Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 80-71


In September 2020, Rolling Stone magazine released their most recent list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, which includes a greater variety of artists and genres than previous lists. Looking through the list, there were many albums I’d never listened to before and a few I’d never even heard of. In fact, counting it up, I found that I’d only listened to 140 of the albums, although I’d heard songs from many more. So I’ve decided my project for 2021 is to listen to 10 albums each week and write up some thoughts about each one.

Previous Posts:

500-491 400-381 300-291 200-191 100-91
490-481 390-381 290-281 190-181 90-81
480-471 380-371 280-271 180-171
470-461 370-361 270-261 170-161
460-451 360-351 260-251 160-151
450-441 350-341 250-241 150-141
440-431 340-331 240-231 140-131
430-421 330-321 230-221 130-121
420-411 320-311 220-211 120-111
410-401 310-301 210-201 110-101

Artist: The Sex Pistols
AlbumNever Mind the Bollocks Here’s The Sex Pistols
Year: 1977
Label: Warner Bros.
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Yes
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?:Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Holidays in the Sun”
  • “Liar”
  • “God Save the Queen”
  • “Anarchy in the U.K.”
  • “Pretty Vacant”

Thoughts:  This album is basically a requirement of best albums lists based on influence alone.  Fortunately, it’s good music to listen to as well. Coincidentally, I was introduced to this album through a list of great albums of the 70s published in Rolling Stone when I was in high school in the 1980s.  I remember borrowing the album from the public library (which apparently was very progressive in their music collection development purchases) and finding the music scary and dangerous on first listen.  Who’d have thunk then of how much punk music I’d end up listening to over the years.


Artist: Frank Ocean
Album: Blond
Year: 2016
Label: Boys Don’t Cry
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 surprised by Channel Orange, but Blond is more typical of the qualities I don’t like about contemporary R&B: downtempo, rambling and never building to anything,  overuse of distorted vocal effects… Obviously, my musical tastes are at odds with the majority, which is fine.  Vive la difference!


Artist: Elvis Presley
Album: The Sun Sessions
Year: 1976
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:

  • “That’s All Right”
  • “Mystery Train”
  • “I Love You Because”
  • “Blue Moon”

Thoughts:  Some of Elvis’ earliest recordings reveal his country, Blues, and roots music origins.  I kind of like this version of Elvis a lot more than the big star Elvis he would become.


Artist: The Who
AlbumWho’s Next
Year: 1971
Label: Decca
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:

  • “Baba O’Riley”
  • “The Song is Over”
  • “Behind Blue Eyes”
  • “Won’t Get Fooled Again”

Thoughts: The Who is a band that I’ve never understood why they are as popular as they are, but never actively disliked either.  This album is full of songs that are very familiar to me despite not listening to a lot of the band’s music.  Part of that is unfortunately due to the the overuse of these tunes in commercials and soundtracks, but also this album simply contains a lot The Who’s greatest bangers all in one place.


Artist: Curtis Mayfield
AlbumSuper Fly
Year: 1972
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?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Pusherman”
  • “Freddie’s Dead”
  • “Superfly”

Thoughts: This soundtrack for a Blaxploitation film also works as a concept album dealing with the struggles of Black urbanites contending with racial discrimination, crime, and substance abuse.  The music is also super funky!


500 albums aretha franklin lady soul

Artist: Aretha Franklin
AlbumLady Soul
Year: 1968
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:

  • “Chain of Fools”
  • “People Get Ready”
  • “(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman”
  • “(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone”
  • “Ain’t No Way”

Thoughts: For a moment, I thought that Rolling Stone had once again included a greatest hits compilation on its list.  But no, all of these Aretha Franklin bangers really did come out on the same album, so naturally it’s a GREAT ALBUM.


Artist: Kanye West
AlbumThe College Dropout
Year: 2004
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:

  • “Jesus Walks”
  • “Never Let Me Down”
  • “Through the Wire”

Thoughts: Early Kanye West seems like he’s having fun and while he has some braggadocio, he is not so self-serious as he would become on his later work.   I think I could’ve got into this version of Kanye if I didn’t know where his career would lead.


Artist: My Bloody Valentine
AlbumLoveless
Year: 1991
Label: Sire
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:

  • “Only Shallow”
  • “When You Sleep”
  • “Sometimes”
  • “Soon”

Thoughts: My Bloody Valentine has become knowns as a band that dropped a masterpiece of early 90s alternative rock and then weren’t able to follow up for decades.  But oh, what an album!


Artist: Neil Young
Album: Harvest
Year: 1972
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:

  • “Heart of Gold”

Thoughts: Did Neil Young ever work with Kanye West?  They both have 6 albums apiece on this list and both are critical darlings that I could never get into so it would make sense.  This album has more of the Laurel Canyon sound, and Young’s biggest hit.


Artist: Bob Marley & The Wailers
AlbumExodus
Year: 1977
Label: Island
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:

  • “Natural Mystic”
  • “Jamming”
  • “Waiting In Vain”
  • “One Love/People Get Ready”
  • “Punky Reggae Party”

Thoughts: Bob Marley was at his peak and on this album the reggae music is infused with sounds of soul, rock, and funk.  I also have to take a moment to appreciate that in the ten albums I reviewed this week, there’s one by Curtis Mayfield, and two that include covers of Mayfield’s most famous song.  That’s synergy!


