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


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

Previous Posts:

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

Artist: 50 Cent
Album: Get Rich or Die Tryin’
Year: 2002
Label: Interscope
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: No
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: No
Favorite Tracks:

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

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


Artist: Nirvana
AlbumMTV Unplugged in New York
Year: 1994
Label: Geffen
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

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

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


Artist: Led Zeppelin
AlbumHouses of the Holy
Year: 1973
Label: Atlantic
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Yes
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?:
Favorite Tracks:

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

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


Artist: Alicia Keys
AlbumThe Diary of Alicia Keys
Year: 2003
Label: J Records
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: No
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: No
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Karma”

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


Artist: Radiohead
Album: The Bends
Year: 1995
Label: Capitol
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Yes
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

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

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


Artist: Curtis Mayfield
Album: Curtis!
Year: 1970
Label: Curtom
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?:
Favorite Tracks:

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

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


Artist: The Byrds
AlbumSweetheart of the Rodeo
Year: 1968
Label: Columbia
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?:
Favorite Tracks:

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

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


Artist: Gang of Four
AlbumEntertainment
Year: 1979
Label: Warner Bros.
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

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

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


Artist: The Velvet Underground
AlbumWhite Light/White Heat
Year: 1968
Label: Verve
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

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

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


Artist: Mary J. Blige
AlbumWhat’s the 411?
Year: 1992
Label: Uptown/MCA
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: No
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Real Love”

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


Running List of Albums I’d Listen to Again

  • 500. Arcade Fire, Funeral
  • 498. Suicide, Suicide
  • 497. Various Artists, The Indestructible Beat of Soweto
  • 494. The Ronettes, Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes
  • 489. A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector from Phil Spector and Various Artists, Back to Mono (1958-1969)
  • 487. Black Flag, Damaged
  • 485. Richard and Linda Thompson, I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight
  • 483. Muddy Waters, The Anthology
  • 482. The Pharcyde, Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde
  • 481. Belle and Sebastian, If You’re Feeling Sinister
  • 478. The Kinks, Something Else by the Kinks
  • 477. Howlin’ Wolf, Moanin’ in the Moonlight
  • 469.Manu Chao, Clandestino
  • 465. King Sunny Adé, The Best of the Classic Years
  • 464. The Isley Brothers, 3 + 3
  • 462. The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Gilded Palace of Sin
  • 459. Kid Cudi, Man on the Moon: The End of the Day
  • 457. Sinéad O’Connor, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got
  • 456. Al Green, Greatest Hits
  • 455. Bo Diddley, Bo Diddley/Go Bo Diddley
  • 453. Nine Inch Nails, Pretty Hate Machine
  • 452. Diana Ross and the Supremes, Anthology
  • 451. Roberta Flack, First Take
  • 448. Otis Redding, Dictionary of Soul
  • 446. Alice Coltrane, Journey in Satchidanada
  • 444. Fiona Apple, Extraordinary Machine
  • 443. David Bowie, Scary Monsters
  • 440. Loretta Lynn, Coal Miner’s Daughter
  • 439. James Brown, Sex Machine
  • 438. Blur, Parklife
  • 437. Primal Scream, Screamadelica
  • 435. Pet Shop Boys, Actually
  • 433. LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver
  • 431. Los Lobos, How Will the Wolf Survive?
  • 430. Elvis Costello, My Aim Is True
  • 429. The Four Tops, Reach Out
  • 428. Hüsker Dü, New Day Rising
  • 427. Al Green, Call Me
  • 426. Lucinda Williams, Lucinda Williams
  • 425. Paul Simon, Paul Simon
  • 424. Beck, Odelay
  • 423. Yo La Tengo, I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One
  • 422. Marvin Gaye, Let’s Get It On
  • 421. M.I.A., Arular
  • 417. Ornette Coleman, The Shape of Jazz to Come
  • 416. The Roots, Things Fall Apart
  • 415. The Meters, Looka Py Py
  • 414. Chic, Risqué
  • 413. Creedence Clearwater Revival, Cosmo’s Factory
  • 412. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Going to a Go Go
  • 409. Grateful Dead, Workingman’s Dead
  • 408. Motörhead, Ace of Spades
  • 406. Magnetic Fields, 69 Love Songs
  • 405. Various, Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era
  • 403. Ghostface Killah, Supreme Clientele
  • 402. Fela Kuti and Africa 70, Expensive Shit
  • 401. Blondie, Blondie
  • 400. The Go-Go’s, Beauty and the Beat
  • 398. The Raincoats, The Raincoats
  • 397. Billie Eilish, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
  • 395. D’Angelo and the Vanguard, Black Messiah
  • 392. Ike and Tina Turner, Proud Mary: The Best of Ike and Tina Turner
  • 390. Pixies, Surfer Rosa
  • 388. Aretha Franklin, Young, Gifted and Black
  • 387. Radiohead, In Rainbows
  • 386. J Dilla, Donuts
  • 385. Ramones, Rocket to Russia
  • 384. The Kinks, The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society
  • 380. Charles Mingus, Mingus Ah Um
  • 378. Run-DMC, Run-D.M.C.
  • 377. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Fever to Tell
  • 375. Green Day, Dookie
  • 374. Robert Johnson, King of the Delta Blues Singers
  • 373. Isaac Hayes, Hot Buttered Soul
  • 371. The Temptations, Anthology
  • 369. Mobb Deep, The Infamous
  • 368. George Harrison, All Things Must Pass
  • 365. Madvillain, Madvillainy
  • 364. Talking Heads, More Songs About Buildings and Food
  • 363. Parliament, The Mothership Connection
  • 360. Funkadelic, One Nation Under a Groove
  • 358. Sonic Youth, Goo
  • 357. Tom Waits, Rain Dogs
  • 356. Dr. John, Gris-Gris
  • 354. X-Ray Spex, Germfree Adolescents
  • 351. Roxy Music, For Your Pleasure
  • 350. Stevie Wonder, Music of My Mind
  • 349. MC5, Kick Out the Jams
  • 348. Gillian Welch, Time (The Revelator)
  • 347. GZA, Liquid Swords
  • 346. Arctic Monkeys, AM
  • 345. Bruce Springsteen, The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle
  • 344. Toots and the Maytals, Funky Kingston
  • 343. Sly and the Family Stone, Greatest Hits
  • 342. The Beatles, Let It Be
  • 341. The Smashing Pumpkins, Siamese Dream
  • 338. Brian Eno, Another Green World
  • 337.  Bob Dylan, John Wesley Harding
  • 335. Bob Dylan and the Band, The Basement Tapes
  • 334. Santana, Abraxas
  • 333. Bill Withers, Still Bill
  • 332. Elvis Presley, Elvis Presley
  • 330. The Rolling Stones, Aftermath
  • 329. DJ Shadow, Endtroducing…
  • 328. Vampire Weekend, Modern Vampires of the City
  • 326. Prince, Dirty Mind
  • 323.The Clash, Sandinista!
  • 320. X, Los Angeles
  • 319. The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses
  • 317. Billie Holiday, Lady in Satin
  • 316. The Who, The Who Sell Out
  • 310. Wire, Pink Flag
  • 309. Joy Division, Closer
  • 308. Brian Eno, Here Come the Warm Jets
  • 307. Sam Cooke, Portrait of a Legend
  • 306. Al Green, I’m Still In Love With You
  • 304. Bill Withers, Just As I Am
  • 301. New York Dolls, New York Dolls
  • 299. B.B. King, Live at the Regal
  • 297. Peter Gabriel, So
  • 294. Weezer, Weezer
  • 293. The Breeders, Last Splash
  • 292. Van Halen, Van Halen
  • 289.  Björk, Post
  • 288. The Modern Lovers, The Modern Lovers
  • 287. The Byrds, Mr. Tambourine Man
  • 283. Donna Summer, Bad Girls
  • 282. Frank Sinatra, In the Wee Small Hours
  • 279. Nirvana, MTV Unplugged in New York
  • 278. Led Zeppelin, Houses of the Holy
  • 276. Radiohead, The Bends
  • 275. Curtis Mayfield, Curtis
  • 274. The Byrds, Sweetheart of the Rodeo
  • 273. Gang of Four, Entertainment!
  • 272. The Velvet Underground, White Light/White Heat

