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08/02/2004: "Personal Top 10 Albums of All Time!"

I graduated High School in 1982. I was very much into the rock music of my youth, but it wasn’t until I graduated that music started to become a part of who I am. Much of who I am is defined by the music of the eighties and I can’t deny that everything that came before has just become nostalgia for me. It seems that every new list is going to make me think of other sublists that could be made. This particular list makes me think that it would be fun to do a “Top Ten Albums of My Youth” list. That would include all of the rock years (Van Halen, Led Zeppelin, Ted Nugent) or even earlier (The Beatles, The Monkees, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Mammas and the Pappas). I loved this music growing up, but it wasn’t that important to me in the long haul. So with that I bring you MY personal best albums of all time. I'm sure it won't be long before one of my friends reminds me of something I've missed.

To clarify, a "dud" is a song I might leave off if I were to re-burn a CD of the record.

10) Combat Rock - The Clash (1982)
This might be what early Clash fans called a sellout, but I saw it as the record that showed that the Clash were deep in the musical influence department. Anyone can do a bunch of generic punk rock songs and call it an album (look at many of the so called punk bands of today), but the Clash mixed it up and did it well. Aside from the obvious hits like "Should I Stay or Should I Go" and "Rock The Casbah," this record is full of great songs. "Straight To Hell" and "Ghetto Defendant?" My god! No duds!

9) Kaleidoscope - Siouxsie and the Banshees (1980)
This was a weird little album that was made when the band had no official guitar player and the first with Budgie on drums. He would come to be one of my all time favorite drummers. The songs were less punk than the previous records which I also loved. This record had a hit called "Christine" on it, but my favorite was "Red Light" which is still one of my favorite vaguely photo related songs. It was a Sgt. Pepper type turn for the band and some Siouxsie fanatics might say as important, but I would never over-blow things like that here. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, then read the reviews of this one on Amazon. They say it better than I can.

8) Into the Labyrinth - Dead Can Dance (1993)
Many of the records on this list I first bought on vinyl and I owned a few Dead Can Dance records before this CD came out. I like all of their early recordings, but something was special about this record to me. Maybe part of it was that, for once, other friends understood this one and I could share it with them. I never ran into a friend that didn't like this record and it was nice to turn them on to it. Brendan Perry sounds like Jim Morrison to me sometimes, especially on "The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove." It's a wide mix of styles and the musicianship is incredible. Lisa Gerard has an amazing voice and it was nice to see her get a Oscar for her work on The Gladiator soundtrack years later.

7) Beaucoup Fish - Underworld (1999)
Remember that eighties song Doot Doot by Freur? Well, many people would be surprised to find out that Underworld are the same guys. That isn't of any consequence here, but I thought it was a fun fact. Anyway, I don't think electronic music makes it on many all time album lists unless you're a hard core raver. I'm not, but this album is great. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to know what the genre is capable of. No duds!

6) Wild Planet - The B-52s (1980)
A silly romp of a record, but had a big impact on me anyway. It's their masterpiece, if a masterpiece can have a song about a poodle that wears designer jeans on it. "Give Me Back My Man" was one of those songs that I was obsessed with for a while. When I think of The B-52's I think of the first two records, and hate that people look at me with "Love Shack" on their minds. No duds!

5) Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables - Dead Kennedys (1980)
Am I the only one that thinks these guys should reunite to record "California Über Alles" with Arnold's name replacing Jerry Brown's? This was a record that stands as the most influential punk record of my life. No punk record comes close, not even The Sex Pistols - Never Mind The Bullocks. "Holiday Inn Cambodia" is an anti war song like no other. No duds!

4) Nothing’s Shocking - Jane’s Addiction (1988)
Jane's Addiction is my Led Zeppelin. This record is my Zeppelin IV. "Summertime Rolls" is my "Stairway to Heaven." That might be stretching it a bit, but it sounds good. An epic record. This is the album that influenced a whole generation of bands that you may love today. It's a hard, hard rock record with a soft side, "Summertime Rolls" and the ever popular studio recording of "Jane Says." One of my all time concert memories was a beautiful performance of Summertime Rolls with Perry Farrell up front, lit only by a projection of a wind blown wheat field. At least that's how I remember it. Don't blow it for me if you were there and I was wrong. Amazon also has some great reviews of this record. It's hard to see this only at number four, but I had just as much trouble putting the next three records any lower. Greatest album cover of all time? We'll have to wait for that list. Certainly one of the most disturbing.

