10 Favorite Sixth Albums

  • Who's Next - The Who
  • Daydream Nation - Sonic Youth
  • Shoot Out the Lights - Richard and Linda Thompson
  • Highway 61 Revisited - Bob Dylan
  • Physical Graffiti - Led Zeppelin
  • Otis Blue / Otis Redding Sings Soul - Otis Redding
  • Honky Chateau - Elton John
  • Court and Spark - Joni Mitchell
  • Rubber Soul - Beatles
  • St. Dominic's Preview - Van Morrison
Author Comments: 

These are each the sixth album the artist released. Unranked.

Fun list.
Here's some more:
-Live in Europe/ Otis Redding
-L.A. Woman/ The Doors
-Begger's Banquet/ Rolling Stones
-Imperial Bedroom/ Elvis Costello and the Attractions
-Sign O' the Times/ Prince
-Green/ R.E.M.
-Stop Making Sense/ Talking Heads

What were the first five Sonic Youth albums??

I used the All Music Guide as a major resource for this list, but my counting might still have been off. The Rolling Stones were especially hard to decide what "counted" as an album, what with the various US / UK releases, and the live albums, etc. If I thought Beggars Banquet was their 6th album, I would've included it here. But I counted it as their 10th. You might certainly be right though.

Again according to the AMG, Sonic's Youth first five albums are: Confusion Is Sex, Bad Moon Rising, Made in USA, EVOL, and Sister.

Good suggestions! I haven't heard all of them. I'll have to check them out.

It's funny, because I was thinking of doing a "Best Fourth Album" list, but then I said to myself "now Nate, that's just ridiculous".


Haha! Actually, I looked up fourth albums too, but oddly enough, I had more sixth albums than fourth albums. I don't think I even had enough fourth albums to make a top 10! Some great ones there, though. Every Picture Tells a Story, Ziggy Stardust, Elephant...

Terrific list. Of course, I have a few I'm missing from above, notably Prince's Purple Rain and Graham Parker's Squeezing Out Sparks, but ain't that the way it always goes...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Thanks, and I'm glad I inspired a couple clones from you! I should really check out Squeezing Out Sparks, and who knows, I may add it to this list once I do. As for Purple Rain, it was close, but honestly, I don't think I'm the Prince fan you are. Sorry!

lbangs, now that I have heard Squeezing Out Sparks, I would definitely put it on the list. However, I didn't count live albums or compilations for this, and thus, I would count Squeezing Out Sparks at Parker's 5th album, making it ineligible for this list. But thanks for the recommendation!

You're digging it, eh? Fantastic. It is one of those albums I just can't listen to enough...

I finally got my home computer back up and humming (really, just a matter of an hour ago), so hopefully I won't be quite so scarce in the future as I have been lately!

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

If you're interested, I wrote my comments on it (along with some other albums I picked up recently) at the usual place.

Glad to hear your computer's back up!

Excellent, excellent... but I would have to say:

Aja - Steely Dan
1984 - Van Halen

and the all-time champion:
Nebraska - Bruce

I like Nebraska, but I tend to prefer the Boss's rockin'er moments. I like Born to Run, The River, Darkness, and Born in the USA all better than Nebraska, personally.

I haven't heard the other two albums you mention. I probably should, though.

I'd like to confine such phrases as "probably should" to situations such as eating leafy green vegetables and going to bed at a reasonable hour.

Aja is one of the few albums that sound better through a good set of headphones than when played on the best sound system available. You can listen to it an infinite number of times and never get tired of it. Every element is perfectly performed, arranged and displayed over the course of seven songs. "Black Cow" has the vocal fade forced into the right channel while Larry Carlton's rhythm guitar plays on the left. Backing vocals bounce from being evenly balanced between channels to flowing right down the center. "Aja" gives percussionist Victor Feldman a workout: amazing triangle work (yes, you read that right) and shaker on the left side with maracas and wood blocks on the right and fine marimba playing overlaid several times. Wayne Shorter also provides a muscular smearing sax solo. Acoustic rhythm guitars combine from each channel give "Deacon Blues" its pulse as backing horns and vocals flow and shimmer. On "Peg" Chuck Rainey turns in a brilliant shuffle-bop-funk groove while Steve Khan amazes with a pizzicato guitar line. Walter Becker, halfway out the door with Chuck Rainey taking over most of his bass playing duties, provides some tasty guitar solo work for the shuffling "Home at Last". "I Got the News" is another Rainey tour-de-force with Michael McDonald shining on backing vocals. "Josie" closes it out with another solo Becker guitar contribution and a breakdown featuring a garbage can lid. Fagen & Becker's post-Beat lyrics retain their cynicism from their earlier work but they have dropped the emotional detachment that used to be so problematic in connecting with their songs.

