Friday, August 21, 2009

My Top 12 Albums of All Time

My friend Ryan just started a music review blog. Go visit it minions, it's fantastic.

In honor of his latest post of the eleven greatest albums of all time I will now one up him and do my

Twelve Greatest Albums of all Time: IN 3D
Someone needs to do the 13 greatest now, Tyler/Chiapelli I'm looking in your general direction

These are in no particular order.

R.E.M. --Document
This was my first introduction to R.E.M. before they got strange. The impressive part of this album is its balance. The most recognizable songs are in the middle with "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" and "The One I Love", but this is a well paced album that starts strong with "Finest Worksong" and ends with the very eclectic "Oddfellows Local 151". Easily their finest effort.
Best song-- Finest Worksong

Metallica--The Black Album

Yeah I know, but hear me out. While Metallica's greatest song, One, is not on this album, it is filled with fantastically solid songs. It's one of those cds where each track puts you back to the specific time and place when you first heard it. As our token "hard rock" group in this list, it's worth noting that it just barely beat out Soundgarden's "Superunknown" which is another great album.
Best song-- Wherever I may roam

The Jayhawks--Tomorrow the Green Grass
Any album that opens with the line "Where have all my friends gone, they've all disappeared" just fits the angst of teenage me. And while this may seem to be a purely nostalgia pick for that reason, this is an album filled with wonderful music that defies genre labels. It is for lack of a better description, pure Americana.
Best song-- Blue

U2--Joshua Tree
I went back and forth on this album truthfully. This is one of those albums like Dave Matthews' Under the Table and Dreaming, Bob Marley's Legend, or the Doors Greatest Hits which is unquestionably brilliant but that I can only listen to periodically. That said everyone knows it and it represents the apogee of U2's artistic production and to a large degree has defined their subsequent career.
Best song-- Bullet the Blue Sky

Bob Dylan--Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits
Yes a greatest hits album is a cop out. I know that and you know that, but Dylan is an all time great and this collection is amazing. Look at the track list if you don't believe me. Rainy Day Woman is one of the greatest pro-weed songs ever, Mr. Tambourine man should be learned by every American, and The Times They Are a Changin defined a generation. For my money I'll always take Johnny in the basement mixing up the medecine.
Best song-- Subterranean Homesick Blues

Black Crowes--Shake Your Moneymaker
Yeah I've already had one Americana style band on this list but comparing the Black Crowes to the Jayhawks is a bit like comparing Alice and Chains to Nirvana. Yeah they hit their peaks around the same time, and yeah were loosely in the same "genre" but they're worlds apart in style and content. Alice in Chains was way better than Nirvana by the way but I digress. This album does not have a bad song and has more than you'd think which are toe tappingly fantastic. I rediscovered it not too long ago and was blown away by just how good it still is.
Best song-- Jealous Again

Flogging Molly--Swagger
Now just as I have a love Americana I have a love Celtic Punk. Yes this ranks right next to French rap, and Hindi reggae in the average person's iPod playlist, but I find great satisfaction in the almost desperate optimism of these artists. Flogging Molly is the best of the lot in my humble opinion, and this album is my personal favorite (although the Real McKensies and the Dropkick Murphys are also worth a look).
Best song-- The Worst Day Since Yesterday


There are some songs that you hear and you think, yes I could seduce a woman with this song. This is one of those albums and Guitarra is one of those songs. Picture it, a coastal restaurant in Portugal. You're dressed up in the absolute finest clothing. The food is fresh from the sea. The sun is setting over the Atlantic while the moon rises on the eastern horizon. The restaurant is deserted except you and your lover and this band who plays haunting traditional music with a soprano whose vocals blend beautifully with the sound of the sea lapping against the I need to go to Portugal.
Best song-- Guitarra

Patty Griffin
--1000 Kisses
Okay this was a tough one. This is a great album, but it falls into a difficult category for me to like. That category is of course "stuff that can be played at Lilith Fair". Still, Patty Griffin is much more of an artist than many girl power acts and her musical sensibilities range from country to blues to folk. Tomorrow Night exemplifies this diversity.
Best song-- Tomorrow Night

The Shins--Oh Inverted World

What do you get when you have a band who's lyrics you can't understand but who sound like they would be wicked cool if you could? The Shins of course. I have no idea what the guy is singing. I do know that whatever it is, sounds awesome.
Best song-- Caring is Creepy

Weezer-- Weezer (Blue Album)

If the Shins are incomprehensible, Weezer is best comprehended by D&D playing, Ivy league attending, Linux loving, uber-nerds. Which might be why In the Garage, with references to 20-sided dice, is my favorite of their songs off this album.
Best song-- In the Garage

Fleet Foxes--Fleet Foxes
I had to come up with one more album to beat Ryan and so this was my throwaway. I'm not convinced in ten years which of emo-laden fat bearded artists I'll still remember. But since Fleet Foxes was the first that I really grew to love, they're the ones that make the list. Also they have some of the wildest videos. Check this one out...
Best song-- White Winter Hymnal

(If you're viewing this on Facebook or through an RSS feed, well you're missing out on the awesomeness of the photos and videos on our blog. Further, your lack of comments on our blog makes me want to gouge out my eyeballs in hopes that pain lessons the emotional one you've caused.)


Alissa said...

i read your post. as i don't listen to music, it is over my head. but i can't be accused of not commenting! so there!

Ryan said...

@Stew - Awesome, I had actually meant to get Weezers Blue album in my list but got distracted. Surf Wax America and My name is Jonas

I didn't want to put in a greatest hits album, but if I did, it would have been Neil Young, Down by the River and Cowgirl in the Sand are pure awesomeness.

@Alissa - Get with it and listen to all of the albums Stewart and I have listed.

Wife of dastew said...

Hmm, is NPR an album? If so, that would make my list.

La Yen said...

Um, is Twilight an album? Because people are always talking about that...

Anonymous said...

Clearly your taste is all in your mouth, Stew.