3) Nunsexmonkrock - Nina Hagen (1981)
Truly a recording that still to this day gives me chills and makes me cringe at the same time. Songs of the cold war, UFOs and transcendental meditation from a girl from East Berlin. "Born in Xixax" and "Iki Maska" are strangely catchy tunes that will give some people nightmares. Back in the eighties, a group of female friends crashed their VW Bug down into a canyon on a winding road and were convinced that it was because this album was on in the car at the time. If there's a dud, it would be "Taitschi-Tarot," for me at least.

2) Mezzanine - Massive Attack (1998)
This album would be on the list even if it only consisted of the first four songs. I used to call it the best album of 1998, but it's much better than that for me. I never seem to get tired of it and the songs are on almost all of my photo shoot playlists.

1) Weezer (blue album) - Weezer (1994)
I have a feeling that this will be on more of our little blog groups lists than any other. What a complete collection of great songs. I'm not exactly sure what it is about this thing that has me so hooked, but I can put it on any day, any time and look like an air guitar dork for the entirety. This record doesn't really sound like anything else I love, which is why my undying love for it puzzles me so much. It's songs are obviously catchy, but so are lots of other records. There must be some sort of magic in there.

Honorable Mentions (I could have easily done a top 25 list it seems)

Nevermind - Nirvana (1991)
I was there. I bought this as soon as I heard the single "Smells Like Teen Spirit," well before they were considered ground breaking and I still believe it's one of our generations most important records. I think it's off the top ten because of what has happened to music since. It seems to me that bands that were influenced by Nirvana, trivialized the genre instead of making it stronger like the punk bands of the early eighties did to the music of the Sex Pistols and the Ramones. Am I a total idiot? Anyway, the record is still important to me, but I don't have the same desire to listen to it beginning to end anymore.

Upstairs at Eric's - Yazoo (1982)
Yep, that's right I said Yazoo, NOT Yaz. If you listened to music in the early eighties, you know about this one. It's a classic. I wore out the vinyl. Anyway, all of the vinyl I have from this band says Yazoo on it because I refused to buy the domestic releases with the wrong band name on it.

Violent Femmes - Violent Femmes (1982)
Hard to see this on the honorable mention list. No duds, and I know all of the words to this and the two following records to this day. It just sucks that some of the songs were played to death when it turned into a frat house favorite ten years after the fact. F*cking college people.

Love - The Cult (1985)
This record brought the rock back when "New Wave" rules the alt charts. I also liked the rougher sound of the two previous incarnations of the band, The Southern Death Cult, and Death Cult. Just like they cleaned up their name, they also cleaned up the music. I spent a lot of time with this record. Dud? Maybe "Brother Wolf Sister Moon."

Under The Flag - Fad Gadget (1982)
What an amazing record by a band that not too many people ever knew about. They weren't exactly radio friendly and it had nothing to do with explicit lyrics. Frank Tovey's voice was one of the era's best. It was a perfect fit for the dark and intense electronic music of Fad Gadget.

Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven - Love and Rockets (1985)
The first time I heard this I didn't know what to call it. I knew that the boys from Bauhaus minus Peter Murphy were involved, and that it was a slightly different lineup than Tones On Tail, but it had nothing to do with Bauhaus or Tones On Tail, with a possible exception of "SIlent Hedges" which might have been a sign of things to come. This record is one of those that seem like one long piece of music instead of a collection of songs, "Suadade" would be on my all time favorite instrumentals list (if we were to do one of those).

