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The 897 Greatest Albums of All Time


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Posted on May 31, 2012 7:00:07 AM PDT
E. Dill says:
#138 CREAM - DISRAELI GEARS

1. Strange Brew (10)
2. Sunshine of Your Love (10)
3. Wordl of Pain (10)
4. Dance The Night Away (10)
5. Blue Condition (8)...God, I don't remember this one at all....maybe I used to skip it
6. Tales of Brave Ulysses (10)
7. Swlabr (9)
8. We're Going Wrong (10)....a REAL favorite of mine!
9. Outside Woman Blues (10)
10. Take It Back (9)

OVERALL RATING: 10

DISCUSSION: A great album! I heard this one first and had to go back to "Fresh Cream". Everything about their sound was wonderful to me. The vocals, especially when falsetto was used. Ginger's drums! And of course, Eric's guitar. I first bought and heard the album completely (I had heard Sunshine on the radio) in Thailand. I was stationed in a small town near the Laotian border but went to Bangkok sometimes on weekends and found a hip record store there who had everything coming from the US and UK. This must have been one of the first albums I got from them and because of their store, I was as up to date musically in Thailand as I'd ever been. Back then, a lot of the stuff was still being referred to as "underground music" to separate it from the pop stuff on the Top 40. Ultimately, the Top 40 changed and groups like Cream and Jimi Hendrix Experience, etc. helped it change.

In reply to an earlier post on May 31, 2012 9:45:43 PM PDT
Mark F. says:
Ed,

Thanks for your Emmylou Harris review of (wait for it) 3.10.

Up next, one from the vinyl vault--first one since #82 (Violent Femmes), though I'm pretty sure I have Brothers in Arms somewhere.

73. Simon & Garfunkel--Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970; #1, 8x platinum) (8)

FAMILIARITY: 5/10

1. Bridge Over Troubled Water (9+)
2. El Condor Pasa (If I Could) (9) (perfectly captures a far-away, wistful feeling this type of music conveys)
3. Cecilia (9) (can you think of an album that begins with three such disparate but great tunes?)
4. Keep the Customer Satisfied (4)
5. So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright (?) (3+) (might know this)
6. The Boxer (10) (two sides beginning with two certified classics)
7. Baby Driver (?) (3+)
8. The Only Living Boy in New York (?) (3) (Probably have heard this--was it on the 897 songs list?)
9. Why Don't You Write Me? (?) (3)
10. Bye Bye Love (Live) (7) (odd inclusion of a live performance, but I like the song)
11. Song For the Asking (?) (3)

REVIEW: What a great album. Two all-time classics (Bridge and Boxer), two other solid favorites (El Condor Pasa and Cecelia), as well as a good cover of the Everly's Bye Bye Love. I'm pretty sure I've heard both So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright (the line, "architects may come and architects may go" seemed vaguely familiar to me) and The Only Living Boy in New York, but I don't like to include songs in the rating system that I'm only marginally familiar with, lest they bring down the album rating unjustifiably (and we all know my ratings are low enough to begin with!). So, here's S&G's fifth entry on this chart, and it's a beauty. They couldn't have closed out their brief career in better fashion (though in a way, their career wasn't so brief, if you go back to their days as Tom & Jerry, though that's sort of like going back to the Beatles' days as the Quarrymen, an analogy that's not quite perfect since the latter group included different personnel where the duo of S&G obviously remained the same under the guise of T&J). But they only released five studio albums, even though the duration of the time span of the release of those albums matched almost perfectly that of the Fab Four's (1964-1970). Their debut, Wednesday, 3 AM, is the only one that failed to make this list (unless it's yet to appear, though I can't imagine that it would have been deemed better than this one by the listeners). Their live album recorded in Central Park also made the list, and that one remains my favorite listen overall on this list, though I gave it no rating because it's not an album of original material. The only one close to this one for me was Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme, which I gave a 7. Bookends and Sounds of Silence received much lower ratings (2 and 0, respectively). I know that Paul Simon, whose Rhythm of the Saints did appear back at #571, has one more to come at least, though I'm not a fan of that particular album (Graceland). But I'm happy to see this one get such good recognition. A solid 8.

Mark

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 2, 2012 6:33:34 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 18, 2012 9:31:43 PM PDT
Mark F. says:
Ed,

Thanks for your Depeche Mode review of (gasp!) 3.11.

Up next, an album I'm totally unfamiliar with.

