RS 500: Part 5
123 7.51. Rid of Me - PJ Harvey
"Like Patti Smith, she wanted to be Bob Dylan. Unlike Patti Smith, she played guitar very, very loud. Polly Jean Harvey's second album, recorded with Steve Albini, is charged with aggressive eroticism and rock fury. It careens from blues to goth to grunge, often in the space of a single song."
38 7.52. I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got - Sinead O'Connor
"O'Connor's second LP is most remembered for her dramatic reading of Prince's "Nothing Compares 2 U." But I Do Not Want delivers true originality and range, from the maternal warmth of "Three Babies" to the fiddle and beatbox of "I Am Stretched on Your Grave."'
185 8.23. Strange Days - The Doors
"The Doors stretch into darker, more baroque sounds on their second album. The catchy single, "Love Me Two Times," is overshadowed by the mood of foreboding and alienation in most songs, especially "People Are Strange" and "When the Music's Over," which demands, "We want the world and we want it now!"'
74 7.34. Time Out of Mind - Bob Dylan
"The first of Dylan's two late-career triumphs. Producer Daniel Lanois' dark, atmospheric settings envelop Dylan in a sonic fog appropriate to the isolation and distance he sings of in a ravaged, weary voice. The songs - especially "Love Sick" and "Not Dark Yet" - are ghostly but forceful."
30 7.15. 461 Ocean Boulevard - Eric Clapton
"Boulevard marked Clapton's return from heroin addiction, and its mellow, springy groove left guitar histrionics behind. He paid tribute to Robert Johnson and Elmore James, but it was his cover of Bob Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff" that gave him his first Number One hit."
33 8.46. Pink Flag - Wire
"This first-generation U.K. punk band made sparse tunes that erupted in combustible snippets on its twenty-one track debut album. America never got it, but Pink Flag - as revolutionary discs tend to do - influenced some important bands, including the Sonic Youth, Elastica and R.E.M."
29 7.97. Double Nickels on the Dime - Minutemen
'"Our band could be your life," sing the Minutemen on "History Lesson - Part 2," and never did a lyric better articulate punk's Everyman aesthetic. Guitarist D. Boon and bassist Mike Watt push each other to fast, funny and agitated heights. Sadly, Boon would die a year later in a van accident."
319 7.98. Mezzanine - Massive Attack
"Tricky had split, and three years had passed since Massive Attack's last proper album, but Mezzanine returned the Bristol, England, collective to prominence. Cocteau Twins' Elizabeth Fraser was the designated chanteuse, and her icy voice stands out against the earthy backdrops of songs like "Teardrops."'
21 7.49. Beauty and The Beat - Go-Go's
"The most popular girl group of the New Wave surfed to the top of the charts with this hooky debut. Everyone knows "We Got the Beat" and "Our Lips Are Sealed," exuberant songs that livened up the Top Forty, but the entire album welds punkish spirit to party-minded pop."
96 810. Van Halen - Van Halen
"This debut gave the world a new guitar hero (Eddie Van Halen) and charismatic frontman (David Lee Roth). Tunes such as "Runnin' With the Devil" and "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" put the swagger back in hard rock, and Van Halen's jaw-dropping technique, particularly on "Eruption," raised the bar for rock guitar."
68 7.911. Mule Variations - Tom Waits
"After five silent years, Variations was the victorious return to Waits' rawboned, bluesy art rock. Using found instruments for rhythm and Smokey Hormel's angular guitar for color, Waits careers from carnival barker to croaky balladeer. The highlights: the sad but sweet "Hold On" and "House Where Nobody Lives."'
131 7.412. Boy - U2
"Too ingenious for punk, too unironic for New Wave, U2 arrived on Boy as big-time dreamers with the ambition to back it up. The Dublin foursome boasted Bono's arena-ready voice and Dave "The Edge" Evans' echoey, effects-laden guitar, as well as anthemic songs such as the club favorite "I Will Follow."'
59 7.513. Band on the Run - Wings, Paul McCartney
"Paul McCartney and Wings trekked to EMI's studio in Lagos, Nigeria, for seven stressful weeks to make Band, regarded by many as McCartney's finest post-Beatles hour. Opening with the one-two punch of "Band on the Run" and "Jet" (named after Paul's dog), it proved that McCartney still knew how to rock."
