Greatest Albums Extended List [rated 7.8/10+] (ARCHIVED)

  1. 9.5/10
  2. The Black Saint & The Sinner Lady - Charles Mingus (1963)
  3. In the Aeroplane Over The Sea - Neutral Milk Hotel (1998)

  4. 9.4/10
  5. Trout Mask Replica - Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band (1969)
  6. Escalator Over The Hill - Carla Bley (1971)

  7. 9.3/10
  8. Rock Bottom - Robert Wyatt (1974)
  9. A Love Supreme - John Coltrane (1964)
  10. Faust - Faust (1971)

  11. 9.2/10
  12. The Velvet Underground & Nico - The Velvet Underground (1967)
  13. The Doors - The Doors (1967)
  14. Ascension - John Coltrane (1965)
  15. Parable of Arable Land - Red Crayola (1967)
  16. Astral Weeks - Van Morrison (1968)
  17. Highway 61 Revisited - Bob Dylan (1965)
  18. Unit Structures-Cecil Taylor (1966)
  19. Starsailor - Tim Buckley (1970)
  20. The Jazz Composer's Orchestra - Michael Mantler (1968) [aka, "Communications - The Jazz Composer's Orchestra"]

  21. 9.1/10
  22. Twin Infinitives - Royal Trux (1990)
  23. Seeds, Visions & Counterpoint - Ivo Perelman (1996)
  24. Dolmen Music - Meredith Monk (1981)
  25. Improvisie - Paul Bley (1971)
  26. The Modern Dance - Pere Ubu (1978)
  27. Spiritual Unity - Albert Ayler (1964)
  28. White Light/White Heat - The Velvet Underground (1967)
  29. Lorca - Tim Buckley (1970)

  30. 9.0/10
  31. Desertshore - Nico (1970)
  32. Y - The Pop Group (1979)
  33. What's Going On - Marvin Gaye (1971)
  34. Blonde On Blonde - Bob Dylan (1966)
  35. The Marble Index - Nico (1968)
  36. Lady of the Mirrors - Anthony Davis (1980)
  37. Exile On Main Street - Rolling Stones (1972)
  38. Cobra - John Zorn (1986)
  39. Lullaby Land - Vampire Rodents (1993)
  40. Daydream Nation - Sonic Youth (1988)

  41. 8.9/10
  42. Streams - Sam Rivers (1973)
  43. Spirit of Eden - Talk Talk (1988)
  44. Kick Out The Jams - MC5 (1969)
  45. The Downward Spiral - Nine Inch Nails (1994)
  46. The Ascension - Glenn Branca (1981)
  47. Fontanelle - Babes In Toyland (1992)
  48. Radio Ethiopia - Patti Smith (1976)
  49. The Piper at the Gates of Dawn - Pink Floyd (1967)
  50. Irrlicht - Klaus Schulze (1972)
  51. Laughing Stock - Talk Talk (1991)
  52. A Saucerful of Secrets - Pink Floyd (1968)
  53. Nail - Foetus (1985)
  54. From Her To Eternity - Nick Cave (1984)
  55. Horses - Patti Smith (1975)
  56. Zen Arcade - Husker Du (1984)
  57. Meet the Residents - Residents (1974)
  58. Roxy Music - Roxy Music (1972)
  59. Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh - Magma (1973)
  60. Slow, Deep & Hard - Type O Negative (1991)

  61. 8.8/10
  62. Sticky Fingers - Rolling Stones (1971)
  63. Led Zeppelin IV - Led Zeppelin (1971)
  64. Yeti - Amon Duul II (1970)
  65. Atlantis - Sun Ra (1967)
  66. Afternoon of a Georgia Faun - Marion Brown (1970)
  67. Bitches Brew - Miles Davis (1969)
  68. Third - Soft Machine (1970)
  69. Epitaph - Charles Mingus (1962)
  70. Loveless - My Bloody Valentine (1991)
  71. Crystals - Sam Rivers (1974)
  72. Free Jazz - Ornette Coleman (1960)
  73. Even the Sounds Shine - Myra Melford (1994)
  74. Yerself Is Steam - Mercury Rev (1991)
  75. Diamanda Galas - Diamanda Galas (1984)
  76. Absolutely Free - Frank Zappa (1967)
  77. Litanies of Satan - Diamanda Galas (1982)


  79. 8.7/10
  80. Happy Sad - Tim Buckley (1968)
  81. Forever Changes - Love (1967)
  82. Strange Days - The Doors (1968)
  83. Suicide - Suicide (1977)
  84. Karma - Pharoah Sanders (1969)
  85. Radio Gnome Invisible Part 1: Flying Teapot-Gong (1973)
  86. Tago Mago - Can (1971)
  87. Passion - Peter Gabriel (1989)
  88. Saxophone Improvisations, Series F - Anthony Braxton (1972)
  89. For Alto - Anthony Braxton (1968)
  90. Who's Next - The Who (1971)
  91. Half Machine Lip Moves - Chrome (1979)
  92. Barbed Wire Maggots - Borbetomagus (1983)
  93. Fare Forward Voyagers - John Fahey (1973)
  94. A Rainbow in Curved Air - Terry Riley (1968)

  95. 8.6/10
  96. Future Days - Can (1973)
  97. Neu! - Neu! (1972)
  98. Closer - Joy Division (1980)
  99. Geek the Girl - Lisa Germano (1994)
  100. Third Ear Band - Third Ear Band (1970)
  101. Volunteers - The Jefferson Airplane (1969)

  102. 8.5/10
  103. Not Available - Residents (1974)
  104. Cantos I-IV - Franz Koglmann (1992)
  105. Fun House - The Stooges (1970)
  106. Beggar's Banquet - Rolling Stones (1968)
  107. The Good Son - Nick Cave (1990)
  108. Good - Morphine (1992)
  109. Silent Tongues - Cecil Taylor (1974)
  110. Double Nickels on the Dime - Minutemen (1984)
  111. Safe As Milk - Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band (1967)
  112. Well Oiled - Hash Jar Tempo (1997)
  113. Have One on Me - Joanna Newsom (2010)
  114. Are You Experienced?-Jimi Hendrix (1967) [17-track edition]
  115. The River-Bruce Springsteen (1980)
  116. In Den Garten Pharoahs - Popol Vuh (1972)
  117. The Survivor's Suite - Keith Jarrett (1976)

