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The 897 Greatest Albums of All Time

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In reply to an earlier post on Sep 11, 2008, 11:29:52 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 15, 2008, 5:37:02 AM PDT
E. Dill says:


1. Everything Zen (9)
2. Swim (8)...the only thing keeping this from a 9 is the chorus which I didn't like that much.
3. Bomb (8) Up 2 notches from my tentative rating...nice dynamic from quiet to loud even though I don't "love" the repetitive chorus.
4. Little Things (8) Up one.
5. Comedown (7)
6. Body (7)
7. Machinehead (8) Built on a nice riff
8. Testosterone (7)
9. Monkey (9)
10. Glycerine (8)
11. Alien (8)
12. X-Girlfriend (7)


INITIAL: This is based on snippets only....that and memory. I WILL get out my tape of it and give an EDIT for my final rating. I'm a bit surprised so far. I mean, I never embraced this or them but I suspected I'd underestimated them a bit due to criticisms from the press. The most leveled criticism was that they were grunge-lite, making "cleaner" versions of Nirvana and/or Pearl Jam. I'd say they were closer in sound to PJ than Nirvana, mostly because of the lead vocals. With this one, if I DO need some significant changes to the ratings here, I'd think they might go up a bit. Then again, if I thought a lot of these songs were semi-boring after 30 seconds, will another 3-4 minutes actually help? We shall see.

EDIT #1: Ok, as I suspected, the listening of the entire album led me to raise my rating significantly, from "6" to "8". That was, for me, quite a change. For some reason, my memory wasn't that good on this one and the snippets DIDN'T help that much. In judging the "dynamics' of a song that HAS a "dynamic" of lows and highs, you MUST HEAR the transitions. You seldom do in 30 seconds. Anyway, I still here more of Vedder and it works here....ironically, I've mentioned that I'm often troubled by Vedder himself....I like the sound of his voice but it often doesn't work within the dynamics of his songs.....we shall see when Pearl Jam makes it to the list.....which they surely will.

wordy ed.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2008, 3:41:56 AM PDT
Alexis says:
Hello there everyone! Thought I better make an appearance before I fall too far behind. Haven't had a chance to listen to anything yet and like Val will only try to rate the overall album as opposed to each song. I know 'Scarecrow' (Which is a pretty good album in my books) and 'Sixteen Stone' (I absolutely loved 'Everything Zen' & 'Glycerine' and even though I listened to it a little over 6 months ago, it could go another round to get my overall verdict). Will listen to snippets of the others when I get a chance. I'll try the Ed method ie 'listen without prejudice'.

happy listening

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2008, 6:06:41 AM PDT
Val H. says:
At last, Alexis! I've been wondering what was keeping you seeing that you'll be much more up on these 80s albums than I am. Just a suggestion, in case anyone is keen on taking it up, I thought while reviewing the 897 albums, I would try to compile a list of my "favourite" albums and maybe we could compare notes at the end. I'm talking about all those albums we actually choose to listen to regularly to accompany any given mood, so we could conceivably end up with lists that don't include many "greatest" albums. I know mine, while including "Sgt Pepper" and "Pet Sounds", will have no representation from Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Yes, Genesis, The Moody Blues, etc but will include some Aussie albums and artists as diverse as Jackie Leven, Loggins & Messina, Fernando Saunders, Bruce Roberts, Bernadette Peters, The Family Dogg, Rory McLeod and Labi Siffre. So if anyone wants to join me, we can perhaps share some hidden nuggets after we've been through the 897. I am open to including (or excluding, if you wish) live albums, compilations, soundtracks and other genres (doesn't everyone have their favourite Sinatra or Mathis album?).

P.S. Where's Iceblossom? We need more diversity here.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2008, 8:26:09 AM PDT
E. Dill says:

Just for the record (and I've put myself on the record several times already)...

Favorite Mathis record: Heavenly
Favorite Streisand record (though no one asked): The first two.