Running List of Albums I’d Listen to Again

  • 500. Arcade Fire, Funeral
  • 498. Suicide, Suicide
  • 497. Various Artists, The Indestructible Beat of Soweto
  • 494. The Ronettes, Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes
  • 489. A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector from Phil Spector and Various Artists, Back to Mono (1958-1969)
  • 487. Black Flag, Damaged
  • 485. Richard and Linda Thompson, I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight
  • 483. Muddy Waters, The Anthology
  • 482. The Pharcyde, Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde
  • 481. Belle and Sebastian, If You’re Feeling Sinister
  • 478. The Kinks, Something Else by the Kinks
  • 477. Howlin’ Wolf, Moanin’ in the Moonlight
  • 469.Manu Chao, Clandestino
  • 465. King Sunny Adé, The Best of the Classic Years
  • 464. The Isley Brothers, 3 + 3
  • 462. The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Gilded Palace of Sin
  • 459. Kid Cudi, Man on the Moon: The End of the Day
  • 457. Sinéad O’Connor, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got
  • 456. Al Green, Greatest Hits
  • 455. Bo Diddley, Bo Diddley/Go Bo Diddley
  • 453. Nine Inch Nails, Pretty Hate Machine
  • 452. Diana Ross and the Supremes, Anthology
  • 451. Roberta Flack, First Take
  • 448. Otis Redding, Dictionary of Soul
  • 446. Alice Coltrane, Journey in Satchidanada
  • 444. Fiona Apple, Extraordinary Machine
  • 443. David Bowie, Scary Monsters
  • 440. Loretta Lynn, Coal Miner’s Daughter
  • 439. James Brown, Sex Machine
  • 438. Blur, Parklife
  • 437. Primal Scream, Screamadelica
  • 435. Pet Shop Boys, Actually
  • 433. LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver
  • 431. Los Lobos, How Will the Wolf Survive?
  • 430. Elvis Costello, My Aim Is True
  • 429. The Four Tops, Reach Out
  • 428. Hüsker Dü, New Day Rising
  • 427. Al Green, Call Me
  • 426. Lucinda Williams, Lucinda Williams
  • 425. Paul Simon, Paul Simon
  • 424. Beck, Odelay
  • 423. Yo La Tengo, I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One
  • 422. Marvin Gaye, Let’s Get It On
  • 421. M.I.A., Arular
  • 417. Ornette Coleman, The Shape of Jazz to Come
  • 416. The Roots, Things Fall Apart
  • 415. The Meters, Looka Py Py
  • 414. Chic, Risqué
  • 413. Creedence Clearwater Revival, Cosmo’s Factory
  • 412. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Going to a Go Go
  • 409. Grateful Dead, Workingman’s Dead
  • 408. Motörhead, Ace of Spades
  • 406. Magnetic Fields, 69 Love Songs
  • 405. Various, Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era
  • 403. Ghostface Killah, Supreme Clientele
  • 402. Fela Kuti and Africa 70, Expensive Shit
  • 401. Blondie, Blondie
  • 400. The Go-Go’s, Beauty and the Beat
  • 398. The Raincoats, The Raincoats
  • 397. Billie Eilish, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
  • 395. D’Angelo and the Vanguard, Black Messiah
  • 392. Ike and Tina Turner, Proud Mary: The Best of Ike and Tina Turner
  • 390. Pixies, Surfer Rosa
  • 388. Aretha Franklin, Young, Gifted and Black
  • 387. Radiohead, In Rainbows
  • 386. J Dilla, Donuts
  • 385. Ramones, Rocket to Russia
  • 384. The Kinks, The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society
  • 380. Charles Mingus, Mingus Ah Um
  • 378. Run-DMC, Run-D.M.C.
  • 377. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Fever to Tell
  • 375. Green Day, Dookie
  • 374. Robert Johnson, King of the Delta Blues Singers
  • 373. Isaac Hayes, Hot Buttered Soul
  • 371. The Temptations, Anthology
  • 369. Mobb Deep, The Infamous
  • 368. George Harrison, All Things Must Pass
  • 365. Madvillain, Madvillainy
  • 364. Talking Heads, More Songs About Buildings and Food
  • 363. Parliament, The Mothership Connection
  • 360. Funkadelic, One Nation Under a Groove
  • 358. Sonic Youth, Goo
  • 357. Tom Waits, Rain Dogs
  • 356. Dr. John, Gris-Gris
  • 354. X-Ray Spex, Germfree Adolescents
  • 351. Roxy Music, For Your Pleasure
  • 350. Stevie Wonder, Music of My Mind
  • 349. MC5, Kick Out the Jams
  • 348. Gillian Welch, Time (The Revelator)
  • 347. GZA, Liquid Swords
  • 346. Arctic Monkeys, AM
  • 345. Bruce Springsteen, The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle
  • 344. Toots and the Maytals, Funky Kingston
  • 343. Sly and the Family Stone, Greatest Hits
  • 342. The Beatles, Let It Be
  • 341. The Smashing Pumpkins, Siamese Dream
  • 338. Brian Eno, Another Green World
  • 337.  Bob Dylan, John Wesley Harding
  • 335. Bob Dylan and the Band, The Basement Tapes
  • 334. Santana, Abraxas
  • 333. Bill Withers, Still Bill
  • 332. Elvis Presley, Elvis Presley
  • 330. The Rolling Stones, Aftermath
  • 329. DJ Shadow, Endtroducing…
  • 328. Vampire Weekend, Modern Vampires of the City
  • 326. Prince, Dirty Mind
  • 323.The Clash, Sandinista!
  • 320. X, Los Angeles
  • 319. The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses
  • 317. Billie Holiday, Lady in Satin
  • 316. The Who, The Who Sell Out
  • 310. Wire, Pink Flag
  • 309. Joy Division, Closer
  • 308. Brian Eno, Here Come the Warm Jets
  • 307. Sam Cooke, Portrait of a Legend
  • 306. Al Green, I’m Still In Love With You
  • 304. Bill Withers, Just As I Am
  • 301. New York Dolls, New York Dolls
  • 299. B.B. King, Live at the Regal
  • 297. Peter Gabriel, So
  • 294. Weezer, Weezer
  • 293. The Breeders, Last Splash
  • 292. Van Halen, Van Halen
  • 289.  Björk, Post
  • 288. The Modern Lovers, The Modern Lovers
  • 287. The Byrds, Mr. Tambourine Man
  • 283. Donna Summer, Bad Girls
  • 282. Frank Sinatra, In the Wee Small Hours
  • 279. Nirvana, MTV Unplugged in New York
  • 278. Led Zeppelin, Houses of the Holy
  • 276. Radiohead, The Bends
  • 275. Curtis Mayfield, Curtis
  • 274. The Byrds, Sweetheart of the Rodeo
  • 273. Gang of Four, Entertainment!
  • 272. The Velvet Underground, White Light/White Heat
  • 267. Minutemen, Double Nickels on the Dime
  • 266. The Beatles, Help!
  • 263. The Beatles, A Hard Day’s Night
  • 262. New Order, Power, Corruption & Lies
  • 261. Beastie Boys, Check Your Head
  • 260. The Slits, Cut
  • 259. Janis Joplin, Pearl
  • 257. Dolly Parton, Coat of Many Colors
  • 256. Tracy Chapman, Tracy Chapman
  • 254. Herbie Hancock, Head Hunters
  • 252. Devo, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!
  • 250. Buzzcocks, Singles Going Steady
  • 246. LL Cool J, Mama Said Knock You Out
  • 245. Cocteau Twins, Heaven of Las Vegas
  • 242. The Velvet Underground, Loaded
  • 240. Sam Cooke, Live at the Harlem Square Club, 1963
  • 239. Boogie Down Productions, Criminal Minded
  • 238. Kraftwerk, Trans Europe Express
  • 237. Willie Nelson, Red Headed Stranger
  • 236. Daft Punk, Discovery
  • 232. John Coltrane, Giant Steps
  • 229. Patsy Cline, The Ultimate Collection
  • 228. De La Soul, De La Soul Is Dead
  • 227. Little Richard, Here’s Little Richard
  • 226. Derek and the Dominos, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs
  • 223. John Lennon, Imagine
  • 221. Rage Against the Machine, Rage Against the Machine
  • 220. Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young, Déjà Vu
  • 215.  Grateful Dead, American Beauty
  • 213. Fiona Apple, The Idler Wheel…
  • 212. Nina Simone, Wild is the Wind
  • 211. Joy Division, Unknown Pleasures
  • 210. Ray Charles, The Birth of Soul
  • 209. Run-DMC, Raising Hell
  • 206. David Bowie, Low
  • 205. Cat Stevens, Tea for the Tillerman
  • 202. Björk, Homogenic
  • 201. A Tribe Called Quest, Midnight Marauders
  • 198. The B-52’s, The B-52’s
  • 197. The Beatles, Meet the Beatles!
  • 195. Leonard Cohen, Songs of Leonard Cohen
  • 193. Creedence Clearwater Revival, Willy and the Poor Boys
  • 192. Beastie Boys, Licensed to Ill
  • 191. Etta James, At Last!
  • 190. The Who, Tommy
  • 189. Sleater-Kinney, Dig Me Out
  • 185. The Rolling Stones, Beggars Banquet
  • 184. Cyndi Lauper, She’s So Unusual
  • 181. Bob Dylan, Bringing It All Back Home
  • 178. Otis Redding, Otis Blue
  • 177. Rod Stewart, Every Picture Tells a Story
  • 176. Public Enemy, Fear of a Black Planet
  • 175. Kendrick Lamar, DAMN.
  • 174. Jimmy Cliff and Various Artists, The Harder They Come: Original Soundtrack
  • 173. Nirvana, In Utero
  • 172. Simon and Garfunkel, Bridge Over Troubled Water
  • 171. Sonic Youth, Daydream Nation
  • 170. Cream, Disraeli Gears
  • 169. Billy Joel, The Stranger
  • 167. Depeche Mode, Violator
  • 166. Buddy Holly, 20 Golden Greats
  • 165. R.E.M., Murmur
  • 164. Johnny Cash, At Folsom Prison
  • 162. Pulp, Different Class
  • 161. Crosby, Stills & Nash, Crosby, Stills, & Nash
  • 156. The Replacements, Let it Be
  • 155. Jay-Z, The Black Album
  • 154. Aretha Franklin, Amazing Grace
  • 153. PJ Harvey, Rid of Me
  • 150. Bruce Springsteen, Nebraska
  • 149. John Prine, John Prine
  • 148. Frank Ocean, Channel Orange
  • 146. Blondie, Parallel Lines
  • 144. Led Zeppelin, Physical Graffiti
  • 143. The Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground
  • 142. Bruce Springsteen, Born in the U.S.A.
  • 141. Pixies, Doolittle
  • 140. Bob Marley and the Wailers, Catch a Fire
  • 139. Black Sabbath, Paranoid
  • 138. Madonna, The Immaculate Collection
  • 137. Adele, 21
  • 136. Funkadelic, Maggot Brain
  • 135. U2, The Joshua Tree
  • 134. Fugees, ‘he Score
  • 132. Hank Williams, 40 Greatest Hits
  • 131. Portishead, Dummy
  • 130. Prince, 1999
  • 127. Ray Charles, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music
  • 125. Beastie Boys, Paul’s Boutique
  • 124. U2, Achtung Baby
  • 123. Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II
  • 122. Nine Inch Nails, The Downward Spiral
  • 121. Elvis Costello, This Year’s Model
  • 120. Van Morrison, Moondance
  • 119. Sly and the Family Stone, Stand!
  • 116. The Cure, Disintegration
  • 114. The Strokes, Is This It
  • 113. The Smiths, The Queen Is Dead
  • 111. Janet Jackson, Control
  • 109. Lou Reed, Transformer
  • 108. Fiona Apple, When the Pawn …
  • 107. Television, Marquee Moon
  • 104. The Rolling Stones, Sticky Fingers
  • 103. De La Soul, Three Feet High And Rising
  • 102. The Clash, The Clash
  • 101. Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin
  • 99. Taylor Swift, Red
  • 98. Lucinda Williams, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
  • 94. The Stooges, Fun House
  • 92. The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Axis: Bold as Love
  • 88. David Bowie, Hunky Dory
  • 87. Miles Davis, Bitches Brew
  • 86. The Doors, The Doors
  • 85. John Lennon, Plastic Ono Band
  • 84. AC/DC, Back in Black
  • 83. Dusty Springfield, Dusty in Memphis
  • 82. Sly and the Family Stone, There’s a Riot Goin’ On
  • 81. Beyoncé, Beyoncé
  • 80. The Sex Pistols, Never Mind the Bollocks Here’s the Sex Pistols
  • 78. Elvis Presley, The Sun Sessions
  • 77. The Who, Who’s Next
  • 76. Curtis Mayfield, Superfly
  • 75. Aretha Franklin, Lady Soul
  • 73. My Bloody Valentine, Loveless
  • 71. Bob Marley and the Wailers, Exodus

