The List, 2010, #60-51

Closing-out the top half of this year’s List:

60
Big Star 1974
Radio City
Because I got this and “#1 Record” (a.k.a. #61, on this List) on the same CD, this is really just the last twelve songs on the disk, to me. These songs are a bit more squirrely, a bit less straight-ahead power-pop, than the first 12, but there’s really not a big difference. It’s the same blend of melodic mid-60’s guitar pop and early 70’s muscle all the way through.
59
Black Sabbath 1971
Master Of Reality
I’ve been a bit amazed to discover that in the nearly forty years it’s been trying, metal never really improved on what Sabbath did, way back at the beginning of it all. Metal got faster, shinier, bigger and more athletic; but at heart, it’s just a recycling of everything Sabbath invented and/or perfected in the early 70s. They totally defined the sound.
58
Green Day 1995
Dookie
Took me a long time to get into this one, too. But, now that I no longer hang out with people who play in bands that were doing that punk/pop hybrid years before Green Day got famous for it, I can appreciate just how good at it Green Day was (and still is). It’s a truly great collection of songs.
57
Van Halen 1979
Van Halen
So much energy. So much fun. And such a fantastic, meaty, growling guitar sound (and the actual playing! OMFG) sitting right up there in the front of the mix: star of the show, without a doubt. Only a brash showman like David Lee Roth would even try to share the spotlight with something like that – and he did a good job. Sadly, they never improved on this, their first 35 minutes. But there are a lot of good bands whose first album was their best. There’s no shame.
56
Black Sabbath 1971
Paranoid
Beats “Master Of Reality” because it’s slightly more diverse (see “Planet Caravan”, first link), and because it contains “Iron Man”, “Paranoid” and “War Pigs”. Any one of those would’ve been enough to ensure their everlasting fame. All three is almost too much.
55
Pink Floyd 1975
Wish You Were Here
Basically: three long songs sandwiched between two giant book-matched slabs of electronoodley space-age stoner jam. The concept itself practically begs you to fire up the bong before you take the record out of its dust jacket.
54
Fleetwood Mac 1975
Fleetwood Mac
It’s nearly as good as, and very similar to, “Rumours”. You can almost match each song on this one up with its counterpart on “Rumours”:
“Monday Morning” : “Second Hand News”
“Over My Head” : “You Make Loving Fun”
“World Turning” : “The Chain”
“Rhiannon” : “Gold Dust Woman”
etc..
“Rumours” has just a bit more intensity. That’s really this album’s only problem: it gets overshadowed by what came next.
53
Beastie Boys 1994
Ill Communication
One of those records I somehow keep forgetting how much I like, until I actually put it on. Then I’m all like “Oh My God, this shit is sick. It’s off the hook like Moby Dick!” Cause the Beasties make me wanna swear, and drop hot pop-culture references, rhyme.
52
Jimi Hendrix 1967
Are You Experienced
“Purple Haze”, “Manic Depression”, “Hey Joe” – and those are just the first three songs. You also get “The Wind Cries Mary”, “Fire”, “Foxey Lady”, “Are You Experienced”, “Red House”, and nine other songs – and half of those are great, too. While David Lee Roth had to really whoop it up to compete with Eddie Van Halen’s guitar antics, Jimi did it all – and better.
51
Sonic Youth 1987
Sister
Sonic Youth started really concentrating on writing songs here. There aren’t any epic guitar feedback collages here, and most of the tracks have some kind of standard song structure; and that alone makes it more accessible than all of their previous records – which isn’t really a tough bar to get over. But, the songs really are as good as anything SY’s ever written – sharp, focused, energetic, and good company on road trips. Unfortunately, it’s also a muddy, murky-sounding record. The drums sound muffled and small, the guitars make a huge wall that only the vocals can really get over. I’d really like to hear this one get a good remastering.

2 thoughts on “The List, 2010, #60-51

  1. Ming

    Hey, just wanted to express thanks for your fabulous pie filter. Am using at BJ on a few people and it makes the site not only more bearable but actively delightful in the places those folks show up. Thaaaaaaaaaanks!

  2. Cris

    The first time I heard Are You Experienced, I had to check that I wasn’t listening to a greatest hits compilation.

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