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Added by JxSxPx on 19 Dec 2008 09:03
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This started as something of a fluke, a mere lark to occupy my free time. Clearly, it ballooned from there. It was supposed to only be 100, but even numbers be damned!

As I was combing over the list and scouring for one final album to drop, I realized that I would just keep it at 101 then drop any more of them. There’s also the matter of a small tribute being paid to Rodney Bingenheimer of KROQ fame. He introduced much of this music to the southern California area, and I owe him tremendously for providing a soundtrack to my life at every turn.

I’m happy with it being 101. It’s more inclusive this way.

Any album from any artist was up for inclusion, but due to limited availability it would only be one album per artist. By no means definitive, and will probably change with time, this list is reflective of my tastes as they stand right now. The exclusions may surprise as much as the inclusions, and if you're looking for a 1-to-1 with my favorite artists? Don't press your luck, not all of them made the cut here.

I tried to keep the greatest hits, live albums, and compilations to a minimum, but some artists have their best moments in singles or live recordings instead of studio albums.

Every album has at least one song highlighted as a recommendation. If the album had over fourteen tracks there’s three, if it’s a double-album it gets four, and all of the Top 10 get at least two. Enjoy your reading!

Click here to see my 100 Favorite Music Artists.
Click here to see the albums that Almost Made It.
People who added this item 269 Average listal rating (178 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 0
Pet Sounds - The Beach Boys
During the earliest writing sessions for Pet Sounds, Brian Wilson turned to his then-wife and said, “I’m gonna make the greatest album! The greatest rock album ever made!” Inspired by the Beatles’ Rubber Soul, a record which he believed to have no-filler, Wilson wanted to top it, to bring a new maturity and depth to pop song craft. I like to think he accomplished all of his goals, and that quote is true for me.

I firmly believe that Pet Sounds is the greatest album ever made, a work of exquisite artistry and beauty. The type of immaculate artwork that comes along once in a generation, if you’re lucky. Listening to this album is the closest I ever get to prayer it touches me that deeply. I distinctly remember for my first listening experience with this, having mostly known the Beach Boys as surf-pop enthusiasts with song after song about girls, cars, and surf and, being a casual fan at the time, I wanted to check out more of their work. I know this was frequently thrown around as their best album, and one of the all-time greats.

I listened to it on a loop. I finished my first listening experience, and thought to myself that this was something special. Then I listened to it again, and again, and again. I must have listened to it about five times that right, just on a loop, enchanted and thrilled by the found sounds, the symphonic textures, and the sheer beauty of it all. It was overwhelming, it was fulfilling, and I didn’t want to ever end.

Pet Sounds is a deep look into Brian Wilson’s fracturing psyche, and the sound of change between teenage despair and adult lamentations. Even the love songs have a twinge of sadness to them. “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” fires out the gate with a sugar-rush of Beach Boys harmonies, bubblegum pop, and puppy love lyrics, but then you listen closer. That title is more of a question mark, the sound of someone trying to convince themselves it would be nice for all of these things to occur. This dichotomy is not focused on enough when we talk about Pet Sounds.

But I understand it. Those harmonies are densely layered, the orchestrations are new, the arrangements are luxurious, and the song craft is towering, there’s just so much available to discuss and discover on a purely aural level that it’s easy to forget about the other aspects of pop music. “God Only Knows” is one of the most beautiful pop songs ever written, not much else comes close. Clearly building upon the foundation of Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound, which Wilson has referenced as a major influence numerous times over the years, “God Only Knows” finds Wilson building a better, stronger, more ornate Wall of Sound. That heavy dose of lyrical melancholy clashes with the vocal euphoria, and no less than Paul McCartney will back me in saying “God Only Knows” is one of the greatest pop songs.

