The Best Rock Albums by Year 1963 - 2007

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  • 1963 – Bob Dylan – The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan [James Brown - Live at the Apollo]
  • 1964 – Chuck Berry – St. Louis to Liverpool
  • 1965 – Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited [The Beatles - Rubber Soul]
  • 1966 – Bob Dylan – Blonde on Blonde [The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds]
  • 1967 – Love – Forever Changes [The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band]
  • 1968 – Van Morrison – Astral Weeks [The Band - Music from Big Pink]
  • 1969 – The Band – The Band [Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band - Trout Mask Replica]
  • 1970 – John Lennon – John Lennon / Plastic Ono Band [Derek and the Dominos - Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs]
  • 1971 – Joni Mitchell - Blue [Rod Stewart - Every Picture Tells a Story]
  • 1972 – The Rolling Stones – Exile on Main St. [David Bowie - Ziggy Stardust]
  • 1973 – Stevie Wonder - Innervisions [David Bowie – Aladdin Sane]
  • 1974 – Joni Mitchell – Court and Spark
  • 1975 – Bob Dylan – Blood on the Tracks [Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run]
  • 1976 – Stevie Wonder – Songs in the Key of Life
  • 1977 – Television – Marquee Moon [Fleetwood Mac - Rumours]
  • 1978 – Elvis Costello & the Attractions – This Year’s Model
  • 1979 – Graham Parker & the Rumour – Squeezing Out Sparks [The Clash - London Calling]
  • 1980 – Bruce Cockburn - Humans [Pretenders - Pretenders]
  • 1981 – Elvis Costello & the Attractions – Trust
  • 1982 – Elvis Costello & the Attractions – Imperial Bedroom [Richard & Linda Thompson - Shoot Out the Lights]
  • 1983 – R.E.M. - Murmur [U2 - War]
  • 1984 – Prince & The Revolution – Purple Rain [The Replacements - Let It Be]
  • 1985 – Tom Waits – Rain Dogs [The Jesus and Mary Chain - Psychocandy]
  • 1986 – The Smiths – The Queen Is Dead [XTC - Skylarking]
  • 1987 – U2 – The Joshua Tree [Prince - Sign 'o' the Times]
  • 1988 – Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation [Public Enemy - It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back]
  • 1989 – Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique [The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses]
  • 1990 – World Party – Goodbye Jumbo
  • 1991 – U2 – Achtung Baby [da - Kalhoun]
  • 1992 – Adam Again – Dig [Mark Heard - Satellite Sky]
  • 1993 – Liz Phair – Exile in Guyville [The Flaming Lips - Transmissions from the Satellite Heart]
  • 1994 – Pavement – Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain [Blur - Parklife]
  • 1995 – Adam Again – Perfecta [Autechre - Tri Repetae ++]
  • 1996 – DJ Shadow – Endtroducing…
  • 1997 – Radiohead – OK Computer [Björk - Homogenic]
  • 1998 – The Afghan Whigs - 1965 [Mercury Rev - Deserter's Songs]
  • 1999 – XTC – Apple Venus, Pt. 1 [The Apples in Stereo - Her Wallpaper Reverie]
  • 2000 – Joseph Arthur – Come to Where I’m From [PJ Harvey - Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea]
  • 2001 – The White Stripes – White Blood Cells [The Strokes - Is This It?]
  • 2002 – Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot [Beck - Sea Change]
  • 2003 – The White Stripes - Elephant [Over the Rhine - Ohio]
  • 2004 - The Fiery Furnaces - Blueberry Boat [Elvis Costello & The Imposters - The Delivery Man]
  • 2005 - Sufjan Stevens - Illinois [The White Stripes - Get Behind Me Satan]
  • 2006 - TV on the Radio - Return to Cookie Mountain [Bruce Springsteen - We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions]
  • 2007 - LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver [Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga]
  • 2008 - Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks - Real Emotional Trash [Portishead - Third]
Author Comments: 

I was challenged elsewhere to create such a list, and it sounded fun...

