Tuesday 14 April 2020

Top 40

Today is my 40th birthday. Happy birthday to me. As a present to you, I have chosen 40 of my favourite albums from my 14,610 day stretch. You have probably heard most of them, because if nothing else I am extremely vanilla. But if you haven't, here are some free recommendations.

All subsequent recommendations will be £12.99 each.

The Band - The Band (1969)

An analogue, wooden relic of a time past, several times ago. Still bursting with good things.

Dusty Springfield - Dusty In Memphis (1969)

Britain's greatest soul singer makes her greatest album, all marvel.

Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited (1965)

I love this record unreservedly. The only reservation being I don't particularly like the final track, Desolation Row.

The Beatles - Rubber Soul (1965)

One of the most often-asked questions in the history of popular music answered definitively: this is the best Beatles album.

The Beach Boys - Wild Honey (1967)

After Brian Wilson went mad trying to make the aborted Smile album, the sainted Beach Boys went back to basics and recorded this. It is their soul album and I love it like a son.

The Velvet Underground and Nico - The Velvet Underground and Nico (1967)

Simultaneously the prettiest and ugliest record ever made. A clattering artistic statement of vast magnitude and influence.

Van Morrison - Astral Weeks (1967)

One of the most beautiful records ever made. The best part of all was that it was created out of absolute necessity, as Sir Van was completely skint.

The Clash - The Clash (1977)

A triumphant existential yelp. One of the most vicerally exciting records ever made.

Bob Dylan and The Band - The Basement Tapes (1975)

Originally a bootleg collection of unreleased recordings by a recouperating Dylan and his backing group in 1966, now one of the most notable repositories of modern folk music. Essential.

Radiohead - OK Computer (1997)

If it isn't too trite, our generation's Sergeant Pepper. Only with a shitter cover.

The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds (1966)

The great artistic statement of one of the 20th Century's greatest composers.

The Modern Lovers - The Modern Lovers (1976)

All the best parts of American garage rock, new wave and pre-punk, condensed into one perfect biscuit for our enjoyment.

Grace Jones - Warm Leatherette (1980)

A perfectly chosen, immaculately produced and brilliantly performed selection of songs, by one of the world's most outstanding artistic performers.

George Harrison - All Things Must Pass (1970)

All the bits George had been sitting on in one, hugely satisfactory, post-prandial artistic fart.

David Bowie - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars (1972)

One of the great auteurs of the pop music era. Hunky Dory was more influential but this one has all the biggest bangers.

Dusty Springfield - Ev'rything's Coming Up Dusty (1965)

The Immaculate Collection.

Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band - Safe As Milk (1966)

The debut album of one of popular music's most unique and visionary geniuses. The entire history of the blues played at double speed by a maniac.

Bob Dylan - Time Out Of Mind (1997)

The great late masterpiece of the most significant artist of the last century. World weary, swirling and poetic.

The Beatles - Abbey Road (1969)

The considered final statement of the most important rock and roll band who can ever be.

Dexys Midnight Runners - Too-Rye-Ay (1982)

Each of the canonical Dexys Midnight Runners records are completely wonderful, but this chaotic blue-balled screech for acceptance is the most compelling.

The Rolling Stones - Exile On Main Street (1972)

Millionaire tax exile rock stars dodging HMRC by taking piles of cocaine in a French villa, clattering out raggedy blues. Completely wonderful.

Miles Davis - Kind of Blue (1959)

There are so many special Miles Davis records, but this one stands above them all. A masterpiece by any standard or measure.

The Specials - The Specials (1979)

British society reaping the innumerable benefits of West Indian immigration.

The Velvet Underground - Loaded (1970)

The Velvet Underground make a pop album for our listening pleasure.

Air - Moon Safari (1998)

A vision of the future as seen from the past.

The Beach Boys - Sunflower (1970)

A complete delight.

Nick Drake - Pink Moon (1972)

A Rizla-thin wisp of beautiful melancholy.

Bob Dylan - The Bootleg Series vol. 4: Live 1966 (1998)

The most famous concert in popular music history, immaculately recorded. An historical document.

Serge Gainsbourg - Histoire De Melody Nelson (1971)

The Frenchest, funkiest and filthiest record on record.

The Beta Band - The Three EP's (1999)

A shaken up electro-house-folk brilliancy. Quite unlike anything else before it.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Electric Ladyland (1968)

A thorough exploration of the oeuvre of pop music's greatest virtuoso.

Blur - Parklife (1994)

A brilliantly weighted and observed snapshot of fin de siecle British life? Well yes, actually.

David Bowie - Station To Station (1976)

A record Bowie could recall nothing of making thanks to prodigious cocaine intake. A chugging monument to white kids playing soul music everywhere.

Eels - Electro-Shock Blues (1998)

Grief counselling for the alt-rock era.

Manic Street Preachers - Everything Must Go (1996)

I was never one of those Manic Street Preachers people (you know the ones), but there is no denying that something very special happened here.

Supergrass - In It For The Money (1997)

Britpop's final hurrah, played out by its nicest young men.

Ian Dury and The Blockheads - New Boots and Panties (1977)

The most complete and accurate musical portrait of life in the south-east of England.

Joy Division - Closer (1980)

A valedictory triumph and tragedy.

Burning Spear - Marcus Garvey (1975)

An education.

Isaac Hayes - Hot Buttered Soul (1969)

Don't fight it, just accept it: the greatest soul record ever made.

1 comment:

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