In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2008, 1:00:59 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jun 23, 2010, 1:27:54 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2008, 2:09:55 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 13, 2008, 11:33:33 AM PDT
E. Dill says:


1. Tight Rope (9)
2. Out in the Woods (8)
3. Me & Baby Jane (8)
4. Manhattan Island Serenade (8)
5. Cajun Love Song (9) (this began as a 6 or 7 and quickly rose as I got into it)
6. Roller Derby (8)
7. Carney (8)
8. Acid Annapolis (8) Yep, I actually like this one too!
9. If the Shoe Fits (8)
10. My Cricket (9)
11. This Masquerade (8)
12. Magic Mirror (8)


More, later. I pulled my album but haven't finished with the second side. (Yeah, vinyl had sides). EDIT #1: finished side two.

One thing that struck me so far. With this album, something, so far, has completely redeemed every song, making it qualify in my +++(10-8) "highly listenable" or "listenable without reservation" category. If it's not specifically Leon's voice/mumble (which is usually part of it) , it's decisions made with regard to instrumentation/arrangement, background singers, etc. to push it into that category, i.e., a song that has no reservations for me with respect to its listenability. We shall see about side B. (Edit #1 - We DID! And we thought the premise held true.


In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2008, 2:46:06 PM PDT
E. Dill says:

Yeah, I have. I presently have 3 of his albums on cd, "Candyland (1992), "Live in Aught-3" (2004) and Childish Things (2005). I'd call his sound "alt-country-rock". He began his musical career as an outgrowth of the aforementioned debut movie that Mellencamp starred in and directed, written by James' father. That connection led to James' music being given to John and John winding up co-producing his first album in 1989, "Too Long in the Wasteland". I may have that one on cassette. Someday, I'll remove my cassettes from storage/bondage (in boxes in closets and under beds) and find out what I really have. I DO have around 5000 cassettes which would mean at least 8000-10,000 albums that I don't yet have in the computer.

Who remembers? I know there are those that think that if I can LOVE an album, it would remain with me, even after a few listens. Then again, those same people must realize that they remember some commercial jingles more than some of the music they "love". "Loving something" and remembering it are two different things. Remembering a song, e.g. has a lot to do with a certain simplicity of structure, a definable beat, a catchy lyric....something a lot of great songs have as well as a lot of annoying commercial jingles. Does anyone actually believe that anyone remembers any part of Beethoven's 5th symphony better than "da da da da".

ed (arguing with himself defensively again)...

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2008, 3:59:40 PM PDT
E. Dill says:

Is that 7 "0"'s in a row? Wow, this is going to be a musical adventure for you. Maybe we should take bets on when you'll give an album a "1" or more.

Wait a minute. Let me check the list and make a wild guess....I'm guessing Linda Rondstadt or the wouldn't confuse me and give Zappa a rousing "2" would you?

ed (just funning)

ps. The way this is beginning (at the bottom), people will be predicting I'll wind up with around 200 albums rated with "10"'s.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2008, 7:00:56 PM PDT
Mark F. says:

Excellent...glad you can join us!

Hope Marco, Poppy, Tom, and the others come back soon.

405. Neil Young--Rockin' in the Free World (#412)
404. David Bowie--Golden Years (#538)
403. The Who--Magic Bus (5)


In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2008, 7:19:50 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 12, 2008, 7:21:49 PM PDT
Val H. says:
Ed -

Mine is "Hollywood Musicals" by Johnny Mathis and Henry Mancini (highly recommended at US$0.17 from Amazon's Marketplace)

And I have fond memories of "My Name Is Barbra, Two" which my Dad bought in 1967. I must look and see if it has become part of my collection.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2008, 7:40:41 PM PDT
Mark F. says:

<<after we've been through the 897>>

Wow! Do you know how long that will be, at this rate? Let's say I can average 1.5 per day. At that rate, it will take 1 year and 8 months!

Actually, I don't have any favorite Sinatra or Mathis albums. I like a lot of their songs, but no albums leap to mind, though I do have several Sinatra albums.