Close runners-up are in brackets. The 2005 picks are probably too early, as I'm still listening, but for now...

I see the Beatles got shafted multiple times. Eh, oh well, it's not like I could ever make something like this. Cool list, lbangs!

Thanks!

That pesky Dylan! He pretty much was the one person trumping The Beatles on many years. Then, the Band had to take 69 from Abbey Road, my favorite Beatles' album. Although, truthfully, if it hadn't, Captain Beefheart would've. 69 was such a great year for rock music. The best, probably.

Thanks!

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I envy your ability to make such a solid list. Much like judging movies in their entirety, I've always been trapped with the mindset of judging the individual pieces (scenes / songs) rather than the entire package. Hence, my huge number of movie lists.

I've tried judging albums on song sequence, sound quality/engineering, musicianship, vocalization/harmony, even influence on future recordings and can't seem to combine them all into a list longer than maybe five. (Please don't ask ;-)

If I can pry, just a little... What happened around 1977 (besides disco ; ) when it seems you switched from the Billboard-Top-100 to an edgier taste. College?

Well, let's see here... I turned four in 1977...

Nah, this list's relationship to the Billboard charts is pretty consistent at least through the 80s (haven't bother to look up the 90s albums yet). Dylan is the tentpole popular music of post-50s is hung around in my world, and if he ain't edgy, then that's edginess' loss. He's the best. Astral Weeks was never top 100 music, and never will be, and Love, even in 1967, only peaked at 154.

On the other hand, ALL the Elvis Costello albums listed hit the top 100 in America, as did Squeezing Out Sparks (# 40), Humans (#81), Murmur (# 36, believe it or not), and of course the Prince albums stayed at number one for an eternity. U2 is no stranger to the top ten.

So, I sorta think there's a perception problem going on here... :)

As for your envy, thanks. I very much hear albums as a complete unit of art, especially for post-1963 or 1967 discs, so I have a hard problem going the other way - hearing the individual songs as independent units. Hence my temporarily stalled song list elsewhere on the site...

Very interesting...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

By the way, I hope that didn't sound rude. I myself was rather surprised to find out just how well many of those post-1977 albums actually did in sales!

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

It's just further proof I'm song driven. I was actually referring to the Billboard "single" charts instead of "album". But enough about that. It's interesting we both wish we had the perspective of the other.

By the way, I turned 20 in 1977. Wheeezzz!

I can't look at my list and think about the singles chart without reflecting on the truly sad fact that Dylan never scored a number one.

Or, perhaps, that's really as it ought to be.

No doubt my bias is influenced by growing up in a very album-oriented phase of popular music( I really did turn 4 in 77 ). Or maybe not. :) I do know that I never bought a single in my life, though I once received three for my birthday (John Anderson's Swingin', Styx's Mr. Roboto, and Dexy's Midnight Runners' Come on Eileen, AKA "The One I Like" and the only one of the bunch that actually got any play on my turntable, unless you count running the B-Side to the Styx record, Snowblind, backwards to try and listen to the 'satanic' message the Senate hearings alledged was there (it ain't)), and a friend once let me borrow a cassingle (there's an idea that really took off...) of Peter Gabriel's In Your Eyes in exchange for me using my clout to get the song elected as my class' senior song for the prom, which I then didn't go to. Outside of compilations, that's my history with singles, as fascinating as it is.

Well, not quite. When I recently bought Prince's Sign o' the Times on vinyl, I discovered a 45 single of Tone Loc's Funky Cold Medina shoved inside the jacket. I confess, though, I've only listened to it once, and then only at 33 rpm. It was pretty funny for about seven seconds...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Gutsy list!

My only opinions are that:
-The Who probably should have had one album on here
-Beatles would have atleast snabbed '67 with Sgt. Pepper's...
-Perhaps "Dark Side" in '73
-"My Aim is True" or "Rumours" in '77
-Definetely "Is This It" in '01 and maybe "Sea Change" in '02

Besides that, your opinions are pretty dead on. Good to see so much diversity.

Thanks!

