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Snusmumrik, there are so many great albums out there, representing different styles and time periods, that it just makes me angry when RS or some other magazine tells me all the best albums were made by a small cabal of artists this particular publication "endorses". I don't mind people loving the Stones, but if you put 6 Stones or Beatles albums on your list, but don't have space for a single one by Sonic Youth or Yes or Brian Eno than something's very wrong.
Maybe it's my definition of mainstream that is too wide. I would say nowadays bands like Pixies or Talking Heads are almost mainstream, but it might be that just my perception of music is blunted. I mean, when I started listening to rock music I thought King Crimson was wayyyyyy out there. And nowadays Captain Beefheart almost seems listener-friendly.
Wow, some of you guys make quite a science of it. I'm impressed. I'm only beginning the list, but the procdure for me will probably be like in the 2005 poll:
- leaf through the collection and pick out favourites
- write them down and divide then into 3 or four categories, ranging from "simply perfect" to just "very, very good"
- sort each group further till it looks like a list
- and, as Neo said, go through the preliminary list and see if anyplace no. 24 is really better than no. 23
At least it makes for some enjoyable listening, although the actual grading can be as painful as grading student papers (yeah, I teach, among other things)
I like that, Jacek! I really, really like some of Beefheart, but my nearest and dearest are not gonna agree that Trout Mask Replica is easy listening. You rule!
I’m with Snusmumrik. Wow. You guys are really scientific when it comes to making your lists (not that there’s anything wrong with that.) I can appreciate the method, but it doesn’t really work for me - I find it really difficult trying to quantify my preference for certain songs and/or albums over others. How can I really assign numeric values to my favorite pieces of art?
That said, here’s my very UN-scientific method:
I use the hypothetical desert-island scenario, except, in my case it’s a prison (a minimum-security resort that permits each inmate a certain number of discs in their cell.) My sentence is 21 years – I was secretly extorting funds from my multimillion dollar dot-com venture and depositing the money in an offshore holdings account under the name of a numbered corporation. To make matters worse, rumors of my illicit activity began to surface within middle-management, and through my mob connections I hired associates to make certain people within the organization “disappear.” In any event, I was caught, sentenced and jailed. Each year, the prison allows me five albums; in the first year of my sentence I get five; in the second year, another five, and so on… until I have 100 in my cell.
As you can imagine, this kind of limitation necessitates focused choices, and in my case it resulted in a list that I’m quite happy with.
So, the moral of the story is two-fold: 1) white-collar crime does not pay, and 2) if you are struggling to make your list, feel free to use my tried-and-true method.
Well, the reason I did this list with points was that I had stopped listening to pop/rock for the last 5-6 years.
The latest top 100 I had was exactly 10 years old and essentially consisted of '70s rock with a few exceptions.
So I really wanted to listen to each and every album cause ther's sometimes a big gap between what you think/remember of an album and how it really sounds when you go through it 10 years after, in both ways.
For instance I used to rank "Layla" by Derek at 28, and now it's something like 150.
If I had made a list by memory only it would have been much higher than that -unproperly.
Wow. You guys are really spending a lot of thought on this. I thought I overdid by putting three hours into my list. Here's why I think this isn't worth agonizing over: 1) None of us know even half as much as we should about even ONE year, let alone 5 decades, in order to get a reasonably accurate representation of our tastes. 2) We're all going to change our minds in the next few months anyways. Heck, I don't expect mine will last till January!
It's still a fun exercise but I won't ever be able to take it too seriously.
I unintentionally managed to spread my selections pretty evenly over the decades. The 60's and 80's were particularly low at only about a dozen albums each, and the 60's was represented almost entirely by Dylan and Beatles albums. I surprised myself by including 21 albums from the new millenium. That's strange considering how often I complain about how terrible the last decade has been for music.
When you think about it, if it weren't for the Beatles and Dylan, the 60's wouldn't be all that appealing albums-wise. There would still be some great albums for sure. But, if you take those two out of the mix the decade looks a lot different. Heck, take one of those out of the mix and the decade's musical superiority takes a big hit. I think that needs to be considered when comparing the 60's to any other decade.
2) We're all going to change our minds in the next few months anyways.
I don't think so.
maybe it's age, maybe it's got nothing to do with it, but I have the feeling I know what I like
70% of my 1997 top 10 are still in my 2007 top 10 (and the first album from the last millenium is currently nb. 32.