This sounded like nothing else in 1966, and, in many ways, it still doesn’t sound like anything from our time either. “Don’t Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder)” finds a way for the beat to swoop down in a way that sounds like the entire track is sighing. Then there’s everything strange and wonderful going on in “Caroline, No,” the album’s closer. There’s not enough space here to get into it all, but Wilson finds tone colors and sounds that take it into space-age pop song. It’s strange, it’s beautiful, it’s vibrant and colorful, it’s sad and mournful, it’s everything that makes Pet Sounds a masterpiece. DOWNLOAD: “God Only Knows,” “I’m Waiting for the Day”
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People who added this item 117 Average listal rating (80 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 0
Music from the Motion Picture "Purple Rain" - Prince & the Revolution,Prince
Prince, the diminutive pansexual pagan sex god of rock, has led a long and varied musical career. But no one moment’s influence has lasted quite as long as this soundtrack to the vaguely autobiographical film (which is a unintentional camp delight as much as it is cringe-inducing). Purple Rain launched Prince from critical darling with a strong chart and cultural presence into a global superstar, an Icon, and proved that he is one of the greatest musical artists of all-time. But how did one album do all of that? Well, that one album contained such immortal songs as “The Beautiful Ones,” “Darling Nikki,” “I Would Die 4 U,” and “Baby, I’m a Star.” These songs mutated, expanded and redefined their genres and the expectations of them establishing their places in our pop culture lexicon not just in 1984, but for posterity. “When Doves Cry” is a funk song with no bass turning it into an eerie but beautiful classic, “Let’s Go Crazy” showcases Prince’s volcanic guitar skills by ending in a metallurgic solo, and “Purple Rain” turned the stadium rock ballad into a heartfelt soul and R&B blockbuster. It’s one of those rare albums that never feel long enough, and you just keep hoping that it will never end because every single moment is just too good to be true. The only thing that could have made an already stellar/A+/five-star album even better? The inclusion of b-sides from the era like “Erotic City,” my favorite Prince song of all-time. DOWNLOAD: “Purple Rain,” “When Doves Cry”
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People who added this item 129 Average listal rating (88 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 0
Parallel Lines - Blondie
Debbie Harry, with one bored kick of her stilettos, kicked down the door marked “No Girls Allowed” in the world of rock & roll. Before her girls were allowed to sing pop, soul, R&B, country, blues, jazz and harmonize in groups, but they weren’t allowed to participate in the misogynistic world of rock. From the kitsch friendly debuts, in which Harry parodied, and paraded around as, a dumb blonde falling into tabloid headlines and b-movie storylines, a few things were abundantly clear: Harry was not a dumb blonde, no man’s bimbo and she was a real, grown-up woman. And no album better summarizes her newly created rock goddess persona than Parallel Lines, the album that broke them in the U.S. and could effectively act as a greatest hits. Parallel Lines hasn’t gained a pound since first debuting in 1978, and has set the template for any self-respecting female in rock with its ironic art-pop, the career maps of Madonna, No Doubt, Garbage, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and countless others attest to this. Let us discuss the songs for a moment: the icily remote disco-rock of “Heart of Glass” was the biggest hit, “Fade Away and Radiate” describes the romantic (?) relationship between Harry and a TV, “Just Go Away” proves that above all they really had garage-punk roots, “One Way or Another” is a punk-dressed-as-a-girl-group girl-stalks-boy romp. You want to be a million-selling pop group, follow this simple formula: get a ridiculously beautiful blonde singer who looks bored with it all, a bunch of mop-tops in mod outfits and revamp the sounds of girl group pop, Motown and Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound. That sound you hear at the end of the album is the birth of the New Wave, of which Blondie was the most successful and influential group. Long may the Queen of the Manhattan demimonde reign! DOWNLOAD: “Heart of Glass,” “Sunday Girl”
