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!

 

Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 110-101


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

Artist: Joni Mitchell
AlbumCourt and Spark
Year: 1974
Label: Asylum
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:

  • “Raised on Robbery”

Thoughts: I just realized that this is the fourth of five Joni Mitchell albums on the RS 500 list.  And yet I have nothing to say about it.  Mitchell’s music has a soporific effect on me.  I kind of feel like I’m missing out on something that everyone else gets.


Artist: Lou Reed
AlbumTransformer
Year: 1972
Label: RCA
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:

  • “Vicious”
  • “Perfect Day”
  • “Walk on the Wild Side”
  • “Satellite of Love”
  • “Goodnight Ladies”

Thoughts: I’m kind of surprised that so many of the songs that Lou Reed is known for are all from the same album.  But it makes it a great album.  David Bowie and Mark Ronson participate for that extra glam touch.


Artist: Fiona Apple
AlbumWhen the Pawn…
Year: 1999
Label: Epic
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “To Your Love”
  • “Paper Bag”
  • “Fast As You Can”
  • “The Way Things Are”

Thoughts: Another great album from Fiona Apple – the tiny person with a great big voice – that I was totally unaware of at the time.


Artist: Television
Album: Marquee Moon
Year: 1977
Label: 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:

  • “Venus”
  • “Marquee Moon”
  • “Guiding Light”

Thoughts: Television, pioneers of New York City punk rock, have a glam sheen on their debut album. Television proved the grand extent of possibility within New York punk by being the antithesis of The Ramones.


Artist: Hole
Album: Live Through This
Year: 1994
Label: Geffen
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:

  • “Violet”
  • “She Walks On Me”

Thoughts: Hole is a band I was aware of but didn’t pay much attention to back in the 90s.  I think part of that was due to the widespread belief that Courtney Love was profiting off the recent suicide of her husband Kurt Cobain, which in retrospect was really unfair to Love.  It turns out that “Violet” is the only song I recognize – and I hadn’t even known it was a Hole song – whereas the song I thought I knew by Hole is apparently not on this album (and I can’t remember what it’s called!).


Artist: The Allman Brothers
Album: At Fillmore East
Year: 1971
Label: Capricorn
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?: I’d probably find some other Blues/jam album first
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Statesboro Blues”
  • “Stormy Monday”

Thoughts: Since “Southern Rock” is not my thing, I wasn’t looking forward to this album.  First, of all The Allman Brothers were clearly a talented live act.  Second, most of the tracks are extended jams on Blues standards which makes it hard to go wrong.  The album does include Allman Brothers’ originals like “Whipping Post,” which is a tired classic rock staple, but overall it’s not a bad album.  I haven’t been keeping track, but there don’t seem to be too many live albums in the RS 500 list, which is a shame, because there are a lot of good ones out there.


Artist: Rolling Stones
AlbumSticky Fingers
Year: 1971
Label: Rolling Stones
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:

  • “Brown Sugar”
  • “Sway”
  • “Wild Horses”
  • “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking”
  • “You Gotta Move”
  • “I Got the Blues”
  • “Dead Flowers”
  • “Moonlight Mile”

Thoughts: The opening track and #1 single is best enjoyed if you don’t listen to the lyrics too closely (which I think most people have done over time).  But the rest of the album brings about much less conflicted enjoyment with some great Blues rock (“Sway,” “You Gotta Move”), Mick Jagger’s most soulful vocals (“I Got the Blues”), country rock (“Wild Horses,” “Dead Flowers”), Latin jazz fusion (“Can’t You Hear Me Knocking”), and the most thrilling to song to listen to while walking a long a moonlit beach when you’re a 15-year-old camping with your family on Assateague Island and can’t fall asleep (“Moonlight Mile”).


Artist: De La Soul
Album: 3 Feet High and Rising
Year: 1989
Label: Tommy Boy
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:

  • “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'”

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. I’ve really exposed my lack of knowledge of 90s and 00s hip-hop as I’ve worked through this list, but I guess I never got over that De La Soul had less of a lasting influence than gangsta rap.


Artist: The Clash
AlbumThe Clash
Year: 1977
Label: CBS
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:

  • “Remote Control”
  • “I’m So Bored With the U.S.A”
  • “White Riot”
  • “Career Opportunities”
  • “Police & Thieves”

Thoughts: The Only Band That Matters roars into existence with their debut album.  The Clash is full of raw punk rock and meaningful lyrics that still resonate decades later.

More on this album in my Clash Music Discovery.


Artist: Led Zeppelin
AlbumLed Zeppelin
Year: 1969
Label: Atlantic
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:

  • “Good Times, Bad Times”
  • “You Shook Me”
  • “Dazed and Confused”

Thoughts: Another stunning debut for a genre-defining band, Led Zeppelin captures Led Zep as a pure Blues Rock act. The guitar and drum solos display virtuosic talent and there isn’t a shred of the mystical folk rock and prog rock that Led Zeppelin would incorporate into their sound in later years.

