Chronicle of the "1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die"

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  • Be advised: I've opted to not keep track of this list here, as it really just duplicates the prettier list at RYM: https://rateyourmusic.com/list/planetneutral/chronicle_of_the_1001_albums_you_must_hear_before_you_die/.





  • This is just a way of chronicling my half-assed journey through albums from the book "1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die" by Robert Dimery that my wife gave me for Father's Day 2009. It'll include albums I own and know, but I'll be more interested in tracking down new-to-me material. Brackets indicate repeat listening. You can see the list itself here: http://listology.com/list/albums-i-own-1001-albums-you-must-hear-you-die. You can find a version of this list with pretty album covers and such here: https://rateyourmusic.com/list/planetneutral/chronicle_of_the_1001_album...

  • 2009-07
  • 1. "The Wildest" - Louis Prima (1956) - [1] Love it.
  • 2. "Tragic Songs of Life" - The Louvin Brothers (1956) - [1] Not sure about this one. Kind of a downer. [2] It's growing on me. [3] Hmmm, liking this quite a bit.
  • 3. "Vespertine" - Björk (2001) - [1] CD started skipping at track 10. It was only a slight downturn in the listening experience. Don't get it.
  • 4. "Everything Must Go" - Manic Street Preachers (1996) - [1] Nice.
  • 5. "Spy vs. Spy - The Music of Ornette Coleman" - John Zorn (1989) - [1] Like Ornette on speed. Kinda loud for the office.
  • 6. "Head Hunters" - Herbie Hancock (1973) - [1] I've owned this forever. It's incredible.
  • 7. "Kenya" - Machito (1957) - [1] Fantastic. Afro-cuban jazz from the 1950s for the win.
  • 8. "Murmur" - R.E.M. (1983) - [1] I've had this CD for over 20 years now. Wow. Love it still.

  • 2016-01 (In August of 2009, a flood wiped out the office where I'd just started listening to albums. For some reason, I'm back.)
  • 9. "Toys in the Attic" - Aerosmith (1975) - [1] First two-thirds is mostly familiar and top-notch. Kinda dies for me at the end.
  • 10. "Black Monk Time" - The Monks (1966) - [1] Wasn't feeling this at first, but its eclectic variety grew on me.
  • 11. "Superfuzz Bigmuff" - Mudhoney (1988) - [1] Started listening to the Deluxe Edition, not realizing that it starts with songs not on the original six song EP. Too bad, as I kinda liked those songs better than some of the songs that comprise the "must-hear" recording.
  • 12. "Cosmo's Factory" - Creedence Clearwater Revival (1970) - [1] Difficult to deny to density of great songs on this album.
  • 13. "Licensed to Ill" - Beastie Boys (1986) - [1] A bona fide classic. Even my 8YO knows Brass Monkey as soon as it begins.
  • 14. "Tapestry" - Carole King (1971) - [1] Not too many albums that I would immediately say, "This is better than Licensed to Ill." But this is.
  • 15. "Ágætis byrjun" - Sigur Rós (1999) - [1] Not a bad background for 75 minutes of Minecraft.
  • 16. "Moving Pictures" - Rush (1981) - [1] There are some great songs here, with half the album being already familiar to most rock fans. But there's a reason you don't know the rest.
  • 17. "One World" - John Martyn (1977) - [1] Great, at times. Funkier than expected. I lost focus toward the end, so probably bears a second listen.
  • 18. "At Mister Kelly's" - Sarah Vaughan (1958) - [1] She sounds great, but the looseness was almost too much for me.
  • 19. "New Wave" - Autuers (1993) - [1] A real surprise. [2] Good enough to listen to twice in the same day.
  • 20. "In the Wee Small Hours" - Frank Sinatra (1955) - [1] I love Frank, but this set of tunes was too melancholic for my taste.
