My Greatest Albums Lists (2000-2006)

  • 2000
  • 1. Pet Sounds-The Beach Boys (1966)
  • 2. Kind of Blue-Miles Davis (1959)
  • 3. Revolver-The Beatles (1966)
  • 4. Astral Weeks-Van Morrison (1968)
  • 5. A Love Supreme-John Coltrane (1964)
  • 6. What's Going On-Marvin Gaye (1971)
  • 7. Exile On Main Street-The Rolling Stones (1972)
  • 8. Blonde On Blonde-Bob Dylan (1966)
  • 9. Forever Changes-Love (1967)
  • 10. Highway 61 Revisited-Bob Dylan (1965)
  • 11. Let It Bleed-The Rolling Stones (1969)
  • 12. The Velvet Underground & Nico-The Velvet Underground (1967)
  • 13. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band-The Beatles (1967)

  • 2001
  • 1. Pet Sounds-The Beach Boys (1966)
  • 2. Astral Weeks-Van Morrison (1968)
  • 3. Revolver-The Beatles (1966)
  • 4. Kind of Blue-Miles Davis (1959)
  • 5. What's Going On-Marvin Gaye (1971)
  • 6. A Love Supreme-John Coltrane (1964)
  • 7. The Stone Roses-The Stone Roses (1989)
  • 8. Marquee Moon-Television (1977)
  • 9. Highway 61 Revisited-Bob Dylan (1965)
  • 10. Forever Changes-Love (1967)
  • 11. Exile On Main Street-The Rolling Stones (1972)
  • 12. Blonde On Blonde-Bob Dylan (1966)
  • 13. Let It Bleed-The Rolling Stones (1969)
  • 14. Horses-Patti Smith (1975)
  • 15. Are You Experienced?-Jimi Hendrix (1967)
  • 16. The Band-The Band (1969)
  • 17. The Velvet Underground & Nico-The Velvet Underground (1967)
  • 18. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band-The Beatles (1967)

  • 2002
  • 1. Astral Weeks-Van Morrison (1968)
  • 2. Pet Sounds-The Beach Boys (1966)
  • 3. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot-Wilco (2002)
  • 4. Revolver-The Beatles (1966)
  • 5. Kind of Blue-Miles Davis (1959)
  • 6. Highway 61 Revisited-Bob Dylan (1965)
  • 7. What's Going On-Marvin Gaye (1971)
  • 8. A Love Supreme-John Coltrane (1965)
  • 9. The Stone Roses-The Stone Roses(1989)
  • 10. Forever Changes-Love (1967)
  • 11. Is This It-The Strokes (2001)
  • 12. If You're Feeling Sinister-Belle & Sebastian (1996)
  • 13. Spiderland-Slint (1991)
  • 14. The Soft Bulletin-The Flaming Lips (1999)
  • 15. Exile On Main Street-The Rolling Stones (1972)
  • 16. Blonde On Blonde-Bob Dylan (1966)
  • 17. Marquee Moon-Television (1977)

  • 2003
  • 1. Astral Weeks-Van Morrison (1968)
  • 2. Pet Sounds-The Beach Boys (1966)
  • 3. In the Aeroplane Over the Sea-Neutral Milk Hotel (1998)
  • 4. Revolver-The Beatles (1966)
  • 5. Highway 61 Revisited-Bob Dylan (1965)
  • 6. Kind of Blue-Miles Davis (1959)
  • 7. What's Going On-Marvin Gaye (1971)
  • 8. A Love Supreme-John Coltrane (1965)
  • 9. The Stone Roses-The Stone Roses (1989)
  • 10. Forever Changes-Love (1967)
  • 11. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot-Wilco (2002)
  • 12. Innervisions-Stevie Wonder (1973)
  • 13. The Band-The Band (1969)
  • 14. Exile On Main Street-The Rolling Stones (1972)
  • 15. Blonde On Blonde-Bob Dylan (1966)

  • 2004
  • 1. Astral Weeks-Van Morrison (1968)
  • 2. In The Aeroplane Over The Sea-Neutral Milk Hotel (1998)
  • 3. Pet Sounds-The Beach Boys (1966)
  • 4. Kind of Blue-Miles Davis (1959)
  • 5. Highway 61 Revisited-Bob Dylan (1965)
  • 6. Revolver-The Beatles (1966)
  • 7. Forever Changes-Love (1967)
  • 8. Blood On The Tracks-Bob Dylan (1975)
  • 9. What's Going On-Marvin Gaye (1971)
  • 10. Funeral-Arcade Fire (2004)
  • 11. OK Computer-Radiohead (1997)
  • 12. A Love Supreme (1964)
  • 13. Lifted Or The Story Is In The Soil...-Bright Eyes (2002)
  • 14. The Stone Roses-The Stone Roses (1989)
  • 15. Exile On Main Street-The Rolling Stones (1972)
  • 16. Blonde On Blonde-Bob Dylan (1966)
  • 17. Low-David Bowie (1977)
  • 18. London Calling-The Clash (1979)
  • 19. Let It Bleed-The Rolling Stones (1969)
  • 20. The Velvet Underground & Nico-The Velvet Underground (1967)
  • 21. Horses-Patti Smith (1975)
  • 22. The Sun Sessions-Elvis Presley (1954/55)
  • 23. Are You Experienced?-Jimi Hendrix (1967)
  • 24. Never Mind The Bollocks-The Sex Pistols (1976)
  • 25. Nevermind-Nirvana (1991)

  • 2005
  • 1. Astral Weeks-Van Morrison (1968)
  • 2. In The Aeroplane Over The Sea-Neutral Milk Hotel (1998)
  • 3. Kid A-Radiohead (2000)
  • 4. Kind of Blue-Miles Davis (1959)
  • 5. Agaetis Byrjun-Sigur Ros (1999)
  • 6. Remain In Light-Talking Heads (1980)
  • 7. The Velvet Underground & Nico-The Velvet Underground (1967)
  • 8. Highway 61 Revisited-Bob Dylan (1965)
  • 9. OK Computer-Radiohead (1997)
  • 10. Low-David Bowie (1977)
  • 11. Electric Ladyland-Jimi Hendrix (1968)
  • 12. The Black Saint & The Sinner Lady-Charles Mingus (1963)
  • 13. Forever Changes-Love (1967)
  • 14. Blood On The Tracks-Bob Dylan (1975)
  • 15. Blonde On Blonde-Bob Dylan (1966)
  • 16. Pet Sounds-The Beach Boys (1966)
  • 17. Revolver-The Beatles (1966)
  • 18. Daydream Nation-Sonic Youth (1988)
  • 19. The Queen Is Dead-The Smiths (1986)
  • 20. Loveless-My Bloody Valentine (1991)
  • 21. Doolittle-Pixies (1989)
  • 22. The Soft Bulletin-The Flaming Lips (1999)
  • 23. Pink Moon-Nick Drake (1972)
  • 24. A Love Supreme-John Coltrane (1964)
  • 25. What's Going On-Marvin Gaye (1971)

  • 2006
  • 1. A Love Supreme-John Coltrane (1964)
  • 2. Rock Bottom-Robert Wyatt (1974)
  • 3. Faust-Faust (1971)
  • 4. Astral Weeks-Van Morrison (1968)
  • 5. The Black Saint & The Sinner Lady-Charles Mingus (1963)
  • 6. Trout Mask Replica-Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band (1969)
  • 7. The Velvet Underground & Nico-The Velvet Underground (1967)
  • 8. Dolmen Music-Meredith Monk (1981)
  • 9. A Rainbow In Curved Air-Terry Riley (1968)
  • 10. Spiritual Unity-Albert Ayler (1964)
  • 11. The Doors-The Doors (1967)
  • 12. Atlantis-Sun Ra (1967)
  • 13. Unit Structures-Cecil Taylor (1966)
  • 14. Desertshore-Nico (1970)
  • 15. Parable of Arable Land-Red Crayola (1967)
  • 16. Saxophone Improvisations Series F-Anthony Braxton (1972)
  • 17. Kind of Blue-Miles Davis (1959)
  • 18. Ascension-John Coltrane (1965)
  • 19. Irrlicht-Klaus Schulze (1972)
  • 20. Y-Pop Group (1979)


Thankfully, I didn't keep lists in the 80's, otherwise you'd be seeing the likes of Paula Abdul and Janet Jackson at the top. Good times...

It is pretty amusing to see the likes of Pet Sounds and Revolver up there. Interestingly enough, to most people those choices wouldn't cause the shudder they do for you or I.

Throughout those years I wasted probably a thousand dollars or more on albums that today seem all but worthless to me.

A couple days ago I attempted Revolver and it was incredibly boring. Tomorrow Never Knows is really the only song on there that is worth much. Then a friend of mine and I gave Pet Sounds a shot and I couldn't even take it past the 4th track. I can't believe this used to be an amazing experience for me! I've become spoiled to the point where, with few exceptions, anything 7.25/10 or below is pretty boring.

