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

 

Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 240-231


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
430-421 330-321
420-411 320-311
410-401 310-301

Artist: Sam Cooke
Album: Live at the Harlem Square Club, 1963
Year: 1985
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:

  • “Cupid”
  • “Medley: It’s All Right/For Sentimental Reasons”
  • “Twistin’ the Night Away”
  • “Bring It On Home to Me”

Thoughts: This recording captures Sam Cooke on “One Night in Miami” (a year before the play/movie of that name is set).  This was sadly considered too raw by the record label execs and not released for twenty years.  Cooke’s voice sounds more raspy here than on his studio recordings as he belts out his greatest hits. But the best part of the live recording is the interaction with the crowd, lending their energy and their voices to Cooke’s performance.


Artist: Boogie Down Productions
Album: Criminal Minded
Year: 1987
Label: B-Boy
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:

  • “Poetry”
  • “South Bronx”
  • “Dope Beat”
  • “The Bridge is Over”

Thoughts: When I was younger I had a copy of the Boogie Down Productions album Edutainment, which I liked because of its “conscious rap” approach.  I was surprised to learn then that the group’s debut album is considered a forerunner of gangsta rap.  The tracks deal with interborough beefs and KRS-One frequently hypes Scott La Rock, the producer of the album.  La Rock was killed while trying to defuse a fight shortly after this album was released, and his death contributed to the group’s shift in tone on later albums.


Artist: Kraftwerk
Album: Trans-Europe Express
Year: 1977
Label: Kling Klang
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:

  • “Europe Endless”
  • “Trans-Europe Express”

Thoughts: The German group made deceptively simple music that became widely influential.  It still feels like a revelation to the ears all these years later.


Artist: Willie Nelson
Album: Red Headed Stranger
Year: 1975
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:

  • “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain”
  • “Red Headed Stranger”
  • “Down Yonder”
  • “Can I Sleep In Your Arms”
  • “Hands on the Wheel”

Thoughts: The famed country song composer created a concept album that incorporated old time country sounds and the works of other songwriters to make an all-time classic.


Artist: Daft Punk
AlbumDiscovery
Year: 2001
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?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “One More Time”
  • “High Life”

Thoughts: “One More Time” is so repetitive yet so irresistible.  It’s hard to believe how much dance music has changed in 20 years since this was released.  It was also once of the first recordings that used autotune to deliberately modify the voice (after Cher), something that got out of control as the Oughts went along and seems passé now.


Artist: Metallica
Album: Metallica (The Black Album)
Year: 1991
Label: Electra
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:

  • “Enter Sandman”

Thoughts: Metallica were one of the top Heavy Metal acts of the 1980s who focused on musicality over theatrics.  This enabled them to transition into being a successful alternative rock band in the 1990s, albeit one with an anachronistic name.  You can hear the transition on this album which holds up after 30 years even if my Pavlovian response is to expect a relief pitcher to enter the game.


Artist: Black Sabbath
AlbumMaster of Reality
Year: 1971
Label: Vertigo
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:

  • “After Forever”
  • “Children of the Grave”
  • “Solitude”

Thoughts: Speaking of Heavy Metal, Black Sabbath helped define the genre although the sound here is more of an embryonic Blues Rock akin to Led Zeppelin.


Artist: Tori Amos
AlbumLIttle Earthquakes
Year: 1992
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?: No
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Crucify”
  • “Silent All These Years”
  • “Winter”
  • “Happy Phantom”

Thoughts: In 1992, you couldn’t turn on the radio without hearing “Crucify.” Decades removed from overexposure, I heard the song anew and it sounds fresh with interesting key changes.  Amos was in the vanguard of women singer/songwriters of the 1990s who adopted alternative rock styles for confessional music, so this remains an important album even if it’s not one I’d want to listen to over and over.


Artist: John Coltrane
AlbumGiant Steps
Year: 1960
Label: Atlantic
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • All of them

Thoughts: I’ve listened to several John Coltrane albums but sadly missed this one until now.  It’s a terrific set highlighting the innovative improvisation of Coltrane and his band, especially the bassist Paul Chambers.


Artist: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Album: Damn the Torpedoes
Year: 1979
Label: Backstreet
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:

  • “Refugee”

Thoughts: Is it possible to release a retro-Classic Rock album before the term “Classic Rock” was even defined? Petty and his band drawn on Dylanesque folk rock and power pop to make the last rock album before everything was divided into countless subgenres.  I’ve always appreciated Petty more than liking his music and I can see what fans love about this album even if it is Not My Thing.