72. Neutral Milk Hotel--In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (1998) (0)

FAMILIARITY: 0/10

1. The King of Carrot Flowers Pt. One (?) (2+)
2. The King of Carrot Flowers Pts. Two & Three (?) (2+)
3. In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (?) (2+)
4. Two-Headed Boy (?) (2+)
5. The Fool (?) (2+)
6. Holland, 1945 (?) (2+)
7. Communist Daughter (?) (2+)
8. Oh Comely (?) (2+)
9. Ghost (?) (3+)
10. Untitled (?) (3+)
11. Two-Headed Boy Pt. Two (?) (2+)

REVIEW: What can I say about this one? Perhaps I should embrace an album title that uses two consecutive prepositional phrases by a band whose indecipherable name reads like random words drawn from the international phonetic alphabet (which another band popular with these listeners, Wilco, actually DID use for the names of one of their albums). But aside from the use of a slightly-offkey horn section, I didn't find much of interest here. I certainly didn't warm up to the lead singer's (Jeff Mangum) vocals. I had heard the title song way back when from the top songs list, but hadn't heard anything from them since (though they only released two albums, this being the second). Ghost/Untitled (which sort of blend together) are the tracks that would, on first listen, seem to have the most potential for me. As I've said before, I appreciate the listeners of this station recognizing artists that don't get widespread mainstream attention, but if I had my druthers it would be toward the back end of the list, not in the upper reaches of the chart. But so it goes. I have to give it a 0. And it establishes a couple of things: highest ranking album that's totally unfamiliar to me (so far) and highest ranking album for an artist with only one appearance on the list (which will be broken at least once to come).

Mark

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 2, 2012 9:24:00 PM PDT
Mark F. says:
Ed,

Thanks for your Flaming Lips review of 3.11.

71. Grateful Dead--Workingman's Dead (1970; #27, platinum) (0)

FAMILIARITY: 4/10

1. Uncle John's Band (2)
2. High Time (?) (3)
3. Dire Wolf (3)
4. New Speedway Boogie (?) (3)
5. Cumberland Blues (?) (3+)
6. Black Peter (?) (3)
7. Easy Wind (?) (3+)
8. Casey Jones (7+)

REVIEW: I like the closing song and nothing else here; never cared for Uncle John's Band. This is their 9th appearance on this chart, with at least one entry to come. That ranks them currently second behind Dylan for most entries. Only one so far garnered a fairly high rating from me--Shakedown Street, which I gave a 4 back at #590. A 0.

Mark

Posted on Jun 2, 2012 11:12:16 PM PDT
E. Dill says:
#104 DAVID BOWIE - HUNKY DORY
(NOTE: I decided to finish Pg 3 (#104-163) a bit out of sequence. I left off with #138 and skipped to #131 and now here. Maybe it will perk my interest and get me moving on a steadier pace)

1. Changes (10)
2. Oh You Pretty Things (10)
3. Eight Line Poem (10)
4. Life on Mars (10)
5. Kooks (9)
6. Quicksand (10)
7. Fill Your Heart (9)
8. Andy Warhol (10)
9. Song for Bob Dylan (9)..nice guitar
10. Queen Bitch (10)
11. The Bewley Brothers (10)...my favorite of this album and perhaps of Bowie.

OVERALL RATING: 10

DISCUSSION: This was my second Bowie album after Space Oddity and I love(d) it and still do! I know everyone places all of his stuff in a cluster BELOW Ziggy but I'll have to think about that some more. It will be interesting to listen to Ziggy again and be thinking of it in conjuction with this one. I loved this album and even at the time I didn't quite know what to make of it. Was it rock, pop, show music, alternative (did we even talk alternative then?). My favorite from the start was The Bewley Brothers. I'm still a bit taken aback by how little attention that song seems to get from others I know who truly love Bowie's work. That shouldn't surprise me I guess. We all have our favorites that don't seem to resonate with others as much. But beyond the darkness of that song, I really liked Andy Warhol, Queen Bitch, Changes, Oh You Pretty Things, Life on Mars, Kooks........

Posted on Jun 2, 2012 11:31:56 PM PDT
E. Dill says:
#115 JONI MITCHELL - HEJIRA

1. Coyote (10)
2. Amelia (10)....where a beautiful melody and beautiful words mesh with a beautiful voice
3. Furry Sings the Blues (10)
4. A Strange Boy (9)...I need to give this one a bit more attention
5. Hejira (10)...another beauty, with Jaco Pastorius' fretless bass adding his own magic to the piece
6. Song for Sharon (10) love the guitarwork and the background vocal choral sound
7. Black Crow (9)...another song that seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle over the years...
8. Blue Motel Room (10)
9. Refuge of the Roads (10) Jaco's bass makes the difference here

