• MY RATING: 8.3/10

  • 8. TIME

  • GREATEST STRENGTH: Sly Stone's vocal performance. One of the greatest ever recorded.

  • GREATEST MOMENT: The verse to "Family Affair" as Sly tiresomely lets go of the words, coming off his tongue like liquid.

  • All Music Guide: 5/5
  • MusicHound Rock, R & B and Country: 4/5
  • Rolling Stone Album Guide: 5/5
  • The Great Rock Discography: 9/10
  • Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music: 5/5

  • Blender-The 100 Greatest American Albums of All Time (2002): #43
  • Gear-The 100 Greatest Albums of the Century (1999): #83
  • Pitchork-Top 100 Albums of the 70's (2004): #4
  • Rolling Stone-The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (2003): #99
  • Hot Press-The 100 Best Albums of All Time (1989): #83
  • Mojo-The 100 Greatest Albums Ever Made (1995): #74

  • Pitchfork: Listen to the paradoxical 0:00 of the title track, to how hip-hop took that stripped drum sound and furthered Sly's bleak music, to how Miles got his groovebox back, to how the wasted Brits--from Primal Scream to Julian Cope--copped their dope from the grooves. Listen close, because there's no way in hell a major label will ever again let out this much horrible truth.

  • All Music Guide: Ultimately, the music is the message and while it's dark music, it's not alienating--it's seductive despair, and that's the scariest thing about it.

  • MY REVIEW: As the horizon closed out another timeless day, Sly's drug-fueled haze subdued him from watching it. In the middle of a cold, empty studio he was sweating bullets and tears, while in one hand a cocked gun seemed so simple, and his worst fears seemed so close. He wasn't sure who, if anyone was there, but the recording equipment had somehow been turned on, or perhaps just left on, for the last few hours or even days. He screamed out:

  • Feel so good, don't wanna move
  • Feel so good, don't need to move

  • He noticed the next morning that he'd found a groove in his nightmare. But his ecstacy was also apathy and someone else could record it later. For now there were new beats playing endlessly and seamlessly on repeat. Was someone else here? Who created this? He thought it might've been him, but he was rather confused and soon dropped the subject altogether.

  • Just like a baby
  • Sometimes I cry
  • Just like a baby
  • I can feel it when you lie to me

  • There was a lone naked women crying on the floor. He didn't know who. He walked over, slurred something inaudible and took her right there. Right there. She didn't care. He didn't care. They'd take some heroin come nighttime to lose the memory anyway.

  • Everything I like is nice
  • That's why I try to have it twice

  • Memory, that's what it was. He was doing this all on memory he thought. The worst was coming out:

  • I'm dying, I'm dying
  • Dying young is hard to take
  • Selling out is even harder

  • And he dropped the gun. It would lay innocently loaded on the floor for another week before someone he didn't know, or couldn't remember knowing, would come by and pick it up in the middle of one of his group orgies.

  • Eventually the music, the beats, everything he heard in his head, and in the studio, became increasingly abstract, with little in the way of subject, content or structure. He would forget here and there he was making a record, and instead thought of it as a personal mission, to say what had to be said and nothing less, nothing more.

  • You know, you know that time, time
  • needs to be a little longer
  • Oh time
  • The universe needs to be a little stronger

  • Time they say is the answer
  • But I don't believe them
  • Time

  • Eventually all the deterioration, all of the graveyard bound 60s came back to bare upon Sly Stone, and his music took its own life and made his vocal chords bleed in disgust. And inside this very disgust he found some sort of inner truth. And despite his utter disinterest and uninvolved attitude towards the music he was apparently making, despite his disenchantment, and despite his apathy, he somehow recorded this truth on that muddied, burnt out tape. This was the dirtiest funk, sprung amidst paralyzed dissatisfaction by Sly Stone in his sleeping suicide walks, side by side with the ghosts of his dead brothers.

  • There's A Riot Goin' On is an album virtually without spark and without hint of ambition. Even when it comes, it carries almost inept sarcasm on it's shoulder. It is a work created by a man, his friends, and whoever else showed up, on the brink of implosion, and it is the sound of letting it go ahead and happen. The riot was on the inside. There's A Riot Goin On is it's exorcism.


  • MY RATING: 8.6/10

  • 1. GLORIA

  • GREATEST STRENGTH: Smith's amazing poetry.

  • GREATEST MOMENT: The opening line: "Jesus died for somebody's sins but not mine."

  • All Music Guide: 5/5
  • MusicHound Rock, R & B and Country: 4/5
  • Rolling Stone Album Guide: 5/5
  • Spin's Book of Alternative Albums: 10/10
  • CD Guide to Pop & Rock: 5/5
  • Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music: 5/5

  • Blender-The 100 Greatest American Albums of All Time (2002): #42
  • Entertainment Weekly-The 100 Greatest CDs of All Time (1993): #48
  • Paul Gambaccini-The World Critics Best Albums of All Time (1987): #87
  • Rolling Stone-The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (2003): #44
  • Spin-100 Alternative Albums (1995): #6
  • VH1-The 100 Greatest Albums of R 'N' R (2001): #28
  • Guardian-The 100 Best Albums Ever (1997): #32
  • Hot Press-The 100 Best Albums of All Time (1989): #41
  • Melody Maker-All Time Top 100 Albums (2000): #39
  • New Musical Express-Top 100 Albums of All Time (2003): #34

  • Pitchfork: "It was as if someone had spread butter on all the fine points of the stars/'Cause when he looked up they started to slip." Holy God is she a poet, and she hurls these words so accurately you want to scream and give up too.

  • All Music Guide: "Producer John Cale respected Smith's primitivism in a way that later producers did not, and the loose, imporvisatory song structures worked with her free verse to create something like a new spoken word/musical art form: Horses was a hybrid, the sound of a post-Beat poet, as she put it, "dancing around to the simple rock & roll song."

  • MY REVIEW: The ocean waves hurl back and forth on the beach as lonely sea gulls press skyward before diving back into the waved blanket that holds their fruits of observation.