Quite the contrary for myself, I still listen to albums from my "pre-scaruffi"-fast'n'bulbous period, which was not long ago because I only started to listen to music off of the top40 station about 4 years ago, and even when I started I was only listening to Floyd and LedZep or whatever my friends had. It was not until about 2 years ago that I broke out of that phase and started to read music reviews, and my first encounter was the oblivious RS 500 greatest albums online. I bought all of their top stuff.

I had already owned Sgt. Pepper because I found it under the couch in my basement, which was where my brother probably lost it years before, and I never liked it, never understood why it was so good. The same goes for Revolver and Rubber Soul, though I still like songs like Norwegian Wood, and many others on their list. Albums that I did like were London Calling, Pet Sounds, Blue, Trout Mask Replica...and way down their list...Suicide, Double Nickels, Freak Out, Piper at the Gates of Dawn, WL/WH... I always knew from the moment that RS's greatest album was Sgt. Pepper that either they were completely wrong about everything (very likely) or that they were not for me (more likely). The last article that I read by them was in an auto shop lobby as I was waiting for my car, and the opening line to their piece on the Arctic Monkeys, when they were rising in the pop scene, was something to the effect of "400,000 British people cannot be wrong...". Anyone who will base their critique of any piece of art off of what the mass population will do or has done is not critiquing anything; they are merely stating the economics of a fad. And when it comes to mass consumerism I like to fall back on the phrase, it is a crime to let stupid people keep their money. Long story short I still listen to Pet Sounds and London Calling from time to time and enjoy them, not all of it, but whatever I enjoyed then has not changed now.

My experience with RS's music list is very similar to my current experience with Scaruffi's Cinema list. I have very radically different views from his when it comes to movies. I love North by Northwest (probably the greatest film of all time), but Citizen Kane, Wild Bunch, Chinatown, Splendor in the Grass, Belle de Jour, Convoy, Blow-Up...were dismal per their rating according to scaruffi. Whereas Touch of Evil I found to be amazing, except for Heston, I do not like him as an actor and still do not know how he made it so big.


I see what you're saying.

For me, it's simply the phenomenon of: the more I 'get' each and every album on Scaruffi's list(s) the further and further my musical past (not counting classical) falls away from my current views. When I listen to something like Pet Sounds, it begs the question,

"Why this, when I can get so much more out of Astral Weeks, or Rock Bottom, etc?"

I was actually shocked by just how mediocre Pet Sounds was after not listening to it in about a year and a half. Without all the mythology behind it, it really is just a simple, serene, well-produced pop album. It is truly amazing to me how lauded it is.

As for film, I couldn't possible disagree with you more on Citizen Kane, Chinatown and Wild Bunch. 3 of the greatest films ever made, easily.

I do, however agree with you on Touch of Evil, which I find to be incredible, nearly the equal of Kane. I think Heston is excellent in the part but am not particularly fond of him elsewhere.

I actually watched Citizen Kane last night and was in total awe of it. I've found that fully appreciating Scaruffi's album picks has gone a long way towards appreciating many of his film choices, including vastly improving my emotional response towards films I already respected beforehand (such as Citizen Kane).

Pet Sounds has always been a decent album, and Astral Weeks has always been an amazing album (one of very few that I like as much the first time as I have with each successive listen.)

I have not seen Citizen Kane in a long while and I was hoping to see it in the next few days so I get a fresh perspective on it. It is not that it is a horrible film, but compared to the average "Greatest Film Ever Made" honor I feel that it is grossly overrated whereas a film like Touch of Evil blows it out of the water. The opening scene is better than most all other cinema that I have ever seen. As for Chinatown, I have seen that twice in the last few months, both times coming to the same conclusion: it is one of the most solid films ever made from start to finish, acting, directing...but it is missing that indefinable quality to me that makes it seem very week in the grand scheme of things. A film like North by Northwest is the equivalent to Astral Weeks for my tastes. Both struck me as undeniably amazing on the first go, long before I knew that they were critically acclaimed (on both instances I knew very little of their authors, Hitchcock and Morrison) and with each following view or listen they never disappointed.

Greatest Films (as of now, I am very much a beginner of cinema):
1. North by Northwest
2. 8 1/2
3. Kubrick film (Strangelove, 2001, Clockwork)
4. On the Waterfront
5. Mulholland Dr.
6. The Professional
7. Un Chein Andalou
8. A day at the Races
9. Casablanca
10. Seven Samurai (need to see Ran, Rashomon...)
To give you some perspective, I have not seen Metropolis yet...and it is on my computer, so, I have a lot of work to do, and I doubt that that list will hold up even a few months from now.

As for greatest albums:
1. A love supreme

2. WL/WH
3. Astral Weeks
4. Twin Infinitives
5. Neu!
6. Unit Structures (Jazz is not a huge part of my playlist)
7. Double Nickels on the Dime
8. The Doors
9. Piper at the gates of dawn
10. Absolutely Free
11. Blonde on Blonde
12. Starsailor
13. Suicide
14. From Her to Eternity
15. The Ascension - Branca
16. Hosianna Mantra
17. Safe as milk
18. Mother of all saints
19. Half Machine Lip Moves
Top 50: Faust, TMR, Lorca, Spiderland, Modern Dance, Psychic...Powerless...
top 100: Rock Bottom, VU & Nico, Parable of Arable land, Not available, Y, Loveless, Blank Generation, Marquee Moon
This list is not that concrete either. It will change in the next few months as it did in the last few months.

These are all outstanding albums/films. Your choices are excellent. Your top 50 and top 100 choices were kind of surprising, though by saying that I don't mean they're "wrong". I do think that if you keep listening to those albums, as well as Scaruffi's other top choices, they're all likely to move up. My guess is Rock Bottom could be among the first to ascend your list. For me, as well as others who I've observed when borrowing it from me, 'getting' Rock Bottom seems to happen overwhelmingly and dramatically, and often suddenly. I am curious to see how it works out for you. In most cases Trout Mask takes many, many listens, as well as Faust. They may be some of the last ones to fulfill their potential. As for Parable of Arable Land, I am kind of shocked by its placement considering WL/WH and Twin Infinitives are so higly ranked. You should try it either on headphones (probably about 7-10 times) and playing it loud on a high wattage sound system (300+). I suspect it will come to fruition for you with either of those requisites.

When I say (300+) in the above post I am referring to wattage, not the amount of listens...thankfully ( :

I have not had access to a sound system like that in a couple of years. The last time I had one like that was my dad's, whom had, at the time, the state of the art Lynn sound system with ridiculous sound stats that would add quality to any album. As of now I have a cheap karaoke machine that I use with a cassette converter from my ipod, and of course cheap headphones. So, the idea that I will listen to any album on a quality sound system is far off from my reality.

Albums like Rock Bottom and Parable of Arable Land are not bad; it is that they are not complete to me. Rock Bottom: tracks 2,3 are weak to me=not 9's(I do not know what they are or what the rest of the album is, but I do think that they are not nearly as good as Sea Song or Alifib) and Parable...:1,2,3 are good but the album is missing something, that "indefinable quality" that I cannot explain. I know that makes my critiques laughable on an intrinsic level.

My criteria: (1) Entertainment, (2) Composition, (3) staying power, (4) Continuity of "(1)", (5) Ingenuity.
This means, above all, the piece of art must first be entertaining without any other qualification: Originality does not matter as long as it is good; I do not buy into the idea so many different albums/bands/artists/directors/... are necessarily original. Originality is only relative to your past and your own interests (assuming that the piece of art is good): almost everyone in the 1960's was original in one respect or another, and almost no one in the 70's was original, and less in the 80's.... My contention is that everything is built up from preceding efforts, for better or worse, therefore, there is very little originality. Another problem I have is with those who believe that classical music is automatically better than any other type of music because it is before it.
#4 is obviously different than Continuity of “(2)”. Rock Bottom is contiguous in composition but not for my interest, as a GREAT album.

If you take only one thing from this post take this, because an album is not in my top-20 does not mean that I do not consider it to be good or even amazing. I highly recommend Rock Bottom to people whom would have interest in it, and just because I think Twin Infinitives is the 4th greatest of all I rarely advertise it to others because they will most likely be turned off by it. One friend I have loves …Crimson King, Twin Infinitives, Y, VU (all), whereas another hates those and loves Yerself is Steam, Spiderland, Rock Bottom, Morphine (all). So, if anyone where to take my thoughts to heart they should see #92 as great but obviously not as good as something up towards #5. This is in direct opposition to yours and others opinion that there is a tremendous gap between their very top albums/movies/other types of art and their lower rated ones 20 or so away.