  • 21. "The Gilded Palace of Sin" The Flying Burrito Brothers (1969) - [1] Thought I might get into this, but I wore out on the country rock flavor by the end.
  • 22. "Electric Warrior" - T. Rex (1971) - [1] Awesome. A genuine and positive surprise. The kind of thing that validates this project. Just the thing for transitioning from your Bowie mourning period. Like same-period Bowie without the existential angst and gravitas.
  • 23. "Apocalypse Dudes" - Turbonegro (1998) - [1] Most likely the best album by a Norwegian rock band that I've ever heard.
  • 24. "Rock Bottom" - Robert Wyatt (1974) - [1] Not entirely sure what I think of this. Bears a second listen mayhaps. [2 - 2016-02-23] Tried again. Listenable, but too deep for me, I guess.
  • 25. "Antichrist Superstar" - Marilyn Manson (1996) - [1] Not as dreadful as I feared, but at 70+ minutes, about half an hour too long.
  • 26. "Live Through This" - Hole (1994) - [1] Didn't excite me all that much.
  • 27. "Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes" - TV on the Radio - [1] Nope.
  • 28. "Os Mutantes" - Os Mutantes (1968) - [1] Quirky and fun, but not the kind of psychedelia I gravitate toward. [2] OK, it's pretty fun.
  • 29. "Liege & Lief" - Fairport Convention (1969) - [1] I had a preconception of this group and it was wrong. Strong female vocals and dynamic instrumentation. I liked it.

  • 2016-02
  • 30. "If I Could Only Remember My Name" - David Crosby - (1971) - [1 - 2016-02-01] Nice sound, but didn't leave a big impression on me.
  • 31. "Le Tigre" - Le Tigre (1999) - [1 - 2016-02-01] Fun.
  • 32. "Sex Packets" - Digital Underground (1990) - [1 - 2016-02-02] Some classic samples and good beats, but some of the tracks are way overindulgently long.
  • 33. "Mr. Tambourine Man" - The Byrds (1965) - [1 - 2016-02-02] Too many great songs to ignore.
  • 34. "(pronounced 'lĕh-'nérd 'skin-'nérd)" - Lynyrd Skynyrd - (1973) [1 - 2016-02-03] Excellent album, stocked with good songs.
  • 35. "Selected Ambient Works 85-92" - Aphex Twin (1992) - [1 - 2016-02-03] There were some great moments. I get why people regard it highly, but ultimately not the soundtrack of my life.
  • 36. "White Ladder" - David Gray (2000) - [1 - 2016-02-04] Great songs, great voice. Very good.
  • 37. "Dry" - PJ Harvey (1992) - [1 - 2016-02-04] I'm concerned that I'm starting to present as misogynistic, as this is another female-powered album that eludes me on first listen.
  • 38. "(GI)" - Germs (1979) - [1 - 2016-02-04] Important doesn't mean good.
  • 39. "Cupid & Psyche 85" - Scritti Politti - (1985) - [1 - 2016-02-04] There was a section of three or four consecutive good songs in the middle. Otherwise, meh.
  • 40. "Here's Little Richard" - Little Richard - (1957) - [1 - 2016-02-05] Sounds classic and fresh at the same time.
  • 41. "Searching for the Young Soul Rebels" - Dexys Midnight Runners (1980) - [1 - 2016-02-06] Amazing that a band that most Americans would think of as a one-hit wonder would have three albums in this book. Having listened to this album, I'm not entirely sure why.
  • 42. "Shake Your Money Maker" - The Black Crowes (1990) - [1 - 2016-02-06] Amazingly good debut album.
  • 43. "Basket of Light" - The Pentangle (1969) - [1 - 2016-02-06] Even though some of the music is interesting, I can't seriously recommend this.
  • 44. "At San Quentin" - Johnny Cash (1969) - [1 - 2016-02-06] Dominating the prison crowd while at the height of his powers.
  • 45. "Face to Face" - The Kinks (1966) - [1 - 2016-02-08] Didn't really catch my attention on first run-through.
