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