  118. 8.4/10
  119. Spiderland - Slint (1991)
  120. The Magic City - Sun Ra (1965)
  121. Dreamtime Return - Steve Roach (1988)
  122. Marquee Moon - Television (1977)
  123. Unknown Pleasures - Joy Division (1979)
  124. Valentyne Suite-Colosseum (1969)
  125. Rumours - Fleetwood Mac (1976)
  126. Innervisions - Stevie Wonder (1973)

  127. 8.3/10
  128. Remnants of a Deeper Purity-Black Tape For A Blue Girl (1996)
  129. Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables-Dead Kennedy's (1980)
  130. Cosmic Interception - Von Lmo (1994)
  131. A Picture of Nectar - Phish (1992)
  132. For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder? - The Pop Group (1980)
  133. Ys - Joanna Newsom (2006)
  134. Rain Dogs - Tom Waits (1985)
  135. Kind of Blue - Miles Davis (1959)
  136. Songs of Leonard Cohen - Leonard Cohen (1968)
  137. Pavilion of Dreams - Harold Budd (1978)
  138. Atomizer - Big Black (1986)

  140. Mother of Virtues - Pyrrhon (2014)

  141. 8.2/10 - NEED TO BE RE-EVALUATED
  142. Vision Created Newsun - Boredoms (1999)
  143. Perfect From Now On-Built To Spill (1997)
  144. Children of God-Swans (1987)
  145. Hosianna Mantra-Popol Vuh (1973)
  146. Art & Aviation-Jane Ira Bloom (1992)
  147. Psychic...Powerless...Another Man's Sac-Butthole Surfers (1984)
  148. Fire of Love-Gun Club (1981)
  149. Consumer Revolt-Cop Shoot Cop (1990)
  150. In the Court of the Crimson King-King Crimson (1969)
  151. Uncle Meat-Frank Zappa (1969)
  152. Mother of all Saints-Thinking Fellers Union (1992)
  153. It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back - Public Enemy (1988)

  155. Frances the Mute - The Mars Volta (2005)
  156. Tragedy - Julia Holter (2011)

  157. 8.1/10 - NEED TO BE RE-EVALUATED
  158. Telepathic Surgery-The Flaming Lips (1989)
  159. Dummy-Portishead (1994)
  160. The Firstborn is Dead-Nick Cave (1985)
  161. City of Glass-Stan Kenton (1951)
  162. Repeater-Fugazi (1991)
  163. Goat-Jesus Lizard (1991)
  164. Original Sin-Pandora's Box (1989)
  165. Electric Ladyland-Jimi Hendrix (1968)
  166. Down Colorful Hill - Red House Painters (1992)
  167. Boces - Mercury Rev (1993)
  168. Bad Moon Rising-Sonic Youth (1985)
  169. Love Poke Here - Ed Hall (1990)
  170. Flowers of Romance - Public Image Ltd (1980)

  172. 6 - Supersilent (2003)
  173. Nothing Important - Richard Dawson (2014)
  174. If You're Feeling Sinister - Belle & Sebastian (1996)

  175. 8.0/10 - NEED TO BE RE-EVALUATED
  176. Delete Yourself - Atari Teenage Riot (1995)
  177. The Days of Wine & Roses-Dream Syndicate (1982)
  178. New York Eye & Ear Control-Albert Ayler (1964)
  179. Cyclops Nuclear Submarine Captain-Dogbowl (1991)
  180. Mu - Don Cherry (1969)
  181. The Shape of Jazz to Come-Ornette Coleman (1959)
  182. Faust IV-Faust (1973)
  183. Tonights the Night - Neil Young (1975)
  184. New Day Rising-Husker Du (1985)
  185. Novus Magnificat-Constance Demby (1986)
  186. Dream Theory in Malaya-Jon Hassell (1981)
  187. A Genuine Tong Funeral-Carla Bley/Gary Burton (1967)
  188. Out To Lunch-Eric Dolphy (1964)
  189. Cyborg-Klaus Schulze (1973)

  191. Blue - Joni Mitchell (1971)
  192. La Novia - Acid Mothers Temple (2000)
  193. La Foret - Xiu Xiu (2005)

  194. 7.9/10 - NEED TO BE RE-EVALUATED
  195. Freak Out!-Frank Zappa (1966)
  196. New Picnic Time-Pere Ubu (1979)
  197. Surfer Rosa-Pixies (1988)
  198. Songs the Lord Taught Us-Cramps (1980)
  199. Learning To Cope With Cowardice-Mark Stewart (1983)
  200. Weasels Ripped My Flesh-Frank Zappa (1970)
  201. Appetite For Destruction-Guns N' Roses (1988)
  202. Brilliant Corners-Thelonious Monk (1956)
  203. Dimensions & Extensions-Sam Rivers (1967)
  204. Violent Femmes-Violent Femmes (1983)
  205. Never Mind the Bollocks - Sex Pistols (1977)
  206. World Shut Your Mouth - Julian Cope (1984)
  207. The Charm of the Highway Strip - Magnetic Fields (1994)
  208. Da Capo-Love (1967)
  209. Tubular Bells-Mike Oldfield (1973)
  210. Millions Now Living Will Never Die-Tortoise (1996)
  211. Trust-Low (2002)
  212. Mundus Subterraneus-Lightwave (1995)
  213. Vernal Equinox-Jon Hassell (1977)
  214. Tanz Der Lemminge-Amon Duul II (1971)
  215. Close to the Edge-Yes (1972)

  217. Disappeared - Spring Heel Jack (2000)
  218. Yes - Morphine (1995)
  219. The Lion and the Cobra - Sinead O'Connor (1987)