OVERALL RATING: 10

DISCUSSION: Unlike the critics, who seemed to fawn over this one because it came AFTER Hissing of Summer Lawns, a Joni album that got more than it's share of criticism and I loved it so. So, my love of this album was all its own. No need to gasp, "Thank God she's back". I'd never thought she'd left. And Jaco Pastorius adds quite a sound to the entire album along with Joni's distinct guitar. I still probably prefer "For the Roses" and maybe even "Blue" to this one, but it would be a close call.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 4, 2012 12:38:14 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 19, 2012 5:15:56 PM PDT
Mark F. says:
Alexis,

I'm glad you're finding the albums more and more interesting as we go along. My own ratings for the first 30 albums in the top 100 averaged almost a 3, which as you know by now is fairly high for me. :-) Thanks for tuning me in to John's show--I did get a chance to listen for about 20 minutes, and have bookmarked it for future reference (I think his show is on every Sunday night from 10-12). I knew one of the songs he played--The Hawk by Lou Rawls. I would have listened longer but there was a basketball game on that I wanted to watch at the same time. Ed, Val--if you're reading this, Alexis wanted me to let you know about John Savory's radio show, which is broadcasted on a public radio station based in the Catskills of upstate New York. The call letters are WIOX:

http://www.wioxradio.org/index.html

70. Guns 'n Roses--Appetite for Destruction (1987; #1, 18x platinum) (4)

1. Welcome to the Jungle (7+)
2. It's So Easy (3)
3. Nightrain (?) (2+)
4. Out ta Get Me (?) (2+)
5. Mr. Brownstone (2)
6. Paradise City (8)
7. My Michelle (?) (2+)
8. Think About You (?) (3)
9. Sweet Child o' Mine (9+)
10. You're Crazy (?) (2+)
11. Anything Goes (?) (2+)
12. Rocket Queen (?) (2+)

REVIEW: This is the 11th-best selling album ever in the United States. Of the top 10, 7 are albums of original material (the others are live or greatest hits albums). So far, we've seen two of the 7 on this list (Thriller, the best-selling of all time, and Back in Black, which ranks 6th). I know that four of the other five are further up our list, and I can safely say we won't see one of them (Shania Twain's Come on Over, which is #8 on the best-selling list). Thriller and Back in Black both got 0's from me, but this one fares a little better. It contains three classic rock tracks that I rank pretty highly (Welcome, Paradise, and Sweet Child). There's a couple I don't care for so it gets a couple of points deducted. The three I like have all long-since reached the saturation point for me; I don't seek these songs out since I've heard them ad nauseum. But more than anything, it's Slash's guitar work that makes these songs enjoyable for me. I'm not an Axl Rose fan--of either his voice or personality, though his voice does lend itself pretty well to the material. G&R nearly became the current leader for an artist with only one appearance, but their Use Your Illusion II appeared way back at 836. This one gets a 4.

Mark

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 4, 2012 4:22:40 PM PDT
E. Dill says:
Mark:

I'd already heard about John's show (thanks anyway) and did get a chance to tune in one Sunday night. I enjoyed myself immensely and found that he managed to play a lot of stuff I hadn't heard and did enjoy.

I'm hoping to hear another show this Sunday.

ed.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 4, 2012 6:06:20 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 19, 2012 5:16:18 PM PDT
Mark F. says:
Ed,

Thanks for your Bright Eyes review of 3.15.

69. The Eagles--Hotel California (1976; #1, 16x platinum) (6)

FAMILIARITY: 6/10

1. Hotel California (7+)
2. New Kid in Town (9)
3. Life in the Fast Lane (6)
4. Wasted Time (?) (3)
5. Wasted Time (Reprise) (?) (4)
6. Victim of Love (6)
7. Pretty Maids All in a Row (?) (3)
8. Try and Love Again (?) (3)
9. The Last Resort (5)

REVIEW: The only problem with this one is overexposure, especially of the title track. It's definitely in the top 10 or 20 most-played classic rock songs, and that can't help but lessen its impact. It was a song that took me awhile to warm up to--I don't think I really started liking it until I heard it covered at a local bar--not that the singer was so great, but I guess it was a mood thing at the time. I began hearing it in another way, and started liking it. Then came the terrific live acoustic version, and I was hooked (I still like that version better than the original). New Kid in Town was one I took to pretty much right away; Life in the Fast Lane was never a favorite but it was tolerable (though, again, horribly overplayed), with good guitar licks. Victim of Love, ditto. Lyrically, though, the one I'm most intrigued with is The Last Resort, which I heard for the first time while in Hawaii, and just before visiting the town mentioned in the song, Lahaina. It was made all the more interesting because I was visiting a woman from near Providence, where the woman in the song had set off to find paradise, and my friend had just moved to Hawaii herself. So that was my introduction to the song, which I had never heard despite it being 20 years old already by the time I heard it. This one gets a 6.