 

Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 90-81


In September 2020, Rolling Stone magazine released their most recent list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, which includes a greater variety of artists and genres than previous lists. Looking through the list, there were many albums I’d never listened to before and a few I’d never even heard of. In fact, counting it up, I found that I’d only listened to 140 of the albums, although I’d heard songs from many more. So I’ve decided my project for 2021 is to listen to 10 albums each week and write up some thoughts about each one.

Previous Posts:

500-491 400-381 300-291 200-191 100-91
490-481 390-381 290-281 190-181
480-471 380-371 280-271 180-171
470-461 370-361 270-261 170-161
460-451 360-351 260-251 160-151
450-441 350-341 250-241 150-141
440-431 340-331 240-231 140-131
430-421 330-321 230-221 130-121
420-411 320-311 220-211 120-111
410-401 310-301 210-201 110-101

Artist: Neil Young
AlbumAfter the Gold Rush
Year: 1970
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:

  • “Only Love Can Break Your Heart”
  • “Southern Man”

Thoughts:  This feels like one of the poppiest Neil Young recordings, perhaps because it came out just after the Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young collaboration on Déjà Vu. The country folk sound almost is reminiscent of Laurel Canyon. “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” is a terrific song, although I’ve always liked the St. Etienne version better.


Artist: Erykah Badu
AlbumBaduizm
Year: 1997
Label: Kedar
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:

  • “Afro (Freestyle Skit)”
  • “Certainly”

Thoughts: I wasn’t too impressed by Mama’s Gun so I was hoping for a better experience with Baduizm. I’m not the first one to observe this, but Badu sounds like Billie Holliday performing R&B and soul. But I tend to like the jazzier tracks


Artist: David Bowie
AlbumHunky Dory
Year: 1971
Label: RCA
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:

  • “Changes”
  • “Oh! You Pretty Things”
  • “Life on Mars?”
  • “Song for Bob Dylan”
  • “Queen Bitch”

Thoughts: This is the earliest album where Bowie sounds like the artist we know as Bowie.  This is a nonsensical thing to say, of course, because Bowie is defined by a changing sound.  But here we get the glam rock that evolved out the folk, pop, and cabaret sounds of his early work.