  220. 7.8/10 - NEED TO BE RE-EVALUATED
  221. Les Stances A Sophie-Art Ensemble of Chicago (1970)
  222. United States of America-United States of America (1968)
  223. The Art of Walking-Pere Ubu (1980)
  224. The Stooges-The Stooges (1969)
  225. The End of an Ear-Robert Wyatt (1970)
  226. Music For Airports-Brian Eno (1978)
  227. Bricolage-Amon Tobin (1997)
  228. Isn't Anything-My Bloody Valentine (1988)
  229. Pawn Hearts-Van Der Graaf Generator (1971)
  230. After Bathing at Baxters - Jefferson Airplane (1967)
  231. At Action Park - Shellac (1994)
  232. Hex - Bark Psychosis (1994)
  233. Sound-Roscoe Mitchell (1966)
  234. Alchemy-Third Ear Band (1969)
Author Comments: 

For an explanation of my criteria, go here:

Just want to say thanks for turning me onto the brilliant Double Nickels on the Dime, and I was wondering if anything else they did is any good?

Also, the first half of In An Aeroplane Over the Sea has hit me hard. What do you think is the best song on the album?

Just want to say thanks for turning me onto the brilliant Double Nickels on the Dime, and I was wondering if anything else they did is any good?

You're welcome. Unfortunately I haven't heard any of their other albums yet, so I really don't know, but according to Scaruffi they have two other superb albums, but Double Nickels is their only "masterpiece":

Punch Line 7/10
What Makes A Man Start Fires 7/10

Also, the first half of In An Aeroplane Over the Sea has hit me hard. What do you think is the best song on the album?

Not surprising at all. For years that album was in my top 5 of all time. As far as pop albums go, I think it is an absolute masterpiece and at or near the top of the heap. I think the best song is probably #8 Oh Comely or #4 Two Headed Boy. Both are as emotionally devastating as pop/folk/indie music ever gets. The last track Two Headed Boy Pt. 2 and possibly track #6 Holland 1945 deserve consideration as well, but really they're all superb. I'm glad you're getting into it. I love that album. ( :

I'm grabbing Punch Line now, so I'll tell you how it goes.

If the second half of In An Aeroplane Over The Sea is better then the first, I'll be very happy.

I'm grabbing Punch Line now, so I'll tell you how it goes.

Please do.

If the second half of In An Aeroplane Over The Sea is better then the first, I'll be very happy.

Tough call. They're about equal.

The Minutemen - What Makes A Man Start Fires? (SST) 83
The Minutemen - Buzz Or Howl Under The Influence Of Heat (SST) 83

These aren't quite on the level of Double Nickels, but certainly are great albums worth hearing.

Just another recommendation, Orbital II by Orbital. Brilliant rave/trance/techno, that Scaruffi himself gave an 8. Should be quite cheap too.

I found it much better then In the Court of the Crimson King, which was inconsistent (I mean, Moonchild is 10 minutes too long).

Thanks man! I'll check it out in the near future. I'll be starting on all his 8's shortly.

I would greatly appreciate it if anyone who notices an inconsistency between this list and the decade lists notifies me. At times it can be difficult to keep them all accurate.

Nice list, but does it really make any sense to use a scale of 10 if you think no one will ever achieve a 10? Do you think you can suggest ways, say, Beethoven's 9th can be improved? It seems you're fantasizing about the sort of perfection no human is capable of. I really don't see art and music being about perfection. I can name over 100 albums that are perfect enough. There may be certain flaws, but no amount of tinkering would likely improve them overall.

Nice list, but does it really make any sense to use a scale of 10 if you think no one will ever achieve a 10?

Yes, because then it tells you how close to "total perfection" the albums are.

Do you think you can suggest ways, say, Beethoven's 9th can be improved?

I could though I couldn't hope to achieve it or compose it myself. Beethoven's 9th, probably a high 9.5/10 is a nearly invincible achievement in itself. It's probably blasphemous to say so, but I think the second movement is slightly too repetitive and could've been shortened or varied a bit more, though it's still awesome for what it is. We're just talking about the differences between a 9.5 and a 10 here not real weaknesses. There's other minor points, but I won't go into them as it's stupid to criticize what is possibly the greatest musical work in the history of mankind.

It seems you're fantasizing about the sort of perfection no human is capable of.

So far you are probably right, as it has never happened that I'm aware of. But I think it is possible. I can imagine it, so that indicates that if I had the technical skill I could possibly produce it.

I really don't see art and music being about perfection. I can name over 100 albums that are perfect enough. There may be certain flaws, but no amount of tinkering would likely improve them overall.

It's always good to strive for greatness, but I think getting too wrapped up in the idea of "perfection" may hinder your enjoyment of a lot of music.

You seem to be devouring a lot of music in a good way. I'd just hate to see you get less out of certain albums because of lack of perceived perfection. I often get obsessed with albums that don't even make my top 1000, because something about them strikes a chord with me at the time.

I recommended a few albums in your Greatest of All Time list, but it's buried under a remark about Buckley's Starsailor.

It's always good to strive for greatness, but I think getting too wrapped up in the idea of "perfection" may hinder your enjoyment of a lot of music.

It just puts it into perspective. A 6/10 is still enjoyable. I just can't think of any reason to listen to one very much if I have the option of over a hundred vastly superior 8/10+ albums, and it's impossible to be tired of all of them at once. There's always at least a dozen I am really itching to hear on a daily/weekly basis.

You seem to be devouring a lot of music in a good way. I'd just hate to see you get less out of certain albums because of lack of perceived perfection.

This doesn't happen simply because I listen to them then rate them. And I rate them based on how amazing they are to me, so I don't see how I would be missing something. I don't go into it with preconceived notions. If it is powerful and amazing to me it will rate high. If it's trivial it won't. You see, the rating itself is based purely on my response to the album.

I often get obsessed with albums that don't even make my top 1000, because something about them strikes a chord with me at the time.

You've got me on this one. If I were obsessed with an album it would certainly be in my top 1000, and almost surely my top 100 as well.

