Go to the NEW FORUM
Marquee Moon (my #2) is a absolutely wonderful album, and I don't envision it going down in future polls - indeed I think it will go up as its importance in shaping modern music will be more recognised. Aside from the amazing guitars, what I love about the album is its sheer attitude. Yes, even Tom Verlaine's vocals are part of it, so I can really apprectiate that, even if he can't hold a note to save his life. The most important things to me in determining whether an album comes high to me is personality and heart - while Marquee Moon doesn't have much heart, it certainly has bagloads of personality. Truly great.
And I'm really stuck about THAT album...I never have the memory for things...someone care to spoiler me (unless it's Illinois, but that really can't finish in the top 15, can it)?
Please no spoliers
Some people (like me) would still like to be shocked
or open another thread
Consider the list deleted, all apologies.
Yes, one of the best features of this poll in comparison to the last ones, along with the higher rate of discussion, is that we've had almost no spoilers thus far.
Zorg, if THAT album is the one I have I mind, and considering the few things I know about your taste, than I think you would love it.
Well, even though I think some albums must really go lower on next decades, I don't think it applies to The Strokes or The Stone Roses. Is This It, beside its almost perfect tracklist, was an album that gave the start up for that 180º lurch that happened to rock ten years ago, defining all the decade's sound; and you know critics love this kind of things. The Stone Roses, well, kind of made the same thing for British '90s, as underrated as that period looks to be. I wasn't there when it was released, but still have never considered it dated. Besides the tipical '80s reverbs, the production, specially those shining guitars, put the album in a kind of those so discussed "musical time capsules". Maybe I'm a bit biased by my own love for the album, it's my #6, but 22 years are already a good period to know how the album has survived to the test of time.
Hard rock classics are dropping like flies.
Eh, not sure how hard classic rock is truly falling in this poll. For one thing, some of the most "classic-y" classic rock is rising - namely, Zeppelin IV. Two Rolling Stones albums rose, and two fell - not sure what that says about classic rock exactly. I'm not sure there's enough here to identify a significant trend. Albums of all genres are rising and falling, and I think it might have to do more with the randomness of who participates in the poll. It would be interesting to see if there are any trends in albums rising or falling consistently since 2005.
Well Illinois and Funeral as well as albums like Remain In Light suggest that "unconventional" (and I use the word in the loosest of terms) albums are rising, so surely as a result more "conventional" ones are falling? Even things like the fall of Pulp and the rise of Elliott Smith suggest it as well, lower down the list.
Is THAT album Remain In Light? I would love that.
Yeah the number of ballots never reaches a critical mass. One more ballot and the top 10 an still change, that's why we shouldn' pat so much attention in short range differences between rankings.
@Zorg : No, given Jackson's reaction, that must be a classic rock / basic rock album. Born to Run ?
Born to Run always does really well though. It could be Blood On The Tracks. Jackson isn't a huge fan of Dylan, I don't think.
Anyway I think it's time to start commenting on some of the albums that have gone past:
The Bends: I mean, it's not a bad album. It really does have good songs on it. It's not too front loaded - the best songs are probably actually in the second half. Street Spirit is possibly Radiohead's greatest ending song, and that's saying something. The problem is that it's nothing special, and everything, and I mean EVERYTHING is special in this top 50 at least. You listen to it the first time and you love it, but by the fifth, it dies away.
Dark Side of the Moon: Have never listened to this album properly, but the listens that I have had have left me somewhat unimpressed. It's too bloated to me really stick. I don't think it has that much personality or heart, even though it does flow well, and the songs are on the whole pretty good.
Kinks: What a wonderful album. The Kinks just keep going up in my estimations and it's such a shame that they were around in the shadows of the Beatles and other 60s bands, when they're completely different and arguably better. That whole nostalgia about living in 60s Britain, lamenting the loss of the good old days really does appeal to me, at times it's intentionally cheesy and other times it's incredibly sweet.
Beggars Banquet: I think I put this in the top 10, because as Nicolas said, it's a magnificent mix of the hits and good old country rock. It shows how they can do lyrics like Dylan and play far better than the Beatles. Jigsaw Puzzle really is a magnificent song, probably my favourite of 1968.
Led Zep IV: It's a really good album. Every song is a single, and the last two are stunning (Going To California and When The Levee Breaks). Led Zep in my mind were probably the most musically talented band there ever was.
Kid A: I do like it, (I can't remember where I put it, but it was in my top 100), but again it's nothing special. My problem with Radiohead is that it's too easy to say when you first listen to one of their albums that it's the greatest thing you ever heard (this is happening with me with The King OF Limbs atm) but none of their albums have real lasting power. Even Amnesiac my favourite is slowly slipping away to albums that are more exciting, more consistent and more listen-to-me-again.
And also, LONDON CALLING FOR TOP THREE
Hey guys, I know I started talking about THAT album in the top 15, but it was not my intention to rise guesses for what it is, since it looked like everybody had agreed not to spoil anyone's surprises. Sorry if I unnintentionally led to this, but I suppose we agree not to tell the names of the albums that are still to come, right?
I'm also guessing "that" album is Automatic for the People (not a spoiler, since I don't actually know, just a guess).
edit: I can delete this if people think it's out of bounds.
I'm going to be out of town over the weekend, so the unveiling of the top 20 will resume late on Sunday.