 

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


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

Previous Posts:

500-491 400-381 300-291
490-481 390-381
480-471 380-371
470-461 370-361
460-451 360-351
450-441 350-341
440-431 340-331
430-421 330-321
420-411 320-311
410-401 310-301

Artist: OutKast
Album: Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
Year: 2003
Label: LaFace
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: No
Favorite Tracks:

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

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


Artist: Björk
AlbumPost
Year: 1995
Label: Elektra
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Yes
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

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

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


Artist: The Modern Lovers
Album: The Modern Lovers
Year: 1976
Label: Beserkley
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

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

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


Artist: The Byrds
Album: Mr. Tambourine Man
Year: 1965
Label: Columbia
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

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

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


Artist: Red Hot Chili Peppers
AlbumCalifornication
Year: 1999
Label: Warner Bros.
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?:
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Scar Tissue”

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


Artist: Big Star
AlbumThird/Sister Lovers
Year: 1978
Label: PVC
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: No
Favorite Tracks:

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

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


Artist: Merle Haggard
Album: Down Every Road 1962-1994
Year:1996
Label: Capitol
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: No
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: No
Favorite Tracks:

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

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


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

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

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

 


Artist: Frank Sinatra
Album: In the Wee Small Hours
Year: 1955
Label: Capitol
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

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

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


Artist: Harry Nilsson
Album: Nilsson Schmilsson
Year: 1971
Label: RCA
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: No
Favorite Tracks:

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

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


Running List of Albums I’d Listen to Again

  • 500. Arcade Fire, Funeral
  • 498. Suicide, Suicide
  • 497. Various Artists, The Indestructible Beat of Soweto
  • 494. The Ronettes, Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes
  • 489. A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector from Phil Spector and Various Artists, Back to Mono (1958-1969)
  • 487. Black Flag, Damaged
  • 485. Richard and Linda Thompson, I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight
  • 483. Muddy Waters, The Anthology
  • 482. The Pharcyde, Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde
  • 481. Belle and Sebastian, If You’re Feeling Sinister
  • 478. The Kinks, Something Else by the Kinks
  • 477. Howlin’ Wolf, Moanin’ in the Moonlight
  • 469.Manu Chao, Clandestino
  • 465. King Sunny Adé, The Best of the Classic Years
  • 464. The Isley Brothers, 3 + 3
  • 462. The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Gilded Palace of Sin
  • 459. Kid Cudi, Man on the Moon: The End of the Day
  • 457. Sinéad O’Connor, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got
  • 456. Al Green, Greatest Hits
  • 455. Bo Diddley, Bo Diddley/Go Bo Diddley
  • 453. Nine Inch Nails, Pretty Hate Machine
  • 452. Diana Ross and the Supremes, Anthology
  • 451. Roberta Flack, First Take
  • 448. Otis Redding, Dictionary of Soul
  • 446. Alice Coltrane, Journey in Satchidanada
  • 444. Fiona Apple, Extraordinary Machine
  • 443. David Bowie, Scary Monsters
  • 440. Loretta Lynn, Coal Miner’s Daughter
  • 439. James Brown, Sex Machine
  • 438. Blur, Parklife
  • 437. Primal Scream, Screamadelica
  • 435. Pet Shop Boys, Actually
  • 433. LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver
  • 431. Los Lobos, How Will the Wolf Survive?
  • 430. Elvis Costello, My Aim Is True
  • 429. The Four Tops, Reach Out
  • 428. Hüsker Dü, New Day Rising
  • 427. Al Green, Call Me
  • 426. Lucinda Williams, Lucinda Williams
  • 425. Paul Simon, Paul Simon
  • 424. Beck, Odelay
  • 423. Yo La Tengo, I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One
  • 422. Marvin Gaye, Let’s Get It On
  • 421. M.I.A., Arular
  • 417. Ornette Coleman, The Shape of Jazz to Come
  • 416. The Roots, Things Fall Apart
  • 415. The Meters, Looka Py Py
  • 414. Chic, Risqué
  • 413. Creedence Clearwater Revival, Cosmo’s Factory
  • 412. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Going to a Go Go
  • 409. Grateful Dead, Workingman’s Dead
  • 408. Motörhead, Ace of Spades
  • 406. Magnetic Fields, 69 Love Songs
  • 405. Various, Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era
  • 403. Ghostface Killah, Supreme Clientele
  • 402. Fela Kuti and Africa 70, Expensive Shit
  • 401. Blondie, Blondie
  • 400. The Go-Go’s, Beauty and the Beat
  • 398. The Raincoats, The Raincoats
  • 397. Billie Eilish, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
  • 395. D’Angelo and the Vanguard, Black Messiah
  • 392. Ike and Tina Turner, Proud Mary: The Best of Ike and Tina Turner
  • 390. Pixies, Surfer Rosa
  • 388. Aretha Franklin, Young, Gifted and Black
  • 387. Radiohead, In Rainbows
  • 386. J Dilla, Donuts
  • 385. Ramones, Rocket to Russia
  • 384. The Kinks, The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society
  • 380. Charles Mingus, Mingus Ah Um
  • 378. Run-DMC, Run-D.M.C.
  • 377. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Fever to Tell
  • 375. Green Day, Dookie
  • 374. Robert Johnson, King of the Delta Blues Singers
  • 373. Isaac Hayes, Hot Buttered Soul
  • 371. The Temptations, Anthology
  • 369. Mobb Deep, The Infamous
  • 368. George Harrison, All Things Must Pass
  • 365. Madvillain, Madvillainy
  • 364. Talking Heads, More Songs About Buildings and Food
  • 363. Parliament, The Mothership Connection
  • 360. Funkadelic, One Nation Under a Groove
  • 358. Sonic Youth, Goo
  • 357. Tom Waits, Rain Dogs
  • 356. Dr. John, Gris-Gris
  • 354. X-Ray Spex, Germfree Adolescents
  • 351. Roxy Music, For Your Pleasure
  • 350. Stevie Wonder, Music of My Mind
  • 349. MC5, Kick Out the Jams
  • 348. Gillian Welch, Time (The Revelator)
  • 347. GZA, Liquid Swords
  • 346. Arctic Monkeys, AM
  • 345. Bruce Springsteen, The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle
  • 344. Toots and the Maytals, Funky Kingston
  • 343. Sly and the Family Stone, Greatest Hits
  • 342. The Beatles, Let It Be
  • 341. The Smashing Pumpkins, Siamese Dream
  • 338. Brian Eno, Another Green World
  • 337.  Bob Dylan, John Wesley Harding
  • 335. Bob Dylan and the Band, The Basement Tapes
  • 334. Santana, Abraxas
  • 333. Bill Withers, Still Bill
  • 332. Elvis Presley, Elvis Presley
  • 330. The Rolling Stones, Aftermath
  • 329. DJ Shadow, Endtroducing…
  • 328. Vampire Weekend, Modern Vampires of the City
  • 326. Prince, Dirty Mind
  • 323.The Clash, Sandinista!
  • 320. X, Los Angeles
  • 319. The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses
  • 317. Billie Holiday, Lady in Satin
  • 316. The Who, The Who Sell Out
  • 310. Wire, Pink Flag
  • 309. Joy Division, Closer
  • 308. Brian Eno, Here Come the Warm Jets
  • 307. Sam Cooke, Portrait of a Legend
  • 306. Al Green, I’m Still In Love With You
  • 304. Bill Withers, Just As I Am
  • 301. New York Dolls, New York Dolls
  • 299. B.B. King, Live at the Regal
  • 297. Peter Gabriel, So
  • 294. Weezer, Weezer
  • 293. The Breeders, Last Splash
  • 292. Van Halen, Van Halen
  • 289.  Björk, Post
  • 288. The Modern Lovers, The Modern Lovers
  • 287. The Byrds, Mr. Tambourine Man
  • 283. Donna Summer, Bad Girls
  • 282. Frank Sinatra, In the Wee Small Hours

