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: The Clash


In Music Discoveries, I find artists and bands that I’ve liked but have only listened to a small portion of their output, and do a complete listen of their discography. In the case of the Clash, this is a band I have listened to a more extensively but nevertheless have still found new-to-me music.

Back when the Clash was an active band I was a child who decidedly did not like punk music. Of course, I didn’t really know what punk music was since I basically equated it with heavy metal (and honestly I didn’t really know what heavy metal was either). I first became acquainted with the Clash like many mainstream Americans with their 1982 hit songs “Rock the Casbah” and “Should I Stay or Should I Go.” In 1989, I was reading a “Best of the 80s” issue of Rolling Stone that ranked the Clash’s London Calling as the #1 album of the decade (despite being released in December 1979). I got a copy from the library and gave it a listen, surprised by what I heard and more surprised that I loved it.

A couple of years later, I started college and many of the people in my dorm listened to the Clash so I got exposed to their other recordings, including the more raw punk of the earlier days. And so, five years after the Clash broke up, I became a fan.

Lately I’ve been trying to learn more about the band by listening to a podcast produced by the BBC and Spotify called Stay Free: The Story of the Clash hosted by Chuck D of Public Enemy fame.  That prompted me to give the Clash the Music Discovery treatment.

Album: The Clash
Release Date: April 8, 1977
Favorite Tracks: “Remote Control,” “I’m So Bored With the U.S.A.,” “White Riot,” “Career Opportunities,” and “Police & Thieves.”
Thoughts:

The Clash come in with a roar on one of the most remarkable debut albums of all time.  This is The Clash at their most raw, most punk rock, and yet already melodic enough to be appealing to squares like me. They even cover a reggae song, “Police & Thieves,” which was innovative at the time. The album also stands as a legacy of the social unrest, inequality, and racial strife of the UK in the 1970s.

Rating: ****1/2


Album: Give ‘Em Enough Rope
Release Date: November 10, 1978
Favorite Tracks: “Guns on the Roof,” “Drug-Stabbing Time,”
Thoughts:

The sophomore effort feels more stripped down and raw than the debut, although the second side is poppier (and “Drug-Stabbing Time” sounds deceptively cheerful).  Lyrically there’s a broadening of topical issues beyond the band’s experiences in London to global political events.  This album doesn’t grab me as much as The Clash, but it’s still quality.

Rating: ***


Album: London Calling
Release Date: December 14, 1979
Favorite Tracks: “London Calling,” “Hateful,” “Rudie Can’t Fail,” “The Right Profile,” “Lost in the Supermarket,” “Guns of Brixton,” “Death or Glory,” “Revolution Rock,” “Train in Vain”
Thoughts:

It’s hard to find anything new to say about what many people consider one of the greatest albums of all time, except to say it is one of the greatest albums of all time.  It’s hard to single out my favorite songs, although “Lost in the Supermarket” has always resonated with me. I wonder what it would’ve been like to hear this album for the first time in 1979.  It must’ve been so unexpected for most listeners of the time.

Rating: *****


Album: Sandinista!
Release Date: December 12, 1980
Favorite Tracks: “The Magnificent Seven,” “Hitsville, U.K.,” “Somebody Got Murdered,” “The Sound of Sinners,” “Lose This Skin”
Thoughts:

Almost a year to the date of releasing a double album, the Clash follow up with a triple album! Sandinista! is reminiscent of the Beatles “White Album” in it’s diversity of musical styles, large list of guest musicians, and the sense that one could pare down this sprawl into a great single album, but what would you cut?  The new wave and “world music” sounds of the album seem to be years ahead of the rest of music world.

Rating: ***1/2


Album: Combat Rock
Release Date: May 14, 1982
Favorite Tracks: “Know Your Rights,” “Should I Stay or Should I Go,” and “Straight to Hell”
Thoughts: The band’s best-selling album is more radio-friendly with tracks like “Rock the Casbah” and “Should I Stay or Should I Go,” but I don’t think the band compromised too much for commercial success. Other tracks on the album like “Know Your Rights” hearken back to their early punk rock sound. And then there’s music that doesn’t sound like anything else ever made, like “Straight to Hell,” one of my all-time favorite songs by any band.
Rating: ***1/2


Album: Cut the Crap
Release Date: November 5, 1985
Favorite Tracks: none
Thoughts: This is the much-maligned final album of the disillusioned remnant of a once great band.  The songs are formulaic, recorded over cheezy 80s synth with shout-along choruses that sound like a crowd of drunken football supporters.  It’s not terrible, but it it is boring, which is about the worst thing one can say about the Clash.
Rating: *


My Clash All-Time Top Ten Songs

Aramagideon Time (Live at Shea Stadium)

(NOTE: The live performance combines Armagideon Time with The Magnificent Seven which is not evident from the YouTube clip)

I’m So Bored With the U.S.A.

Know Your Rights

Lost in the Supermarket

Remote Control

Revolution Rock

Rudie Can’t Fail

Somebody Got Murdered

Straight to Hell

(White Man) in Hammersmith Palais

Favorite Songs of 1982


The project continues with my favorite songs of 1982.  Read the first post for the detail on this project.

I remember the music of 1982 well, because I received a portable radio/tape player as a first communion gift.  That radio and I were inseparable, and every Sunday I would listen to America’s Top 40 with Casey Kasem.  Looking at the Billboard charts for 1982, I’m familiar with pretty much every song, which I can’t say for a lot of years.

Come On Eileen – Dexy’s Midnight Runners

Gardening at Night – R.E.M.

I Melt With You – Modern English

1999 – Prince and the Revolution

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x13qw7u_prince-1999_music

Our House – Madness

Pass The Dutchie – Musical Youth

Save It For Later – The English Beat

Sexual Healing – Marvin Gaye

Steppin’ Out – Joe Jackson

Straight to Hell  – The Clash

And my song of shame for 1982: Pac-Man Fever – Buckner and Garcia

What are your favorite songs of 1982?  Let me know in the comments!

Favorite Songs of 1979


The project continues with my favorite songs of 1979.  Read the first post for the detail on this project.

I think this may be the most unlikely collection of songs I’ve brought together yet.  My eclecticism is showing, but all of these are special to me in some way.

Bela Lugosi’s Dead – Bauhaus

Hammond Song – The Roches

Heart of Glass – Blondie

Logical Song – Supertramp

Lost in the Supermarket – The Clash

A Message to You, Rudy – The Specials

Oliver’s Army – Elvis Costello & The Attractions

Redemption Song  – Bob Marley

Theme From New York, New York – Frank Sinatra

We Are Family – Sister Sledge

And my song of shame for 1979 is You Don’t Bring Me Flowers – Neil Diamond & Barbra Streisand 

(I went through a Neil Diamond phase as a child.  I was a strange youth.)