As for your guesses, one person got it right, but I voted Blood on the Tracks and Remain in Light in my top 100, so I'm definitely not disappointed or confused by their rankings!
This, by the way, is a fantastic group of albums. The gain for Odessey and Oracle was one of my favorite developments of the poll.
"God knows where we're heading"
 Marvin Gaye | What's Going On | 1971
Points: 3128 | Votes: 27 | AM Rank: 6 | 2009 Poll Rank: 18 (-7)
Biggest Fan: Antonius (2)
What have I done?"
 Talking Heads | Remain in Light | 1980
Points: 3142 | Votes: 27 | AM Rank: 35 | 2009 Poll Rank: 37 (+13)
Biggest Fan: Andre (1)
"The warmth of your love's like the warmth of the sun"
 The Zombies | Odessey & Oracle | 1968
Points: 3168 | Votes: 28 | AM Rank: 316 | 2009 Poll Rank: 50 (+27)
Biggest Fan: Jackson (7)
"I was hoping it was a lie"
 Neil Young | After the Gold Rush | 1970
Points: 3237 | Votes: 28 | AM Rank: 44 | 2009 Poll Rank: 28 (+6)
Biggest Fan: Schwah (2)
"Has the world changed or have I changed?"
 The Smiths | The Queen Is Dead | 1986
Points: 3246 | Votes: 31 | AM Rank: 28 | 2009 Poll Rank: 14 (-7)
Biggest Fan: Midaso (1)
now, 25-21 starts with a real baad news
 Marvin Gaye | What's Going On | 1971
Nicolas is shocked
1. Because Qaddafi was shot yesterday
2. Because he got fired today
3. Because Marvin Gaye lost 7 spots to #26
Making this poll's list I realized how much I love What's Going On. A young French guy who started reviewing all AM albums from Pet Sounds made this negative comment about this album being naive in its lyrics. I think this is one of the most human, sincere and straightforward album I've ever heard. The call for help of a desperate man that wants to reconcile with his family and his country. An album about freedom too because he fought hard against Berry Gordy to have the album released like he wanted. And I didn't even mention the music, of this album playing like one long song (like Astral Weeks. there's so much to say about it...
 Talking Heads | Remain in Light | 1980
Originally not my thing, but I've decided to fight my prejudices. So I'll have to get used to Byrne's robotic way of singing. The music is good though, full of world influences, so this album could be called invention of Vampire Weekend number 2. I'm not sure TH will remain in light in the next polls, or in 10 years when the 80's won't be cool anymore. But good album.
 The Zombies | Odessey & Oracle | 1968
My #86. Well, this high ? It's an excellent 60s pop album, but I suspect it's this high because of its lack of immediate success and its "lost gem" status. It's an excellent album, but it deserves IMO a spot near... 86
 Neil Young | After the Gold Rush | 1970
It was my favorite NY album long before I discovered this site, and I was surprised it was the most acclaimed. A wonderful collection of songs with sparse arrangements. Neil was burnt out by the CSNY adventure and he wanted something more straightforward, more simple. He wanted something made at once, like int eh 50s and early sixties. The title track with its horn is a wonder; well I'm not gonna list all the songs, they're all great.
 The Smiths | The Queen Is Dead | 1986
Ok this forum loves the Smiths. Even my man Greg loves the Smiths (BTW where are you man ? ). they lmust have something that I don't get. So as Hernry says "Please provide an explanation..."
And Jackson, thanks for giving us our Weekend off
***Warning: the following shit fit contains violent and explicit language.***
What the FUCK????
Are You Experienced fell 15 places, Forever Changes fell, and more importantly BOTH LOST TO KID A-WHICH SUCKS!
Glad to see LZIV move up though.
Guys, if you wanted more clues on what THAT album could be, just check out my ballot. 9 of my top 50 haven't shown up yet, and 4 of those are in my top 10. Every album that could be has been mentioned though, so all of you are great guessers.
But I guess looking at my ballot spoils the fun of it. All of the albums left anyway are classics.
Odyssey and Oracle is becoming a lost discovery in a lot of indie circles. The people on the old Metacritic forum loved it too. But, I'm surprised it got all the way to #23. I mean, I like it, but it's far from my top.
I think Funeral is going to hit top 10. It's awesome to see 3 Dylans in the top 20. I only expected two, and my third guess wouldn't have been that one.
My top ten prediction: Beatles x 5, Dylan x 2, Pet Sounds, Funeral, OK Computer
To all those perplexed by some of the albums moving up or down a significant amount of spots, I would guess it's not because tastes have changed that much in the two scant years since the last time an all-time poll was conducted, but it's because there are probably quite a few different voters this time around.
Moonbeam don' miss my last post edit. there's a treat for you
And I'm no huge grunge fan. Still too much reverb on Pearl Jam's drums . An Oasis IMO is :
As small as a hen egg
An envious little frog
Seeing a bulky ox
Starts swelling and swelling
Trying to be as big as he is.
-“Look at me now - exclaims she puffed up:-
“Am I now as big as you are?”-”Not enough,
my old friend.”- And she keeps on swelling
And stretching and straining, enlarging
till she bursts as a bladder.
Folks all show and no substance,
Ambitious and brainless men,
Or people despising their own right place,
How many people as this frog are!
Jean de La Fontaine (1621-1695) (inspired by Aesop's fable
And speaking of Italo dance, you forgot this
that was a funny intermission but Jackson won't post the top 20 before sunday night. And that abomination was really one. Where did you get that ?