  • The sun floats halfway above the end of the Earth, smiling, gleaming across the belly of water. You can hear the wind getting rougher and the rocks groan and cackle as they're hit by it's bum rush. Enthusiastic waves pummel against this cliff, as the moon gently pushes for appearance.

  • Somewhere, perhaps here, Patti Smith wrote her poems. Perhaps she envisioned a wicked raven from these very parts, rip a little farmer boy from New England to the flesh. Or maybe that was just film envy. Hitchcock.

  • Somewhere, perhaps here, Smith grew into Rimbaud and blossoming lines sprouted from her torchered hand frivolously catching up with her thoughts as she invoked them with unadaulterated will into her perilously mercurial phrases.

  • Somewhere, perhaps here, punk evolved almost without precedent, into a fully formed art form, before being digested and puked back out by Sid Vicious.

  • Somewhere, perhaps here, it came upon us like galloping horses, Smith let go and opened herself up like a latex cartoon and it could not be stopped:

  • The sun had melted the sand and it coagulated/Like a river of glass/When it hardened he looked at the surface/He saw his face/And where there were eyes were just two white opals/Two white opals/Where there were eyes there were just two white opals/And he looked up and the rays shot/And he saw the raven coming in/And he crawled on his back and he went up/Up up up up up up...

  • Somewhere, right here, it is awaiting you: standing there, staring back through the vision of Robert Mapplethorpe, not giving a damn for your approval or scrutiny.


  • MY RATING: 8.5/10


  • GREATEST STRENGTH: The synergy within the band is at a real high point here.

  • GREATEST MOMENT: When the drums kick in on "Love In Vain". The combination of musical elements at play here are just flawlessly executed.

  • All Music Guide: 5/5
  • MusicHound Rock, R & B and Country: 5/5
  • Rolling Stone Album Guide: 5/5
  • The Great Rock Discography: 9/10
  • Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music: 5/5

  • Gear-The 100 Greatest Albums of the Century (1999): #45
  • Kitsap Sun-Top 200 Albums of the Last 40 Years (2005): #37
  • Paul Gambuccini-The World Critics Best Albums of All Time (1987): #12
  • Rolling Stone-The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (2003): #32
  • VH1-The 100 Greatest Albums of R 'N' R (2001): #24
  • Guardian-The 100 Greatest Albums Ever (1997): #27
  • Mojo-The 100 Greatest Albums Ever Made (1995): #7
  • New Musical Express-Top 100 Albums of All Time (2003): #85
  • Sounds-The 100 Best Albums of All Time (1986): #69
  • Time Out-The 100 Best Albums of All Time (1989): #40
  • Platekompaniet-Top 100 Albums of All Time (2001): #48

  • All Music Guide: Mostly recorded without Brian Jones--who died several months before its release (although he does play on two tracks) and was replaced by Mick Taylor (who also plays on just two songs)--this extends the rock and blues feel of Beggars Banquet into slightly harder rocking, more demonically sexual territory.

  • MY REVIEW: For years The Stones cultivated an outlaw, punkish persona while courting the blues, country and other standard rock staples. Let It Bleed is their amazing follow-up to the great Beggars Banquet and shows them fully coming into their own as album craftsmen. It is one of the most well-sequenced albums of the 60's, ordered in much the same way as Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited which was a big influence here. Opening with the harrowing "Gimme Shelter" and capping things off with the epic "You Can't Always Get What You Want" it is difficult to find a misstep here. The Stones' final 60's album is bluesy, ballsy and absolutely bleeding in country. It also works as a perfect final assault to the decade they helped build.


  • MY RATING: 9.0/10


  • GREATEST STRENGTH: The guitar heroics of Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd, as they match wits in incredible, understated, and perfectly fitting solos and rhythmic crescendos.

  • GREATEST MOMENT: Tough call between the amazing dueling guitar build-up of the title track, or the far simpler, but no less great, bass line that opens and continues throughout "Elevation".

  • All Music Guide: 5/5
  • MusicHounde Rock, R & B and Country: 5/5
  • Rolling Stone Album guide: 5/5
  • Spin's Book of Alternative Albums: 10/10
  • The Great Rock Discography: 10/10
  • CD Guide to Pop & Rock: 5/5
  • Pitchfork: 10/10
  • Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music: 4/5

  • Gear-The 100 Greatest Albums of the Century (1999): #33
  • Pitchfork-Top Albums of the 70s (2004): #3
  • Rolling Stone-The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (2003): #128
  • Spin-The 25 Greatest Albums of All Time (1989): #6
  • VH1-The 100 Greatest Albums of R 'N' R (2001): #83
  • Guardian-The 100 Greatest Albums Ever (1997): #33
  • Melody Maker-All Time Top 100 Albums (2000): #25
  • Mojo-The 100 Greatest Albums Ever Made (1995): #17
  • New Musical Express-Top 100 Albums of All Time (2003): #4
  • Sounds-The 100 Best Albums of All Time (1986): #8
  • Time Out-The 100 Best Albums of All Time (1989): #10
  • Platekompaniet-Top 100 Albums of All Time (2001): #23

  • Pitchfork: But the things that make the record so classic, that pump your blood like a breath of clean air, are the guitars. The whole record's a mash note to them. The contrast between these two essential leads is stunning: Richard Lloyd chisels notes out hard while Verlaine workd with a subtle twang and a trace of space-gazing delirium.

  • All Music Guide: From the opener, "See No Evil", to the majestic title track, there is simply not a bad song on the entire record. And what has kept Marquee Moon fresh over the years is that Television flesh out Verlaine's poetry into sweeping sonic epics.

  • MY REVIEW: One of the most bewildering "punk" albums ever made, Marquee Moon is nearly as intelligent as Patti Smith, as exciting as The Clash and eerie as Radiohead. It is the sound of a band forging a new brand of calculated assault, more in the vein of great German classical music than any thing else. Yet it also has an edge to it: Verlaine and Lloyd play guitar as brilliantly and as economically as anyone, but the lead singer also sings with a sneer and with none of the symphonic beauty found in the hair-raising solos and extended jams, such as the one found on the title track. The whole album plays in a sort of theatrically pitched arc: it has a gravity to it, as it builds to an intense climax and then edges it's way back down before ending perfectly with "Torn Curtain". Throughout, Verlaine's strange lyrics remain captivating and somewhat inscrutable. After all, what really is a Marquee Moon and what the hell is this album all about anyway? I've always leaned towards an alien abduction of some sort. It seems to follow some path like this, but I could be way off: I've never even read the lyrics. Besides, with Marquue Moon it was hardly about the vocals. The real language was between the guitars.


