In between Post: Current Listens

I’ve caught a few albums recently that may be worthy (one day) of spots on the list I am working on. It would be pointless to go back and update it, so I’m going to wait until I’ve decided on a lot of changes and come out with a totally revamped list in a few months. So here’s some good stuff I’ve been listening to over the past 2 weeks.

Teen Dream – Beach House 2010

I KNOW IM LATE TO THE PARTY HERE

Submarine – Alex Turner 2011

We Built a Fire – Sea Bear 2010

Incredible

Lucero – Lucero 2001

Trace – Sunvolt 1995

This is Hardcore – Pulp 1998

The Libertines – The Libertines 2004

Veckatimest – Grizzly Bear 2009

Ted Nugent – Ted Nugent 1975

Drowners – Drowners 2014

Definitely one of the coolest albums I’ve heard in the last couple of months

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100 Greatest Albums: 30-21

30. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars – David Bowie 1972

This is one big bite. You gotta take it all at once. Bowie may be the best producer of all time and has influenced more of the artists on this list than any other – from Lou Reed to Pulp to Ian Hunter.

Essential Tacks: All of them but my personal favorites are Lady Stardust, Moonage Daydream and Star

29. The Stranger – Billy Joel 1977

Don’t misconstrue this ranking as an artist ranking. Billy Joel is whatever as an overall artist. He’s a damn clever guy though, very charismatic and funny. HOWEVER, he hits the nail on the head with almost every track here. You can’t tell me that the first 6 songs are not pure one-after-another gold. AND DON’T TRY TO TELL ME THAT JUST THE WAY YOU ARE AIN’T ONE OF THE BEST, ALBEIT CHEESIEST, LOVE SONGS EVER.

Essential Tracks: Just The Way You Are, Scenes From an Italian Restaurant, Vienna

Best Lyrics: “I don’t want clever conversation, I never want to work that hard. I just want someone that I can talk to, I want you just the way you are”

28. The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground 1969

Yeah you could probably argue that this is one of the top 5 albums of all time and yeah I probably couldn’t deny that, but this is my list so this is its place. Top to bottom some of the finest written songs I’ve ever heard. Like come one!? CANDY SAYS??!!?!?! Are you shitting me?! How the hell does someone produce such genius?!?!?!?!?

Essential Tracks: Candy Says, Some Kinda Love, That’s the Story of My Life, After Hours

Best Lyrics: “Candy says, I hate the big decisions that cause endless revisions in my mind”

27. Led Zeppelin IV – Led Zeppelin 1970

Not a huge Zep fan but I know this shit bangs. Basically the soundtrack to LoTR.

26. Paranoid – Black Sabbath 1970

Something about this album makes you wanna overthrow the government.

Essential Tracks: War Pigs, Paranoid, Planet Caravan

25. Are You Experienced – The Jimi Hendrix Experience 1969

It just takes one listen and you’re hooked for life. Jimi being Jimi. There’s something so visceral about this album, it’s hard to explain, but it’s just you and it’s just right.

Essential Tracks: The Wind Cries Mary, Fire, Purple Haze, 51st Anniversary

24. Tapestry – Carole King 1970

Singer-Songwriter’s masterpiece. I’m sorry, but Joni Mitchell and James Taylor just don’t come anywhere close to this kind of perfection or consistency. One credit to James Taylor though, he does King’s “You’ve got a friend” better than she.

Essential Tracks: I Feel the Earth Move, Will You Love Me Tomorrow, So Far Away Beautiful, You Make Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman (her original version).

23. Rubber Soul – The Beatles 1965

Finally, a Beatles album. This is probably, next to another yet to be revealed on this list, the most significant album is the history of rock/pop music. This album set the new standard for art. And while there a couple songs I could do without on here, It harbors some of the greatest tracks ever.

Essential Tracks: In My Life, Nowhere Man, If I Needed Someone, I’m Looking Through You, and Girl.

Best Lyrics: “Doesn’t have a point of view, knows not where he’s going to , isn’t he a bit like you and me?”

22. Buffalo Springfield – Buffalo Springfield 1966

For What it’s Worth is the 6th best song of all time, but that’s a list for another day. Every song is so quintessentially folk-rock it’s insane.

Essential Tracks: Hot Dusty Roads, For What it’s Worth, Out of my Mind, Flying on the Ground

Best Lyrics: Probably the single best line of words ever conceived in music history (yes I’ll go that far). “There’s battle lines being drawn, And nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong”

21. Surf’s Up – The Beach Boys 1971

2nd most underrated album of all time. Forgotten and overshadowed. So honest, so sad, so peaceful. It’s shallow and it’s deep. The only thing preventing this from literally being in the top 10 on this list is one song: Student Demonstration Time. It throws the album completely out of wack and worse yet it’s right in the middle. It’s just a corny blues song about protests… I mean it’s catchy, but still. Some of the most heartfelt songs ever written on here, including my favorite song of all time.

