Favorite Albums of All Time: 180-171


Having listened to every album on the Rolling Stone list of 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, I’m making my own list.  This list will be only 250 albums, although I had to make some tough cuts.  The list includes a mix of works of musical genius with the pure nostalgia of some albums I’ve loved throughout my life.  As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts about these albums and what your favorite albums are. I will continue the countdown every other Wednesday throughout 2022.

250-241 200-191
240-231 190-181
230-221
220-211
210-201

180

Artist:Talking Heads
Title: Speaking in Tongues
Year:  1983
Favorite Tracks:

  • Burning Down the House
  • Girlfriend Is Better
  • Slippery People
  • Swamp
  • This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)

The First Time I Heard This Album …: This may have been the first album by Talking Heads I listened to as a child in the 1980s. “Burning Down the House” was definitely the first song of theirs that I heard.

Thoughts: Of all the New Wave/Post-punk bands of the 1980s, Talking Heads did the most to make the avant-garde appeal to normies. That this their most commercially successful album is also one of their artistic peaks proves the point.  And you can dance to it!

Bonus Sounds: There’s a lot of great Talking Heads music out there and another album to discuss in this countdown.  But Talking Heads will also make a crossover appearance in my Favorite Movies countdown with their Jonathan Demme directed concert film Stop Making Sense.


179

Artist:Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong
Title: Ella & Louis
Year: 1956
Favorite Tracks:

  • They Can’t Take That Away From Me
  • Tenderly
  • Stars Fell on Alabama
  • Cheek to Cheek
  • April in Paris

The First Time I Heard This Album …: In the early 90s when I was in college.

Thoughts: Two of the most iconic voices of 20th century popular music pair up to sing standards.  Louis also gets a trumpet solo on each track too. What more can you ask for? Susan and I danced a foxtrot to “Cheek to Cheek” at our wedding reception.

Bonus Sounds: Fitzgerald and Armstrong collaborated on two more albums –  Ella and Louis Again (1957), and Porgy and Bess (1959) – which are also worth your time.


178

ArtistThe Resophonics
Title: The Resophonics
Year:2001
Favorite Tracks:

  • Anna Lee
  • World of Trouble
  • Willow Tree
  • Young Love
  • Little Lies
  • Let the Angels Sing

The First Time I Heard This Album …: Picked it up after hearing the band play in 2001 at Club Passim or some other folk venue

Thoughts:

The Resophonics were part of a wave of bands with a punk ethos playing bluegrass style music that hit the Boston area folk scene in the early 2000s.  I’ve already written about The Benders with whom The Resophonics overlapped.  Nowadays it’s really hard to find anything about The Resophonics online other than their Bandcamp page.  Thankfully I still have my CD back in the day.

Bonus Sounds:  Sean Staples, mandolin player and vocalist for The Resophonics, is still active and just year later appeared in the backing band for David Rovics‘ latest album.


177

Artist: Violent Femmes
Title: Violent Femmes
Year:1983
Favorite Tracks:

  • Blister in the Sun
  • Kiss Off
  • Please Do Not Go
  • Add It Up
  • Prove My Love
  • To The Kill
  • Gone Daddy Gone

The First Time I Heard This Album …: Around 1991, not coincidentally around the same time the album reached its peak on the Billboard 200

Thoughts: When I went to college in the early 90s this was one of those albums that almost everyone seemed to like regardless of their musical tastes.  It’s odd that an album almost a decade old had such popularity, but I guess the Violent Femmes’ punk/alternative sound with a country twang anticipated the DIY ethos of the grunge era.

Bonus Sounds: The Femmes have continued to release great music since their debut album (as recently as 2019), and on of my favorites is the highly-relatable anthem “Waiting For The Bus” first released on their 1993 compilation Add It Up.