  • MY RATING: 8.5/10

  • 1. NO ACTION
  • 3. THE BEAT

  • GREATEST STRENGTH: The Attractions, playing like a band possessed, behind Costello. Every note is a hook, each relentlessly melodic and relentlessly on overdrive. That drummer in particular: damn.

  • GREATEST MOMENT: The fanatically drummed opening to "Lipstick Vogue".

  • All Music Guide: 5/5
  • MusicHound Rock, R & B and Country: 5/5
  • Rolling Stone Album guide: 5/5
  • Spin's Book of Alternative Albums: 10/10
  • The Great Rock Discography: 9/10
  • CD Guide to Pop & Rock: 5/5
  • Pitchfork: 10/10
  • Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music: 5/5

  • Kitsap Sun-Top 200 Albums of the Last 40 Years (2005): #117
  • Paul Gambaccini-The World Critics Best Albums of All Time (1987): #60
  • Pitchfork-Top Albums of the 70s (2004): #52
  • Rolling Stone-The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (2003): #98
  • Spin-The 25 Greatest Albums of All Time (1989): #8
  • Mojo-The 100 Greatest Albums Ever Made (1995): #69

  • All Music Guide: The Attractions were a rock & roll band, which gives This Year's Model a reckless, careening feel. It's nervous, amphetamine-fueled, nearly paranoid music--the group sounds like they're spinning out of control as soon as they crash in on the brief opener, "No Action", and they never get completely back on track, even on the slower numbers.

  • MY REVIEW: On the 1993 film The Fugitive Harrison Ford, a man wrongly convicted of killing his wife, barely escapes an oncoming train wreck that simultaneously ends his present situation while setting him free as an escaped convict. This Year's Model is equally freakish, and equally determined to escape. It is utterly hell bent on denying the throes of becoming clamped- down by relationships: whether it's committment, honesty or trust, communication, cheating, or love, Costello spits back at any sort of conformity and is completely determined to be in control, overtly or covertly. It is his obsession and his compulsion to attack these things. He sounds as if he's saying words too fast for thought, yet they are delivered with wit, sting and bite. This Year's Model features some of the decades greatest pop or punk songwriting. The entire album is candy, but it's sour: like those deliciously pesky "Warheads". You don't know how screwed you are until you reach the middle. And of course, you just can't wait to have another.


  • MY RATING: 8.7/10


  • GREATEST STRENGTH: The incredible production, courtesy of Jimmy Page, employing a living, breathing, vital blend of folk, metal, blues, and straight-up rock n' roll.

  • GREATEST MOMENT: The iconic finale to "Stairway to Heaven." I don't care if you've listened to it a thousand times by now. There's a reason you've listened to it a thousand times.

  • All Music Guide: 5/5
  • MusicHound Rock, R & B and Country: 5/5
  • Rolling Stone Album guide: 5/5
  • The Great Rock Discography: 10/10
  • Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music: 5/5

  • Gear-The 100 Greatest Albums of the Century (1999): #41
  • Kitsap Sun-Top 200 Albums of the Last 40 Years (2005): #16
  • Paul Gambaccini-The World Critics Best Albums of All Time (1987): #29
  • Pitchfork-Top Albums of the 70s (2004): #7
  • Rolling Stone-The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (2003): #66
  • Guardian-The 100 Best Albums Ever (1997): #89
  • Hot Press-The 100 Best Albums of All Time (1989): #87
  • Mojo-The 100 Greatest Albums Ever Made (1995): #69
  • New Musical Express-Top 100 Albums of All Time (2003): #45
  • The Times-The 100 Best Albums of All Time (1993): #18

  • All Music Guide: Encompassing heavy metal, folk, pure rock & roll, and blues, Led Zeppelin's untitled fourth album is a monolithic record, defining not only Led Zeppelin but the sound and style of '70s hard rock.

  • Pitchfork: Nothing is bigger than Led Zeppelin IV. It tears your skin and grinds away your doubt and self-hatred, freeing the rage and lust and anger of cockblocked adolescence. Listening to this album is like fucking the Grand Canyon.

  • MY REVIEW: By now it's almost as if God himself is sitting there judging you. Led Zeppelin IV stands on top of the pantheon of rock albums to many, mostly because it sounds like it should. Few albums are this epic. It has this bone-crushing, bluesy swagger that comes at you like a sudden, unexpected ultimatim. There is no choice but to lock onto its groove. Despite the indecision, despite its power and dominant will, liberation is the product here. Jimmy Page's annihilating riffs, Plant's sexually frusterated howls, Bonham's legendary rhythms, undercut by John Paul Jones' wicked bass. You don't just hear Zeppelin, you become them: the intensity, the strut, the hunger, the burn, the desire, the weight, the blues, the dynamics. It's inevitable. IV is unavoidable to this day simply because there has never been a proper way to truly acknowledge its presence and move on.


  • MY RATING: 9.0/10

  • 1. ROCKS OFF
  • 10. HAPPY
  • 14. LET IT LOOSE

  • GREATEST STRENGTH: The remarkable continuity of the album as it sprawls through such vast scope and variety.

  • GREATEST MOMENT: The entire opening verse and breakout chorus to "Sweet Virginia". I could be more specific and lay claim to the opening guitar work, but the entire section is just so masterful. Clearly representative of a band in total command of their performances.




