Saturday, March 10, 2012

Day 4: List your "desert island" top 20 music albums

I have chosen not to include any kind of anthologies. Otherwise they'd nearly all be anthologies. I'd rather honor true albums: songs that were meant to go together. I will attempt to rank them and list them in countdown order.

20. Dark Side of the Moon (1973) Pink Floyd: Perhaps the perfect rock album; every track essential to the whole.

19. The Joshua Tree (1990) U2: As a youth, my favorite album to get slightly drunk in the pitch dark with.

18. Roll The Bones (1991) Rush: Just when I thought the all-out genius days of Rush were well over, they did it once again.

17. One of These Nights (1975) The Eagles: Who could imagine that simultaneous country and disco influences on classic rock would result in such a masterpiece. Better than Hotel California for every conceivable reason.

16. Born In The USA (1984) Bruce Springsteen: One poignant high school anthem after another; All that is awkwardly beautiful and bittersweet about America.

15. Collective Soul (1995) Collective Soul: The most amazing blend of hard-core guitar rifts and sweet melodies. the track When the Water Flows would surely appear on my list of top 20 songs of all time, this being the only such album-song pairing to dually qualify so!

14. Heartbeat City (1984) The Cars: Drive, Magic and every other track each remain a portal to the magic summers of my youth. Goofy gorgeous Ric Ocasek was once the ultimate in cool!

13. Four (1971) Led Zeppelin: What can I say? Totally epic. I assume it's on everyone's list!

12. Brothers in Arms (1985) Dire Straits: Nine gorgeous songs diverse in style yet firmly aligned through emotion and Knofler's trademark minimalist guitar bursts. Spectacular achievement.

11. Money And Cigarettes (1983) Eric Clapton: What do you call this? Country-Folk? It is meat-and-potatoes rhythms with Clapton's comforting voice and trademark squealing guitar. It's the chicken noodle soup of music. Now and then you just need it. (Did I just use conflicting food metaphors? Oh well. It's my blog. I make the rules.)

10. Moving Pictures (1981) Rush: When else has such unconventional genius been so accepted by the masses? On the subsequent tour they sold out Maple Leaf Gardens for three consecutive nights. Has that been done before or since?

9. Fully Completely (1992) The Tragically Hip: One of those rare albums you buy because it has five amazing songs on it, only to discover there are five more tracks on it even more amazing.

8. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) The Beatles: There's nothing to say about it that hasn't already been said a thousand times.

7. In The Aeroplane Over The Sea (1998) Neutral Milk Hotel: What an incredibly heavy work. It pushes the limits of their playing ability, of Jeff Mangum's voice and most significantly, it pushes the limits of the transparency one man can make of his own heart. Profoundly emotional and one of the best-selling indie rock albums of all time I would guess (though I really don't know). Thank you Neo!

6. Power Windows (1985) Rush: Yet another masterpiece from start to finish by the transcended band who proved that record labels suck the life out of music, that music critics are petty little bullshitters and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is nothing more than an irrelevant country club.

5. The Wild Hunt (2010) The Tallest Man On Earth: This album may hold an accelerated position currently because we are still in the honeymoon phase. Gorgeous folk guitar combined with an ugly troll voice, totally smacking of Dylan. Wildly beautiful. Thanks again Neo.

4. Grace Under Pressure (1984) Rush: "It's too new-wavy," my more metal-oriented friends said; those who had boarded the Rush bandwagon with Moving Pictures. I didn't care. For a 15-year-old held ransom by the vile governments of the U.S.A. and U.S.S.R. and their spectacular overabundance of cocked and aimed nuclear missiles, this album spoke to me on every level, musically, emotionally and intellectually. An immeasurable impact on my life.

3. Signals (1982) Rush: Seven gripping beautiful songs which still today compel and thrill me and tether me to the 13-year-old boy I was when I acquired it for the first time (on cassette) thirty years ago. Oh my god. Thirty years? Incredible. Oh - plus the odd track "Countdown" which I still fail to appreciate.

2. Who's Next (1971) The Who: All the most amazing Who songs in one place. Could have been reissued as Best of the Who in my humble opinion.

1. A Farewell to Kings (1977) Rush: Genius. Absolute genius if genius has ever existed in the world. Indescribably beautiful.

1 comment:

Elizabeth Twist said...

Oh wow. I need to get Fully Completely back into regular rotation again. Great, classic list.