 

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


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

Previous Posts:

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

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

  • Man! I Feel Like a Woman”

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


Artist: B.B. King
AlbumLive at the Regal
Year: 1965
Label: ABC-Paramount
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


Artist: Daft Punk
AlbumRandom Access Memories
Year: 2013
Label: Columbia
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?:
Favorite Tracks:

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

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


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

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

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


Artist: The Breeders
Album: Last Splash
Year: 1993
Label: Elektra
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Yes
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

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

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


Artist: Van Halen
AlbumVan Halen
Year: 1978
Label: Warner Bros.
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

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

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


Artist: Destiny’s Child
AlbumThe Writing’s on the Wall
Year: 1999
Label: Columbia
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: No
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: No
Favorite Tracks:

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

Running List of Albums I’d Listen to Again

  • 500. Arcade Fire, Funeral
  • 498. Suicide, Suicide
  • 497. Various Artists, The Indestructible Beat of Soweto
  • 494. The Ronettes, Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes
  • 489. A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector from Phil Spector and Various Artists, Back to Mono (1958-1969)
  • 487. Black Flag, Damaged
  • 485. Richard and Linda Thompson, I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight
  • 483. Muddy Waters, The Anthology
  • 482. The Pharcyde, Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde
  • 481. Belle and Sebastian, If You’re Feeling Sinister
  • 478. The Kinks, Something Else by the Kinks
  • 477. Howlin’ Wolf, Moanin’ in the Moonlight
  • 469.Manu Chao, Clandestino
  • 465. King Sunny Adé, The Best of the Classic Years
  • 464. The Isley Brothers, 3 + 3
  • 462. The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Gilded Palace of Sin
  • 459. Kid Cudi, Man on the Moon: The End of the Day
  • 457. Sinéad O’Connor, I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got
  • 456. Al Green, Greatest Hits
  • 455. Bo Diddley, Bo Diddley/Go Bo Diddley
  • 453. Nine Inch Nails, Pretty Hate Machine
  • 452. Diana Ross and the Supremes, Anthology
  • 451. Roberta Flack, First Take
  • 448. Otis Redding, Dictionary of Soul
  • 446. Alice Coltrane, Journey in Satchidanada
  • 444. Fiona Apple, Extraordinary Machine
  • 443. David Bowie, Scary Monsters
  • 440. Loretta Lynn, Coal Miner’s Daughter
  • 439. James Brown, Sex Machine
  • 438. Blur, Parklife
  • 437. Primal Scream, Screamadelica
  • 435. Pet Shop Boys, Actually
  • 433. LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver
  • 431. Los Lobos, How Will the Wolf Survive?
  • 430. Elvis Costello, My Aim Is True
  • 429. The Four Tops, Reach Out
  • 428. Hüsker Dü, New Day Rising
  • 427. Al Green, Call Me
  • 426. Lucinda Williams, Lucinda Williams
  • 425. Paul Simon, Paul Simon
  • 424. Beck, Odelay
  • 423. Yo La Tengo, I Can Hear the Heart Beating As One
  • 422. Marvin Gaye, Let’s Get It On
  • 421. M.I.A., Arular
  • 417. Ornette Coleman, The Shape of Jazz to Come
  • 416. The Roots, Things Fall Apart
  • 415. The Meters, Looka Py Py
  • 414. Chic, Risqué
  • 413. Creedence Clearwater Revival, Cosmo’s Factory
  • 412. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Going to a Go Go
  • 409. Grateful Dead, Workingman’s Dead
  • 408. Motörhead, Ace of Spades
  • 406. Magnetic Fields, 69 Love Songs
  • 405. Various, Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era
  • 403. Ghostface Killah, Supreme Clientele
  • 402. Fela Kuti and Africa 70, Expensive Shit
  • 401. Blondie, Blondie
  • 400. The Go-Go’s, Beauty and the Beat
  • 398. The Raincoats, The Raincoats
  • 397. Billie Eilish, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
  • 395. D’Angelo and the Vanguard, Black Messiah
  • 392. Ike and Tina Turner, Proud Mary: The Best of Ike and Tina Turner
  • 390. Pixies, Surfer Rosa
  • 388. Aretha Franklin, Young, Gifted and Black
  • 387. Radiohead, In Rainbows
  • 386. J Dilla, Donuts
  • 385. Ramones, Rocket to Russia
  • 384. The Kinks, The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society
  • 380. Charles Mingus, Mingus Ah Um
  • 378. Run-DMC, Run-D.M.C.
  • 377. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Fever to Tell
  • 375. Green Day, Dookie
  • 374. Robert Johnson, King of the Delta Blues Singers
  • 373. Isaac Hayes, Hot Buttered Soul
  • 371. The Temptations, Anthology
  • 369. Mobb Deep, The Infamous
  • 368. George Harrison, All Things Must Pass
  • 365. Madvillain, Madvillainy
  • 364. Talking Heads, More Songs About Buildings and Food
  • 363. Parliament, The Mothership Connection
  • 360. Funkadelic, One Nation Under a Groove
  • 358. Sonic Youth, Goo
  • 357. Tom Waits, Rain Dogs
  • 356. Dr. John, Gris-Gris
  • 354. X-Ray Spex, Germfree Adolescents
  • 351. Roxy Music, For Your Pleasure
  • 350. Stevie Wonder, Music of My Mind
  • 349. MC5, Kick Out the Jams
  • 348. Gillian Welch, Time (The Revelator)
  • 347. GZA, Liquid Swords
  • 346. Arctic Monkeys, AM
  • 345. Bruce Springsteen, The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle
  • 344. Toots and the Maytals, Funky Kingston
  • 343. Sly and the Family Stone, Greatest Hits
  • 342. The Beatles, Let It Be
  • 341. The Smashing Pumpkins, Siamese Dream
  • 338. Brian Eno, Another Green World
  • 337.  Bob Dylan, John Wesley Harding
  • 335. Bob Dylan and the Band, The Basement Tapes
  • 334. Santana, Abraxas
  • 333. Bill Withers, Still Bill
  • 332. Elvis Presley, Elvis Presley
  • 330. The Rolling Stones, Aftermath
  • 329. DJ Shadow, Endtroducing…
  • 328. Vampire Weekend, Modern Vampires of the City
  • 326. Prince, Dirty Mind
  • 323.The Clash, Sandinista!
  • 320. X, Los Angeles
  • 319. The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses
  • 317. Billie Holiday, Lady in Satin
  • 316. The Who, The Who Sell Out
  • 310. Wire, Pink Flag
  • 309. Joy Division, Closer
  • 308. Brian Eno, Here Come the Warm Jets
  • 307. Sam Cooke, Portrait of a Legend
  • 306. Al Green, I’m Still In Love With You
  • 304. Bill Withers, Just As I Am
  • 301. New York Dolls, New York Dolls
  • 299. B.B. King, Live at the Regal
  • 297. Peter Gabriel, So
  • 294. Weezer, Weezer
  • 293. The Breeders, Last Splash
  • 292. Van Halen, Van Halen