In theory, I agree about the Who. Unfortunately, the two best candidates, in my book, come in tough years to win - 67 and 71. Who's Next is great, but I favor Joni's Blue album.

I love Sgt. Peppers, but again, Love's Forever Changes is a bit better to these ears.

I'm not a *huge* Dark Side fan, and I love Aladdin Sane.

Your 77 choices are great, but Marquee Moon is even better.

And Sea Changes is very likely my second choice for 02. In fact, I hated having to leave it off.

I very well may go back and add a runner-up to each year...

Thanks for the great comments!

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

The runner-up idea is probably a good call.

I'd also like to see you do this same format with movies. That might be interesting.

Bold words for a one-eyed fat man (not sure if you are one eyed or fat but I always love that quote)

I would disagree in many places but I really cant think of too many of your choices that would not at least make my top five.

It pains me not to see Bruce somewhere on this list.

Born to Run or Blood on the Tracks?

This Year's Model or Darkness? Pretty tough choices.

Actually I would definitely put Tunnel Of Love way ahead of Joshua tree but I tend to really dislike U2.

Maybe tough choices for us, but if I'm not mistaken, Blood on the Tracks and This Year's Model are lbangs's favorite albums of each of his two favorite artists.

Why don't you make a list in this same format, jgandcag? I'd like to read your choices.

Who is this Over the Rhine I see?

An independent band from Ohio (never would have guessed, eh?) that weaves folk, country, light psychedic touches, and hints of poetry and spirituality into a artsy brew. I thought the band was pretty much kaput, with half of its members now gone, but boy, was I wrong. A double album, Ohio is one of the most addictive new releases I've heard in a long time.

I love when a band I've had high hopes for (I've been a fan for over a decade) delivers!

To my surprise, my local Borders had one of the discs in a listening station and stocked around ten copies of the album.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Hello, lbangs,

I'm with you. I mean the best album of 2002 by Wilco.

Alex

lbangs, I considered doing a list of this same format today, just an informal, incomplete thing, hindered by my relatively low familiarity with great rock albums, and to be updated frequently in the future whenever I got an album that I liked better than my choice.

However, I looked at some of the choices I had to make and decided that even that would be too difficult for me. Rubber Soul or Highway 61 Revisited or Bringing It All Back Home? The Band or The Velvet Underground? Exile on Main Street or Something / Anything?? The River or The Pretenders? Parklife or Grace or Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain? I think I'd go insane making these decisions. I don't know how you do it, Mr. Bangs...

Alright, groovy free download of the day: Bob Dylan and Jack White jamming to Ball and Biscuit, free at the White Stripes' web site.

Enjoy!

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Update, please! Pllleeeeaaassseee?

I would love to see your thoughts on 2004's best album.

I am still musing and exploring a few releases I have yet to spend enough time with. I will update soon!

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Alright, AAA, this big weenie has finally made up his mind on 2004...

Everybody is now free to take aim! :) I know not all will agree.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I for one wholeheartedly agree, lbangs! You made the right choice IMHO! What a fabulous album...

AJ, our tastes in music are close enough to be nearly scary at times...

Thanks! Upon first listening to the album, I was floored, but I feared that some of the shock might be novelty and would fade with time. I find that the opposite has happened; repeated spins reveal more and more, and the addiction has yet to wane. I was a bit pained to find this absent from so many end-of-the-year lists; I love it!

I think I'll spin it tomorrow. I've already listened to it once tonight, and only Over the Rhine's Ohio (and a fatally scratched Kandahar disc from NetFlix - grrrr) kept me from playing it through again.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

It is a severely underrated album. Hopefully more critics will discover how brilliant the Fiery Furnaces are in the near future, and Blueberry Boat will get some retroactive acclaim.

I'll have to check out Delivery Man too. Right now my runner-up would probably be Arcade Fire's Funeral.

Funeral was certainly in the running, as was the Streets, Green Day, Kanye West, and Black Keys albums. Some really good stuff from last year.

