This is the second of the three articles I’m writing to celebrate my shitty blog. It is a compilation of my Top 10 Favourite Albums of All Time. Honourable Mentions go to The Clash-The Clash, Blur-Parklife, Gorillaz-Demon Days, Pixies-Surfer Rosa, The Stooges-Raw Power, David Bowie-Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, The Scientists-Self Titled (The Pink Album), Dan Deacon-Spiderman of the Rings, Die!Die!Die!-Harmony, Sonic Youth-Rather Ripped/Daydream Nation, The Prodigy-Fat of the Land, Bloc Party-Silent Alarm, The Cramps-Pyschedelic Jungle/Song the Lord Taught Us, The Strokes-Is This It, Crystal Castles-Crsystal Castles II, DJ Shadow-Endtroducing…, The Bronx-The Bronx I, Eddy Current Suppression Ring-Primary Colours, My Bloody Valentine-Loveless, The Soft Pack-The Soft Pack, The Hives-Black and White Album, Green Day-Dookie (fuck you man, this is my list), Mudhoney-Superfuzz Bigmuff, No Age-Nothing in Between, The Black Keys-Brothers, The Birthday Party-Prayers on Fire, Wavves-King of the Beach, Nirvana-In Utero, Grinderman-Grinderman II, The Dandy Warhols-Welcome to the Monkey House, The Cure-Three Imaginary Boys, Step-Panther-Step-Panther, and Shellac-1000 Hurts.
An album is an incredible thing. It can never be underrated as a singles fest. A record has the ability to transport an array of powerful emotion and context into a 30 minute-1 hour celebration or disintegration of life. A record is a powerful tool, works of art that work cohesively to take things from mere musical pieces to form a connection with the listener that they will never forget. These are my favourite albums that have had a prominent impact on my life.
10. The Avalanches-Since I Left You: This album marked the transition for me from punk to a broader range of music. After hearing the singles ‘Since I Left You’ and (of course) ‘Frontier Psychiatrist’, I became incredibly curious about this album. Accolades upon accolades have been heaped on this album, and the band is one of the few still shrouded in mystery. Through this album completely controlled by samples of others music, The Avalanches created a masterpiece. Some believe it is overrated, however I beg to differ. Where people see unnecessary praise, I see an album that ebbs and flows with a control and daunting power that most bands could never even think of achieving, let alone express with such nonchalant charisma. ‘Since I Left You’ is a fucking masterpiece of textured beauty.
9. The Killers-Hot Fuss: The Killers first two albums are pure pop-rock genius. I would consider them the modern David Bowie’s. Sure, they might have fallen right off the fucking track with their recent ‘Battle Born’ album, but there is no denying that ‘Hot Fuss’ is a delicacy, capturing every corner of the market. From the earnest ‘Mr Brightside’ and ‘Smile Like You Mean It’, to the sinister ‘On Top’. And who can forget ‘Somebody Told Me’, dance floor rock meets charisma. The Killers did it on ‘Hot Fuss’ before Franz Ferdinand even got the idea. Purely amazing, cohesive album.
8. The Prodigy-Invaders Must Die: ‘Invaders Must Die’ remains my favourite of Prodigy albums, simply because it doesn’t get bogged down at all. It doesn’t contain eight minute rave solos that start to drag on, but instead just constantly pushes out solid electronic music, track after track. Sure, ‘Stand Up’ slows down the album considerably, but it remains a fun track. For the rest, just look at tracks like ‘Invaders Must Die’, ‘Thunder’, ‘Warriors Dance’ and ‘Take Me To the Hospital’. It’s jam packed with deadly jams, and remains one of the my favourite Prodigy, and electronic albums.
7. Queens of the Stone Age-Songs for the Deaf: This is an album of absolutely insane proportions. Based on a ‘bored’ listener flicking through radio stations, the album forms. This simple but effective technique absolutely hammers home the themes of loneliness, desperation, and total weirdness in ‘Songs for the Deaf’. The desert aspect of desert-rock is no more clearly achieved on any album of the genre than on ‘Songs for the Deaf’. Everything about it is creepy but cool, and blown to total exageration. One of the most interesting and original albums to come out in recent history. And c’mon, it’s got Dave Grohl on drums, and features ‘No One Knows’. How could it not be a guaranteed amazing album?
6. Sonic Youth-Goo: Sonic Youth have produced so many amazing albums, of course one of them was bound to be my favourite. Although, ‘Bad Moon Rising’, ‘EVOL’, ‘A Thousand Leaves’, ‘Dirty’ and ‘Confusion is Sex’ are all fantastic, brilliant albums, but ‘Goo’ takes the cake. Why? Because it is one of alternative rock’s greatest albums for a reason. Sonic Youth sound incredibly straight forward on the record, but just when you start to get comfortable, it’ll shock your system with a powerful experimental riff that blows your brains out. Take ‘Mildred Pierce’ for example, with it’s solid riff continuing until the nearing of 2 minutes, when Thurston Moore repeatedly screams of ‘Mildred Pierce! Mildred Pierce!’, implementing a cacophony of disturbia. This mainly stays true for the entire album, with good offset by the weird, and interpretive. For this reason, ‘Goo’ rises above the traditional dorward-thinking Sonic Youth fare, and transcends into intriguing and compelling listening. ‘Kool Thing’, ‘Dirty Boots’, and ‘My Friend Goo’ are also essential Sonic Youth tracks to most fans, and staples of the Sonic Youth catalogue, so having them all shining on the one album is pretty great.