HOLY COW! We enter the Top 100 next week!


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

 

Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 230-221


Last September, Rolling Stone magazine released their most recent list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, which includes a greater variety of artists and genres than previous lists. Looking through the list, there were many albums I’d never listened to before and a few I’d never even heard of. In fact, counting it up, I found that I’d only listened to 140 of the albums, although I’d heard songs from many more. So I’ve decided my project for 2021 is to listen to 10 albums each week and write up some thoughts about each one.

Previous Posts:

500-491 400-381 300-291
490-481 390-381 290-281
480-471 380-371 280-271
470-461 370-361 270-261
460-451 360-351 260-251
450-441 350-341 250-241
440-431 340-331 240-231
430-421 330-321
420-411 320-311
410-401 310-301

Artist: Rihanna
AlbumAnti
Year: 2016
Label: Roc Nation
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes, although I didn’t know it
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: No
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Work”
  • “Desperado”
  • “Love on the Brain”

Thoughts:  I always end up knowing more Rihanna than I realize as it turned out that several staples of online memes are actually songs from this album.  This album is a nice blend of several styles.  Surprisingly in the five years since this album came out Rihanna has not released another album.


Artist: Patsy Cline
Album: The Ultimate Collection
Year: 2000
Label: Universal
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:

  • “Walkin’ After Midnight”
  • “I Fall to Pieces”
  • “Crazy”
  • “She’s Got You”
  • “When I Get Thru With You (You’ll Love Me Too)”

Thoughts:  The RS 500 once again cops out with a greatest hits compilation but I’ll accept any excuse to listen to Cline croon her country pop tunes.


Artist: De La Soul
AlbumDe La Soul is Dead
Year: 1991
Label: Tommy Boy
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:

  • “Oodles of O’s”
  • “A Roller Skating Jam Named ‘Saturdays'”
  • “Bitties in the BK Lounge”
  • “Millie Pulled A Pistol On Santa”
  • “Fanatic of the B Word”

Thoughts: This album takes me back to the first semester of my Freshman year at college when I had it on repeat.  De La Soul seemed to initiate the 70s music revival of the 1990s be incorporating disco-funk sounds into their music.  I’m also surprised that I never before notice how many samples from Three Feet High and Rising are repeated on De La Soul is Dead but gaining new meaning from their context.


Artist: Little Richard
Album: Here’s Little Richard
Year: 1957
Label: Specialty
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:

  • “Tutti Frutti”
  • “Ready Teddy”
  • “Long Tall Sally”
  • “Jenny, Jenny”

Thoughts:  Amazingly, this is NOT a greatest hits album, it just sounds like one because every song on it is great.  I can’t even imagine how mind-blowing it was in 1957 for people hearing Little Richard’s screaming falsetto for the first time.


Artist: Derek & the Dominos
AlbumLayla and Other Assorted Love Songs
Year: 1970
Label: Atco
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 Looked Away”
  • “Bell Bottom Blues”
  • “Key to the Highway”
  • “Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad?”
  • “Little Wing”
  • “Layla”

Thoughts: Recent events have once again shown that Eric Clapton is an asshole.  Perhaps in 1970 he wasn’t an asshole but it’s very likely that he was.  In fact the whole impetus behind the songwriting on this album, Clapton wanting to steal away his best friend’s wife, is kind of an asshole thing to do.  So it’s with regret that I still find myself love the blues rock on this album.  But it’s not just Clapton, there’s a whole band of talented musicians here including Bobby Whitlock who shares songwriting and lead vocals duties as well as Duane Allman on guitars.


Artist: Wilco
Album: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Year: 2001
Label: Nonesuch
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Maybe?
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: No
Favorite Tracks:

  • “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart”

Thoughts: Wilco is one of those bands I’ve not been able to wrap my mind around why they have such a devoted following.  Something about their music just goes in one ear and out the other for me.  This doesn’t mean that Wilco’s music is bad, it just doesn’t make any impression on me to the point where I’m pretty sure I’ve listened to this album before but don’t remember any of it.  Oh well, I do love Wilco’s collaboration with Billy Bragg on the Mermaid Avenue album.


Artist: Dixie Chicks
AlbumFly
Year: 1999
Label: Monument
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:

  • “Ready to Run”
  • “Sin Wagon”

Thoughts: The (Dixie) Chicks perform upbeat country pop that sounds appropriately 1990s.  The things I like about this album are the harmonies and the instrumentation (fiddles and flutes) that suggest bluegrass and Celtic traditional music.


Artist: John Lennon
AlbumImagine
Year: 1971
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:

  • “Imagine”
  • “Crippled Inside”
  • “I Don’t Wanna Be a Soldier Mama”
  • “Gimme Some Truth”
  • “Oh Yoko!”

Thoughts:  It’s popular to condemn the title track on this album for “mawkishness” but I think it’s utopian vision is more revolutionary than it is given credit for.  The rest of the album is bog standard John Lennon, meaning it’s not bad but it’s also not among his best work.

