AMAZING ALBUMS

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  • AGAETIS BYRJUN-SIGUR ROS (1999)

  • MY RATING: 8.5/10

  • MY FAVORITE TRACKS:
  • 2. SVEFN-G-ENGLAR
  • 3. STARALFUR
  • 7. VIORAR VEL TIL LOFTARASA
  • 9. AGAETIS BYRJUN

  • CHALLENGE RATING: 4.5/10

  • LISTENING ADVICE: Notice how epic and patient the album sounds, and admire the consistency of the work--how each song contributes to the whole, and how they're all so equally accomplished that none really stand out from eachother. Just relax and take in the overwhelming beauty of it all. Agaetis Byrjun is quite lengthy, bur if you give it a chance to really connect with you, it should eventually become a monumental, moving experience.

  • GREATEST MOMENT: The poignant opening to the title track.

  • CRITICS' LIST RANKINGS:
  • Music Underwater (USA) - Top 100 Albums 1990-2003 (2004): 28
  • Pitchfork (USA) - The 100 Best Albums of 2000-2004 (2005): 6
  • Stylus (USA) - The 50 Best Albums of 2000-2004 (2005): 18
  • Stylus (USA) - Top 101-200 Albums of All time (2004): 141
  • Mojo (UK) - The 100 Greatest Albums of Our Lifetime 1993-2006 (2006): 70
  • Rolling Stone (Germany) - The 100 Best Albums Since Autumn 1994 (2003): 72

  • CRITICS' RATINGS:
  • All Music Guide (USA) - Album Ratings 1-5 Stars: 4.5 Stars
  • Robert Christgau (USA) - Consumer Guide Album Grade: B
  • Rolling Stone Album Guide, Ratings 1-5 Stars (USA, 2004): 4 Stars
  • Martin C. Strong (UK) - The Great Rock Discography 7th Edition, Ratings 1-10: 8
  • Metacritic (Metascore 0-100, Weighted Average of Reviews from USA and UK): 84
  • Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (UK) - Album Ratings 1-5 Stars (2002): 4 Stars

  • CRITICS' QUOTES:

  • PITCHFORK: "Sigur Ros effortlessly make music that is massive, glacial and sparse. They are Hidden People. Children will be conceived, wrists will be slashed, scars will be healed, and tears will be wrenched by this group. They are the first vital band of the 21st Century."

  • ALL MUSIC GUIDE: "...the album pumps in the morning mist with Svefn-G-Englar--a song of such accomplished gorgeousness that one wonders why such a tiny country as Iceland can musically outperform entire continents in just a few short minutes."

  • MY REVIEW:

  • Bells toll
  • The night drifts into an about-face
  • as the moon swallows the blurred sun
  • lanterns and lights imbue the thick fog
  • as misty frost blankets across
  • the unity of one
  • pending loss

  • Inside this echoing hole I call out to her
  • my tears are not those of doubt or sorrow
  • but intense feelings caught
  • between icy hills and chilling hollows
  • "Can you hear me? Can you hear me?
  • I yearn for you to catch me in my ascent
  • I yearn for your grants of forgiveness
  • for I have been less than perfect
  • far less than perfect."

  • "I only speak in truths
  • your passing is my secret
  • learnt in following you
  • postulating Eden
  • here is where you climax
  • above your future descent
  • regardless of defense
  • or even justifications

  • I come from the dark
  • the lawless and the hidden
  • long staying safe
  • a static in the distance
  • but I now feel most exposed
  • as if I've met you like life
  • I'll lead you there, come with me
  • towards the glowing, beating light."

  • "Here I stand overtaken
  • with tokens, admiration
  • of your virtuistic cleansing
  • and this delicate fortune
  • join these moons and sailing angels
  • spilling melodies upon violin bows
  • antique love begins in fables
  • in whispers kept beneath the lows
  • by syncopated spirits,
  • Heaven's undertows."


  • 33. TAGO MAGO-CAN (1971)

  • MY RATING: 8.5/10

  • MY FAVORITE TRACKS:
  • 2. MUSHROOM
  • 4. HALLELUHWAH
  • 6. PEKING O

  • CHALLENGE RATING: 7.5/10

  • LISTENING ADVICE: It is especially key to learn to get lost in this jungle of insistent, pounding drums and bass. It is here where one will most likely become awed towards the sheer breadth of the work, especially the amazing set of songs from track #4 through #6.

  • GREATEST MOMENT:

  • CRITICS' LIST RANKINGS:
  • Fast 'n' Bulbous (USA) - The 500 Best Albums Since 1965: 271
  • Pitchfork (USA) - Top 100 Albums of the 1970s (2004): 29
  • Treble (USA) - The Best Albums of the 70s, by Year (2005): 8
  • New Musical Express (UK) - Some of the Greatest Double LPs Ever Issued (1991): 21
  • Sounds (UK) - The 100 Best Albums of All Time (1986): 51
  • Musik Express/Sounds (Germany) - The 100 Masterpieces (1993): 10
  • Musik Express/Sounds (Germany) - The 50 Best German Records (2001): 8
  • Rolling Stone (Germany) - The 500 Best Albums of All Time (2004): 147
  • Rock de Lux (Spain) - The 100 Best Albums of the 1970s (1988): 57
  • Rock de Lux (Spain) - The 200 Best Albums of All Time (2002): 109
  • Mucchio Selvaggio (Italy) - 100 Best Albums by Decade (2002): 1-20

  • CRITICS' RATINGS:
  • All Music Guide (USA) - Album Ratings 1-5 Stars: 5 Stars
  • Rolling Stone Album Guide, Ratings 1-5 Stars (USA, 2004): 5 Stars
  • Spin's Book of Alternative Albums, Ratings 1-10 (USA, 1995): 9
  • Martin C. Strong (UK) - The Great Rock Discography 7th Edition, Ratings 1-10: 7
  • Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (UK) - Album Ratings 1-5 Stars (2002): 4 Stars

  • CRITICS' QUOTES:

  • ALL MUSIC GUIDE: "With the band in full artistic flower and Suzuki's sometimes moody, sometimes frenetic speak/sing/shrieking in full effect, Can released not merely one of the best Krautrock albums of all time, but one of the best albums ever, period. Tago Mago is that rarity of the early '70s, a double album without a wasted note, ranging from sweetly gentle float to full-on monster grooves. "Paperhouse" starts things brilliantly, beginning with a low-key chime and beat, before amping up into a rumbling roll in the midsection, then calming down again before one last blast. Both "Mushroom" and "Oh Yeah," the latter with Schmidt filling out the quicker pace with nicely spooky keyboards, continue the fine vibe. After that, though, come the huge highlights -- three long examples of Can at its absolute best. "Halleluwah" -- featuring the Liebezeit/Czukay rhythm section pounding out a monster trance/funk beat; Karoli's and Schmidt's always impressive fills and leads; and Suzuki's slow-building ranting above everything -- is 19 minutes of pure genius. The near-rhythmless flow of "Aumgn" is equally mind-blowing, with swaths of sound from all the members floating from speaker to speaker in an ever-evolving wash, leading up to a final jam. "Peking O" continues that same sort of feeling, but with a touch more focus, throwing in everything from Chinese-inspired melodies and jazzy piano breaks to cheap organ rhythm boxes and near babbling from Suzuki along the way. "Bring Me Coffee or Tea" wraps things up as a fine, fun little coda to a landmark record."

  • PITCHFORK.COM: "1971's Tago Mago saw Can stretching out into the beyond, and it was their first full-length studio record to feature Suzuki. Originally released as a double-LP, Tago Mago confirmed what "Yoo Doo Right" had only suggested: Can knew trance-rock as if they'd invented it. However, unlike it did on Monster Movie, the band didn't necessarily lull you into hypnosis via bass and beats. "Aumgn" and "Peking O" are the most experimental tracks in the Can catalog, sharing more in common with the irreverent electronic music of Stockhausen or Pierre Henry than most anything related to rock-- Ummagumma was a possible exception. Their often-bizarre arrays of sound effects and reverb-drenched, murky guitar sprawl have driven more than one listener to put down the pipe. Of course, when the epic "Halleluwah" starts with Liebezeit's industrial strength funk pattern before winding through dark, echo-chamber ambience and minimalist drone (while never letting you forget those drums), the detours seem a lot less harrowing. The shorter songs, like the gray, faintly ominous "Paperhouse" or the flawless funk and dark impressionism on "Mushroom", are merely smaller pieces of the band's most exotic pie."