Sorry for any grammatical or theoretical errors in this post. If any part seems illogical or hard to read, just use your best judgment as to what I am trying to say.

All I can say is, it was helpful for me to take on an assumption that if I didn't 'get' an album or didn't see very close to what Scaruffi did in an album (such as what you're saying with Rock Bottom and Parable), I assumed that I simply needed to keep listening to it more or hear some other albums that were its "prerequisites". With very few exceptions, this has proven invaluable for me and some friends of mine who are "on the list" in 'getting' those albums, and especially the tougher works he's listed.

This is why I mentioned trying the "Recommended Order" list, because it can help you, as it has for me and others, in 'getting' more of the albums, including improving the ones that you already 'get' (even if it doesn't seem possible). I don't know about you, but I continuously run through the albums over and over and the results are incredible to experience. Doing it in that "Recommended Order" sequence is particulary amazing, since they tend to build upon eachother as one ascends to the higher challenges.

i have listened to both albums in question once today, and many many other times, and still feel that they are great but not among my tops. my #97 is not that much worse than my #3, they are just different. Rock Bottom is not Astral Weeks, but is still a good album worth paying attention and praise to.

but, why do you care what scaruffi 'gets' in an album?

he should be a point of reference, not a point of no return. you need to think for yourself rather then how someone else does. if not, you are no better off then when you were listening to Pet Sounds and The Stone Roses. i can understand if you connect with someone else and your opinions seem to match almost identically, if not so, but it sounds like if scaruffi would invert his opinions and justify them with eloquent language that you would just as soon clip ship to keep with the current. maybe i am wrong and there is something deeper in your understanding then i believe…uhhh….

Either you've missed what I meant, or I didn't say it clearly enough.

For these particular albums, since most of them are rather challenging, it is helpful to put your trust in Scaruffi and simply assume he is going to prove right in the end for the purpose of leading you through the thorns on your way towards 'getting' the album. Otherwise one is more likely to give up and/or think they're done with the album (before they actually are), since they don't usually reveal themselves right away. This is all I mean by "putting your trust into Scaruffi". Use him as a guide towards which albums to keep listening to and you will most likely be amply rewarded. If you don't find any of his 9.0+ at least amazing there is an awfully good chance that you're not done with it. If you take that viewpoint, you'll be successful more often than not. Personally I'm still working on a handful (River, Down Colorful Hill, Good Son, Good, Dream Theory...and a few others).

Though not impossible (everybody's different of course), it seems extremely unlikely to me that you would not find Rock Bottom to be one of the very top albums of all time, if you've already experienced it at or near its highest level. But again, you are you, I am me, so it is of course possible. My recommendation is to keep listening to it and it may or may not come to you on a much higher level some day. As great as an album like WL/WH or Astral Weeks is (and believe me, if anyone loves Astral Weeks it's me. I've listened to it approx 500 times), in my opinion neither of them even hold a candle to the astronomical profundity available in Robert Wyatt's masterwork, in Faust, and in TMR. But it did take awhile for all 3 of those to get that good for me. Using the differential between ones own and Scaruffi's rankings is an excellent tool to establish which albums to keep listening to more and more.



"you need to think for yourself rather then how someone else does. if not, you are no better off then when you were listening to Pet Sounds and The Stone Roses. i can understand if you connect with someone else and your opinions seem to match almost identically, if not so, but it sounds like if scaruffi would invert his opinions and justify them with eloquent language that you would just as soon clip ship to keep with the current."

From where in what I said did you derive this assumption of yours? Please copy and paste the exact sentence or paragraph that gave you this idea, and then perhaps we can have a productive discussion and come to an understanding on this.

All I can say is, it was helpful for me to take on an assumption that if I didn't 'get' an album or didn't see very close to what Scaruffi did in an album (such as what you're saying with Rock Bottom and Parable), I assumed that I simply needed to keep listening to it more or hear some other albums that were its "prerequisites".

This is not what triggered the thought, it was only what triggered the post; and as you can read, what you said was not too inflammatory for my comment, directly.

What triggered the thought was some time ago while I was looking for a jazz album to listen to other then from the famous jazz musicians: Trane, Davis, Mingus, Coleman.... I visited scaruffi's jazz page, because it is easiest for me since I have not heard much jazz and I needed to start somewhere, and where better than the site that introduced me to Twin Infinitives. There may be a better site for me but that is for another time.

So, when I visited the site I saw that he had made a change of opinion, but not an ordinary one. The change occurred in his most sacred area of the past century, the top of the jazz best, taking A Love Supreme off of its perch and ascending Black Saint and the Sinner Lady to the top. I found this interesting because of his side list "Most significant works of music 1950-1990" which had A Love Supreme at about #2, I cannot remember the exact position, and then he dropped it to #9 of that list and the aforementioned #2 of the all-time Jazz list.

I did not know the exact day that this occurred on, but on the same day I saw that I thought to groom through the few listologists that I had previous contact with to see what was new and I found something very interesting. I checked on your greatest albums of all time list and saw that your Greatest Album was Black Saint and the Sinner Lady. Normally this would not be a problem, but it came at the same time that scaruffi changed his list. And on top of your list of albums already being conspicuously similar to scaruffi's you changed your greatest right along with his. This did not seem like a coincidence to me, especially after all the days of you praising A Love Supreme.

It is okay to have any album in any order on YOUR list that you would like, it is YOUR list. And that same list most likely reflects the time YOU spend with those albums whatever they may be. YOU can spend YOUR time and reflect on that time in any way YOU please. But when it comes at the exact same time as scaruffi, and YOU claim it to be YOUR own, it seems to be fishy.

You can explain it any way you want, but I know what I know, and I know that scaruffi has a very large influence on you, as he does on me. The difference is that I do not change my mind on a whim, scaruffi's whim. I have been under people's spells before, listening to bad music because my friend does, watching bad movies because of my friends, and going places, doing things because someone else does even though I do not entirely want to.... but I learned to think for myself, and I am all the better for it. This is not to say that I am better than you or anyone else, even though after rereading the last sentence I do not leave too much room for contrary opinion, but I think you would be better off as well if you do not follow his ever command, tacit as it may be. What am I talking about? He is not commanding anything, but you sure seem to be following. Like before, so did I, at the beginning, but I grew out of it. And again, it is very possible that you have extremely similar interests as he does, just as you and John Smith of Any City USA could. It still seems odd that within the week or so that he changes his mind you do as well, keeping stride and not falling behind.

The only reason I did not bring any of this up before was because it was never that important, neither is it now, but now you have asked for a response and I believe that I owe you this much on account of my fuzzy remark. But, most of all, the reason I held back is because you are promoting very good albums, rather than toting your old ways as you have shown here on this list with the likes of Revolver….


I hope this clears something up, I know you will have something for me as soon as you can type it.

Before I give an expansive response I want to note that going into detail trying to convince you on this feels ridiculous to me, mainly because I know personally that what I say is the way it is (since we are infact talking about myself here). An analogy would be kind of like you asking me to prove that I love my mother, and that I don't love her just because my brother does--something like this. It's unprovable of course, but also equally inarguable. I love her and that's it. I personally love the music I love and that's simply the way it is. So, just know that if you still don't believe me after reading this I don't care, and it's not worth discussing any further because there really is no argument here, and I feel strange attempting to convince you of my own convictions which are my own convictions whether you think so or not. As music is practically a religious experience for me, I feel odd, to say the least, convincing someone of the sincerity of my own feelings towards it. And then having them argue about it as if it can possibly be argued...


I can see how such a thing could appear to be me copying Scaruffi, so now your view is more understandable. However it is incorrect. The fact remains that my list, while no doubt similar to Scaruffi's, is a reflection of having listened to the same albums he has. If I was to merely carbon copy Scaruffi's choices, then what is the point in even posting these lists? I am a very busy person, why waste my time and dedication? Why meticulously make and go through the innumerable updates and changes throughout the past 2 years? Why trouble myself with going through a painstaking ratings process and reviews to illustrate my personal views on each and every album? Why dedicate countless hours of my own free time to these laborous, pedantic ordeals? Why not just link you up to Scaruffi? Is it really this unclear that I lack personal conviction in my choices? Have I not communicated across the vast spectrum of this site within my own musical posts, how much I feel for these albums in my reviews, in my comments, and so forth?

As for Black Saint topping A Love Supreme, it certainly is an interesting coincidence, but really you've jumped to conclusions here. Not only was it not very close to the same time (about a month after), but perhaps you haven't looked at my list recently: A Love Supreme has occupied the number one slot again for quite awhile now. Black Saint was on top for a week or so. I just checked to be sure and he still has Black Saint at #1. So, if I change it tomorrow does this mean Scaruffi influenced me to do it?