 

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 330-321


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
420-411
410-401

Artist: The Rolling Stones
AlbumAftermath
Year: 1966
Label: London
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:

  • “Paint it Black”
  • “Flight 505”
  • “Going Home”

Thoughts: I’m glad this album appears on this list because it’s not often mentioned among the great Rolling Stones albums, but it’s one of my favorites by the band. “Paint it Black” is one of my favorite Stones tracks with Brian Jones capturing the 60s zeitgeist by playing sitar.  But by and large this album is what the Stones do best, straightforward blues rock.


Artist: DJ Shadow
AlbumEndtroducing…
Year: 1996
Label: Mo’ Wax
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:

  • “Building Steam With A Grain of Salt”
  • “The Number Song”
  • “Organ Donor”
  • “Midnight In a Perfect World”

Thoughts:

Here’s another album I’d never heard of that is absolutely brilliant.  DJ Shadow combines a hefty dose of samples with electronica beats.  This album feels like the missing link between De La Soul and Portishead.


Artist: Vampire Weekend
Album: Modern Vampires of the City
Year: 2013
Label: XL
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:

  • “Step”
  • “Diane Young”
  • “Finger Back”

Thoughts: I haven’t listened to the full album in a long time, although “Step” remains of my favorite tracks.  While nothing else on the album stands out as much to me, the songs are remarkably consistent in their quality.


Artist: The Who
AlbumLive at Leeds
Year: Decca
Label: 1970
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?: Maybe
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Heaven and Hell”
  • “A Quick One, While He’s Away”
  • “Shakin’ All Over”

Thoughts: The Who are a band that has never resonated with me for some reason.  They’re definitely not a bad band, I guess they’re just not my thing.  I listened to this album once before because it was recommended as a great live album.  I definitely think The Who must’ve been an exciting band to see in concert during their peak, but that’s an opportunity I never had.  I also like that this live album includes the banter between songs, which should be a requirement of live albums (assuming the band has good banter).


Artist: Prince
AlbumDirty Mind
Year: 1980
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:

  • “Dirty Mind”
  • “When You Were Mine”
  • “Head”
  • “Partyup”

Thoughts: I’m mostly familiar with Prince’s music from his peak commercial years of around 1982-1992.  This early Prince album sounds different – heavy on chirpy synths – but still brilliant.  And horny.  So very horny.


Artist: Jerry Lee Lewis
AlbumAll Killer No Filler!
Year: 1993
Label: Rhino
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:

  • “Crazy Arms”
  • “Whole Lot of Shakin’ Going On”
  • “Great Balls of Fire”

Thoughts: I couldn’t find this anthology on my streaming service so I listened instead to The Essential Jerry Lee Lewis [The Sun Sessions] instead which has almost the same number of tracks and a lot of overlap.  Basically it’s a case of Rolling Stone needing to include something from a rock & roll pioneer so I don’t think it matters either way.  I’m no Jerry Lee Lewis expert, but his Live at the Star Club, Hamburg album is critically acclaimed and would be less of a cop-out than a compilation. Or they could just have left him off entirely since he’s abusive, creepy, and a philanderer and thus doesn’t really deserve the special effort to squeeze him into a greatest albums list.


Artist: Coldplay
Album: A Rush of Blood to the Head
Year: 2002
Label: Capitol
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: No
Favorite Tracks: None

Thoughts: Sigh. I had to listen to Coldplay.  So I did.  I guess they’re not really bad, per se, just kind of boring for all the attention they get.  Oh well, I don’t have to listen to it again.


Artist: The Clash
AlbumSandinista!
Year: 1980
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:

  • “The Magnificent Seven”
  • “Hitsville, U.K.”
  • “Somebody Got Murdered”
  • “The Sound of Sinners”
  • “Lose this Skin”

Thoughts: Three albums full of Clash music is the perfect palate-cleanser after Coldplay.  I wrote about Sandinista! a couple of years ago in my Music Discovery of The Clash.  It’s always worth revisiting this eclectic mix of punk, reggae, new wave, funk, and “world music.”


Artist: Elvis Presley
AlbumFrom Elvis in Memphis
Year: 1969
Label: RCA
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: No
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Wearin’ That Loved On Look”
  • “I’ll Hold You in My Heart (Till I Can Hold You In My Arms)”
  • “Suspicious Minds”

Thoughts: Last week we listened to Elvis Presley’s debut album from 1956. From Elvis in Memphis is something of a second debut, introducing the new Elvis making his return to a straightforward music-making after years of Hollywood movies.  This album shows that he can venture ably into different musical styles – country, gospel, soul, and rock and roll – and includes my favorite Elvis song of all-time, “Suspicious Minds.”