Essential Tracks: Long Promised Road, Feel Flows, Disney Girls 1957, Till I Die

Best Lyrics: “I’ve got my love to give an a place to live, guess I’m gonna stay. It’d be a peaceful life with a forever wife, and a kid someday. It’s early nights and pillow fights, and your soft laugh. Fantasy world and Disney Girls, I’m coming back”

100 Greatest Albums: 40-31

40. Nashville Skyline – Bob Dylan 1969

The opening duet with Johnny Cash is, in my opinion, the best song either of them have ever released. It’s raw nostalgia is clear from the first chord of the song.

Essential Track: Girl from the North Country

39. Either/Or – Elliott Smith 1997

Jam-packed with bangers — It’s difficult to narrow down a few tracks that stand out from the rest. Sure to evoke real emotion. Hugely influential. To me it’s the birth of the 21st century singer-songwriter with artists like Conor Oberst, Bon Iver, and Iron & Wine following shortly after.

Essential Tracks: Rose Parade, Angeles, Between the Bars

38. Odessey and Oracle – The Zombies 1968

An album that has since lost its touch to me, but it’s still objectively phenomenal. Forget Time of the Season, the real beauties on this one are the deep cuts. This album is like a funeral on a sunny summer’s day, bolstered by Rod Argent’s keys and surrounding the quintessential track, A Rose for Emily.

Essential Tracks: Care of Cell 44, Brief Candles, A Rose for Emily, This Will Be Our Year

37. A Deeper Understanding – The War on Drugs 2017

Admittedly, this generous ranking stems from slight bias. However, this album really is SMASHING. This one requires patience as every track is at least 6 minutes long, but you won’t be disappointed. The War on Drugs picks up right where they left off with 2014’s Lost in the Dream.

Essential Tracks: Pain, Thinking of a Place

36. Lola Vs Powerman and the Moneygoround – The Kinks 1970

2nd best Kinks album. So many superstar tracks.

Essential Tracks: This Time Tomorrow, Lola, Top of the Pops, Apeman

35. Ian hunter – Ian Hunter 1975

One of the best pure rock and roll albums ever. This one’s for a hard night of drinkin’. the former Mott the Hoople lead absolutely KILLS it in his eponymous debut. The Bowie influence is clear and present throughout and most notably on “Boy”. It’s a feel good album that has unfortunately been long overlooked.

Essential Tracks: Once Bitten Twice Shy, Boy, Lounge Lizard, I Get So Excited

34. Mind Games – John Lennon 1973

Surrealist masterpiece, period.

All tracks are essential.

33. Psychocandy – The Jesus and Mary Chain 1985

I personally prefer Darklands to this one, but speaking objectively this is much better. Far more consistency. The birth of the shoegazing genre and the best of its kind. This is probably one of the weirdest assortments of pop songs you’ll ever hear.

32. Transformer – Lou Reed 1972

Best Lou Reed solo album. Albeit, his best tracks come on subsequent, less notable albums. Bowie’s production is the icing on the cake for this one. I’ll admit, its an acquired taste because his singing voice is shit, but that’s the hallmark of his music and it’s truly remarkable how well he makes it work.

Essential Tracks: Vicious, Andy’s Chest, Satellite of Love, I’m So Free.

31. I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning – Bright Eyes 2005

Like Neutral Milk Hotel, but stripped down and actually good LOL (sorry I just don’t get it with “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea”). One of the best Alt-Folk albums.

Essential Tracks: The First Day of My Life, Old Soul Song (For the New World Order), Lua, We are Nowhere and it’s Here

 

100 Greatest Albums 60-41

60. Hunky Dory – David Bowie 1971

59. Disraeli Gears – Cream 1967

58. A Nod is as Good as a Wink… – Faces 1971

57. Slowhand – Eric Clapton 1977

56. Eli and the Thirteenth Confession – Laura Nyro 1968

Easily one of the greatest pure singers of all time^

Essential track: “Sweet Blindness”

55. LA Woman – The Doors 1971

54. Summerteeth – Wilco 1998

Essential Tracks: “She’s a Jar” and “Via Chicago”

53. White Album – The Beatles 1968

Essential Tracks: “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, “Happiness is a Warm Gun” and “I’m so Tired”