300 8.214. Dummy - Portishead
"Portishead used some of the same building blocks as fellow Bristol, England, trip-hoppers Massive Attack - woozy break beats, jazzy samples, live guitar, girl singer/guy programmer dynamic - but Beth Gibbon's brooding, pop-cabaret vocals showed to the world that you could feel real pain over a trip-hop groove."
15 8.215. The "Chirping" Crickets - Buddy Holly & The Crickets
"Holly was only twenty-one when the Crickets cut these tracks, some on an Oklahoma Air Force base. With these standards - "That'll Be the Day," "Oh Boy," "Maybe Baby," "Not Fade Away" - Holly melded country, rockabilly and R&B into rock & roll for the ages."
5 1016. The Best Of The Girl Groups, Vol. 1 - Various Artists, Shangri-Las, Chiffons, Dixie Cups, Ad Libs, Betty Everett, Shirelles, Claudine Clark, Exciters, Cher
"In the lean years between Elvis and the Beatles, the girl groups kept the spirit of rock & roll alive.This package has the classics: the Shirelles are the sleek ones, the Ronettes are the sexy ones, and the Shangri-Las are the scary biker chicks hanging on the corner."
5 7.317. Changesonebowie - David Bowie
"Bowie's first greatest-hits collection sums up his golden years. He plays the sex-crazed glitter rocker of "Rebel, Rebel," the sensitive poet of "Changes," the lonely astro boy of "Space Oddity" and the utterly deranged soul crooner of "Young Americans." And the man was just getting started."
228 7.318. The Battle of Los Angeles - Rage Against The Machine
"Some punk, lots of funk, plenty of metal and a mother lode of political fury - it all added up to Rage's loudest album, their last before the band fell apart in 2000. Tom Morello's boombastic guitar effects sounded even more pissed off than Zack de la Rocha's raps."
3 919. ...Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes Featurin... - The Ronettes
"More a Spanish Harlem street gang than a girl group, the Ronettes were pop goddesses dressed as Catholic schoolgirls gone to hell and back. Phil Spector builds his Wall of Sound as his teen protegee (and future wife) Ronnie Spector belts "Be My Baby" and "Walking in the Rain."'
824 7.820. Kid A - Radiohead
"Just when they seemed destined to become the next U2, Radiohead made this fractured, twitchy record. Despite esoteric nods to electronica ("Idioteque") and free jazz ("National Anthem"), they morphed those sounds into a surprisingly accessible elegy to tenderness - and had a hit anyway."
7 821. Grievous Angel - Gram Parsons
"Parsons helped invent country rock wit the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers, but he perfected it here. Emmylou Harris was his ideal singing partner, and their voices blend in the high lonesome wail of "Brass Buttons" and "$1,000 Wedding." Weeks after finishing the album, Parsons was dead at twenty-six."
15 7.922. Cheap Trick at Budokan - Cheap Trick
"After three studio albums, Cheap Trick were bigger in Japan than in their native America.But this record of a live Tokyo gig became their first U.S. hit. The Japanese schoolgirls are practically the lead instrument here, screaming their lungs out to "Surrender" and "I Want You to Want Me."'
2 1023. Anthology - Diana Ross & the Supremes
"In the genius assembly-line soul of Motown, the Supremes were their own hit factory, all glamour and heartbreak. There may be no more spine-tingling moment in pop than in "You Keep Me Hangin' On" when Ross sings, "Why don't you be a man about it/And set me free?"'
1 624. Sleepless - Peter Wolf
"Wolf accomplishes a rare feat on this modern blues album: he sings about adult romance without sounding jaded. The former J. Geils Band singer testifies about true love in his soulful growl, with help from friends such as Mick Jagger ("Nothing But the Wheel") and Keith Richards ("Too Close Together")."
39 7.625. Another Green World - Brian Eno
"After years as a rock eccentric, Eno was exploring new ideas about ambient music. But he said goodbye to song form with this album of pure synthetic beauty, mixing lush electronics("Becalmed") with acoustic instruments ("Everything Merges With the Night") to cast a truly hypnotic spell."
