1. Fatboy Slim – Soul Surfing (You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby, 1998) fatboyslim-youvecomealongwaybaby

One of the less known tracks from the Hotel California of the nineties, freely dropping four singles in the top of the charts and personally bringing the big beat genre to the attention of the great audience thanks to all the hooks and well-chosen samples. Fair enough, but I’ll pick my druggy Hotel.

2. Ray Price – There’s No Fool Like A Young Fool (Night Life, 1963) rayprice-night-life

I couldn’t have imagined a greater contrast to start this shuffle with, as we move over to mister Ray Price, born and died in Texas at the blessed age of 87. Price moved to Nashville during the early fifties, where he became the great ambassador of honky tonk. Just when Bakersfield was about to launch country music to prominence during the early sixties, Price released his best album about the real Night Life: not the preceding joyful expectations, not the ecstatic moments of drunkenness, but the disappointing conclusions right before closing time.

3. Pink Floyd – Pigs on the Wing 1 (Animals, 1977) pinkfloyd-animals

Lighthearted, acoustic bookend about Waters’ girlfriend at that time, on Pink Floyd’s tenth album, that was itself bookended by Wish You Were Here and The Wall. On WYWH, Waters was primary aiming at the music industry of which Floyd had inevitably become part of. On Animals, he broadens his critical sight to late seventies Britain as a whole, drawing capitalist parallels with Orwell’s Animal Farm and presenting a decent successor to Selling England… from prog pals Genesis. Its promotion tour In the Flesh, with massive arena gigs culminating in Waters spitting at a fan, directly led to Water’s next project: The Wall.

4. The Beatles – When I’m Sixty Four (Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, 1967) beatles-sgt-pepperslonelyheartsclubband

Small step to another guy who loves the bass, himself and the idea of a good concept album. And of course, McCartney (who wrote the song when he was 16, to record it only eight years later when his father turned 64) wouldn’t be McCartney if he didn’t add a clarinet trio to this composition.

5. The Mountain Goats – Song for Dennis Brown (The Sunset Tree, 2005) themountaingoats-thesunsettree

Indi folk band from California, that originally consisted mainly of singer John Darnielle. He led a lo-fi life with an overwhelming need to write songs throughout the nineties, before recording well-thought through albums in the new century. After discussing his meth years on the third one, this album treats his not so enviable childhood. This album breathes revenge.

6. Echo & The Bunnymen – Rescue (Crocodiles, 1980) echothebunnymen-crocodiles

Jim Morrison meets The Smiths, literally, on this lead single from The Bunnymen’s (Liverpool) debut album. Nothing to laugh about here, that way setting the tone for a series of four strong albums. And those covers, those beautiful covers…

7. Blind Faith – Presence of the Lord (Blind Faith, 1969) blindfaith-blindfaith

Probably the strongest track on this muscular album, with Clapton on guitar and vocals from Steve Winwood. Talking about album covers, this must be one of the weirdest in rock history. The portrayed 11-years old girl asked for a horse as compensation for the use of her image, but had to settle with 40 pounds…

8. The Move – The Last Thing on My Mind (Shazam, 1970) themove-shazam

Clapton and Winwood fantastically fade into one of my absolute favorite cover songs of all time. It was originally written by Tom Paxton and covered numerous times afterwards. But this version absolutely tops them all: top class vocals complemented by delicious guitar solos towards the end.

9. Sonic Youth – Rain King (Daydream Nation, 1988) sonicyouth-daydreamnation

A jump in time, but the guitars are still there on this electric powertrip. They took their time, but with this album, Sonic Youth brought the guitar back home. Not in any specific nation, but at the forefront of the music scene.

10. Broken Social Scene – Shampoo Suicide (You Forgot It in People, 2002) brokensocialscene-youforgotitinpeople

A pleasant surprise after my recent addiction to Apostle of Hustle’s Folkloric Feel, although this track rather sounds like Tortoise or something like that. Didn’t like BSS’s debut album, but this one is a young and modest classic.

1. Tindersticks – Cherry Blossoms (Tindersticks II, 1995) tindersticks-tindersticks2

Strings-piano duet from Tindersticks’ (Nottingham) second self-titled album. Lost the band out of sight for a few years but listening this record again a few times proved that I have to regret that, especially the strings on several tracks (recorded at Abbey Road) are intriguing. Imagine that the lyrics were sung in German and it would be the perfect soundtrack for a Stasi movie.