So many links to Italo Disco and yet none of these songs have been mentioned. I own this double LP and it's one of my favorites in my collection.
I think Jackson wants to start a new thread when he comes back for the top 20...
Back to the albums list...Nicolas, it has been a pleasure to read your opinions on each and every album. It feels as if you have got to know yourself a little more through the process, am I right?
"In Rainbows" is quite the shock. Probably the most unimaginative and cacophonous work of Radiohead with sort of an identity problem since it never feels like it has a certain style or that is spinning around many genres. Only two tracks I keep: "All I Need" and "Reckoner".
At least there is no hyperbole (or is there any?) at the placement of "Dark Side Of The Moon" while in other polls anywhere around the globe they are gonna choke you for not including it among the all-time Top 10. Atmospheric, with moments of ecstatic brilliance ("Eclipse", "Us And Them") but its sound effects seem dated to me and the lyrics, despite all the effort in the world of some critics to convince you for the opposite, are too simplistic. That said, I enjoy it quite a lot and it would probably made my Top 200, right around the 170-180 zone.
One of the few albums in exactly one rank that it deserves, "The Stone Roses" is one of those that can only be re-discovered from younger generations and furthermore gain some new chunks of love. Fresh, cheerful, with lots and lots of epic bass lines ("I Am The Ressurection", "Waterfall") and a truly original rebellious attitude in the lyrics of almost every single track (especially "Bye Bye Badman") it's very understandable why it rose a reprise of the '60s era and spirit at the time it was released, but it never feels like it borrows too much from them or being a nostalgia copy-paste. And that mix of funk and acoustic guitar sound can hardly be listed under a certain genre.
I tried to love "The Kinks Are The Vilage Green Preservation Society", even like it. So far I've listened to it almost two times. I don't know what exactly I don't get. It sounds corny and too optimistic for its own good for me. I think it belongs to the time of its release.
"Hunky Dory" is also pure brilliance. One of the best soft-pop rock albums of all time, a "prophecy" for a sound that would silently conquer the '70s (see "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road") and would be acceptable as a total mainstream-merchandise firecracker some time later, unfortunately not with artists and works of the same high quality (Meat Loaf, Queen etc.). Anyway, even if not as vastly epic as "The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars" it sounds and is perfect from the first to the last second and the classic ones from this ("Changes", "Life On Mars") haven't aged a bit.
thanks Henrik ! For once I have the time to do this. I'm having a lot of fun. Music is so important to me that it be came a reflection of my life, and that's why i have this very intimate relationship with these albums. That was the subject of my first and only novel. So yes talking about music I can't help talking about myself and following Socrates' principle (Know thyself). I wouldn't do that if I didn't feel that talking about the personal is sometimes the best way to reach the universal. So sorry Mr Jackson (comedy of repetition)for those endless digressings. It proves that those polls are the most fruitful events of our little community.
And Particle, great comment on "Hunky Dory". You nailed it. Bowie was a magician (at least during the 70's).
and Henrik, wow for your double LP. Miko Mission and Den Harrow !!!! Names that surged from nowhere (memory back alleys). We have to open a 80's pop thread. "Why Did You Do It" is great. Pure funk.
Like it or not, U2 are among the few bands out there after the '70s that can be proud they invented a sound which is 100% their own. What I love about "The Joshua Tree" is that it is the album-establisher of that sound and at the same time the peak of their form. Everything has the quality of a classic, from the bigger-than-life, stadium-filling arena rock of "Where The Streets Have No Name" to the quiet, whispering elegy and gentle sadness of "With Or Without You" or the darker, more introspective "Bullet The Blue Sky" and the joyful, seemingly out of nowhere happy, joyful folk of "One Tree Hill" it's a rare thing, a masterpiece both embraced by a bigger, mainstream crowd, a monster in commercial performances and also one that can touch the emotional chords of persons which prefer a less straightforward, more quirky and adventurous sound. And yes, if we say there are two works from them that can be widely regarded as the "antagonists" in what is the best among them, "The Joshua Tree" beats "Achtung Baby" any time of the day. Yeah, even breakfast.
"Beggars Banquet" might just be the most colorful and polymorphic from the Stones' so called "Big Four" albums. It begins splendidly with one of the most epic funky tunes ever which gains a touch of rock'n'roll only until its very end ("Sympathy For The Devil"), then has a taste of folk/country/blues ballads ("No Expectations"), and of course the much beloved, exciting and simply irresistible raw rock power which characterises the majority of their tunes ("Street Fighting Man") when it finally ends with beautiful acoustic guitar ("Salt Of The Earth"). Overall a desrved classic and I'm disappointed, more than "Let It Bleed", that it failed to top "Exile On Main St." which I think, for reasons I'll explain later, is the weakest among the "Big Four" elite.
Instead, I'd say that this title belongs to "Sticky Fingers" which automatically makes it my favorite Stones record. At the same time, it gives me the impression of being the most mature one, and the one that flirts and connects the most with the country sound that influenced this band so deeply. Somehow ironic then that it begins with the most frenetic, addictive song of pure rock they ever composed (even the best one? I don't know-competition with "Jumpin' Jack Flash" is harsh and tough), the famous "Brown Sugar". From the rest now it's hard to pcik a favorite, though I always grew an endearing affection to "Moonlight Mile". Anyway, it's a little pointless discussing about songs when it's about an album you must listen to the whole of it and not just one time (not of course to get it, but for multiple experiences of musical enjoyment!).