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David Bowie undoubtedly laid a lot of the groundwork for punk, glam, art rock, New Wave, electronica, industrial rock and who knows what else by embracing his inner alien, feminine side or by actually being a gender ambiguous extraterrestrial. Anyway which way you want to look at it, he’s a genius and the music he makes attests to his immense talents and forward looking eye. Before Madonna was reinventing herself with every album and bringing underground genres to the mainstream, there was David Bowie rocking it out with his red mullet and half-ton of glittery makeup. He made it perfectly fine for mainstream artists to embrace their avant-garde art school leanings and explore new concepts, sights and sounds; he brought wit and sophistication to rock. Other characters he created include Aladdin Sane, The Thin White Duke, Major Tom, but they all pale in the moonage daydream glow of Ziggy Stardust and his Spiders from Mars. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust & the Spiders from Mars isn’t just, quite possibly, the greatest concept album, but his finest hour since it predated just about every sight and sound of the 70s/80s punk and New Wave scenes by about five to ten years. “Ziggy Stardust” rocks harder than anything else on the album, “Starman” embraces his peculiar persona, and “Suffragette City” takes infectiousness to a whole new level (all together now: “Wham! Bam! Thank you ma’am!”). Those are just the three well known singles. David Bowie is one of my biggest heroes, I idolize the man to the point of near derangement, so I firmly believe that everyone should own this. Actually, I believe that everyone should start with this album and then go exploring, and I would be willing to tell you where to go next. DOWNLOAD: “Suffragette City,” “Hang On to Yourself”
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People who added this item 204 Average listal rating (112 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 0
Rock Steady - No Doubt
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People who added this item 32 Average listal rating (19 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 0
Specials - The Specials
With a brash and headstrong energy, political fervor and urge to dance, Specials kicked off the hugely influential Two-Tone era. The Specials were a biracial group of English punks with a deep love for reggae. The phrase “mutant reggae” was practically invented for this punk-ish take on Jamaican ska, itself an old genre that wasn’t quite as hedonistic. Tales of working class life (“Stupid Marriage”), racial strife (“Doesn’t Make It Alright”) and bad nights out partying (“Nite Klub”) fill out the originals, and the covers are taken from their laid-back origins and given a sped-up snarl. With production by Elvis Costello and a guest appearance from Chrissie Hynde, yes, as in the lead singer of the Pretenders, this is one of THE documents of the New Wave. Specials is one of those rare albums that is a greatest hits in everything but name. And when combined with the 1980 follow-up More Specials, it plays like two discs worth of some of the most inventive, politically aware and energetic music from the period. But how is this so influential? Without the success of the Specials, the rest of the Two-Tone bands (including Madness, the (English) Beat and the Selecter) wouldn’t have stood a chance at making a dent in the charts, the ska-crazy southern California music scene wouldn’t exist and generations of skater-punks wouldn’t have a band to idolize. DOWNLOAD: “Gangsters,” “Too Much Too Young”
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People who added this item 157 Average listal rating (104 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 0
Like a Prayer - Madonna
Madonna had used her three previous albums to become one of the biggest pop icons of the decade, and with Like a Prayer, she decided to take complete artistic control and thrust herself from an icon of a decade to an Icon, period. From the guitar shriek, sudden stop and emerging choir that rings in “Like a Prayer” to the humorous bit that sees Madonna confronting St. Peter about not being on the guest book for Heaven, this is our first glimpse into the real woman behind the cultural provocateur. However, since we are talking about the woman who made shocking the world an art form in and of itself, it didn’t come without some controversy. The Pepsi contract and music video scandal are well documented, but the cheeky reference she gave in a Rolling Stone interview about this record being a documentation of her growing up process, something she said she was still in the midst of, paints a clearer picture of her real intentions. Artistically speaking, she may have surpassed this collection with Ray of Light, but this one means more to me. This was the first time that Madonna revealed naked, vulnerable, contradictory emotions on a record, and that is an act of bravery for any artist to do. The death of her mother (“Promise to Try”), AIDS (“Spanish Eyes”), her divorce from Sean Penn (“Till Death Do Us Part”) and her relationship with her father (“Oh Father”) all get touched upon. And in the title track, which remains her greatest song, she crafted a beautiful song which works on multiple levels: the sacred, the heartfelt, the profane and the celebratory. DOWNLOAD: “Like a Prayer,” “Love Song”
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People who added this item 23 Average listal rating (16 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 0