'40s : 1 album
'50s : 6
'60s : 21
'70s : 32
'80s : 11
'90s : 25
'00s : 4
(During 2001-07, I was discovering pre-65 music so I missed these years)
Well, now I think I've said enough
I'm not better than Anthony at keeping secrets
I don't know what to do with #1 Record/Radio City. I've always known that as one album but it's not. This is a post to inform people that they are two seperate albums and to express my dismay at having to figure out how to rank them.
P.S.- I've always known they were two seperate albums...I'm just saying I've always listened to as one album so it's kind of become one single (or maybe double?) album to me.
Interesting to see how the lists are coming together. I'm an avid listmaker and have various methods depending on the scenario. Sometimes, I rank items based on year first, then I join neighboring years until the whole thing coalesces into a whole. In other instances, I'll rank items based on artist first, and then combine artists. Lately, I've been also employing a rating system out of 100 and arranging the items that way, checking for any inconsistencies.
Yeah, #1 Record/Radio City have been combined on CD for as long as I can remember, a la SurferRosa/Come on Pilgrim. To my mind Radio City is the better of the two.
On a similar theme, I'm surprised The Beta Band's 3EPs is considered eligible for this poll. I suppose its on AM due to critical acclaim recieved at the time, but it isn't a studio album by any stretch of the imagination.
I have the same problem with the twofer of the Beach Boys "Sunflower/Surf's up". I love these 2 albums but for me it's always been ONE record that I listen every time from start to finish. It's hard to separate the 2 albums and say which one is the best.
100!?! damn, thats going to be hardest list I would ever do, well lets see what I can do.
Oh and I do have one question, does Movie soundtracks count?
I guess that if they are original soundtrack it counts, if it is made by songs from various albums, it does not.
I've been slowly working on my all time top 100 list for a while in my free time.
I've finished everything except sorting out 1-3 and 5-8. Since it's only a matter of a few points in this poll I decided to just be arbitrary with those, and replace the bottom 7 with albums I didn't buy until after I started that I think should be on the list.
Ah yes #1 Record/Radio City...Very hard to seperate them - I always just put the whole 24 songs on random...
I'm bringing this thread back to the top for the sake of anyone who may have missed it.
Also, for those of you who are aware of the poll (and those who have already cast a ballot,) here's a snapshot of the percentage of votes each decade ('50s through '00s) has received, thus far:
Of course, I'm not going to reveal which percentage goes with which decade. All I'm going to say is that any guesses you have are most likely incorrect.
Anthony- here are a few eligibility questions:
The Cure- Japanese Whispers
Prince- Crystal Ball
Soundtrack- Edward Scissorhands
I'm pretty sure the 0.67 belongs to the 50's
Oh geez, Moonbeam - I don't know. There seems to be this gray area (is it an album? is it not?) from which albums keep popping up. I think it was decided that compilations of any sort would be ineligble, but even then, there seems to be varying degrees of what constitutes a "compilation." I really don't want to allow anything that's even questionable, for fear of the whole "slippery slope" thing. But on the other hand, I'd hate to deny anyone from including their favorite pieces of music.
Conclusion? I defer this matter to other AM'ers.
No compilations at all is my vote. If the majority of an album was released prior to the album in question's release it shouldn't count. Even if it was on an EP or a single. If we include Beta Band's 3 EP's don't we have to include Beatles Past Masters 1+2. I don't think either of those belong and neither does the Beta Band.
The 3 EPs is, as the title suggests, a compilation. It is certainly a classic collection of material, but I can't see how it would be any more elligable for this poll than Abba Gold or Queen's Greatest Hits.
The problem is, Three EPs is generally considered an album, as evidenced by this website. It's the other examples that people keep bringing up that I don't have a frame of reference for.
I don't see why the soundtrack to Edward Scissorhands wouldn't be eligible. It's all original anyways.
If one of my albums is ineligible, does that make my whole list ineligible for calculations. Sorry but im new to this whole acclaimed music thing.
Original soundtracks are fine (the operative word being, of course, original.)
It's these EP and previously unreleased song compilations that are proving to be a nuisance. The general feeling I'm getting is that they shouldn't be eligible - no ifs, ands or buts.
The Edward Scissorhands soundtrack unfortunately has an old Tom Jones song included, which is why I felt I needed to ask.
As for the other items I mentioned, Japanese Whispers was released in 1983 after the singles "Let's Go to Bed", "The Walk" and "The Love Cats". It includes them plus most of their B-sides. None of the songs were available on an album prior to being released on Japanese Whispers.
