The List, 2006, #50-41

This section is pretty heavy on the Classics, and it's one of the sections that feels the most crowded to me - a lot of records fought to get into the Top 50. And, even though it's too late to change them now, I know there are a couple here that don't deserve the honor, and there are a few that didn't make the top half that should have. But, we're more than half-way there; we've turned the corner; it's all downhill from here!

50. Rolling Stones : Exile On Main Street (1972)

Outside of the big 2-disc greatest hits set, this was the first Stones record I ever bought. While it's not as hit-packed as Let It Bleed or as concise as most of their others, this one is one of the few I can appreciate as a self-contained album - most of the others from the Stones' heyday are so top-heavy with hits, that they feel like Classic Rock Party albums. Plus, "Exile..." has my favorite Keith song, Happy.

49. Bob Dylan : Highway 61 Revisited (1965)

I have a confession to make. I don't like Bob Dylan. I know he's revered by people who's taste in music I generally respect, but he just doesn't do it for me. I've tried listening to what are widely considered his best works, but they fall flat, or worse - for example, I simply can't listen to "Blonde On Blonde". I think I've looked mostly at his post '65 stuff, so maybe I need to look at his earlier stuff... ? OK. Whew. Sorry. This record, on the other hand, I like. Lots of interesting songs here - muscially and lyrically. It spent a long time in my car's CD player.

48. The Doors : Strange Days (1967)

It's not quite as strong as their first record, but it's solid, with a nice batch of great songs: Strange Days, Love Me Two Times, Moonlight Drive, People Are Strange, When The Music's Over. I just love Robby Krieger's slide playing on Moonlight Drive; I've always thought he was an underappreciated guitarist.

47. The Cars : The Cars (1978)

How big was this record? Here are 6 of the 9 songs: Good Times Roll, My Best Friend's Girl, Just What I Needed, You're All I've Got Tonight, Bye Bye Love, Moving In Stereo. The other three are good, too. The Cars are one of those bands that are capable of both great songs and completely fucking horrible shit songs. Luckily, this record is all the former.

46. U2 : The Joshua Tree (1987)

Another one ruined by overplay. But it's solid, front to back. This was U2's peak, without a doubt. The success of this went right their already-bloated heads, and they never even got back to tolerable.

45. The Doors : The Doors (1967)

When I first started to get into music, 5th grade or so, I listened to a lot of Top 40 junk I got from the jukebox supply store across the street. But sometimes, when he wasn't home, I would listen to my father's copy of this album on his stereo (with the big speakers!). Since I was ten years old, this album was darker than anything I'd heard before, and I liked it. This was grown-up music! Well, kinda. Most of this is pretty dated, 40 years out, but a lot of it still holds up pretty well: Break On Through, Light My Fire, Back Door Man, etc.. Plus, it'll always have that sentimental value... "Mother. I. Want. To. Blawrraithnowwwcomeowhnyayyuh".

44. Gillian Welch : Time, The Revelator (2001)

The songs here are more ambitious than on their previous records. They're longer, deeper and push beyond the typical country/bluegrass boundaries in structure and subject: the last song is 14+ minutes long; a song about there's even a song about music piracy (Everything Is Free Now); and she whips out the F-word in the first track ! (this isn't your great-grandaddy's bluegrass...) But it's still just the two of them doing that acoustic thing they do so well. The playing and singing is, as always, excellent, the recording is great (I Want To Play That Rock And Roll song was recorded live, but you can't tell at all until you hear the audience erupt in applause after a Rawlings lead), and the song writing is truly beyond compare.

43. Scud Mountain Boys - Massachusets (1996)

Before they were the Pernice Brothers, the brothers Pernice were in this band. This album is simple, laid-back, alt-country - only one song rises above mellow. There aren't any muscial theatrics or any technical brilliance to speak of. It's just a collection of melancholy songs about fucked-up relationships. I can't really explain why I like it so much. So I won't try.

42. Peter Gabriel : So (1986)

So many fantastic songs - even if Sledgehammer,
Big Time , Red Rain , and In Your Eyes are almost worn thin by overplay. Reminds me of the winter I spent working as a stock boy at a women's clothing store.

41. King Crimson : Discipline (1981)

One summer, I spent a few weeks hanging out with my uncles. We played a lot of board games (double-board Monopoly and The Stock Market Game) and listened to a lot of King Crimson, this album in particular. At first I thought it was the Talking Heads, since Belew's voice sounds a lot like David Byrne's. Good times. The playing on this is mind-boggling, from Belew's animal-noise guitar sounds, to Levin's 'Stick', to Bruford's mechanically-precise drumming, and then Fripp's inhumanly dextrous guitar playing. I've learned to play a few of these guitar parts, but there's always that other guitar (usually Fripp) playing that other part that I just can't even comprehend - does he have four hands ? And right in the middle of the record, they dial it all back and come up with a beautiful little tune like Matte Kudasai. Easily the best of the three records from this era.

Tune in next time - I hear Q-tip is gonna make an appearance or two.

Previous 100-91, 90-81, 80-71, 70-61, 60-51.

5 thoughts on “The List, 2006, #50-41

  1. cleek

    see. i knew you’d have some of the others, besides that Alison Krauss. :)

    Mrs. G bought the LP new in ‘65

    are you still playing that same LP ?

  2. cleek

    Hey Mike, go back to that thread and tell me if you can figure out which one of us was complaining about other people using pseudonyms and not giving valid email addresses, and which of us wasn’t. go on. go check. then come back and tell me what you found.

    you don’t even know what the fuck you’re arguing about. “Dope”, indeed.

    Why don’t you publish your e-mail

    because i don’t want another spam attractor. i get notifications for all the messages here, though. so if anyone needs to contact me (as you undoubtably will when you’ve finished your little assignment) you can post a message here.

  3. Rob Caldecott

    I want to thank you Cleek. I haven’t listened to “So” for many, many years – I’m talking at least 15 years. What a great “lost” album (for me anyway). At the end of “Sledgehammer” he sings “I’ve been feeding the rhythm” but it almost sounds like “I’ve been peeing in the river”. he he he.

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