There's the rub, man. There are thousands of great albums. Forgive me if I'm way off, but I'd guess you're no older than early 20s? Keep listening at this rate for another 20 years, you'll see. I've rated nearly 8,000 albums since 1949 as great, and over 3,000 of those as really great. And every year I only hear just over 1% of all albums released.

You're not too far off. I'm 28. I've heard thousands of albums I think are great, just not 8/10. I think my 8/10 and above is more exclusive than most. Anything 6/10+ would be more than worth it to most people I've talked to. I'm just a spoiled music brat so I rarely bother with anything below an 8/10 anymore, only occasionally listening to albums in the 7-7.75 range, and almost never anything lower.

That's kind of what I was thinking of when I said you could be missing out on some great music. However, not everyone spends 6-12 hours a day listening to music, heh.

"I've rated nearly 8,000 albums since 1949 as great"

Maybe you're too easily impressed?

Too easily for what? There's nothing wrong with actually being able to enjoy a wide variety. Maybe he listens to a lot of music and is old enough to have listened to a wider variety than any of us? I've seen his top 1000 list and there's no real dubious choices there. It depends on what you're looking for - there are few albums that are totally new and push the envelope. Even fewer of these albums are actually any good. On the flip side, I know a band like Datarock is just an updated version of Devo or Talking Heads, and therefore really aren't original in any way, but I find myself wanting to listen to them a lot, simply because it's an album full of good songs. And there's plenty of those.

Yes, because then it tells you how close to "total perfection" the albums are.

Exactly what is perfection, then? Could you possibly imagine a perfect piece of music? Perfection is an absolute; music is subjective. There is no such thing as an album so good that nothing can top it. Thus, the 10/10 album cannot exist. So you can rate 9.9/10, but 10/10 can't exist, so nothing can be better than the 9.9/10, which means that 9.9 can't exist either. Suddenly you find that now nothing can be rated on that scale. So in order for your scale to work you have to basically accept that you're rating albums based on a concept that doesn't exist.

You might find that making music is tougher than you think. I recall you saying that you could imagine Beatles-quality songs in your head without any effort. If you really have the capacity to imagine something that's 10/10, greater than Beethoven's 9th, you're doing humanity a great disservice by not recording it!

The concept exists because I can describe it. That's proof that it could be. It just hasn't been accomplished. The ratings simply reflect how close to accomplishing this these various albums are.

Lots of people could imagine their ideal music work if they really thought about it. But I didn't say I could play or compose it. I am an amateur musician. Plus a 10 is only a 10 to me. Doesn't mean it would be a 10 to humanity.

The question then is how WOULD you describe it? A freeform symphony played in 6/11 time with a psychotic and off-key transgender vocalist? Then what do you do if something surpasses that 10/10 work? I don't think I could imagine my ideal musical work - it would have to combine all the genres that I like, and that would be a mess.

This comment is awesome. Bravo, sir.

A freeform symphony played in 6/11 time with a psychotic and off-key transgender vocalist

LOL. Precisely

Something like the last 13 minutes of Satz Ebene from Schulze's Irrlicht backing the most intense choral portions of Verdi's Dies Irae (from his Requiem Mass), with a lone Tim Buckley leading and withdrawing, weaving, careening in and out of it, alternating between the infinite sighs of Lorca and the howls and cries of Gypsy Woman, with Cecil Taylor filling in on keyboards with a hurricane of wild abandon, and John Coltrane shadowing Buckley with his sax a la the spiritual intensity of A Love Supreme's Pursuance only with held, drawn-out, focused and constricted, breathtaking lines, mixed between sheets of sudden frenzy (during the Gypsy Woman portions of Buckley's vocals) with his drummer backing him with collapsing frills and cymbals and martial drumrolls. As the work goes on it splits into two separate entities each coming out of a separate channel, in the other a heartbreaking violin solo slowly bleeding (as in the last half of Tabula Rasa), with snapping, whiplike explosions boomeranging to and fro at each rhythmic pulse of the music already occuring in the first speaker. Then the second one transforms gradually into the most overwhelming portions of Beethoven's Ode to Joy just as the first channel reaches a series of unrelenting peaks.

Yep, that sounds about like a 10 to me.

Sounds like quite an entertaining mess ;)

Funny I read this just as I was listening to the last 13 minutes of Satz Ebene...weird isn't it? I was pretty turned off by Irrlicht at first but have been discovering some early electronic music (stuff like Cochin Moon) and it sort of reminded me to listen again this week. I can see what the big deal is but I don't know if I'll ever really 'love' it even after listening to it every day this week. For reference, I listened to this 17 times this week:

...and to this about 7,000 times:

It haunts my dreams.

Lol I would love to read Scaruffi's review of why this is a masterpiece. I can imagine it now "the vocals and individual layers of the song are dreadful but come come together to form the definitive masterpiece track of 2005". I wonder if he rates the video as one of the best shorts of the year.

Yea, I just listened to it again and I just can't fathom it as a masterpiece.

Good to see some electronic stuff make its way onto the list, like Dummy and Music for Airports.

Yea, I love those albums. Thanks.

And have you heard Zappa's Absolutely Free?

Not yet. But I definitely will. Eventually I'll go through all the Scaruffi rated 8/10's and then maybe the 7's & 7.5's. Lately my focus has been on classical though...

Uncle Meat dropped?

In position, but not at all in how great I think it is. It's just been more accurately placed. It's no greater or worse to me than it was yesterday. Sometimes I just listen to an album and realize where it should've been all along. It's thisclose to a 9/10. You have to be a total music nerd to decipher a .1 difference between albums, but it can be seen and felt with enough familiarity.

I understand completely, I've felt that way about some of my placements in the past.

Have you ever thought about doing a 7.0+ list before? Personally, I would love to see something like this. Of course, I realise that your 8+ list is still in progress and that you're also working on classical & other lists, but in any case, what is the likelihood of a 7+ list appearing?

