01. Best Rock Albums of All Time

Tags: 
  1. 9.5/10
  2. Robert Wyatt: Rock Bottom (1974)
  3. Captain Beefheart: Trout Mask Replica (1969)
  4. Faust: Faust (1971)

  5. 9/10
  6. Royal Trux: Twin Infinitives (1990)
  7. The Velvet Underground: The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)
  8. Red Krayola: The Parable of Arable Land (1967)
  9. Pere Ubu: The Modern Dance (1978)
  10. Tim Buckley: Lorca (1970)
  11. Klaus Schulze: Irrlicht
  12. Soft Machine: Third (1970)
  13. Van Morrison: Astral Weeks (1968)
  14. Popol Vuh: Hosianna Mantra (1972)
  15. Nico: Desertshore (1970)
  16. Suicide: Suicide (1977)
  17. Mercury Rev: Yerself Is Steam (1992)
  18. Vampire Rodents: Lullaby Land (1993)
  19. The Pop Group: Y (1979)
  20. Bob Dylan: Blonde on Blonde (1966)
  21. Neu!: Neu! (1972)
  22. John Fahey: Fare Forward Voyagers (1973)
  23. The Doors: The Doors (1967)
  24. Lisa Germano: Geek the Girl (1994)
  25. The Velvet Underground: White Light/White Heat (1968)
  26. The Residents: Not Available (1978)
  27. My Bloody Valentine: Loveless (1991)
  28. Leonard Cohen: Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967)
  29. Hüsker Dü: Zen Arcade (1984)
  30. Minutemen: Double Nickels on the Dime (1984)
  31. Slint: Spiderland (1991)
  32. Red House Painters: Down Colorful Hill (1992)
  33. Black Tape for a Blue Girl: Remnants of a Deeper Purity (1996)
  34. Foetus: Nail (1985)
  35. Frank Zappa: Uncle Meat (1969)
  36. Type O Negative: Slow, Deep and Hard (1991)
  37. Butthole Surfers: Psychic...Powerless...Another Man's Sac (1985)
  38. Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds: The Good Son (1990)
  39. Hash Jar Tempo: Well Oiled (1997)
Author Comments: 

This is my list of the greatest rock albums. These are, to me, the greatest expressions of human emotion ever made. Only masterpieces (9/10+) are allowed here, for the sake of my sanity and to ensure the accuracy of the list is at its fullest possible degree. My criteria for criticism are quite similar to Piero Scaruffi's, but my ratings are a bit harsher to ensure only the best of the best can elevate above the 8.5 range.

Another fantastic list ( :

If you haven't heard it yet, I strongly recommend Cecil Taylor's Unit Structures, which I find to be among the towering masterpieces of music, and the equal of Faust.

There are several other jazz albums to recommend as well, chief among them Carla Bley's Escalator Over the Hill (a colossal, overwhelming kaleidascope of Zappa-esque experimental jazz & operatic emotional outpouring), and Ivo Perelmann's Seeds, Visions & Counterpoint (a frenzied, torrential blitzkrieg of spastic angst, anxiety & evangelical fervor).

Thank you VERY much. I am currently digesting the last few 9/10 avant-garde and rock music albums from Scaruffi that I haven't, as you have worded it on other lists, "gotten" yet, but as soon as I am done with those stray works, I have resolved to take a much more serious attempt than ever at approaching jazz on a larger scale, and I will be sure to start with these recommendations. Cheers!

You're lucky to be starting such an extraordinary adventure. Jazz has every bit the masterpieces Rock does!

Give "Meet the Residents" a listen. It has surpassed Not Available as The Residents' masterpiece for me, though both are 9/10s IMO.

I have listened to it previously, and it is indeed fantastic. I will re-visit it a couple times in the next week or so and see if my opinion on it has improved since I last heard it in May.

After listening to that particular work three times in the past few days, I stand by my original conclusion that it is among the best of my 8/10 rating, but no better. It firmly lays the groundwork for a body of material among the best in rock music, but I feel the potential of The Residents is fully realized on Not Available - not only was their extra-musical philosophy carried out to its fullest degree allowed by logistics, but musically, the suites found therein do more to flesh out the ideas the band had than Meet the Residents does simply by nature of the fact that the band operates better with more space and is forced to further explore ideas instead of condensing them into the short pieces found on that debut album. Thank you for your recommendation, though. I truly enjoyed revisiting the band.