OK, we all know "Blonde On Blonde" is gonna rank the highest. I don't have a problem with that, it's a towering achievement in the history of music. But it's a little sad that a record as good as that, maybe even better by a sub-atomic particle distance is below the 20 mark at least. Beyond his superhuman ability to write such beautiful poetic lyrics which with a first, pedestrian look don't make any sense at all yet they hit emotional ground instantly, "Bringing It All Back Home" is also the one where Dylan's characteristic voice gets tested the most, changing from excitement ("Subterranean Homesick Blues"), to despair ("It's All Over Now, Baby Blue"), joy ("Mr. Tambourine Man"), and back to the space between all this started as a crossroad ("Love Minus Zero"), with the latter being for a reason I can't explain among my favorites of his. I haven't even mentioned the melodic quality of the guitar sound and the, oh, so harmonical inclusion of the other instruments as well and the fact that, from all the records in the world, this maybe is the one that has influenced the likes of Bruce Springsteen the most.
"The Bends" is actually one of the best forms Radiohead have been at-really very good songwriting (especially "High And Dry") and although their experimental phase hasn't even begun, their sound is still very different from the ordinary but in a good manner. Still, it has some flaws and it really is way too high already, although certainly most deservingly than other unbelieable to me entries. It's better than "Kid A" too.
Here's how I see the top 20 falling out:
19. Blood on the Tracks
15. London Calling
14. Rubber Soul
13. Automatic for the People
11. Sgt. Pepper
10. Born to Run
9. Blonde on Blonde
8. The White Album
7. Ziggy Stardust
6. Abbey Road
5. Highway 61 Revisited
3. VU & Nico
2. Ok Computer (wishful thinking)
1. Pet Sounds
I keep coming back to Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde, but for some reason I can't seem to enjoy it as much as his other well known albums (Highway 61 Revisited, Bringing It All Back Home, Blood on the Tracks). I find it is quite a difficult and sprawling album and I've already expressed my distaste for overly-long albums. I feel like there may be a misunderstanding somewhere, can someone explain why they think Blonde on Blonde is Bobby's best work?
All right so now everybody knows which albums are left
These are some of the reasons I love Blonde on Blonde:
1) It was the first Dylan I listened to. It holds a special place in my heart as a result - I Want You was the first Dylan song I loved, Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands was the second. Of course deciding to make the step of listening to an incredibly acclaimed artist and getting "Rainy Day Women 12 and 35" is incredibly jarring, but of course it grew on me very quickly
2) As Nicolas says, it's a garage sale. It's everything that Dylan could muster from that year, and it's all chucked in there. This is one way I think it's better than Highway 61 Revisited - it feels like he hasn't tried hard on it, he's not being meticulous - he's just playing and recording it and slapping it on a disc. To me you can hear he sounds a bit more liberated. A lot of the songs are just funny or silly and it shows in his voice.
3) The history. One of the first double albums ever, no one dared to make a 70 minute album before him and so many have done it since. It was a good decision
4) Lyrics. They really are incredible.
5) Crescendos. There's one in One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later) and of course there's one in "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands". Musically it's just amazing.
I have to say, I think the overly long nature is at the crux of why it's my favourite Dylan album. There's just so much to discover.
Here is what the final tally will end up looking like:
The Beatles - 12
Bob Dylan - 7
Radiohead - 7
David Bowie - 6
Led Zeppelin - 6
R.E.M. - 6
Bruce Springsteen - 6
Neil Young - 6
Elvis Costello - 5
PJ Harvey - 5
Pink Floyd - 5
Prince - 5
The Rolling Stones - 5
Animal Collective - 4
The Beach Boys - 4
Björk - 4
The Byrds - 4
Leonard Cohen - 4
Miles Davis - 4
Kraftwerk - 4
Bob Marley & The Wailers - 4
Joni Mitchell - 4
Pavement - 4
The Smiths - 4
Talking Heads - 4
The Velvet Underground - 4
Tom Waits - 4
The Who - 4
Wilco - 4
Stevie Wonder - 4
Arcade Fire - 3
Beck - 3
Belle & Sebastian - 3
Big Star - 3
Coldplay - 3
John Coltrane - 3
The Cure - 3
Nick Drake - 3
The Jimi Hendrix Experience - 3
Michael Jackson - 3
LCD Soundsystem - 3
Van Morrison - 3
The National - 3
Joanna Newsom - 3
Nirvana - 3
OutKast - 3
Portishead - 3
Lou Reed - 3
Roxy Music - 3
Sigur Rós - 3
Paul Simon - 3
Simon & Garfunkel - 3
Elliott Smith - 3
Sufjan Stevens - 3
U2 - 3
Kanye West - 3
Wire - 3
The Band - 2
Can - 2
Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band - 2
Johnny Cash - 2
The Clash - 2
Creedence Clearwater Revival - 2
Deerhunter - 2
The Doors - 2
Brian Eno - 2
The Flaming Lips - 2
Fleet Foxes - 2
Aretha Franklin - 2