Also, there are very few albums on my list that occupy the exact same position as Scaruffi's. Where are The River, Uncle Meat, Down Colorful Hill, Repeater, Psychic Powerless, Geek The Girl, Dream Theory In Malaya, Good, The Good Son, Fire of Love, Zen Arcade, Third Ear Band, Brilliant Corners, Pithecanthropus Erectus, Double Nickels On A Dime, White Light/White Heat, Nail, Survivor's Suite? What about all the inconsistencies? Hosianna Mantra being a bit below Scaruffi's positioning? Y being #10 overall? Parable being the 4th greatest rock album? Irrlicht the 6th? Modern Dance the 5th, ahead of both VU & Nico and The Doors and Hosianna Mantra? What about Branca's The Ascension being on the list even though Scaruffi rates it 8/10? What about Spirit of Eden (8/10) being on the list for about a year until recently falling off? Etc, etc, etc, etc....

You seem to see some similarities but you haven't observed the numerous differences. There is actually very little about my list that happens to directly copy Scaruffi's list.

From now on the datums you should operate with are the following: AfterHours uses Scaruffi's site for recommendations. AfterHours listens to these albums all the time, has heard them innumerable times, and draws his own conclusions as to their merit. Scaruffi has listened to these albums innumerable times, and draws his own conclusions as to their merit. As they are both listening to the same albums, and have each listened to them innumerable times, they are probably going to draw similar conclusions on more than one occasion. In the future, in the event that AfterHours changes his list, causing it to reflect further similarities to Scaruffi's list, it is because he has just advanced his own understanding of that album or albums through listening to them.

Scaruffi has been a huge help in recommending these albums by having a site promoting them, but he has not shaped my opinion on them once I've heard them. The way I am artistically as a person, my appreciation and romantic notions towards aesthetics, and my experiences with classical music are, and always will be my influences. Listening to these albums has reinvigorated my lifelong desire to find ingenius, profound, in-depth, emotional experiences through music, something that, until I discovered Scaruffi's list, I was only aware that classical music and a few select rock albums, could do.

this has nothing to do with any analogy involving the love for your mother, but if you do love your mother today and your brother changes ship tomorrow and you follow then that would be the same, thats just talk, please do not take that to anywhere.

i believe that you do actually like/love/... any of the albums that you list. but having a list, and lists above, that sport A Love Supreme at or near the top, and after 9 months to my knowledge of A Love Supreme being at the top of scaruffi's list, it falls just as yours does. you put it back up, but the damage had been done.

and the amount of time you and even i put into this is a waste of time, but i am a fizzy lifting drinker with too much time on my hand that i beg to waste day after day, you seem to be busy.


My goodness. The damage had been done? This is silly. It had nothing to do with Black Saint rising and falling by the Godly hand of Scaruff the Magic Dragon. This is ridiculous...

You are simply lost in a manufactured, false assumption and that's all there is to it man.

Your "argument" doesn't exist. You made it up based on a coincidence.

Albums rise and fall all the time on my list. Black Saint has and always will be either just behind or just ahead of A Love Supreme. The two are separated by literally 9 one thousandths of a point when it's worked out mathematically on my ratings system. It could change again in the next 5 minutes...

I don't think you're just trying to copy Scaruffi, but don't you think you're downplaying the impact he has had on your opinions? To me, the fact that your lists are so similar speaks to how much his critical philosophy and artistic aesthetic has influenced yours. It's not just you; I feel like all Scaruffists (some more than others) have bought into his beliefs as to what makes an album good, which is certainly not the same across all critics. I certainly think that if I listened to Rock Bottom fifty thousand times, I still wouldn't like it as much as you or Scaruffi.

By the way, I'm not saying I think there's anything wrong with having one's critical aesthetics influenced by another critic either. I could certainly name some critics whose opinions on art have influenced me, and I often find that my reviews of individual works can be similar to the reviews of the critics who have influenced me, because we have similar ideals. Your list is very similar to Scaruffi's, which some may interpret as just copying, but it could also mean that you just completely embrace the way he thinks about art and have arrived at the same conclusions based on that.

On the other hand, I've only read Scaruffi's site casually, but I haven't heard him talk about emotional experiences nearly as much as you; he seems to write much more about artistic innovation, so maybe you two don't think about art that similarly after all. What do you think?

Well, what I said above is the truth and that's all there is to it. It is what it is what it is what it is. My opinions have never been influenced by Scaruffi from a listening standpoint. If I don't hear what he hears, I will not rank it the way he ranks it. The influence he has had on me is in which albums to attempt, and I've used him as a stable reference for which albums to keep going with. For instance, the fact he ranks Trout Mask Replica #1 influenced me to continue listening to it even though through many of those listens I didn't like it very much. But it slowly but surely won me over more and more and more and more. Eventually, about a month ago, it overwhelmed me to such degree that I now think of it as the greatest rock album of all time (though incredibly, it and Rock Bottom are merely 3.5 10 thousandths of a rating point apart by my calculation). I credit Scaruffi with luring me into listening to it more since I have trust in his recommendations due to so much success with them thus far. I do not credit Scaruffi with my actual feelings and affection towards Trout Mask Replica, not to mention all the other albums we share on our lists.

While you are your own maker as far as your opinion goes, I would challenge you in a heartbeat regarding Rock Bottom. I don't want to make a bet or anything of the sort, because I would want you to be totally willing to change your mind, but I think you would (and will if you keep listening to it, and especially if you take on more of the albums from his list along the way), eventually find Rock Bottom to be one of the most overwhelming musical experiences possible. Take that or leave it however you want, but I truly believe that.

Out of curiousity, I asked a person who is currently doing my list the following (he had finished Rock Bottom and is nearing the end of the 7.5's from the "Recommended Order"):

"If I told you I 'got' Rock Bottom but ranked it near the bottom of my top 100 what would you think?"

He responded: "That's impossible. It's impossible. It is actually completely and utterly unfathomable for me to even imagine someone ranking it outside of their top 5 greatest rock albums of all time if they were to truly have 'gotten' it."

So, my recommendation is of course, to go 'get' it. Listen to it and listen to it and listen to it some more. Do it with as great a system as possible. Dedicate yourself to it. You have no idea just how worth it it is. Take on other Scaruffi albums while you're at it. Doing the list on up to that point in the "recommended order" would also help for sure.

"...but it could also mean that you just completely embrace the way he thinks about art and have arrived at the same conclusions based on that.

On the other hand, I've only read Scaruffi's site casually, but I haven't heard him talk about emotional experiences nearly as much as you; he seems to write much more about artistic innovation, so maybe you two don't think about art that similarly after all. What do you think?"

I think we do think about it similarly, which is the obvious reason for similar results. I think we both want profoundly emotional experiences from music. However, you are correct: I don't look at music as historically or as a line of innovations as he does, or at least, my rankings aren't as dependant on those factors as his. The factors I consider in order of importance are: 1) Profundity 2) Expansion of Content 3) Ingenuity 4) Continuity. If he were to go by the same factors, I suspect he would switch his to look more like: 1) Ingenuity 2) Expansion of Content 3) Profundity 4) Continuity. But I actually think his view of profundity is wholly dependant on ingenuity, expansion of content and perhaps another factor. He might exchange something like "Degree of emotional beauty or force" for "Profoundity", which is really what I mean by it anyway.

You certainly do have a lot of friends willing to throw all their free time into listening to an assortment of obscure, unconventional albums 50,000 times each. Where do you find all these open-minded people?

I'm sure that seeing the same experiences time and again has reinforced in your mind the power of Scaruffi's might, but his opinions are not universal and I do not share his artistic aesthetic or yours. I'm really quite sure that even if I "got" Rock Bottom as you put it, I still wouldn't rank it in my top 5 albums of all-time. Believe me. Even if I heard it and could break it down bit by bit, if I could tell you when Robert Wyatt plays this note it means he's contemplating human's place in the universe and wondering if the world would have been better off without us, and when he plays this note it means he's sad, I wouldn't like listening to it enough to put it in my top 5.

Don't think, of course, from what I'm saying about my artistic aesthetic that I don't give a shit about profound emotional experiences. Sure, I find artistic quality just in style and enjoyment value, which is part of why I like Ziggy Stardust, but there are plenty of emotional albums I like that Scaruffists have all just unanimously deemed to be inadequate. I love the emotional experience of listening to Automatic for the People, for example, but Scaruffi says it's overrated so it must be so.

Might I propose, though, that from a cognitive dissonance perspective, how could you not have these emotional experiences with Scaruffi's albums? I mean, the albums are complex enough for one to hear plenty of different things, you trust in Scaruffi and think he's brilliant, and you don't want to have wasted your time listening to an album 100 times. You want to have this experience, so you do. The mind is a powerful thing, but influenced by thousands of psychological processes; the music is a religious experience, and Scaruffi is your faith healer. That doesn't make it any less valid - I mean, the emotions are certainly genuine, and the music causes them - but I'm just saying, it was going to happen to you. As a Scaruffi skeptic, it's just not going to happen to me.

