Tuesday, April 05, 2005

My Top Twenty Albums Of All Time (today at least)

Now this has shifted in recent months because of Snow Patrol and because I lent Abbey Road to a my friend R from Wargaming who hasn’t given it back yet so I’ve had less exposure to my previous favourite.

I don’t know whether he hurled a heavy object at the CD player when Maxwell’s Silver Hammer was playing, thus destroying my CD or whether I converted him to such an extent that he has stolen my CD, the first album I ever bought. The very first. If it is the latter at least the lad has taste. Actually, if it’s the former he has taste as well; Maxwell’s Silver Hammer sucks – although I heard an interview with Gene Simmons (from Kiss) in which he said this song defined him. Hmm.

This morning I got Ozzy Osbourne’s No More Tears, another of Rob’s recommendations. I know; Ozzy Osbourne. Ah well, I’ll try anything once… before I resell it on eBay. I’ll keep you posted.

To be honest, unlike my All Time Top Twenty Pick of The Personal Pops this list probably shifts about on an almost daily basis. I just wanted an excuse to rave about some of the music I love really and my brain isn't working yet this morning.

20. Blood Sugar Sex Magic – The Red Hot Chili Peppers
19. Garbage - Garbage
18. Chorus - Erasure
17. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band – The Beatles
16. This is My Truth, Tell me Yours – The Manic Street Preachers
15. OK Computer - Radiohead
14. Automatic For The People - REM
13. London Calling – The Clash
12. The Tumbleweed Connection – Elton John
11. Teaser and The Firecat – Cat Stevens

10. Appetite for Destruction – Guns’n’Roses

The lyrics are usually rubbish, occasionally offensive and the mere sound of Axle Rose’s voice compels me to OD on Strepsils. However, Guns’n’Roses are a bit like the Alien sequels or Spike Milligan poetry or Carl Hiassen novels or frozen pizza; you know there’s something fundamentally wrong with it but it can be quite delicious all the same. And it’s all so unpretentious; these guys sing about sex and drugs and rock’n’roll as opposed the Arthurian legends and such you get so many rockers wailing about. Appetite for Destruction is my hand-down favourite from the albums I have listened to, certainly the most fun.

BTW Carl Hiassen writes really dark comic novels, it’s like reading Ray Chandler except with a bit of Burgess-esque ultra-violence thrown in just when you’re taking the guy seriously. They’ve all got titles like Skin Tight, Skinny Dip, Strip Tease, but they’re far from trashy. Honest.

9. Graceland – Paul Simon

A work of genius. Paul Simon is a fantastic song writer and succeeds where others fail in pulling together a truly eclectic sound with the help of Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Includes classics such as Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes and You can call me Al. This album has a lot of sentimental significance as this is something my Dad has always listened to a lot on car journeys. My Dad hasn’t got great taste in music, certainly never talks about a band or artist or even a classical composer with passion and probably has a secret collection of Jamie Cullum albums under his bed, but he does like this and we used to sing along to it together quite a bit. Then he saw Ladysmith Black Mambazo in concert and has since insisted on dancing to it in that style...

8. By The Way – Red Hot Chili Peppers

The Chili Peppers are true poets and like Paul Simon, do a very good job of mix and match styles, although more across genres than georgraphy. I personally think that with By The Way, they arrived, but other Peppers fan they sold out or became middle-aged. There are still plenty of songs to jump around to in there, as well as the fantastic Zephyr Song which you don’t jump around to but you certainly can’t sit still and listen to it. Or at least I can’t.

7. Moseley Shoals – Ocean Colour Scene

Ocean Colour Scene didn’t do a great deal before or after their 1996 single success with The Day We Caught The Train but this is a fantastic album. All the songs are great and it flows on one song to another… I’m trying to think of the word for this. It isn’t a concept album, but do you know what I mean? A little known gem. [..] says they sound like The Beatles, but actually they sound far more like The Rolling Stones, except frankly the Stones weren't nearly so consistantly melodic.

6. Led Zeppelin IV

Everybody ought to possess this album because it is probably the best rock album ever - and I'm being as objective as possible, taking into account other tastes as well as I my own. If you are going to buy one rock album it ought to be this. Includes Black Dog, Stairway and When the Levee Breaks. These guys can do things with guitars that Shakespeare couldn’t do with words. Okay, so Ring-Wrathes crop up in the lyrics but we can forgive them that much, surely?

5. Electric Ladyland – The Jimi Hendrix Experience

There are some duff songs on this album, some weird kind of psychodelic nonsense, but the good songs (Voodoo Child, All Along the Watchtower, Long Hot Summer Night etc) make up for them with interest. Hendrix does things with guitars that Led Zeppelin couldn’t do with guitars. See about my synaesthesia for just how much I enjoy Hendrix. Of course there were other members of the band but on the sleeve they all look like accountants in Austin Powers type fancy-dress, so in my mind they played little to no creative role.

4. New Adventure In Hi Fi - REM

This really ought to have been REM’s biggest selling album but no-one’s ever heard of it. Also, to be fair it is not an album I would recommend to someone who doesn’t know much REM, because it is a bit contemplative and quirky. It includes some of Michael Stipe’s best stream of consciousness type lyrics, is the last album with Bill Berry on board and the last album before REM started sounded rather bored. Sorry, but much as I may kneel and sacrifice chickens at the altar of REM, they do sound like they’re rather be out fishing or playing golf in their last few albums. Your drummer is supposed to be the one that spontaneously combusts and is replaced every couple of months but it seems that REM couldn’t cope without him. Anyway, this is a brilliant album.

3. Abbey Road – The Beatles

It is the best album by probably the best band in the world ever. I’m not one of those who believes everything The Beatles did was fantastic and nobody comes close, but well, hey, they did some brilliant stuff and Abbey Road is a wowza album. Includes Come Together and Here Comes The Sun. The best part is the eight track medley beginning with You Never Give Me Your Money. That’s a musical trip and a half, it doesn’t matter if the lyrics go through meaningful, silly, daft, surreal back through daft, over to obscure for a bit before back to meaningful. So altogether perfect - apart from Maxwell’s Silver Hammer which makes Obe-li-de Obe-li-da sound like Bohemian Rhapsody.

2. Tea for the Tillerman – Cat Stevens

To illustrate the pointless transience of this list, it was only a week or so I was telling my nearly-but-not-quite brother-in-law that Teaser and The Firecat was my favourite Cat Stevens album on account of it having If I laugh and How can I tell you that I love you?. However, it also has Ruby Love, for which the CIA should have put a tail on the guy and stopped him getting on planes in case he was tempted to do an impromptu performance. No, Tea For The Tillerman is probably my favourite for having Hard Headed Woman, Wild World and Father and Son. And the other songs are very pleasant, gently philosophical without being saccharine. A really great album.

1. The Final Straw – Snow Patrol

I know I keep going on and on and on and on about this album but it is really good. It may be a phase for me but it has gone on two months now. This is a brilliant album. It’s brilliant. Will nobody listen to it apart from me? Please? Someone? Sometimes being in on a secret can be draining. Buy it now. For just 7.99 – I went to the trouble of finding the cheapest price on-line for you and everything.

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