  • MY REVIEW: A marshy swamp of sweat, guts and dusted, flawed, beautifully ugly rock n' roll and last stand glory, "Exile On Main Street" plays like a band on its way down, burning, fighting the late night booze binges and the smoke filled room to keep its breath, while winding through a set of "anything goes" with a unique passion and energy that can most often only be found in live performances. And that's just it: "Exile On Main Street" is not an album. It is too alive. It is far too real. Its sounds are grunge, wonderfully under-produced, unengineered, unhastled by the music business, or by someones new ideas or studio gimmicks. It is the only album The Stones mustered that is nothing but The Rolling Stones, and not a marketing scheme or a hip thrust, or some sexual ode. What they came up with was something raw and beautiful, in equal parts blues, gospel, country, hard rock, soul and sheer will. Everything here emerges from the swamp: guitar solos, Jagger's cracked vocals and life-affirming lyrics, Richards' punching, galloping rhythms, the bass, drums and the broken, falling-all-over-themselves background choirs. None of it stands on its own; it only works together, as a whole, as a unit, as an album that's hardly an album at all. It's The Rolling Stones. It's a religious experience.


  • MY RATING: 9.0/10


  • GREATEST STRENGTH: The precisely placed track order, making a great set of songs sound absolutely magnificent when listened to in this sequence.

  • GREATEST MOMENT: The part where the guitar jam on "I Am The Resurrection" kicks into a new gear.




  • MY REVIEW: The album that took the UK by storm, the biggest thing since The Beatles, and finally it was a band and masterpiece that actually deserved it. In recent years NME has hyped The Strokes, The White Stripes and Coldplay up our noses, but their fervor over The Stone Roses debut is entirely justified. This album is pure magic. It is one of the very few 80's albums that feels timeless, as well as virtually unaffected by the decade it ended. It has much more in common with the 60's and 90's than any other time period, tipping hats to bands such as The Beatles and The Byrds, as well as granting life to others like Oasis and Primal Scream. The Stone Roses has a continuity and a magic that is quite difficult to explain. There is just something miraculous about it, something climactic, something pure and precious, something overwhelming as it hits the crescendo of "I Am The Resurrection". It is a discovery. The band plays as if they too are discovering what you are. It's as if the album is being created and unfolding right before ones ears, so it delivers the sweet miracle of epiphany no matter how many times it's heard.


  • MY RATING: 9.2/10

  • 3. CHEREE
  • 7. CHE

  • GREATEST MOMENT: The terrifying finale to Frankie Teardrop.

  • GREATEST STRENGTH: The restraint exhibited by the entire band for most of the album.

  • Fast 'n' Bulbous (USA) - The 500 Best Albums Since 1965: 319
  • Pitchfork (USA) - Top 100 Albums of the 1970s (2004): 39
  • Rolling Stone (USA) - The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (2003): 446
  • Treble (USA) - The Best Albums of the 70s, by Year (2005): 9
  • Muzik (UK) - Top 50 Dance Albums of All Time (2002): 40
  • New Musical Express (UK) - All Times Top 100 Albums (1985): 98
  • Sounds (UK) - The 100 Best Albums of All Time (1986): 28
  • Pop (Sweden) - The World's 100 Best Albums + 300 Complements (1994): 101
  • Rolling Stone (Germany) - The 500 Best Albums of All Time (2004): 183
  • Spex (Germany) - The 100 Albums of the Century (1999): 20
  • Wiener (Austria) - The 100 Best Albums of the 20th Century (1999): 65
  • Rock de Lux (Spain) - The 100 Best Albums of the 1970s (1988): 26
  • Rock de Lux (Spain) - The 200 Best Albums of All Time (2002): 41
  • BigO (Singapore) - The 100 Best Albums from 1975 to 1995 (1995): 23

  • All Music Guide (USA) - Album Ratings 1-5 Stars: 4.5 Stars
  • Robert Christgau (USA) - Consumer Guide Album Grade: C+
  • Rolling Stone Album Guide, Ratings 1-5 Stars (USA, 1992): 3 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: 8
  • Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (UK) - Album Ratings 1-5 Stars (2002): 4 Stars


  • PITCHFORK: "Nothing about Suicide made sense. Nihilist electro-rockabilly? In 1977? And what was up with the sunglasses? We've all heard what a glorious shithole New York City was in the 70s, and Suicide's highly theatrical project wallowed in the filth. The blood-curdling screams in the 10-minute murder fantasy "Frankie Teardrop" (aka Taxi Driver: The Musical) get most of the ink, but the pretty stalker anthem/prom night bloodbath theme "Cheree" is just as disturbing. Most of the above comes courtesy of Alan Vega's expressionist vocal performance, but Martin Rev's churning electronics were of equal importance. His unusual keyboard tone referenced the sound of 50s rock 'n' roll in a brilliantly subliminal way while the cheap drum loops pointed to a future of relentless, trance-inducing repetition. Suicide have been called the American Kraftwerk but every one of their highways led to a dead-end piled high with twisted metal and charred bodies."

  • SUNDAY HERALD: "It still feels like a bizarre contradiction in terms but one of the greatest rock'n'roll albums of the 1970s was actually made by a synth duo, vocalist Alan Vega and keyboardist Martin Rev. Suicide predated the New York/CBGBs punk rock explosion by a staggering five years or so and all through the early 1970s they'd gained a reputation as possibly the most violent and confrontational group operating out of downtown. Alan Vega looked like a Puerto Rican street killer, decked out in a cloak hung with bandanas and chains while Martin Rev was regularly to be seen walking the Manhattan streets packing a sword and a ridiculous pair of outsized wraparound shades. Their gigs inevitably ended in violence, with Vega dancing on the tabletops and yelping like Elvis while Rev played fantastically malevolent-sounding two-note keyboard runs. Yet for all their aggressive anti-social posturing their debut album, which came out in 1978, is full of great pop songs. Tracks like Ghost Rider and Rocket USA sound like dark-hearted rockabilly blasters set to ultra-minimal electronics and Cheree is just one of the most instantly endearing nursery rhyme love-songs ever written. Frankie Teardrop, on the other hand, just might be the bleakest; ten minutes of total psychosis, documenting the murder of an entire family to a soundtrack of blood curdling screams and grinding electronics. Vegas conclusion is priceless: ''We're all Frankies / We're all lying in hell.'' All these years later and Suicide still feels like a shot in the head."