You know, you're propping the experience of these albums up to be some sort of fad, accident or even a sort of "objective experience", when infact you couldn't be further from the truth. But I can see how you might view it this way when you haven't personally gone down the same avenues. As much as you seem to be refusing to believe it, my personal , conclusive experiences with these albums has nothing to do with Scaruffi as per my explanation above, and if he suddenly decided all The Beatles albums and so forth were works of genius and dropped his opinions on the albums he cherishes now, there is no way in hell I would follow him, because for me that simply isn't true. Most of the albums on his list are so much more exciting, profound and entertaining to listen to than anything else out there that there is really no going back.

A majority of my friends actually don't love the music on my list. Most of them simply think I am some lost musical nerd (true, by the way). With the ones who are willing, it is simply because they get a win with an easier album on the list which helps them put their trust in the rest. This is best accomplished by following the list as described in "Recommended Order..."

Suit yourself with Rock Bottom...
To continue to try and sell you on an album so extraordinary would be kind of degrading to the work of art itself, and so I concede that it, as well as most of the albums on Scaruffi's list, just may not be your cup of tea.

On the contrary, I think you are the one trying to sell me on the objectivity of the artistic experience of these albums. You, through quoting your friend who I presume you agree with, have basically said that if everyone in the world listened to Rock Bottom enough times to understand it, EVERYONE IN THE WORLD WOULD THINK IT WAS ONE OF THE TOP FIVE ROCK ALBUMS EVER MADE. That is an incredibly bold and presumptuous statement that takes out all subjectivity of the experience of listening to music. You're removing all possibilities for differences in opinion or aesthetic and assuring me that it is absolutely unthinkable that anyone who gets Robert Wyatt would not love him, and not just love him, but rank Rock Bottom as one of the best albums ever. That's the definition of making the experience objective.

Similarly, I think Scaruffi also thinks of art as a more objective experience. He's an intellectual, a historian, who writes about the innovations in his favorite artwork, not the emotions. It's easier to write about why something sounds new and different than about why you actually like something. It's easier to measure.

What I suggested is not a fad or an accident, and it is very subjective. I merely suggest theory that is heavily based on a Consumer Psychology course I took this past semester - that the human brain is complex, and the set of circumstances that causes one to feel an emotion may be based on more than just the experience of the music. It may be based on a number of different conditions. These are psychological processes that affect everyone's life and produce real, genuine feelings. They just don't produce universal feelings.

I believe what you said about the Beatles, but only because the Beatles are easy to understand at face value. I listen to "Yesterday" and I know what I'm getting. I listen to "Alifib" and it's complex, I'm uncertain just how I feel, my mind is more open to being swayed by external conditions.

You have a good point there. However, I did not say that everyone in the world would think it was one of the top 5 rock albums ever made, though clearly I should've qualified my statement to avoid such a misunderstanding. There are tons of people who would probably be incapable or unwilling to go that far with Rock Bottom. But, if one got it, really got it, that ascertains as preconception that they've already gone that far and must've developed a very complete understanding, and thus strong willingness and level of affinity for the album. Perhaps this comes across as objective, but it's really not. What I am relaying here is that an individual has the capability to come to grips with the communication of emotions displayed in Rock Bottom. Not that they would automatically fall upon it in a robotic, objective way. But that they would, due to their innate ability to understand and duplicate things, come to an understanding of it through repetition of and receiving its emotions. Each person I have observed that has gone all the way, has drawn a deeply personal experience out of it. Not an objective one. So yea, I do infact find it unfathomable that, if one were to go all the way with that album and 'get' it, they wouldn't find it to be one of the most extraordinary musical experiences possible. But, let me make clear that this already asserts that they have willingly and interestedly gone that far with it, and so have naturally developed a duplication and understanding of its emotional content, thus experiencing a commensurate level of emotion to what is being expressed by the artist himself.

I can assure you that although Scaruffi does write about albums in an objective manner, he absolutely feels deeply for the albums he ranks highly. You can ask him yourself by emailing him if you want, though just make sure you question him precisely, otherwise his answers can be incomplete/unsatisfactory. He is almost always in a hurry...

Psychology is notable for its absurd tendencies towards treating man like a reactive animal, a piece of meat operated by happenstance and chemical reactions, so I don't consider what they say to be real science. Any being can be the source of his own feelings and reactions. The music doesn't cause the emotion. The person does, through an understanding of the emotions, and thus increased affinity for, the music, reaches a meeting ground with the artists' communication and thus has caused his feelings towards the work. It is a 2-way street. The listener reaches towards the music and receives what it is saying from the artist reaching towards the listener by communicating through musical expression. The degree in which they meet will determine what the listener gets out of it, and how effective the artists' communication of emotions is towards the listener. But the listener has to reach. With a simpler band like the Beatles, the reach is quick and effortless because their expressing things that are so simple to understand. With a more inexplicable level of emotion as found in Rock Bottom, it will usually take more and more listens in order gain more and more understanding of the artists' communication. Kind of like studying something over and over until you really get it. Then all of a sudden one can use it and think with it and the subject isn't so unconfrontable anymore. The point is, this process is a causative activity that can only be achieved by someone willing to do it. If you stare at the page of something you're studying and wait for it to reveal to you what it is, it ain't gonna happen. You have to make it happen. You have to ask yourself questions about it, and look at it and wonder about it, "What is this here? What is he saying? What emotion is this? Hmmm...we have a very spiritual song here, this Alifib, with Wyatt's breathy whispering and the solemnity, and the hymn-like melody and structure...Now we know it's a spiritual experience here, but what does he mean by 'Alifib my larder, Alifib my larder.' That's kind of weird. Hmmmm, what does "larder" mean? Oh, okay here it is in the dictionary. It means "source of food". Hmmmm...OH!!! He must be speaking to her as his mother! A mother is a child's source of food! Now it's starting to make more sense! The song is in the verse of baby talk! He is comparing his wife to his mother! He feels connected to her! He is praying that she doesn't leave him! He is holding onto her, dependant on her like a child to a mother. He is transforming, birthing into a new being in order to satisfy and to keep her close to him. Now all these cosmic, otherworldly sounds that span the second half of the album are starting to make more sense emotionally. Yea, I can connect to this. He is simply transforming...and by the end of the album he has transformed into a being in a Godless, inexplicable state of mind. The album is a stream of conscious of states of mind brought into play by the difficulties and idiosynchrocies of his love life. Now I have a decent understanding of what I'm listening to. Let's see if I can get more and more out of it but listening to it again and again.

And on he goes. That person will 'get' Rock Bottom without much more trouble. Now that he has some understanding of what's going on, it is now merely a matter of getting used to the different sounds, and the album as a whole through repetition, and understanding it more or simply reveling in its mysteries. But understanding the emotion (not even the content so much, just what emotional character the artist is being) is vital. Soon it will reveal itself as a work of astonishing depth and totally unprecedented levels of emotional expression.

I do think anyone willing to go far enough with Rock Bottom to understand it would find it nearly impossible to deny its overwhelming, singular genius. Though that sort of person is apparently few and far between, so is not a reflection of everyone in the world.

If the test were possible to do on say 10 or more totally willing participants who had no reason or motivation for denial of their personal integrity, it would be a fascinating one to do. I will definitely let you know if anyone comes to a negative conclusion when doing my list as I would be fascinated by such a result.

Well, I tried to do that with "Alifib," but for some crazy reason, "forsqueak" isn't in the dictionary. You should write Webster's and complain.

"I do in fact find it unfathomable that, if one were to go all the way with that album and 'get' it, they wouldn't find it to be one of the most extraordinary musical experiences possible"

I still think this statement is incredibly presumptuous. How can you put so much stock in your opinions that you can convince yourself that the only reason why everyone else in the world doesn't agree with you is because they just don't get it? How can you believe this to such an extent that when Feif Umgotnn says he doesn't like Rock Bottom as much as you, you automatically assume he just hasn't listened to it enough?

There are many works of art I feel incredibly strongly about, but I would never jump to such conclusions automatically. Can you really not fathom someone understanding what is communicated in Rock Bottom but just finding it all a little too pretentious? Thinking that the gibberish lines like "Nit nit folly bololey" or "For jangle and bojangle trip trip pip pippy pippy pip pip landerim" are a bit too silly for what Wyatt is attempting to communicate? Thinking the whole process of transforming into another being is too overblown and preferring something a bit more down-to-earth? What about your favorite rock song "Sister Ray" for that matter? That must be a profound emotional experience for you when Lou Reed mentions the person who's "too busy sucking on my ding-dong," eh? Maybe it is for all I know, but can't you see that that might not be for everyone, even someone who gets the song?