Herbie Hancock - 2
Hüsker Dü - 2
Iggy & The Stooges - 2
Joy Division - 2
King Crimson - 2
The Kinks - 2
John Lennon - 2
Madonna - 2
Massive Attack - 2
Curtis Mayfield - 2
Paul McCartney - 2
Metallica - 2
Charles Mingus - 2
Modest Mouse - 2
My Bloody Valentine - 2
New Order - 2
Oasis - 2
Pere Ubu - 2
Pixies - 2
Prefab Sprout - 2
Primal Scream - 2
Public Enemy - 2
Ramones - 2
The Shins - 2
Sleater-Kinney - 2
Sly & The Family Stone - 2
Smashing Pumpkins - 2
Patti Smith - 2
Sonic Youth - 2
Steely Dan - 2
The Streets - 2
The Tallest Man on Earth - 2
Richard & Linda Thompson - 2
Tindersticks - 2
TV on the Radio - 2
Vampire Weekend - 2
Scott Walker - 2
Weezer - 2
The White Stripes - 2
Frank Zappa/The Mothers of Invention - 2
1954 - 1
1955 - 1
1956 - 1
1957 - 1
1958 - 0
1959 - 4
1950s - 8
1960 - 1
1961 - 2
1962 - 0
1963 - 5
1964 - 4
1965 - 9
1966 - 7
1967 - 16
1968 - 19
1969 - 22
1960s - 85
1970 - 20
1971 - 20
1972 - 16
1973 - 18
1974 - 14
1975 - 12
1976 - 8
1977 - 17
1978 - 12
1979 - 11
1970s - 148
1980 - 11
1981 - 2
1982 - 7
1983 - 5
1984 - 8
1985 - 8
1986 - 7
1987 - 8
1988 - 9
1989 - 9
1980s - 74
1990 - 5
1991 - 10
1992 - 3
1993 - 8
1994 - 10
1995 - 11
1996 - 7
1997 - 12
1998 - 9
1999 - 6
1990s - 81
2000 - 10
2001 - 9
2002 - 12
2003 - 6
2004 - 10
2005 - 10
2006 - 6
2007 - 10
2008 - 7
2009 - 5
2000s - 85
2010 - 13
2011 - 5
2010s - 18
More albums from 2010 than any year of the 80s, 90s and 00s. The recency effect?
It's recency effect, but it's also that a lot of people started listening to more albums in 2010 because they found this site.
I hoped that "Are You Experienced?" would replace for lost ground in the Jimi Hendrix issue. Unfortunately it didn't. I wonder why-it's one of the greatest albums in the history of music. Apart from the fact that it was the one to start the guitar-solo-mania that characterised almost every hard rock band during the '70s and '80s and that it pushed electric sound along with "Revolver" further than anything at the time, it's epic. It has a tendency for instant listening gratification which is a little restrained in the more sophisticated "Electric Ladyland", but that definitely doesn't make it a worse album, just different in the way it approaches the Hendrix sound, rawer and with more power. While the album's most beloved songs ("Foxey Lady", "Manic Depression", "Are You Experienced") follow that norm, there are many exceptional moments of "calmness" with more complicated sounds and psychedelia ("Third Stone From The Sun"), while the classic masterpiece "Purple Haze" works both as an extraordinary synopsis of the whole album and an amazing, totally representive of Hendrix's music song. And it also seems that records we haven't seen this far will soon appear, making "Kid A" better than this. Oh, well, to each his own taste.
The Who are really great but this is their only album I coulf fit in my Top 100, not meaning that the others are worthless but because there are simply other records I love more. This, the most grandiose attempt of a band that always had great ambition could be overblown, or even completely difficult to get, but it works perfectly. Keith Moon's absolutely perfect drumming offers a generous company to every each one of the songs in here, which pretty much all follow a mix of electric sounds and basic rock'n'roll a la Stones, but they never listen the same. And that achievement, making an album with a steady trademark sound without falling in the trap of repetition or boredom is more than great. Anyway, expected entrance, fabulous record, but if it was a little lower, say in the Top 50, I wouldn't mind much.
"Forever Changes" is a very nice reminiscence of good '60s music, but what beyond that? A lot of hype for just another good album among the way too many that decade had. It's also kind of annoying everyone trying to interpret deeper meanings in lyrics so freely written, maybe not because of pretentiousness but just to be part of an equally hazy era. Whatever, an enjoyable, if quite overrated work. Best tracks: "Old Man" and "Maybe The People Would Be The Times Or Between Clark And Hilldale".
Very happy for "Is This It". My second favorite album of the '00s and a promise which sadly wasn't fulfilled by the band's at best OK discography afterwards. Those weird, telephone conversation alike vocals by Julian Casablancas give an extra layer of quality throughout the album which brings in mind a touch of The Velvet Underground, especially the colossal "Sunday Morning" during the suprisingly melancholic "Is This It?". The rest of the record undermines that sadness underlined by that track but it stays there during all the songs, which makes a superb, divine contrast with the seemingly happy, shiny tunes of rock tunes like "Last Nite" and "Soma". With a few words, a milestone for the decade that recently passed away and a record that many bands wouldn't have made even if they dared to kill (see White Stripes). Greatest moments include "Someday" (among the greatest songs of the '00s too if you ask me), "Hard To Explain" and "Take It Or Leave It".