2. Guided By Voices – Exit Flagger (Propeller, 1992) guidedbyvoices-propeller

Dayton’s finest featuring sound wizard Robert Pollard as its only captain, whose characterizing voice kicks in after a classic guitar intro. Propeller was GBV’s fifth album, and the first one that gained them some nationwide attention. Ironically, only 500 copies of it were originally released, all with different, handmade artwork. Another artisanal credit: the intro of the opening track was reenacted by the band itself during the recording sessions.

3. The Troggs – From Home (From Nowhere, 1966) thetroggs-fromnowhere

The Troggs? ‘Wild Thing’, right? Yes, their cover of Chip Taylor’ song will always remain the first thing that crosses into people’s minds when asked after this band (if anything at all comes up, that is). Is there more to say? Yes, The Troggs were a classic mid-sixties British (Andover) four piece band that had eleven other songs on this debut album of which at least eight are to be classified somewhere in between ‘worth listening’ and ‘great song’. However, although much cited as an influence for later garage bands, they have more in common with early Beach Boys and Lennon-McCartney compositions.

4. Pink Floyd – On the Turning Away (A Momentary Lapse of Reason, 1987) pinkfloyd-amomentarylapseofreason

Roger Waters left Floyd in 1985 after using it as a vehicle for his personal trilogy Animals, The Wall and The Final Cut. Gilmour and Mason asked Richard Wright to rejoin the band and together they proved (with this album) what Waters probably believed to be impossible: that Pink Floyd without Waters would still be a more successful act than Waters on his own. One of the better songs on the album, including typical Gilmour solos and biting backing vocals.

5. Vampire Weekend – Walcott (Vampire Weekend, 2008) vampireweekend-vw

Probably the best song on this terrific debut album. Affirming what was stated last time.

 

6. The Byrds – Tribal Gathering (The Notorious Byrd Brothers, 1968) thebyrds-notoriousbyrdbrothers

Great Crosby song, that could as well have been appeared on his later projects Crosby, Stills & Nash or Déjà Vu. Not surprisingly, these projects were started right after this album, as he was already fired at the release of it, giving the horse the opportunity to feature the cover of one of rock’s greatest albums. Melody and experimentation dance with each other, while Gary Usher’s production completely wiped the underlying tensions (drummer Michael Clarke also left the band and former member Gene Clark made a temporary comeback of three weeks).

7. Tame Impala – The Bold Arrow of Time (Innerspeaker, 2010) tameimpala-innerspeaker

From the debut of this Australian (Perth) band, if you want to call it a band because it’s a one man project. Kevin Parker recorded the vocals and most of the instrumentation on this album, that sounds like 13th Floor Elevators walking into a 2010 studio.

8. Lambchop – Popeye (OH (Ohio), 2008) lambchop-ohio

American equivalent of today’s opener, with a song from their tenth album. Eventually sounds like a hit sensitive song featuring a catchy ‘lalala’ chorus, but halfway it suddenly transforms into an Afghan Whigs track, somehow cleverly combined with a southern touch. Interesting.

9. Creedence Clearwater Revival – It Came Out of the Sky (Wily and the Poor Boys, 1969) WillyandthePoorBoys1969

Although John Fogerty could also offer you a serious jam when he wanted to (only think of ‘Susie Q’), it was especially after the fog above the psychedelic San Francisco was cleared that CCR claimed most of its fame. A roots sound started to dominate the American rock scene, led by this band and The Band.

10. The Bees – No Trophy (Sunshine Hit Me, 2002) thebees-sunshinehitme

Must have been over five years since I heard this. British band from the Isle of Wight, led by Paul Butler and Aaron Fletcher. Sounds Caribean, but is also perfectly served on a European summer morning underneath a tree.

Happy New House Year:

GVZ:

5. (23) Bob Dylan – Blonde on Blonde (1966)
“Here we are: the melancholic romanticist, some morally omniscient cynics and the one that just tells me to get stoned. Unfortunately I don’t have a basement, my friends.”

4. (5) Radiohead – In Rainbows (2007)
“The completion of that download, the uncompromising support tour: for the first time in my life I consciously witnessed rock history being written.”

3. (8) Love – Forever Changes (1967)
“Who gives a shit about forever? The Now Album.”