Mark

Posted on Jun 4, 2012 11:55:02 PM PDT
E. Dill says:
#118 TALKING HEADS - TALKING HEADS 77

1. Uh Oh, Love Comes to Town (9)
2. New Feeling (10)
3. Tentavite Decisions (10)
4. Happy Day (9)
5. Who Is It? (9)
6. No Compassion (10)
7. The Book I Read (10)
8. Don't Worry About the Government (9)
9. First Week/Second Week....Carefree (9)
10. Psycho Killer (10)
11. Pulled Up (9)

OVERALL: 10 (OK, mathematically, I could have given it a high 9)

DISCUSSION: This, there first, doesn't exactly have the excitement that, say, "More Songs" does, but it'll do just fine. It was here that they introducted us to that "herky jerky" art punk and I loved it....athough I must remember that I didn't actually here this one completely until AFTER I heard the next one and then was so impressed I went back to this to see where things began. Amongst the Talking Heads songbook, No Compassion remains one of my favorites along with Psycho Killer.

Posted on Jun 5, 2012 9:15:59 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 5, 2012 9:25:15 AM PDT
E. Dill says:
#124 THE BAND - THE LAST WALTZ

1. Theme from the Last Waltz (7)
2. Up on Cripple Creek (10)...still prefer the studio version
3. Who Do You Love w/Ronnie Hawkins (9)
4. Helpless w/Neil Young (10)
5. Stage Fright (8)...always one of the lesser "hits" of the Band to me
6. Coyote w/Joni Mitchell (10)
7. Dry Your Eyes w/Neil Diamond (4)...Neil's familiar "oversing"
8. It Makes No Difference (10)...I miss Manual on those harmonies
9. Such a Night w/Dr. John (10)....Mac in good voice here
10. The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (9)....the studio version is much better to me
11. Mystery Train w/Paul Butterfield (6)...don't much like the vocals or the arrangement
12. Mannish Boy w/Muddy Waters (10)
13. Further On Up the Road w/Eric Clapton (10)

1. The Shape I'm In (8)...again, not one of my favorites of theirs, studio or live
2. Down South in New Orleans (w/Bobby Charles) (8)
3. Ophelia (8)
4. Tura Lura Lura (That's an Irish Lullaby) w/Van Morrison (8) the man can sing...just about anything
5. Caravan w/Van Morrison (8)...it must be the arrangement...I loved this in the studio
6. Life is a Carnival (7)...maybe it's the horn arrangements...something is disapating the joy I got out of these songs...isn't live performance supposed to add excitement?
7. Baby Let Me Follow You Down (w/Bob Dylan)(9)
8. I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met)w/Bob Dylan (10)
9. Forever Young (w/Bob Dylan)(10)
10. Baby Let Me Follow You Down (Reprise) w/Bob Dylan (9)
11. I Shall Be Released (finale) (ensemble) (9)...great song but nothing can replace the studio version. I might have given this a 10 just on the song alone had I never heard Music from the Big Pink. But I have.

The Last Waltz Suite:
The Well (9)...the song wasn't much for me but here the arrangement made it interesting
Evangeline w/Emmylou Harris (10)
Out of the Blue (10)
The Weight w/The Staples (10)
The Last Waltz Refrain (9)
The Last Waltz Theme w/Orchestra

OVERALL RATING: 8

DISCUSSION: When I first watched it on tv, I was underwhelmed. Maybe I was obsessively upset to see Neil Diamond there. Neil Diamond and the Band? Then I remembered Robbie having' produced one of his albums...was it one of those so called "artsy ones"? Even Joni, whom I love, seemed a bit out of place, especially chosing Coyote. Kind of like Laura Nyro appearing at Monterey with her piano, dressed like a night club singer trying to placate those people wanting the Airplane and Hendrix.
But as time went on, I came to the conclusion that I preferred the original arrangements to most of these songs to the "expanded" ones for the live performances. The studio/live thing is tricky. If you REALLY love the original, any deviation can be difficult, even a slight change in vocal intonation or emphasis and the excitement of the liver performance, if obvious on the record, won't necessarily balance things out.

Basically, over the years, I've seldom listened to this. If I was tempted to do so, I'd probably go for the end of Disc One with Muddy and Eric.

(On this one, I didn't "round up" mathematically because the rating was already probably inflated by my giving 3 of the non-live "suite songs" 10s) Personally, I'll stick with Music from the Big Pink and The Band when I want to listen to them. I still think the first one is one of the best rock albums EVER.)