In spite of all this good news and more, the album belongs to the drummers. Paul Humphrey, Steve Gadd, Bernard "Pretty" Purdie, Rick Marotta, Ed Greene and Jim Keltner are the (totally without hyperbole) dream team that holds down the drum chair on Aja. The drum kits are all miked and mixed perfectly with the listener's head in the middle of the set up. Individual drums and cymbals occupy specific aural locations in every song. This is where headphones help the most. Paul Humphrey, who drummed for Lawrence Welk and Frank Zappa among others, leads it off on "Brown Cow". "Deacon Blues" and the phenomenal "Home at Last" are both in Purdie's pocket. Chuck Rainey's bass and Rick Marotta's kit work (sizzle and ride cymbals in the left ear, high-hat in the right) combine for an incredible groove on "Peg". Ed Greene snakes out the beat for "I Got the News" with a beautiful ride cymbal presence on the bridge. Jim Keltner, with the exception of his garbage can, provides ultra-concentrated tastiness for "Josie". But what looms over all else, in truth and in its acquired mythology, is Steve Gadd and the title track. Supposedly Gadd sight-read the eight-minute chart and took only two takes to deliver the greatest performance ever in pop music drumming. You can hear Gadd's movement about the kit as he lays down a subdued groove for the first four and a half minutes of the song. Then, beneath Shorter's saxophone break, Gadd's cup begins to spill over. He quickly subsides in tandem with Shorter only to flare right back up again when the sax returns. Then it is back to the groove for one more of Fagen's choruses before Gadd shrugs his shackles off of his shoulders. Over keyboard chords Gadd quickly works himself up into an intricate lather and in short order lays down a rhythm capped by the shimmer of his ride cymbal. The song quickly fades out but by then Gadd has already ascended Olympus.

Van Halen's 1984 introduced us to keyboards in (what was then heavy) metal. It gave us an "Edddiee!" who was now much more than "that guy on [Michael jackson's] 'Beat it'" or Valerie Bertenelli's husband. It made David Lee Roth think that he had talent. It had smart, funny videos. But, most importantly, it contained "I'll Wait", "Jump", "Panama" and "Hot for Teacher" and it led to everything that came after. Unfortunately part of what came after was "Van Hagar" and it was never the same. But for a brief, shining moment it all seemed possible.

When deciding on the criterion for "Best" I lean towards "Greatest" and "Most Significant" as synonyms. This doesn't necessarily mean "Most Enjoyable" and that certainly wouldn't apply to Bruce's "Nebraska". It remains the greatest refutation of Ronald Reagan ever articulated and it is a painful thing to learn. The tracks that make up "Nebraska" were supposed to be the demos for the new Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band album. After trying for a while to make full band versions work Springsteen insisted on releasing the four-track demos as they were. This is in the year where "Physical" by Olivia Newton-John is the top single. This was also Springsteen's first album release after his first Top-40 hit, "Hungry Heart". Columbia, his record company, was not happy. [Conveniently all would be forgiven two years later when "Born in the USA" made Bruce the most famous and popular entertainer on the planet.] But "Nebraska" will always be Bruce's greatest album. He is now too famous and successful to make such a dangerous and personal artistic statement ever again. Two lines from "Johnny 99", the signature piece of the album, encapsulate Bruce's world view: "Now I ain't sayin' that makes me an innocent man, But it was more 'n all this that put that gun in my hand."

You sold me on Aja. 1984 is still on "probably" status, but hey, I like leafy green vegetables.

You are probably right about the "Best" thing. I will change the title to 10 Favorite Sixth Albums if it makes you feel better. I agree that the lyrics on Nebraska are very good, but I don't think this is an anomaly for the Boss, and usually the music is fun as well, even for the more serious tracks.

Returning to the scene of the crime, my very first post.
Time flies... and 500 posts comes faster than you'd think. I have seen the number of lists almost double from what it was when I first arrived while the number of posts has more than doubled... and it has been more than enjoyable.

I'd like to thank everyone for their indulgence and indulgences.

Oedipus I have enjoyed seeing and being seen by you and everyone else.

I'm certain that bertie can explain those jokes (and much more) as well as why I think they're funny... it was so good to amuse someone other than myself.

Wezzo, I kept having to remind myself that you weren't alive when The Simpsons started airing.

stooky, Sir Crisp-A-Lot, stay crunchy.

cramoukji I never dreamed that anyone would be able to teach me anything new about Frank Oz and brunettes.

I'd love to set up a scooby triumverate with fellow Angel buffs and buff angel fellows, mistercreepy and CaptMal (although I'm still embarashed by the typo mesh I once made, by Joss!)

I hope the reboot is everything you desire, AAA, but it was weird trying to think of your split personalities as a unified wonderful whole.