Los Angeles-based junkyard Beat poets John Doe and Exene Cervanka were like the White Stripes before Jack and Meg ever hooked up. They redefined how aggressive and hard-hitting country music could be by giving it a punk makeover. “The World’s a Mess; It’s in My Kiss” never quite makes clear what’s in Exene’s kiss, but it does make it clear that she wants you to go with her on a trip to hell and back. “Sugarlight” is either about a gay trick with drug issues, a drug deal, or some combination of the two. And “Johnny Hit and Run Paulene” describes a drug deal and rape in horrifically candid and simple terms. They recall the best of the Doors and, luckily for them, they’ve come armed with Ray Manzareck, the Doors keyboardist, as a producer and a rockabilly cover of “Soul Kitchen.” This remains the best West Coast punk album, and this is arguably the greatest album to ever be recorded about my hometown. DOWNLOAD: “Los Angeles,” “The World’s a Mess; It’s In My Kiss”
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London Calling - The Clash
London Calling is the moment when punk hit the mainstream and branched out. The Clash ran punk through reggae, dub, ska and every other genre that they could think of. None of it is anything less than totally amazing. I know that you’ve heard the Clash described as the only band that mattered during their heyday, this album is why people believed that. The first time I heard it I was exhausted and confused by the end – dizzy and high off the sheer amount of creative force and invention, the greatness that I couldn’t quite grasp on just one listen. I didn’t feel a musical rush like that again until I first heard Pet Sounds, which should tell you something about this album’s greatness. DOWNLOAD: “London Calling,” “Hateful,” “The Guns of Brixton”
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People who added this item 181 Average listal rating (129 ratings) 8.5 IMDB Rating 0
21 - Adele
Lord knows I'm a huge sucker for a sad love song, and Adele offers ten originals and a complete reworking of a beloved Cure staple on 21. The results are simmering, fiery songs that build organic instruments around her voice, a rich instrument capable of cracking in heartache or blistering with fury. DOWNLOAD: “Rumour Has It”
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25 All-Time Greatest Hits - The Shirelles
In-between Elvis Presley and The Beatles there was the girl group era, the Shirelles were the first big presence, and remain one of the best. If you’ve never really heard any of the girl groups classics then begin your education here. DOWNLOAD: “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” “Baby, It’s You,” “Tonight's the Night”
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People who added this item 16 Average listal rating (13 ratings) 8.5 IMDB Rating 0
40 Greatest Hits - Hank Williams
Hank Williams specialized in a certain brand of music and style: no bullshit. His music wasn’t just honky tonk country, it breathed with a folksy, purely American warmth that also incorporated elements of gospel, pop and an early, primitive variation of rock & roll that would explode with Sun Records. He died too soon at only twenty-nine. DOWNLOAD: “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” “Ramblin’ Man,” “Move It on Over,” “I Saw the Light”
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People who added this item 68 Average listal rating (42 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 0
40 Oz to Freedom - Sublime
This is both a beach party and skater-punk classic from the gone-too-soon ska-punk heroes. Sublime fused elements of reggae, ska, dub, punk and hip-hop to create this, and the rest of their discography. They would go on to make a bigger album, but nothing tops this one. DOWNLOAD: “DJs,” “Date Rape,” “Waiting for My Ruca”
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People who added this item 4 Average listal rating (3 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 0
Anthology - Oingo Boingo
Danny Elfman is a bit like New Wave’s mad scientist: stitching together different genres and injecting them with his manic energy just to see what happens. His subject matter is also completely insane: sociopath youths, insects in your brain, pedophilia. DOWNLOAD: “Little Girls,” “Only a Lad,” “Dead Man’s Party,” “Insects [Live]”
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Anthology - Diana Ross & the Supremes
The Supremes were unquestionably one of the greatest girl groups, Motown performers and soul-pop hit-makers. When Diana Ross coos out the word “baby” it’s one of the most sublime moments in pop music history. While the Supremes continued without Diana Ross, these were the most famous years, the ones that their entire legacy and enduring appeal are built upon. DOWNLOAD: “Baby Love,” “Where Did Our Love Go,” “Come See About Me,” “Someday We’ll Be Together”
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People who added this item 55 Average listal rating (30 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 0
Arular - M.I.A.