Artist: Miles Davis
AlbumBitches Brew
Year: 1970
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?:
Favorite Tracks:

  • All of them

Thoughts: On August 19, 1969, Miles Davis and his band began recording this album in a studio in New York City.  The day before and 90 miles to the northwest, the Woodstock Festival concluded in Bethel, New York.  Davis set to record an album that would appeal to the festival goers, especially fans of Jimi Hendrix and Sly and the Family Stone who appeared at the festival.  I don’t know if Davis was specifically thinking of Woodstock at the time, but it is an interesting historical coincidence.  Of course, he was in the right place at the right time to see the Harlem Cultural Festival performances of B.B. King, Nina Simone, and Hugh Masekela just two days earlier.


Artist: The Doors
AlbumThe Doors
Year: 1967
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:

  • “Break on Through (To The Other Side)”
  • “Soul Kitchen”
  • “Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)”
  • “Back Door Man”
  • “Take It As It Comes”

Thoughts: I don’t know think the reputation of The Doors is all that solid these days, but back in the 1980s, that 60’s-nostalgia-drenched decade when classic rock radio was born, The Doors were overrepresented and overrated.  The band basically had one terrific album and maybe 6 other good songs.  Fortunately, this is the terrific album.  The Doors debut is a blues rock collection with the swirling organ for a psychedelic touch, but less of the avant-garde experimentation and pretentiousness that mars their later work (although “The End” shows this tendency at its best).


Artist: John Lennon
AlbumPlastic Ono Band
Year: 1970
Label:  Apple
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Yes
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Working Class Hero”
  • “Remember”
  • “Love”
  • “God”

Thoughts: John Lennon’s working through a lot of anger and issues on his first true post-Beatles recording.  For some reason the tracks on this album don’t get the Classic Rock exposure of some of Lennon’s other albums, but it’s a solid collection.


Artist: AC/DC
AlbumBack in Black
Year: 1980
Label: Atlantic
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Yes
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Hell’s Bells”
  • “Back in Black”
  • “You Shook Me All Night Long”

Thoughts: Did you know that this 41-year-old album is currently ranked at 72 in the Billboard Hot 200 chart? It’s right there a few spots after The Weeknd and few spots ahead of Doja Cat.  In fact, there is only one non-compilation album older than Back in Black that is ranked higher, but we’ll get to that in my final entry of this series. A few years ago I took my daughter for a playdate with a preschool friend who had a record player and played this album for us because it was his favorite. This bodes well for Back in Black to continue to be in the Hot 200 for the foreseeable future.


Artist: Dusty Springfield
Album: Dusty in Memphis
Year: 1969
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:

  • “Just a Little Lovin'”
  • “Son of a Preacher Man”
  • “No Easy Way Down”

Thoughts:  You’ve got to appreciate an album that starts off with a song with a plea for everyone in the world to start their day off by having sex. It looks like every significant songwriter of the time period got a song on this album: Mann & Weil, Coffin & King, Randy Newman, Bacharach & David, et al.  Of course, the songs need Dusty to bring them to life. “Son of a Preacher Man” by John Hurley & Ronnie Wilkins is a song that will always remind me of a road trip to New Orleans when a couple of the women in our group sang along full-throatedly.


Artist: Sly and the Family Stone
AlbumThere’s a Riot Goin’ On
Year: 1971
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:

  • “Family Affair”
  • “Time’
  • “Runnin’ Away”

Thoughts: Somehow I missed listening to this album before, because only “Family Affair” sounds familiar.  The musical style is deeper and funkier with more ruminative and bleak lyrics than on previous Sly and the Family Stone recordings.  It is quite good!


Artist: Beyoncé
Album: Beyoncé
Year: 2013
Label: Parkwood/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?: Mostly but not all
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Pretty Hurts”
  • “Blow”
  • “Partition”
  • “XO”

Thoughts: I passed on listening to Beyonce prior to Lemonade (which I could not ignore) so it is good to check out her earlier catalog.  The songs on this album are in a fascinating array of styles reflecting many eras of R&B and pop while still being original.  I found some of the tracks dragged on too long and turned into mini-operas but my overall impression is positive.