  • MY REVIEW:

  • ELECTRIC LADYLAND-JIMI HENDRIX & THE EXPERIENCE (1968)

  • MY RATING: 8.5/10

  • MY FAVORITE TRACKS:
  • 3. CROSSTOWN TRAFFIC
  • 4. VOODOO CHILE
  • 6. LONG HOT SUMMER NIGHT
  • 7. COME ON, PT. 1
  • 15. ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER
  • 16. VOODOO CHILD (SLIGHT RETURN)

  • CHALLENGE RATING: 6.0/10

  • LISTENING ADVICE: Starting with track #4, Voodoo Chile, it is important to recognize most of all, the amazing velocity of emotion Hendrix exerts in each of the thunderous build-ups to the song, both with his guitar and with his voice. With his more than competent band backing him admirably, he takes these to greater and greater heights, even as the song reaches its 13th minute. Learn to fall in love with the breadth of this song, how completely unhinged it gets, which is a microcosm of the whole album, and the essence of Hendrix's art. If you can accomplish this, you can handle this monstrous album as a whole. As you listen to Electric Ladyland more and more, admire how many different sounds Hendrix and his band are creating. The scope of it is truly unbelievable.

  • GREATEST MOMENT: Probably the opening crush of All Along the Watchtower. The breathtaking crescendos of Voodoo Chile also challenge.

  • CRITICS' LIST RANKINGS:
  • Blender (USA) - The 100 Greatest American Albums of All time (2002): 41
  • Dave Marsh & Kevin Stein (USA) - The 40 Best of Album Chartmakers by Year (1981): 2
  • Fast 'n' Bulbous (USA) - The 500 Best Albums Since 1965: 140
  • Gear (USA) - The 100 Greatest Albums of the Century (1999): 34
  • Kitsap Sun (USA) - Top 200 Albums of the Last 40 Years (2005): 162
  • Paul Gambaccini - The World Critics Best Albums of All Time (1987): 50
  • Rod Underhill (USA) - The Top 100 Rock/Pop Albums (2003): 10
  • Rolling Stone (USA) - The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (2003): 54
  • The Review, University of Delaware (USA) - 100 Greatest Albums of All Time (2001): 49
  • VH1 (USA) - The 100 Greatest Albums of R 'N' R (2001): 72
  • Classic Rock (UK) - The 100 Greatest Rock Albums of All Time (2001): 10
  • Guardian (UK) - The 100 Best Albums Ever (1997): 29
  • Guitarist (UK) - 101 Essential Guitar Albums (2000): 1
  • Guitarist (UK) - The Top 50 Most Influential Guitar Albums of All Time (1994): 27
  • Hot Press (Ireland) - The 100 Best Albums Ever (2006): 100
  • Kerrang (UK) - The 100 Greatest Heavy Metal Albums of All Time (1989): 8
  • Mojo (UK) - The 100 Greatest Albums Ever Made (1995): 14
  • New Musical Express (UK) - Some of the Greatest Double LPs Ever Issued (1991): 9
  • Sounds (UK) - The 100 Best Albums of All Time (1986): 91
  • The Times (UK) - The 100 Best Albums of All Time (1993): 37
  • Platekompaniet (Norway) - Top 100 Albums of All Time (2001): 68
  • Pop (Sweden) - The World's 100 Best Albums + 300 Complements (1994): 101
  • David Kleijwegt (Netherlands) - Top 100 Albums of All Time (1999): 22
  • Nieuwe Revu (Netherlands) - Top 100 Albums of All Time (1994): 36
  • OOR (Netherlands) - The Best Albums of the 20th Century (1987): 63
  • Berlin Media (Germany) - The 100 Best Albums of All Time (1998): 15
  • Max Magazine (Germany) - The 50 Best Albums of All Time (1997): 44
  • Musik Express/Sounds (Germany) - The 100 Masterpieces (1993): 1
  • Rolling Stone (Germany) - The 500 Best Albums of All Time (2004): 62
  • Wiener (Austria) - The 100 Best Albums of the 20th Century (1999): 1
  • Zounds (Germany) - The Top 30 Albums of All Time + Top 10 by Decade (1992): 12
  • Telerama (France) - 50 LPs in the History of Rock (2004): 19
  • Plásticos y Decibelios (Spain) - The 80 Best Albums of All Time (2000): 34
  • Rock de Lux (Spain) - The 200 Best Albums of All Time (2002): 17
  • Alternative Melbourne (Australia) - The Top 100 Rock/Pop Albums (1996): 37
  • CDNOW (Japan) - 100 Essential Albums (2001?): 62
  • Epoca (Italy) - The 100 Best Albums of All Time (1988): 20
  • Viceversa (Italy) - 100 Rock Albums (1996): 6
  • Pure Pop (Mexico) - The Best Albums of All Time (1993): 17
  • Rolling Stone (Mexico) - The 100 Greatest Albums of All Time (2004): 11
  • Showbizz (Brazil) - 100 CDs of All Time (1999): 23

  • CRITICS' RATINGS:
  • All Music Guide (USA) - Album Ratings 1-5 Stars: 5 Stars
  • MusicHound Rock, R&B and Country (USA) - Album Ratings 0-5 Bones (1998-99): 5 Bones
  • Rolling Stone Album Guide, Ratings 1-5 Stars (USA, 1992): 5 Stars
  • Martin C. Strong (UK) - The Great Rock Discography 7th Edition, Ratings 1-10: 10
  • Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (UK) - Album Ratings 1-5 Stars (2002): 4 Stars
  • José Ramón Pardo (Spain) - The 1000 Best Pop-Rock Albums, Ratings 1-5 (1997): 5 Stars

  • CRITICS' QUOTES:

  • ALL MUSIC GUIDE: "Jimi Hendrix's third and final album with the original Experience found him taking his funk and psychedelic sounds to the absolute limit. The result was not only one of the best rock albums of the era, but also Hendrix's original musical vision at its absolute apex. When revisionist rock critics refer to him as the maker of a generation's mightiest dope music, this is the album they're referring to.

  • But Electric Ladyland is so much more than just background music for chemical intake. Kudos to engineer Eddie Kramer (who supervised the remastering of the original two-track stereo masters for this 1997 reissue on MCA) for taking Hendrix's visions of a soundscape behind his music and giving it all context, experimenting with odd mic techniques, echo, backward tape, flanging, and chorusing, all new techniques at the time, at least the way they're used here. What Hendrix sonically achieved on this record expanded the concept of what could be gotten out of a modern recording studio in much the same manner as Phil Spector had done a decade before with his Wall of Sound."

  • POP MATTERS: "Hendrix's true genius was not fully recognized until his final studio album; Electric Ladyland was an exhaustive labor of love, one that blended aspects of Jimi's past, present, and future into a bubbling cauldron of sonic energy and expression. Originally released as a double album, (adorned with a controversial gatefold photo of unclad female worshippers in the UK), its sixteen tracks ebb and flow with a precise irregularity that affords listeners a fleeting glimpse into the recesses of Hendrix' artistic psyche. It also features contributing guest artists including Buddy Miles, Jack Casady, Al Kooper, and Steve Winwood, and boasts the engineering wizardry of Eddie Kramer."

  • MY REVIEW:
  • The speakers housed a tremendous sound. Growling, exploding, then wavering in splurges of echoing effects trampling to and fro back upon itself, forcing some sort of evolutionary conquest out. He was making love to his instrument, grappling it, playing it with his damn teeth. Fondling it. He was mad. Genius. A force of nature brought forth by visions and destiny towards some insatiable, unreachable maximum psychadelia.

  • Hendrix just stood there, a lone silhouette, his massive fingers climbing up and down his Fender Stratocaster, a lazer light show expanding out of each climaxing chord, off each and every fret, down each and every vein, drowning the senses.