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

 

Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 250-241


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
440-431 340-331
430-421 330-321
420-411 320-311
410-401 310-301

Artist: Buzzcocks
Album: Singles Going Steady
Year: 1979
Label: I.R.S.
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:

  • “Orgasm Addict”
  • “What Do I Get?”
  • “Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve?)”
  • “Everybody’s

Thoughts: Buzzcocks proved that punks could write melodic songs about love (and orgasms) too.  I was impressed by how many hit songs were on the album until I realized that it was a compilation of the band’s first 8 singles.  The album was released in the US to introduce the band to American audience.  So in the sense it’s like The Beatles’ early American albums which straddled the line between compilation and new studio albums.  Either way, it’s a terrific collection!


Artist: Whitney Houston
AlbumWhitney Houston
Year: 1985
Label: Arista
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:

  • “How Will I Know?”

Thoughts: It’s hard to listen to this album made when Whitney Houston was so young and full of promise considering how tragic her life became.  There was a time when I was younger before I was “too cool” for Top 40 that I liked Whitney Houston so there’s a bit of nostalgia here for me.  The high point of this album is that Houston’s voice is given room to shine even among the chintzy 1980s production.  The low point is that “Saving All My Love For You” really gives me the creeps.  But “How Will I Know?” is pure joy.


Artist: Green Day
AlbumAmerican Idiot
Year: 2004
Label: Reprise
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: No
Favorite Tracks:

  • “American Idiot”
  • “Extraordinary Girl”

Thoughts: Green Day were off my radar in 2004, so I never gave this album a listen.  I remember hearing “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” overplayed and rolling my eyes at the series of cliches strung together to make a song.  Maybe if another track like the title song received the same level of exposure I might have been drawn to checking out the complete rock opera of discontent in the time of the Bush administration’s warmongering.  It’s interesting, but maybe doesn’t grab me as much finally hearing it 17 years later.


Artist: Sade
AlbumLove Deluxe
Year: 1992
Label: Epic
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: No
Would I Listen to this Album Again?:
Favorite Tracks: None

Thoughts: Speaking of off my radar, I never gave Sade much thought after the band’s 1984 hit “Smooth Operator” and 1985’s “The Sweetest Taboo.” 1992’s Sade sounds similar, smooth ambient music spotlighting Sade Adu’s silky vocals.


Artist: LL Cool J
Album: Mama Said Knock You Out
Year: 1990
Label: Def Jam/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 Boomin’ System”
  • “Cheesy Rat Blues”
  • “Farmers Blvd. (Our Anthem)”
  • “Mama Said Knock You Out”

Thoughts: I remember hearing the title track a lot during my senior year at high school.  LL Cool J seemed very angry about it being called a comeback which makes sense since he’d just been all over the radio with hits like “Going Back to Cali” and “I’m That Type of Guy.”  Maybe those songs were just bigger in the suburbs? I get the sense that LL was less of a presence after this album than before, but it’s a great last gasp for original style New York hip hop before gangsta rock took over in the 1990s.  And Run the Jewels got their name from lyrics on this album!


Artist: Cocteau Twins
Album: Heaven or Las Vegas
Year: 1990
Label: 4AD
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:

  • “Iceblink Luck”
  • “Heaven or Las Vegas”
  • “Fotzepolitic”
  • “Frou-Frou Foxes in Midsummer Fires”

Thoughts: Cocteau Twins are another band I was aware of that I should’ve spent the time to get to know better.  The dream pop sound with ethereal vocals has always been my aesthetic (except when it’s not).  Cocteau Twins opened the door for similar Scottish indie bands with the same vibe like Belle and Sebastian and Camera Obscura.


Artist: Kanye West
Album: 808s & Heartbreak
Year: 2008
Label: Roc-A-Fella
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:

  • “Say You Will”
  • “Love Lockdown”
  • “Paranoid”

Thoughts: Wonders never cease, here’s a Kanye West album I kind of like.  I recently listened to a Hit Parade podcast tracing the gradual trend of “rap” artists who actually sing rather than rap. Part of this trend was in the late Oughts when rappers modified their voices with autotune, something very present on 808s & Heartbreak.  The experimentalism and strangeness makes for some great tracks although stretching out the same style over the entire album makes it grow stale pretty swiftly.


Artist: The Zombies
Album: Odessey and Oracle
Year: 1968
Label: Date
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:

  • “Time of the Season”

Thoughts:  In my teenage Classic Rock phase, I really liked several songs by The Zombies, but none no more than “Time of the Season.”  I imagined singing it a to a girl I liked.  Not surprisingly, I didn’t date in high school.  “Time of the Season” still slaps! The rest of the album is decent British Invasion pop with a touch of psychedelia, but nothing really memorable.


Artist: The Velvet Underground
AlbumLoaded
Year: 1970
Label: Cotillion
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:

  • “Who Loves the Sun”
  • “Sweet Jane”
  • “Rock and Roll”
  • “Head Held High”
  • “Oh! Sweet Nuthin'”

Thoughts:  As noted earlier in this project, I’ve listened to a lot of The Velvet Underground but never before listened to their original studio albums.  This 1970s album was their last release with members of the original lineup (Lou Reed, in fact, left before the album was completed), before they became a Boston bar band.  Despite all the trauma and strife in making it, the album’s songs have a sunny, pop sound (the lyrics are not always so).