If and when I finish this list (yes, I will), I still want to compile my own with rankings, etc. Some might wonder how I'm going to begin to rank 400-500 albums with a 10 rating but I think I can figure out the gradations within that rating as inflated as they seem to some. A couple of things I've already decided with MY list:

1. I will NOT include "best of's" or compilation albums
2. I don't yet know what I will do about the Beatles and their US/UK versions during their early career.
3. I will NOT include jazz albums unless I make a separate list. For me, it's not the same as including a few country or reggae or world albums. Jazz is, for me, an entirely separate music and one that I enjoy quite separate from others. And the subject is too big for me to treat superficially. If I listed 20 jazz albums within a list of the best 897 mostly rock albums, what would that mean? That the other genres are THAT MUCH better? Not to me, they're not. Since this list is a compilation, it is clear that some people chose to list a jazz album or two whenever they thought it transcended genre distinctions. Maybe it was one of their favorite albums EVER. But again, I'll have to separate them if and when I do mine.
4. Oh, I forgot what got me going on this. I'm not sure yet about live albums. I think they are a different breed from comps and best ofs unless they are a "best of" a groups live performances.
ed.

Posted on Jun 5, 2012 12:25:27 PM PDT
E. Dill says:
#129 JOHN COLTRANE - A LOVE SUPREME

1. A Love Supreme - Part One - Acknowledgement (10)
2. A Love Supreme - Part Two - Resolution (10)
3. A Love Supreme - Part Three - Pursuance (10)
4. A Love Supreme - Part Four - Psalm (10)

OVERALL RATING: 10

DISCUSSION: Yes, this will NOT be in my 897 albums list unless I make a separate 897 jazz album list (fat chance!). If I did, it would surely make the Top 10. I've recently become aware of a number of serious jazz fans/students who gave up on Coltrane and jazz "advancement" with this album. I don't know why I thought it was mostly a reaction to people like Ornette and Cecil and avant gardists that even took free jazz to new places. I was wrong. After his "My Favorite Things", this was a puzzle with the pieces missing to them. I only can react to sound and I love this just like I loved Miles' Kind of Blue and they are a far cry from each other.

If you don't know Coltrane or this album, lay down on your couch or bed, turn off all the lights and just listen. You'll either get swept away by it or, after, say 5 minutes, turn it off and go find something by the Beatles or the Stones. I was tempted to say "your loss" but it really isn't. That would be like someone saying "your loss" because I don't like Neil Diamond or Billy Joe or Celine Dion. (Am I really comparing them to Trane? No, I'm only making a statement that subjectivity IS subjectivity. I don't believe that subjectivity USUALLY is true except in the case of certain "universals" like the Beatles or Mozart or Trane.

ed.

Posted on Jun 9, 2012 9:54:12 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 12, 2012 7:14:56 AM PDT
E. Dill says:
#137 JAMES TAYLOR - SWEET BABY JAMES

1. Sweet Baby James (10)
2. Lo and Behold (10)
3. Sunny Skies (8)
4. Steamroller (10)
5. Country Road (10)
6. Oh, Susannah (9)
7. Fire and Rain (10)...as wonderful as it was back when
8. Blossom (9)
9. Anywhere Like Heaven (9)
10. Oh Baby, Don't Let Your Lip Loose on Me (10)
11. Sute for 20G (9)

OVERALL: 10

DISCUSSION: I hadn't heard this one in awhile and wondered how it would stand up, especially after all that I'd heard since. Pretty well, actually. I mean, I still absolutely LOVE Fire and Rain and Sweet Baby James and some others and nothing to me is actually a weak cut here, even after I've been through punk and grunge and industrial rock and less commercial versions of folk....I only wish my embracing of James Taylor music could have lasted but, alas, there isn't a stack of his albums I like even close to this one. Did his music actually get progressively "softer" or did I get more of an edge? But, again, this one's still a beauty.

ed.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 9, 2012 10:08:09 PM PDT
Mark F. says:
Hi Tami,

Thanks for your list of artists from 3.17, and sorry it's taken me nearly three months to acknowledge it. I like some of the artists you mentioned; however, you provided only one album title ("Wanted" by the Outlaws--or at least I'm guessing that's the title of one of their albums--the only one I'm familiar with is Green Grass and High Tides, which, along with their cover of Ghost Riders in the Sky, are the only songs I like by them). Waylon Jennings was never a favorite of mine outside of his theme from the Dukes of Hazzard and one or two things he did with the next person on your list, Willie Nelson, who does have a little bit more extensive list of things I like, especially Crazy, but also things like Always on My Mind, On the Road Again, and his collaborations with Ray Charles and Julio Iglesias. His latest album has some good stuff with his son, too. Jessi Colter was, for me, a one-hit wonder--all I really know by her is I'm Not Lisa, which I liked. I think she was/is married to J.D. Souther of Only Lonely fame. And I have to admit complete ignorance of the last name on your list, Tompall Glaser. Could you tell us more about him (or her)?