Artist: Lana Del Rey
AlbumNorman Fucking Rockwell!
Year: 2019
Label: Polydor/Interscope
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:

  • “The Next Best American Record”
  • “The Greatest”

Thoughts: Back in 2012 there was a lot of buzz about Lana Del Ray’s album Born to Die.  So I gave it a listen, and I didn’t like it all, so I haven’t given Del Rey much thought since then although there continues to be a buzz about her music. Del Rey definitely has an interesting voice and I like the lush arrangements on these songs.  But it still doesn’t resonate with me.  Maybe it’s all the sardonic lyrics about the California lifestyle or the fact that Del Ray seems bored by everything.  I don’t know.


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!

Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 340-331


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: Snoop Dogg
Album: Doggystyle
Year: 1993
Label: Death Row/Interscope
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:

  • “Murder Was the Case” (featuring Dat Nigga Daz)
  • “Who Am I? (What’s My Name?)”

Thoughts: This album is lyrically crude, but I do like the grooves.  Snoop Dogg openly acknowledges his predecessors like George Clinton and PFunk and Slick Rick.  As someone who is still ignorant of 90s hip hop, I’m mostly surprised that this album seems to be source of all the vocabulary still used by white dudebros online to this day!


Artist: Janet Jackson
Album: Rhythm Nation 1814
Year: 1989
Label: A&M
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Yes
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: No
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Rhythm Nation”
  • “Miss You Much”
  • “Black Cat”

Thoughts:Rhythm Nation 1814 completed the transition of Janet Jackson from the “little sister” to (imho) the most creative and talented of all the Jackson family members.  The earnestness of the lyrics addressing social injustices by “coming together” seem a little bit silly, but it’s also unsettling that the issues addressed on this album are still relevant 32 years later.


Artist: Brian Eno
Album: Another Green World
Year: 1975
Label: Island
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Almost entirely through music Eno has worked on as a producer
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • Kind of like the whole thing, but the instrumentals are better than the songs with vocals.

Thoughts: Brian Eno is one of those people constantly name checked by music nerds. I never gave much thought to what music he’d make when not producing other people’s work.  Turns out it is pretty good.  But I tend to like ambient music, at least as something to lose oneself in.  Bonus fact:  Phil Collins plays the drums!


Artist: Bob Dylan
Album: John Wesley Harding
Year: 1967
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:

  • “As I Went Out One Morning”
  • “All Along the Watchtower”
  • “I’ll  Be Your Baby Tonight”

Thoughts: Speaking of artists who music nerds love to name drop.  Open the Dylan hose, because there are two of his albums to discuss this week.  The album is a collection of acoustic folk tunes with minimal instrumentation, a return to this style for Dylan who had spent several years recording Blues-inflected music with electric instruments.  Dylan’s voice is less strained and nasally than I’ve typically heard him and actually pleasant to listen to.  I think I’ve finally heard a Dylan album where I get the hype.


Artist: Roxy Music
Album: Avalon
Year: 1982
Label: E.G./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?: No
Favorite Tracks: None
Thoughts: “Avalon” is the one song by Roxy Music I really know from repetitive play on Rock and then Classic Rock radio since the 1980s.  It turns out that I am also familiar with “More Than This” for similar reasons.  The band’s final album is largely an adult contemporary snooze although they sound vaguely like contemporaneous Talking Heads on “The Main Thing.”


Artist: Bob Dylan and the Band
Album: The Basement Tapes
Year: 1975
Label: Columbia
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks: Kind of enjoyed the general vibe more than any individual songs.
Thoughts: As a Dylan skeptic, I’m finding myself surprised to be enjoying two different Dylan albums in the same post.  Much of this album was recorded in rural New York in 1967 while Dylan was recovering from a serious motorcycle crash, with some additional tracks recorded by The Band in ensuing years.  It was released in 1975 and since it was never intended to be an album it naturally doesn’t really cohere as an album.  Nevertheless, there’s an underlying relaxed and experimental feel to all the songs that dive into genres ranging from folk rock and Americana to rockabilly and country.


Artist: Santana
Album: Abraxas
Year: 1970
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:

  • “Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen”
  • “Oye Como Va”
  • “Mother’s Daughter”
  • “Hope You’re Feeling Better”

Thoughts: I was familiar with the two hits – “Black Magic Woman” and “Oye Como Va” – which I learned from the Rolling Stone synopsis are both cover songs from very different sources.  It was great to listen to this album and hear the fusion of so many different styles – Afro-Latin, soul, psychedelia, Blues, etc. – all harmonizing together.


Artist: Bill Withers
AlbumStill Bill
Year: 1972
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:

  • “Who Is He (And What Is He to You)?”
  • “Use Me”
  • “Lean on Me”
  • “Kissing My Love”

Thoughts: I like Bill Withers but I’ve only listened to his greatest hits.  So I’d like to credit the RS500 for listing an original Withers studio album instead of a compilation as they are wont to do, especially with soul & R&B artists.  Of course, every song on this album sounds great so it may as well be a greatest hits compilation.


Artist: Elvis Presley
Album: Elvis Presley
Year: 1956
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:

  • “Blue Suede Shoes”
  • “I Got a Woman”
  • “I’ll Never Let You Go (Litle Darlin’)”
  • “Blue Moon”
  • “Money Honey”

Thoughts: Elvis the Celebrity, Elvis the Icon, Elvis the Self-Parody, and Elvis the Tragedy are often more than enough to overshadow Elvis the Great Rock and Roll Performer.  Listening to this debut album when I was younger was a revelation because up to that point I mainly knew Elvis as an eccentric guy who inspired battalions of Elvis impersonators. Albums were unusual for rock and roll artists at the time, and even more unusually the entire album was released as single (making it a compilation in reverse).  Sadly the contemporaneous hit single “Heartbreak Hotel” was left off the album which would have pushed this album to another level.


Artist: Madonna
Album: Like a Prayer
Year: 1989
Label: Sire
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:

  • “Express Yourself”
  • “Love Song” (with Prince)
  • “Keep It Together”

Thoughts: I was never big on Madonna’s music but I can’t deny her talent.  Not only did she have a keen ear for adapting musical trends at just the right time but from a business perspective she redefined what was possible for a woman artist taking control of her own career.  This album caps off Madonna’s domination of 1980’s pop (alongside Michael Jackson) and it right in the middle of her imperial period.  I tend to like Madonna’s earlier work the best so I was surprised when I peaked ahead at the RS500 rankings and saw that this was the earliest album release by Madonna to make the list. By the way, I never knew that Madonna and Prince collaborated.  Why wasn’t “Love Song” a bigger deal?


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

Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 350-341


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: Stevie Wonder
AlbumMusic of My Mind
Year: 1972
Label: Motown/Tamla
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:

  • “Love Having You Around”
  • “Happier Than the Morning Sun”
  • “Keep on Running”
  • “Evil”

Thoughts: It’s kind of unfair having a greatest albums list if Stevie Wonder is allowed to participate.  And Music of My Mind was only the prelude to Wonder’s mid-70s musical dominance. It’s a testament to Wonder’s talent that this album, as great as it is, has basically become one big deep cut in his catalog.