  • The year was 1968 and it was the birth of the heaviest, funkiest, most unthinkably sensual and raucous sound to ever tear down anything and everything. Electric Ladyland was the first and only album to exhibit his true potential. The songs have breadth, vision, and maddening conviction. Voodoo Chile, one of the greatest, most incredible monuments to nuclear guitar technique one could possibly imagine, goes on for an eternity, before collapsing, and transcending into a near-apocalyptic breakdown of everything Hendrix had ever attempted. Friends at the original recording in the studio even get somewhat hostile, complaining for him to, "Turn it down!" during the track. It is magic. It is right there in those precise moments, where Hendrix solidified his legend. Not for an era, but for all time.

  • It is here, in this glorious bouquet of stylistic mergings that Hendrix and his bandmates coalesced into a beautiful, ingenius, animated production on record. The album breathes and grows and blossoms and smokes before every possible minute detail and overwhelming sound is caught, before being unwittingly forced into its zenith by the epic warning thrusts of All Along the Watchtower and laid to waist by the intoxicating, maniacal feedback feasting from the final spastic solos of Voodoo Child (Slight Return). You will never forget the singular, jaw-dropping scope and intensity of Electric Ladyland.


  • SONGS OF LEONARD COHEN-LEONARD COHEN (1968)

  • MY RATING: 8.5/10

  • MY FAVORITE TRACKS:
  • 1. SUZANNE
  • 4. STRANGER SONG
  • 6. SO LONG, MARIANNE
  • 10. ONE OF US CANNOT BE WRONG

  • CHALLENGE RATING: 3.5/10

  • LISTENING ADVICE: The most obvious and easiest component to fall in love with is the beautiful poetry. But along with that, key to unlocking this masterpiece, is to observe the near whisper, sometimes hissing, grave presence in Cohen's vocals. His ability to exude this in each and every line is extremely important towards deriving the utmost profundity from what he is saying.

  • GREATEST MOMENT: The final moments of the album, with Cohen all alone, struggling to muster a non-verbal lullaby.

  • CRITICS' LIST RANKINGS:
  • Chartattack (Canada) - The 50 Best Canadian Albums of All Time (2000): 32
  • Exposure (Canada) - 50 Greatest Albums not to make the Greatest Albums lists (2005): 19
  • Radio WXPN (USA) - The 100 Most Progressive Albums (1996): 66
  • Spin (USA) - The 25 Greatest Albums of All Time (1989): 19
  • New Musical Express (UK) - All Times Top 100 Albums + Top 50 by Decade (1993): 126
  • The Times (UK) - The 100 Best Albums of All Time (1993): 68
  • Pop (Sweden) - The World's 100 Best Albums + 300 Complements (1994): 101
  • Max Magazine (Germany) - The 50 Best Albums of All Time (1997): 14
  • Rolling Stone (Germany) - The 500 Best Albums of All Time (2004): 132
  • Telerama (France) - 50 LPs in the History of Rock (2004): 28
  • Rock de Lux (Spain) - The 200 Best Albums of All Time (2002): 28
  • Yediot Ahonot (Israel) - Top 99 Albums of All Time (1999): 61
  • Epoca (Italy) - The 100 Best Albums of All Time (1988): 63
  • Showbizz (Brazil) - 100 CDs of All Time (1999): 62

  • CRITICS' RATINGS:
  • All Music Guide (USA) - Album Ratings 1-5 Stars: 5 Stars
  • MusicHound Rock, R&B and Country (USA) - Album Ratings 0-5 Bones (1998-99): 4.5 Bones
  • Rolling Stone Album Guide, Ratings 1-5 Stars (USA, 2004): 5 Stars
  • Spin's Book of Alternative Albums, Ratings 1-10 (USA, 1995): 8
  • Martin C. Strong (UK) - The Great Rock Discography 7th Edition, Ratings 1-10: 8
  • Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (UK) - Album Ratings 1-5 Stars (2002): 4 Stars

  • CRITICS' QUOTES:

  • ABSOLUTENOW.COM: "When the first song starts, you know where the album is going to take you... "Suzanne takes you down to her place near the river/ you can hear the boats go by/ you can spend the night beside her/ and you know that she's half crazy/ but that's why you want to be there/ and she feeds you tea and oranges/ that come all the way from china/ and just when you mean to tell her/ that you have no love to give her/ then she gets you on her wavelength/ and she let's the river answer/ that you've always been her lover." If an old oak tree with a hollow in which an owl nested could talk, it might sound like Leonard Cohen. Every song somehow relates to love, yet only one or two of them would be considered love songs. I would actually only suggest that you buy this album if you love poetry and stories and slow motion matter. In a year when Bob Dylan was laid up because of a motorcycle accident, Leonard Cohen was far and away the greatest poet/musician of the year."

  • ALL MUSIC GUIDE: "A breathtaking and perfect debut, Songs of Leonard Cohen marked the emergence of one of the most enduring, unique, and brilliant voices in popular music. Led off by the gorgeous "Suzanne," previously a hit for both Judy Collins and Noel Harrison, the album is an exposed nerve, a Fellini-esque parade of losers, victims, and fallen angels."

  • MY REVIEW:
  • Among the most lonely, poetic and achingly beautiful albums ever made, Leonard Cohen quietly stunned the more attentive portion of the music world with this virtually flawless 1968 debut. To sit alone in its eloquent pathos is to invite the unyielding storm of past loves, and to allot oneself time to weep on some of the greatest poetry in rock history. Here lies the intimate stories of broken love affairs, told in Cohen's most reserved, detached black and white tones. It carries like the nostalgic memory of a lost silent film, allowing you to join in its fadeout goodbyes, its quiet mornings, its mournful, delicate climaxes, miraculous profundities, and its religious underpinnings.

  • Clearly it is Cohen who is the protagonist here, and his dreary pathos draws our understanding, yet still maintains an element of enigmatic genius enough to invoke awe, as he sifts through seemingly recent and still churning events of his love life. The results are nakedly honest and life affirming, leaving one gasping to avoid wearing the bare-soled shoes of unfulfilled heartache. Effortlessly and methodically, Cohen fills them for you, and by its tearfully regretful conclusion, it's easy to tell he's walked a long way in them.


  • REPEATER-FUGAZI (1990)

  • MY RATING: 8.6/10

  • MY FAVORITE TRACKS:
  • 1. TURNOVER
  • 2. REPEATER
  • 5. BLUEPRINT
  • 11. SHUT THE DOOR

  • CHALLENGE RATING: 3.0/10

  • LISTENING ADVICE:

  • GREATEST MOMENT: The explosive choruses to closer Shut the Door.

  • CRITICS' LIST RANKINGS:
  • Alternative Press (USA) - The 90 Greatest Albums of the 90s (1998): 23
  • Alternative Press (USA) - Top 99 Albums of '85 to '95 (1995): 50
  • Fast 'n' Bulbous (USA) - The 500 Best Albums Since 1965: 345
  • LostAtSea (USA) - 90 Albums of the 90s (2000): 51
  • Pitchfork (USA) - Top 100 Favorite Records of the 1990s (1999): 52
  • Spin (USA) - Top 90 Albums of the 90s (1999): 36
  • Rock de Lux (Spain) - The 150 Best Albums from the 90s (2000): 21
  • The Movement (New Zealand) - The 101 Best Albums of the 90s (2004): 40
  • Pure Pop (Mexico) - The 10 (+50) Most Important Albums of All Time (2004): 2
  • Pure Pop (Mexico) - The 50 Best Albums of the 90s (2000): 35

  • CRITICS' RATINGS:
  • All Music Guide (USA) - Album Ratings 1-5 Stars: 4.5 Stars
  • MusicHound Rock, R&B and Country (USA) - Album _Ratings 0-5 Bones (1998-99): 3 Bones
  • Robert Christgau (USA) - Consumer Guide Album Grade: A-
  • Rolling Stone Album Guide, Ratings 1-5 Stars (USA, 2004): 3.5 Stars
  • Spin's Book of Alternative Albums, Ratings 1-10 (USA, 1995): 6
  • Martin C. Strong (UK) - The Great Rock Discography 7th Edition, Ratings 1-10: 8
  • Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (UK) - Album Ratings 1-5 Stars (2002): 4 Stars

  • CRITICS' QUOTES::

  • ALL MUSIC GUIDE: "Few rhythm sections of the time had the great interplay of Joe Lally and Brendan Canty. Likewise, the guitar playing and interaction of Ian MacKaye and Guy Picciotto almost always get overlooked, thanks to all the other subjects brought up when the band is talked about. A guitar magazine even rated Repeater as one of the best guitar records of the '90s, and rightfully so."