176

 

Artist:Various
Title: Dance Craze – The Best of British Ska Live
Year:1981
Favorite Tracks:

  • The Specials – “Concrete Jungle”
  • The English Beat – “Mirror in the Bathroom”
  • The Selecter – “Three Minute Hero”
  • The Bodysnatchers – “Easy Life”
  • The Specials – “Man at C&A”
  • The English Beat – “Ranking Full Stop”
  • Bad Manners – “Inner London Violence”

The First Time I Heard This Album …: Circa 1998

Thoughts: Part of the appeal of this album is that it took me almost a decade to find.  Granted, I may have had better luck had I been more resourceful, but before the internet took off, finding old albums meant digging through bins in used record stores.  This collection contains live performances of the best bands of the UK 2-Tone sound including The Specials, The English Beat, Bad Manners, The Selecters, The Bodysnatchers, and The Special A.K.A.

Bonus Sounds:


175

Artist: Echolalia
Title:Shamrock Shake
Year:1997
Favorite Tracks:

  • Ballad of St. Anne’s Reel
  • Big Bill
  • Back Home Derry
  • Boys Co. Hell
  • Serbian’s Wake

The First Time I Heard This Album …: I got the casette in 1997, and luckily I still have it because it is otherwise impossible to find.

Thoughts: This is an Irish trad band from the Williamsburg, VA area that made a single cassette that I picked up at a local record store.  I heard about them because the brother of someone I went to college with was involved with the band. I tried to go to one of their shows but somehow arrived too late.  Then I moved to Boston.  All I can find about the band now is an article from the Newport News Daily Press.  But a few years ago, the leader of the band Johnny Coe left a comment on my blog! Johnny, if you’re out there, stop by again and let us know what you are up to.  Anyhow, this all goes to prove that you don’t have to be super famous to make a great album.

Bonus Sounds: I got nuthin’


174

Artist:Wild Flag
Title: Wild Flag
Year: 2011
Favorite Tracks:

  • Romance
  • Glass Tambourine
  • Electric Band
  • Future Crimes
  • Black Tiles

The First Time I Heard This Album …: 2011, probably after it was promoted by NPR Music.

Thoughts: The mayfly of post-punk/indie rock supergroups, Wild Flag brought together Carrie Brownstein, Mary Timony,  Rebecca Cole, and Janet Weiss for one brilliant album and a tour before they all dispersed to other projects.

Bonus Sounds: Sleater-Kinney has already appeared in this list so here’s my favorite tune by Mary Timony’s band Helium, “Honeycomb,” with a video shot on location in my hometown of Jamaica Plain.


173

Artist:Clap! Clap!
Title: Tayi Bebba
Year:2014
Favorite Tracks:

  • The Rainstick Fable
  • Black Smokes, Bad Signs
  • Conqueror (Action/Assault/Conquest)
  • Conqueror (Remorse/Withdrawn)
  • Sahkii (Xirhuu)

The First Time I Heard This Album …: September 2014

Thoughts: A project of Italian producer C. Crisci, Clap! Clap! creates dance music by combining electronic sounds with samples of traditional African music. While not the first effort to make this combination of sounds, Tayi Bebba is remarkably unique.

Bonus Sounds: I reviewed the second album from Clap! Clap!, A Thousand Skies, in 2017


172

ArtistWillie Dixon
Title: I Am The Blues
Year:1970
Favorite Tracks:

  • Back Door Man
  • Spoonful
  • I Ain’t Superstitious
  • You Shook Me
  • The Little Red Rooster

The First Time I Heard This Album …: Late 80s during my Blues Phase

Thoughts: Willie Dixon is an iconic figure of the Chicago Blues sound, writing many of the most famous songs and working as a producer and  session musician on recordings for Chess Records artists like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter,  Bo Diddley,  and Chuck Berry.  On this album, Dixon takes the lead on some of his most notable tunes, ones that already were being covered by various Blues Rock and proto-Metal bands.

Bonus Sounds: In 1988, a few years before his death, Dixon released an album called Hidden Charms that was another favorite of mine as a teenager.  It includes “Study War No More,” a song written with his preteen grandson Alex.


