him in concert several times and have always thought his music sounds far better in live performace than on an album.  Neverthless, over the past 15 years or so I’ve failed to keep up with his career – until now.  This album uses elements of classical, jazz, and avant-garde music with Hornsby’s virtuosic style.  Jazz drummer Jack DeJohnette guests on some tracks as does Justin Vernon of Bon Iver which gives it some NPR Music cred.  It’s a creative experiment with dissonant sounds and juxtapositions, but I don’t think it’s something I’ll want to return to.

Rating: **1/2


Album: Originals
Artist: Prince
Release Date: June 7, 2019
Favorite Tracks:

  • 100 MPH
  • Holly Rock
  • The Glamorous Life
  • Wouldn’t You Love to Love Me?
  • Nothing Compares 2 U

Thoughts:

Prince, of course, is deceased and will no longer be releasing new music.  But his famous vault will be mined for music for the forseeable future. Following up on Piano and a Microphone, 1983, and collects mostly unreleased versions of songs Prince wrote as demos for other artists. So now we can hear Prince’s take on songs like “Jungle Love,” “Manic Monday,” and “The Glamorous Life,” which were hits for The Time, The Bangles, and Sheila E.  A number of these songs were crafted by Prince for his proteges in the Minneapolis scene so they’re not familiar to me, although the most bizarre of the songs that are new to me is “You’re My Love,” which Prince wrote for Kenny Rogers!  The demos exude Prince’s hard work and musicianship and would’ve been good enough for Prince to release himself.  On the other hand, there are things the other artists brought to these songs that I think Prince was aware was needed.  This album is enjoyable, but I think it’s worth more for historical/musicological study than for just listening for fun

Rating: ***1/2

Favorite Songs of 1984


The project continues with my favorite songs of 1984.  Read the first post for the detail on this project.

I sense the quality of music is dropping into the mid-80s trough.  Looking at lists of songs from 1984, I can make a top ten list of songs of shame, and not even ones that are still guilty pleasures.  But there’s still enough good stuff left to make an interesting top ten favorites list as well.

Free Nelson Mandela – The Special A.K.A

Glory Days – Bruce Springsteen

How Soon Is Now? – The Smiths

Jam On It – Newcleus

Let’s Go Crazy – Prince and the Revolution

[Seek this song out on your own, but with caution as Prince does not like sharing on the internet]

The Milkman of Human Kindness – Billy Bragg

People Are People – Depeche Mode

Run Run Away – Slade

Skankin’ To The Beat – Fishbone

Stick ‘Em – Fat Boys

And my song of shame for 1984 is: Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer – Elmo & Patsy

What were you listening to in 1984 that you still remember fondly? Let me know in the comments.

Favorite Songs of 1980


The project continues with my favorite songs of 1980.  Read the first post for the detail on this project.

The Eighties begin.  It’s the decade where my childhood memories of music come into clear focus.  A lot of people say that there was no good music in the Eighties, but I’ve got 100 songs coming up that will prove them wrong.

Academy Fight Song – Mission Of Burma

Another Nail In My Heart – Squeeze

Do Nothing –  The Specials

Hungry Heart – Bruce Springsteen

I Will Follow – U2

Love Will Tear Us Apart – Joy Division

Mirror In The Bathroom – The English Beat

Once in a Lifetime – Talking Heads

Three Minute Hero – The Selecter

What I Like About You – The Romantics

And my song of shame for 1980 is Funky Town by Lipps Inc.

 

Favorite Songs Of 1975


The project continues with my favorite songs of 1975.  Read the first post for the detail on this project.

1975 was another challenging year, but don’t worry folks, punk is coming!

Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen

I’m Not In Love – 10 cc

Kashmir – Led Zeppelin

New York State of Mind – Billy Joel

Omaggio a Jerry Lee Lewis – Richard Trythall

Roadrunner (Once) – Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers

Shining Star – Earth, Wind & Fire

Susan’s Song – Al Jarreau

Young Americans – David Bowie

You Sexy Thing – Hot Chocolate

And the song of shame for 1975 is Take It To The Limit – The Eagles

What are your favorite songs from 1975?  Let me know in the comments!