Never got the praise around "Marquee Moon" too. Good guitar playing and drumming, mediocre vocals and a track of epic length with the word "classic masterpiece for the ages" wanting to be carved on its forehead just because it lasts too long (however it is indeed the best moment on the album and totally great, even if it never touches the perfection it wants to have). Again an enjoyable record given the status of a classic not without a bunch of doses of hyperbole.
Yes, 5 in the top 20 is too much, but let's keep in mind that it's nobody's list.
I doubt that anybody placed 5 Fab 4 album in his top 20 (i only have 2 but in the top 10)
And Btw I love Yellow Submarine.
I dont give a shit about influence
All I care is if it sooooouuuuuuunds goooooooooooooood
Last week for me has been a (truly exhausting) busy one so I completely missed the live presentation of the results. The first time I’ve been able to sit and read the list and all the interesting discussions it has raised has been this Sunday evening (oh how I envy the ones that can peep now and then to the Internet during their daily works).
Now, after going through those thousands of words the main feeling I got right now is indigestion , so one brief comment only.
Everyone has his opinion about the list (you know, opinions are like a...), while some think that it’s too classic rock oriented some other think the opposite. And that’s what it’s the list: balanced. Maybe except the small percentage of non-US non-UK (and non-Canada non-Australia) albums. But no more than any other given list. Going through the 33 albums that Henrik pointed we have:
- 22 albums from Europe (7 from Iceland and Germany, 4 from Sweden, 3 from France and 1 from Bulgaria)
- 9 albums from America (5 from Jamaica, 3 from Brazil and 1 from Cuba)
- Only 1 album from Africa (!)
- And none from Asia.
So you all know, Africa and Asia are the unkown continents on our Forum. There are no even AMers from this part of the world (Dan M, you lived in South Africa but you’re British, am I right?)
Many of us post a lot of African albums in the decade polls.
but Asia and its billions of inhabitants is almost terra incognita for us (musically speaking I mean)
I've been mulling over some kind of unknown album game in World Cup format where I would upload the albums of the week to Rapidshare. I think this sort of thing would greatly increase our knowledge of these unknown regions, but I'm not entirely sure how to decide which albums get to participate. This might not be the perfect place, but we do have a lot of people watching this topic so I'll just start a small discussion:
I've considered two options:
- Underrated albums, having people select their favorite albums that don't have a lot of votes on RYM
- Foreign albums, excluding all English-language albums. If the rule were kept this simple Björk et al. might dominate though, and she's not exactly unknown.
As an extension of that last option, we could divide the world into several sections, nominate albums that will play in the preliminaries and then continue on to the global world cup to play each other. Just thought of that, and it actually sounds quite awesome.
In the interests of expansion, listen to some of these:
Baaba Maal and Mansour Seck - Djam Leelli, my number 19,
Boubacar Traore - Mariama another amazing African guitarist. The bigger sound of King Sunny Ade's JuJu Music.
From Asia, is anyone else listening to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan (Devotional Songs I find very accessible). A recent find is Japanese shakuhachi album by Goro Yamaguchi A bell Ringing in the Empty Sky (my number 200).
There are great albums out there to find.
And my number 9 album, Gurrumul by Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu is a great album by Australia's most popular indigenous musician. Born blind on an island off the north of Australia, he sings in the Yolngu language and speaks little English. He is also Australia's greatest vocalist.
I will start a new thread for the top 20 but first I have to defend my number 2 album. "Corny and optimistic?" Sounds like someone dismissed the music without putting much effort into listening to it.
Songs like "Big Sky" and "Do You Remember Walter" have more complex and "mature" lyrics than any song written by Lennon or McCartney. Lyrics on these tracks and the whole album are far deeper than they seem on the surface, check out this analysis of "Big Sky". The title track one of their wittiest--totally tongue-in-cheek and full or wordplay.
People who don't like or understand this album needs to realize that the village green is merely a device by which Davies analyzes himself and the world around him. The record is intensely nostalgic, emotional, and personal. A record about old English life has such appeal to a modern American teenager because of my relation to Davies' worldview. That, and the variety of arrangements and instrumentation on this record is delightful.
Another thing--I'm increasingly deciding that optimism and positivity are the most underrepresented emotions within serious music, particularly the more experimental records that I am typically drawn to. Given that, Odessey and Oracle is even more of a gem. It is much harder to make a 'happy' record artistically viable than a 'sad' record. O&O is one of the best-written and constructed albums of the 60s, but replaces the disillusion found in many of the decade's most acclaimed records with an extremely positive vibe throughout. Village Green, despite the downbeat vibe of many of its lyrics, does the same through bouncy songs like "Picture Book." The ability to intersect art with a positive atmosphere is what really makes these records great.
Agreed on all accounts, Jackson! Here's my token of gratitude to The Kinks Are Village Green Preservation Society.
I've never been to England. I'm more than a decade removed from having any first-hand knowledge of the 1960s. I like modern gadgets and big cities. Yet somehow, The Kinks are able to make me not only understand the bucolic charm of the halcyon days revered in The Kinks Are Village Green Preservation Society, but feel like I belong there. It is this transformative power that makes listening to this album such a rich experience.