171

Artist: Various
Title: An Droichead Beag – Mighty Session
Year: 1995
Favorite Tracks:

  • The Hairy Dogleaf/Tear the Calico/The Sailor’s Bonnet
  • Nine Pups
  • Don’t Forget to Write
  • Raiteachas mo Tairngreacht
  • The Silver Spire
  • Raghad-sa ‘s mo Cheaiti

The First Time I Heard This Album …: I picked up the cassette when I visited An Droichead Beag in Dingle in January 1998.

Thoughts: The pubs of Dingle are famous for their Irish trad sessions and one of the most famous pubs, An Droichead Beag, or The Small Bridge, put out a compilation of their best performances.  It’s a lovely mix of traditional Irish tunes and contemporary pop tunes by the likes of Van Morrison done in the trad style.  Sadly there is no streaming source of these recordings for me to share with you.

Bonus Sounds: I suppose I will have to return to Dingle to learn if An Droichead Beag have any other recordings to offer.  But another compilation of traditional music I enjoyed from the same time period was Green Linnet Records: Celebrating 20 Years Of Celtic Music.

Music Discoveries: Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time 40-31


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

Previous Posts:

500-491 400-381 300-291 200-191 100-91
490-481 390-381 290-281 190-181 90-81
480-471 380-371 280-271 180-171 80-71
470-461 370-361 270-261 170-161 70-61
460-451 360-351 260-251 160-151 60-51
450-441 350-341 250-241 150-141 50-41
440-431 340-331 240-231 140-131
430-421 330-321 230-221 130-121
420-411 320-311 220-211 120-111
410-401 310-301 210-201 110-101

Artist: David Bowie
Album: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars
Year: 1972
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:

  • “Five Years”
  • “Moonage Daydream”
  • “Starman”
  • “Lady Stardust”
  • “Ziggy Stardust”
  • “Suffragette City”

Thoughts: This concept album offers a lot to chew on regarding aliens, fictional rock stars, and impending doom. Musically it’s a compilation of rock and roll styles bridging rockabilly to punk rock. A definite Bowie classic.


Artist: Talking Heads
Album: Remain In Light
Year: Sire
Label: 1980
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:

  • “Crosseyed and Painless”
  • “The Great Curve”
  • “Once in a Lifetime”
  • “Houses in Motion”
  • “Listening Wind”

Thoughts: It’s kind of appropriate for Talking Heads to follow David Bowie since they both took their own form of weirdness and made it so compelling that it forced the mainstream to accept them.  The Heads merged New Wave and avant garde music with African polyrhythms and funk grooves to create an album that was both art rock and commercially accessible.


Artist: Bob Dylan
Album: Blonde on Blonde
Year: Columbia
Label: 1966
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:

  • “Rainy Day Women #12 and #35”
  • “Pledging My Time”
  • “Most Likely You’ll Go Your Way (And I’ll Go Mine)”

Thoughts: I’ve been pleasantly surprised by some of the Bob Dylan albums on this list, but this one meets my preconceived notion of Dylan as someone singing SAT vocabulary words in a nasally voice.  It is a surprise that most of the songs are blues tunes as well as some more traditional folk love ballads.  The opening track is a classic, but most of this album gets a “meh” from me.


Artist: Dr. Dre
Album: The Chronic
Year: 1992
Label: Death Row
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:

  • “The Day the N****z Took Over”
  • “Lil’ Ghetto Boy”
  • “Lyrical Gangbang”
  • “Stranded on Death Row”

Thoughts: Hip hop producer Dr. Dre makes his performing debut album with Snoop Dogg also making a significant early career appearance as a featured rapper.  No doubt this is an historic collaboration.  Beyond that I had the realization that internet staples like “beeotch” and “deez nuts” probably had their origin here.  Overall I found the misogyny and n-words too much, and probably enjoyed the tracks best when I liked the sample sources of artists like Parliament, Funkadelic, James Brown, Donny Hathaway, and Isaac Hayes.