2. (2) The Beatles – Revolver (1966)
“If they would have replaced ‘Yellow Submarine’ by ‘Paperback Writer/Rain’, this list would have been a dictatorship.”

1. (1) The Velvet Underground and Nico – The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)
“What has become of democracy anyway?”

RKH:

5. (20) DJ Shadow – Endtroducing… (1996)
“Technological deconstruction leading into organical reconstruction. The first true musical collage that actually sounds great.”

4. (4) The Beatles – Revolver (1966)
“The Big Bang. The start of an ever expanding revolution that’s still being felt today. But tomorrow? It’ll never know.”

3. (2) Van Morrison – Astral Weeks (1968)
“Ying. Mysticism, conjured by a 23 year old seer. The musical definition of The Divine Touch.”

2. (1) Radiohead – Kid A (2000)
“We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity. We shouldn’t flee from this revelation, but embrace it with every fiber of our being. Let this album be your guide.”

1. (9) Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On (1971)
“Sitdown and listen, really listen. Take it all in. Poignant lyrics, passionate singing and subtle yet overwhelming melodies. A sum greater than it’s parts, which 43 years later still makes me wonder why the most relevant questions are often times the least asked ones.”

GF:

5. The Who – Who’s Next (1971)
“Een oerkracht van protest en  schreeuwen in de verre wildernis.”

4. The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers (1971)
“Verslavend, strak en geil, van de platenhoes tot de nummers.”

3. Radiohead – In Rainbows (2007)
“Zang, teksten en instrumenten verweven tot een magisch geheel, zoals het samenkomen van zon en regen.”

2. Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (1969)
“Zware gitaren, fluisterende stemmen, pakkende melodieën en teksten over gevoelens die ieder kent maar nog nooit zo mooi gehoord heeft.”

1. Bob Dylan – Blood on the Tracks (1975)
“And every one of them songs rang true and glowed like buning coal.”

Let it snow, here we go: #10-6.

GVZ:

10. (4) Genesis – Selling England by the Pound (1973)
“Enchanting epitaph of British culture, that perished as a result of mulinational-led consumerism. If punk only had a little fantasy, I would maybe have liked it.”

9. (17) Paul McCartney & Wings – Band on the Run (1973)
“People making pictures with an iPad, people telling me there is no alternative, people with melons on their head: no other album better fuels my need to leave it all behind and settle on a desert island.”

8. (7) Genesis – The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1974)
“My desert island.”

7. (10) The Beatles – Abbey Road (1969)
“Three of the best all-time solo debuts for the price of one triumphal break-up. And ‘Octopus’s Garden’ always turns a smile on my face.”

6. (3) Jefferson Airplane – Surrealistic Pillow (1967)
“Abbey Road just knows what I need, but Pillow knows what I want.”

RKH:

10. (10) The Band – The Band (1969)
“The album solely responsible for my undeniable urge to one day (someday, I swear I will) make an extended roadtrip through the South of the USA.”

9. (5) Paul Simon – Graceland (1986)
“Instantaneously likeable, yet keeps on giving. The only answer you’ll ever need to your first world problems? ‘Boom boom!’ “

8. (11) Radiohead – In Rainbows (2007)
“The sound of The Greatest Band Alive embracing their own past, present and future. “

7. (18) The Beatles – Abbey Road (1969)
That B-side contains the greatest 22 minutes and 13 seconds in rock history. Simple fact. The A-side’s not too shabby either.”

6. (3) Genesis – Selling England by the Pound (1973)
“Scientific evidence that imagination is still humankind’s most worthwhile characteristic. Take my hand Peter and lead me to your beautiful and slightly frightening world.”

GF:

10. The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds (1966)
“Een ochtendalbum en dan bedoel ik elke ochtend al vijf jaar lang.”

9. Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge over Troubled Water (1970)
“Van samenzang gesproken, mijn stem is geen meerwaarde maar bij ‘Cecilia’ kan ik me niet inhouden.”

8. Songs: Ohia – The Magnolia Electric Co. (2003)
“Een album voor een zondagmiddag, voor een herfstdag of een valavond.”

7. Arcade Fire – Funeral (2004)
“Als dit een top van nummers was, stond ‘Neighbourhood’ bovenaan, maar ik hoef het niet op replay te zetten, dit album kan ik gewoon genietend blijven draaien.”

6. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes (2008)
“Er zijn veel bebaarde zangers die met een gitaar wat samen zingen, stop ermee en luister naar Fleet Foxes.

Getting close to the Holy of Holies, the top ten of the best all-time albums, but first: #20-11!

GVZ:

20. (12) Jethro Tull – Aqualung (1971)
“Like the bearded lady said to me: ‘Anderson unified dirty old men and the church, of course it’s a concept album, and a pretty damn good one too. Look out, a chicken-fancier!’ ”

19. (32) Van Morrison – Astral Weeks (1968)
“One of my worst dreams from the past year must have been the one in which I had written this album.”

18. (9) Panda Bear – Person Pitch (2007)
“From Holland to Wilhelmsburg before ending up in Christiania. That trip was mellow, man.”

17. (19) Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti (1975)
“Four musical geniuses ejaculating on all rock’s subgenres.”

16. (14) Radiohead – Kid A (2000)
“Welcome to this new century, I hope you’re feeling un-comfort-able.”

15. (21) Santana – Abraxas (1970)
“We called it mother, called it whore and slut, called it our beloved, called it Abraxas….” 

14. (*) The Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (1995)
“When one stuck-up musician is trying to outclass himself, great things can happen.”

13. (6) Paul Simon – Graceland (1986)
“The only album from this list you can recommend to everyone, regardless of their musical references. Except American cops. Boom Boom.”

12. (13) The Moody Blues – In Search of the Lost Chord (1968)
“Sgt. Leary’s Searching Souls Club Band.”

11. (18) Pink Floyd – A Saucerful of Secrets (1968)
“Gigantic explosion of the Floyd Shuttle on his way from psychedelic to progressive: one casualty, milestone album.”

RKH:

20. (*) The Flaming Lips – The Soft Bulletin (1999)
“Soundtrack of the late 90’s believe of the impending transcendence of humandkind to a higher plane of understanding and compassion. The Naive Album.”

19. (7) Fleetwood Mac – Bare Trees (1972)
“Works anywhere, anytime for whatever reason. The best example of ‘simply great music’.”

18. (31) Prince – Purple Rain (1984)
“How To Become a Rockstar for Dummy’s.”

17. (14) Crosby Stills Nash & Young – Déjà Vu (1970)
“Sometimes a penis measuring contest can result in great things.”

16. (8) Talking Heads – Remain in Light (1980)
“The musical Storming of the Bastille. No sire, it’s not a revolt; it’s a revolution.”

15. (16) Van Morrison – Moondance (1970)
“Yang.”

14. (41) Lou Reed – Berlin (1973)
“No Lou Reed the experimental rock machine, but the boomy chansonnier. My favourite blend of Reed.”

13. (17) Paul McCartney & Wings – Band on the Run (1973)
“The sound of an ego no longer obstructed by three other other ego’s. The best solo-Beatles album. There, I said it. Yeh?”

12. (12) Guided By Voices – Alien Lanes (1995)
“More hooks than a tackle box.”

11. (38) Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
“The cosmic orgasm of the most important musical decade in history.”

GF:

20. Neil Young – Harvest (1972)
“Door rugklachten gekluisterd aan het bed, maakt hij in een innige omhelzing met zijn akoestische gitaar deze prachtige plaat.”

19. The Zombies – Odessey and Oracle (1968)
“Een ode aan de zon.”

18. The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground (1969)
“Zonder John Cale, aanvankelijk zonder succes, maar wat een nummers!”

17. Love – Forever Changes (1967)
“Liefde en altijd gaan nooit samen, buiten bij Love en Forever Changes.”

16. Lee Hazlewood – Cowboy In Sweden (1970)
“Ruig en dan weer zweverig, maar altijd diep rakend.”

15. Paul McCartney & Wings – Band on the Run (1973)
“Paul McCartney is nog altijd op zijn best op plaat.”

14. Tom Waits – Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards (2006)
“Vanaf de eerste woorden van de bard Tom Waits waan je je in een rokerig café waar een oude man aan de toog zijn levensverhaal vertelt vol met prachtig vertelde tegenslagen.”

13. Townes Van Zandt – The Late Great Townes Van Zandt (1972)
“Het lijkt een verzamelalbum, maar het is een gewoon album met enkel en alleen de beste countrynummers.”

12. Neil Young – After the Gold Rush (1970)
“Soms enkel een piano, dan weer zware elektrische gitaren, maar altijd die stem … die stem en die teksten.”