Crystal Ball is a collection of previously unreleased outtakes and remixes spanning from 1983 to 1996.
I think the Edward Scissorhands soundtrack and Japanese Whispers are ineligible, but I don't have a problem with Crystal Ball (if indeed those outtakes were never released previously, in any form.)
Fair enough! Honestly, that Tom Jones song is reason enough not to include Edward Scissorhands! The other tracks all blend together so well, and then here comes Tom Jones schmaltzing his way into the scene, pissing all over the mood!
It was actually very easy for me to come up with a top 100,but now the hard part is to put it in order...
I really think we ought to use the AM list for eligibility, meaning 3 EPs is in. I've been using the AM list as a guide for all my lists on this forum, and I think if critics deem that album a complete album, then we should too. How difficult was it to find the original EPs, anyway, especially in the States?
It's a very blurry line, though, but there are just a handful of albums whose status is confusing. Of my top 100, I had to admit 2 albums... the Jackie Brown soundtrack (clearly ineligible) and Buzzcocks Singles Going Steady. SGS was actually ranked high in Pitchfork's 70s albums list, but it is a compilation, albeit probably the easiest way for any current album consumer to find those particular songs.
Okay, I'm here to throw a further wrench in the soundtrack discussion:
Is a soundtrack that mixes old, previously-released songs with original songs (e.g., Velvet Goldmine) eligible? I know O Brother Where Art Thou is on the AM list, but that only had two unoriginal tracks on it. What about when the mix is closer to 50/50?
There seem to be some confusion around the inclusion criteria for albums at AM, but I try to follow a simple rule, namely that the songs (or the version of songs) are brand new or have been released on singles or EPs after the artist's last album release.
...namely that the songs...
I probably need to clarify this with
"...namely that the majority of songs..."
Frankly, this entire discussion has gone from necessary to laughable to just plain silly now. I really thought we had all come to an agreement (prior to the beginning of this month) about what is and isn’t acceptable, but judging from that fact that we’re still trying to establish eligibility rules, I guess we didn’t.
I suppose it’s partly (mostly?) my fault. I really didn’t think the eligibility aspect of this poll would be as big of an issue as it has become; the reason being, I looked at my list and only had to replace two items – both pre-album era artists (Leadbelly and R. Johnson.) I assumed – incorrectly - that everyone else’s list would be similar in that regard. But this whole issue of EPs, compilations, soundtracks, etc. reared its ugly head – again – and it’s made me realize that everyone’s favorite pieces of music come in a variety of different forms.
The thing is, from the beginning when this idea was first presented, this has been an ALBUM poll – not a “Favorite Pieces of Music” poll. Now, it seems that everybody has a different definition of what an ”album” is, and herein is where the problem lies. I think what everybody needs to remember is this: a collection of music on a CD, cassette, LP, 8-track does not necessarily constitute an album. In other words, just because you can pop it into your car stereo doesn’t mean you’re playing an album.
Yes, “album” does have a broad and varying definition, but for all intents and purposes we should limit it to something like this (to elaborate on Henrik’s post):
1. a cohesive body of work
2. released by a single band/artist
3. comprising a group of songs recorded more or less during the same period of time
4. comprising a group of songs that have not been previously released
5. comprising songs released at the same time (ie. on the same day)
Of the several lists received thus far, there has only been a single case of an ineligible album, which I’m quite pleased at. For those who have yet to send a list, if you’re digging into Joe Schmo’s back catalogue of b-sides/unreleased outtakes/cutting-room floor scraps, you’re really overthinking this entire thing. Again, this is an album poll – please keep the above definition in mind.
I don't deny that my contributions and questions to the forum can be plain silly -- sometimes purposely so, oftentimes inadvertently. This time I was being serious, and I'm sorry for rehashing already established ground. I know that can be annoying on forums such as this, and all I can say in defense is I must have missed some of the past discussions on nuances of eligibility. I happen to like the Velvet Goldmine soundtrack as a cohesive whole, with the new pastiche tracks up against cover versions up against originals from the 70's. I recognize now it does not fit the criteria.
Okay, Anthony, hurt feelings are now purged and forgotten. And that leaves me with nothing but gratitude to you for taking charge on the album poll.
In my last I meant that I ommitted the Jackie Brown soundtrack and Buzzcocks. Just clearing things up.