29 7.226. Outlandos d'Amour - The Police
"They would get bigger, but they never sounded fresher. The Police were punks who could play their instruments, absorbing reggae into the spare, bouncy sound of their debut album. "Roxanne," "Next to You" and "So Lonely" proved that Sting was already a top-notch pop songwriter."
154 7.727. To Bring You My Love - PJ Harvey
"Harvey sings the blues like Nick Cave sings gospel: with more distortion, sex and murder than you remember. Love was a towering goth version of grunge. Harvey's whisper is even scarier than her scream in morbid rockers such as "Down by the Water" and "Working for the Man."'
39 8.128. Here Come the Warm Jets - Brian Eno
"The former Roxy Music keyboardist's first solo album pioneered a new kind of glammy art rock: jagged, free-form and dreamy. "Baby's on Fire" and "Needle in the Camel's Eye" are vicious rockers with detached vocals, and Robert Fripp's warped guitars swarm and stutter."
62 7.729. All Things Must Pass - George Harrison
"Harrison had almost enough songs stored up from his Beatles days for a triple LP - the gas starts to run out on Side Six jams such as "Thanks for the Pepperoni." But with Eric Clapton and Ringo Starr on board, spiritual guitar quests like "My Sweet Lord" and "What is Life" became classics."
11 8.630. No.1 Record/Radio City - Big Star
"Alex Chilton and Chris Bell were the Memphis whiz kids at the heart of Big Star. They mixed British pop finesse with all-American hard rock, from the surging "Feel" to the acoustic "Thirteen." Big Star didn't sell many records at the time, but over the years they inspired artists such as R.E.M. and Jeff Buckley."
796 7.731. In Utero - Nirvana
"After the success of Nevermind, Nirvana hired the misanthropic Steve Albini to record their new album, and Geffen wanted them to clean up a few of the results. Some of this tension shows in white-noise ruckus like "Serve the Servants," but the only thing that can explain the scalding "Rape Me" is inner pain."
223 7.632. Sea Change - Beck
"Breakups are painful, but breakup records are rarely this lovely. Sea Change is the pristine sound of everything falling apart, a glossy take on a bummed-out Sixties folk sound. The music seems to be floating up from the bottom of the ocean; the words were straight from Beck's broken heart."
497 733. Tragic Kingdom - No Doubt
"No Doubt thought they were the last of the ska revivalists, but they were actually the first of the Neo-New Wavers. Gwen Stefani thought she was a pierced Madonna, but she belts "Spiderwebs" like Ethel Merman. The haters thought "Just a Girl" was a novelty, but it was only the first single."
77 7.934. Boys Don't Cry - The Cure
"Before they became a goth-pop group, the Cure were a minimalist, inventive post-punk power trio. Boys is all hummable hooks, choppy guitars and mopey vocals. "10:15 Saturday Night" and "Jumping Someone Else's Train" are ingenious: you wait for a guitar solo and get a club-footed bass line instead."
8 1035. Live at the Harlem Square Club, 1963 - Sam Cooke
"Cooke was elegance and soul personified, but he works this Florida club until it's hotter than hell, all while sounding like he never breaks a sweat. He croons and strokes "For Sentimental Reasons" like a superlover, and when the crowd sings along with him, it's magic."
8 8.336. Criminal Minded - Boogie Down Productions
"According to KRS-One, the whole world had a criminal mind, and his pioneering gangsta scenarios like "9mm Goes Bang" were as much critique as celebration. DJ Scott LaRock was killed shortly after the album's release while trying to make the peace in a South Bronx street argument."
35 7.837. Rum Sodomy & the Lash - The Pogues
"With a voice like an ashtray, Shane MacGowan led this fabulous disaster of an Irish folk-punk band. Produced by Elvis Costello (who married bassist Cait O'Riordan), Rum careens between the maudlin "A Pair of Brown Eyes" and such explosive numbers as "The Sick Bed of Cuchulainn."'
18 8.138. Suicide (First Album) - Suicide
"These New York synth-punks evoke everything from the Velvet Underground to rockabilly. Martin Rev's low-budget electronics are violent and hypnotic; Alan Vega screams as a rhythmic device. Late-night listening to "Frankie Teardrop," a ten-minute-plus tale of a multiple murder, is not recommended."