I really dig The Delivery Man and am surpised more didn't, especially after the shower of critical affection that rained down upon the lesser (IMHO) When I Was Cruel .

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Huh, a lot of Dylan and Costello. Are you a fan of either of these guys? I don't believe I've heard you mention them before...Some great albums here; I'm really happy to see Forever Changes here. What is on the Chuck Berry album--I'm not familiar with it.

Any chance of creating more work for you, and getting you to list a runner-up (or two) for some of these years?

Johnny Waco

Dylan and Costello are two rock / singer / songwriters from a few years back. You might wish to check them out.

;)

The Berry album has No Particular Place to Go, You Never Can Tell, and the under-rated Promised Land. It also might be Berry's most coherent, consistent album. Great stuff.

Forever Changes. Wow. 1967 has so many terrific albums, and yet this was largely a shoo-in for me. I guess I really love that album.

Runners-up? Let me ponder... (Maybe after you create a clone of this list, eh?)

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Alright, lester, I cloned the list, so let's see some runners-up! I may add some runners-up myself because some choices were sooo painful.

Johnny Waco

As you requested... Selected runners-up!

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Hmmm, good to see Every Picture Tells a Story, Ziggy Stardust, London Calling, and The Pretenders, among others. Very few of your top picks or runners-up can I argue with, and in many cases, your picks were definitely in the running for me as well. Mid to late 1990s and forward is when we start to diverge a little. I wonder if most critics would also have less consensus on recent years than in older ones? Maybe because there is so much more being released in so many more subgenres, or as time goes by, will we see certain albums defintively move to the top across the board?

Johnny Waco

I suspect you are right.

For myself, on the more recent years, I note that there are years where my choices are nowhere near most critics' lists for that year, and then there are years where my choices more closely line up. I almost wonder if there is a link between this trend and my income. It seems in years where I had more disposable cash, my choices tend to stray from the more obvious albums. Did I just have more opportunity to find off-the-beaten-path music to love?

I guess time will tell. If my other years start skewing strange as I hear more, perhaps that'll be the proof.

Just a thought...

I believe it is now your turn for runners-up. :)

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Done, sir.

I do think the issue of having the means (both time and money) to go off on your own is important. I'm certainly not implicating all critics, but it seems I've noted a tendency that once a couple of albums from a given year crop up as "great" or "the ones you have to hear," everyone jumps on the bandwagon, afraid to be left behind. Sometimes these albums deserve it, sometimes maybe not so much.

Johnny Waco

I agree on all counts. The bandwagon tendency in criticism is frustrating; goodness knows, I've griped about it way too many times. I mean, for crying out loud, most of these critics get their review copies for free!

Perhaps the government and/or music labels should subsidize my listening supplies.

Hmmm.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Love are booked/postponed/to be re-booked awaiting dates at &nbsp my local concert venue (see events/May).
I shall be sure to be &nbsp in line for a ticket.

Wow, I'm jealous! Enjoy!

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Tragically, the new re-aranged date (8th July) coincides with my ticket for Paul Rodgers & Queen (which will certainly take precedence). I might try and get to one of the other concerts around the UK, although the Stables is local for me (ca. four or five miles away).

1980-remain in light, nearly my only change to this very good list

Wow, thanks!

And Remain in Light was certainly in the running for that year. The Talking Heads are a delight.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I'm having the damnedest time warming up to Trout Mask Replica. Didn't care for Kid A?

I believe only the insane immediately take to Trout Mask Replica. As you may well guess, it didn't take me long. ;)

Hang in there! My suggestion (if you are strong) is to play it several times in a row, enough that it doesn't really sound strange any more. When each gnarled note seems to sound at exactly the right time, you are hooked for life.

I like Kid A, just not more than the two listed above. I obviously don't share the adoration you have for the album, but I do enjoy it, especially the first half.

Oddly enough, Hail to the Thief is growing on me...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I've never heard of The Fiery Furnaces; is this their debut album, or am I just really out of the loop?

Trout Mask Replica. Sigh. You may be right, les, but I've never been at a point where I wanted to listen all the way through several times in a row. I do love Safe as Milk though; what do you think of it?