Artist: Massive Attack
Album: Blue Lines
Year: 1991
Label: Wildbunch/Virgin
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:

  • “Unfinished Sympathy”

Thoughts: In an earlier post I noted that I didn’t really know anything about Massive Attack, not even the style of music they played.  Thus I’m kind of surprised that they have a second album in this chart.  They do seem to be more popular in Britain, though, and if the Rolling Stone description is correct that they effectively invented the genre of trip-hop, I guess they could be considered influencers.  To me this album sounds like something a “hip” coffee shop plays in the background.


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

 

Monthly Mixtape – June 2021


I feel like a listened to a gazillion songs in recent weeks (not all of them released that recently) so the list is a little longer than usual.

Goat Girl – “Badibaba”

Fiddlehead – “Million Times”

Solumun – “Ocean (feat. Jamie Foxx)”

Efterklang – “Living Other Lives”

Fred again feat. The Blessed Madonna – “Marea (We’ve Lost Dancing)”

Samia – “Show Up”

Beach Bunny – “Blame Game”

Yola – “Stand For Myself”

Tammy Lakkis – “Notice”

 

Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 260-251


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
450-441 350-341
440-431 340-331
430-421 330-321
420-411 320-311
410-401 310-301

THIS WEEK WE ARE HALFWAY THROUGH THE LIST!!!


Artist: The Slits
AlbumCut
Year: 1979
Label: Antilles
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:

  • “So Tough”
  • “Ping Pong Affair”
  • “Typical Girls”

Thoughts: I was aware of The Slits as band adjacent to The Clash.  I should have known better because they are an awesome punk band on their own and this album totally rocks.


Artist: Janis Joplin
AlbumPearl
Year: 1971
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:

  • “Move Over”
  • “Cry Baby”
  • “Mercedes Benz”

Thoughts: Janis Joplin’s final solo album before her death is an excellent collection that showcases her unique voice.  I’ve never liked her most famous song, “Me and Bobby McGee,” all that much, but the rest of the album is excellent.  Peeking ahead on the list, we’ll hear Janis’ voice again on a Big Brother and the Holding Company album.


Artist: Joni Mitchell
AlbumThe Hissing of Summer Lawns
Year: 1975
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:

  • “Shadows and Light”

Thoughts: There are some interesting jazz and African fusion influences on this album, but Mitchell’s pieces are still dominated by her slow-tempo, acoustic guitar and voice approach that’s never done much for me.


Artist: Dolly Parton
AlbumCoat of Many Colors
Year: 1971
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:

  • “Coat of Many Colors”
  • “The Mystery of the Mystery”
  • “Here I Am”

Thoughts: The more I learn about Dolly the more I love her.  This album features songs of family and faith, with a mix of gospel and old-time music informing her contemporary country style.


Artist: Tracy Chapman
Album: Tracy Chapman
Year: 1988
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:

  • “Talkin’ Bout a Revolution”
  • “Fast Car”
  • “Behind the Wall”
  • “Baby I Can Hold You”
  • “Mountains O’ Things”

Thoughts: I don’t know what is a bigger surprise.  That a Black woman singing heartfelt folk songs about the political and personal managed to be become such a huge hit at the tail end of the Reagan Era.  Or that in 2021, Chapman is no longer a big star and hasn’t released a new studio album since 2008.  This album is incredible though, every song seems like it should go on a greatest hits album.


Artist: Bob Dylan
Album: The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan
Year: 1963
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?: No
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Blowin’ in the Wind”
  • “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall”

Thoughts:  This album catches Bob Dylan at the peak of his first incarnation as an earnest Woody Guthrie/Pete Seeger acoustic folk singer-songwriter before he went on to revolutionize rock & roll and every other one of the different lives he’s lead.  I think I like this era of Dylan the best (which probably says more about my tastes than him), and the lyrics of his songs remain sadly relevant.


Artist: Herbie Hancock
AlbumHead Hunters
Year: 1973
Label: Columbia
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:

  • “Chameleon”

Thoughts: I was aware of Herbie Hancock as a jazz great, but my knowledge of his music begins and ends with his 1983 hit “Rockit.” Just as is “Rockit” incorporates hip hop and electronic music into a jazz paradigm, Head Hunters fuses jazz with funk.  There are only four tracks on the album but they’re all really good.


Artist: Pink Floyd
Album: The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
Year: 1967
Label: EMI/Columbia
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:

  • “Lucifer Sam”
  • “Interstellar Overdrive”

Thoughts: This album is fun because it is interesting to hear a band that is known for their 70s & 80s prog rock sound working in an entirely different genre of psychedelic rock.  That’s not to say that I particularly like this early version of Pink Floyd, they seem derivative of better psychedelic rockers of the era, but it is a curiousity.