Anthony, I will be posting my list in the next 2-3 days. This is just a courtesy post to forewarn you that, as Henrik will testify, I'm a complete computer illiterate and my entry will be a really poorly formatted mess.
Also, sorry for my part in the whole 3EPs fiasco.
No worries, EdAmes – I’ll just be looking forward to receiving your list, regardless of the format it arrives in.
Also, I’m really enjoying the lists that have been sent so far; the diversity is stunning! There has been something on everyone’s list that has made me go “Ohhh, NICE!” (My coworkers must think I’m crazy. Oh wait, they already do.)
As of today, there are TWO WEEKS REMAINING to get your votes in. The clock is a-tickin’.
Also, some comments would be greatly appreciated. Not a requirement, but one or two lines about your top 10 favorite albums would add a little spice to the results.
And a teaser… the album in the #2 spot right now has received three more votes than the #1 album. Which means, everyone (well, nearly everyone) is loving the #2 album. But, you guys LOVE the record in #1.
That’s all I’ve got. Peace.
Maybe we should organize it so that when the list is posted each entry will have a brief description from whoever put that album highest on their list (but no more than two or three blurbs per participant).
I'm still not through with relistening to my old 100 and some new nominated albums. It's amazing how much one's taste can change, i.e. how much I am still reshuffling...
Hope to have it done before Christmas, include a few comments, and have the list come your way, Anthony.
I've had mind done for a week or so now I just have to type into Excel which I need to do on my home computer. My wife's been using that preparing for law school finals so once those are done I'll get mine in.
I just sent you some comments for my top 10. I'm starting to get really curious now.. I wish I was compiling the list!
I'm slowly building my own top 100, like a spider its web
Anyway it's always in perpetual construction so I prefer to wait until the last moment.
One more album from the 00's is in the house. Man, they are 6 now ! Almost as much as the 50's !
Anthony, have you received my list?
At first I thought that I was gonna wait the last moment to send my list but it was starting to monopolize my mind ! So I've sent the list as it was and "Alea Jacta Est".
Nicolas : I have 48 albums of the 00s, so I don't see why 6 would be such a high score
so we are complementary
21 days in (and just as many voters!), and I can’t help but give an update:
- Each year from 1955 to 2007 is represented by at least one album
- The album in 1st place has received four fewer votes than the album in 2nd (and five fewer than the album in 3rd place.)
- One album from the past three years has snuck its way into the top 20.
- Strangely, the album in 1st place has yet to receive a #1 vote.
One more? Mmmmmkay…
- Like a good Bordeaux growing season, this year has produced 14 new vintages (the top two have received 5 votes and 3 votes, respectively.)
And a bonus:
- No album has received two #1 votes (seems everyone has a different favorite!)
All in all, this forum is showing an adroit facility for picking musical gems. I’m still expecting lists from a few people; so before you get caught up in the holiday hullabaloo – the last-minute shopping, the driving, the mingling, the drinking, the eating (and the inevitable turkey coma that follows), send me your list. There’s only 10 days left, and they’ll pass before you know it.
That’s all I’ve got. See ya on the flip-flop.
man i like what you say
but I still won't give ya anything till the 31 st because I'm still discovering and moving things (I'll be in town that day and I'll get drunk AFTER)
Well it looks like my list will be pretty much choc-a-block really acclaimed albums,but there's a few non-acclaimed favourites in there. Still,I don't think anyone else will have my #1 album as their #1...
- No album has received two #1 votes (seems everyone has a different favorite!)
THAT sounds like we're in for a treat (would be boring if the outcome was too easy to guess)
Happy holidays everybody
Any Live albums are allowed right? Live at Apollo, At Folsom Prison... I saw them on the site so I assume they are fine.
They are of course allowed (I answer you in place of Anthony but I'm sure he'll confirm)
And yes, Appolo and Folsom are right (more than right for Folsom, in my opinion)
I have to type mine up over the weekend while out of town but I'll have them emailed Monday. It could be pretty close to the deadline but they'll be there.
It's a pity - there were a few albums which I got over the Christmas period which were too late to make the list but certainly would have otherwise - Television - Marquee Moon(bloody awesome) and The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society
Midaso - if you'd like to tweak your list to accommodate new additions, I'm more than willing to facilitate that.
Just as long as you don't change... let me see here.... #2, 8, 11, 21, 22, 25, and 32. Those must remain in their positions, or be ranked higher. Either one.
