So, let's rub our hands together and completely revise the past and make it better than it was the first time around!
25) Neil Young -- Trans: Neil Young's finest album features sensational vocoder vocals on a majority of the tracks and some much needed synth work. Having finally shed the limits of folk music and electric gee-tar, Young points to the future with style and elan. Lots of elan.
24) Led Zeppelin -- Coda: A fine, fine acid rock band from the 1970s, the Led Zeppelin broke up when their drummer died. With just a few more outtakes sitting around than the Doors, Zep put together this lovely collection that is, perhaps, best loved for "Bonzo's Montreux," a drum piece that illustrates just how nicely Mr. John Bonham played his drums.
22) Jim Carroll -- Dry Dreams: As a singer, Jim Carroll was a good lyricist. But what he lacked in vocal range, he made up for in technique and by employing a very good and efficient backing group. While Carroll is mostly known for "People Who Died," this album does not suffer for missing this particular track. In fact, it's less distracting to the album as a cohesive statement to not have any hits. Tell that to the marketing department!
20) Elvis Costello -- Imperial Bedroom: Having outgrown the punk and new wave thing, Costello went about using those Gershwin chords that shouted to the world that he was a serious musician. Smarter, he hired Beatles' engineer Geoff Emerick for a thicker sound. The album, like most of Costello's catalog, has been reissued 17 times and includes over 300 bonus cuts.
18) Meat Puppets -- Meat Puppets: Had Kurt Cobain never turned the spotlight on to these gents, they might only be appreciated by an elite social club who would then feel superior to other human beings for knowing who they were/ are. But now? Even my mom knows who they are and Lady Gaga wears their clothing line.
16) The Who -- It's Hard: The Who were once a popular rock 'n' roll combo from the U.K., best known for releasing albums at a much slower rate than their counterparts, though they did manage two two-record collections. Though their drummer, Keith Moon, died in 1978, the group continued on with Kenney Jones and Zak Starkey. Rolling Stone magazine gave the album a Senior Discount and awarded the Who five stars for their efforts.
14) Paul McCartney -- Tug of War: Hard to believe this album won a Grammy for Album of the Year, but likely the Academy wanted to praise a Beatle who was still living. The duet with Stevie Wonder, "Ebony and Ivory," ended racism and made the world a better place, while "The Pound Is Sinking" helped England's economy rebound in a serious way. If only McCartney would apply his skills and save the music industry. Maybe he could write "Sillier Love Songs"?
12) Sonic Youth -- Sonic Youth: Downtown NYC used to be a gritty place to live and only the strong survived. With no Starbucks and an excess of drug addicts, New York was the place you moved to annoy your parents and declare your freedom from lawn-cutting once and for all. Replicating the sound of being mugged and living in cold-water flats, Sonic Youth made music that lacked the comforts of home and the soothing choruses of most popular music. It's alright ma, I'm only slumming.
10) Misfits -- Walk Among Us: Likely the most infamous album ever recorded at Mix-O-Lydian Studios in Boonton, NJ, Walk Among Us received lucky props from the members of Metallica and suddenly old punks could make a mint selling rare 45s to young metalheads. You need this. Likely.
8) Mission of Burma -- Vs.: Watching a documentary on MOB's reformation, they sounded even better years later when the equipment had finally been built to best reproduce their sound. Or sound engineers had learned what it was supposed to sound like. That this music sparked protest from fans of the heavy who couldn't figure out where to file it proved they were doing something that would be notable thirty years after, when there was a tiny bit more money in being right.
6) The Fall -- Hex Enduction Hour: Sort of the anti-Toto, The Fall were led by vocalist, guitarist, tapist Mark E. Smith whose idea of crooning was to stretch out the final syllable of a line until it hung in the air with a scowl. Without Smith, the left side of the radio dial might have run out of things to play. But subscribing to supply-side economics -- as in supplying enough product to keep himself financially solvent -- Smith kept the market rolling in new Fall records, which have in turn bankrupted OCD-inflicted collectors the world over (Hey Joe!). Though this one was worth shelling out the big bucks.
4) Roxy Music -- Avalon: It's always left me miffed that fans in the U.K. can appreciate Bruce Springsteen but fans in the U.S. have trouble getting Bryan Ferry. What kind of exchange program are we running here? He's been shuttled over to "alternative" and left-of-the-dial stations where the elites all hang. You know, the kind of people who eat with silverware and have sex with their neighbors during a vibrant round of Charades. I don't think Ferry actually minded. It looked better for his resume to always be on the cutting edge than a classic rock fossil.
2) Kate Bush -- The Dreaming: College radio wasn't just for punks. It was for British people. The Dreaming was as good a name for what Bush was doing than anything else. She dared to dream beyond the economic landscape of America's heartland rockers and inspired women with pianos the world over.
- Lionel Richie
- Elvis Costello
- Neil Young