Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 460-451


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: Lorde
Album: Melodrama
Year: 2017
Label: Universal
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes/No
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: no
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Green Light”
  • “Writer in the Dark”
  • “Supercut”

Thoughts: I knew Lorde for “Royals,” and that’s about it.  This album features Lorde’s distinctive gravely voice over dance tracks.  It’s fine but I don’t feel strongly about it either way.


Artist: Kid Cudi
Album: Man on the Moon: The End of the Day
Year: 2009
Label: Dream On
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:

  • “Soundtrack 2 My Life”
  • “Make Her Say”
  • “Pursuit of Happiness (Nightmare)”

Thoughts: Another artist that I’m not at all familiar with.  But I did enjoy Kid Cudi’s introspective lyrics over an indie-rock aesthetic.  Definitely something I’m going to want to look into more.


Artist: Jason Isbell
Album: Southeastern
Year: 2013
Label: Southeastern
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:

  • “Live Oak”

Thoughts: Jason Isbell is one of those names I’ve heard floating in the ether but never really knew what it was he did.  Turns out he’s a singer-songwriter in the country-folk fusion style pioneered in the 1970s.  It’s just in my snooze zone of music I consider pretty boring, although I can appreciate that Isbell is a talented musician.  I’ll also note that his vocals are up too loud in the mix on this album.


Artist: Sinéad O’Connor
Album: I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got
Year: 1990
Label: Ensign/Chrysalis
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:

  • “I Am Stretched On Your Grave”
  • “Three Babies”
  • “The Emperor’s New Clothes”
  • “Black Boys on Mopeds”
  • “Nothing Compares 2 U”
  • “Last Day of Our Acquaintance”

Thoughts: Despite her shaved head and radical for Reagan/Bush America opinions, Sinéad O’Connor managed to become a star loved by the cool alternative kids and their Boomer parents (especially if those parents were Irish-American).  I have not listened to I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got in a long time and I forgot just how great it is. O’Connor’s voice is timeless and the songs on this recording feel as fresh as they did 30 years.


Artist: Al Green
AlbumGreatest Hits
Year: 1975
Label: Hi/EMI
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:

  • “Tired of Being Alone”
  • “Here I Am (Come and Take Me)”
  • “Love and Happiness”
  • “Let’s Stay Together”

Thoughts: I’m beginning to feel that there is an unconscious bias in the selection of compilation albums for this list, because so far, almost every one of them is by Black artists (the exception is the Phil Spector box set where a white man is given top billing for producing the work of primarily Black and brown artists). I’ve peeked ahead at the RS 500 list and see that Al Green gets two more studio albums on the list, so the inclusion of a compilation is all the more befuddling.  Mind you, I own and love Al Green’s Greatest Hits, and it’s great to have a package of some of his best work from the early 70s, but 6 of the 10 songs on this compilation are also on the other two Al Green albums on this list.  Putting Greatest Hits on the list just seems to mark indecision between choosing Al Green Gets Next to You or Let’s Stay Together as the third album.


Artist: Bo Diddley
Album: Bo Diddley/Go Bo Diddley
Year: 1958/1959
Label: Chess
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:

  • “Bo Diddley”
  • “I’m A Man”
  • “Before You Accuse me (Take a Look at Yourself)”
  • “Hey! Bo Diddley”
  • “Diddley Daddy”
  • “You Don’t Love Me (You Don’t Care)”
  • “Say Man”
  • “The Clock Strikes Twelve”

Thoughts:  Okay, so now we’re doing two albums for the price of one. Bo Diddley was released in 1958 as a compilation of singles going back to 1955. 1959’s Go Bo Diddley is more of an intentional album with some material not previously released on singles. Of the two albums, the first is more has more of a Blues feel, features many examples of the Bo Diddley beat, and has most of Bo Diddley’s most famed songs.  The latter album is more musically diverse with a variety of rock & roll and R&B styles, and features the comical track “Say Man,” which was Diddley’s highest charting song.


Artist: Can
Album: Ege Bamyasi
Year: 1972
Label: United Artists
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:  Here’s a band I never heard of at all. Can was a German band in the 1960s and 1970s.  The music sounds like a blend of psychedelia with the groove of funk and the vocals of early punk.  The official genre designation is “krautrock” which sounds derogatory to me.  Kudos to Rolling Stone for including albums outside the USA/UK.  But I didn’t find this album to be all that interesting.


Artist: Nine Inch Nails
Album: Pretty Hate Machine
Year: 1989
Label: TVT
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:

  • “Head Like a Hole”
  • “Terrible Lie”
  • “Sin”
  • “That’s What I Get”
  • “The Only Time”

Thoughts: This album was my high school introduction to industrial music.  It’s been a long time since I listened to it, and I forgot that the tracks on this album have a total dance groove. Which makes sense, because one of my memories of a dance in the high school cafeteria was totally losing myself while dancing to “Head Like a Hole.”  It was such a release.


Artist: Diana Ross and the Supremes
AlbumAnthology
Year: 1974
Label: Tamla/Motown
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:

  • “Where Did Our Love Go”
  • “Baby Love”
  • “Come See About Me”
  • “Stop! In the Name of Love”
  • “Back in My Arms Again”
  • “I Hear a Symphony”
  • “My World is Empty Without You”
  • “Your Can’t Hurry Love”
  • “Reflections”
  • “Someday We’ll Be Together”
  • “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me”

Thoughts: Did you know that The Supremes’ 1966 album The Supremes A’ Go-Go was the first album by a girl group to hit number one in the US? Did you know it was one of seven albums by The Supremes that made it into the Top Ten on the Billboard 200? Did you know that The Supremes had six number one albums on the Hot R&B Album Chart and 18 albums altogether that hit Top Ten in the same chart? Did you know that The Supremes had profound influence on women artists, and on soul, R&B, and rock music, and made Motown a profitable and legendary record label, and rivaled The Beatles for widespread popularity in the 1960s?  Do you also find it a little offensive that the only recognition of The Supremes in this entire list is this compilation album?

Anyway, this album does show the versatility of The Supremes from their early days to their biggest hits to their interpretations of the works of others and collaborations with The Temptations.  I only regret the mindboggling omission of “Stoned Love.”


Artist: Roberta Flack
AlbumFirst Take
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:

  • “Compared to What”
  • “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye”
  • “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”

Thoughts: Roberta Flack’s debut album includes her most famous song “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” a startling interpretation of a British folk song. I confess I’ve always had trouble listening to that song because it’s just so sad. The album show’s Flack’s versatility with her soulful vocals with  accompanied by jazz and gospel stylings to reinterpret folk and pop 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

Ten Favorite Songs of 1994


The project continues with my favorite songs of 1994.  Read the first post for the detail on this project.

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Buddy Holly – Weezer

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Closer – Nine Inch Nails

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A Girl Like You – Edwyn Collins

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It’s Your Life – Milla

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Least Complicated –  Indigo Girls

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Loser – Beck

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A Summer Wind, a Cotton Dress –  Richard Shindell

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Wandering Star – Portishead

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Warehouse – Dave Matthews Band

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Whip-Smart – Liz Phair

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And by song  of shame for 1994: Shoop – Salt N Pepa

Ten Favorite Songs of 1989


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

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

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Blue Savannah –  Erasure

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Closer To Fine – Indigo Girls

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Debaser – Pixies

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Dela – Johnny Clegg & Savuka

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The Deportees Club – Christy Moore

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Fight the Power – Public Enemy

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Head Like a Hole – Nine Inch Nails

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I Am the Resurrection – The Stone Roses

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If I Were John Carpenter – Big Audio Dynamite

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Say No Go – De La Soul

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

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