52. Television – Television 1977

51. Harvest – Neil Young 1971

50. Blood on the Tracks – Bob Dylan 1975

49. Moondance – Van Morrison 1970

48. Jackson Browne (Saturate Before Using) – Jackson Browne 1972

Essential Track: “Jamaica Say You Will”

47. Being There – Wilco 1996

46. Rocket to Russia – Ramones 1977

45. Night Moves – Bob Seger 1976

44. Darklands – The Jesus and Mary Chain 1987

Preceded The Cure’s ‘Disintegration’ by 2 years and accomplishes much more IMO^^^

43. Funeral – Arcade Fire 2004

42. America – America 1972

Essential Track: “Here”

41. Different Class – Pulp 1995

A truly unique album. I really have never heard anything like it. And I only heard it for the first time less than a week ago. It will probably end up in the top 15 in a month^^^

“You want to live like common people, You want to see what common people see, You want to sleep with common people, You want to  sleep with common people like, But She didn’t understand, She just smiled and held my hand”

Essential Tracks: Really all of them, but if i had to choose then “Common People”, “Sorted for E’s and Wizz”, “Live Bed Show”, “I Spy” and “Bar Italia”

 

100 Greatest Music Albums: 80-61

Note: I’ll start adding comments/ essential tracks/ best lyrics around #40

80. Unplugged – Eric Clapton 1992

79. A New World Record – ELO 1976

78. Baby I’m a Want You – Bread 1972

77. Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs – Derek and the Dominos 1970

76. Our Endless Numbered Days – Iron & Wine 2006

75. Tonight’s the Night – Neil Young 1974

74. Master of Reality – Black Sabbath 1971

73. Child is the Father to the Man – Blood, Sweat & Tears 1968

Highly recommended listen^

72. Get the Knack – The Knack 1979

71. The Long Run – Eagles 1979

70. Friends – The Beach Boys 1968

69. Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here 1975

68. Who’s Next – The Who 1971

67. The Velvet Underground and Nico – The Velvet Underground and Nico 1967

66. Last Exit – Traffic 1969

Criminally underrated^

65. Pretzel Logic – Steely Dan 1974

64. Life’s Rich Pageant – R.E.M. 1986

63. Sticky Fingers – The Rolling Stones 1971

62. Let it Bleed – The Rolling Stones 1969

61. Murmur – R.E.M. 1983

100 Greatest Music Albums: 100-81

This is the first installment of a list that has taken me quite a bit of time to even begin. I feel that I have finally reached a point in my musical journey allowing me to make a rudimentary ranking. This is a highly subjective list as it’s the taste I’ve accumulated thus far. That being said, I attempted to be as objective as possible in acknowledging great albums even if they don’t resonate with me strongly. So here’s the way the news goes.

100. Songs of Leonard Cohen – Leonard Cohen 1967

99.  Help! – The Beatles 1965

98. Let it Be – The Replacements 1984

97. Nevermind – Nirvana 1991

96. Pinkerton – Weezer 1996

95. Band on the Run – Paul McCartney and Wings 1973

94. Astral Weeks – Van Morrison 1968

93. Phenomenon – UFO 1974

92. Sundown – Gordon Lightfoot 1974

91. RAM – Paul & Linda McCartney 1971

90. Rumours – Fleetwood Mac 1977

89. The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society – The Kinks 1968

88. The Soft Bulletin – The Flaming Lips 1999

87. Blue – Joni Mitchell 1970

86. Room on Fire – The Strokes 2003

85. Plastic Ono Band – John Lennon 1970

84. The Pretender – Jackson Browne 1976

83. Carrie and Lowell – Sufjan Stevens 2015

82. Doolittle – Pixies 1989

81. At War with the Mystics – The Flaming Lips 2006

 

What I’ve been listening to lately

I’ve taken a brief hiatus from porting here but ready to start again because I have picked up a lot of new music over the past month. So here is all the new stuff I’ve been into.

 

Joanna Newsom

  • Ys (2006)
  • Have One On Me (2010)

Elliott Smith

  • Either/ Or (1997)

The Shins

  • Chutes Too Narrow (2004)
  • Oh, Inverted World (2001)

Death Cab For Cutie

  • Plans (2005)

Franz Ferdinand

  • Franz Ferdinand (2005)

Sarah Records

This one is weird because the artists under this label didn’t often release full length albums, just singles. I’ve listened to a couple compilations and they’re incredible. They don’t vary much from the formula, even among different artists.

Faces

Everything in their discography is gold. Rod Stewart at his best. Check it out. To me it’s late-night bar music, fully stocked with all the emotional eruptions that come a night of heavy drinking.