  • MUSICEMISSIONS.COM: "This is argueably the most accessible Fugazi album to date (their first proper full-length album). Songs jump out and demand listening with their inventive, catchy guitar riffs as well as the thought provoking lyrics. Ian MacKaye (also responsible for the seminal Minor Threat) proves himself and his bandmates as anti-rock gods. This album is done so well that you never have sit through a dull moment and each song just seems to seamlessly flow into the next. This was not only a high time for the Washington DC scene but for hardcore music in general."

  • MY REVIEW:
  • The opening strums barely prepare you for the kinetic explosiveness of Repeater, undeniably Fugazi's masterwork and clearly among the greatest, if not the greatest, punk albums of all time. Time has not burdened this scorching, frantic burst of raw energy, as it has some of the other great, less fortunate 90's albums. Today Repeater is a tour de force, and in hindsight it seems unbelievable that it wasn't even highly regarded until fairly recently.

  • Without fear, it mauls the listener with smart, unforgettably catchy choruses and witty catchphrases, while remaining distinctly metallic and abrasive over incredible guitar technique and rhythmic explosions. It is an undeniable, relentless assault, breathlessly racing from start to finish, never stopping to bandage its bruising, almost narcotic physicality.

  • At the forefront of their success here are Ian Mackaye's vocals. His intense, believeable delivery adds a quality to his memorable lyrics without coming across as too naive. With the social stances and lightly political messages, the opposite could've easily been the case, so it is important that his conviction is so strong throughout. Despite the band's amazing pyrotechnics, it's unlikely the album would've survived as well with another, less dependable leader. This is a punk fans ultimate dream come true, a parent's nightmarish reality, and anyones answer for something unforgivingly scorching. I dare you to prove it wrong.


  • KID A-RADIOHEAD (2000)

  • MY RATING: 8.6/10

  • MY FAVORITE TRACKS:
  • 3. THE NATIONAL ANTHEM
  • 4. HOW TO DISAPPEAR COMPLETELY
  • 8. IDIOTEQUE
  • 10. MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK

  • CHALLENGE RATING: 5.0/10

  • LISTENING ADVICE:

  • GREATEST MOMENT:

  • CRITICS' LIST RANKINGS:
  • Fast 'n' Bulbous (USA) - The 500 Best Albums Since 1965: 216
  • Michigan Daily (USA) - Top 50 Albums of the New Millennium (2004): 2
  • Music Underwater (USA) - Top 100 Albums 1990-2003 (2004): 3
  • Pitchfork (USA) - The 100 Best Albums of 2000-2004 (2005): 1
  • Rolling Stone (USA) - The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (2003): 428
  • Spin (USA) - Top 100 Albums of the Last 20 Years (2005): 48
  • Stylus (USA) - The 50 Best Albums of 2000-2004 (2005): 1
  • Hot Press (Ireland) - The 100 Best Albums Ever (2006): 47
  • Mojo (UK) - The 100 Greatest Albums of Our Lifetime 1993-2006 (2006): 7
  • NME (UK) - The 100 Greatest British Albums Ever (2006): 65
  • Rolling Stone (Germany) - The 100 Best Albums Since Autumn 1994 (2003): 83
  • Rolling Stone (Germany) - The 500 Best Albums of All Time (2004): 347
  • Screenagers (Poland) - The 50 Best Albums from 2000-2004 (2004): 2
  • Pure Pop (Mexico) - The 25 Best Albums Since Kurt Cobain Left Us (2003): 17
  • Pure Pop (Mexico) - The Top 10 Albums of Each Year 2000-2002 (2003): 3

  • CRITICS' RATINGS:
  • All Music Guide (USA) - Album Ratings 1-5 Stars: 4 Stars
  • Robert Christgau (USA) - Consumer Guide Album Grade: A-
  • Rolling Stone Album Guide, Ratings 1-5 Stars (USA, 2004): 5 Stars
  • Martin C. Strong (UK) - The Great Rock Discography 7th Edition, Ratings 1-10: 9
  • Metacritic (Metascore 0-100, Weighted Average of Reviews from USA and UK): 79
  • Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (UK) - Album Ratings 1-5 Stars (2002): 3 Stars

  • CRITICS' QUOTES:

  • PITCHFORK: "The experience and emotions tied to listening to Kid A are like witnessing the stillborn birth of a child while simultaneously having the opportunity to see her play in the afterlife on Imax. It's an album of sparking paradox. It's cacophonous yet tranquil, experimental yet familiar, foreign yet womb-like, spacious yet visceral, textured yet vaporous, awakening yet dreamlike, infinite yet 48 minutes. It will cleanse your brain of those little crustaceans of worries and inferior albums clinging inside the fold of your gray matter. The harrowing sounds hit from unseen angles and emanate with inhuman genesis. When the headphones peel off, and it occurs that six men (Nigel Godrich included) created this, it's clear that Radiohead must be the greatest band alive, if not the best since you know who. Breathing people made this record! And you can't wait to dive back in and try to prove that wrong over and over."

  • MY REVIEW:


  • WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT-THE VELVET UNDERGROUND (1968)

  • MY RATING: 8.7/10

  • MY FAVORITE TRACKS:
  • 5. I HEARD HER CALL MY NAME
  • 6. SISTER RAY

  • CHALLENGE RATING: 7.0/10

  • LISTENING ADVICE:

  • GREATEST MOMENT: Any or all of the excessively frantic splurges of chaos that can be found in the monumental masterpiece Sister Ray

  • CRITICS' LIST RANKINGS:
  • Fast 'n' Bulbous (USA) - The 500 Best Albums Since 1965: 139
  • Gear (USA) - The 100 Greatest Albums of the Century (1999): 82
  • Joe S. Harrington, Blastitude (USA) - The All-Time Top 100 Albums (2001): 14
  • Paul Gambaccini - The World Critics Best Albums of All Time (1977): 125
  • Rolling Stone (USA) - The 50 Coolest Records of All Time (2002): 1
  • Rolling Stone (USA) - The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (2003): 292
  • New Musical Express (UK) - All Times Top 100 Albums (1974): 89
  • New Musical Express (UK) - All Times Top 100 Albums (1985): 35
  • New Musical Express (UK) - All Times Top 100 Albums + Top 50 by Decade (1993): 120
  • Sounds (UK) - The 100 Best Albums of All Time (1986): 49
  • Time Out (UK) - The 100 Best Albums of All Time (1989): 81
  • OOR (Netherlands) - The Best Albums of the 20th Century (1987): 116
  • Spex (Germany) - The 100 Albums of the Century (1999): 41
  • Zounds (Germany) - The Top 30 Albums of All Time + Top 10 by Decade (1992): 29
  • Mucchio Selvaggio (Italy) - 100 Best Albums by Decade (2002): 21-50
  • Viceversa (Italy) - 100 Rock Albums (1996): 87

  • CRITICS' RATINGS:
  • All Music Guide (USA) - Album Ratings 1-5 Stars: 5 Stars
  • MusicHound Rock, R&B and Country (USA) - Album Ratings 0-5 Bones (1998-99): 5 Bones
  • Rolling Stone Album Guide, Ratings 1-5 Stars (USA, 1992): 4 Stars
  • Rolling Stone Album Guide, Ratings 1-5 Stars (USA, 2004): 5 Stars
  • Spin's Book of Alternative Albums, Ratings 1-10 (USA, 1995): 9
  • Martin C. Strong (UK) - The Great Rock Discography 7th Edition, Ratings 1-10: 9
  • Paul Roland (UK) - CD Guide to Pop & Rock, Album Ratings 1-5 Stars (2001): 4 Stars
  • Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (UK) - Album Ratings 1-5 Stars (2002): 4 Stars
  • José Ramón Pardo (Spain) - The 1000 Best Pop-Rock Albums, Ratings 1-5 (1997): 4.5 Stars

  • CRITICS' QUOTES:

  • ALL MUSIC GUIDE: "The world of pop music was hardly ready for The Velvet Underground's first album when it appeared in the spring of 1967, but while The Velvet Underground and Nico sounded like an open challenge to conventional notions of what rock music could sound like (or what it could discuss), 1968's White Light/White Heat was a no-holds-barred frontal assault on cultural and aesthetic propriety. Recorded without the input of either Nico or Andy Warhol, White Light/White Heat was the purest and rawest document of the key Velvets lineup of Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, and Maureen Tucker, capturing the group at their toughest and most abrasive. The album opens with an open and enthusiastic endorsement of amphetamines (startling even from this group of noted drug enthusiasts), and side one continues with an amusing shaggy-dog story set to a slab of lurching mutant R&B ("The Gift"), a perverse variation on an old folktale ("Lady Godiva's Operation"), and the album's sole "pretty" song, the mildly disquieting "Here She Comes Now." While side one was a good bit darker in tone than the Velvets' first album, side two was where they truly threw down the gauntlet with the manic, free-jazz implosion of "I Heard Her Call My Name" (featuring Reed's guitar work at its most gloriously fractured), and the epic noise jam "Sister Ray," 17 minutes of sex, drugs, violence, and other non-wholesome fun with the loudest rock group in the history of Western Civilization as the house band. White Light/White Heat is easily the least accessible of The Velvet Underground's studio albums, but anyone wanting to hear their guitar-mauling tribal frenzy straight with no chaser will love it, and those benighted souls who think of the Velvets as some sort of folk-rock band are advised to crank their stereo up to ten and give side two a spin."

  • POPMATTERS: "Punk fans, rejoice. Here's one of the earliest examples of New York punk that you can lay your hands on. Sheer cacophony with unbridled adrenaline. Microphone leaks all over the place, muffled lyrics, distorted instruments, it's all there. Highly influential. Novice fans, don't start here if you think the VU is a mere pop band that only puts out notions like "Pale Blue Eyes" and "Sweet Jane". White Light/White Heat is as dark as its album sleeve. The right people will understand. Everyone else still tends to keep away. But that's all right, as the latter-day VU albums still tend to win those people over."

  • MY REVIEW: The Velvets' sophmore album is among the most startling experiences in all of music. It will eternally be the blueprint for punk and grunge, and remains the key innovator behind now-legendary acts such as The Sex Pistols, The Stooges, Sonic Youth, and (along with their massively influential debut) practically everything else worth listening to from (at least) 1977 to the present. It may very well be the single most influential rock album ever created. Somehow (and I really don't get how) it has managed to continue to be some sort of myth or legend, an album more talked about than heard, and by far their least commercially successful work, and among the least approached "rock classics" to this day. It's easy to hear why it turns people off initially, but is it really that impenetrable?

  • NO. So what lies behind the curtains? Absolute, unadaulterated genius. This is among the most explosive albums ever made, and it closes with surely one of the greatest pieces of music ever created in the epic monster Sister Ray. Through more than 17 hail storm minutes, it laid to waste all barriers previously held to in rock music, and set forth a clear, unmistakeable path for the next 40 years. It is in these torching climaxes of wild abandon where you can hear and experience the rampant excesses of the bloody, wasted youth of the 60's courting grooves to the frantic experimental flourishes and emotionally torn recklessness of the great John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman, at once harrowing and incalculably barbaric, and yet an unmistakable colleague to the hitherto established intelligentsia. It is here where every single awe-inspiring, stunning, jolting impulse of every musical artist ever born is met with an ultimate, undenied, relentless burst of energy and taken to one final breaking point for all time, administered with an atomic branding iron. It is here where all music artists are fully acknowledged and allowed to embrace their freedom, a freedom long sought after since the very heyday of classical music. What notably began with the opening gusto of Beethoven's 5th (or even his masterful 3rd), ends with unbridled totality in Sister Ray. This is the full reincarnation, completion and coronation of Beethoven's unfinished 10th symphony. It is where rock culminated and found a meeting ground with all great musics. It is the ultimate musical masterwork of the last 150 years.

  • White Light/White Heat opens with a near punk song about the seduction of amphetamines. It jumps on the listner with a startling, catchy thrust through the throbbing chorus and eventually ends with a short burst of cacophony, before leading to The Gift a slow, interesting, and pretty horrific take on the story of a man and his girlfriend that ends in a foolish and ironic accidental slaying. Lady Ghodiva's Operation slithers along with a sly melody before breaking up into a botched artistic experiment and strange (but wholly effective) breathing spasms. I Heard Her Call My Name is a spastic free form masterpiece featuring Lou Reed's wired, lazer-guided, ear-piercing and breakneck solo work. Caught in the middle is Here She Comes Now a pretty, delicate little song with a repetitive, catchy melody, putting it charmingly at odds with the rest of the album.

  • For the second side of this White Light/White Heat you are actually confronted with perhaps the greatest musical work of the last hundred years. The first half, while slightly cut-and-paste, is endearingly trashy and always interesting, never losing touch with the rough edges that made this band so great. Put them together and you "merely" get one of the all time masterpieces of rock music, and an experience not likley to be forgotten.


  • GEEK THE GIRL-LISA GERMANO (1994)

  • MY RATING: 8.8/10

  • MY FAVORITE TRACKS:

  • CHALLENGE RATING: 5.5/10

  • LISTENING ADVICE:

  • GREATEST MOMENT: As Germano's see-sawing violin hums underneath her seductive, hypnotized vocals to Cancer of Everything.

  • CRITICS' LIST RANKINGS: N/A

  • CRITICS' RATINGS:
  • All Music Guide (USA) - Album Ratings 1-5 Stars: 4.5 Stars

  • CRITICS' QUOTES:

  • ALL MUSIC GUIDE: "With 1994's Geek the Girl, Lisa Germano found the perfect balance of her work's inherent contrasts. On songs like "My Secret Reason," soft, intricate arrangements surround her raw, whispery vocals and unflinching lyrics, making it even easier for them to get unsettlingly close to you. A largely autobiographical album about a girl's emotional and sexual coming of age, each of Geek the Girl's songs -- particularly the title track -- fairly tremble with awkward sadness and self-discovery. Shimmering, hesitant songs like "Trouble" sound like they might float off the album, but Germano's delivery of lyrics like "Little by little you touched my heart/ Where they had touched it too" gives them a delicate determination. Geek the Girl also braves the uglier possibilities of adolescent girlhood, whether it's rape ("Cry Wolf") or growing up too fast ("Sexy Little Girl Princess"). The album's centerpiece, "... A Psychopath," inspired by Germano's own experiences with a stalker, mixes excerpts of a 911 caller confronting an intruder, Germano's deadpan delivery of lyrics like "A baseball bat beside my bed/You win again/I am alone /And paralyzed" and brooding, scraping violins. Geek the Girl never feels whiny, thanks to Germano's abstract lyrics and the album's clever structure: snippets of whimsical Italian folk tunes bookend Geek the Girl's darkest, most intense moments, offering a tiny bit of comic relief. Similarly, "Cancer of Everything," a harshly funny cry for attention, borrows Happiness's ironic humor. Hypnotic instrumentals like "Phantom Love" and "Just Geek" also provide respites from the album's wrenching emotions, but songs like "...Of Love and Colors" and "Stars" end the album with something more important: hope. Geek the Girl's brave whispers hit on more emotional truths than the self-important screams of Germano's mid-'90s, women-in-rock contemporaries."

  • RONI SARIG: "Awkwardness, insecurity, and male dominance have long been standard fare for the so-called riot grrrls, but most times their viewpoint is, at least implicitly, autobiographical. There's nothing wrong with confessional songwriting except that it can come dangerously close to self-indulgence if not checked. On Geek the Girl, Lisa Germano frames her discussion of female trouble in a character-driven song cycle and thus manages to distance herself from her album persona--the confused, victimized, and beautiful geek girl. The effect is frighteningly wonderful--a portrait of the horrors and escapist dreams in one adolescent's dysfunctional world.

  • The album is as sonically unified as it is textually. A recurring circuslike theme sets the dark, absurdist tone of the heroine's life, and the songs share a raw but ethereal wash--chilling at times, exhilarating at others, and often both at once. Croaking guitars, wailing violins, and Germano's faint, breathy singing mold impressions of pain and fragility, while the record remains spare and intimate. Geek the Girl is no small achievement."