By the way, you may not put too much stock in psychology, but you're stating conclusions based on a few people who've tried your greatest albums list, which is much, much further from "real science" than psychological studies are. The people who have attempted your list aren't statistically significant.

Incidentally, the Rock Bottom criticisms I suggested are not how I feel about the album. I actually really like it. But it's not one of my top 5 albums ever.

Well, obviously I am not going to get very far with this, and you're not going to get very far either. But perhaps, even though you don't agree with me, you can see where I am coming from on this.

I remain certain that a person who doesn't think Rock Bottom is all that it's cracked up to be, is simply someone who hasn't gone all the way with it and 'gotten it'. Incredibly presumptious as it sounds, you may not ever understand what the heck I mean unless you yourself end up 'getting' Rock Bottom, or some other album that is far beyond your usual boundaries in music. And yes, I do automatically assume that Feif either:

a) hasn't listened to it enough or

b) is missing prerequisites that would help him duplicate and understand its emotional content better.

If you look at his list, practically all the albums that are low on it (ranked under the heading "top 50" and "top 100") are those albums that are 7.5+ on challenge rating (including Rock Bottom). Almost all of the albums that are high on the list are below that level. From that point alone, it could be determined that he simply is missing prerequisites in order to move up and better understand the emotional context of albums in that higher challenge echelon.

The reason I am so certain about my "presumptious claims" is because I am so certain that a person can be totally and wholly causative over 'getting' albums at will and through determination alone. He just has to put forth the effort. I know this can be a horrible thing for someone to hear or read because it pins the responsibilty on them only for why they're not getting the album, but this is the way I've seen it to be, time and time again. If you asked me why I hadn't fully gotten Trout Mask Replica 5-6 months ago, I would've told you: "I just have to listen to it more and it'll come around. I've only connected to various portions of it but there are still others that I need to work on." And that's what I did. And now I understand it, and it is an incredibly emotional experience for me, from start to finish. It's ridiculously simple, but really, every single person who's ever done any of my lists has only needed to do this one simple thing in order to eventually 'get' an album, whether it be Blonde On Blonde or Trout Mask Replica--and it's proven out every single time. The only other underlying aspect is that they have to be willing and interested in doing the list and wanting to 'get' the albums. A person has an innate ability to understand things. All you have to do is have them confront something enough to where they untap this, and they will. I've done it myself many times, and seen it done too many times, and it makes too much sense to otherwise change my mind about this. Whether it's presumptious or rude or whatever is not something I am interested in. All I know is every single time I've focused on that, it has been successful, 1 for 1, so I see no reason to believe otherwise.

I will be posting a list/article very soon that will go very well with my "Recommended Order..." list, and will detail the exact aspects necessary to listen to these albums and 'get' them. Fundamentals as regards what I recommend in listening to them, including such details as suggestions on what kind of system, what to focus on, etc. Then I will also be posting a list that will go over the key emotional aspects of each album in succession. All 3 of these helpful realms of advice together will, if followed, make these albums even easier to go through and 'get' at a rapid pace.

lets Clockwork it!

what do you mean, Feif?

I think what is happening here is that AfterHours' 'presumptous' statement stems from this immense love and appreciation of the album. It is an innocent presumption, I think. Possibly, the emotional impact of the Rock Bottom must have been immense for AfterHours so that it is unfathomable for him to think that anyone could not like it. That's just my perception though. I may be wrong.

As much as I admire AfterHours' passion for music, I have to agree with AJDaGreat. It is always possible that different perceptions for the same music always exist. It is possible that even after 'getting' the album, it might not have been an equally intense experience for the listener. Existence of musical absolutes is highly debatable. I have experienced what AJ is saying with many a great electronic masterpieces. I can see why they are great and important and glad they exist but just don't enjoy them. For eg., the number one song on darktremor's top 400 trance songs, Aphex Twin's Didgeridoo, although pushing the envelopes of innovation and ripping theough all defined boundaries of convention was never an intense emotional experience for me as it has been for him. I can see what people might find beautiful in it. I simply have a different perception of what is beautiful.

I apologize for the intervention though... I must say this discussion had me fascinated.

It has been fascinating. Thank you for chiming in. I get a kick out of conversations that make me think, just as I get a kick out of albums that do the same.

I think the point that has been missed about what I've said was that I didn't say:

"if everyone listened to Rock Bottom everyone would find it to be in their top 5 greatest albums."

I did insinuate:

"anyone who 'got' Rock Bottom would find it one of the top 5 greatest albums of all time."

This is a vastly different idea and I think it has been misduplicated as the first one above. In order to 'get' that album you'd have already dedicated a lot into the album and have probably listened to it attentively 35 times or more (depends on the prerequisites the person had 'conquered' on the list). The emotional power of Rock Bottom is so astonishing and so unique and so miraculously personal that there is nothing else in rock history to compare it to (same goes for Trout Mask Replica and Faust). Once the person experiences it on this level, combined with acknowledging the singularity of it--realizing that nothing can deliver the peculiar and mysterious emotional power Rock Bottom can (My God, the impossible odds of this being done!), it will undoubtedly hold a very special place in his heart.

Also, keep in mind that by 'getting' the album I am saying that the person has listened to it to the point where he has now duplicated and understood it on a level that is commensurately emotional to Wyatt's own emotions as being felt on the album.

Not everyone can even make it to this point as it takes a tremendous determinism, confront and willingness to understand the emotions of that album, but yes, if they did it is indeed completely unfathomable to me that they would not consider it one of the greatest, most overwhelming musical experiences they've ever encountered.

And yes, I guarentee with a cherry on top that if one dedicatedly moves towards this and listens to Rock Bottom attentively, without another agenda (such as desperately wanting to prove me wrong), with a purpose such as "finding it to be one of the greatest, most profound albums" (or something similar), with full determination towards 'getting' it and not giving up until this is met, that he too, will honor my prediction.

From what I gather, I get a feeling that you do believe that Rock Bottom is a musical absolute. That nobody who has 'got' it can not like it and if someone does, he hasn't got it. He just has to like it. Of course it is your opinion and I respect it for that... but for someone (like me) who relies heavily on recommendations of knowledgable people (like you),this is a scary statement.

When you say "finding it to be one of the greatest, most profound albums" .. is that NOT an agenda? If I were to speak psychologically, I would say that what the mind doesn't know, the ear can't listen. Or it's inverse. That is, what the mind perceives it knows, the ear listens. Simply put, if I even listen to .. say Maroon 5 with a constant agenda of finding it to be a profound experience, I will eventually. And that is a scientifically proven fact. I am not downplaying the brilliance of Rock Bottom, or for that matter, any of your superb favourites. What I am saying is that.. ah what the heck! No point repeating everything that has been said and forcing you to repeat it as well.

Oh, I have started on you Recommender Order and am getting The Doors pretty soon (a week at the most I think). I'll keep ya posted on that.

I think it is great that you've started the list.

Regarding the above conversation...

I don't think there are any musical absolutes. I think that a person's ability or potential to understand is absolute. I think that a person can use this at will. I think that if this were applied fully towards Rock Bottom the person would eventually understand Rock Bottom. I think that "understanding" Rock Bottom, consists of stepping into the shoes of the experience of Robert Wyatt as expressed in Rock Bottom. I think this experience was extraordinary for Robert Wyatt, so I also think that, in experiencing the same thing, the listener will find the experience extraordinary.

In his letters section he says that knowing the context of an album is more important than listening to one album over and over.

It's the section that reads "Un disco va ascoltato molte volte per essere capito..." (an album must be heard a lot of times to be understood)

Personally i think that the pauline kael method (watching a movie only once and then moving on) is the best for figuring out your tastes. If i were to recommend how someone should approach an album like VU & Nico, i'd suggest listening to it once or twice, then listening to 35 other albums from 1967, then listening to VU & Nico again. Listening to it 35 times would only make me sick of it. Listening to it in relation to everything else from that era would make me appreciate how unique it is.

That's an interesting, perhaps workable, method.

I don't think anyone would want to listen to an album 35 times in succession, regardless of how amazing it could be.

Avoiding this is covered in doing the list as per the "Recommended Order..." Applying it shouldn't require more than a handful of listens for any one album. Each challenge echelon (5.5, 6.0, 6.5, 7.0...9.0, etc) will be relative to the last in terms of difficulty because the person is doing it on a gradient and preparing himself for the next by the very fact of completing the last. This means that by the time he arrived at Faust it would probably only take 5 listens or less. Longer albums like TMR may take some more but wouldn't be that overwhelmingly insurmountable. Rather, the person should warm to them pretty quickly by the time he got there. If he doesn't, it is probable he missed something before that, one of the prerequisites, perhaps Unit Structures, or Pop Group's Y. He should go back and handle those and then return again to TMR.