  • 46. "The Atomic Mr. Basie" - Count Basie and His Orchestra (1958) - [1 - 2016-02-13] Upbeat music for cleaning the kitchen on a Saturday morning.
  • 47. "Fear of Music" - Talking Heads (1979) - [1 - 2016-02-13] Tails off a bit at the end for me, but otherwise nearly perfect.
  • 48. "Disraeli Gears" - Cream (1967) - [1 - 2016-02-13] Some great songs, but not everything grabbed me on first listen.
  • 49. "Better Living Through Chemistry" - Fatboy Slim (1996) - [1 - 2016-02-13] As with most beat-focused music, I liked some tracks more than others. But I saw the kids getting down to "Michael Jackson," so that's a measure of success.
  • 50. "Superfly" (1972) - Curtis Mayfield [1:2016-02-13] Good, but the songs you know are the songs you know for a reason.
  • 51. "Aftermath" (UK) (1968) - The Rolling Stones [1:2016-02-13] Not likely to become my favorite Stones albums.
  • 52. "Trans-Europe Express" (1977) - Kraftwerk [1:2016-02-13] Mostly enjoyable.
  • 53. "Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water" (2000) - Limp Bizkit [1:2016-02-13] Full of cheesiness and shamelessly derivative, but not as terrible musically as you might expect.
  • 54. "Crossing the Red Sea with The Adverts" (1978) - The Adverts [1:2016-02-14] Pretty listenable, as British punk goes.
  • 55. "Live at the Harlem Square Club, 1963" (1963, released in 1985) - Sam Cooke [1:2016-02-14] High energy, high quality.
  • 56. "Brothers in Arms" (1985) - Dire Straits [1:2016-02-14] Had this on cassette, but of the few that I had, this wasn't one of the ones that I played continuously to learn top to bottom. Starts so strong, but then I remember why I used to lost interest.
  • 57. "Live!" (1971) - Fela Ransome-Kuti and The Africa '70 With Ginger Baker [1:2016-02-14] My kind of instrumental album, live and on fire.
  • 58. "Bubble and Scrape" (1993) - Sebadoh [1:2016-02-14] Good. Very good at times. I would have loved this five years before it actually came out.
  • 59. "Sunday at the Village Vanguard" (1961) - Bill Evans [1:2016-02-14] Nice. Live is everything. Classic. Jazz 101.
  • 60. "Hejira" (1976) - Joni Mitchell [1:2016-02-14] Not my favorite Joni, but still better than most things.
  • 61. "Cypress Hill" (1991) - Cypress Hill [1:2016-02-14] It's not all great, but most of it is.
  • 62. "Scum" (1987) - Napalm Death [1:2016-02-16] Some grunting with a few listenable moments.
  • 63. "Opus Dei" (1987) - Laibach [1:2016-02-16] Laughably odd at times, like a scene from Borat the Musical.
  • 64. "This Year's Model" (1978) - Elvis Costello [1:2016-02-16] Refreshingly tuneful.
  • 65. "The Low End Theory" (1991) - A Tribe Called Quest [1:2016-02-16] Right in my wheelhouse, as hip-hop goes. [2 - 2016-02-17] Still solid. Takes some balls to drop a huge posse track like Scenario in at the very end of the album.
  • 66. "Peace Sells...But Who's Buying?" (1986) - Megadeth [1:2016-02-17] Relatively listenable, given the genre.
  • 67. "Live at the Star-Club, Hamburg" (1964) - Jerry Lee Lewis [1:2016-02-19] Frenetic and awesome. I can only imagine how insane this must have seemed in mid-sixties Germany.
  • 68. "American Beauty" (1970) - Grateful Dead [1:2016-02-19] Arguably my favorite studio album (right there with Workingman's Dead) by one of my favorite live bands.
  • 69. "Highway to Hell" (1979) - AC/DC [1:2016-02-20] Actually pretty good.