  • MY REVIEW:


  • YERSELF IS STEAM-MERCURY REV (1991)

  • MY RATING: 8.9/10

  • MY FAVORITE TRACKS:
  • 1. CHASING A BEE
  • 5. SWEET ODYSSEY OF A CANCER CELL T' TH' CENTER OF YER HEART
  • 6. FRITTERING

  • CHALLENGE RATING: 6.5/10

  • LISTENING ADVICE:

  • GREATEST MOMENT: On Frittering everything stops except some lone acoustic strums, before exploding into a momentous symphonic vacuum of distorted waves. Incredible.

  • CRITICS' LIST RANKINGS:
  • Alternative Press (USA) - The 90 Greatest Albums of the 90s (1998): 66
  • Alternative Press (USA) - Top 99 Albums of '85 to '95 (1995): 85
  • Select (UK) - The 100 Best Albums of the 90s (1996): 62
  • Rock de Lux (Spain) - The 150 Best Albums from the 90s (2000): 28

  • CRITICS' RATINGS:
  • All Music Guide (USA) - Album Ratings 1-5 Stars: 4.5 Stars
  • MusicHound Rock, R&B and Country (USA) - Album Ratings 0-5 Bones (1998-99): 3.5 Bones
  • Rolling Stone Album Guide, Ratings 1-5 Stars (USA, 2004): 3.5 Stars
  • Martin C. Strong (UK) - The Great Rock Discography 7th Edition, Ratings 1-10: 8
  • Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (UK) - Album Ratings 1-5 Stars (2002): 3 Stars

  • CRITICS' QUOTES:

  • ALL MUSIC GUIDE: "Music dictated not by logic but by intuition, Yerself Is Steam is an album at war with itself, split by its desire to achieve both melodic pop bliss and white-noise transcendence within the same space; it succeeds brilliantly, avant-bubblegum fuel injected by fits and flourishes of prismatic chaos."

  • FLUFFHOUSE.ORG: "The sheets of noise, distortion and feedback on Mercury Rev's debut might startle those only used to their softer work a decade later. But aside from the noise-rock elements and David Baker's snarling vocals, "Yerself is Steam" has plenty to suggest the seeds of insane genius, throwing together elements of Pixies-style alternative, psychedelia and 1980s goth without inhibition. Early Rev is unjustly forgotten, compared to the likes of Nirvana which dominated the rock landscape at the time."

  • MY REVIEW: An epic whirlwind of sonic impossibilities, gloomy insomnia-inflected atmospheres, undaunted wills, and deft, miraculous nuances, Mercury Rev's debut masterwork has only grown in stature despite the somewhat mixed reviews it originally garnered upon its release back in 1991.

  • Let's face it: usually the most unusual and stunning experiments get the most widespread and biggest shaft in rock criticism. Yerself Is Steam was and still is no exception. This is a monstrous work of maddening genius. Tons of effects and distortions and pedals and quirky sounds are used to create its alternately primal, and uncommonly beautiful atmosphere.

  • One of the albums most remarkeable traits is its conscious refusal to replicate one sound over its course. It is constantly fighting to stay focused and in the meantime conducting mind-boggling experiments towards acting out its own fetish. The most ballsy of these experiments is the 12-minute plus epic Very Sleepy Rivers, an avante-garde composition sure to test the very limits of most listeners' patience. Gradually, as one adapts to the band and its spacious compositions, even this song morphs into a sonic marvel. And eventually the album takes the form of a hectic world of dynamic, fleeting horizons, manic introspection, and strides towards love and acceptance of the human condition. It's up to you, the listener, to come to terms with it.


Author Comments: 

Ratings are based on my opinion of their merit. To me, the overall greatness of an album is primarily dependant on the four categories listed below. Together, these are the factors I believe to be most important in making up an astonishing and profound musical experience. My ratings are derived from a combined score from each of these four factors, in addition to the value I prescribe to each of individual album tracks:

1. PROFUNDITY
2. BREADTH
3. INGENUITY
4. TRACK CONTINUITY

All my Song & Album Ratings are based on the following scale:

0.0-4.9 NOT WORTH LISTENING TO
5.0-5.4 AVERAGE
5.5-5.9 ABOVE AVERAGE
6.0-6.4 GOOD
6.5-6.9 QUITE GOOD
7.0-7.4 VERY GOOD
7.5-7.9 EXCELLENT
8.0-8.4 OUTSTANDING
8.5-8.9 AMAZING
9.0-9.4 MASTERPIECE
9.5-9.9 SUPREME MASTERPIECE
10.0 ULTIMATE MASTERPIECE

Challenge Ratings are based on the level of challenge an album poses to the listener. By this, I usually mean the degree of experimentation found on the album. How much does it diverge from pop music, from what most listeners' are accustomed to? Length of tracks and the entire album are taken into account as well, when deciding on the overall Challenge Rating. Agreement with these will vary some from person to person, but I've found are usually quite accurate with most anyone, having made these evaluations based on my own experiences as well as numerous recommendations I've given over the years. One can use these ratings to presume how much work he or she will have to put into "understanding" or "getting" the album. This, of course, is key to enjoying it, so can be very helpful in convincing someone to "giving it another shot" while they remain unconvinced of an album that just hasn't appealed to them yet. I should also note that I have observed that, the more one persists in listening to and understanding the more challenging albums, the easier it becomes to take on the next one. That said, if you are reading this list and are used to simple, radio-friendly artists such as Nickleback, The Beatles and others, then it is recommended you start on the album with the lowest challenge rating and gradiently work your way up towards the more challenging ones, step-by-step.

The Challenge Ratings are defined as follows:

1.0 EXTREMELY EASY
2.0 VERY EASY
3.0 EASY
4.0 PRETTY EASY
5.0 NEITHER TOUGH NOR EASY
6.0 PRETTY CHALLENGING
7.0 DIFFICULT
8.0 VERY DIFFICULT
9.0 EXTREMELY DIFFICULT
10.0 NEARLY IMPENETRABLE

I would like to thank Piero Scaruffi (www.scaruffi.com) for the immense help he has been in the discovery of many of the albums on this list. I would also like to thank him for his valuable insight in his reviews and through e-mail correspondance (both of which I've occasionally derived some of my own views). Additionally, I would like to thank all the other webzines/publications and their reviewers I've utilized in the CRITICS QUOTES sections of this list, as well as www.acclaimedmusic.com for their existence, without which posting the multiple rankings of many of these albums from worldwide "best albums" polls, would be a real chore.

Great picks so far! Suicide, Leonard Cohen and Fugazi would all probably find their way on my top 25 list as well. Nicely written reviews, too. Keep up the good work.

Thanks for your compliments. I will do my best to keep on keepin' on.

Ever get a chance to check out that Bach Violin Partita I mentioned in your classical music post?

I have heard it. I can see why you like it so much, although I think I need to listen to it a couple more times. I'm sorta fixated on getting all of the 8.5+/10 rock albums recommended by Piero Scaruffi, so I haven't truly been able to delve into any classical music.

I don't blame ya. Scaruffi's picks are a monster well worth tackling.

Very nice beginning to the list. When can we expect the next installation?

Thanks!

It will be soon. Maybe today, most likely tomorrow. No matter what, on the weekend. I've recently experienced some minor shake-ups to the list and the order has changed a little. I've also been super busy and haven't had the time needed to update. It takes awhile just to do one addition and I've only had limited time recently. I generally don't make updates if I don't have time to make a complete album entry to the list. But I should get back on a roll very soon, so be expecting.

I really like your "greatest moment" section. I'd love to read more of your own reaction to these albums.

thanks Luke, lately it's been tough going to find time to make entries for the list, but I'll keep plugging away and I'm sure will eventually hit a more consistent roll.

You know what's interesting? The more I listen to Scaruffi's picks the more I am stunned by how accurate he is. I've never found a rock critic I trust more. Despite all the amazing reviews it's received from other sources, I am actually awaiting his review only, to see about picking up Scott Walker's latest The Drift. It's been rather excruciating, and I check his new reviews daily to see if it's there. Ugghhh...the man is so friggin' busy...

And corresponding with him is often something of a revelation as well. I can totally see why you admire the man so much. He is an absolute, indisputable genius.