I will do it eventually so the likelihood is for sure, but it is not in the very near future. I want to complete these other ones first (or well on their way to completion). But yes, 7+, or at least 7.5+ is the eventual goal.

How about a list of the worst albums ever? XD


I don't see any point in spending time "tracking down" the worst albums. And Im not interested in sharing music (any art) I think is "bad". My purpose isn't to be critical of art, but to share what I've found to be great about it. Every now and then someone tries one of my recommendations out and gets blown away (and sometimes changes their entire concept of what they thought they could experience from an album/film), and it's kinda cool to have a hand in passing on that experience. Of course, the artist is far and away the main one to thank. I'm just a guy who's taken the time to go through the discovery process. And then there's someone like Scaruffi who has spent literally decades doing so.

LOL Just kidding, that's all.

I see your point. And I sometimes disagree with some standard "worst album" choices, e. g. Metal Machine Music, Philosophy of the World, etc.

Yea, me too

And I didn't even mention standard "worst song choices" like Revolution 9.

Hey, I just noticed you have rated Loveless only an 8.5?

BTW, recently another guy who likes most of the Scaruffi choices (even though he has a more varied list) listened to Doc at the Radar Station at my recommendation and said that this was the first time in 30 years he had listened to it and he was blown away by it. It's now one of his favorite albums. I thought that was awesome.

Oh, and how would you rate the following? (These are albums rated 7/10 by Scaruffi, and 9.5 by me)

Metal Machine Music
1/2 Gentlemen/Not Beasts

re: Loveless an 8.5? Yes, it has to be equal to or better than Pharoah Sanders' Karma to make it onto my 9/10 list, and it's never quite been there for me. Not far off though, so maybe some day? (note: it once was a 9/10, about 6 yrs ago)

re: Doc at the Radar Station... I'm sure I'll listen to it one of these days :)

re: Metal Machine Music... it's been 6+ years. I remember thinking 7.5 at the time, but who knows if I returned to it today.

re: Oar and 1/2 Gentlemen/Not Beasts... don't think I've heard them...


I thought at first (when I came on Listology) that, since you love TMR so much, you've probably heard most of the other Beefheart records too.

Haha, okay. Speaking of MMM, somebody recommended me San Sheng Shi, a 50-minute long or something one-track album (you know, like Ladybird) because he thinks that anybody who likes the noise of MMM will probably like that too. I'm excited about hearing it :D

Seriously? Alright, I understand Oar, but 1/2 just HAVE to listen to it. "Jad Fair's Half Japanese were the most extreme case of noise-rock. They debuted with one of the most inept, clumsy, childish, lo-fi and indecipherable works of all times, the 50-song triple album 1/2 Gentlemen Not Beasts (1980), that both Dada and Captain Beefheart would be proud of". See?

re: Beefheart... for efficiency's sake I tend to gravitate towards the highest rated albums first instead of entire catalogs. Right now I have a ton of classical masterpieces to go through, as well as 100+ films on deck. Maybe I'll squeeze Doc in there sooner rather than later? (I have sampled a song or 2 and it was quite good) Just no guarantees...

re: San Sheng Shi... I'll be interested to hear if it's any good. Ladybird is amazing :)

re: Oar, 1/2 Gentlemen... sounds great :)

That's okay. Nobody's forcing you, after all :)

I've heard the beginning of Ladybird, BTW. I'll probably hear the whole album soon. San Sheng Shi....I checked and Scaruffi rates it a 7.5. So it's probably good. And since I like MMM, as I said.....

They're REALLY great. Check them out sometime.

Did you see Scaruffi's updated "Greatest Albums" list? It now has Diamanda Galas and Dream Theory in Malaya added too, and The River's rating has finally been changed to 8.5, and its ranking is now directly below Flying Teapot!

BTW, love how high you rank Kick Out the Jams, that album has moved into my top 5 albums of all time, such a fun record......

Cool, good to see those updates happening :) My guess is that a handful of the ones in his 25+ section are out of sequence, but it's hard to know for sure...

Yes, Kick Out the Jams is amazing - about as visceral as rock ever gets :)

Have you ever asked him about the sequence? And I think he should add all his 8.5 albums and some of the 8.0 ones to make a complete top 100.

Right ;D

I think so - years ago. The graphic version with liner notes has been the correct sequence for years. It seems unlikely that the current non-graphic one would still follow this precisely but then from 25+ on, at the exact point where all the additions have been made, "all hell suddenly breaks loose". Also, for years Scaruffi has alluded to Dream Theory in Malaya ranking near the top works of the century, yet here it supposedly barely makes the all time rock list. But again, it's hard to say - it could just be an update to the sequence and soon the previous ones will be changed and updated along with it.

Maybe I'll ask him soon regarding these latest updates, but for now my guess is that the latest additions were hastily cut and pasted without much regard for the exact placement and the order is still the same (or nearly so) as the long-standing graphic version with liner notes, but with The River now at the bottom below Flying Teapot. And I would also bet that Diamanda Galas and Dream Theory are both in the upper echelon, somewhere between The Good Son and Twin Infinitives. But of course, I could be wrong - only Scaruffi knows for sure...

I agree that it would be cool to see the exact order of the 8.5s and 8s through at least 100 selections :)

You have talked to him? Cool, I think I should do that too.

it may be like that. You're right, only Scaruffi knows for sure. Dream Theory would probably be higher, not sos sure about Diamanda Galas.....

Not "talked", just by email, maybe a total of 8 times over the last 7 years. He tends to have little time because he's so busy, so usually gives very short responses. I highly recommend stating your questions so that he only needs to give a "yes" or "no", otherwise he may either ignore your question or give an answer that is incomplete and leaves you hanging.

I emailed him and he said that the only album lists that are accurate right now are the decade lists. ... which have no precise order, so... there you go...

That's what I meant. I should have said "emailed" instead. Anyway, that was a kinda disappointing answer.....

Yea, I agree

BTW, is there any album that you think Scaruffi overrates? For me, it would be Hosianna Mantra. It's a great album, but #6 is just too high. And The Doors at #5 is also kinda confusing.