Johnny Waco

Blueberry Boat is their sophomore effort. Their debut Gallowsbird's Bark came out in 2003.

I may be mistaken, but don't you like Uncut too? I ask because the first time I heard the Fiery Furnaces (and again, my memory may be deceiving me, but I think it was the first time lbangs heard them too) was the best-of-2003 year-end Uncut sampler, which contained their "Two Fat Feet", a great song. Hearing Blueberry Boat in its entirety, though, is even better, a truly unique experience.

You, sir, are correct, sir. Two Fat Feet on the Uncut sampler was my introduction to the duo.

No wonder I had to explore further...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Yes, I do consider Uncut to be the Bible of contemporary music/movie magazines (with the occasional Mojo enjoying Talmudic status), but I guess I completely overlooked that particular CD. If both you and L like it so much, I should probably go dig through all those Uncut CDs to see if I can find it.

Johnny Waco

This might help. (Thanks, Jim!)

The Westerberg tune is also one I am addicted to. That noisy rock n' roll!

It is a good comp.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Ah, the Furnaces. A duo from middle America who claim to be brother and sister (and in this case are probably telling the truth). I know what you're thinking. "But I've already heard White Blood Cells." However, I promise, popping in Blueberry Boat will not make you think of Elephant immediately...

In fact, the first track reminds me a bit of Rundgren's Song of the Viking, while the second track opens with a guitar part nearly straight out of The Velvet Underground & Nico , though that doesn't hang around long. It is a crazy album, jumping from style to style while reigning all the delightful madness into actual (though wildly careening) songs. Novelty morphs into depth and delight. Obviously, I love it.

I would tell you that the earlier album is more accessible than the newer one, but I know that would just encourage you to try out Blueberry Boat first all the same. :)

As for Beefheart (another crazy artist), ah, such is life. Like all albums, even if one gives it every chance, it simply will not endear itself to everybody. I really like Safe as Milk and have found that many of my friends that do not like Trout Mask Replica can groove quite happily to it. Good stuff.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Yeah...for "Goodbye Jumbo" from World Party! What an underappreciated gem!!

Agreed. I nearly spun that disc to death in college, and I now am working on wearing down my vinyl copy. Echoes of Dylan, Prince, Sly, Stones... How could I resist?

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Man, I have heard you rave about Goodbye Jumbo so many times over the years, but I was surprised to see it actually get top spot for its year. Between yours and AJ's recommendations, I have a feeling I will be a bit lighter in the wallet in the near future;)

Johnny Waco (hoping he, too, will become a Fiery Furnaces fan)

We encourage wasting mass amounts of moolah on vinyl and plastic discs around these parts. It is that peer pressure thing again...

Not that you need our help.

:)

I suspect you might like Goodbye Jumbo.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

To be fair, while I do think Goodbye Jumbo is fantastic, 1990 isn't a strong year for me (or in general?). I only have three CDs from the year (the other one is Happy Mondays' Pills 'n' Thrills 'n' Bellyaches). I haven't heard the two CDs you picked for the year.

Your wallet won't have to take too much of a hit. If you don't mind a Very Good copy, you can get it for a little over 5 bucks with shipping and handling. Like New will cost you a little more. But the CD's pretty rare, though, so Brand New will have you begging for spare change.

Glad to see Sufjan. :)

Thanks! I'm still sorting through 2005 discs, so I cannot swear he'll stay there, but he has a great shot. Special thanks to you and AJ for getting me to pick this one up!

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

LB,

While I can no longer say I agree with many of your choices, I definitely can understand them, and I find your list to be one of the more interesting ones. I can tell you've clearly put your stamp on it. Not to say I haven't, but I do actually wish mine didn't look so similar to Scaruffi's. I just can't deny what I hear. Every time one of my rankings inches closer to his, I cringe and sigh, and take a long, cold shower, shivering at the thoughts of criticism I shall soon take.