Running List of Albums I’d Listen to Again

  • 500. Arcade Fire, Funeral
  • 498. Suicide, Suicide
  • 497. Various Artists, The Indestructible Beat of Soweto
  • 494. The Ronettes, Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes
  • 489. A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector from Phil Spector and Various Artists, Back to Mono (1958-1969)
  • 487. Black Flag, Damaged
  • 485. Richard and Linda Thompson, I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight
  • 483. Muddy Waters, The Anthology
  • 482. The Pharcyde, Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde
  • 481. Belle and Sebastian, If You’re Feeling Sinister
  • 478. The Kinks, Something Else by the Kinks
  • 477. Howlin’ Wolf, Moanin’ in the Moonlight
  • 469.Manu Chao, Clandestino
  • 465. King Sunny Adé, The Best of the Classic Years
  • 464. The Isley Brothers, 3 + 3
  • 462. The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Gilded Palace of Sin
  • 459. Kid Cudi, Man on the Moon: The End of the Day
  • 457. Sinéad O’Connor, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got
  • 456. Al Green, Greatest Hits
  • 455. Bo Diddley, Bo Diddley/Go Bo Diddley
  • 453. Nine Inch Nails, Pretty Hate Machine
  • 452. Diana Ross and the Supremes, Anthology
  • 451. Roberta Flack, First Take
  • 448. Otis Redding, Dictionary of Soul
  • 446. Alice Coltrane, Journey in Satchidanada
  • 444. Fiona Apple, Extraordinary Machine
  • 443. David Bowie, Scary Monsters
  • 440. Loretta Lynn, Coal Miner’s Daughter
  • 439. James Brown, Sex Machine
  • 438. Blur, Parklife
  • 437. Primal Scream, Screamadelica
  • 435. Pet Shop Boys, Actually
  • 433. LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver
  • 431. Los Lobos, How Will the Wolf Survive?
  • 430. Elvis Costello, My Aim Is True
  • 429. The Four Tops, Reach Out
  • 428. Hüsker Dü, New Day Rising
  • 427. Al Green, Call Me
  • 426. Lucinda Williams, Lucinda Williams
  • 425. Paul Simon, Paul Simon
  • 424. Beck, Odelay
  • 423. Yo La Tengo, I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One
  • 422. Marvin Gaye, Let’s Get It On
  • 421. M.I.A., Arular
  • 417. Ornette Coleman, The Shape of Jazz to Come
  • 416. The Roots, Things Fall Apart
  • 415. The Meters, Looka Py Py
  • 414. Chic, Risqué
  • 413. Creedence Clearwater Revival, Cosmo’s Factory
  • 412. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Going to a Go Go
  • 409. Grateful Dead, Workingman’s Dead
  • 408. Motörhead, Ace of Spades
  • 406. Magnetic Fields, 69 Love Songs
  • 405. Various, Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era
  • 403. Ghostface Killah, Supreme Clientele
  • 402. Fela Kuti and Africa 70, Expensive Shit
  • 401. Blondie, Blondie
  • 400. The Go-Go’s, Beauty and the Beat
  • 398. The Raincoats, The Raincoats
  • 397. Billie Eilish, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
  • 395. D’Angelo and the Vanguard, Black Messiah
  • 392. Ike and Tina Turner, Proud Mary: The Best of Ike and Tina Turner
  • 390. Pixies, Surfer Rosa
  • 388. Aretha Franklin, Young, Gifted and Black
  • 387. Radiohead, In Rainbows
  • 386. J Dilla, Donuts
  • 385. Ramones, Rocket to Russia
  • 384. The Kinks, The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society
  • 380. Charles Mingus, Mingus Ah Um
  • 378. Run-DMC, Run-D.M.C.
  • 377. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Fever to Tell
  • 375. Green Day, Dookie
  • 374. Robert Johnson, King of the Delta Blues Singers
  • 373. Isaac Hayes, Hot Buttered Soul
  • 371. The Temptations, Anthology
  • 369. Mobb Deep, The Infamous
  • 368. George Harrison, All Things Must Pass
  • 365. Madvillain, Madvillainy
  • 364. Talking Heads, More Songs About Buildings and Food
  • 363. Parliament, The Mothership Connection
  • 360. Funkadelic, One Nation Under a Groove
  • 358. Sonic Youth, Goo
  • 357. Tom Waits, Rain Dogs
  • 356. Dr. John, Gris-Gris
  • 354. X-Ray Spex, Germfree Adolescents
  • 351. Roxy Music, For Your Pleasure
  • 350. Stevie Wonder, Music of My Mind
  • 349. MC5, Kick Out the Jams
  • 348. Gillian Welch, Time (The Revelator)
  • 347. GZA, Liquid Swords
  • 346. Arctic Monkeys, AM
  • 345. Bruce Springsteen, The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle
  • 344. Toots and the Maytals, Funky Kingston
  • 343. Sly and the Family Stone, Greatest Hits
  • 342. The Beatles, Let It Be
  • 341. The Smashing Pumpkins, Siamese Dream
  • 338. Brian Eno, Another Green World
  • 337.  Bob Dylan, John Wesley Harding
  • 335. Bob Dylan and the Band, The Basement Tapes
  • 334. Santana, Abraxas
  • 333. Bill Withers, Still Bill
  • 332. Elvis Presley, Elvis Presley
  • 330. The Rolling Stones, Aftermath
  • 329. DJ Shadow, Endtroducing…
  • 328. Vampire Weekend, Modern Vampires of the City
  • 326. Prince, Dirty Mind
  • 323.The Clash, Sandinista!
  • 320. X, Los Angeles
  • 319. The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses
  • 317. Billie Holiday, Lady in Satin
  • 316. The Who, The Who Sell Out
  • 310. Wire, Pink Flag
  • 309. Joy Division, Closer
  • 308. Brian Eno, Here Come the Warm Jets
  • 307. Sam Cooke, Portrait of a Legend
  • 306. Al Green, I’m Still In Love With You
  • 304. Bill Withers, Just As I Am
  • 301. New York Dolls, New York Dolls
  • 299. B.B. King, Live at the Regal
  • 297. Peter Gabriel, So
  • 294. Weezer, Weezer
  • 293. The Breeders, Last Splash
  • 292. Van Halen, Van Halen
  • 289.  Björk, Post
  • 288. The Modern Lovers, The Modern Lovers
  • 287. The Byrds, Mr. Tambourine Man
  • 283. Donna Summer, Bad Girls
  • 282. Frank Sinatra, In the Wee Small Hours
  • 279. Nirvana, MTV Unplugged in New York
  • 278. Led Zeppelin, Houses of the Holy
  • 276. Radiohead, The Bends
  • 275. Curtis Mayfield, Curtis
  • 274. The Byrds, Sweetheart of the Rodeo
  • 273. Gang of Four, Entertainment!
  • 272. The Velvet Underground, White Light/White Heat
  • 267. Minutemen, Double Nickels on the Dime
  • 266. The Beatles, Help!
  • 263. The Beatles, A Hard Day’s Night
  • 262. New Order, Power, Corruption & Lies
  • 261. Beastie Boys, Check Your Head
  • 260. The Slits, Cut
  • 259. Janis Joplin, Pearl
  • 257. Dolly Parton, Coat of Many Colors
  • 256. Tracy Chapman, Tracy Chapman
  • 254. Herbie Hancock, Head Hunters
  • 252. Devo, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!
  • 250. Buzzcocks, Singles Going Steady
  • 246. LL Cool J, Mama Said Knock You Out
  • 245. Cocteau Twins, Heaven of Las Vegas
  • 242. The Velvet Underground, Loaded
  • 240. Sam Cooke, Live at the Harlem Square Club, 1963
  • 239. Boogie Down Productions, Criminal Minded
  • 238. Kraftwerk, Trans Europe Express
  • 237. Willie Nelson, Red Headed Stranger
  • 236. Daft Punk, Discovery
  • 232. John Coltrane, Giant Steps
  • 229. Patsy Cline, The Ultimate Collection
  • 228. De La Soul, De La Soul Is Dead
  • 227. Little Richard, Here’s Little Richard
  • 226. Derek and the Dominos, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs
  • 223. John Lennon, Imagine
  • 221. Rage Against the Machine, Rage Against the Machine
  • 220. Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young, Déjà Vu
  • 215.  Grateful Dead, American Beauty
  • 213. Fiona Apple, The Idler Wheel…
  • 212. Nina Simone, Wild is the Wind
  • 211. Joy Division, Unknown Pleasures
  • 210. Ray Charles, The Birth of Soul
  • 209. Run-DMC, Raising Hell
  • 206. David Bowie, Low
  • 205. Cat Stevens, Tea for the Tillerman
  • 202. Björk, Homogenic
  • 201. A Tribe Called Quest, Midnight Marauders
  • 198. The B-52’s, The B-52’s
  • 197. The Beatles, Meet the Beatles!
  • 195. Leonard Cohen, Songs of Leonard Cohen
  • 193. Creedence Clearwater Revival, Willy and the Poor Boys
  • 192. Beastie Boys, Licensed to Ill
  • 191. Etta James, At Last!
  • 190. The Who, Tommy
  • 189. Sleater-Kinney, Dig Me Out
  • 185. The Rolling Stones, Beggars Banquet
  • 184. Cyndi Lauper, She’s So Unusual
  • 181. Bob Dylan, Bringing It All Back Home
  • 178. Otis Redding, Otis Blue
  • 177. Rod Stewart, Every Picture Tells a Story
  • 176. Public Enemy, Fear of a Black Planet
  • 175. Kendrick Lamar, DAMN.
  • 174. Jimmy Cliff and Various Artists, The Harder They Come: Original Soundtrack
  • 173. Nirvana, In Utero
  • 172. Simon and Garfunkel, Bridge Over Troubled Water
  • 171. Sonic Youth, Daydream Nation
  • 170. Cream, Disraeli Gears
  • 169. Billy Joel, The Stranger
  • 167. Depeche Mode, Violator
  • 166. Buddy Holly, 20 Golden Greats
  • 165. R.E.M., Murmur
  • 164. Johnny Cash, At Folsom Prison
  • 162. Pulp, Different Class
  • 161. Crosby, Stills & Nash, Crosby, Stills, & Nash
  • 156. The Replacements, Let it Be
  • 155. Jay-Z, The Black Album
  • 154. Aretha Franklin, Amazing Grace
  • 153. PJ Harvey, Rid of Me
  • 150. Bruce Springsteen, Nebraska
  • 149. John Prine, John Prine
  • 148. Frank Ocean, Channel Orange
  • 146. Blondie, Parallel Lines
  • 144. Led Zeppelin, Physical Graffiti
  • 143. The Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground
  • 142. Bruce Springsteen, Born in the U.S.A.
  • 141. Pixies, Doolittle
  • 140. Bob Marley and the Wailers, Catch a Fire
  • 139. Black Sabbath, Paranoid
  • 138. Madonna, The Immaculate Collection
  • 137. Adele, 21
  • 136. Funkadelic, Maggot Brain
  • 135. U2, The Joshua Tree
  • 134. Fugees, ‘he Score
  • 132. Hank Williams, 40 Greatest Hits
  • 131. Portishead, Dummy
  • 130. Prince, 1999
  • 127. Ray Charles, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music
  • 125. Beastie Boys, Paul’s Boutique
  • 124. U2, Achtung Baby
  • 123. Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II
  • 122. Nine Inch Nails, The Downward Spiral
  • 121. Elvis Costello, This Year’s Model
  • 120. Van Morrison, Moondance
  • 119. Sly and the Family Stone, Stand!
  • 116. The Cure, Disintegration
  • 114. The Strokes, Is This It
  • 113. The Smiths, The Queen Is Dead
  • 111. Janet Jackson, Control
  • 109. Lou Reed, Transformer
  • 108. Fiona Apple, When the Pawn …
  • 107. Television, Marquee Moon
  • 104. The Rolling Stones, Sticky Fingers
  • 103. De La Soul, Three Feet High And Rising
  • 102. The Clash, The Clash
  • 101. Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin
  • 99. Taylor Swift, Red
  • 98. Lucinda Williams, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
  • 94. The Stooges, Fun House
  • 92. The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Axis: Bold as Love
  • 88. David Bowie, Hunky Dory
  • 87. Miles Davis, Bitches Brew
  • 86. The Doors, The Doors
  • 85. John Lennon, Plastic Ono Band
  • 84. AC/DC, Back in Black
  • 83. Dusty Springfield, Dusty in Memphis
  • 82. Sly and the Family Stone, There’s a Riot Goin’ On
  • 81. Beyoncé, Beyoncé

 

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

 

Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 310-301


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

Artist: Wire
AlbumPink Flag
Year: 1977
Label: Harvest
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:

  • “Pink Flag”
  • “Mannequin”

Thoughts: In the heady days of the early 90s Alternative Rock explosion, I remember seeing the band name Wire while DJ’ing at my college radio station.  I didn’t know until now that they were a band that stretched all the way back to the 1970s Punk explosion.  Either way, I haven’t listened to Wire up until now, and I missed out.  For a UK band they sound more like an American punk band of the 70s than, say, the Sex Pistols or The Clash, and for an album released in 1977 it still wouldn’t sound out of place in the early 90s.  I guess that’s why it’s classified as “Influential.”


Artist: Joy Division
Album: Closer
Year: 1980
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:

  • “Isolation”
  • “A Means to an End”
  • “Heart and Soul”

Thoughts: In the band’s short career, Joy Division released two albums.  Joy Division also has two albums on the Rolling Stone 500.  I’m not sure if any other band has achieved the feat of having all their albums on the list, but I’m happy for Joy Division, whose members often weren’t happy.  This album was released two months after band leader Ian Curtis died by suicide after struggling with epilepsy and depression.  It’s a brilliant album despite coming through such suffering.


Artist: Brian Eno
Album: Here Come the Warm Jets
Year: 1974
Label: Island
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Only from listening to Another Green World three weeks ago
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Needles in the Camel’s Eye”
  • “On Some Faraway Beach”
  • “Here Come the Warm Jets”

Thoughts: As I noted in a previous entry, I was only familiar with Brian Eno’s work as a producer before listening to Another Green World, the first of two Eno albums on the RS 500. This album redefines “music from 1974” for me and in a good way.  At the base it’s Bowie-esque glam rock, but there’s a whole lot of weird stuff layered on top from Beatles-esque harmonies to atmospheric drones.


Artist: Sam Cooke
Album: Portrait of a Legend
Year: 2003
Label: ABKCO
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:

  • “You Send Me”
  • “Cupid”
  • “What a Wonderful World”
  • “Chain Gang”
  • “Summertime”
  • “Bring it on Home to Me”
  • “Twistin’ the Night Away”
  • “Shake”
  • “Having a Party”
  • “A Change is Gonna Come”
  • “Jesus Gave Me Water’

Thoughts: Sam Cooke has been one of my favorite singers since childhood when I heard his music on the oldies stations my parents  listened to in the car.  We also had The Best of Sam Cooke, a smaller compilation album from 1962,  at home and as a teenager I copied the LP onto tape and listened to it a lot.  Cooke’s voice sounds good even with record crackles and tape hiss.  Also as a teenager, I learned about “A Change is Gonna Come,” a song not on on that compilation, from a Rolling Stone list of greatest songs of all time.  Having recently watched One Night in Miami…, this is the perfect time to listen to this excellent compendium of Cooke’s career.


Artist: Al Green
Album: I’m Still in Love With You
Year: 1972
Label: Hi
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:

  • “I’m Still In Love With You”
  • “I’m Glad You’re Mine”
  • “Love and Happiness”
  • “Simply Beautiful”
  • “One of These Good Old Days”

Thoughts:  What a treat it is to listen to two of the greatest soul music vocalists sequentially like this.  To borrow a song title, this album is “Simply Beautiful.”


Artist: Kiss
AlbumAlive
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: Not a one.
Thoughts:  The good trend couldn’t last.  I remember Kiss as a presence in my early childhood, mostly because their makeup and leather & studs get-up grabbed attention.  As a kid, I found Kiss alternately scary and funny.  But honestly, before today I couldn’t tell you if I ever heard an actual Kiss song.  It’s definitely a case of a band where image precedes everything else. It sounds pretty much as expected though, extremely campy hard-rock/proto-Metal with lots of guitar solos.  Basically the music that people who grew up to become MAGAs listened to when they weren’t chanting “Disco Sucks!”