5. Weezer-The Blue Album: Weezer’s ‘Blue Album’ was a marked difference from mainstream rock music upon it’s release. While most teenagers were obsessed with heavy metal, or flannel grunge, Weezer released some nerd rock, heartfelt geek music. And it fucking gelled. The singles of ‘Buddy Holly’, ‘Say It Ain’t So’, ‘My Name is Jonas’, and ‘Undone: The Sweater Song’ hold as true as they did then. But then again, so does the rest of the album. It’s an amazing record from start to finish, that’s pace and depth only rise as the record continues. Plain songs with surprising insight are ‘The Blue Album’s’ forte, and it’s executed most perfectly.
4. JEFF the Brotherhood-Heavy Days: The most recent of my favourite albums, it stands out because it’s probably the one I listen to most consistently. There will never be a point in time in which I skip a JEFF the Brotherhood song from this album on my iPod. Every track is utterly engaging, turning what could be completely average garage rock into an entertaining and smooth artwork. Song melts into the one another, however they are all unique enough to hold themselves as signals. Opener ‘Heavy Days’, with it’s droning, fly buzz intro, is completely different but equally amazing as the happy go lucky ‘Bone Jam’ or the coming of age anthem ‘Growing’. Overall, ‘Heavy Days’ excites as much as it shocks and pleases. And you can’t mention ‘Heavy Days’ without swooning in the same breath about the ultra heavy neo-pysch of ‘Mind Ride’ and ‘Heavy Damage’.
3. Fugazi-13 Songs: Introduced to me at the same point as Shellac, I’ve always preferred Fugazi’s material over Minor Threat. I find the experemintalism of Fugazi’s ’13 Songs’, and they’re willingness to get a message across in a subtler, more educative form is a far more powerful tool than Ian MacKaye’s previous attempt of screaming. ’13 Songs’ is more than an average punk record, in that it’s more intelligent and textured than anything else put out. If the Ramones, the Dead Boys and Black Flag all hung out, it might create something like ’13 Songs’. Sludgy yet light, angry yet thoughtful, harsh yet understanding, the juxtapositions on ’13 Songs’ are endless, and songs like ‘Margin Walker’, ‘Bulldog Front’ and the stunning ‘Waiting Room’ ensure it’s classic status.
2. Dinosaur Jr.-Green Mind: One of the first alternative albums I bought, along with Tool’s ‘10,000 Days’, The Dandy Warhols’ ‘Welcome to the Monkey House’ and Alice in Chains’ ‘Face Lift’. Of all those, ‘Green Mind’ has been the most enduring because of the powerful connection J Mascis manages to confer with the listener. Although it’s not considered a ‘classic’ Dinosaur Jr. album, due to Lou Barlow’s absence and Murph’s limited contributions, J Mascis still manages to create a deep, thriving atmosphere on the album that really pushes limitations. Maybe it’s because it was my introduction to Dinosaur Jr., but I’ve always favoured ‘Green Mind’. But it’s probably due to the killer tracks on the album that just build and build towards a heartbreaking crescendo of ‘Thumb’ and ‘Green Mind’. Not that the album acts as ladder to the final tracks, far from it. ‘The Wagon’, ‘Puke + Cry’, and ‘How’d You Pin That One on Me’ are all essential Dinosaur Jr. tracks that everyone, including myself, loves intensely. Like the album artwork, a photo of a young girl smoking, ‘Green Mind’ is a powerful, drastic record that pays off with it’s honesty, toeing the line with cliche, but containing enough genuine awesomeness to solidify it’s place as one of the greatest records of all time.
1. The Ramones-The Ramones: If you don’t like this album, then we cannot be friends. There is literally nothing wrong with it, as it is a flawless record. This was the record that set the cornerstone of punk, and adapted a pedestal for people to admire. Definitive buzz saw guitars, simplistic chord structures, and some of the most no-brainer lyrics ever written (‘Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue/Now I Want Have Something to Do’) all combine to make a landmark record. The Ramones crafted addictive punk trash that is invaluable to both the history of music and music itself. It is completely revolutionary, and faultlessly executed. Most remember the debut as the album which had ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’. You know it…’Hey Ho! Let’s go! It was in a Stephen King novel, and it’s only one of the most fire-up worthy songs in existence. However, it also features gems like ‘Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue’, ‘Havana Affair’, ‘Beat on the Brat’, ‘I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend’, ‘Judy is a Punk’ and ‘I Don’t Want to Go Down to the Basement’. In fact, every song on the album is worthy of timeless distinction. Combining a hard, fast, loose musical principle with razor-sharp charm and slacker wit, The Ramones made a masterpiece that is my, and I’m sure countless others, favourite album of all time.