I previously reviewed Imagine in a Music Discovery of The Beatles solo albums.


Artist: Madonna
AlbumRay of Light
Year: 1998
Label: Maverick
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:

  • “Ray of Light”
  • “Skin”
  • “Sky Fits Heaven”

Thoughts: Madonna was a constant presence in my childhood and early adulthood, but Ray of Light was the last time she was on my radar.  I was surprised to learn that she had some big hits after 1998.  I always liked the title track where Madonna, the ultimate musical chameleon, adopts electronica for her tunes.  This highly danceable yet lyrically reflective approach continues through the rest of the album.


Artist: Rage Against the Machine
AlbumRage Against the Machine
Year: 1992
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:

  • “Killing in the Name Of”
  • “Bullet In the Head”
  • “Wake Up”

Thoughts: The rap metal trend was one of the worst cultural artifacts of the 1990s, with one exception: Rage Against the Machine. Not only were RATM not self-aggrandizing dudebros, but their song lyrics carried a raw political message not hear in rock music since the punk era.  And that was something sorely needed in the apathetic 90s.


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

 

Podcasts of the Week Ending June 1


Futility Closet :: The General Slocum

The grim history of the worst maritime disaster in New York City.

Best of the Left :: Our built environment shapes society and vice versa

The issues of increasing urban density, building social housing, and deprioritizing the automobile in cities are near and dear in my heart. And yet, even Leftists tend to fall into the pro-car/pro-sprawl trap, so it’s good to hear these arguments for a more livable urbanism.

Hub History  ::  Love is Love: John Adams and Marriage Equality 

It seems like yesterday, but 15 years have passed since Massachusetts became the first state to perform legal same-sex marriages.  Here’s the history of how that came to be.

Sound Opinions  ::  De La Soul’s Three Feet High and Rising

I have a lot of nostalgia for De La Soul’s debut album which came out when I was a nerdy high school student.  The Sound Opinions crew explore how the album was created and explain why it’s so hard to find the album today.

Hit Parade :: The Invisible Miracle Sledgehammer Edition

If you turned on the radio in the mid-1980s, you were likely to hear music by members of Genesis (Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, and Mike and the Mechanics) while the band Genesis continued to make hits.  Chris Molanphy explains this unusual situation in pop music history.

Running tally of 2019 Podcast of the Week appearances:

Ten Favorite Songs of 1991 (x 2)


1991.  The year everything changed.  The year I graduated from high school.  The year I moved from Connecticut to Virginia.  The year I started college.  The year I turned 18. The year I went to my first rock concert (Fishbone, with Primus opening).  The year of Out of Time and Nevermind, and suddenly music that had been relegated as “college rock” and “alternative” was everywhere.

I’m going to get a little crazy and list 20 great songs from 1991.  And if you find that indulgent, well, I could probably list more.

Clare’s Scarf  – John & Mary

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Crazy – Seal

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Dónal agus Mórag –  Altan

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Everybody Plays the Fool – Aaron Neville

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Fight The Youth – Fishbone

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Gett Off  – Prince

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Groovy Train – The Farm

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Gypsy Woman –  Crystal Waters

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In Bloom – Nirvana

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Justified and Ancient (Stand by the JAMS) – The KLF featuring Tammy Wynette

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Kill Your Television – Ned’s Atomic Dustbin

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Kiss Them For Me – Siouxsie and the Banshees

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Move Any Mountain – The Shamen

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Only Shallow – My Bloody Valentine

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A Roller Skating Jam Named “Saturdays” – De La Soul

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Sax and Violins – Talking Heads

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3 Strange Days – School Of Fish

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Until The End Of The World – U2

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Walking in Memphis – Marc Cohn

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Wicked Game – Chris Isaak

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And a handful of shameful, guilty pleasures from 1991:

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It Ain’t Over ’til It’s Over – Lenny Kravitz

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I Touch Myself – Divinyls

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Life Is a Highway – Tom Cochrane

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Right Here, Right Now – Jesus Jones

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Sadeness (Part I) – Enigma

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Unbelievable – EMF

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Are there any songs left?  Let me know in the comments.

Ten Favorite Songs of 1989


The project continues with my favorite songs of 1989.  Read the first post for the detail on this project.

If you read (and agree with) Joshua Clover, 1989 was a pivotal year for popular music.

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Blue Savannah –  Erasure

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Closer To Fine – Indigo Girls

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Debaser – Pixies

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Dela – Johnny Clegg & Savuka

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The Deportees Club – Christy Moore

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Fight the Power – Public Enemy

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Head Like a Hole – Nine Inch Nails

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I Am the Resurrection – The Stone Roses

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If I Were John Carpenter – Big Audio Dynamite

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Say No Go – De La Soul

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And my song of shame for 1989: C’mon And Get My Love – D-Mob featuring Cathy Dennis

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What vital song from 1989 did I overlook? Let me know in the comments!