One of my favorite days of the month is whenever I get the music update email notice for scaruffi.com

I can see why.

By any chance have you had the opportunity to check out The Drift?

'fraid not. You?

Nope. But if Scaruffi doesn't rate it soon I'm gonna give in, stop waiting for his review, and probably just buy it. I've heard it's really, really amazing. We'll see...

Who knows? Maybe it will be Scaruffi's first "masterpiece" of the 00's.

I highly doubt it. He's as cranky about 00s music as he was too-generous with 90s music.

He's going to fall further and further behind on his history of rock as he finishes his (surprisingly good) history of jazz and then redoes his history of cinema.

I've not heard anything by Scott Walker. Do you think I'd like any of his work before Tilt? That's the only that looks interesting to me, besides Drift.

BTW, do you like TV on the Radio? Return to Cookie Mountain really is as good as they're saying.

Never heard TV on the Radio, but I took a look at the review in Pitchfork and it is rated really high. Based on your recommendation, I will have to check it out. Do you consider it a masterpiece, like comparable to Scaruffi's masterpieces? And Pitchfork is actually becoming very reliable these days. It seems like they stiffened up their ratings ever since giving Wilco's YHF a 10.0 (very good album, but a TEN? A TEN? You mean, it's flawless? A TEN?) They haven't been so generous to a new release since. And they are all the better for it. Would you agree that they are more reliable than ever?

Regarding Walker, I haven't heard any of his stuff prior to Tilt either, but I believe it's in the vein of strong pop compositions utilizing lush orchestral arrangements. From descriptions I've heard, it may sound like Five Leaves Left-era Nick Drake, only a bit more pop. So far as I know, Tilt and The Drift are unrecognizeable in comparison to his earlier works, where he was mostly a pop artist.

Regarding "Scaruffi overrating the 90's", I would agree with you on The Good Son, Good, and Geek the Girl. I've listened to them all many times over, and while they're very good albums, I don't see how they can be considered better than many of the albums behind them, such as Third, Astral Weeks, Blonde On Blonde, or some of the other 90's masterpieces such as Loveless and Spiderland. Of course, this doesn't mean someday I won't end up agreeing with him. His picks have a way of justifying themselves given the correct number of listens and understanding of what makes them great. Some of them simply are less obvious than others.

I actually e-mailed him a couple months ago on those same three "overrated" picks being ranked higher than Astral Weeks and such, and why he thought this, and why he felt Astral Weeks wasn't a top 10 album. He responded, saying that since he has been doing his history of jazz he would tend to agree with me even more now, that Astral Weeks is a masterpiece no matter how you look at it, classical, jazz or rock. He also said that he guesses he put them that way because he prefers a more wide-ranging list, and that we tend to focus on the period from '66-'76 too heavily.

The above isn't an exact quote but it is virtually precisely what he communicated. (I don't have the e-mail at hand but I could reproduce it from my "deleted items" if I had to).

Anyway, which 90's albums do you find overrated? How's Twin Infinitives faring for you?

When TV on the Radio's EP, Young Liars came out, it was pretty much my favorite album to listen to, ever. I finally wore it out after a couple hundred listens. Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes was a disappointment to me, as was the early cut of Return to Cookie Mountain that leaked onto the internet (which is exactly the same as the release album, with a different track order). After reading Scaruffi's review of Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes, I went back to it with a different mindset and liked it, and liked Return to Cookie Mountain even better.

"Masterpiece"? Who knows. I love Return to Cookie Mountain. But somehow I think that TV on the Radio is a band best appreciated by starting at the beginning, with Young Liars, then Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes, and then Return to Cookie Mountain.

I do not feel that Pitchfork has become more reliable, but they certainly nailed Muse's new album as a stinker, and I remember being pleased that they rated Hot Fuss low when everyone else was raving about it.

When I said that Scaruffi was overrating the 90s, I was referring mostly to a ton of 8's that should be 7's or 6's. Thank you for mentioning his reply to your email about Astral Weeks. I fully understand the pressure for him to make a more wide-ranging selection. I want to think I have a wide-ranging appreciation for rock music, but if I had to pick the 10 greatest albums of all time, I'd be hard pressed to choose a single title outside the '67 to '74 era if I was being totally honest with myself. Twin Infinitives might be able to hold its own if I invested the time to listen to it more. I've only listened all the way through it once. Right now I'm having too much fun Lycia, Paul Schutze, and Stockhausen to bother with that annoying album that causes all my critical ideas and tastes to collapse.

Scaruffi's ultimate goal is to write an all-encompasing history of 20th century music (probably focusing on the period since about 1950), without putting boundaries between avantgarde, jazz, rock, electronica; since in the music that interests him they are rarely seperate genres anyway. I couldn't be more excited, but it's probably a decade away at least.

Thanks for the data on TV on the Radio. Somehow, despite all their acclaim, I've managed to completely miss them up until this new release. Now I'm getting more and more interested...

What artist/band would you say they compare to?

Have you ever considered compiling a greatest albums ever listing? Do you realize how useful it could be, considering you've probably digested more great music than anyone else on Listology?

I too, would be hard pressed to find a selection out of the '67-74 era. It seems like the greatest rock music begins somewhere around Blonde On Blonde/VU & Nico and ends with Rock Bottom. Speaking of Wyatt, have you ever found a useful analysis of Rock Bottom anywhere? Aside from Wyatt and his wife, does anyone know what this album means and what it's about? I believe I've already made considerable strides on it but it would be great to have something of a reliable source on this, as the album is rather challenging in it's subject matter/themes. One for Faust would be great as well. Anything?

As for that goal of Scaruffi's: what he's done so far has been astronomical, but that really would be the cherry on top if he pulled it off. I asked him not too long ago about whether he planned on adding reviews of jazz albums and he replied: "If I live long enough!"

I can't think of any "sounds like" artists for TV on the Radio. They have their influences, but they are a new thing, as far as I can tell.

When you ask about useful analyses of Rock Bottom and Faust, do you mean the lyrics or the music or both? I generally don't even hear the lyrics when I'm listening to music. I hear the human voice as another instrument, with rhythm and pitch and timbre an emotion, but the actual words might as well be in a foreign language unless a phrase catches my ear and they are well-enunciated.

One day I'd like to write a "Greatest Films" and a "Greatest Rock Albums" list, with brief commentary on what makes each entry so great. I feel handicapped in that I've never made serious study of either art, only seen/heard a sh*tload of material, read a lot of critics, and drawn my own conclusions.

My Greatest Rock Albums list wouldn't be too interesting, anyway. I've now listened to hundreds of unpopular artists that Scaruffi doesn't mention but there are no albums I'd consider for such a list that Scaruffi hasn't already praised with an 8/10 or higher.

My Greatest Films list would also contain few surprises, especially since I feel film has been much better written about as art than rock music, and the (serious) critics' lists available are pretty solid compared to most rock lists.

New thing huh...that is very rare, and sounds very appealing.

On Rock Bottom and Faust, I mean both. On Rock Bottom I am probably most concerned with the lyrics, though I think I have figured out most of it (I would just like some sort of second opinion from an "expert". I don't need it, but if it exists, I would like to read it). On Faust, I would be equally concerned with both the lyrics and music. Despite having few lyrics, they obviously mean something valuable to the themes expressed in the album. To me it can be very important towards understanding an album, to know the meaning and concepts/themes that the artist is communicating. While the sound itself is considerably more important, I think understanding both often gives one a greater overall comprehension of the work of art being listened to. The artist is trying to communicate something through, not only melody/sounds/instruments, etc., but also through lyrics, otherwise he wouldn't bother using them at all.

If you did decide to write a "Greatest Films" and "Albums" list, I would definitely pay attention to it and I am sure others on this site would flock to it, even if your picks were similar to Scaruffi's. I guess I can only hold out hope...

Yes, my ignorance of lyrics considerably impairs my appreciation of music. But frankly, knowing the lyrics are more likely to decrease a work's value for me than increase it, since many artists are musically gifted (see Scaruffi's 8/10+ list), and so few are lyrically gifted (Cohen, Dylan, um.... ummmmmm........)

For Faust, see here for lyrics and musical analysis.

I understand what you're saying regarding the lyrics.

Thanks very much for the Faust link. I enjoyed it a lot. That album is so friggin' full of ideas!