Love Hysteria - Peter Murphy (1988)
"Socrates, Pythagoras, yin and bloody yang, hatha yoga, Om, Bennett, Gurdjeff, Jesus, Old Testament and New. Libraries full of keys." - Socrates The Python. Are you kidding me? Brilliant! Peter Murphy was a goth god during his years with Bauhaus, but the solo records that followed showed him as a slightly less dark god. This album can be enjoyed by a far broader audience than any Bauhaus record.

It'll End In Tears - This Mortal Coil (1984)
A music collective dreamed up by Ivo Watts-Russel, This Mortal Coil was one of those projects that influenced my record collection a lot. I ended up buying almost anything I found from the 4AD label because of this record. Guest musicians and singers from Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance, The Wolfgang Press and Colourbox were first heard here before I became fans of those bands.

Check out some other list at these fine blogs:
The Dune Shack
Alien Fur
i see monsters

Replies: 18 have commented

i really really like the descriptions! i kinda feel like im listening to the album. and because of your persistance... i promise to go out an buy the massive attack album this week.

sven said @ 08/02/2004 10:51 AM PST

I agree with so much -- Femmes, Siouxsie, Clash, massive attack! And yeah, Nevermind belongs on the list. I was there, too.

Also: It took a while for me to figure out that "no duds!" didn't mean you were typing this naked. And feeling particularly celebratory about it.

rock grrrl said @ 08/02/2004 11:53 AM PST

You're right. That's not what it means, but I may have typed some of it naked

Brooks said @ 08/02/2004 11:58 AM PST

i agree with rock grrrl. i was like... no duds? what about milkduds? im confused? then i figured it out. which kinda angers me cause there were two albums that i had that didnt really have duds so i just chose the song i liked the least.

sven said @ 08/02/2004 12:14 PM PST

People. We spoke of naming "duds" in our emails weeks ago. Is this a regional term that I thought was universal?

Brooks said @ 08/02/2004 01:08 PM PST

Ok, even though I don't have a site to link to, I like the list idea, and could have done 25 easily. So here are my top 10. And please note that this will probably be your oddest, or maybe you prefer "geekiest" list. There had to be someone like me doing this. And I'm even older than Chele.

10. Foxy Lady - RuPaul (1996). I love danceable songs, and this has a number of them. What other drag queen has a great album out, I ask?

9. Night at the Opera - Queen (1975). With a song like Bohemian Rhapsody, and all the other songs around it, how could you not like this album?

8. Abbey Road - The Beatles (1969). It's hard to single out a Beatles album, but this is one I would listen to over and over. Just great music.

7. Silk Degrees - Boz Scaggs (1976). An album listened to many times with friends. We kiddingly called him Boz Snaggs. His best work ever.

6. Ingenue - k.d. lang (1992). Miss Chatelaine is one of my favorite songs to dance to (it definitely reminds me of one friend in particular), and Consant Craving is so great too. Love her!

5. Believe - Cher (1998). Sorry, I just love this album. I could dance to Believe all night long. All good songs here.

4. Rhythm Nation - Janet Jackson (1989). Sorry, again, but I really like her earlier work. This was the last vinyl record I bought before getting cd's. My favorite song that for some reason was never released is "Living In a World (they didn't make)". Listen to it sometime. For the number of times I hear it, I still get goose bumps at the very end of the song. Trust me.

3. Thriller - Michael Jackson (1982). Biggest sorry here. Regardless of how wierd he is and the things he has or has not done to children, this album is total genious. Ok, one dud mention: The Girl is Mine with Paul McCartney. That song sucks.

2. Rumours - Fleetwood Mac (1977). This is by far their best work, and sadly they never really recovered from this success. But I totally love this album.

1. The Lexicon of Love - ABC (1982). Yes, I told you this list would be odd. Have I let you down? This is pretty much a dance type album, with strong beats throught it. I could listen to this album every day, and never get tired of it. They are best noted for the song The Look of Love. Still don't know? That's ok. This is my favorite album. EVER.

Honorably Mentions:
It's My Party - Lesley Gore (1964). Yes, we had that album as a kids at my house. Great 60's music.

Head - The Monkees (1968). So they aren't supposed to be musicians? The movie is most bizarre, but I love this music. Their best by far.