And yeah, I hope we see Ice around here soon! :-)

402. Jackson Browne--Boulevard (7+)


In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2008, 8:18:55 PM PDT
Mark F. says:

You bring up a good point and made me realize that perhaps I'm not "listening" to music as I should, and the Lyle Lovett review is a perfect example....I say I like the sound of it, but I can't name any songs I "really like" and thus give it a 0. Is that fair? Probably not. You're right--catchy jingles can be something I sing along to, but does that make it a good piece of work? I'll have to do some soul searching here :-)

401. Queen--You're My Best Friend (7+)


In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2008, 8:41:45 PM PDT
Mark F. says:

Yep, and as I wrote in my previous post, maybe it's unfair to give all albums that don't have songs I really like (or just a couple, like Carney or Hair--which has more than a couple but a whole load of stuff I don't) a goose egg. And you're right, I peeked and Zappa is next, and I looked over the track list and didn't see any titles I know, so there's another automatic zilch by my system. :-)

400. Bob Seger--Katmandu (7)


In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2008, 10:12:22 PM PDT
Val H. says:
Mark - maybe the yardstick for you is "Would I buy it?" Because if liking a couple of songs doesn't make its purchase worthwhile, then I suppose it's still a 0. But I'm not sure if that logic can be extended, because if we like an album enough to buy it, are all the albums in our own collection 10? I don't think so, but they are probably in a 6.5 - 10 range. So does that mean that any albums we rate 6.5 or higher, we should have in our collection and if not, why not? I don't know where I'm taking this argument to. I think I'm going round in circles. I have a funny feeling that not very many albums in my own collection are going to be on the 897 list.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 13, 2008, 6:34:52 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 13, 2008, 6:47:41 AM PDT
E. Dill says:

I hope you realize I wasn't criticizing. I was only wondering if it says something abut how we (people) listen to and remember music. It reminds me a little bit of the whole notion of "pop music", pop meaning popular. Evolutionarily (?), the term has, in some circles anyway, come to mean a genre, above and beyond the actual popularity of the piece. Yet, that, in itself, seems like a contradiction in terms. Allmusic uses a term "underground pop" or "pop underground" and the question is, "can something BE that meaningfully?" What they are using is a sensibility of what makes a good pop song (catchy lyrics, catchy beat, memorable melody, etc.) and using it with or without the actual commercial success. They,d call, for instance, a guy like Mathew Sweet part of the "underground pop" scene. His music "sounds" poppy, but he isn't THAT successful commercially.

Actually, I think your way of defining songs "you really like" is probably more in tune with people than mine. I've done some soul searching myself, wondering why I'll find a song or album in my collection that has been collecting dust and wonder WHY, if I like it so much, it doesn't get more play. Simply put, it usually is based on the fact that the stuff I know better (and like) is stuff that I hear not by choice but by chance. I've never tried to consciously "even out the score", i.e., give more weight to those things I hear and love and know that I will probably not hear again unless I play them myself. That probably explains why you and I would probably agree on at least 60-75% of the popular stuff you like (I DO like a lot of pop music....the truly popular kind) I also feel it is quite obvious we would disagree on about 60-75% (or more) of the unpopular, experimental stuff I like. I'm actually more interested in the 3rd area, i.e., the "underground pop" stuff. It has all the trappings of a good pop song (obviously MY opinion) but is NOT heard that often on radio, tv. To hear it you have to play it for yourself. With THAT stuff, I suspect you do not give it that much attention. I DO give it attention but only while I'm listening. Then, even if I LOVED it, it gets filed away until the next time it happens to come up. With a broad base of music at one's disposal, more and more worthy music gets ignored.
Still, I maintain that FOR ME, I can listen to a song I don't remember (or KNOW I've never heard before) and rate it as well as if I listened to it 50 times. The only thing I wouldn't know is its "staying power", i.e., would it remain a favorite if I listened to it over and over and over again. That's probably true with most music excepting the Beatles. I've listened to most of their stuff over and over and over again and have seldom noted a diminishing return.

Again, I've done my own soul searching. Everytime I go thru my albums, I find stuff that is a "knock out" to me that I seldom play. I never ever question whether I actually like it that much or am only responding to its seeming "newness". It is only that I have never found the time to put it somewhere close to a stereo and play it over and over again until it is firmly inplanted in that cerberal i-pod of mine. So, I don't KNOW it until I hear it again and am amazed by it again. That's MY dilemma.