M.I.A. is where CNN and Pop Art meet and produce electronic hip-hop music. Her subject matter is fiercely political: “Amazon” is about Stockholm syndrome, “10 Dollar” is about child prostitution, and “Pull Up the People” is about the plight of the poor. I listened to this on repeat for days, months even, on end when I first bought it. It sounds like a futuristic/retro party with M.I.A. standing on a soap box in the middle of the dance floor chanting her political slogans into a megaphone. Get this and you’ll understand why she couldn’t get a Visa to record Kala in this country, or so the rumor goes. DOWNLOAD: “Sunshowers”
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People who added this item 221 Average listal rating (140 ratings) 8.4 IMDB Rating 0
At Folsom Prison - Johnny Cash
At Folsom Prison is the sound of Johnny Cash stepping in front of an audience and into his personal mythology, his eternal image. Everything that attracts, moves, and thrills me about Johnny Cash is right here: his humor, spirituality, rebellious spirit, immense talent, voice, the list just goes on. The announcements add you-are-there verisimilitude, and the audience is as important and prominent as any of the instruments. But this is Johnny’s show through and through. He performs old favorites, which are given a harder sound, an almost early punk danger, by being performed in a prison. It is the quiet moments that linger, though. DOWNLOAD: “Cocaine Blues,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Greystone Chapel”
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People who added this item 45 Average listal rating (28 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 0
The B-52's - The B-52's
The B-52’s were like Pop Art and Dadaism exploding all over the New Wave scene. From the cover to the quirky party-minded songs, everything is a reference to the pre-Beatles rock music scene; check those call-and-response numbers. The trashy B-movie obsessions and songs about partying with marine life are still bizarre. DOWNLOAD: “Dance This Mess Around”
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People who added this item 314 Average listal rating (224 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 0
Back To Black - Amy Winehouse
This is a modern Motown album. Songs like “Rehab” and “Back to Black” sound like they’ve been hidden in the very back of the Motown vaults, if those songs were about drugs and contained words like “dick.” It’s a slim record, a little over a half hour, but it packs a lot of wallop in its short running time. Most of that has to do with Winehoue’s writing and singing talents. It’s tragic that she burnt out so hard and so fast, but we'll always have this album to remind us of her gifts. DOWNLOAD: “Rehab”
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You can’t call yourself a ska/punk fan without having this compilation somewhere in your collection. Listening to songs such as “Best Friend” or “Can’t Get Used to Losing You” show where the third-wave ska revivalists got their sound. The latter singles move towards a more New Wave orientated sound, and turn up even bigger jewels: “Save It for Later” and “Mirror in the Bathroom” are glorious. Be a good little rudie, put this on and skank the night away. DOWNLOAD: “Mirror in the Bathroom,” “Save It for Later,” “Tears of a Clown”
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People who added this item 88 Average listal rating (51 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 0
Beautiful Garbage - Garbage
Shirley Manson is a great front woman for a sound like this, somewhere between New Wave and electro-shoegazing. For years, she projected the image that was both threatening and vulnerable with buckets of eyeliner, ass kicker boots, and a smoking-in-the-girls-room persona. Beautiful Garbage reveals the complex human emotions inside of her android dominatrix leaving the listener moved (“Cup of Coffee”), enraged (“Silence is Golden”), or bouncing along to something that only sounds like frothy pop (“Breaking Up the Girl”). This is the album that’s the most divisive amongst the critics and the fans, but I have always loved it. What can I say other than I love how ambitious and messy it is. DOWNLOAD: “Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go)”
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People who added this item 21 Average listal rating (16 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 0
The Go-Go’s could snarl like hardcore early-punks, which is where their origins lie, but play their instruments with a girl group pop luster. On singles like “We Got the Beat” it created magic. The album tracks aren’t half-bad either: “This Town” is full of as much anger as anything Courtney Love could cook up. This is definitely one of the greatest documents of the Los Angeles New Wave scene. DOWNLOAD: “Our Lips Are Sealed”
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People who added this item 15 Average listal rating (11 ratings) 8.8 IMDB Rating 0
Blank Generation - Richard Hell & the Voidoids
Richard Hell was alternately the closest thing to a matinee idol in the CBGB’s scene and, after Patti Smith, one of their greatest songwriter-poets; armed with acidic fury he spat out tales of post-modern romantic entanglements and urban malaise. DOWNLOAD: “Blank Generation”
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People who added this item 157 Average listal rating (92 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 0
Blue - Joni Mitchell
Joni Mitchell is one of the all-time greatest – singers, guitars, artists, songwriters, she does it all, and she does it all exceptionally well. Blue is her greatest recording, but by no means her only essential one (this is second in a series of six fantastic albums). This song cycle, written mostly while on a European vacation, reflects love’s labors lost and won among the L.A. hipster set. The minimalist approach – all acoustic, mostly just piano and guitar – reflects the blunt truths in the lyrics. If this record does not move you, there is something wrong with you. DOWNLOAD: “All I Want”
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People who added this item 159 Average listal rating (100 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 0
Most would insist that Highway 61 Revisited is the greatest thing that Dylan ever recorded, and I wouldn’t argue against that. But I’ve always had a fondness for Bringing It All Back Home, which is no slouch in Dylan’s repertoire. “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “Maggie’s Farm,” “Subterranean Homesick Blues” and “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” (the most beautiful kiss-off ever written) are just four of the tracks on here. This is also the sound of Dylan in transition, semi-electric in spots but still mostly acoustic. With this album, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, Highway 61 and Blonde on Blonde, Dylan’s 60s output is an embarrassment of riches, and each is someone’s favorite. There really is no wrong answer when it comes to which is the greatest of them, the question really is which is your favorite and this just happens to be mine. DOWNLOAD: “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”
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People who added this item 24 Average listal rating (19 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 0
Broken English - Marianne Faithfull
Prior to this Marianne Faithfull was the notorious good girl-gone-very bad in England – she was caught using with Mick Jagger, and her overdose was the subject of “Wild Horses.” She got herself clean, but sounded like every bad thing she’d ever done went straight to her vocal chords. She uses this to her advantage over riotous songs about personal politics, being a junkie and lacerating an ex-lover. This is a great moment for women in rock. DOWNLOAD: “Why D’ya Do It?”