For more thoughts on this album check out my Stevie Wonder music discovery post.



Artist
: MC5
Album: Kick Out the Jams
Year: 1969
Label: Elektra
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:

  • “Kick Out the Jams”
  • “Motor City Is Burning”
  • “I Want You Right Now”

Thoughts: I’ve heard of MC5 as being a protopunk act.  This live set  recorded from Detroit’s Grand Ballroom at the end of October 1968 does sound like it’s from a decade in the future.  But it also sounds firmly within the countercultural and leftist political culture of the time.  Either way, it sounds like it rocks really hard.


Artist: Gillian Welch
Album: Time (The Revelator)
Year: 2001
Label: Acony
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:

  • “Dear Someone”
  • “Red Clay Halo”
  • “Ruination Day, Pt. 2”
  • “Everything Is Free”

Thoughts: It’s nice to see this list recognized contemporary folk/roots/Americana music.  I’d never listened to this album before, oddly enough, despite the fact that it was released right in the middle of my Folk Music Period of roughly 1998-2003. Listening to the sad and lonesome harmonies today, I have regrets.


Artist: GZA
Album: Liquid Swords
Year: 1995
Label: Geffen
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Only by reputation
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Liquid Swords”
  • “Cold World”
  • “I Gotcha Back”

Thoughts: I somehow missed the entire Wu-Tang Clan phenomenon, which is perhaps not surprising considering my general ignorance of hip hop from Nineties and Oughts.  Liquid Swords is particularly discussed about in reverent tones, so it’s about time I gave it a listen. Consider me initiated.


Artist: Arctic Monkeys
AlbumAM
Year: 2013
Label: Domino
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Vaguely
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Do I Wanna Know?”

Thoughts: I’m starting to feel like this project is just a series of confessions of me being too lazy to listen to different artists. I remember seeing Arctic Monkey performing “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor” at the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony. I thought that they sounded good but never followed up on listening to more of their music. This album came out a year later. AM is a nice mix of 70s classic rock sounds with 2010’s indie pop. It’s a perfectly cromulent album and I probably should’ve listened to it earlier.


Artist: Bruce Springsteen
Album: The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle
Year: 1973
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:

  • “The E Street Shuffle”
  • “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)”
  • “Incident on 57th Street”
  • “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)”

Thoughts: Bruce Springsteen and I were born in the same town although I moved away as an infant so didn’t experience a full New Jersey childhood.  I’ve always appreciated Springsteen’s anthems for the common person, but I’m more of a “greatest hits” type of listener and haven’t listened to the vast majority of his albums. This is the first of five Springsteen albums on the list so I will be getting to experience the deep cuts. This album is funkier and jazzier than I’d ever expected of Springsteen. It’s epic and fun!


Artist:  Toots and the Maytals
Album: Funky Kingston
Year: 1973
Label: Island
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Ye
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Funky Kingston”
  • “Pomps & Pride”
  • “Country Road”
  • “Pressure Drop”

Thoughts: I love when this list does things like puts two completely different albums from the same year back-to-back. Toots and the Maytals were reggae pioneers and this American release of this album helped make Jamaica’s music famous worldwide.  The songs are a mix of original reggae tunes focused on the trials and joys of ordinary Americans mixed with covers of American songs like “Louie Louie” and “Country Roads.”


Artist: Sly and the Family Stone
Album: Greatest Hits
Year: 1970
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:

  • “I Want to Take You Higher”
  • “Dance to the Music”
  • “Everyday People”
  • “Hot Fun in the Summertime”
  • “Sing a Simple Song”
  • “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)”

Thoughts: I continue to the object to the inclusion of greatest hits compilations on a greatest albums list, but I’ll make an exception for this one.  First, there are two other Sly & the Family Stone albums coming up on this list.  Second, there are only four songs that overlap with one of those albums and zero with the other.  And finally, Greatest Hits includes three tracks not available on other albums.  Thus, it makes a good primer for Sly and the Family Stone’s music, and also serves as my imaginary Sly and the Family Stone Broadway jukebox musical that really needs to exist.


Artist: The Beatles
AlbumLet It Be
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:

  • “Two of Us”
  • “Across the Universe”
  • “One After 909”
  • “For You Blue”
  • “Get Back”

Thoughts: This album shouldn’t be as good as it is.  By January 1969, The Beatles had spent a decade of constant togetherness: gigging, touring, recording two albums worth of material per year, making films, and even going on a transcendental meditation retreat together.  They should’ve made a new year’s resolution to take a year off and go to therapy or something. Instead the started an ambitious project to “get back” to their roots, record an album, and rehearse for a concert performance all while a camera crew documented their every move.  A month later the project was abandoned among acrimonious infighting.  Then The  Beatles got together three weeks later to start creating an entirely different brilliant album.  Let It Be was released shortly after The Beatles broke up in 1970 as a quasi-movie soundtrack/live album although with Phil Spector’s production it is not really either of those things.  And despite all of that it’s a solid and unique Beatles album with some of my favorite of the band’s songs.


Artist: The Smashing Pumpkins
Album: Siamese Dream
Year: 1993
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?: Just the hits
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Cherub Rock”
  • “Today”
  • “Disarm”

Thoughts: In the early 90s, there were a lot of innovative alternative rock bands who changed the face of music.  The Smashing Pumpkins were not one of them. I don’t say this as an insult, but to emphasize that The Smashing Pumpkins were craftsmen who used took the new alt-rock sounds (and a healthy dose of 70s bombast) to churn out songs that rocked.  I never felt strongly either way about the Pumpkins but was pleasantly surprised that their tunes held up so well over 30 years.


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

Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 360-351


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: Funkadelic
AlbumOne Nation Under a Groove
Year: 1978
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:

  • “One Nation Under a Groove”
  • “Who Says a Funk Band Can’t Play Rock?”
  • “Cholly”

Thoughts: Who says a funk band can’t play rock?  If it’s Funkadelic, Parliament, or anyone in the family of George Clinton bands and artists, who is to say they can’t play any damn style of music they like. From funk to soul to rock to disco to extremely long and juvenile poop jokes, this album has it all!

For more thoughts read my Parliament/Funkadelic Music Discoveries series.


Artist: Big Star
AlbumRadio City
Year: 1974
Label: Ardent
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:

  • “September Gurls”

Thoughts: This is the second album on this list from Big Star, a quintessential critics favorite band. The music here is Beatle-esque filter through a generic 70s Classik Rawk sound.  I don’t know, I’m just not feeling the power in this pop.


Artist: Sonic Youth
Album: Goo
Year: 1990
Label: Geffen
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?:
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Tunic (Song for Karen)”
  • “Kool Thing”
  • “My Friend Goo”
  • “Disappearer”
  • “Cinderella’s Big Score”

Thoughts: Sonic Youth is a band I always wished I’d paid more attention to, even back in the 90s.  In my defense, albums were expensive and I was impecunious.  This whole RS 500 project would not exist without the magic of streaming putting the world of music at my fingertips. I guess it’s better late than never.