Any useful analysis you know of on Rock Bottom?

Re: Rock Bottom: You'll find some interesting thoughts in the Amazon customer reviews. There may be some juicy details behind the creative process in this book. A personal reaction is here. All other reviews I've seen won't tell you much beyond the Wikipedia entry or AMG review. Sorry, not much there.

I was really hoping hellsarse would write some lists, including a Greatest Albums list, but he seems to have disappeared. He may have heard more music than anyone on Listology.

Thanks for the links Luke. I hadn't read the "personal reaction" one for some time (it is the only useful one I'd previously found before, and I'd kinda forgot about it). Anyway, it was helpful, rewarding and validating to revisit it. I feel this writer hits the spot on many points.

You're right about hellsarse. I believe I endorsed him some months ago despite the fact he'd never made a contribution to the site aside from his invaluable comments and insight into Scaruffi and the conversations I had with him regarding music. I hope he comes back and submits something like a Greatest Albums list.

BTW, I'm also quite certain that darktremor has heard more music than I, but his favorites change every couple of weeks. :-)

Be sure to check out lbangs' music content.

And, your own work is shaping up quite nicely!

Geez, Darktremor is into all sorts of stuff I've never even heard of!

I'm quite familiar with L Bangs content, and have enjoyed his picks before. Like you, he has also heard a tremendous amount of music.

Thanks for the compliment. It's especially gratifying since I rarely have much time to post anything.

I should really catch up to this conversation, since I've been in it without being here...

The Drift is really good. It's gut-wrenchingly dark, lyrically confusing and convoluted, and compltely lacking any kind of normal song-structure, but it's also dense and brilliant. This one REALLY demands repeat listening to get, although I was totally swept up in the atmosphere(which is perfectly summarized by the album cover) the first time I heard it.

As for lyrics, I totally agree. Although I don't think you're impaired when it comes to them, I think lyrics are just the least important part of music, as lyrics have been intensely covered by poetry. No, music is all about the sound.

As for hearing more music than you, I don't think so. I haven't listened back further than the early 60's, and only in electronic genres. I have no real interest in older (non-electronic) genres, since I listen to music almost purely to hear completely new sounds and ideas. There's nothing new for me to hear in older music, as almost all of those musical concepts have been played out to me by now, so I don't really hear anything new whenever I check them out (electronic is an exception, since it's completely about making new sounds). So, I've probably heard a lot more NEW music, and more varied music, but you've both probably heard more.

Also, you probably don't know a lot of the stuff I listen to, because a lot of it is REALLY underground dance and obscure electronic music. It's a totally different world of music from anything on these lists (which are very good, actually, I like quite a few of your choices on them). However, I think this list would be better named "THE GREATEST ROCK ALBUMS OF ALL TIME," since it almost completely ignores electronic genres, experimental music, hip-hop, and obscure indie music.

BTW, I LOVE that greatest moment thing. Really genius.

Thanks for your insight Darktremor. You are clearly the king of techno/electronica music.

As for the musical genres it covers, once the entire list is done I think it pretty much covers them all (the major ones, not every sub-genre), though I will say right now that there is no hip-hop on the list and there is no country. Both genres have never come up with anything I've heard that deserves mention here.

Albums like Y by Pop Group and Lullaby Land by Vampire Rodents alone, already cover everything you mentioned except for hip-hop (though a few of the Lullaby Land tracks have a hip-hop beat to them).

On lyrics: like both you and Luke, I don't think lyrics are essential for a great music experience, but I do think great lyrics enhance the quality of an album and can be essential, Songs of Leonard Cohen being the best example.

I'll have to check into The Drift as Scaruffi is too busy, too slow these days while he's all wrapped up in jazz. He didn't even respond to my last e-mail! How rude! (:

Thanks for the greatest moment compliment. I think it's fun to pine for and experience that most singular moment that stands out in the greatest works of music, and I'm glad to bring it to attention.

I'll have to check those albums out, for sure (Y by Pop Group, and Lullaby Land, by Vampire Rodents). They sound like my thing entirely. Although I do think it doesn't touch on the styles stongly enough...yet.

Actually, your list has completely inspired me, Afterhours. I'm going to make a list of the top 100 electronic albums of all time, in the same vein as this excellent list. I'm going to have to include your "greatest moment" thing (with your permission, of course; it really is a great innovation).

As for being the king of techno/electronic music, thank's very much! Although it's not true, the credit has to go to Philip Sherburne, Ishkur, the radio DJs on DI.fm and Proton Radio, and many others who write far more insightfully, and far more than myself on the subject. I just like the music a lot :)

And yep, The Drift is definitely worth checking into. It's gotten a lot better with repeat listens.

Oh yeah, I agree about lyrics enhancing music. I think the best example has to be Belle & Sebastian's If You're Feeling Sinister. Great stories, really touching and witty.

A Top 100 Electronic Albums of all time list from darktremor. the darktremor? SWEET!

Get to work!

Yea, If You're Feeling Sinister is a great album, and it puts lyrics to use just like you described.

I should warn you that Y is considerably more avante-garde than most people can handle, but I wouldn't put it on this list if I didn't find it to be a stunning work of mad genius. Still, the reason I am warning you is because it is very expensive (if you get things legally like I do), at $40+. It will only be worth it if you have the stomach for challenging music. If you do, you'll easily get your money back. If you haven't already, read some of the reviews on it and be sure about it before you invest. Just a tip. You listen to so much music I never have even heard that I don't really know if you've heard something along this line before--it's quite a mixture of styles that's for sure. You've been warned. If you pick it up, prepare for a shock. Although it bears certain influences, there's really nothing I know of that's much like it individually.

I don't mind at all if you use the "greatest moments" idea. Go for it. I'd love to see your list too!

Excellent! Thanks! (begins working) I will link to this list on it, of course.

I love avante-garde, BTW (just not pretentiously avante-garde).

Good! Than you should like Pop Group's Y. Hopefully I'll get around to reviewing it soon.

I just noticed you listed Y, Lullaby Land, and Neu! and still have 20 albums to go. That means there should be some fun surprises ahead!

That's a good observation Luke...

The list has expanded by 8 albums since its inception. It started as a top 25. Although it has created more work, I am happy at how it has grown and the albums that have made it on here.

I think there will be some surprises for sure. I doubt anyone could possibly guess the exact order or even the 15 albums that lie ahead (I'm up to #15 on the 20-11 portion).

Oh, and please don't post any guesses (the above wasn't meant as an invitation), as you particularly would have a decent shot at getting fairly close. I'd prefer to keep as much an element of surprise as possible for any other viewers.

I need to listen to Y as well. As one who doesn't adhere to legal methods nearly as strictly as you, I've still find it hard to get a "free" copy, except for the stunning single "She Is Beyond Good And Evil."

The interesting thing is "She is Beyond Good and Evil", while head-scratchingly listed as the first track of the latest release of Y, it really isn't. It was separately released as a single before the album was released.

It is a great song. To me, it would be the 3rd or 4th best song on the album if it were really on there. We Are Time and Thief of Fire are even better. Tough call with Snowgirl though, not sure which one I like more. The whole album is amazing, really experimental, lively and vibrant.

I find that reissues often undertake to rewrite history in that manner, adding contemporaneous singles even when the track listing needs to be altered. Usually they're appended to the end of the album, though...

I eagerly await the opportunity to hear the rest of Y without having to buy the japanese import beforehand.

Good luck on finding it!

Jazz is the worst at adding bonus tracks inside the normal track order. That is so friggin annoying!

Tago Mago is indeed great. I would probably list different tracks as the best though...the way "Paperhouse" rocks out in the end and the driving beat behind "Oh Yeah" are two of my favorite things about it. "Augmn" I can take it or leave it - there's some cool parts for sure but I wouldn't have minded if it was left off. But I do like "Peking 0" a lot...hilarious! It's funny how you say "the set of songs between #4 and #6" - isn't that nearly three of the four sides (because "Bring me Coffee or Tea" is part of the last side, but only really an epilogue)? Have you got Ege Bamyasi and Future Days? If you ask me, that's the holy trinity of krautrock there...

I own Future Days and think it's outstanding. I think without question Tago Mago is their best though. Ege Bamyasi is very good.