Artist: Bill Withers
Album: Just As I Am
Year: 1971
Label: Sussex
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:

  • “Harlem”
  • “Ain’t No Sunshine”
  • “Grandma’s Hands”

Thoughts: Aah…back to the more sonically pleasant  sounds of 70s soul. The RS500 list contains two Withers’ albums that feel like greatest hits compilations without being greatest hits compilations.  This album has a folk-music feel with many story songs about everyday people.  It also includes my all-time favorite Withers’ track “Ain’t No Sunshine.”


Artist: ABBA
Album: The Definitive Collection
Year: 2001
Label: Universal
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: All too well
Would I Listen to this Album Again?:
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Waterloo”
  • “S.O.S.”
  • “Mamma Mia”
  • “Dancing Queen”
  • “Take a Chance on Me”
  • “The Winner Takes It All”

Thoughts: There are two sides to the 70s bombastic, over-the-top, theatrical era of music. One side is Kiss, the other is ABBA.  ABBA is kind of silly, but I have a grudging respect for them.  Their songs certainly have staying power, spawning a Broadway musical and two movie spinoffs that people seem to love.  And it’s irresistible to sing along with their best work.


Artist: Neil Young
Album: Tonight’s the Night
Year: 1975
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:

  • “Come On Baby Let’s Go Downtown”

Thoughts: Based on the album title and cover photo, I feared this was Neil Young’s tribute album to Rod Stewart.  Thankfully that is not the case, although the truth is much darker.  This album is Young’s outpouring of grief over the death of two friends.


Artist: New York Dolls
AlbumNew York Dolls
Year: 1973
Label: Mercury
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:

  • “Personality Crisis”
  • “Trash”

Thoughts: I once saw David Johansen past within a few feet of me on Coney Island’s Boardwalk.  That’s my main connection with the New York Dolls, one of the earliest bands credited with creating punk rock.  Can’t argue with this album’s enshrinement as a rock & roll classic and a relic of the sleazy 70s.


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

Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 320-311


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
410-401

Artist: X
Album: Los Angeles
Year: 1980
Label: Slash
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:

  • “You’re Phone’s Off the Hook But You’re Not”
  • “Johny Hit and Run Paulene”
  • “The Unheard Music”

Thoughts: I came to X late, which means I never even heard of them until the mid-2000s when I acquired their 1982 album Under the Big Black Sun. I had that album in constant rotation for a time but Rolling Stone doesn’t consider it worthy to include in this list.  Anyhow, I lost interest in listening to more X when I learned the lead vocalist had become a right-wing conspiracy theorist.  But this album was produced by Ray Manzarek and includes a cover of a Doors song, so it’s pretty darn Los Angeles!


Artist: The Stone Roses
Album: The Stone Roses
Year: 1989
Label: Silvertone
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 Wanna Be Adored”
  • “She Bangs the Drums”
  • “Waterfall”
  • (Song For My) Sugar Spun Sister”
  • “Shoot You Down”
  • “I Am the Resurrection”

Thoughts: Unlike like a lot of albums in this list, The Stone Roses is one I came to at just the right time. It was one of the first “alternative” albums I got in high school after coming out of a two-year “classic rock” phase (perhaps the psychedelic sound made it a good transition from past to present for me). The album remains an all-time favorite of mine. It wasn’t until years later when I discovered how highly regarded the album is, particularly in the UK.


Artist: Janet Jackson
Album: The Velvet Rope
Year: 1997
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?:
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Got ‘Til It’s Gone”
  • “Free Xone”

Thoughts: By 1997, I was so far removed from the pop/Top 40 world that I had no idea that Janet Jackson was even still releasing albums.  I didn’t expect to recognize anything but “Got ‘Til It’s Gone” stood out, mainly because of the Joni Mitchell sample and the Q-Tip rap.


Artist: Billie Holiday
Album: Lady in Satin
Year: 1958
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:

  • “I Get Along Without You Very Well”
  • “It’s Easy to Remember”
  • “I’m a Fool to Want You”

Thoughts: This album’s inclusion on the list is a bit of a surprise if only because Billie Holiday’s life and career mostly preceded the LP record era, as well as Rolling Stone’s habit of recognizing non-rock artists with compilations. So this is a pleasant surprise. This was the last album released before Holiday’s death and features a 40-piece orchestra lead by Ray Ellis.  Holiday’s voice has a timbre that complements the rich instrumentation of the orchestra. Holiday had suffered a lot of trouble but her voice remained expressive and beautiful.


Artist: The Who
AlbumThe Who Sell Out
Year: 1967
Label: Decca
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:

  • “Tattoo”

Thoughts: Even for 1967, this is a weird album.  In the same year The Beatles were credited with the release the first rock & roll concept album, The Who put out this collection of songs, mock ads, radio call signs, and humorous skits that work together far better conceptually.  The one song I recognize from the album was the single “I Can See for Miles,” but this song is not representative of the rest of the music on the album.  Instead there’s a mix of psychedelia, art rock, R&B, folk rock, and music hall styles.  Overall there’s a theatricality to the album that presages the band’s later rock operas.  While I haven’t selected a lot of favorite tracks, I kind of like the whole thing as an artifact of its time.


Artist: Rosalía
Album: El Mal Querer
Year: 2018
Label: Sony
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: I’d never heard of Rosalía but learned that she is a Spanish singer-songwriter who incorporates traditional flamenco music into Latin R&B and electronic dance music.  I like the songs that sound more traditional, but overall this is not my thing.  This album does not appear to have charted in the U.S. so kudos to Rolling Stone to branching out to the non-Anglophone world.


Artist: Aaliyah
Album: One in a Million
Year: 1996
Label: Blackground/Atlantic
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: No
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Maybe
Favorite Tracks:

  • “A Girl Like You”
  • “Got to Give it Up”
  • “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright”
  • “Ladies in da House” (featuring Missy Elliott & Timbaland)

Thoughts: Trying to find One in a Million for this project makes me reflect on streaming music services because it is currently not available on any of them.  I would not be able to do this project without streaming music.  My unfamiliarity with a lot of these albums is partially due to how cost-prohibitive it was to acquire 500 LPs, cassettes, CDs, or MP3s not to mention that they take up a lot of space either physically or on a disk drive. It also make it easier to discover new music as opposed to just having the radio and recommendations of friends to go by.  The downside of streaming is that when music by an artist like Aaliyah is not available, it’s almost as if their music disappears.  Luckily I was able to listen to this album on YouTube for now.  It’s actually very impressive that the work of Aaliyah, who died in a plane crash in 2002, sounds stunningly contemporary for 2021.


Artist: PJ Harvey
Album: Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea
Year: 2000
Label: Island
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: I only know PJ Harvey by name and like a lot of artists I always meant to find out more.  So I was disappointed to find that this album sounds very generic and bland to me.  If there are P.J. Harvey fans out there, please let me know if this is really her best work or if Rolling Stone is being weird again.