Artist: Tom Waits
Album: Rain Dogs
Year: 1985
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:

  • “Jockey Full of Bourbon”
  • “Hang Down Your Head”
  • “Time”
  • “Downtown Train”

Thoughts: This is the middle of a trilogy of albums that Tom Waits released in the 1980s that so far mark his creative peak as an artist. It’s weird and wonderful music, but somehow accessible enough for Rod Stewart to have a hit covering “Downtown Train.” I wrote more about this album and more in my Tom Waits Music Discovery.


Artist: Dr. John
Album: Gris-Gris
Year: 1968
Label: Atco
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:

  • “Gris Gris Gumbo Ya-Ya”
  • “Danse Kalinda Ba Doom”

Thoughts: You’ve got to imagine how weird this album must have sounded in 1968.  I mean, people were doing a lot of drugs, so a lot of stuff sounded weird in 1968.  But this was a time when different regions in the country were more isolated than they are now and here is Dr. John introducing an amalgamation of New Orleans culture through a psychedelic lens.  It’s still delightfully weird even in 2021.


Artist: Black Sabbath
Album: Black Sabbath
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:

  • “A Bit of Finger/Sleeping Village/Warning”

Thoughts: Several years ago, a friend tried to give me a tutorial in Heavy Metal music.  We didn’t get far, but I did listen to the first four albums of Black Sabbath as the cornerstone albums of the genre.  I was surprised that there were several songs by Black Sabbath that I actually liked, although it appears that most of them will be on albums later in this list.  I do like the Zeppelin-esque suite of blues rock that finishes of this album, though.


Artist: X-Ray Spex
Album: Germfree Adolescents
Year: 1978
Label: EMI
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:

    • “Warrior in Woolworths”
    • “Let’s Submerge”
    • “I Can’t Do Anything”
    • “Identity”
    • “The Day the World Turned Day-Glo”

Thoughts: I should know more about the iconic London punk rock act X-Ray Spex lead by vocalist Poly Styrene (how many punk/post-punk/alternative vocalists did she influence?), but I’d never before listened to the band’s only album. While the stereotype of punk rock is that it’s angry music, Poly Styrene sounds cheerful in embracing the slacker ethos a decade and a half before that became the defining characteristic of Generation X.


Artist: The Cars
AlbumThe Cars
Year: 1978
Label: Elektra
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: None
Thoughts: I’ve made my feelings about The Cars known before on this blog, so I went into listening to this album with great reluctance.  Nevertheless, I am determined as ever to give every album a fair shake. My hopes of finding a hidden nugget buried deep in this album vanished as I realized that almost every song on this album has been in constant rotation on classic rock radio for the past 4 decades.  One positive is that I didn’t find the songs to be physically irritating anymore, just not my thing.  So that’s a plus!


Artist: Eminem,
Album: The Slim Shady LP
Year: 1999
Label: Interscope
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: NONE
Thoughts: Speaking of albums I don’t want to listen to, there’s this one by a loathsome artist whose music is built on misogyny, homophobia, and saying hateful things. Black hip hop artists were excoriated for much less, but Eminem received nothing but critical plaudits. Entering with low expectations, I found this album worse than I could possibly imagine.  I need a shower now.


Artist: Roxy Music
Album: For Your Pleasure
Year: 1973
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:

  • “Do the Strand”

Thoughts: I’ve never given Roxy Music all that much thought.  On classic rock radio they were always represented by the pretty but boring “Avalon.”  This earlier work of there’s is classified as glam rock – and is at times Bowie-esque – but I also hear hints of New Wave.  Perhaps that’s because of Brian Eno and his synths.  I enjoyed listening to it and will check it out again.


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

Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 370-361


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: Lil Wayne
Album: Tha Carter II
Year: 2005
Label: Cash Money/Universal
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: Welp, here’s my first time listening to Lil Wayne!  This project is really making me realize how much I’m out of it when it comes to hip hop and rap.  Overall  I found this album a bit dull.  Your mileage may vary.


Artist: Mobb Deep
AlbumThe Infamous
Year: 1995
Label: Loud
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:

  • “Survival of the Fittest”
  • “Give Up the Goods (Just Step)”
  • “Up North Trip”
  • “Trife Life”

Thoughts: I am not familiar with the music of Mobb Deep either, but I like it a whole lot more.  It sounds like the East Coast conscious rap I liked in the 80s, but updated for the mid-90s.  There’s a lot of good beats here too.


Artist: George Harrison
Album: All Things Must Pass
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:

  • “Isn’t It A Pity”
  • “What Is Life”
  • “If Not For You”
  • “Beware of Darkness”
  • “Apple Scruffs”
  • “Awaiting On You All”

Thoughts: George Harrison had a lot of songs in him and let them all out on a 3-record collection that was his first post-breakup release.  He had a lot of friends to help him out on what ended up being one of the best of the former Beatles albums from top to bottom.  “What Is Life?” is probably my all-time favorite George song, but you can’t really go wrong on this album.

More thoughts on this album in my The Beatles Go Solo music discovery series.


Artist: Drake
AlbumIf You’re Reading This It’s Too Late
Year: 2015
Label: Cash Money
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:

  • “10 Bands”

Thoughts: Drake is someone whose music I have actually heard before, although not anything from this album. This is Drake eschewing his r&b/soul style for a more straight-up rap album, although it is still very melodic.


Artist: Aerosmith
Album: Rocks
Year: 1976
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?: No
Favorite Tracks: None
Thoughts: Confession: despite being a long-time resident of Boston, I’ve never liked Aerosmith.  I mean as a generic rock band following the paths  previously blazed by the Rollings Stones and Led Zeppelin, they’re fine, but definitely not my thing.  The upside about listening to this album is that it doesn’t contain any of the Aerosmith tracks that have been beaten to death through overplay.  The downside is that I don’t like any of them anyway.


Artist: Madvillain
Album: Madvillainy
Year: 2004
Label: Stones Throw
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: All of them
Thoughts: We’re once again in the territory of groups I’ve never heard of before.  In this case I feel a little be better that Madvillain was an underground, experimental hip hop act that produced only one album.  Madvillain was a collaboration of  MF Doom and Madlib, who I have heard of.  In fact, I reviewed Madlib’s most recent release earlier this year.  Like J. Dilla’s Donuts, this album is a collection of shorter tracks that are more vignettes than typical song structure. It’s something you need to listen to as a whole to fully absorb.


Artist: Talking Heads
AlbumMore Songs About Buildings and Food
Year: 1978
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:

  • “With Our Love”
  • “Warning Sign”
  • “I’m Not In Love”
  • “Stay Hungry”
  • “Take Me To The River”
  • “The Big Country”

Thoughts: This album is early Talking Heads at their weirdest and quirkiest.  And their genre-redefining cover of Al Green’s “Take Me To The River.”  To my knowledge, most of these songs are not about buildings or food.