Up next, one I have on vinyl.

68. The Doors--~ (1967; #2) (10)

FAMILIARITY: 8/10

1. Break on Through (To the Other Side) (7+)
2. Soul Kitchen (9)
3. The Crystal Ship (9)
4. Twentieth Century Fox (9)
5. Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar) (9)
6. Light My Fire (9+)
7. Back Door Man (8+)
8. I Looked at You (?) (3)
9. End of the Night (3)
10. Take It As It Comes (?) (3)
11. The End (4+)

REVIEW: So here we come to one that I consider one of the finest albums ever made. Certainly, Side 1 is one of the greatest album sides from start to finish. Side 2 starts off strong with their cover of Willie Dixon's Back Door Man, but after that the album meanders somewhat before closing with the compelling but ultimately disappointing (for me) The End (though I like Kreiger's guitar work and Manzarek's keyboards throughout the 11+ minutes). Most of Side 1 is so familiar to me, and some of it the victim of overexposure (in particular, Light My Fire), that it's hard to try to listen to it with fresh ears. But it all still holds up after 45 years. I am a bit disappointed that this one didn't crack at least the top 50 of this survey, but there's no shame in being #68. This one gets an easy 10, with 12 total rating points. That makes it the first (!) album in the top 100 that I've given a 10 (already a third of the way into it). It's the sixth entry by the band, with my previous favorite being L.A. Woman, which I gave an 8. Strange Days got a 4, and two others a 0 along with one N/R for a live album. This is now tied for 8th on my overall ratings list, along with Rod Stewart's Every Picture Tells a Story (which also has a great album side), A Charlie Brown Christmas, and Let It Be. I'll definitely rank it ahead of Charlie Brown and Every Picture Tells a Story, and most likely Let It Be, to move it into 8th by itself for now. I think eventually it will be bumped out of the top 10 (in fact I'm almost sure it will be), but it's bound to be high up on my list no matter what.

Mark

Posted on Jun 9, 2012 11:30:26 PM PDT
E. Dill says:
#136 MY BLOODY VALENTINE - LOVELESS

1. Only Shallow (10)
2. Loomer (10)
3. Touched (10)
4. To Here Knows When (10)
5. When You Sleep (10)
6. I Only Said (10)
7. Come In Alone (10)
8. Sometimes (10)
9. Blown a Wish (10)
10. What You Want (10)
11. Soon (10)

OVERALL RATING: 10!

DISCUSSION: I'm not as wild about talking "originality" in music. For me, all music builds on other music. Having said that, MBV DID give us a new version of a variety of older sounds. I mean, ok, Cocteau Twins were NOT shoegazers and, for that matter, neither were Sonic Youth. But MBV and, for that matter, Jesus & Mary Chain, DID take elements of dream pop and noise pop/rock and come up with a sound that surely gave the impression of being "new". You had noisy guitars coupled with ethereal voices singing words that were hardly decipherable without a lyric sheet. The music had a flow to it and more than one critic referred to their albums as more "soundscapes" than actual songs. Personally, I love this album. I can't really say that My Bloody Valentine were the catalysts that had me collecting albums from just about every group referred to, even if only sometimes, as "shoegazer" material. But I always came back to MBV and J&MC.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012 2:49:48 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 22, 2012 9:16:05 PM PDT
Mark F. says:
Ed,

Thanks for your Rockpile review of 3.20.

Up next, one that I'm probably completely unfamiliar with.

67. Lucinda Williams--Car Wheels on a Gravel Road (1998; #65)

FAMILIARITY: 0/10

1. Right in Time (?) (4)
2. Car Wheels on a Gravel Road (?) (3+)
3. 2 Cool 2 Be 4-gotten (?) (3)
4. Drunken Angel (?) (3)
5. Concrete and Barbed Wire (?) (3)
6. Lake Charles (?) (3)
7. Can't Let Go (?) (3)
8. I Lost It (?) (3)
9. Metal Firecracker (?) (3)
10. Greenville (?) (3)
11. Still I Long For Your Kiss (?) (3)
12. Joy (?) (3+)
13. Jackson (?) (3+)

Deluxe Edition Bonus Tracks

14. Down the Big Road Blues (?) (3+)
15. Out of Touch (?) (3)
16. Still I Long For Your Kiss (Alternate Version) (?) (3)

REVIEW: Will this be the highest-ranked album I've never heard anything from? I sure hope so! I'd like to think I'd know something from virtually every album on the list, since I had, or had at one point, more than 897 albums in my personal collection, which deluded me into thinking I knew something about albums...hah! Williams appeared only once before on the list, with an entry at #628, World Without Tears. I'm afraid this continues my disinterest in her and the genre, as nothing here really interests me other than the lyrical descriptions of southern Louisiana. Anyway, this one gets a 0 with little chance to rise, and I must say it's hard to imagine this edging out the Doors' debut.