Artist: Devo
Album: Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!
Year: 1978
Label: Warner Bros.
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:

  • “Uncontrollable Urge”
  • “Space Junk”
  • “Mongoloid”
  • “Gut Feeling (Slap Your Mammy)”

Thoughts:  I know Devo mainly from their “hits” but I was pleasantly surprised that this album is an extremely solid collection of punk/new wave tracks.  Plus, the album cover with an altered image of Chi-Chi Rodriguez is an all-time classic.


Artist: Elton John
Album: Honky Château
Year: 1972
Label: Uni
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:

  • “Rocket Man”
  • “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters”

Thoughts: Elton John recorded a whole lot of great songs, songs that tell stories with clever lyrics accompanied by strong piano arrangements.  Especially in the 70s.  This album includes one of my all-time favorite Elton John songs, “Rocket Man.”  But I still think of him as more of a singles artist than an album artist.  Just a whole lot of great singles.


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!

 

Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 270-261


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
460-451 360-351
450-441 350-341
440-431 340-331
430-421 330-321
420-411 320-311
410-401 310-301

Artist: Kacey Musgraves
AlbumGolden Hour
Year: 2018
Label: MCA Nashville
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:

  • “Happy & Sad”

Thoughts:  While I’m not a country music fan, I do remember really liking “Follow Your Arrow,” one of Kacey Musgraves singles from her debut album in 2013.  I haven’t followed her career since then, but I’m happy for her that this album made the list since she seems to be a talented pop country artist.  While this music isn’t my thing, it’s clear that this is an exemplarily work of the genre.


Artist: Kanye West
AlbumYeezus
Year: 2013
Label: Roc-A-Fella
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:

  • “Black Skinhead”
  • “New Slaves”

Thoughts: I never got the big deal over Kanye West.  The man seems incredibly full of himself and the nonstop critical acclaim only encourages him.  I’ve got to admit that there’s a lot of great beats and grooves here, though.


Artist: Randy Newman
Album: Sail Away
Year: 1972
Label: Reprise
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:

  • “Political Science”
  • “Burn On”

Thoughts: I’ve been reconsidering Randy Newman over a long period of time.  For the long time I didn’t like his music at all because of annoying hits like “Short People” and “I Love L.A.”  But becoming aware of his vast output of film scores (film-scoring is something of a family industry for multiple generations of the Newman family).  So I’ve come to appreciate Randy Newman a lot more.  But I’m still not there, because I didn’t really enjoy much on this album, although I didn’t hate it either.


Artist: Minutemen
Album: Double Nickels on the Dime
Year: 1984
Label: SST
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: No
Would I Listen to this Album Again?:
Favorite Tracks:

  • “One Reporters Opinion”
  • “Political Song for Michael Jackson to Sing”
  • “Corona”
  • “The Glory of Man”

Thoughts: Minutemen is a band that I have absolutely no prior knowledge about.  It’s a but stunning to see an album with 45 tracks on it! But mostly true to their name, Minutemen songs are all very short, in the 1-2 minute range.  Their musical style seems to be in the transition from Modern Lovers to Pixies and Fugazi.  I like it.


Artist: The Beatles
AlbumHelp!
Year: 1965
Label: Capitol
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:

  • “Help!”
  • “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away”
  • “Ticket to Ride”
  • “I’ve Just Seen a Face”

ThoughtsHelp! is The Beatles fifth studio album in a little over two years made to accompany their second film in just over a year (this one, in colour!).  The band could’ve put out an album of filler and still had a massive hit.  Instead they are innovating musically and lyrically, setting the stage for the string of creative albums that would come in the following years.  The songs feel mature, and in the lyrics of “Help!” and “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away,” they seem to have moved from teen heartbreak to dealing with more intense pain and depression.  The Dylan-esque “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away” remains one of my favorite songs by The Beatles.


Artist: Pavement
AlbumWowee Zowee
Year: 1995
Label: Matador
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: No
Would I Listen to this Album Again? :No
Favorite Tracks: None
Thoughts: This is the second of three Pavement albums on this list.  And for the second time I feel it’s generic 90s rock.  There’s nothing wrong with that but there’s also nothing here that makes me want to come back and listen to it again.


Artist: Pink Floyd
AlbumWish You Were Here
Year: 1975
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:

  • “Wish You Were Here”

Thoughts: Pink Floyd are better than most, and I like some of their songs, but I really have a thing against 70s prog rock.  There’s only so many masturbatory guitar solos and synth stabs I can listen to before I reach my limit.  Does this album really need two different suites of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” that clock in at 13 minutes each.  The title song is nice, though. And the album cover is pretty cool.