53 7.739. Q: Are We Not Men - Devo
"They came from Akron, Ohio, wore matching jumpsuits and had a sinister theory of devolution. Their debut album runs on rubber-punk guitars and mechanized New Wave beats, with a robotic, soul-chilling version of the Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction."
7 7.240. In Color - Cheap Trick
"They were down-home Midwestern boys from Rockford, Illinois, but Cheap Trick had a rock & roll approach as twisted as guitarist Rick Nielsen's bow ties. With blond pin-up Robin Zander on vocals, the Trick rocked Beatles-style melodies such as "Oh Caroline," "Downed" and "Come On, Come On."'
9 7.641. The World Is a Ghetto - War
"A band of badasses doing a Latin-funk song about a Latino TV show from the Fifties - that was "The Cisco Kid," and the band was War, L.A.'s answer to Parliament-Funkadelic. But War were serious: the title song is a sober reflection on inner-city life that hands in the air like smoke from a riot."
6 6.242. Fly Like an Eagle - Steve Miller_XXXVII
"After a 1972 car accident sidelined him for nearly a year, Miller came back with an irrepressible pop-rock sound that dominated Seventies radio: slick guitar boogie as catchy as ABBA and as danceable as disco. Singles including "Rock'n Me" and "Take the Money and Run" kept Fly Like an Eagle on the charts for nearly two years."
15 843. Back in the USA - MC5
"In the Sixties, the Motor City Five were the house band for the White Panther Party, devoted to "dope, guns and fucking in the street." But here they channel their ferocious sound and politics into the concise, Chuck Berry-style riffs of "The American Ruse," "Looking at You," and "Shakin' Street."'
161 6.644. Music - Madonna
"Madonna aimed for "naked emotion" with this album, declaring, "This time, I've removed all the layers." But she also looked hot in her cowboy hat. French producer Mirwais brought the glitch-techno grooves, as Madonna sang with soul and fire in "I Deserve It" and "What It Feels Like for a Girl."'
69 7.745. Ritual de lo Habitual - Jane's Addiction
"Perry Farrell began the Lollapalooza tour and helped shape Nineties rock. But his proudest moment? "Been Caught Stealing," his insanely catchy ode to shoplifting. His band's third album became the sound of of the Lollapalooza Nation: Led Zeppelin bravado with goth eyeliner."
38 7.946. Getz/Gilberto - Stan Getz,João Gilberto,Astrud Gilberto
"The menthol-cool Brazilian style of bossa nova met American jazz here, as sax-man Getz teamed up with two Brazilian legends, Joao Gilberto and pianist-songwriter Antonio Carlos Jobim. Gilberto's wife, Astrud, became a star herself with a sensual guest vocal on "The Girl From Ipanema."'
50 7.647. Synchronicity - The Police
'"I do my best work when I'm in pain and turmoil," Sting told Rolling Stone. And indeed, the dissolution of his first marriage produced some of his best work yet, including "King of Pain" and the stalker's anthem "Every Breath You Take." There was pain and turmoil in the band, too - it would be the Police's last album."
20 7.648. Third/Sister Lovers - Big Star
"Big Star recorded their third and final album in 1974, but it didn't get released until 1978, in part because singer Alex Chilton sounds like he's having a nervous breakdown. It's a record of gorgeous, disjointed heartbreak ballads such as "Take Care," "Nighttime" and "Blue Moon."'
4 649. For Everyman - Jackson Browne
"Browne emerged as the J.D. Salinger of the California singer-songwriter scene with his second album, capturing the transition from the idealistic Sixties to the disillusioned Seventies. He sings a moving update of "These Days," a song he originally wrote as a teenager for Velvet Underground singer Nico."
14 8.850. John Prine - John Prine
"Prine was a former mailman turned folk singer, and his debut is a vision of America that is unique in its generosity, tolerance and wit. Prine sang about smoking dope, but his empathy for old folks ("Hello in There") and a junkie Vietnam vet ("Sam Stone") makes most hippie songwriters sound smug."
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