  • Suicide's debut is like nothing before or since. It is the quintessential anti-rock statement. As notorious and emotionally miscreant as punk tried to get with the Sex Pistols and The Stooges, neither came close to plowing the explicit, harrowing depths found here. Infact, this may very well be the most horrific album ever made. It is not recommended.

  • Gradually building in restrained intensity before unleashing its demons in the most terrifying and forthright manner imaginable, it succeeds in its vision through a neurotic excorcism, while being somewhat erotic in execution, but more perverse than anything else. This is the very downward spiral towards hell most of us inherently fear. This is the culmination of nightmares boiling over into real life.

  • For better or for worse, it was released at the height of the punk scene, and was either ignored or panned by the vast majority of public and critics alike. Their shows were mostly accompanied by loud boos and near anarchy from anxious fans clamouring for the band playing next. Honestly, it's hard to blame them. The album is so thoroughly successfull in its deliberately paced theatrics and terrifying drama that it is hard to actually enjoy it from a distant, detached view. This sure as hell isn't pop music, this is an imploding war of introversion, sacrifice and paranoia. Without remorse, Suicide entraps you right in the middle of their experience: a thick black cloud of unbearable self-destruction, taken past the point of no return, and without sympathy for those who come unprepared. Of course, no one ever is.
  • The Downward Spiral is muscular, visceral, kinetic and punishing industrial music at its most intensely riveting. Reznor adopts an exploding array of sporadically mutating personas across an epic series of takes as a desperate, frusterated, caged animal in a stirring document of a truly embattled and crushed soul.
  • Possessed by nightmarish claws and dreamy, hypnotic, haunting beauty, Lisa Germano's Geek the Girl is both a psychologically complex, grief stricken, funereal release, and a biting parody of horrific female woe. This comedic, playful factor, coupled with the profound, confessional honesty of the work, combine to become a two-faced force of overwhelming emotional outpouring: on one end here is this caved-in, distraut, vulnerable woman, her life drfting out of control as a victim of great personal tragedy and strife. On the other end she's laughing at you for coming to her aid. Devastating and uncomfortably honest, with a uniquely psychological and piercing power.

I really enjoy these reviews; regardless of whether I share your opinion, I really like how they're very comprehensive and 'cover all the bases', as it were. Good work!

Thanks Wezzo. I know these albums are "perfect" or "5 stars and/or a 10/10" to most people, but the fact I can't ignore for my own critical integrity is that I've found many better albums so was forced to recreate how I rated music.

Were the songs I thought were "perfect" or "10/10" really as good as the ones which actually were?

Is "Sgt. Pepper", which I had previously rated at a 9.8/10, really only .1 or .2 points below the far superior "Astral Weeks"?

I asked myself similar questions across the board and realized that I had been overrating very good songs and albums for years, and was resultingly missing out on many superior albums due to my misconception that I already owned most or all of the very best albums ever made.

I was wrong, and the lower-than-expected nature of these ratings, though disagree as you may, are meant to reflect my findings.

From my view, the idea that an album like "Sgt. Pepper" is the best album ever made is very nearly a complete joke. To me, it's an unfathomable thought. 5 years ago when it was the best album I owned it wasn't. It's an excellent work for sure, but is it really the unattainable masterpiece it's held up to be? Does it really belong as the ultimate work of art rock music has produced? Is it profund? Awe-inspiring? Jaw-dropping? Miraculous? The 10th?

I don't think so. It's an 8.1 and I don't think I've shorted it, or any of the others I've rated, a single penny.

I'm no music critic, I like more than my fair share of 'bad' music, but I too find Sgt. Pepper overrated. I don't think it deserves any more - or even as much - credit as Abbey Road, Revolver, etc. As you said it isn't 'miraculous' or 'jaw-dropping'.

Anyway, it's good to see reviews that don't always entirely agree with the popular consesus is, and for that, I salute you!

I was going to point to my appreciation of an AfterHours review but it is gone, I know not where. So here is what I wrote...

From February 4, 2006:
Nice writing and perspective on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. People forget, or it is forgotten, how the world held its breath for a Beatles album in those days. And then when people saw the cover, read the lyrics and heard what was on the vinyl the world stopped spinning on its axis. Nobody knew it at the time but the seeds of the Beatles' destruction were sown with that album.

When you consider that the Pepper sessions also yielded up the songs "Penny Lane," "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Magical Mystery Tour" the mind boggles. "The words were just lost. Jaws dropped" is right. The final ever-fading chord of "A Day in the Life" and then the nonsense inner track was stunning and unprecedented. It was a brave new world. Steveaudio has a great perspective on why the Beatles were so important just in terms of their impact within the industry.

In August of '66 the Beatles released Revolver which many feel it the Beatles best album and I might agree. The triumvirate of Revolver/Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band/Abbey Road is the example I use when trying to explain the distinctions between "best/greatest/favourite." (Occasionally The Beatles replaces Revolver as the "best" example but it tends to confuse the matter.)

In February of '67 they put out perhaps the greatest double-A single in rock and roll history, Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever; it was quite a warning shot. In July, over ten months after their last album, Sgt. Pepper hit the stores... and nothing would ever be the same.

I agree with you that it was "last time they consistently sounded like a full band." I believe that is part of what doomed them as a band. For the first time the Beatles were a studio band and they had made music that was impossible to perform live. Anyone who has seen the rooftop sessions can see what a loss that was and how offstage stress was tearing them apart. What with all the screaming earlier live recordings give a better sense of Beatlemania than their performing abilities as a band.

Again, people forget, or it is forgotten, that the Beatles were forged in Germany. They would play seven hour sets. They would become a great live group and a band in every sense of the word. Sgt. Pepper robbed them of that in part by allowing them to record as individuals within a group. This let personal agendas to start breaking up the band.

The album's emotional arc, as opposed to its literal one, brings listeners through the life of the Beatles as a band. It resonates with their early career as well as what was to come. It brings the audience along on this journey. As the fantastic Alan Pollack says about the title track, "This is the one and only time in the canon that the band refers to both 'us' (directly and collectively), and themselves in the first person plural within the same song.."

Every song stands up to dissection and analysis. All of the songs stand on their own merits. And the songs collectively form a whole and complete work, connecting and interacting with one another.