Joni Mitchell

  • Court and Spark (1974)

Graham Nash

  • Songs For Beginners (1971)

Ian Hunter

  • Ian Hunter (1975)

Iron and Wine

  • Our Endless Numbered Days (2006)

The War on Drugs

  • A Deeper Understanding (2017)

Daniel Caesar

  • Freudian (2017)…surprisingly awesome

Wilco

  • AM (1996)

Eric Dolphy

  • Out to Lunch (1964)… Not very big on jazz, but I’m trying to really get it.

 

Mick Taylor

  • Mick Taylor (1975)

Mott The Hoople

  • All the Young Dudes (1972)…David Bowie produced, and you can tell

Roy Harper

  • Stormcock (1971)

 

That pretty much sums it up. I only included the stuff that I haven’t heard before, but really enjoyed listening to. So no “old stuff” here, although I have been listening to a lot of Arctic Monkeys, Eric Clapton, Carole King, Elvis Costello, and various country.

All Time Favorite Songwriters

Inspired by a friend to write this one and seems to be a good fresh start considering i haven’t written anything in over a month. I’ll just jump right into it, but first, I’ll talk about the things I love in a great songwriter.

I very much appreciate wit when it comes to writing lyrics. I also love when the atmosphere a song creates is complemented by the subject matter of its lyrics. I look for artists who can write some of the most heart-wrenching pieces you’ve ever heard and then turn around and write a hyped up piece that means nothing solely for that purpose. It’s a contradictory set of metrics, and makes sense because music appreciation is very subjective. That’s part of the beauty.

So in no particular order, here are a few on my current list.

 

Jackson Browne – Solo

Lou Reed – Solo and with The VU

John Lennon – Solo and with The Beatles

Jeff Tweedy – Wilco

Brad Paisley – Solo

Graham Nash – The Hollies and CSNY

Wayne Coyne – The Flaming Lips

Joanna Newsom – Solo

Sam Cooke – Solo

Smokey Robinson – Solo and ghostwriter

John vs. Paul

I’ve been wanting to do this one for a while. Who was the best Beatle? There is no doubt that both John and Paul are two of the greatest minds in music history, but who was better? I’m going to list my top 10 Beatles songs by each artist and follow it with my choice. So this is based purely off their work with the Beatles because there is no competition when it comes to solo work. John takes the cake on that one.

Paul’s top 10 Beatles songs:

10. Eleanor Rigby 

9. Lovely Rita 

8. For No One

7. Hey Jude 

6. Let it Be 

5. Good Day Sunshine

4. And I Love Her

3. Here, There, and Everywhere 

2. Abbey Road Medley

1. Yesterday

Honorable mentions: Fixing a Hole, The Long and Winding Road, Penny Lane, The Fool on the Hill, Blackbird

John’s Top 10 Beatles Songs:

10.  Ticket to Ride

9. Strawberry Fields Forever

8. She Said She Said 

7. Norwegian Wood

6. Don’t Let Me Down

5.  I’m Only Sleeping

4. Happiness is a Warm Gun

3. Across The Universe 

2. In My Life

1. Nowhere Man

Honorable mentions: Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, I am the Walrus, Revolution, Girl, I Want You (She’s So Heavy)

Uhhhhhhh my favorite is John. I could go on forever, but uhhh fuck that. 

Everything Now thoughts

Arcade Fire’s new album, Everything Now, was just released a couple of days ago. This will be my mediocre review of the album. I didn’t listen to any of the songs released before the full album release so it was all new to me.

Thoughts after first listen: it’s whatever. Not really what I was expecting. No songs really stood out to me in a positive way. Really dissatisfied overall, especially at the two “infinite content” tracks.

Second listen: I like the way the album opens and closes. Creature Comfort and Electric Blue are pretty good too.

Third listen: For the most part it’s a pretty good album. I love Peter Pan and Good God Damn (Although the latter sounds like it belongs on an Artic Monkeys album). Oh yeah and We Don’t Deserve Love. Still not happy with Infinite Content or Infinite_Content (I do like the instrumentation of the second one, but the rest seems lazy to me)

I expect the album to climb the charts of BestEverAlbums quickly and make its way to the top for 2017, surpassing Kendrick’s release. Come on, it’s Arcade Fire, the 7th best artist of all time according to BEA. Naturally, people are going to eat this shit up. I think they’re overrated, but that’s just me. 

It’s probably the best album of 2017 so far. It definitely kicks the ass of Fleet Foxes’ new album that’s for sure. I can’t wait to make a year end ranking of my favorite albums.