Friday 19 August 2022

Best Albums of All Time

I hinted in my last video about Best Albums of All Time. No - not best songs, but particularly best albums, from the days when albums used to be a thing. I generally don't post click bait Top-14-Best-Things-Everrr but the comment I made had me thinking a bit - what albums have had an effect on me over the course of my life, and what albums have stood the test of time, what are the ones I would play through right now? Let's find out, in my most favourite listenable order!

1. Pink Floyd - The Dark Side of the Moon - 1973 Phase 2 No surprise here, this has been with me since I found it in the late 80's. Only album I have put all songs to fingerstyle. I would still listen to this album once a month, sometimes more.

2. Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here - 1975 Phase 2 Also no surprise, I discovered this album at the same time as Dark Side of the Moon. Not much more to say, I also listen to this album once a month. Great album.

3. Fleetwood Mac - Rumours - 1977 Phase 1 Every song stands on its own. Not a concept album like the previous two, but they all link together in such a great way. Well crafted, great album, my dad had me listening to it the moment it came out. Musically this album was very formative.

4. Ween - The Mollusk - 1997 Phase 3 I was put onto this by a friend when it came out, and I couldn't stop listening to it. Another concept album, and another album where each and every song stands on its own. Some dark themes in there, all very progressive rock. Caution - coarse language. Fun fact - the cover was created by Storm Thorgerson, who did a lot of art work for Pink Floyd.

5. Jeff Wayne - War of the Worlds - 1978 Phase 1 Another concept album, imagine that! A science fiction rock opera with recurring motifs and such varied characters. I loved the LP art - I would stare at those pictures as a kid while listening, I felt closer to "being a part of a story" through that music and art than any movie had ever done.

6. ELO - ELO's Greatest Hits - 1979 Phase 1 A collection of great songs, it was my dad that put this music in my head. Wonderful collection of Rock and Electronic perfect for my early teens. Strange that they released a "best of" so early on, there were several albums with great songs after this one. I like all the songs on this album, but it is missing "Don't Bring me Down" - that should have been there!

7. The Presidents of the United States of America - The Presidents of the United States of America - 1995 Phase 3 My wife and I would play this loudly while imbibing a few beverages. It fit perfectly in those early marriage years, just fun and catchy music.

8. Meatloaf - Bat out of Hell - 1977 Phase 1 Just classic rock. Another album my dad put into my head. Lots of emotion, lots of meaning. Each song great listening.

9. Tame Impala - Lonerism - 2012 Phase 3 A band from my home town, this is a great fusion of old school psychedelic rock, catchy pop rock, and interesting synth sounds. One or two songs are a little too far out there for me, but this is an album I can listen to from start to finish anytime. Interestingly, this is the "newest" album on my list, and yet it has an old school sound.

10. Metallica - And Justice for All - 1988 Phase 2 This dropped at the exact time I was ready for this. I didn't like hard heavy metal, but this more pop/rock flavour of heavy metal really worked for me. Full of political commentary which gelled with me at the time, these days not so much. But I could still sing you each song.

11. Guns N' Roses - Appetite for Destruction - 1987 Phase 2 As above, this was released at the right time in my life. One or two songs don't work for me quite as much as the rest, but its relentless beat, and like the above, political and personal commentary, just clicked for me at the time.

12. Jagged Little Pill - Alanis Morissette - 1995 Phase 3 My fondness for this album comes mostly via my wife. Well crafted, razor sharp lyrics - anger abounds - but tempered with the occasional sweeter side.

13. Iron Maiden - Powerslave - 1984 Phase 2 Discovered during the time I was enjoying the heavier side of music. Has a bit of a concept feel to it with its nod to ancient Egypt, the last two songs on the album I can still listen to all day.

14. America - History: America's Greatest Hits - 1975 Phase 1 Another album my dad forced into my brain. Some great songs.

15. Ottmar Liebert - Nouveau Flamenco - 1990 Phase 3 A quirky/wonderful instrumental album that was on constant repeat in a café where my wife and I often had tea and cake.  We had pretty much memorised the whole album before we asked what it was and bought it for ourselves.

16. U2 - The Joshua Tree - 1987 Phase 2 Probably the only album in my list here that is a celebrated "best album of all time" that got so much airplay I bought the album because it was just really good. Side one is a standout, side two doesn't standout but is quite good.

So I noticed that these albums came into my life over 3 broad periods of time:

  • Phase 1 - 5 albums - the 70's stuff my dad caused me to fall in love with when I was young;
  • Phase 2 - 6 albums - the stuff I found myself in my late teenage years when I was music focused;
  • Phase 3 - 5 albums - the albums I discovered from my 20's until now.

There are a few albums I have not listed on purpose, all great albums, but they exhaust me. Like Pink Floyd The Wall and The Final Cut. There should be at least one Beatles album there, but I find Beatles Albums are always a mixed bag - half brilliant songs, and half don't work for me. Even their greatest hits albums aren't 100% keepers. Same with Queen and Led Zeppelin. Pink Floyd Meddle was a close call, but I only really listen to two of the 5 songs. I was close to putting Midnight Oil Beds are Burning on the list, again, another album at just the right time for my musical sensibilities at the time, but I couldn't listen to the whole album.