First, let me define what I consider to be a GREAT album; a ten out of ten. IMO a perfect album doesn’t have any stinkers. It cannot have a single track that is skippable. If I can play the album start to finish uninterrupted it is more likely to be one of my top ten favorite albums. In fact, important songs or albums SHOULD have some kind of memory or experience with which it is associated.
Total album sales have NOTHING to do with this list. This is purely subjective or for the younger folks, “IMO.” The order is semi-important, however, this list will shift over time. I tend to keep going back to these albums over and over again and when I do I listen to them over and over; It usually takes about a week of re-listening for me to be “done” with them. All of these albums helped develop my OWN sound as an artist, so if you like this list check out some of my tunes and let me know what you think!…
10. Pain – Midgets With Guns
Some of the most clever lyrics are found on this album.
Also, this “sound” has a special place in my heart; this is
the sound of the early to mid 90’s. This was even before
I really got INTO music. I still rock this one for DAYS.
Oh and finding a physical copy was a pain in the neck!
I even stopped by Amoeba Records in CA. No luck!
Eventually, my wife got it for me as a birthday gift.
(check out Milk, Fight, Square Pegs, Chuck Al Hashib)
9. Barenaked Ladies – Are Me
BNL has made a career of writing songs from every emotion
in the book. This album proves they’ve matured as songwriters.
They really put this one out from the heart. The silliness is
still present but the humor is definitely passive in comparison
to the arrangements of each track. And of course, their
harmonies are top notch, as always. So many great tunes on
this, and it was actually quite difficult to pick a single BNL
album… but… this one has a few memories.
(check out Bull in a China Shop, Everything Had Changed, Take it Back and Easy)
8. Tool – Lateralus
This is one of my “OF COURSE” entrees. But honestly…
there isn’t a bad song on this album, the replay value
is through the roof and by the time the first track is
done you can’t wait to hear it again. Not to mention
Ticks and Leeches is generally the song people use to
get other people into Tool that haven’t heard anything
aside from whatever is on the radio.
(check out Ticks and Leeches, The Grudge, Parabol and Parabola)
7. XTC – Apple Venus Part 1
Whenever I start this album I am completely consumed
by the atmosphere it provides. It is comforting and off-putting
at the same time. The arrangements and the production
are some of the best I’ve ever heard. Just pop this one in
and give it a solid 10 minutes. You’ll probably enjoy about
half of the album at least, but I’ve got some personal memories
with this one. So listen to it all… or just jump to the few
tracks that I recommend in particular.
(these: Green Man, River Of Orchids, Your Dictionary, I’d like that)
6. Pink Floyd – The Wall
You really shouldn’t skip any song on this masterpiece.
Put it in and listen to it like you’re sitting in the theater.
Or… go find a copy of The Wall the movie and watch
that if you haven’t. It’s been nearly 40 years. Get on that
for crying out loud. Seriously. This album has taught me
quite a bit in terms of story-telling in music. I can’t even
bring myself to listen to ONE track. I have to do the
whole thing in one sitting. It deserves that much respect.
(check out the whole thing. If you skip anything you’ll skip the point)
First of all, Storm Thorgerson did the artwork
(he generally did Pink Floyd album covers). RIP.
Second: There is an obvious nautical theme throughout
the album. Despite that, they really do an awesome job
of maintaining their prolific, genre-flipping reputation.
I love these freaking songs. It’s Dean Ween’s favorite
album too… so… there’s that.
(check out Buckingham Green, I’ll Be Your Johnny On The Spot,
Ocean Man and Cold Blows The Wind)
4. Faith No More – Angel Dust
This album blew me away the first time I heard it. I was
supposed to drive somewhere but instead, I sat in a parking
lot and listened to the whole thing right there. Jaw to the
floor. I don’t even remember much else aside from how
it affected me. Also, my mom got super pissed at me for
owning it. Lol!
(check out RV, Malpractice, Smaller and Smaller, Land of Sunshine, and Crack Hitler)
First album I ever bought with my own money;
I was 13 or 14. I saw the album art and bought it because
of that alone. I definitely owe a lot of my own musical interest
and fascination to Primus. Thank you Les, Ler and Tim!
This album goes full throttle and never backs down.
PEOPLE are making these sounds. I’m still shocked by that.
(check out everything Primus as ever done. This album, in particular, is 100% start to finish)
2. King Crimson – The Power To Believe
Though people tend to use “Court of the Crimson King”
as a top contender….. Power To Believe is King Crimson
at their best. Now I’m a HUGE KC fan, so not to downplay
any other album at all… I probably could have put any of
their albums on this list but I only want 1 album per band.
Start to Finish. Level Five grabs you by the pineal gland
and pulls you around like a can on the back of a
newlywed’s getaway limousine.
(check it out. do it now.)
1. Mr. Bungle – California
This album changed me. It set the standard for experimentation. For me it is the holy grail of music collections. Every song is vastly different. I could probably talk about each track of this album in its own blog post. I do have short story to share. When I took anyone on a date I’d have them listen to some of the weirder music I listen to. This one girl I went right for the big guns and showed her Ars Moriendi from this album. Her reaction told me all I needed to know. That woman is now my wife. Not saying THAT is the reason I married her, but that is the first sign that told me, “she can handle strange……… excellent. (You’ll have to imagine Mr. Burns from The Simpsons saying that.)
I’ll leave it at that and tell you to go listen to this entire thing. Not a bad song on this track. Not a good one either; every single one is AMAZING.
Go listen. It will change your ears for the better. It is Mr. Bungle at their most matured state. Great Job, guys!
Honorable Mentions: Rage Against The Machine (self titled), Oh Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack, Pendulum In Silico (there are a few songs I skip… but I absolutely love the others)
I obviously have PLENTY of other albums that are great. Some albums, however, tend to change how I listen to music. The albums I regard as highly influential and are deserving of my top ten are just as good on the 100th time I’ve spun them as the moment I had discovered them (more or less). These albums set the bar for me and MY music in many different areas of writing. If you think there’s another artist or group I’ve yet to hear let me know. I love hearing new music!