The Kinks Are Village Green Preservation Society presents itself as a sort of sequence of brief daydreams, each one providing just enough detail to convey a particular feeling. "Village Green Preservation Society" serves as the prologue, calling for the preservation of various cultural touchstones of the then-recent English past. Thereafter the album opens up like a pop-up book of scrapbook memorabilia from past, present and future perspectives in jumbled order. There are childhood fantasies and horror stories ("Phenomenal Cat" and "Wicked Annabella"), wide-eyed memories of young adulthood ("Do You Remember Walter?", "Village Green"), abstract contemplations about life's transition ("The Last of the Steam-Powered Trains") and purpose ("Big Sky"), allusions to awestruck idol worship from both sides ("Johnny Thunder", "Starstruck"), blissful escape ("Sitting by the Riverside", "Animal Farm") and frustration about the inability of pictures to truly capture the past ("Picture Book", "People Take Pictures of Each Other") covering all sides of human relationships in under 40 minutes. Baroque instrumental drapery gives the entire project a cinematic feel to enhance each feeling, making for a potent emotional tug that never has the chance to overstay its welcome in any particular setting.
While each song is worthy of its own lengthy description, I'll only focus on a few of the most striking moments. The dichotomy of doughy-eyed nostalgia and jaded reality is perhaps best captured in "Do You Remember Walter?". It is clear that Davies looked up to his long lost friend as he fondly recalls how popular Walter was with girls, the fun times they spent smoking and playing cricket, and their plans to change the world with the surety of youth, but all the while he laments how the world has changed and surmises that Walter now would likely be a tubby, dutiful husband who would not care about such past endeavors. It serves as a powerful statement about the change of perspective, as youthful dreams give way to tough reality in a way that can warp the illusion of both the past and the present. Elsewhere, the humor in what I'll call gnome singing on the childhood myth of "Phenomenal Cat", the way that the murky "Wicked Annabella" is presented as an exaggerated warning from parents about a social outcast to keep their kids in line and the nightmare of hyperbolic public embarrassment in front of all of your friends in "All of My Friends Were There" ensures that the album has its light moments, too. I'm no fan of country music, but the dirty swing of "The Last of Steam-Powered Trains" is nonetheless a favorite for its anthropomorphic depiction of the last steam train's final hurrah and the way its sound is mimicked by three falsetto voices converging in an elongated "steeeeeam!". "Starstruck" and "Picture Book", meanwhile, are perfectly hummable pop songs that get me moving beyond what I thought 60s pop/rock was capable. The unquestioned highlight, though, is the song which inspired the entire project. At just over 2 minutes, "Village Green" is the most lushly orchestral track present, with harpsichords, horns and an oboe unraveling the picturesque beauty of the humble countryside. Davies narrates from the perspective of broken disillusionment after the call of the big city proves unfulfilling, focusing on just the right elements to make the song universal by highlighting the things he misses: morning dew, fresh air, a church, an old oak tree. He then reveals the loved-her-left-her fate of his relationship with Daisy in a mere two lines. Things quickly turn sour as he mocks tourists marveling at the very same quaintness he remembers so fondly before he nonchalantly states that Daisy married a local grocer. Although the song finishes with the image that upon his return he and Daisy will "sip tea, laugh and talk about the village green", the wistful way in which the song is performed and sung gives the direct resignation of the lyrics its own twist, as if he doesn't want to say too much in order to prevent himself from completely losing it. In the end, you get the feeling that the narrator will be dying on the inside as he feigns a smile and a laugh drinking tea with Daisy.
Only one other artist I've encountered has demonstrated this ability to leapfrog over my musical prejudices to transport me into a world of which I know nothing and color in the lines so vividly - Sufjan Stevens. And as with Illinois, The Kinks Are Village Green Preservation Society has proven to be such a thoroughly invigorating and informative listen that it feels like a personal milestone. Adjacent albums Something Else by The Kinks and Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) likewise chronicle this sort of baroque photo gallery through the mundane but important lives of John and Jane Doe, but it is at its most well-developed here.
That's awesome that you enjoy Village Green so much now Moonbeam. Where would it rank if you made your list today? Also, I'm reciprocating by finally listening to Sign o the Times.
As far as 2010 goes, I think that while it might be slightly overvalued in the poll 1) If you look at it by total points, not total albums listed (which I'll post after the results are finalized), I bet several other years would leap over it and 2) 2010 was a fantastic year for music, and I think it will be looked at as one of the best of this era a couple decades from now. Just a hunch.
I love the Beatles' childish songs. They're part of the charm of every album. My kids LOVE Ob-La-Di, and that's great. The Beatles were found of comedy records, which was George Martin's field before he met them.
They didn't take themselves seriously and that's what I love in them. John was the band's buffon (I love those spoken voices he makes) before he got intersted in modern art
You probably know that Lennon was pissed by McC's "fiddle-faddle" as much as Paul was pissed by "Revolution 9"
Almost done, so I'm not gonna annoy any of you anymore with those hackneyed paragraphs
I'm not the biggest fan of LZ out there (although I love "Led Zeppelin II" along with that record), but "IV" is a tour de force. It's amazing the level of perfection it reaches if you consider there are only like, what, eight tracks on it. Even if you dislike the band completely, you must at least hear to this because it is the one that pretty much sums up everything they've done. As lame as it might sound, "Black Dog" is one of those beats you can't resist headbanging to and the most exciting one possible to drag you to the universe this album creates. One "complaint" though I always had is that, in my honest opinion, the last track (and I mean the one that closes the album, that it should on the second side of it) should be "Stairway To Heaven". Unavoidably, when you include it "halfway" through and it is actually the greatest song using multiple genres of music ever written and performed, almost like translating Schubert or Strauss to rock'n'roll, the rest is gonna sound inferior, even when they are actually brilliant songs (with "Going To California" being my favorite). Whatever, it's an undeniable classic but even if it wasn't, I'd adore it anyway.