  • 70. "Olympia '64" (1967) - Jacques Brel [1:2016-02-20] Moderately entertaining for a few songs. Probably longer if you understand the lyrics.
  • 71. "Let It Be" (1984) - The Replacements [1:2016-02-20] There are definitely some great songs, but I just don't appreciate The Replacements as much as it seems I should.
  • 72. "If I Should Fall From Grace With God" (1988) - The Pogues [1:2016-02-20] Another album whose appeal I understand, yet doesn't really appeal much to me.
  • 73. "Beach Samba" (1967) - Astrud Gilberto [1:2016-02-20] Light and pleasant enough, but the significance of this album eludes me.
  • 74. "Rubber Soul" (1965) - The Beatles [1:2016-02-20] There's no way for me to objectively assess an album like this. I know these songs too well.
  • 75. "I Should Coco" (1985) - Supergrass [1:2016-02-21] High energy pop-punk, emphasis on the pop. Pretty catchy stuff.
  • 76. "Sunshine Superman" (1966) - Donovan [1:2016-02-21] More sitar than I was expecting (which is apparently one of the innovative things about this album), but an undeniable collection of songs and groovy sounds.
  • 77. "Pearl" (1971) - Janis Joplin [1:2016-02-21] Love.
  • 78. "Odgens' Nut Gone Flake" (1968) - Small Faces [1:2016-02-21] Another pleasant surprise. Very entertaining listen.
  • 79. "Bitches Brew" (1970) - Miles Davis [1:2016-02-21] Too complex to get one's head around in the unfocused context of my first listen. Requires a second round.
  • 80. "Elvis Presley" (1956) - Elvis Presley [1:2016-02-22] Does a good job of showcasing the rock, country and R&B sensibilities of Elvis in less than half an hour.
  • 81. "Haut de Gamme: Koweït, Rive Gauche" (1992) - Koffe Olomidé [1:2016-02-22] Ehh, I guess this is good, although my tastes in "world music" tend to run less poppy. Sounds like the soundtrack to World Cup promotional videos.
  • 82. "Surf's Up" (1971) - The Beach Boys [1:2016-02-23] Weird on so many levels.
  • 83. "Fred Neil" (1967) - Fred Neil [1:2016-02-23] I liked this much more than I anticipated. Quality songwriting.
  • 84. "Pretzel Logic" (1974) - Steely Dan [1:2016-02-23] One of my all-time favorite albums.
  • 85. "Smoker's Delight" (1995) - Nightmares on Wax [1:2016-02-23] Catchy at times, easy to ignore at others.
  • 86. "Marcus Garvey" (1975) - Burning Spear [1:2016-02-24] The rootsiest of roots reggae. A reasonable starting point for anyone new to the genre.
  • 87. "The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter" (1968) - The Incredible String Band [1:2016-02-24] Psychedelia gone wrong. Yikes.
  • 88. "Rumours" (1977) - Fleetwood Mac [1:2016-02-26] Perhaps the first great posse pop album. The worst song on this album is better than the best song on most albums. I would have sequenced the songs differently (which they have figured out - Songbird is now their live closer), but just about perfect otherwise.
  • 89. "Immigrés" (1988) - Youssou N'Dour [1:2016-02-26] Fine, but its overall significance is kinda lost on me.
  • 90. "Gorillaz" (2001) - Gorillaz [1:2016-02-26] Although I like most of this, there were a few distinct moments of irritation.
  • 91. "Loveless" (1991) - My Bloody Valentine [1:2016-02-29] As highly regarded as this is by musical heroes of mine, I want to like it more than I actually do. The album never really delivers on the promise of the opening track.
  • 92. "Parallel Lines" (1978) - Blondie [1:2016-02-29] Generally great songs, punctuated by a couple of exceptional ones.