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People who added this item 7 Average listal rating (6 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 0
Buddy Holly died when he was only twenty-two, and yet what he managed to accomplish is a lifetime’s worth of great songs. These fifty songs barely scratch the surface of his full range of genius innovations (that would be the six-disc box-set Not Fade Away). Elvis might be the greatest, but with his country hiccup, hillbilly swagger and nerd-rock ‘tude, Holly was the best. DOWNLOAD: “Peggy Sue,” “Not Fade Away,” “I'm Gonna Love You Too,” “Rave On”
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People who added this item 933 Average listal rating (866 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 0
Californication - Red Hot Chili Peppers
The Chili Peppers no longer want to party on your pussy. Instead they want to talk about their rehab stints, how hard it is to stay sober and explore their depression. It’s a beautiful album about their home state and their lives in that moment. DOWNLOAD: “Otherside,” “Californication,” “Porcelain”
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People who added this item 54 Average listal rating (38 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 0
The Cars - The Cars
Arty, brainy and radio-ready in equal doses, The Cars debut album could be reissued as a greatest hits collection and no one would know the difference. The singles are great, but some of the album tracks are even better. DOWNLOAD: “Moving in Stereo”
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People who added this item 157 Average listal rating (97 ratings) 6.6 IMDB Rating 0
Courtney Love cleaned up her act for a short period in the late-90s, wore haute couture, and became an actress, but she still rocked like a hellcat. “Celebrity Skin” and “Boys on the Radio” are full of her Dorothy Parker-like quotable nature. The California pop sheen given to tracks like “Northern Star” and “Malibu” hint at the richer songwriting of which she was capable. This isn’t a sellout record – she screams and wails far too much for it to be that – it’s just a successful combination of her hard rocking edge and Top 40 aspirations. DOWNLOAD: “Malibu”
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People who added this item 274 Average listal rating (188 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 0
Closer - Joy Division
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People who added this item 14 Average listal rating (8 ratings) 8.4 IMDB Rating 0
Coat Of Many Colors - Dolly Parton
With the opening title track being such a beautifully told autobiographical song you’d think that the rest of the album would follow suit. With subject matter such as mom stealing her boyfriend, her boyfriend making her watch as he cheats and the town whore, I hope that these songs aren’t autobiography. It doesn’t matter what she’s singing though, Parton’s voice is a crystalline thing of beauty that could strip steel. DOWNLOAD: “Coat of Many Colors”
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People who added this item 47 Average listal rating (32 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 0
Coral Fang - The Distillers,Tony Bradley,Brody Dalle,Andy Granelli,Ryan Sinn,Dan Druff,Mike Fazano
Brody Dalle made the best album that Courtney Love never did. It was ten years too late for grunge, but divorce drama and pissed-off angst knows no musical era. “Drain the Blood” is the opening scream, but no one predicted that she’d go all Patti Smith noise-punk on the closing “Death Sex.” DOWNLOAD: “Beat Your Heart Out”
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People who added this item 23 Average listal rating (15 ratings) 8.9 IMDB Rating 0
Everyone knows “Dancing Queen” and “Fernando,” but ABBA has a richer back catalogue of hits. My favorite period is the late-70s adult orientated dance-pop showcased in songs like “Lay All Your Love on Me.” DOWNLOAD: “Does Your Mother Know,” “Take a Chance on Me,” “Super Trouper,” “SOS”
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People who added this item 979 Average listal rating (717 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 0
Dookie - Green Day
I distinctly remember being seven-years-old when this was the biggest thing in music for boys my age. Ironic considering how much anger and naughty things are involved in practically every single song. If you don’t know the words to “Longview” you couldn’t possibly be from my generation. Don’t hate them for spawning off the mall-punk genre; their followers just didn’t get the whole picture. DOWNLOAD: “Basket Case”
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People who added this item 29 Average listal rating (17 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 0