I want to thank darktremor for his stamina, intellectual rigour, strongly held opinions and more than occassional brilliant peevishness.

1922, I am going to use the template from your "Ten Best Contemporary..." polls out in the real world.

Critico, you're the first person I've ever (knowingly) met from Venezuela and I now have an unfair bias towards your country... thank you for that.

jgandcag: I'd love to see you work your "S-Springsteen" alphabet entry into a short story, that is some wonderful emotional writing.

From Snakes on a Plane to Stormare to Secret Santa and other things that don't begin with the letter 'S' I'll miss the fun, Cosgrove.

From time to time I am going to wonder how the bass is coming for 5intheface and wish that we could share drummer jokes.

I wish that I had a lot more time to go through winalotta's lists but time grows short.

I'm going to extrapolate and say that AfterHours' "Greatest Albums of All Time" is going to end up being one of the best personal GOAT lists.

I kept intending to discuss David Brin with icubaji.

And the Wombles, Roald Dahl and my Enid Blyton story with ukaunz.

I wish I could tell pherber that I have rarely laughed harder than when he asked if film-making has declined.

I certainly understand how life can be with a 3 yr-old and a newborn so I'm grateful for a wonderful month of APMom.

Mathgan, nader... I'm baffled.

directorspen, you are the second person I've met with such a love for roller-coasters and it almost makes me want to ride one again in addition to my bipolar-coaster.

Among many other things I wanted to learn about you, Kza, was... is it a picture of Lou Gehrig?

If I'm recalling correctly then the only flaws I can find on the face of Rushmore is that you haven't seen a single episode of Seinfeld nor Star Trek.

Much as I hope the exams go well for you, Merlin, I am more interested in learning if you've gotten a migraine since you started staying away from aged food.

Conall, I have such admiration for how many lists you have in your profile page.

AJDaGreat, my first, my last, think of me when you listen to Aja and do it often.

lukeprog, I don't think you know how profitable our exchanges have been for me; you'll always be welcome at my the Dread Spielberg Film Festival.

dgeiser13, it was your seal of approval that first convinced me that trolling for conversation was socially acceptable. I hope I haven't disappointed.

It has been lovely. Thank you.

SPOILER - highlight to read
Take note of the date.

Haha, just spotted this. Awesome! :D

Ah, I'm always left out of all the good jokes...

Perhaps I am my own great joke.


Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Can't believe I missed this until now. Excellent.

(You caught me during the only two-week stretch where I've been too busy to even skim everything that flows through Listology.)

This has to be the greatest April Fool's Joke of all-time:

The Daily Mail is reporting that "Madonna wants to remake Casablanca."

Brilliant! The article, quoting the proverbial "source at a major Hollywood studio," says that the 49-year-old Material Girl "is talking about taking the Ingrid Bergman role for herself... She wants to update the story and maybe set it in a modern war zone such as Iraq. There is no script yet."

That is sheer bloody genius! I just wonder why the Daily Mail chose to publish this April Fool's joke on the 29th of March... hang on a tick. You don't suppose -- I mean, she couldn't really. Could she?

Why does Madonna want to kick me in the soul?
ohthankgoodness! "Madonna has officially scotched reports that she was planning to remake Casablanca, taking Ingrid Bergman's role and setting it in Iraq." [Just don't look at the date of the article.]

I don't know how I could have gone on living... especially after learning that the new Muppet movie will be using voice actors.

Now I may be miscounting in my head, but if I'm not, where is Sweetheart of the Rodeo by The Byrds?!

Johnny Waco (aghast!)

Alright, I must confess, I'm not really a fan of that album. I love The Notorious Byrd Brothers, and I love Gram Parsons's solo albums G.P. and Grievous Angel, but for some reason when you put the two together, something rubs me the wrong way. I think the issue is probably that I don't really like country music, and it's unpredictable (and rare) what music will overcome that genre bias. I should probably give it another listen sometime, but that's where I stand for now. Forgive me.

You don't like Sweetheart? Me and my friends are laughing their heads off at that! You just don't like Roger McGuinn! And you don't admit that Billy Corgan is the biggest genius in the history of the world!! What is wrong with you!!!

Oops! I channeled "Harlem Joe" for a minute. Better get my next electroshock treatment...

Johnny Waco

Laughing your heads off, you say? Really? Well, in that case, I'd better put it up there...

In one session of my hypnotherapy, my therapist told me that while under hypnosis, I had talked about how I had once walked in on my father, Willy Loman, having an affair with that skank Roger McGuinn, and I've never forgiven McGuinn for it. My therapist was arrested for fraud three months ago, though, so you might want to take that with a grain of salt.

- AJDaGreat (the "A" stands for "Biff")

Well, Biff, I can accept this as long as you don't try to seduce my fiancee ;)

Johnny Waco