The album closes with the hope that we, the audience, "have enjoyed the show." Then there is the coda containing suicide... and a final bit of nonsense. To my mind this is how the Beatles wished, if only subconsciously, to be remembered.

And the memory is fantastic. Thank you.

To avoid the miracle of jaw-dropping you must keep your mouth closed (as I keep tongue-in-cheek) about Pet Sounds, Freak Out! and Rubber Soul and so on.

It truly is my opinion that any piece of art should not and in fact cannot be judged ahistorically. Is Louis Armstrong and his work less impressive, less "great," less "'miraculous' or 'jaw-dropping'" because the jazz form has advanced, as has technique? I say "no."

As usual, your comments are thought-provoking to say the least. I really appreciate the time you put into your entries.

That said, I don't think I'm viewing Sgt. Pepper on a historical level. Not at all.

"A Day In The Life" does still sound mind-blowing, especially on a great set of speakers. Other albums from the same period do as well: The Doors, VU & Nico, Red Krayola, and so forth...and some albums previously...most notably "Blonde On Blonde".

To me there are simply way better albums than Sgt. Pepper. It hasn't necessarily "become worse" to me. I've just found so many albums I consider better that I had to degrade its rating to make room. It was these albums (which will mostly remain unnamed until I post my 50 greatest albums list eventually, this time for real) that forced me to reassess how I was rating albums.

I was giving songs like "Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds", "Getting Better", etc. perfect 10s when I didn't like them nearly as much as other songs I was giving a much more deserved 10. So I decided to raise my standards across the boards and only give the very best ones 10s and go down from there. Once I did this my ratings suddenly started to seem far more accurate. To me, Astral Weeks really is about 1.5 or 2 stars better than Sgt. Pepper, if not more.

As for your comment from Feb 4th, I erased my 50 greatest albums (and it must've gone with it) list since it was rendered completely obselete within the last few months (meaning not a single album on it was still validly within the top 50). That's the reason I stopped posting it: I was discovering (and rediscovering) better albums too frequently to keep up and eventually got ahold of so many that everything on there fell backwards in place of them.

I'm glad you were able to repost your views, as I really liked the insight in them. For some reason, I didn't think ahead to bring the comments with me.

About Louis Armstrong, I'm still currently a bit of an amateur when it comes to jazz. I've only scratched the surface of the greats, so I'm not as familiar with Armstrongs albums as I would be with some others so I can't really relate to what you're asking at the end there. But I do find plenty of other jazz works by Coltrane, Mingus, Davis, Coleman, etc. f'ing mind-blowing, astonishing and worthy all sorts of overused adjectives.

Happy Birthday!

Who's B-Day?

Yours. It's been a year... although it seems like much less. Or is it more?

Make a wish and blow out your candle...

Oh...I had no idea...

Well in that case: poof!!!

Hey, these candles won't go out!!!

POOF!!!! POOF!!!! WTF!?


If I implied that I am rating these albums less-than-expected out of a need to go against the grain, I am not. I want to make that clear. I am rating these albums exactly how I see them and nothing more. There are no further criteria. There are many albums rated highly by many people that I tend to agree with.

These are my opinions and nothing more. If you happen to disagree with a rating or two you are just as 'right' as I am about the merits of the work. "Popular Consensus" is as 'right' as I am, and could be easily argued to be even more 'right' since it has popularity on its side.

Most people I've discussed music with find the above albums to be the top of the album hierarchy, along with a handlful of others yet to be reviewed by me. I, for the most part, do not. I've simply found other albums I consider superior. But this is opinion, not fact in any way, shape or form.

You saying I like my share of 'bad' music prompted this response for the most part. If you like it, how in the world is it 'bad' music?

No, no, I am entirely aware that these are pure opinion and not a collection of reviews that intentionally 'go against the grain', as you put it.

When I judge music, clearly the most important factor is whether I enjoy it or not; that goes without saying. And that's the only judgement I make for most of my lists on the site.

But of course, it's not the only way I could rate music. Innovation, the quality of lyrics, artistic integrity and conviction as you've mentioned yourself. When I say I like 'bad' music, I tend to mean music that fails all (or most) of the above.

Example: I like the album from pop-soul act Andy Abraham, who recently came runner-up on the American Idol-like X Factor TV show over here. Is it innovative? Unless innovation is a collection of around nine out of 11 cover versions, no. Are the lyrics decent? Who cares - they were mostly written 40 years ago by people with no connection to Abraham. Artistic integrity? Eh, questionable. But do I enjoy listening to the album? Absolutely - his vocals are powerful, the songs are catchy and it's as good as feel-good music gets. I really like it. But do I think it's a good album? Not really.

Sidenote: what would you give Automatic for the People?

I get what you're saying.

The reason I rate using the system I've developed is because that is what I actually look for in an album. I find albums that don't have an artist showing enough conviction in what he's doing to be failures to a certain degree. I think albums that sound the same as everything on the radio are usually boring to some degree. An album without depth may sound great....for a week. An album that has a disorganized track order will blunt the total effect it is supposed to create. These are factors that establish the greatness of an album to me. They are not objective (though they can be) but rather subjective in how I rate them. To some people a Britney Spears album may sound totally new, and it could be extremely powerful and provide them all sorts of emotional depth. It could feel as if she is singing from lifetimes of conviction and perhaps they might like the inconsistency of the track order. It adds spice and unpredictability, right?

Anyway, I think you get what I mean.

As for Automatic For the People, let me's been awhile since I listened to it so this is unofficial but still probably pretty close. I'd probably give it around an 8.0 or so. I own it so one day I'll get around to rating it. It's an excellent album, probably their best aside from Murmur.

For what it's worth, I really like your grading scales. They put artistic conviction first (20% of the overall grade) which, for me, is the most important part of many artists' work - for example, I doubt I'd care less about Born to Run if Bruce himself wasn't so passionate in his delivery.

I certainly hope you don't mind that I use the scale on Listology, anyway! (I always credit you).

I do understand what you're getting at, anyway, yep.

I don't mind at all that you use it. Thanks for the appreciation you've shown.