Dusty in Memphis - Dusty Springfield
Dusty Springfield was, quite possibly, the greatest of the blue-eyed soul singers. Her penchant for wistful, easily sensual vocals and bouffant hairdos created magical moments. Every blue-eyed soul singer from Britain, and there's a long list of them, stands in the immense shadow of her beehive. DOWNLOAD: “Breakfast in Bed”
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People who added this item 70 Average listal rating (31 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 0
Elevator - Hot Hot Heat
In-between the overrated Duran Duran-lite of The Killers and the downtown chic of The Strokes, Hot Hot Heat got lost in the Neo-Wave shuffle. For my money though, they are the best of the Neo-Wavers. Make Up the Breakdown was great, but this is even better. DOWNLOAD: “Middle of Nowhere,” “Pickin’ It Up,” “Goodnight, Goodnight”
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People who added this item 11 Average listal rating (5 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 0
On her second album, Laura Nyro delivered the type of masterpiece that most artists spend years trying to conjure up. Every song here is outstanding and comes complete with Nyro's obtuse lyrical ruminations and off-kilter melodic progressions, the type of artistic daring that only a New York girl would ever do. DOWNLOAD: “Sweet Blindness”
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People who added this item 63 Average listal rating (38 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 0
Entertainment! - Gang of Four
Before M.I.A. was performing her Pop Art/punk/hip-hop fusion, there was the jittery acoustic punk styling of Gang of Four. Songs like “At Home He’s a Tourist” and “Anthrax” burn with political vitriol, but these punks also know how to make it all sound like a dance party. “Ether” is a strong message about oil, but it has a skittering guitar line that’s impossible not to dance to. Make sure you track down the remastered edition since it includes the Yellow EP. It’s about twenty songs worth of hugely influential material, bands like the Rapture and Interpol think they sound like this. DOWNLOAD: “Ether”
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People who added this item 65 Average listal rating (36 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 0
Exile in Guyville - Liz Phair
Maybe she said everything she had to on this first album, but she made one great feminist manifesto out of it. She unleashes a female id, exploring themes of alienation and unfulfilling relationship with a scary candor. You’ll abuse her, and she’ll deal with it before turning on you. And “Fuck and Run” is a song that deserves to be screamed along with, regardless of whether or not you’ve been there. DOWNLOAD: “Flower,” “Fuck and Run,” “Dance of the Seven Veils”
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People who added this item 201 Average listal rating (107 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 0
Extraordinary Machine - Fiona Apple
To say that this had a troubled birth would be a massive understatement, but it would also be a massive understatement to declare that both versions of the album are absolute masterpieces. The original Jon Brion produced takes are glorious pieces of baroque art-pop, and the Mike Elizondo produced takes on the official release are just as deliciously bizarre. A genre bending and redefining work, it marries punk aggression, brainy singer-songwriter lyricism and some jazz flourishes to a group of songs about a very bad breakup. This is a full-course meal album with not a moment that can be easily digested outside of it. I am convinced that in a few years this will be canonized as a classic: own the official, download the leaked demo. DOWNLOAD: “Tymps (The Sick in the Head Song)”
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People who added this item 247 Average listal rating (151 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 0
Fever to Tell - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Karen O alternates between yelping, wailing like a cat in heat getting stuck with pins and trying out a Chrissie Hynde imitation. Each variation produces some interesting music. “Pins” and “Y Control” are throwbacks to the days when punk and New Wave meant the same thing. “Modern Romance” and “Maps” prove that there’s a real human being underneath all of that inhuman screeching – how very New York cool. DOWNLOAD: “Maps”
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People who added this item 38 Average listal rating (24 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 0
For Your Pleasure - Roxy Music