Artist: The Beatles
AlbumHard Day’s Night
Year: 1964
Label: United Artists
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:

  • “A Hard Day’s Night”
  • “I Should Have Known Better”
  • “If I Fell”
  • “And I Love Her”
  • “Things We Said Today”
  • “You Can’t Do That”

Thoughts: There are two Beatles albums in this week’s post and they from the two movies the Beatles starred in as fictional versions of themselves (this one is in black & white).  The album is significant for being the first album where every single song was an original composition.  It’s also the peak of the early Beatles sounds before their later experimental periods.


Artist: New Order
AlbumPower, Corruption, & Lies
Year: 1983
Label: Factory
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Age of Consent”
  • “586”
  • “Leave Me Alone”

Thoughts: I knew the music of Joy Division and I knew the music of New Order from the mid-to-late 80s, but I’d never before listened to this album that is a transition between the two.  Although “Age of Consent” does sound familiar. The “danceable synth-rock” as Rolling Stone describes it is emerging nicely from the post-punk sounds of Joy Division.  It was a new sound for the 80s that is among the best musical innovations of the decade.


Artist: Beastie Boys
Album: Check Your Head
Year: 1992
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?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Jimmy James”
  • “Finger Lickin’ Good”
  • “So What’Cha Want”

Thoughts: My freshman year in college when I was a greenhorn DJ at the college radio station, my friends called up and requested “Professor Booty” by the Beastie Boys.  Turns out the song is filled with profanities.  I commited a FCC violation. My friends knew this and they set me up.  Luckily, the FCC was not listening to college radio that day or I wouldn’t be here writing this.


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

 

Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 280-271


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
470-461 370-361
460-451 360-351
450-441 350-341
440-431 340-331
430-421 330-321
420-411 320-311
410-401 310-301

Artist: 50 Cent
Album: Get Rich or Die Tryin’
Year: 2002
Label: Interscope
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:

  • “What Up Gangsta”
  • “Back Down”
  • “Lifes on the Line”

Thoughts: I’m dimly aware of 50 Cent due to jokes people make about his name and his notorious first pitch at a Mets game.  50 Cent reminds me a bit of Eminem (who appears on the album) but less horribly offensive.  The beats are good but the typical posturing and recitation of violence is tiring.


Artist: Nirvana
AlbumMTV Unplugged in New York
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?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “About a Girl”
  • “The Man Who Sold The World”
  • “Something In The Way”
  • “All Apologies”
  • “Where Did You Sleep Last Night”

Thoughts: If you weren’t around in the early 90s, you probably aren’t aware how big the MTV Unplugged phenomenon was at the time.  I guess after all the over-produced music of the 1980s, people were eager to hear their favorite artists perform acoustic music.  Most of the concerts weren’t really all that great but a number of them were released as albums.  Nirvana shook things up from the generic formula of Unplugged concerts by playing several covers of artists ranging from Leadbelly to David Bowie and inviting members of the Meat Puppets to join them to play three of their own songs.  It still holds up more than a quarter-century later.


Artist: Led Zeppelin
AlbumHouses of the Holy
Year: 1973
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?:
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Over the Hills and Far Away”
  • “D’yer Mak’er”
  • “The Ocean”

Thoughts: Back in my Classic Rock days I went back and forth over whether Houses of the Holy or Physical Graffiti was my favorite Led Zeppelin album.  This album has some epic tracks like “Over the Hills and Far Away” and “The Ocean,” and the silly of fun of “D’yer Mak’er” but maybe doesn’t hold together as well as an album as my teenage self thought.  We’ll see when we get to Physical Graffiti if that album has stood the test of time better.


Artist: Alicia Keys
AlbumThe Diary of Alicia Keys
Year: 2003
Label: J Records
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:

  • “Karma”

Thoughts: Alicia Keys is a name I recognize, but the only song of hers I could name is “Empire State of Mind” (and I had to look it up to verify it was her song). This smooth album shows that Keys is an artist of considerable skill but this is a musical style that doesn’t resonate much with me.


Artist: Radiohead
Album: The Bends
Year: 1995
Label: Capitol
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:

  • “Planet Telex”
  • “Fake Plastic Trees”
  • “Sulk”

Thoughts: Radiohead’s second album showed that they were more than just the band that had a hit with “Creep” and was the first of a string of terrific albums they’d release in a 12-year period.  We’ll see three more of those albums further down the list.  I don’t think Radiohead really achieved their unique sound and experimental nature until their next album.  Nevertheless, The Bends is a pretty terrific 90s rock album.


Artist: Curtis Mayfield
Album: Curtis!
Year: 1970
Label: Curtom
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:

  • “We the People Who Are Darker Than Blue”
  • “Move On Up”

Thoughts: Curtis Mayfield’s solo debut is a masterful blend of soul, psychedelia, and funk with some jazz and Afrobeat influences.  The lyrics are politically-charged and are still relevant 51 years later.


