Friday, January 28, 2005

Top ten albums of all time

It's the weekend, so time to kick back a little and enjoy my list of the top ten albums of all time.

10. Master of Puppets, by Metallica. This is the last album before the death of their original bassist, Cliff Burton. Metallica had already emerged as one of the major forces in heavy metal, but is here where they solidify their place as one of the all time greats. It is an intense and yet thoughtful album, consisting of the super-heavy "Battery" and "Damage Inc.", and the incredible instrumental "Orion," as well as one of their signature hits, "Master of Puppets." And yet it is not even their best album. That comes later.

9. Let It Bleed, by the Rolling Stones. Can't have a top ten without the Stones. At first I hadExile on Main Street in this spot, but this is a better all-around album. They hit almost every music type in the space of forty-five minutes. And, how can I leave off an album that has both "Gimme Shelter," "You Can't Always Get What You Want," and even the ever-rocking "Monkey Man?" I can't, that's how.

8. Divine Intervention, by Slayer. The pinnacle of thrash metal music. Though hard-core Slayer fans might prefer Reign in Blood, this album has a warm spot in my heart as it introduced me to all things metal, not to mention inspired me to write a book in college based on the song "213." This disc is not for the faint of heart.

7. Wish You Were Here, by Pink Floyd. Better even than Dark Side of the Moon. What makes this album so special is the emotion that it evokes. Nothing says college-age melodrama like sitting in your room at night listening to this disc. From the somber in "Shine on You Crazy Diamond, Parts 1-5," to the wierd ("Welcome to the Machine") to the downright depressing ("Wish You Were Here"), this album runs the emotional gambit. Musically it is Floyd' finest work.

6. Achtung Baby, by U2. Admittedly I change my own mind frequently between this and The Joshua Tree, but now I'm in an Achtung mood, so I go with it. Really you can't go wrong with either album, but this one is more complete. I also happen to think this one has aged rather well, it being as fresh sounding today as when it was released.

5. Led Zeppelin IV. Technically, that's not the name of the album, but I didn't feel like downloading the symbols. There are perfect albums, and there's this one. From the opening minute to the last you are placed in a world of musical bliss. Also, there is no greater album to get drunk to, in my own damned opinion. Simply put, "Stairway." Need I say more?

4. OK Computer, by the Radiohead. Ah, the idols of college geeks throughout the land. The first time I heard this album I immediately knew that it was an act of genius. "Paranoid Android" has been described as their "Bohemian Rhapsody," a sentiment with which I agree, but would only suggest is superior. What makes this band all the greater is the essential simplicity of Thom Yorke's lyrics (granted, it helps to have the liner notes to understand his mumbling). It's also amazing to note that Radiohead continues to hover right below superstardom, and I think I'm glad that they have not completely hit the mainstream.

3. . . .And Justice For All, by Metallica. From the opening guitar intro of "Blackened," until the final seconds of "Dyers Eve," this is an unrelenting assault on the senses. This is the last album before Bob Rock invaded and turned them into musical wussies, and it is their masterpiece. Hetfield had completely mastered the art of yelling in key at this point, and every member of the group was absolutely clicking. Even Newsted. The final minutes of "One" still stands as the most awesome moment in rock.

2. Appetite for Destruction, by Guns N' Roses. Has their ever been a greater debut in rock history? I think not. Not only is every song on this album absolutely kick ass, each song is as memorable now as it was when this album was released 18 years ago. 18 years ago? Man, I am getting old.

1. The Wall, by Pink Floyd. You probably either think this is musical bless or pretentious bile. Obviously, I am in the former camp. Admittedly, much of the appeal of this album is quite personal, having purchased it before Christmas of my senior year of high school, shortly after my father's death. Moreover, it seems the movie version has played an important role in various parts of my life. Whenever I am feeling a bit blue I put it on and, perversely perhaps, it makes me feel a little bit better. Plus, I gotta admit I am a sucker for the orchestral final number.

Honorable mentions: The Downward Spiral (Nine Inch Nails), Van Halen I, Who's Next (The Who), The Joshua Tree (U2), Born to Run (Bruce Springsteen), Exile on Main Street (The Rolling Stones), Paranoid (Black Sabbath), Rust In Peace (Megadeth), Dark Side of the Moon (Pink Floyd), The White Album (The Beatles), Nevermind (Nirvana), Sticky Fingers (The Rolling Stones)


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