Another method, and perhaps the best one to me, is to take all the albums in each challenge echelon and rotate through those over and over, but just combining the 4 albums covering the 5.0 through 6.0 into one "echelon". Ex: Listen to the Doors, then Blonde On Blonde, then Spiderland, then Kind of Blue, then back to the Doors, and so on again and again a handful of times until one gets each album to a satisfactory degree. Then, move onto the 6.5 echelon as one, circuling through those over and over until the same result, then the 7.0's, 7.5's. 8.0's, etc.


I do have to say that I think Scaruffi's method of listening to all that particular era's albums in historical context in order to better define ones idea of the greatness of each particular album is definitely, overall, the most serious, thorough and ultimately the best way to go. But it is also very time consuming. What I've developed for my list is the best way to do it if you only want to listen to the albums on that list--the masterpieces of rock/jazz (though there's still some likely to be added so it's probably not all of them yet). With Scaruffi's method, it's a matter of whether or not one is willing to invest that much time into it, and also spend a lot of time listening to mediocre and weaker albums in comparison to the masterpieces. With the method I've chosen, if done in the recommended order, the average time to get all the way through the list listening to each album an average of once per day, is about 40 weeks from scratch (an album on the list takes an average of about one week to 'get' from scratch, or 7 attentive listens--some take more, some less). Scaruffi's method, on the same average listens per day, would likely take years, though would no doubt put everything into even better perspective and be an incredible journey and experience.

I'm glad that you're promoting these albums and getting people to investigate them.

You too, as well as lukeprog, wshogren, Feif, apoeven, anyone else I am currently forgetting, and also anyone who has contributed in discussions, such as AJDaGreat, Merlin and others.

chunky cheeky beeky bunky


"music is a religious experience, and Scaruffi is your faith healer"

this should be the official slogan for us Scaruffists

Repeat it over and over again, like a mantra, until one is consumed by faith in thy holy Scaruffi.

Maybe I should add that as a step that must be done in my "Important Data You Should Use In Listening To My Greatest Albums List" list.

The power of Piero compels you!

Amen ( :

Say it with me my brothers and sisters!


Ok, so what is this - you assume that because his favorite albums rank lower on your 'challenge' rating, then he doesn't have the prerequisites to enjoy "Rock Bottom" as you do? I looked at those ratings and it seems as though there aren't too many albums higher than it. Do they all have to be in my Top 10 to "get" Rock Bottom? I've listened to the album a lot. I think it's great. It's unique, strange, and it can be emotional. But one of my favorites? Now listen to me, I have experienced the album in all it's cosmic joy or whatever it is, maybe not as much as you have, but believe me I understand it. I think it's a great album, but one of the best? No way. Not all of the tracks are memorable, too many of the notes seem to be placed haphazardly, the lyrics are mostly silly, and so on.

Maybe we're just looking for different things in music. One of the best musicial experiences I've ever had was seeing LCD Soundsystem (whose new album is terrific, by the way) play live. Everybody was dancing their asses off and having a great time, the band was playing great songs, the energy was there, everybody is singing along, and all that. It was exilirating. When I listen to the CD I can capture some of that. Rock Bottom doesn't do those kind of things to me. I just sort of sit there and think, "well that's kind of neat" doesn't really provoke a great response in me. I can listen to it 5000 more times and I bet that won't change.

I think the claims that you Scaruffists are a little too devoted to your man are valid. How can so many top 10 lists contain the same, obscure, avant-garde albums? I think what AJ is saying is close to the truth - if you are trying to see the genius in something like Irrlicht, and you listen to it 15 times, well eventually you will. When I first got my turntable I only owned one record, King Crimson's "Lizard" which I bought for a buck. I listened to it a dozen times as it was the only album I had and I was sick of using my portable CD player with headphones. Soon I thought that Lizard was actually really good, simply because I more or less wanted it to be. Of course, I bought more albums, and Lizard really waned in my eyes...besides, if it took THAT long to appriciate it, how good is it really? Fine. Take your Irrlicht and hear the creation of the universe or whatever it is you claim is hidden in there. The rest of us (even those who have given it a fair shot) just hear lots of sustained notes. Give me Sports or Purple Rain or Sgt. Pepper or Ziggy or whatever sort of "lowbrow art" you people protest against.

Hey! You're interrupting our sermon here. LOL

Seriously though...

If Ziggy and Sgt Pepper and Purple Rain is what you prefer than you should continue listening to those. Obviously Rock Bottom doesn't really do it for you in the same way as it does for me and some others, and it probably never will. I couldn't agree with you more that we look for different things in music--no question about that. It sounds like avant-garde music may not be your thing so much as the more famous, classic stuff, as well as the likes of LCD Soundsystem, XTC, etc.

"I think the claims that you Scaruffists are a little too devoted to your man are valid. How can so many top 10 lists contain the same, obscure, avant-garde albums?"

devoted to the albums, not to the man (who is mostly an enigma anyway)

didnt bother responding to that part since I already have in so many different ways, throughout numerous other posts/topics under discussion. But I couldn't have put it better myself. I wouldn't give a rip about his choices and I wouldn't bother listening to him if I didn't find the albums so damn accurately ranked and rated, and thus already confirmed him as totally reputable for my tastes, just as I don't give a rip about anyone elses choices who make claims I disagree with, such as Rolling Stone, Q, NME, etc.

...and JCOA: Communications (1968)

I also wanted to let you know that I have 15 bootleg albums of Captain Beefheart. I have not listened to much of them but I think you might get a kick out of them. If you have a share program I can send them to you, I do not think you can buy them anywhere. Plus a Robert Wyatt Live album.

I've seen the live Robert Wyatt one for sale so I may buy it sometime. As for the Capt Beefheart bootlegs, I bet they're amazing, and I appreciate the offer, but I don't go for anything illegal. Thanks though.

By the way Feif, have you ever considered going through the albums in the order recommended on my "Recommended Order You Should..." list? It is truly revelatory to go through them in a logical sequence since, once conquered, each echelon builds upon the last and prepares one for each and every album the higher and higher one goes. It is overwhelming to experience the stunning effect of each album as one goes, one by one by one.

No, though if you want pull out that 10.0 rating you can look into Merzbow or some other Japanese psych music.

I also want to note that I do like the idea of the order, but I do not agree that Third, Well Oiled, and Hosianna Mantra are more challenging than Desertshore. Those three are among the least challenging to my ears out of all of your Greatest Albums. Nevertheless, I do like the list, even in its current state, for beginners, though I did not have any trouble with any of them. For me it is a general rule that the more challenging the more I like it, but that falls apart pretty quick when I started in on bands like Merzbow and other Japsyche.

Well, everyone is going to think differently. Desertshore was always a piece of cake for me, from the first listen to the 100th. It's short and relentlessly melodic, and people I know personally haven't had a rough time with it at all. The only thing that I could think that may take a little getting used to is her voice (I guess) and the slowly developing arrangements, but...I don't know.

What is it that you find challenging about it?

It's important to note that the challenge ratings are based much more on how free and structureless the album is, then how strange it is.
Desertshore is certainly strange, but I don't think it's difficult to take hold of and follow its lines of emotion, etc.

Hosianna Mantra is a simple album to listen to. It's very unobtrusive and beautiful and most anyone could just listen to it. However, I think you've gone insane if you believe that most (doesn't include yourself) wouldn't find it very difficult to 'get'. It takes most awhile to see past its outer beauty and find the complexly free and metamorphisizing structures to hold such outpouring emotions, as opposed to "merely" appreciating its serenity (which isn't really what's there to be heard, but actually a shell of whats really inside). It's early in the morning for me, so I hope that made sense.

So this brings up another point: the challenge ratings aren't so much based on how easy they are to sit there and listen to more than they are based on how easy/difficult they are to really 'get'.

When do you ever 'really' get anything?

It's usually characterized by a heightened sense of affinity and duplication for what the album is communicating. Oftentimes, it is extremely powerful with the greatest albums. Rock Bottom for instance, has put me on the verge of tears and overwhelming awe more than a few times (overwhelming awe every time). It took about 35 listens for this to start happening for me (but would've been less if it weren't one of the first "Scaruffi" albums I went for, and I had heard a larger portion of his list first). Similar phenomena occurs with A Love Supreme, TMR, etc. Usually the number of listens necessary to experience such phenomena is largely dependant on what one has heard previously. For example, there are a slew of albums that one should 'get' first, before bothering much with TMR (All of the avant-garde jazz on the list, Y, Modern Dance, etc.)