I've proven to myself that it works for me. And if it works for you then I'm glad you're using it.

I developed it to make my rating precise enough to cope with my finding too many great albums that were so close together in terms of quality. A chunk of my very top albums are separated my the slimmest of margins. With the difference between them minimal, and the fact that they come from so many different genres, the system allows me to attain clear cut certainty on what order to place them in. It is most useful in breaking apparent ties. Using the rating system, I've never had an exact tie. It is almost impossible to have one.

There is an aspect I've never posted and never mentioned to you. And it's mainly because it is somewhat complicated and can be tough to describe without me showing it to you in person. But I'll try. This makes ratings even more precise, and you;re welcome to add it or not (it is more time consuming).

Not only do I rate the songs, I rate the songs using their track time in addition to their worth. I'll give you a simple example. We have an album. We'll call it "Album A"

It has 4 tracks. Here are my pretend ratings for it:

1. 9/10
2. 9.5/10
3. 9.5/10
4. 10/10

The track time of each of these songs is:

1. 3:30 translates to 3.5 (30 sec is .50 of 1 minute)
2. 2:45 translates to 2.75
3. 5:47 translates to 5.7833
4. 11:21 translates to 11.35

Total album time (3.5 + 2.75 + 5.7833 + 11.35) is 23.3833 (short album!)

14.96794% of the album rates a 9 (3.5 divided by the total time = that percentage)

36.49313% of the album is a 9.5 (track 2 + track 3 divided by the total time)

48.53891% of the album is a 10.

You see how that works? In the system you're using, 25% would be a 9 (1 out of the 4 tracks), 50% of it would be a 9.5 (2 out of the 4 tracks) and only 25% of it would be a 10. This is because that system is faulty and treates each song as equal when actually they comprise different fractions of the whole album, based on their individual running times.

Now, on we go...

To get the correct song rating you need to multiply as follows:

14.96794 multiplied by 9 = 134.71146
36.49313 multiplied by 9.5 = 346.68473
48.53891 multiplied by 10 = 485.3891

TOTAL (134.71146 + 346.68473 + 485.3891) is 966.78529 (or 96.678529)...that's your song score. Then you just do the usual on the other 4 categories and average the two out to get your overall rating.

If you would've rated this album by the other, simpler process, the song score would've come out different at 95. That's a huge difference! On my current top 50 that would be a difference of about 10-15 places in most cases! When you're dealing with the miniscule differences in quality between the greatest albums of all time, it's vital to get it right if you want the utmost accuracy.

Let me know if that was too complex and I'll try to explain it further.

Talk to ya later!

Additionally, I also break depth up into 2 subcategories before I give it an overall score.

Profundity & Breadth

I've found that an album can have easily have a high score in one and not the other. An album can show tremendous scope (such as Blonde On Blonde) and appear to have a lot of depth. But if what the artist is covering throughout that scope is kind of meaningless rubbish or something relatively un-profound, something of great insight or poetic, touching, awe-inspiring or moving, then the score will lower to that degree. Here's how I do it.

I'll use an example of an album you're very familiar with. This is my opinion:

Born To Run has significant breadth. I really get the feeling that the artist has travelled through an experience of considerable scope by the end of the album.

Breadth = 9.75

I don't feel the album is especially profound (at least compared to albums I know that exceed it in this category). The writing is occasionally week in the last 3 tracks and it hurts the level of profundity as to what he is trying to communicate. The most profound song is absolutely Thunder Road. That's where he excels. If he would've kept that up throughout the album, it would've been a 9.75 or 10 in this subcategory.

But overall, I think the album falls a bit short of it's grip on the listener since Springsteen can't quite get across the profundity of his experience and, the meeting across the river and, most importantly, the finale.

I also feel the album feels a little over-produced. The sax solo on "Night", for instance, is fine, but too perfect. The album lacks immediacy in parts like this (a good example of sax playing that is profound is all over The Rolling Stones "Exile On Main Street". It sounds like it's being played right there, in sudden burst of inspiration.) "Born To Run's" instrumentation sounds added in, and this slightly blunts the impact and lessens the profundity of the instruments.

Profundity = 7.75 or 8

8 + 9.75 is 17.75 divided in 2 = 8.875 multiplied by 3 = 26.625/30 for depth.

An album that is profound and travels a vast scope is an unbeateable combination.

Some of the best examples of this combination are:

-Astral Weeks-Van Morrison
-Blonde On Blonde-Bob Dylan
-The Velvet Underground & Nico-The Velvet Underground
-Trout Mask Replica-Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band

These 3 albums, among others, seem almost endless in the profound discoveries they hold, thus providing amazing depth and countless replay value.

Thanks very much for that in-depth detail on how you grade. I really appreciate that you went into great detail about each and every aspect. I like the idea of weighting by track times, I'll take that into account with future ratings - for me, for example, that may greatly affect albums by They Might Be Giants that contain ridiculously short songs.

I also really like the profoundity/breadth system. A very good way to judge both aspects of how deep an album is.

I'm sorry I'm not replying with more detail, but what can I say? You seem to have this rating thing down very well. And I'll certainly be utilising it whenever I rate an album. Thanks very much for the extra detail on how you grade within each section. And well done on congratulating such an excellent system that can help differentiate between a 9.5 and a 9.6 - few other systems I've seen could.

I've been searching for the greatest albums of all time for a very full 6 years now, and over that time, as my tastes have evolved, I've also been forced to develop more accurate rating systems in order to keep up with my personal demand for certainty, and for a meeting ground between the numbers and my tastes.

This current one has worked very well. My current top 50 ends up precisely in sequence with how I value each album, despite the enormous genre inconsistencies.