Artist: The Byrds
AlbumSweetheart of the Rodeo
Year: 1968
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:

  • “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere”
  • “I Am a Pilgrim”
  • “You’re Still on My Mind”
  • “Hickory Wind”
  • “One Hundred Years from Now”

Thoughts: Sweetheart of the Rodeo is a stark change in style from the folk-rock music The Byrds made earlier in their career (and the type of Byrds’ music that still gets played on Classic Rock radio and in the soundtracks of movies set in the 60s).  The music has an old-time country feel that is different than the breezy country rock that became a plague upon the music of the 1970s.  This is the only album by The Byrds featuring Gram Parsons whose vision of Nashville country fusion informed the direction of this album before he moved on to an even better country rock album with The Flying Burrito Brothers.


Artist: Gang of Four
AlbumEntertainment
Year: 1979
Label: Warner Bros.
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:

  • “Ether”
  • “Damaged Goods”
  • “At Home He’s A Tourist”

Thoughts: As someone with a penchant for punk rock and leftist politics, I should have come to Gang of Four much earlier. But  they are just one of the many bands I didn’t get around to much to my detriment.  Better late than never, I guess.


Artist: The Velvet Underground
AlbumWhite Light/White Heat
Year: 1968
Label: Verve
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:

  • “White Light/White Heat”
  • “I Heard Her Call My Name”
  • “Sister Ray”

Thoughts: I have to confess I’ve never listened to a Velvet Underground studio album just compilations.  This album has a roughness of sound with lots of distortion, and especially on the 17-minute final track, “Sister Ray,” lots of improvisation.  There’s also oddness such as a short story read in one channel with an instrumental on the other channel on “The Gift.”  Not bad for an album with only 6 tracks.


Artist: Mary J. Blige
AlbumWhat’s the 411?
Year: 1992
Label: Uptown/MCA
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:

  • “Real Love”

Thoughts: Blige’s hip-hop/soul debut sounds very early 90s.  Not that it’s a bad thing, just an interesting the way time leaves its stamp on music.


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

 

Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 290-281


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
480-471 380-371
470-461 370-361
460-451 360-351
450-441 350-341
440-431 340-331
430-421 330-321
420-411 320-311
410-401 310-301

Artist: OutKast
Album: Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
Year: 2003
Label: LaFace
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:

  • “Bowtie (feat. Sleepy Brown & Jazze Pha)”
  • “Spread”
  • “Hey Ya!”

Thoughts: One thing I’m learning from this project is that Southern hip hop may be my favorite form of hip hop.  But this album is a little too much of a good thing.  It’s essentially two albums, one driven by Big Boi and the other by André 3000 for a total of 39 tracks!  I suppose like The White Album, paring it down into one album would have been a Sisyphean task, but I felt like I was enduring this album more than enjoying it.


Artist: Björk
AlbumPost
Year: 1995
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:

  • “Army of Me”
  • “Hyperballad”
  • “It’s Oh So Quiet”
  • “Isobel”
  • “Possibly Maybe”
  • “I Miss You”

Thoughts: I haven’t listened to Björk in a long while and forgot just how amazingly good this album is.  I ranked Post at #83 on my 2009 list of favorite albums which feels low in retrospect.  Of course, I ranked Homogenic higher as did Rolling Stone, so we’ll see about that when we get there.


Artist: The Modern Lovers
Album: The Modern Lovers
Year: 1976
Label: Beserkley
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:

  • “Roadrunner”
  • “Pablo Picasso”
  • “Modern World”
  • “Government Center”

Thoughts: “Roadrunner” is the unofficial anthem of Massachusetts and one of my all-time favorite songs, but I hadn’t given The Modern Lovers as much attention as they deserved up until now. Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers might need to be a future Music Discovery project.


Artist: The Byrds
Album: Mr. Tambourine Man
Year: 1965
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:

  • “Mr. Tambourine Man”
  • “I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better”
  • “The Bells of Rhymney”
  • “I Knew I’d Want You”

Thoughts:  The Byrds covered songs by Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger but I feel that they were at their best with their original songwriting, such as Gene Clark’s “I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better.” The Byrds were hailed as the mid-60s American response to the British Invasion, but songs like this are timeless.


Artist: Red Hot Chili Peppers
AlbumCalifornication
Year: 1999
Label: Warner Bros.
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:

  • “Scar Tissue”

Thoughts: Red Hot Chili Peppers have always been a band for me that sound good on first listen but my appreciation for them deteriorates on repeat listening.  Unfortunately, Red Hot Chili Peppers are a band that has been overexposed and repeat listenings are impossible to miss.  I’m surprised to see a 1999 album here instead of one of the band’s earlier works since they’d kind of become a parody of themselves by this point. At any rate, this album was just fine to listen to for this project, but knowing what I know, I wouldn’t want to listen to it again.


