The List, 2010, #100-91

Oh happy day! Not only is it my darling wife’s birthday, but today I start my fourth biennial Top 100 Favorite Albums List – there are links to the others are on my left-side nav bar. Yippee!

Today’s the first ten, and over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting sections of the new list, one every few days.

I used the same basic method this year that I used in 08: I took the previous list, added 49 new entries, alphabetized the list, then fed it into my little C++ record sorter program. After four days of answering ‘Y’ or ‘N’ to its 1500+ questions (ex. “Big Star : Radio City (1974)” > “Bob Dylan : Highway 61 Revisited (1965)” ? y/n), it spat out my sorted list. Happily, this list differs a lot (IMO) from the previous lists – lots of new records, a few surprises, lots of huge movements, etc..

And so, here we go…

100
David Bowie 1972
Ziggy Stardust
When I was four or five, I had an awesome portable 8-track player shaped like a TNT detonator – you changed tracks by pushing down on the plunger and it made a big satisfying CLUNK! as it did whatever 8-track players did to switch tracks. I had Ziggy Stardust and something from John Denver, and I alternated between them for a good year or so. At least that’s how I remember it.

But the 8-track player eventually died. And then the 8-track format died, too. And I was Ziggy-less for the next 25 years. When I picked this up again in the mid-90s, it turned out that I had forgotten most of it – except the hits, the world won’t let you forget the title track, or Suffragette City, or Moonage Daydream. But all the rest of it was brand new again. And, unlike a lot of things I liked when I was five (ex. the bleedin Irish Rovers), this I still like today!

99
Robyn Hitchcock 1990
Eye
This is one of his many solo-acoustic records, and the first of his solo-acoustic records that I bought. So, it’s a sentimental favorite of mine. Based on the number of YouTube pages I had to search through before I found a song from it, though, it seems to be one of his less-popular records.

To me, it’s one of those records that I have to hear start to finish, all or nothing; and it’s one that I like to pay close attention to when it’s on. So it doesn’t get played as often as some of his other records, because I keep finding myself saying “No, I’m not really up for ‘Eye’.”

98
Unrest 1991
Imperial f.f.r.r.

In a better world, Unrest would have been kings of the singles charts, in 1991. IMO, “Suki” (first link) and “Cherry Cream On” (2nd) are as blissfully catchy as anything anyone else has written, ever. Alas.
97
The Beatles 1967
Sgt Pepper
This one is actually a recent acquisition for me. While it’s impossible not to know most of the songs from this one, I don’t recall ever hearing it all together. And, happily it’s even better in album form! The things I hadn’t heard are good, too! Sweet.
96
The Police 1979
Reggatta De Blanc
If you’re of a certain age, you just gotta like The Police. And yet this one just barely makes the list, and it’s the only Police record on the list this time ’round. Why? Well, it’s because overall, this one is just a tiny bit less played-out than most of their other records. It’s not that it’s not full of great songs, it’s that I’m close to the edge of not being able to stand hearing any of them ever again.
95
Nirvana 1994
Unplugged
I like most of the songs here better than their studio versions because it showed that Nirvana wasn’t all about the loud/quiet dynamic or Kurt’s screaming – though that was surely a lot of it. It turns out that they also had a bunch of really good songs.
94
Slint 1991
Spiderland
Nobody ever did cold, hard, slightly-sinister math rock as well as Slint did. Frankly, I’m not aware of anyone who has ever tried, either.
93
Tortoise 1996
Millions Now Living Will Never Die
Tortoise writes long, interesting, songs during which nothing really happens. It’s a neat trick.
92
Andrew Bird’s Bowl Of Fire 2001
The Swimming Hour

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This is the last of his records with the Bowl Of Fire group, and the first one that really breaks from his early style of pre-war jazz and folk music. In this one, he gets very close to his current style, but it’s mixed up with things like country swing, dreamy 50’s pop, and my favorite, the Ray Charles-esuqe “How Indiscreet” – linked above. This is also where “Why?”, still a live staple, first appears.
91
Yo La Tengo 1990
Fakebook
Most of this record is covers of obscure, quirky songs from the 60’s. With their own understated charm, YLT turns these mostly-forgotten oddities into adorable little WTFs. None of these songs would have seemed like the kind of song that needed to be covered, to me. But luckily, YLT heard something in them.

And who among us does not love a histogram ?

6 thoughts on “The List, 2010, #100-91

  1. cleek Post author

    this is the first time Ziggy’s made one of my Lists, i think. it’s always been right at the edge, though.

    this year, i think i’m going to do an Honorable Mention list, for some of those that didn’t make the cut – to my surprise.

  2. The Modesto Kid

    “Eye” came out after I had stopped listening to Hitchcock, before I rediscovered him… it’s probably one of the RH records I’ve listened to least. I dig the music when I put it on though.

  3. cleek Post author

    i played Eye again last night and loved it. it would’ve placed higher if i was making the list today, instead of last week.

  4. Mr Furious

    Agree completely on the unplugged Nirvana. To me they set the bar for that genre with that appearance.

    Alice in Chains, Live and others had good turns, but Kurt & Co. showed range no one thought they had and it is just as good today (maybe even better?) than it was at the time.

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