Over the years my top albums have changed dramatically. The first serious "greatest albums of all time" list I did is rather embarassing to look back on (at least in comparison to what I favor now), but I'll post it anyway:

In 2001, I had 3 greatest albums of all time I favored: Sgt. Pepper (1967) was probably the first album I thought of as relevant for this throne. Revolver-The Beatles (1966) followed shortly thereafter and by the end of the year I had a legitimate top 15:

My Top 15 Greatest Albums (2001)

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

by the end of 2002 it was:

1. Pet Sounds-The Beach Boys
2. Astral Weeks-Van Morrison
3. Kind of Blue-Miles Davis
4. Revolver-The Beatles
5. A Love Supreme-John Coltrane
6. What's Going On-Marvin Gaye
7. Highway 61 Revisited-Bob Dylan
8. Forever Changes-Love
9. Marquee Moon-Television
10. The Stone Roses-The Stone Roses
11. Exile On Main Street-The Rolling Stones
12. Blonde On Blonde-Bob Dylan
13. The Band-The Band
14. Innervisions-Stevie Wonder
15. Let It Bleed-The Rolling Stones

by the end of 2003:

1. Pet Sounds-The Beach Boys
2. Astral Weeks-Van Morrison
3. In The Aeroplane Over The Sea-Neutral Milk Hotel
4. Revolver-The Beatles
5. Kind Of Blue-Miles Davis
6. Highway 61 Revisited-Bob Dylan
7. A Love Supreme-John Coltrane
8. What's Going On-Marvin Gaye
9. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot-Wilco
10. Forever Changes-Love
11. Is This It-The Strokes
12. If You're Feeling Sinister-Belle & Sebastian
13. The Stone Roses-The Stone Roses
14. Exile On Main Street-The Rolling Stones
15. Blonde On Blonde-Bob Dylan


1. Astral Weeks-Van Morrison
2. In The Aeroplane Over The Sea-Neutral Milk Hotel
3. Pet Sounds-The Beach Boys
4. Kind Of Blue-Miles Davis
5. Highway 61 Revisited-Bob Dylan
6. Revolver-The Beatles
7. Forever Changes-Love
8. What's Going On-Marvin Gaye
9. Blood On The Tracks-Bob Dylan
10. Funeral-Arcade Fire
11. A Love Supreme-John Coltrane
12. OK Computer-Radiohead
13. Lifted Or The Story Is In The Soil, Keep Your Ear To The Ground-Bright Eyes
14. The Stone Roses-The Stone Roses
15. Exile On Main Street-The Rolling Stones

Anyway, I thought that might be interesting...

Later Wezzo!

That's an interesting look at how your music taste can change over time, and how far your own musical journey can stretch. Myself, I've only been interested in "real" (read: non-chart) music since 2003, when I was 12, and with limited time and money and a seemingly unlimited taste in music, I haven't been able to delve into a lot of genres as much as I would have liked, thus far. As far as my favourite albums over time, I couldn't even have named a Beatles album - or a Springsteen album, or an R.E.M. album - three years ago, so I can hardly comment on past favourites. But it's certainly interesting to see how yours developed over time, and I'm sure that your rating system and its development has helped you keep a top list you actually believe is respectable with regard to your criteria nowadays.

Thanks for posting all of this, by the way - to a young'un just getting into music in a serious way, your insight is invaluable.

Thanks Wezzo!

While I would still recommend all of the above "past greatest albums of all time", I don't personally endorse most of them as the greatest albums of all time anymore. But, they are an excellent place to start, and I've known more than a few people who do think many of those up there are the finest albums ever made.

I will start posting my new greatest albums list as soon as I have it worked out. That list will show by far the most dramatic change out of all the lists I have here. It's been an interesting last few months for me musically. I've expanded an already deep appreciation of most styles of music to something bordering on madness.

And, for better or worse, I think my journey (at least for rock music) is mostly complete so far as finding the greatest albums of all time goes. While I think I will find more on occasion (maybe), it has become nearly impossible for an album to get into the top 30 anymore, and also, difficult to imagine. With music steadily declining in "top 50 albums quality", it's hard to imagine the list changing too much once I've finished this current phase and update. From this decade I've found very very few albums worthy of serious inclusion, though there have been many very good or great ones--just not greatest ever. So far the 00's aren't very close to the 90's as a decade in top tier albums. They've been pretty in line with the 80's, though the average quality of all albums isn't far behind the 90's. So we'll see...

Jazz will be my next journey. I've only touched the surface of jazz so far. Fortunately, the actual greatest albums of jazz are much more widely known and accurately documented than in rock, so it will be pretty easy to hunt them down, as I won't be led astray by claims that something is the best ever when it's really not.

Hey Afterhours, i wasn't to sure which article to post this one, but i said i would get back to you on the pink floyd dark side of the moon.

i must admit i hadn't heard any of pink floyd before and i was expecting, well, a hair band, cheesy retro rock, but i was wrong. its a very chilled out album, nice melodies and quite experimental it seemed. like On The Run, reminded me of a track from radiohead's ok computer, but this was years before! Money is great track, funky, but different to others on there as most others are bit more chilled in terms of musical tone. I wouldn't say i was big fan of the album cus i haven't heard much else they have done, but i can see how it would of been different for the time, a nice album to have on in bakcground.

Hmmmm....I honestly can't ever recall recommending Dark Side of the Moon to you. But if you would've asked me which Floyd album to check out, that is the one I would've recommended to you, so maybe we just have some sort of telepathy going on. It is indeed a fascinating listen, and probably the single most classic rock album of all time. By popular fan opinion, it is probably the most frequently cited "greatest album of all time" so I'm glad you've joined the party!

You should add it to your RATING THE TRACKS post. I sure wouldn't mind seeing how it fares.

you recommended it HERE as i say above i liked it

Oh, I guess I forgot since I recommended a handful of other albums with it. I actually searched around for it and didn't find the recommendation. Thanks for finding it for me and it's good to see you checked it out. DSOTM is a very good album so I agree with you!

Any luck with the other recommendations?

Elvis Costello, nice choice. I always wondered however why it was that This Year's Model was always singled out as the best. I've heard the first four albums of his and they all strike me as being really great. I couldn't decide which one is best...I suppose TYM woudl come closer if you're including "Radio, Radio" though...what a fantastic track that one is!

Have to agree with Television too. I actually don't like Marquee Moon as much as most, but I do respect it quite a bit. I see a lot of similarities with early punk music (specifically the Clash) but it's much more timeless. Verlaine was a great songwriter, it's a shame they didn't make more albums...