Mark

Posted on Jun 10, 2012 7:36:38 PM PDT
E. Dill says:
#135 JOHN LENNON - IMAGINE

1. Imagine (10)....one of the great songs of the rock era
2. Crippled Inside (9)
3. Jealous Guy (10)
4. It's So Hard (10)
5. I Don't Wanna Be a Soldier Mama I Don't Wanna Die (9)
6. Gimme Some Truth (9)
7. Oh My Love (10)
8. How Do You Sleep? (9) The "9" is for the music....a 10 or 0 (depending on how you look at it) for it's nastiness
9. How (8)
10. Oh Yoko (8)

OVERALL RATING: 9

DISCUSSION: The songs that truly blow me away here are the ballads....beautiful melodies with John's voice and, in the case of Imagine especially, daring lyrics. Who could imagine (no pun intended) a song becoming a commercial hit with a phrase like "no religion, too". I mean, lots of people these days don't truly commit to a particular religion with all of its trappings, but they still seem to want to embrace the idea of religion, if only superficially. Is John "imagining" a wonderful future world with "no religion, too". When you first heard that, did YOU think it would be a big hit or, perhaps, a reaction like the one back when he claimed/complained that the Beatles were bigger than God (or was it Jesus)....as for "I Don't Wanna Be A Soldier", "Gimme Some Truth" and "How Do You Sleep", they all have that Lennon magic, but seem a bit too purposefully strident.

Posted on Jun 10, 2012 7:55:04 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 10, 2012 7:56:46 PM PDT
E. Dill says:
Mark:

We both have done our share of analyzing our way of coming to the ratings we've attached to each "best" album and we've also been quite honest, I think, of our own concerns about our method's imperfections. I've thought of another one that may explain my use of an arthmetical average (mostly) to grade the album overall. After just giving "Imagine" a nine, I wondered about those songs I truly think are great and whether I've given lots of albums 10s that have no one song even close to a song like "Imagine". Is my averaging ok? Does it give ENOUGH credit to those songs on it that are truly superb and, if not, should it? What IS the difference between grading a song and an album? What actually makes a good or even great album anyway. Must it be consistent?

I'm getting closer to the end here and I STILL haven't made up my mind. I mean, I think I gave one of AC/DC's albums a 10 back there...as a great, consistent hard rock album. Can I sleep knowing I gave it a higher rating than Lennon's "Imagine"?

ed.

Posted on Jun 11, 2012 5:34:01 AM PDT
E. Dill says:
#134 PUBLIC ENEMY - IT TAKES A NATION OF MILLIONS TO HOLD US BACK

1. Countdown to Armaggedon (-)
2. Bring the Noise (10)
3. Don't Believe the Hype (10)
4. Cold Lampin With Flavor (10)
5. Terminator X to the Edge of Panic (10)
6. Mind Terrorist (10)
7. Louder Than a Bomb (10)
8. Caught, Can We Get a Witness (10)
9. Show Em Whatcha Got (10)
10. She Watch Channel Zero? (10)
11. Night of the Living Baseheads (10)
12. Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos (10)
13. Security of the First World (10)...just a beat, but a good one
14. Rebel Without a Pause (10)
15. Prophets of Rage (10)
16. Party for Your Right to Fight (10)

OVERALL RATING: 10

DISCUSSION: For me, this album cannot be rated by individual songs....it is a unified piece and either works as such or it doesn't. For me, it does. Going back to my thing with Lennon's Imagine, is this truly a BETTER album than Lennon's? Yeah, it is. As an album. Public Enemy, as much as any rap group/artist, had their own sound and Chuck D. was one of the most effective rapper ever. Not as quirky as Snoop Dogg but, then again, Chuck wasn't rapping about dope and women.

ed.

Posted on Jun 11, 2012 5:36:40 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jun 11, 2012 5:37:02 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2012 7:58:09 PM PDT
Mark F. says:
Ed,

Thanks for your Smashing Pumpkins review of 3.20.

Up next, one from my vinyl vault.