Artist: Michael Jackson
AlbumOff The Wall
Year: 1979
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:

  • “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough”
  • “Rock With You”

Thoughts: Michael Jackson was at his peak of fame and talent during the impressionable years of my childhood.  And I felt like the only kid who wasn’t gaga for Michael Jackson.  Later in life I came to appreciate his work as an artist even if it wasn’t the first thing I’d chose to listen to.  That was followed revelations that Jackson was a bad, perhaps even evil, person who harmed children making me even less willing to reevaluate his music. Anyhow, I kind of like Jackson’s hits on this album more than his bigger hits on Thriller, but we’ll get to that later.


Artist: The Beatles
AlbumRubber Soul
Year: 1965
Label: Parlophone
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:

  • “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)”
  • “Nowhere Man”
  • “Think for Yourself”
  • “The Word”
  • “Girl”
  • “I’m Looking Through You”
  • “In My Life”
  • “If I Needed Someone”

Thoughts: It kind of boggles the mind that in the years 1963-1965, the Beatles averaged two new albums per year plus singles and eps, toured the world, and made two movies.  And yet their 6th album, released at the end of 1965, shows no sign of exhaustion and decline.  Instead the band were beginning their transition to a studio band with inventive new song stylings and production.  One demerit for ending this album with “Run For Your Life,” a hateful stalker song.


Artist: Stevie Wonder
Album: Innervisions
Year: 1973
Label: Tamla/Motown
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:

  • “Living for the City”
  • “Higher Ground”
  • “All In Love Is Fair”
  • “He’s Misstra Know-It-All”

Thoughts: This album features a jazzier sound for Stevie Wonder with some funk overtones. I found it not as consistent as his previous albums with some valleys and peaks, but when the peaks are “Living for the City” and “Higher Ground” they are some mighty fine peaks!  Also, “He’s Misstra Know-It-All” is a song about a bad President that became all-too-relevant again in recent memory.


Artist: Amy Winehouse
Album: Back to Black
Year: 2006
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:

  • “Rehab”
  • “You Know I’m No Good”
  • “Back to Black”
  • “Tears Dry On Their Own”

Thoughts: I’m so happy to see Amy Winehouse’s classic album ranked so highly in this RS 500.  Winehouse’s personal troubles and tragic death have overshadowed her remarkable talent and the perfection of this album. I remember first hearing “You Know I’m No Good” back in 2007 and being blown away and I still feel the same listening to this album today.


Artist: Beyoncé
AlbumLemonade
Year: Parkwood/Columbia
Label: 2016
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:

  • “Hold Up”
  • “Sorry”
  • “6 Inch”
  • “Freedom”

Thoughts: I wasn’t all that attentive to Beyoncé’s music until 2016 when Lemonade forced me to pay attention.  I suppose some people will argue that this album is too recent to be ranked #32, but really from the first time I heard it I knew it was an instant classic. It definitely deserves a spot among the best albums of all time.


Artist: Miles Davis
AlbumKind of Blue
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:

  • “So What”
  • “Freddie Freeloader”
  • “All Blues”

Thoughts: Miles Davis, trumpeter and composer, made some of the most brilliant jazz music ever.  Listen to this album to find out.


Running List of Albums I’d Listen to Again

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

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

Album Review: Remain in Light by Angélique Kidjo


Album: Remain in Light
ArtistAngélique Kidjo
Release Date: June 8, 2018
Favorite Tracks:

  • Born Under Punches
  • Crosseyed and Painless
  • Once in a Lifetime
  • Houses in Motion
  • but really, the whole album

Thoughts:

In 1980, the Talking Heads released the seminal New Wave album Remain in Light which incorporated African rhythms and instrumentation into post-punk rock music.  Angélique Kidjo takes the music back to Africa by covering the entire album.  And, wow, it’s absolutely breathtaking! Even if you’ve listened to the Talking Heads album again and again, these feel like fresh, brand-new songs!

Rating: ****1/2

Ten Favorite Songs of 1991 (x 2)


1991.  The year everything changed.  The year I graduated from high school.  The year I moved from Connecticut to Virginia.  The year I started college.  The year I turned 18. The year I went to my first rock concert (Fishbone, with Primus opening).  The year of Out of Time and Nevermind, and suddenly music that had been relegated as “college rock” and “alternative” was everywhere.