I guess the bottom line is this. Can you (anyone) listen to a song for the first time and immediately evaluate/rate it as a "great song", even greater than one of your established favorites of the past? I do it all the time. I can name countless songs I'd give an 8 to (using our 10-0 system) that are very familiar to me and listen to something new and give it a 9 without reservation. And, when I DO find those songs again, often by happenstance, I find that my initial rating holds up.


In reply to an earlier post on Sep 13, 2008, 8:08:05 AM PDT
Val H. says:
893. Leon Russell--Carney (1972)

I have always liked Leon but I don't own this album. However, I feel familiar with sufficient songs to give it a rating. Many of his songs were well ahead of their time and have become our generation's own standards. In general, I prefer songs as performed by the writer and Leon is no exception. I think he's a great singer as well as piano-player (somehow, pianist didn't sound right in this context). In style he mixes Willie Nelson with Doctor John. I like the carnival theme and the overall tone/sound of this album. "My Cricket" is a little gem!


(another one I should probably purchase; I hope this thread isn't going to be a drain on my purse!)

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 13, 2008, 8:21:33 AM PDT
Val H. says:
892. Animal Collective--Sung Tongs (2004)

I didn't know this band at all, or this album. I was able to listen to the first two tracks in their entirety and while they didn't grab me immediately, I wouldn't like to dismiss them out of hand. I think I'd have to give this album my full attention for some time before knowing for sure whether it's my cup of tea or not. Definitely intriguing, rather weird, but, in some moods, this could be just the thing.


In reply to an earlier post on Sep 13, 2008, 8:49:27 AM PDT
Val H. says:
891. Lyle Lovett--Live in Texas (1999)

I've got quite a few of Lyle's albums but not this one. Luckily I know enough of the songs to feel justified in giving it a rating, even though a "live" album often has a feel of its own. I like Lyle's stuff because he seems to be able to combine country, swing and a dead-pan style of delivery that belies much of his humour. I would love to see him live (don't recall him ever being in Oz). "If I Had A Boat", "Closing Time" and "She's No Lady" have resonated with me for about twenty years now. I think of him as being one of those intelligent artists whose albums are worthy of giving a listen to each and every time. Smooth, stylish, fun!


In reply to an earlier post on Sep 13, 2008, 11:20:03 AM PDT
E. Dill says:

Here's an example of what happens to me often when I do random listening. I'm going thru my comps and listening and grading songs on each comp that begin with the letter "A". So, I have this comp out that I probably purchased for no more than $. 50 and I just listened to CC Adcock doing "Yall'd Think She's Be Good 2 Me" and Dave Alvin's "Sinful Daughter". I'm giving the first one a definite 10 even though I don't remember EVER hearing it before (I DO have CC's first and I thought only album on cassette...this is from another album I didn't know about). The Alvin song is either a 9 or 10. Will I remember either of these next week? Probably not. Could I make a list of thousands of songs I'd give an 8 or less that I DO remember? Yes. Why? Because not only did I choose to listen to them by MY choice but I also listened to them on the car radio, on tv, in the mall, etc. That's what I mean about memory vs. taste. Maybe I should attempt to better flag albums with songs I LOVE. Actually, in a way I'm doing it. I am putting rankings on my song lists for comps. For artists albums, they will only be on the album itself.


In reply to an earlier post on Sep 13, 2008, 12:08:48 PM PDT
Mark F. says:

Of course, I know you're never critical :-) I do like "underground" pop like Matthew Sweet, and I guess the likes of Marshall Crenshaw, the Bodeans, and Graham Parker fall under that "rubric." Unlike you, I can't listen to a song once or twice and determine whether I like it. So, I might be a "prisoner" of what gets airplay. For example, who's to say if radio hadn't chosen to play Tight Rope and This Masquerade (actually, that track received very little airplay--I came to know the song more through the George Benson version rather than the rare occasion I heard Russell's version either on the air or on my own vinyl copy--so maybe that's not an apt choice). But anyway, let's say radio had chosen to play, say, My Cricket and Me and Baby Jane from that album, and I grew familiar with them and grew to like them, but never or rarely heard Tight Rope. Well, I know I wouldn't have given such a high rating to that song (or I highly doubt it), and I may or may not have grown to like the other two through familiarity. But I can't say whether I would have, and I don't want to sit here and play them over and over again until they achieve the sort of familiarity I'd get through repeated airplay, so I'll never know. So, I'm fully aware of the limitations of rating albums I'm not entirely familiar with. Of course, that won't stop me from doing that. :-D