And now for something that fewer people will agree with. I love the Stones and I mentioned before how much I appreciate "Sticky Fingers", "Beggars Banquet" and "Let It Bleed" ("Out Of Our Heads" also, but it didn't even make the Top 500 so I didn't have a chance to mention it). I think that "Exile On Main St." actually gets the most of the recognition because it represents more accurately what that band really sounded like, their roots, influences and what they finally produced. I don't object that it is great, very energetic and doesn't water down a good weirdness factor in its sound at some parts. But its loud noise starts to become tiresome after 5-6 tracks and it doesn't know when to slow down. Thankfully, when it does ("Sweet Virginia") only to start after a while again ("Happy"), it gets more balanced and easy to enjoy. Favorites: "Rocks Off", "Sweet Black Angel" and "All Down The Line".
"Kid A", although definitely much better than, say, "In Rainbows" (haven't listened to "The King Of Limbs" yet), is too much whimsical for whimsicality's sake. When it gets slightly more accesible ("Everything In Its' Right Place", "How To Disappear Completely", "Kid A") it's brilliant it feels like a breath of fresh air, but unfortunately it doesn't leave many chances like that for the listener to chill. But when it pushes it to the limit ("The National Anthem", "In Limbo"), it's borderline unlistenable.
Personally I prefer "Sign 'O' The Times" as a more inventive and gently pleasing record but I can see why "Purple Rain" gains more popularity, besides being totaly awesome. It's like a chocolate too tasty to resist to, and because, you know, it's the '80s, it happens to be probably the most inspired moment for the genre of pop with dance beats, after "Thriller". What is also masterful is the playful mood which characterises all the album through, even in its' most romantic parts ("The Beautiful Ones"). And, please, find me one artist today that has such variety of emotions in his vocals like Prince had in this. It also has one of the best closing songs in the history of music and therefore it's its' biggest highlight. Other classics to me are "Take Me With U", "Computer Blue" and "When Doves Cry".
I think I also have mentioned something small before commenting on John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme" but jazz is so not my kind of music and so is Miles Davis. Generally I have a very short attention span and the repetitive sounds used in jazz don't help me concentrating on the music, instead, they "lose" me pretty much soon. "Kind Of Blue" though is a good album even if it doesn't get away from the norm and is in fact at times boring ("All Blues"), but I like it. Definitely better than, say, "Bitches Brew" (which had a very cool cover though if I can recall it well) and very beautiful at times ("Freddie Freeloader", first "half" of "So What").
Although he had a bucketload of classic soul singles, all of them very beloved songs and quite a few of them my favorites too, admittedly in terms of albums his career was uneven. Of course that doesn't matter because "What's Going On" is maybe the greatest confession of a single artist in one album, a chance to get to know his inner world and passions better and altogether the most important disc soul music ever created. Above everything else, the political, social and ecological statements expressed through every song (simplicity is the key word and the power of the record too, not "naive") it's the beauty of the music itself that's so breathtaking in the point of heartbreak. Gaye was without a doubt one of the greatest voices ever lived on planet Earth, and with the company of such carefully composed and beautiful melodies gives his masterpiece which I'm happy to see that high since the cynicism of nowadays doesn't leave much for appreciation. "Right On" and "Wholy Holy" are my favorites.
"Remain In Light" is one of the cases where I don't dig a genre a band represents, yet I find the album surprisingly enjoyable and with a playful tendency towards experimentation. It's just that I don't find it that good and that it lacks a certain weight in terms of importance: it never felt as groundbreaking to me as for others and it's too homogenised, making it difficult for some tracks to be separated from others as standouts. That said, it's a very interesting experience, especially when hearing to it for the first time and it's probably their finest achievement.
The biggest surprise of them all is here. An album heard by only a few people by a band considered by the most an one-hit-60's-wonder for "She's Not There". To me it's what Public Enemy had wisely said: Don't believe the hype. Way too dated, lacking a necessary sophistication in lyrics for standing the test of time and only two truly worthy tracks on the whole LP ("Maybe After He's Gone", "Time Of The Season" which I swear I had heard some time ago as a sampler in an awful contemporary song I can't remember its name right now).
I'm not the man with a taste for Neil Young either. In terms of songwriting and vocals the men for folk to me were always and will forever be Bruce and Bob. "Harvest" and "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere" are very good, but nothing else excites me that much, including this. Especially the way he sings in some parts as in the s/t track is unbearable. Anyway it has its moments and a gift for creating a special atmosphere.
In contrast, I always liked The Smiths and "The Queen Is Dead" is the point where they have mastered their abilities and pretty much conquer a part of their own in the history of british music. Their sinister, dark but also strangely affectionate sound had always a powerful effect on me and in here they are more confident than ever in terms of handling it. Also having a singer like Morissey couldn't be less of a tremendous benefit for any band that could have him. They dare to play blues too ("I Know It's Over") but they are better when they are improving their characteristic way of making music not leaving the fun aside ("Bigmouth Strikes Again") but also not forgetting they have some serious business to do in here, so they better compose something totally masterful and incredibly pitch-perfect ("Cemetary Gates", the legendary "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out"). A fantastic British album.