Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Album Rankings: 60-51

60. Led Zeppelin: Led Zeppelin III

Led Zeppelin—and again, I'm truthfully avoiding hyperbole this time—rocks harder than any band that ever rocked hard. "Immigrant Song" is one of their best loved songs, and certainly very worthy, but the album has several other songs worthy of notoriety. The non-hits on this album are weaker than several other Zeppelin albums. But what's weak material for Zeppelin is better than what many other bands will ever achieve.

59. NOFX: Pump Up The Valuum

This is a spot where my subjective attitude becomes very apparent, I think. I loved NOFX in high school, and this is definitely not their only album on this list, but it may be ranked a little too high. Here's the thing: this was a brand new album when I was most heavily into punk, and there's something invigorating about discovering an album when it's new, unlike my experience with the vast majority of this list. Still, the justification may be unnecessary, because there are lots of good songs on this disc. But there's also some total junk.

58. The Nobodys: Generation XXX

Okay, this is probably the most unjustifiable, subjective ranking on this list. This album is profane, disgusting, immature, ridiculous, and could only be loved by a person that is all those things. If that's the case, then I am all those things, because I love this album.

In ninth grade, my exposure to punk rock was pretty much limited to The Offspring and (shudder) Blink 182. (I didn't know those bands by the term punk rock, but in retrospect, I know their roots and can actually recognize the elements of the music.) Then I met this awesome and very attractive girl who was constantly talking about punk this and punk that, and I really had no idea. She gave me this album and the impact it had on me was undeniable. Practically overnight, all I listened to was punk, and I was doing lame things like sticking safety pins through all my clothes and dying my hair purple. Despite the unfortunate style choices, I will always enjoy the great memories of my punk days. And it all started thanks to this album.

57. G. Love & Special Sauce: The Best of G. Love & Special Sauce

This is all I've heard from Mr. Love, and I like it. Some guy I barely knew gave me a copy of this many years ago. I listened to it a lot. And I like the way it sounds. There's not much else to say.

56. Minor Threat: Complete Discography

Their entire output fits on a single disc, and it's an anger-filled explosion of awesome. I decided to not give it a deduction for being a greatest hits compilation, given the fact that it's every song ever. There's no picking and choosing here. However, every song is awesome. And short.

55. Johnny Cash: At San Quentin

Johnny Cash is awesome, this album has many of his most awesome songs, and it offers what good live albums should offer: entertaining banter. But a twist is added, in that the entertaining banter takes place between Cash and potentially violent inmates of California's grand institution, San Quentin Prison. I can't believe they brought June Carter along.

54. Nirvana: Unplugged in New York

Kurt Cobain was my beginning guitar teacher. In all seriousness, I've probably played every well known Nirvana song at least once. Cobain wasn't a gifted guitar player, but he wrote good songs that you wanted to learn to play. And since I have always preferred acoustic guitar, this album was a great one to emulate. MTV hardly ever does anything right, but their Unplugged series was a really good idea. I just wish some of my favorite groups would have participated over the years.

53. Sublime: Sublime

This one imitates radio pop a lot better than 40 Oz to Freedom. But it's still some pretty grooving 90s white-boy, rock-infused reggae, and it's always a good thing to make the masses more aware of reggae. These are the songs that every college kid loves, but I can't hold that against Brad Nowell. So I ignore the annoying dreadlocked white kids and admit that at least they have some taste.

52. Elliott Smith: Figure 8

I can't stress the impact Elliott Smith had on my musical development enough. I mentioned that The Nobody's Generation XXX pulled me into punk rock, and for more than a year I listened to nothing but punk rock (Nirvana got a pass, eventually, because I was using them to learn to play guitar).

So, I listen to nothing but punk rock. I'm really into AFI, and Davey Havok starts a new band called Son of Sam. I search for songs by this band on Napster (yes, this is before Metallica and Dr. Dre threw their hissy fits), and Elliott Smith's song, "Son of Sam," comes up. I knew my uncle was a fan, and a good friend had also mentioned him to me. So I downloaded it. It's no stretch to say that Elliott Smith single handedly pulled me out of my punk-only phase. I've preferred acoustic music ever since.

This is my least favorite of his albums, but that's only because the others are so good. I would never stoop to disparaging Figure 8.

51. The Vandals: Live Fast, Diarrhea

I don't have much to say about this one. A gross title, yes, but an energetic album that I like a lot.

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