I don't find any he overrates very significantly... Underwater Moonlight, Down Colorful Hill... that Dubi Dam song... some others here and there - but I can see where he's coming from (except Dubi Dam) - and they're really good albums so I might agree with him one day

Yeah, he definitely overrates both of those. As you say, they are good albums though.

I never really got why Scaruffi liked Dubi Dam Dam. It's catchy, and I can see how he could call it a decent pop song and having it in the lower part of his 2005 playlist. #1, though, is absolutely insane.

What are some albums that you think he underrates?

Chinese Democracy, at least when I last listened to it (over a yr ago). Litanies of Satan, Branca's The Ascension and Newsom's Ys to a much lesser (insignificant) degree (when I last listened to them). Really though, his ratings are amazingly consistent.

His ratings are most consistent, but there's also the occasional rating that leaves you scratching your head, such as Doc at the Radar Station (6/10). I would have expected he would give it at least 7/10, and it's simply ridiculous. Another album he underrates is The White Album (again, 6/10).

What do you think of his Beatles page?

I agree with his Beatles ratings (for the most part, give or take +/- 0.5 here and there), but I don't agree with the spite aimed at them at various points on the page. I think it goes too far and at certain points uses generalities on things he should've been more specific about to add credence to what he was saying. My guess is that it stems at least partly from pent up hostility to Beatles fans who've no doubt written/emailed Scaruffi and was issued as a sort of general retaliation in addition to its biographical content (intentional or not).

As I said before, The White Album should be rated much higher than 6. And for Revolver, a 6 would be more fair than 5.

Agreed, I think he brings up some good points against them, but only exaggerates a great deal. You're right about the "generalities" especially. I think he let himself get too frustrated about the acclaim they got and that's why he went too far, trying to downgrade them at every point he got. The truth is, they may not been that innovative but they made some creative songs at the very least.

Agreed :) ...I think White Album is 6.5 (with Revolution 9 rather easily being their masterpiece - sorry hardcore Beatles fans!), and Revolver is either 5, or maybe Tomorrow Never Knows pushes it to 5.5 - been a long time since I listened to the whole album

6.5 is fair, but it is far better than any other Beatles album. And yes, Revolution 9 is certainly one of their best works. I find it funny that the Beatles were often praised for being creative and trying new things, but when they DID make a creative work, they were criticised for it.

I think Revolver has enough good songs to make it at least a 6: Tomorrow Never Knows (easily one of the best songs ever made by anybody), Eleanor Rigby, She Said She Said, And Your Bird Can Sing, and I'm Only Sleeping and Love You To aren't bad.

My favorite Beatles album is probably Abbey Rd, followed by Sgt Pepper, then White Album, then Magical Mystery Tour. Those 4 albums show the band adding more structural depth and ingenuity of composition to their songs, which I think suits them favorably over their earlier stuff.

Never got Abbey Road's appeal. Great album, sure, but they've done better, and in a far more interesting way. Same goes for Sgt. Pepper. Both have some of their best songs, but overall they sound disappointing. Don't take me that seriously, though, I label every Beatles album that isn't The White Album as a disappointment. Except for maybe MMM.

For me, ingenuity of composition didn't make them much better. And when they were carefree, one of the things they didn't care about was making good music.

For the moments when genius peeks through, though, they are one of my favorite bands.

I'm afraid I don't like Kick Out the Jams nearly as much as I used to XP

Uh oh, poor MC5, lost another passenger in their Starship :-( .... :-)

LOL, not really though. I just don't think it's in the top 5 rock albums like I used to, or even in the 8.8+ range. It's probably an 8 for me. The songs are great and it's really cool if you think of it as the album equivalent of The Terminator, but the sequencing is off. The second side puts all the slower tracks at the end, and despite the intensity of I Want You Right Now and Starship it feels anticlimatic. Fun House for example may not necessarily have far better songs, but the sequencing on that album is brilliant.

I guess I could be a passenger if the album's tracklist was like this:

Ramblin' Rose
Come Together
I Want You Right Now
Kick Out the Jams
Rocket Reducer No 62

I'd have to try that tracklist to know for sure though.

Interesting, I've always thought of it as one of the most climactic albums of all time, with its rhythm section slowing down some, but the bass and guitar climaxes becoming more focused and pronounced and the vocals only becoming increasingly intense/ferocious, and "evangelical". Are you listening to it on at a decent enough sound system that can handle the album and doesn't drown it out?

Though I'll also say that I've rated it an 8.5 at least as often as I've rated it a 9 so I don't necessarily disagree with you that it's not 8.8+.

Bulldozing thru rock 8's and 8.5's already on this list + new ones I haven't heard + previously rated 7.5's that have a shot at 8+ such as recently upgraded Tubular Bells and Da Capo, (and some movies and classical too). Likely to be lots of changes/additions coming, as there already have been...

The 7.8 - 8.2 range is far more accurately ranked now than it was before. There's sure to be more movement, but mainly what's left is to re-listen to more albums that are potential 8's (but currently rated 7.5ish) while also discovering many new ones I've never heard (probably 100 or so from Scaruffi's 8/10 list).

Also, I do need to run through the 8.3 - 8.7's which will probably lead to some changes, and possibly some upgrades to the 9/10+ list.

What are your favorite Stooges songs?

And have you listened to Ummagumma yet?

Last track on Fun House ... and there are a few on the self-titled debut, not sure their names/track #'s off the top of my head. When I listen to it again (soon), I'll note my favorites either here or my top 10 of the week list.

Don't think I've heard Ummagumma in its entirety yet

Alright. I think you'll like the opening songs of the self-titled the best. Have you listened to Raw Power?

Oh. It's really good, you'll like it a lot.

Thanks, pretty sure I've heard Raw Power or at least a number of songs from it.

I agree, the 1st track and 2nd track on the self-titled one are great. I really like all of them -- just haven't decided on my "favorites" yet. We'll see...

That's good then. You should relisten to it.