11. Eagles – Hotel California (1976)
“Lange tijd niet de moeite genomen om dit album te beluisteren tot mijn oor bleef hangen bij ‘Try and Love Again’ en vanaf toen deze plaat again, again and again.”

Continuing our lists of relics, with #30-21:

GVZ:

30. (24) Neil Young – Harvest (1972)
“I am not a preacher, but just real lucky.”

29. (16) Pink Floyd – Atom Heart Mother (1970)
“Switch your gears while I drop the needle: this bed is our kingdom.”

28. (25) The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
“Who doesn’t remember his first time in Pepperland?”

27. (*) XTC – Skylarking (1986)
“Summer afternoon underneath a lone tree, praising yourself the luckiest man on earth with that hot beer you brought along.”

26. (11) Brian Wilson – SMiLE (2004)
“The sun starts to tease my eyes while flowers are growing out of my ass: the album winter can’t beat.”

25. (31) The Byrds – The Notorious Byrd Brothers (1968)
“If angels had balls, they would have been called Byrds.”

24. (20) Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)
“This album is even better than our last one, will somebody finally save us please?”

23. (36) Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited (1965)
“Like a proud mother among her 49 sublime children.”

22. (*) The Kinks – Face to Face (1966)
“One of my best dreams from the past year must have been the one in which I had written this album.”

21. (15) The Band – The Band (1969)
“Yes we can (tell you where your country lies). “

RKH:

30. (28) Neil Young – After the Gold Rush (1970)
“The meaning of life, narrated by a 25 year old.”

29. (13) Electric Light Orchestra – Out of the Blue (1977)
“Could have been the best album ever, if only it wouldn’t have been a double album.”

28. (15) The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
“Better than Pet Sounds.”

28. (27) Beach Boys – Pet Sounds (1966)
“Better than Sgt. Pepper’s.”

26. (6) The Moody Blues – In Search of the Lost Chord (1968)
“Talent + drugs + mysticism = the definitive psychedelic experience.”

25. (23) Bob Dylan – Desire (1976)
“Cocaine fueled cowboys and indians fever dream.”

24. (*) David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)
“When the apocalypse finally comes, you can find me in my car blasting this fitting soundtrack.”

23. (*) Love – Forever Changes (1967)
“Confrontational. Uneasy listening. Nerve wrecking. Cracked mirror for a hippie generation.”

22. (*) Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin II (1969)
“Led Zep doesn’t care for intellectual ramblings about their music. The Sex Album.”

21. (46) The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967)
“Velvet Underground stroke its guitars and for the first time music knew the true meaning of ‘freedom’.”

GF:

30. David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)
“Ik kende hem al van ‘little fat man’ tijdens Extras, maar hier slaat hij toch een geheel andere weg in.”

29. Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti (1975)
“Bepaalde nummers op deze cd halen telkens een religieus gevoel in mij naar boven.”

28. Neutral Milk Hotel – In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (1998)
“Tot ik dit voor de eerste keer hoorde, wist ik niet dat je op deze manier muziek kon maken en uitbrengen.”

27. Pink Floyd – Meddle (1971)
“Angstaanjagend begin, zomers deuntje ertussenin, zingende Liverpool – supporters en een geniale afsluiter.”

26. Neil Young – Harvest Moon (1992)
“Mijn favoriete wandelingen, zijn nachtwandelingen: strompelend of onder een volle maan, dit is in beide gevallen mijn favoriete album daarbij.”

25. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues (2011)
“Yeah I’m tongue-tied and dizzy and I can’t keep it to myself”

24. Elliott Smith – Either/Or (1997)
“Een zachte stem, je zou hem niet horen als hij je roept, maar als hij zingt blijven zijn woorden heel lang hangen. “

23. Radiohead – Amnesiac (2001)
“De eerste keer onmiddellijk in de beste omstandigheden en op de meest geschikte plaats gehoord: in bed met zware koorts.”

22. Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – I See a Darkness (1999)
“Toen men hem zocht om in een film een eenzaat te spelen had hij zijn darkness, onbereikbaar was hij maandenlang alleen op een roadtrip.”

21. The Beatles – Rubber Soul (1965)
Norwegian Wood, is het boek of het nummer beter, dit is in ieder geval de beste plaat van The Beatles.”

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