  • 2016-03
  • 93. "Black Holes and Revelations" (2006) - Muse [1:2016-03-01] Not super-enthusiastic about Muse in general, but it has its moments.
  • 94. "Phrenology" (2002) - The Roots [1:2016-03-02] I wanted to like this much more than I actually did. I wanted them to have more interesting things to say and have more interesting music to say it with.
  • 95. "Hot Rats" (1969) - Frank Zappa [1:2016-03-03] Generally awesome and an obvious influence on some of my favorite musicians.
  • 96. "Melody A.M." (2001) - Röyksopp [1:2016-03-03] I found this quite listenable, even enjoyable for stretches.
  • 97. "Ramones" (1976) - Ramones [1:2016-03-04] I thought this would feel more familiar than it actually did. A solid listen.
  • 98. "Third/Sister Lovers" (1992) - Big Star [1:2016-03-04] I sense that this is an album I would really get into after three or four listens, even as it didn't overwhelm me on the first pass.
  • 99. "Clandestino" (1998) - Manu Chao [1:2016-03-04] For the first few songs, I thought this was completely great. It might have worn out its welcome after a while, but still a nice surprise overall.
  • 100. "It's Too Late to Stop Now" (1974) - Van Morrison [1:2016-03-04] An appropriately amazing double album to serve as #100 in my listening series. A great performer at the peak of his powers and already loaded with a great song catalog.
  • 101. "The Cars" (1978) - The Cars [1:2016-03-05] An incredible debut album.
  • 102. "In Our Heads" (2012) - Hot Chip [1:2016-03-05] Not my thing. Significance again totally lost on me.
  • 103. "The Modern Dance" (1978) - Pere Ubu [1:2016-03-05] This album was surprisingly fun to listen to, although I found the last ten minutes or so more of a trial than I typically like.
  • 104. "The Dreaming" (1991) - Kate Bush [1:2016-03-05] Undecided about this one. Not terrible, but not exactly appealing throughout.
  • 105. "Connected" (1992) - Stereo MC's [1:2016-03-06] I ended up liking this more than I expected. Very poppy and upbeat.
  • 106. "Deserter's Songs" (1998) - Mercury Rev [1:2016-03-06] Didn't do much for me.
  • 107. "Your New Favorite Band" (2004) - The Hives [1:2016-03-06] Sort of strange to encounter a compilation. Definitely some recognizable and catchy stuff here. Would have loved this when I was 12.
  • 108. "Definitely Maybe" (1994) - Oasis [1:2016-03-06] Probably bears another listen in a more focused context. Definite glimmers of the brilliance and the timeless Oasis sound in what I heard.
  • 109. "Supa Dupa Fly" (1997) - Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott [1:2016-03-07] Great beats and distinct delivery. It's good.
  • 110. "Specials" (1979) - The Specials [1:2016-03-07] Pretty much what a ska album produced by Elvis Costello would sound like.
  • 111. "Done by the Forces of Nature" (1989) - Jungle Brothers [1:2016-03-08] Quite good. Solid mix of musical influences with (mostly) interesting vocals.
  • 112. "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" (1963) - Bob Dylan [1:2016-03-08] Only Dylan's second album and he's already a better songwriter than all these hacks I've been subjecting myself to.
  • 113. "Hot Shots II" (2001) - The Beta Band [1:2016-03-08] I thought this could be interesting and there were some moments, but it didn't really add up to much overall.
  • 114. "Odessey and Oracle" (1968) - The Zombies [1:2016-03-09] Well above average for the genre and another album where the band has the audacity to save the best for last.
  • 115. "Honky Tonk Heroes" (1973) - Waylon Jennings [1:2016-03-09] I think I would have appreciated this one more a few days ago, when I was in lower spirits. Still a great listen, if a little on the slow side.
  • 116. "fROMOHIO" (1989) - fIREHOSE [1:2016-03-09] Very consistent with what I was listening to around this time. Hard not to like it at that nostalgic level.

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