Monday, January 29, 2007

Top Albums (170-166)

170. Being There- Wilco (would this album be much higher if it were a well edited single album and not an uneven double album? Most definitely. This is where Wilco take the leap forward in their journey- as American Radiohead to the epic reaches of their latest CDs. However, you can hear the traces of the future as Wilco channels epic alternative country and pure pop rock through its gathering weirdness to create something that should have worried its record company long before YHF. This is the best American Band of the 90s-2000s.)
169. Guitartown- Steve Earle (I was an Alternative Rock fan raised by Country music aficionados and working at a country radio station during my senior year in high school. Needless to say, I hated every minute of it. Until... I heard this album. I became a fan of non-Nashville based true country music- which has more in common with punk and rap in ethos than with the repulsively inane perky pop of Nashville. My horizons have been expanded and while writing this, I realize this album, which I have not listened to in years, should be much higher. If country radio sounded like this and played artists like Earle- I would be in cowboy boots and denim.)
168. Avalon Sunset- Van Morrison (just because Rod Stewart butchers one song and another becomes a cliche in Christian circles does not make an album bad. Early in his Adult Contemporary phase, Morrison threw Christians a bone with Whenever God Shines His Light while screwing with them in a Bono-like fashion on When Will I Ever Learn to Live in God. The best songs on the album were not the hits and its consistency within its genre is quite unusual- very few AC albums have less filler.)
167. Boys and Girls- Bryan Ferry (didn't realize he was a gay icon until a close friend of mine, who happened to be gay, introduced me to his partner and explained that I had introduced him to the fractured grandeur that is Ferry's voice. This is Ferry's first album after Roxy Music's Avalon, a perfect album. Songs such as Slave to Love and Don't Stop the Dance are staples of the film industry with reason. They are lush and perfect for love scenes- if you don't pay close attention to the lyrics. One of the prettiest albums on my list.)
166. Vitalogy- Pearl Jam (while I like Yield a bit better, once again I must consider influence, timeliness and a bit of objectivity in rating these albums. Vitalogy is still Pearl Jam's 3rd best album and was a step forward artistically for the band. If this LP came from a new band the critics would have complained about the lack of focus, but from a band of PJ's stature, this was fresh. It told us all that we were dealing with artists that could not be manipulated or taken for granted.)

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James said...
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