Artist: Big Star
AlbumThird/Sister Lovers
Year: 1978
Label: PVC
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:

  • “Kizza Me”
  • “Thank You Friends”
  • “Jesus Christ”

Thoughts: Big Star, the ultimate critics’ band, has their entire discography of three albums on this list.  On the previous two albums, I didn’t see what the big deal was, but I’m starting to see the appeal on this album.  Ironically, there isn’t agreement on whether this is even should be a Big Star album as it was mainly a project of band members Alex Chilton and Jody Stephens.  The album has been released under two different names with 7 different track listings.  I’m pretty sure I didn’t listen to the same version ranked by Rolling Stone since “Kanga Roo” was not the last track, but I suppose I got the gist.


Artist: Merle Haggard
Album: Down Every Road 1962-1994
Year:1996
Label: Capitol
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:

  • “Sing Me Back Home”
  • “Mama Tried”
  • “Old Man From The Mountain”

Thoughts: I’ve grumbled before about this list including compilations, but this takes the cake. Down Every Road 1962-1994 is a boxed set with 100 songs on it and almost five hours of material.  How can this even compare with other albums on this list that are discrete collections of an artist’s work from one particular time in their career?  I’ve made the executive decision to instead listen to the 26-track Hag: The Best of Merle Haggard (2006).


Artist: Donna Summer
AlbumBad Girls
Year: 1975
Label: Casablanca
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?:
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Hot Stuff”
  • “Bad Girls”
  • “Dim All the Lights”

Thoughts: Boston’s own Donna Summer was already the Queen of Music when she took on the music world with this album she could dominate any musical style.  I learned a lot about Donna Summer and gained a lot of respect for her work and influence from listening to the Slate Hit Parade podcast. You can really hear the influence on dance music and electronic music to this day (“Our Love” could’ve been covered by Erasure with little changes). On the downside, the ballads also anticipate cheezy R&B hits of the 1980s, and a number of the songs are overlong and repetitive.

 


Artist: Frank Sinatra
Album: In the Wee Small Hours
Year: 1955
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?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning”
  • “I See Your Face Before Me”
  • “This Love of Mine”

Thoughts: The LP record was introduced in 1948, and 7 years later Frank Sinatra and Capitol Records innovated how the LP could be used to package a collection of popular music.  In the Wee Small Hours is even called the first concept album since all the songs deal with themes of failed romance, loneliness, and late nights.  Sinatra’s voice sounds great and Nelson Riddle’s arrangements are lushly orchestrated.  The downside is that since every song is slow-tempo and remorseful that there isn’t much variety in the album.


Artist: Harry Nilsson
Album: Nilsson Schmilsson
Year: 1971
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?: No
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Gotta Get Up”
  • “Jump Into the Fire”

Thoughts: Harry Nilsson is a name I know, primarily from his “Everybody’s Talking” being played repeatedly in Midnight Cowboy.  My first thought listening to this album is that he should have written for Broadway musicals (he didn’t) or have a jukebox musical created of his work (none exists to my knowledge).  His music has been used in lots of movies and tv shows and my feeling that he is similar to Randy Newman is justified by the fact that I found Nilsson actually recorded an entire album of Newman tunes.  Twice on this album, I exclaimed “That’s who sings this song!” for “Without You” and “Coconut.”  Unfortunately, I don’t like either of those songs but the rest of the album is pretty good especially the opening track “Gotta Get Up.”


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

 

Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 300-291


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

Previous Posts:

500-491 400-381
490-481 390-381
480-471 380-371
470-461 370-361
460-451 360-351
450-441 350-341
440-431 340-331
430-421 330-321
420-411 320-311
410-401 310-301

Artist: Shania Twain
AlbumCome on Over
Year: 1997
Label: Mercury
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: No
Would I Listen to this Album Again?:
Favorite Tracks:

  • Man! I Feel Like a Woman”

Thoughts:  Despite Rolling Stones assertion that  this is one of the biggest albums of all time, I didn’t listen to contemporary country in the 1990s, so I didn’t expect to know any of these songs.  I was wrong. “Man! I Feel Like a Woman” may be the first song on this list that I only recognize because its (over)use in social media posts.  Nice to know who sings it. I also discovered that I recognized “From This Moment On” which sounds like it should be in a movie soundtrack. As does the utterly familiar “You’re Still the One.”


Artist: B.B. King
AlbumLive at the Regal
Year: 1965
Label: ABC-Paramount
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:

  • “Sweet Little Angel”
  • “How Blue Can You Get?”
  • “Worry, Worry”
  • “You Done Lost Your Good Thing Now”

Thoughts:  B.B. King’s distinctive voice and distinctive guitar-playing style are showcased in this blistering live performance recording.  It’s records like this that make me wish I had a time machine that could take me to Chicago on November 21, 1964.