I’m going to get a little crazy and list 20 great songs from 1991.  And if you find that indulgent, well, I could probably list more.

Clare’s Scarf  – John & Mary

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Crazy – Seal

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Dónal agus Mórag –  Altan

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Everybody Plays the Fool – Aaron Neville

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Fight The Youth – Fishbone

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Gett Off  – Prince

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Groovy Train – The Farm

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Gypsy Woman –  Crystal Waters

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In Bloom – Nirvana

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Justified and Ancient (Stand by the JAMS) – The KLF featuring Tammy Wynette

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Kill Your Television – Ned’s Atomic Dustbin

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Kiss Them For Me – Siouxsie and the Banshees

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Move Any Mountain – The Shamen

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Only Shallow – My Bloody Valentine

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A Roller Skating Jam Named “Saturdays” – De La Soul

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Sax and Violins – Talking Heads

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3 Strange Days – School Of Fish

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Until The End Of The World – U2

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Walking in Memphis – Marc Cohn

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Wicked Game – Chris Isaak

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And a handful of shameful, guilty pleasures from 1991:

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It Ain’t Over ’til It’s Over – Lenny Kravitz

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I Touch Myself – Divinyls

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Life Is a Highway – Tom Cochrane

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Right Here, Right Now – Jesus Jones

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Sadeness (Part I) – Enigma

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Unbelievable – EMF

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Are there any songs left?  Let me know in the comments.

Favorite Songs of 1978


The project continues with my favorite songs of 1978.  Read the first post for the detail on this project.

Baker Street – Gerry Rafferty

Bongo Man – Jimmy Cliff

Ever Fallen in Love – The Buzzcocks

(I Don’t Want To Go To) Chelsea – Elvis Costello & The Attractions

I Wanna Be Sedated – The Ramones

Mirage – Siouxsie & The Banshees

Take Me I’m Yours –  Squeeze

Take Me To The River – Talking Heads

Rock Lobster – The B-52’s

The Robots –  Kraftwerk

And my song of shame for 1978 is Old Time Rock and Roll – Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band

What are your favorite songs from 1978?  Let me know in the comments!

Favorite Songs Of 1977


The project continues with my favorite songs of 1977.  Read the first post for the detail on this project.

I’m now getting to the point where I’m having to make tough choices about what makes the top ten instead of trying to find songs to pad out the list.  1977-82 is a period of great music making, in my opinion.

Action Time Vision – ATV

Another Girl, Another Planet – The Only Ones

Chinese Rocks – Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers

Don’t Worry About The Government – Talking Heads

(Get A) Grip (On Yourself) – Stranglers

Lust For Life – Iggy Pop

One Love/People Get Ready – Bob Marley

Sheena Is A Punk Rocker – The Ramones

Solsbury Hill – Peter Gabriel

Turn the World Around – Harry Belafonte

And my song of shame for 1977 is Jet Airliner by Steve Miller Band

What are your favorite songs from 1977?  Let me know in the comments!

Movie Review: Stop Making Sense


Title: Stop Making Sense
Release Date: 1984
Director: Jonathan Demme
Production Co: Music Television (MTV)
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: Documentary / Concert
Rating: *****

Review: So it’s shameful to admit, but I’ve never watched this before. Oh, I’ve seen it because it aired constantly on cable television when I was a child so I saw many sections, but never sat down and watched it end to end.  I’m happy to say that it lives up to its reputation as one of the all-time best concert films and the music holds up as well too.  It’s interesting to see Talking Heads so young, so geeky, somewhat awkward yet planning everything out so thoroughly.  I can imagine in 1984 that some glam metal band would be good at making a grand concert spectacle but David Byrne knew what not only how to make a great concert but what would make for a great film as well.  The addition of members of the bands and the stage crew playing a visible role in setting up the stage is inspired.  I also liked the transition of the band to the Tom Tom Club for “Genius of Love.”  This is a great movie.  I should have watched it sooner.