I was talking about the first five songs, No Fun and Real Cool Time are pretty good and We Will Fall is evil and weird and hilarious at the same time, the last one maybe unintentionally. The last three tracks are weaker.

Speaking of Ummagumma, do you like the track Corporal Clegg or whatever it's called?

Have you listened to the complete original LP of Double Nickels?

Yep, amazing :)

What do you think of the songs on it that aren't available on CD yet?




Why do you give The Doors s/t an almost perfect rating? The End and Light My Fire are masterpieces, Break On Through and Crystal Ship and Alabama Song are pretty awesome too. That's 5 out of 11 songs. Do you think the other 6 songs are masterpieces too? I don't understand how The Doors can be ranked above stuff like Bitches Brew, Loveless, Tago Mago and White Light/White Heat.

Doors is an 8.5/10 for me. Aside from the obvious (Break On Through, Light My Fire, The End) I think Soul Kitchen, The Crystal Ship, Twentieth Century Fox and End of the Night are awesome. That's 7 out of 11 songs ;) The rest of the tracks are enjoyable too though.

8.5/10 for me as well. I really like Take It As It Comes too. I Specially love when the brief weird keyboard solo comes up.

Actually, I don't think any of the songs on The Doors are "masterpieces" if we specifically mean 9/10's... I do think the accumulation of all the songs, from start to finish, equals a masterpiece (taken as a whole, as if one composition). If we're just talking great songs then, yes, I think all 11 of them are, and I think Light My Fire and The End are especially amazing and, all on their own, better than many whole albums (even great ones in the lower 8/10 range). As far as comparing it to those other albums, I'm not too into taking the time to break it down into specifics right now, so to keep it concise, I'll say that I recommend listening to each song as explosive, convulsive mini dramas of Morrison's, on-rushes towards death, with Light My Fire the massive, ritualistic climax in the middle and The End the suspenseful, volcanic conclusion. Also, another question that might help illustrate: Just from a purely "mathematical" standpoint, The Doors isn't much less relentlessly and explosively emotional than, say, Black Saint and the Sinner Lady or, better, Coltrane's Ascension, is it?

The Doors is a pretty entertaining and dramatic pop album in the end. From a purely mathematical standpoint, WL/WH and Tago Mago are more relentlessly emotional.

Obviously, all one would have to do is look at my ratings/rankings to know that I beg to differ, but then we're just arguing opinions which is pretty pointless... All the albums we've mentioned are amazing.

My answer to your last question is: No. The answer doesn't matter at all though, because we certainly feel different emotions even when we listen to The End or Light My Fire, which we both love.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but 20th Century Fox, Back Door Man, I Looked At You, Soul Kitchen and Alabama Song are not "explosive, convulsive mini dramas of Morrison's, on-rushes towards death". That is a pretty apt description of the rest of the songs though. To me every song on the album is good or great, from The End (the greatest break-up song any human being has ever written) to 20th Century Fox (a song about, ummm, a foxy girl). Taken as a whole, as one composition, the album is a (pretty good) hodgepodge of various themes and moods, unlike Black Saint or Tago Mago or ... The album was not intended to have a unifying theme (not that it's a flaw. VU & Nico didn't have a unifying theme either) so I evaluate it as a collection of rather unrelated songs. By this logic, VU & Nico gets 9.5/10 and The Doors gets 8.5/10 from me. Of course this is just my opinion ;)

I've always wished that the Doors didn't release this album and the next one in a rush. Imagine how totally awesome one album compiled from the best songs on these 2 albums could have been. Not that they're not great the way they are.

By the way, so glad to see In the Aeroplane Over the Sea up there on your list. If that album isn't an underrated work of real genius, I don't know what is.

Maybe those songs are slightly less explosive and slightly less dramatic than, say, the unrelenting fury of Break On Through, but musically speaking (not lyrically), most of the songs follow similar climaxes and emotional/instrumental outbursts and each shares similar instrumental "color" as most of the others (with variations of course). The album may or may not have a unifying theme (lyrically), but musically speaking it is pretty much a flawless cohesion of elements/forces and is more or less a cohesive set of songs that are akin to "variations upon a theme".

Re: The Doors + Strange Days ... Yes, with When the Music is Over added alone, it would be a 9.3+...

Re: In The Aeroplane ... yep, back and better than ever (from 2002 through 2006 or 2007ish I had it as a 9/10).

You should rate tracks again BTW. Interested in which Doors and Strange Days tracks would be 7.3+. And In the Aeroplane and Chinese Democracy of course.

I've been chipping in on it here and there (the Greatest Songs/Tracks/Movements -- Classical, Rock and Jazz one), but maybe you missed it. In The Aeroplane coming very soon. Chinese Democracy, and many others too on the way.

This set of songs don't seem like variations upon a theme to me, but I do sense an unintentional but strong phsycological unity present on the whole album. From a compositional standpoint, Back Door Man and The End and Light My Fire are almost as musically varied as Chicago Blues, Modal Jazz and Raga. Not all of the songs contain climatic emotional outburst, either. I agree with your comment about the cohesion in instrumental color (the Doors still remain one of the greatest, most creative groups when it comes to performance. They act as a single unit, which, given the diversity between what each musician does, is quite a miracle) yet I believe that you kinda underrate them in this aspect (these guys were capable of pulling off so much more than a similar set of compositional dynamics and instrumental colors. Dig the Marxophone that shows up only on Alabama Song just to augment the chorus. It transforms the whole dynamic and flow of the song by it's simple presence. Manzarek was a genius).

I guess the greatest proof of the album's timelessness is the fact that we think differently about it but we both love it. This conversation got me listening to this awesome album 5 times during the past few days. Cheers to you for that!

Well, fwiw, I wasn't trying to give a thorough analysis of the tracks/elements at all, just a sort of general answer to what you were saying. I doubt if I underrate aspects of the album if so many seem to consider that is one of the albums I overrate :-) Very cool to see that you listened to it 5 times. Always a good thing :-)

Now that you've relistened to Strange Days, which other tracks do you feel could be added to this 9.3+ album?