Artist: Tom Petty
Album: Full Moon Fever
Year: 1989
Label: MCA
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Yes
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?:
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Free Fallin'”
  • “I Won’t Back Down”
  • “Runnin’ Down a Dream”

Thoughts: Like Neil Young, the music of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers never did much for me despite it being the work of clearly talented artists.  This was the first album Petty recorded as a “solo” artist (with a lot of help from his friends) and it really caught my attention back in 1989.  This album musically feels like a spinoff from the Traveling Wilburys and George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, and Roy Orbison all contributed as well as most of the Heartbreakers and session drummer Jim Keltner.  I was disappointed by the Wilburys’ first album but ended up really liking Full Moon Fever.  It still holds up pretty well 30+ years later.


Artist: Peter Gabriel
AlbumSo
Year: 1986
Label: Geffen
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Yes
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Red Rain”
  • “Sledgehammer”
  • “Don’t Give Up”

ThoughtsSo was among the first albums I owned as a child.  I ranked in #16 in my 2009 list of favorite albums of all time.  And I revisited the album last year in my Peter Gabriel Music Discovery.  I really like the album is what I’m saying.


Artist: Neil Young
AlbumRust Never Sleeps
Year: 1979
Label: Reprise
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?:
Favorite Tracks:

  • “My My, Hey Hey (Out of the Blue)”

Thoughts: Speaking of Neil Young, here is his weekly appearance in this project.  This album is largely acoustic, downtempo, and goes in one ear and out the other without making much an impression on me.  Maybe people need a special type of neuron to fully appreciate Neil Young’s music.


Artist: Daft Punk
AlbumRandom Access Memories
Year: 2013
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:

  • “Giorgio by Morodor”
  • “Touch (feat. Paul Williams)”
  • “Get Lucky (feat. Pharrell Williams and Nile Rogers)”
  • “Motherboard”
  • “Contact”

Thoughts: Daft Punk seamlessly blends 50’s sci fi, 70s disco, 80s ambient synth music, and contemporary EDM on this massively successful LP.  In a nice nod to their predecessors there’s a song tribute to Giorgio Morodor, and Nile Rogers joins them on “Get Lucky,” a song everyone loves.  A lot of the album is down-tempo and doesn’t appeal enough to me to return to on the whole, although there are numerous standout tracks.


Artist: Weezer
AlbumWeezer
Year: 1994
Label: Geffen
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Yes
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “My Name is Jonas”
  • “The World Has Turned and Left Me Here”
  • “Buddy Holly”
  • “Undone – The Sweater Song”
  • “In the Garage”  – ironically I like this song far better than anything by Kiss

Thoughts: Weezer is a band that people heap vitriolic hate upon merely because they are not as good as they used to be.  But this album is from when they were definitely considered good.  Weezer’s debut album hit my senior year of college and their brand of nerdy power pop was a salve in the days when grungy alt-rock had past its peak.  I stuck with Weezer for quite a long time after this album, and I definitely don’t hate them even if the quality of their music has gone down consistently.


Artist: The Breeders
Album: Last Splash
Year: 1993
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:

  • “Cannonball”
  • “Roi”
  • “I Just Want to Get Along”
  • “Divine Hammer”
  • “Saints”
  • “Drivin’ on 9”

Thoughts: Speaking of college, there was a time when I couldn’t walk down a dormitory corridor without hearing this album playing in someone’s room.  “Cannonball” was that unique song that everyone seemed to like, from the cooler-than-thou music snobs to the Christian rock kids.  I ranked Last Splash at 53 in my 2009 list of favorite albums, which seems low in retrospect.  Anyhow, getting to listen to Weezer and The Breeders back to back is like being reunited with old friends.


Artist: Van Halen
AlbumVan Halen
Year: 1978
Label: Warner Bros.
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:

  • “Runnin’ with the Devil”
  • “I’m the One”

Thoughts:  I’ve never had a strong affinity for Van Halen, but never disliked the band either. Eddie Van Halen’s guitar virtuosity and David Lee Roth’s seemingly improvised – and frequently horny – lyrics are irresistible.  Turns out that this is an extremely solid, if ear-splitting, debut album.


Artist: Destiny’s Child
AlbumThe Writing’s on the Wall
Year: 1999
Label: Columbia
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:

Thoughts: I was oblivious of Destiny’s Child when they were the big thing.  Mainly I know them as where Beyoncé got her start, which is probably unfair to the rest of the group. They definitely sound like a good r&b vocal group, but, you know, not my thing.  It’s a long album though so Destiny’s Child fans got their money’s worth!

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

 

Monthly Mixtape – May 2021


 

A Place To Bury Strangers – “End Of The Night”

Wastewomxn – “Natural Ones”

No-No Boy – “The Best God Damn Band in Wyoming”

Sunny Jain – “Where is Home”

Mdou Moctar – “Afrique Victime”

Evripidis and His Tragedies (featuring Rachel Kenedy) – “Your Dreams”

Freedom Fry – “Le Point Zéro”

Previous Mixtapes: