The List 2010, #40-31

40
Joni Mitchell 1971
Blue
It’s just her incredible flute of a voice and a variety of acoustic instruments: very sparse, compared to most of the other stuff I’ve heard from her – which is all far more orchestrated and smooth-jazz-ified, cluttered, fussed-over. But this is intimate and direct, and just about perfect.
39
Lilys 1994
A Brief History of Amazing Letdowns
The shortest record on the List, by far. It’s a six song EP, where the last song is totally skippable and two of the remains songs are under 2:00 long – and one of those is titled “ycjcyaofrj”. But it’s about a perfect example you’ll find of a certain kind of dreamy alt-pop that was around in the early 90s.
38
Led Zeppelin 1973
Houses Of The Holy
This might be their most tuneful and least bluesy record – it’s got a reggae song ! It’s certainly the one that tries least to sound like classic thumpy stompy Led Zeppelin – which isn’t necessarily something that they needed to avoid!
37
Robyn Hitchcock 2004
Spooked
Another mellow acoustic Hitchcock album ? Yep! But this features the unmistakable sound of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, who joined Robyn for this one album. It’s got a handful of ultra-catchy tunes, a bunch of not-so-catchy-but-still-awesome songs, and a decent batch of merely solid ones. Plus, like I mentioned: Gillian and David!
36
Gillian Welch 1996
Revival
Speaking of Gillian and David! This is their debut record, and it’s got two songs she entered into Merlefest’s new songwriter contest (“Orphan Girl”, which was ignored and “Tear My Stillhouse Down”, which won. As far as Gillian Welch records go, it’s just OK. It sounds a bit like they were trying to temper their anachronistic deep woods sound with some softer, more modern, alt-country tunes. So, it’s only good enough for the #36 spot.
35
REM 1987
Dead Letter Office
This is a B-sides and outtakes collection, so it’s full of things they didn’t think were good enough for official release. I think it’s their best full-length record. It’s a rough and sloppy and funny REM – one that’s not afraid of doing a TV jingle, or covering an Aerosmith song, or forgetting the words to “King Of The Road”. It doesn’t sound like they’re trying to convey any deep messages with these songs; they’re just having fun. Refreshing.
34
Rolling Stones 1969
Let It Bleed
On this one, the overplayed must-skip is the last song (“You Can’t Always Get What You Want”). And I could do without “Country Honk” (the countrified version of “Honky Tonk Woman”). But, the rest is rock-solid super-awesome number one.
33
Led Zeppelin 1975
Physical Graffiti
It’s the first two sides that earn this one this spot – the harder, heavier, stomping, thumping sides. The other two sides have a lot of softer atmospheric things which rub me the wrong way. But those first two… man: “Custard Pie”, “The Rover”, “Houses Of The Holy”, “In My Time Of Dying”, “Kashmir” ? Stomperriffic.
32
Rolling Stones 1978
Some Girls
It’s their last great record, and their biggest-selling. But unlike all the other Stones records on this list, I don’t have to skip the really big songs: “Beast Of Burden”, “Miss You” and “Shattered”. I still like them! And that’s why it’s the highest-placing Stones record this time around.
31
The Cure 1981
Faith

This one is very similar to “Seventeen Seconds” (aka #41), and the two were actually released together as a double record in the UK. The mood and the sound of the two are nearl yidentical, and the only reason this one places higher is because I like the hit from this one (“Primary”) better than the hit off the other (“A Forest”). Other than that, I consider them to be interterchangeable.

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