I think the title track is the next best song after When The Music is Over. Possibly People are Strange and You're Lost Little Girl and Moonlight Drive... Really, the first two Doors albums are extremely efficient and pretty much perfect. You could put any of the songs on there. Not much separates the short ones, though their three best are probably Break on Through, Strange Days and Crystal Ship.

I agree with you, Strange Days is an awesome track. As for the combined album, it's true that "the first two Doors albums are extremely efficient and pretty much perfect" but not every combination is going to be a 9.3+ now, eh? For me, it would probably have these tracks:

Strange Days
The Crystal Ship
20th Century Fox
Moonlight Drive
My Eyes Have Seen You
You're Lost Little Girl
Light My Fire
Break On Through
People Are Strange
Soul Kitchen
End Of The Night
The End

Perhaps Love Me Two Times should be there somewhere too, and I'm not sure if When the Music's Over should be on the same album as The End. Anyway, what would you rate that version?

I might rate that one a 9.3 or at least a "higher" 9.2 than their debut but -- not quite sure if it's enough of an increase over their debut to warrant 9.3. Not sure if it would top VU and Nico or not... Replacing, say, "My Eyes Have Seen You" or "20th Century Fox" with "When the Music's Over" would make it a 9.3+ imo.

I'm re-listening to Strange Days now, and yes, Love Me Two Times should definitely be on there...

Replacing My Eyes Have Seen You and 20th Century Fox with Love Me Two Times and When the Music's Over makes an album of 55+ minutes. That's long! :P Maybe save one of the longer tracks for another Doors album! Now a 9.3+ album made up of tracks from the four other albums would be interesting...

To make it shorter I suppose I'd just take out a couple brief songs as exchange.


What would you rate their other albums?

I think Waiting for the Sun and LA Woman are excellent. It's been about 3-4 years since I've heard them but at the time I considered them 7-ish, same as Scaruffi. I still haven't heard Absolutely Live but I want to at some point.

Unless it is the lyrics (something which I have no interest in), I really don't get what is so good about Aeroplane. Musically, I feel it is mediocre. But that's just my opinion.

The lyrics are indeed compelling, but only because they aptly portray Mangum's overwhelming emotions and visions. It's possibly the most emotionally overwhelming/devastating/moving album in rock history (or Rock Bottom), that's why I've rated it so high. I'll say a bit more later.

The vocals are the highlight for me, like on Oh Comely. Musically I find King of Carrot Flowers Pt 1, Holland 1945 and Untitled the best. Two Headed Boy and the title track are also very good. Apart from that, I can see what you mean though, the album overall for me is 8/10 compared to AfterHours' 9.5/10 (and Scaruffi's 7.5).

To me, the album has way more depth than it first seemed to have. It sounded like a good little Pop/Indie album at first, and repeated listening didn't change my opinion about it. When it finally clicked, it was an accident: I was in a certain emotional situation, thinking and obsessing about my situation day and night, and I randomly played the first song on the album some day those days. The words and the music spoke directly to my mind, heart and soul. Every note was perfect, no word was out of place, and it somehow had the suprising power of calming my increasingly complicating psychological pain. I couldn't stop listening until the last second of the last song. It was one of the most overwhelming listening experiences of my life!

In other words, Aeroplane is a very tight and perfectly executed concept album about some certain moods, and an extremely subtle one at that. The best way to enjoy it might be to save it for its proper time. At least that's how it worked for me.

I've listened to it at least 12 times since I posted that comment, but I'm afraid I still don't "get" it. I like the first side well enough, but to be frank, I think the second half sucks. It just isn't musically interesting enough for me to stir up any emotion.

Its all good. I have a very difficult time seeing that myself but we all wear our own pair of shoes! :) At least you've been giving it an honest effort and at least we see eye to eye on Nothing Important, among many other albums/classical works!

Any plans to extend this to include all 7.3+ albums, like the Greatest Films list?

I've thought about it. It's a matter of taking the time to go back and figure out all the albums I've heard between 7.3-7.7 and then giving them an exact rating. I will probably start putting it together once I've heard a bit more of the 7.8+ ones.

That's okay.

(Also, how about adding films in the 6.8-7.2 range to your decade lists?)

Not a bad idea, but I doubt I'll do that... or, if I ever do, it would be a much later project.

Since you've revisited many 7.3-7.7 albums lately, maybe now's the time to add this category?

Nope, sorry, not yet. There's only 24 hours in a day :-) I'm just working on the 7.3s - 7.7s for the 2000s/2010s right now. Soon, I'll probably start revisiting many of the the 7.8s - 8.2s on this list. Several of them are going to be re-rated -- probably most by only a point or two (of course some will stand pat as well), and then a handful will probably get upgraded to 8.3+, and I have a feeling there might be another 8.8+ (or two, or three?) in there somewhere. Along the way, I'll likely introduce myself to many of the Scaruffi 8's I either haven't listened to in a long time (that didn't make it on here years ago) or never got around to to begin with. I'll also try and honor most or all of the recommendations as they come.

NOTE: I'm not necessarily certain that I am going to check out all Scaruffi's 7.5s from 2000s/2010s -- at least during this "round" of listening. I'm definitely going to get to all his 8's (only 5 left!), but in regards to the 7.5's, I just have so much I want to listen to and revisit that I'm not sure I can make the time to do it right now...

Considering how much you like Loveless, I'm interested in what you'd think of the Glider and Tremolo EPs.

Thanks, I haven't heard them yet. Maybe I'll give 'em a shot this coming week while I'm checking out some paintings/visual art.

Have you listened to Joni Mitchell's Hejira? If so, how do you rate it?

I have but it was years ago. I thought it was really good but I'd have to give it another listen before I rated it.

Don't forget Hex man

Whoops! Thanks :-)

And The ArchAndroid.

Whoops x2! Thanks x2!

This list is great. I mentioned you, AfterHours, in a comment on my favorite albums list on this site.

Just saw that when I checked out your (also great) list! Thank you!

Is Hossiana Mantra really an 8.2 for you?