I think it is just a matter of differing taste. One more question: did you listen to the original mono version of MTR or the edited stereo version? The difference between the way they sound is so drastic that I'd only give the stereo version an 8/10, while I'll stick with my 9 on the mono.

Do you ever feel a bit conflicted about Desertshore? While most of the album I love, I keep wavering in my opinion of Abschied- the back and forth half-step intervals that repeat throughout it seem to me to be a bit of an easy, almost cheap way of sounding scary. Mabye I'm just crazy though.

The effect in question is one that I feel is used very carelessly elsewhere to the point of having become cliche and somewhat "cheap," but neither Nico nor her song in particular can be blamed for this unless you blame one or the other for influencing kitschy acts. This negative influence is not something I take into consideration, however, as I stand in awe of the dark priestess at her altar.

Just a heads-up in case you don't know this: did you know that the tracks which begin most (all?) present copies of disc 2 of Uncle Meat are not actually part of the album (the entire portion where they're talking and joking a lot)? It is not very well known but those are NOT part of the actual album; rather they are randomly tacked on "bonus tracks" when the album converted from LP to CD (not by Zappa himself). The proper sequence of the album is as follows (correct tracks in bold):

Disc one
1."Uncle Meat: Main Title Theme" – 1:56
2."The Voice of Cheese" – 0:26
3."Nine Types of Industrial Pollution" – 6:00
4."Zolar Czakl" – 0:54
5."Dog Breath, in the Year of the Plague" – 3:59
6."The Legend of the Golden Arches" – 3:28
7."Louie Louie (At the Royal Albert Hall in London)" – 2:19
8."The Dog Breath Variations" – 1:48
9."Sleeping in a Jar" – 0:50
10."Our Bizarre Relationship" – 1:05
11."The Uncle Meat Variations" – 4:46
12."Electric Aunt Jemima" – 1:46
13."Prelude to King Kong" – 3:38
14."God Bless America (Live at the Whisky A Go Go)" – 1:10
15."A Pound for a Brown on the Bus" – 1:29
16."Ian Underwood Whips It Out (Live on stage in Copenhagen)" – 5:05
17."Mr. Green Genes" – 3:14
18."We Can Shoot You" – 2:03
19."If We'd All Been Living in California..." – 1:14
20."The Air" – 2:57
21."Project X" – 4:48
22."Cruising for Burgers" – 2:18

Disc two
1."Uncle Meat Film Excerpt, Pt. 1" – 37:34
2."Tengo Na Minchia Tanta" – 3:46
3."Uncle Meat Film Excerpt, Pt. 2" – 3:50
4."King Kong I" – 0:49
5."King Kong II" - 1:21
6."King Kong III" – 1:44
7."King Kong IV" – 6:17
8."King Kong V" – 0:34
9."King Kong VI" – 7:24

If you haven't been listening to it this way, you'll find bypassing those 40+ minutes of "talking/joking about" greatly improves the album.

I actually did realize this upon my first listen. When I saw an album of such length, I was scared away and mentioned it in passing to a friend of mine who pointed out the error. Of the 8.5s, it is among the most likely to rise into the 9 category soon, but since I've only heard it correctly about four times, I didn't want to make a snap judgment.

Oh good, sounds like you lucked out because I don't think it's very well known. Even allmusic.com reviews the album with those tracks listed and without being separately noted or anything. Personally, I hate when some record company (or whoever) just tacks on some track(s), especially amidst the actual track listing. Cecil Taylor's Unit Structures on CD is another example: track 3, placed right in the middle of the album (!!!), is a bonus track.

I almost always avoid bonus tracks of any kind. I have found that RateYourMusic does a good job of keeping a consistent catalog where the default page for an album (before clicking on later releases) shows the album with NO bonus tracks. Even in Zappa's own discography, Absolutely Free is another flawed re-release, tacking on two tracks, "Big Leg Emma" and "Why Don'tcha Do Me Right?" which effectively ruin the structure of the album.