Others who have or are currently borrowing the albums on my list have or are reporting similar effects. Only the most powerful albums produce this, and only the most willing and interested participant receives it. It takes a keen interest in listening for and wanting to receive an emotionally profound experience. It usually takes a certain number of listens to achieve, since what one is basically working up to is as close to a communion as possible with the artists own vision--something that is unlikely to reveal itself immediately. Once revealed, one will experience a commensurate level of emotion to what the artist originally communicated. The greater the album, the more powerful it will be.

it sounds like your having a ¡¡ball!!

Of course, in a way, it's a free and structureless album that's easier to listen to. I think you get what I mean.

This is why albums like The White Album, Metal Machine Music and Trout Mask Replica are pieces of cake for me, personally.

To anyone interested in resolving and/or understading the issues discussed above, regarding why is it I think that someone 'getting' an album like Rock Bottom would assuredly and unequivecally love it, please see my detailed explanation on "Important Data For Use In Listening To My Greatest Albums List", the main portion of the explanation being under the heading titled: "YOU SHOULD UNDERSTAND WHAT 'GETTING' AN ALBUM MEANS AND ENTAILS."

Very cool to see the progression here.

Yes, indeed. Has yours been similar? I would especially be interested in seeing a progression of how your Scaruffi picks went over the last 2 years.

Mine was very similar, although much slower. I'll post more another day, once i've caught up on all the discussion.

Good's been going full blast here lately. I haven't even had a chance to update my lists.

I don't know the specifics, but 2 years ago my list would've been a selection from the Rolling Stone 500, and today it's a selection from Scaruffi's faves.

Would your "favorites" list mirror your list as posted on your "Greatest Rock(ish)..." list, or would there be some significant differences?

They'd be very similar.

"With Scaruffi's method, it's a matter of whether or not one is willing to invest that much time into it, and also spend a lot of time listening to mediocre and weaker albums in comparison to the masterpieces."

How can one know that an album is a masterpiece if it is not compared to its weaker counterparts?

By not taking the time to listen to as many albums, or whatever the medium, as possible then one would have now way of knowing that an album is a masterpiece of all time, it would be nothing more than another album, painting, the notch of the user. By this measure Pet Sounds is as good as TMR, so long as TMR is not heard (assuming that TMR is in fact a better album than Pet Sounds). For myself, there are still hundreds of albums that I NEED to listen to before I can effectively weigh any thoughts on the matter, with only about 1% or so yielding any type of greatness to my perspective.

it was getting too cluttered above

Like I said, Scaruffi's method would certainly put things in better overall perspective.

How can one know that an album is a masterpiece if it is not compared to its weaker counterparts?

Well, it would probably help as to speed of recognition but I think anyone could recognize what they think a masterpiece is by simply matching it to their ideals.

I think a masterpiece is an album of utmost profundity, expansion of content, ingenuity and continuity, regardless of how many weaker albums I hear. Other people (and this seems to be a majority) think a masterpiece is a continuously hook-laden pop or rock album that is consistently enjoyable. To me this is just a continuously hook-laden pop or rock album that is consistently enjoyable.

For me, the more albums I listen to the more light is shed on the subject and the more I remind myself of how truly rare a masterpiece is, and how far above it is to the rest of music.

By not taking the time to listen to as many albums, or whatever the medium, as possible then one would have now way of knowing that an album is a masterpiece of all time, it would be nothing more than another album, painting, the notch of the user.

Would have no way of knowing is a bit extreme. If it meets or exceeds his ideals it meets or exceeds his ideals. If it is profound, it is profound. These are things that anyone can measure quite readily (barring a misunderstanding of the words themselves). I would agree with you if you kept it at "it would help him shape his perspective on how singular the work is within the history of that medium." I do not think his entire perspective must be wholly dependant on his relation to the history of that medium.

By this measure Pet Sounds is as good as TMR, so long as TMR is not heard (assuming that TMR is in fact a better album than Pet Sounds).

Well, I am sure the majority would favor Pet Sounds, but I think claiming an equal comparison between the two is virtually the same as saying "with the astonishing compositional brilliance and cataclysmic emotional power of his awe-inspiring and life-changing masterwork Pet Sounds, The Beach Boys and Brian Wilson managed to erect out of music a singular genius not experienced since Beethoven's greatest, most profound and towering symphonies. Such a work is so inexplicable, so shattering and so shocking to behold, the likes of it may never be witnessed again."

By this measure Pet Sounds is as good as TMR, so long as TMR is not heard (assuming that TMR is in fact a better album than Pet Sounds).

I think if someone pegged what Pet Sounds offers as their ideal, or close to it, then it would be a masterpiece to them. If someone pegged their ideal as an album that was supremely unique, profound and exhibits the utmost expansion of content and most unique vision, then it is unlikely Pet Sounds would emerge as a masterpiece. However, I would absolutely agree with you that listening to all those albums would help one shape his ideals and influence his choices, but like I said before, I think you overstate the dependancy on this.

For myself, there are still hundreds of albums that I NEED to listen to before I can effectively weigh any thoughts on the matter, with only about 1% or so yielding any type of greatness to my perspective.

Personally, the only thing any lapses in historical knowledge and understanding has rid me of at times, would be not knowing exactly where an album stands as regards innovation or importance in its contribution to rock/jazz, but it certainly hasn't seemed to slow me in experiencing the emotional power of the works.

What happened to your 2007 album reviews? I miss the cynicism/pessimism. Really, bring them back!!!! If you have a newfound dedication to 'faith' bring back the '07 reviews. Do you honestly think you won't hear an 7.5+ album in the next two years?

I am assuming this was meant to be directed at lukeprog, since I don't remember posting any 2007 album reviews. I will chime in though: I agree with lukeprog that there are very few albums this decade worthy of serious consideration, and I've hear none that deserve 8.0 recognition, though I also have yet to hear Ladybird by Shit & Shine, and many of the higher rated 7.5+ Scaruffi albums he lists. Of recent albums I've heard (and let me make it clear that I am no voice of this decade as I am way behind on it), only Ys and Return To Cookie Mountain would even manage 7.25 or 7.5/10. Music these days (especially the radio) is in a major slump. The 90's were outstanding, perhaps equal to the 60's and 70's in overall greatness, but really, every acclaimed album I've heard from the 00's has failed to live up to the hype by a very wide margin. Perhaps more great albums will be unearthed later on when meticulous reviewers such as Scaruffi spend more time to go back and find them--I certainly hope so. And I certainly hope the next few years holds something better in store. There are definitely more incredible musical ideas out there to be exhibited.

Comparing your 2000 list to your 2006 one, it is not really bad.

I don't think Pet Sounds is that mediocre compared to the albums you like. I know, I've got both Pet Sounds and some of your faves on my own list. It's your opinion, though, even if I'm personally surprised.

Oh, and I think an album that has to take more than 3 listens to get is worthless, plain and simple. Though I have yet to encounter one.

This list is like 20 years old. :-) If you want to carry on a conversation or make comments, and expect a reply, I recommend doing so on lists that I use. It was actually a stroke of luck that I even came across your comment here.

"Getting" an album means understanding it fully (or virtually so). It means being thoroughly familiar with the album and grasping it in all its content and emotional resonance. An evolution from, and far greater and more involved experience than simply "enjoying an album on the 1st listen". There's hardly anyone who could even remember the order of the songs after listening to Trout Mask Replica, Escalator Over the Hill, or Twin Infinitives 3 times.

That's the interesting thing about it. It provides a look into your past, and what albums you used to like, and how your taste changed through the years. By the way, WHY did you stop using this?

I get your point, but to me, it happens VERY rarely. Sometimes, when I listen to an album again, the only thing that happens is that I start enjoying it less. 3 listens is about enough to ME. Ahh, whatever, I need to listen to some albums again anyway. And I need to listen to Rock Bottom.

Hey, did you ever think of making music? I'm forming my own band. Many of my classmates want to be in it. Maybe there'd be too many. We'll have to decide on the lineup later.

I got rid of it because it didn't have any further use for me. It also was a time period of listology when myself and a handful of other users were involved in both forwarding and defending several "attacks" between other users about our views on rock artists such as VU & Nico, Capt Beefheart, etc, "versus" the Beatles. This is not something I am involved in whatsoever anymore and have no wish to be a part of in the future. Addition to that, there were several times when I, in moments of frustration, went overboard in trying to get others to see my views, and I am not interested in "forcing" my opinions on others. So it's archived, like many other lists from that period.

I was in a rock band in high school though we weren't very good. Also, as a joke, about 7 years ago I made a rap album with a friend of mine called Gangsta Bitch Casserole that satirized the "overblown gangsta lifestyle" (glamourizing selling drugs, raking in tons of money, "hoes", killing people).

I still don't get why you would archive it.

Weren't very good? XD What music you used to play in it?
Haha, that's awesome.

Re: why archived? Like I said above, it just didn't have any use for me anymore.

Re: type of music played? Derivative of the bands Live (Throwing Copper) and early Nirvana (Bleach).