) ;

While almost all the albums on your list are highly acclaimed by many, you've somehow managed to avoid an order that seems duplicated anywhere else. I like that.

By the by, any luck with Neutral Milk Hotel's In the Aeroplane Over the Sea? Surely it deserves a look as one of the best albums of the 90's, doesn't it?

Well, thank you!

I have discovered several new albums I love using Scaruffi's suggestions, but I find he leans entirely too hard on prog and art rock, likely a result of his love of classical music. I'm not really convinced that he gets popular music, so I find him rather deaf to a number of fantastic albums that don't utilize longer, complicated structures or conjure up lengthy, sustained moods. The thrill of the perfect three-minute audio sugar rush seems lost on him.

I don't think he is as sensitive to poetic lyrics as I am, but that may be a language barrier or, indeed, just my imagination.

He also seems more historian than critic, putting too much weight on who did what first rather than who did what best.

I'm probably assuming too much here about the reasons for our differings, but those are my suspicions. Regardless, these elements keep me from nodding too much when noting his favorites.

Again, though, I always enjoy reading his suggestions, and I have discovered an incredible amount of good music doing so!

I wouldn't worry too much about creativity or having a heavy fingerprint on your list. Follow your ears and your heart, be daring, and over time, I suspect your list will look more and more unique. If not, who cares? It is your list and your opinions, and you enjoy what you enjoy!

I haven't spent more time with that album, but I see my Rhapsody has it, so hopefully I will soon.

Thanks!

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I'm not really convinced that he gets popular music, so I find him rather deaf to a number of fantastic albums that don't utilize longer, complicated structures or conjure up lengthy, sustained moods. The thrill of the perfect three-minute audio sugar rush seems lost on him.

I think he probably finds too much pop music to be rehashed and uninspired. I think it's more a result of the music and not any predetermined notions he may have. The River for instance, ranks a 9/10 and it is a very radio-friendly album. It just happens to be more emotional and seminal than most, which is really the crux of his criteria.

I don't think he is as sensitive to poetic lyrics as I am, but that may be a language barrier or, indeed, just my imagination.

I think he is and isn't. I don't think it stops him from loving an album when the lyrics aren't quite Dylanesque. For instance, Nail by Foetus, Slow Deep and Hard by Type O Negative, Psychic Powerless by Butthole Surfers--all albums with somewhat mindless lyrics. I think he cares much more about the emotional intensity than lyrics. But most of the albums he champions do have outstanding and often unusually rewarding lyrics

He also seems more historian than critic, putting too much weight on who did what first rather than who did what best.

Definitely more of a historian.

I'm probably assuming too much here about the reasons for our differings, but those are my suspicions. Regardless, these elements keep me from nodding too much when noting his favorites.

I wouldn't worry too much about creativity or having a heavy fingerprint on your list. Follow your ears and your heart, be daring, and over time, I suspect your list will look more and more unique. If not, who cares? It is your list and your opinions, and you enjoy what you enjoy!

I'm not actually worried, I was just being silly. Over time my list has actually become less unique, moving closer and closer to Scaruffi's, so it looks like there's gonna be some ice cold showers in my future

I haven't spent more time with that album, but I see my Rhapsody has it, so hopefully I will soon.

I doubt you'll regret it.

The River for instance, ranks a 9/10 and it is a very radio-friendly album. It just happens to be more emotional and seminal than most, which is really the crux of his criteria.

Again, though, we're dealing with a very long album. In fact, have you noticed how many double albums he loves? I can't fault him there - I love many also - but those are his leanings; he loves the longer works.

To follow your example, I could never say The River was more emotional or inspired than, say, Darkness on the Edge of Town.

I wouldn't call it a predetermined notion. I think it is just his mindset. He responds to the same pleasures in pop music as he finds in classical, and I don't think he is triggered much by the unique offerings of popular music that don't overlap most pre-20th century music much.

I'm not even sure he'd argue the point himself. He seems to admit it at times. The real place he and I would probably disagree is on the valid aesthetic excellence of the pleasures unique to popular music and how they compare to that of traditional classical music.

