Sunday, 21 December 2014

My Top 68 Albums Of All Time


After writing a blog post on what I think are overrated albums, I thought I'd give it a fuller context by writing one about my favourite albums - by which I mean the albums I consider to be the best popular music works I've heard. I'm not one of those music fans who thinks there is an easy measure of 'best-ness': There are all sorts of criteria one could measure. For example, Van Morrison's Tupelo Honey has stronger vocals than Bob Dylan's Freewheelin', but possibly less good lyrics. Pink Floyd's Animals has a more sumptuous musical arrangement than, say, Jimi Hendrix's Are You Experienced?, but arguably less skilful guitar playing.

Therefore when it comes to best-ness, what are we judging: arrangement, lyrics, guitar playing, vocals, or a combination of various qualities? For that reason, I don't think there is such a thing as a best 50 or best 100 albums. Music depends not just on the criteria you're looking for, but on the mood of the listener too (incidentally why not a best 63 albums, or best 89 albums, or best 104 albums?). If I want some chill-out music for a party then Massive Attack or Portishead are better albums than Black Sabbath or The Who; if I want dance music for a disco event then Faithless or Michael Jackson are better albums than Aimee Mann or Nick Drake.

So, given the foregoing preamble, here are my top 68 albums in terms of personal favourites, listed in alphabetical order, based loosely on what I think are albums I wouldn't want to be without.

MOON SAFARI - Air

PET SOUNDS - The Beach Boys

SUNFLOWER - The Beach Boys

ABBEY ROAD - The Beatles

REVOLVER - The Beatles

RUBBER SOUL - The Beatles

SGT PEPPER'S LONELY HEART'S CLUB BAND - The Beatles

THE WHITE ALBUM - The Beatles

IF YOU'RE FEELING SINISTER - Belle & Sebastian

HUNKY DORY - David Bowie

LOW - David Bowie

THE RISE & FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST - David Bowie

HOUNDS OF LOVE - Kate Bush

THE NOTORIOUS BYRD BROTHERS - The Byrds

YOUNGER THAN YESTERDAY - The Byrds

DÉJÀ VU - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

THE DOORS - The Doors

FIVE LEAVES LEFT - Nick Drake

BLONDE ON BLONDE - Bob Dylan

BLOOD ON THE TRACKS - Bob Dylan

BRINGING IT ALL BACK HOME - Bob Dylan

HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED - Bob Dylan

FLEETWOOD MAC - Fleetwood Mac

RUMOURS - Fleetwood Mac

I NEVER LOVED A MAN THE WAY I LOVED YOU - Aretha Franklin

WHAT'S GOING ON - Marvin Gaye

SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND - Genesis

ARE YOU EXPERIENCED? - Jimi Hendrix

ELECTRIC LADYLAND - Jimi Hendrix

TAPESTRY - Carole King

IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING - King Crimson

LED ZEPPELIN - Led Zeppelin

LED ZEPPELIN IV - Led Zeppelin

FOREVER CHANGES - Love

CLUTCHING AT STRAWS - Marillion

SCRIPT FOR A JESTER'S TEAR - Marillion

SUPERFLY - Curtis Mayfield

TIGERLILY - Natalie Merchant

BLUE - Joni Mitchell

ASTRAL WEEKS - Van Morrison

ST DOMINIC'S PREVIEW - Van Morrison

DARK SIDE OF THE MOON - Pink Floyd

WISH YOU WERE HERE - Pink Floyd

DUMMY - Portishead

OK COMPUTER - Radiohead

THE BENDS - Radiohead

TRANSFORMER - Lou Reed

AUTOMATIC FOR THE PEOPLE - R.E.M

UP - R.E.M

EXILE ON MAIN STREET - The Rolling Stones

LET IT BLEED - The Rolling Stones

STICKY FINGERS - The Rolling Stones

SIMON & GARFUNKEL – Bridge Over Troubled Water

ADORE - The Smashing Pumpkins

HORSES - Patti Smith

THE QUEEN IS DEAD - The Smiths

THE SMITHS - The Smiths

STRANGEWAYS HERE WE COME - The Smiths

LET IT COME DOWN - Spiritualized

CAN'T BUY A THRILL - Steely Dan

COUNTDOWN TO ECSTASY - Steely Dan

THE VELVET UNDERGROUND & NICO - The Velvet Underground

WHO'S NEXT - The Who

SONGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE - Stevie Wonder

AFTER THE GOLD RUSH - Neil Young

EVERYBODY KNOWS THIS IS NOWHERE - Neil Young

FREAK OUT - Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention

 
EDIT TO ADD: If I can have a 69th, it would be MEDDLE - Pink Floyd, a 70th would be SCARY MONSTERS & SUPER CREEPS - David Bowie, and a 71th NO MORE SHALL WE PART - Nick Cave

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