Artist: Solange
Album: A Seat at the Table
Year: 2016
Label: Saint/Columbia
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: 2016
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: No
Favorite Tracks: none
Thoughts: I remember listening to this album when it came out but didn’t end up writing an album review because I couldn’t think of anything to say.  Solange explores issues of the day both personal and political through mostly downbeat songs, and with this album emerged from the shadow of her more famous sister Beyoncé (and this album pairs well with Beyoncé’s Lemonade release earlier in the year).  I still can’t think of much to say about it though.


Artist: Neil Young
AlbumOn the Beach
Year: 1974
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:

  • “For the Turnstiles”
  • “Vampire Blues”

Thoughts: My long held opinion on Neil Young is that he is a talented artist and I can appreciate why people like him a lot, but his music is just “not my thing.”  On the 2nd of 6 albums by Neil Young on this list, I still hold that opinion, but I have to admit that his takes on the Blues and old time music make for an enjoyable listen. Of course, listening to the pessimistic lyrics means that taking that “enjoyable” with a grain of salt.


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

Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 410-401


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

Previous Posts:


Artist: The Beach Boys
Album: Wild Honey
Year: 1967
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: None
Thoughts: I was not at all familiar with any of the songs on this album, with good reason.  They’re not very good.  The Beach Boys sound like they’re a 60s garage band making a 60s baroque pop album.  The vocals are very ragged, like the lead vocalist is straining to reach the high register.  And if the Beach Boys don’t have strong vocals, what do they have?  I feel like Rolling Stone is punking us by putting this album on the list.


Artist: Grateful Dead
Album: Workingman’s Dead
Year: 1970
Label: Warner Bros.
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Yes
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Uncle John’s Band”
  • “High Time”
  • “Dire Wolf”

Thoughts:  There are two albums that come up when anyone discusses the Grateful Dead who is not a diehard Deadhead, and those two albums are the only albums by the band on this list.  I would think that a band that is known primarily for it’s live performances, and for documenting those concerts on recordings, and for people trading those concert recordings that a live album would be a good way to represent the Dead and their contributions to rock & roll on this list. There certainly are a lot of good ones to choose from.  Nevertheless, I do like the songs on this album, although not as much as I like the other one that we’ll discuss when get to #215.


Artist: Motörhead
Album: Ace of Spades
Year: 1980
Label: Bronze
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:

  • “Ace of Spades”
  • “Please Don’t Touch”

Thoughts: Motörhead are the one band able to unite 80s punks and metalheads and pioneers of really fast guitar and drumming.  They are not the type of band one would expect me to like, but I find Motörhead is just find them a lot of fun.  A friend once told me “Everyone should love Motörhead! I just take that as a given,” and it’s probably true.


Artist: Neil Young
Album: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Year: 1969
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:

  • “Cinnamon Girl”

Thoughts: Neil Young is one of those artists, alongside the likes of Tom Petty and Bob Dylan, for whom I have a lot of respect for what they’ve done as artists and appreciate why other people enjoy their work, but nevertheless I don’t enjoy listening to myself.  This was his second album under his own name (both all-time and in the year 1969), his first work with the band Crazy Horse, released less than a year after the final Buffalo Springfield album and less than a year before his first collaboration with Crosby, Stills, & Nash.  The dude was crazy prolific is what I’m saying.


Artist: The Magnetic Fields
Album: 69 Love Songs
Year: 1999
Label: Merge
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:

  • “A Chicken With Its Head Cut Off”
  • “The Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side”
  • “The Book of Love”
  • “Parades Go By”
  • “When My Boy Walks Down the Street”
  • “If You Don’t Cry”
  • “Crazy For You (But Not That Crazy)”
  • “Washington D.C.”
  • “It’s a Crime”
  • “I’m Sorry I Love You”
  • “The Death of Ferdinand de Saussure”
  • “The Night You Can’t Remember”

Thoughts: For an album that is packed literally with 69 songs there’s a remarkable consistency of quality.  Stephin Merritt and co. create a concept album not about love, but about love songs, with homages (and more often tongue-in-cheek parodies) of various styles of love song about various types of love.


Artist: Various
Album: Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era
Year: 1972
Label: Elektra
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Sort of
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Some
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Dirty Water” – The Standells
  • “Moulty” – The Barbarians
  • “You’re Gonna Miss Me” – 13th Floor Elevators
  • “Psychotic Reaction” – Count Five
  • “Baby Please Don’t Go” – The Amboy Dukes

Thoughts: This is the type of compilation that deserves to be on Greatest Albums of All-Time list.  Not only does it contain multiple artists but it was compiled shortly after the songs were created and helped bring attention to tunes that might otherwise have been forgotten.  The musical style is a mix of Beatles’ tribute bands + bluesy garage rock + lots of hallucinogenic substances.  It proved to be very influential to punk bands of the 1970s.  I remember listening to a version of this album as a teenager that had fewer tracks, but introduced me to great songs such as “Psychotic Reaction” and “You’re Gonna Miss Me.” It’s also fun to think of a time when “Dirty Water” wasn’t the theme song of Boston sports teams.


Artist: Anita Baker
Album: Rapture
Year: 1986
Label: Elektra
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: One
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: No
Favorite Tracks: None
Thoughts: I remember “Sweet Love” as a radio staple in the mid-to-late 80s but never gave it much thought. The album contains several more tracks with the same style of jazz-inflected R&B.  I don’t want to say its bad, but it’s definitely not my thing.


Artist: Ghostface Killah
Album: Supreme Clientele
Year: 2000
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?: Maybe
Favorite Tracks:

  • “The Grain”
  • “Buck 50”
  • “Malcolm”
  • “Cherchez LaGhost”
  • “Wu Banga 101”

Thoughts: Yet another hip-hop artist I previously only knew by name.  I like Ghostface Killah’s rhyme style and the musical production/sampling.  I’m also amused by all the references to Iron Man well before the MCU made Tony Stark a household name.


Artist: Fela Kuti and Africa 70
Album: Expensive Shit
Year: 1975
Label: Sounds Workshop
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:

  • “Expensive Shit”
  • “Water No Get Enemy”

Thoughts: Is a recording with one song on each side, an album or a single?  In the case of Expensive Shit, the two songs are a combined 25 minutes, giving it album length.  The title track is based on a true story of Kuti eating a joint to avoid arrest, but the police took him in anyway and waited for him to produce the excrement.  The album is a classic of Afrobeat, part political, part joyful, all brilliant.


Artist: Blondie
Album: Blondie
Year: 1977
Label: Private Stock
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:

  • “X Offender”
  • “In the Flesh”
  • “Look Good in Blue”
  • “Kung Fu Girls”

Thoughts: This debut album from the New York punk band looks back to early 60s pop and doo wop while setting the vanguard for 80s New Wave.  Wry lyrics bring a 70s sensibility (and sexuality) to seemingly innocent tunes.


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