These art-rock New Wave/punk pioneers made a solid album with their self-titled debut, but they really conjured up something magical, dark and fascinating with their second album, For Your Pleasure. This would be the last time that Brian Eno was involved in a Roxy Music album, and he made damn sure that he left an impression. Roxy’s first five albums are an astounding run of ideas and creativity, and this was only album two. DOWNLOAD: “In Every Dream Home a Heartache”
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People who added this item 4 Average listal rating (3 ratings) 9.3 IMDB Rating 0
Funky Kingston/In the Dark - Toots & the Maytals
This collection combines two of the other great reggae genius’ best seventies albums. “Pressure Drop” and “Funky Kingston” are just two of the classic songs to give a listen. DOWNLOAD: “Pressure Drop,” “54-46 Was My Number,” “Pomp and Pride,” “Take Me Home, Country Roads”
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People who added this item 323 Average listal rating (180 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 0
Give Up - The Postal Service
Ben Gibbard takes a break from being the main creative force behind Deathcab for Cutie and decides to go New Wave/synth-pop. He brings along a few of the other ‘00s indie rock superstars, like Jenny Lewis. Who knew that this would go on to become one of the defining albums of my generation? With his soft, sensitive voice and the swirling and pulsating synthesizer programming, this album sounds like it came directly out of 1985. “Nothing Better” effectively being a redo of “Don’t You Want Me,” “The District Sleeps Alone” sounding somewhere between The Cure and New Order, and “National Anthem” sounds like something Talk Talk would have cooked up. Thanks to their recent disbandment, that hoped for second album is essentially the indie pop Chinese Democracy. DOWNLOAD: “Such Great Heights”
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People who added this item 2 Average listal rating (2 ratings) 10 IMDB Rating 0
Going to a Go-Go - Smokey Robinson & the Miracles
Smokey Robinson was like the hopeless romantic of the Motown crowd – all falsetto vocals and lovelorn lyrics. On this set every song is a classic, even the more obscure album tracks. DOWNLOAD: “The Tracks of My Tears”
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People who added this item 152 Average listal rating (95 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 0
Horses - Patti Smith
Patti Smith is many things – artist, writer, actress, feminist icon, legendary musician – but her greatest legacy might just be introducing real poetic fury and imagery into rock. She’s the High Priestess of Punk for a valid reason (she’s also known as the poet laureate of rock). These nine songs can sound like babbling nonsense without a lyric sheet, but stick on the headphones and pay attention to what she’s speak-singing. It’s nine songs worth of unapologetic female sexuality, strength, violence, nightmarish visions, Catholic guilt and anger. The androgynous cover only hints at the dichotomy she brings: both very feminine and more aggressive and masculine than any man (horses are a poetic sexual symbol, after all). There is one thing that she is, regardless of any conceptions of gender: a rebellious genius. DOWNLOAD: “Land: Horses/Land of a Thousand Dances/Le Mer (De)”
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People who added this item 27 Average listal rating (17 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 0
Juju - Siouxsie and the Banshees
The prior year’s Kaleidoscope was as close to straight-up pop as Siouxsie and the Banshees had gotten so far, and Juju splits the difference between alternative pop and oppressive art rock. There’s not a weak link among these nine songs, and it’s upfront in its intensity and drive that marks it as their most gothic and baroque release. Listen closer to the hooks on songs like “Arabian Knights” and you’ll find some serious melodies underneath the full-frontal aural assault. DOWNLOAD: “Spellbound”
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People who added this item 8 Average listal rating (4 ratings) 9.3 IMDB Rating 0
The Kink Kronikles - The Kinks
The Kinks started life as the step-dads of punk/hard rock and ended up being a group of folk-ish romantics that still rocked hard. This two-disc set chronicles the hard-rocking romantics/concept-album heavy era, their most influential and essential. “Waterloo Sunset” is their absolute best song – a dreamy ballad that’s full of wistful sighs. Songs like “David Watts” and “Lola” keep the acerbic humor and gleefully anarchic early-punk spirit alive and kicking. DOWNLOAD: “Waterloo Sunset,” “Lola,” “She’s Got Everything,” “David Watts”
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