Tapestry - Carole King (1971). Where'd ya think Chele got this title from? Your's truly. Great music.

Ray of Light - Madonna (1998). Sorry one more time. But I like this music because it deviated so much from her previous music.

I could go on, but that's if for me. You won't see an odder list, will you? Hell, most off the other lists have artists I've never hear of before. I'm too old, I guess. Dame!

Dame! said @ 08/02/2004 03:06 PM PST

Dame! needs a blog. :-)

Brooks said @ 08/02/2004 03:20 PM PST

Man! i forgot Violent Femmes on mine! (i could have easily gone to 25 i think...)

chele said @ 08/02/2004 03:22 PM PST

When Brooks told me about the top 10 albums I automatically thought of "Ray of Light" as being in my top 5. I still listen to that album over and over. I'm with you Dame! k.d. Lang has one of the best voices in the business!

marisa said @ 08/02/2004 08:20 PM PST

Yes, Brooks, Chele has been trying to get me to blog, and I keep thinking I'd be pretty boring, so I haven't done it yet. But I'll get her to teach me once I do decide to blog. I think the title will have to be "There is Nothing Like a Dame!", or just "Nothing Like a Dame!"

And thanks for agreeing with me, Marisa. It's nice to see someone else with some real class.

Dame! said @ 08/02/2004 09:30 PM PST

yeah, yeah. i'll get Dame! onto Blogger or something this weekend... he really is fascinating, no matter what he tells ya.

chele said @ 08/03/2004 03:50 AM PST

Add some Cure, REM, and Black Flag, and that could be my list. *grin*

mac said @ 08/03/2004 09:58 AM PST

I love, love, love your list, Brooks!
Yours too, Dame! wink Except Cher, but it's funny, so I forgive. smile

Megan said @ 08/03/2004 08:00 PM PST

when i think of cher and "believe," i think of that buffy episode where her roommate in college plays that song over and over and declares it "superfun!"

sven said @ 08/04/2004 08:25 AM PST

5) Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables - Dead Kennedys (1980)
Am I the only one that thinks these guys should reunite to record "California Über Alles" with Arnold's name replacing Jerry Brown's?

No Brooks, you certainly aren't the only one. This would be in about the same position on my top 10 list too.

3) Nunsexmonkrock - Nina Hagen (1981)

Nina! Hands down the best female performer in the weird psycho-punk scene of the time. I still have a crush on her 20 odd years later.

Violent Femmes - Violent Femmes (1982)

F*cking college people indeed.

Upstairs at Eric's - Yazoo (1982)

Geez, I totally forgot about this little jewel. Must find it again. Good choice for honourable mention.

Other forgotten gems of the period would be:

Klaus Nomi's-Simple Man

Circle Jerks-Wild in the Streets


Angry Samoans-Back From Samoa (1982)

I could go on, but I won't. Thanks for the trip down memory lane Brooks.

Michael B said @ 08/04/2004 08:03 PM PST

3) Nunsexmonkrock - Nina Hagen (1981)

I remember being at girl scout camp in the early 80s, and one of the counselors played this freaky weird recording of this girl speaking over this creepy-ass music. Gave me nightmares. I wonder if this was it? wink

Erin said @ 08/09/2004 11:23 AM PST

Anyone can do a bunch of generic punk rock songs and call it an album

Yes, but there were no "generic punk songs" before the Clash. That's the point.

Dr Zen said @ 08/11/2004 07:11 PM PST

I had "Combat Rock" on cassette years ago, and still haven't gotten around to buying a CD copy. That album just shows that the Clash were one of the few bands who transcended their original label. (Madness is another.)

The only Nina Hagen song I remember is her version of "White Punks on Dope."

I've never taken the time to assemble a top ten, but I can assure you that the Beatles' white album would be on my list. Four talented musicians, three talented songwriters (Ringo didn't come into his own as a songwriter until after he went solo), excellent juxtapositions of varying types of songs...this is an album that won't bore you.

Ontario Emperor said @ 08/11/2004 08:03 PM PST

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