Artist: Parliament
Album: Mothership Connection
Year: 1975
Label: Casablanca
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:

  • “P-Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up)”
  • “Mothership Connection (Star Child)”
  • “Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker)”

Thoughts:

Parliament are at their space-age funkiest with this science fiction concept album. George Clinton is an interstellar DJ letting the people of earth have the party anthems they want with an underlying social message of defiance against discrimination against Black people and their music.

More thoughts on The Mothership Connection in my P-Funk music discovery series.


Artist: Luther Vandross
AlbumNever Too Much
Year: 1981
Label: Epic
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: No
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Never Too Much”

Thoughts: This was the debut album for Luther Vandross as a solo artists.  I feel like the title track is vaguely familiar, but the rest of the album was completely new to me.  Nevertheless the sound reminds me of the bouncy and super cool soul crooning style of the early 80s.  I feel this album is good but not great.  I know there are some Vandross songs out there that I really like but I’m not going to hear them in this project because this is the only Vandross album on the list.


Artist: My Chemical Romance
AlbumThe Black Parade
Year: 2006
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?:
Favorite Tracks: none

Thoughts: We’ll finish out this week’s 10 albus with yet another band that I know nothing about.  I guess I wasn’t listening to emo in the Oughts as well as hip hop. The album sounds like the Smashing Pumpkins doing a musical revue of songs by Electric Light Orchestra and Queen.  Since I like none of those bands, I guess that’s a bad thing.  Your mileage may vary.


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

Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 380-371


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: Charles Mingus
Album: Mingus Ah Uhm
Year: 1959
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?: yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Better Get Hit In Your Soul”
  • “Goodby Pork Pie Hat”
  • “Fables of Faubus”

Thoughts: I can’t remember who introduced me to Charles Mingus’ work, but I started listening to his music in my college years and it really changed my understanding of what jazz could be.  This album draws inspiration from Duke Ellington while incorporating the bop styles of the 1950s (or the “modern jazz”) that Chuck Berry has no kick about).  Mingus and his band play the tunes fast and slow and it’s all inspired and gets in your soul.  I included this album as an honorable mention in my 2009 list of favorite albums, but it should probably rank higher.


Artist: Rush
Album: Moving Pictures
Year: 1981
Label: Anthem
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: None

Thoughts: As I’m sure I’ve mentioned on this blog before, I am no fan of 70s/80s prog rock. So my knowledge of Rush is basically limited to “Tom Sawyer,” the lead track of this album, and Geddy Lee’s screech guest vocal on Bob and Doug McKenzie’s “Take Off.” Listening to the entire album does not change my opinion any as I found it all very boring. But it least it wasn’t grating!


Artist: Run-DMC
Album: Run-D.M.C.
Year: 1983
Label: Profile
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:

  •  “Rock Box”
  • “Hollis Crew (Krush-Groove 2)”
  • “It’s Like That”

Thoughts: I grew up 35 miles from Queens, New York, and even closer to the birthplace of hip hop in the Bronx, but worlds apart in terms of culture and music. When rap music trickled out into the suburbs in the early 80s, one of the standard-bearers were Run-DMC. In fact, the first hip hop album I owned was by Run-DMC, but we’ll discuss that one later in this list. The debut album has a minimalist feel to its beats but Joseph “Run” Simmons and Darryl “D.M.C.” McDaniels already are expertly exchanging words on their rhymes.


 

Artist: Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Album: Fever to Tell
Year: 2003
Label: Interscope
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:

  •  “Date With The Night”
  • “Pin”
  • “Maps”

Thoughts: It’s been a long while since I’ve listened to Fever To Tell, and it holds up as one of the great albums of the Oughts, although the sound and energy channel the post-punk era of 25 years earlier. This album started a revival of rock music being cool enough to play on commercial radio. And “Maps” inspired Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone,” which is a good thing or a bad thing depending on if you like that song. But mostly this is just timeless and danceable rock music with Karen O’s distinctive vocals leading the way.


 

Artist: Neutral Milk Hotel
Album: In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
Year: 1998
Label: Merge
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:

  • “King of Carrot Flowers, Pts. 2 & 3”
  • “Holland, 1945”

Thoughts: I’ve heard of Neutral Milk Hotel, and know of some people who are devoted fans, but this is another album I failed to listen to before. The music on this album is something I don’t associate with the 1990s as it prefigures the folk-infused, baroque pop, indie rock of the 2000s from bands like Arcade Fire and The Decemberists. There are a few tracks I liked and overall the album is okay but it didn’t really grab me overall.


Artist: Green Day
Album: Dookie
Year: 1994
Label: Reprise
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:

  •  “Longview”
  • “Basket Case”
  • “She”
  • “When I Come Around”

Thoughts: I got this album when it first came out because the track “Longview” – a very relatable tune for a directionless young adult – was in regular rotation on alternative radio. I remember listening to it for a while and then growing tired of it and getting rid of it. Listening to it now, I don’t understand why I made that decision, because this album holds up surprisingly well and has more memorable Green Day songs on it than I recalled.


 

Artist: Robert Johnson
Album: King of the Delta Blues Singers
Year: 1961
Label: Columbia
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: Essentially, since I got The Complete Recordings when it came out in 1990
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  •  “Cross Road Blues”
  • “Come On In My Kitchen”
  • “Walkin’ Blues”
  • “Kind Hearted Woman Blues”
  • “Preachin’ Blues (Up Jumped the Devil)”
  • “When You Got a Good Friend”
  • “Traveling Riverside Blues

Thoughts: This is a good example of including a compilation album on this list because Robert Johnson recorded these songs in 1936-37 before long-playing records existed, and because it’s release in the 1960s was so influential on artists like the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, and Led Zeppelin. Of course, this album also launched various myths, such as the idea that “real” blues were men who were virtuoso guitarists when in reality the biggest blues stars of the 20s & 30s were women like Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey. Also, artists like Johnson would’ve have performed a variety of popular music types – including country – not just blues. I learned this from the excellent book Escaping the Delta by Elijah Wald which I highly recommend.


Artist: Isaac Hayes
AlbumHot Buttered Soul
Year: 1969
Label: Enterprise
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?: Ye
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Walk On By”
  • “Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic”

Thoughts:


500 albums janice joplin big brother and the holding company cheap thrills

Artist: Big Brother and the Holding Company
Album: Cheap Thrills
Year: 1968
Label: Columbia
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Yes
Would I Listen to this Album Again?:
Favorite Tracks:

  • “Combination of the Two”
  • “Piece of My Heart”
  • “Summertime”

Thoughts:


Artist: The Temptations
Album: Anthology
Year: 1973
Label: Tamla/Motown
Have I Listened to This Album Before?: No
Am I Familiar With This Artist/Songs from This Album?: Very
Would I Listen to this Album Again?: Yes
Favorite Tracks:

  • “The Way You Do The Things You Do”
  • “My Girl”
  • “Since I Lost My Baby”
  • “Don’t Look Back”
  • “Get Ready”
  • “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg”
  • “I Can’t Get Next To You”
  • “Psychedelic Shack”
  • “Ball of Confusion”
  • “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me”
  • “Just My Imagination”
  • “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone”

Thoughts:


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