Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Album Rankings: 50-41

50. The Velvet Underground: The Velvet Underground with Nico

I think Lou Reed was right to hate Nico's contributions and want to sing all the songs himself. If that had happened, this album might be higher in the rankings. Still, "Heroin" and "Waiting for the Man" are the indisputable forefathers of punk rock.

49. Led Zeppelin: House of the Holy

This album is overproduced, but there's no denying that the songs are all awesome. Robert Plant's voice sounds a little too polished, but it's not as bad as it got with later albums.

48. The Pixies: Surfer Rosa

When I was going to community college, I had this English teacher who was really a huge snob and a horrible lady. Admittedly, the semester wasn't my finest academic hour, and I certainly wasn't putting my full effort into my studies the way I did in later years. Still, I was doing B or C work, but this woman gave me a D or F on practically every assignment. I was very obsessed with music at this point in my life, and I tried to work both subtle and overt references to my favorite bands and songs in every assignment. I titled my final project "Where Is My Mind?" After it was graded, it was handed back to me and she had written, "Do I get extra points for knowing this is a Pixies song?" I was surprised, but after she gave me a D in the class, I was in no mood to give her any respect. I still think, deep in my heart, that I was treated unjustly.

47. The Offspring: Americana

Big fans of The Offspring don't like this album, but to me, it's the best work they've ever done. I admit, the MTV hits "Pretty Fly for a White Guy" and "Get a Job" were what made me aware of it, but it's everything else that makes it great (actually, I'm so sick of those two songs that I gave a large deduction to both of them for an "overplaying penalty"). To me, this album will always be closely related to Final Fantasy Tactics, as I listened to it repeatedly while I played my way through that epic game, which is in my top five favorites of all time.

46. Björk: Debut

The first time I heard Björk, I was sitting in a car with two friends. "Human Behavior" came on, and I inquired about it. My buddy told me it was Björk, and when I admitted ignorance, he said, "Björk's crazy." To this I say: Yes. Yes she is.

45. The Beatles: Beatles for Sale

My dad talks fondly of this album, as it was the one he had when he was just a young'un. It's not their best album, obviously, but I think "No Reply" and "I'm a Loser" don’t even get close to as much respect as they deserve.

44. Ben Harpers and the Innocent Criminals: Live From Mars

For me, a show that is split between a full band and a solo acoustic set is ideal. I'll say again what I've expressed before: Ben Harper is either really good or incredibly dull, but given that this is a live album, he sticks mostly to his good stuff. The cover of "Sexual Healing" is better than the Marvin Gaye original. About 70% of the rest of the songs on the album are also incredible. If I had to choose only one Ben Harper album, there is no doubt at all that this would be the one.

43. The Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense

What a great concept for a live show: start with one musician and add one for each subsequent song. I don't know why it's ranked so low, except for the fact that there was the requisite live album deduction. David Byrne is the very definition of a mad genius. Every song is brilliant. I can't stress the awesomeness of this album enough.

42. The White Stripes: Elephant

This is probably The White Stripes' best album, as every song on it is good. I've already said my piece about Meg and Jack White, so there's not much more to say.

41. NOFX: I Heard They Suck Live!

One of the greatest regrets I have about my punk days is that I never saw NOFX play live. This album just reinforces that sadness. Again, it's a good live album because the banter is there, and they play a great mix of old and new (at the time) songs.

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