The List, 2010, #50-41

It's all downhill from here!

Leon Redbone 1974
On The Track
I believe this one takes the prize for highest placement of a record that has never been on a List before. But, I've been playing the hell out of it in the past year or so, it's earned the spot. This was his debut album, and even in 1974, it was anachronistic. Playing old-timey folk music is one thing - there were lots of bands doing that, but playing straight-up vaudeville, Dixieland jazz, and pop hits of the 20s and 30s was (and still is) unique. And I love it.
ZZ Top 1973
Tres Hombres
Before they turned into twin Santas, before they adopted those goofy personas, they were a straightforward Texas blues band. And a good one, too.
The Beatles 1968
The Beatles (white album)
A monster record. So many songs (30!), it's almost too much. But there are so many good songs that the whole thing works despite its sprawling enormity. But I still only take it one album at a time - I never play all four sides in a row.
Sonic Youth 1988
Daydream Nation
It was my first, and remains my favorite, Sonic Youth record. It starts with my favorite SY song ("Teenage Riot" - a song about a world where J. Mascis, of Dinosaur Jr, is president). There's a coherence to it - the sound, the feel of the songs, their order - that makes me think there could be a theme to it all, but I've never figured it out, if there is. I'm usually not a big fan of the songs Kim sings, but on this one, they all work. It's a long album, and one that works best start to finish, so as is becoming far too typical, I don't play it much anymore. And that makes me forget how much I like it. But once in a while, I'll play it, and it all comes back.
Rolling Stones 1968
Beggars Banquet
As I go through the sorted list, to write these little blurbs, I usually play a few songs from the record, to refresh my memory. Right now, "Daydream Nation" is still playing and I can't believe I put "Beggars Banquet" ahead of it. Oh well! This is a good record, though, like most Stones' records from this era, I have to skip the first track ("Sympathy For The Devil", in this case) because it's been criminally overplayed. Still, the rest of the album is great, and is a constant in my car CD player.
Pixies 1987
Come On Pilgrim / Surfer Rosa
While some of their later records were pretty good, the Pixies first (first EP and first album) was their best. It's fresh, frantic and spaztic and sometimes it's funny. Even now, it sounds unique. Everybody copied their loud/soft tricks, but nobody ever came close to duplicating their playful, creepy, menacing giddyness. Joey Santiago is the guitar player I always wanted to be; Frank Black was a phenomenal song writer and front man; and Kim Deal is a certifiable rock goddess. And, can you think of a better song to play over the closing credits of "Fight Club" than "Where Is My Mind" (first link)? I can't. This one should be higher up.
White Stripes 2001
White Blood Cells
While it's not their debut, it was the first time I'd ever heard them. It's a bit of an oddball for them. It's a lot sweeter and a lot less bombastic (though there's still plenty of bombast). When this one came out, they hadn't yet become the Rock Stars™ that they are today, so there's a lot less Rock Star™ attitude. While it's full of great songs delivered with great energy, it still feels a little bit innocent - at least compared to everything that followed. And speaking of perfect songs for movies: "We're Going To Be Friends" for opening credits of "Napoleon Dynamite" was an inspired choice.
REM 1984
Oh REM. You were so good, and then somehow you got really big at the very same time you stopped being really good. How'd you manage that?
A Tribe Called Quest 1993
Midnight Marauders
Every time I do this list, I get to this record and I look at what surrounds it and I think to myself: what is this doing here? But, the answer is: I love it; it's just so good! The person who introduced this to me also introduced me to the Beastie Boys, and that was my only real exposure to hip-hop up till then. I was content to ignore it (as I am now). But this record, and The Beasties' early 90's output, seem to come from a much different place than all the other hip-hop I've heard since. The jazzy samples and sampling, the laid-back vocals: nobody does that anymore. Sadly.

On the other hand, I just (as in today) got around to checking-out De La Soul. Sounds promising. Oddly, "3 Feet High And Rising" is either out of print or so hard to find that Amazon has no new copies for sale; iTunes doesn't carry it. Bit Torrent does, however.

The Cure 1981
Seventeen Seconds
It's cold and bleak. The lyrics are murmured despair; at their most-positive, merely memories of hope. The hard and sterile drums, tempos that rarely exceed dirge, guitars thin and chorused, nothing but minor keys for miles. Totally fucking awesome.

The histogram is shaping up nicely (if you like Cisco).

9 thoughts on “The List, 2010, #50-41

  1. Ugh

    So is there a rule against things from pre-1960, or, that’s just how it turns out? Not that I have any suggestions, mind you (ok, Buddy Holly maybe?).

  2. Ugh

    I too, generally, have a policy of abortion thread non-participation, but also can’t quite seem to keep to it 100% of the time.

    A policy I do keep to is not commenting on a 100+ comment thread about the first 25 or so comments without reading every single other comment, as it’s a virtual certainty that my comment has already been made (see, e.g., someone at around comment 125 noting your math mistake when it had been noted at least five times previously).

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