66. Jethro Tull--Aqualung (1971) (6)

FAMILIARITY: 4/10

1. Aqualung (9)
2. Cross-Eyed Mary (6+)
3. Cheap Day Return (?) (3+)
4. Mother Goose (?) (3)
5. Wond'ring Aloud (?) (3)
6. Up to Me (?) (3+)
7. My God (?) (3+)
8. Hymn 43 (6+)
9. Slipstream (?) (3+)
10. Locomotive Breath (9)
11. Wind Up (?) (3)

REVIEW: This is our fourth visit with Jethro Tull, and it's by far my favorite album from them. Two classics and two other pretty good ones, with nothing to detract from it (I don't really know the rest of it). The songs suffer a bit from overexposure, but that's not the band's fault. I give this one a solid 6.

Mark

Posted on Jun 11, 2012 11:19:09 PM PDT
E. Dill says:
#119 YES - CLOSE TO THE EDGE

1. Close to the Edge (10)
2. And You and I (10)
3. Siberian Khatru (10)

OVERALL RATING: 10

DISCUSSION: As progressive rock goes, this is about as good as it gets for me along with classics like Jethro Tull's "Thick as a Brick", Soft Machine's "Third" (if anyone calls it progressive rock) and, yes, my ace in the hole, Vanilla Fudge's "Renaissance". (I MUST figure out exactly what I DO think of Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon", along with their "The Wall" and "Wish You Were Here" as well as early Genesis.) I've never thought of myself as a true progressive rock affecianado because there are always instrumental aspects of the longer works that seem like filler to me and sometimes instruments that take center stage, like organ e.g., seem to destroy the feel of the collective sound. Anyway, I love it still and maybe will add progressive rock as another genre for me to reflect on when I finish this 897 trip.....along with my promise to do so with rap and heavy metal, too.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 12, 2012 5:51:01 AM PDT
J.M. Savory says:
Ed, i just got 'The Yes Album' and 'Fragile' by Yes recently after not hearing them since the 70's. they are both still good albums; along with 'Close To The Edge', they're my 3 favorite Yes albums. they are, however, a bit like rich food for me. a little goes a long way :) last year i bought the Genesis box covering the Peter Gabriel years, and i enjoy most of that, but again the rich food factor is there for me. favorite Genesis albums are 'Foxtrot' and 'The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway'. the others are good too. whether i need any more prog-rock remains to be seen. ELP's music has aged the worst for me; i attribute that to Emerson's keyboard sound. but they still have a couple songs that hold up alright......

cheers! john

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 12, 2012 6:39:09 AM PDT
Timot-Rex says:
Tangentially related ... Back in 81 or so my girlfriend dragged me along to see a Genesis tribute band in Cleveland. They were all about the pre-Phil Collins version of Genesis. They were surprisingly pretty good. (While I was into Peter Gabriel III at the time, the one with "Games without frontiers," I didn't know anything about Genesis.) A few days later I went to a used record store and bought The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (as well as A Different Kind of Tension by the Buzzcocks .. guess which one I still have any interest in listening to ... its not the former.)
For the life of me I had (and have) no idea what the hell The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway is all about.

I have long ago set aside my snobbish attitudes about tribute bands and in fact I think they're a lot of fun.

Posted on Jun 12, 2012 7:06:10 AM PDT
E. Dill says:
Timot-Rex:

Your mention of "tribute bands" had me wondering. In my 55+ years of listening to rock era music (I'm 65 now), have I EVER even HEARD a true "tribute band", i.e., a band dedicated to covers of a specific artist they admired (at least I hope they did). I don't think so. While in my travels in the Army (7 years), I heard a lot of suprisingly great cover bands, they did a bit of everything as part of their repetoire and often, I'd hear some of the "hits of the day" first by a up to date cover band and then later the original hit. I remember that being true of 3 Dog Nights "One", hearing it first by a cover band in Oklahoma. (I'd never, at that point, heard the score to "Hair").

I can't think of the local (to Cleveland) Doors cover band but I know I never saw/heard them. Moonlight Drive? I've heard from reliable sources that they were damn good for what they did. Some said that the lead singer should have played Morrison in Stone's movie (a movie, BTW, I was never able to watch all the way through....it just seemed a bit "over the top" to me.)

I've mentioned before that of all the genre's in rock music, the 3 that I seem to be most confused about are metal, progressive and rap. My confusion is relating not so much about the music itself as it is my reaction to it. I have found music in all three genres that I truly like and a lot I don't much care for. I think it has to do with my perception of their "signature sounds". With metal, it is a cliched riffage that bothers me. With progressive, it is a sense that it's touted as "serious music for rock fans", i.e., "our classical music" with the necessarily complexities and virtuosity. Whenever I read that, I run for a pile of garage rock albums. I have nothing against complexity....I just don't believe that music should be judged on a scale with the lowest being "simplicity" and the highest "complexity". With rap, my problems really began with "gangsta rap" and, I guess, still remains there. A lot of it, to me, sounds generic. But with all three, I keep trying.

ed.
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