Search This Blog

Monday, January 6, 2014

The 100 Best Albums: 100-50

Part one of two.

The album was a product of the rock revolution, which might be summed up as the idea that popular music could be legitimate artistic expression. The Beatles became emblematic of this change, and they set the standard for rock. Artists should write their own songs and play their own instruments, in contrast to the production mill-Brill Building approach that had dominated the music business previously.

The idea of composing a group of thematically related songs, that worked together as-a-set,  brought the  album to its' pinnacle of cultural currency around 1980. Shortly thereafter, new formats like CDs and 12" singles began to erode the album format, and today it may be truly an anachronism, because of itunes and the prevailing pattern of consumption; people just grab their favorite songs.

Artists of course continue to create albums. Any group of music files in a folder constitutes 'an album',  but the era of the album as a distinct art form  is over. 'Rock' was the dominant idiom during the ascendency of the album, and so dominates this list. House music, as important and creative as it was, was a form not productive of great albums, due to its' intended-for-the-dancefloor nature and the prevalence of the 12" single format.

This list is, of necessity, a simple expression of my own personal taste, albeit a taste informed by a lifetime of heavy listening and obsessive collecting, and a background in art history.


Part two of this article is HERE. 

                                           50. Lee Perry and The Upsetters Super Ape 1976

                                        51. Bob Dylan The Basement Tapes 1968 (unreleased)

52. Scientist Rids the World of the Evil Curse of the Vampires 1981

                                           53. Jefferson Airplane Surrealistic Pillow 1967

54. Psychic TV Allegory and Self  1986  (unreleased, unexpurgated version)

                                       55. Happy Mondays Pills Thrills and Bellyaches 1990

56. The Clash The Clash 1977

57. Paul McCartney Ram 1971 

                                          58. The Byrds Younger Than Yesterday 1967

59. Nurse w/ Wound The Sylvie and Babs Hi-Fi Companion 1985

                                                    60. Led Zeppelin  the Four Symbols logo  1971

61. The Doors L.A. Woman 1971

62. Coli Horse Rotorvator 1986

63. The League Unlimited Orchestra Love and Dancing 1982 

64. Toro Y Moi Causers of This 2009


                                                   65. The Smiths The Smiths 1984

66. Steely Dan Can't Buy A Thrill 1972

                                                            67. KLF Chill Out 1990

68. The Pop Group Y 1979

69. Throbbing Gristle 20 Jazz Funk Greats 1979 

 70. Washed Out Life of Leisure 2009

71. Fleetwood Mac Rumours 1976

                                                72. Malcolm McLaren Duck Rock 1983

 73. The Orb Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld 1991

74. Led Zeppelin Houses of the Holy 1973

75. Tears For Fears Songs From the Big Chair 1985

                                            76.  Echo and the Bunnymen Ocean Rain 1984

 77. Chris and Cosey Techno Primitiv 1986

                                                      78. The The Soul Mining 1983

                               79. Throbbing Gristle D.o.A. The Third and Final Report 1978

                                                       80.  The Beatles Abbey Road 1969

                                              81. Book of Love Book of Love 1986

                                                 82. John Lennon Plastic Ono Band 1970

                                                  83. Rolling Stones Exile On Main St. 1972

                                                           84. Vektroid Neo Cali 2011

                                           85. Death In June The World That Summer 1986

86. Various Artists This Is Acid New Beat  1988 (Belgian)

                                                     87. New Order Brotherhood 1986

                                88. Memoryhouse The Years (original 'bedroom' version) 2010

                                                   89. Steely Dan The Royal Scam  1975

                         90. Orchestral Manoeuveres in the Dark (OMD)  Architecture and Morality 1981

                                                        91. Lou Reed Transformer 1972

                                                     92. The Stooges The Stooges 1969

                                                93. Current 93 Swastikas For Noddy 1987

94. Teen Daze Four More Years  2010

                                                            95. Suicide Suicide 1977

 96. Various Artists North; The Sound of the Dance Underground 1988

97. Van Halen Van Halen 1978

                                              98. Cabaret Voltaire The Conversation 1993

99. David Bowie (with Brian Eno) Heroes 1978 

                                                100. Blackbird Blackbird Summer Heart  2010

                                                                  PART TWO 

No comments:

Post a Comment