80. The White Stripes: White Blood Cells
The White Stripes are an interesting group. Only two members—who play real rock and roll as opposed to acoustic guitars—with questionable musical talent? I’ve been criticized for my love of this group before, and I’m sure I’ll be criticized again. To Meg White, I say “meh,” but I think Jack White is an incredible songwriter. The songs are simple, unique, and relatively diverse. Also, I have a man-crush on Johnny Depp, and I’m 99% positive that Jack White is Johnny Depp in disguise.
79. Dashboard Confessional: The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most
Alright, this is embarrassing. I’m seriously, legitimately embarrassed, but I’ve got to be honest with myself, right? These songs are catchy. The lyrics are whiny and depressing and often make me cringe (“As for me I wish that I was anywhere, with anyone, making out…”). I won’t even try to defend the lyrics. They’re bad. But I love acoustic rock, and I love catchy tunes, and I think Chris Whatever-His-Last-Name-Is has a good voice. I just wish that he would write songs about sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll. Instead we get songs about heartbreak, loneliness, and wanting to make out.
78. The Who: Tommy
Arguably Pete Townshend’s master work, and a really cool concept for a rock album. This was a little difficult to rank, because some songs were written more for the plot than to be awesomely catchy songs. Most of the songs manage to be catchy, anyway. One time, I had a Rock and Roll History teacher who claimed The Who were a power trio. I understand that they have one guitar, bass, and drums, but I will never accept a band who has a fourth member as a power trio, even if he plays no instruments. Cream was a power trio. The Who was just a rocking band.
77. AFI: The Art of Drowning
In high school, when I was really into punk rock, my friend gave this to me for my birthday. I had never heard of AFI, but I took to them like [insert cliché simile here]. I really liked them. Davey Havok’s hair, of course, was awful, but they hadn’t reached the annoying dark-pop-punk that they are now. This album was leaning that direction, but it was still legitimate. I don’t really listen to them anymore, but tracking this CD down brought back some memories.
76. The Shins: Oh, Inverted World
The first time I heard The Shins, they really reminded me of The Beach Boys. I’m not sure why this was the case, to be honest. I listen to this album now and can’t really hear any Beach-Boy-like elements, other than, you know, the use of the same basic instruments. “New Slang” is the highlight here.
75. Save Ferris: It Means Everything
In middle school, this was my absolute favorite album. “Spam” is horrible, but every other song has something to like. However, no song even comes close to “Eileen,” which is pretty much my favorite cover ever. To me, it is a Save Ferris song. Forget about that 80s band whose name I do not know.
74. Jack Johnson: Brushfire Fairytales
Jack Johnson writes really catchy songs and he plays the acoustic guitar. What else is there to be said? There’s nothing groundbreaking here, but I like it.
73. The Doors: The Doors
Remember how I said Gwen Stefani’s voice gives me syphilis? Well, Jim Morrison’s voice gives me herpes, gonorrhea, and syphilis. The funny thing is that I used to adore him. I read two biographies about him, attempted to replicate his hair, and even attempted to digest some of his “poetry” (if you know me well, you’ll know this is a big deal. I don’t read poetry. I’m a prose guy through and through). Nowadays, I can’t listen to him without squirming uncomfortably from exposure to self-righteousness. In the movie Almost Famous, the Lester Bangs character says Morrison is a drunken buffoon posing as a poet. This pretty much says it all. Still, this first album is the most bearable, and has mostly great songs. The band could have benefited from a bass player and a less annoying singer, though.
72. Michael Jackson: Thriller
Did you know that eight of the nine songs from Thriller went to number one on the pop singles chart? And do you know why? Because Michael Jackson is awesome. The end.
71. Eminem: Marshall Mathers LP
Eminem makes me feel icky, but there’s no denying that he’s got talent. I was completely opposed to rap until Eminem hit the scene. Based on this incredibly relevant and completely acceptable sample size, I’m declaring the following fact: Eminem = Elvis Presley. Don’t you see? Elvis brought traditionally black music to white people, and then Eminem came around and did the exact same thing. Scholars: back off! This is my theory. It’s off limits to all but my epically wonderful pop music textbook that I will probably never write.