I sent mine just now. I decided not to do as many comments as I wanted to.
I have two eligibility questions.
1) Jimi Hendrix - Cry of Love/War Heroes
The question I have here isn't whether a collection of the singles he was working on when he died should count, but rather *which* collection counts as the definitive one.
2) Bob Dylan - Basement Tapes
Bob Dylan recorded this in 1967 to show to his friends. It was heavily bootlegged and got an official release in 1975, but a good cherry pick of the bootlegs is far superior to the released version. So I would think you should be able to count the bootlegged version.
Anthony, did you get my second email?
I just recently sent mine and decided not to do any comments on this one. Although some would have been interesting to do some comments on.
BillAdama - sure.
John - yup.
Rendle - comments aren't a requirement, but they're always welcome.
The way I look at it is this: a poll such as this is not just a fun little exercise in music nerdery, but it's also a great tool for discovering music, and I think the comments are a huge benefit in that regard. Perhaps there's an album out there that you've been meaning to check out for a while; seeing it rank on a list may spark your interest, but a well written comment might motivate someone to actually drive to the nearest record store, or jump on iTunes and buy it, or put it on hold at the local library.
Maybe I'm just an idealist, but I'd like to think that after this poll is over, someone here will have a new favorite record because of someone's comments.
You're right, Anthony but writing comments takes a hell of a time
I did that yesterday, it took my whole working day (boss out)
Well, God bless Nicolas' boss :-)
I enormously enjoyed reading people's comments in the recent 90'es polls, bu it IS a lot of work. My compromise was to supply comments for my 10 highest ranking albums + a handful others that I felt I had something to say about.
I'm going to send you a new list. Same albums. Same order. But with a few comments.
I just e-mailed my list. This was -very- difficult -- not so much choosing the albums, as sequencing them. Essentially, the order of my top 25 is pretty much set in stone, but beyond that specific placements beyond their general range could all change on any given day. A valuable exercise, though, and I eagerly await the results. Thanks for taking the initiative on this, Anthony, and a happy new year to everyone here!
I've just sent my list : 100 great albums, all killer !
Anthony, you'll have mine tomorrow by 4 PM
french time of course, so it'll be 8 AM in Edmonton
Since I'm one of four people in the world without a real version of Excel, I shared the file with you as a google doc spreadsheet. Every album is awesome.
My list is done and sent. It's a bit of a rush job what with the new baby!
Hope I've still got time -- I should have this in within a few hours.
a little delay : I'm listening to a great great record I had forgotten. Might be included ion the top 100..
and it's from last year
My list is sent
Next : friends (in the flesh), lobster, champagne
Well kids, December 31st is upon us (already), which means that the deadline for submission is mere hours away (by my clock, there’s a little less than 12 hours to get your list in.) I’m not sure if there’s anyone left out there who has yet to send their list – I’ve heard from everybody that I expected to hear from.
Nicolas’ list represents the 40th list received. Besides being pleasantly surprised by the turnout, I’m also feeling a bit overwhelmed (but in the best way possible) by the mountain of data, figures and comments, and so please allow a couple days (or three, maybe four) for the results to be computed by my trusty C64 – which may need a floppy drive replacement after all’s said and done.
Sent with nine hours to spare. Not nearly as exciting as diffusing a bomb in a James Bond movie.
Midaso- If you liked Marquee Moon you should listen to Gang of Four's "Entertainment!" next if you haven't already. Everybody I've suggested that too after they mentioned Marquee Moon has loved it.
I've just sent my list! Hope that you have received, Anthony...
C'mon Anthony, if you upgraded to a C128 we could have our lists sooner!
Well said, Anthony (on the reply to me)! How about I do my comments on each album after you reveal them?
I was hoping I'd get to work today and Anthony would surprise me with the top 100 to take the pain away from working on New Years! Oh well..
For anyone else who's biting their nails in anticipation of the poll results, you can relax for a while - the results are still a few days away. Reasons?
1. Still waiting to hear back from a few people regarding errors in their list (and other minutiae.)
2. I'm working on a presentation for the top 100 (which, I might add, looks pretty nice.)
I'm aiming for this Friday (or Saturday.)
Sounds good. I was just kidding around, I wasn't really expecting you to be done!
Thanks John,I've been looking around for that GOF album for a while - I'll be sure to get it within the next 6 months...
I'll be happy to do comments on any of my albums that end up on the final list, if you just let me know in advance which ones are those.