399. Don Henley--Dirty Laundry (8) (speaking of familiarity, I'll bet I've heard this song hundreds of times :-))


In reply to an earlier post on Sep 13, 2008, 2:34:34 PM PDT
Mark F. says:

So far, I had Carney and possibly Hair in my collection (I say possibly because I can picture that album cover so well so it might be somewhere--I still have about 4 crates of albums at my mom's house, which is about a 7-8 hour drive from here.) At any rate, I used to buy used albums on the cheap--like for 50 cents or a dollar--at flea markets, so I'd buy them even if they contained only one or two songs I liked. I reached about 1,000 albums before I stopped buying them in the late 80s/early 90s, when CDs took over (and I stopped buying those a couple of years ago when digital d/ls took over). So for me, there will be albums I have that rate a 0 by my criteria. If I had to guess, I'll probably have maybe a quarter of the albums, increasing as we get closer to the top. Assuming I have Hair, I have 2 of the first 8, so that's right on track. :-)

398. ELO--Fire on High (7+) (For many years a ubiquitous news and sports highlight theme song).


In reply to an earlier post on Sep 13, 2008, 4:23:33 PM PDT
Mark F. says:

I enjoyed your review of that album! If it's a drain, it'll be a slow drain, that's for sure :-)

397. Deep Purple--Woman From Tokyo (9) (Along with Hush, one of their two great songs IMO)


In reply to an earlier post on Sep 13, 2008, 8:10:57 PM PDT
Val H. says:
Ed - C.C. Adcock and Dave Alvin? Now you're talking. I'd put them in my category (like Lyle Lovett above) of always worth checking out anything they're doing. Fun music!

P.S. I've decided to keep a spreadsheet of our votes (only because I can use the same spreadsheet I used for the singles and it's much easier to start at the beginning rather than having to backtrack halfway through). So far there's only you, me and Mark voting, but hopefully Alexis will be along soon and maybe some others will drop by. If you do go back and revise a vote of yours, can you give me a nod because it will soon become too time-consuming to keep going back to see if you've made an edit. Cheers, Val.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 13, 2008, 8:17:20 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 23, 2010, 2:04:30 PM PDT
Mark F. says:
890. Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention--Freak Out! (1966) (0)

1. Hungry Freaks, Daddy (?) (1)
2. I Ain't Got No Heart (?) (2)
3. Who Are the Brain Police? (?) (1)
4. Go Cry on Somebody Else's Shoulder (?) (5)
5. Motherly Love (?) (1)
6. How Could I Be Such a Fool? (?) (1)
7. Wowie Zowie (?) (1)
8. You Didn't Try to Call Me (?) (2)
9. Any Way the Wind Blows (?) (3)
10. I'm Not Satisfied (?) (3)
11. You're Probably Wondering Why I'm Here (?) (1)
12. Trouble Every Day (?) (4) (has a good spoken line in it)
13. Help! I'm a Rock (?) (2)
14. It Can't Happen Here (?) 1)
15. The Return of the Son of Monster Magnet (Unfinished Ballet in Two Tableaux) (?) (1)

REVIEW: Way ahead of its time, given it came out in '66, but other than the doo-wop parody of Go Cry On Somebody Else's Shoulder, nothing caught my ear. I give it a 0.


In reply to an earlier post on Sep 13, 2008, 9:03:26 PM PDT
Mark F. says:

I agree with your assessment of Lyle Lovett. I really want to like his stuff and when I sit back and uncritically let it "wash over me" I can do that. But I still can't point to any particular song and say "Hey now, that's a great one!"

396. Yes--Roundabout (#262)
395. Eagles--Heartache Tonight (9) (love this one)

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