A few interesting quotes:

"I grew up with classical music, literature and science, not with rock music"

"My 'idols' are Ernst, Shostakovic, Pessoa, Coltrane... not rock musicians."

And, perhaps most telling, "Anyone who is into Beethoven's symphonies or Wagner's operas and is told that the Beatles' catchy three-minute tunes are the masterpieces of rock music will simply smile and politely nod, but never listen to rock music again; and will thus never learn that rock music has also produced 20-minute avantgarde suites and hour-long electronic poems that are easily as complex and as futuristic as contemporary classical music."

I don't think he could accurately assess the value of the short, simple, and direct well done. He values the long, complicated, and engulfing.

Me, I love both.

Again, though, I could be very wrong and often am.

As for lyrics, many of his choices certainly have good lyrics. I think he values that much lower than I do, though. As he says,"My bias is towards the music, not the lyrics: it is called 'rock music', not 'rock literature'. And there's a reason: as literature, it is worth very little. Even the greatest rock lyricists are, at best, mediocre poets. No surprise, therefore, that I rarely mention the lyrics of a song."

Poetry was first heard, not read, and I'm not convinced that lyrics in rock music are worth very little or mediocre at best, and I say this as a borderline literature snob.

I hear an interplay - when done well, a moving melding, a shocking synergy - between lyrics and music, and I truly believe he listens mostly to the music.

And of course, as you know, he often claims to be more of a historian than a critic, but I'm not sure he doesn't often confuse the two.

Anyhow, all those quotes are from the one link I provided. I'm just too lazy to duplicate it all over this post.

I'm rambling, but I think it is obvious that while I respect the man and some of his work, he and I just do not view popular (especially rock) music the same way, and so he and I often have very different conclusions.

And life gets a bit more spicy...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I actually agree with virtually every syllable you've said and if there are any disagreements, they would be very minor and I am too lazy and un-pedantic today to even search for them. Thanks for the big response which seemed to clear things up--though I am not sure there really was anything to clear up in the first place. Sometimes, all that is needed is a little extension and repetition and voila!

AfterHours, if it counts, I for one definitely don't think you imitate Scaruffi (God how incredibly naive a presumption!). I'd go as far as saying you are not a critic of music at all, from what I've read on your reviews. You are a fan, and a deep one at that! That was a compliment, honestly.
So long hot baths for you, I recommend.

And so say all of us!

:)

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Well you're correct and I appreciate you noticing that. Overall, I am not a critic, but like my old pal Scaruff, a bad day or lack of sleep sometimes gets the best of me and I can be known to let loose a rampage or two. Usually I regret it...30 minutes too late.

Thanks Merlin. Any updates on the list?

"I'm not really convinced that he gets popular music, so I find him rather deaf to a number of fantastic albums that don't utilize longer, complicated structures or conjure up lengthy, sustained moods. The thrill of the perfect three-minute audio sugar rush seems lost on him."

Yeah, I don't think it's any coincidence that his favorite rock song (Sister Ray) is also the longest rock song I know of, if you exclude Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells and Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven (both of which might not really count as rock). His fondness for The River is most definitely the exception to the rule.

By the way, I would highly recommend In the Aeroplane Over the Sea too.

See the new quotes I used above.

And I'm actually listening to the Neutral Milk Hotel album again as I type - Thanks!

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

There is no doubt that he generally loves long, emotionally drawn out suites much more than shorter, less adventurous fare. Thanks for chiming in. I'll 3rd Aeroplane even though I already 1st-ed it. Greatest "pop" (indie/folk/punk-ish??) album ever to these ears.

"a number of fantastic albums that don't utilize longer, complicated structures or conjure up lengthy, sustained moods"

examples?

Off the top of my head, I'd say pick your favorite pre-Radiohead Britpop album.

You do have one, yes? No? Aw... :)

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I wasnt implying that albums like that don't exist. I was wondering which ones you were thinking of

My sense of humor rarely comes across online. Sorry. I wasn't trying to be defensive, just funny.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs